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.