With the same attitude, he snapped his fingers, and a tattoo-like collar pattern appeared around Johann’s neck, but only Shinichi was able to see it.
Then as though he’d done everything he needed to do, the boy turned around uninterested.
He had that look on his face that you’d expect from someone that had just experienced the conclusion of something big.
When the maids saw him approaching, they stood up.
They must have been exhausted, but they still welcomed the boy as if he was their priority.
Even Lilisha, who could barely move, leaned onto Miya and Kaya just so she could welcome him.
Stella was at the frontmost when Shinichi suddenly apologized.
She hadn’t the faintest idea what he was talking about, but then he pointed to the back of his own neck and said something absurd.
“There was something that resembled a shattered stone axe when I came here, remember? Unfortunately, I couldn’t pay attention to the fragments too, so your ribbon ended up getting ruined. Sorry about that.”
A tinge of anger could be felt from Stella’s voice.
She hadn’t noticed it at all, but when Shinichi pointed it out, the ribbon that tied her hair was indeed missing.
Tracing her memories, it was probably when Shinichi jumped in to save her that a fragment coincidentally hit it and broke it.
Of course, Stella couldn’t possibly be angry over something like that. She was angry because the boy was apologizing for it as though it was common sense to do so.
“W-What? I’ll get you something to replace it later, so don’t get mad…”
Why was the boy so dull only when it came to stuff like this?
The way he cowered a little only served to add fuel to Stella’s ire.
He could tell that she was mad, but he couldn’t understand the reason why.
“U-Umm, Shin. That’s not what Stella is angry about. Sigh.. At this rate, I won’t even be able to ask my question.”
With no choice but to put aside her own questions for the time being, Lilisha could only wryly smile.
But even that was blown away by Shinichi’s next statement.
“Oh, then maybe she’s mad because I was playing around?”
“…What do you mean by that?”
Stella asked with a chilling voice.
Shinichi realized that he’d messed up, but it was too late to worm his way out.
“Oh, umm, actually I could have won without using the Mask’s Class Change…”
So he let out a dry chuckle while revealing that he could have won without using his trump card.
Understandably, everyone looked at him suspiciously. Was that not something he had to rely on to turn the situation around?
“If we’re talking purely stats, then on paper the old geezer might have been correct, but in practice, there are a lot of factors such as, the overall ability of he person, his control, tactics… etc, so even if one’s rank in Skill is high, the resulting effect may not be what it appears on paper.”
To explain he gave two reasons. The first of which, the girls knew as well.
Two people fighting with the exact same Status did not mean that they would end up in a draw.
Other factors would come into play too, from their equipment, to their circumstances, to the tactics they utilized, the information they had, their condition, resolve… etc. What they didn’t know, however, was that apparently the rank of Skill also depended on the knowledge and experiences a person has accumulated in their life.
He could tell that they didn’t know, so he decided to come up with a better explanation.
“I can’t tell you how I increased my Skill, but… Notice how I’m terrible at housework and everything else despite being so good at fighting? Imagine the opposite of that.”
To these girls, nothing could be a more perfect explanation.
The person in question wasn’t sure how to feel about that, but it was his fault in the first place for confusing them, so he just let it pass.
A person that has reached S Rank in terms of all experiences pertaining to daily life and household work was bound to be someone frighteningly capable in all aspects of life.
Such a person could probably clean even an entire castle all on their own, and any house – no matter how dirty – could be turned into luxury in the blink of an eye.
If such wiles were to be applied in combat, then a fighting method far outside the norms should also be possible.
Even if that person was terrible at fighting, it was still someone at S Rank. The bonus from Status should remain the same.
But that was a way of thinking that stemmed from equating an increase in Skill with that of combat ability.
In truth, if one were to take a step back and think about the bigger picture, it would quickly become apparent that such a person could not possibly be the equal of a warrior who became S Rank from accumulating experience specifically from the battlefield.
Matters unrelated to the method utilized to raise one’s rank in Skill would naturally be undeveloped.
After all, no matter how talented a person was, there was no way for them to know what they didn’t know.
It was obvious when laid out like that, but it was one of the secrets hidden behind the benefits offered by Status.
It was also the reason why the S Rank boy before them was so bad with household work.
“But even then, unrelated skills should still be boosted to some extent, but for some reason, I’m worse at it than before. It’s really a mystery… Maybe Status hands out penalties too…”
The person in question found it hard to reconcile the part about him getting worse at household chores, but the others were too busy with the new information to notice that.
“…Johan has already achieved a Skill of C+ with magic and magic alchemy. So he might have succeeded at raising his Skill to A- by taking the experiences of other people, but he actually failed to make up for the gap between you and him in terms of combat experience?”
Lilisha asked, and Shinichi nodded.
Johan indeed managed to elevate his Status to a great extent earlier, but he did little to close the gap between his sagacious Status and Shinichi’s purely combat Status.
“At most, he managed to raise it by about a rank and half. Even if Shinichi’s Skill isn’t all combat, it was still no different from a virtually impossible video game on the old geezer’s part,” Kite said.
“Strictly speaking, it’s a bit different, but… Hey, how come you know those words?”
There was a big difference between the one and half step up of an E Rank and a C Rank, but it was a small difference either way when compared to the gap with an S Rank.
Just the impossibility of winning against such a foe was enough to send eyes swimming, but Kite’s laughter and strange words put a delicate expression on Shinichi’s’ face.
“Anyway, that’s why I could have beat him even without all that. I don’t know if I got too excited, but he was just being so stupid that I felt like I had to crush him for real, so I just…”
As to what exactly it was that he ‘just…’, he did not elaborate.
Though he seemed nonetheless aware that he used a trump card he didn’t have to, it was only when he’d calmed down that he realized he’d committed a blunder.
“It doesn’t matter,” Stella said.
“Actually, given the current understanding of Status, I actually dropped a bomb just now, but… R-Right. I-I might have gone a bit overboard, after all?”
Shinichi was dumbfounded to hear Stella just ignore his words, but seeing her sharpen her gaze made him subservient.
That was not the kind of face he could go against. It had nothing to do with Skill rank. It was purely an instinctual reaction on his part.
Looking at the old man mumbling to himself by the side, Shinichi might have indeed gone overboard, but as most of the people here suffered at the old man’s hands, they pitied him, but… That was all.
“Even you manipulating his soul with the first blow to prevent him from remembering doesn’t matter,” Stella said.
“Eh?” The rest of the maids cried.
“Ahahaha… You found out?” Shinichi said.