Chapter 7: The Black Fang (3)

Exhausted and with the night growing late, Siel and I ended up spending the night at an inn attached to the guild.

Fortunately, I was able to cover the cost with the money I had stolen... well, let’s just say ‘rightfully’ acquired as my salary.

It seemed like everyone at the mining site had been too busy trying to escape.

After rummaging through the warehouse, I found quite a few valuable items. Selling them to the guild meant we wouldn’t have to worry about food and shelter for a few days.

So there I was, no longer lying on the hard, filthy dirt floor of a mine, but surrendering my body to the marvel of civilization called bed.

A soft, comfortable bed was a luxury I hadn’t experienced in a long time... but I couldn’t sleep a wink.

“This is driving me crazy, really.”

It was to be expected.

I mean, there was another person next to me. And not just any person, but a girl. 

How could I possibly fall asleep in such a situation?

Right now, I felt an urge to bash my head for yesterday’s decision.

- We have enough money, so let’s get two rooms...

- Why?

- ...Well, because there are two of us, so two rooms.

- If we get just one room, we’ll save half the money.

- But that’s... well, yes, but...

- Do you hate being with me?

- No, it’s not that... It’s just, you know, awkward.

- Am I making you uncomfortable?

- It’s not about that... It’s just, we’re of different genders. It’s... you know.

- If we sleep together, what do you think will happen?

- …Let’s just get one room and drop it, please.

I should have insisted on two rooms no matter what.

'Looks like it’s going to be an all-nighter.'

There is no coffee, but thanks to my healthy body, staying up all night shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

It’s somewhat ironic, really.

The reason I find myself pulling an all-nighter is, ironically, due to the excessively versatile effects of my ‘healthy body’ trait.

It’s not like I’m being cured of one ailment only to be afflicted by another.

‘It seems I really need to be more careful when choosing traits.’

That was the inevitable conclusion.

Now that the game has become reality, the effects of traits have changed significantly.

A worthless trait that couldn’t even block a sleep spell has freed me from a terminal condition and, as a bonus, completely transformed my quality of life.

...Well, there is the minor issue of being too healthy with nowhere to really apply it, but that’s beside the point.

Having personally experienced the game’s text manifesting into reality, I must consider this when choosing traits.

I found myself pondering over the list of legendary-grade traits that I hadn’t chosen last time.

Part of me thought I should save it for later.

I figured it might be a good idea to obtain a tailor-made trait to solve a problem when faced with an insurmountable threat.

But then, remembering what happened last time I held off, it seems wiser to choose one now.

After much deliberation, the trait I selected was:

Emperor Might (Legendary)

The might of an emperor imbues your soul. You become immune to all mental attacks.

Simple in effect.

Yet, undoubtedly crucial.

My first character, which I didn’t equip with mental resistance, ended up being controlled by demons, leading to a bad ending.

Many bosses and formidable enemies in this game are capable of driving people mad, making mental resistance indispensable.

Moreover, there has always been something suspicious about this trait from the previous game.

The nature of ‘Emperor Might’ has never been described in the game, nor has the existence of an emperor ever been mentioned. I’m certain of this after combing through all the text in the previous game.

Yet, this ability to be immune to all mental attacks even worked against the game’s final boss, the Demon King.

Before, I just brushed it off as ‘it’s just a game,’ but now...

If I think about it differently, the existence of this ‘Emperor Might’ suggests there is ‘something’ that stands above even the Demon King in the hierarchy.

It implies the presence of a being superior to the strongest entity in the world.

By choosing this, I could imbue my soul with the might of such an entity.

While I can’t precisely predict what effects this will have or what it might entail, it’s clear that no other trait in the legendary category held as much potential.

My deliberation was brief. I promptly selected Emperor Might.

And then…

‘…What exactly has changed?’

I felt like I’d been duped. I couldn’t discern any noticeable difference.

‘…Not like I can test it out, either.’

It’s not as if I could just casually stroll into a demon-infested area to see if I’m immune to mind control spells or not.

Even if I ended up dissatisfied with the effect, it’s not like I could ask for a refund at this point.

Eventually, I stopped dwelling on the trait and looked around.

Because it was an inn attached to a guild, I was able to go inside even though it wasn't the guild's operating hours yet.

Having made my choice of trait, I approached the bulletin board again to check on the quest I had seen the day before.

A quest paper shimmering with a golden border. It bore the same design as the one involving the capture of the mysterious organization known as the Black Fang.

The implication was clear. Both this quest and the other were directly issued by the empire.


Hunt the Barbarian Tribes

For every barbarian head brought back from the hidden tribes, a reward of 5 gold per head will be given. Details on how to distinguish the barbarians and their characteristics are provided below…

Terms like ‘hunt’ and ‘barbarians’ might make it seem as though it’s about collecting the heads of primitive people.

However, one must always read between the lines with quests issued by the empire.

‘Barbarians’ are those who have refused to submit to the empire’s rule.

To these people, treating anyone who opposes them as animals is just par for the course.

Therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude that this quest is the Empire’s way of instructing the adventurers’ guild to exterminate a minority tribe that refuses to follow its rule.

‘It’s clear now.’

These are the very tribes I’ve read about in spoiler post.

A girl branded with bizarre accusations of being a natural-born killer or something of the sort by fanatical cultists.


She is the second companion I need to gather, currently captured by them.

And I know their location.

Because I saw the location of the mountain where they were hiding in the spoiler post.

A smile naturally forms on my lips.

Is this the privilege of being the possessor?

“Has something good happened?”

Suddenly, a voice comes from behind. Turning around, I see a familiar face.

Siel was looking at me, yawning.

Has it gotten so late already? I can see the morning sun rising through the window.

But now...

‘How do I explain this?’

I find myself in a bit of a predicament. I can’t just start talking about original works or spoilers.

It's only natural.

Shouting 'This world is all fake! You’re all just NPCs in a game!' would only get me labeled as a lunatic.

After a moment’s thought, I found a suitable excuse.

“It’s because of this.”

I point to the quest related to the Black Fang.

Everyone knows the Empire is corrupt.

Saying I laughed out of sheer delight upon reading about those who gave the Empire a taste of its own medicine would seem natural.

“Do you like it?”

While I was pondering, Siel unusually initiated the conversation with her thoughts.

It’s rare for her to do this. Well, she was trapped in that mining site too.

Her resentment towards the Empire must be quite strong.

Having played through the original work myself, I’m well aware of how detestable the Empire can be, so I indulged in a bit of Empire-bashing, lost in nostalgia.

“Anyway. Our next destination is decided.”

Having skillfully navigated through the potential crisis, I smoothly transition to the main topic.

Since we’ll be moving together from now on.

It was challenging to find a reason to head to the mountain without mentioning the original work knowledge. 

Fortunately, I found a quest that could serve as a plausible excuse.

The task was to gather a rare poison plant that only grows in that mountain.

With that explanation, I managed to convince Siel of our destination.


“I can’t go with you.”

She refused.

My mind went blank for a moment.

Why? Could it be because of what happened yesterday?

That would be incredibly unfair. It’s not like I’m some kind of pervert.

In the first place, the real issue was Siel’s bizarre sleeping habit. Naturally, when someone clings to you like a body pillow, certain natural reactions are...


I banished the lewd thoughts from my mind.

Right, she had overexerted herself and collapsed less than a day ago.

It made sense she couldn’t go to a dangerous place.

“Once I’m a bit better and my tasks are done, I’ll join you.”

Siel said, observing my face with a blank expression.

But what tasks?

Curiosity got the better of me, and I asked her. However, her reply was even more unexpected.

“I have to tell my mom I love her before I go.”

“Suddenly? Why visit your hometown now?”

“It’s not my hometown; I’m visiting her grave.”

“…I see.”

That confirmed it.

There must be something wrong with me.

Maybe I should just keep quiet for a while.

I offered Siel some words of encouragement and started preparing for the long journey ahead.

...Though it feels like something is going wrong right from the start.

It must be an illusion.

It has to be.


Left alone, Siel falls into a deep reverie, her thoughts drifting. 

She recalls the words she had heard.

Undoubtedly, those words concerning the Black Fang must have been about her and Ian.

Somehow, without their knowing, an organization had formed around them.

Siel was bewildered, but Ian’s reaction was different.

Ian spoke excitedly about the necessity of this organization and the reasons why they must overturn the empire.

Siel remembered a conversation they once shared.

- Do you really want to change the world like that?

- Why? Want to help?

- I’m not sure.

Now, Siel felt she could answer a question she had deferred for so long.

Because she now understood what love was.

She would help.

If it meant seeing him happy like this.

If it meant seeing him smile like this.

If it were for his happiness.

She could do anything.

Because that’s her ‘love.’


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