“Good morning, time to get up.”
A clear, gentle voice caressed Shin’s ears. Usually, he would wake up promptly with just this sound, but today Shin was heavily afflicted with sleep. Recently, he often ended up falling asleep again after waking up the first time.
“Just five more…no, 10 more minutes…”
“I’ll prepare breakfast and come again in 15 minutes. But if you won’t wake up then, you’re skipping it.”
The words he received in reply seemed kind, but they actually contained a very firm warning, which Shin clearly noticed. Before, he had overslept for five minutes and really gone without breakfast.
The reason behind his need to rest was simple: every night he would sneak out of the hotel and work hard in the smithy. He kept it a secret from Schnee because he wanted to surprise her with something after he learned the new technique.
Shin was suppressing a yawn as he sat down at the table. Thanks to his high stats, even with a severe lack of sleep, the only disadvantage was a slight drowsiness in the morning.
After the meal, Shin was sipping tea on the sofa, thinking of a training menu for Lecus and the others, when Schnee came up from behind and put her hands on his shoulders.
“Shin, there is something you have to tell me, yes?”
“Hm? Not really…”
Schnee’s tone changed. Shin reacted instinctively and tried to stand up, but Schnee was faster. Her grip on his shoulders became stronger and kept him from standing up, moving to hold his neck.
“Aah…er, you see…”
His back to the sofa, Shin couldn’t escape if Schnee held him from behind. Because of the sofa’s size, in that position Shin’s head would inevitably rest against Schnee’s bosom.
From a third party’s perspective, it looked like Schnee was holding Shin’s head. She was just wearing a thin shirt, so Shin’s head was enveloped in the soft sensation of Schnee’s mounds. He even ended up thinking that it wasn’t so bad a situation to be in.
“No secrets, we’ve talked about this before, right?”
“…okay, okay, you win.”
Shin couldn’t make any objections to that.
Because of her skills and main job, Schnee was very sensitive to the presence of others. She had probably noticed Shin’s nightly outings very soon.
“You probably know already, but every night I go to the smithy to practice a new technique. I saw Vulcan use it the other time, and realized that I can still improve.”
After repeated trial and error, Shin’s technique was still an imitation, but it had started to take shape. His Blacksmithing skill was helping his attempts. If not, it would be impossible to imitate techniques so easily.
“Shin, I won’t tell you not to push yourself too hard. I know that when you do, it’s always for someone else’s sake. This time too, it’s for me…no, for us, right?”
If Shin’s blacksmithing skills improved, he could reinforce their weapons and armor further. In this world there existed monsters that not even Shin and Schnee could match, so Shin did not want to miss any opportunity to reinforce their gear.
He wanted to do so as soon as possible, to lessen any risks as much as he could. Ever since Shin arrived in this world, Schnee’s equipment was much stronger than it had been in-game.
“I am happy that you are thinking about us. But in that case, let me assist you too. Maybe I can’t do anything, but I don’t want you to bear the burden alone.”
Schnee’s embrace grew stronger. He couldn’t see her expression, but her voice was enough to understand how she felt.
“…I’m sorry for making you worry. Actually, I was thinking that it would be a lot better if you could help me. But, you know…”
Shin didn’t want to stubbornly hide the truth, but there was a reason why he preferred to.
“Is there a reason why you can’t tell me?”
“Well, yeah. Honestly speaking, I wanted to keep it a surprise, a present.”
“A present….? Wah!”
The topic shifted from reinforcing gear in an unexpected direction, so Schnee was confused. Shin felt her grip loosen and he drew her closer to him, without letting her finish.
With a perfectly useless show of skills, Shin made her spin in midair and sat her on his lap. It looked just like Schnee had jumped over the sofa to sit on top of him.
Schnee could have fought back if she wanted, but since her ‘opponent’ was Shin, she leaned on him. She was still confused, but she buried her face in his chest.
“I mean that, what I’m trying to create is not equipment, but something else.”
“Yes. After defeating the evil deity, well, I confessed, right? You said okay, right? So we’re like, husband and wife now.”
“Yes, of course.”
Shin was rather embarrassed to say the words “husband and wife”, but Schnee replied with a smile beaming with happiness. He coughed a little, then started talking again while looking straight into her eyes.
“So…you know? It’s not like I want to prove it, but…I’m thinking of making wedding rings. Since I’m at it, I wanted to properly learn this new technique first. After I craft the rings, I want to enhance them with as many buffs as possible.
“Wedding…rings…!? ……!? Let’s make them!! We must!!!”
Schnee didn’t seem to understand right away, but as soon as she did, she grabbed Shin’s lapel and stared at him, her eyes sparkling.
“Y-yeah, sure. So please give me a hand.”
“Of course!! Leave it to me!!”
Schnee never looked so eager. Thanks to her assistance, Shin’s understanding of Vulcan’s technique progressed rapidly too. Because of this, it couldn’t be helped that Shin started wondering if Schnee was blessed with a natural talent for blacksmithing too.