It’s not obvious at the start, but this is an Isekai story. It will take a while until it gets to that point.
Gate to Another Realm
Authors Note: This is aiming to be a heartwarming story for all ages. I think the romance aspect is almost nonexistent.
I, as usual, am in my room, facing the computer.
On that computer monitor, a girl character is alone in a room, swinging a hammer down.
Every time the girl swings the hammer, the blue part of the bar displayed above her head grows a bit longer. Then, at the moment the bar turned completely blue, the girl’s whole body shines brightly.
From the character’s inventory screen, I display the just-finished item.
Yep, nicely made. Now then, if I enhance the durability with annealing it will be completed, I suppose?
On the screen, a dully shiny circular mass of iron, a one-handed frying pan is shining radiantly.
Next, when I click the annealing skill, the character on the screen begins swinging the hammer once again.
While watching the screen, I open the nearby plastic bottle of black tea and take a sip.
In that time, the bar once again fills with blue, and the girl shines brightly.
Just like before, upon checking the inventory screen, the frying pan is displayed with the same graphic.
－ Reinforced Masterwork Frying Pan Durability 25/25 ATK+15 DEX+2 AGI+2 Cooking Skill Bonus +2
“Hmm, +2 bonus huh….”
If it had been a Great Success the bonus would have been +3, it’s a bit disappointing.
Since I’m crafting anyway I would have wanted +3 y’know, well it’s not made to sell, so I’ll put up with it.
The crafting this time was to restore the lowered durability of the frying pan I have used until now, but while I’m at it I was aiming for a +3 bonus. If I’m using something then I’d rather use a good one….Well, I guess failures can’t be helped.
Regaining focus, I equipped the frying pan I just finished on the character that is like my second self, then shifted to the kitchen counter.
“All right, today I’ll make Wasabi Shoyu Grilled Chicken!(Recovers 300HP and 150MP)”
While getting fired up, I click on each item in the item box, and was about to begin cooking.
At that moment….
The sound of a Private Chat (Whisper) rang out.
“Oh? Tomoe-san, this is rare~”
Tomoe-san is the guildmaster of a mid-sized guild with roughly 30 members, or rather, was.
As for me, although I joined many parties when I started playing this game, I’m not close with anyone to that extent… I think?
“Yeah, Cure-san you took weaponsmithing as a crafting skill right? How high did your skill level get~?”
Oh my, how unusual. I don’t normally make weapons for other people, just my own equipment. Incidentally, lately I’ve been making nothing but kitchenware. Ah, the frying pan from before is classified as a weapon as well.
“At the moment it’s level 50+5 y’know~ I maxed it out”
“Ooh~~, make weapon plz!!!”
“Oh? How unusual, did the Lady Deduction guild not have a blacksmith?”
“Ahaha~, they’ve all gone Above y’see, the crafters’ main business is high-level customers right?. That’s why they’ve gone Above rather early, lately we’ve been losing members as well~”
When Tomoe-san says “Above”, she’s talking about VRMMORPG.
This game “Gate to Another Realm” is a five-year-old Fantasy MMORPG, VR support was added half a year ago.
This VR technology started ten years ago as experimental prototypes and medical equipment for rehabilitation. However, even more than the purchase price, the uncertain effects on the human body meant that general distribution was prohibited.
Nevertheless, about two years later, an american medical equipment manufacturer and a computer manufacturer jointly developed a miniaturised VRMMO Unit called ROOM, and after dealing with various difficult controversies, it was finally released to market about six months ago.
VR is a world of dreams after all, so there was a huge reaction♪
ROOM is a bed-sized capsule type machine, when inside it monitors your heart rate, brain waves, and manages your physical condition in order to be a safe private unit for diving into VR. However, it costs around 1200000 yen each. It’s really not a game console for kids is it~…..
I don’t have that kind of money of course, so I am diligently playing an MMORPG (aka: The World Below).
“Above huh, they’re all rich people aren’t they. It’s totally impossible for me ＞＜”
“Ahaha, it’s impossible for me too y’know, a student can’t afford that. Besides, my body would be defenseless when I’m diving… it’s kinda scary isn’t it lol”
“I know right~, it’s kinda scary right~, look, there’s the urban legends about stuff like death-games too, it’s too much lol”
“Ah, so anyway, where are you right now Cure-chan? Hunting?”
“Nope, relaxing in my home＾＾”
“Ah, that tower on a remote mountaintop? You’re still living in a place like that?”
A place like that…. Sure, it’s remote backcountry that no-one visits, but in it’s own way it’s a pretty nice place. Herbs are abundant, ore can be mined, monsters are suitably? around… It’s paradise for a crafter y’know(probably)… but despite that nobody comes here….
“Uuu~~ if you live here it’s a reasonably nice place you know~”
“Nah, other than Cure-chan a person who would want to live there doesn’t exist lol”
“I mean, there’s no Transfer Gate, and the closest village is about 2 hours away in real time right?”
“Ah, if I mark the location of my home with the Transfer skill I can return there. The Royal Capital is also marked so it’s not inconvenient you know?”
“Hmm~~ …… Cure-chan, sorry to bother you, but would you mind coming to the Royal Capital?”
The Royal Capital huh, well the Transfer skill marked locations has one personal location, one for your owned home, and one for the church in the last province you visited, so if I have an appointment then going to the Royal Capital is the smoothest way isn’t it.
“Alright~ then for now let’s meet in front of the church in thirty minutes okay?”
“Yup, that’s fine~ thank youu~”
With the Whisper closed, I took out equipment for going to the Royal Capital from the storehouse.
Ah, I need to switch out all of my items, lately it’s been nothing but crafting, or rather……. I haven’t gone to a town at all
The town I hadn’t seen for a long time was filled with people. It’s lively enough to think “Is it really depopulating?”, the stall-filled street from before is still as flooded with the stalls of shop-mules as ever.
When I go to the plaza in front of the church, this is also like it used to be, party recruiters clustered here and there, spewing emoji-strewn conversation. Or rather, the chat log is scrolling with a vigour I haven’t seen for a long time…. Ah, it should get better if I mess with the log settings…
And so, after promptly messing with the log settings
“Cure-chan where are you~~~”
“I can’t find you~~”
Etcetera, etcetera, the whisper chat log was overflowing….. I’m sorry…
“Tomoe-san sorryy~, you got buried by the chat spam lol”
Perhaps from seeing my speech bubble, a Tomoe-san-looking character headed towards me. Hmm~, pretty flashy isn’t it~, a bright red dress and long sword, or rather… I don’t remember Tomoe-san’s character. Yup, I’m awful huh….
“Thank goodness~, you weren’t responding to me, and honestly I couldn’t remember Cure-san’s character lol”
“Ah, as I thought, I couldn’t remember yours either lol”
After we had a laugh about it, we began moving towards Tomoe-san’s guild hall.
Owning a guild hall in the Royal Capital is pretty amazing huh, I wonder how much it cost?
“Tomoe-san, how many members do you have at the moment?”
“About forty people I guess? At our peak we almost reached 100 people, but ever since Above was released we’ve been steadily losing them.
Tomoe-san seemed a bit lonely as she spoke, but 40 people is amazing! Even though my friends list only has 12 names on it…. From that perspective I’m surprised a loner like me managed to add her….
While listening to the recent state of affairs in the Royal Capital, we moved to the Guild District.
“By the way, what was the weapon you wanted me to make? ”
I asked while thinking about the materials I brought with me.
If it’s Tomoe-san, the Phoenix Blade perhaps? If it’s me making it then the success rate is about 50% huh, as I was considering such things
“What I wanted you to make is, three Sand Vipers”
“Hoe? Sand Viper???”
The unexpected request surprised me a bit.
A Sand Viper is used by mid-level swordsmen and tanks, as it is a relatively easy-to-make weapon. Basically, when crafting, there are thresholds at levels 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50, making a level 30 weapon requires Weaponsmithing level 30 at minimum. If I remember correctly, with skill level 30, STR30, DEX30, LUK10 the success rate is about 30%. Normally I think she wouldn’t need to go out of her way to ask me, what kind of ridiculous situation…
“Right now y’see, buying a Sand Viper will cost from 1M to 2M”
As you might expect from the name, a Sand Viper is primarily made from scales acquired by killing snakes that live in the desert. The number of scales required is quite significant so I suppose you could say it’s difficult, but compared to other materials they can be can be bought quite easily from NPCs, and because I refined a bunch to raise my crafting skills, frankly, there are so many in my storehouse that they are a nuisance.
In short, you could buy one for about 200k to 300k back then, if I remember correctly?
If that’s the case then, considering the labour involved, I suppose it wouldn’t be unreasonable? Nevertheless the drop rate is pretty high, so if your luck is decent and you have 2 hours to spend you ought to be able to collect enough? Well, earning 1M per hour isn’t something to sneeze at…
“Nope~~, bring-your-own materials!”
“Wha, why is it so expensive!”
“Because, the high rank blacksmiths have already gone Above, and raising crafting skills in this game takes a huge amount of time and money doesn’t it? I have sewing and alchemy at level 50 as well, so I can manage cloth or leather equipment and potions, but unfortunately the best blacksmith in our guild is only level 25”
In this game “Gate to Another Realm”, the disparity of the crafting classes is huge. If you make a skill-related item suitable for your level you get some XP.
For example, if have Alchemy level 10 and you make a level 10 Healing Potion you get 100XP, but a level 9 Healing Potion gets you 0XP, while a level 15 Healing Potion will get you 150XP, that sort of thing.
Of course, if you don’t succeed then you get 0XP.
So here’s where it becomes a problem: Blacksmithing. In order to make level 10 Platemail, you must use Iron Ore x50 and Flame Stone x10 to make Steel x10. Then, Steel x10, Flame Stone x10, Polishing Stone x5 are used to finally make level 10 Platemail x1. So after coming this far, you receive 10XP from the Steel, and 100XP from the Platemail.
The effort spent is huge.
Getting discouraged is normal right…. The max-level me saying that is weird though… Masochistic…
Well, you can use items to boost to some extent though.
“Hmm? If there’s a level 25 Blacksmith they can use a Mithril Anvil for Blacksmithing +3 and a Mithril Hammer for Blacksmithing +2 to boost to level 30 to do it right?”
“Well sure, if those could be bought…..”
“Umm… No one is selling them?”
“Mithril Anvil and Hammer can only be made by level 40+ Blacksmiths, and even if they were available, well, our gold would all flow away.”
Uwaa… No way…. Somehow in the time I haven’t come to this city something dreadful has happened.
“Umm… how many Blacksmiths do you have?”
“Two, but one is level 25, and the other is only about level 14-ish, well, there’s a long way to go.”
While we were talking, we arrived at Tomoe-san’s guild.
As we entered, about ten characters are having a conversation about something. Probably Guild Chat I guess?
For me the conversation isn’t visible.
“Hmm? Master who’s that? New member?”
From among them, an obviously tank-looking character called out to us.
“Ah, nope, it’s my friend Cure-san. I asked her to come because she’s a Blacksmith.”
“Ohhhh! Ah, I’m the Vice-Master Kojirou. For now I’m the guild’s tank. My crafting skill is Alchemy level 45”
Tank Guy made a bowing emoji.
Although I think everyone who plays MMOs knows what a Tank is, when fighting monsters in a party the Tank’s duty is to protect the party by receiving attacks. It’s a core role for party play.
“I’m Curie. Healer is more or less my main class. I have various crafting skills but I guess my main is accessories? I also do Weaponsmithing though lol”
Kojirou-san made a dubious face at introduction. His face can’t be seen though, it’s the mood…
“Something up Kojirou? Did you already know Cure-san?”
“Ah, no…. Cure-san is an elf right? Why Blacksmithing? With the Racial Characteristics you can’t reach max level right? Ah, do you have an Alt or a second account?”
Oh no! Since I rarely interact with people I forgot that I am unusual!!!
This game includes what are called Racial Characteristics, for example as an elf like me you can only become one of the Caster classes, or Swordsman, or Hunter. Also, for crafting, Artisan and Sewing have a maximum level of 60, but conversely, Smithing is limited to level 40.
Of course, there is workaround that I use to compensate.
“Hmm? Cure-chan you said that you had Weaponsmithing level 50 didn’t you?”
“Ah, could it be that Curie-san is a Title Holder?”
Erm, a Title Holder is when you accomplish something significant in the game and receive an Achievement-like thing. For example: the winner of the monthly Fighting Tournament receives the “Supreme Champion” Title.
By the way, it is only temporary until the next tournament.
Besides that, “Hero King” is famous I guess? It seems that if you win the Fighting Tournament ten times you will receive that title. As a Permanent Title, it has a golden crown displayed in front of the Title, Temporary Titles have a silver crown on them, so Title Holders are also referred to as Crown Holders.
Also, Possessing a Title confers a bonus to skill level. Because of this, even as an Elf with a Blacksmithing skill cap of 40, I can reach level 50.
Kojirou-san seems to have realised this huh….
“Y, yes. More or less….”
In the whole playerbase, only about 10% of them are Title Holders. Furthermore amongst Title Holders only about 10% of them possess Permanent Titles, I think?
I’m not very well informed so I’m not sure.
“GC? SC? And what Title?”
Tomoe-san and Kojirou-san asked, deeply interested. Plus, all the people in the guild hall….
“Eh? There’s a Title Holder in here?”
“Awesome~~~, this is my first time seeing a Title Holder in person”
And other similar chatter.
Honestly, I’m flustered, I’m sweating, I want to run away.
A Title is something players yearn for after all.
“Erm, it’s more or less a GC….”
“Oohh~~ it’s Gold”
And similar, as the surroundings start stirring.
“Title is…Hermit…of the Forest…”
“Ohh~ So cool!”
“Certainly Elf-like isn’t it~”
“How did you acquire it?”
Auu, Tomoe-san asks the #1 question I don’t want asked.
“Do I have to say?”
“Yep, I just checked a walkthrough site but that Title wasn’t on there”
“Right~, of the ‘of the Forest’ titles there was Guardian and Sage, but no Hermit”
“Guardian is an elf, Carlos-san I believe, Sage is Himiko-san”
“Nice, it’s the third ‘of the Forest” Title. Since it’s a GC only one player has it”
Everyone is getting excited.
“So, how did you get it? Tell us~~”
Tomoe-san asks insistently.
“Auu, erm, I didn’t really do anything special….”
“After secluding myself playing in the forest for about one year real-time…. When I logged in the next day I received the Title…”
As I say that, the chat log which until now has been scrolling excitedly suddenly stops. Auu… the silence hurts…
“Erm…. you logged in right?”
“Yep, I logged in basically every day”
“So, you were playing solo in the forest without meeting anyone, right…”
From the surroundings the chat log is scrolling.
“Ah, this is bad… my stomach hurts lololol”
“Everyone is so mean!”
In such a conversation, I watch the nostalgic gathering of players on the monitor with a relaxed smile on my face.
If you are wondering what kind of game she is playing, it probably resembles Ragnarok Online.