“What is it? Do you know about the weapon that guy used?”
Wilhelm asked after they had cleaned up the bloody mess.
He didn’t bother to hide his anger anymore.
Perhaps something snapped after Rashia had left the room.
“Calm down Wilhelm…I thought I had an idea of what we were up against, but now it’s certain. What do you think Schnee?”
“The odds are stacked. I think we’re both on the same page.”
Schnee seemed to be thinking the same thing. While Shin didn’t spell it out, she agreed with him.
“What is it then?!”
“Yeah, it’s hard for us when you’re both in the know and we’re not.”
Wilhelm was impatient. Tiera also glared at Shin, for leaving her out.
“Sorry. 『Exvaine』 used to belong to a friend of mine. It’s actual name is 『Red Crystal Sword Exvaine』. It’s ancient grade…and it’s a sword that I forged myself.”
Shin sighed. If what Rashia heard was right, that a High Human made the weapon, then that must be the case.
What made Shin even more sure was how he had never sold it to other players.
“Wilhelm, I believe that you struggled due to one of the sword’s abilities.” Shin began to explain.
One. It increases damage against humans. Two. The blade can decrease magic damage against it.
While it doesn’t have very many abilities as far as a high-class weapon goes, originally it was meant to be a last resort weapon. Since 『Exvaine』 itself has tremendous damage potential, Shin had figured that it didn’t require any more abilities.
“Well of course I didn’t stand a chance. It was forged by the ‘Dark Blacksmith’.”
He must have remembered the battle earlier. Wilhelm furrowed his brow.
“I see. Eh? I thought the weapons forge can’t be used other than the intended user?”
Tiera blurted out after thinking about what Shin had said about Schnee’s 『Blue Moon』. While the circumstances were slightly different, she had the right idea.
“That’s true. 『Exvaine』 was handed to my friend Filma. Only she should be able to use it. Even if she were to give it away willingly, I doubt that she would be the kind of person that’d attack a church. Schnee, when was the last time you spoke to Filma?”
Filma is one of Shin’s support characters.
“We haven’t spoken since the cataclysm. That should be some 450 years or so.”
“…and you didn’t think to tell me or look for her after all that time?”
Shin was aghast at how calm Schnee was.
“Well, we live such long lives… and when we’re at the top of our respective races, time is just…our sense of time is so different and… Other than looking for Shin, I had assumed that Filma was the type that wanted to live peacefully and live alone. I’m terribly sorry, we never were heavily in touch either, and…”
It’s one thing if it’s an important character like Girard or Shibaid. For other characters though, particularly those that were isolated and not in a party, it was a different matter.
Of course, if Filma had come across a clue about Shin, she would have contacted Schnee.
Filma was an upper-class lord, aka a High Lord. Since Schnee and Filma were similar beings with long lives, not hearing from each other for centuries was not unusual.
“Shin, I know I said this before, but for High Elves like master, 500 years is nothing. There are High Elves who nap for that long.”
Tiera was the one that came to help Schnee who was under scrutiny. Tiera was quite young as an elf, so her sense of the surroundings – or the lack thereof – was not as extreme as Schnee’s.
“I’m terribly sorry…”
“No. I’m at fault too.”
When your lifetime lasts for thousands of years, there’s no point keeping track of events. While there are those who live a very purposeful and meaningful 500 years, most do not.
Either way, Shin has only been around for 20 years. He couldn’t possibly fathom that sort of mentality.
“Well, let’s leave it at that. Do you know where Filma was headed last then?”
“Yes. She was headed to the north. At least I think so. It’s been such a long time though. Again, I’m sorry.”
“No, don’t be. It’s impressive that you even remember that detail.”
Shin thought to himself – ‘I bet I wouldn’t have.’
“North though, huh. We don’t have a decent map, so it’s hard to say where.”
“I have a map.”
Schnee reached into her Item Box and pulled out a map from her inventory. She placed it on the stool.
You could see how vast the ocean was in the middle of the continent. This always gave an illusion that there were two continents. According to Schnee, the north was called Est and the south was called Kern. Shin and his party were in Bayreuth. It was close to the southern end of Kern.
“I’ve never actually seen a map of our continent that’s so precise.”
“I’ve seen maps at the market, but never this good.”
Wilhelm also couldn’t hide his surprise. Shin also recalled the map he had bought in a shop.
“When you sell accurate maps, other countries can use it to their advantage. It’s difficult to make these too. This one was created by looking down from the Sky Castle.”
“I can see how looking down would allow such accuracy.”
Shin nodded. Using a guild house castle in such a way almost seemed like cheating.
“Does this mean that we have to go even further north in Est?”
“We might even end up in the north of Kern. Some truly believe that Est and Kern are two separate entities. Back when Filma had mentioned her journey, there was no such thing as Kern or Est.”
People started calling the areas by those names almost 400 years ago.
The map was made after Filma’s disappearance. It’s hard to tell how Filma understood the continental divide.
“So. Why did that bastard have your friend’s sword?”
“I don’t know. There’s no way to know unless we ask Filma or the sword’s current owner. We can’t let it be this way for long though.”
Shin’s attitude had sharply changed over the course of this discussion. His tone was more aggressive.
He clenched hard at the stool that the map was laid upon. You could hear a faint crushing noise coming from within his hand. Wilhelm was more obvious with his emotions, but Shin was boiling up inside, although he appeared calm.
According to Rashia’s story, it was unlikely that Father Bulk would kill Millie instantly.
That didn’t mean that Millie was safe though. In the worst-case scenario, Millie would be put through unbearable pain and suffering in order to make her cooperate.
What’s more, Eline was clearly abnormal. It pissed off Shin beyond anything, that someone could have the nerve to equip another person’s weapon.
Shin wasn’t sure that he could let a person breathe, if they had taken another’s weapon by virtue of murder.
“Please. Please calm down.”
Tiera gently touched Shin’s left arm. Her voice quivered, and Schnee placed her hand over Shin’s right hand.
Yuzuha could also feel the tension in the air. She said nothing, and rubbed Shin’s cheek slowly.
“I’m not the only one upset then.”
Shin tried to breathe in deeply in order to slow his nerves.
“Sorry…we have to talk about how to get Millie back. Wilhelm, when you fought Eline, did he say anything about where they were headed?”
Shin apologized and thanked the three, then asked Wilhelm.
“They’re going to the Church headquarter. He told me to bring back 『Venom』 after fixing it. That bastard.”
Wilhelm’s bad mood worsened.
“Which means, that even if we can’t catch up with them, an encounter is unavoidable at the Church.”
“It’s not possible to catch up.”
Wilhelm shut Shin down.
“What do you mean? I think it’s entirely possible at our journey speed.”
“Eline disappeared after our battle. He didn’t just disappear out of sight. I think…he ‘teleported’.”
Wilhelm had actually witnessed Eline fade away. He would have recognized a magic skill 【Hiding】. It was nothing of the sort.
“I think so. It didn’t feel like he wanted to hide himself.”
Shin mulled it over, as Schnee interrupted.
“It must be the difference in the magical current.”
Shin glanced over at Schnee over a concept he’d never heard of.
“【Teleportation】 and 【Hiding】 rely on different magical currents. Wilhelm knows what 【Hiding】 feels like in the surrounding area. It must have been an unfamiliar feeling.”
“I had no idea. How does it feel different?”
“It depends on the person. There are those who are sensitive to magical currents and others who can’t sense it too.”
It was a different setting from the game. It must be similar to the concept of the arts – something that only really exists in this universe alone.
“Then we have to head directly to the Church headquarter. Where is it?”
Schnee pointed at the map with her thin finger. It was in the center of Est.
This meant that they’d have to cross through Kern and stop somewhere in the middle of Est.
“This is going to take some time.”
“Perhaps we can reach out to Vizzy. We could borrow a dragon. That would dramatically decrease our travel time.”
“Yes. Please do that.”
Vizzy was a summoner and tamer, as well as a supporting character of Cashmere. (T/N: Changed Busy to Vizzy)
Rumor had it that there were several dragons being trained at the castle. It could be their chance to save time.
The last message sent to Raster had no reply. They could also check in on that front.
“Maybe he’s so busy that he just forgot?”
Shin knew Raster well enough. He could picture that. Raster had that personality of often forgetting his environment when focused too much on a single task.
In the real world, someone like him would be called a ‘mechanic nerd’.
“I knew this already but…he really is crazy isn’t he?”
“Just don’t think about anything too hard.”
Riding a dragon was the kind of thought that a player would have. People who lived in this universe would never consider it as a transportation means.
Aside from a few warriors in the Kilmont Sky Dragoon, it was a rare skill for anyone to possess. Riding a dragon was tremendously difficult.
Wilhelm knew that Shin was an abnormal being.
Still, as someone native, these weren’t instinctive or natural thoughts. Tiera looked over at Wilhelm, dumbfounded, as she once used to be because of her culture shock from Shin.
“Our destination is set. Who knows what’ll happen, but we have to prepare now. We have to get Millie back.”
“No need to say that twice.”
Wilhelm headed towards Rashia to update her on their next moves.
In the meantime, Schnee and Tiera went to go find food. Shin took the broken 『Venom』 and headed outside of the capital.
He was in the middle of a field, not too far from civilization, and made Tsuki no Hokora materialize. He had placed a hiding spell on it, to keep it out of people’s sight.
The furnace was already roaring. The necessary metals to enhance 『Venom』 were prepared.
“Let’s see…which one…”
Shin looked over 『Venom』.
Enhancing 『Venom』 was different from the kinds of actions to take with Schnee’s weapon, for instance. 『Venom』 required a higher status from its user. Certain conditions needed to be met for the spear to grow stronger.
While the conditions weren’t exactly clear, Shin knew that Wilhelm and 『Venom』 together satisfied any combination of terms.
『Venom』 was interesting, in that it had two possible paths – ‘holy’ or ‘demonic’. It was a surprise how it’d turn out.
Shin instructed Yuzuha to step aside and got to work.
Shin took the refined orichalcum and mithril ingot and placed it close by. He threw 『Venom』 into the fire.
Even ancient grade metal stood no chance in this fire. 『Venom』 melted within seconds, becoming a block of ingot.
Shin thrust his hammer down.
With each heavy hammering, 『Venom』’s magic was being swerved left and right by Shin’s overpowering magic. The entire workshop was full of sparks.
When rebuilding a weapon from the ground up, all of the magic in a weapon needed to be exhausted.
It all depended on the blacksmith, how much magic could be drained and how much could be poured back in.
The ingot that was once 『Venom』 would make any normal person fall with a single touch. Weapons that were heavily used were even more difficult to mold.
After a few dozen hammers , the ingot began to change shape. Its red hue was fading as a silver gleam started to become more prominent.
Shin smiled at the sight. The silver meant that the spear would be holy.
“Well, that’s good news.”
He chuckled, and began to put more power into his arms.
A high pitched banging of metal to metal echoed throughout the shrine. The ingot was turning brighter and brighter, and Shin’s hammer was thrusting heavier and heavier.
With the last hammer in, a final blow of force rippled from the metal to the surrounding area.
Any normal blacksmith would have had his arm explode from the might.
It was but a breeze to a seasoned Shin, as he looked deeply into the ingot.
All of its original magic was gone, as it started to emit a stronger radiance.
Shin was satisfied with his work, and reached over for the orichalcum and mithril. He placed them over the ingot and continued to hammer down.
A different note could be heard with each bang. At first the metals made more of a grunting noise, but as they meshed into one, the tone became a clear clang and ringing clatter.
Shin was also more patient, more intentional with each thrust. The ingot was resistant at first and you could almost hear it. Eventually, it made no noise. It shook but seemed resigned and accepting its own fate.
Shin let out a sigh with the final blow.
He lifted his hammer and looked down to see a single spear.
The entire spear, up until the tip of the blade, shimmered silver.
A small cross shaved clear crystal was placed between the spearhead, embellished with a red marking here and there. This must be the remains of 『Venom』.
Shin took the spear in hand and began to appraise.
―――― “Holy spear 『Beinot』” Total score SS”
―――― “All bonus conditions met. Warrior equipped will be given the title ‘Smiling Guardian’.”
Looking at the minute details, Shin’s eyes stopped.
The weapon in his hand should have been an upper mythology grade weapon. In fact, it had upgraded to a lower ancient grade weapon.
He expected as much as far as the bonuses would go, but…
“I see. So this method also upgrades the weapon class.”
Schnee’s 『Blue Moon』 and Shibaid’s 『Moon Destroyer』, Wolfgang’s 『Crushing Moon』 were all at their highest classes. There was no way to upgrade beyond higher ancient.
Plus, 『Swift Fang』 was only welded for an ability upgrade. There was no way that it could also class upgrade.
“Now it’ll be a fair match with 『Exvaine』.”
Comparing weapons alone, 『Beinot』 was superior.
Who knows how the battle will unfold, but Wilhelm and 『Beinot』 should be able to meet eye to eye with Eline and 『Exvaine』.
Shin quickly turned 『Beinot』 into a card and returned to the capital.
Schnee was already done with her errands. Everyone was back at the church orphanage.
“Vizzy got back to me. The capital will draw too much attention. We have to meet somewhere a little more remote.”
“How long will we have to wait?”
“About an hour.”
“Then we can head there and wait.”
Vizzy had things to do too. Even if Shin was the same rank with Vizzy’s master, Cashmere, he couldn’t get upset.
Besides, riding a dragon would reduce their overall travel time by more than an hour.
Wilhelm was the last one to join them. Shin and the party left the capital.
They went out for some 20 minutes to the middle of a field with nothing in the way. They would wait for Vizzy there, and they had already checked that no one would bother them.
Wilhelm had already received the 『Beinot』 card.
Shin looked over. In the clouds, a small shadow appeared.
He counted 5. They waited a bit longer as the shadows became clearer.
“Hey. Shin. The red one in the front… that’s an elder red dragon.”
“Yes. But it doesn’t look full-grown.”
“That’s really not the point.”
Shin thought that he was remarking on how small the dragon is.
The elder red dragons that Wilhelm said were upper class monsters in the dragon family. In comparison to normal red dragons, they had considerably higher battle specs.
They grew to be about 20 mels, but the dragon in the front looked to be half of that.
There were two dragons on each side of the red dragon, all with elder titles: a blue dragon and green dragon to its left and a white dragon and black dragon to its right.
They must also see Shin and his party.
They gradually decreased in altitude, landing some 10 mels away from them.
A woman wearing a robe swooped down from the elder red dragon.
“Hi~ long time no see~. I didn’t think you’d really come back~.”
A woman walked towards Shin, speaking slowly.
She was Vizzy Laurette, a tamer under Cashmere.
Her semi-long golden hair had a slight tint of pink in them, and she looked into Shin’s face with trademark High Pixie clear blue eyes. She couldn’t be taller than 150 cemels.
She appeared to be a beautiful little girl.
“You still talk like that?”
“Nothing’s changed really.”
One of Vizzy’s settings was to talk slowly.
According to Schnee, her personality had not digressed one bit.
“I heard that you needed some dragons~, so I brought you~ there babies~. They’re small but~ very good at flying~.”
Vizzy smiled, unlike her counterpart supporting character Berett, who was shy and reserved. Shin’s memory did not fail him.
They didn’t have time to chit-chat, so each character began to maneuver a dragon.
Vizzy rode on her elder red, as Schnee took the blue, Tiera and Kagerou took the green, Shin and Yuzuha took the black and Wilhelm took the white dragon. Kagerou hid in Tiera’s shadow, while Yuzuha dug deeper into Shin’s jacket, peeking out just the face.
With Vizzy leading, Shin and Schnee took her flanks. Wilhelm and Tiera were behind Shin and Schnee, respectively.
While they were all novices at riding dragons except for Shin and Schnee, each dragon understood words clearly. It was not possible for the dragons to fly in the wrong direction.
Wilhelm and Tiera were reluctant, and placed all of their faith in their dragons.
“It’s high…and it’s cold…”
Tiera, who had never had any experience with even the idea of flying, was shocked by the height and the ambient temperature.
Magic only helped a little in terms of the wind or the cold air. She wasn’t equipping very much either, and shivered.
Kagerou didn’t seem to be bothered by the temperature, and peered anxiously at Tiera’s face.
“Now I understand why Vizzy wears a robe… Hm?”
A message card appeared in front of Tiera.
She opened it to see a fur robe card.
Shin shouted back at her. It was hard to hear with the wind in her ears, but she waved back at him.
She moved slowly in order not to lose her balance, as a warm, thick, green outer garment appeared. She managed to pull it over herself despite the wind getting in her way.
It was no ordinary outer garment. All of the cold discomfort vanished, and the icy wind was transformed into softness.
Shin and Schnee didn’t seem bothered by the cold either.
Tiera glanced over at Wilhelm, who had already taken the initiative to use his own cloak.
Tiera had heard from Shin earlier, that they were meeting Shibaid at the dragon empire Kilmont. She recalled the power and aura of the High Dragnil.
“I don’t belong here.”
Every person that the party had encountered until now has been abnormally strong and powerful. Tiera understood her place in the world, and felt discouraged.
“I know, I know. We have to save Millie. I have to stop thinking about myself.”
Tiera pat Kagerou on the head, and took in a deep breath to encourage herself.
She had tamed Kagerou after all, and they had bonded in a way that they both knew exactly how the other felt. This was not an easy feat, even for extremely advanced trainers. Tiera didn’t know that though.