Vol. 12 Chapter 1 – Part 2

“For now, I plan to move it to some place where it won’t stand out and have Raster perform maintenance.”

After changing locations, Shin talked with Zazie and her group about what he planned to do with Celciutos. They had not discussed this topic during the talk with Lierno and the other leaders.

“Sir Shin, I know this is a difficult request, but allow me to ask. I would like you to leave Celciutos to us.”

Zazie mentioned the matter of managing Celciutos before Shin brought it up. In terms of administration hierarchy, Shin was above Zazie and the other former support characters. If Shin didn’t allow it, they could not even move Celciutos.

Standing behind Zazie, the other support characters — Lapwing, Bell, and Shell — watched Shin with a pleading expression.

“Rest easy, I planned to leave it to you from the start. This is Cook’s guildhouse after all, and I’m sure you wouldn’t do anything weird with it.”

“Thank you very much.”

Zazie lowered her head, her serious expression still on her face. Lapwing and the other two followed suit.

With Shin’s authorization, they would be able to pilot Celciutos now. First of all they wanted to make it possible to come and go between Shigureya and Celciutos, so the four went to the operation room.

“OK, I’m going to give Celciutos a general check-up then. What are you going to do, everybody?”

“I do not possess any skills about such technology or maintenance, thus I will go assist with the preparations for Jesta’s funerals.”

“Same as Shibaid, I’m just no good with creation-type skills.”

Shibaid and Filma replied in similar ways to Shin’s question.

Girard was the same too: Shin’s front-line support characters were specialized in combat, so they had not acquired enough techniques related to creating things to be useful.

Because of their jobs, they could perform simple disassembling and cooking, but they couldn’t do anything in terms of maintenance of a large ship like Celciutos.

“I’ll go help with the funeral too.”

Tiera likewise said she would go with Shibaid and Filma. Her abilities as a priestess had returned, so she could probably be useful there, she said.

“I’ll stay and help Shin.”

Schnee would assist Shin instead, using her knowledge of alchemy.

“Kuu, I want to watch.”

Still in fox mode, Yuzuha rode on Shin’s shoulder.

“Okay, it’s decided then.”

Shin headed to Celciutos’ engine room, with Schnee and Yuzuha. If he wanted to move Celciutos, that was the first location to check.

The ship’s engine room was built using a combination of blacksmithing, alchemy, and magic. Shin and Hecate had created it together, so he knew how it worked and how to perform maintenance on it.

“It’s as amazing as I remembered.”

“Kuu, so much magic power.”

Shin’s group passed through several rooms, finally reaching the room beyond Celciutos’ engine room, where the ship’s power source was held.

The 3-mel wide transparent, round container in the room was supported above and below by four mechanical arms. Inside the container was an off-white light, which would sometimes show glimpses of aurora-like lights.

“No changes in color, and it doesn’t look damaged either.”

Drawing on all of his knowledge from the game, Shin inspected every part of the room. The guildhouse’s engine room was normally maintenance-free, but after 500 years of neglect due to abandonment, something could have gone wrong. Shin told Schnee to let him know if she found anything concerning, then resumed his inspection.

“Strange, light.”

“Because we used a large ‘Drop of Erathem’. It created a semi-permanent engine, or at least that’s what we called it. We haven’t actually tested it though.”

The light emitted by the power source glowed gently and did not hurt the eyes, even if looked at directly. Also, because of the seven-colored lights that sometimes appeared within it, no one would have guessed that it was Celciutos’ giant power source.

Yuzuha seemed to have grown fond of it, and watched it intently, full of childish wonder.

“Ok, no problem here. Onto the next, come on Yuzuha.”

Confirming that there were no irregularities, Shin quickly finished the check-up of every part of the room. Some parts needed changing or maintenance: he took care of parts where specialized knowledge or techniques were needed and let Schnee take care of the rest.

After completing the maintenance Shin went back outside. In a square-like open space he found a pile of 2-mel long wooden logs stacked on top of each other to form a hexagon-shaped structure. He was first reminded of a campfire, but then he saw harpoons and decorations around the structure and realized that it was something ritualistic.

Shin asked the fishman Marshill, who happened to be nearby, about the structure. The wooden structure would be burnt alongside the deceased, to return the soul to the heavens and the body to the sea. It was the same as the Barbatos ritual, which Zazie had talked about.

“The funeral will be held tomorrow. If there is something you want to burn with the deceased, please let me know.”

Things dear to the deceased or things they liked, provided they were flammable, would be burnt with the body, to send them off together.

Shin replied that Zazie or Lapwing would know more about that than him, and Marshill replied that he had already told them about it.

The next day, under a clear blue sky, the funeral ceremony started in a very serious and formal tone.

Before the vividly burning flames, Lierno and Arno, wearing what looked like tribal clothing, chanted words Shin’s group could not understand. They couldn’t understand the meaning, but could somehow feel that the chant was praying for those passing into the otherworld.

Perhaps the timing had been calculated, but, as soon as Lierno and Arno finished chanting, the burning logs crumbled. Tiera, who had been standing next to them, splashed water on the embers.

The fire went out, producing billows of white smoke, which all present gazed at as it rose towards the sky.

After a while, the smoke vanished and Lierno and Arno cast a spell. The water created by their magic surrounded the remains and transported them to the sea.

As the ashes melted away in the seawater, the charred logs sank to the bottom.

With some final words by Lierno, the funeral ceremony was concluded.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

“I will move Celciutos, then build a settlement in its former space, okay?”

After Jesta’s funeral, Shin went to move Celciutos right away.

As Shin would provide a new barrier and settlement, there was almost no objection about taking Celciutos from its inhabitants.

“I expected more people to protest though.”

“No one here would dare protest to a High Human’s words. Everyone knows that Marshill could barely fight against you too.”

“Ah…was I maybe too violent?”

“Not at all, I think it was a good thing that everyone witnessed your strength. Marshill is by far the strongest of our tribe: seeing him overwhelmed like that, everyone will have to just accept the reality. No matter how fond they are of Celciutos, they surely understood how terrifying it would be to have its legitimate owner as an enemy.”

“Hmm? You make it sound like I’m threatening you…”

Shin had no such intention, but the way Arno spoke, it appeared like he was trying to strong-arm Celciutos from them. In their first encounter with Marshill, the atmosphere had gotten rather tense, so it would be difficult to deny it completely.

“That’s the best way to convince those who would oppose without an actual reason. Celciutos was something we had borrowed. In effect, we have been enjoying all the advantages it offers very one-sidedly. Many have forgotten this, however, so I believe that even a harsh reminder could be necessary. If the owner says to give it back, it must be done. The immediate danger we have been facing has been solved too: to repay such kindness with spite would be simply unthinkable!”

Arno maintained that the situation was improving from before: there was no risk of the merpeople and fishpeople losing everything with Celciutos gone, as Marshill had said before. Shin offered to create a new barrier and a settlement, so what were they really unhappy with? Arno frowned.

There was also the fact that fishpeople and merpeople could not, in effect, do anything with Celciutos. Even if Jesta had entrusted them with it, they were only able to “watch over it” rather than actually “make use” of the ship.

The barrier itself was fueled by Celciutos’ magic power. In case the barrier was breached, Celciutos was set up to escape.

The barrier had been preserved without problems until now, so even if Jesta hadn’t met the merpeople, leaving it deserted, it would have probably managed to hold back the miasma until Shin’s group found it.

“Well, even if they understand it in their heads, their hearts might lead them to protest the change all the same.”

No matter how reasonable something might sound, emotions aren’t settled so easily: Shin had experienced this himself, so he thought that it was something inevitable.

On the bridge, Shin switched the engine from the current low-output mode, which maintained the barrier, self-purifying systems, and a few other functions, into the high-output mode for navigation.

Celciutos’ hull trembled slightly before starting its first voyage in 500 years.

After making sure that there were no merpeople or fishpeople in the surroundings, Shin moved Celciutos.

As the ship had been anchored to the surrounding rocks and coral, Shin pulled in the anchor, levitated Celciutos, and slowly moved towards the open sea. In sea stages, ships often got stuck on coral reefs, so game era ships, big and small alike, were equipped with short-duration levitation functions.

A ship of Ceciutos’ level could travel, levitating above land, for about an hour. They say that some players, after witnessing this feat, tried to build an airship.

“OK then, I’ll make the settlement first.”

Shin used his architect skills to start building prefab homes in the cleared space after moving Celciutos. He could have created more comfortable housing but, according to Lierno, it was more than enough. The fishpeople and merpeople, albeit slowly and gradually, would soon start move to Barbatos after all.

The former Celciutos residents were surprised to see the houses ready in less than 30 minutes, but no one expressed dissatisfaction. The reason was probably because they usually lived in water and would frequently move. They moved into the temporary houses with a speed that left Shin surprised too; Then he went to find a place to hide Celciutos.

“Looks like it can sail just fine, at least for now. Good thing only the cannons seem to have problems.”

Shin mumbled to himself while looking at a map of the Kuwain area and its surroundings on the ship’s bridge.

Since Shin and his party were around, it was not a problem even if Celciutos’ offensive equipment did not work: it would have been much worse if there was trouble with the engine or the power source. Jesta had chosen to keep the miasma sealed because he didn’t know if Celciutos’ reduced offensive power was enough to repel miasma-corrupted monsters, or so Shin guessed.

Celciutos was a powerful weapon, but — barring rare exceptions — it was only used offensively in battles between guilds.

In the game era, it was not possible to fight dungeon boss monsters like Ishkar with a guildhouse.

Now, however, things were different.

For example, when Shin faced the Skullface Lord in the Wraith Plains, it was possible for dungeons that were supposed to be underground to emerge above. The possibility of dungeon bosses appearing above ground was thus not zero.

If used effectively, Celciutos could even destroy Ishkar without giving it a chance to retaliate; at present, its main artillery — main cannon, sub cannons, etcetera — were not working, so in the worst case it could even sink.

Jesta probably considered all this when he decided to seal in the miasma.

“In this area, we could hide Celciutos…here, I guess.”

Shin found a suitable location from the map saved in the database. There was a location with massive rocks jutting out of the sea surface. If the data was correct, they were large enough to hide Celciutos.

When they arrived at the location, they indeed found a group of large rocks towering over the sea. With a combination of building and Earth skills, Shin carved the rocks, reinforced them, and then hid Celciutos among them.

Shin also attached Crystal Stones, a barrier, and an illusion skill that camouflaged the barrier with its surrounding environment, thus hiding the rocks. In case anyone came dangerously close to it, Shin also placed a Crystal Stone with a magic attachment that drove away both monsters and people.

With Celciutos as its power source, the magic attachments could last semi-permanently.

“Sir Shin, you have acquired many production-related skills other than blacksmithing ones, but have you never thought of mastering them?”

Zazie’s question came after the preparations for Celciutos’ concealment were completed. Just as she said, Shin could have raised one or two other skills, like building or farming, as high as blacksmithing.

“If you master blacksmithing, related skills like alchemy are also at rather high levels too though. It’s not like we never discussed it, but in general we never touched the skills other members were specialized in. Except if it was needed to perfect our own specialization.”

To be able to handle anything production-related was an attractive prospect, but to do the same thing as others was not at all.

It was a coincidence that all Rokuten members headed in different directions with their specializations, and also that all of them shared a dislike for doing the same thing as others.

Rokuten members had sometimes spoken to each other about it in casual conversation.

“Everyone also felt differently about to what extent they would perfect their skills. Since it’s related to blacksmithing, I did a lot of alchemy in my time, even though it was Hecate’s specialty. About Cook’s farming or Reed’s doll making, however, I might know something about it but my skills are beginner-level at best.”

Shin’s farming skill level for example was just II.

“Why did you ask that, anyway?”

“I was wondering if Rokuten members did not aspire to cover all aspects of creation, by cooperating with each other. I could never ask my master, you see.”

“….I see.”

Shin thought that Zazie would have surely wanted to ask Cook about something like that.

In the game, she couldn’t express her own will. For a support character, a better understanding of her master was surely a dream.

So thought Shin, who could now spend time with his support characters, like Schnee and Girard.

After hiding Celciutos and setting the teleportation point, Shin’s group rode the magic-powered vessel and returned to Barbatos.

They had told Zigma that they didn’t know when they would be back, so they used 【Hiding】 on the ship close to the port, then swam to land, with the ship safely stored in Shin’s item box.

They had concealed their presences when they reached land, so there was no risk of anyone seeing them and finding them suspicious.

Their first destination was Shigureya.

“Where do you want me to set it up?”

“There are a few rooms for the staff in the back. Let’s prepare a dedicated room.”

Guided by Lapwing, Shin arrived at a room in the back of the restaurant, which was also used as living space. Shin set up the teleport point and connected it to the one placed on Celciutos: now it was possible to freely move between Shigureya and the ship.

“Finally, let’s place a magic-powered lock on the door…there.”

Shin locked the room with the unique key he also used for Tsuki no Hokora’s storeroom, setting it so that only Shin himself and the support characters of Rokuten members could open it. No one else could enter the room this way.

“Thank you for doing so much for us.”

“It’s nothing, really. Besides, now I have one less weight on my shoulders too.”

Finding and securing the lost guildhouse had been quite the lucky happenstance. Shin’s group would also have had trouble managing Celciutos during their travels, so having Lapwing and the others take care of it was yet another stroke of good fortune.

The group had no intention of going anywhere that day, of course, so they had dinner at Shigureya and stayed in the inn they had used before departing.

 

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