With a week remaining in the winter quest event, I have already acquired the 50 Quest Chips that I had set as my goal, and was now the owner of 70 chips. With my goal achieved, I started visiting Obaba's pharmacy again since I could now take my time learning the new recipes.
"Hey, don't you make an old woman wait like that!”
"Fufufu, that's what granny says, but she's actually happy to see you.”
Obaba the pharmacist and her granddaughter welcomed me with these words.
I smiled wryly, had Ryui and Zakuro wait by the store's counter, and then entered the workshop in the back.
There, I accepted the three remaining Mixing quests that I have yet to complete.
【Magic Potion: Echo Liquid (5)】——2 Quest Chips
【Magic Potion: Flash Liquid (5)】——2 Quest Chips
【Magic Potion: Blinding Liquid (5)】——2 Quest Chips
Obaba stood beside me and explained the new recipes.
"Each of these magic potions are made by Cursemakers in each region and they originally have their own regional names as well. The materials used differ in each region, but they all have similar effects.”
She said that as she pulled out two materials, Aero Snake's Scales and a new type of herb called 【Magi-Scream Grass】.
"Are these materials all there is to it?”
"Indeed. That's why making these potions is the job of Cursemakers. Just watch.”
With that said, she heated up the Aero Snake's Scales until they had been dried, ground them into powder, added dried Magi-Scream Grass, and then added water.
Finally, she used the 【MP Bestowal】 EX-Skill just like she would for Mega Potions and MP Pots.
The skill turned the muddy potion into a bright green liquid.
Magic Potion: Echo Liquid 【Consumable】
Wind Damage (minimal), Additional Effect: Paralysis
After Obaba showed the procedure to me, thanks to which I was able to understand the basics.
"See, these are magic potions that use the elemental power within monsters. And this, this is our region's common magic potion.”
"Hmm. Well, let's try making some first.”
First off, I started by making 【Magic Potion: Echo Liquid】 according to Obaba's procedure.
I made five portions of the original liquid at once and used 【MP Bestowal】 on each of them, one by one. They weren’t difficult to craft.
The crafting method was very similar to how I make Enchant Stones. Though, recently I have been using a combination of 【Sky Eyes'】 《Zone》skill and 《Skill Enchant》 to make multiple of them at once.
With the work done, Obaba received the potions I had quickly made and started examining them.
It looked like she dipped some kind of test paper into the potions and tried a drop from each one.
Was she examining the potion's effectiveness? I thought, then spoke to her.
"Can I try making some with my own method?”
"I don't mind, but I WILL take money for the Magi-Scream Grass.”
With that said, I arranged materials with a wry smile while Obaba was still checking the first five 【Echo Liquids】 beside me.
The materials I used were Magi-Scream Grass, Aero Snake's Scales and Fairy Panther's Scales. The drop items from Fairy Panthers are also of the wind element, and I sometimes use them when I’m making 【Element Cream】.
First, I crushed the two wind element drop items. Then, I mixed them with dried grass and added water to make the solution.
Lastly, I passed it through a clean cloth and into a bottle——
And finished the creation of the wind element 【Echo Liquid】 potion by activating the EX-Skill.
As a result, thanks to using a different method and materials than what Obaba, the new 【Echo Liquid】 was——
Magic Potion: Echo Liquid 【Consumable】
Wind Damage (weak), Additional Effect: Paralysis
It was just a little stronger than the magic potion made by Obaba the pharmacist.
If this was the case, then the item combinations that I thought were meaningless so far could now be used to make new potion recipes.
As I was thinking that, I opened my Mixing research notebook to a page with a list of materials and picked out other materials that could be used while I checking the completed potion's smell and color.
"Hmm, this color looks deeper than the original sample's.”
Curious, I spilled a drop onto my finger and put it in my mouth.
And then, ended up groaning because of the horrible taste.
It was supposed to be a faint groan, but my voice had been amplified and the moment it echoed in the room, the magic potion I was holding broke by itself.
"Hey! What're ya doing! Trying to break this place?!”
I was just trying to test this potion… heck, my voice is way too loud!
I tried to make an excuse after being scolded by Obaba, but I couldn’t let my voice out so I put a hand on my throat.
"Dumbass! You use this potion on a weapon! It adds additional effects to weapons! You'd better drink some potions to cure your inborn stupidity!”
I see, so I received a penalty for using it in a way that was different from how it was originally meant to be used.
That means that this magic potion is the weapon version of my 【Element Cream】.
While 【Element Cream】 grants elemental resistance when it’s applied to the skin, these magic potions will make elemental attacks possible if they’re applied on weapons.
I came to that conclusion, then continued to receive scolding from Obaba for a bit longer until my voice finally recovered.
After some time, the broken potion bottle disappeared after turning into particles of light, and I was taught two more magic potion recipes. Obaba strictly warned me to make sure to take safety measures before I tested them out.
When all the work was over, I put the four 【Echo Liquid】 potions and 【Magi-Scream Grass】 that I received from Obaba into my inventory.
"There are no more recipes that I can teach you. Still, I'm a little worried about you, girl. You’re really careless.”
"I don't think my carelessness matters here. Also, I'm a man.”
"Well, don't hesitate to come for help if something happens!”
As I thought, she ignored my talk of being a man! I grumbled in my heart.
However, when I was leaving the pharmacy with Ryui and Zakuro and was seen off by Obaba and her granddaughter, her anger was already gone and she looked somewhat happy.
And as I went around the NPC stalls searching for and buying materials that could be used to make magic potions, I did think that I’d like to go visit her again if there was something I needed. Just when I was thinking of heading back to 【Atelier】, I received a message from friend chat.
"Hm? Who is it...? Oh, it's Sei-nee.”
It was an invitation to the Christmas and end-of-the-year party that was being held in the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild home, which Mikadzuchi had mentioned during the unveiling of Ryui’s adult form.
Moreover, it was being held tonight.
The message said that the party will start at 8 o'clock in the evening. I looked at the clock and saw that I still had some time, but since I intended to bring some cakes with me, it would be better if I arrived early.
Following Sei-nee's message, there was a message from Myu requesting dinner early, so I logged out on the spot and had dinner with Miu.
After dinner, she logged into OSO again and went to meet up with Lucato and the others before going to the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild home, so I headed there on my own ahead of her.
At the entrance, I pulled out the golden free pass ticket for the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild and entered the white-walled and red-roofed mansion. They seemed to be at the final stages of their preparations for the party.
"C'mon, food's ready. Carry it out!” "There's no cake!” "Participants will bring some cakes! There’s no need to make any!” "HEY, no food snatching!”
I stood there looking at the players who were moving busily, unable to find the timing to call out to anyone.
After wondering for a while about when I should step in and pass the cakes that I brought with me, I saw Sei-nee heading towards me.
"Welcome, Yun-chan. You're early.”
"Oh, Sei-nee. Thanks for the invitation to the end-of-the-year and Christmas party. Also, here, the cakes.”
As I said that, I handed to her more than ten strawberry cakes that I had made earlier, which she then passed to the few players who were in charge of the party’s organization.
"So, what will you do, Yun-chan? Wait somewhere in the back for now?”
"Hmm, can I go to the second floor? I'll visit my acquaintances in the crafters' room.”
"Alright. Well then, I'll call you when the party starts.”
With Sei-nee's approval, I went up the guild home's stairs and knocked on the doors of the room where the crafters gathered.
"Can I intrude for a bit?”
"Mmm~? Oh, welcome.”
"Oh, what's up?”
I looked towards Otonashi, who was looking at me with sleepy eyes as he drank tea, and Langley, who quietly raised his hand with a cheerful expression.
"Came to kill some time here until the party starts.”
"Oh, I see. Wait a moment. I'll take out some tea and sweets.”
"I'll pass on sweets, I guess. I just ate dinner a moment ago.”
I refused Langley's consideration and sipped on the slightly-bitter green tea.
Afterwards, I exchanged information on crafting and the event quests with some crafters. Some of the crafters who listened to me immediately rushed out of the guild home.
I guess some of the quests that only appear when you have the specific Sense for it aren't that well-known, I thought, and I smiled bitterly as I continued to share quest information with the others.
As crafters, they had a lot of information about material collecting and errand quests, and I was also able to acquire information on some hidden quests that I didn't know about.
Since there was only a week left of the quest event, I probably won’t be able to clear all of the quests they taught me about. However, I should do some of them when I have time.
Other than that, we talked a bit about crafting and the time passed quickly until I received a message from Sei-nee saying that the party was ready.
"Ah, looks like the preparations are done.”
"Is that so. Have fun, then.”
Hearing Otonashi answer me with a sleepy look in his eyes as I stood up from my seat, I looked at him questioningly.
"Hm? Aren't you two going too?”
"It's too noisy when there’s so many people. That's why we snatched some appetizers and ran away to here.”
Langley said that as he sipped some tea. I wish I could do the same, I thought with a wry smile. Still, I would probably stay at the party together with Myu and Sei-nee until the very end anyway; as I continued that thought, I laughed in self-derision.
And when I returned to the hall on the first floor, gathered there were Myu's and Taku's parties, Magi-san, Cloude and Lyly, as well as other acquaintances. They all had drinks in their hands.
I poured juice into a nearby cup as well and picked it up, then I looked up at Mikadzuchi who was standing atop a platform.
"Ehem, I really feel like drinking so let's get to it——cheers!”
The guild master's signal for the start of the party was so out of place that retorts flew Mikadzuchi's way from all over. Also, Sei-nee, who was standing next to her, elbowed Mikadzuchi with a broad smile on her face. Mikadzuchi cleared her throat and resumed her speech.
"I hate long speeches so I'll make this quick——"
Hearing that prelude, all the players in the hall, including me, made bitter smiles as they listened to Mikadzuchi.
"It's been five months since OSO was officially released. Well, it might have seemed long, but it is actually quite a short amount of time. I got to know many players in that time, both directly and indirectly.”
She spread her arms towards everyone in the hall.
"Wishing for our relations to continue, let's make this a great party!——Cheers!”
Mikadzuchi said that and raised her glass that was filled with alcohol. Following her, I raised my glass and drank some juice.
After that, the actual party started.
Mikadzuchi and Sei-nee walked around together, greeting the players who came to the party.
Myu's party, Minute, Mami-san and other female players were hanging around the sweets corner, eating cake. Quite feminine of them.
Taku, Gantz and Kei, as well as other male players were munching on meat and other heavy food.
Other than that, there were people who were only eating salads, those who were quietly drinking, and those who were stirring soba in broth.
Everyone's appearance as they ate far above the satiety limit made me smile wryly. In my case, I decided to balance the dishes I pick up.
In the place Cloude and others were at, Magi-san and Lyly had summoned their tamed mobs and were having a meal together.
"Oh, that looks tasty, Yun-kun!”
After collecting the food I wanted on my plate, I headed towards a seat near them. There, I heard Magi-san call out to me.
"Yeah, it feels like the cooks have improved since the last time I ate here.”
Starting with the very basic fried young chicken, there were chicken wings with boiled sweet potatoes, the usual fried chicken, and English-style fried chicken. There was a lot of fried chicken Christmas cuisine.
I also summoned my tamed mobs, Ryui and Zakuro, and then split some chicken from the bone to make it easier for them to eat.
"Ohh, there's plenty of garlic in this salad dressing. Wanna try some, Yun-kun?”
"This curry here is also really good. It’s an original with fried chicken and pork cutlet on top of it. Look at this, Yuncchi!”
"Here, I asked Fiore, my store’s pâtissiere, to make this mini-cake. Have some.”
"Ahahaha… I'll take my time eating these.”
Receiving dish recommendations from Magi-san, Lyly and Cloude, I put on a bitter smile and slowly started to eat.
Certainly, the things that those three recommended were delicious, and I gladly ate them together with Ryui and Zakuro.
After satisfying my appetite, I put Zakuro on my lap and talked with Magi-san and the others as I brushed him.
"Hee, Yun-kun, you partied-up with Taku-san's party and did a yet unfinished chain quest?”
"Yeah, it was very different from elimination quests and quite difficult.”
I moistened my throat with juice and explained the quest bit by bit.
At first, Magi-san was also drinking juice, but as the party grew more lively she started to switch to a weak cocktail. And now, she’s folded the fingertips of both her hands together and placed her chin on them as she listens to my story in a good mood.
"Fufufu, is that so.”
"Then, at the end, we split the items we got between each other.”
I got this, I said, and took out the various accessories I received as my share.
Among them was a slightly oppressive choker made out of black leather with a silver chain. As the owner of a 【Craftsmanship】-type Sense, Magi-san became interested in it and picked it up with her hand to examine it.
"Heeh, a choker, huh. Heck, you picked up cursed equipment again, Yun-kun?”
I answered her question and then Cloude, who wasn’t particularly surprised, drank some of his white wine and asked a question himself.
"So, what's this cursed accessory's effect?”
In response to his question, I visualized the item’s detailed stats.
Death Count's Choker 【Accessory】 (Weight: 2)
INT+15, MIND+15 Additional Effect: 【Weakening】【HP Recovery Decrease】
It was magic-focused accessory with the demerit of applying 【Weakening】 to the wearer.
【Weakening】 was an effect that decreases the player's HP by 5% of their max HP at certain fixed intervals. In addition to that, the accessory also has the 【HP Recovery Decrease】 effect, which greatly decreases the amount of healing the wearer receives.
In other words, if you wear this accessory, not only will you gradually lose HP, but it makes the HP hard to recover as well. It’s a loser's accessory.
"Well, I won't use it, but I thought it might have some connection to the quest's setting.”
"The entire quest chain begins with the escort of an NPC that's been chosen to be sacrificed during a devil summoning ritual. And so, I wondered whether the cultists planned to use this item on the victim. It's interesting to think over possible settings and such.”
The cursed accessory would increase the NPC’s magical potential while gradually weakening her, making her unable to resist. Thus, the ritual would be completed without fail.
It was also fun to think that as a result of players advancing the quest, the cultists were unable to make use of this accessory and it was left inside the mansion until you came to acquire it.
"Hmmm, that's one way to think of it I guess.”
While thinking over the conversation, Magi-san sipped her alcohol and snacked on nuts-type sweets together with her partner, Ricœur.
With the conversation exhausted, Cloude tilted his wine glass slowly as he stroked Socks' back.
Looking sleepy, Lyly dazedly stared outside the window.
It was about time for underaged and tired players to start logging out, I thought. That’s when Lyly suddenly muttered a word.
Lyly, who saw something outside the window, quickly woke up from his dazed state and moved towards the door leading outside.
"Ah! I'll go after Lyly!”
"I'll come with you, the night wind is good for sobering up.”
"So will I. I'm interested in what Lyly meant when he said "Santa".”
And as a result of searching for Lyly, we went outside onto the guild home's PvP grounds.
There, we found players enjoying alcohol to the sight of the snowy aura. Together with them was Lyly, who was looking up at the sky with a sparkle in his eyes.
I looked up at the night sky filled with white snow powder, and there I saw an erroneous existence flying over it.
After activating 【Sky Eyes】 to examine it, I stared at the existence.
『”Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!”』
An old man in red clothes was flying in the sky while cheerfully laughing. He was skillfully manipulating the reindeers’ reigns as he carried large bags full of presents.
"You serious? It’s really Santa Claus.”
Facing towards the town, Santa Claus waved his hand with a smile.
The players who were partying inside noticed his sudden emergence and rushed outside as well.
"——Santa Claus. I guess it IS Christmas time.”
"Though, by investing yourself in the in-game Christmas event, it's like you're giving up on actual Christmas.”
"That damn event dedicated to riajuus can go to hell! Damn it...!”
"I wish destruction for guys with girlfriends, amen. May riajuus face eradication, amen.”
Looking towards Santa, some male players started performing suspicious religious rituals and chanting strange stuff.
And among the crowd, waving her hand with all her might——
"SANTAAA! Give me a preseeeent!”
"M-Myu-san! Please stop it, it's embarrassing!”
Was Myu, who was then stopped by Lucato.
Then, the game-brains Taku, Mikadzuchi and Cloude gathered and started deliberating about something.
"So, does Santa Claus' appearance have anything to do with the event? Speaking of which, there was an announcement before saying that there will be "a release of special mobs". Is this it?”
"I don't know, but even if Santa Claus is the special mob, would it really be all right to make him a target to capture?”
"Actually, I wouldn't want to do an event where we beat up a saint.”
Hearing their conversation, I glared at them for saying stuff that kids shouldn't hear. All three of them turned their faces away, avoiding my line of sight.
『”Ho ho ho! Ho? NOOOOOOOOOOO——”』
Santa Claus, who was smiling as he flew through the night sky in his sleigh, was assaulted in mid-air by five deformed beings.
Those deformed creatures not only pulled away his treasures, but they also kicked Santa himself off of his sleigh.
Although Santa Claus somehow managed to land on the ground, each of the deformed creatures stole all the letters, the two reindeer, the sleigh, the gift bags, and his red hat. After which, they shouted.
"Noow! We have the saint's, Santa Claus' precious treasures! There will be no NO Christmas for this town and the children will DESPAIR! We devils shall use that despair to call forth the arch-devil Satan!”
The five devils that robbed Santa Claus of his precious tools and treasures flew straight outside of the town.
And then, when the devils that had left the town arrived on top of each of the five pentagrams that had been drawn on the ground, black light poured down from the sky.
——Emergency quest 【Return of Santa Claus】 has been given to all players.
From here on, please beat all five of the dungeons that have been created by the five 【Devils】. For each cleared dungeon, you will recover one of 【Santa Claus' Tools】.
When all five tools have been recovered, the Return of Santa Claus quest will be complete, and all players will receive a reward for completing the event.
Also, the difficulty of the 【Devils'】 dungeons will be influenced by the quest event's completion rate.
Current quest completion rate is——62%
"I'll go take a look!”
And so, a mass of players rushed outside the town all at once.
Light-bodied people like Myu kicked off the walls and left the town over the roofs of the buildings.
On the other hand, I avoided the crowd by moving on the very edge of it.
The end-of-the-year and Christmas party has pretty much been cancelled because of this huge fuss.
I, along with Magi-san and the other crafters, have decided to watch as things unfold for the time being and help out with the party clean-up in the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild home. Then, three hours later——
"Fufufu, we're done for. We don't stand a chance.”
"The dungeon difficulty and mechanisms are just evil. This is one horrible Christmas present from the management.”
"Merry Christmas, my ass! It’s more like pure suffering!”
The five dungeons have beaten the countless challengers; it looks like they are more difficult than any normal dungeons that were currently available.
Each dungeon had its own characteristics.
The first one was focused on flames and the red hat——the Hearth Dungeon.
Other than tormenting players with hot air that blew through the brick-made passages at fixed intervals, and the entire dungeon was full of lethal traps as well.
Although it seems to be a mini-dungeon, there was no info about its actual size or the dungeon boss.
The second dungeon was focused on water and the reindeers——the Snowy Field Dungeon.
It was an open-field type dungeon that was filled with heavy blizzard-like conditions. Inside it, the players need to find the staircase that leads below. However, they will start to be slowly tormented by 【Cold Damage】 if they take too long in doing so.
There was no information about this dungeon's size or boss either.
The third dungeon was focused on wind and the letters——the Great Tree Dungeon.
There were no difficult mechanics like the hot air or snowstorm mentioned in the previous dungeons, but the respawn interval for MOBs was very short and no safe zone has been found so far. As a result, the continuous battles in this dungeon exhausted the players.
Several parties have reached the boss of this dungeon, but the boss, who calls himself the 【Devil of Magic】, perfectly counters melee attacks and continuously releases barrages of magic without rest. Apparently, it's a powerful magic-type boss that has no openings that would allow the players to beat him.
The fourth dungeon was focused on earth and the gift bags——the Graveyard Dungeon.
This was also an open-field dungeon like the Snowy Field Dungeon, but it had undead mobs that absorbed HP and MP.
The enemies had very low movement speed and individual fighting power, but they chased after the players forever because they had an incredibly high range of player detection.
Also, since the dungeon is an open field cemetery, the players’ actions are obstructed by the tombstones and other similar objects that are scattered across the field. In addition, before the players realize it, the number of undead mobs grows to a level that they can’t handle.
The boss, who called himself the 【Devil of Barriers】, has a large amount of HP and magic defense. Although he doesn't have any strong means of attacking himself, he can summon a large number of undead that will separate the players from him. He also uses powerful debuffs that decrease the players’ stats and cause bad statuses.
And the last dungeon was focused on light and the sleigh——the Road Dungeon.
This dungeon was completely different from the others.
"The road dungeon features the boss battle right from the start. You fight the boss from a sled. It's one of those battles on the move that you can find in games, like the battles on moving vehicles like trucks. Although it's okay on the TV screen, it’s incredibly difficult in VR.”
Myu said and scowled.
At the moment, I had prepared some tea for the players who challenged the dungeons and then came back after dying, and was listening to their stories.
"On top of that, once you fall off the sled, you die and can't come back! Seeing as revival medicine doesn't work, this is the strangest dungeon of them all! Completely unreasonable!”
Frustrated at her defeat against the boss, Myu complained with a scowl. However, as she spoke, her face slowly began to fill with the glow of excitement for her next attempt.
"So, you know, the boss fight is carried out with around twenty auto-matched players that fight against 【Devil Brat】 and his eight Devil Reindeer subordinates. Although the reindeers aren't that strong themselves, they cooperate with the boss to drop players out of the dungeon. All of that is happening while our parties are having a hard time cooperating with each other as we travel at full speed on a sled!”
I nodded with affirmation towards what she said, and once Myu had said everything that she wanted to say, she drank her tea all at once.
"I received a death penalty in that dungeon, so I'm going to sleep for today. Good night!”
"Oh, good night.”
I saw Myu off as she logged out ahead of me, and put away the cup that she drank tea from.
Taking a look around, I saw that the after-party cleanup was over and Sei-nee, Taku, Mikadzuchi and Cloude had gathered to talk about something.
And, noticing that I was alone, Mikadzuchi beckoned me over with her hand, making me wonder what she wanted.
"What is it? Need something from me?”
"So, Missy Yun, can you prepare 【Element Cream】 and 【Hot Drinks】? As many as possible.”
"Ahh, for the Hearth and Snowy Field Dungeons, right?”
Hearing my answer, everyone nodded.
The 【Element Cream】 that temporarily gives 【Fire Element Resistance】is necessary for the Hearth Dungeon’s hot air mechanism, while the 【Hot Drinks】 are necessary to reduce the 【Cold Damage】 in the Snowy Field Dungeon. It looks like they wanted to make the exploration of both dungeons as easy as possible.
"I can prepare the 【Element Cream】, but I don't think I can make enough 【Hot Drinks】.”
Because I just recently started cultivating the Hakuga material that’s used to make the 【Hot Drink】 that grants cold resistance, I still don’t have enough of it available. Rather, I intended to use that as a substitute for ginger, if anything.
"Can't you do something about it? Please?!”
"Like I said, there's no way I can prepare that many 【Hot Drinks】.”
"Can't you do something, anything?!”
Even though I answered that it's physically impossible for me to do it, Mikadzuchi continued to lower her head.
Behind her, Taku seemed to have received a call from someone. He nodded a few times and then reported to Mikadzuchi.
"Snowy Field Dungeon was beaten just now.”
"Missy, we're cancelling the order for 【Hot Drinks】.”
"That's a real quick change of mind you did there. You’ve clearly lost your motivation, as well.”
I stared at Mikadzuchi as she sighed deeply and started drinking alcohol straight from a bottle.
Seeing her look somewhat irritated, I asked straightforwardly.
"Mikadzuchi, why are you so frantic?”
"Frantic? Of course I am. Sei will be gone soon!”
"What do you mean by “she'll be gone”?”
I tilted my head in wonder and stared at Sei-nee, who was standing beside Mikadzuchi with a wry smile. She supplemented Mikadzuchi's answer.
"Yun-chan, you know I'm coming home for Christmas, right? The number of days I can spend on the event will be reduced because of that.”
"Oh, I guess so.”
Sei-nee won’t be able to log in for some time since she’ll be coming back home for the New Year’s holidays. Because of that, they wanted to beat at least one dungeon as soon as possible.
"So, who the hell was it that beat the Snowy Field Dungeon so fast?”
Sulky because her target had been stolen, Mikadzuchi asked Taku.
"It was a joint party made from several small guilds. Heck, one of the participants, 【OSO Fishermen Association】's guild master, boasted to me just now.”
Taku said that dejectedly, but I realized that I had heard about something like that before.
Thinking about it, I recalled that Letia's 【Fresh Green Wind】 had been doing event quests jointly together with other small and medium guilds.
"The party members' breakdown was three people from 【OSO Fishermen Association】, one person from 【Fresh Green Wind】, one from 【Fluffy Tail Association】, and one guildless.”
"Meaning, it was those guilds' hidden trump cards... hm? What is it, missy?”
Mikadzuchi noticed me look off into the distance as I heard familiar guild names.
"No, it's nothing.”
Letia was probably the player from 【Fresh Green Wind】, while Ber was probably the one from 【Fluffy Tail Association】. In addition, the guildless player might have been Emily-san.
Well, if Letia and the others managed to have some success, then as their friend I could only be happy for them.
That day, we collected plenty of information about what's inside the dungeons, but there was no other report about any of them being cleared for the first time. Astounded by their high level of difficulty, players have focused on the yet-unfinished quests inside the town in order to raise the quest completion rate and decrease the difficulty of the 【Devil】 dungeons.
And after a few days have passed——
"Yun-san... we got completely beat up in the dungeon.”
I’ve started growing the new 【Magi-Scream Grass】material on the fields outside 【Atelier】.
The 【Mystic Medicinal Grass】 and 【Soul Grass】 that I started cultivating earlier have finally stabilized, and when I was using the gathered materials to make Mega Potions and MP Pots, Lyna and Al entered the 【Atelier】 and called out to me.
"For now, we're going to do normal event quests until the death penalty is gone, so please give us some potions.”
"Coming right up.”
They’ve recently switched from ordinary Potions to High Potions, so I picked some of those up and passed them to the two as I had a light chat with them.
"We heard that Letia-san finished the Snowy Field Dungeon, so we thought that we could do it too!”
"No, where does that confidence of yours even come from? Also, so it really was Letia who cleared that dungeon, huh.”
"It was. Letia-san, Ber-san and Emily-san cooperated with players from 【OSO Fishermen's Association】 and cleared it.”
Since he heard about it from the people themselves, Al was quite knowledgeable about it.
They used Letia’s tamed mobs and Emily-san’s synthetic mobs to move at high speeds so they could minimize the damage caused by 【Cold Damage】, and they further decreased that damage by munching on Hakuga roots. Like that, they advanced straight to the boss.
【Hindering Devil】 was the boss mob’s name and it seemed to focus on defense. However, the attacks of Ber and Emily-san’s synthetic golem mobs were able to break through the boss’ defenses, and 【OSO Fishermen Association】's top players, which included Shichifuku, dealt the damage to the boss himself.
In addition, not only did Letia use her tamed mobs, but she also used light magic and recovery magic to support the entire party.
"Looks like Letia and the others are also having some eventful time during the event.”
"They sure are. Ah, it's about time for the death penalty to wear off, so we'll be going back to doing some normal leveling before we try to complete the dungeon again.”
"Got it. ...Oh, speaking of which, how's it going with the newbie players from Ber's guild?”
"It's okay. They’re good girls. Well, we'll come again.”
Is what Lyna said as she tried to leave 【Atelier】 while waving her hand. However, the short spear she was carrying on her back got stuck in the doors and she ended up making a small fuss. Seeing this comedic scene, I ended up smiling wryly.
And after I saw Lyna and Al off, Myu passed by them and entered the store with force.
"Yun-oneechan! Let's go to a dungeon! Dungeon nau!”
"Myu, I told you not to call me "onee-chan". Heck, what dungeon do you even intend to take me to?”
Her party is one that already has six members, constituting a full party, so there would be a penalty if I joined them. She should already know that.
Though, there was a certain dungeon that was an exception——
"Of course, the dungeon that Onee-chan can challenge together with us——the Road Dungeon!”
I did consider that possibility, but it was that after all, huh.
"We got beat on our first attempt last time, but this time we've gathered plenty of info and prepared countermeasures to take revenge! But for that to happen, we need you!”
"Need me, huh…"
There's no way I would be that useful in direct combat… is what I thought without much motivation, but unlike me, Myu was brimming with it.
"So, why invite me?”
"You see, it's because you have Ryui!”
Ryui, who was sleeping in his young beast form at his usual spot inside the store, stood up and came next to me.
"Yup. If someone falls off of the sled, then they’ll have to retire immediately. However, we can still recover that person if you summon Ryui. On top of that, we can expect a lot from your Enchants.” Is what she said as she stared at me.
It's hard to refuse when I'm being asked for support. My character has been designed to play that role since the beginning, after all.. Also, Ryui snorted loudly for some reason, clearly raring to go.
"Now that I think about it, Ryui has yet to perform in actual combat. Want to do it?”
Ryui nodded, and I decided as well.
"Fine. I'll try the Road Dungeon with yo——”Thank you, Onee-chan!”——"
Before I could even finish talking, Myu held both of my hands and shook them. And then, as if she had recalled something, she squeezed Ryui who was standing next to me.
"All right, let's go beat the dungeon right away then!”
"Wait a second! I don't have any info about that dungeon!”
"It's not like the game will always wait for its players! If you can't prepare beforehand, make do with what you have! This way it's more thrilling than preparing a sure-fire method!”
Oh, come on. What’s so bad about gathering information?
What's so bad about preparing beforehand?
What’s so bad about sure-fire methods that are safe? It’s not like we need the thrill.
On top of that, it's not like the players or parties who clear these dungeons will get anything special. It doesn’t matter who beats them. That’s what I thought, but unlike me, Myu might be thinking that being the first ones to defeat the dungeon has some sort of meaning.
"In any case, wait a bit. I want to prepare as much as I can!”
"Okay, but make it fast. We want to go even if it’s a second earlier!”
Good grief, I thought with a bitter smile as I started picking out necessary items from 【Atelier】 and stuffing them into my inventory. After that, I returned Ryui to his Summoning Stone before finally heading out to the Road Dungeon together with Myu.