“Masakado isn’t with you?”
“He’s out at the moment. But Mr. Shin, why…”
“I apologize for interrupting you. Are you two, no, you three acquaintances?”
A woman, part of the group that came in with Hilamee, interrupted Shin and Hilamee’s conversation with a question.
“Yes, I’m sorry. Ahem. Mr. Shin, I am currently the headmistress of this Erkunt Institute of Magic. She is the vice-headmistress, Licia.”
After Licia’s question, Hilamee realized that all eyes were focused on her, so she straightened her posture and introduced herself formally. Shin recalled what she had been like as a child, but that Hilamee was now long gone.
Shin had not recognized her immediately because she had grown beyond what he remembered. The Hilamee that now introduced herself as headmistress retained little of the feeble girl Shin remembered.
“Allow me to formally introduce us again too. I am Shin, she is my party member Yuki.”
“Nice to meet you, I am Yuki.”
The group of male instructors behind Hilamee started buzzing with whispers after looking at Schnee lightly bow.
“I have read the report. I thought you might be agents from another country, but I see that it was a misplaced worry.”
“Do not worry. Mr. Shin and his companion are not the type to be upset by such things.”
Hilamee honestly stated their suspicions, so Licia hurriedly tried to stop her.
Hilamee laughed her worry away however. Shin chuckled with a feeling of nostalgia, as most eyes in the room were on him.
“Licia. I’m sorry, but have them go back to the institute. We can’t have many people hear what we will be discussing.”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“There are many things I need to confirm. Mr. Shin, could Licia stay here during our conversation? She has a resurrection bonus as well and is someone to be trusted, who would never speak lightly about confidential matters.”
Why was Shin here, what had actually happened…there were many things Hilamee needed to ask.
Shin would probably need to reveal that he was a High Human: Hilamee trusted Licia enough for her to know about it.
“No word of this anywhere else, okay?”
“Of course. You understand, don’t you? Licia.”
Licia swallowed her breath because of Hilamee’s serious look.
“Okay, so I’ll start talking first, but let me confirm something: how much do you know about players, Ms. Licia?”
“I know that there was something called a “Death Game”. The headmistress told me so. The headmistress died once during it.”
Licia was one of those adventurers called Chosen Ones. She was not a player, however.
Licia and Hilamee had known each other for more than 100 years now, so she knew about what had happened in the past: about players, the death game, and the fact that the dead came to this world.
“If you know that much, then it’ll be quick. I was a player too, like Hilamee. Yuki was my support character, you know what that means?”
“Yes, beings created by players. In our world they live as normal individuals, so I have no particular feelings about them.”
“Good to know. Oh, by the way, Yuki is an alias, her real name is Schnee Raizar.”
“You possess skills that can trick 【Analyze】, I see. But…Schnee Raizar? To give the name of an individual who performed such incredible feats to a child is…no, please wait a moment. I am positive it is forbidden among elves to give your child the name of another living person. So, if you claim that name…”
Licia’s expression turned progressively stiffer as she talked.
Hilamee did not show any particular reaction. After all, Schnee was famous as the leader of Shin’s support characters among his acquaintances. In the game era, even people outside Shin’s circle knew.
Next to Hilamee, Licia let out a whisper: …she’s the real one?
“While I did it to protect my real identity, allow me to apologize for using a fake name. I am Schnee Raizar.”
Schnee undid her camouflage and showed her true appearance. Licia was overwhelmed, opening and closing her mouth without uttering a sound.
“Licia, are you fine looking that silly?”
“Ah, yes, no, I apologize.”
Schnee told Licia, who had suddenly become very respectful, not to be so formal and continued to talk. She explained why they explored the dungeon and how they were transported. After the long explanation, Hilamee and Licia were deep in thought.
“An evil deity that steals memories. Who knew that the Kishimi tribe survived…and Hameln too.”
“That monstrous criminal, whose only known information is name and race.”
Hearing the name of the man who was said to have even destroyed a whole country, the atmosphere quickly became very serious. Hilamee and Licia had the responsibility to protect the students too.
“Even during the death game I had a hard time defeating him. In this world, finding a single person is very difficult. He’s really good at hiding too.”
Shin would have liked to be done with him once and for all, but it was presently difficult. The only way was to wait for him to act and counterattack.
“There would be no point in thinking about this matter further, so let’s leave it at that. What are your plans now, Mr. Shin? Will you regroup with your comrades?”
“No, everyone will gather here. Let’s say they…read the situation well.”
Yuzuha, Filma, and the others decided to let Shin and Schnee be on their own for a while.
“So you will stay here for a while?”
“Yes, that’s the plan. I don’t know exactly how long, but I think that it’ll take one week at most for everyone to arrive.”
“If so, there is something I’d like to ask you to do!!”
Learning that Shin would stay for a while, Hilamee suddenly leaned forward.
“Headmistress, could you mean, that?”
“Yes, Licia. Even if something happened, Mr. Shin would definitely be okay.”
Even if Shin had said that he wanted to leave immediately, Hilamee planned to ask him to come back to Erkunt after he had regrouped with his party, apparently.
“Sorry, but I’m not going to stick my neck in anything troublesome, okay?”
Thanks to Yuzuha and the others, Shin finally had time to spend with Schnee, so he didn’t want to have to deal with trouble.
“Please, I beg of you. It won’t even take half a day. Could you please just listen to what I have to say?”
Shin and Schnee sighed and agreed to listen to the very serious Hilamee. If it concerned the students’ safety, they had no way to refuse to at least listen.
Hilamee said that she wanted the institute’s health officer to participate in the conversation. She wanted Shin’s opinion on whether they were dangerous or not.
Shin had heard from Myu that the institute also organized combat training, and students got injured often. The infirmary in the institute was much more familiar to students than an ordinary one in the real world was. It was bizarre that the person in charge of such a facility could be dangerous.
“That officer is actually a monster.”
“Monster? I remember that some of them functioned as support, but…”
Monsters were normally enemies to be defeated; among them, however, there were some which did not antagonize humans, gave hints about quests, or even fought alongside the party temporarily.
Element Tails were the apex of such monsters: they fought against players in trials, and if they recognized the players’ strength they awarded them with items or equipment.
“No, in the game it was absolutely an enemy. There were events in which monsters you normally fought assisted the player, but this monster was not included.”
“What’s that monster’s name?”
“It’s one of the devils of the Seven Deadly Sins, Lust. Now it goes by the name of Luxuria.”
“A devil as a health officer…oh, I see, ultimately they achieve human form, don’t they.”
Greed, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Anger, Gluttony, and Pride.
Each one of the devils bearing these names are ordinary monsters at the beginning. As their level increases, they grow to a form more resembling a devil, and for some reason ultimately turn to a humanlike form.
In the game, the devils would very rarely grow so much: Shin had only seen their human form in a video.
“It appeared out of the blue three years ago, now it’s just like one of the other instructors. It has vast knowledge of medicine and alchemy, so honestly speaking it’s great at its job, but…”
If it went on a rampage on a whim, the institute would be destroyed, concluded Hilamee.
When they reach human-like form, the devils are at least level 700. Even a former player like Hilamee wouldn’t stand a chance.
“I see, you can’t let others know that there’s a level 700 monster freely walking about at school after all.”
It would be impossible to throw it out just because it was a monster. It had passed the entry exam with flying colors, performed its daily duties without problems, and was trusted by the students too.
They wanted to confront it directly, but were afraid to trigger something which would cause things to go wrong, so they could not make the decision until now.
“So basically you want me as bodyguard. If it goes wild, I need to stop it, is that it?”
“Yes. I’ll have all students leave the grounds on the day we talk with it. The institute was originally a guild, so if we increase the barrier output to the maximum there will be no damage done outside, even if fighting breaks out.”
The preparations had already been done, apparently. The students would soon leave for a long holiday period, so there would be few in the institute: it was the right chance.
“….I see. There’s no harm in checking out how the Deadly Sins look like in this world. What do you think, Schnee?”
“I agree too. I don’t know how devils think, but I can relate to worrying about the safety of your students.”
“Th, thank you so much!”
Hilamee thanked Shin and Schnee profusely, seemingly relieved from the bottom of her heart. Next to her, Licia sighed with relief too.
“I would like to set tomorrow as the day, then. Mr. Shin, what will you do today?”
“I’ll find a lodging and rest, I guess. What time should I come?”
After Shin explained how they were transported to the training dungeon, Hilamee stated that they would not be charged with trespassing, so Shin planned to find a lodging outside the institute, in order not to stand out.
“We’ll come pick you up. I’ll write you a letter of introduction to a certain inn, so please use it. All its services have a very high reputation.”
“Okay, I’ll take you up on your offer then. Thank you.”
“Depending on how tomorrow goes, we might have to thank you even more, so it’s all right.”
Compared to a fight against one of Deadly Sins, arranging an inn was nothing, said Hilamee, a little tired. They would go pick up Shin and Schnee the next day at 9.
Shin said that he would prepare equipment effective against devils, then left.
“I’m sorry for having you take us all the way.”
Shin headed to the inn right away; concerned that they might get lost in an unfamiliar city, Hilamee had Bermann accompany them.
“This much is nothing. Tomorrow we’ll be in your care after all.”
Bermann was one of the most skilled fighters in the institute, so he had already been informed of the plan. His expression was stiff, probably imagining what would happen if they had to fight the devil.
The inn Hilamee mentioned was not too far from the institute, just about 10 minutes on foot. It was a building with four floors, the first one Shin ever saw in this world.
The hotel was in a luxurious neighborhood: all stores around it perfectly clean and tidy. It was probably an area that the high society often visited.
Probably informed in advance of Shin’s arrival, as soon as he saw Bermann, one of the hotel workers opened the hotel door swiftly and gracefully. Like with real world hotels, it was made mostly out of glass.
“I’m Bermann, from the Erkunt institute of magic. I brought guests of the institute.”
“We have been expecting you. Welcome to hotel Morgana. Sir Shin, Lady Yuki, our warmest welcome to you.”
The four workers who welcomed Shin and Schnee bowed in perfect unison. Their immaculate uniforms made Shin feel like he was visiting a luxury hotel in the real world.
The staff’s extremely formal movements stood out, but no one seemed to pay much attention to them. They probably acted like this often.
“Okay, a room for two, pl—”
“We would like to stay in your best suite.”
Interrupting Shin, Schnee specified the type of room she wanted.
She had never asked for a specific type of room before, no matter where they stayed, so Shin was a bit surprised.
“I was informed that you were likely to make such a request. The payment has already been completed, so I shall accompany you to your room right away.”
The “information” had come from Hilamee or Licia, probably, but Shin had no idea why they would say such a thing. He couldn’t fully grasp the situation, but if that was what Schnee wanted, it was fine with him, so he did not object.
“Wow, this is really something.”
It was like renting a whole floor in a luxury hotel of Shin’s home world, the suite was large and well-furnished enough to host a family comfortably.
Illuminated by the sunlight, the tables reflected a dull shine. Shin was in no way an expert in regards to furniture, but the room’s interior decoration gave a very neat and refined impression.
“Please ring the bell on the table if there is anything you require. We will send someone immediately.”
After a brief explanation about the facilities, the hotel clerk left the room. As expected of a luxury hotel, the room was equipped with a large bathtub too.
“We can see the whole city from the terrace. Hm? Isn’t that wall taller than the rest?”
Shin followed Schnee out on the terrace and noticed that part of the castle walls was clearly taller than the surrounding fortifications.
“That’s the border with the capital of Erkunt. This section of the city, where the Institute of Magic was erected, has been built next to the Erkunt castle walls.”
According to Schnee, the Institute of Magic was right outside the Erkunt castle walls: to go into the capital one had to pass through that wall. The institute had been built next to the castle walls in order to save on materials and efforts to build outer fortifications, apparently.
Another reason was a large number of spies from foreign countries among the exchange students, called “grass”. When the institute was built, the people in charge mentioned that its presence would attract such people inside the country.
Shin thought that, regardless of the existence of a learning institute, “grass” was found everywhere, but there was little point in pursuing this matter, so he didn’t say anything.
“What would you like for dinner?”
“Since we’re here and all, let’s go to the restaurant.”
The hotel also had a restaurant headed by a chef with the Cooking skill. The hotel clerk had recommended it too, so Shin and Schnee dressed up a bit to match the atmosphere before going.
Shin wore a white military uniform with red decorations, Schnee a light blue mermaid dress.
“It’s really good…but…”
“Is there something wrong?”
All dishes were worthy of being served in a luxury restaurant. Shin, however, did not feel fulfilled after tasting them: on the contrary, he found them somewhat lacking.
“Maybe it’s because I’m used to your cooking, I just feel these need a little more work.”
“Hehe, thank you very much.”
Schnee smiled at Shin’s implication that her food was better. It was the same smile as before she lost her memories, but to Shin it was brighter than ever.
After the meal, Shin and Schnee returned to their room right away. As it always happened, they attracted quite a bit of attention from the other guests in the restaurant. No one went to talk to them, as expected of the courtesy of guests in such a restaurant, but some kept looking at Schnee throughout the meal.
Also considering the Deadly Sin monster matter, they wanted to avoid trouble as much as possible, so they left quickly. Back in their room, Shin and Schnee sat on the sofa and talked about their plan for the following day.
“A devil health officer…who passed the exam without help to boot.”
“Quite different from the devils we’re used to, don’t you think?”
“I wouldn’t find it too weird…if this was a manga, that is.”
In THE NEW GATE, demons and devils were considered separate categories.
Demons were born from human emotions and lived to cause suffering to people.
In contrast, devils were born from human desires, but their way of life was not fixed. In a way, it could be said that they enjoyed more freedom.
“Let’s go with anti-devil equipment, just in case. I’ll have yours ready too.”
Kunoichi anti-devil equipment was a ninja garb with high skin exposure, but its stats and abilities were very high. The next day, Shin would have Schnee conceal herself as she stayed behind him.
“Shin, what do you know about the devil Lust? Luxuria, was it?”
“Well, I only fought against Gluttony, Wrath, and Pride. I just know that Lust is a female-type monster that used Drain skills…that’s about it.”
Shin had participated in Deadly Sins extermination quests only a few times, so he didn’t know much about the topic.
“Could it have infiltrated the institute in order to use 【Drain】 on the students to gather energy to grow further?”
“No, if it is in human form, it has already reached the limit of its growth. I don’t think it could achieve anything by doing that now…”
Shin shook his head to Schnee’s hypothesis. In this world even monsters lived differently, so he had no idea what was actually going on in this case.
“Could it be that…no, that can’t be right.”
“Is there something on your mind?”
“Nothing!! Nothing related at all!”
Seeing that Schnee had turned a fierce red, Shin was very interested in what she had come up with.
“No matter if it’s unrelated, tell me all the same.”
“I-it’s really completely unrelated!!”
“Why are you so flustered? Very suspicious…tell me, come on. It’s okay if there’s no connection at all.”
Shin had no intention of seriously listening to her anymore. They were finally alone, so he planned to enjoy Schnee’s blushing expression to his heart’s content.
“It, it’s really…something trivial…”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be disappointed or anything.”
Shin’s insistence caused Schnee to blush even more.
Her reactions intrigued him, but her flushed face was so cute that he chose to go even closer. As he did, Schnee moved away. The sofa was large, but eventually Schnee was backed into a corner.
Schnee was about to stand up to go away from the sofa, but Shin was faster: he grabbed her arms and pushed her down on the cushions.
“It’s not like you to run away like that. I am very interested in what you came up with.”
Chasing Schnee’s eyes up and down was becoming increasingly entertaining for Shin: he was teasing her, plain and simple.
“I thought the devil might want to…have carnal relations with the students…”
“….is that so..”
Shin was convinced by Schnee’s words, thinking that it was the lust devil, after all. What surprised him, however, was that Schnee had come up with such a theory.
(I would understand if she proposed the monster charmed the students to hold them under her control, but…)
Shin would never have thought that Schnee’s personality allowed her thoughts to consider sexual matters. Meanwhile Schnee, too embarrassed after saying something like that to Shin, was doing her best to look away. Even her ears had become bright red.
“Shin, you’re a bit mean now.”
“Am I? Well, I guess so.”
Who would ever imagine Schnee held down on a sofa, blushing like that? She kept her cool in most situations after all. Seeing her like this made Shin want to look at her more and more.
There was no one else in the room. Shin confirmed it for himself again, then put a hand on Schnee’s cheek, turning her gaze towards him.
“I want to look at this Schnee I don’t know a lot more. I didn’t know you were this cute.”
Shin’s sudden confession made Schnee turn even redder, if that was possible. She tried to say something, but her mouth just opened and closed, without a sound. That was simply too lovely in Shin’s eyes, so he waited for her to calm down.
“….Shin, you want to see a part of me you don’t know…?”
5 minutes had passed, probably. Schnee, a bit calmer than before, asked Shin this question.
“You might be disappointed if you do, though?”
Shin replied immediately to Schnee’s worry. He wouldn’t struggle for words in a situation like that.
“Hm? Sorry, I couldn’t hear.”
Schnee’s lips barely moved. The words she whispered, however, were too faint for even Shin’s hearing capabilities to catch.
“Sorry again, say it one more time.”
“I said, I…..wan…….me.”
Schnee mumbled again, but the most important words weren’t audible.
Shin asked her to repeat a few more times, to no avail. He had started thinking about what else he could do, when Schnee’s eyes changed.
She quickly sat up and reversed their positions: she pushed Shin down on the sofa, holding his arms down.
“I said!! That I want you to make love to me!!”
The sudden declaration surprised Shin. He never imagined he would hear such words from Schnee’s mouth.
“Shin! You said you wanted to marry me!”
“And I agreed to that!!”
“So this is essential!!!”
Schnee was speaking loud and clear, but her face was redder than ever.
After saying that much, Schnee held Shin’s face with her hands and kissed him gently, in complete contrast with the enthusiasm she had shown just before.
“I want you to make love to me. Do you think I am lewd by saying such a thing?”
Schnee’s eyes were lightly glazed. Her expression and atmosphere were more than enough to convey what she desired.
“….how could I ever think that. I was just a bit surprised. I suppose I have to show that I too want to make love to you.”
Shin then sat up and lifted up Schnee in his arms. She didn’t resist in the slightest.
“Is it really fine for me to be so happy…?”
Schnee whispered as Shin headed towards the bed. In response, he held her more strongly, closer to his body.
“That’s my line.”
Shin replied while feeling her body’s warmth.
“Someone like me, who couldn’t protect Marino, is really allowed to love someone else? I’ve been thinking about this forever. I can hold my head high and say that I love you now, but it’s all thanks to you, Schnee. Your love for someone like me…makes me really happy.”
Shin’s words caused tears to swell up in Schnee’s eyes. He laid her down on the bed, then wiped her tears.
“I love you.”
Schnee held her arms towards Shin, to embrace him, and pronounced her confession.
“I love you too.”
Shin replied, his body over hers. There was no need for any other words.