The New Gate: Vol.1 Chap. 1 - Part 2

――『Gatekeeper [One Who Guards the Gate]【Origin】has been defeated. According, you will be granted the bonuses for defeating the boss.』
――『You have gained the Gifts【Limit Breaker】,【Accomplished One】, and【Liberator】.』
――『You have gained the skills【Meiou no Hadou [Wave of the Dark King]】,【Shuusoku Hadou [Convergence Wave]】, and【Kakusan Hadou [Diffusion Wave]】.』
――『You have gained the following items:【Remains of the Guardian】,【Soul of the Guardian】,【Heart of the Guardian】』
(T/N: In TNG, Titles are called ‘Gifts.’ The kanji reads ‘Title’ while the furigana reads ‘Gift.’)



While listening to the announcement, Shin simply stood still.



The place was flooded with light.



Origin’s body had scattered into the particles of light that now filled the room.
After dancing around the room, the lights gradually faded away. At the end, all that was left was the tattered room, a door without a single scratch on it, and Shin.



When the lights disappeared, another announcement was broadcasted.



『Gatekeeper [One Who Guards the Gate]【Origin】of the deepest part of Gate of the Otherworld has fallen. The dungeon has been cleared.』



That was to inform Shin’s nakama that he had emerged victorious.



『Accordingly, all players will now be able to log out.』



Now all the players that had fought in THE NEW GATE knew that they had been freed from the game.



“It’s finally over...”



Truly, it was over.
The death game that had imprisoned all of them for a whole year was finally over.
Just in case, Shin pulled up the ingame menu. There really was a “Log Out” button at the very bottom.
He then pulled up his Friends List. The indicators to the side of each name that used to say “Online” were changing into “Offline” one by one.
It appears that everyone was able to safely log out.



“I’ve fulfilled my promise! Right, Marino?”



A sense of accomplishment filled his chest.
Would that girl who had left this world praised him?



So wondered Shin.



“Well then! Shall we stay behind until all the other players have logged out first?”



“No more depressing thoughts,” thought Shin as he sat down.
He decided to stay behind and watch over everyone until they’ve all safely logged out.



Shin took out the Survivors [Those Who Remain] List from his inventory. It was rolled up like a sheepskin parchment, so he spread it out. This item was a real time list of the names of every single player in the game.
Alchemist nakama of his who had empathized with his wish to see everyone off until they’ve all logged out had spent 7 all-nighters making this item. They said that when a player dies or logs out from the game, their name would disappear from the list.
While thanking his alchemist nakama inside his heart, he kept on watching as the list gradually grew shorter and shorter.



After about 3 minutes, the only name left on the list was【Shin】.



“I’m the last, huh.”



He unconsciously uttered those words.



When he was fighting, all he did was to stare straight ahead. But now that everything was over, it felt somehow deeply moving.



He probably won’t ever return here after logging out. There was no way that this game that had turned into a death game would still continue running; no matter how you thought about it, it was impossible.



(In the end, it turned out like this, but putting the dying part aside it was actually quite a lot of fun.)



Shin had been playing THE NEW GAME for pretty much 1/3 of his entire life. For better or for worse, he had spent an enormous amount of time together with this game. (T/N: I suppose that means the game didn’t turn into a death game at the very beginning like SAO.)



“Seeya, THE NEW GATE!”



As Shin murmured his farewell and reached to log out, the door in front of him let out a groan.



“Nn?”



Transfixed by the door that was now opening, the finger that was about to touch the Log Out button stopped in midair.



The massive doors whose resplendent ornamentation had become loose gradually creaked open. A brilliant light from the other side spilled through the widening crack, such that it was impossible for Shin to see what was beyond.



“What? I thought the game was completely finished...”



Shin was bewildered.
Without regard for Shin, the door continued to open, and the light filled the entire room until it was pure white.



“Something’s not right here!”



Feeling a growing sense of foreboding, Shin rushed to hit the log out button. But an instant before he could make it, the light filled up the entire room.
As if he was swallowed up by the light, Shin immediately lost consciousness.







The first thing that he felt was the wind.
As his hazy consciousness gradually came back, he felt a warm wind flowing upon his skin.
The next things that he registered were the hard ground against his back and a sweet smell that was tickling his nose.
Oh right, the world is all dark because my eyes are still closed.



“Nn...”



He opened his eyes as he sat up.
The world before him was a meadow that stretched as far as he could see, with tree groves dotted here and there.
White and pink flowers were blooming where Shin had been sleeping. With Shin at the center, the circle of flowers had a diameter of roughly 3m. Apparently, the smell which had been tickling Shin’s nose from earlier was from these flowers.



“This place is...”



His mind began to turn, trying to answer the question of why he was in a place like this.



(Today, I fought with the boss Origin at the deepest part of Gate of the Otherworld and won. That’s right, I’d cleared THE NEW GATE. Then it became possible to log out, and I had waited until everyone else had been freed...”



His mind gradually came back into focus.
The light at the end that he had seen, that was,



“The doors ... opened?”



That’s right, after defeating【Origin】, the last boss, it became possible to log out, and he too was just about to log out when the door that had been closed suddenly opened and he lost consciousness.



“What on earth was that? And this place...”



Even when he looked around again, there was really nothing but grass and groves of trees. Nothing else was to be found.



“Could it be that I’m still inside the game?”



Shin wasn’t sure whether his finger had actually reached the Log Out button at the end. He wasn’t sure if it was some kind of an event at the end and that he hadn’t actually logged out yet, so he tried to call up the ingame menu.



“...oi, oi.”



Lined up in front of his eyes was a translucent interface and menu items lined up next to it. It was without a doubt the ingame interface from THE NEW GATE.



“What on earth, I’m still inside the game?”



“Ahhh, that scared me,” thought Shin as he scrolled down the menu.
There, at the bottom, the Log Out button...



“... is not here!”



It wasn’t there.



The Log Out button that should have been between Gold Owned and Help was not there. After defeating Origin, he had confirmed that the button was back. But now it was gone again!



“Oi, oi, oi, you’ve kidding me, right?!”



He checked every single menu from the interface, but the log out button was really nowhere to be found.

It was exactly the same as when he was inside the death game.



“Tch!! Oh right, what about everyone else?”



Was there anyone else other than himself? Entertaining that possibility, he took out the Survivors List from his inventory. If there were any other players who’d also been left behind, then their name should appear on the list.



“What on earth ... is this??”



On the list was only his name. However, below his name was a message floating in the blank space that said,



――『Cannot display due to lack of connection with the network.』



His alchemist nakama had told him that the Survivors List functioned by accessing the network inside THE NEW GATE and confirming the avatars who are still present.
If that was true, then it means that Shin’s avatar was currently cut off from THE NEW GATE’s system.



“If I’m not connected to the network, then how come I can still move my avatar?”



Even though he didn’t log out, he was cut off from the system. Was that even possible? In such a situation, Shin would have become unable to move his avatar. Shin was by no means an expert on VR technology, but he at least knew that that was how THE NEW GATE worked. If he thought about it normally, it was a contradiction to be cut off from the network and still being able to move his avatar.



“I don’t get it! What on earth is happening?”



As the earlier feeling of relief evaporated in one go, Shin threw himself back onto the ground.
Without standing up again, he wracked his brain as hard as he could, but no matter how hard he thought he still couldn’t come up with any answers.



(I can’t go on like this. In times like these, I have to empty my mind for a bit first.)



This is what Shin usually does to calm down when he finds his mind all muddled up. When he couldn’t make anymore inroads, he would let go of all his thoughts, then rebuild everything again from the bottom up.



First of all, I can’t connect to the network.
Secondly, I can indeed move my avatar.
Thirdly, the above two points are mutually exclusive.



The first point could be confirmed by once again checking the message shown on the Survivors List.
As for the second point, it is indeed true that a connection to the network is essential to manipulate his avatar. In actuality, players who had been disconnected from the network due to bugs or whatever had become unable to move their avatars, so this must also be true.
There is no particular need to confirm the third point.



Therefore, Shin now thought about how it was possible for the two points to coexist.



He considered the possibility that it was just the Survivors List that was bugged and that he was actually connected to the network. It wouldn’t be strange if that was true.
The second possibility was that it was now possible to control his avatar even without a connection to the network. The problem was that Shin was indeed moving his avatar, so there was no way to test this theory.



“The last possibility is that this is now a fantasy.”



He smiled wryly at this thought that had floated across his mind while trying to think seriously.



Shin was a total gamer. He was into games so much that his friends even called him the gaming addict. At the same time, he also spent a lot of time on anime, manga, light novels, and web novels.
He had read many novels of the “can’t get out of this death game” genre. He was very surprised when he himself got to experience the exact same thing from the novels. Therefore, of course he had read stories with the setting of “oh I’ve arrived in a world exactly like the game world!”.
The reasons given had been varied, but there were a lot of stories where the main character had entered the game world as is.



What had entered Shin’s head just now was exactly that. Abruptly, the thought that this was perhaps the real THE NEW GATE world had floated into his mind.
This would explain how he could move his avatar even though he was not connected to the network.



“No way,” thought Shin as he gave up thinking for a moment and just looked up at the sky. The blue sky spread out before his eyes, and little white clouds floated along.
At the corner of his eyes was the meadow and the edge of the groves. When he focused there, he could distinctly see each leaf one by one.



“...................”



He could see them. Very distinctly. Leaf by leaf.







He was seeing TOO well.







He could now see even better than when he was in the game. It was almost as if this was the real thing.



Indeed, VR technology had already reached the point where it was possible to construct a world that was almost like the real world. Sensory input was not limited to vision and sound; it was also possible to reproduce touch, smell, and taste.
However, there’s a limit. No matter how accurate the reproduction, it was still only possible to get close enough to be “almost like” the real thing. The resolution was such that anyone who has seen the real thing would easily be able to tell that it was a mere replica. In the end, it is only pixels and voxels.

However, everything that Shin could see, from the movement of the clouds to the luster of the leafs to the contours of the flowers blooming in the wild, was screaming that this was reality.



“...................”



Shin slowly brought his hands to his face.



The creases and fingerprints that he couldn’t see while in the game were there.



“Is this ... really real?”



Having reached this realization, he started to understand everything else one by one. The scene in front of his eyes, the rustling of the leaves, the feeling of the wind on his skin, the smell that was tickling his nose — everything was different from what he had felt while inside the game.



“After the death game, now a trip to a parallel world ...”



Shin had now succeeded in experiencing the two biggest urban legends related to VRMMOs.
Depending on the person, this might be a highly desirable situation, but all Shin was thinking was that he would have preferred some down time between the two happenings. The only outward indication of this weird way of thinking was Shin’s calm expression.



“Ahh ... why is this happening~~”



He raised his voice lazily while rolling on the ground.
The gallant figure of him fighting Origin was nowhere to be found.
In addition to the fatigue of fighting Origin, being sent to a parallel world right when he thought he could log out had made him so tired that he just wanted to take a rest.
To sum it up in one word, he was now the very image of languidness.
It would take a while for this syndrome to burn itself out, so for the moment Shin’s chest was only filled with the desire to just laze about.



“Ahhhh~~~ ... Haaaaaa~~~ ... ”



For a while, Shin just repeatedly rolled around like as if he had regressed back into an infant and gotten stuck in that state. Abandoning thought and just lazing around for a short time apparently seemed to suffice as a modicum of rest. Feeling a little bit better after those few minutes, Shin began to think again.



There were too many unknown in his present situation. As there was no one nearby, he couldn’t gather any information. Although his body still felt a bit heavy, he started to move and at the same time began considering what he should do next.



(In any case, I have too little information. For now, let’s bring up the menu interface again and confirm my status and items. After that, let’s go look for somewhere with people.)



He called up the menu interface and looked at his character screen.
The left half of the screen was a 3D model of Shin’s avatar, while the right half had menus that led to other interfaces like【Attribute Points】,【Equipment】,【Gifts】, and【Skills】. (T/N: One more reminder that in this game, ‘Titles’ are called ‘Gifts.’)



The 3D model of his avatar was a young man with black hair, black eyes, and a common face whose sole unique characteristic was the slightly sharp look in its eyes. Being a direct reflection of Shin’s real face and body, this avatar was also around 180cm tall and looked a little gangly. His friends in real life who were in athletic clubs had frequently told him to go train his body more.



He realized some slight changes from the fight against Origin when he checked the【Equipment】window. The main thing was that he was no longer wearing his muffler, handguards, and greaves. What he did have on was the black long coat with red lines on it,【Long Coat of the Dark King】, the pants that were part of the set, and accessories .
He found【Shingetsu [True Moon]】in the column of weapons. It appears that his favorite beloved katana was safe and sound.
In his equipment storage was everything that he had from before coming here and also the stuff that he was no longer wearing after the fight. All of his items and the money that he had were all unchanged, so there were no problems on that end.



Next was his【Attribute Points】.
Originally, aside from LUC, all of his other stats had been maxed with 9’s. While praying that he didn’t get nerfed, he opened the window.



Name:           Shin
Gender:        Male
Race:             High Human
Job:                Samurai
Level:            255                (MAX: 255)
HP:                22832            (MAX: 9999)
MP:               21349            (MAX: 9999)
STR:              2225              (MAX: 999)
VIT:               2017              (MAX: 999)
DEX:             2170              (MAX: 999)
AGI:              2236              (MAX: 999)
INT:              2032              (MAX: 999)
LUC:             36                  (MAX: 99)



“... No way, no way, no way.”



Shin took his eyes off of the screen, looked somewhere far away for a bit, then looked at the screen again.
There was no way that doing that would change what was on the screen, though.



“No, wait a sec. Wait a moment!”



He looked away from the screen again and stared at a point far away. He then rubbed his eyes. Confirming that his vision was not blurry, he finally looked at the screen again.



“I’m not seeing wrong ... right?”



In the end, Shin had to look three times before finally acknowledging that he wasn’t seeing wrong.


The reason was simple. Aside from LUC, all of his stats differed greatly from what he remembered.



VRMMORPG【THE NEW GATE】was different from other VRMMORPGs in that if you spent enough time, it was possible to max out every single stat (except for LUC).



Ever since closed beta, Shin had spent an overwhelming of time in the game and calculated the most efficient ways of farming. He had also repeatedly reincarnated his avatar before finally maxing out every single stat. Although there were other players who had gotten close, he was literally the only player who had truly maxed out his character.



Consequently, he had maxed out HP and MP at 9999; STR, VIT, DEX, AGI, and INT at 999; and LUC at 36. His LUC was so low only because the amount was decided during character creation and couldn’t be increased nor decreased afterwards. However, all of Shin’s other stats were now more than double the max.



“This game’s balance ... has been totally destroyed ...”



There was nothing to do but to just be amazed.



His stats were now so high that he had no idea how strong his full power would be.



“... I’m pretty tired of being surprised by now ...”



He was almost going to hit himself because of how ridiculous he looked from having been continuously surprised the whole time.
With that said, though, it would be unproductive to just continue staring at the status window, so for now he decided to continue checking other interface menus.



(There’s something here that I’ve never seen before.)



The long and short of it was that there were Gifts and skills that he had never seen before.

The new Gifts were【Limit Breaker】,【Accomplished One】, and【Liberator】. The new skills were【Meiou no Hadou [Wave of the Dark King]】,【Shuusoku Hadou [Convergence Wave]】, and【Kakusan Hadou [Diffusion Wave]】.

Shin had heard the announcement after defeating Origin, but it had completely slipped his mind.

Curious about their effects, Shin selected the three new additions to his list of Gifts.



【Limit Breaker】
Your power can surpass the limit.
The upper limit for all stats has been removed. Stats will rise according to how many attribute points were discarded prior to limit removal.



【Accomplished One】
Blessings be upon the one who has broken free of samsara.
At the moment this Gift is attained, all attribute points will be doubled.



【Liberator】
You are the hope of those who have been imprisoned.
Immune to all binding and restricting effects. Forbidden magic, traps, items etc. are rendered ineffective.



“... what on earth is this?”



Every one of these new Gifts that he had gotten were ridiculous. He knew pretty much every Gift, but he had never heard of such game-breaking Gifts.



It was well and good that he finally solved the mystery of why his stats had jumped up so much, but with these Gifts he was now basically cheating.
It was not even on the same dimension as having rare equips or having high levels from the start. But LUC alone remained unchanged (in accordance to the game’s settings). Was it supposed to be some form of harassment?



“Most characters who get sent to a parallel world from an MMO are strong enough to be cheating, but isn’t this overdoing it a little?”



With his original stats, Shin had already been publicly called a cheater. After he single-handedly beat a party of 12 max level players (their levels were maxed, but not their stats, and they had never been reincarnated), they had screamed “You freaking cheater!” while dying. Shin did have a harder time against players who had reincarnated several tens of times and who’d almost maxed out their stats, but he was still able to handle four of them at the same time. In the first place, it was extremely rare for any other players to seriously consider beating him.



Now that those stats have been even further amplified, as long as he didn’t get killed off instantaneously there was no way he would ever lose to anyone else.



Shin prayed fervently that these Gifts would never be propagated.
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