Namsaar judged Fagall unable to continue and announced the end of the duel. After that, Shin’s group returned to the room they had first been shown to.
Shin was worried that he had gone too far and wanted to leave the training grounds as soon as possible, so he was relieved.
“Honestly, I went pretty much all out there, but…sir Shin, you are really…something else.”
“Ahaha…I’m sorry, I overdid it a little.”
“Well…yes. I thought I was in real danger there.”
Fagall had witnessed a power large enough to ignore the Sponge weapons’ supposed non-lethality, so his smile was a bit strained. Even without Shin’s last powerful attack, Fagall knew he couldn’t have won, or so he thought.
Shin was unfazed from start to finish: Fagall figured Shin was likely to be superior to him in every stat.
Fagall’s attacks never put Shin on the spot. He always reacted with ease.
It wasn’t just because Shin’s reactions were good, or he was more nimble, since he reacted in the same way to magic too. The only possible conclusion was that his stats were superior.
Shin, on the other hand, was thinking that Fagall was likely trying to estimate his stats.
“If possible, I would like to request another duel before the battle with the devil. Because of our positions and duties, I cannot ask it easily to sir Namsaar or Sherlene. I would like to ask you not to use attacks like that last one, however. Without the barrier, the training grounds’ walls would have shattered to pieces.”
“I will be busier from now on too, so I’m afraid I cannot just say yes, unless the opportunity comes. However, if it does, please be assured that I will fight in earnest.. About that last attack, I really went overboard, I apologize again.”
Fagall hadn’t reached the level cap yet: depending on the method, he could acquire new skills.
Many advanced Chosen Ones had various skills in their arsenal, so Shin thought that their fighting strategy had room for improvement.
“Will everyone be convinced with this?”
“Yes, there will be some who make a fuss, but with so many witnesses, I don’t think there will be any real trouble. We need sir Fagall to grow stronger too. We can’t have one of the king’s blades lose to adventurers forever after all.”
“You say that even after watching that duel…?”
Fagall mumbled a protest to Namsaar’s not-so-veiled complaining, which seemed to reach the captain’s ears: Namsaar turned towards Fagall and glared.
“Did you say something?”
Fagall looked discontent until a moment ago, but just before Namsaar looked at him, his expression turned very serious.
Next to him, Sherlene looked mildly annoyed and sighed, as if this kind of exchange happened often.
“By the way, sir Shin. You will act as a mobile unit in the campaign, but could you join the rest of the army even just once? If we say that you will fight alongside us they will understand, but if you join us personally they will understand better, especially about what kind of person you are.”
If the rumors about today’s duel spread and conflated, Shin could end up being regarded as a dangerous individual, so Zear made this proposal.
“Yes, that is not a problem at all. What should we do with Yuki? I can vouch for her strength, and I was thinking of having her train some of the soldiers.”
“Training soldiers? Will she do something special?”
“She has some experience training armed forces, actually. She can also perfectly restore any wound, as long as it’s not instantly lethal, so I think that training more practical than what normally can be done. In case a commotion breaks out within the castle, I think it is prudent to raise the soldiers’ quality, as quickly as possible.”
It would be a waste to use both Shin and Schnee for exploration.
Shin thus proposed to Zear to use as much time as possible to strengthen the army, until the Greed devil — Avaritia made his move. When he mentioned that Schnee could easily restore whole limbs, Zear’s expression stiffened.
“…I see. The barrier from before is enough proof of lady Yuki’s prowess, but…restoring whole limbs..? Even the church’s highest prelates never attained such levels…no, lady Yuki is from a species with high longevity, an Elf, so if one trains enough, it becomes possible…is it?”
Zear furrowed his brow at his own words.
Unless it was completely isolated, any city would have long-living species residing in it. Zear wasn’t convinced yet because none of the Elves or Pixies he knew of could restore missing body parts to that extent.
Shin had already heard that in the current world there were barely any practitioners who could restore missing limbs.
There were some items in circulation which could produce such effects, given enough time, but that was it. They were very valuable as well.
Being capable of such advanced healing skills would make any country wish to keep her at their side: that was the extent of such a person’s importance.
“As far as I know, it is not something even long-living species can easily perform.”
“I agree with sir Namsaar. I know elves and pixies who have lived over 300 years, but none of them has managed to hone their skills to the point of being capable of restoring missing limbs.”
“Me too…erm, I as well, excluding rumors, know only the church’s ‘Healing Holy Woman’.”
Schnee nodded to Namsaar’s words. Fagall shook his head, as he knew only of very famous examples.
“Even I can only close wounds at most.”
“Er…a devil that uses healing skills, really?”
Divine skills purified miasma and devils. In some games, they were treated as the opposite element to darkness. The skills Luxuria would use as healing would purify devils, so Shin found it pretty strange.
“Even if you call them ‘Divine’ skills, in the end it’s using magic power to close wounds or restore limbs, right? It’s not like you pray to some god you’ve never even seen, so even devils can use them. Skills like 【Purification】 are out of the question though.”
“It’s surprising enough that you can use recovery skills…well, yeah, I just use them like I would do with anything useful, so I can’t really say anything about a devil using them.”
Even if the skills were labeled as “Divine”, there was no need to pray every time you used them, or anything of the sort. There was supposed to be a god overseeing each element, but Shin had never actually seen them. Their names were told in quest or library documents, so it was a mystery if they actually existed in this world.
What Luxuria said wasn’t wrong, at the very least.
“Sir Zear…I believe what we just discussed should never reach the priests’ ears.”
“Indeed…it is common sense that divine skills are god’s realm after all.”
Not only king Kreunzeit and Zear, but Fagall and Sherlene were also at a loss for words. The only one who did not change expression was Namsaar.
“Let us leave this for the moment…even so, while I understand it will be impossible, I would certainly wish for her to stay in our country. Could you consider it, even just a little? Together with sir Shin, of course.”
King Kreunzeit had been listening to the conversation with increasing interest, and ultimately made this proposal to Schnee.
As a country’s ruler, he could not keep himself from trying to secure a rare asset such as Schnee.
“I have decided to follow Shin, so I cannot answer that question.”
“Ah, I…I have no plans of entering the service of any country. I believe sir Zear said he did the same in his younger days, but I wish to see the world and expand my knowledge first.”
“Is that so. If you use Zear as an example, there is nothing more I can say. It is regrettable, but I cannot force you.”
King Kreunzeit was very serious in his proposal, but Shin’s reply made him sigh and agree to give up.
Zear, on the other hand, showed a slightly awkward expression.
“Ahem, I believe we have been sidetracked. In regards to what we were talking about before…sir Shin, how skilled are you at exploration and field research?”
“Approximately on the same level as scouting jobs such as shinobi or thieves, you could say.”
Shin’s reply made Zear raise his eyebrows.
Shin was clearly the fighting job type, hammering on enemies in the front lines; knowing that he could also act as an accomplished scout surprised him greatly.
It wouldn’t be unusual to have a smattering of knowledge outside one’s specialty, but to be on the same level as specialists was normally impossible. No one could be a master of all trades.
Other than the jox he had mastered during the game, Shin also possessed the experience acquired while clearing dungeons alone and hunting down PKs. When their lives are on the line, people can progress and grow at normally impossible speed.
“You are one surprise after the other, sir Shin…I would then request you to inspect the areas still not fully researched, together with lady Sherlene. In case you find any of Greed’s cohorts, I am sure you can dispose of them. If possible, it would be ideal to learn what exactly the devil is up to.”
“Understood, I will do my utmost.”
After being told that the actual dates would be communicated later, Shin’s group left the castle.
As soon as they were out of sight from the gate guards, Shin stretched his body.
“Somehow or other, it’s over.”
“It went much different than expected, but at least it ended well.”
Luxuria sighed and Hilamee agreed with her sentiments.
Only Schnee didn’t seem tired and smiled, apparently in good spirits.
“Anyway, let’s call it a day…I’m exhausted, mentally I mean.”
“You were tense throughout after all. I’ll be taking the headmistress back then. You two get a good rest too!”
“Who ever thought that I’d have a devil worry about my health…”
“I’m the health officer, after all. If you ever feel sick, drop by!”
Luxuria chuckled, then walked with Hilamee towards the institute. Shin and Schnee went straight back to their hotel. When they entered their suite, Shin changed into something more casual and plopped down on the sofa.
“Phew, that was tiring.”
He knew it wasn’t exactly good manners, but he laid his back against the sofa. He closed his eyes and sighed, then felt Schnee’s presence next to him. He noticed that she sat down on the sofa too, then felt her pull his arm.
He let her take control and felt his head lie on a different kind of softness than the sofa.
“You did great today.”
Schnee’s gentle words provoked an awkward response from Shin. She had changed too: Shin couldn’t tell what she was wearing on her lower body, but she had a white sweater on.
Schnee’s eyes were smiling peacefully, but Shin could only see half of them: the lower half was covered by Schnee’s soft mounds, pushing against the sweater. Because of the unusual angle, they looked even more imposing than usual.
“Shin? What’s wrong?”
“No, nothing. Physically, I’m not tired at all. I was just worried about going overboard against that hero guy. The soldiers looked at me not like someone they could rely on, but just a dangerous guy…”
Shin quickly changed the topic, to divert Schnee’s attention from the fact that he was staring at her chest.
He hadn’t spoken to the soldiers, but noticed that they watched him with expressions full of fear. It was too late to think about it now, but he felt that the distance between them grew even wider, instead of shrinking.
“Our future actions here all depended on that duel, so you couldn’t hold back. They won’t think that you’re useless at least. The king and heroes recognized your strength, so I don’t think you should worry too much.”
“That’s true too…well, I guess we should be glad that they will cooperate. Though, I was surprised that they had made preparations already.”
They knew how powerful the enemy was and strived to keep casualties as small as possible. For allies, they were extremely reliable.
“Let’s do our best to keep casualties to a minimum. Training the soldiers is the next step, I suppose.”
“Hahaha, I can already picture them getting all smitten over you, then you put them through the grinder.”
Putting it bluntly, they would easily be swayed by her beauty, as Shin clearly remembered what happened to the prince.
Some soldiers in the training grounds were the same. They would surely think they are lucky to be trained by her…until the actual training starts, at least.
“Don’t think you can laugh and change the topic!”
Schnee glared at him, but wasn’t really angry. Her pouting expression was kind of childish, so even if he apologized Shin felt very much at peace.
“I always act strictly because I think it’s for their own sake …Shin?”
“Ah, yeah, I’m listening, I am…”
Shin answered, but his eyelids were almost closing, his words unclear.
“We still have time until dinner, so rest until then.”
Resting his head on Schnee’s lap was really pleasant after all. So Shin thought as he drifted off to sleep.
Looking at Shin fall asleep, Schnee smiled faintly. She was reminded that just a few days before, they were in the same situation, with reversed roles. She caressed his head, thinking that she preferred to let him sleep on her lap, rather than the opposite.