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

Extinct. That’s what Tiera had said.
The entire race of high humans was extinct.



“...... Then what about humans, are there still humans?”
“Oh, there are a lot of humans around. Those people from the Knights Order just now were all humans, remember?”
“Oh, they’re still around, huh.”



Clearing up the misunderstanding helped Shin regain some small measure of relief.



“It’s the high humans that went extinct, not the humans.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Of course they’re different. In the past, a group of merely six high humans ruled over this entire continent of Leidimunt. If you pitted them against tens of thousands of humans the humans would still lose. They’re on a completely different dimension.”
“Six people ruled over the continent?”



The whole six people and continent ruling thing caught his attention and seemed to stir something in his memory. He felt like something like that did happen back then.



“May I hear more about that?”
“Most people already know this, but fine. I can tell you. Before, around 500 years ago, high humans ruled over this whole continent. There were only 6 of them, but their overwhelming strength was such that there was nothing any of the other races could do to them.”
“............”
“But suddenly, their rule ended.”
“It ended?”
“Yes, it ended. It was not only the high humans, but a lot of people disappeared, including the long-lived species like high elves and high lords, the short-lived species like high beasts and high dwarves, and every race’s royalty, elders, heroes, generals, and other influential people. I heard that it all happened very suddenly. According to Master, there were many others aside from these influential people who also disappeared. Now, we call that day『Dusk of the Majesty』.”
“Dusk of the Majesty ...... I see.”
“Because the high humans also disappeared back then, it is now thought that they are extinct. There were only 6 of them, after all.”



Sudden disappearance. Shin happened to know a little bit about that.
If it’s a phenomenon where a large number of people suddenly disappeared, it’s probably that.



(It’s that day. The day I defeated Origin and everyone logged out. I don’t have any conclusive evidence, but that’s most likely the true character of this Dusk of the Majesty.)



When she was talking about kings and heroes, she was probably referring to the guilds and guildmasters. The number of people who were released that day numbered in the tens of thousands. Shin didn’t know the exact number, but he was sure that there were tens of thousands of people trapped inside the game. To the eyes of the residents of this world, it must have looked like a sudden mass disappearance.



(Following that train of thought, then the six high humans who used to rule over the entire continent must have been ...)



Shin finally understood what it was that had caught his attention. Six high humans. Unmistakably,



(That was us ......)



Indeed, it was all the way back before THE NEW GATE became a death game, when it was still a normal VRMMO. In THE NEW GATE was a guild that was said to have been unbeatable.



That guild was comprised of 6 high humans and was called『Rokuten [Six Heavens]』. They had wiped out every major guild in THE NEW GATE, and within a month there was no player that did not know their name. They gained the reputation of mercilessly PKing any player who rose a voice in protest.



In this way, Shin had also been one of the six members of Rokuten. When he started playing he was frequently mocked for choosing the human race, so in a fit of “other races aren’t such hotshots anyways!!!” he and his guildmates decided to let loose and go ballistic on everyone else. To be honest, Shin considered it a really dark part of his past that he would never tell anyone about.
It goes without saying that all of the founding members were high humans. And they weren’t just any high human, all of them were mad players who had almost capped every stat. Even their weakest member had maxed out his HP and MP and had all other stats above 950.



They had slapped every major guild with a written challenge, then removed the limit on the number of participants for the guild war and taken on thousands of opponents at the same time with only the six of them. It was a crazy battle in which they had deployed ridiculously powerful AoE spells that reduced the entire field to cinders before ending it by giving all of the enemy leaders a thorough thrashing.
After that, the number of people who would pick a fight with Rokuten went from “very few” to “none,” and the number of people who made fun of humans went down. It wasn’t only because of the fighting strength that Rokuten had displayed, but also because everyone learned how significant high humans’ resistance to magic was. Regardless of the effect, be it poison, paralysis, confusion, charm, burn, freeze, distraction, petrification, or any other debuff, a few seconds was all that was needed for a full recovery.
With such overpowered characters around, Shin wasn’t sure if it was a blessing or a misfortune that he was the only member of Rokuten who got stuck inside the death game. If there was at least one more member with him, Shin was sure that they could have broken free at least 3 months faster.



“............”
“What happened? You suddenly got all quiet.”
“Nah, nothing. So, we were talking about the currency?”



Shin had a feeling that if he continued this conversation about high humans he would only be digging his own grave, so he steered the topic back to the currency.



“Yea. So, this was the currency that you had been using?”
“Yes.”


“Haaaa, taking out something so priceless just like that, I can almost believe your claim of being a high human.”

It seems that she still doesn’t believe that he’s a high human.
While sighing, Tiera picked up the Geyl gold coin and stared at it fixedly. She was apparently checking its authenticity.
Shin was puzzled at Tiera calling the coin “priceless.”



“Is it really that valuable? A single Geyl?”



In the game, 1 Geyl corresponded to 1 yen. The exchange rate to real money was 1:1000. Incidentally, there were hundreds of millions of Geyls in Shin’s inventory. It was a mystery why despite being gold coins and having the symbol ‘G’ they were not actually called ‘Gold.’



“Now Geyl gold coins, or G gold coins for short, are not things that you can get your hands on whenever you wanted. You might not know this, but Geyls are magical items that can amplify magical power. Sometimes people find them in ruins and auction them for at least 10 pieces of Jul white gold coins, which equals 1 billion Juls. Oh, Juls are the common currency nowadays. We usually say how many J gold coins or how many J silver coins or just simply how many J.
“For a single piece to equal hundreds of millions ......”
“Magic casters would go to enormous lengths to own even one of these. Not counting the time Master showed me one, this is my first time seeing it. I’m going to say this just in case, but 1 billion is merely the minimum price for one. People who really want it usually end up paying more than 10 times that.”
“This single piece would fetch that much, huh ...... Incidentally, how frequently are they found?”
“ ‘Seldom’ is all I can say. Even when new ruins are found, there’s no guarantee that there would be Geyls.”
“Is that so. I guess I would attract a lot of attention if I tried to cash this in, then.”



Shin had originally planned to sell them as capital, but hearing how valuable they were he had to abandon even the plan of exchanging them for the current currency.



“That’s a wise decision. You look like someone who’d be careless about that sort of thing.”
“That’s harsh~ Oh right, but if I can’t exchange my money then I literally have no money on hand.”
“Do you have anything to sell? For starters, if you have any raw materials or items then we can buy them from you.”
“That’s a good idea. How about these?”



Shin took out some item cards from his inventory. Back in the game, if you turned an item into a card and stored it in your inventory as a card, any more of that item that you put into your inventory would automatically be converted into card form and stack with the stack that you already have. Items in card form were basically a picture of that item. Afterwards you could return the item to its real form anytime you wanted.
What Shin placed on the counter in front of him were teeth, claws, hides, and meat from Tetra Grizzlies, Twin-Head Snakes, and Flame Boars and some brown jewels. There was a wide range of things you could do with raw materials, such as crafting things with them or selling them, so back during the game there were many places you could visit to trade them. Jewels were rare drops from defeating monsters that you could bring to a blacksmith to enhance or add an attribute to your weapon or equips. As such, they were worth a lot more than raw materials. The jewel cards that Shin had brought out this time were Grade 7, the lowest grade.



“Item cards ......”
“Nn? Is there something strange?”
“No, if you have an inventory I’m sure this is pretty normal for you. I don’t think you know this, so I’ll also say this just in case. Item cards are also relatively expensive, so you shouldn’t take them out all willy-nilly either.”
“That sounds so bothersome. I have to carry raw materials around in their normal form?”
“That’s what everyone does! You’re the one who is weird!”
“I-I understand. I get it already, so please calm down.”
“Mou, you just keep on throwing off my pace!”



So saying Tiera deftly materialized the items from the cards and began to appraise them. Despite her surprise at seeing them it seems that she does know how to use them.



“These are drops from Tetra Grizzlies, Twin-Head Snakes, and Flame Boars. They’re all materials from ferocious monsters found only deep inside forests. Seriously, who are you?”
“Even if you say that ...... I just defeated them on the way here. I didn’t think them particularly ferocious, though.”
“But every single one of these monsters would take several knights to hunt ...... Forget it. There would be no end to it if I kept on being surprised at every single thing you say.”



Shin had thought that they were monsters only for beginners but apparently they were surprisingly dangerous.



“Well, don’t worry about it. Rather than that, how’s the appraisal coming along?”
“Let’s see. They’re all in great condition and you can turn them into cards so these raw materials amount to a total of 1 gold Jul and 27 silver Juls or 1.27 million Juls. The jewels are Grade 7 but their purity is high so I can give you 25 gold Juls or 25 million Juls for them.”
“Since the currency is all different I’m not sure if that’s a lot or very little ......”
“To be honest, the price that I’m offering is a little on the high side. Market price of the jewels fluctuate all the time, but they’re on the rise right now. This rank and purity would normally fetch 20 to 23 million Juls.”
“Ohhh, lucky me. I gained a profit of more than 2 million.”
“What will you do? If you’re fine with these prices then we can buy them from you immediately.”
“Alright, yes please. Ah, you can keep that. Think of it as a gift to cement our future business relationship.”



So said Shin while pointing at the Geyl gold coin that he’d left on the counter.



“............ you’re joking, right?”
“Why would you think that?!”
“Of course I would! Were you even listening to what I was saying just now?! In what world would someone simply give away a G gold coin worth hundreds of millions?!?!”
“This one.”



Shin pointed at himself.



“...... I’m not going to give this back even if you come asking for it later!”
“No way I would!”



The reproachful looking Tiera apparently lost to her fascination with the gold coin. She grabbed the coin with a quick motion and embraced it to her chest. Shin found himself unable to tear his eyes away from Tiera’s breasts, which had been emphasized by her arms pressing in from both sides.



“Ahhh, the G gold coin that I’ve even had dreams of~!”



The reproach in Tiera’s face had been completely replaced by a rapt expression. Perhaps due to her slightly reddened cheeks, Shin felt a curious sex appeal from her. Shin chastised himself and lightly shook his head in an effort to dispel the unbidden improper thoughts.



“Ahem, I’m glad that you like it. I’m sure that as an elf you’d be using magic-”
“Wait a second!”
“...... What?”



Shin was about to say “often anyways” when Tiera suddenly interrupted him. Her face was now filled with fright and shock at what she’d just heard.



“....... What is it?”
“Just now ...... did you say ‘elf’?”
“Ah, yes I did ...... eh? You’re not an elf?”



Shin confirmed from his memory that small, pointed ears was a characteristic unique to only elves and high elves. He tilted his head in confusion, wondering if there was a race that he didn’t know of.



“Right now you’re supposed to be seeing a red-haired black-eyed cat person!”
“Red-haired black-eyed cat person?”



Cat people was a sub-race under Beasts that was highly popular with female players and a niche group of male players. There were numerous sub-races under Beasts, cat people being one of them, and there were further sub-classes within the cat people race, including Persian-type and calico-type. Their avatars had modeled hands, animal ears, and a tail, while some even had their body covered with feathers.



“Huh?” thought Shin as he looked at Tiera again, but all he saw was a black-haired golden-eyed beautiful young elf girl. There was no red-haired black-eyed cat person to be found.



“All I can see is a black-haired golden-eyed beautiful young elf girl. Yep.”
“How can this be ......”



He did intentionally emphasize the “beautiful young girl” part, but it was like she didn’t notice it at all.



“How come? Master had cast illusion magic on me!”
“Illusion magic?”



Illusion magic was usually used to confuse an opponent or trick them into falling into a trap. There was a member of Rokuten who specialized in it, so Shin had a very vivid impression of it.



“Uuu ...... to think that it would be seen through ......”

Tiera was looking downcast like it was the end of the world. Shin frantically thought of a way to hearten the suddenly depressed Tiera, but no matter how hard he wracked his brain nothing came up. So he decided to explain the reason behind how he saw through the illusion.



“Ummm, Tiera?”
“Wha-what?”



He’d intended to speak to her softly, but Tiera looked almost excessively afraid.



“It’s about me being able to see that you’re an elf. It’s actually due to my constitution.”
“Your ...... constitution?”
“Yes. Illusion magic is for confusing an opponent and making them see an illusion. However, it doesn’t work on someone with an extremely high magic resistance. That’s why I can see your real form.”
“But ...... regardless of how high your magic resistance is, to see through an illusion cast by Master ......”



Tiera looked like she was having a hard time believing Shin’s explanation. According to Shin’s memory, Tiera’s Master, Schnee, was a level 255 high elf. Being a magic-focused elf and also belonging to one of the higher races must have made her magic very powerful, but there was still a lot of room for improvement to her stats, especially when compared to Shin. In combination with the extra magic resistance from Shin’s high human race, the illusion had failed to even register in Shin’s eyes.



Shin sighed and wondered what to do.



“Hey.”
“Nn?”
“You can see what I really look like, right?”
“I can clearly see a black-haired golden-eyed beautiful young elf girl. Are you her?”
“............”



There was no response. It’s pretty tough being ignored, thought Shin despondently.



“...... You’re not scared?”



As Shin was regretting making stupid jokes that he wasn’t used to making, Tiera let out a voice that he almost missed. That voice was like that of a very frightened child.



“What is there to be scared of?”



Shin started taking it seriously and talked to Tiera as gently as he could.



Asking if herself was a monster.
When Tiera asked that in a trembling voice, the face of one of the previous members of Rokuten floated into Shin’s head.

Because of how fun he found the game, Shin was proud of having logged so many hours that he was called a gamer addict, but this other member who had been hospitalized for a long time considered even that “just more time to play.”
When this topic came up in one of their offline meet-ups and this member confessed to feeling this way, the feeling that he got from that member back then bore strong resemblance to what Tiera was giving off right now.



In clearer terms, that feeling was the fear of having revealed your true self to someone else.



Shin remembered that fortunately, there wasn’t a single person in Rokuten who actually minded something like that, so that member was very relieved.



Since he’d experienced something similar before, this time Shin was able to maintain his composure and handle the situation appropriately.



“...... You also don’t know this, huh ...... Black-haired elves are symbols of misfortune.”



Tiera answered with her head still bowed.



“Symbol of misfortune, huh.”
“Yes, symbol. You see, all elves are born with white hair. As they grow up, it gradually changes to other colors, like blond, silver, green, or blue. I don’t know if you can believe it or not, but my hair also used to be silver.”



Tiera mumbled with a self-deprecating look on her face.



“But now it’s jet black. Elves’ hair don’t turn black. Ever.”
“They don’t turn black?”
“Yes, that’s why elves with black hair are unnatural and attract disasters. It was the same in my case. For example, really strong monsters would always come attack me. Due to that, I was chased out of my village.
“............”
“When I was wandering around, with nowhere to go, Master found me. She said that the area around this store was surrounded by a powerful barrier so monsters wouldn’t come here. I haven’t left this store for more than a hundred years now.”
“A hundred years ...... that’s really long.”
“It is, but here I am able to live without causing problems for anyone else, so it’s fine like this.”



Shin wanted to shout, “There’s no way that it’s fine!” He really wanted to tell her that being stuck inside the store for a hundred years is definitely not a good state to be in. However, he knew that just saying them wouldn’t change anything, so he kept it in. He held his fist so tightly that it hurt.



It hasn’t even been a whole day since their meeting, so Shin was also not sure why he was feeling such indignation and resentment on her part. However, he couldn’t just sit still after seeing her like this, so he wracked his mind thinking of how he could help her.
According to Shin’s knowledge, there was no such backstory for elves. If this world was truly THE NEW GATE, then there has to be a proper reason for her situation.



“...... Tiera, I want to confirm something.”
“What ...... do you want to confirm?”
“So, from what you were saying, if your hair used to be silver, why is it black now?”



Shin felt that understanding that might lead to a hint.



“One day, it just suddenly turned black.”
“Suddenly?”
“Yes, suddenly. I went to sleep like normal and when I woke up it was all black. At that time, I didn’t know what was happening, and was so scared.”

Tiera hugged herself as her body started to shake from reliving the memories. Shin’s mind whirred into high gear comparing the facts from Tiera’s story to all the information inside his head.



“Hair color changing suddenly ...... being attacked by monsters ............ hair color ...... changing a character’s color scheme ...... monsters ...... numerous attacks ...... many times ...... strong ............ changing a character’s color scheme and making them susceptible to monster attacks? That’s ...... !!”



Sure of the existence of an answer, Shin was muttering to himself when a light went off in his head. If he remembered correctly, then there is one possibility that matched with these conditions.



“There is ...... There is one!! There is one status that fits the story exactly!”
“Eh? Wh-what?”

Shin suddenly shouted and fixed Tiera with his stare. At his sudden shout, Tiera shook with nervousness.



“Why did I even forget? But this ...... hm? Strange, why doesn’t the status show up? I seem to remember setting it to automatically activate, though.”



Shin was staring at Tiera because he was trying to see her status screen. If Shin’s prediction was correct, then it should show up clearly on her status.



“OK, open the Skills window, analyze ...... analyze ...... f-found it. Oh, I have it to “Show only for monsters and players,” huh. If I just turn this back on, then ......”



After fixing the settings, Shin stared at Tiera again. From Tiera’s point of view, though, all she saw was Shin squinting at empty air and moving his fingers. She was a bit apprehensive at what he was doing, but a small seed of hope which had taken root inside her chest gave her courage and dispelled the apprehension.



“Alright, I can see your status now. As long as I have that ...... I see your name, level, race, and ...... ! YEAAAHHHH IT’S HEREEEE!!!!!!”



Shin couldn’t help making a “guts pose” at seeing his guess confirmed. From a while ago, Tiera had been jumping at every eccentric mannerism from Shin.
(T/N: “Guts pose” is a “yes I did it!” pose. Google image it if you’re curious.)



“Tiera, be glad! I found out the real reason behind the misfortune!”
“Huh?”
“Not ‘huh.’ There’s no doubt, since it’s showing up on the display. The reason why your hair colored changed and you started getting attacked by monsters is because of【Cursed Gift】.”
“【Cursed Gift】?”



Tiera didn’t understand what he was saying and looked at him blankly.

In THE NEW GATE,【Cursed Gift】was a random occurrence. As implied by its name, it’s a curse.



Players could earn titles, otherwise called “Gifts,” inside the game through certain determined actions, such as clearing a quest or obtaining the relevant item. Depending on the Gift, the player could get a small bonus to their stats or even be able to learn a new skill.



In contrast to that, all players were susceptible to a randomly granted Gift called【Cursed Gift】. It could only be removed through the item【Droplet of Purification】or the Holy Arts-Type Skill【Purification】. As long as it remained, the player would experience lowered stats, inexplicable unnatural debuffs, and random attacks from unique powerful monsters. The way to get it was completely random, and a part of the body of the player would automatically turn black. It would be marked on the player’s character screen by an icon of a laughing shinigami mask.
And indeed, on Tiera’s character screen Shin clearly saw the icon of the laughing shinigami mask.



“Alright. Now that we know what it is, the solution is simple. Tiera, would you mind coming out from behind the counter and stand here in the middle of the store?”
“Su-sure ......”



Confused and unsure of what was going on, Tiera obediently walked to the middle of the store without much protest.



“I’m going to start. Activate【Purification】!!”



To exorcise the curse, Shin faced Tiera, stuck out his right hand, and activated the Holy Arts-Type Skill【Purification】. It’s a skill normally to priests but due to certain circumstances Shin had also acquired it.



Slowly, golden light gathered around the right hand that Shin was holding out. At the same time, golden light enveloped Tiera’s entire body.



“What ...... is this ...... It’s warm ......”



Tiera was surprised at the light but due to the warmth it conveyed, she felt no danger. She stood there basking in the sensation of being completely cleansed that originated from somewhere in her body.



After about 5 minutes, the light gradually dimmed, then disappeared.
Even after the light was gone, Tiera remained still for a while, feeling peaceful and blissful until she suddenly returned to her senses and looked around with a “what just happened?” look on her face.



“...... The icon is gone, but ...... was it ...... a success?”



So muttered Shin in bewilderment. He was looking at Tiera’s status window, and the shinigami icon was indeed gone. However, a successful exorcism of the curse normally also reverted the effects of the color change. In this case, Tiera’s hair still remained black, but now there was silver highlight in it.
As it was still unclear whether the curse was gone or not, an indescribable atmosphere filled the air.



“Sooo ...... how did it go?”
“Mmm, the curse is gone, but ...... yea. I guess the hair color didn’t fully revert back to its original color.”



Before the celebration was the bad news.

“Hair?”
“Ahh ...... I’m sorry, only a small part of your hair regained its color. Just in case ...... you might want to confirm it.”



Shin spoke despondently. He retrieved a mirror from his inventory and offered it to Tiera. Hearing the word ‘hair,’ Tiera snatched the mirror from Shin’s hand and held it in front of her eyes.



Tiera saw her own face in the mirror. It looked the same as ever. However, the single tuft of hair covering her face had changed to a dazzling silver color.



That was without a doubt the color that Tiera’s hair had before.



“............ *sobs* ...... *sobs*”



When she saw it, her eyes misted over, and a trickle of tears flowed down her cheek.



As the first drop left her cheek and fell through the air, it was as though a dam behind her eyes had burst open, and her tears gushed out seemingly without end.



“Uuuu ...... *sobs* ...... eeeuuuuhhh ......”



Tiera cried silently while wiping her tears with her sleeves.

In front of Tiera stood a man who looked like the very culmination of confusion.



Needless to say, that man was Shin.

If it was a little child it would be one thing, but seeing a girl who who he couldn’t deny being an adult crying in front of him, added to the knowledge that he himself might have been the reason for the tears, placed Shin in a position that pushed the very limits of his mind’s processing power.



“*sniffle* ...... wait a ...... *hic* ...... mo-moment ...... I’ll calm down ...... soon, so ......”
“I-I understand. It’s fine to take your time, alright? I’ll wait here as long as you need.”



Coming back to his senses after being talked to, Shin finally thought to take out a towel (there were no handkerchiefs in the game so he made do with an accessory item instead) and handed it to Tiera. He then pulled the chair out from behind the counter and had her sit on it. After that, he just stood there awkwardly waiting for her tears to stop.

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