Chapter 1 – Part 1
The first thing he felt was wind.
Shin’s consciousness faintly grapshed the feeling of the warm wind blowing on his skin.
What he felt next was a hard sensation on his back, and faintly, a sweet smell tickled his nose.
Was the reason his sight was dark because his eyes were closed?
Shin opened his eyes as he sat up.
What spread across his field of vision was a broad meadow, dotted with tree groves.
White and pink flowers bloomed where Shin had been sleeping. It seems that what Shin smelled earlier were these flowers.
To solve the mystery of why he was here, Shin worked his mind.
(Today I fought Origin, the boss monster at the Depths of the Gate to Another World, and won. Right, I cleared THE NEW GATE. Because of that, we could log out, everyone was released, and in the end it was just me…)
Gradually, his mind became clear.
The scene Shin had seen at the end; that was,
“The doors… opened?”
Right, after defeating the final boss mosnter 【Origin】, logging out became possible, and just as he was about to do so himself, the closed doors had opened, and he lost his consciousness.
“The heck was that? And this is…”
Even looking around again, what he say was a broad meadow, and groves of trees. There was nothing else he could find.
“Could it be, I’m still in the game?”
Shin wasn’t sure whether or not he had managed to touch the words Log Out in the end. Wondering if only he hadn’t logged out because of an event, he made sure by calling up the menu.
Translucent screen behind his eyes, and the menu items lined up there; it was unmistakably the menu screen of THE NEW GATE.
“What, I was still in the game?”
Man, that was shocking, thought Shin, as he brought his gaze down the menu.
There, the words Log Out were――
The words Log Out that should have been between ‘Owned Gold’ and ‘Help’, were nowhere to be seen. The six letters that he had made sure were there when he had defeated Origin, had disappeared.
“Oioioi, this is a lie, right!?”
He opened up every menu item from start to finish, but as expected, the words Log Out were nowhere to be found.
It was like when it was a death game.
“Tch!! Right, what about everyone else!?”
Was there anyone else besides himself? Thinking about that possibility, Shin look out the Survivors List from his item box. If there was any other player left behind, the list would show it.
“What… the hell?”
The only one on the list was 【Shin】, but below that in the white space,
――――『Cannot display due to lack of network connection.』
The Survivors List was a way of having the avatar that used the item, access the network of THE NEW GATE, and checking which players still survived, said his alchemist friend.
Considering that, it meant that at present, Shin’s avatar was disconnected from THE NEW GATE’s system.
“Can’t connect to the network. Then why can I move my avatar?”
Even though he couldn’t log out, he was connected to the system―――― was something like that possible?
In this situation, Shin shouldn’t have been able to move his avatar. It wasn’t as though Shin was well-versed with VR technology, but at any rate, that was how THE NEW GATE worked. Thinking about it normally, being disconnected from the network, yet being able to move your avatar was contradictory.
“I don’t get it. The heck is happening.”
The feeling of relief he had up until a while ago had disappeared in one go, and Shin once again lay down on the ground.
He didn’t feel like getting up, and he worked only his mind, but no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t come up with an answer.
(It’s no good, huh. In these situations, I should empty my mind for a little.)
It was Shin’s way of calming down when the inside of his head was a mess. When there was something he couldn’t understand, he’d temporarily let go of everything, and then rebuild this thoughts.
① He couldn’t connect to the network.
② It was possible to manipulate his avatar.
③ The two points above were not reconcilable.
① could be confirmed through the Survivors List program, and the message that appeared on the list.
② was also confirmed since he was certainly moving hsi avatar.
As for ③, it was a reality that a network connection was essential for the act of moving ones avatar. There was no mistake that players who had lost connection to the network due to a bug found themselves unable to move their avatars.
Then, what would have to happen to reconcile these two facts―――― what Shin came up with was this.
There was the possibility that the Survivors List had malfunctioned, and there really was a network connection. It wouldn’t be strange for something like this to happen.
The next possibility was that he couldn’t connect to the network, but it was possible to move his avatar. That kind of technology might ahve been developed.
“The last possibility would be that… Fantasy.”
Shin smiled wryly at the thought that had by chance crossed his mind while he was thinking seriously.
Shin was a pure net-gamer. He was bad enough that his friends called him a net-game addict. And at the same time, he also reached out to anime, manga, light novels and web novels.
Stories where the protagonist ended up in a world exactly like the game had already become a staple for such fiction, and he had also read a number of these. The reasons for this were varied, but Shin had read many stories where they came to the world of the game with their menu intact.
What had come to mind just now was exactly that. He had suddenly wondered if the place he was in now wasn’t the game, but the real world of THE NEW GAME.
Losing his network connection, and being able to move his avatar; both of these could be explained by it.
‘As if’, thought Shin. He decided to stop thinking for a while, and looked up at the sky. The wide blue sky filled his vision, and small clouds slowly moved by.
He could see the groves of trees in the corner of his eyes. Turning his sight that way, he could clearly see each leaf.
He could see them. He could see them clearly. He could see them distinctly.
He could see too much.
He could see more clearly that when it was a game. It was as though they were the real thing.
With the development of VR, certainly they could create a world that was the spitting image of the real one. Not only in sight and sounds, but it was possible in touch, and taste as well.
However… However possible it was to reproduce these things, technology still hadn’t reached the level of the ‘real thing’ yet. Technology was only at a level where if you’d seen it in reality before, you’d know for sure that these were affected fakes. In the end, they were just pretty graphics.
However, what was reflected in Shin’s eyes were the movements of clouds, the colour and gloss of leaves, the figures of flowers blooming in the field; all of this looked like nothing but the real thing.
Shin slowly held his own hand above his face. There were wrinkles and fingerprints that hadn’t existed when it was a game.
“Is this… the real thing?”
After noticing this one thing, he started to understand things one after another. The scenery before his eyes, the rustle of the leaves, the feel of the wind on his skin, the smell that tickled his nose; all of these were different from how they felt in-game.
“After a death game, is a trip to another world…”
Shin experienced two VRMMO player urban legends in succession. Depending on the person, it might’ve been a delightful situation, but Shin was thinking that he’d have preferred some time in-between them. The only indication that he bore these thoughts that were pretty far off the norm, was his calm expression.
“Ahhhhhhhh… What the heck is going on~~?” lazily said Shin, as he rolled around on the ground.
Just where had the valiant figure from the fight with Origin gone?
On top of the fatigue from the fight with Origin, just when he thought he could log out, unbelievably he ended up on a trip to another world. At any rate, his mind sought rest.
If you had to describe it in one word, he was languid.
He was a little bit burned out as well, so for a while the feelings of wanting to take it easy filled Shin’s heart.
For a while he’d roll about as though he had reverted to infanthood or something, and then stop that, endlessly repeating the two. Little though it may have been, perhaps because he had abandoned the act of thinking for a while, his weariness had become somewhat better than before, and he began to think again.
The situation was filled with unknowns. There was nobody else around, so he couldn’t gather even a little information. Still feeling a little heavy, whilst he sat up he considered what he’d do from now on.
(At any rate, I don’t have enough information. For now, since the menu still appears, I’ll check my status and items, and then shall I search for a place that would have people?)
Summoning the menu, he displayed the status menu.
On the left hand side was a 3D graphic that displayed the avatar that was Shin’s other self, and on the right were entries like 【Ability Points】, 【Equipment】, 【Gifts】, 【Skills】 and the like.
The displayed avatar had black hair and black irises, with no notable traits outside of some slightly sharp looking eyes; the face of a young man you could find anywhere.
The face on the avatar was Shin’s real one, and because the physique was made to reflect that, though it was 180cm tall, it gave somewhat of a lanky impression. Shin’s friend in real life who had been in an athletics club [at school/university] had always told him to train his body more.
When he made to confirm his 【Equipment】, he found that they had changed a little since his fight with Origin, and his muffler, his arm guards, and his leg guards had been unequipped. What he still had equipped was the red-lined black long coat, 【Overcoat of the Dark King】, the pants that had become a set with it, and accessories.
In the weapons column were the words 【Shingetsu [True Moon]】. It seemed that his beloved and prided blade was in good shape.
When he checked his inventory, the equipment he had worn to fight Origin was in there. He had verified his items and money at the same time too, and it seemed there was no problems with his belongings.
Next was 【Ability Points】.
Originally all stats except LUC were maxed out with 9s, and he prayed that he hadn’t weakened.
He looked away from the screen, and for a while gazed far away before returning to the screen.
There was no way that doing something like that would change what was being displayed before him.
“Hangon, just hangon!”
Once again, he looked away from the screen, and gazed into the distance. Furthermore, he rubbed his eyes, and then having made sure there was nothing blurry about his sight, he returned his gaze to the screen.
It was like he was in a frame of a manga where the character couldn’t believe their eyes, Shin thought.
“…I didn’t see wrong… huh?”
In the end, having looked upon it for the third time, Shin finally accepted that he hadn’t seen that wrong.
The reason was simple; except for LUC, those ability points were very different from what his stats used to be.
The VVMMORPG 【THE NEW GATE】 was different to other MMORPGs, and if you spent a long time, you could raise every stat except LUC to the maximum.
Shin who had spent massive amount of time on it since the Closed-β days, on top of aiming for maximum hunting efficiency, and who would repeatedly use the rebirth[reincarnation] system, was the only player who had capped all stats.
There were other players who had almost maxed out, but none of them could reach Shin.
When it was a game, Shin’s HP and MP were 9999, and besides LUC which was 36, all other attributes were 999.
The reason LUC was low was because on top of it having a cap of 99, it was determined and fixed from when the character was created.
But right now, all of Shin’s statuses save for LUC were displayed as over double their original values.
“The game’s specs have been… smashed by this…”
There was already nothing left he could do but be amazed.
The numerical values were too large, and right now he had no idea how great his own strength was.
“…As you’d think, I’m exhausted from the surprise…”
Because of all the surprises he’d had recently, he was sure that he looked hilarious, he thought mockingly about himself.
Even so, staring at the menu was unproductive, so for now he’d move on to other entries.
(There are things I’ve never seen before, huh.)
Looking at it from start to finish, he found out that new Gifts and Skills had been added.
The Gifts 【Limit Breaker】, 【Accomplished One】 and 【Liberator】, and the Skills 【Wave of the Dark King】, 【Focus Wave】 and 【Scattered Wave】 had been added.
He should have heard it when he defeated Origin, but Shin had completely forgotten.
To find out what effects they had, he chose the three new Gifts from the menu.
With this power, you can exceed the limit.
The upper limit for all statuses has been removed. Statuses will rise according to how many ability points were discarded prior to limit removal.
Blessings to the one who has reached the ends of Samsara.
The moment this Gift was received, all ability points were doubled.
You are the hopes of those who have been imprisoned.
Acts of restriction and subordination are restricted. Forbidden magic, traps, items etc. are made invalid.
Every one of the Gifts he had gained were beyond expectations. Even Shin who knew of almost every Gift in the game didn’t know of such balance-breaking Gifts.
It was fine that he had solved the mystery of his increased statuses, but these were basically cheats. They weren’t even in the dimension of having a rare item, or starting on a high level.
…Having said that though, that LUC was still the same as ever (in accordance to the game’s setting), it kind of felt like he was being mocked.
“Stories where they go from an MMO to another world usually have cheat characters but… this really feels like they’re overdoing it, huh…”
Shin, whose original statuses could be called cheats, had been enough to demolish a group of max level Lv.255s once (a group of 12, with no rebirths). He was strong enough that when he killed them all, they screamed “You freaking cheater!” as they died.
Against players who had rebirthed dozens of times and almost capped their stats, even Shin wasn’t undefeatable, but even so, he could fight on par with 4 of them at once. In the first place, players who fought with Shin head on were rare though.
Those stats had now been even further increased. As long as he didn’t suffer an instant death from an ambush, in fights against people he probably couldn’t lose anymore. Of course, this was assuming that there were other players in this world in the first place.
Whilst thinking about needless worries, Shin prayed that these titles weren’t possessed by heaps of other people.