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.