Shin and Schnee entered the forest at a quick pace.
While avoiding the adventurers who were moving into the plains, they turned their route toward Tsuki no Hokora. On the way, because the set-up base had been abandoned, he stopped, broke it down, and collected it all including the interception item. Wilhelm seemed to have given priority to evacuating and since Wilhelm wouldn’t do such a foolish move like collecting items in that situation, it was only to be expected that the base was neglected.
Shin’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt or even bruised if the items themselves were left. He removed them in this situation, because there was a danger of them changing into a permanent fort without its owner. In fact, many Skull Faces might have already fallen victim to it, as there were signs that the interception magic had activated. They seemed to have been individuals, those killed here, because it was not very far from the plains.
“Now that I think about it, didn’t you receive a request? Is it completed?”
Shin asked Schnee as he finished collecting the items.
“It is not quite finished yet, but my job is almost done.”
“It’s the safekeeping and distribution of the items. My work now is to manage all of it to prevent infringement, since multiple countries had joined together to form a joint military unit.”
“…Is this perhaps related to the recent uproar?
Shin sighed. Although it was not intentional, he had meddled in another large affair again. He was utterly ignorant toward serious matters, he didn’t realize that the countries had started working on calming the situation down. Although he was a little regretful that he had done it in such a flashy manner, the damage was already done.
While asking Schnee about what kind of situation it was in detail, he wracked his brain to recall if there were any eyewitnesses. After grunting “uh-huh” for a while, he concluded that as far as he could tell, no one could have seen him, except for Schnee. Even the green markers he had protected should not have seen him or which way the fireballs came from, given how massive the Skull Faces were.
“Well, never mind about that. So, does Schnee not have to show up for the distribution? I think you should at least go to the meeting place or should I say headquarters for you to finish your request.”
“It will be alright for a while. Even if I distribute it evenly, it doesn’t work on the basis of first-come, first-served. I am supposed to do the allocation after all the corps have gathered. It will take about one week at the earliest, until there can be a meeting. If I think about the range of each unit’s progress, there is no problem even if I don’t hurry that much.”
As he had given up on thinking about the eyewitness case, because nothing could be done any further, he confirmed Schnee’s timeline. If she was serious, Schnee could travel faster than the others, so she could afford to spend some time with Shin
Whether it was Shin or Schnee, there were a lot of things they wanted to ask each other. While heading toward Tsuki no Hokora, they decided to explain to each other their own situation.
“Since I have a lot of questions I want to ask, you can ask me anything before that.”
Shin decided to accept questions from Schnee first, considering the longer time she had spent here. Actually, it still hadn’t even passed one month since Shin came into this world, so he might only be able to answer a little.
“I understand. Then I will ask several things that I’ve been anxious about for the time being.”
Schnee asked Shin three things.
First, where was he until now?
Second, why did his combat ability rise?
Third, what will he do from now on?
“Then the first one. About where I was until now. To tell you the truth, I personally haven’t even been here for one month, today, since I went to the last dungeon.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It’s true. Remember the time when everyone saw off me to challenge the Origin?”
“I defeated the Origin and it should have been the end accordingly. But afterwards, in the deepest depth of that dungeon, 【Gate of the Otherworld】, there was a big door in the boss’ room. It opened soon after the Origin fell.”
Shin recalled that moment while explaining it to Schnee. The scene where the heavy door he thought was just a decoration opened up while making a sound.
“Yes. After that, I lost consciousness, and before I realized it, I’m laying down on a grassy field. After that, I went to Tsuki no Hokora and heard the outline story. I was really surprised when I heard that more than 500 years had passed. That’s the reason why I haven’t been around for 500 years.”
“So that’s the reason, huh?”
Schnee seemed to understand the situation as she listened to what Shin said. It was different from the time when they met earlier; she had an expression of relief, like her chest wasn’t constricted anymore.
“Fufufu, it’s nothing.”
“Then, that’s good.”
Though Shin had a question mark dancing above his head because Schnee, for some reason, was in a good mood, he didn’t think about it too much because it was boorish to be a wet blanket; especially when with someone who is in such a joyful mood.
Now then, for the next one. My abilities and stats went up because of the titles I acquired after defeating the Origin.”
“Titles? What kind of titles?”
“There are three of them. 【Limit Breaker】, 【Accomplished One】 and 【Liberator】. The first two are related to the growth of my stats. Though I heard them for the first time when I got them, do you remember hearing any of them before?”
No, I’ve just heard all of those titles for the first time as well. What kind of effect do they have?”
Shin explained each of the titles’ effect in answer to Schnee’s question. Even though there was not a stat raise for the title 【Liberator】, since he felt like it had some kind of meaning, he explained it in one go. (E/N: 【Liberator】 – Immune to all binding and restriction effects, be it items or magic skills. 【Accomplished One】 – All ability points doubled. 【Limit Breaker】 – The upper limit for all stats has been removed, and all stats will rise according to how many ability points were discarded prior to limit removal.)
“…That’s absurd, isn’t it.”
“Totally. I also thought it was a joke until I looked at the stats.”
Shin too, could understand the feeling of Schnee who was at a loss for words. If a chosen one acquired these titles, the power balance of the world would likely collapse.
“However, I think it is not necessary to worry about it to that extent.”
“Why is that?” Shin asked.
“It is the acquisition requirement. Although monsters exist in this world, the phenomenon of re-spawning in the same place with completely identical unique monsters doesn’t happen. I don’t think there is a person who can meet the acquisition requirement anywhere else, because the Origin might be the only one. Also, the dungeon that Master went to has completely disappeared.”
“I see. That does make it impossible.”
According to Schnee, several days after Shin left to conquer the dungeon, Shin’s support characters became exasperated when Shin didn’t come back, so they gathered together and followed their Master’s path. However, not even a shadow or shape was there, even the outlines were gone.
When they stopped the search temporarily and went back to Tsuki no Hokora, the support characters of other players were making a racket saying, “My Master has disappeared!”. Schnee heard it and was convinced that Shin had cleared the dungeon. But they still doubted that he disappeared with the other players, and started to investigate the story on their own. She also thought of the possibility that Shin was still in this world, just like her and the others were.
However, the earth’s crust changed, and a state of confusion followed on the continent afterwards. While helping the people who were in trouble, Schnee remained in Tsuki no Hokora, and the rest of his support characters separated to continue searching for Shin, or moved to protect their own race.
Somehow, Shin had expected that they would do that.
“But wait? Didn’t the Dusk of the Majesty occur right after I defeated Origin?”
Shin had noticed that there was an unusual time lag for the support character to make a racket.
“Master, if you think about the former location of Tsuki no Hokora, of course it would take some time for the information to circulate. Where did you think it was?”
Schnee was saying that since numerous boss monsters existed in the area near Tsuki no Hokora, one could say it was a remote outpost. In a situation where the support characters couldn’t use the chat function, information couldn’t be shared right away.
“That’s why I believe that a person who has Master’s titles or at least similar titles will likely never appear. If such a person does appear, well, please do something about it.”
“So it falls to me, huh?”
“Of course. Only someone of Masters’ standing can oppose them, if a person with a power similar to our class obtains those titles. Therefore, I leave all of it to you Master.”
“Well, that is right.”
The stats double, so that mean that the higher the original stats were, the stronger the titleholder would became. If a chosen one with a high ability obtained the title 【Accomplished One】 or in even【Limit Breaker】, even Schnee wouldn’t stand a chance against that person.
However, since there were strict requirements for the acquisition conditions, and Shin had beyond maxed stats, Schnee believed that the appearance of any enemy that would be able to get a solid hit in, was very unlikely in the present state.
“By the way, Schnee.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“That, ‘Master’ calling, can you do something about it?”
While talking, Shin by all means felt bothered. Though he didn’t mind it during the game, simply because she was an NPC, it was very awkward when she called him that in the current situation.
“Is there a problem when I’m calling Master, ‘Master’?”
“No, there’s no…problem, but isn’t Schnee famous now? If such a person calls me ‘Master’, it will absolutely turn into an uproar.”
“Mu, that’s certainly the case, but…”
Shin well understood the influence of Tsuki no Hokora. And, it was certainly Schnee who made it so. It was impossible that nothing would happen if a person such as Schnee appeared to have a master whom she looked up to.
“Don’t you think so? I would especially like to avoid becoming the center of the attention. Therefore, I request that you do not call me ‘Master’.”
“But, then what should I call you?”
“Eh? Wouldn’t using my name normally be enough?”
For some reason, the surprised Schnee looked downward with her mouth mumbling. After a short time, she raised her face to stare straight at Shin as if she had made up her mind.
“Ah, there we go.”
Schnee said it in a whisper. Her cheeks were dyed a faint, pink color and her ears were bright red.
As for Shin, he had quite the response of ‘Eh, what is that reaction!?’ and strangely enjoyed the embarrassed feeling.
Schnee’s reaction was certainly seen in a lot of mangas and games. Though Shin well knew of this situation, the problem was whether or not he could return the reaction directly.
Though he was not well-versed, it didn’t mean that he had never experienced love before.
To tell the truth, Schnee had never changed her expressions to be this shy in the game, so the very action of calling his own name with somewhat upturned eyes was terrific, and considerably very ―――― ‘Moe’.
“How should I say this…that has destructive power…”
“No, it’s nothing. Yeah, it’s really nothing. From now on, please call me Shin.”
“I understand. Then, after this I will call you S-Shin.”
Schnee tried to act calm, but the flushed cheeks and ears vividly expressed her state of mind. Shin, who knew her usual calm appearance, was worrying about the too extreme gap.
(Is this the true ‘Gap Moe’? Indeed…the destructive power is worthy of comparison with the gap of Celica-san, which I felt in the guild.)
After that, they walked without saying anything to each other for a while. After confirming that the ears of Schnee, who was fidgety, returned to their former color using side glances, Shin resumed the conversation.
“Ah, though we got off topic, should we continue with the questions?”
“Yes, I showed an unsightly side. But I’m alright now.”
Though he felt that her voice still sounded somewhat excited, he ignored it, because the conversation would not advance if he pointed it out.
“Let me see…Errr, I’ve already talked about my abilities. Then about the last question. First of all, I intend to go around collecting information around here and there after this.”
“Yes, first I will learn about this world. For the time being, I have investigated a little in the kingdom’s library, and I intend to go to the Sacred Land later. Has Schnee been there before?”
“Yes. But because it was only a simple internal investigation, I still don’t know what’s going on in the center of the city.”
“Is that so?”
Whether the key to returning to his former world lies there or not. The only way is to go there directly.
Schnee called out to Shin, who was thinking on whether he wanted to go the Sacred Land next. Her voice had completely changed from a while ago and was a little bit stiff.
“If you find the way…are you going to stop and return?”
He went silent for a while and replied. Though he hesitated on how to answer Schnee’s in this state, it wouldn’t change the conclusion even if he lied. He didn’t mean to give up if there was still a possibility.
And there was no meaning in vague answers, either.
He didn’t want to lie.
“That should be expected, huh?”
“No, When I listened to your talk earlier, I already thought you wanted to do so.”
Schnee nodded while showing an innocent smile, seemingly understanding in some respect. At the expression that resembled a look of relief, Shin felt a faint sense of incongruity.
“Hey, Schnee. How much do you remember from the game?”
Shin asked, in an attempt to change the sense of incongruity.
“Yes. From the time I descended down from that place to be together with you.”
Everything until this very moment now.