Prologue - New Years' and Miko Clothing
The New Year's Eve. Just when we finished eating the New Year's soba and were about to rest——
"Onii-chan, I'm bored! Tired of this! Let's do something fun!"
"Calm down, Miu-chan. Here, have a mandarine."
We were spending some leisurely time in a kotatsu at our home.
Right now, Miu put her jaw on the kotatsu table, and Shizuka-nee peeled the skin off the mandarins and fed her with an "aan".
I looked at the two and thought that they're like a bird parent and child as I ate my own mandarins.
"Still, it's not like you'd be any happy with a busy New Year holidays, right, Miu?"
"That's true. But everyone else is busy with the New Year's, they're meeting with relatives and spending time with family."
"Thinking of it, we're different from everyone else. Dad and Mom always go out on a date whenever there's time off."
Our parents are working together and they dress themselves all up as they go on dates whenever there's holidays.
They're having lots of fun huh, I thought, and reached out towards the mandarins in front of me.
"Aa-aah, I want to play with Luka-chan and everyone~."
"Speaking of which, Mikadzuchi said she's "kinda busy"."
Miu did a stretch then fell on her back, then, Shizuka-nee put a hand on her cheek and muttered.
It seemed that was the reason Shizuka-nee who came back home after Christmas, and Miu, have lately been focusing on playing with the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild and own party respectively.
"AAaa! It's boring, BORING! It's boring when Luka-chan and others aren't here!"
"Stop throwing a tantrum. How about going for a new year's shrine visit in OSO?"
Miu, who has been laying on her back has raised herself up and pointed at me. Hey, no pointing fingers at people.
"Hey, let's go do it! In OSO! There's a cathedral there, right?!"
"You're right. And there's supposed to be a new year's update too, so we might as well spend the end of the year in OSO."
"Really? I mean, are you okay with the new year's shrine visit being that?"
Shizuka-nee received Miu's words with a smile, but I was a little doubtful about having the new year's shrine visit like that, and questioned her. Maybe their real goal was the new year's update?
The cathedral's for praying, is what I wanted to retort with, but seeing Miu in such high spirits I thought it didn't really matter.
"Guess it's still better than going for a shrine visit in this damn cold."
I rubbed my hands inside the kotatsu to warm them up as I trembled imagining the cold outside.
"Then, let's meet up in front of the cathedral, I'll go ahead."
"I'll go ahead with Miu-chan and log in."
While saying so, Shizuka-nee stretched grandly and followed Miu who headed to her room.
"Yes yes, I'll come soon."
When the two left, I sluggishly stood up and muttered quietly.
"Well, we're just going to the cathedral for a bit… it'll be over right away."
I turned off the power from kotatsu, cleaned up the orange peels and headed for my room.
In my room, I turned on the air conditioner, put on the VR Gear and lied down on the bed.
I let my consciousness be taken by the pulling feel of logging in, and fell into the darkness to enter the world of OSO.
Like usual, I appeared standing in 【Atelier】 before heading outside and for the cathedral where I was to meet up with Myu and Sei-nee.
The First Town's main road that I passed through as I moved, was filled with quite the amount of players who logged in.
"It's the End of the Year yet there's so many people logged in, huh."
Speaking of which, when I logged into OSO for the first time to meet up with Myu and Sei-nee, I also met up with them in front of the cathedral, I thought while being overwhelmed by the amount of people logged in.
This time, all the players around me were also walking the same way, towards the cathedral.
"Everyone's thinking of the same thing, eh."
Players with free time like me and Myu gathered up their friends and headed towards the cathedral for the new year's first shrine visit, and the players with stalls by the main road took advantage of that by selling food and accessories.
It felt like the new year's stalls in front of the shrines in real world.
Glancing to the sides, I found Myu and Sei-nee in the place where we first met up in OSO.
"Myu, Sei-nee, did you wait?"
"No, not at all, Yun-oneechan!"
"We met up just a moment ago, too. So then…"
Sei-nee's gaze turned towards the cathedral, where the main doors were opened and had a line of players stretching out from it.
With everyone thinking the same thing and such a long queue, the year would end before we could even enter.
"Hey, Yun-chan, Myu-chan. I think we should come when there's fewer people, what do you think?"
"I also think it would be better if we killed some time elsewhere."
"Agreeed! Let's gooo! Yun-oneechan! Sei-oneechan!"
"I said, Myu, don't call me "onee-chan". ...Good grief, can't be helped."
I sighed as Myu pulled my hand and we moved away from the cathedral.
Here and there were players who prepared some interesting things for the New Year's Eve.
When we walked around eating food from stalls, we found a player stuttering around while wearing a full-body costume of the next year's zodiac animal. Myu tackled and clung to him with strong momentum, making him brace himself to bear it. Seeing that, I felt quite strangely impressed. Then, shaking hands with the costume-wearing person made me feel happy, too.
Then as we strolled around, seeing plenty of heavy food being served tonight, Myu suddenly muttered.
"...I want to eat something sweet."
"Oh, good idea. Actually I also feel like having sweets."
"If it's sweets… then there's just one place to go."
I agreed with going to eat some sweets and the three of us headed to the 【Commonest Café & Clothier】 that we know well.
And when we arrived, we saw that the store was specially decorated for the new year's.
The Café's terrace had the tables and chairs removed, instead there was a hanging bell and a wooden hammer set in there.
Besides the bell, which rang loudly when hit, there was a sign saying "One time per person", and there was a small line of players in front of it.
Also, by the entrance of the Café, there was a red torii set-up adding an Eastern feel to the Western-style building making it seriously out of place.
Still, the world of OSO was so styled on Western fantasy, that just by having a little bit of "Eastern" feel made people gather.
"Today, 【Commonest Café & Clothier】 isn't functioning as just a café, we are having special New Year's sale! We have charms, Evil-Warding Arrows and special limited-edition sweets! Moreover, we're having a New Year's free service offering sweet sake!"
"This service is limited to today only, and will end when we are out of stock!"
Latem-san and Calian-san who were in charge of 【Commonest Café & Clothier】's café part have guided the players who finished ringing the bell, and were advertising the store.
The two weren't wearing the store's uniforms like they usually do, but hakama. Latem-san was wearing a purple colored, and Calian-san was wearing scarlet-colored hakama, which were a priest's garb.
Then, we heard a quiet yells from the two who were leading people in.
"Why is it so damn busy?! Latem, where are we short on manpower?!"
"I prioritized the sales, but the free sweet sake's customer service isn't going too smoothly. Still, if we overcome this it should get calmer eventually… probably."
"Oh c'mon, your predictions are just off."
Hearing the conversation, I ended up calling out to the two.
"Um… are you okay?"
They were acquaintances so I approached and spoke to them, but then the two instantly grabbed my hands.
"Yun-san! You came!"
"W-well… yeah, to kill some time."
"Cloude-san! We found extra help! Calian will bring her right now!"
When Latem-san raised his voice towards the other side of the queue, there was a quiet and hard to catch "got it" answer.
And so, pulled by hand by Calian-san I was brought into the back of the store.
Seeing me like that, Myu and Sei-nee said "looks interesting" and followed us… hey, don't just look, stop them, help me.
"Cloude-san! We found Yun-san!"
"WHAT?! Good job!!"
Cloude appeared, wearing a purple hakama.
Then after looking at me and Calian-san, as well as Myu and Sei-nee who followed after us quietly he nodded strongly.
"A'ight! I'm hiring all of you!"
"No, wait. What's this all about?! Also, don't count Myu and Sei-nee as part of the workforce!"
When I protested, Calian-san finally noticed Myu and Sei-nee behind me, and went "When did they…?!" with surprise, but immediately retrieved her calm and started requesting the two to help.
Meanwhile, Cloude explained.
"What's this about? ...Well, to put it short, I'm asking you to help us out overcome this situation."
"This situation… well, I get that you're short on people but…"
I was stumped by the ever-growing crowd in front of the store.
"How did this even happen?"
"The talk of accessories made by Magi has spread among players."
While saying so, Cloude pulled out one item from among the well-selling goods and showed it to me.
Seeing that over my shoulder, Myu suddenly raised her voice.
"OHHH?! Is this an accessory made from the 【Crystal Pillar】?! I heard that 【Crystal Pillar】 was hard to process and wasn't fit for crafting weapons or accessories!"
"Oh, that's unusual. 【Crystal Pillar】 is hard and brittle so 【Eight Million Gods'】 crafters are having a hard time with it."
It looked like it was an item with a fairly high difficulty to make accessories out of.
Classified as an accessory, it had a magic defense bonus and could have up to three additional effects added to it.
"And yet the price's just 100kG, plus free service! It's too cheap! I want onee!"
"Kukuku, it's a featured product that I asked Magi for, I got it while being ready to go in the red. Even if you line up now, it will probably be sold out before your turn even comes."
Cloude said and glanced my way. He must have been implicating that if we help out with the store, we'll receive a 【Crystal Pillar】 as a reward.
"By the way, where can you get this 【Crystal Pillar】?"
"In the 【Inorganic Cave】 area you can get to by passing through Volcanic Area's 【Demonfolk Resort】 dungeon. It's an item you can gather from collection points, but it requires at least level 40 of either 【Tempering】 or 【Engraving】 to craft with it."
"Whoa, that's high! Looks like it's impossible for me either way."
It wasn't like I couldn't access the location it's gathered in, but even if I get some, my 【Engraving】 level is at 26 so I wouldn't be able craft anything for Myu. Furthermore, if it's a hard and brittle material that requires the player work with it in a special way, it would take a lot of try and error to finally succeed, also making multiple trips to the area necessary.
"Now then, once again I'd like to request you three to help out with the store. As a reward, I'll give you three 【Crystal Pillar】 charms, how about it?"
"Let's see, in addition to that, could you prepare some limited edition sweets for us?"
"I see. Very well, I'll prepare those too."
"——Hey, Sei-nee! Why are you negotiating by yourself!"
"Eeeh〜, 'cause I too want a【Crystal Pillar】 charm."
Riight? Both Myu and Sei-nee said together.
"I really want one, Yun-chan."
With the two asking me like that I could only give up and nod wordlessly. Damn, there's no way I could refuse such cute request from my sisters.
Falling silent for a moment, I sorted everything out in my head and slapped my cheeks for some extra fighting spirit.
"All right, let's do it. So, what do we do?"
"Then first of all, change into this equipment here."
"All right! Let's hurry and change! Changing in dressing room is okay, right?!
Suddenly pulled by hand by Myu, I entered the café's dressing room and put on the equipment I was given.
After changing clothes by clicking once in the menu I checked on my appearance in the mirror the dressing room was equipped with.
It was a kimono that perfectly matched my stature. The upper part of it was pure white with short sleeves and the hakama on the bottom was colored——scarlet.
"I knew it… I predicted that might be the case, but why does it have to be scarlet? Guys get purple don't they."
I spoke towards the wall of the dressing room in a stifled voice.
Also, between men and women the height at which hakama is worn is different, too, so no matter how I looked at it, it was an outfit for women.
Moreover, even the hairstyle was part of the equipment set. My long black hair were gathered behind my neck and tied with a leather strap which was further hidden with washi that was wound around it.
"Yun-oneechan, did you finish changing? Hurry up and come out!"
Prompted by Myu, I sighed deeply and opened the dressing room's curtain.
Waiting there, wearing miko outfits just like me were Myu and Sei-nee. The three of us headed back to where Cloude was.
Not even trying to hide my displeasure, I stood in front of Cloude.
"I changed. Got anything to say to me?"
Why miko outfit, I wish I wore the same kimono for men that you have. Is what I tried to say with my gaze to him, in response, he nodded strongly.
"As I thought, the prim and proper miko's the way to go. Fantasy hair and skin colors feel a bit off when you wear miko outfit… yup, I'm satisfied with this."
Satisfied all alone Cloude, and in contrast me, disheartened. Staring at us like that with a smile, were Myu and Sei-nee.
"All right, as for what you'll help out. Yun, you take care of Evil-Warding Arrows and sweet sake sales. Myu and Sei, you two guide people in from the entrance."
"Understood! Let's go, Sei-oneechan!"
"Well then, do your best, Yun-chan."
After watching Myu and Sei-nee leave, I stood on my station.
"Excuse me. I'd like two cups of sweet sake… also, what are those Evil-Warding Arrows?"
"Yes, right away. Evil-Warding Arrows have a silver tip and are an item effective against undead. In order to use them, you need the 【Bow】 Sense, so unless you are a possessor of said Sense, it's mainly a decoration item."
I politely explained the item's usage to a customer who came asking, meanwhile my hands didn't stop as poured sweet sake into a wooden cup.
Among the items sold here, 【Crystal Pillar】 charm and New Year's limited edition sweets were the items that had best sales, and most of the customers came to have some free sweet sake as well which made me quite busy.
Moreover, Evil-Warding Arrows didn't sell too well at first, but when I took charge of their sales, they slowly started to sell.
I wonder why, I thought. Well, it doesn't matter as long as they sell, let's not think about this too deeply.
"——Sold out! All items have been sold out! What's remaining is just the free sweet sake service〜!"
When Latem-san raised his voice saying "sold out!" I relaxed slightly, it seemed like I was more nervous than I thought.
"You can take a break, Yun. I'll take care of the rest."
Although Cloude proposed that, there were still customers remaining in the line despite the fact items sold out, so I decided to help out for a little longer.
"Hmm, I'll continue for a little longer. Can you have Myu and Sei-nee take some rest first?"
When Myu and Sei-nee finish their break, it'll be a moment after the the midnight. By then, the cathedral should have less people in it, I thought and continued to pour sweet sake into wooden cups.
Then, passed it to the next player as well——
"Here, please have this. It'll warm you... up?"
"Yun, why are you in that getup?"
"——?!! Taku! Why the hell are you here?!"
Because I left myself to the flow of the work, I didn't notice Taku who approached to have some and my voice was completely filled with surprise.
"I came back after doing some light solo hunting, so I came by since there was a free sweet sake service. To recover some satiety, y'know... and then I saw you."
Being seen in a miko outfit by a childhood friend made my face burn up with embarrassment.
From Taku's point of view, it was just me being made to wear women's clothing again, but to me, being seen in such clothes by an acquaintance it was embarrassing to no end.
"Hmm, that outfit looks good on you."
"Stop saying stuff like this again! Don't make me any more embarrassed!"
I raised my voice in protest, meanwhile, Calian-san and Latem-san who saw us together had come with help, making a proposal.
"How about taking a break, Yun-san? I'll take your place."
"You can use the break room in the back, Taku-kun can come with you."
Certainly, upset like this I might fail at work.
I nodded in response and taking Taku with me I headed to the break room in the back.
That moment, I heard voices of disappointment saying "Ahh, the person in charge changed." and those of resentment saying stuff like "Just a little more and I'd get some sweet sake from Yun-chan... I won't forgive him!", but when I turned my head around everyone calmly stood in the line. Thinking it was just my imagination, I decided not to think about it.
And when I entered the break room together with Taku, I was greeted by Myu and Sei-nee who have started their break earlier.
"Nice work, Yun-oneechan. Also, Taku-san, why are you here?"
"Yun-chan, thanks for hard work. Also welcome, Taku-kun."
Myu turned tilted her head questioningly while eating sweets, and Sei-nee naturally greeted Taku.
"Myu-chan, Sei-san, good evening. I came to get some sweet sake, but I ended up talking with Yun and getting in the way so we were sent here."
Taku's explanation wasn't wrong, so I remained silent there.
And when we all together drank some tea in the break room, Cloude entered it.
"Sorry to have you do work so suddenly. These are the promised 【Crystal Pillar】 charms."
While saying so, Cloude passed a simple charm with crystal accents to me, Myu and Sei-nee.
【Crystal Pillar】 Charm 【Accessory】 (Weight: 1)
The three of us happily received the charms, which still had yet to be equipped with additional effects.
Taku was looking at us with slight envy, but since I didn't have a hobby to show off I immediately put it into my inventory.
"It's about time for the New Year's countdown. I want everyone to greet the new year together, so come in front of the store."
"Oh, got it."
Taking us with him, we left the break room and passed through the café and left the building.
Everyone looked at the clock in the menu screen, the countdown for the New Year's had started.
"""10, 9, 8…"""
Myu, Sei-nee, Taku and I have lined up one next to another and looked up at the night sky, joining the New Year's count.
"""3, 2, 1…"""
In the distance, the bell was rang for midnight, and the sky above was filled with colorful magic and balls of light.
Myu and Sei-nee had joined in, and have glanced my way, signaling they want me to join in.
"Good grief, all right. ──《Explosion》!"
I used the earth element's attack magic 《Explosion》 and fired it far above us.
My 【Sky Eyes】 took a point in the sky as a target, and activated magic there.
Although it was activated quite high, it didn't leave any trail behind and had made a big yellow explosion.
Without any obstructions in the night sky, the explosion had spread out, coloring the sky.
Beside me, Myu sent a converged ray of light into the sky which had passed through tiny particles of cold summoned by Sei-nee and diffused into various directions to illuminate the sky.
The sight of the fireworks made by magic coming from various parts of the town, had filled the sky with colors.
"Ehehehe, take care of me this year as well. Sei-oneechan, Yun-oneechan, Taku-san."
"Yes yes, same here."
I pat Myu's head and exchanged New Year's greetings with Sei-nee and Taku as well.
Chapter 1 - New Year's Update and Ability Expansion
"Oh, the New Year's update's information is up."
When the New Year's countdown and the magic fireworks show ended, and the surroundings have calmed down, Taku opened the menu and said so.
We too, opened our menus and checked on the update information, but there was very few things written there, making me perplexed.
"Several quests added, items added and balance changes?"
There wasn't a single detail written there, but Taku and Myu looked somewhat convinced by this.
"It means we have to search by ourselves."
"Greeaat! Let's go search for quests——"Wait a sec!"——"
Sei-nee and I grasped Myu's shoulders as she tried to break into run while still wearing miko clothing.
"We're going for the first shrine visit, right? You're the one who said you want to go, no escaping."
"This makes onee-chan saaad. To think you would leave us just like that, Myu-chan."
I rebuked her with reason, Sei-nee appealed to her feelings.
As a result Myu lost her voice and high spirits.
"I'm sorry, I was too hasty."
Since Myu honestly apologized, Sei-nee pat her head with a warm smile. I also put up a mixed expression as I stared at her.
And then I looked towards Taku and asked.
"Are you going with us, Taku? For the New Year's first shrine visit in the cathedral."
"Indeed, everyone going together would make it more fun. It shouldn't be crowded now."
I invited Taku, and Sei-nee had agreed with my proposal.
The New Year's celebrations ended and players have split up and started to look for the new quests and items added by the update.
Certainly, the number of people gathered in the cathedral should decrease in this situation.
Taku's gestured made it appear that he thought for a moment about our proposal, so I asked him whether he has some other plans.
"Did you have something to do? Like, meeting up with Gantz and others?"
"No, I don't have any. Everyone from our party is busy with the New Year's so the log in times are completely disjointed, we decided that for a week after the New Year's we'll play as we like alone."
"Is that so."
Hearing that, Sei-nee said something similar.
"As I thought, it's the same everywhere, isn't it. Mikadzuchi said that she's busy with the New Year's drinking parties and such, and won't be able to log in often until everything calms down."
"It's just the New Year's, but still, is it really okay for your two on top not to function properly? O' greatest of guilds."
Hearing my retort, Sei-nee who was the sub-master of the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild smiled, and said "it's okay".
"I gave out instructions, and there's plenty of other skilled players so there's no problem."
She said. Meanwhile, Myu who was in low spirits had recovered, and energetically spoke up.
"Instead of talking forever here, let's change and go to the cathedral!"
"Hurry up and change, I'll wait here."
"Got it, then..."
Prompted by Taku to change clothes, I took Myu and Sei-nee with me, then entered the Commonest store's dressing room.
There, I changed from miko clothes to my Ochre Creator's winter version and exited the dressing room, Myu and Sei-nee also came out at nearly the exact same timing and the three of us headed towards where Taku was waiting.
"Sorry to make you wait, let's go."
When leaving the 【Commonest Café & Clothier】 I approached Cloude to give back the miko outfits, but ended up receiving them as gifts.
Although I made an awkward expression, Myu and Sei-nee looked a little happy so I couldn't get angry at him there, and had to receive it.
We left the store and headed for the cathedral, I watched as Myu and Sei-nee have stopped by stalls to check goods and prices, and walked side by side with Taku.
"Heey! Yun-oneechan! Taku-san! Hurry up and come or we'll leave you behind!"
"Fufufu, when was the last time we went for New Year's shrine visit like this, with just the four of us? It does feel nostalgic."
Myu called us out with a loud voice, and Sei-nee appeared to be lost in nostalgic thoughts. The sight made Taku and me smile wryly, and speed up the our walking pace.
When we covered a bit of the distance——"Fuck, enjoying a harem right from the start of the new year, huh?!" "A riaju in both game and in real, peh. Goddammit!" "An older, same age, and younger girls all with childhood friend attribute, and all three being sisters to boot. What kind of galge is that?!"
Hearing voices saying such things, I turned around and saw multiple male players who looked like they'd start crying tears of blood at any time. Taku and I are guys, and most of the parties around us had high male ratios if anything.
Was there a harem party somewhere near? I stopped moving and wondered.
"Yun, what is it? Myu-chan and Sei-san are waiting."
Together with Taku we chased after the other two and arrived at the cathedral.
There were still more players than usual inside, but we were able to enter the cathedral smoothly.
The space inside was lit by the faint light from the candles and the moonlight pouring inside through the stained glass, displaying colorful art on the floor.
Although usually there were few people here, now players have taken turns praying in front of the goddess' statue.
Still, the way everyone prayed was different and some knelt before it, others just joined hands, or followed real shrine's manners. Seeing the players acting all freedom, I put on a bitter smile.
Then came our turn.
"All right, let's pray."
Along with Taku's words, Sei-nee and I closed our eyes to pray, but in the middle of it we heard sound of hands clapping. It seemed like Myu and Taku followed real shrine's manners to pray.
Even when praying each of our personalities showed, I thought as I spoke this year's wish in my mind.
("This year too, I wish all my acquaintances were healthy and we all have fun.")
When I finished making a wish, I felt a gaze from the side so I opened my eyes, and saw Myu peeking at me from the side.
"...What is it, Myu?"
"Nothing, I just wondered what did you wish for, Yun-oneechan."
Hearing the two of us, Sei-nee and Taku also finished praying and looked this way.
"Oh, I want to know too. What did you wish for, Yun-chan?"
"Ngh, then what did you wish for, Myu, Sei-nee?"
It felt embarrassing to one-sidedly reveal my own wish, so I asked them first. Myu and Taku puffed up their chests and responded.
"I wished I can level up and fight strong enemies!"
"I wished for a new sword to join my weapon collection!"
Really, these two... I stared at the two intently, but meanwhile Sei-nee had stared into distance as said——
"I——wished I got some rare drops."
Probably because of greed sensor, Sei-nee had such a bad luck that she almost never receives the items she wants from actual drops.
Hearing her earnest wish for that to be fixed, Myu, Taku and I all have cried in our hearts, unable to say anything about her lack of luck.
Realizing what our silence meant, Sei-nee tried to change the atmosphere by asking me this time.
"Everyone said what they wished for, now it's your turn, Yun-chan. It's not fair for just us to be the only ones."
"Ehh?! Um… uh, it's kinda embarrassing…"
"Nope! We all said what we wished for, you have to as well, Yun-oneechan! I won't forgive you otherwise!"
It was just a normal wish, is what I wanted to say, but I ended up answering despite the embarrassment.
"I wished for my acquaintances to be healthy and have a lot of fun, something like that… hey, c'mon! If you have something to say, SAY IT!"
When I answered while turning my gaze away, I received lukewarm stares from Myu and the other two, feeling even more embarrassed.
"Yun-oneechan's always thinking of others, that's why I love you!"
"Yes, Yun-chan is really kind."
Still looking at me lukewarmly, Myu clung onto me and Sei-nee pat my head. Because of that I grew even more embarrassed than before I said what was my wish, and started walking out of the cathedral to escape.
"We're done with the visit, right. I'm going back! I'll go back and go to sleep!"
But I was stopped by Myu.
"You can't! You can't go back yet! We're doing a newly updated quest together!"
"Kyaa?! Myu, where are you touching! Ah c'mon, fine, just get away!"
When clinging onto me from behind to stop me from moving, Myu put her hands under my winter clothes and started touching my chest and sides. In order to release myself I ended up agreeing to helping everyone out with searching for the new quests.
Taku who watched all of that with a smile, pat my shoulder lightly.
"You sure are soft on Myu-chan."
"I know, you don't have to tell me."
Haa, I sighed and chased after Myu who exited the cathedral while humming a song.
"At worst, this might turn into an all-nighter where we won't find anything, I hope we don't get all the info from websites later."
"Ahaha, that's… well, I can't deny it."
When I muttered, Sei-nee laughed dryly, but my fears have been blown away by Myu right away.
"Onee-chans! I found one already!"
"That was fast!!"
We barely left the cathedral and yet Myu already pointed in a certain direction.
When I looked the way she pointed, there was an entrance to a small park. Inside, stood a single adult priest in front of which a line of players had extended.
"Is that a quest NPC added by the update?"
"No, that NPC was there before, too."
"Right, he sold holy water, didn't he."
According to Sei-nee's explanation, he was selling an item that could turn active undead mobs non-active for a short period of time.
Hearing that it could be used as item for crafting, I was a little happy with the find.
"Maybe I should buy some of it. Still, that atmosphere doesn't feel like they're lining up to buy stuff."
The line in front of the Priest NPC clearly wasn't for purchasing items. Entire parties spoke to the Priest NPC before slipping out from the line, after which they started to consult among each other. There were also those who, after speaking shortly with the Priest NPC, were disappointed and left. However, there was no one who bought or sold anything.
We could only judge based on the few words we managed to hear, but there was talk of items, enemy mobs and errands.
"Don't know, we might as well ask!"
Myu said so, and immediately stood in the very end of the line. We smiled bitterly and lined up next to her.
And then to kill some time, we exchanged information with the players in front. Although indirectly, we grasped some information about the quest.
It was the Sense Expansion Quest.
In order to pick the quest up, it was necessary to spend 50SP and clear a few randomly generated quest stages, before finally clearing the quest to receive the reward that was an additional Sense slot. Or so it seemed.
"Sense expansion quest, huh?"
There, I checked my Sense Status window.
【Longbow Lv31】【Magic Bow Lv10】 【Sky Eyes Lv17】 【See-Through Lv29】 【Sorcery Lv20】 【Earth Element Talent Lv30】 【Enchant Arts Lv44】 【Taming Lv30】 【Dosing Master Lv12】 【Physical Attack Increase Lv10】
【Bow Lv50】 【Swiftness Lv22】 【Alchemy Lv45】 【Synthesis Lv45】 【Engraving Lv26】 【Crafter's Knowledge Lv7】 【Cook Lv15】 【Swimming Lv15】 【Linguistics Lv25】 【Climbing Lv21】 【Bodily Resistance Lv5】 【Spiritual Resistance Lv4】 【Pre-Emptive Knowledge Lv10】 【Vital Points Knowledge Lv10】
I had 64SP so I fulfilled the requirement for taking the quest, but I wasn't really eager to take it now, which was sharply noticed by Taku.
"What is it, Yun? You don't look too eager."
"No, it's just that if I take the quest together with you, I'll feel bad for your parties' members and other comrades afterwards."
Myu had a party Lucato and others.
Sei-nee had the 【Eight Million Gods】, including Mikadzuchi.
Taku had his party with Gantz and others.
Aside from me, they all had their own party members and comrades. I wondered if it was really okay for the three to ignore them like that, just to take the Sense Expansion Quest with me, I felt a little guilty about it.
After I voiced my opinion, my right hand that was holding onto the winter clothing near the chest, was wrapped around by Sei-nee's both hands.
"You really are kind, Yun-chan. But you don't have to worry, I already decided to stick with you two these entire holidays."
Hearing those words, I lightly opened my eyes.
"Is that really okay? Sei-nee."
"Yup. It's a rare chance for me to do some adventuring together with you and Myu-chan. In which case, we might as well do the Sense Expansion Quest with the three of us, how about it?"
"Sei-oneechan! You're forgetting Taku-san! Let's have him join and beat it with the four of us, a childhood friend's party!"
"It looks like you're feeling guilty that we're doing this quest ahead of our own parties, but this quest's challenges are given out randomly. As long as we somehow don't get the same challenges, we can still enjoy the new ones. Plus, Gantz and others won't mind anyway."
Said Taku, then Myu and Sei-nee also nodded.
"Then it's fine if we take it together?"
When I once again asked to make sure, Myu and Sei-nee stood on my both sides, then hugged and started patting my head.
"Oh Yun-oneechan, you should have more confidence!"
"Fufufu, there's nothing you need to worry about, Yun-chan."
Surprised by the action taken by the two I stiffened, then feeling lukewarm stares from the surroundings I started feeling embarrassed.
"C'mon everyone, it's our turn."
Along with Taku's words I was released from the two, but had started feeling uneasy about the Sense Expansion Quest that we were about to undertake.
"Welcome on this fine day. What do you need of me?"
"Tell us about the quest, pleasey!"
When Myu energetically responded, the Priest NPC went "Hmm" and appeared to be thinking something, then after a moment took a look at us.
That moment, our menus opened by themselves and our Sense Status window was displayed.
"All of you appear to diligently work towards polishing your talents. In which case, as the representative of our Goddess I shall bestow upon you fitting trials. If you overcome them, your talents shall further expand."
There, the menu had displayed a new window.
——Special Quest 【Sense Expansion - Three Trials】 is available for undertaking.
※This quest requires consumption of 50SP in order to undertake. Upon finishing the quest, the player receives a new equipment slot for Senses and a free Sense to pick up along with it.
In case of the quest's failure, SP is returned to the player.
Below the quest's explanation there was a field with 【YES／NO】 choice, we selected 【YES】.
"I shall now bestow three trials upon you. The trials themselves will involve gathering, aid and subjugation. Once you complete all three trials, return to me once again."
Here, the Priest NPC paused for a moment.
"The three trials I bestow upon you are——
"Allll right, let's do thiss!"
Myu energetically raised her voice in front of the Abandoned Village's portal, where we arrived and which stood near Wisteria Peach Three's hill.
In the darkness of the late night, we started walking, relying on the ball of light that Myu conjured.
"This Sense Expansion Quest's trial content is a bit, y'know, that. I wish we got something simpler. Also, I think we don't have to get on it right away, it's dark and the footing is bad…"
I voiced my opinion, but Myu's motivation didn't appear to dwindle anyhow.
"Personally, the harder it is the more fired up I get."
"Keh, you damn game freak."
I turned a resentful gaze towards Taku, but was immediately rebuked by Sei-nee.
"Calm down, Yun-chan. Rather than that, are you doing okay here?"
"Well, I have 【Sky Eyes】 Sense so I have no problems with the darkness… but I'm still anxious about this."
The three trials that we have been given for the Sense Expansion Quest were——
Gathering Quest: Collect a 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】 from Wyvern Mountains.
Aid Quest: Deliver 【Cure for Epidemy】 to the town ahead of the Highlands Area and save the sick.
Subjugation Quest: Subjugate the 【Emperor Isopod】.
It was these three.
However, among these quests there were some we lacked any information on and involved unexplored areas.
"If it's Wyvern Mountains, we'll be able to search while sneaking around, so we should manage to get a 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】, but…"
"But gathering quests are a pain, aren't they. I'd like more like, BOOM and cut down enemies."
"Well, I understand what you want to say, Myu-chan. If anything, I'm also bad with gathering quests."
When I started talking about probability of finding a 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】, Myu also voiced her opinion and Taku agreed with her with a bitter smile.
It certainly wasn't a flashy quest, but I liked gathering so I sighed inside of my mind.
"Gathering quests are Yun-chan's specialty, it'll be all right. For the Aid quest we have to get past the Highlands Area, which in fact means that it might as well be subjugation quest for the 【Lightning Horse】."
Hearing Sei-nee say so, I made a displeased expression as I looked towards her.
"Honestly speaking, I'm bad with boss battles."
"Why?! They're fun! And you get rare drops from bosses, too!"
Myu made a seriously mystified expression, but I personally have usually played solo so I don't expect or prepare for party-focused battle content. If anything, boss mobs are intense which makes me get scared. Well, I've been plenty involved with them anyway.
But if I said that here, it would tarnish my dignity as the older brother so I kept silent. Then, Taku spoke up.
"Also, this【Emperor Isopod】 is a mob I haven't heard of yet, so we might have a hard time searching for him. I guess the main part of the trial would be searching for the unknown mob?"
Although he said "hard time", Taku looked quite happy. Your face and what you say doesn't match, I said to myself.
I bet he's enjoying this situation, I thought as I stared into the distance to look up at the silhouette of the Wyvern Mountain that I could see in the night's darkness. Meanwhile Myu, growing impatient because we haven't caught up with her yet, had returned.
"C'mon! You're all slow! Hurry, we're almost in the Wyvern Mountains!"
"Hey, we're just going to collect, so we can ignore the cave, right?"
My proposal was immediately denied by Myu and Taku.
"Avoiding combat isn't fun!"
"I want a sword made from Wyvern drops, so let's gather some!"
Seeing the two like that, Sei-nee smiled bitterly.
"Then we'll leave combat to Myu-chan and Taku-kun. Yun-chan and I will support you while we search for 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】."
Is that okay? She asked to confirm, we agreed on that and started walking a mountain path in the night.
The lower parts where no mobs spawned appeared to be boring to Myu and Taku, who wanted to move on as fast as possible, but——
"——Oh! It's Mystic Medicinal Grass growing there! And that one's Soul Grass!"
I shouted, and rushed from the meandering path to a place with poor footing to gather herbs that grew on a slope. Because of that, our arrival at the middle part of the mountains has been delayed.
"Ughh! C'mon, Yun-oneechan! Stop gathering all those herbs! We have a different goal today, right?!"
"But, I mean…! These are materials for 【Mega Potions】 and 【MP Pots】! I want to increase my stock as much as I can!"
I declared strongly with a sparkle in my eyes. Myu responded with "ugh" and fell silent.
"My my, this time Myu-chan and Yun-chan exchanged roles."
"Yun sure turns into a different person when crafting's involved."
When Taku said so with a wry smile, Myu puffed up her cheeks and made a displeased expression, but with the next thing I said——
"Ahead of here we might get into combat with Wyverns, so how about I share some Mega Potions and MP Pots with you?"
"Really?! YAAY! I love you, Yun-oneechan!"
Good grief, what a greedy fellow she is, I laughed in my mind as I passed the items to the three. Afterwards, I gathered the items in the surroundings lit by Myu's ball of light.
Previously I was here on a time-limited quest so I couldn't stop by and gather, so this time the frustration from back then had exploded at full force and I started collecting everything within the line of sight.
Most of it were Mystic Medicinal Grass and Soul Grass, but even among the stones there were items to pick up.
"Oh, that's a high quality Iron Ore. How rare… oh, a fossil too. Speaking of which, I got a ton of these unidentified back in 【Atelier】."
I said and as I continued to collect items one by one, before I realized we arrived in the middle part of the Wyvern Mountains.
The sky was completely dark and the mountain path was steep, but there was no small mobs in the surroundings making it fairly easy to spot the enemies.
"Myu, from the front, right side. Single enemy coming!"
Using the night vision of 【Sky Eyes】 Sense and 【See-Through】 I predicted enemy surprise attacks ahead of time and relay that to Myu.
"Finally came out, huh! Let's go, Taku-san!"
"There's still some distance until Wyvern nests, but I guess we can warm ourselves up around here."
What appeared wasn't a Wyvern, but fairly smaller, medium-sized mobs called Arkeoplis.
His wings had various colors such as black, white, red and blue, and appeared to look like a mix between a bird and a pterosaur, and assaulted us at once.
After bringing him as close as possible, Taku and Myu both dodged enemy's attacks before kicking off stones nearby to slash at Arkeoplis' wings.
When the Arkeoplis lost his balance and fell to the ground as a result, the two leaped at him and crouched to deliver the finishing blows at nearly the same time, turning the mob into particles of light.
"Good job. And yes, it looks like it'll be all right if we leave combat to Myu-chan and Taku-kun."
Sei-nee said, seeing that there is no need to assist the two in combat. Hearing that, Myu puffed up her chest and Taku put up an aggressive smile.
"He-hehn, right?! I'm worth a hundred of men! And it was my attack that beat him! At this rate I'll be enough by myself to beat Wyverns!"
"I can't let that comment pass, Myu-chan. That last blow was mine obviously. Also, it's easy for me to beat Wyverns and find an egg by myself, too."
From my point of view it looked like the two got the hit in at roughly the same time, but they started competing over it.
There was no special exp or drop reward for the last attack, but the two for some reason glared at each other provocatively.
"Then Taku-san, let's have a match! Who beats more Wyverns!"
"Fine by me! Let's go!"
They said, and ran up the middle layer of the mountains to slash at the Arkeoplis coming down to attack from the black night sky.
Matching Myu's movements, the ball of light that we used as a lantern also moved away, so Sei-nee had to bring out an actual lantern from the inventory.
"Sei-nee, is it okay to just let those two roam?"
"I guess? Rather than that, Yun-chan, I want some Mystic Medicinal Herbs and Soul Herbs too, I'll gift them to some of our crafters."
"Then let's do our best and gather some materials while we search for 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】."
Sei-nee nodded in response to my proposal, then with me as the lead we headed towards the higher layer of the mountains while gathering items on the way.
Among items we acquired, there were herbs like Mystic Medicinal Grass and Soul Grass, as well as earth element's magic metal that was Grunrite and 【Water of Life】 that poured out of holes and gaps in rocks.
Other than that I got some of the more common Medicinal Spirit Grass and Magical Spirit Grass plus other herbs, and lower tier metal ores like Iron Ore, which I shared with Sei-nee.
Actually I wanted to search for materials a bit more broadly, but if we did that there would be a possibility of leaving the mountain path.
"I guess this much of herbs should be enough? It's about time we searched our goal that's the 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】."
I said and looked ahead of us, below a sphere of light where Myu and Taku were shooting down the attacking Arkeoplis.
Myu used a converged ray of light and Taku released a flying slash, the two mixed long range attacks in, in order to stand advantageous.
Squealing loudly, Arkeoplis summoned other ones, ultimately resulting in an never-ending loop. At this rate it wouldn't end until we wiped them all out at once.
The two ran ahead of Sei-nee and me, but ended up being stopped in their tracks by the mobs.
"Yun-chan, there's our chance! Let's search for the egg while Myu-chan and Taku-kun are occupying Arkeoplises!"
"Oh, yeah. Got it."
Strongly instructed by Sei-nee I nodded, and together we circled around Myu and Taku to go up the Wyvern's Mountains.
While worrying about Myu and Taku who've become decoys, we approached the upper layer without meeting any enemies and were about to search for the 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】...
"So, where can it be?"
The upper layer had several holes in it, and each of them was a Wyvern's nest.
"This is troubling, which hole do we check, I wonder? Yun-chan, can you tell?"
"Hmm, even with 【Sky Eyes】 I can't check the places that are hidden behind Wyvern's bodies. Oh, there's Mithril collection point in that nest hole! Also, in the other one there's the 【Healing Mushroom】 growing, it increases healing effectiveness!"
Sei-nee smiled bitterly seeing me get all excited about things other than the egg-searching.
"Let's check them all one by one, we can enter the holes that are empty and don't have any Wyverns in them. For the ones that have Wyverns sleeping inside, we should be able to somehow lure them out and check, how about it? Although, the lured-out Wyvern will eventually return so it might be better to beat them inside the nest instead."
The two of us checked up on a nest that had a Wyvern sleeping in it, and hid behind a rock near the entrance, preparing to lure it out.
I used 【Aqua Gel's Nucleus Lv2】 to summon an Aqua Gel.
"Enter that hole and put these five balls as close to the Wyvern as possible, then return."
I said, and the Aqua Gel had taken in five Magic Gems that I put on the ground, then started bouncing jiggly as he carried them to the Wyvern's den.
"Your items sure are handy, Yun-chan. I would get found right away if I tried to cast a spell inside."
"Magic Gems can attack with delay, so I can use the moment between saying the keyword and their activation to hide."
Since Magic Gems could be used like bombs with high control over when they explode, they were extremely handy items and also expendable. Synthetic mobs such as this Aqua Gel too, could cheaply and safely do the work I instructed them to do.
We decided to quietly chat a little until the Aqua Gel sets up the magic gems and returns.
"Speaking of which, Yun-chan, is your magic Sense still at 【Earth Element Talent】? Does it remain low because you aren't using it much?"
"Ahh, now that you say it, it's leveled up and can be turned into a higher Sense, actually."
I forgot, I muttered, making Sei-nee smile wryly and start explaining about the higher elemental Senses.
"It's better if you take it."
"I'll do that, then."
I opened my menu and consumed 2SP in order to change the 【Earth Element Talent】 Sense into 【Land Element Talent】.
If I just continued to use 【Earth Element Talent】 I would be able to cast the same spells, but unless I grow it into 【Land Element Talent】 I won't receive any of the new, higher rank spells.
"Huh? I didn't get any new spells."
"Of course. The higher elemental Senses don't give you many new spells, you get only one at level 10. However, as you continue to use lower level spells, eventually you might get new ones derived from those."
I listened intently to Sei-nee's explanation.
It looked like there were specific requirements for players to learn derived magic, just like there was a requirement for my 【Cooking】 Sense to acquire 《Ingredients Knowledge》.
While I thought so, Sei-nee furrowed her eyebrows and made a troubled expression.
"I think normally, by the time someone gets to the higher Sense they often already fulfill the requirements, so you not getting a single one so far is a wonder."
"I do use magic…"
Though, when I said that, I recalled a single possibility.
The 《Skill Enchant》 skill of my 【Enchant Arts】 Sense allowed me to enchant skills I possess into items, and activate it at my leisure.
Magic Gems are the very representative of the items made with that skill.
As the skill's nature dictates, by enchanting items with magic increased both 【Enchant Arts】 and 【Earth Element Talent】 levels at once.
However——what if it didn't count to the number required for the magic derivation Sei-nee spoke of…
"What is it, Yun-chan?"
"Sei-nee… actually, I might not have used magic at all."
When I muttered quietly and lowered my shoulders, depressed, Sei-nee pat my head as if to cheer me up.
And when I explained the reason, she went "oh my" with a troubled smile on her face.
"In such case, this can't be helped. Still, derived magic isn't so hard to acquire so make sure to start using your magic a bit."
"Yeah, I'll do so."
While we were talking, the Aqua Gel had finished carrying the Magic Gems and has returned.
It appeared like the non-active Wyvern did not react to a small synthetic slime-type mob, and it was able to return safely.
"Now, Yun-chan. Make it explode and we'll check what's inside the nest."
"Sure, but before that… Help me out, you guys! ——《Summon》!"
Before exploding the Magic Gems set up inside the nest, I summoned another few dozens of slime-type synthetic mobs around me, and gave them instructions.
"Everyone, quietly and stealthily enter other holes and collect all items you can find and aren't too deep in!"
Along with my instructions, synthetic mobs split up and started bouncing towards various nests.
"All right, if everything goes well, we'll get the item we're here for."
"Yun-chan, you sure find interesting way to use items. Now, again, let's check that nest."
"Okay, let's go——【Bomb】!"
I spoke the keyword to activate the Bomb Magic Gems that I had Aqua Gel leave in the nest. A flash of light could be seen coming out of the Wyvern's cave for a moment, and the multiple explosions shook the nest, disturbing the Wyvern's sleep.
The Wyvern who raised a howl, then peeked out of his cave, was a different species from the one I saw during the winter's Limited Quest Event. This Wyvern and was about half of the event one one's size and had green bat-like wings.
Then after running down the mountain's slope, the Wyvern took off and disappeared in the night sky.
"Looks like we weren't found. Well, let's examine it."
Sei-nee and I entered the nest after the Wyvern has left, and what we found after searching it was——
"Woah, they're all raw gemstones."
In the back of the Wyvern's nest, there was a small mountain of stones. All of it were medium-sized gemstones that could be used for creating Magic Gems.
"This one's a ruby, and here's a sapphire, emerald, topaz, and a garnet! There's a lot of jewel types here!"
"Hmm, quest-wise we missed, but we could say that we got a big hit when it comes to gathering. Since we found it, might as well take it all."
Sei-nee said, and split the gemstones between herself and me.
After putting them into inventory I checked how they were split, about 90% of them were gemstones and the rest were raw gold, silver and mithril ore, plus a few fossils mixed in with them.
I could identify ore and gemstones with my 【Craftsmanship】 Sense, but couldn't identify things like fossils.
Meanwhile, Sei-nee who hadn't the 【Craftsmanship】 Sense stared at a certain item.
"Hey, Yun-chan. What is this pretty gem? It shines differently depending on the angle I look at it."
"How unusual, Sei-nee! That's a Pearl-turned fossil!"
Since it was a Fossil type of item, there was a need to identify it at the specialist NPC's place, or have a Sense allowing to identify it, but at the same time it was a gemstone so I could identify it with my Sense.
There were two of them, one of them was the 【Dragon Bone's Fossil Gem】 and it was a small milky-white lustrous bone, and one more was the 【Dragon Fang's Fossil Gem】 and shone with blue color reminiscent of the sea.
"Haa, amazing. To think there were things like that among fossils."
"But, what is this used for? Does it work as a jewel?"
"Let's see, a normal Fossil would have been restored and would turn into item named 【XXX Dragon's Bone/Fang】 or something similar, but this is a fossil that turned into a gem so instead of recovering, it can be used as a Jewel-type item for crafting."
"I seee. Looks like my New Year's wish has already come true?"
Devoid of drop luck and item luck, Sei-nee muttered with a smile.
Hearing a Wyvern's howl outside the cave, switched from a loose atmosphere to a tense one.
"Yun-chan, it's about time the Wyvern comes back, right? It's about time we returned."
"Got it, I don't want to meet up with him."
The cave that was the Wyvern's nest was a dead end, if he returned we would have been left with nowhere to escape.
In order to avoid that, together with Sei-nee we had to leave about 30% of the gemstones behind and quickly escape the cave.
And a moment later, the relieved Wyvern had returned from investigating the surroundings and entered the cave.
Despite the fact we stole about 70% of his gemstones, there were no signs of a fuss inside.
From there, we headed to the next nest and just like we did earlier, we lured out a Wyvern.
We looked forward to finding something nice again, and what we found was a small black and dried-up mountain of soil.
"Whoa, what's with this smell."
Sei-nee took out a handkerchief and put it against her mouth and nose, hesitating to get any closer. Bearing with the smell, I took out a scoop for farming and a jute bag for ore transportation, then scooped some of the black soil into the bag to collect it.
And once it entered my inventory, I confirmed that the item's name was——【Wyvern's Feces】.
"...Ugh, to think there's even an item like this. This nest is a complete miss."
When I muttered so, Sei-nee called out to me.
"Found anything out, Yun-chan?"
"This is a complete miss. There's no 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】 and that smelly thing is 【Wyvern's Feces】."
"In that case let's quickly leave this place. Uugh, I don't have any item luck after all!"
Just a moment ago Sei-nee has become slightly more optimistic, and yet she's already becoming depressed, tears appearing in her eyes.
Her quick decision to leave wasn't caused by only the fact the cave was a miss, but also by the horrid smell wafting around, I'm sure she wanted to leave even if a second earlier.
I too, had no intention of staying there for nothing, and took a step out before an idea flashed by my head.
Maybe this black soil, or rather, 【Wyvern's Feces】 could be used for 【Atelier】's herb field.
If I mixed in this unusual 【Wyvern's Feces】 with bone powder and dried grass I could make a fertilizer, that increases the number of herbs and improves their quality.
Thinking so, I turned towards the mountain of 【Wyvern's Feces】 again and filled four jute bags worth before chasing after Sei-nee out of the cave.
"Phew, the air outside is really tasty."
"...Yun-chan, you're late, what were you doing?"
Sei-nee who hasn't had her item luck improved even after making a wish in the cathedral, was hiding behind a rock so that she's not found by Wyverns, and asked me a question in powerless voice.
"I thought that feces could maybe be turned into fertilizer material for 【Atelier】's herb field, so I gathered some!"
When I explained, she looked at me with a lukewarm gaze.
"I'm so envious of how you can enjoy even a complete miss of a nest…"
Actually I felt like she didn't envy me that at all, I thought in wonder, seeing which Sei-nee chuckled and recovered her spirits.
"Yup, I'm okay now. My bad drop and item luck isn't something that started just now. We'll definitely get 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】 on the next try."
I nodded in response to her words. Let's move to the next one, I thought, but that moment, a pillar of red flames had risen from below the cave we were near, then several converged rays of light were fired into the sky.
"What the hell?!"
"Myu-chan and Taku-kun reached the higher layer. And by the by, they got caught up with the Wyvern we chased out of the nest and one more."
Ahead of where Sei-nee looked up to, there was the remnant of the Wyvern's fire breath which danced in the sky.
Although Sei-nee didn't have night vision, she could tell that there was two Wyverns worth of flame breath.
In fact, I could clearly tell with my 【Sky Eyes】 that there were two Wyverns.
And as the battle unfolded, Myu and Taku were——
"Taku-san, we're at the same number of enemies beat! If I beat those two Wyverns, I'll be in the lead!"
You guys, why are you completely forgetting original goal and doing some competition there, I stared down at them with resignation. There, Sei-nee put up a slightly mischievous smile.
"Hey, Yun-chan. If we beat those two Wyverns instead, what do you think would happen?"
"Well, the two wouldn't be able to decide the match which sure will make them frustrate… ohh, I get it."
Sei-nee wanted to see their frustrated expressions and suggested we beat those Wyverns instead.
I too, felt like getting back at them for their overly "freedom" behavior, so I also put on a mean smile.
Standing in a higher position than the the two, Sei-nee and I had more than enough range to aim at the two Wyverns, we only had to wait for the right moment.
Myu and Taku cooperated with each other while at the same time, paid attention to each others' range as they fought. Meanwhile, two Wyverns' HP slowly but surely decreased.
And when they went down below 30% HP——
"Let's go, Sei-nee! 《Enchant》——Intelligence! 《Element Enchant》——Weapon!"
I put a magic attack increase enchant on Sei-nee, then enchanted her weapon with a water element increase enchant.
Furthermore, I put magic defense decreasing in combination with my 【Sky Eyes】, allowing me to decrease magic defense of multiple mobs within my range of sight.
Once I prepared everything like that, Sei-nee raised her staff towards the Wyverns and swung it down.
The point of her swung-down staff pointed below Wyverns, where water suddenly burst out and swallowed them like an explosion, then pushed high into the sky.
In front of the surprised Myu and Taku by the sudden happening, the enormous whirlpool smashed the Wyverns into mountain rocks, then rotated them fiercely.
As the power of the swirling water increased, the Wyverns smashed several rock objects while losing HP all at once.
When smashed into the rocks for the last time, the two Wyverns were caught between the rocks and high-pressure water pushing down on them. One Wyvern howled and turned into particles of light, then disappeared.
"Hmm. One of them has some HP remaining, Yun-chan, if you could."
Sei-nee's magic increased its power even more as compared to when I last saw it, but the first Wyvern that fell down had acted as a cushion for the second one, decreasing the damage slightly.
While Myu and Taku were surprised by the sight in front of them, they still ran out in order to finish off the nearly-dead Wyvern.
However, before that could happen, I nocked an arrow and pulled the string of my longbow, then activated an Art.
"——《Bow Skill - Arrow Stitching》!"
The single arrow released from the drawn longbow flew straight through the darkness of the night.
Although the Wyvern brought down by Sei-nee's attack spread his wings attempting to fly away again, that moment his head was pierced by my arrow. For an instant, silence befell us.
Then immediately after, the huge body fell down along with a low and loud sound that turned into a sound wave. The Wyvern fell on his side, turned into particles of light and disappeared.
"Great job, Yun-chan! Now, let's go join up with Myu-chan."
I nodded as Sei-nee cheerfully said so, and we headed towards where Myu and Taku were, dumbfounded at what suddenly happened.
"Heeey, you two, how long are you going to play around? You shouldn't forget what we came here for."
Sei-nee gently questioned the two as she showed herself, making them realize that we were the ones who finished off the Wyverns. Myu pursed her lips in displeasure, and Taku smiled bitterly.
"Mmgh, I know! But my match with Taku-san is…!"
"This will be a draw, I guess. In any case, we got the good part splendidly taken away from us by Yun and Sei-san."
Let's decide this match some other time, said Taku, making Myu get fired up again. But before that, there was something we had to do.
"C'mon, let's check up on the nests of those beaten Wyverns."
"One of these two Wyverns is the one we lured outside to check his nest, so that nest is already investigated. Let's go check the other one."
When we agreed with Sei-nee, Myu energetically raised her hand and started jumping on spot.
"I know, I knoow! I know where's the nest that one came out of, I can guide us there!"
She said and along with the momentum of her jump she broke into dash, making us chase after her again.
Then, once we entered the cave——
"Yaay, everyone! We got 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】!"
Myu reached the nest first, and once she arrived in the back of the cave she picked up a basketball-sized ellipse-shaped egg and turned around.
The Wyvern's egg was so big it was necessary to carry it with both hands, behind Myu there were several more of them just lying like that.
We put the 【Unfertilized Wyvern Eggs】 into our inventories and then confirmed in menu's quest tab, that the Sense Expansion Quest had one of the trials completed.
"Finally we got the first one done. We started it in the middle of the night, so I'm quite tired."
Rather than be happy over completion of the quest, the moment I realized we're done I was assaulted by a wave of tiredness and yawned.
Sei-nee looked at me with a smile.
"That's true, I'm also tired a bit. How about sleeping here for a little? Once Wyverns are beat, they won't respawn for half a day, so it's kind of like an artificial safety area."
Agreeing with Sei-nee, I spread out a sheet on the spot and took out some limited edition sweets I received from Cloude as well as tea.
Myu and Taku happily ate them, but Myu immediately started to doze off and ended up leaning on my shoulder.
Seeing her like that, I also started to get sleepy, then eventually my eyelids grew heavier as I fell asleep.
——I wonder how long have we slept.
Before I realized, I was sleeping on my back, feeling someone shaking my shoulder and opened my eyes and could see the inside of the cave was a little bright. There was something like a blanket covering my body.
"...Huh? Someone covered me with a blanket, thanks."
"Yun-chan, can you get up?"
"Yeah, no problem."
Myu, who was sleeping as she leaned at me, was now lying on her back and in her arms, she was squeezing a Heat Gel, one of my synthetic mobs.
"...Why is she squeezing that thing?"
"Fufufu, the little ones you sent to bring items from other caves have returned just a moment earlier, and this one was caught by Myu-chan."
Told so, I took a look around and saw a mountain of items in one corner of the cave. Synthetic slime mobs have gathered together and were waiting for further orders.
Imagining half-asleep Myu catching a Heat Gel who was in the middle of carrying items, I smiled pleasantly. The person herself woke up and rubbing the corners of her eyes, she let out a yawn.
"Huh? Onii-chan, Onee-chan, morning."
Still not quite awake, Myu made a fluffy smile towards Sei-nee and me before lowering her head to us. The Heat Gel she was hugging was squashed into a strange shape, which made me a little worried.
That's when Taku, who was outside the cave had returned.
"Oh, you finally woke up. I found a nice place, clean up the items and come."
Along with his words, Sei-nee, Taku and I split the items between the four of us and then put them into our inventories.
Myu, still sleepy, was drinking some tea in order to wake herself up, all this while still hugging the Heat Gel.
"Still, releasing a horde of slimes to gather items… you sure are shrewd, Yun."
"Is that so?"
When I answered like that to Taku's mutter, Sei-nee only chuckled without saying anything.
And once we recovered all the items and Myu has completely woken up, we were all led by Taku to a certain place.
The night sky right before the daybreak was the darkest, just like the real one.
Even I, with 【Sky Eyes】's night vision had slight problems seeing the road up as I followed Taku, but I could tell what's the goal.
"All right, we're here. I guess there should be about five minutes left."
Then, we waited in silence until the time for sun to climb up comes. This moment was strangely pleasant, we stared at the world being lit by the sun that slowly climbed up the sky.
"Previously we saw the sight of sun appearing, but it seems like depending on the place, the sight is also different."
Last time, we saw it from the mountainside North of the First Town so the sun climbed up from the left side, but this time we stared at it from the front.
『"——HAPPY NEW YEAR!"』
Although we did exchange New Year's greetings and wishes among the four of us, but this time we turned towards the sun as we said it all four at once.
With the Wyvern Mountains' quest completed, we watched the sun for a while longer, before logging out, straight from that place.
Chapter 2 - Leftover Quest and a Blacksmith Inside the Belly
After doing one of the Sense Expansion Quests overnight, Shizuka-nee, Miu and I have logged out, ate some New Year's dishes and immediately went to sleep to wake up on the second day of the new year.
Although Miu indeed did wake up the next morning to eat some of the remaining New Year's food, completely taken in by the holiday's mood she went to sleep again saying that she's going "for a nap". In the end, it took us some time until we logged into OSO again.
Together with Shizuka-nee we cleaned up the living room and prepared everything for the lunch, after which we logged into OSO and gathered in my store to consult on the second trial.
"Yun-chan, can you manage the second trial? A boss fight?"
"Hmm, I don't think there'll be any problem. I'm scared of the boss, though."
The second trial of the Sense Expansion Quest was to deliver 【Cure for Epidemic】 to the town beyond the Highlands Area.
We already received the 【Cure for Epidemic】 quest item from the Priest NPC.
If it was a crafted quest item, I would have a chance to show my 【Mixing】 skills, but it wasn't. It was easier this way, but seeing there wasn't a chance to show my crafting skills I felt a little disappointed.
"In that case, I guess we've done all we can do here for the second trial preparations."
"Yeah. I have some things I want to do for myself, so I'll move onto that."
I said, and putting the second trial aside, I headed to the field outside of 【Atelier】 and together with Kyouko-san we started preparing tools.
Scoop and hoe, wooden planks and wooden hammer, as well as huge boundary stones I made out of small ones with Alchemy. Aside from that, I prepared several synthetic slimes for simple work. Meanwhile, my tamed mob partners Ryui the unicorn and the black fox Zakuro watched as the field expands from the wooden terrace that was near the field.
Because I was busy during the end of the year I could only do some most basic preparations, but now that I have some time I can get right to it.
"Let's begin then."
"Hey, what are you making, Yun-chan?"
Sei-nee got curious about what I'm doing and watching from the terrace with Ryui and Zakuro, she asked.
"Hm? I'm expanding the field. Recently I've started growing new types of herbs and it's gotten narrow, so I bought fields next to mine, I'm going to cultivate it."
Since I bought four fields I paid 6mG, but considering how much I managed to save up until now, I'll be able to get this much back in no time by selling potions.
"I see. Then I'll go take a look what's going on in my guild and collect some information, I will come back once that's done."
"Got it. All right, let's do this!'
I said, and immediately started working on the new field together with Kyouko-san.
Out of the four new fields, in order to use two for growing Mega Potion and MP Pot materials that were Mystic Medicinal Grass and Soul Grass, I plowed the ground with the hoe then had Kyouko-san spread the seeds and slimes cover them with soil, water them.
Then finally for the last step, I had the slimes line up and pass basketball-sized stones that Kyouko-san and I would set in place, finishing the field preparations.
"All right, we still have some fields remaining, so let's use them to store fertilizer."
Previously, I made fertilizer on spot whenever it was needed, but now that the field expanded to this size I felt like it was necessary to have a separate location for it. So I quickly made one.
"Well, I guess I'll make a wooden container and mix everything together inside."
After making a container for fertilizer in the field furthest from 【Atelier】, I inserted the materials inside.
What I put in, were Mulch, Bone Powder and Dried Grass as well as the 【Wyvern Feces】 that I just acquired, then mixed it up with a scoop.
While I was doing all this, I kept raising my stats with enchants so it really felt it was much easier for me to complete this work than it was before.
Finally, the result was——
Medium Fertilizer 【Consumable】
Even further increases the number of materials cultivated and their quality.
The item was just as I expected, so I immediately ordered the slimes to spread over all the fields. Still, that depleted it right away so I'll have to make it again.
"I look forward to gathering the herbs tomorrow. Just how many more, and how much better they'll be, I wonder."
While looking forward to the next day's gathering, I stood in front of the field closest to 【Atelier】.
Feeling that the last part of today's work is about to start, Ryui and Zakuro ran over from the wooden terrace and stood next to me, expectant of what's to happen.
"It really took me a lot of time to decide this part's layout."
I said, and after having Kyouko-san, Ryui and Zakuro line up in front of the field I opened my menu and used a certain item.
It was the reward I acquired by exchanging the Quest Chips from the event, the 【Instant House】 item which allowed me to immediately construct a simple building.
After acquiring it, I carefully inspected 【Atelier】's positioning and such, so I took a while to decide on where to place it, until today.
"Let's do this. ——【Instant House】 - place!"
I used the 【Instant House】 item from the item menu and the location I selected started to shine with pale light, from which a building started appearing.
Before long, a building made entirely of glass with a slanted roof has appeared.
There was no floor inside and it remained bare ground, which was split into four parts with a brick pavement that led in four directions from the middle. In the middle, the pavement made a circular shape, inside of which there were a table and a bench.
I planned to use these four separated fields for raising bad status recovery herbs which were bad against changes of temperature.
I took Kyouko-san, Ryui and Zakuro with me and walked around inside the glass building in order to check up on everything.
Ryui sat down in the middle of the glass building which was well lit by the sun to check how comfortable it is, while Zakuro leaped around all over the glass house enjoying the warmth and wide space.
After enjoying freedom inside the glass house for a while, both Ryui and Zakuro returned back to my side, both flailing their tails quite pleased.
"Looks like you like it. Well then, it looks like there's no problem with temperature inside, we can leave seeding and spreading of fertilizer for tomorrow. Let's go back to 【Atelier】 for now."
Leaving the glass house we headed back to 【Atelier】, there, standing right next to the store's entrance we found Sei-nee looking up at the glass house that stood near the store, with amazement.
"Welcome back, Sei-nee. How was the guild?"
"Ah, Yun-chan. Mm, there's no problems with 【Eight Million Gods】. I see that your fields increased in the moment I was away, yup, certainly you did some field expansion work there. But, when on earth did you build that thing?"
Sei-nee put a hand on her cheek in wonder as she looked up at the glass house, then she closed her eyes for a few seconds, after which she returned back to her usual self.
"Well, I guess it's just the usual Yun-chan."
"I'm not sure what to feel about the way you put that… Anyway, how about we have a cup of tea?"
Although there is a table and a bench inside the glass house, it felt quite empty now since there wasn't anything growing inside yet, so as usual, we entered 【Atelier】.
"So, I gathered some information inside the guild, will you listen now?"
While I prepared tea, Sei-nee has started the conversation. I nodded and started listening intently.
"I investigated the Lightning Horse from the Highlands Area."
When Sei-nee said that, Ryui's ears stood up as he started listening. Maybe he reacted because he was interested in another horse-type mob, but hearing Sei-nee's next words his ears drooped.
"Unfortunately, I couldn't find any info of anyone beating Lightning Horse."
"Although, since it's one of the frontier areas there's plenty of people who challenged it and lost so I acquired information on him. We can predict several characteristics of the Lightning Horse based on that info."
Lightning Horse usually starts with a big attack, after which he runs around freely and charges at people while clad in lightning, constantly distancing himself from players. As a result, it's hard to get a hit on him.
On the other hand, his defense is set quite low.
"Also, I tried looking for info on the third trial's 【Emperor Isopod】 but I couldn't find anything."
"Looks like this Sense Expansion Quest might be more difficult than we expected."
"Yes, although the first trial in the Wyvern Mountains was a collection quest, that area is indeed one of the frontier ones."
I poured the fresh tea into cups, then drank a little together with Sei-nee.
"Mm, it's tasty. Thank you, Yun-chan."
"You're welcome. Still, we'll have to fight the bosses with so little information on our side, huh."
On top of that, challenging Lightning Horse with a party of just four sounds harsh, we have to discuss this with Myu and Taku as well, I thought. That's when Sei-nee had received a message from Myu."
"Myu-chan woke up a moment ago and has already met up with Taku-kun. They'll be coming here now."
"I see. I need to prepare some more tea then."
I said and when I prepared two new tea cups, Myu had energetically entered the store.
"I just saw the glass building next doors, also the field grew… just when did you make all that?!"
Although Myu reacted like that, Taku who also entered 【Atelier】, already knew about the glass building had only been a little impressed by how much the field has grown.
"So that's how the 【Instant House】 looks like, huh. Also, I didn't think you'd expand the field so much."
Meanwhile Myu had charged straight at Zakuro and clung to him, making us smile wryly.
"Yun, did you consult Sei-san ahead of us?"
"Yeah. We were talking about how there's few information about the Lightning Horse."
When I said so, Taku appeared to be thinking for a moment and then spoke with a steep expression.
"This isn't the best timing to fight Lightning Horse, we should leave him for later."
"Why is that?"
I asked, but the one who answered me instead, was Myu, who was hugging Ryui and Zakuro.
"It's about time for the Highlands Area to go berserk, so if we challenge him now and it happens, the difficulty will go up."
Myu who would normally go "let's beat him when it's the hardest!", has noticed my surprised glance, and had puffed up her cheeks, protesting.
"Certainly there's more experience points when you beat enemy when they're harder, but there's no point if we can't beat him! So we should first become able to beat the boss, and then we can try it when it's hardest!"
She said, Sei-nee and Taku nodded to her words. In other words, this kind of thinking is probably normal.
"I see, I get that the time is bad… but what do we do? We can't just waste time waiting, and we don't know where to find the 【Emperor Isopod】, right?"
When I said so, Taku went "yeah, you're right…" and scratched the back of his head.
Personally, I'd like to clear the Sense Expansion quest while Sei-nee is still home for the end of the year, so I was against wasting time.
Even if we can't progress with the quest, we should do something meaningful.
It appeared that Taku also felt the same, so he proposed with a serious expression.
"Then, how about this?"
He said and then started explaining. Myu, Sei-nee agreed with him, but I scowled in response.
"Having a quest leftover feels bad y'know! Let's do it while we have a chance!"
"I get what you mean. I do… still, you could spare me from coming here!"
We were currently in the middle of the periodical rampage of the Highlands Area's ultra-sized mob, the Grand Rock, in the hollow upper part of it that had a spring in it.
In the past we have climbed the Grand Rock during the rampage, thanks to which Cockatrices, a type of weak which stopped the players from getting up, have spread all over the Highlands Area, allowing us to reach the top.
We have registered ourselves with the portal object, allowing us to teleport here directly at any time since then.
The place the portal was set in, was a cave-like stony place, but there were countless holes in the ceiling that allows light to pour in, resulting in grass and vegetation growing inside, making a garden that included a plentiful spring of 【Water of Life】.
"Now then, let's beat the boss inside Grand Rock and this time, we'll complete the quest to heal the heart!"
Said Taku, making me take a look at the ominous location.
"Still… passing through that place is harsh on me."
It was a dungeon with walls of flesh and weird mucus, as well as grotesque mobs appearing, I still remembered the psychical damage I received when we were here the last time, it had turned into a light trauma.
On the other hand, Myu's and Sei-nee's reaction was——
"It'll be great! We can cast heals on the heart all we want! The more remaining on the heart, the more we can cast healing and raise our levels! I wanna do it!"
"Agreed. If I remember well, the accessory Myu-chan received from Yun-chan used this boss' strengthening material, right."
"Ehh?! Really?! All the more reason to go inside this dungeon!"
While Myu and Sei-nee grew enthusiastic, I braced myself in place.
"Still, we can't complete this quest without prior preparations…"
I said, but Taku had stared at me intently.
"So you say, but I know you have prepared Yellow Potions in secret."
"...I-I don't know what you're talking about."
I averted my gaze as if to run away from Taku's stare.
Yellow Potions were a type of colored potions, just like Blue Potions.
We discovered before that it had an extremely high effectiveness when healing Grand Rock's heart.
On the other hand, there were few potions who required Yellow Potions. Back when I started selling them in 【Atelier】, there were players who bought it out of curiosity, but eventually they became really unpopular.
I myself don't need anything better than High Potions either, and have become able to make Mega Potions now. As such, there was no reason for me to mass produce Yellow Potions.
However… despite that I did craft some Yellow Potions because this quest bothered me.
By the way, when healing the heart with Yellow Potions, each potion recovers 20 points, and Grand Rock's Heart has 10000 points to heal——in other words, 500 Yellow Potions were necessary to heal it. I spent roughly a month and a half crafting this amount of potions, and theoretically we could complete the quest with them…
"Ughh, but still…"
I don't want to go to a place with fleshy walls and grotesque stuff, I said. As a result, Sei-nee put a finger on her chin, thinking of something.
"Then how about I freeze all the walls with ice as we move? It'll consume MP, but it will be less straining on you, Yun-chan."
"Ughh, Sei-nee… please do. I'll give you MP Potions and MP Pots for that."
After hearing there was a plan to save me from all this grotesque stuff I engaged in trade with Sei-nee and with tears in my eyes, I passed her a large amount of MP recovery potions.
"All right! Leave everything to me! Let's do this——《Ice Age》!"
The inside of the innards dungeon had started turning white and icy along with a rigid sound like that of metal colliding with each other.
I timidly entered the dungeon which was frozen all over by Sei-nee and checked the insides. The walls and the pools of mucus beneath our feet were covered in white ice, changing the grotesque appearance of the dungeon into one that didn't bother me, making me sigh with relief.
Still, since the entire dungeon was covered in ice it was a little hard to walk inside, but that was nothing compared to the mental damage I would receive otherwise.
"Yup, looks fine. What is this magic?"
"Ice element's support magic, I guess it's kind of ice version of the 《Mud Pool》 you're using, Yun-chan."
《Ice Age》 was a area of effect magic that decreases the enemy's movement speed, their ice element resistance and with the newest update - also dealt 【Cold Damage】plus started dealing damage when someone destroyed ice in the surroundings.
As a result——
"Whoa, we do nothing yet they all die. Kinda interesting."
Ahead of where Myu looked with a sparkle in her eyes, blood-sucking leeches that have been hiding inside walls of the dungeon have broken through the walls to the outside in order to escape from the cold and have received damage from the pieces of ice that broke off. When they finally arrived at the floor, the started wiggling for a moment before turning unmoving.
"Oh my, was it always this strong? Or are they weak to ice element?"
As Sei-nee tilted her head in wonder, one after another the leeches have pierced through the walls only to lose 80% of their HP to the shattering ice, then after being slowed they all died to 【Cold Damage】 before reaching us.
It looked like Sei-nee was invincible in here.
"Well, let's go."
We started proceeding forward together with Sei-nee, who had made a troubled smile as enemy continued to appear in the icy realm already on the verge of death.
Because the pitfall traps from before have all been frozen and didn't work, we were able to proceed with leisure. Sometimes there were enemies that appeared from the walls outside of the 《Ice Age》's effect range, but they were easily dealt with by Taku and Myu.
"Wait. Is there any point of me being here?"
Myu, Taku and Sei-nee have grown stronger than before and with my enchants they were a heavy overkill for mobs of this level, making literally nothing to do for me.
"Yun, your job's to heal. Don't mind it."
And as we talked like that we traveled the dungeon that changed its structure as the time passed, but somehow we weren't able to reach the boss' location yet.
"It's my first time inside the body dungeon, I was hoping for something fun… but Sei-oneechan is beating all mobs and there's nothing for me to do! Where's that boss room?! We've been in this passage several times already!"
Because we weren't able to get to the boss location yet, Myu had reached the limit of her patience and started raising her voice.
"Well, this part of this dungeon is all up to luck. ...And there's even less for me to do than for you, Myu."
"Hm? Yun-oneechan, did you say something?"
I'm glad Myu didn't hear the last words that I muttered quietly, I thought. I too, was already tired of walking through the same-looking places over and over again.
"It's your first time here, right? Myu-chan."
"That's right! Everyone's got scared at the entrance of this innards dungeon and we ended up only registering the portal, what a shame."
When I arrived here with Taku and his party, Myu's party also had reached the spring portal at the back of the Grand Rock. As expected, this dungeon must have been a bit too much for the girls and they avoided getting involved in beating the dungeon.
As we proceeded while conversing, we suddenly arrived at a dead end.
"Arghh, it's a dead end. This dungeon continues to change so it's pointless to draw a map, too."
Taku said and scratched his head wildly, but Myu had pat my shoulder.
"What is it, Myu?"
"Hey, but there's a stairway passage in there, can't we pass through it?"
Saying only this much, I nocked an arrow on the longbow and shot at the wall in the staircase.
When I did, the enemy mob that was pretending to be the stairway that had a deep-socketed eyeballs had immediately closed the entrance.
"That's an enemy mobs' trap and not a stairway."
"Hmm…but, did you really confirm that?"
Hearing Myu's words, Taku and I looked at each other.
There's a mob waiting to ambush players and forcibly drag them inside, it only makes sense that's a trap. But it's not like we saw that on our own eyes, we avoided it because it looked dangerous.
"It sounds interesting so how about we try going in? I'd rather jump into a trap than go back and look for a route again!"
"Wait, waait! You must be nuts to jump right into danger like that! Heck, I don't wanna jump into a mobs' mouth!"
"But she has a point."
Taku had immediately agreed with Myu.
I looked towards Sei-nee, who was my last hope, but——
"They say a pinch can be a chance, we might be able to beat enemy and get some drops so it won't be in vain. Let's go."
"My last hope had abandoned me!"
My shoulders drooped and I fell to my knees no the area frozen over by Sei-nee, Myu and Taku pat my shoulders lightly to cheer me up and looked at me with a lukewarm gazes.
"All right, let's gooo!"
Myu shouted and leaped inside the mouth of the stairway-looking enemy mob.
Following her, Taku and Sei-nee also jumped in——
"Ahh, damn it! A man's guts!"
Finally, I also jumped in and slid inside the enemy mob whose insides appeared like a water slide.
Thanks to Sei-nee continuously freezing everything over, we weren't covered in the mucus like we normally would have.
And when we finally stopped sliding, we arrived at fairly large space with whitish meaty walls.
"It feels like we're inside a completely different creature."
Grand Rock's insides had red meaty walls, but these looked white and flabby.
And what appeared then was——
"Ueghh, it feels slimy and disgusting."
Is what Myu said as she pointed at a slimy creature of uncertain shape, but at that moment its surface was ripped and a new shape appeared.
A mob called Flesh Bacteria three times as big as human had appeared and extended tentacles at us.
"Hiiihh! That's why I was against this!"
I screamed because of how disgusting it was, Myu and Taku stood in front of me and raised their weapons.
However, the Flesh Bacteria had entered the area frozen by Sei-nee and immediately started to freeze over.
"Huh? What the hell?"
The Flesh Bacteria had growled and extended tentacles towards us which froze over from the tip and shattered.
The shattered small pieces started moving on their own to move towards us, but froze over again and broke into even smaller pieces.
Those ever-splitting small worms have eventually reached their limit of turning smaller and were turned into particles of light by the 【Cold Damage】.
"Here I thought we'd fight a strong foe, but Sei-oneechan's magic just went and beats it all on its own. Hmm, I guess this is a colony of tiny mobs?"
"Well, in any case, it appears that Sei-san is something like an arch-nemesis of this dungeon itself."
Being able to suppress most of the enemies without any effort made beating this dungeon quite easy.
Aside from the fact we were having a hard time reaching the boss' room, for some reason…
"...Thank you Sei-nee, thank you!"
I held Sei-nee's hands to express my gratitude, resulting in her making a troubled smile.
In any case, this enemy mob had no treasure dropping out of him and instead, behind him there was a stairway for returning back to where we came from.
We were about to return back there and this time head for the boss, but Myu for some reason stared at the walls in this location.
"What is it, Myu? Did something happen?"
"Hmm, something feels weird, as if there was something more to this place."
"Something more? But my 【See-Through】 Sense doesn't react to anything…"
I stared at the wall Myu was pointing at, but there was certainly no reaction.
"Sei-oneechan, freeze that part. Yun-oneechan, you have a skill that shows mobs' weaknesses, right? Use that."
"Understood. ——《Ice Age》!"
"I don't really get it, but——《Ingredients' Knowledge》"
Sei-nee had froze the part Myu had instructed her to and I used my 《Ingredients' Knowledge》 to check the enemy mobs weaknesses within my sight.
Then, a huge red marker appeared that wasn't found before by the 《See-Through》 Sense.
"Your hunch was right, there's something there."
Myu had checked the place I pointed to and then looked towards Taku.
"Then, Taku-san, shall we go?"
"Okay, let's do it."
The two raised their weapons and started running towards the frozen wall.
The two's swords were swung down at the frozen wall.
The sword Art that attained blunt damage had spread the damage along the wide area of the wall and broke it apart.
"All right! Found a hidden passagewaaaay!"
And just as Myu had predicted, beyond the white meat wall there was a red-walled Grand Rock's passage continuing ahead.
"Well, let's go! I knew there was something in there!"
"H-hey, wait. Geez…"
Myu energetically rushed into the hidden passageway, after whom Taku had followed. Sei-nee and I had trotted after the two while making sure we don't move out of the frozen area.
And in the hidden room ahead there was——
After we slipped out of the hidden passageway, we found a wide space with a single house that appeared to be partially inside the meaty wall.
The robust house build of stone had a third of it inside the wall, but still felt like it was inhabited.
"Hee, a building inside a mob' innards?"
Taku took a look around.
Other than the passageway we have come from, there were several other entrances leading to this house.
"Excuuuuse meee! Is there anyone hooome?!"
"C'mon, there's no way there's anyone——『"What is it? So loud."』——There was someone here?!"
I stared at Myu who yelled towards the house, but betraying my expectations a person had appeared from inside the house.
"Oh my, there was an NPC in a place like this, that's amazing."
"Nono, it's not like a normal person would be living inside a huge organic being."
Sei-nee put a hand against her cheek and she spoke while going "my my",. Meanwhile, a bearded and short muscular old man NPC had spoken to Taku and Myu.
"What are you doing here, old man?"
"Me? I'm doing smithing here."
"In a place like this?"
As Myu further asked, the old man NPC had nodded calmly and started talking about what happened in his life.
"Long ago, I used to be a famous blacksmith who had made swords for people who came seeking them. Every day I continued to make swords, but what I really desired was an ultimate sword. For that sake I have started to live in the mountains."
After pulling out a chair from inside the house and sitting on it, the Famed Smith NPC pat his beard and continued.
Curious as to why this hermit NPC had end up inside the ultra-large mob, we listened intently and swallowed saliva in nervousness.
"After becoming a mountain recluse I continued to craft weapons until one day, a storm had caused a landslide on the mountain which took me along with my house. When I was buried inside earth and sand, I and my house was eaten by Grand Rock along with the soil he came to eat."
"It can't be…"
"Grand Rock eats soil and then slowly melts the metals inside it to form his shell with it. However, he is unable to melt anything else, as a result I and my smithing facilities were able to safely arrive in here."
"But this doesn't seem like a good place for crafting swords, right?"
Unlike me who was completely astounded after hearing an absurd story full of fantasy elements, Sei-nee retorted to something completely different that she was bothered by.
The Famed Smith NPC responded to the question cheerfully.
"Not at all. Grand Rock himself is like a lump of metals himself and inside the soil he swallows I can find good things for me to eat. There's also a spring with water in the passage ahead of here. I can live here comfortably."
He said, and pointed towards the passage leading to the spring and the portal, making us follow with our gazes.
"We found an unexpected hidden area, I guess this is a safety area inside the innards dungeon."
"NPCs living inside dungeons are rare. Hey, if you're a Famed Smith, could you make a sword for me?"
Taku, who on the New Years' wished "for a new sword for his collection" asked with a sparkle in his eyes.
In response to Taku's expectations, the Famed Smith NPC answered.
"I make swords while aiming to make the ultimate sword."
Wanting a sword made so much, Taku hunched forward towards the NPC.
"However, there is a limit to the types of ore I can find inside Grand Rock. Right now I don't have enough ore. I'm satisfied as long as I can make a sword so I don't need reward, so if you deliver me ore I will craft a sword especially for you."
That moment, a menu opened in front of us and a trade exchange list with the Famed Smith NPC appeared.
It was a system where by exchanging materials one could receive a weapon corresponding to them. Also, there was a low chance that the weapon would become an unique weapon.
"The swords I make have power you normally will not see elsewhere."
"In other words, they have additional effects that players can't insert!"
"So they're NPC-limited additional effects? But I have this sword so I don't need a new one."
Although both Taku and Myu had sword as their main weapon, their reactions were drastically different.
It looked like Taku wanted a weapon made by the Famed Smith, but Myu preferred to gradually improve the weapon she was using so she didn't feel it to be very appealing.
"Hey, Taku. If this Famed Smith NPCs weapons' additional effect is random regardless of the materials used, then with bad luck you can end up with a really bad weapon."
If luck is heavily involved with the Famed Smith's made weapons, then if a player wanted a perfect weapon it would not end with just one exchange, is what I warned Taku about.
And among the sets of materials required for making a weapon——
"Oh, I have all the materials for Mithril alloy-made sword."
Among the ore that I gathered in the Wyvern Mountains' on the New Years' night there was the required amount of Mithril Ore and the matching magic metal ores.
Hearing that, Taku——
"Please, Yun! Let me do an exchange with the Famed Smith!"
"Ehh, no way."
Taku suddenly jumped in front of me and lowered his head. I wanted to use this Mithril and turn it into ingots, then accessories, but Taku didn't give up.
"Just once! Let me try just once!"
"With the amount required for exchange, I could make five accessories…"
"Just once and I'll be satisfied, please!"
"Aghh, fine! I get it, raise your head! Geez, can't help it."
I heaved a sigh and passed 25 Mithril Ore and earth element magic metal called Granrite Ore to Taku.
Neither Myu nor Sei-nee wanted a weapon, but they looked interested in what the result will be.
Taku had passed the materials in order to receive a weapon called 【Unsigned Ochre Spirit-Silver Sword】. The NPC had received the materials and had immediately entered the house to make a sword, and we could hear the sound of a hammer coming out from inside.
Although, the high pitched sound had quickly disappeared and the Famed Smith NPC came out holding the finished weapon.
"That was fast?!!"
"Feh feh, I AM a famed smith after all."
The crafter players took quite some time to make a single weapon by themselves, but this Famed Smith NPC made one in no time.
Well, if a player was made to wait in here as long as it normally takes a player crafter, they would gather some stress so this must have been consideration from the developers as well as a fantasy element to the Famed Smith NPCs skill.
Seeing the finished product, although I didn't expect an unique weapon, as a crafter I was still curious about the stats.
"So it's made! An earth element Mithril alloy sword!"
"Here you go, it's been a while since I made a sword this good. Oh, I need to name it. 【Ochre Spirit-Silver Sword - Slowblow】. All right, take it."
Receiving the slightly ochre-colored silver-bladed sword, Taku raised it up high.
I didn't think an unique would come out at the first try so I was quite surprised as I looked together with Taku at the sword's stats.
Ochre Spirit-Silver Sword - Slowblow【Weapon】
ATK+55 INT+15 Additional Effect: Earth Element Bonus (medium), Fatigue, Crushing Blow
Along with nicely set-up statistics in the unique Mithril alloy weapon, there were additional effects I haven't seen before.
"Are Fatigue and Crushing Blow the new NPC-limited additional effects?"
"Hey, Taku-kun, show me in more details."
Myu held the hem of Taku's clothes and shook to hurry him up and show the details of the additional effects.
"Fatigue decreases the SPEED of the enemy attacked. Crushing Blow has 20% chance to increase the attacks' damage by 50%. Not bad."
"I'm so jealous of that unique weapon, Taku-kun."
While Sei-nee who didn't have any item and drop luck muttered her true feelings, I started thinking on the weapons' additional effects.
Comparing to the weapon a player could make with same materials, not only the weapons' stats were slightly lower but it also lacked an ATK Bonus additional effect. Instead, there were Fatigue and Crushing Blow effects that were enough to compensate it.
Since the weapon had a speed decrease debuff on it, and a chance to deal large amount of damage it was good enough to cover its weaknesses.
It was still unknown what was the chance of the speed debuff effect activating and just how much did the other effect affect the damage, but it WAS interesting.
As a twin sword wielder, Taku could hold a player-made weapon that had a stable effect, and in the other he could hold a peaky but unstable NPC-made unique, it was a playstyle that he could make happen.
"All right! Let's test it out right away!"
"But, which way do we go to find the Grand Rock's heart? It doesn't seem like we can arrive there just by walking around the dungeon."
When Sei-nee muttered so, troubled, the Famed Smith NPC had stroked his beard and pointed one of the passages.
"If you go that way, you can use the passage to get to it. However, it's one-way route and you can't come back here. Also, that one route leads to the outside, I'll move a stone from over there making it so that you can come here anytime."
"Thanks, grandpa! I'll come here with my party next time!"
Myu said that her party members would be interested if she tells them about this, making the Famed Smith NPC laugh with "feh feh" cheerfully.
"Well then, we're going into the boss fight now! Let's go!"
Myu energetically preceded us towards the boss room.
And just like the Famed Smith NPC said, the passageway towards the Grand Rock's heart room had the walls close behind us when we passed making it impossible for us to go back.
On the Grand Rock's heart there was the 【Electric Parasitic Insect】, a creature that looked like a sea anemone that swung countless tentacles with electric orbs on them for both attack and defence.
With this being my second battle against the 【Electric Parasitic Insect】, together with Myu and Taku have challenged the boss in high spirits.
However, the result was——
"Yeah, Sei-oneechan really is this dungeon's mobs' archenemy. This makes me feel really unsated!"
"We too have been leveling up and getting new equipment since last time, no wonder it ended so fast."
The countless tentacles have been shattered by Sei-nee's ice, the electric orbs were swiftly taken down by Myu and Taku, and finally everyone had dealt damage directly to the boss' main body.
This quick-paced battle left me slightly behind, but it ended so fast it left me astounded.
And then, the emergency quest appeared——
——Emergency Quest: Heal Grand Rock's heart. (72 hours remaining)
——The 『 1/10000 』
The quest had been initiated, prompted by Taku I stood in front of the blackened Grand Rock's heart.
"Now then, how about this?"
I piled up a mountain of Yellow Potions in front of the heart then started pouring them on it one after another, but there was too many of them for me to use them all so I had Taku help me out.
On the other hand, Myu and Sei-nee——
"It'll be good healing magic leveling, right. Let's do this! ！——《Mega Heal》!"
"I don't focus on healing magic that much, though——《Rejuvenation》"
Myu had used her powerful single-target healing magic in quick succession, Sei-nee used a spell increasing natural recovery of HP.
With the two's magic and my potions, the Grand Rock heart's healed points quickly increased.
"This will be the last one."
I used the last Yellow Potion that would fulfill the set requirement of healing.
When it was done, the black and weak heartly-beating heart had gradually recovered its color, returning to look clean and healthy and started beating strong.
At the same time, along with a message sound a menu appeared announcing the completion of the quest, making me feel the quest was finally done.
"Yeah, we finally managed to finish this troublesome quest."
"But, what about the quest's reward?"
While Taku put some of the remaining Yellow Potions into his inventory while carefully counting them, Myu couldn't wait to receive the reward for the quest.
That's when the boss room's walls have started to wiggle as if in in joy.
"Whoa, w-what's this?!"
"Yun-chan, are you okay?"
When I lost my balance, Sei-nee held my right hand and supported me.
We raised our vigilance in order to deal with the incoming change, but instead, something dropped from the ceiling like a drop of water and shining, it started floating in mid-air.
Floating in the air and shining, it stopped in front of us and burst out to reveal a palm-sized medallion with turtle shell's pattern inscribed on it.
It was made with a material harder than Black Iron but it had warm amber color on which pattern was inscribed in black, feeling like it was made to imitate a part of a living being.
And this was an key item that was the reward for this quest——
"...【Land Emperor Turtle's Medal】"
According to flavor text, it was an item given only to those acknowledged by Grand Rock, made out of Grand Rock's own shell.
One of its effects was making all mobs related to Grand Rock non-active. Another one, was increasing the chance of acquiring ore-type materials when gathering by 2%.
I thought it was a quite good item.
Also, seeing its effects, Taku, Myu and Sei-nee also noticed one thing.
"With this, the mobs related to Grand Rock will turn inactive, does that maybe mean that we will no longer be attacked by mobs in the Highlands Area?"
"I'm sure that's it! If that's the case, we won't have to fight against the Lightning Horse and can just march into the North Town! Let's try going outside right away!"
"I get it, so stop pulling my hand!"
As I held the 【Land Emperor Turtle's Medal】 strongly in one hand, my other hand was pulled by Myu who started running towards the exit of the dungeon.
Soon after we passed by the spring and leaped outside. There should be a Cockatrice nest in front of us and the Grand Rock should be causing everything to go berserk.
Even though the medal is supposed to make the mobs here non-active, I still needed some time to prepare to go out.
However, I was unable to stop Myu and we both moved outside.
Because we just passed through a dim passage, the moment we left to the outside I ended up squinting in response to the bright light and covered my face with an arm to protect myself from the Cockatrices that might be attacking us, but there was no sign of that happening.
"Ohh, the berserking is starting to stop! But everyone except for us is still being attacked!"
Still having my hand pulled by Myu we passed by a Cockatrice's nest and to a place we could overlook the highlands, we saw berserking mobs fight players here and there.
Cockatrices including the Cockatrice boss mob that was the Cockatrice King did not show any interest in us and we were able to walk around the nest on Grand Rock's back.
If we attacked them they might turn active and attack us, but as long as we do nothing to them there were no problems.
Sei-nee and Taku who rejoined us after a slight delay have also confirmed the medal's effect and while surprised, they had bright expressions.
"Doing the Grand Rock's quest was a sudden idea, but it looks like we'll be able to proceed with the Sense Expansion Quest thanks to it!"
"Indeed. I'm also glad that from now on when we come here we won't have to bother with mobs in this area."
The two said and we once again returned to the portal by the spring to move towards the portal near the Highlands Area.
We walked straight through the middle of the highlands like it was nothing, and ignoring the cow-type Steel Cow mobs, goat-type Mage Goats we headed towards the road protected by the Lightning Horse.
When we arrived at the small hill that Lightning Horse was napping on, with this the second trial is over, I thought and relaxed myself, only to have the 【See-Through】 Sense react to alert me of danger.
When I took a look around as I heard Taku's hurried warning, Myu and Sei-nee had already strafed to the side to avoid.
Immediately after, my vision was struck with a flash too bright for my 【Sky Eyes】 to bear, and my sight was dyed with pure white.
Left behind all alone my body was pierced by lightning and its impact had passed through all my limbs to explode earth beneath me.
Along with black smoke and with paining sight I saw the Lightning Horse calmly stand up and have crackling lightning spread from inside of his body.
"This is bad! Yun got one-shotted!"
Since I was taken down I didn't really understand the situation, but it looked like I was being carried by Taku.
Running by myself would be no problem, but if I used 【Revival Medicine】 here and tried to run, I would have been nothing but a burden. As such it was better to quietly let myself be carried away. When we arrived in a safe place I selected 【Revival Medicine】.
When I woke up, what awaited me was Taku's face right next to me and his arms holding me.
Since I was being carried in the so-called princess carry, I slipped out from Taku's arms in a hurry. I took a look around and in the middle of the highlands I saw Myu and Sei-nee turned completely limp because of nervousness.
Normally I would have been teased for being carried by Taku in princess carry, I thought and heaved a sigh of relief, then turned my gaze towards the small hill the Lightning Horse was on.
Even right in this moment the boss mob was clad in lightning and vigilant, making me mumble.
"Looks like it won't go that easy…"
Since he wasn't turned into a non-active mob, it meant that the Lightning Horse isn't a mob related to the Grand Rock. Learning that, I felt like we returned to the starting point.
Chapter 3 - The Second Trial and an Evil-Warding Barrier Piece
Completely tired, we've returned to 【Atelier】 in complete silence, none of us spoke along the way.
And once we sat down in the store part of 【Atelier】 and had Kyouko-san pour us some tea, Taku finally spoke.
"So… what do we do?"
This question didn't seem it was pointed towards everyone, but towards me in particular as he stared at me.
"Uh… what do you mean "what do we do"?"
"Yun-oneechan, you're the only one who wasn't able to react to that lightning attack. We're wondering if you have an idea on how to avoid it."
With Myu's supplementing Taku's question I finally understood and went "ohh, I see".
However, I had no answer that would put everyone at ease.
"No way, nope, NOPE. Even if I manage to realize it's coming, I won't be able to avoid it.'
It's true that 【See-Through】 Sense allowed me to predict an incoming attack, but I wasn't skilled or strong enough to avoid or block the attack that comes.
"We were caught off guard as well. I also thought we'd be able to pass through there without problems, and you didn't have the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 on you either, right Yun-chan?"
I nodded in response to Sei-nee's words.
No matter what attacks I receive, the ring will mitigate one or more of them depending on the gem inserted into the ring, so if I had that ring on I would be able to negate that first attack.
I guess I'm still green, I thought and scratched my head, then heaved a sigh.
"We've done the Grand Rock's heart healing quest so we can log out and call it a day, let's try challenging the boss again tomorrow. If we lose again, we can start thinking of a plan."
See you tomorrow, Taku said and logged out ahead. When he did, Sei-nee looked my way.
"What will you do, Yun-chan, Myu-chan?"
"I… there's an item I want to make, I'll log out later."
"Well then, I'll log out ahead and start preparing dinner."
I agreed to leave Sei-nee to prepare everything in real life, but for some reason Myu stayed behind in the game.
"Myu, aren't you logging out?"
"Nope, can I watch what you're doing?"
Myu tilted her head and asked. I guess it's fine, I thought with a wry smile and led her inside 【Atelier】's workshop.
"All right, let's get to it."
"Hey, what are you making?"
As I stood in front of the workbench inside the workshop, my arms crossed, Myu suddenly asked while trying to play around with Ryui and Zakuro who were summoned and let roam freely.
"Just like Sei-nee said, I can negate several lightning attacks with the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】, but there's a limit to that so I've been thinking of devising a different item to protect myself."
I said and lined up several different materials on top of the workbench.
From among them, I followed my intuition and picked up a single item.
"Let's use silver this time."
"Hmm? Onee-chan, are you going to make a protective accessory or something like that? Can't you make some kind of defensive potion instead?"
"Actually I do have 【Element Cream】 that grants elemental resistance, but that only decreases received damage, it doesn't block it completely."
Also, 【Element Cream】 can only cover one element at once.
That's why I thought of making an item that completely negates magic instead of reducing its effectiveness.
"I want to use silver as base and synthesize it with two more items, but, which ones should I use…"
"Hey, can I try too?"
"Sure, although you need to take note that materials have their compatibilities with each other so there's a limit to what you can pick to use. For example silver has an effect against undead but its compatibility with anything related to bad status is terrible."
"Hmm, then how about a combination that feels like an evil-warding charm? Like, salt and piece of paper?"
"That's good thinking, Myu, but I was thinking of something a little different. If I'm to use something, it would be this."
I pulled out a certain item from among the materials on the workbench.
It was the Holy Water sold by the Priest NPC in the great cathedral which temporarily turned undead mobs non-active. I immediately combined it with a silver ingot.
And the item that appeared as a result was——
Evil-Warding Silver Barrier 【Consumable】
Low Level Magic Negation (Charges: 3)
"Ohh, amazing! You made an item in no time!"
"I have but this isn't enough."
Honestly speaking, using a Silver Ingot and Holy Water to block three low level spells is poor, the cost-performance ratio is completely crap.
Moreover, it retained the shape of a silver ingot as is, so it can't be carried around.
It was important to improve on it now.
"I need to try adding one or two more materials to strengthen the effect, eh."
"Then how about trying all materials one after another?"
"If I did that, I'd run out of Silver Ingots right away, at times like this it's best to use these."
I said, and pulled out a different item - a Piece of Silver.
"I've got lots of these, so I can use as many as I'd like to synthesize them."
"Stingy I am. Developing new items takes lots of money and materials, I need to be stingy wherever possible otherwise I'll go bankrupt."
Then, together with Myu we tried one material after another to find a good combination of three items.
For some reason, when we synthesized herbs or potions into it we ended up having a weirdo item called 【Healing Piece of Silver】, but the amount of healing was so low that we dumped it for being useless.
Also, when we synthesized it with another metal, it lost its magic negating effectiveness.
"Argh, c'mon! Why can't we get the right combinatiooon!"
"This kind of thing requires patience, y'know."
"Ugh, patience is something beyond me."
"I actually quite enjoy this."
Usually I'm all alone as I check the combinations, but today I was talking with Myu as we did it so it was quite lively.
As I noted down the materials we have used for synthesizing, I checked which materials we still haven't used and tried it.
"Are there any materials we still haven't tried?"
"I wonder… we tried all ores already."
"Ah! What about the power stone kind of thingies? Let's try synthesizing gems!"
"All right, let's do it!"
I took out ruby gems that I acquired during the quest to collect 【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】 in the Wyvern Mountains and synthesized it with the Piece of Silver. Once the piece of silver turned red I raised it up and confirmed the stats.
Evil-Warding Barrier Piece 【Consumable】
Low Level Magic Negation (Charges: 3)
"Yess! We did it!"
Myu was more overjoyed than I was, but this wasn't the final result yet.
"Okay, let's check other gems and ores now."
"Ehh? We're continuing?! This combination is fine, isn't it!'
It looked like Myu was already bored of this as she displayed her displeasure, but this was something I wouldn't go back on.
"It can be used as is, but I want to check which gems successfully synthesize to further decrease costs, then change the design to make it easy to use. That's how you craft items."
If it's an item I alone will be using I can ignore any inconveniences, but as long as I put them up as 【Atelier】's merchandise I need to be careful about the cost-performance ratio and the usability.
On that point, the Enchant Stones that I make by using 《Polishing》 and 《Coloring》 to make them look good and separated by the type of enchant are a good example of how I do things.
"Fine. I'll try a little longer. But it's a waste, to think at this stage it's only a sample and can't be sold."
"Well, I will be using them for testing the effect so there's no need to bother about it."
I said and one after another I synthesized polished gems and compared the effects, then noted them down.
As a result, I found that any kind of gem worked and that the polished gems had an additional effect on top of the original one.
Evil-Warding Barrier Piece 【Consumable】
Low Level Magic Negation (Charges: 3), Linked Barrier
Linked Barrier——based on the name, it looked like something that allowed for using multiple barrier pieces to block an even stronger attack, I guess? I wanted to check this effect, but I didn't have the amount required for proper testing so I had to put it off for later.
However, there was a problem regarding the cost reduction.
"I don't have any cheap gem materials on me…"
I use Gems depending on their type and size to make accessories that increase each stat, but those items' prices are all fairly high.
The gems that are in easy to acquire places are all small and of few types, the ones that can be acquired in more difficult locations are larger and have more types.
The barrier pieces that had 【Linked Barrier】 effect included were all made with bigger gems.
Thus, no matter what type of gem I use, it didn't look like I could decrease the costs.
"This isn't good, I don't have any gems for making these."
"Hmm. Then how about trying to use some materials I have on me? I'm adventuring in more places than you, Onee-chan, so I might have materials you could use."
"Really?! Let's try!"
Accepting Myu's proposal I had her put everything down on the workbench.
Among the materials she had pulled out there was one that got me interested.
"——Isn't this a Crystal Pillar?"
"A piece of it, y'know, it's the same material our charms are made with."
I raised the piece and compared it with the charm Myu and I have previously received for helping out at Cloude's 【Commonest Café & Clothier】.
The charm was more translucent and was made of a prettier piece of crystal, the piece of Crystal Pillar that Myu has taken out was more deformed and sharp.
"Crystal Pillar can be gathered in lots of areas but gathering it is difficult. If you try to gather it normally it'll just break off and turn worthless as a material, it's hard to gather proper ones."
"That's why you've got so many of these shards, huh."
"I mean, these can't be used anyway. Even if I can sell a mountain of these, the price still isn't worth gathering them in a high difficulty area."
The pieces were brittle and sharp. Moreover, they had too low attack to use as substitute for throwing knives, Myu said as she continued to lament over their uselessness. Meanwhile, hearing that they're useless I thought of making a way to use them.
"If they're useless low priced items, first thing to do is to turn them into higher rank item with higher conversion——《Alchemy》."
I took 10 Pieces of Crystal Pillar and used the 【Alchemy】's skill on it.
As a result, the 10 Pieces of Crystal Pillar were consumed resulting in a higher level material Crystal Pillar (small).
"Ohhh, you made something!!"
While Myu was surprised and rejoiced by how the useless pieces have turned into a proper material, on the side I repeated the process with the remaining pieces.
By using alchemy on a large amount of pieces I made multiple small Crystal Pillars.
"——This is amazing, Yun-oneechan! Items that were pretty much worthless have turned dozens of times more expensive!"
"All right, let's try using this——《Synthesis》!"
I synthesized a piece of silver, Holy Water and small Crystal Pillar, managing to create an 【Evil-Warding Barrier Piece】 which had Linked Barrier effect included.
"Thanks, Myu! Now I can use them without putting much thought into the costs!"
"That's great! Next we're checking the effect, right."
"Yeah, let's examine——"
Carried by the momentum, I took the finished 【Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces】 and was about to jump out of 【Atelier】 when a message arrived in my menu.
The message came from Sei-nee, who wrote that she wants to have dinner and asked us to log out.
"Phew, I guess we took quite a long time. Sei-nee is calling, let's log out for now."
"Yup. I'm a little tired after using my head so much. Still, crafting was quite interesting."
"Then how about you start crafting too——"Nope! It was interesting, but I realized really well that I'm not fit for it!"——Oh, I see."
I was happy that Myu showed interest in making combinations of items so I tried inviting her to tread the path of crafting, but got refused. This feels a little lonely.
"We'll do the examination tomorrow. Let's not make Sei-oneechan wait and log out!"
I nodded and logged out together with Myu.
For the time being, I have prepared some countermeasures against the Lightning Horse tomorrow. What's left is to prepare some potions and challenge him with all we have.
Last night, I came back to 【Atelier】 alone and prepared Mega Potions, MP Pots, as well as Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces for the second trial.
Then this morning in cooperation with Myu and Sei-nee we tested the effect of the barrier pieces in PvP in the Highlands Area as we waited for Taku to join up with us.
As the highlands were being devastated by Myu's and Sei-nee's magic, I only focused on blocking the spells with 【Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces】.
In actuality, I focused on comparing the amount of 【Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces】 required for each level of attacking power and calculated the amount of them required to block Lightning Horse's attacks.
"It's enough, Myu, Sei-nee. I got it roughly figured out."
"I'm using high-powered magic, but even if you can't block it, it looks like you can reduce the damage. Looks like your defense improved even more."
"Yeah. I won't get smacked down by him right away."
With the examination over we took a short break after which Taku had arrived through the portal, just at the time we have settled on.
"Hey Yun, Myu-chan, Sei-san. Looks like you were doing something interesting, you should have called me."
That's the first thing Taku said, making me heave a sigh and explain the reason why we didn't call him.
"We've been testing an item for protecting against magic, you can't use magic so there was no point in you being here, Taku."
"But it looks like it would be fun enough just watching it!"
"It's all right, Taku-san, you'll be able to see it soon enough! Now, let's go and exact our revenge!'
Saying so, Myu went ahead towards the little hill Lightning Horse was on, making us chase after her.
Then, looking up at the Lightning Horse who was lying down on the hill, we made our preparations.
"Ryui, help me out——《Summon》!"
I took out a white summoning stone and called in Ryui in his adult form.
Since I wasn't able to react to Lightning Horse's fast attacks, I had no choice but to get Ryui to help.
And finally, I set up my Senses.
【Bow Lv50】 【Longbow Lv32】 【Magic Bow Lv12】 【See-Through Lv30】 【Sorcery Lv21】 【Land Element Talent Lv2】 【Enchant Arts Lv45】 【Taming Lv31】 【Physical Attack Increase Lv12】 【Pre-Emptive Knowledge Lv10】
【Sky Eyes Lv18】 【Swiftness Lv22】 【Dosing Master Lv12】 【Alchemy Lv46】 【Synthesis Lv46】 【Engraving Lv26】 【Crafter's Knowledge Lv8】 【Cook Lv15】 【Swimming Lv15】 【Linguistics Lv25】 【Climbing Lv21】 【Bodily Resistance Lv5】 【Spiritual Resistance Lv4】 【Vital Points Knowledge Lv10】
【Sky Eyes】 made the Lightning Horse's lightning attack's flash blind me instead of helping so I removed it. Instead, I equipped three bow Senses.
"Yun-chan, you know what's the plan, right?"
"Yeah, Taku, Ryui and I will catch Lightning Horse's attention and attack to weaken him. Myu and Sei-nee are going to stay in the kill zone to prepare and will finish him off all at once when we bring him in. Correct?"
The first one who'll go at the Lightning Horse is me, since I was able to keep up with the boss' speed thanks to having Ryui. Next, Taku, a pure swordsman, would take over.
We will buy time as we slowly scrape away Lightning Horse's HP, allowing Myu and Sei-nee to prepare their high-damage attacks, then lead the boss to them for one-shot-kill win.
Most likely Taku and I will take a certain amount of risk, but with just the four of us in the party it wasn't a good idea to fight a prolonged battle of endurance so it couldn't be helped.
"Well then, I'll put enchants on everyone first. 《Enchant》——Attack, defense, intelligence, speed."
Attack, defense and speed enchants for Taku, as well as magic attack and speed enchants for Myu and Sei-nee.
Finally, I enchanted myself and Ryui with defense, magic defense and speed before I straddled Ryui.
"All right, let's do our best until Myu and Sei-nee finish their preparations."
Leaving the two in a place a bit of distance away from the Lightning Horse, I headed towards the hill together with Taku, reaching close enough for the boss to react.
Just like last time, Lightning Horse stood up and started releasing electric charges from his body. Matching that movement I took out 4 of Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces and raised it up high.
With the four pieces of barrier linking together, the Lightning Horse's lightning attack was parried and had changed trajectory hitting an empty space.
"So we got the initial attack covered. This is where it starts then."
Taku had already charged towards the back of the Lightning Horse, meanwhile, as the main when it comes to catching boss' attention I shot an arrow towards him to gather some hate.
An arrow pierced into his body making him let out a whine as he raised his forelegs up high.
The arrow that had pierced him had a paralysis effect synthesized into it, but there was no sight of it working and the Lightning Horse was able to hurtle forward, his hind legs clad in lightning.
"Ryui! Turn around and run at full speed!"
Together with Ryui we succeed in gathering hate, but our main job started here.
As instructed, Ryui had turned around and started to run away at once, but Lightning Horse appeared to be faster than that and was slowly closing the gap between us.
However, on a wide field such as the highlands Ryui was able to maneuver skillfully towards the sides making Lightning Horse have problems with catching up.
Holding Ryui's reins steadily in my grasp and pushing against the stirrup with all my strength, I made sure not to get thrown off. Whenever we were about to turn around I let go off the reins to nock an arrow.
As Ryui turned his side slightly towards the Lightning Horse, I twisted my body from on top of him and as my position rocked up and down I shot an arrow towards Lightning Horse's head, who chased us.
However, as the arrow soundly cut through the air, the Lightning Horse released a lightning attack to strike it down or tumbled down to avoid it.
"Avoided again, huh. If I decrease my speed a little…"
Although I removed 【Sky Eyes】 Sense in order to protect myself from Lightning Horse's lightning, but this situation really made me want to have 【Sky Eyes】 and 【Enchant Arts】 combination for long-range Cursed's weakening.
I put enchants on Myu and others from close range before we started combat, but not being able to use the usual abilities in any situation is harsh.
And so, being unable to deal any serious blow I continued to run away from the Lightning Horse who caught up some with me and was approaching all clad in lightning.
Even a single touch of that might be fatal to me, which is why Ryui desperately avoided the electrical charge.
Also, the lightning-clad charge was a type of physical attack.
Although 【Evil-Warding Barrier Piece】 could reduce damage or completely negate magic attacks that came at me, they did not work against physical attacks and magical-imbued attacks such as magic sword which also counted as physical.
In other words, it had no effect on the lightning charge and thus, I had to avoid it no matter what.
"Ryui. Run straight as is, believe in me!'
With the Lightning Horse approaching slowly but surely I felt a chill on my back as I hurtled forward together with Ryui.
Just a little more and the boss will catch up, but I still had Ryui run straight forward.
Receiving an attack, the Lightning Horse who has been chasing after us from behind had fallen over to the side and had the lightning he was clad in be absorbed by the ground.
"No matter how fast he is, we can get a hit in as long as we predict where he'll pass by."
"Taku, you're late!"
"No, it's you guys who's been way too fast and unpredictable! I lied down in ambush multiple times but every time you ended up changing your course!"
Taku, who separated from me after the initial attack and moved around alone, had been watching me battle Lightning Horse from a distance and waited for a good timing to attack.
And now, holding the secret weapon to this battle in his hand 【Ochre Spirit-Silver Sword - Slowblow】——the unique weapon made by a blacksmith swallowed by Grand Rock who has been attempting to create the ultimate sword.
"Damn, Lightning Horse is getting up. Get away, Taku!"
"Sei-san and Myu-chan aren't done preparing yet. We need to get in two, three more attacks to buy time!"
Taku and I have started running in separate directions, as a result Lightning Horse had started chasing me and Ryui, who have had larger amount of hate gathered.
Clad in lightning all over his body he was a real threat, but probably because he received 《Sonic Edge》 attack his movement speed seemed to have decreased.
The NPC-exclusive additional effect 【Fatigue】 has probably decreased his speed.
In which case, Ryui and I could strike back at him now.
While the Lightning Horse was unable to catch up to us, I could shot my arrows and the boss would be unable to avoid them due to 【Fatigue】's effect, receiving the attacks on his body.
His defense must have been low as my arrows cut down a fair amount of his HP.
Desperately wanting to attack me somehow, the Lightning Horse had released lightning attacks at me, but I have blocked them with 【Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces】.
Also, Taku had watched for a timing after my attacks and delivered attacks to the boss to an extent he wouldn't become the main target, further accumulating damage.
And at the point where Lightning Horse's HP fell below 70%, a ray of converged light had been shot into the sky.
"Myu and Sei-nee's preparations are done, huh. Ryui! Head for that pillar of light!"
While making sure that Myu and Sei-nee are safe as they prepare the kill zone we ran in the opposite direction from the hill, but it seemed like we have moved much further than I thought.
Taku also saw the sign and started moving towards it using the shortest possible route, so he would arrive at the meeting place before me and Ryui, who were chased by Lightning Horse.
What was left, was to safely escape from the boss——is what I thought, but in that moment in the edge of my view I saw Lightning Horse stop in his tracks.
No way. I didn't think he would stop attacking now of all times. Having provoked the Lightning Horse plenty up until now I was supposed to lead him in straight to the kill zone, but I couldn't do that if he stopped all of a sudden.
While Ryui continued to run as according to plan I wondered if I should signal to Myu and Sei-nee that something unexpected happened, but then, the Lightning Horse's surroundings have exploded along with a loud thunderous sound.
"Hiih! Run, Ryui!"
My 【See-Through】 Sense informed me of an extreme impending danger, making me immediately instruct Ryui to speed up.
The Lightning Horse had had his attack and magic attack increased, bad status removed and had become constantly clad in lightning, plus received 【Anger】 bad status. The apparent increase in power must have been the boss' enrage mechanic.
According to the info we have gathered beforehand, we learned that his enrage mechanic starts regardless of the damage he received.
It must have been related to either time that had passed since start of the battle, or when the player had gathered a certain amount of hate on him.
However, we couldn't afford to inspect it closely, all I could was to have Ryui run straight towards Myu and others.
While running, the Lightning Horse let out a loud high pitched whine and released the lightning that he was clad in towards the sky which caused small black clouds to form over the small hill.
Momentarily, a white flash ran down.
"?!! How the hell am I supposed to deal with lightning from above?!"
A lightning pierced the earth diagonally ahead in the direction Ryui was running to and scorched the ground leaving a black scar on it.
In the location beneath the black clouds lightning have randomly struck down on the ground and the shockwave after impact had reached my skin.
Furthermore, the Lightning Horse himself had his stats increased and clad in lightning had been approaching me.
With the boss' speed recovered and his power increased, I have used my trump card to avoid the lightning-clad charge.
"Ryui! ——Use 【Illusion】!"
I had Ryui make us and everything we get in contact with invisible.
Lightning Horse who has been chasing us stopped in his tracks and started to look for us.
In the meanwhile, we bought some time for ourselves and after arriving at a place it would be easy to lead the Lightning Horse from and to Myu and Sei-nee's location, then released 【Illusion】.
Finding us, the Lightning Horse had let out a threatening whine and started chasing us again.
In the middle of lightning strikes that could hit us any moment from above and being chased from behind by the intimidating Lightning Horse, I got really tense.
Because Ryui's 【Illusion】 consumed a lot of my MP and because of the cooldown it didn't seem like I could make it in time, I couldn't use it again.
Responding to the high-pitched whine, my 【See-Through】 Sense alerted me, making me pull out 【Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces】 and throw a bunch of them out.
Immediately after, the Lightning Horse who had understood that a normal lightning attack won't work, had released a far stronger strike that I somehow managed to protect myself against with the barrier pieces.
The weak pieces of silver have been erased one by another as they parried the lightning strike in three different directions.
Honestly speaking, it was real close. This lightning attack was as strong as the one that the boss does initially and forced me to use most of 【Evil-Warding Barrier Pieces】 I had on hand.
However, I had nearly arrived in the kill zone that Myu and Sei-nee have prepared.
The moment I thought so and was relieved, a lightning flashed from above and headed for us.
In the extreme danger my vision had appeared like we were in slow motion, but at this rate a lightning would have hit us before I could do anything.
"Ryui! Don't stop no matter what! Continue to run!"
However, the lightning that struck immediately after had pierced through Ryui's body and filled my vision with white.
I closed my eyes strongly and clenched my teeth to bear, but my consciousness flew for a second.
At the same time I heard a sound as if glass was shattered in the distance and the whiteness seen beneath my eyelids had turned dark. Feeling my consciousness was pulled up by something warm I came to myself and gripped Ryui's reins.
"...Good, we're still alive."
I said with a slightly weak voice.
It appeared that just like I instructed, Ryui continued to run even after receiving the lightning strike.
I took a look at my body and saw black smoke come from a few places that had been swept behind me.
I had 20% HP left, most likely I lost my consciousness because I lost over half of my HP at once and received 【Stun】 bad status, which Ryui had removed by enveloping me with his purification magic.
I took out a Mega Potion out of the inventory and drank it all to quickly recover from the HP I lost, then took a look around to confirm the situation we were in.
Behind, the Lightning Horse was chasing us but it appeared that the Enrage mode had expired returning his stats back to normal, the dark clouds and incoming lightning strikes also have calmed down.
So, why did I receive damage from the lightning strike and Ryui was able to continue running?
The other day when I received the initial lightning strike from the Lightning Horse, Sei-nee had pointed out that I didn't have the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 on me. But this time I put it on, although, I put it on Ryui.
In order to succeed in leading the boss around I needed Ryui to run at full speed and use his illusion. In other words, if Ryui was knocked out the whole plan would fail. That's why I put the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 on Ryui instead of myself and decided to take on the attacks on myself.
Also, even if I can't move, Ryui can continue moving so the whole operation would continue even in worst case scenario.
Recalling myself coming up with such a plan, I was relieved I made the right choice——
"You came, Yun-chan!"
"Yeah, coming right in!"
We galloped through the kill zone that Myu, Sei-nee and Taku who had joined them have created and passed over it.
Immediately after, the Lightning Horse chasing after me had attempted to pass through the same place, but ended up falling down with a momentum and hit the highlands' surface with a lot of force.
The Lightning Horse tried to get up but a shining ring of light that appeared on his hind legs had prevented him from that.
"——It's 《Angel Ring》. I don't really like restraining spells and I'm bad at using them to catch moving targets."
Restraining a moving target is really difficult, Myu muttered again. Still she did her job well this time.
Following that, Sei-nee had struck the ground with her staff and froze the highlands surface with white ice also covering the Lightning Horse's body to further restrain him.
"Now then, let's finish this with the next attack."
She declared and raised her staff.
That moment, the Lightning Horse's target had changed from me to Sei-nee, and squeezing out all his strength he released a lightning strike.
Taku had jumped in from the side and thanks to his slash attack the lightning strike had been dispersed.
"That was clooose."
"Fufu, thank you, Taku-kun. Now——it's over."
Along with that word, Sei-nee had released the spells that she had been continuously casting ever since the battle had started and had ready to use at any time.
Over a hundred of icy spears have hovered in all directions around the Lightning Horse as if to surround him.
All of their tips pointed right at the boss.
Matching the movement of the staff, the countless icy spears have shot at the Lightning Horse's body which was still lying on the ground.
The Lightning Horse raised his voice in response to the horrid pain, but it was immediately muffled by the sound of shattering ice spears.
The shattered ice turned into something like a snow cloud, and once everything was over Sei-nee heaved a long sigh.
The battle against the Lightning Horse was over, and finally released from the combat tension Sei-nee had turned towards me.
"Getting over hundred of spears was really tough, I couldn't do it without your MP Pots, Yun-chan."
She said and pulled out empty potion bottle from her clothes to show me.
Thanks for the good work, I muttered. Meanwhile, the snow cloud was blown away and from inside of it we could see the Lightning Horse, although still lying on the side he raised his head.
"He received Sei-oneechan's attack and is still alive?! In that case I'll…"
"Wait a moment, Myu!"
As Myu tried to head towards the Lightning Horse and finish it off, I grabbed her hand to stop her in place, then waited for the snow cloud to disappear.
There, sat down the Lightning horse showing his side towards us who didn't show any sort of resistance or will to attack.
It looked like he was already defeated and we received the drop items, but unlike other mobs he did not die and disappear as particles with light.
"Um…so what happens now?"
Considering the circumstances and whether the we could head North or there was something else we had to do, Sei-nee furrowed her eyebrows troubled.
The Lightning Horse appeared to have decided there will be no more combat, stood up and returned to the peak of his hill.
"Uuh, what is this? Why didn't he disappear?"
Myu muttered feeling this to be somehow unnatural, in response to which Taku had spoke his conjecture.
"I wonder myself. Maybe he's set like that because he's a mob required for some other quest."
After the boss is beaten and until he respawns, no one would be able to finish such quest. Maybe that's why he was made so that he didn't disappear.
In any case, it looked like our path to the North Town had opened for us.
Although we started moving North to the other side of the hill, the Lightning Horse did not attack us and let us pass by him as he lied down.
And ahead of the small hill, we found a tunnel.
It looked like a natural cave that had been further modified by human hand, once we passed the tunnel we arrived in a world covered in snow.
A cold wind and snowy clouds blew from a far-away mountain and danced in the air, and the ground was covered in snow reaching our knees making it hard to walk.
"Ahh, looks like it'll be impossible to move on Ryui in here. Good work today, Ryui——《Dismissal》"
I returned Ryui back to the summoning stone and we started walking towards the city we could see from the tunnel already in order to deliver the 【Cure for Epidemy】 we received from the great cathedral's Priest NPC.
"Hee, so that's how it looks like."
As we approached, I looked up at the tall walls of the North Town, impressed by the size.
The walls made with stone weren't as tall as the First Town's walls, but they were very wide and had enormous pile of snow on the outside possibly piled up because it was shoveled outside.
We arrived at the arch-shaped gate and let out a voice of wonder at the town of scenery.
"Whoaa, look at all the pointy roofs! Also the white smoke coming out of the chimneys!"
Myu started walking and watching the scenery of the town where all buildings' roofs were slanted.
These roofs were made slanted so that the snow slips down before enough of it manages to pile up. The buildings too, were made so that the entrance isn't ever blocked by the piling up snow, and for that sake every home had stairs leading to doors which were raised a little above the ground.
Also, probably because every house had a fireplace inside they were all releasing white smoke from the chimney making the sight of the town very fantastical. Furthermore, as we walked the road leading North in equal intervals we saw drainage holes with lids open into which townsmen NPCs were shoveling snow.
Finally, the thing that stole our attention above all was——
"Amaaazing! There's a castle in a place like that!"
Myu let out an impressed voice and Sei-nee had named a very similar castle's name.
Even beyond the town wall's North of us, in the clouds of snow we could see an unclear appearance of a splendid castle standing on top of a cliff and its slanted surface.
Inside the white world, a white-walled castle standing on a snowy slanted surface had multiple high towers extending towards the sky. The summit of those towers had reached spiraling thin clouds, making the whole pure white sight almost eerie.
"C'mon, I know you're curious about the new area, but first we need to finish the second trial's quest first."
As we stared at the castle's appearance, Taku had reprimanded us and we have resumed our walk down the road North and registered ourselves at the portal in the middle of the town. Next, we headed towards the North Town's small church. Inside, there should be a quest NPC who's waiting for us to deliver the 【Cure for Epidemy】.
Inside the burly church made of stone that also doubled as a clinic we spoke to a male NPC.
"Excuse me, we came to deliver 【Cure for Epidemy】."
"Ohh, we have sought help of the Great Cathedral's priests, so it has come! Thank you very much! I'll have the patients drink it right away!"
When we passed the 【Cure for Epidemy】 to the man who didn't seem to look like a priest of any kind, he immediately ran inside of the church.
"Is the quest over now? Doesn't seem like it."
After we had passed the item to the male NPC he had ran inside, but there was no information about the quest being finished.
"Hey, it's cold so how about we go inside?"
"I guess. Also, I wanna see what is that NPC doing."
Myu and Sei-nee proposed, and we entered inside of the church. Inside, there were small stained glass windows, but it had been pretty much converted into a clinic. In the warm space inside there beds lined up one next and patients lying on them.
The male NPC we had met earlier had been making each patient drink the 【Cure for Epidemy】 one by one and did not notice us entering.
It looked like this NPC was taking care of over twenty old and young, male and female patients all alone by himself.
"I'll go help out."
I said and ran up to the NPC and spoke to him.
"Um, I'll help you distributing the cure."
"Thank you very much. Well then, I'll take care of this side, please take care of the children over there."
I received the 【Cure for Epidemy】 and immediately headed towards a bed a child was sleeping in, then opened the bin with the cure.
Raising the child's upper body to make it easier to drink, I slowly poured the cure into her mouth.
"Ughh, it tastes bad, onee-chan."
"A good medicine tastes bitter. If you've drank it, lie down and sleep some more."
I pat the kid's head after making her drink the cure and once again put her down on the bed, then covered her with a blanket.
When I did that, the child fell asleep and started breathing regularly in her sleep.
On the other hand, looking at mine and the NPCs movements Myu and others considered what's happening.
"Can it be that the quest won't end until that NPCs work is over?"
"It's an "aid" quest after all. In other words, our job is not only to deliver the cure but also help the sick."
Sei-nee had opened her menu and responded to Myu as she read the quest information.
"Let's help out then. Yun, I'll help out as well, share some of the cure with me!"
"I'll help too!"
"Yeah, if we all do it will end sooner. I will help as well."
Saying so, the three also took 【Cure for Epidemy】 and started to give it to the sick.
The work was split between us. Myu and Taku have headed to take care of the sick adult NPCs who could move, the male NPC took care of the elderly sick NPCs, and I took care of the children NPCs together with Sei-nee.
Thanks to that, we had shared the cure among patients in no time and all the sick in the church were soundly sleeping.
"Thank you very much for helping. Now that everyone drank the cure their state should improve. I'm really, really grateful."
The male NPC bowed deeply making Taku and Myu a little embarrassed, but they appeared kind of happy.
On the other hand, Sei-nee and I felt a sense of accomplishment after saving the sick and had pleased expressions.
"I cannot give you a reward right now, but if you carry this to the Great Cathedral you should be able to exchange it for a reward."
The NPC said and passed to us a quest item called 【North Town's Thank-You Letter】.
We received it and with this it appeared that the second trial's quest was completed.
After we left the church we were filled with sense of accomplishment and happiness that we were able to save people and were displayed gratitude for it, which remained inside of us for a good moment.
"Still, Yun-oneechan and Sei-oneechan, you two were really good at making people drink the medicine. Since Taku-san and I had a problem with it I kinda found new respect for you. You two were like a holy mother!"
My shoulders drooped dejectedly when I heard the expression Myu used, and Sei-nee had made a wry smile, but was actually happy about the praise.
And speaking of Taku, he found it funny that I, a man, was called a holy mother and was attempting to muffle his laughter.
"What is it, Taku. What's so funny?"
"Well, I just recalled how you were made to wear a sister's outfit some time ago."
He said and unable to further stop himself he laughed. I recalled that sister outfit happening I had forgotten about and my face heat up in embarrassment.
"Ahh, that appearance was really cute. Yun-oneechan, aren't you going to wear it again?"
"No way I'm ever wearing it again!"
I refused with all my strength, then headed towards the portal set in the middle of the town as to avoid continuing this topic.
"C'mon! We still have the third trial left to do! There's no time!"
Myu had chased after me with a trot, then following after her with a wry smile were Sei-nee and Taku.
After we used that portal to return to the First Town, we started searching for clues on the third trial.
Chapter 4 - Negotiations and Shipbuilding Plan
With the second trial for the Sense Expansion Quest over, we sought information on the third trial's subjugation quest target 【Emperor Isopod】 but we found almost no clues.
And thus, we split up to try find information on the 【Emperor Isopod】. Then, after an entire day of looking for information, we met up to share what we have found.
After sitting at the counter seats of 【Atelier】 we have decided to use as the meeting place, together with Myu and Sei-nee we had sweets and tea poured by Kyouko-san, then started to share the information we had. By the way, Taku would be a little late apparently.
"Can I start?"
Sei-nee raised her hand and reported the results of her investigation on 【Emperor Isopod】.
"I tried asking our guild's members but no one knows anything. Unlike the Lightning Horse, 【Emperor Isopod】 is an unconfirmed mob there's no info on."
Unable to bring any positive results, Sei-nee made an apologetic expression for a moment, but a smile soon returned to her face and she continued.
"However, they have shared information on various quests that were added in the New Year's update."
It's possible that the members of 【Eight Million Gods】 shared the information on different quests after seeing Sei-nee disappointed when she couldn't find information she was looking for.
It must have also been thanks to her virtue as the guild's submaster, too.
"Is that so? Then we could pick up one of these quests when we have some free time."
"What about you, Yun-chan? You said you'd go to the library, did you find any clues?"
As I listened to her while nodding, Sei-nee asked me this time.
"I found no info on the 【Emperor Isopod】 but I found some interesting books on the shelves, then ended up losing myself in reading."
I spoke of the encyclopedia on herbs that grow under snow and a book about legends of the snow country that I read. This time, it was Sei-nee who nodded with a smile as she listened.
And as for Myu——
"Sei-oneechan, Yun-oneechan, why are you two taking it so leisurely?! A little more and Sei-oneechan will have to go back!"
Once the New Year's holidays are over, classes in the university Sei-nee attended would resume. She will have to return to the lodging far away from our home, which is why Myu was in a real hurry to finish this Sense Expansion Quest——
"But we have no clues on the subjugation target for the third trial."
"Indeed. We can't fight an enemy we can't find."
I heaved a sigh and responded, Sei-nee too has agreed with me.
There was no time limit for the quest itself so Sei-nee and I took our leisure, but Myu appeared discontent with that.
"Speaking of which, did you find any clues to 【Emperor Isopod】, Myu?"
"Ugh…that's...I searched as far and wide as I could but...I couldn't find him."
When I stared intently at her, Myu spoke in a choked voice and looked away as she reported results of her search similar to ours.
"But! I did find several new mobs, including bosses who were added in the update!"
Seeing Myu try to find excuses, Sei-nee and I just smiled wryly.
It's not like we were blaming her, we weren't bent on doing this Sense Expansion Quest to that extent. I offered her some tea to calm her down.
I spoke while Myu drank a slightly hot tea all at once.
"Even if we can't finish it this time, we can meet up again and finish it little by little, okay?"
"That's true, but I want to complete our goal as soon as possible! Also, I wanna boast to Luka-chan and others when we play in party!"
She reached towards the cookies that I prepared and started binge eating them.
"Also, since there's no hints or anything I went to talk with that Priest NPC in the great cathedral."
"And? What did he say?"
"He said——"No trial is given to those incapable of overcoming them" of all things!"
Certainly, as expected of the important Sense Expansion Quest, each of its trials had matched our Senses and levels. Still, hearing that was the only hint they had for us Sei-nee and I smiled bitterly.
That moment, 【Atelier】 store's door opened and our gazes were drawn to it. Coming in together with cold air from the outside, Taku immediately spoke.
"Everyone here? I've got good news."
"What?! No way, did you find 【Emperor Isopod】 location?!"
Myu stood up with a strong momentum, but Taku shook his head sideways.
"I didn't find him, but I know a guy who has."
He knows someone who found the boss, but he get information? I thought and got a little disappointed, but Taku sat down on the counter seat and started explaining in detail.
"I have this certain guild master acquaintance, when I asked him about the mob, he appeared to know."
"But he didn't tell you, right? Did he demand something in exchange?"
"Money? Items? Or maybe cooperation with beating some boss?"
"You're right on spot with exchange!"
Yep. Information has a value equivalent to items and equipment and just as Myu and Sei-nee said they were exchanged for such things.
Sei-nee as the submaster of 【Eight Million Gods】 guild had an access to a lot of information since it was open in the guild and used for strengthening all guild members. However, crafting recipe information was also a merchandise and was kept secret until the creator of the recipe could earn enough. The information about my 【Enchant Arts】 skills, 《Skill Enchant》 and 《Item Enchant》 was worth quite a bit, too.
I looked at Taku curious about what was he asked of in exchange for the information, but what he said had made me unable to understand it for a good moment.
"He wants to negotiate with Yun. He'll tell you his demand in detail when you meet, he said."
"Huh? Why me? Not Myu or Sei-nee?"
Taku nodded in silence, but this way over my head.
I could understand a reason to negotiate with all-purpose battle player Myu and 【Eight Million Gods】 submaster Sei-nee, having the two in the party would bring a lot of fighting force.
I twisted my head unable to understand the reason I in particular was requested.
"I see, so that's why."
"Huh?! You know something, Sei-nee?"
"Wait, why don't YOU get it? Yun-oneechan."
Myu retorted, and seeing me still unable to grasp the reason, she sighed appalled.
While I was completely confused, Sei-nee explained.
"Yun-chan, do you have any self-awareness that you're one of the most famous crafters in OSO?"
"I am? Maybe when it comes to funny stories…"
Thinking that being joked about as 【Nanny】 all over could have counted as being famous, I frowned. However, it appeared that wasn't what Sei-nee was trying to say.
"Yun-chan, you're famous among crafters who specialize in 【Mixing】, and you are close with other top crafters. Which means the reason you were requested, Yun-chan, is that——"
"——He wants to talk about something crafting-related?"
I asked and turned my gaze towards Taku to confirm the truth. He nodded in response.
"It's not like I confirmed the reason with him, but I guess that's the case if he wants to negotiate with you. However, I don't know whether he wants some difficult to make item or crafters' secrets, couldn't get it out of him."
Regarding my self-awareness as one of top crafters, I thought that I was still chasing after Magi-san and others' backs and didn't feel like it.
However, I was convinced on the reason why the guy wants to negotiate with me.
"Got it. So, where do we do these negotiations?"
"Over here's fine, right? The other side said they're ready at any time, should I contact him now?"
I nodded, and Taku got to contacting his acquaintance.
Meanwhile, Myu and Sei-nee finished drinking tea and eating sweets and stood up from the counter seat.
"I guess negotiations won't end soon, so we'll go hunt some together with Sei-oneechan."
"We'll go to the places Myu-chan had found new mobs added in the New Year's update."
The two said and left on a hunt.
"Now then, let's get to negotiations for 【Emperor Isopod】 info with the two of us."
A little excited wondering what kind of item will be requested, Taku and I sipped warm tea that was freshly poured and waited for the negotiations partner.
Before long, in 【Atelier】's store that I had Kyouko-san temporarily close, a player had entered through the doors.
That player was——
"Thanks fer contactin' me right away, Taku-chan."
Saying so, appeared a merry-looking, well-tanned player marked by salty winds. He had short silver hair and goggles, plus a harpoon on his back. Despite the fact it was winter in OSO, he was wearing a southern country-style shirt and sandals.
This player had an aloof and friendly atmosphere to him.
"I want the information on 【Emperor Isopod】 y'know. It's give-and-take."
"Taku said and the two laughed heartily at each other."
Also, I knew this player.
"【OSO Fishermen's Union】's guild master, Shichifuku…"
"It's a first that we speak directly, Yun-chan, eh. Lez' get along. Also, I'd prefer bein' call'd Captain rather than guild master."
I replied vaguely in response to Shichifuku's light-hearted greeting, confused.
Shichifuku appeared in my conversations in Taku a few times before, I also heard that he undertook quests together with Letia and Emily-san when small and medium-sized guilds banded together for a quest and managed to clear one of Christmas-limited dungeons.
I also knew that he started a hobby guild and right now he made a big name as the top specialist when it came to combat in water.
However, the biggest impression I had on him was in the winter when I met him while doing Christmas Event's gathering quest in a lake, which made me nervous now.
And probably this nervousness of mine was passed to him as…
He suddenly shouted and raised his fist up high startling me. Ryui and Zakuro who were hidden with illusion have appeared and stood right next to me.
"The hell you're doing! Don't startle us!"
"No, uh, last time I did this she'd made a nice response so I thought she'd do the same dis' time as well."
He said and looked at me with eyes filled with expectations, and so…
My voice trembled from embarrassment as I said so and had to bear the painful looks of "the hell are you doing" coming from Taku and Ryui. As for Zakuro, he didn't seem to know what's happening and just tilted his head in wonder, his innocent gaze was even more painful as it pierced into my heart.
"Ughh! Anyway, negotiations! Why did you request to negotiate with me?!"
I started to talk in order to hide my embarrassment, which made Shichifuku make a serious expression and sit down on the counter seat.
At the same time, Ryui and Zakuro put their heads on top of my lap as I sat down on the seat, so I pat the two's head and listened to what he had to say.
When everyone calmed down, Shichifuku spoke.
"Looks like ya got relaxed 'nuff. Onii-san's gonna explain reasons now."
Said Shichifuku and made a bright smile, making me think he was hard to deal with and listen intently. He raised a single finger and started explaining.
"One, is my personal preferences. I have been acquainted with Taku-chan ever since my guild was still a hobby guild, and I heard lots about ya, Yun-chan, from Letia-chan and Emily-chan with whom I did a quest together when small and medium-sized guilds' come together. I also heard about ya from lots other places, and all I heard were good things y'know."
"Is that so…"
I felt a little abashed feeling that was a kind of a praise, and rubbed the back of my head.
"I hear that yer really great at takin' care of others, gentle, are very attentive of details and on top of that yer great at cooking, being in the top of the ranking of "players you want to become your bride"."
"Wait a moment! Who the hell said that?!"
This isn't about crafting at all! No, I know that 【Cooking】 is also crafting, but still! I shouted in my heart, and Taku had muffled up his laughter further irritating me.
"Well, jokes aside…"
"A joke, huh…?"
Having to react to everything he says is really tiring, I thought and heaved a sigh. Meanwhile, Shichifuku expression tensed up.
"Still, the thing I wanna say is that if Taku-chan and others have a good opinion of ya and yer are a player they trust, it means that I can trust ya as well."
Yeah, it did feel like I'm being praised, I ended up scratching my cheek and averted my gaze.
"The second reason is that I'm personally grateful to you."
"After 【Cold Damage】 update has been implemented we had to wear cold-resistant equipment and it was very inconvenient fer us to fight in water. But thanks to 【Hot Drink】 and 【Elemental Cream】 you made, that problem was solved. I'm grateful ya know."
Shichifuku said and lowered his head with all seriousness, making me flustered.
"You don't have to lower your head! Also, even if I didn't make it, someone else would have!"
"It might be so regarding crafting, but you sell it cheap, right? That matters lots to us, so accept Onii-san's thanks. It's free, after all."
I haven't ever been thanked this straightforwardly before, so I felt quite uncomfortable about it.
Finally, Shichifuku's final reason was——
"I, no, our guild had requested making of a certain item from several crafters but were refused. That's why I we want ya, Yun-chan, who's well acquainted with other skilled crafters to lend us yer knowledge and help us out. Please."
He said, and once again lowered his head, but I couldn't promise anything until I learn what was the item they wanted.
"So, what is the item you want?"
"——A fishing vessel. And not a small one like a boat! We want a big ship that the entire guild could board at once."
Hearing that, I closed my eyes and thought for a moment. Taku didn't speak up either.
"Can it be a wooden ship? Do you have any plan for it in particular?"
"A wooden ship's okay, in particular, we'd been thinking of something like a galleon."
That'd be a damn pirate ship and not a fishing vessel, I thought for a second, but it was indeed easy to imagine.
In which case, the person I should contact here was Lyly the carpenter.
"Got it. I'll ask a crafter I think might take undertake it."
"Yesss～! I thought I'd be refused again, Onii-san here was really nervous."
"Heck, it's pretty obvious that a request to make a galleon would be rejected. There's a problem with location to make it in and gathering materials, plus it would be reaaally expensive."
I said and stood up, then entered 【Atelier】's workshop and connected a friend call to Lyly.
For the first three days of the new year there was no sign of him logging in, but he did log in now with a perfect timing so I was able to contact him.
『"Happy New Year's, Yuncchi. I didn't think you'd contact me now, what happened?"』
"A request for crafting a ship has come to me just a moment ago, are you interested?"
『"Hmm, what kind of ship is it?"』
"Apparently, they want a galleon-sized ship…"
『"Yuncchi, bring that person to me! Don't let him run away! Also, I'll call Magicchi too! See you in my store later!"』
"Huh? Wait, wait a sec——he disconnected."
Having the schedule one-sidedly decided I heaved a sigh, and decided this meant everything will work out, then returned to the store part of 【Atelier】.
There, eating snacks and waiting for me were Taku and Shichifuku, both of them raised their heads and looked at me.
"How was it?"
"Bring him to me, he said. I guess he wants to hear details for now."
"Yess! Thank you, Taku-chan, Yun-chan. You've really helped Onii-san lots."
Seeing Shichifuku frolic merrily like a kid, Taku spoke up."
"Where do you even intend to use a galleon-sized ship? No, considering you want all guild members to fit on it, can it be that you're planning to use it as a guild house?"
"That's a secret. Now, where do I meet that crafter?!"
"I'll lead you there."
I took Ryui and Zakuro, then with the three of us we left 【Atelier】 and headed to Lyly's store.
【Lyly's Woodworking Shop】 facing the main road in the Eastern part of the town was thriving as always, standing in front of it Shichifuku had looked up at the signboard with his mouth wide open.
"No way. The crafter yer going to introduce me to is the top crafter, Lyly?!"
Shichifuku was bothered by the imposing shade of this building, but this wasn't a prank.
"Lyly told me to bring you to him no matter what."
"Nonono, I was refused by lots of carpenters so far, I don't think anyone but someone with strange tastes would accept it. Why a top crafter all of a sudden?!"
Leading completely confused Shichifuku, we entered the store.
And just as usual, I spoke with the Clerk NPC and was allowed in to the back of the store. Along the way Taku and Shichifuku had looked around with curiosity.
"I don't have any equipment of 【Woodworking】 type so I haven't come here before, so this is how it looks like here in the back."
Taku muttered as we passed by the shooting range, and then was led towards the back of the store.
Then in the very back, in the furthest corner of the store beyond which there was only the outside we stood in front of the black door. I opened the door and entered inside.
"This is——【Ownership of Personal Field】's area."
"Amazin'. There's a plain and a forest far in the back, and also a huge building. Onii-san sure is surprised."
Once we entered Lyly's personal field, an adult phoenix Neshias had flown over and sat down on my shoulder.
"Thanks for coming to welcome us. Can you lead us to Lyly?"
I asked Neshias, who jumped into the air and slowly flew towards the building.
We followed him and entered from the front.
There we passed quickly by a wide space that appeared to be a workshop and arrived in a place that had several beams in the ceiling and was equipped with pulleys.
"'Dis looks like a dock."
Also, in the corner there were woodcrafting tools and also tools made for working with large woodcrafting projects. Seeing them, Taku and Shichifuku opened their mouths agape in wonder, so I left the two be and spoke to Neshias who once again sat down on my shoulder.
"Thanks Neshias. You can go and play together with Ryui and Zakuro outside!"
I said, and Neshias, leading Ryui and Zakuro, had flown to the plain outside.
After seeing him off, I raised my voice and called.
"Lyly! I brought the player who wants a ship made!"
"Got it, Yuncchi! I'm coming now!"
Lyly was apparently working in the back and has ran over to us in a trot. Even after seeing Lyly's appearance Shichifuku continued to be dumbfounded.
"Hello. Welcome in my shipyard! You want a ship, right?! I hear you want a galleon-sized ship or something?"
"Yeah. I want a small and medium-sized guild to pilot it."
After hearing what Shichifuku had to say, all excited, Lyly immediately ran to the back to get something. Meanwhile, taking his place and coming in was Magi-san.
"Yun-kun, Taku-kun, happy new year's."
"Happy new year's to you too, Magi-san."
After I lightly lowered my head and said new year's greeting to her Lyly had returned and Magi-san spoke again.
"I was called by Lyly earlier and was asked to become an advisor for crafting a ship, is that person there the client?"
"Nice to meet ya, yer Magi-san the blacksmith rite. I'm called Shichifuku, 【OSO Fishermen's Union】's guild master. I had asked Taku-chan and Yun-chan to act as a intermediate with carpenter Lyly."
"Which means, you're Taku-kun's acquaintance?"
"Yeah. Although 【OSO Fishermen's Union】 is a small to medium-sized guild, they're specialists when it comes to fighting in water. If you need any materials gathered in water, you can request it from them."
Taku said and appealed Shichifuku's usefulness, making Magi-san nod with a smile.
"I see, I'll do so if there's a chance to."
Now that the introductions were over, Lyly had came back holding several rolls of paper and spread them on a workbench nearby.
They were all blueprints for a galleon that Shichifuku had requested, Lyly showed them to him with a sparkle in his eyes.
"How about this? It has a lot of masts and is fast. And this one has few but instead can carry a lot of load! This one is very sturdy and simple!"
Said Lyly and one after another showed blueprints to Shichifuku, who checked them one by one.
Meanwhile, Taku, Magi-san and I set chairs next to a nearby table and prepared some tea on spot.
Shichifuku had slowly picked out candidates out of several blueprints and then finally, chose one.
"This looks very close to what we want. It can carry a lot and has a very broad deck making it easy to fight from it. There's a few masts so it'll be slow but can be piloted with a small amount of people thanks to that."
Lyly had left the single chosen blueprint and cleaned up all others, then returned back to us.
"Well then, Yuncchi, Magicchi, could you advise me? I want some good ideas for this blueprint!"
This time Lyly had spread the blueprint so that everyone, not just Shichifuku could see it. I peeked in on it.
Written down on the blueprint Lyly has spread on the workbench were forms and details of the required wooden parts, but there was no information on the materials to be used and equipment to be installed inside the ship.
"The ship will use wooden materials as the main, but it will require some other detailed pieces. I want your advice on these."
I took a look at the blueprint, there was a mast, rope ladders and ropes called rigging that were indispensible equipment for a ship.
"Hey, Lyly, will you put cannons on this?"
Magi-san asked with excitement, but Lyly only smiled wryly and denied.
"Don't think that's possible. The entire thing will turn much heavier if we put in cannons, it might capsize once enemy mobs get on the deck."
He said and showed data on the load limitations and the materials and parts durability. It was all black magic to me though.
However, since this ship wasn't just going to carry players but also act as a fishing vessel, I understood that there was a need to calculate the weight so that it doesn't capsize once medium-sized enemy mobs get on.
"Even if we don't put any cannons on, they can use magic to shoot from a long distance, right?"
"What a shame, if you wanted to put some on, I thought of using this opportunity to develop cannons."
I smiled bitterly seeing Magi-san say so. Lyly had puffed his cheeks and protested.
"We can't! If we do that the ship will break!"
"Our ship looks like it'll become a pirate ship at this rate rather than a fishing vessel, is everything 'll rite? Onii-san's startin' get worried here."
Shichifuku muttered, but it didn't reach ears of Lyly and Magi-san who were in the middle of cannon dispute.
Afterwards we stared at the blueprint for some time and confirmed the materials that will be required to use for parts and equipment.
"What wood will you use for the whole thing?"
"Actually, for keel and masts I will use hardwood-type of material since they can be exchanged. But for the rest I'd like to use quality wood."
"What about ship's nails then? What will you do about it?"
"Hmm. We can purchase some from NPCs, but those would make bindings between wood weak."
"Hey, Lyly, could you show me how do actual nails used in ships look like?"
Magi-san joined the conversation and took an actual ship nail in her hand to check the size and weight.
"Strength-wise they should to be stronger than iron or steel, huh. What about Black Iron?"
"Magi-san, won't that be too heavy? Several thousands of such nails would start affecting the ship's weight."
"I see. Other metals could not be strong enough, so if steel and black iron aren't fit…what about Blurite? It's very compatible with water element…but will cost a lot."
Hearing a pricy magical metal's name appear among materials for the ship, Taku and Shichifuku had shuddered, but I had further added my own bit to the conversation.
"Certainly, there's a high probability a ship would be attacked by water element attacks. How about making an alloy with Mithril? It would have resistance to both water and magic, and be quite tough. You can make it, right? Magi-san."
"Nice idea! Also, the alloy with Mithril would be lighter than pure Blurite and as light as Steel nails."
"Also, the ropes used on the mast have a possibility of ripping if a normal rope is used, so how about using a rope made out of metallic thread?"
"In which case, wouldn't using Iron metallic thread which is hard to rip be good? For masts' sails we could have Cloude pick the most fitting thing in his own discretion. Well, I guess this is about all we can come up with for now."
Magi-san and I have heated up in the conversation, but Shichifuku spoke fearfully.
"Actually, our guild's budget for making the ship is 10mG…"
"With just that, there's not enough for using the materials we just mentioned… A single Mithril sword costs few million G, so if we use several times that worth of Mithril we would run out of the budget with just nails."
Magi-san said, making Shichifuku open his eyes wide in shock. Furthermore, without any awareness Lyly had added a further blow.
"Also, I don't think I'll be able to make a galleon-sized ship alone, so I would need synthetic mobs to help me out. For that I'd like at leasdt 20mil G."
"Ugh… Just the nails and mobs for helping out will cost 30mG?! No waaay!'
Shichifuku raised his voice hearing the great sum.
However, this cost of 30mG was a rough estimate and if all more detailed pieces were included it could cost much more.
Finally, I added a finishing blow.
"I'll have to say this, but…right now, the only ones who can make a Mithril alloy are just a few among the top blacksmiths. Normally such skilled crafters wouldn't ever undertake a request to make several thousands of nails instead of weapons… And thus, I guess we have to deny this ship construction standard."
Hearing that Shichifuku had hung his head depressed and Taku looked at him with pity. Basically, making a ship under these terms was impossible——but if the terms were different, then…
"About this request——I'll undertake it!"
"Well, I think that if you gather the materials by yourself the costs will decrease by a lot. Also, if your 【OSO Fishermen's Union】 players acquire 【Woodworking】 Sense and help out it will get even cheaper."
"But there's no players who can make Mithril alloy nails, right?"
Taku had pointed out, but Lyly had smiled towards me and Magi-san and replied.
"I think the construction of the ship itself won't start for a while. By then, Yuncchi will have increased her 【Engraving】 Sense level and become able to make Mithril alloy nails. Also, Magicchi probably won't let something this interesting let pass by."
Magi-san and I smiled in response to Lyly's expectations.
"I guess. Not joining in something as interesting as making a galleon ship inside OSO would be a shame."
"I hardly ever get any requests for making items with 【Craftsmanship】 so I think I might be able to help out a bit."
We will have to consult with Cloude on the sails, if we don't he would definitely sulk. I imagined it and chuckled.
"Hey, hey! How about we put those cannons in after all? Like, a bonus option!"
"In that case how about a ballista?! If we're fighting against huge sea monsters a ballista would be lighter!"
"Hmm. Isn't there anything even lighter? Like, molotov cocktails? It would be hard for the ship to catch fire since it's on water, and it can be carried on the players."
With the basics decided upon for now, we started playing around with other parts based on our crafting expertise wondering if we could add something. Hearing that, the client, Shichifuku had made a worried expression.
Taku beside him had crossed his arms and muffling up his laughter watched the situation——
"Magi-san, if you want to make something with metal then how about you make an anchor? Lyly, you can make the a sculpture on the bow, and Yun, you make a lure for fishing."
And had joined in to mediate, and we accepted his proposal.
"Sorry. We got a little too excited. Although we can't get onto constructing the ship right away, we'll definitely make a good ship!"
Lyly responded so, representing us and had exchanged handshake with Shichifuku.
Personally it was an unexpected crafting request, but I was quite excited for something new that I hadn't taken part in before.
"Yun-chan, Taku-chan. Thank ya for introducin' me today to wonderful crafters. I can see our goal nows."
"Don't mind it, I had fun too."
"Well then, Shichifuku. Tell us the promised info on 【Emperor Isopod】."
With Taku's words I was reminded that we were negotiating in exchange for information for the third trial of the Sense Expansion Quest. The conversation about shipmaking was so fun that I ended up forgetting all about it.
Shichifuku smiled wryly as Taku urged, but then immediately made a serious expression and explained.
"I know I know. The boss mob 【Emperor Isopod】 is——hiding inside Dais Forest's lake."
"...Dais Forest? Where's that?"
"What, Yun-chan, ya don't rememba? It's the lake I got a big fish during Christmas Event, that area's called Dais Forest."
"Ah, the place where Yuncchi and I were beat up by weakling mobs!"
With that said I recalled how I was hung by my leg by a creeper plant mob and together with Lyly we were beat up and had to run. I also recalled how I looked to find a quest item inside the lake, but I didn't know the area's name.
I thought of it as "the forest on the outskirts of the Second Town".
Since Lyly looked my way and smiled bitterly, he must have known the area's name.
"Taku-chan, how about Onii-san helps ya out? It's not like we're strangers, and Yun-chan has 【Swimming】 Sense, right? How about we go hunt together and improve our relations while at it?"
"Can't do that. We're on a Sense Expansion Quest, we want to do it with just ourselves."
"Are you sure? Our guild has a lot of water-battle specialists y'know? I'm sure our leveling methods and experience will be of use."
Shichifuku had assertively pushed, but Taku was a bit reluctant.
On the other hand, I was pressed for an explanation on the Sense Expansion Quest by Magi-san and Lyly, so I started explaining.
"We also have Yun's little sister Myu and 【Eight Million Gods】 submaster Sei-san with us."
"What a shame! And here I thought I could get closer to two more skilled players, well, I guess I'll wait for another opportunity. We'll plan a combat training from on board a ship sometime, so come join us with your party, Taku-chan."
Shichifuku said and stood up from the seat. The talk of ship construction has been finished for the time being, and he was about to leave after receiving copies of the ship's blueprints.
With our goal of bringing the two together Taku and I have decided to go back too, so the three of us left the store together.
There, Shichifuku started to leave along with a "see ya!", but then he recalled something and turned around——
"Look forward to after ya succeed ta beat 【Emperor Isopod】!"
He said and left with a broad smile.
After we saw off Shichifuku disappear in the crowd, Taku had furrowed his eyebrows lightly.
"What is it, Taku?"
"What's up with you, Yun? Normally you would be more on alert if some guy wanted to try to get closer to Myu-chan and Sei-san."
"Hmm. How do I say this, it doesn't feel like Shichifuku has any bad intentions. Although he doesn't seem a very serious guy, he's not the type to hit on girls."
"Correct. You have a good eye there."
Taku praised me, but for some reason had made a difficult expression making me peek into his face and ask.
"You worried about something?"
"No. It's just that I felt like Shichifuku's last words had some hidden meaning behind them."
"Hidden meaning? Wasn't that just a cheer?"
Although Taku's intuition still said like there was something behind those words, his expression had softened right away.
"But it doesn't feel like a bad thing, so well, that's enough about that!"
"Good grief… I guess. For the time being we should clear the third trial and move on with the Sense Expansion Quest."
After thinking that Taku is worrying too much, I could only smile wryly at the speed at which he changed the topic.
Now finally, we had some prospects for beating the third trial. I had to get myself together in order to challenge it together with Myu and Sei-nee.
Chapter 5 -【Emperor Isopod】and Element Immunity
Although we have learned where the subjugation quest’s target,【Emperor Isopod】was, we couldn’t just go straight there and beat him. Together with Taku we returned to【Atelier】to wait for Myu and Sei-nee’s return.
And once the two came back, we shared with them the information we have learned from Shichifuku, resulting in Myu’s reaction.
“So, Yun-oneechan, Taku-san. What are the weaknesses and movement patterns of【Emperor Isopod】?”
Having it pointed to us by Myu, I noticed that I was too occupied with the mob’s location. Meanwhile, Taku heaved a sigh as if he was tired.
“Shichifuku told us the location, but it looks like he didn’t tell us the weaknesses and details on purpose. I bet he laughs inside his head, telling us to have a hard time.”
Personally, Shichifuku felt to me like a good-natured big bro-type so I didn’t have a bad image of him. Reading my thoughts based on my expression, Taku added.
“Shichifuku is harsh on guys, but gentle and polite toward girls. Since Yun was there he told us the location, but wouldn’t tell anything more because I was there.”
“Hee, is that so...wait, am I being treated as a girl?!”
Hearing Taku’s words, I realized the reason for Shichifuku’s attitude and was dumbfounded, but Myu and Taku stared at me as if to say “you realize that now?”, causing me even more shock.
Seeing me like that, Sei-nee smiled wryly and changed the topic.
“Still, it was Daias Forest, huh?”
“Sei-nee, something on your mind?”
“It’s a forest with a lake in it, the density of trees is very high and the view in the forest is bad. The ground is muddy like in a swamp so the footing is bad, because of the leaves that fall on the ground and lump together it’s easy to slip, and on top of that there are mobs that camouflage and attack from hiding.”
Certainly, when we went there together with Lyly, I remember that both the Fluff Cloud who called allies in and a Thorn Plant that caught players by their legs and hung them, were annoying.
“So, what do we do? We going now?”
Myu tilted her head and asked, Taku and I opened our menu to check the time.
It was currently four in the afternoon.
“Hmm, there is still time before it gets dark, but it might be half-assed try…"
“Time-wise, can we go to Daias Forest now and defeat the boss?”
“Let’s see, Myu-chan can use light magic, but I don’t want to fight in the dark. Also, while Yun-chan and Taku-kun were negotiating for information exchange, Myu-chan and I were adventuring so I think we can leave it for tomorrow.”
“Eeeehh, there isn’t much time until Sei-oneechan goes back to her lodging and I’m still not satisfied with fighting enemies that weak. Let’s fight more!”
“After negotiating with Shichifuku I’m still feeling kind of irritated. I’d love to fight some mobs and relieve stress.”
Sei-nee and I were of opinion to leave【Emperor Isopod】for tomorrow, but Myu and Taku were in a momentum to go right away.
“Can’t be helped, eh. Then let’s go beat【Emperor Isopod】now.”
“Oh well. It might be worth even seeing what kind of mob it is.”
“Yaay! I love you Onee-chans!”
When Sei-nee and I caved in, Myu was so happy we’ll go to challenge the boss that she clung to us.
Good grief, I sure am soft on Myu, I thought while smiling wryly.
“Then, let’s go right away!”
Myu drank the remaining tea all at once and moved in front of the mini portal that’s inside【Atelier】’s workshop.
“Even if we’re family, I’d prefer if you didn’t enter a crafter’s workshop when it’s empty y’know?”
I heaved a sigh and together with Taku teleported through the mini portal.
Since in Daias Forest there was no portal nearby, the shortest route to get there required passing through the forest near the Second Town.
“It’s really inconvenient when there’s no direct portal.”
“Well, it can’t be helped there isn’t any. Also, distance-wise it’s not so far anyway.”
Taku answered my dissatisfied comment.
In fact, it wasn’t like there was a large distance from the Second Town to Daias Forest’s lake. It’s just that on the way, there were mobs attacking you.
Even now, the forest’s mobs were being taken out by us as they spawned.
At one point, I recalled that Zakuro had left my hood and wasn’t there.
Ryui, who is always by my side, wasn’t there either.
Both Ryui and Zakuro were left in Kyouko-san’s care in【Atelier】for this Sense Expansion Quest’s duration.
I’ll have to compensate them for this somehow later, I thought and smiled. There, Myu and Taku stared at my face.
“W-what is it? Looking at my face like that.”
"Mmm, Yun-oneechan, you should have taken Ryui and Zakuro together with you…”
Myu seemed to be displeased that Ryui wasn’t there, but Ryui who could act as help in combat aside, Zakuro was still a young beast and it would be pitiful to bring him together to fight a boss.
As for Taku, he was worried about my MP.
“Yun, is your MP okay with the two of them summoned?”
Normal magic uses MP whenever it’s activated, but tamed mob summoning takes a percentage of maximum MP based on the summoned tamed mob’s strength and makes it unavailable for use.
Which is why Taku was worried about me who could only use sixty percent of the total MP while I had Ryui and Zakuro summoned.
“Hmmm, normally I don’t use that much MP, so it’s all fine.”
Well, for times like fighting against the Lightning Horse when I need MP, I properly dismiss Ryui and Zakuro.
“And they would be pitiful if I didn’t summon Ryui and Zakuro together, right?”
“No, there’s more realistic merits from summoning them, right? Like gaining experience for【Taming】Sense, or speeding up reaching adulthood.”
"...Ohhh, I see!”
I hit my hand with my fist, making Taku look at me strangely.
Certainly, there is a reason like that for summoning, about when I thought so, the entrance to Daias Forest has entered our sight.
The boss mob that blocks the area border, Killer Mantis was non-active since we all already beat him once and we passed by him to proceed into a lush and dense forest.
“About time we get on our guard, we’ve entered Daias Forest.”
After entering the forest that I have previously entered without even knowing its name, I proceeded in front, but soon stopped in my tracks.
Sei-nee looked at me mystified and tilted her head as she asked, but within my line of sight thanks to【See-Through】Sense I could see a creeping plant mob, Thorn Plant hiding in the dark forest.
“Ohh, a Thorn Plant. They’re great at concealment so I thought we would be attacked first, but it looks like Onee-chan found it quicker.”
“Hey, Myu. There’s just family here, so how about you stop with Onee-chan?”
“Thorn Plants are easily cut, but their regeneration is annoying, so there’s a need to attack their weakness and finish them off.”
While I made a distant look, Myu pointed her finger’s aim at the Thorn Plant’s root base.
From her finger, a converged ray of light had pierced the ground and the Thorn Plant had shriveled powerlessly without even struggling.
“Myu...what did you do?”
“Thorn Plant’s weakness is an orb-shaped root under the ground, so if you attack it precisely you can easily defeat it. How about that? You didn’t know it, right?”
Last time, we continued to attack Thorn Plants until their HP ran out, but if there was a weakness like that then I could think of several ways to deal with it.
For example, using earth magic’s 《Earthquake》 that deals damage to enemies in the ground would be effective.
As we proceeded to the lake, I heard from Myu about weaknesses of other mobs in this area.
“──I can see it!”
The opening in the forest came in sight and Myu had ran straight towards it, but Taku and I matched our walking speed to Sei-nee who walked slowly in this hard to travel terrain.
After leaving the lush forest, we took a look around the open space the lake was spreading in.
In the North of the lake there were several small rivers flowing in which eventually flow out from the Southern side, but between the North and South the vegetation was fairly different.
The part of Daias Forest that was near the Second Town was lush and dense dark forest, but the opposite side of the lake wasn’t as dense and seemed to be much brighter forest.
“C’mon! I’ll beat you【Emperor Isopod】! I know you’re hiding in that lake!”
“Yun, you go inside the lake and lure out【Emperor Isopod】, we’re counting on you.”
”Yun-chan, be careful.”
Most likely, we’ve gotten this trial because I have the【Swimming】Sense, thinking so I started preparing to enter the water.
In order to enter the nearly-frozen winter lake, it was necessary for me to drink a Hot Drink and take out the【Substitute Gem’s Ring】from my inventory and equip it, then check my Senses.
【Longbow Lv34】【Magic Bow Lv15】【Sky Eyes Lv18】【See-Through Lv31】【Swiftness Lv22】【Sorcery Lv23】【Earth Element Talent Lv２】【Enchant Arts Lv45】【Swimming Lv15】【Cooking Lv15】
【Bow Lv52】【Dosing Master Lv13】【Alchemy Lv46】【Synthesis Lv46】【Engraving Lv28】【Taming Lv33】【Crafter’s Knowledge Lv10】【Linguistics Lv25】【Climbing Lv21】【Bodily Resistance Lv５】【Mental Resistance Lv４】【Pre-emptive Knowledge Lv11】【Vital Points Knowledge Lv10】【Physical Damage Increase Lv13】
For the time being, I entered the lake with a Sense build that can deal with both water-based and outside threats.
Once I entered the unexpectedly warm lake, it quickly turned dark.
In the nearly complete darkness, thanks to【Sky Eyes】ability I did not feel any fear as I dived deep.
(“Hm? A cave on the bottom of the lake?”)
Near the very bottom of the lake, in the wall there was a tunnel, and it was big enough for me to spread my arms and still have plenty of space.
Because I didn’t see any enemy mobs in the lake so far, I was fearful of what might come out as I peeked inside to see a complete darkness devoid of any light.
I guess even with a night vision-performance Sense, I can’t see in complete darkness without any light sources at all.
(“If I knew it would be like this, maybe I should have developed an underwater source of light? Or rather, a fluorescent flashlight?”)
While thinking so and deciding that to search inside it was necessary to prepare, I tried to move away when inside the cave, two bluish-white points lit up.
It was very faint, but thanks to that light I could tell even in the darkness that it were a living being’s eyes and could tell the creature’s entire silhouette.
(“I-it’s huge!! So this is【Emperor Isopod】boss?!”)
This creature as big as a small hill, stood there as if to stop the intruder from entering the cave.
(“It’s so big I can’t see all of it.”)
When in order to look more closely I once again closed up onto the entrance, from the place I assumed to be the creature’s mouth, bubbles suddenly started to gush out.
When I entered the cave to further observe it, the amount of bubbles gushing out increased and the bluish-white lights suddenly changed into red.
Red is the warning color, feeling that to be the case I──
(“Need to fall back──?!”）
In order to avoid fighting the boss in water, I escaped from the cave and kicked the water to head for the surface as fast as possible.
The【Emperor Isopod】that has become hostile due to me getting too close, had left the cave.
When I tried to take a look down to check his entire size,【Emperor Isopod】turned just his head toward me and moved something like a slender limb that came out of the mouth-seeming place. The next moment, the bubbles stopped gushing out.
After feeling an impact as something hit my body and passed by, this single strike caused【Substitute Gem’s Ring】’s gem to crack all at once.
The impact just now was clearly an attack, but even with my【See-Through】Sense I couldn’t see it.
When I once again hurriedly headed for the surface, attacks impossible for me to see have started destroying rocks nearby.
(“I need to quickly get out…")
Without rest I moved my legs, focusing on getting to the surface.
When I pulled my head out of the water and took a breath,【Emperor Isopod】who was rising behind me had also shown himself from inside the water.
“Pwahh?! Pwha...the current──”
【Emperor Isopod】’s enormous body had raised the surface of water and the water flowing from its huge back caused waves which carried me to the lakeshore all at once.
“Yun-chan, are you okay?”
When I was struck against the lakeshore, my body hit the ground twice and I received damage from the ground and once again my【Substitute Gem’s Ring】responded, using up the three attacks worth of damage from a fresh gem that were available.
I brushed up the hair that was stuck to my cheek and while dragging my completely wet clothes I stood up.
When I looked at the lakeshore flooded by the big wave from earlier, Sei-nee created a foothold for herself on which she avoided the waves and Taku with Myu climbed on the trees to wait out until the waves stop.
“You guys...running away all by yourself!”
“Ahahaha...well, ‘s fine. Rather, Yun-oneechan, behind you!”
In response to Myu’s words, I quickly turned around and saw【Emperor Isopod】’s figure.
A glossy white carapace on the back, solid legs supporting a huge body. The boss had several tongues for capturing its prey that looked like dried branches which came out of a grid-shaped mouth, as well as two antennas. On top of that, it had a pair of inorganic red insect eyes, all of it making it look like an enormous pillbug.
“It’s the thing from the Valley of the Wind!”
“It certainly looks similar, but to me it’s closer more like a giant isopod you can see in an aquarium.”
“Rather than similar, it’s almost identical. And they just changed the “king" from the name to emperor.”
Myu was all excited about【Emperor Isopod】boss, while Sei-nee was looking up at it calmly.
Taku had calmly connected the similarities between the three.
While the waves caused by【Emperor Isopod】slowly pulled back and Taku and Myu moved down from the trees, the boss swam on the surface of water with its thick legs until it placed its huge head on the lakeside to face against us.
Since behind the enemy was the lake, we couldn’t attack it from a dead angle or by surprise, and from the front we were prevented from attacking by the swings of thick, crab-like legs.
“C’mon, my resolve is ready! ──Commence combat!”
Following Taku who leaped forward, Myu also faced against【Emperor Isopod】.
Watching their backs, Sei-nee and I also raised our weapons.
“Well then, Myu-chan. Pre-emptive attack!”
“Let’s try this first──《Aqua Bullet》”
Sei-nee created over ten water bullets and released them on【Emperor Isopod】, and shortly after Myu released her converged ray of light as she swung her sword at the hard carapace.
The bursting water and the reflected light hide the boss’ appearance for an instant. Due to【Sky Eyes】too good eyesight I had to squint at the flash of light and wait for Myu’s attack to be over.
Once magic’s effect disappeared, I checked【Emperor Isopod】’s figure and inadvertently, words spilled from my mouth.
“──No way, magic isn’t working?”
Facing the fact that【Emperor Isopod】’s HP barely decreased at all, I thought that there’s no way we can win against an enemy like this, but Taku who attacked with his two swords matching Myu’s attacks had raised his voice.
“Look well! It’s only Sei-san’s magic that didn’t work! Myu-chan’s magic worked!”
“What does this mean?”
I turned around and looked at Sei-nee.
With a serious expression, Sei-nee watched Myu’s, Taku’s and【Emperor Isopod】.’s HP bar moving.
“Let’s go. ──《Ice Lance》《Aqua Bullet》!”
This time Sei-nee released a single ice lance and water bullet each.
With Sei-nee’s skill she is capable of using more spells at once, so why was she attacking like this?
The ice lance struck【Emperor Isopod】whose HP decreased slightly from Myu’s and Taku’s attacks, but for just an instant a thin film-like thing appeared on the carapace and nothing happened. As for the water bullet, it was sucked in by the boss even before it managed to reach him and disappeared.
The absorbed water bullet was immediately added to【Emperor Isopod】’s HP.
“──Looks like it has【Ice Element Immunity】and【Water Element Absorption】.”
The moment Sei-nee muttered so,【Emperor Isopod】who up until now only swung its forelegs now started to release a creakily sound from its mouth. At the same time, from its forelegs it released a blade of water to strike at me and Sei-nee.
Sei-nee calmly created several shields of water, then moved and overlapped them on the trajectory of the water blade.
Due to the difference in power, the water blades cut through the water shields one by another until it stopped on the fifth one.
“Looks like this trial’s boss is my natural enemy...but I’m glad that defensive magic isn’t either ineffective or absorbed. ...Everyone, I’m focusing on support!”
“Roger! Then we’re leaving recovery and defenses to you! Myu-chan go right! I’m going left!”
In the front Myu and Taku coordinated with each other and avoided the foreleg swings as they attacked from the front.
I put enchants on the two and besides me, Sei-nee raised her staff high.
“《Zone Enchant》──Attack, speed!”
Sei-nee started to exude white fog which, like waves, reached the lake and started to freeze it’s surface.
Through the magic that was also used inside the Grand Rock’s innards dungeon, the surroundings were covered by thick ice and although it was impossible to freeze【Emperor Isopod】itself, all legs except for the forelegs were locked under ice hindering its movements.
Furthermore, the frozen lake surface served as foothold reaching the boss’ back and slightly protruded upwards like a small hill.
This part was somewhat similar to the footing made during the summer camp event to reach the【Mythical Beast Eater】. While back then there was only one, this time there were multiple hills of which two that sandwiched【Emperor Isopod】from the left and right were used by Taku and Myu who ran up them all at once.
“Let’s go! ──《Cross Execution!》”
“Me too──《Nine Sword Slash!》”
From the edge of the scarp Myu and Taku attacked the boss at the same time.
Taku’s attack released from the crossed longswords and Myu’s nine attacks struck the boss.
In order to counter the attacks from the sides,【Emperor Isopod】extended its legs and attempted to strike the two with extending antennas.
“Good grief, you’re acting too risky──《Magic Bow Skill - Phantom Arrow》!”
I released a single arrow that trailed a red tail behind itself, which split into five arrows, of which the main one hit the front of【Emperor Isopod】.
However, the attacks of the three of us were all repelled from the boss’ thick carapace and barely released some sparks, not dealing any serious damage.
“Khh, my hand’s gone numbb! It’s really hard! Maybe next time I should try a blunt attack?”
“Yun! Decrease this guy’s defense!”
After releasing an art, Myu and Taku used the rebound from it to get back on the icy scarp.
Following Taku’s instructions, I select a curse that decreases defense.
The curse I cast on【Emperor Isopod】was resisted and did not work due to the high stats of the boss.
“──《Water Round》《Summon Aqua Serpent》!”
While I was thinking of the next way to attack, Sei-nee used water shields and created a water serpent mob to protect Myu and Taku from high-pressure water attack, properly supporting them.
Sei-nee summoned the maximum number of Aqua Serpents possible, and whenever they were taken out she summoned new ones. I was in awe at how skilled a mage she was.
But her magic, this time, had met the worst possible enemy when it comes to compatibility and not being able to use it in full was a strong blow against our party.
I sporadically released arrows and kept casting enchants on Myu and Taku making sure they are continuously up. Meanwhile, I analysed the boss in my own way.
“Boss’ HP is decreasing… but at this rate we might lose in attrition.”
After trying various methods, using poison arrows and bad status arrows of various types, and tried to curse【Emperor Isopod】multiple times, yet none of it had any effect.
“It can’t be helped, let’s focus on searching for his weak point──《Ingredient Knowledge》!”
I used the【Cooking】skill’s support 《Ingredient Knowledge》 and started searching for【Emperor Isopod】’s weakness, but meanwhile Myu and Taku found a working method of attacking.
“HAaa! “ ──《Power Wave》! Great, with this the damage will get to him! Taku-san!”
“If blunt attacks are effective, then let’s overpower him with arts! ──《Power Buster》!”
Changing their attacking method from slashes into blunt attacks, Myu and Taku started dealing serious damage.
It appeared that【Emperor Isopod】felt proper damage at the same time, and his huge body has shown a reaction to it.
A creaking sound like that of metal hitting against one another came out from the boss’ grating-shaped mouth, and as the speed of the sound’s repetition increased, the carapace of the boss peeled off to display soft-looking pink meat under.
This pink part had responded to my 《Ingredient Knowledge》 and lit up with a blue marker, but immediately after there was an explosive sound causing me to block my ears and crouch.
It appeared that【Emperor Isopod】made a creaking sound in its mouth and amplified it inside his body, before opening the carapace and releasing it from there.
This sound bomb was not set to be fatal and it ended with cutting just a bit of our HP, but the main reason for this attack was to stop players from moving.
Not just me, but also Myu and Taku who were on the scarp of ice, as well as Sei-nee who was in the back supporting have all stopped moving.
The water shields and serpents Sei-nee had active have all burst and returned into water, and cracks started to run throughout the ice surfaces including the foothold scarps.
"...?!! Myu, below you!”
Myu who stood on top of the scarp that was about to break anytime, leaped off it the moment I called out to her.
However, the thick ice on the lake surface also cracked and from inside the water several of【Emperor Isopod】legs have gotten free and assaulted Myu.
Even for Myu who had【Action Restriction Release】Sense and could move freely in three dimensions could not suddenly change her direction in mid-air. At this rate, she would receive a powerful piercing attack.
Hearing Myu’s words I understood in an instant and with the fastest timing possible I activated the 《Bomb》 magic.
With【Sky Eyes】’s targeting, I caused an explosion in a place a little behind Myu’s back.
By receiving the shockwave of the explosion with her back, Myu acquired a meaning of propulsion in mid-air and changed her trajectory of fall, managing to avoid【Emperor Isopod】’s leg attack by a hair’s breadth.
It was a different application of double jump I used before with 《Bomb》, this time for used emergency avoidance.
This time, Myu used the sudden change of falling direction to barely avoid the boss’ uppercut and with elasticity of a cat has landed on the frozen surface of the lake.
“Good grief, I panicked when you called out to me!”
“But I knew you would notice what I mean, Yun-oneechan!”
Being told so with a smile by Myu, made me go “good grief" again and heave a sigh.
Matching each other like that wasn’t something that can be done easily. Honestly, I’d prefer if this was the last time we had to do this.
Immediately after,【Emperor Isopod】released a shrill scream and started to swing its legs wildly, striking the frozen lake surface and crushing the ice footholds.
“Great, that stream of attacks cut quite a lot of his HP.”
Right after that sound explosion Taku who stood on the opposite side of【Emperor Isopod】had jumped onto the boss’ back and with his two longswords he slashed the pink meat that could be seen through the opening in the carapace.
After receiving Taku’s attacks,【Emperor Isopod】started to struggle in rage and destroyed the icy scarp, but Sei-nee who had recovered from the effects of the sound explosion had recreated it thus securing Taku an escape route.
Meanwhile, since I was busy helping out Myu I did not join this “stream of attacks”. I unconsciously heaved a sigh.
“So, there’s 70% HP left, should we force him to do that sound explosion again?”
Taku and Myu have fallen back to where we are for the time being, and spoke to us.
While freezing the broken ice again, Sei-nee started deliberating on the strategy to use from here on.
Unlike normal bosses who are defeated just by dealing enough damage,【Emperor Isopod】did not aggressively attack players so we could take time to rest.
With that said, it’s not like we had it easy in combat, the enemy's carapace was hard and he had resistance to many elements which made him quite a difficult opponent.
I was almost completely useless this time.
When I recasted enchants on Myu and Taku which was my only role this time, the two seemed to want to say something, but soon enough they turned in【Emperor Isopod】’s direction.
“All right, let’s attack him again and chip his HP away bit by bit!”
“Yun-oneechan, Sei-oneechan, we leave support to you again!”
In order not to let the battle end, and the boss to escape back into the bottom of the lake, Myu and Taku restarted their attacks.
The two recovered their MP with potions as they used arts causing blunt damage, forcing the damage through to【Emperor Isopod】.
Sei-nee once again created water shields and water serpents to focus on the defense, but all I could was to shoot arrows.
In the middle of all that, Sei-nee spoke to me.
“Yun-chan, go in front.”
“Certainly you are bad when it comes to boss battles and your Sense build is suited to stay in the back, but you know that you are of no use as is now, right?”
Although gently, Sei-nee said this to me with a firm tone of voice, making me lower my hands holding the bow.
“The enemy this time has【Water Element Absorption】and【Ice Element Immunity】. Because of that I can’t fight like I usually do. Still, I’m here because you three are here with me.”
“Since I can’t fight this enemy, I want you to do your best, Yun-chan. And I will support you from behind. Our positions are the opposite from the usual, aren’t they?”
Hearing her say this with a smile, I noticed.
Whereas I normally act as the support, this time Sei-nee has joined me and the entire party’s defense has increased, but instead the attacking power has decreased.
In a situation like this, having me remain in the back because I’m not good with boss battles, increases risks and makes us take more time than necessary.
And what I felt now, was that this way of fighting was something I could not continue.
"...All right. I’m off.”
Just earlier Myu and Taku seemed to want to say something to me, it must have been this, I thought and took a deep breath to focus myself. When I did that, Sei-nee said that I made a good expression.
I once again faced【Emperor Isopod】and lowering the bow, I started to run in a posture slanted forward.
The boss has set his aim on me as I approached and released a stream of water under high pressure, but matching that I chanted an enchant.
With the increased speed, I avoided【Emperor Isopod】’s attack and ran up a newly-made icy scarp.
“Yun, you came!”
“Rather than shoot arrows from the rear and let them be repelled by the hard carapace, I decided to fight this way!”
From the scarp I ran up to, I jumped over to another one that was on the side of【Emperor Isopod】.
“Unless I get this close I can’t aim well. 《Element Enchant》──Weapon!”
I crushed a fire elemental stone and enchanted my own weapon with it.
Furthermore, I used an art that had a very specialized effect.
“Let’s go! ──《Bow Skill - Armor Penetration》!”
Aiming at a crevice in the carapace that could not be targeted from the front due to the where it faced, I lowered myself to my knees and released an art from up close.
This 《Bow Skill - Armor Penetration》 was an art that could not be used unless I was very close to the target. Its effect was ignoring armor and physical defense decrease.
It was an art that required a specific situation so I didn’t use it up until now, but it was extremely effective against opponents with high defense like this one.
I should have thought of using this skill and come in front earlier.
【Emperor Isopod】who had his physical defense decreased thanks to 《Bow Skill - Armor Penetration》, focused his aim on me and swung down his forelegs he pulled out of water. While avoiding that, I waited for the good timing and continued to release the same art.
“HAaa! ──《Power Wave》!”
“──《Bow Skill - Armor Penetration》!”
The three of us used footholds of ice and while avoiding enemy attacks, we matched our timing to release arts and deal large amounts of chain damage bonus to deal more and more damage.
Our plan was going well and completely one-sided, and【Emperor Isopod】who received attacks from the side started to counter-attack harder and harder, as a result of which the footholds started to break all over.
It was Sei-nee who protected us from it, and instantly repaired the footholds.
“There’s 30% remaining! Don’t forget to manage your HP and MP!”
“I won’t make such a novice’s mistake!”
While Myu and Taku chatted over the boss’ large back, suddenly【Emperor Isopod】stopped moving at once and started releasing a creaking sound from its mouth.
Noticing that preparation movement first, Sei-nee raised her voice nervously.
“Everyone! The sound bomb is coming!
“I guess he won’t just fall that easy. Yun!”
Good grief, both Myu and Taku expect too much from me and won’t even give clear instructions.
While fighting I kept thinking of a plan on how to change this tough situation into a chance, in order to commence it I ran up the tallest ice scarp.
Myu and Taku were certain of my success and have already started charging their attacks.
That moment, Sei-nee even extended the scarp I ran up to and when I got on it I entered a position from which I could look down on the boss who slowly opened his carapace.
From the inventory I took out two full handfuls of Magic Gems and scattered them all at once inside the opening carapace.
There were so many of them I could not throw them all in, and also pulled new ones multiple items from the inventory. The gems hit each other in the air and some of them hit the carapace before falling into the lake, but most of them fell inside the carapace.
It was the instant【Emperor Isopod】tried to release the sound it has amplified that the explosions happened inside the carapace and the Magic Gems that fell inside the lake caused pillars of water to rise high.
In the middle of all the splashing water, the boss who received multiple explosions from Magic Gems had his insides ravaged by them and released yellow smoke from inside its mouth as it convulsed.
“Let’s finish him off, match me! ──《Swallow Line》!”
“Roger! 《Magic Sword》──Sol Ray!”
“If we’re making the finish a flashy one, then《Element Enchant》──Weapon!”
I enchanted Taku’s two longswords with earth element and Myu’s sword with light element, making their weapons shine strongly.
Taku jumped on【Emperor Isopod】’s back and swinging his two swords he used the 《Swallow Line》 art. Like a swallow in flight, the sword left a beautiful light behind in its trajectory and cut both the open flesh and the smoke coming out from it. A few seconds of slashes and flashy effects later and the boss’ HP has decreased by a lot.
Myu slashed【Emperor Isopod】’s body along with the hard carapace with simple slashes imbued with light magic enchant and her own magic, cutting up the smoking boss.
“It’s over. ──【Release】!”
Myu pierced the one-handed sword deep inside【Emperor Isopod】and released the powerful light from the weapon, making the converged light pierce deep inside from the tip of the sword and to the opposite side of the boss.
With this as the decisive blow, the boss mob【Emperor Isopod】has stopped in his activity.
And in our menu, there was an information saying that the three trials quest was complete.
“All right, the quest’s cleared!”
“Taku! Quickly move away from there! You’ll fall!”
I felt sorry for disturbing him when he was enjoying his victory from on top of【Emperor Isopod】, but just looking at him made me feel anxious.
“I know, it’s just that… my leg, it’s stuck.”
Unable to understand what he said, I tilted my head and stared under Taku’s feet.
The place Taku was standing on was near a bending of the carapace and when【Emperor Isopod】died, the opened carapace closed, sandwiching his boot.
With that said, the defeated mob will all turn into light particles and disappear,【Emperor Isopod】on whose back Taku was standing on was no exception──
Seeing Taku being dropped in mid air, I jumped into the lake chasing after him.
I jumped from a fairly high, but probably thanks to【Swimming】Sense’s correction I didn’t feel almost any impact when hitting the water.
More importantly, Taku who fell into the water first caused a large water column to rise, which made me lose my calm.
Taku did not have the【Swimming】Sense.
Without appropriate Sense, no matter how high level a player is, they can’t act in the restricted environment requiring it.
I found sinking Taku and dove all at once.
Due to the heavy equipment, the speed at which Taku was sinking was quite high and I had to kick the water hard to somehow catch up with him.
However, probably because of the cold damage from the winter lake and the damage from suffocating, Taku’s HP gradually decreased.
(“We won the battle against【Emperor Isopod】with almost no damage taken, don’t die and go back to town NOW!”)
In my mind I cursed Taku and holding him with both arms from behind, I hurried to raise him up.
It seemed like he noticed I came to help him, but since he didn’t have an appropriate Sense, Taku acted calmly and did not move. It was really helpful from the perspective of the rescuer.
And when we reached the surface──
"*cough**cough*……ahhh, I thought I was dead.”
“Good grief, don’t worry me like that.”
Taku pulled out from under the surface, faced towards the sky and let himself be rescued by me.
With the suffocation damage from being underwater being removed, the rate at which his HP decreased has lowered, but it was still necessary to bring him to the land as quickly.
“Without an appropriate Sense we’re useless in situations like this, I couldn’t find any strength in my body. Geez, it reminds me of the prediction Shichifuku made.”
Certainly, if Shichifuku used the leveling level that Shichifuku told us about he would have been able to get out of the lake by himself.
“Then how about you pick up the【Swimming】Sense and learn from Shichifuku? He said he was planning training for combat from aboard a ship, didn’t he?”
“Mmm. It feels like I’m being played with by Shichifuku and I can’t get over the idea.”
While talking like that, I pulled Taku who drifted on his back until we reached the lakeshore.
There, Myu and Sei-nee who were removing the ice scarps were waiting for us, and helped me to pull Taku out.
“Welcome back, Yun-chan, Taku-kun.”
“I’m back Sei-nee.”
“Sorry to trouble you like that… ughh, so colldd!”
Completely wet and freezing, Taku shivered from the cold.
I was still affected by the Hot Drink I drank before the battle with【Emperor Isopod】so I wasn’t feeling cold, but I took out a bottle with Hot Drink, poured it into a cup and passed it to Taku to calm him down.
And once with time our clothes dried, I spoke.
“With this the third trial is over, right?”
When I confirmed the log in the menu’s information tab, the subjugation of the boss mob【Emperor Isopod】was complete and that I acquired the boss drop【Fooleg’s Shining Orb】and the quest item【Legopod’s Joint】.
“Still, that was one big boss, wasn’t it.”
“It was. It was classified as a large mob and was probably adjusted for a party of six.”
Normally it would be the end after defeating a big enemy like this.
But on the bottom of the lake I saw the cave【Emperor Isopod】.
“Everyone, could you come here for a moment?”
Before I told everyone that I want to check the bottom of the lake, Taku who had already recovered, had gestured to us with his hand to come closer to the lake.
I approached the lake and──
“Whoa, what’s this?!”
Before me an unnatural whirlpool appeared on the water surface.
Next moment, Taku jumped inside the whirl without any hesitation.
“Hey, Taku, what are you──HUH?!”
Somehow, Taku was not swallowed by the whirlpool but was standing on top of it.”
“Naww, just thought that this must be the case since this is a game.”
“Good grief. You have no fear, do you. Still, under what principles does this whirlpool even work to act as a footing? This is way too fantasy.”
“Well, don’t mind it. Still, it wasn’t here earlier, so it must be that beating the boss was a trigger!”
“Game-wise this is a staple, if we get on, we will go to the next area I assume?”
Just like the Highlands area’s Lightning Horse blocked the way to the North Town,【Emperor Isopod】might also have been blocking the way to the next area.
However, we knew that beyond the Daias Forest’s dense part there was a different boss mob protecting an area. Which meant that this whirlpool would take us to an unknown area that isn’t anywhere nearby.
The expectation for the unknown has filled each of our chest’s.
“I’m getting on too!”
“Yes, we won’t know until we get on.”
Myu took Taku’s extended hand to keep her from falling into the lake and got on. Sei-nee also took his hand and boarded it.
“C’mon Yun, get on as well.”
“Y-yeah. Got it.”
Even if I fell I could get out of water by myself, but I felt it would be bad to ignore it, so I took Taku’s hand and boarded the whirlpool.
“Well then, let’s go.”
Taku must have been so curious about the destination of this whirlpool that he forgot to let go of my hand and was looking around at the surroundings.
When we all boarded it, the whirl started to dive. We panicked for a moment, but as it submerged, the water deflected starting with our legs and then around us in a spherical shape. Standing in what seemed to be a bubble we slowly moved inside water.
“Howaa!! This is amazing, Onee-chan! It feels like we’re inside a tunnel underwater or aquarium. But ten times better!”
Excited, Myu put her hands on the barrier-like walls of the bubble and watched the water outside.
When we submerged deep enough, we entered【Emperor Isopod】’s cave.
“This place, it’s where I dived and found a cave. When I peeked inside I found【Emperor Isopod】and when I tried to enter, he turned hostile and chased after me.”
“So that’s what happened. Well, it was a big success when it comes to luring out the enemy.”
"...Taku, you sure are optimistic.”
While I heaved a sigh in amazement, Myu and Sei-nee giggled.
At first it was dark, but as we swam through the tunnel, shining fish started to light our surroundings.
"Ohhh?! Are those boss’ young? How small!”
“No, I think they’re plenty big.”
On the walls of the cave we found basketball-sized creatures that seemed to be【Emperor Isopod】’s young, and watched deep-sea looking fish and plants as the bubble progressed.
On the way, we passed by a shoal of shining fish and shining jellyfish that looked like artificial illumination. As we enjoyed the mysterious deep sea-like experience, far above we found a red light different from one that could be seen inside water.
As we approached it, it grew closer and eventually we found what seemed to be the cave’ exit.
“So that is the end of the cave──?!!”
As we headed up toward it, the sphere surfaced completely and opened starting from the ceiling, eventually forming a whirlpool foothold like the one we boarded.
If we boarded it again, we would probably return to Daias Forest’s lake, but we headed outside of the cave instead.
Outside the cave, a strong red light blinded me and I reflexively raised my hand to block it.
As my eyes slowly got used to the light, the scenery I saw was that of a sea beachside.
We walked several steps out of the cave where the gentle sound of waves reverberated and checked the feel of the sand beneath our feet. The outside was literally dyed red with the setting sun.
The sound of waves washing the sand calmed my heart.
“Woow! it’s the sea, SEA! So there was an area like this!”
“Looks like it. The sand is clear, and it doesn’t seem like there are enemies nearby.”
Near the small cave we left, there was a teleportation object, a portal, and above the cave was a cliff. It looked really tough to climb, I thought, for no reason in particular.
“I want to come here with Luka-chan and others to play here in swimsuits…!”
“Fufufu, right now it’s winter so there is the【Cold Damage】, so it might be hard. But the season to enjoy it will come soon enough.”
When Taku stood next to me and I looked as Myu and Sei-nee walked up to the water’s edge, I noticed he made a slightly bitter expression.
“What happened, Taku?””
“No, I just thought that Shichifuku and others want to make their ship in order to adventure on this sea.”
I thought that they would use their large ship as a guild house, but certainly, to sail on this sea, a ship of that size was preferable. I thought, convinced.
However, it would still take time until it’s complete. Taku said that it didn’t sit well with him to learn swimming from Shichifuku, but thinking of combat on water, he will probably participate in the on-ship training.
Taku and I stared in silence as Myu and Sei-nee frolicked in on the water’s edge, lit by the sinking sun.
And when the sea of the evening colors turned into night sea, the two came back satisfied.
“Now, let’s go back! Next time let’s bring everyone with us!”
“Agreed. Also, we need to complete the Sense Expansion quest first.”
We nodded to Myu’s and Sei-nee’s words and registered with the portal here.
With this, we can teleport here at any time.
Although I had no intent on entering the winter sea, it might be nice to bring Ryui and Zakuro to spend some leisurely time on this wide beach, listening to the sound of waves. Thinking so, I logged out for today.
Chapter 6 - The Seal and the Manticore
Early afternoon in the living room where the New Year’s atmosphere has started fading away.
“Sorry, Shun-chan, Myu-chan. I will go to the guild for a while now.”
“Have fun~. We are challenging the boss tonight! I can’t waitt!”
Sei-nee headed to Eight Million Gods guild inside OSO to check on their situation and Miu started gathering information in the living room using a laptop.
“I heard that Sei-nee went to check the situation in the guild and give instructions, but why aren’t you logging in, Miu?”
“I thought there would be information on Sense Expansion Quest so I investigated, and now there isn’t enough time to log in and do leveling, so I decided to just sit and wait.”
She said and sitting in the kotatsu, Miu researched something on the laptop.
I responded with “hmmm” and stood in the kitchen to continue cooking.
“Hey, Onii-chan, what are you making? Snacks?”
“Oh, no. This is for Takumi..."
When I started explaining to Miu, a doorbell rang in the entrance.
I stopped the conversation there and turned to the entrance. There I saw Takumi with a bag on his shoulder, convenience store bag in his hand, and all shivering from the cold.
“Welcome. Come in.”
“Sorry to intrude. And about this.”
“Good grief. I can’t refuse, can I. Well, we have mochi and ingredients to spare so I don’t mind.”
I said and had Takumi, who raised the bag to show it, enter the living room.
Outside must have been really cold, as Takumi headed straight into the kotatsu, making Miu stop concentrating and raise her head.
“Eh? What is it, Takumi-san?”
“My mother isn’t there for the entire day today, so I came to pester Shun for food. Also, I brought some souvenirs for everyone.”
“Ohh, it’s my favorite soda-flavored boribori-kun and Sei-oneechan’s favorite miyuki daifuku! So you remembered!”
Inside the bag that Takumi passed to Miu were juice, ice cream and sweets. Miu took out ice cream right away and started eating it.
“I’m in wonder, how you can eat ice when it’s so cold outside.”
“It’s good BECAUSE it’s cold outside!”
I took out all the ice sweets from the bag and threw them inside the freezer, then carried ready cooking in front of Takumi.
“C’mon, I bet you didn’t bother eating since morning, did you. Heck, if you went to the convenience store, you could have bought food there.”
“Convenience store lunches are expensive, aren’t they? I prefer to save up money to buy games.”
While saying so, he put his chopsticks in the new year dish I made, then started eating mochi.
I lined up stir-fried vegetables with pork roast, then together with Miu we watched Takumi eat it hungrily.
“Yep, it’s great!”
“Good for you. Want some tea?”
“Ahh! I want a portion too! Also, seeing Takumi-san eat mochi made me want to eat some too!”
She just ate some ice candy, now she wants to eat mochi? I thought and returned to the kitchen and threw a single mochi into an oven and prepared some green tea while it swelled, before finally carrying it to the two in kotatsu.
Takumi has already finished eating the stir-fried vegetables with pork meat and together with Miu, started to consult about the game while they looked at the laptop’s screen.
“Miu-chan, is there any good information?”
“There is information on the January update, but I can’t find any information on the Sense Expansion Quest, eh. But, there is a list of the three types of trials.”
She said and then turned the laptop so that I could see as well.
Seeing the number and variety of quests lined up there I felt dizziness, and at the same time I found several fun-looking quests.
“Those revival medicine-related quests, they look fun. Also, these delivery quests, I have stock so it would be nice if I had them.”
Takumi and Miu looked at me appalled, but it’s normal to want to have it easier, right?
“Well, whatever. So, Takumi-san, did you find any information?”
“Nothing in particular. The information I have now is that there is a newly-added boss mob called Fungus Jumbo which drops an item for cultivating mushrooms called【Mushroom】log.“
Miu who is bad with eryngii made a displeased face, but I got interested in this item and started listening attentively to what Takumi has to say.
“Apparently it’s a log which grows mushrooms if you pour water on it at a certain temperature, if that is all, then it’s just an item for gathering mushroom ingredients for cooking.”
“Sounds nice, I kind of want it.”
“Eh, no way. Shun-oniichan, seriously?”
“If it’s like that, then it might be possible not only to get the basic mushroom items for food, but also be possible to cultivate other fungi on it for mixing.”
【Healing Mushroom】that I acquired at the Wyvern Mountain Range increases the amount of healing when it’s dried and crushed, so if I put its fungi on the【Mushroom Log】, there is a possibility I could acquire a stable supply of them.
“Ahhh, well, I don’t know whether it can be used that way, but there might be a possibility…?”
“Well, even if it’s impossible, it would only mean that shrooms are added to Shun-oniichan’s collection in the store.”
Saying so, were Takumi who made an impressed expression and Miu, who without interest turned her sight back to the laptop’s screen.
And then, Miu who was searching if there is some interesting info suddenly turned toward me and asked.
“Speaking of which,【Emperor Isopod】dropped me a【Fooleg’s Shining Orb】, what is it used for?”
“Ah, I also got that drop. It’s apparently enhancement material. You know anything, Shun?”
It seems it also dropped for Takumi, and he joined in on Miu’s question.
Actually when we beat the boss and I was sorting out items, I checked for information about it.
“I also got that item drop and investigated it, so I know what it does.”
“Really?! As expected, Shun-oniichan!”
“Still, for us three to have gotten it, does it mean that【Fooleg's Shining Orb】always drops?”
Miu complimented me, and Takumi started wondering about the new issue, but since it was not something one could come to a conclusion just by thinking, he prompted me to explain the enhancement material’s effect.
“I don’t know what effect it has on weapons and armor, but【Craftsmanship】-type Sense enchants accessories with【Recovery Effect (Medium)】.”
“That’s the higher version of my Snow-White Bracelet’s effect! Re-enchant it for me later, Shun-oniichan!”
“【Recovery Effect (Medium)】huhh? I think it had an effect on both HP and MP recovery items as well? In which case, I should have at least one item with that.”
When Miu and Takumi talked about that, Sei-nee who went to show herself in OSO’s【Eight Million Gods】guild had come out from her room and downstairs to the living room.
“Ah, Takumi-kun, so you came. Welcome. What are you talking about?”
While surprised by the fact Takumi came, Sei-nee joined in on our conversation. I poured fresh green tea for her and answered.
“About Sense Expansion quest, whether there is any new information, as well as about【Emperor Isopod】drops.”
“Ahh, I got【Deep Seabug Carapace】crafting material. Looks like it can be used for making a light armor chestplate, but it’s of no use to me.”
“Ehh? Sei-oneechan… you didn’t get a【Fooleg's Shining Orb】?”
As Miu confirmed, Sei-nee looked at my and Takumi’s face to check our reactions. Miu made a “Now I’ve done it” expression.
“...Can it be, my drop luck was bad again?”
“Sei-nee! I won’t be using mine! I won’t use this enhancing material, let’s exchange!”
Seeing tears gather in the corners of Sei-nee’s eyes, I reflexively responded so.
“Uuuhh, thank you, Shun-chan. But I need to maintain my dignity as onee-chan, so I won’t take it.
Sei-nee said and smiled superficially, but she did appear to be bothered about her lack of drop luck as she heaved a sigh at her teacup.
“Hmmm. Sei-oneechan, do we go progress Sense Expansion Quest now? Everyone is here, we have time. Even if we wait, it doesn’t seem like there will be any new info anytime soon.”
“But Takumi’s VR Gear is in his house——”I thought that would be the case so I brought it” heck, why the hell?!”
I retorted to Takumi being prepared too well; Miu and Sei-nee responded to that with wry smiles.
“I guess. Might as well challenge it as is now. Also, I do want to party as much as possible with Miu-chan, Shun-chan and Taku-kun before I have to return to my boarding house.”
Said Sei-nee with a faint smile, to which I nodded.
“Well then, Miu and Sei-nee log in from your rooms. I will log in from the living room with Takumi.”
Also, I told them to properly lock their doors, in response to which Miu looked puzzled and Sei-nee smiled bitterly and nodded.
I carried out my VR Gear from my room and entered the kotatsu facing Takumi, then set up VR Gear and logged in.
“It appears you have splendidly overcome the three trials.”
We logged in to OSO and stood in front of the Priest NPC in front of the great cathedral.
With the quest conditions fulfilled, we were now guided by the Priest NPC to one of the rooms inside the great cathedral.
This room‘s walls were made with bare stone and had three holes lined up in a wall made with single rock.
“Next will be the final trial. Place the proof of your trials’ completion inside and you will enter the【Sealing Room】. If you complete this trial, the goddess will surely bestow new power upon you.”
After the Priest NPC said so, being watched by him we put the quest items we received from each trial inside the holes.
Sei-nee put【Unfertilized Wyvern Egg】in the left hole.
Myu put【Legopod's Joint】in the right hole.
And I put【North Town's Letter of Gratitude】in the central hole.
When we did, the three holes closed with a rumbling sound and the large rock started rotating to reveal a hidden staircase.
I peeked downstairs and saw torchlights and felt a warm air blowing from below caress my cheek.
After confirming the【Sealing Room】’s rock completely disappeared, the Priest NPC said a farewell and left.
“All okaay, Taku-san!”
“We okay with potions and consumables?”
“I prepared them so there is no problem. I also brought plenty of revival medicine.”
In front of the【Sealing Room】where the last trial of the Sense Expansion quest takes place, Taku called out to us to confirm everything, then Myu and I answered him. Sei-nee looked at us with a smile.
“From here on it’s the first-time challenge without prior info!”
“I’m all excited. Sure do want to get this one done in one try!”
If we took our time gathering information and doing preparations, our chances of beating this would have increased. But the time limit within which Sei-nee needs to return to her boarding house, put a fire under Myu and Taku.
I am anxious about challenging it without any information myself, but at the same time my heartbeat won’t stop from the anticipation of what happens, it feels fresh like never before.
We raise my voice saying “alright, let’s go!” and head down the stairs.
The cold atmosphere of the great cathedral changed all at once, the place we entered was filled with warm and moist air. As we walked the stairs lit by torchlight which seemed to continue endlessly, Myu voiced a question.
“Speaking of which, that NPC called this a【Sealing Room】, so what is sealed in there?”
“Well, it’s that. All evil of this world, a heavy criminal NPC, a secret boss stronger than the demon lord?”
“Mayhaps there is a portal which leads to some enormous dungeon?”
“Why would such disturbing things be under a cathedral…? But, the word “sealing” is certainly unsettling.”
I retorted to Taku and Sei-nee’s response, but there certainly seems to be some deeper meaning behind the “sealing” word.
What did they seal? What did they seal it for?
Hearing their conversation that was devoid of any nervousness, some of my own was released and we arrived at the end of the stairs.
There, was a large blue two-winged door made of steel. Taku looked at everyone, we nodded, and he pushed the door strongly with his palm.
The door let out a creaky sound as it opened, inside, there was a circular room lit up with torches starting at the entrance and leading to the back.
In the center, sat a single mob.
It was a lion who had yellow fur with red mixed in and large wings on its back. On the tip of its tail there was a dark red thorn. The creature also had twisted horns and a red mane.
“Boss’ name is——【Manticore of the Sealing Room】heck, literally what it looks to be!”
It might be a Manticore sitting in a Sealing Room, but making it into a name is too simplistic for my taste.
Reacting to my voice, the Manticore glared at us with its sharp cat glare.
Its neck was chained to the ceiling, and its front legs, rear legs and tail were chained to walls in three directions.
And the moment all of us entered the【Sealing Room】, the blue door behind us closed with strong momentum. The manticore roared vigorously.
Then, wedges that the chains were attached to have burst and wall in each direction shone with red, blue and green colors respectively.
The only chain that remained attached, was the one chaining the Manticore’s neck. And so, the final trial began.
“Let’s go, Myu-chan!”
Myu and Taku held their weapons up and broke into run, then took position on both sides of the Manticore. Sei-nee and I started supporting them with bow and magic from the back.
“《Enchant》——Attack, defense, speed!《Cursed》——Defense!”
I apply enchants on Myu and Taku to support them, and also released a curse on the Manticore to weaken it, but due to the enemy’s high stats it was resisted.
Myu and Taku approached closer to the Manticore, which seemed to respond to that by attacking them.
Claw attacks with forelegs, bite with its fangs, tail swipe which used a morning star-like thorny tip of the tail.
Myu and Taku ascertained the safe distance and avoided attacks, then using the openings that are peculiar to large mobs, they attacked boss’ forelegs and sides.
While the Manticore’s attacks were varied, it was mostly just close combat attacks, so Sei-nee and I in the back could continue safely attacking from the back.
I relay the situation as seen from the back to Myu and Taku.
My【See-Through】Sense taught me about enemy’s preliminary movements, I asserted enemy’s next movement and relayed it to them. I received a response from Taku who stood in the front.
Putting strength in its both legs and spreading its legs, the Manticore suddenly created a gust of wind and blew Taku away.
Unable to resist the wind blast, Taku instead used it in order to take distance from the Manticore and heaved a deep breath.
When the Manticore jumped, Myu had entered an Art activation motion and was unable to do emergency avoidance.
Myu endured the gusts of wind the Manticore made with its wings as it jumped, but the impact wave that followed as the Manticore landed had blown her away. Also, the damage from the shockwave has reached the place we stood on, which caused us all to receive a stun.
Receiving Manticore’s falling impact directly, Myu lost 60% of her HP and was lightly blown away several meters into the back, but thanks to that was able to avoid the Manticore’s following attack.
Recovered from the stun, Myu recovered her HP, but right after, she was overrun by cold sweat.
If she had bad enough luck and received【Stun】status with the last attack, there was a possibility she would receive a follow-up strike.
The sequence of actions left it full of openings, but each attack of the Manticore dealt loads of damage. So far, if we fight while maintaining a safe margin, there are no serious threats, but we shouldn’t let our guard down against this opponent.
However, when about 10% of its HP was shaved away, there was a change in Manticore’s movements.
It raised its front legs and stood on its rear, then roared toward the ceiling.
“NOW! ——《Sonic Edge》!”
Myu and Taku used the chance to start attacking the Manticore’s exposed belly with their ranged Arts.
“Good grief. It could at least have some effect… what a waste.
I muttered quietly, this voice did not reach Taku and Myu whose Arts delivered damage to the boss.
Seeing that, Sei-nee and I also joined in on attacking without a problem.
And when the Manticore finished its roar, it swung down its front legs it raised when it stood up. With that the chains that were attached to its front legs and pulled from the wall, flew right at me and Sei-nee.
Myu and Taku escaped chains’ trajcetory and called out to us.
“It’s alright. ——《Water Round》!”
Sei-nee and I quietly activated defensive magic and cooperating, created a two-layer protection.
On the outside the water shield, on the inner the clay wall——
Chains which struck like whip used the centrifugal force and pierced through the outer round shield made of water, but thanks to water acting as shock absorber the attack was weakened and the wall of soil was able to block the strike.
However, following that, an attack of two chains caused the wall to reach its limit and crumble. Behind it, we started to see the Manticore’s appearance
The moment I saw its appearance, my【See-Through】Sense reacted and I instantly lunged at Sei-nee and thrust her to the side.
We jumped out from inside the wall of soil and checked the Manticore’s state, and it appeared that it aimed its thorny tail toward where the wall was in and started shooting thorns. However——
Thick thorns have hit——right above the soil wall’s remnant, into the wall shining with green light that was behind us, and the light started flickering.
“If he missed, then now is the chance——《Nine Sword Slash》!”
Myu has closed the distance between her and the Manticore all at once and slashed with her one-handed sword. Her Art did not activate and her sword stopped in mid-air, halfway through the slash
The Manticore used that opening and did a large swing at Myu.
“Myu-chan! ——《High Heal》!”
Sei-nee used recovery magic on Myu, but the skill did not activate.
“No way… we can’t use Arts or skills?!”
“Myu-chan, use a potion! It’s【Technique Seal】!”
Myu stood up in response to Taku’s voice and on spot, she used a Mega Potion to recover her HP before facing the Manticore again.
After seeing that happen, the words【Technique Seal】reached my ears.
The armor that was a reward for the quest of defeating the giant wolf, Garm Phantom, also had a【Technique Seal】additional effect.
It appeared that the effect of this【Technique Seal】has been put on us, and at this point we have noticed that this【Sealing Room】was for sealing us, players, rather than to seal the Manticore.
I tried using bow Arts and【Enchant Arts】Sense’s enchants and curses, as well as soil magic, but none of it worked.
Sei-nee fights mainly with skills, so she was unable to join in on combat. As for me, I attacked with normal bow attacks alone.
I changed the arrows I used from normal iron-tipped ones to ones that had poisons mixed in, while trying to contribute as much as possible, I continued to think at what timing did we receive【Technique Seal】.
The highest possibility, is that it happened when the Manticore’s tail thorn pierced into the green wall and the light disappeared.
It was hard to think that this Manticore missed the attack just like that, without a reason.
“Sei-nee, stay on standby here. I will go a little forward.”
“Be careful, Yun-chan!”
Having her magic sealed and defenseless, Sei-nee has naturally been removed from the target of chain swings, so I moved a little forward, standing in between where Myu and Taku where, and where Sei-nee was.
Since Sei-nee was【Technique Seal】-ed, she switched her Senses to ones for natural MP recovery, and focused on what she can do now.
Here, the Manticore has once again cleaved with its front legs, swinging the chains connected to them.
Seeing that as I continued to shoot arrows from the middle position——
“Tch, a chain attack when we’re under【Technique Seal】, huh?! ——【Clay Shield】!”
I took a number of Magic Gems from my inventory and threw them in the direction of the incoming chains.
Even with skills sealed, items could still be used, so I activated Magic Gems as defensive measure and immediately created a three-layer soil wall.
However, the first and second were easily destroyed, only the third wall had managed to stop the attack despite being largely damaged in the front.
Also, the Manticore retained its swung in attacking position in order to keep Myu and Taku in check, who have jumped out of the chains range. From such position, it did a large swing with its thorny tail.
From its tip, once again the thorns were shot above our heads, and when this time they pierced into the wall shining with blue light, the thorns that were pierced into the wall that shone with green light have fell off.
“What is happening this time?”
I quietly mutter and watch as the blue wall flickers.
If, thorns left what we predicted to be the trigger for【Technique Seal】’s activation, the green wall, we might be able to use Arts and skills now.
Before I even relayed this, Sei-nee who stood in the back has already resumed attacking with magic.
Since we don’t know what will be sealed in case of the blue wall, I intended to continue with normal attacks but the moment I took an arrow in my hand——it disappeared from my hand as if melting.
I searched for the arrow that disappeared from my hand, but there was nothing in the surroundings, as a result my thinking completely stopped for an instant.
“Yun-chan! Enemy’s attack!”
Sei-nee who used magic from behind me, called out a warning.
By looking away for just a few moments, my【See-Through】Sense has missed the enemy’s preliminary actions.
Right after that, the Manticore leaped with strong momentum and approached right in front of me.
The chain that was connected to its neck was stretched to its limit, since I was standing barely within range of the Manticore, I was cleaved with its front leg to my side.
That moment, the protection of【Substitute Gem's Ring】that worked like a barrier in front of me, was easily broken through.
Even the【Substitute Gem's Ring】which could block even multiple fatal damage attacks based on the inserted gem, had poor effect against multi-staged hits and multiple damage types dealt all at once.
The Manticore’s sharp claws pierced into my side, and with the impact of the front leg strike I was slammed against the wall on the left side.
Receiving a piercing and blunt strikes, as well as being slammed into the wall, I received heavy damage and my consciousness faded away.
Having more than half of my HP taken in an instant, it appeared that I became unable to move due to【Stun】state that I fell into.
“Tch, Yun, wake up!”
“It’s within range of my healing. I will go!”
I can hear Myu and others’ voices in the distance.
So I was thrown out of range of both Myu’s and Sei-nee’s recovery magic? This【Sealing Room】is wider than I thought.
I thought so as my conscious was clouded with white fog, but then suddenly felt a strong light on the other side of my eyelids.
However, not only it wasn’t light of Myu’s light magic, but I also heard her panicked voice.
“Hey! He’s going to attack with a big one at this time?!”
“Yun! Escape somehow!”
“I can’t approach Yun-chan with this!”
As if responding to Myu and others’ voices, the【Stun】state started to dissolve, but when I opened my heavy eyelids, in front of me I could see a red and thick laser coming at me.
The laser was released as to mow everything in front of the Manticore. Sei-nee protected herself with multiple layers of water shield and ice wall combination; Myu and Taku leaped to the side and escape the range of the attack.
In my case, the moment I was released from【Stun】, the laser was so close to me that I was unable to use defensive magic, use items or avoid.
（“——Ahh, this is bad.”）
However, when I received the laser attack I thought I was fine. I can just revive myself with【Revival Medicine】. Why is Taku panicking so much?
Then, swallowed by the burning light I lost all of my HP, and waited for the right moment to use【Revival Medicine】.
When I did, a message displayed asking for confirmation of【Revival Medicine】’s usage, but the “YES” text that should have been white, has been grayed out for some reason.
Seeing that, I realized the reason why I have lost my arrow.
Arrows are a consumable, in other words, they are categorized as tools. And so is【Revival Medicine】.
In other words, what the blue wall is sealing, are tools——【Tool Seal】is the mechanic of the blue wall.
“Myu-chan, follow up on Yun! Sei-san and I will stall this guy!”
As my field of vision grew dark, I could hear Myu and others’ sounds of combat, and sound of footsteps approaching me.
“Yun-oneechan, I will save you now!”
Myu who arrived near me, who was unable to use【Revival Medicine】, has called out to me so and chanted a single spell.
The next moment, a bright pink light dyed my field of vision and my HP recovered from 0 to 1.
“Onee-chan, are you okay?! ——《Mega Heal》!”
Following that, Myu used a powerful single-target healing spell and recovered my HP, but since it was still not enough, she used one more to top it.
“...It’s okay, Myu. I’m fine.”
I put a hand on the wall I was slammed into as I got up, and in this situation where【Revival Medicine】cannot be used, I looked at the reason Myu could revive me. Seeing a certain item equipped on her arm I was convinced.
“——【Wisteria Peach Tree’s Ivy】, huh.”
The accessory that was a reward for the Wisteria Peach Tree-related quest, had an additional effect of【Limited Revival】, but it appeared to be related to a revival skill.
“Yup. I don’t have any revival skill yet, so I’m limited by the number of uses on it.”
On the bracelet there were four petals of wisteria peach remaining, the number of【Limited Revival】uses with this accessory has decreased to four.
“Sorry to bother you so fast right after you get up, Yun, but focus on supporting me from middle range. Myu-chan, get back to where Sei-san is and support us with magic! Sei-san, continue attacking just like that!”
Taku instructed me to switch positions with Myu, but with my stats I am unable to take attacks from the Manticore, and now that my arrows are sealed, I cannot gather more hate points than Taku with damage.
“But with that, attacks will focus on you, Taku-san! Also, Yun-oneechan’s armor is paper so she’ll get beaten in the front again!”
“It’s a positioning in case something happens! After【Technique Seal】we got【Tool Seal】, we don’t know what will be sealed next!”
While dodging the Manticore’s attacks, Taku continued to deal damage all by himself so that target does not switch to Sei-nee.
It was possible to ignore Taku’s words, but with【Technique Seal】and【Tool Seal】each blocking a method of revival, just like Myu said, it was too dangerous for Taku to stay alone in the dangerous close combat zone.
I, who have been in the middle position earlier and was beaten there, was pretty anxious on returning to that position, but at this rate the burden on Taku would become too large.
“Got it, Taku.”
Unable to use arrows with【Tool Seal】on me, I stood in middle position while remaining wary of the Manticore.
In order to fulfill the support role I was given.
“It’s alright. I will put enchants back on!《Enchant》——Attack, defense, mind!”
The Manticore has 70% HP left.
Standing behind Taku who faced the boss alone in the front, I overlap enchants on him.
In any case, not being able to use arrows for normal attacks or items for attack and recovery due to blue wall’s【Tool Seal】was pretty painful.
While I wondered what to do, the Manticore once again raised its tail and this time shot its thorns at the red wall. This time, the thorns pierced into the blue wall fell off in exchange.
“Alright, with this we can use items now! In which case, I can join in on attacking!”
At the same time the thorns pierced into the blue wall fell off, arrows in my quiver have reappeared. Not wasting time to confirm it, I nocked an arrow and shot it between the Manticore’s eyes.
The arrow flew straight just as I aimed, but right before the target, it was deflected by something.
In order to learn what was this inexplicable barrier, I shot two, three arrows, but they were all blocked.
When Taku swung his sword, he was always deflected - the sword was parried before it reached the enemy.
“——《Aqua Bullet》! Simultaneous fire!”
A large amount of water bullet sand a converged ray fired from behind us pierced into the Manticore, and it raised a pained roar.
“So red is【Attack Seal】that prevents direct attacks! Yun, everyone, focus on using Arts and skills! I will focus on avoidance!”
I received Taku’s instructions and started using bow Arts one after another on the Manticore.
With the patterns and the connection between the Manticore’s thorns and the three colored walls, as well as their effects uncovered, the number of accidents due to lack of information has decreased and we were able to stably fight in a cycle.
What is left, is to safely defeat the Manticore.
The wall that Manticore fired its thorns at was chosen at random, and after multiple targets, this time it was the wall with【Tool Seal】.
As expected of Sense Expansion Quest’s boss, the Manticore had an abnormally large HP and we finally managed to shave off 40% of it.
Since our party of four was lacking on workforce, this battle turned quite long.
In order to shave off this much of its HP, Taku failed to dodge or parry twice and received a follow-up attack due to which he beaten. First time I revived him with【Revival Medicine】, the second time Myu got him up with【Limited Revival】.
And when we further cut the Manticore’s HP and the moment the remaining amount fell below 30%——
It stood on its rear legs, turned in the direction of the ceiling and roared.
Immediately after, the speed of front pawns swung at Taku has increased and the sound of them cutting through the air has become more fierce.
“He entered enraged mode! From here on we’re taking him down as fast as possible!”
“Roger! ——《Aqua Bullet》!”
Sei-nee and Myu responded to Taku’s words, and I wondered whether I should join in on attack with my weak earth magic, but then the Manticore started to gather red light in the back of its throat.
“That attack is coming again!”
Seeing the same color as there was when I received【Stun】earlier, I had a bad feeling and suddenly started running in the opposite direction of where Manticore was facing.
“Hey, Yun! Don’t go there!”
“No Taku, why are you going in that direction?!”
While I moved to escape from the Manticore’s range, Taku closed the distance to the Manticore all at once.
And the Manticore released the gathered light as a laser, moving its head as to sweep from the right to left.
Taku slid on the floor and passed right under the Manticore’s torso, slipping into an area completely out of range of the laser.
Myu and Sei-nee cooperated together and created a multiple-layered defense, resisting the laser.
“This is the safest zone! Come in here, too, Yun!”
“If there’s a next time!”
From there, Taku one-sidedly attacked the Manticore that continued the attacking motion, but I have been escaping from the laser that chased after me and focused on running.
Still, the speed of laser’s trajectory moving was faster and I decided that I’m unable to escape from the fan-shaped range of the attack and turned around on spot.
“Ah damn, screw this!《Clay Shield》《Enchant》——Speed!”
Facing the incoming laser I created a slanted clay wall as large as to reach my head, increased my own speed with an enchant and started running on it.
And then I used it as a jumping platform, leaping over the Manticore’s head into its back.
The laser passed right under my chest and while I felt the heat on my skin, I was able to safely land and rolled on the ground.
“No way, Yun-chan did a Western roll dodge?!”
“Yun-oneechan used flat chest avoidance?!”
“Hey, Myu and Sei-nee, you sure look like you’ve got time to spare, don’t you?”
I stared down the two who looked at me with surprise, then turned my sight toward the Manticore who finished its attack.
The Manticore in enraged mode turned its thorny tail in our direction.
I tried to check which wall will it strike this time and turned my attention away for just an instant, which resulted in my【See-Through】Sense reacting late.
“?!! ——《Clay Shield》! This time he’s aiming straight for players?!”
The tail that was only used for switching seals up until now, started aiming directly for players.
I acted with prejudice, if it wasn’t【Tool Seal】but【Technique Seal】that was currently active, I would have been unable to defend myself, I thought a little late, covered in cold sweat.
Making us feel fear in regards to what attack will come next even at this stage, the Manticore faced Taku frontally.
The Manticore swung its front paws, as thick as logs, which Taku parried with his sword after which Taku attacked the opening that was created with that. This action repeated.
“This got me really tired. My arms’ have gotten heavy.”
“Taku, are you alright?!”
“This much is nothing!”
In a situation where a single strike takes away a big chunk of his HP, Taku continued to parry attacks almost perfectly, but at some point, the chain plucked from the wall has captured Taku’s left leg.
Taku tried to parry the following second strike with his twin longswords, but due to his left leg being restricted, he was unable to parry it perfectly.
“My sword, ghh?!”
The right sword that failed in parrying was deflected away and pierced into the floor behind Taku.
That moment, the Manticore swung its paw along with the chain still entangled with Taku’s left leg, and slammed Taku into the floor.
In such state, where a follow-up attack will make Taku once again unable to fight, the Manticore raised its tail and shot thorns at the red wall.
“Yun-chan, please heal Taku-kun!”
I received the orders that Sei-nee gave instead of Taku, recovered Taku’s sword which was deflected and rushed to Taku using the closest possible route.
When I confirmed Taku’s state as he lied on the floor, it appeared that he lost 80% of his HP and was in【Stun】state.
Right now we were under【Attack Seal】state, so I could use tools. Without hesitation I used a Mega Potion and bad status recovery potion on Taku to let him return to combat, but——
“This is bad! Myu, Sei-nee! Run!”
When I was trying to recover Taku’s HP, once again red light started to gather in the back of the Manticore’s throat.
I moved behind Taku’s back and put my arm around his waist to raise him up, then dragged him under the Manticore, moving under it like Taku has earlier - somehow managing to escape under its jaw.
It appears that this time the laser did not sweep from one side to another, but aimed only straight at the rear guard. Sei-nee’s and Myu’s multiple-layered defense isn’t anywhere near enough to withstand it.
However, Myu moved in front of Sei-nee and drank an MP Pot, preparing for casting a spell.
“If he’s using a laser, then I will take it on with a converged ray of light!”
“You can do it, Myu-chan! But, just in case I will prepare defense.”
Sei-nee said and raised her staff, starting to prepare multiple-layered defense. Myu prepared multiple《Sol Ray》’s behind herself, and in front of her appeared something like a lens made with particles of light.
And when the light accumulated by the Manticore has reached the limit——
Myu has released her an extremely thick condensed ray made of multiple《Sol Rays》, which was just as powerful as the laser released by the Manticore, and the two rays clashed against one another.
While the two’s light rays clashed against another, it was too dazzling for me and I was unable to open my eyes.
But before long, I sensed that Myu’s converged ray started being pushed and put my hand on the ground before shouting.
“Stop hurting my eyes already! ——《Clay Shield》!”
I made a wall of soil appear from the safe space under the Manticore’s jaw, which clashed onto its head and pushed it up resulting in the Manticore ending up closing its mouth.
I succeeded in forcefully closing the Manticore’s mouth, due to which the laser that was supposed to flow outside, started rampaging inside its mouth. As flames spilled from between its clenched teeth, the inside of its mouth exploded.
There, as if to top it off, Myu’s converged ray reached the Manticore, swallowing up its head.
The upper part of the clay wall that I created was broken and crumbled by the explosion from inside the Manticore’s mouth and Myu’s converged light. In order to protect myself from the remnants of the wall, I remained on low on the floor.
“That was dangerouss. I didn’t think that I would get attacked by what I made myself..."
“Yun-oneechan, it’s dangerous to stay in a place like that! If you fall under that Manticore it will be hard to revive you!”
Smiling wryly at Myu’s words, I realized that I was unable to find Taku who had come to the safe spot together with me and that his longsword that I recovered were gone.
“Taku isn’t“——《Cross Execution》!”?!!”
Here, is what I tried to say when I heard Taku’s voice from above, and the Manticore above me let out a scream like it was in pain, then started to writhe.
Feeling in danger staying where I was, I rushed out from there and when I turned around to look up at the Manticore, I saw Taku who has jumped on its back and that its tail was cut off.
“Taku, you okay?!”
“Yeah, when I recovered from【Stun】I was under this guy, so before I was noticed I moved behind him. Then I got up on his back and cut off his tail.”
Taku grinned, but then the Manticore had returned to itself from the pain and started to rampage in order to knock Taku off from its back, making him get off involuntarily.
However, since the Manticore was unable to shoot thorns any more, the mechanism on the wall could no longer be activated.
Is what I thought, but the cut-off tail did not turn into particles of light and disappear, making me feel suspicious.
And then, the cut-off tail suddenly started to let out a disturbing sound as it continued to create thorns before eventually starting to swell on its entire length.
“Everyone, defend! ——【Clay Shield】!”
At the same time the tail exploded, the countless thorns hurt not only us but also the Manticore itself.
I endured it together with Taku behind the walls created by Magic Gems. Myu and Sei-nee used the multiple-layered defensive magic prepared for protecting against the laser to block the thorns.
“Ahhh, I didn’t think that cutting off the tail that is key to the mechanism would result in explosion.”
Taku muttered and looked at the barrage of thorns that pierced into the surroundings.
Thorns that hit the surroundings assaulted not only us, but also hit the walls surrounding us and activated all three seals.
In such situation, the Manticore stood up, all covered in wounds.
“Everything was sealed! Everyone, focus on avoidance! Spread!”
As Taku called out, the two of us leaped out from behind the soil wall right after which, the Manticore smashed its front paws into it.
Myu and Sei-nee too have started running to avoid, zig-zagging between the thorns on the ground that became obstacles.
In order to aim for us, the Manticore swung its legs around and destroyed the thorn obstacles in the surroundings, and swung chains in order to attack Myu and Sei-nee who were in the distance.
A shattered piece of thorn hit Sei-nee, then further she received a wind wave caused by the flailed chains, as a result of which she fell on her butt. That moment, the swung front paw attempted to capture her. However, Taku who ran on the opposite side of me has scooped Sei-nee up on his shoulder and avoided the attack.
“Hey, Taku-kun! This posture, it’s embarrassing!”
“Bear with it, Sei-san!”
In order to hold Sei-nee, Taku has sheathed his right longsword and with just the longsword in his left hand he shattered the thorns standing in his way.
“Ghh, this is quite harsh.”
“It’s alright. More importantly, make sure not to bite your tongue!”
Taku continued running while carrying Sei-nee, but he still received damage.
Having the ways to fight back and to recover sealed, we single-mindedly ran away and waited for an opportunity to come.
And then, the seal walls started to flicker, the intervals between flickers gradually grew shorter.
Preparing for the moment, we raised our weapons.
And when the seals have been released——
“Taku-san, a laser is coming!”
The Manticore started gathering light in the back of its throat.
As expected of enraged mode, it continues to use big moves one after another. I thought impressed, but before it released its laser we released our own attacks.
“——《Bow Skill - Single Stitch》!”
I released an arrow right away, Myu closed the distance between her and the Manticore and slashed it.
And Sei-nee created huge balls of whirling water around its head as to imprison it.
With its head enveloped by the water which entered inside through the mouth and nose, invading its throat, the Manticore became unable to gather the red light and rampaging wildly, swinging its arms.
I took distance from the Manticore and continued to shoot Arts non-stop. Myu moved lightly around, avoiding attacks of the Manticore that had a hard time aiming.
As for Taku——
“Yun, give me max support!”
“Got it!《Enchant》——Attack, speed!《Element Enchant》——Weapon!”
Taku poised his two longswords and approached the Manticore.
As it had its head enveloped by a water ball and exhaling bubbles of air, it swung its front legs around, which Taku deflected two, three times, letting out loud sounds.
Having its HP shaved off gradually by asphyxiation, the Manticore’s eyes inside the water ball captured Taku’s appearance and it stood up on its rear legs and raised its front paws high up.
As it swung its front paws to crush Taku, he faced it with his highest firepower.
“Let’s make the finale a flashy one——《Sharp Edge》《Resonant Swords》!”
It must be a sword-type support skill? I assume the first one was a self-reinforcement type skill, but the second skill is what left me with eyes wide open.
His two longswords started resonating and a thin vibration wave started going back and forth between them.
And when Manticore’s paws were swung down, Taku swung one of his swords up, cutting off the Manticore’s paw below ankle.
And for the second leg he did the same, cutting off a paw with resonating sword.
“Let’s try the Art that deals more damage the closer the enemy is to dying——《Deathbringer》!”
Blades dyed with black color passed through the large body, shaving off the Manticore’s remaining HP.
Taku’s final attack reinforced by multiple skills and Arts brought about the Manticore’s death, and the end of the quest.
——Special Quest【Sense Expansion - Three Trials】has been completed.
While watching the piece of information appear and the Manticore turning into particles of light, we let ourselves be enveloped by sense of accomplishment from the quest, and tiredness.
Epilogue - Sense Expansion and New Sense
“Yes! We did it!”
Myu first ran over to Sei-nee who was the closest and clung to her with momentum. Sei-nee gently hugged Myu back.
On the other hand, Taku immersed himself in the aftertaste of finishing the Manticore off. As for me, I sat down on spot from the tiredness of battle.
“Haa, good grief. This time all my fighting methods were crushed.”
【Tool Seal】sealed my bow completely, and probably due to the Manticore’s characteristic, my curses, status ailments barely worked.
Also, with magic of my level, I was unable to deal any serious damage. Since I used up a large amount of Magic Gems on the battle with【Emperor Isopod】right before this, I did not have attack-purpose items.
From there, combat continued without stop and while I did not neglect replenishing items overall, it was still a shameful display of me as a crafter.
“There is lots to reflect on, ehh.”
“But we did manage to clear the quest. Thanks for good work, for now.”
Taku who was immersing himself in the aftertaste approached and turned the palm of his hand to me, we did a high touch.
“Still, I didn’t think that a destroyed body part would explode.”
During combat we thought it would become unable to use【Sealing Room】mechanics, but it instead activated them all at once, Taku made a bitter smile.
Personally, I don’t want to fight with enemies that have【Seal】-type skills ever again. But since I am going to continue playing OSO from now on, I need to remember that I will definitely meet such enemies.
“Yun-oneechan, don’t make such depressing face! Let’s continue the quest!”
Myu, who was clinging onto Sei-nee, this time stood in front of me who was sitting and pulled me with both her hands to make me stand.
Certainly, we managed to complete the quest, but there’s still the quest completion cutscene to get over with.
We stood in the middle of the arena where we fought against the Manticore and looked up at flickering walls.
Each wall’s color’s intensity grew stronger and an images drawn on them started to become clear.
It were images of goddess in various situations, and each of them spoke to us in a female voice.
──“‘O brave ones.” “‘O strong ones.” “You who challenge your limits.”
──“Ye will surely meet new joy.” “Ye will experience new meetings.” “Ye will surely face new hardships.”
──“““──Thus, I shall grant ye a blessing that will be of help to ye!”””
Along with these words, a menu opened for us.
【Bow Lv54】【Longbow Lv37】【Magic BowLv20】【Sky EyesLv20】【See-ThroughLv33】【Swiftness Lv25】【Sorcery Lv26】【Land Element Talent Lv7】【Enchant Arts Lv49】【Physical Attack Increase Lv18】【No Sense Equipped】
【Dosing Master Lv14】【Alchemy Lv46】【Synthesis Lv46】【Engraving Lv28】【Taming Lv33】【Crafting Knowledge Lv10】【Cook Lv15】【Swimming Lv18】【Linguistics Lv25】【Climbing Lv21】【Bodily Resistance Lv5】【Mental Resistance Lv4】【Preemptive Knowledge Lv11】【Vital Points Knowledge Lv10】
- New: 11th Sense was unlocked.
- New: As a bonus for unlocking the 11th Sense slot, you can acquire a single Sense without spending Sense Points.
While confirming Sense Status information I asked Myu a question.
“What is this bonus for acquiring new Sense slot?”
“Hmm. It just means you get one free, right? I will exchange it for a Sense that will make me closer to a paladin.”
“Is it to make players who do not intend on taking new Senses, take some? I’m troubled myself~.”
“Well, it can be exchanged at any time so there is no need to decide right away, right?”
As Taku said so, I checked the list of Senses to take while continuing to listen to Myu and others’ conversation.
Myu started to talk about Sense combination she had in her mind since earlier, and Sei-nee spoke of how she intends to use the 11th Sense slot for leveling low level Senses.
In order to improve his current playstyle from the base, Taku intends to equip stat-increasing or sword-type Sense.
While impressed by how the three select their Senses, I was simply happy that there was one more Sense slot for me to equip something and that I could use more combinations.
“What Sense should I take, hm?”
If possible, I would like a Sense based on reflection on the fight with the Manticore.
One that would allow me to attack when my items are sealed, and at the same time be a Sense that would allow me use various items and objects.
If I had such a Sense, the range of my potions delivery and Magic Gems would increase, and I would become able to do emergency avoidance.
“Alright, I decided on my new Sense!”
I acquired【Telekinesis】as my new Sense, opened the menu and showed Myu and others.
Seeing it, Myu and Sei-nee’s expressions froze, and Taku put a hand on his forehead and looked to the ceiling.
Can it be, that I screwed up? ...I thought and started sweating on the inside──
“Yun-oneechan, you dumbass!”
Yeah, those are some really nostalgic words from Myu that I received.
“Why did you pick up a trash Sense like【Telekinesis】again?!”
“I-I knew it...”
I predicted this will be the case from Myu and others’ reaction, but being told so directly, did hurt quite a bit.
With tears in my eyes I looked at Sei-nee for help, but she only made a troubled expression and explained.
“Umm,【Telekinesis】does sound like some superpowers, but the range it can move items within is set and on low level the Sense’s effect only reaches right next to you. Also, it’s hard to control.”
“So… this means?”
“It means that it’s better to punch someone rather than use【Telekinesis】’s skills.”
Taku explained simply, making me fall on my knees.
“W-well, it isn’t very useful, but it should be okay if you combine it with various different Senses. It’s all right, probably...”
Sei-nee said so trying to cheer me up, her eyes swimming in the meanwhile.
“Fine, fine. I’m sure it will become strong like【Enchant】Sense when I level it up. I’m sure it will definitely become useful support for everyone when it’s maxed. I’m focusing on support right from the start.”
“Well, apparently if you level it up you will learn《Transfer》skill will allows you to pass your MP to others.”
In that case, I would act as a secondary healer (for MP), I thought with expectation, but Myu returned me to reality with a little cold tone of voice.
“But when transfering MP there is a big loss, so it’s faster and better to just use MP recovery items.”
Told so by Myu, I lowered my head dispirited, which Sei-nee patted and cheered me up.
“It’s okay, Yun-chan. You can do it if you just try.”
“Really, Yun-oneechan, don’t get so depressed! Let’s end this topic! We finally managed to clear the Sense Expansion Quest, so how about we go eat something tasty?”
“Yeah. Also, there is still time until Sei-san needs to return to her boarding house, so let’s talk about what we can do together until then!”
Myu and Taku raised their voices lively.
“Yeah. It’s been already been decided, so might as well be optimistic.”
For now, let’s forget about the trash Sense that I acquired.
And then, we left the underground【Sealing Room】before logging out, to have a party in real to celebrate clearing the quest.
It was really troublesome after that.
In real, I listened to Myu’s request, went with Sei-nee for shopping, cooked a meal, called Taku to our house, we had a game tournament──
In OSO, we were called for【Eight Milion Gods】guild’s new year party, then took some time doing newly added quest and fighting newly-added enemy mobs.
Also, after messing around and having fun with comrades, Myu and Sei-nee, also together with our parents, spend leisurely New Years’ time together as family.
When the day for Sei-nee to return to her boarding house has come all of our family members including Taku came to see Sei-nee off, during which Myu ended up throwing a tantrum and troubling everyone, but──
“I’m back, Yun-chan!”
“Welcome back, Sei-nee. So you arrived safely.”
“Welcome back, Sei-oneechan. I missed you!”
“Oh, Myu-chan, really you.”
The place we were in at the moment, was inside the glass house that was built next to【Atelier】.
I still haven’t started working on its interior design, only preparing table and chairs so that I could rest inside.
“Are we going to adventure some?”
“Hmm. Onee-chan is a little tired today, so maybe next time~.”
When Sei-nee said with a troubled smile, Myu looked up at her from below and let out a slightly displeased voice, but she must have switched her feelings as she moved away from Sei-nee.
“I’m sure there will be opportunity to adventure together soon enough.”
“I guess. It only turned a little harder to match our log-in timing.”
Said Sei-nee and picked up some of sweets placed on the table, then we started chatting.
Myu party’s Lucato and others weren’t able to log in during the holidays due to family matters and they plan to go on adventure. Taku is gathering together with Gantz and others soon, and plan to do the Sense Expansion Quest once again.
Sei-nee is also planning various things with the guild, so I’m thinking of looking for things to have fun with by myself.
And the next time we meet up, it might be a good idea to talk about what happened to us while having a cup of tea.
Name : Yun
Weapon : Black Maiden's Longbow, Wolf Commander’s Longbow
Secondary Weapons : Magi-san's Kitchen Knife, Meat Cleaver – Heavy Black, Dismantling Kitchen Knife – Blue Dancer
Armour : CS No.6 Ochre Creator (Summer and Winter Versions)
Accessory Equipment Limit 2/10
- Faerie Ring (1)
- Substitute Gem's Ring (1)
【Bow Lv54】【Longbow Lv37】【Magic Bow Lv20】【Sky Eyes Lv20】【See-Through Lv33】【Swiftness Lv25】
【Sorcery Lv26】【Land Element Talent Lv7】【Enchant Arts Lv49】【Physical Attack Increase Lv18】【Telekinesis Lv1】
【Dosing Master Lv15】【Alchemy Lv46】【Synthesis Lv46】【Engraving Lv28】【Taming Lv33】
【Crafting Knowledge Lv10】【Cook Lv15】【Swimming Lv18】【Linguistics Lv25】【Climbing Lv21】
【Bodily Resistance Lv5】【Mental Resistance Lv4】【Preemptive Knowledge Lv11】【Vital Points Knowledge Lv10】
New Years’ Results──
- Acquired Crystal Pillar talisman.
- Found a skilled craftsman NPC.
- Registered a recipe for【Evil-Warding Barrier Piece】.
- Introduced a request for making a large ship.
- Unlocked 11th Sense slot.
To you whom I meet for the first time, to you whom I meet again after a while - hello. I’m Aloha Zachou.
I want to say great thanks to those who take this book in your hands, to the editor-in-charge O-san, yukisan-sama who prepares wonderful illustrations for this work, as well as you who read my work on the net ever since before it has been serialized at a publisher’s. Currently, OSO series has the side story, Silver Muse, serialized in the Dragon Magazine, and there is also a serialized comic version drawn by Hani Kuraun. You can watch Yun and others’ actions in comic version, as well as see cute and cool stories not included in the main novel. By all means, please take it in your hands.
The content of volume 11 is revised version of what was previously published on the web with newly-written content.
The newly-written content was the gathering quest at the Wyvern Mountain Range, the part inside Grand Rock’s internal dungeon which I left be and never finished - including the NPC’s appearance, as well as the first-time appearance of the new town in the North. All such things were added in consultation with the editor-in-charge O-san, that we had over phone.
I am very grateful to O-san who has joined me on consultation up until late night.
As we were discussing with such O-san, we thought that locations of where volume 11 takes place in OSO, where dungeons’ locations are, are hard to place and decided to add a simple map.
When I look at it like this, I did not realize it before, but there seems to be plenty of empty space all over. I intended to expand the world as various events progressed, but I ended up realizing there was a bias on one side.
In consultation with O-san, we shared our ideas and think that it might be a good idea to publish a map in the next volume.
Please take care of me, Aloha Zachou, from now on as well.
Lastly, I would like to once again thank all of you readers, who have taken this book in your hands.
I look forward to meeting you again.
December 2016, Aloha Zachou