Dawn of the next day.
Letter from Barlux and all kinds of permits were received at the inn, and Shin finished preparing for his summons at the castle.
As a result of a discussion between Shin, Schnee and Tiera, for the time being, Shin would go to the royal castle to see the other party’s attitude. If he conveyed that he had both a party and a fiancée, the other side should not consider it unusual; However, he couldn’t be careless.
“Then, I’m going. I’ll leave Yuzuha with you.”
“See you soon. If there is anything, contact me with Mind Talk.”
“You have to hold back when you fight, because it’ll be terrible if you hurt the princess.”
“It will be fine…probably.”
“Seriously, you really have to watch out, okay?”
After such an exchange with Schnee and Tiera, Shin left the Bear Point Pavilion.
Since the other party was said to be royalty, Shin’s attire was one of the originals from the game era, ceremonial attire from Kalkia which was currently called a ‘Sacred Place’.
You might say it looked like a ceremonial military uniform that combines practicality and glamour; it was a wonderful item. The accessories’ rank was not too expensive and it was treated as a set equipment.
Partly because Kalkia was originally the first base, after starting an adventure, one could buy it in the arms shop for beginners. Naturally, its performance was also low.
What Shin put on was a formal dress that was a red associated with captains. Besides that, there was also a piece of clothing that was colored a blue specific to vice-captains and other low rank clothing which had slightly less performance than that of an ordinary soldier and so on. When these items came together, it was referred to as a set.
“Now then, what will happen now?”
While checking the map displayed at the edge of his view, Shin faced the gate in the inner wall.
The King’s castle was located in the center of the Bayreuth kingdom and it was surrounded by the houses of the rich, such as nobles, wealthy merchants and the like. Though it seemed to be a general residential area originally, a wall around it was erected as the population rose, and the living area was segregated off except for those of higher social status.
The boundary that separated the living district between nobles and ordinary people was the inner wall Shin headed towards. Because it was originally an outer wall, it was reinforced sturdily. Was there a powerful magic user? The degree of reinforcement was top class.
As for Shin, he only prayed that the day when the inner wall was invaded would never come.
“Well, I think it won’t fail here though.”
As he walked for a while, a gate smaller than the one on the outside wall came into view.
Like the outside wall, the inner wall also had south, north, east and west gates. And the comings and goings were checked.
There were a lot of people with high status who lived there and a person with a clear position, to a certain extent, could pass through without an identity check.
Although that was the case, there was a suspicious looking D rank adventurer there now, and if not for the request he received, he would have been turned away at the gate. In the letter that had arrived from Barlux this morning, there had been a permit to enter the inner wall attached to it.
Spoke the soldier who was guarding the gate after he compared the permit alternately with another document.
When the permit was accepted, Shin stepped inside the inner wall.
“…This is a quiet upper-class residential area, huh?”
There were almost no pedestrians, unlike the outside. The only people walking appeared to be servants from their clothes. Most people traveled on horse-drawn carriages. Of course, there were no stalls and so on. It was so quiet that it felt like he was in a completely different country.
(3, 4, 5,…8 people, huh?)
On his way to the royal castle, Shin felt the glances directed to him.
【Hiding】skills of both martial arts and magic were used, surrounding Shin as he moved while his observers maintained a certain distance. The colors displayed on his map were green, so they didn’t seem to be hostile for the moment.
“There’s no sign of them making a move, huh? From what I’ve heard of the princess, I have a feeling that she wouldn’t think of doing something like this.”
From Barlux’s story, he had the impression that the princess was likely to come over directly rather than hiding and watching.
Though it was just his assumption, there might be other forces that were moving.
“…Ah, I want to go back…”
They were certainly Shin’s true feelings.
Though he couldn’t return now since he had come this far, he disliked unpleasant things. With that state of mind, Shin stepped forward to the royal castle.
“Excuse me, I received a summons from the second princess and so, came here. Can you pass that on?”
“I’ve heard the news. Please present your permit.”
Shin talked to the palace guard, that was defending the castle gate, to obtain permission to enter.
As for the story, it seems to have been well circulated. The palace guard checked the permit Shin received from Barlux again and then put him in the guard’s office which was located beside the gate. It seemed that the palace guard didn’t intend to open the gate for Shin alone.
“I will call your escort now. Please wait for a while.”
“Okay, I got it.”
Because he had nothing to do, he looked around to kill time.
The maintained road extended to the inside of the castle. One could get off from a wagon that entered inside without getting wet even in the rain.
After waiting for a while, he saw a mounted figure coming in his direction. A person in red armor was taking the reins. The person stopped the horse in front of Shin and dismounted.
“Excuse me. You are the adventurer Shin, correct?”
“Yes, I am, and you are…”
“I am Gadras Jarre. I have been ordered by princess Rionne to greet you. I’ll be your escort, so follow me.”
Shin nodded and followed after Gadras.
Shin, while walking, checked Gadras’s stats.
――――『Gadras Jarre Level 188 Dark Knight』
Level 188. Shin remembered that numerical value. He heard it when the first time he met Barlux, the ‘leader of the knights’ might be him.
As for Gadras’ main job, Dark Knight was one of the advanced level jobs that derived from a knight. Moreover, the armor he wore was a lower end 《Unique》 grade Scale Horn Armor. It was occupational equipment that required suitable stats and level, and a tiny presence of sharpened valor was emitted from it.
No matter how much Shin was regarded as an upper class Chosen One, he kept thinking about how someone who was considered a part of the kingdom’s strongest force came to pick him up expressly.
Did they want to indirectly convey that he was worthy of it?
Or, was it because an ordinary soldier couldn’t hold him down if he acted out violently?
It was impossible for Shin who was not familiar with this class of people to read into the thoughts of these royal nobles.
Shin followed Gadras obediently, but somehow they hardly passed by anyone.
“You, are you actually of a noble family lineage somewhere?”
Gadras asked out of the blue.
“No, I’m just a commoner you can find anywhere…”
If Schnee and the others were to hear that from Shin, ‘Are you in any position to say that?’, would probably be the reply he would get.
“Is that so? Ah, just call me Gadras. I became a knight from an adventurer, so to be humble myself doesn’t match with my nature.”
“Then, I’ll call you Gadras-san.”
“Well, that’s fine I guess. Let’s return to the topic at hand. When I was summoned to the castle for the first time, they were shocked by my armor. As an adventurer raised as a commoner, you should also pay attention to your attire properly. There are many ignorant people, so your clothes can be easily misinterpreted.”
It seemed like it wasn’t necessary to come dressed in formal attire.
‘Did I make a mistake?’ Shin thought, but decided to heed Barlux’s advice for the time being.
“It’s because I heard that you should maintain a neat appearance from the guild master. Actually, I was worried if this was fine.”
“Well, it’s not a bad thing to choose clothes according to the destination. And I think it’s rather nice.”
“Since it’s my first time coming to a castle, I prepared it in a hurry.”
As they walked while having such exchanges, Gadras stopped in front of a door. As Shin looked at the door, he noticed that the grade of ornaments was different from the others.
“Princess Rionne is in here. You don’t need to be so tense too, because the second princess is not the kind of person who demands formalities from an adventurer.”
“I’ll do my best.”
Gadras knocked on the door, and reported that Shin had arrived.
Before long, the door was opened from inside. When Gadras and Shin entered inside, the door was closed immediately.
Shin wondered whether there was a female maid, but it was a male knight who opened and closed the door.
――――『Feyzel Adith Level 172 Paladin』
As for his appearance, he had the look of a mild-tempered man with blond hair and blue eyes. His main job was a Paladin. This man might be a Chosen One too.
On that subject, Wilhelm also said there were more Chosen Ones than the ones publicly announced.
Since he couldn’t stare at the man too much, he turned his attention to the front right away.
There was an elegant table and a fancy chair in the center of the room. A beautiful woman was sitting on the chair. Fine golden hair was tied at the back of her head, but it still reached all the way down her back. Her deep crimson eyes, which looked like rubies, stared at Shin. Her figure was pleasant too, even a certain ‘part’ of her seemed to rival Tiera.
Only her clothes were far from the image of a princess. For the upper half of her body, a leather type armor covered from her chest to her abdomen. In addition, a white jacket was worn above it. And for her lower half, there were red hot pants and boots that went up to her knees with a similar color.
Speaking of the jacket, because it wasn’t buttoned, Shin could clearly see her cleavage pushed up by the leather armor from his location. This was totally different from the princess he imagined.
――――『Rionne Strail Bayreuth Level 230 Magic Swordswoman』(T/N: I may have stated her main job as Dark Knight before.)
Although her name and level were displayed, Shin understood that excluding him, she was the strongest in that room simply from the presence she emitted.
Shin guessed that she probably wore those clothes for combat. Apparently, a match seemed inevitable.
“Thanks for coming. I’m Rionne Strail Bayreuth, this country’s second princess. My best regards.”
“I’m the adventurer, Shin. Thank you for inviting me here today.”
He bowed his head while introducing himself.
“Oh my! This is turning into a serious talk. I don’t really care for etiquette, so you don’t need to worry about manners. Feel free to call me Rionne.”
“…Then, Rionne-sama it is…”
Though Shin thought ‘isn’t it bad?’ for the princess to not care about courtesy, but still, Shin avoided pointing it out.
As she frequently appeared in the downtown area, her activities as a princess would put adventurers to shame. ‘There’s also such a thing’, Shin convinced himself.
Her beautiful appearance was princess caliber, but she didn’t exude the dignity of someone from a royal family. Was this a positive or negative for the royal family? It seemed opinions could differ on this matter.
“Princess, I wouldn’t do that in the first meeting. It will cause a misunderstanding.” (T/N: Having a boy call a girl by her first name is typically done only by those in a relationship.)
“He is a person who we may soon fight together with as a companion. Wouldn’t this be better than creating a strange barrier between us because I’m from the royal family?”
“…Shin, it’s unfortunate, but this is how the princess is. Please don’t worry about your social status and act casually.”
“Yes…I, will do my best…I guess?”
Shin thought ‘rather than a princess, she should be called a sociable adventurer.’
Gadras’s tone too, for some reason, became less formal. Apparently, this seemed to be their usual way of exchange between lord and retainer.
When Shin fleetingly glanced at Feyzel, while feeling at a loss, he saw that the man stood upright like one of the room’s furnishings as if saying ‘it’s of no concern to me’.
“Um, for now, I want to ask you the reason why I was summoned…”
“Muu! You don’t have to use formal words, you know?”
“Well, for some reason, that’s kind of..”
Just because the person in question permits it, it didn’t mean that the surrounding people would accept it in the same way.
Even if the princess has no bad intentions, since there was an observer there as well, it would be troublesome for him if someone later said he acted too familiar.
“Well, there’s no helping it if Shin said so. Now then, the reason why I invited you today, I think you may already heard it from Barlux, but it’s the matter of the Skull Face. It was the one that was level 359 and wielded this.”
As she said that, Rionne opened a huge case that was located under her feet.
‘Wasn’t that a job for a maid?’ was what Shin thought, but unfortunately, there wasn’t a single maid in that room. Incidentally, there wasn’t even any tea prepared.
What Rionne took out was the greatsword, which had belonged to the Skull Face that Shin had previously defeated. It should be too heavy for a woman, but Rionne lifted it with one hand like it was nothing.
“…That is certainly the one the Skull Face had at that time. I remember the decoration and the aura covering the blade.”
Because it was a pretty memorable opponent, he also remembered its weapon well. Secretly, he activated his 【Appraisal】 skill, which he forgot to do so during the battle. For the first time in here, Shin found out that it was a 《Legend》 grade greatsword. There was an inscription on it too which seemed to say ‘Muspelm’.
“Yea, the Skull Face had considerable skill, I believe?”
“That’s right. If my weapon was a bit more fragile, I think I wouldn’t have been able to do anything but run away.”
“It was able to rally with this greatsword that’s equivalent to our country’s treasured sword, 『Wazamono』, huh?”
She may have heard the story about how the sword『Several Stroke』, which Shin had equipped at that time, had become only a hilt.
As for 『Muspelm』, it was a 2 mels sword with a thick blade. If the other sword was not as good as 『Wazamono』, it would be unthinkable for it to be able to exchange blows directly.
“I obtained that katana by chance in the middle of my journey. I think its performance was at least 《Rare》 grade though.”
Actually, it was only a reinforced 《Normal》 grade katana, but Shin lied because he didn’t know what the value of a maximum reinforced weapon was in this world.
As for the matter of whether or not it was possible for a 《Rare》 grade to exchange blows with 『Muspelm』, it should be believable since it ended up getting broken from the excessive force.
“So now you’re just using an ordinary weapon, Shin?”
“No, I received an escort request towards Beirun earlier and we exterminated some bandits on the way. Since one of the bandits was using a Magic Sword as a weapon, I’m using that now.”
As for the bandits’ belongings, the property rights basically moved to whoever subdued them.
Since it’s possible that his current weapon would be examined, he used that excuse to add credibility to his story.
“I see. If it’s a Magic Sword, then it may be a good fit for you.”
“It’s good if that’s the case. But I’ve almost never used it after I obtained it, so I can’t say for sure.”
“You can get used to it, right?”
Right, this is the flow of events that usually precedes a fight.
Shin exchanged words with Rionne while thinking that. The weapon from the monster, in addition, the monster’s skills—though it took the flow of a natural conversation, if combat-related talk continued in this way, it was obvious that the final result would be “Let’s have a match.”
Against his expectations, Rionne who nodded once, fell silent.
As for Shin, he had the hesitant reaction of a ‘What should I do?’ decision.
“Well, is something wrong?”
“No, well, you are different after all, Shin.”
Shin couldn’t figure out the flow of the conversation, so the question was reiterated.
“Adventurers that suddenly stand out like you, are usually Chosen Ones. Though Gadras was like that too, when it was judged that his ability ranked in the upper class, it was customary for him to be invited to the royal palace.”
“Well, that’s understandable.”
“However, there are groups who use Chosen Ones to attempt assassinations from the inside.”
“…That’s also dangerous, right?”
‘Then, is it fine to suddenly let me meet the princess?’ Shin wanted to ask.
But, he didn’t interject because she wasn’t finished with her story.
“Though I had my suspicions about you, I thought it would probably be fine.”
“Eh? I don’t remember having said anything that would clear myself from doubt though.”
“Of course, it’s because of my intuition.”
A monotone sound came out unintentionally.
That too, seemed like it couldn’t be helped. Shin had never heard of someone determining whether an opponent might bring harm to the country by relying solely on intuition. What would she do if it hadn’t worked out?
“Ah, a monotone sound came out!”
“That can’t be helped. Moreover, if it’s like this, people won’t be convinced by such things since there is no concrete evidence.”
“No problem. I have the 【Intuition】 skill. I was born with it and my intuition never misses a thing. Besides, even though I may appear this way, I am one of this country’s princesses. I’ve developed my ability to judge character!”
With a smile, Rionne’s words were heard by Shin and he tried to recall the effect for 【Intuition】.
It should only be a battle support skill. If anything, he had a feeling that it was suitable to say it was just a woman’s intuition.
(…Could【Intuition】possibly enhance a woman’s intuition?)
Shin unconsciously wondered about such a thing.
“You might say the biggest deciding factor is that you hold a letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora.”
Under the current situation, it was the strongest piece of identification.
“That letter of introduction is impossible to replicate and Schnee-dono would never hand it over to a group plotting an assassination. As for a letter of introduction carrier, it’s almost certain that their theft countermeasures are not ordinary. Therefore, a story of someone stealing a letter of introduction is unheard of until this very day. In fact, this acted as something like a final confirmation.”
“I see, then the main question is?”
“So it’s come to this. Let me say it without beating about the bush. I want you to fight with me!”
“Not that, princess! You’re supposed to tell him about government service!”
Gadras promptly interrupted Rionne who had challenged Shin for a match.
Somehow, this turned out differently from their briefing session.
“What are you talking about, Gadras? Either way, for his true ability, how can I judge it accurately if we don’t cross swords?”
“Even if you yearn for it, you could wait a bit longer before saying it. What kind of place is it for a princess to challenge an adventurer with something like, ‘Fight with me!’?”
“A lady-like princess is the elder sister’s responsibility!”
Gadras seemed to have it hard with one thing or another.
“Since it’s the wish of the princess, I don’t want to decline, but if possible I would like to ask for a weapon used for training purposes.”
Though Shin’s weapon was not lacking, still, it was unclear as to how long it would be able to keep up a rally directly with a 《Legend》 grade weapon.
“Okay, I understand. I’ll lend you a weapon used by our knights. It doesn’t matter if you destroy it.”
“Well, that’s fine. Though, I want you to forgive me if that sword breaks in the middle of the fight.”
While saying that, Shin kept secret about the even more dangerous items that lay in his Item Box.
“Then, let’s head toward the training ground immediately.”
The princess began to walk triumphantly.
Contrary to her personality, she walked elegantly without pause. If one only saw her movement, everyone would think that she had a graceful character.
Without taking the huge case, she held the『Muspelm』in one hand.
“…It’s tough, isn’t it?”
Shin felt sorry for Gadras who dropped his shoulders.
Shortly after Shin and the others left the room.
Feyzel, who had remained in the room, let the tension out of his shoulders as he felt the presence of Shin and the others go away.
He seemed to be tense and before he noticed it, he felt that his muscles had become quite stiff. He took a deep breath and felt somewhat better after taking a short break.
“I’m so tired.”
Other than Feyzel, a male’s voice suddenly echoed through the room that should contain nobody else.
Feyzel, who began to talk, replied without any surprise. The owner of the voice was Feyzel’s co-worker.
“Are you feeling nervous about the other party as well?”
“Yeah, as expected from a letter of introduction carrier.”
A slightly tired smile appeared as Feyzel answered.
Feyzel’s role was to obtain the other party’s information with his own skills.
“You saw it, didn’t you?”
“I saw it. But perhaps, his stats might be falsified.”
That person was the most abnormal among all of the people who had come in so far. Feyzel continued, and waited for a response from the owner of the voice.
“To that extent?”
“I’m sure about it. That person, named Shin, has a level of 200. Job of samurai. However, if I were to really say my impressions of when we faced each other, I would have rewritten the information.”
Feyzel was a Chosen One that specialized in uncovering the ability of the other party, therefore he was sure of it.
Rionne and Gadras didn’t notice the abilities of Shin, but Feyzel felt exactly a fragment of the power leaking out from his body. In fact, the right answer was beyond the level he stated.
“Though I failed to obtain any sufficient information, I can only say this. He is strong! Even more so than we imagined.”
“Since you say it to that extent, I should report this matter to the King.”
“Please do so if possible, I’d be saved the trouble if you convey it. Also, don’t make any needless trouble, I guess? Like what you did to Wilhelm, if you make a foolish move, it will be terrible. At least, I don’t want to fight him.”
“Understood. I must not make an enemy of an upper class Chosen One.”
By the end of those words, the voice was already inaudible.
Apparently, it seemed to have gone to report.
“Good grief! I want to go home today already!”
I feel like I am dead instead of living.
Muttering so, Feyzel left the room.