The moment when he ran through a field for beginners.
The time when he was depressed due to losing in PvP.
The eagerness to improve his stats.
The friends he had in the guild.
The loud laugh after defeating a large army of players.
The dungeon where he risked his life.
The tears he shed for not being able to protect someone’s life.
The assassin’s dagger he wielded.
The promise he made to a certain person.
The last time seeing his back.
“――I remember it all.”
Schnee said while calmly putting her hand above her chest.
“Although it was useless to ask you to forget it too, please say…”
“I’m not saying~”
The smiling face was too radiant as she answered bluntly. It was a facial expression that he hadn’t seen when she was an NPC, and when his fellow made this sort of face, Shin became a little glad.
“But, if that was the case. Though you only talked in pre-set sentences, were you in a state of awareness?”
“No, it was after Shin and the others entered the situation known as the death game, that a type of self-consciousness became clear. Until then, it felt like watching a moving picture. It is very hard to explain it, but it’s like looking at myself from a bird’s-eye view.”
Though it was her memory, Schnee said that it was like the memory of another person. To be frank, he didn’t understand it well, because he thought it was rather painful that her consciousness became aware while in a state where her body moved without permission, so he didn’t question it further.
“I see. In short, you know all about the logout stuff and the other things beyond that point as well.”
It was possible to say that that might be the reason why she had retained her memories of the game.
“Yes. At that time, it was because all of the adventurers sometimes used those words after the life and death fights began. If I am not mistaken, another world, different from this one, is the real world, right?”
“That is correct…so anyways, after I left, you guys searched for me and then separated, huh?”
While smiling as if she had been in trouble, Schnee affirmed it.
The last fight of the death game. If Shin won the fight, Schnee and the others would disappear. If Shin lost, Schnee and the others would lose their master. Either way, it couldn’t become a happy ending. Therefore, they took several actions, due the mysterious situation where they didn’t disappear even though Shin should have won.
“If only you all could have told me beforehand, though that might not be possible to say.”
“Then, wouldn’t Shin have been troubled by it? You had to do the best that you could at that time.”
“Is that so…”
Though it was decided that it was okay and he had been in high spirits when he left Tsuki no Hokora; when he learned about the circumstances that his support characters had concealed among themselves, Shin felt miserable.
Nevertheless, even if he had known, he would not have doubted himself, and would have done what he did, so he did not say anything.
“In those days, independent action was not completely possible yet, and the talk of freedom, like the present day, was more or less not even imaginable. Either way, it would have been impossible to talk about.”
“Well now that you mention it, when the death game began, I thought it was weird that the NPC’s were strangely acting like human beings. Now knowing that it was self-awareness, I realize ‘Ah! so that’s it’.”
“You have a difficult personality as always, Shin.”
“Shut up!…Leave me alone.”
He muttered at Schnee, who smiled wryly while he was embarrassed. He was pondering his past actions, thinking about if or when the programs had began self-consciousness or something, wondering ‘Did I treat them decently?’, as Schnee’s remark actually hit the target.
“Well, you would have gone to battle even if you had known, Shin.”
“…That’s probably true.”
Compared to the lives of ten thousand humans, the support characters were no more than data. Even if the data had been somewhat self-consciousness, it was still not comparable.
“Besides, didn’t you make a promise?”
Even though it wasn’t much, many people returned to reality.
In fact, it was due to that promise which Shin had exchanged with a certain person.
Since they knew about it for sure, neither Schnee nor the other support characters would have said anything.
“Now then, let’s put a stop to this solemn atmosphere. Especially since we are able to meet again after so much effort and a long wait.”
“…That’s right. “What am I saying now, it’s quickly become depressing! Let’s stop it!”
In order to completely change the mood that had become depressing, Schnee behaved cheerfully and clapped her hands in an exaggerated manner. Shin also joined in by raising his voice.
“First of all, to celebrate the reunion, let’s go all out with a party. If it’s about food ingredients, I have a lot left in the Item Box.”
“Let’s do it. Please let me demonstrate my cooking skill that I have raised over the years.”
“By the way, what is your cooking level?”
“It became Ⅸ about one month ago.”
Shin was surprised that it had grown to the level where she could cook even a high level monster. Even if she made the lowest grade meal, a simple soup, with this level it transformed into a dish that generated a lot of bonus stats. It was said that a skilled cook was found to be as useful as a skilled blacksmith in major guilds. There were enormous bonuses when a dish was made using rare ingredients. If one of two players with the same level, job, and about the same ability ate the dish, the player who ate it would end up with a complete victory in combat.
And Rokuten, where Shin had been a member, was able to overpower other player’s skills and stats because there was a cook skill of level X. So, with a dish that gave a bonus of temporary adding to their maxed stats, they were able to exceed the limit, though it was only by a little. (E/N: Even though their stats were maxed at 999, with that food they could go above 1000)
By the way, only Shin and the other members of Rokuten, who had reached the maximum stats, knew of that information. All of the members, including Shin, started to notice the increase in damage from the bonus effects, and the information was not circulated in order for only the six members of Rokuten to benefit from it.
“Though I’m not like Cook-sama, you can anticipate it.”
“Yosh! Leave the ingredients to me!”
While expressing “Fufufu”, he took a look at the ingredients in the Item Box. Even though the ingredients were stored since the time it was just a game, he himself had already confirmed that it was okay to eat them.
“By the way Shin, may I ask one more question aside from the questions earlier.”
“Yes? What is it?”
Schnee asked him the question while looking at the top of Shin’s head.
“That one, what is it?”
“This one? …Ah.”
He realized what she was talking about.
It was Yuzuha who was sleeping soundly on top of Shin’s head.
“Though since only its name and level are seen, did you use Taming on it?”
“Yeah, there were some minor circumstances, and we made a partner contract due to them. Its name is Yuzuha. I will be honest since it is Schnee. It’s race is the Element Tail.”
“…When I looked at the tails, I thought it was not a mere Demon Fox race. So it is an Element Tail, huh?”
Schnee became stiff momentarily, right after she heard the race of Yuzuha. But she promptly regained herself as if she thought, ‘Well, it is Shin after all.’
“You found out through the tail?”
“Perhaps Shin didn’t notice it? I could understand that it was not an ordinary Demon Fox because there are 3 tails.”
Shin tilted his head due to what Schnee was saying. There should be no such feature in Yuzuha’s tail.
Then he suddenly noticed it. Now that he thought about it, there was a sense of tails hitting his ears and the back of his head.
First, he grabbed a tail with his right hand. Yep, nice and soft.
Next, he grabbed a tail with his left hand. This one was also fluffy.
Finally, he concentrated on the sense of touch on the back of his head. There was a faint light touch.
For the time being, he released the tails from his hands, gripped the body of Yuzuha from above his head and brought it in front of his face.
“They had certainly become three.”
Yuzuha woke up after being moved from overhead. And then the tails that had increased to 3 swung side by side accordingly.
When looking at its level, it had unexpectedly gone over 400.
“…Well, I guess its level rose too much.”
Even if the former level was over 200, it had gone up too suddenly. It hadn’t killed many monsters while they were power-leveling Rashia. And it was indeed impossible for it to level up almost 200 levels just from the fight with the Lord.
“I think something else happened.”
Shin thought that there was something that he personally didn’t know. The growth extent of a monster partner or something similar was something he had heard from a member of Rokuten; Cashmere. Therefore, he understood that such a straightforward growth was nearly impossible.
The first thing that came to Shin’s mind was that a hidden quest had been completed when the requirements were fulfilled. He had experienced it several times during the game, so he had grown accustomed to it. If he remembered correctly, there was a quest with a monster partner, too.
“Schnee, how do you take up a hidden quest in this world?”
“As far as I know, I haven’t heard talks of any such quests being generated. The world voice I had heard before, it too was never heard from again after Shin vanished. And I have not heard of any story like this either.”
The world voice Schnee mentioned was probably the announcement system in THE NEW GATE.
Unlike the quest which could be accepted in a guild, when the conditions for the generated hidden quest were met, the player was notified of what kind of quest it was via an announcement as the hidden quest began.
In this case, since there was no sort of announcement at all, Shin didn’t notice Yuzuha’s level up. Also, judging from Schnee’s story, the system feature of announcements was likely gone.
“Still, for the number of tails to increase, is this because the level rose?”
Shin spoke while facing Yuzuha.
Because there were no Element Tail kit’s in the game era, he was uncertain about how they grew up.
It might unexpectedly just be a mere growth spurt rather than a quest and the like.
“Kua~…Good morning, Master.”
Without knowing that Shin was worried, Yuzuha yawned loudly… and greeted him like it was only natural.
“Wait a minute, Yuzuha! Did you reach the point where you are able to talk?”
“Kuu? When the black things disappeared, my head felt refreshed.”
When he heard about the black things, he was thought of the Lord’s core that was sliced in half just a while ago. If he recalled back, it was only Skull Faces that had surrounded the Shinto shrine where Yuzuha was rescued from. And it was not strange to regard the Lord that appeared this time as the boss.
“It was black, roundish, and inside the bones. And Master cut it.”
“It’s the Lord’s core, no mistake about it.”
It seemed like it matched Shin’s expectations. There was some kind of relation that connected Yuzuha and the Lord, Shin’s intuition as a gamer told him so.
Was some portion of its power absorbed? Or was it sealed? It was regrettable that he had no way of confirming it after defeating it.
“For now, you are prohibited from talking in public. Since ordinary Demon Foxes can’t talk.”
“If it’s just the two of us, it should be fine, but don’t expose yourself to other people.”
“Hmmm, then do I only talk directly into your mind?”
“Telepathy? If so, it should be fine.”
Since there was telepathy, it was still possible to communicate. It seemed that Yuzuha also understood it intuitively, as it nodded obediently.
“But Shin, since the number of tails have increased, will it still be known as a Little Fox?”
Actually, there were various types of Demon Fox races, and so naturally there were ones with multiple tails. Indeed, it was possible to say that that most of them had multiple tails.. But generally it became a slightly dangerous existence for a commoner if the number of tails exceeded 2.
As for Demon Fox races with 3 tails, there was Flame Tail, Tail Leader and so on. Even if it was young, their levels were still at least 250. They were not the kind of monster that one would just take as a pet in this world.
“Its still a child, so entering a country might be possible, but…”
“Well, it will become an adult sooner or later, too. That’s right…say, Yuzuha. Can’t you do things like transform?”
“Kuu? There are things that I’m able to do, and things I am not able to do.”
“Can you change the three tails into one?”
Yuzuha said, while its three tails splendidly turned into a single tail with a pop sound.
Shin and Schnee both opened their eyes wide in surprise.
Rather than an illusion, they seemed to have really become one tail. Even touching it seemed natural.
“Is this good??”
“It’s okay. Won’t it make you tired?”
“Then from now on, can you merge them into one tail in places where people can see? Because that will save us some trouble one way or another.”
“Yes, I can do that~”
Yuzuha agreed easily. It didn’t hide any resistance.
“…It was somehow solved easily.”
“Yeah, that’s true. If it’s like this, it won’t be discovered easily.”
Schnee too, assured. It seemed like Shin was relieved by this.
“Yuzuha is excellent?”
“Yes, yes, good job.”
With Yuzuha held against his chest, he patted its head for its good job.
“Ha! It’s nothing.”
“…Do you want to pet it?”
Even though she was so strong, Schnee was still a woman and seemed to like cute things. Petting Yuzuha indeed felt really good, too.
“Still the same as ever, Shin never fails to surprise me.”
“No one has accomplished taming an Element Tail before.”
Schnee’s declaration contained something of amazement while stopping her petting. The Element Tail was set to be impossible to tame since the beginning of the game era. It was no wonder that she was surprised.
“You don’t look surprised while saying that though?”
“Well, since it’s Shin I’m really not surprised. No high level individual like you has ever tried doing that before.”
“Indeed. We, the Rokuten, weakened the opponent while going easy, even if the difficulty was high.”
Shin recalled. Having every attribute of magic, aided by strong physical attacks from its fangs and claws, it was a monster that had a nimble and agile nature which didn’t match its large body. Even the maxed stats players could not let their guard down. That was the original appearance of the Element Tail.
Yuzuha, which was curled up while being held by Shin’s arm, did not show such a threat at all.
“Yosh, let’s run at full speed now. In fact, there are some companions ahead of us. and they might cause an uproar soon.”
“If that’s the case, we better hurry. We might catch up in time.”
If someone thought about the travel speed of Shin and Schnee; they could easily overtake a horse that ran at full speed by a large margin. However, Wilhelm had the buff given by Shin, which made him run faster. It was likely that he would lengthen the distance in this case. If those two people arrived at the kingdom and informed them about the situation, it would be troublesome for Shin in various ways.
“Let’s get serious. It’s too bothersome to be marked by the guild any further.”
“What you said just now, can you explain it later?”
“That is that and this is this.”
Would it be possible to put it off after Schnee made such a face, Shin couldn’t say.
“Yosh, let’s go!”
He put Yuzuha on top of his head, and began to run with Schnee.
It didn’t take too long for the two people to catch up with Wilhelm and Rashia.
After about half a day since Shin and Schnee began to run and not much time had passed since the sun appeared from beyond the horizon, the figures of Wilhelm and Rashia were perceived.
“Oi! Now tell me everything, like what on earth happened back there?”
“What’s up with this sudden contentious attitude…”
Wilhelm was cautious of the surroundings while protecting Rashia, who was asleep. Though they joined up safely, Wilhelm was losing his temper and flared up at Shin with a threatening tone.
Meanwhile Rashia continued to sleep, probably because of fatigue.
“Well, to put it simply, Schnee took the trouble of defeating the Lord.”
Shin, who answered, was pushed away by the devil spear. It was not serious, but there was some speed put into the devil spear.
“Wait! That’s dangerous!!”
“I’ve never seen anyone that could do anything like that and have their magical power leap to that degree. You are dangerous after all!”
“Why are you so persistent!?”
“What else do you expect!! What was your intention when you saw us off with such an exaggerated skill, and then easily caught up with us! Even with such a margin in time! And I was fucking desperate to return!!”
“Wait, wait, calm down! Though it was a bad joke, isn’t『Venom』too much!?”
The devil spear was continuously thrust out, but it didn’t hit Shin even once.
“What the heck are you clicking your tongue for!? It was just a little joke.”
“What joke? That face seems like it wants to say something, but you yourself didn’t do anything. Explain it precisely and I don’t want another joke.”
As one would expect, the joke seemed to have gone a little too far.
Wilhelm looked at Shin with a serious expression.
“Shin, let’s cut to the chase now.”
Schnee, who looked at Shin and Wilhelm messing around, stepped forward.
“You are..? Don’t tell me, you stood behind him.”
Wilhelm said it with some kind of profound meaning.
“It’s been a long time since I last saw you. If you understand, then the explanation is unnecessary?”
Apparently, the two people communicated with only those words.
“Hey, I want you to tell me in a way that I understand.”
Shin had no idea at all of what they were talking about.
“You don’t know, huh? Schnee Raizar is famous for not yielding or kneeling to anyone. I guess even to the Royal family and the Pope.”
It was somehow very stout-hearted.
“Isn’t that disrespectful?”
“I kneel to no one except to my Master.”
Somehow, Shin felt bad about her making the royal family an opponent, but it seemed like Schnee would never waver.
“Well, to begin with, there is no fellow who would dare pick a fight with her.”
“So that is the reason it was tolerated, huh?”
Let alone punishing her, there were only a few people who could even rival her.
When Shin heard that, it seemed as if that was not the only reason. Her tone and attitude were both polite. If a strong monster appeared, she lent her power. She kept neutrality without belonging to any organization, and didn’t bother picking any unnecessary fights.
The achievements from over 500 years were not just for show.
Though there were people who had secretly tried to draw her into becoming their ally, because she had such a great power, it seemed like none had ever succeeded.
“I understand the feeling of wanting to win her over to be an ally.”
“Wait…then if she is obediently following a guy like you, that means…”
“Ah, so you figured it out, huh?…”
Shin didn’t know how well Schnee and Wilhelm were acquainted, but it seemed like Wilhelm had already seen through it.
“A High Human, huh?”
“He is also my Master.”
“Yeah, that’s more or less it.”
“That’s not just more or less. But if that’s the case, I understand. That level of magic power was no joke.”
“Sorry, but that was still me in ‘easy’ mode.”
“I see…the Master of Schnee Raizar, huh? Indeed, the story was more than I expected…Oi, then the animal that you, a High Human, put on your head is not just an ordinary fox?”
Wilhelm shifted his attention to Yuzuha while feeling relieved and shrugging his shoulders. Surprise and amazement began to mix into his tone of voice. There was no sense of fear here, probably because he got to know Shin without any preconceived notions.
“It might not be a Little Fox. Its level exceeded 400 after the fight a little while ago.”
“…Again, I’m not really surprised.”
Wilhelm sighed while glaring with scornful eyes. Even though he was surprised by the truth about Yuzuha, which had the appearance of a small animal as well as a level exceeding 400, he was way past being shocked, so he ended up feeling “Like hell such a thing could exist!”.
“So that is why you vaguely answered about being a chosen one earlier, huh?”
“Right. In my case, I was not strong since birth, though my power is higher than a chosen one. I thought such guys were rare in this world, don’t you agree? Therefore, I decided to go with being a chosen one.”
“I see. Then, if you two act together from now on, it’s only a matter of time before it comes to light.”
Wilhelm’s point was justifiable. Generally speaking, Schnee and Tsuki no Hokora were famous. So if Schnee appeared to be close to a man, certain groups of people would try to gather information.
“For that situation, there are magic skills that easily allow me to deceive others. I can earn some time if I make full use of illusion magic.”
“I don’t think the illusion magic you talk about is similar to the one I know. I would not be surprised if you transformed into a monster.”
“What kind of treatment is this…”
Shin could do nothing but smile wryly.
“If you are going to do that, then you will be a walking disaster. A guy like you could easily go out and erase a country if he felt like it in the same day. If I were the King, I would lose my mind.”
It was meaningless to try and act violently, so Wilhelm sat down as he added another point. He then urged Shin and Schnee, who were still standing and talking, to sit down while he mended Rashia’s bed sheet.
Rashia was sleeping soundly as her breathing could be heard. According to Wilhelm, when the people were told that high ranking adventurers were around, they seemed to calm down at last. Regarding Shin, he seemed convinced that there was no need to use the illusion magic skill immediately to that extent.
“Which reminds me, are any documents relating to us, High Humans, still remaining?”
He had returned empty handed when he visited the library before, but how were player matters circulated? Shin only had the unclear information that he had heard from Tiera. If he thought about it now, he wasn’t certain if it was unconsciously avoided. No one would bother with such a dark history, and they would pretend like it never even happened, naturally.
“There might be some left. Well, the things that I know of are; they have absurdly powerful-like strength and each had their own field of expertise in which they possessed an abnormal ability. They were treated like Gods in their particular field.”
“There are various legends that have been passed down among other people, right?”
Schnee chimes in.
“Uhee, this is gonna be troublesome again. Because Rokuten certainly was a former production guild first, we felt like we wouldn’t lose to others when it came to our individual fields of expertise.”
“Ha? Since you were strong at the beginning, did you waste time on craftsmanship? Like Schnee here.”
“Wilhelm, didn’t I only cook to pass the time??”
There seemed to be some kind of different history between the two people.
Even though every member of Rokuten certainly had amazing stats, the main reason they first gathered together was to be production guild.
“It’s different from that. Even if the levels are the same, humans are weaker than other races. In my case, I compensated with blacksmithing. It was really difficult to raise its level at the same time as combat skills.”
“You just ran from place to place many times when you first started adventuring, right?”
Schnee grunted “uh-huh” and nodded. When Shin first played, he was very weak compared to the present.
“These kinds of things, I guess, are not normal.”
“That’s what ‘High players’ did.”
Schnee casually said a word that only players would understand.
“It was called ‘High Human’ though.”
Wilhelm could not understand the net term.
“Anyway, I made weapons to raise my level in blacksmithing. I equipped them and defeated stronger opponents to raise my level. Then I made a stronger weapon with the material from the opponents I defeated. And again, defeated another stronger enemy. It was this loop.”
To begin with, the world of blacksmithing was not sweet enough to be able to make an advanced weapon as easily like Shin said. Though ‘blacksmith’ was an example of a production skill system that was somewhat easier to raise than the combat system skill, THE NEW GATE was not a lenient enough of a game to allow it to be maxed that easily.
For this reason, there were divisions for production and combat system guilds. The majority of players who worked on both sides stopped halfway and quit, although it’s also difficult to master just one of the two systems. No similar person accomplished this.
In the systems above, players with a combat job had to be able to make a lower class recovery item, like a class 10 Potion, and production job players had to be able to handle a battle. But it was still only at a ‘better than nothing’ standard.
“Amazing. I guess you are the real deal.”
“It’s absurd no matter how much I think about it. I can’t even think about standing both jobs together.”
“If you think about it, it seems like it would favor the long-lived species such as elves and pixies. But they are not able to do it.”
If the Pixie and Elf species existed in reality, they would not be suited for being blacksmiths in the first place.
In other words, raising two jobs together and so on was an unbelievable act of sheer madness for the residents of this world. Shin was able to do it because it had only been a game. Using items every time to gain a proficiency bonus and learning skills from using secret books, there stood Shin today only because he had spent the time to strengthen himself.
And even that took a tremendous amount of time. It was impossible to do the same thing in the daily life of this world.
“I’m aware of it. The members of Rokuten are strong in various ways. It is quite normal that even I am not a match for them, except for in blacksmithing. Cain could build a castle in a day, Cook could make a dish from dragons, Cashmere raised a monster ranch before anyone knew it, Hecate produced Elixirs and Philosopher stones, and made a load of low grade potions by mood. Also, Reed’s puppets were able to exchange blows with divine beasts.”
“Shin has produced several holy swords and cursed sword types. And if you don’t like an 《Ancient》 grade sword, he and Filma will melt it down to avoid complaints.”
Schnee expressed a wry smile as she remembered those days. It didn’t matter if it was a 《Legend》 grade or a 《Mythology》 grade, he would just do it over again if he was not satisfied.
By the way, Filma was Shin’s no. 2 support character. Incidentally, Shin, who recalled that time, was strangely discouraged.
“That sure is a damn dramatical way to improve oneself. I mean, your specialty is blacksmith, huh?”
“That’s right. Do you want me to restructure your 『Venom』 ?”
“Are you kidding me?!”
Kukuku. Shin, who now had a suspicious voice with a grinning face, forced Wilhelm to reply right away. He seemed to give off a bad feeling somehow or another.
“Please tell me if you’re not satisfied. If it’s Wilhelm, I will reinforce it for a bargain price.”
“Oi, Why are you making a face like a shady merchant?”
“Iyaa, how should I put it, it’s just my blacksmith’s blood getting excited?”
“…Oh, your profession is certainly a craftsman. That face looks like a dwarf’s boss in a hot-iron room, now that I think about it.”
In any world too, it seemed like people with similar occupations all resembled each other in speech and action. The face of some dwarf craftsmen when they saw 『Venom』 appeared in Wilhelm’s mind clearly.
They have the eyes of children that have just found their new toy as it glitters, much like the eyes of Shin just now.
“Even so, you need a blacksmith’s forge to showcase your skills, don’t you? Though you are different than the others, a weapon cannot be made using secrets or a lost secret arts thing, you know?”
“I’m not like some fake blacksmith!! I only intend to hold a hammer after such a long absence from Tsuki no Hokora.”
“I know you will be able to make something. From the story of a craftsman, whom I am indebted to, the longsword produced by Rokuten’s blacksmith was of 《Normal》 grade, but was on equal terms with a 《Legend》 grade sword.”
Of course, Wilhelm was not a child to believe such a story. In a sense, 《Normal》 grade and 《Legend》 grade have different performance standards that couldn’t be compared with each other.
“It is indeed…no, wait. Now that you mention it, there was a time when I tested how far I could strengthen a 《Normal》 grade weapon.”
“Oi…you are joking, aren’t you?”
When Wilhelm reflectively asked that question in return, Schnee also opened her mouth to talk.
“Wasn’t that the experiment you conducted that was suggested by both Reed-sama and Hecate-sama?
“That’s right. If I’m not mistaken, only suitable and prepared iron can be enchanted. It’s the kind that could only be made by using the best facilities available at that time. I put it in the store by mistake, I wonder if the buyer was surprised and spread that information.”
“…What the heck is that!”
By the way, the buyer bought it as a present for a beginner who had just begun to play the game. And it was discovered by players passing by, as monsters that should not able to be defeated by a beginner were being killed in one hit. When watched from the side, the monsters gave off a feeling of being awfully weak. The buyer thought it was just a normal longsword and didn’t notice it because they didn’t check the stats on the weapon.
“I was astonished that an amazing thing could be made at that time. However, because the material was iron, the durability is inferior by all means. I made several of them, and started to test them, or should I say crossed swords. They broke after striking each other about 10-20 times.”
“I would think, it’s damn weird, when it was possible to exchange blows at that time.”
As if to say he couldn’t comprehend Shin’s common sense, Wilhelm held his head with one hand. The grade of the weapon should not be sweet enough that even a blacksmith’s skill could enhance it this way.
“Ah, I understand it well. You are definitely a High Human. The common sense here just continues to break down since a while ago.”
“Because it is my Master, the current common sense does not work.”
“No, that’s not a compliment.”
To the proud looking Schnee and the agreeing Yuzuha, Wilhelm retorted while being astounded. He seemed to still be a little confused as he didn’t notice how Yuzuha had reacted, as if it understood the words.
Schnee seemed to be boasting, probably because it was about the legend of Shin.
When Wilhelm was about to sigh, Rashia who had been sleeping on the side woke up. They apparently had made too much noise. It was too loud for her to continue sleeping.
“Ah! Hello…why are you here!?”
Rashia, who was still half asleep, recognized someone with a glance before raising her voice. She was certain that this man had remained with the flock of monsters to let them get away. Even Yuzuha, who was on top of his head, was still the same as before.
“I somehow made it here.”
Rashia looked like she wanted to say, “What is he saying?” as she faced toward Wilhelm.
Wilhelm caught the gaze and responded.
“Apparently, an ally happened to pass by.”
Wilhelm said that while glancing at Shin and Schnee, as if his eyes said to Shin “Don’t you dare tell this girl.”
Because Shin also intended to conceal the fact about him being a High Human from Rashia, he gave a small nod. Unlike Wilhelm who had some connection to Rashia, who was a commoner, she couldn’t guess the identity of Shin from Schnee’s attitude. Though there was no problem if it was known, it was still dangerous just to know that valuable information. A possible information leak may cause Rashia misfortune..
So Wilhelm decided to modify the story to one where just an ally happened to pass by.
Incidentally about Wilhelm, Schnee was the companion who had handed over the letter of introduction to him, so he didn’t have to worry.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Schnee Raizar. I am the acting manager of Tsuki no Hokora.”
“Thank you for the polite words. I am called Rashia Luzel…um, what did you say just now?”
Rashia asked Schnee again as if she had heard something impossible.
Of course she had heard it, she just couldn’t believe it.
“Because it’s Schnee Raizar. You know. It’s that Schnee Raizar.”
“Oh, it’s you!”
Schnee raised her eyebrow a little.
“Though it sounds like the meaning is not very positive for some reason.”
Even though her name meant a good thing in this world, it was still a mystery how it could also have a strange meaning when people kept saying it.
“Just make up your damn mind. Look! Rashia, come back to yourself!”
“E-Errr, I’m Rashia! It’s an honor to meet zuu! ….uu”
“Yes, I hope to get along with you.”
Schnee replied as if Rashia biting her tongue didn’t happen.
“I was only able to defeat those monsters thanks to Schnee helping out. You don’t have to worry about anything.”
“Did you defeat all of the monsters!? A-As expected from the 『Saint』-sama.”
Shin was trying to emphasize the achievements of Schnee, but had a question about the unfamiliar word.
“Ah, I’m sorry. Schnee-sama never accepted it.”
“Didn’t accept it?”
Shin looked at Schnee unintentionally.
“I received a communication acknowledging me as a Saint from the church headquarters previously. Although I declined it.”
“Was there any problem in accepting it?”
“Yes. I don’t have any intention to be affiliated with influence somewhere just because I served with the High Humans. However, when the title of Saint arrived, because there is the possibility that I would naturally end up with some church influence, I didn’t accept it. I thought it was already forgotten about because it has been more than 100 years, but it seems they still haven’t given up yet.”
It was indeed unexpected, Schnee sighed as she was disgruntled.
Although the church recognized her as a Saint, it was meaningless if she didn’t accept it.
For Shin to meddle in the church’s internal politics would be more than a petty complication, it was completely contrary to his goal. Religion was something which was troublesome through all the ages. When thinking about these kinds of things, Schnee smiled at Rashia.
“You can call me Schnee, it’s no problem.”
“S-Such a thing! It’s too much.”
“You’re too tense!”
“Will, that is too much, too!”
Though it was somewhat exaggerated, Shin thought it was the correct reaction.
Shin, personally, was Schnee’s long-time acquaintance, and Wilhelm had a character that didn’t hold much back. Therefore they could talk normally. However, as Tiera said before, even children knew the name Schnee; she was very popular.
If that person was in front of someone normal, they would probably react this way, too.
“Oi, come on! Don’t we have to go soon? There’s no need to rest here, right?.”
Shin and Schnee hadn’t taken much of a break, and Wilhelm understood that much.
“That’s right, we should go then.”
Shin spoke while standing up with Schnee. They were able to leave without any problems, and since there were orphanage matters too, it was better to rush.
Rashia began to tidy up the bedding in a hurry as well. Though Rashia didn’t understand the significance of the details of the incident, for the time being she understood the explanation about how it was solved by Schnee. It didn’t mean that she had forgotten the fear of when they were surrounded by monsters, but Rashia might believe that there was nothing impossible for this person.
According to a commoner such as Rashia, Schnee Raizar was a living legend. A heroine and a saint, who had been protecting this land for more than 500 years.
There was a trust that was close to faith.
“Well, the reliance is greater than I thought.”
Shin talked to himself, as he saw the expression full of trust in Schnee on Rashia’s face. It was easy to imagine that it would become outrageous if Schnee walked together with him. It might be difficult even if it was only to buy something.
He sighed and decided to carefully make the disguise.
Wilhelm carried Rashia, as Shin and Schnee maintained their speed to match up with them. No matter how much her level had risen, it would be a significant burden on Rashia if she had to run with all her effort.
That speed couldn’t be compared with a horse. Even though they took a break on the way, the four people arrived at the location where they were able to see the kingdom’s town before sunset.
They walked from there because it would be difficult if they caused others to be cautious of them as they were going to a place with public eyes.
“Ugh, I feel like vomiting…”
“Come on, I carried you on my back, so endure it.”
Rashia, who was not used to high speed travel while being carried by someone, had her complexion worsen, like she was having motion sickness. Since it was cruel to let her walk as it was, Wilhelm carried her on his back.
“Are you alright?”
Schnee called out kindly.
“Don’t worry, I will put up with it…”
Shin let out a small sigh.
Because potions didn’t work on motion sickness, the party proceeded after she said so.
Schnee had already changed her appearance using a magic skill before being perceived by the public. Her blue eyes turned red, her silver hair changed to blonde, and she now had a ponytail hairstyle. Several other skills were applied besides that.
Since Shin personally applied the magic, it would never be discovered unless in an extreme circumstance. From the beginning, just transforming a woman’s hairstyle and her impression made her significantly different. If her hair color and eyes were changed, even humans who were used to seeing Schnee would not notice it immediately.
“Just to confirm, it’s okay if we separate in front of the gate?”
“I don’t mind. The request was originally until she learned the skill. There’s no need to bother walking us to the church, too. If something does happen at the church, it’s for us to manage.”
“That tone that doesn’t match with your honest side is the same as always.”
Schnee showed a wry smile while speaking to Wilhelm.
“Dammit, leave me alone!”
They joked around while approaching the gate. Even though Wilhelm said that something might have already happened, Shin expanded his perception range to the orphanage, and confirmed everyone was safe. Of course, there were no signs of any uninvited guests either.
“Then, we will walk together up until we get there. I will give you this just in case. Please contact me if anything happens.”
When they arrived at the gate, Shin presented the message card and the letter paper.
However, Wilhelm who saw that, tried to refuse.
“This is the item that transfers a message, huh? If it turns into a situation where I need to use this, I won’t choose to do so. What if I involve you and something happens?”
“Moreover, it only puts you at a disadvantage.” those were the words left unsaid, but expressed through Wilhelm’s eyes as he told Shin, and his intention to have Shin stay out of it could be sensed.
No matter how similar Shin was to a chosen one, or as a similar fellow who was recognized by Tsuki no Hokora, Wilhelm didn’t intend to involve a companion who had merely received the request. There were possibilities of Shin being marked by the church when he received enough requests. If the message card was handed over and used, that alone was unjustifiable. He had already expected that Wilhelm would say that.
If something were to happen without Shin being involved, like the situation earlier, there was the high possibility that it couldn’t be solved, or it would become more disastrous. Even still, that man couldn’t approve of it.
Rashia, who was being carried on Wilhelm’s back, didn’t say anything either.
They themselves were going to challenge the enemy; who had power, money, and ability.
Schnee Raizar and her master. It should not be shameful in any way if they requested help from a companion with unparalleled power and fame in this world. But in this case, they kept their problems to themselves till the very end.
Though the request for 【Purification】 was just recently put out, it was already over, too. If possible, Wilhelm would settle it by himself from here-on. That belief became a wall that stood between Shin and Wilhelm.
“It’s fine. Take it.”
Shin forced the message card onto Wilhelm. He was saying to ignore the invisible wall between them.
“I will feel bad if I neglect you both from here on.”
Wilhelm tried to say something, but was interrupted by Shin.
“When I first came here, those children only tried to protect each other and their friends. I will not abandon them. Thus, when the chips are down, I will help.”
“You…what are you saying…”
“You can contact me without worrying about a thing. Take it quickly! It’s becoming a little embarrassing to say anymore!!”
He felt embarrassed about the lines which he had never uttered before, even in the real world. It was guaranteed that he would groan in agony once he thought about it later. Am I such a passionate guy? No doubt he would question himself.
But remorse would not do either.
Even if this world was a different world for him, there was nothing wrong with his choice. Believing so, Shin handed over the items.
“Then, I shouldn’t hold back?”
“Yeah, don’t worry about it.”
Wilhelm, who was broadly grinning, received the message card at last.
“Shin too, still the same as ever.”
“Is that so?”
Schnee said while seeing Wilhelm and Rashia off toward the gate. It was because there was a situation resembling such a thing before.
Though Shin showed a reaction of not remembering, Schnee clearly recalled the figure of Shin that had helped some strangers before, like just now.
They were a little girl whose eyes were swollen with tears, a young boy who was dumbstruck, and an old man who was going to sacrifice himself and desperately tried to go ahead of the young boy. There was no discrimination at all.
‘It’s impossible for me to save everyone, but there is no other way but to try to do it.’
When Shin talked like that.
Schnee was able to recall clearly, even now, the figure that was almighty, but didn’t act like it, and continued to protect the weak.
“What’s the matter, Schnee? Let’s move on.”
“I’m sorry, I was lost in my thoughts for a moment. I’m coming now.”
Schnee walked while looking at Shin’s back. After advancing for a while, they almost came to their destination.
Shin tilted his head when he looked at Schnee with side glances, but without pointing it out, the two people moved one step closer to Tsuki no Hokora.
Schnee’s face, when captured in Shin’s line of sight, had a very calm and gentle facial expression.