"What kind of a reward is this?"
As I muttered that, the Fairy Queen, an important NPC had answered.
"There's nothing in the Fairy Village I could give you as thanks. Therefore, the fairies accompanying you will take your request, and within the possible range they will fulfil three of your 【Wishes】."
Hearing that I confirmed the Rugged Iron Ring the Mischievous Fairy possessed.
Fairy-Possessed Iron Ring 【Ornament】
DEF+2 Additional Effect: 【Fairy Possession 3/3】
"Oh, an assisting item."
It seemed like the players who don't have an item without additional effects have had a randomly-generated item subjected to 【Fairy Possession】 instead.
Everyone took those items out and looked at them.
"Aha, my fairy turned into an accessory."
"Still, within possible range... what should I wish for, I wonder."
Myu and Lucato started discussing their wishes. Everyone else too, started consulting with each other.
"All right, I'll use it first!"
"Gantz! Don't rush it!"
"Come out, my fairy!"
Ignoring Kei's advice, Gantz raised a bracelet with 【Fairy Possession】 and called out the fairy from the inside.
"Yes yes. Right away, what would like me to do?"
"My wish is——I want the strongest reinforcement material for a weapon!"
Hearing this exaggerated wish all of us were shocked and unable to say anything. Even though it was said that it has to be a probable wish...
"What do you specifically mean by strongest〜?"
"Well, I guess something like a reinforcement material from a Dragon or a Giant!"
"There's no way a single fair is going to fulfil a wish like that, is there."
Saying so, the fairy refused to fulfil the wish.
"Eh, it's no good? T-then, umm, get me a slightly weaker reinforcement material!"
"No way that's happening. Hey, got any other wishes? If you don't, I'll be going back〜."
"10, 9, 8..."
The fairy started a heartless countdown as Gantz panicked. And——
"I don't care what is it, please just get me some reinforcement material!"
"Yup. Time's out. See you."
Gantz didn't make it in time and the fairy returned to the bracelet.
"Hee, so that's how it works."
Wasting the effect of 【Fairy Possession】 with an unclear wish, the amount of wishes Gantz had remaining had dropped down to two. Dejected by that he fell down on all fours, everyone else instead of comforting him had calmly analysed the effect.
"Hmm. This means that it would be better to make a wish that can be easily fulfilled. We need to gather some samples in order to determine the range of possible wishes."
"Thanks to Gantz-san we'll carefully consider our wishes, that's great."
"Gantz, your sacrifice won't go for naught."
"At least try comforting me!"
Taku, Myu and Kei spoke in order causing Gantz to roar.
I smiled bitterly seeing everyone look at Gantz with lukewarm eyes as he acted like usual.
As the exchange had calmed down, the Fairy Queen NPC called out to us.
"Now then, it's about time we returned everyone to the human world. Thank you very much for help."
It seemed like time has come as the same light we've seen on the transition circles had began stretching out from under or feet.
Until the pillar of light was completed, the previously-hidden fairies have seen us off waving their hands.
If possible, I'd like to visit the Fairy Village once it turns beautiful again. As I thought so, we were transferred.
I thought that we would be transferred to the location of the Fairy Circle we used to get in, but the entire party was actually transferred in front of the First Town's portal.
"Now then, quest has been cleared, what next? Shall we gather people to confirm the 【Fairy Possession】's effect?"
"Here, an ideeaa! Let's eat something to celebrate!"
With the quest over, everyone started moving.
The 【Fairy Possession】 confirmation group centred around Taku.
The celebratory party group has centred around Myu.
And, other than that there was a group of people tired who were going to take a break.
"I'll be going back to the 【Atelier】 and log out."
"Ehh, come with us."
"I'm a bit tired."
I said so and pat Myu's head who schemed going around to eat sweets, then moved away from the group.
In the 【Atelier】 Kyouko-san the NPC had come out to greet me. Feeling like I've finally returned, I heaved a long sigh.
"Welcome back, Yun-san."
"I'm back, Kyouko-san. Did anything change in the store?"
"Same as usual, only the regulars have come to buy some potions. Also, I would suggest prioritizing the replenishment of High Potions."
"Got it. I'll confirm it later."
I'm tired, I thought, and in order to be healed by Ryui and Zakuro I called out the two animals.
"I'm tired. Ryui, Zakuro. Heal me a bit."
I leaned on Ryui, held Zakuro on my stomach and sat down on the floor behind the counter.
For a while, I felt Ryui's and Zakuro's warmth in silence, but the two seemed restless. When it started to seem to me that they're looking for something, Zakuro started licking my right hand.
"What is it? Is there something on it?"
I said so and when I started patting Zakuro, I noticed.
What Zakuro was bothered with, was the 【Fairy Possession】 ring rather than my hand.
"I see. Well, you were together the entire time recently. Yeah, the Mischievous Fairy is in here."
I raised the 【Fairy Possession】 ring as to make it visible, and both Ryui's and Zakuro's line of sight gathered on it. Zakuro touched it several times. From time to time he bit my finger lightly, but then tilted his head seeing the difference from the usual noisy Mischievous Fairy.
"I guess it does feel lonely once she disappears."
While she was here in the 【Atelier】 during the quest, I guess we have gotten used to the noisy Mischievous Fairy.
The deadline for the time-limited quest was approaching, one after another the quest information has been gathered and complete. Meanwhile, over the 【Atelier】's counter I listened to the story of a player who visited the store.
And, the one I was talking with was——
"Yun-chan, listen to this〜."
"What, did something happen?'
With tears in her eyes, Sei-nee came to complain.
"Half-way onto the deadline I still couldn't get a fairy, when I finally got one, in the middle of the quest I got assaulted either by the Grim Reaper or PKs and can't really proceed further! And I get the super difficult Thorn Tokens all the time!"
"You've been through lots, really."
I said so and quietly poured her a sweet drink.
When I asked for the full story, it seemed like right after the quest started she was invited to various parties but thought she'll find a fairy on her own and refrained from joining, she also gave priority to other people and couldn't pick one up. In the end she was helped by Mikadzuchi.
Other than that, because Mikadzuchi was there Flein and other PKs have actively assaulted them.
Also, she randomly encountered the new wandering-type, humanoid boss mob, Grim Reaper who was added in the same update as the Fairy Quest. Or she had trouble dealing with powerful Thorn Tokens and defeating them.
"Yun-chan, thank you for listening to my story. I calmed down a bit thanks to that."
"That's great. So, Sei-nee, how far have you progressed with the quest now?"
"Right now, we're doing the last part, entering the Fairy Village. It does seem like we'll be taking a difficult course with lots of mechanics like Yun-chan and the others had."
"I think you'll be all right, Sei-nee."
"If I can't clear the quest, I'll go kill those PKs who have gotten in our way and wring the money out of them to buy 【Fairy Possession】 accessories."
With tears in her eyes Sei-nee said something disturbing. Actually, she's quite wealthy so she doesn't have to aim for the bounty and can just buy the accessory normally.
However, currently the 【Fairy Possession】 items were sold on the street stalls at outrageous premium prices. The lower limit of the price was 1mG. The most expensive ones were 5mG.
"Then, Yun-chan, how about you sell me yours for 2mG?"
"No way! I'm not giving it up."
I clenched the ring on my right hand with my left as if to protect it.
"But Yun-chan, you won't use such a rare item with limited number of uses will you?"
"Uh... that's true."
I groaned hearing her lucky guess. Certainly, reluctance to use such items was something not good in a game. If not used at the right time, one might lose because of that.
"Uhhh, but I won't give it up. It's too precious!"
It's something important connecting me and the Mischievous Fairy, so I won't give it up even to Sei-nee.
"Rather than think of what happens if you fail, I think it would be more constructive to think how to use 【Fairy Possession】 after you clear the quest."
"You're right. I think I teased you a bit too much, Yun-chan."
Sei-nee... I stared at her. Sorry, she responded quietly.
"Let's see. Maybe I should ask three times for reinforcement material."
"Is that so. Well, I've heard people ask for things like temporarily helping them with attacking and such, apparently there are various uses."
Currently, from the methods 【Fairy Possession】 can be used in what was found were asking for items, asking for money, attack support, stat support, resistance support, quest hints, as well as effects like obtaining bonus experience. Each and all of them were minor effects that didn't make much difference.
Honestly speaking, this time's reward wasn't worth the effort.
Personally, the time spent with the fairy seemed more worthwhile.
"Well then Yun-chan, it's about time for me to go."
"Do your best Sei-nee. Here, potions as farewell gift."
As I passed the potions to Sei-nee who was going to enter the Fairy Village, I was suddenly reminded of something that could be used and took out a piece of paper.
"Sei-nee, take this with you as well."
"Yun-chan, what is this?"
"The map of the maze I made when we got separated from our party. I wrote detailed data inside like the types of traps and the contents of treasure boxes."
It wasn't like I filled the entire map and there was a possibility of the maze's structure changing. Still, knowing what kind of traps are there they'll be able to warn themselves off them.
"Thank you, Yun-chan. I'll use it effectively."
Then, Sei-nee left the 【Atelier】 in order to head to finish the quest together with Mikadzuchi and other 【Eight Million Gods】 guild members.
About what happened afterwards, it seemed like the map I passed them was helpful when it came to the releasing traps and the scout-type players have started learning how to map the dungeons on paper.
"Well then, how about we go for a walk as well."
Ryui and Zakuro who sat down on the cold floor quietly when Sei-nee was here have gotten up and headed to the entrance and looked towards me as if to say "hurry, let's go".
"I know. Today we're going to gather some herbs and ore in the east, I guess we'll go as far as the second town."
And then, after deciding the schedule on whim I brought Ryui and Zakuro with me as I walked outside.
I looked at the stalls and stores, sometimes I exchanged light greetings with acquaintance players as I headed outside of the town.
The usage of 【Fairy Possession】 accessories has already become a main topic of the conversations between the players.
"Haa, but I can't decide myself."
I heaved a heavy sigh, Ryui and Zakuro too let out a similar, heavy sigh.
Just like Sei-nee said, I had something like the Elixir Syndrome making me feel it's a waste to use, because of which I haven't decided yet.
"Well, it's not like I'm in a rush, I can just leave it as an item for an emergency."
I muttered to myself, but it was still unclear whether I myself was satisfied with this choice.
"I guess I'm just indecisive."
While saying so I continued to collect herbs from the ground one after another.
Laid-back I walked thoughtlessly under the blue sky, before I noticed I arrived in the eastern forest.
"Ah, so I came this far. Well then, let's take a break somewhere near."
I stopped by the safety area in the eastern forest, took out warm tea from the inventory and sat down using a fallen tree for a chair. I gave Ryui and Zakuro some chilled cucumbers I bought at the stalls on the way here, they nibbled on them with a loud crunching sound. They were just chilled cucumbers, but fresh they were quite tasty. The two immediately ate one and requested more.
"Yes yes. Here you go... hey, something's coming."
I raised the cucumber I took out and waited for the presence I felt from the tall grass.
It didn't feel hostile, but since it was quite small it might have been a Grey Rat. While I remained wary, something small and striped popped out.
"Oh the piglet! Been healthy?"
The Big Boar's young beast had ran up to me looking just as energetic as it was when we first met it.
The piglet's nose pointed towards the chilled cucumbers, when I offered it one, it started gnawing on it without hesitation.
"Ahaha, somehow the mobs around me are mainly drawn to food."
Recently, in the Wetlands on the south the ball of fire mobs, Wisps immediately approach upon seeing me to get herbs. I wonder what's going on, it feels like mobs all over are acting friendly with me.
"What, you already finished eating?"
As I stroked the piglet's slightly stiff hair, I noticed its gaze wandered as if looking for something.
"...as I thought, looking for the Mischievous Fairy, huh."
Just like Ryui and Zakuro, the piglet looked for the Mischievous Fairy who was flying above my shoulders before.
And, probably smelling the scent, it pressed its nose against my right hand, puzzled.
"This time, Mischievous Fairy isn't here. Sorry."
I don't know if the piglet was convinced by my words, it ran over to the grass nearby and dug something up with its head.
I looked at it for a while, then the piglet returned with something in its mouth.
"This is... a fossil, huh. Yup, thanks, I'll take it."
The piglet passed me the unidentified fossil and happily returned to the woods.
It seems like something similar will happen next time I come here. I smiled bitterly, drank some tea and stood up.
"Ryui, Zakuro. The break is over. Let's go to the next place!"
Meeting the piglet again I had entered a merry mood, but as I resumed walking I felt like something was missing.
"I need to hurry and decide on how to use the 【Fairy Possession】."
Even though I muttered so dazedly, the opportunity for that will probably far ahead in the future, I thought. But unexpectedly it came before long.
It happened abruptly as we walked around without any goal in particular.
A dense purple fog hung over the surroundings and the visibility turned poor.
And, cold air welled up from deep in the forest causing me to shiver.
At the same time I was startled by the sudden change in the space around me, all sound disappeared.
The chirping of birds, I couldn't even feel my own footsteps.
Even with my 【Sky Eyes】 and 【See-Through】 combination I couldn't find a single presence in the surroundings.
"What is this. Everything disappeared."
Disappeared... no, just the opposite. I waken into an empty space.
Ryui and Zakuro who were walking together with me have huddled closer. Ryui entered full vigilance, bristling his mane, on the other hand Zakuro had put down his tails low, frightened.
"I can't expose you two to danger. Return——《Dismissal》"
Using 《Dismissal》 skill I returned them back to stones.
Alone, I kept an eye on the space filled with dense purple fog.
The 【See-Through】 Sense indicated something from one point in the surroundings and turned in that directions.
"Is it an enemy?"
What appeared was an existence wearing a plague mask and a wide-brimmed hat, there were crow feathers attached to the jet black cloak it was wearing.
The name displayed floating over his head was 【Death - Grim Reaper】.
"So this is the wandering boss mob added in the update, huh."
I had not the least intention of fighting it solo, I confronted it with intention of escaping.
The Grim Reaper let out a voice similar to a crow's cry and closed the distance between us in an instant.
I leaped to the side avoiding the casual swing of an arm I didn't even see.
"Woah. That's really high attack speed."
The Grim Reaper's weapon was a sickle reminiscent of death. In his right hand there was a sickle connected with dozens of chains dangling from the Reaper's sleeves. In his left hand, there was a blade of a sickle so long it was half-buried in the ground. The Reaper casually swung it with just one hand.
And on the back, a huge folded scythe could be seen on the Reaper's back.
The first attack had come from behind, the sickle from the left hand was swung down at me. Even if I saw it with 【Sky Eyes】 it would be too late to avoid but...
"...he's not that scary."
Only his presence itself was abnormal and there were no pressure like one you get when facing a huge mob. If anything, it could be said his presence was weak.
"The moment I thought so——"
Once again he closed the distance instantly and casually swung the huge sickle blade casually with one hand. This time I avoided by leaning my body backwards, but my hair was cut and danced in the air.
This guy's scary after all!
Since his presence was weak, it was difficult to read the initial motions before he moves. Before I realized he was already in front of me.
Simple instantaneous power combined with the weak presence making it seem like he had suddenly appeared in front of me.
I did all I could in order to escape that Grim Reaper.
I subjected myself with double enchant of defence and speed and started running behind the Reaper's back.
Without an idea how to exit the forest covered in the purple fog, I just kept running away.
If I'm caught by the Grim Reaper, I lose. Thus, I had to try to escaping recklessly.
When I looked behind me for an instant, the Grim Reaper had sluggishly turned in my direction. He only faced towards me not moving an inch. Like this, maybe I'll be able to escape. The tiny hope I found was shattered in an instant.
His instantaneous speed and power is high, but his movements other than that are slow was what I expected. In response to the Reaper's linear movements I intended to run in zig-zags, but that thinking of mine was naive.
"I didn't think he could use that sickle on chain like that!"
The sickle hanging on the chains from the right sleeve was swung and with a loud clanging struck a tree growing in the forest. Then, swallowing the chain back into the clothes the Reaper closed the distance between us all at once.
I used the very basic magic at the Grim Reaper standing horizontally on the tree's trunk supporting himself with the kusarigama pierced into it. I knew it wouldn't deal any damage, but I aimed to cause the Reaper some dizziness.
Even though I knew it was mostly meaningless action, I still fired the magic to distract myself from the fear of being chased after and continued to run.
When the cloud of dust from explosion cleared up, the Grim Reaper stood there as if nothing happened, tilting his head.
At this rate I'll be caught up to, thinking so I further increased the pace and rushed.
The Reaper used the chain in order to close the distance between us after which he swung his scythe. While somehow avoiding the deadly attacks in the middle of the fog I searched for the exit from the forest.
From time to time I tried holding him back with 《Bomb》 or 《Clay Shield》 from impatience, but it was meaningless, the Grim Reaper received it all from the front and cut through with the scythe.
"Haa, haa, haa——"
It continued endlessly and in the middle I lost the sight of the Reaper's figure.
I leaned my back on the tree and checked the surroundings.
In order to calm down my roughened breathing, I took deep breath time after time, gradually settling down.
Although the surroundings were still heavily coloured by fog, a single wishful thought crossed my mind.
"No way... did I lose h——?!!"
Did I lose him. That judgement was quickly betrayed.
The kusarigama that jumped up from the ground had tied my back to the tree I was leaning on.
"Damn! He's got me?!"
The chain wound around me several times and the sickle was stuck deeply into the tree's trunk, arresting me.
Because I relaxed for just a moment, I've been caught.
I twisted my body and tried to escape from the chains, but they strongly bit into my body and the only effect was loud sound of the metal rubbing against each other.
Isn't there something to use, my gaze wandered, then I looked ahead of the chain extending from the ground.
I could hear a sound of slow steps on the dead leaves of the forest, slowly the Grim Reaper's figure appeared in the purple fog.
"Get off, get off, get off!"
I tried to take the chains off forcibly, twisted my body trying to slip out, but I was still stuck. Meanwhile the Reaper slowly moved closer to me relying on his chain.
Is there any way——I desperately recalled the list of items I have and thought of a method to get out of this place.
In the meantime I used earth element magic like 《Clay Shield》 and 《Mud Pool》 to slow him down, but the Clay Shield was cut apart and he calmly walked over the Mud Pool.
"What do I do, what to do, what——"
Looking at my restrained hands, I thought of one method.
If I used the 【Fairy Possessed Ring】's effect, I might possibly be able to defeat or fight off the Grim Reaper, or escape. But before I executed that idea a black shadow stood in front of me and my thinking stopped.
The Death standing in front of me looked down at me with his eyes in the mask mimicking a bird.
A carelessly-swung sickle cut my body diagonally from the shoulder. I didn't prepare myself mentally for the attack that reaped my entire HP in an instant. My field of view dimmed and the message displayed was different than normal.
※In case you are defeated by a special mob the Death Penalty you will be subjected to will be different from normal.
The 【Grim Reaper】 mob's penalty extends the status decrease period to 【72 Hours】.
Indeed, this death penalty is no joke. Normal death penalty last for an hour, the period of three days is quite unreasonable.
I would like to avoid receiving a three-days long death penalty from being beeaten by an enemy that appeared out of nowhere.
Without any hesitation I pressed 『"YES"』 upon the Revival Medicine usage choice.
I hope this nightmarish situation is over when I wake up. I wished so and when I revived myself, I saw the Grim Reaper who already retrieved his kusarigama and turned his back to me.
"So it's not over yet. Means I can only escape."
In response to my revival the Reaper tilted his mask curtly. But next, he would probably come to hunt me with his sickle. as if to say "Well, fine. I need to reap him again".
I started to run desperately and on the way, I gulped down a High Potion.
"Haa, haa... what a bad luck."
I thought of meeting the mob that ultimately sends you back after death as bad luck and escaped frantically.
Since the enchants were cancelled upon my death and revival, I re-applied enchants on myself.
Although the Grim Reaper followed me with his high-speed movement using kusarigama, this time I didn't let him out of my sight.
For the sake of avoidance I didn't use neither a bow nor the kitchen knife and continued to escape while watching the enemy's every attack and move.
Still, the enemy was strong. Even if I extended the time to think during the attack using 【Sky Eyes】 I had to receive attacks I was unable to avoid. Each time I revived after death and continued to escape.
As I moved continuously escaping, the purple fog covering the forest gradually grew thin and I thought I might be able to escape at this rate.
There was the exit from the forest, I saw a place where the fog was thinner. If I escape through there, this frantic game of tag will end. When I thought so, I relaxed for a moment, which was directly connected with my death.
I saw the swung sickle and my body fell again.
Without hesitation I selected 『YES』 on the appearing menu. With this I no longer had any Revival Medicine left.
"I'll bet everything on this! ——【Bomb】!"
I scattered a large amount of Bomb's Magic Gems and triggered them, then rushed to the exit all at once. If he turns dizzy because of my magic and is stranded, it'll be my win.
While I thought so I took a step and slipped, falling to the ground.
"Damn, why. Heck, what is this..."
I noticed as I tried to stand up. The kusarigama entangled around my leg. On the other side there was the Reaper who was intact despite the multiple bombing.
As he retracted his hand, the chain was wound back and I fell to the ground again.
"Aghh, I got this far and yet..."
I used the valuable Revival Medicine to run away and yet I couldn't escape in the end... I extended my hand to the outlet wanting to get closer to it even a little, but I lost to the strength pulling the chain and dragging me back on the ground.
Let's use this 【Fairy Possessed】 ring on the finger of my right hand. I thought, but once again water was poured on that idea.
As I knelt the Grim Reaper put the sickle under my neck. Seeing the blade's dull shine I felt fear.
I felt like a sinner waiting for execution.
Restrained like this, sadness and loneliness raged inside my chest.
Then, that sadness and loneliness was bound to the 【Fairy Possessed】 ring reflected in my vision, an out of place thought crossed my mind.
——I wonder, is it lonely inside of that ring?
The moment I thought of that question, my fear of the Reaper disappeared completely.
Not feeling any fear as the sickle approached, I just felt like accepting it. In the end what I was disappointed with, that I couldn't do anything about the Reaper.
Then, the sickle reaped my head and my consciousness fell into darkness completely.