Author note: WARNING! HORRIBLE GRAMMAR
Chapter 2: The Heaven Lords in the New World
Part 2: Preparation for the Trip
〖Do you want to restore relative reality latency to Local Server: “קטע-٢٤٣٦”?
Warning! This will reboot and restart connection to local reality causality vector. Any remaining connection(s) will be severed.〗
Yuuto ‘s finger was on top of the confirmation window, but then he retracted it back.
“Is there any problem, Lord Highness?” (Gate Knight Officer)
An assigned Gate Knight Officer who leaded the tour asked Yuuto, so he shook his head and smiled.
“No, there is no problem. I’m just checking the gate condition. I want to fix it, so please wait for awhile.” (Yuuto)
The Gate Knight then excused himself and stepped backwards. Yuuto pressed 【No】 on the confirmation window which soon disappeared. This was something he needed to consult with the others. I mean, one doesn’t simply walked into Mordor without proper preparation. He couldn’t be hasty in this.
Yuuto then click 【Repair】 on the first window.
〖Repairing this 『Gems Gate』 will cost 34,157,835 Auric, and 36,287 GMP〗
(Current Guild Balance 753,685,146,246 Auric and 2,925,376 GMP)
(Post Guild Balance 753,650,988,411 Auric and 2,889,089 GMP)
〖Do you want to proceed?〗
‘Ugh’, Yuuto groaned inside his heart. The Auric balance was too low. The last time he checked it one week ago, it should have more than 50 trillion[i] on it. Guild Master must have used it recently for some projects, or do some time passed between the times where he slept two days ago and where he brought to this place one day ago? The unanswered question kept increasing. ‘sigh’, with a long sigh, Yuuto decided to just find the answers slowly.
Yuuto unhesitant to press 【YES】. The Gems Gate then glowed with unearthly radiance for a second, before it subsided as quickly as it appeared. The Gems Gate that looked magnificent before was now even more magnificent. It looks sparkly new as if it was just finished installed at the wall just a mere second ago.
Yuuto wondered how game money could turn this battered gate to its current new appearance. Auric was not a physical currency, it was just a number on the game without any in-game currency item representation. Is it exchanged into mass? Where the additional mass comes from? Are there any molecular arrangements happened? Then how about GMP (Guild Management Point)? It was just a way for the game to measure how active a guild was, by adding GMPs for every quest that its members finished. Could they amass new Auric and GMPs in this reality? Is it a renewable resource or a nonrenewable one?
Truthfully, in what ways the simplified game mechanics like this works in this new reality? By tampering with physical reality? Ugh, yet another barrage of unanswered questions like a game with high danmaku density. Yuuto needed to talk with Mitteherz about the Auric and GMP later. But for now, let just repair the Walls and the Gates.
The tour then ended not long after Yuuto repaired the gate. He sent the girls to the castle ahead of him with the Maid Guardians, since he needed to repair the other 3 gates and walls. It wouldn’t take long since by himself, he could sprint at 140 km/hour at full Stamina consumption. He went clockwise from the South to the West, the North and finally the East. The girls just took their lunch when Yuuto came back from repairing the East Gems Gate.
“Welcome back, Danna-sama (Dear Husband). Are you tired? Do you want to rest, have lunch, or possibly, m-e-?” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi came and greeted him at the entrance door of Grand Dining Room with the stereotypical wife-ish greeting and gesture. It was charming by itself, yet somehow in the back on his head, Yuuto lamented the lack of apron.
“Ummm... It’s hard to choose. Can I have all three of them at the same time?” (Yuuto)
Kiyomi was taken aback and her face reddened. Seeing her like this Yuuto sheepishly smiled, but he shouldn’t play with her for too long, since there are more pressing issues at hand and the other girls staring at him was somehow painful and embarrassing.
After he took his late lunch (it was a simple potato salad, cheese quiche and fried fish in mushroom sauce), Yuuto gathered everyone in the Central Circle Room and informed them about the matter of the Gate.
“Umm... I don’t understand.” (Mizuki)
“Me too.” (Tsukimi)
The twins seemed confused by Yuuto’s explanation about the Gate and the connections. Well it was given, even if Yuuto interrogate himself, he wouldn’t learn anything useful. That aside, Stella smirked at Mizuki, but before they start arguing, Ichiko lightly chided Stella. Yuuto really hoped that both of them can be more cordial.
“To put it simply. Just like what the Purple Fog had been pointed out, It looks like that this whole Holy Land is engulfed in some sort of Space-Time Anomaly where it connections to other locations are disturbed by something or maybe someone of unknown origin or type. In other words, this Holy Land is of now a disconnected reality space bordered by an unstable boundary that manifested as the Purple Fog. By restoring the connections this boundary may stabilized and so the purple fog disappeared. These connections may have some relation with how we came and how we can go back, since presumably our arrival is related with space-time anomaly based on previous conjecture. The question remains of what location this place connected to. But if we opened the gate without any preparation it might be very bad” (Saki)
Saki summed Yuuto’s explanation while also adding her thoughts and observation. This small girl might be smarter than she looks like.
“Saki-chan...... You are unexpectedly smart.” (Mizuki)
“I agree...” (Yuuto)
“Well... Twin-tails are on average capita, smarter than the rest of other character.” (Stella)
Stella nodded as if she understood something important, while Saki looked proud to be praised by everyone. As if the expression on her face said ‘Please praise me more.’ Yuuto unconsciously found himself patting Saki’s head. Although she was unexpectedly enjoying this, Yuuto really need to check his tendency to pat girls who was shorter than him.
“So, that means by opening the gate we might go back home?” (Tsukimi)
“Yes. One of this connections might lead to Japan or at least give a clue of how we could get back.” (Yuuto)
“Then let’s open the gate!” (Mizuki)
Tsukimi and Mizuki became very passionate with their tone. They really wanted to go back home since the first day. But, hearing them speaking like this incited a sneer from Stella.
“You didn’t listen to the whole explanation, did you?” (Stella)
“Why do you mean by that!” (Mizuki)
“It’s because Yuuto-kun said that we shouldn’t open the gate so easily. Mizuki-chan” (Ichiko)
Before Mizuki and Stella could start arguing, Ichiko intervened.
“It’s the enemy.” (Chie)
Chie who was always behave herself and didn’t speak much in the meeting, unexpectedly give an answer inexpressively. Well, it not like Chie couldn’t speak; she just didn’t speak unless she needed to.
“Just like what Chie has said. You must remembered that on the day we arrived, just several hours before we woke up, the gates and the walls were assaulted by an unknown force numbered more than 100,000 by crude estimation. Although they had pushed back it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t come again. Opening and closing the giant gate that weight more than 24,000 ton is not an easy feat than can be done in minutes. If the enemy sees that the gate is opened, they might rushed in before the gate can be fully closed. After all opening the door before a burglar is foolish move. So let’s us postponed opening the gate for now.
As for our current state, we just arrived yesterday, and from the looks of things although we can use our skills like in the game there is some difference. If we get into a real fight right now, I’m afraid we might not use our skills on maximum potential. The Gate Knights also took heavy casualty yesterday, and although the casualties had been recovered or revived, they still need time to prepare and reformed their ranks. When our preparations are completed, we can then open the gates with more ease.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto spoke with a serious tone. It as if a cold water had been poured over the spark inside the twins’ heart.
There still so many things that he didn’t know. Recklessly opening the gate or even connected the server without knowing what the consequences and without preparing appropriate countermeasure or plan was a foolish move.
“Do we have to fight?” (Tsukimi)
Yuuto looked at Tsukimi with a soft sight.
“You didn’t need to fight if you don’t want to. Also, the Gate Knights and the Guardians would be the one who checked the situation first. If it not safe then we would retreat and let the Gate Knights deal with them. But in case they couldn’t hold back the enemy, if you need to protect your life, I wish for every one of you to not hesitate to fight. You don’t really need to kill anyone if you don’t want to. Just make sure you can escape safely.
For this reason I asked everyone to train and familiarize with how the skills work in this reality. Since it’s not a game and we don’t hold any controller, there bound to be a differences, so don’t hesitate to experiment with your skills. But no chanting magic! We still don’t know what mechanics behind the chanting. You don’t want to blow the whole castle, don’t you?” (Yuuto)
Stella let out a low voiced groan.
“If you think your equipment need repairing or enchanting or a new piece of equipment please tell me and I will see what I can do about it. For Saki, Tsukimi and Mizuki, I’ll try to give you your new equipment tomorrow. Now does everyone understand?” (Yuuto)
Every girl nodded, and just like that the curtain of the second day came to a close. Yuuto then spend the rest of the day cooped out in his room creating tons of equipments and didn’t show his face until the day after tomorrow.
Day 4 of arrival. 20-08-0002. 10.47
Yuuto and Chie’s panting were echoing inside an underground room. Both of them were running out of breath, sweat poured down and drenched their bodies due to their intense close contact physical activity. Only a hour had passed, but their physical exhaustion could be read from their worn-out expression.
“Do you think you can do one more round Chie?” (Yuuto)
“I never though, you still have stamina for this...” (Chie)
“Well, of course I’m tired, I’m on my limit right now, the SP bar is also almost empty. I’m the one who make move each time, you know. You just remain motionless and didn’t move a bit.” (Yuuto)
“It’s you who said that I should remain still.” (Chie)
“Well... I feel bad too make a girl move too much” (Yuuto)
“Even so, you don’t let me took a breather...” (Chie)
“Well... I don’t have much of a time, so I need to do it quickly.”(Yuuto)
“Let’s stop talking, if you still have some stamina, come at me harder!” (Chie)
“You asked for it!” (Yuuto)
Yuuto gathered his power on his lower body and then came at Chie with all of his power.
The whole room shook and trembled by the shockwave generated when Yuuto’s and Chie’s sword clashes with each other. Who can imagine a relatively small girl like Chie could wield a giant 2 meter long sword as if swinging a Styrofoam prop. Even if she doesn’t make too much step, she skillfully deflect Yuuto’s flurry of slashes.
Since both of them activate their “Non-Lethal” mode, even if their HP was decreased when they strike at each other, it would not go down below 25%. Even so, it would be still hurt if their attack struck the other party, and Yuuto would feel bad if he strike a Chie and vice versa, so before the sword inflict any damage, they skillfully retracted the sword.
Why Yuuto and Chie were fighting like this?
After making so much equipment and cooped in his room for whole day, Yuuto asked Chie who was giving combat training to Saki, Mizuki and Tsukimi to spar with him. He actually had previously sparred with the Knights and even the Maid Guardians who excel in Melee combat like Temidora and Rutidora, but even with his lack of real combat experience somehow he still came out as the winner. So he intended to spar with the only one who outclasses him in combat skills: Chie, to asp the limit of his fighting skills.
As expected, Chie’s attack was harder, better, faster and stronger. It was as if the attack from the Knights was only a drizzle, while hers was like a violent storm. Even so, Yuuto sometimes could land a hit on her using feints that he picked up from fighting the knights, but that feints couldn’t be used for the second times as Chie somehow learned to counter them and recountered back at him. The result was, Yuuto was wiped on the floor many times by her.
What’s more surprising was, Chie had neither experience nor background of martial arts. So was Yuuto. Well, that’s a given since Chie was only a schoolgirl and Yuuto just some random postgraduate student. The closest thing to blade they had held in real life was kitchen knife. Even so, Yuuto and Chie movement was similar to master swordsman. Swift and smooth movement without any excess motion that could be performed as naturally as breathing, no one could ever believe that until several days ago, both of them were total newbie. Yuuto suspect that their weapon and combat proficiency skill had some parts on this, that granted them innate knowledge and capabilities to perform things they never done before.
Actually, Mizuki and Tsukimi were watching since the beginning. But they lost interest on the sixth round and then went to help Kiyomi who was tidying the castle affairs with Mitteherz and Gemirea. Well, Kiyomi really did her serious effort to become the First Duchess of the castle although the bulk of the work was done by Mitteherz and Gemirea. Yuuto thought that it was good to see the twins hang out with other girl other than Ichiko. As it is, Kiyomi could help to look after them.
“Yuuto-san and Shishou battle were so intense with each other.” (Saki)
Saki who watched since the first round, let out her admiration. Even when they didn’t use any magic or skill and only use simple sword swing, from the craters and gashes on the floor, wall and the ceiling, the strength behind their sword strike was already beyond the word normal. Of course, Saki sometime need to evade the slicing shockwave generated from the swing.
Luckily this room was Guild’s underground training room, where she and Chie first found themselves in the first day. Even if the room had craters and gashes, it would be restored back after 24 hours, so it can be said that the room had self-repairing capabilities.
This round also reached its conclusion when Yuuto’s neck was about to be slashed by Chie for the ninth times, but she masterfully stopped before it reached Yuuto’s skin.
“I’m lost again. So this makes it 9 to 3 or your win.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto put his hand on the air and put his sword back to his inventory space. But from the perspective of outside observes, it as if Yuuto’s swords turned to light particles and disappeared.
For the last four days, everyone had mastered taking and putting objects to their inventory space. It can even operated by thoughts alone, although no one had mastered it yet, since if the thoughts was too complex the objects taken from the inventory failed to manifest properly and went back to the inventory space or it fetch the wrong item. By the way a RAHO player normally can carry up to 240 different items that can be stacked up to 999 stacks.
The new reality replicated it function but with a few quirks, first of all the inventory still have the old 240 items types restriction (what considered as a single “type” is still vague, for example different type of chairs of made or construct is all considered as “something-to-sit-on-type”, even if it was a flat stone that would be categorized as “natural-stone-ish-materials-type”), but it can now store almost everything, and it was now not limited by the number of the item, instead it had size and weight limit. Yuuto for example, can store items up to 10 ton per stack or 100 meter cubic in volume, but the other had smaller size. Yuuto conjectured that this was because his main jobs were crafting jobs, since Kiyomi who have Artificier job also have a larger stack limit. By the way, the NPC can use inventory to some extent, but they can only carry an object of limited size and weight far below the players. Florea for example can only store 10 types of items with a limit of 10 kg per stack and/or 10 liter in volume (Yuuto know this because he subjected Florea to many types of experiment, much to her teary distress).
All crafting materials that the girls have like Skins, Leathers, Furs, Feathers, Ores, Metals, Fabrics, etc. had been given to Yuuto for his use to craft, while the gathered potions and vials were distributed evenly between them. Unneeded or junk equipments were also given to Yuuto for dismantling to raw materials. So it can be said except for personal equipments, their content of their inventory right now were identical to each other. This was also including their storage space in Guild’s storage.
“No. If you use your Spirit Arts, you may have win against me more.” (Chie)
“Hahaha. But then if you use your Killer Slashes, I will still lose.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto main jobs are all crafting related. Although it still conferred him some battle capabilities and he had some offensive oriented skills, it couldn’t hold fast against pure combat jobs like what Chie had, especially since Chie specialized in battling 1vs1. In game terms, Yuuto was more like a hybrid of ‘tank’ and ‘close combat support’ while Chie is a pure melee ‘DPS’ dealer.
“Good job, Yuuto-san, Shishou.” (Saki)
Saki came while being followed by the Maids, Vedimari, Florea and Rutidora, who hold various refreshments in a tray wagon. Vedimari and Rutidora also wear the same frilly Victorian Maid attire style that Florea wore. Vedimari long greenish brown hair was tied into a single bun that still let some of her wavy hair rest on her shoulder, while Rutidora bright reddish hair was shoulder length that was curled on its tip. The three Maids bowed to Yuuto and Chie before giving them a glass of refreshment.
The content was clearly Po*ri Sport Drink, but the game referred them as Pokari fruit juice. It was because the company running RAHO was mainly got their revenue not by receiving players’ subscription fee, but through selling items through the Item Mall and advertisement fee. The Real World companies would pay to get their merchandise incorporated in the game or for their products advertisement placed on in-game public spaces and boards or even incorporated into the game lore. So there was a Cokku fruit, Pokari fruit, Fanda fruit, Makudee cow or other fruits, vegetables, or animals to explain their existence in the game. Unsurprisingly when Yuuto check this with Florea, he didn’t get shocked when those foods and beverages also get replicated faithfully in this new reality. By the way, Pokari fruit was a coconut-like fruit that with a clear liquid inside the fruit that can immediately be drunk, but it doesn’t have any fleshy part unlike a real coconut.
“How about Tsukimi and Mizuki training, Chie?” (Yuuto)
Yuuto emptied the glass in one gulp, before asking a question towards Chie who was sitting on a foldable chair Vedimari procured from the wagon.
“I think there is no problem with both of them using their skill in the battle, their moves and cooperation also above average. There is no problem with their body... but their mind is...” (Chie)
“Ah... I know what you mean. Please keep an eye or both of them, Chie. I also ask for your cooperation in this Saki.” (Yuuto)
“Aye, aye sir!” (Saki)
It seems that Mizuki although still agitated was more or less cope with the situation more well than Tsukimi that become more restless for each passing day. Yuuto needed to check the twin’s condition before it results in undesirable situation.
“So how about your new equipment? Do you like them?” (Yuuto)
“Yes. The blades are light but strong, and I can move faster than before. Thank you Yuuto-san.” (Saki)
“That’s good to hear.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto smile, Saki’s new equipment, the twin blade 『Double Eclipse: Sol-Luna and Luna-Sol』 had been optimized for her fighting style that utilized quick and fast multiple slashing. To amplify her speed even further, her school uniform-shaped light armor set 『Rush High』 grant increased speed, movement, maneuver, and attack speed enchantment. Both the weapon and equipment was made from Grade 8 materials and had the Mythical Quality Grade. Unfortunately due to Saki still low DSL, the equipment only confer 40-50% of its intended effect, but it still way much better than her previous equipment.
By the way, the equipment’s name was from Yuuto since Saki wanted to name her twin sword 『Halaralahami: Da and Do』 and her light armor 『Pokipomekukipomukupo』. Something is really wrong with this girl sense of naming, why can’t you name it with more chuunibyou-ish name please. I mean, you are really a second year middleschooler in the real world, right? This was the thoughts run amok inside Yuuto’s mind when he heard Saki’s proposed name.
“Yup with Halaralahamida and Halaralahamido I feel I am much stronger than before...” (Saki)
“Umm... Saki that...” (Yuuto)
‘...not their name. But Yuuto only finished his words inside his heart.
Saki cheerfully showed her 70 cm blades to Yuuto and swung it on the air with childish glee.
But Yuuto was more worried for her children name if someday she gave birth to them.
But, Mizuki and Tsukimi, right? Maybe he should do something about them...
Day 5 of arrival. 21-08-0002. 15.12
“So, by current harvest prediction one month later, on the next batch we will harvest close to 9,000 ton of potatoes. Adding with the already extant potato on the storage it will make the current stock of potatoes close to 12,000 ton of potatoes. I think we can correct the price and reduce it by 20% to increase its consumption and reduce the consumption of wheat without influencing the bread price too much. Maybe we can also substitute some of the wheat flour product with potato flour. Please ask the Logistic Bureau if they think this could be feasible.” (Ichiko)
“Yes, Lady Highness. But, then I think we need to increase mill utilization from milling wheat to potato, since the equipment needed to do it is different, we may need to allocate additional resource and personnel to procure additional equipment needed. I’ll see which workshop is currently available for this task.” (Luviosa)
“Ah. But if it’s over our previously accepted budget then just scrap it.” (Ichiko)
“Yes, Lady Highness.” (Luviosa)
“...Lady Una... Here additional report about the new energy ration distribution scheme drafted by the Energy Board....” (Niviosa)
“Thank you Nivi-chan. Hmm... Although we still have tons of mana stones in the storage, I think it would be good to reduce the consumption of mana stone in daily utilization. Hmm...” (Ichiko)
“Don’t worry about it Nivi-chan. Please ask the Energy Board if they also have another smart plan to reduce mana stone consumption.” (Ichiko)
“... Alright...” (Niviosa)
“Lady Highness Una. Here is the list of equipments that Lord Highness Yusis donated for the military and the projected military budget savings generated from this donation.” (Veniosa)
“Thank you Veniosa. Also asked Kiyomi about the Castle operation budget reduction I asked her yesterday. I think that after taking consumables from the Guild storage we can save about more than 130.000 Receipt per month for food budget, this can be rerouted to fund new workshop worker training.” (Ichiko)
“Yes, Lady Highness.” (Veniosa)
“You seem busy.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto entered the room that was packed with documents as if Ichiko were drowned in them. It only had been two days since Ichiko formally receive the official position as the Grand Administrator of the Holy Land. Well, Yuuto was also one, but he mainly deals with foreign, politic and military affairs, while leaving only domestic and economic affairs to Ichiko. Since there still no foreign entity to interact to, Neuschwanensee’s politics can be summed up as an oligarchy-meritocracy with no aristocratic class, and military affairs mainly about ranks and supply, Yuuto wasn’t that busy like Ichiko.
Also, for today, Tsukimi and Mizuki are helping tidying the document and filing them to the right folders with their personal assistant Rarirea and Frimari. Since, Kiyomi was busy with another task, so there were no jobs for them today, unlike yesterday
“It beyond busy... If I know it will this busy, I’ll never said yes when you pushed this role to me.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko make a rare pouting face to Yuuto. Even when she was busy, she didn’t neglect to take care of her hair and face, so her small company CEO appearance had not decreased by one bit, but instead it increase dramatically.
“Sorry. But I think you done a really good job.” (Yuuto)
“Thanks. I really appreciate it.” (Ichiko)
Receiving Yuuto’s compliment, Ichiko immediately smiled.
“Here, have a drink. Chilled lemon tea. Rehydration is important after all.” (Yuuto)
“Thank you very much.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko received a glass of tea that appeared in Yuuto’s hand.
“How about your side?” (Ichiko)
“Oh me? Well... I can use my Spiritsmithing to mass produce new equipment for the Knights but even so it still took a lot of time to finish it. The workshops also said that it will take a little longer to complete the design.” (Yuuto)
“Autonomous carriages and carrier airships. You really think big.” (Ichiko)
“Well... I thought that we might need it later. And it’s cool.” (Yuuto)
“Please don’t divert too much resource that we may need, okay?” (Ichiko)
Ichiko smiled wryly towards Yuuto.
Well, Yuuto had drawn the blueprint for multipurpose autonomous carriage and hybrid propeller-rigid zeppelin airships that can carry the carriages and or small propeller-glider airships. Why did he do this? Well, mostly because he was curious if this reality could make something that didn’t exist in the game, also because if you was in Fantasy World, an airship was a must have.
“But, where the others? I thought Mitteherz leave his staffs with you.” (Yuuto)
“Oh... I asked them to create Central Bank using the old Merchant Association as the basis, so they are now negotiating with the Association Council for the fine details. I had pointed many things about Central Banking to the staffs so I can trust them for this.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko didn’t work alone. Just like a president have a lot of aides, Ichiko also helped by a selected members, chosen personally by Mitteherz among the best of his staffs, to aid Ichiko. Ichiko also helped by her personal assistant: Niviosa, and Luviosa, who had some knowledge of economy since both of them came from merchant background. Yuuto didn’t know if MayDoeSueKey had also created these background settings for them or not. Also, there also Kiyomi’s personal assistant Veniosa, who acted as the intermediary between the castle and the Grand Administrator Office. The twin and their personal assistant also helped her for today.
About Central Banking, Yuuto didn’t know if this came from her background of working in financial sector or because many of Ichiko economic plans needed the existence of Central Bank. The truth, both was correct. She also wanted to regulate the Receipt, the current de facto currency to make it into a real carefully regulated currency. What institution more suitable for this than a Central Bank?
Under the current state-directed economy system, Receipt was issued or ’created’ by the state to the citizen as their ‘wage’ that they can use to exchange or ‘buy’ food and other rationed goods from the state and thus become ‘lost’ from the circulation. Excess Receipt that wasn’t used by the citizen to exchange for food was then used informally to facilitate trade or service between citizens. So there was a fraction of Receipt that didn’t return to the state and circulating in the mass. By crude estimation of her staffs, there was about 5,709,321 worth of Receipt circulated in the state unregulated market or stored by the citizens. It was a quite a large sum, that almost equal to the total of all citizen’s wage for two week, or if converted into wheat it could purchase about 1.600 ton of wheat, half of Wheat yield of a season (if the citizens wanted to).
So Ichiko thought that it would be better if it was pooled under a working central bank so that at least when the time of transitioning into a working mixed-economy came in the future, it won’t cause any adverse economic harm, after all regulating money supply is important to prevent uncontrolled inflation (too much) and sluggish economic growth (too little). Also, Ichiko was a die-hard Keynesian, she hate stagnant liquidity, either you invest it or use it. That stagnant Receipt could be used to fund a new project that could result in new benefits, you know!
Seeing that Neuchwanensee also was running the economy in an ad-hoc manner, Ichiko wanted to make it work in the long run even with reduced government intervention. Why? As it is, with all forms of means of production seized by the state, every people work to state and every people must buy it from the state, there was an inefficiency risk in this state planned economy. If people will get wage from the state and have all their work result seized by the state, why do you need to work at all? Although currently the citizen of Neuschwanensee was very cooperating and work with high spirits, this was because they understood that it was only a temporary emergency arrangement and that in time their fields or shops will be returned to them. So the current system didn’t suitable in the long run, and the old system of trade might not come back. That means there should be new economic model that addressed this problem, by slowly handing back the means of production back to the citizen, resume taxation, and returned some control of the market to private sectors, all without causing too much economic turmoil while still continuing current government welfare programs. Also, Ichiko was a big fan of Nordic Model. Tax the rich to shift the stagnant liquidity to the more needed mass. Seeing her, maybe dead Neo-Classical economists would turn inside their grave.
Luckily the situation of Neuschwanensee economy was similar to a simple closed economy, which was the basis of modern economy model, so this help her experiment many things. In this point, Ichiko was similar to Yuuto.
“On the other hand, where’s your personal assistant Florea?” (Ichiko)
“Ah, I leave her with Kiyomi, since Kiyomi needs an assistant in cooking and Veniosa was busy helping her and you in tending the internal castle management.” (Yuuto)
Ichiko didn’t expect Kiyomi have time doing this. But her managing castle was actually simply saying yes towards various propositions that Mitteherz, Gemirea and Veniosa had drawn before, unlike Ichiko who was directly putting her hand on domestic affairs and Yuuto who was reorganizing the Knights and City Guard organization.
“Yeah... She said that ‘A good wife should be able to provide a warm meal everyday for her husband.’” (Yuuto)
Well, Yuuto thought that Kiyomi just wanted to play some parts in this. After all, other than Stella and Ichiko, the rest of the girls were just highschooler or middleschooler. Yuuto couldn’t possibly ask them to do something serious or held a position that held a lot of responsibilities. The day to day governance was mainly was still on the NPCs, the players was just on the level of giving highest executive decision.
“She can cook?” (Ichiko)
“Sort of...” (Yuuto)
Yuuto started to remember what had happened this morning.
Day 5 of arrival. 21-08-0002. 09.08
In the terrace outside Central Circle Room, Yuuto was sitting in front of white ornate wooden desk. He was here because Kiyomi (who wear a very stylish apron atop of her modern kimono like garment, as to with her own words: increase her wife attribute higher) asked him to taste her food.
Why was Kiyomi cooking and not managing the castle affairs?
First, it had been finished yesterday. Mitteherz and Gemirea was so proficient in their task that virtually Kiyomi didn’t need to do anything that just reading their prepared report and checking the castle balance. Kiyomi wondered if the lord’s wife in the ancient day also didn’t have much work like this.
Second, in Kiyomi’s mind, the ideal wife excelled in all type of house works. This includes cooking. The fact that Kiyomi never cooked before didn’t deter her from threading this treacherous path.
Knowing Kiyomi’s utter lack of cooking before, going by the standard Japanese popular media convention, as a precaution, Yuuto wore many bad status resistance accessory, drank buff potions, prepared numerous Panacea antidote potions, and also brought along Florea just in case he need an extra hand in casting “Detoxification”. He even prepared to use the limited cash item “Second Life” if it must. His principle was: “If things go bad, it went worse”, so he always set up various preparation and countermeasure like this. Such was his meticulous personality. In TRPG term, he was a meta-player who will choose skills to counter whatever the GM could throw at him and not for role-playing reason.
Just like what he expected, on top of that desk was a bowl of mysterious greenish-purple liquid with square cut vegetables floating on top of it. The scent was somewhat a cross between curry, potato soup and herbal concoction. Yuuto wanted to ask if Kiyomi thought that this is edible but he just let this question languishing in his heart.
“Ummm.... What’s this?” (Yuuto)
“It’s a Curry, Dear Husband. I don’t believe you can’t recognize it.” (Kiyomi)
“Curry supposed to be yellow, orange or red colored right? I don’t think it should be this greenish-purple colored...” (Yuuto)
“It because I use purple sweet potato instead of the potato to make it sweeter and put more leafy vegetables into it so that it had more texture.” (Kiyomi)
Okay... At least there a reason behind the colors, although Yuuto didn’t really know what is the reason for Kiyomi to choose those ingredients and not the common ones or the fact that this was not a curry anymore. Also, at any rate it didn’t colored black like some “dark matter” and his appraisal skill didn’t recognize it as “Poison”, so Kiyomi wasn’t a lethal chef like Yuuto thought, just an inexperienced one.
“Oh, and I thought you somehow bad in cooking... Itadakimasu... *!!!!*blrgh*!!!*” (Yuuto)
Yuuto couldn’t help being repulsed by the intense bitterness of the so called curry with an aftertaste of almond. What is this? Cyanide? (Actually it comes from phyrethroid compounds.)
“What’s wrong Dear Husband?” (Kiyomi)
“Kiyomi.... do you taste this before?” (Yuuto)
Kiyomi wasn’t the type of a cook who didn’t taste her cooking just because she didn’t want to go fat or something, right? She tasted it properly before, right?
“Hmm?... !!! What’s this? It’s so bitter... Strange... It tastes different when I cooked it... It supposedly to be sweet and hot...” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi who became confused, tasted a little bit of the curry and made a very complex expression of sad, surprised and curious. Of course, since she was a natural beauty, her current expression could invoke pity on most human (within 90% confidence rate). Yuuto almost tempted to say ‘Even if it kills me, I’ll eat everything you cooked.’ But that sounds like a marriage proposition, so he refrained from saying it.
“How about you ask the others to help you when you cook?” (Yuuto)
“Veni-san is busy. So she only can help on the beginning. And I can’t always bother the other cooks that were busy preparing food for the castle residents.... This is troublesome....” (Kiyomi)
“...... May I say something Lord Highness Yusis, Lady Highness Melbiena?” (Florea)
“Yes, feel free, Florea.” (Yuuto)
Florea who was seeing this debacle from the side, seemed to had something he wanted to say. Yuuto looked at Kiyomi first who nodded, before he permitted Florea to talk.
“Maybe it was because Lady Highness Melbiena used unprocessed Yokel Potato. Unprocessed Yokel Potato’s taste will make the soup bitter when it had cooled down, so after Yokel Potato was boiled it need to be simmered in cold water for 2 hours to leak out the bitter taste before it can be used in cooking. By the way, the water from boiling Yokel Potato can be used to make insect repellent.” (Florea)
Actually, the game RAHO contained many ingredients that were common in the Earth and this also replicated faithfully in this new reality, like wheat, potato, orange, apple, soybean and many others. But there was also various new ingredient that RAHO exclusively created or it own game lore like the various aforementioned beverage tasting fruit, various different colored Sagua fruit, Yokel Potato, Tueji Meat, and many others, that also could be encountered in this new reality, although in smaller number.
Kiyomi, in her endeavor to provide new taste used the new ingredients for the curry (a common mistake an amateur cook usually do, using ingredients blindly). Unfortunately food, like many organic chemical compounds, behaved differently as the temperature change, so the texture and the taste might be markedly different when it was served than when it was cooked, just like hot and cold coffee had different taste. Of course as she was not a native inhabitant of this new reality, Kiyomi really didn’t familiar with how this reality ingredients behave to cooking process.
Hearing Florea’s answer, Kiyomi’s eyes had a dangerous glint.
“Florea-san. Are you skilled in cooking?” (Kiyomi)
“Um... I was oftentimes helping my mother cooked before, but I don’t know if that is considered as skilled or not.” (Florea)
Kiyomi then looked at Yuuto as if a child asking another child to ask permission to play with their toys.
“...... Dear Husband, can I borrow her?” (Kiyomi)
“Feel free to do it.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto nonchalantly answered.
“Thanks. Florea-san, please come with me to the kitchen... We have a lot of work to do...♪” (Kiyomi)
“Eh? Wha-! Wait~....” (Florea)
Kiyomi put entwined her arms with Florea before activating 『Instant Movement』. Most likely, Kiyomi transferred to a Relay Point near the Western Building Grand Kitchen. Yuuto could only offer her his silent prayer. It seemed Kiyomi would be busy for a while. Yuuto saw the ‘purple curry’ on top of the table. As a throughout Japanese, Yuuto was educated since his early days with “Mottainai Principle” and so he hate to waste things that might still have use. He put the ‘purple curry’ in his inventory. Who know this purple thing could be used for some other esoteric purposes, for example: torturing.
Day 5 of arrival. 21-08-0002. 15.38
“You are too cruel...” (Ichiko)
“It won’t be that bad.... Maybe...” (Yuuto)
Ichiko looked at Yuuto with half-serious disdainful looks while smiling mischievously while Yuuto only made an unserious shrug.
“We are finished.” (Mizuki)
Both of them were half-surprised by the voice from the other side of the room. The previous ship-paper-wreck state of the room had become significantly tidier. It looked like Mizuki and co. had finished filing the documents that was now neatly arranged on the folders.
“Ah thank you Mizuki, Tsukimi. You too, Rarirea, Frimari.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko thank both of the twin and their personal assistant. The small Rarirea just like Gemirea and Florea had a brownish hair although she was leaning to wheat blond and she just let her long hair held in place by her maid cap. The tall Frimari had a greenish-blond type of hair that was at shoulder length and tied into two pigtails. Yuuto didn’t really know if this was because MayDoeSueKey decision, but all the Maids Guardian had a face value equal to famous idol group members. Well, Yuuto didn’t want to file any complain with higher than usual beauty density near him. Since he was always hanging out with his cousin if time permits, this density level was not that unusual.
“Do you have any more tasks for us?” (Mizuki)
“Umm... Nothing right now.” (Ichiko)
Mizuki who still seemed eager to do things asked Ichiko and become sullen after hearing Ichiko reply. Yuuto thought that this condition was far from optimal and then decide to do something.
“Do you both have some time to spare?” (Yuuto)
“If you do, I want you both to come with me to a very nice place.” (Yuuto)
“Okay. How about you Tsuu-chan?” (Mizuki)
“I follow your decision Mii-chan.” (Tsukimi)
It seemed that both of them didn’t object to Yuuto’s offer. Yuuto then turned his face towards the Maid Guardians.
“Rarirea, Frimari, please stay in this office and help Duchess Una a bit.” (Yuuto)
““We understand, Lord Highness.”” (Rarirea)(Frimari)
Both of the Maid bowed their head to Yuuto. He would feel bad if he left Ichiko without additional hand.
“We’re off, Ichiko.” (Yuuto)
“Safe travels.” (Ichiko)
Yuuto said this as he activated Instant Movement together with the twin. Ichiko make a slow wave with her hand while the maid bowed to send Yuuto off. After Yuuto and the twin’s figures disappeared behind the swirling light particles, she turned her attention back to the report on the desk.
Day 5 of arrival. 21-08-0002. 15.45
Yuuto and the twin transferred to a relay point near the Castle Southern Gate. After they exited the Royal Gate, they descended a set of stair that was near the junction between the Royal Highway and the accessory road that run alongside the river banks. The stairs lead them to an open grass field near the river bank where a lot of people and materials gathered. It seemed that they were building something, and that something was in the center of the field. The twin saw it with their eyes opened wide.
“This is?” (Mizuki)
“The first Neuschwanensee hot air balloon prototype.” (Yuuto)
Yes. The thing in the center of the grass field was a hot air balloon. It wasn’t a gondola-type classical hot air balloon. But rather a hot air balloon with a roofed cabin-like gondola with huge clear glass window on all side. The cabin could easily hold about 10 people at the same time, so it was rather big. The inside was covered in blue-ish Sky Whale feathers that had Climate Control intrinsic skill and had two soft sofas on its side. The cabin itself was made from Cloud Alloy, so it was very light but still strong (Yuuto provided all the materials). For all intent and purposes, this cabin was very comfortable and extravagant.
On the top of the cabin was a set of complicated magichinery. This magichinery was something that Yuuto had asked the engineer to build two days ago, after he came back from repairing the gate. The magichinery function by converting magic from mana stones into generating open flame (Yuuto really didn’t understand how the magic power can generate the flame as it didn’t need any combustible material to work). Since it basically a magic tool version of enlarged magic lighter and magic water heater, so that the engineers was able to build a working prototype in less than 2 days.
The balloon envelope was made by using Silksteel cloth sheets that was made heat resistant by using enchantment magic (Yuuto provided the fabric and he mass enchanted them). Each fabric sheets were sewed to each other using magic seams performed by all 130 Artificiers in the city (and cause Ichiko headache for the amount of paperwork needed to arrange this), so the large envelope could be finished just under 2 days. How large the envelope? It could easily contain more than 20,000 meter cubic of hot air, as big as small blimp in real life.
On the top and the side of the envelope was a sheet of Cloud Alloy with remote magic mechanism to let out hot air inside the envelope so that it was possible to control the rate of ascent, descent and turn remotely from the remote control device inside the cabin that Yuuto designed and made by teams of engineers. This was the most work intensive part of this prototype, it could even be said that this is actually a test for the control device and not the hot air balloon itself. Currently it was very crude limited to controlling ascend and descend and only incorporated rudimentary simple measurement device, but eventually it will get refined as the engineer get the knack of this. By the way the control was basically a modified joystick used for playing Flight Simulator and a similar control device had also been made for the autonomous carriage prototype.
A large cable made from enchanted cotton fiber tethered the cabin to the ground using a giant metal anchor to prevent the balloon from drifting too far since it didn’t had any meaningful propulsion system.
“Hot air balloon?” (Tsukimi)
“Yes. In the game there was nothing like this. But since we are now in here, I think that it worth to try. If this test is successful, we might try to build zeppelin and after that a hybrid airship.” (Yuuto)
“That big cargo airship? Is it possible?” (Mizuki)
“We don’t know if we don’t try.” (Yuuto)
Yes. Yuuto wanted to test how much this reality was similar to the earth and if it possible to reproduce modern technology or similar things that didn’t exist in the game like automobiles, aircraft, maglev trains, modern naval vessel, submarine, long-range communication or broadcasting device, radar, computer, machine-gun, armored exoskeleton, drone, modular rocket systems, orbital satellite, etc. Using various in-game materials that had tensile, and hardness that surpass even the most advance modern materials technology, Yuuto may even create things that modern science deemed very hard to reproduce like Space Elevator or megastarscaper building. But that is still a faraway dream.
Currently Yuuto only focused in reproducing two modern vehicles he was familiar with, automobiles and aircraft. Although he also interested in replicating fixed-wing aircraft, he lacked detailed aeronautic knowledge to build it. So he just give the idea and blueprint to interested engineers and let them experimented with it. Meanwhile, airship or aerostat was a bit simpler since near his home in Shizuoka there was the largest Hybrid Airship airport in Japan (since it located between Seto Inland Sea and Tokyo Bay).
Post-peak oil circumstances drive the price of transporting inland significantly costlier using trucks (electric or synthfuel), while not every town was passed by common train or maglevs. So Hybrid Airship filled this medium-range inland cargo hauler role (they are very popular in China, USA, and Continental Europe; Russia prefer ecranoplan/GEV hybrids). Because his father works as a chief engineer for a Hybrid Aircraft service company, Yuuto more or less know them relatively well. So for aircraft he chose to develop the lighter-than-air aircraft with the ultimate aim to build a working Hybrid Aircraft that also function as an Airborne Carrier, because it was cool.
While Yuuto was still dreaming of the awesomeness of launching dozens of fighters or drones from the airship, a rather skinny middle aged man in thick work clothes went towards Yuuto to give his report. He was Chief Engineer Wernher, one of six Chief Engineer in Neuschwanensee. Usually he was maintaining the magichenery that control the gates, but he was drafted by Ichiko to lead Yuuto’s pet project. By the way “Engineer” was a NPC Special Job.
“Lord Highness Yusis. The Luftzeug Ein is now ready to conduct her maiden flight.” (Wernher)
“Thank you. Chief Engineer Wernher, we will get ready in few minutes, so please prepare the launch.” (Yuuto)
“Yes Lord Highness.” (Wernher)
The Chief Engineer quickly returned and ordered his subordinate to start the burner and fill the envelope with hot air. The previously limp envelope soon started became upright as the hot air rushed to fill up the space inside it. As more air rushed in, the envelope started to resemble the upright oval shape commonly seen on hot air balloon. By the way, the name Luftzeug Ein came from Yuuto.
Yuuto turned to face the twin and started to ask them with a smile.
”Now, girls, do you ever ride in hot air balloon before?” (Yuuto)
*shake* Both girls shook their head, but their eyes still glue on the cabin that now float several centimeters above ground.
“Do you want to?” (Yuuto)
Suffice to say that Yuuto and the twin entered the prototype to test it. Actually, Yuuto wanted to test it with either Kiyomi (since she can use flight magic using her summoned spirits), Stella (since she as Tier-3 Magician can use Flight spells freely), or Chie (since her half-angel form could fly); just in case the balloon had in-flight trouble (read: CRASH). Though, he had enchanted the Cabin with Gravity Damage Nullify, even so there is no harm to prepare for anything.
But since flying inside a gondola of a hot air balloon was not something an everyday Japanese would experience, Yuuto deemed this was more than suffice to cheer Mizuki and Tsukimi up. And Up literally means Up.
The ground crew jettisoned the ballast weight that held the cabin from floating up. With the heavy ballast removed, the hot air pushed the entire balloon up and with it the cabin kept rising until it reached a point of about 300 meter above ground. The wind was quite strong but it not something troublesome, thanks to various “Wind Resistance” and “Wind Barrier” enchantments on the cabin. Yuuto found that even the simplest barrier could reduce the wind power significantly, thanks to the messy hair event two days ago.
At this height, the cabin passengers could see the entirety of Neuschwanense Holy Land. The crops fields that span on the south of the city, the distant Schwanensee Lake and the South Golden Wall. The Grunwahl Forest on the northeast and the Eisenhagel Hill in the northwest. Two giant waterfalls on their direction that jutted out from the Barrier Cliff which feed off the Linkefluss and Rechtefluss River that flowed through Grunwahl Forest and Eisenhagel Hill before they joined into Meine River south of Neuschwanensee Castle.
“This sight... Is quite something right?” (Yuuto)
The twin were too absorbed by the scenery that they hardly ever seen before. There were no skyscrapers in Neuschwanensee so they get a clear 360 degree view, if you just ignore the purple fog that surrounds Neuschwanensee like a dome.
Maybe one of the reason human invent flying apparatus is to be able enjoy this sight that was only reserved for flying animals. With this sight you can just realize that the world is really big and really vast and us humans are really small. Either way, this scenery was something that could really steal your heart.
“It’s better than riding a ferris-wheel right?” (Yuuto)
Yuuto was really glad that both of them seemed to enjoy this experience. Then he reflexively put his hand on their head and started to pat it. Before long, he realized what he had done and withdrew his hand back.
“Ah... sorry... I didn’t mean that. You girls really resemble my little sister, so I instinctively pat your heads.” (Yuuto)
Well, the more correct term was they resemble Yukari when she was still middle school. Since the current college-student Yukari was more or less as tall as Yuuto and not a little girl anymore.
“Do you miss your little sister, Yuuto-san?” (Tsukimi)
“Well, off course. She might be 20 this year, but I will always think her as my dear little sister who always likes to be spoiled by me. I bet she was now frantic because she can’t contact me, too bad we can’t use in-game voip[ii] function.”(Yuuto)
Actually, it was Yuuto who was doting on her so much since she first entered his family as an adopted daughter, that as times passed on, Yukari was very dependent on Yuuto as her main mental support. In other word, Yuuto inadvertently turned his stepsister into brocon. She was even kicked up a fuss when Yuuto said he will go to Yokohama to study and leave her in Shizuoka. Seeing a highschool-age girl throwing a tantrum like a kindergartener was really a surreal scene. Only by promising her to make a video call each day and went to home on every break, she let her dear “Oniisama” go far away. Now that Yuuto thought about it, Kiyomi’s behavior pattern was more or less similar to Yukari, just substitute “Big Brother” to “Husband”. No wonder he got along very well with her. (If both of them meet in RL, it will be a heck of verbal battle, but that’s a matter of another time)
“What do you think happened on the other side, Yuuto-san?” (Mizuki)
“Honestly. I don’t know and maybe we had no means to know about it.” (Yuuto)
“...I wonder how mother is doing...” (Tsukimi)
Once again, the twin’s face became depleted of smile and turned gloomy when they got reminded of the real world they left behind. Yuuto didn’t really know how to cheer them up and so he racked his brain and memories of the time he needed to deal with the gloomy Yukari.
“Do you think we can really go home...” (Mizuki)
“Do you want the optimistic or the pessimistic answer?”(Yuuto)
Yuuto asked them back with a teasing tone as if trying to liven up the bleak atmosphere.
“We can only go home only after spending a lot of time in here.”(Yuuto)
“We can finally go home someday.” (Yuuto)
“There’s no difference.”(Mizuki)
Mizuki and Tsukimi made a half-pouting-half-angry expression. Seeing this, Yuuto replied to them with a rather cheery tone.
“That’s the point. We really don’t know. There are neither people nor books that can make clear of our current situation. Is this still a reality-like game or game-like reality? We don’t know. Even so, there is no use for us to worry about it. There is a saying that, rather than worry about something that we can’t do anything about it, we should rather concentrate on the thing we can do something on it.” (Yuuto)
“What we can do?” (Tsukimi)
“Yup. Now do you mind a little story?” (Yuuto)
Yuuto then made the twin to seat down, while he took out a poorly drawn pictures of several humanoid(?) figures and a really detailed wall (he is really bad at drawing things other than a blueprint) and then began a Kamishibai[iii]. It was something he had prepared before exclusively for Tsukimi and Mizuki. Well... Actually Yuuto prepared many other stories and not just one (all of them are badly drawn), he was really a meticulous person.
“A long time ago, in the western Asia there was a kingdom named Judah. One day the King of Babylon conquered the kingdom and deported all of it population to Babylon. The deported people still thought that they would return to their kingdom soon, but a prophet of their god then said to them that they would only returned when the Babylon kingdom is no more, so they should build their house and open a new field for their livelihood to wait until that time arrive. Some people didn’t believe the prophet and so they keep waiting in vain. But just like the prophet said, the people only returned to their homeland after more than 3 generations has passed and the people who returned were the ones who never saw it before. So do you understand the moral of this story?” (Yuuto)
Yuuto put back the pictures back to his inventory space.
“Umm... We should believe in what the god had said?” (Tsukimi)
“Although that is also a valid answer, the answer is more about: improve the place where you are today for your own good.” (Yuuto)
“I don’t understand.” (Tsukimi)
Tsukimi tilted her head in confusion over Yuuto’s statement.
“Hmm... Do you change seat midyear at your school?” (Yuuto)
“Yes, we do.” (Mizuki)
“Now what do you do when you finally get your own seat? You must be arranging the desk’s and chair’s position for your own convenient right? Then put your books under the desk in a way you can easily access it and hung your bag in a way that you can easily take something from it. Another example is your room. You must be arranging your room for your own convenience right? That is what is mean by: improve the place where you are today. No matter how short is “today” is, human tend to improve the place where he think he will be there for duration of time, never mind that duration is just for a mere minutes.”(Yuuto)
Humans, just like other living being, slowly turned the environment surrounding them into something that will be comfortable to them. It didn’t matter if it was their house, their workplace, their train seat, the park they visit, the road they taken, the world or even the universe itself, humans will and can turn them into something more comfortable for them, even in the detriment of others.
“So we improve this place?” (Tsukimi)
“Yes. That’s why Ichiko took trouble to arrange the economy, she wanted this place has a good economy so it will be prosperous. That’s why Kiyomi manage the castle, to make it more livable. That also the reason why Stella busy with magic experimentation and understanding magic tools, or why Chie and Saki trained their skills and also manage and sort the books at royal library. Even for just a bit, everyone is trying to improve the world in the place they deemed essential for them. After all, this reality, this new world, is not a stranger to us. That’s why, how about we think it like this: This place is ‘Our New World’.” (Yuuto)
“Our New World?” (Tsukimi)
Yes. Who said that we only need to care at only one world, when ‘the world’ is actually multiple layers on top of another: family world, school world, friend world, work world, game world, etc. After all humans tend to think ‘the world’ as the ‘immediate space’ near them, and by ‘space’ it means ‘emotional space’. That’s why most human didn’t care what happened in other side of the world or on another planet. It didn’t happen on ‘their world’ so why should they care? So by turning this world into another world of Tsukimi’s and Mizuki’s, this world wouldn’t be a stranger to them and they don’t need to think that this world wasn’t a place where they don’t belong. In the end, ‘home’ or ‘world’ is just a place where our heart is.
“Yes. This world is also ours, just like the real world. Well at least until we go back to Japan. We don’t know for how long we will stay in this world, but as long as we stay in it, we will make it so that during the period of our stay in this place, it will be comfortable for us. And I promise that, no matter what happened, I’ll make sure all of you will return to Japan safe and sound. Do you understand?” (Yuuto)
Maybe with this, Tsukimi and Mizuki wouldn’t become too dejected if by some chance there is no way to go back to Japan. Yuuto then once again reflectively pat their head once again.
“Ups... sorry... I did it again...” (Yuuto)
“It’s okay...” (Tsukimi)
“Yeah... we don’t mind...” (Mizuki)
Both of them were somehow very content just by letting their head being patted by Yuuto. Maybe because Yuuto had more than 10 years experience of patting his sister head that he had become a pro in head patting, or because for both girls who was raised singlehandedly by their mother, getting patted on an older male was something rarely happened to them.
Yuuto let out his rather rare gentle smile towards the twin. After all, he had been indoctrinated by his cousin that it is a man’s duty to make every girls smile; so a true man will pursue harem ending.... No, wait that’s how his cousin played galge. While thinking about this, Yuuto noticed Mizuki complexion was paler than mercury bleached skin.
“Umm... Mizuki... Your face is pale...” (Yuuto)
“It’s look like... I get air-sickness...” (Mizuki)
Yuuto immediately let off his hand from the twin’s heads and noticed that the altimeter pointed that the current height was about 600 meter. The cabin also was jolting slightly from the wind as the current wind speed surpasses the barrier capabilities. Tsukimi was holding at the now lurching over Mizuki and patting at her back.
“Ah... wait, I’ll get some potion...” (Yuuto)
It suffices to say that Yuuto needed to change his clothes and cleaned the cabin interior afterwards.
Day 5 of arrival. 21-08-0002. 22.11
Later on the night, after taking a break from his work reviewing today flight experiment result and conducting a stroll in the castle corridor, Yuuto spotted Ichiko walking alone without Niviosa or anyone else accompanying her. With curiosity getting better on him, Yuuto decided to follow her. Ichiko cast a Light Ball and walked outside.
The night was quite dark since no star or moon can be seen on the sky, just the faraway darkness that came from the ever enveloping purple fog. But Yuuto racial characteristic as a Human from Agartha, who build their empire deep underground, conferred him with 『Low Light Vision』 and 『Enhanced Spatial Awareness』, so that he could following Ichiko from faraway darkness without difficulty, even when she was moving at speed of 60 km/hour.
Ichiko casted a generic area light spell 『Glow Mist』 at her destination. A large public mausoleum located near the western gate direction. This location was something that never existed in the game before, after all citizens never really die in the game and game data didn’t need any burial.
The mausoleum size was quite big and had upper ground and underground levels. The newly dead usually interred in stone caskets at the upper ground levels, before moved to the underground levels for permanent internment.
Ichiko greeted the mausoleum’s guardians and keeper who was still working even at this late night. She then was invited to go to the inside by the keeper.
Yuuto was wondering what she is doing. Since it a mausoleum and she is a priest then maybe undead extermination? Yuuto was curious to see what form that the Holy and Divine magic took in this new reality so he followed her inside after waiting about 5 minute before approaching the mausoleum.
On the first floor here were several halls where the dead from this year was resting in their stone caskets, on one of those hall Yuuto found Ichiko sitting on one of the benches provided inside. The benches function was to be a place for the grave visitor to sit and grieve in front of the casket.
She was sitting with her staff resting on her lap while hanging her head down and closed her eyes. Her breath was ragged and beads of sweat pouring down from her. Seeing Ichiko like this, Yuuto guessed that she just depleted her MP, and even after the MP depleted she sacrificed her SP to cast magic using her Monk Skill as support.
Yuuto took a MP-SP recovery potion from his inventory, putting Pokari fruit essence to augment its taste, change the container from glass bottle to can made aluminum and then cooling it. For a tier 2 Alchemist like him, this is simple task that took him less than 2 minutes to do.
He then mischievously touched the cool can to Ichiko’s cheek. This made her surprised and yelled with high pitched shriek “Kyaaa!” before hitting Yutto with the staff on her hand. Luckily for Yuuto, his defense ratings were higher than Ichiko physical attack rating, so he hardly takes damage (but it still hurt).
“No!!!! Go away!!!!!!” (Ichiko)
“He-Hey.... stop it.... It’s me...” (Yuuto)
“.....H-Huh... Yuuto-kun?” (Ichiko)
The panicked Ichiko calmed down after she saw Yuuto’s figure. She let out a sigh.
“Yes it’s me... Really... What do you think I am...” (Yuuto)
“I’m so sorry. I thought you are an undead...” (Ichiko)
Ichiko sat back on the chair, while Yuuto also sat beside her. He gave her the potion and Ichiko accepted it with a thanks.
“Do you ever meet with one in this place?” (Yuuto)
“No... But I met with ghosts before...” (Ichiko)
Yuuto began to throw a question, Ichiko put down her hand who held the half-emptied potion back to her lap and answered it.
“So what they look like?” (Yuuto)
“Transparent... Cold to touch like cold mist... Speaking incoherently... and just wandering around.” (Ichiko)
“Well. They seemed harmless...” (Yuuto)
“Yeah. But the local priests who work in here routinely exorcise them. It isn’t good for the soul to linger too long after death. They can grow corrupted, or so they talk. So they exorcise it so they can go to afterlife quicker.” (Ichiko)
“It seems complicated...” (Yuuto)
“You’re right.” (Ichiko)
For modern Japanese people like Yuuto and Ichiko, talks about ghosts and afterlife were something hardly matters to them in real life. After all, modern Japanese can be hardly called as a religious nation. Sure, there were a lot of temples and such, but they didn’t matter much in a Japanese daily life. Yuuto couldn’t even remember the last time he went to temple not for New Year visit or for playing.
But since the game RAHO also incorporated “Spirit”-type enemy, of course there would be ghosts. And of course, they also exist in this new reality. Yuuto was wondering if the “ghosts” could be examined with physics and chemistry. How it exists, where it come and where it go, do afterlife exist in this place? Since he never met with them before, he was rather curious if there were any ghosts near here.
Ah, maybe he could bring the other girls here and does courage test. But, it would be disrespectful to the dead and to the bereaved family. So he soon discarded this idea.
“So, you came to here to exorcise the ghost?” (Yuuto)
“No. It’s not that...The local priests are already more than enough for that case.” (Ichiko)
“Is that so? Then may I ask for what other reason you came to this place?” (Yuuto)
“It’s here.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko pointed at the stone casket in front of her.
The stone casket was significantly smaller than others. Various flower wreaths and aroma oil lamp was put in front of the casket. There were also various small piece of wood board with inscription on it. Yuuto guessed that this was the usual custom for the dead in Neuschwanensee. He read the inscription (Japanese letter appeared underneath the letter, this wasn’t something new to Yuuto, he tough that this was because of the translation function).
【Here lies our precious child. Our time to meet might be short, but we will never forget you.】
Seeing Yuuto seemed to realize something, Ichiko began to speak.
“You know, after hearing that we resurrect the Gate Knights, various citizens came to castle and implored the castle officials to gave me letter.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko took out a paper from her inventory space and gave it to Yuuto. He received it and began to read. In essential, it was a letter from a grieving mother who had her 5 month baby died one week ago because of pulmonary diseases that no healer magic or potion could save. The content was...
“I of course can’t just leave her request unanswered. But......” (Ichiko)
Ichiko’s face turned gloomy. Yuuto didn’t need to ask her further, he already known.
Even in the game, Ichiko was someone who was really like to help others, even more so than Kiyomi. She hardly refuse any request that she thoughts she could done, that’s why she popular with the newbie, and also the reason why as a veteran player on par with Yuuto, she also hasn’t breached the 100 DSL limit, since she hanging with lower DSL players and had no opportunity to raise her own. (By the way she was affectionately nicknamed “Kind Baldy Dude” by the newbies in the game) She was in Yuuto’s term: “Hyper-altruist”, someone who likes who help someone else and felt responsible if they couldn’t help someone that they know they could help even when they couldn’t. In other words: They are too focused on the ‘helping’ part.
“Have you ever succeeded before?” (Yuuto)
“Well... Once or twice... It looked like there was limitation on Resurrection Magic that I didn’t know before. But, it seems that I can only resurrect someone less than 24 hours, no matter how much I casted it. I don’t know......” (Ichiko)
Seeing Ichiko went further dejected, Yuuto tried to rack his brain and activate : ‘What will my cousin do’ MODE. As if he realized something, he then began to talk.
“Well. If you think about it, wasn’t it more strange that the death can be revived?” (Yuuto)
“What do you mean?” (Ichiko)
“Leaving games aside. In real world, dead people can’t come back. But in the game, like RAHO, there is resurrection magic so this was violate RL common sense, so maybe we just forget that death is final. Even if resurrection magic exist in the game, but even so, resurrection magic is not omnipotent. There’s the ‘temporary stat reduction resurrection penalty’, long cool down time and even if you are revived, you only have HP, MP and SP. In some cases, it might be simpler and quicker to die and respawn in Spawn Point than being resurrected. Using this as the basis, if this world is based in RAHO then resurrection magic is also not something omnipotent.” (Yuuto)
The old strategy of shifting blame. With this, Ichiko will shift the blame from ‘herself’ to the ‘resurrection magic have limitation’.
“Please remember that we are not gods, Ichiko. We are not omnipotent, as strong as we are currently, there just many things that we still can’t do. Even on RAHO there are a lot people who are stronger than us and even so they still have limitations on what they could do. So don’t be weighted down by something you can’t done. In the first place, normal human like us can’t use magic......” (Yuuto)
“Hah...... I understand what you mean. I kind of forget about that fact after spending several days in here. Thanks, Yuuto-kun for trying to comfort me. But, I still feel bad for the mother...” (Ichiko)
Well, Ichiko was an adult after all, so Yuuto didn’t need to speak much further.
“Well... We still need to inform her about the truth. Also, I need to consult Mitteherz about this, it’s not that it was bad for the citizen to request you this, but I still think it was better for it to be properly organized. After all, you’re not the only one who can use resurrection magic. Since I still got a lot of this in my inventory.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto took out three Ankh of Lifes and clumsily juggle it. It ended up with them fell down on the floor. Yuuto murmured ‘I need to put some skill on Acrobat Movement’ as he picked up the fallen ankhs.
“Fuhuhu.... I understand. You’re right. It would be bad for me to try and do everything.” (Ichiko)
“I’m glad you understand. After all, we are all together in this, so please don’t put the entire burden on your back alone, you can share some on us, in the end, we are guildmates and not a stranger.” (Yuuto)
“That’s right, isn’t it? Then how about you Yuuto-kun? Do you also carrying a burden you don’t want to share?” (Ichiko)
“Hmm... Let’s see... Do you want to take Kiyomi away?” (Yuuto)
“I pass.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko made an unrestrained smile at Yuuto’s half-joking remarks. Seeing this Yuuto was very glad. After all, Ichiko was the only adult in here. Well, except Stella, well she was semi-adult, she was 20 after all?
But about Yuuto’s burden... Even if he has one, there was no way he would let the girls burdened by it. After all, his personality wouldn’t allow it. This is his one and only burden. Yuuto know that this was different from what he had just talk and this was just him being a hypocrite. But such was his determination.
“Then let us hunt some ghost! I’m dying to see one!” (Yuuto)
In the end, Yuuto didn’t meet with any ghosts... yet.