I entered the party of Taku's and the others and waited in the entrance to the highlands area which was nearby the Grand Rock. In there, there already were several dozens of players on standby who have come through the cliff in the north and were now chatting with each other.
When I saw that from time to time Taku's acquaintances approached and after exchanging two, three words they went away, I felt that he was very well known.
And, there was also a certain person who has approached me.
"Onee-chan! Let's do our best! We'll be aim for defeating as much mobs as possible on the ground and getting drop items!"
Saying so, Myu showed her thin arm's biceps enthusiastically.
"I'm fine with anything as long as I survive."
"Grr, your aspirations are too low! If anything, make defeating that huge mountain-like mob your goal!"
"That's way too reckless..."
I was shaken strongly by Myu as she continued to say things like "let's do our best" and "get some motivation". Meanwhile I looked over Myu's shoulder and nodded towards her party members. Just, only Rirei's gaze made me feel unexplainable danger.
Other than that, there were the elites from Sei-nee's and Mikadzuchi's guild, 【Eight Million Gods】.
"Ahh! Sei-oneechan came too!"
Myu immediately changed the target of her clinging from me to Sei-nee. As a result, Rirei's passionate gaze also shifted there.
"Oh, Sei-nee with the others came too."
"At short notice. We were told to get 【Climbing】 Sense to participate."
It was toughh. While Sei-nee said so nonchalantly, Mikadzuchi pierced the ground strongly with the rod she had on her shoulder and watching the highlands area with interest, she spoke to me.
"Any advice from the person who discovered this area first?"
"No way, I'd like some myself."
Good grief, I responded while sighing. It's not like I know all the mobs. You should ask this to players who verified it in advance. I said and, you're right, Mikadzuchi responded and smiled.
"Well, let's leave greetings at this, let's do our best both of us, Missy."
"I said, don't call me 'missy'."
We exchanged light greetings before separating.
At the same time Taku also finished saying his greetings and called out to me.
"Now, Yun. Done with your preparations?"
"I'm fine. What about you?"
"They're perfect. I got a new sword, too."
Saying so he showed the long sword with beautiful wood-grain pattern. For this time's highlands area's conquering there were several groups. Among them were players who aimed to climb onto the Grand Rock, a group hoping to mine 【Layered Coal】 and a group aiming to subjugate the Cockatrice boss on top.
Also, other than the Grand Rock there were Iron Cows, Warlock Goats and Lightning Horse whose strength was unknown.
"What are we aiming for? Let's make our goal beating all kinds!"
"First, how about starting with Warlock Goat?"
"Then we, 【Eight Million Gods】 will aim for the Iron Cow."
"You're right. Let's stick to the schedule."
Nervous, players spoke with each other about how they scatter and what enemies they are going to defeat enemy to relax themselves.
Then, once the colour of the flowers on the peripheries of the highlands area has changed from orange to red——
A growl like a siren had sounded and the Grand Rock carrying a mountain roared in the highlands.
The atmosphere which had started loosening disappeared and everyone braced themselves at once, players have started running through the highlands one after another.
The battle in order to progress even a little more in combat against boss mobs before the normal mobs with Anger bad status gather from the peripheries of the highlands, had started.
"Amazing. This is——"
"Yun! We're charging towards the Grand Rock through the closest possible route!"
While I stood there overwhelmed by the atmosphere, Taku's voice pulled back my consciousness, then at the same time as I put speed enchant on all members, we started running.
As we rushed through the highlands, a group of mobs nearby had hindered our movement.
"Geh... a herd of cows, huh."
Many players who caught themselves up with Steel Cows, were blown away and crushed.
Was the herd of cows to proceed straight forward, we would come in contact with them soon.
"——【Eight Million Gods'】 elite! Forward!"
A powerful female voice had resounded strongly in the highlands. With her wine-red hair swayed by the wind, there was Mikadzuchi. Standing behind her and raising her wand was Sei-nee with her conspicuous light blue hair.
And, poising their weapons as to prevent the Steel Cows from moving on, were elite players of 【Eight Million Gods】 in a horizontal row formation.
"This is nothing compared to Garm Phantom's charge! Mobile troops, attack from the left and right to strand them, then return!"
"We, the mage troop are preparing our magic! Activate it at the same time the mobile troop moves away!"
Mikadzuchi raised her voice loudly as she spearheaded the assault and Sei-nee, who gave out instructions from behind to support Mikadzuchi. And so, 【Eight Million Gods'】 elite players have suppressed the herd of Steel Cows.
"I'm participating with 【Eight Million Gods】, but you give your all too, Yun-chan."
"Yeah, I'm off!"
As Sei-nee waved her hand lightly with a soft smile I turned my back to her and started running. The simultaneous attack of the mages had illuminated the highlands brightly.
Slipping by the battle of mobs and other players, we headed towards the Grand Rock's back.
From time to time mobs have slipped by the players and assaulted us, but Taku and Gantz have instantly dealt with them and we proceeded.
Also, whenever Mage Goats have used magic from the distance, Minute and Mami-san blocked it with defensive magic, whenever Cockatrices attacked from the sky I shoot them down one after another on the move with my arrows.
Kei, as the rearguard had bashed the mobs coming from behind with his shield to strand them in one place before dashing away.
"As I thought, having six in the party rather than just five makes it easier, less burden for each member! Also, Yun-chan is cute!"
"You're right! Having what we lacked join in makes the party move well! And, Yun-chan is so cute, too!"
Even among all this confusion Gantz and Minute joked around. Certainly, the cooperation in the party wasn't bad, but in the first place, I didn't team up with Taku's party too often.
"Don't talk too much. Grand Rock's right in front of us. Let's prepare to get on it."
Seeing that, Kei cautioned them. While trying to appease him, Mami-san had protected us from the Mage Goats' magic precisely with a barrier of wind.
"Now, let's get on it!"
As we approached the Grand Rock who caused the earth to rumble, any signs of mobs around us have disappeared and they only looked at us angrily from afar.
In the middle of multiple players who had a hard time trying to get on top of Grand Rock, Taku and Gantz have jumped ahead.
In order to receive us, after ensuring a route we can climb together the six of us, they sent us a signal.
Following them, were the healer Minute and mage Mami-san who extended their arms in order to be pulled up.
"C'mon! Grab my hand!"
"I know. But, its quite difficult to get the timing right."
Mami-san panted heavily and desperately caught her breath as she ran by the Grand Rock, but was quite unable to find a good timing to jump on. Meanwhile, Minute had kicked off the ground strongly to jump and was pulled in by Taku's and Gantz's hands.
Unable to grasp the timing, I need to go next, Mami-san muttered shaking her head back and forth.
Seeing her movements, skipping as she ran like an elementary schooler and being unable to grasp the timing, do your best, I cheered on her in my mind.
But, my cheer and expectations were betrayed in an unexpected way.
"Mami, don't force yourself. Excuse me."
"Ehh? Kei! Let me down!"
From behind her, Kei had scooped Mami-san up down from her feet upwards.
Despite wearing heavy equipment, he continued to run while holding a petite girl in addition to that.
"Kei! Let me down! It's embarrassing!"
"You'll bite your tongue. Also, hold my neck with your arms so that you don't fall."
The normally taciturn, large man holding a girl in glasses in princess carry with only one hand and increased the speed at which he ran.
He ignored Mami-san's embarrassed and surprised, cute scream and leaped all at once using his warrior's stats.
The two were able to jump on the Grand Rock, albeit a little closer than Taku and Gantz did.
"You're last, Yun!"
Kei's surprisingly aggressive, I thought and kicked off the rock on top of the Grand Rock and grasped Taku's hands to be pulled up.
At the same time, the Grand Rock moved its huge leg, making the entire mountain shake.
"Woops... you okay?"
"...I'm fine. Rather, how is Kei and Mami-san?"
Retaining the momentum from being pulled, my head resulted with my head pressing onto Taku's chest, I didn't feel anything special, but two who went up ahead of us were bothered by it.
One stage below us, Kei helped Mami-san climb up by lifting her, she was also pulled by Minute from above. Afterwards, Kei too climbed and everyone had rejoined together again.
"Kei, what embarrassedly-happy things you're doing! Explode already!"
"No, um. ...sorry."
"Eh, uhm... I didn't dislike it, really. I was just surprised... um, thank you."
As Mami-san responded muttering quietly, Kei embarrassedly scratched the back of his head.
After seeing that, glaring at Kei, Gantz jabbed at him lightly. Seeing his appearance like envy incarnate, the party members smiled bitterly.
"Taku, what are you laughing at! You hugged Yun-chan when pulling her up! You're a criminal as well!"
"HAa? But Yun is... uh, hey..."
Taku looked at me with a complex expression. I somehow understood what he wanted to say. In game my character model is female, but I'm a man in real. That's why, we don't feel anything special even if we're close like that but...
"C'mon what! Exuding a atmosphere as if you're relaying something between yourselves! You have three beautiful sisters as childhood friends, because Yun-chan was too close she turned into a normal existence to you?! Damn, enjoying youth, damn you——"Gantz, shut up."——?!!"
When I tried to correct the facts, Minute smacked the back of Gantz's head with the mace to shut him up.
I lost the opportunity to correct them again, I heaved a sigh thinking so, that's when a dazzling flash had appeared on top of the hill and a roar had shook the air.
"W-what was that?!"
"That's not a normal boss battle! Yun, look it up!"
Once the flash subsided I looked towards the field and confirmed the cause of the occurrence.
Bright flashes ran through the highland Myu and Sei-nee were fighting in flashes, after the third explosion I found the existence that caused them.
"The guys who picked a fight with Lightning Horse have disappeared in an instant."
Literal lightning had ran through, wiping off entire groups of players at once. Even if someone luckily survived, before they even realized the Lightning Horse circled around them and struck them with lightning directly from behind.
"He's stronger than Iron Cow and Warlock Goat. Heck, the flickering hurts my eyes."
The 【Sky Eyes】 had far-sightedness performance, but intense light blinds me in exchange. This time, both the flash and roar happened in the distance so I managed to confirm it by controlling the amount of light passing by holding out my hand to block it.
Taku looked my way, seeming to want to know more about the situation, but there was something that interfered.
"Taku, Cockatrices are coming from the upper left!"
White bodies could be seen well under the bright sky. Kei was the first one to notice them and warned everyone.
"I'd like to observe Lightning Horse's movement a little longer but... Yun, we'll give up for now!"
"Got it! I'll go first then!"
I immediately looked away from Lightning Horse and aimed my arrow towards the Cockatrices.
As the number of Cockatrices further increased, Kei activated a skill.
"I'm here! ——《Hate Action》!"
Purple ripples have spread from his body and wrapped around Cockatrices' bodies.
Cockatrices who entered berserk state because of Grand Rock have all targeted Kei.
"Minute. We're intercepting them."
"My preparations are done!"
Minute and Mami-san fired their magic at the Cockatrices assaulting Kei.
While hindering Cockatrices' attack with a barrier of wind, Mami-san shot them down one after another.
Then, once Cockatrices passed through the barrier Minute shot them with rays of converged light, the ones who have slipped through that were brought down by Taku's, Gantz's and Kei's attacks.
I aimed from a distance at the Cockatrices who were unaffected by Kei's skill, shooting them down with my arrows.
"We got distracted by the Lightning Horse, but the battle has already started all over the place."
When we looked up at the rocky back of the Grand Rock, like white grains, Cockatrices took off from it one after another and assaulted the players rising up on the mountain road.
"Now then, others have started climbing up. We need to catch up to them."
Everyone nodded in response to Taku's words and we started walking.
Our aim, was the Grand Rock's summit. I glared up at the unexplored location.
We quickly climbed up the Grand Rock's back while repelling the attacking Cockatrices one after another.
Since it was difficult to fight in this irregular enviornment, Mami-san, Minute and I remained in the rear, and in the vanguard Taku, Kei and Gantz stood in the vanguard prepared for attacks. We progressed in two rows.
Divided into two groups, each of the vanguard protected one of the members from the rear.
"Taku, Cockatrices are approaching from lower left! There's four of them!"
Locating Cockatrices with the combination of 【Sky Eyes】 and 【See-Through】, I shot an arrow pre-emptively, but even though I took one down, there were three remaining.
"Kei, take care of it!"
"Leave it to me! ——《Hate Action》!"
Kei invoked the skill to spread the purple ripples and by doing so, he increased the approaching Cockatrices' hate value towards him.
The taunt-type skill 《Hate Action》 was a skill that increased the hate value towards the player in the surrounding hostile enemies. In what way is it different from the same shield-type skill 《Calling Shield》? It seemed like like there was a difference in usage or the effectiveness.
Leaving the hate management to Minute and I, Taku and Gantz, as well as Mami-san had defeated Cockatrices one after another.
"Yun, nice scouting!"
"I'm hardly doing anything. Kei's doing the most work. Rather, everyone okay?"
After confirming the berserk Cockatrices attacks have subsided, it looked like they were a little tired of combat in irregular enviornment.
The geographical disadvantage didn't allow us to take initiative in combat.
Because of the damage and the unfamiliar footing, our advance was slow.
"Taku, what do we do? Should we take a break soon?"
"You're right. It seems like we climbed up half-way already and we have no idea if the road continues further. We'll rest a little once we find enough space."
Taku had accepted my proposal and we quickly found a place to take a fifteen minutes break in.
Normally in the party I would mine some ore, but since we didn't know when will Cockatrices attack, I didn't want to take such risky actions. I reluctantly sat down to take a rest and took out the fruits I previously gathered in the forest.
As Minute and Mami-san unconsciously stared at those fruits, Taku and I looked at each other.
『"Yun. Sorry, but could you share some? I think it would increase their motivation."』
『"I wouldn't monopolize fruits in a place like this. I didn't intend leaving them only for myself."』
After Taku connected with me using friend call, wary of the surroundings, I held out 【Cold Crimson Glory Vine】 and 【Mountain Apples】 to the two.
"Sweet things are best for tiredness, is what they say. Also, it's best to recover satiety whenever it's possible."
Receiving it, Minute and Mami-san first tried 【Cold Crimson Glory Vine】 and made pleased expressions, then wrapped their both hands around 【Mountain Apples】 and started eating with their small mouths.
I passed sandwiches to Gantz and Kei so that they can eat while maintaining caution, then poured some tea for Taku from a bottle into a cup.
"You sure are attentive, Yun."
"Actually, I did prepare as much as I could beforehand."
Potions and Revival Medicine, Bad Status antidotes, food, I had various items in the inventory with me.
"As expected of a self-proclaimed support character."
Smiling, Taku drank the black tea all at once. After putting away the cup he returned to me I also put some 【Cold Crimson Glory Vine】 in my mouth, regaining vigour thanks to the sweetness.
And, once the fifteen-minute rest finished, we started climbing again aiming for the top.
On the way, we found players who chose to climb using the shortest route rather than use the mountain route and were now struggling. We also warned those below us about the Cockatrice attacks as we climbed up at our own pace.
We steadily proceeded forward, careful not to drop off because of the intermittent shaking caused by the Grand Rock's movements.
We took a repeated breaks and in addition to 【Cold Crimson Glory Vine】 and 【Mountain Apples】 I also took out 【Tou Fruit】 and passed them to others. Although 【Shiyu Fruit】 wasn't that delicious without processing, 【Tou Fruit】 was like a sweet and soft apricot, everyone ate as many of them as there were.
"Ahaha... I need to collect some again."
I muttered so during the break, and soon afterwards we have climbed two thirds of the Grand Rock.
We could see Cockatrice nests here and there on the rocks, but since it seemed as if there was something like an invisible wall between the middle and the upper part, Cockatrices have returned in the middle of it.
"Which means that up there, there's the Cockatrice boss mob, right. Everyone, focus as we move on. Kei and Gantz, protect your partners well!"
Gantz winked to Minute and Kei held out his shield as to hide Mami-san behind it.
I also moved near Taku's back and looked up towards the top, but was unable to confirm Cockatrice boss' appearance.
As we proceeded carefully, we heard the sounds of fierce combat of players who were ahead of us which echoed from the mountain road one level above us.
"Seems like someone's fighting above."
"Which means, the Cockatrice boss mob can be up there——?!"
When I looked up, I saw something lose its footing and be knocked off.
" "Everyone, stick close to the rocks!" "
We did so, and a player had fallen down pulled by gravity, passing beside us.
Taku and I raised our voices at the same time, then everyone clung to the mountainside.
The player did not possess the ability to fly and did not have any skill allowing him to stop the fall, as a result they momentarily fell downwards.
My eyes met with that of an unknown player for just a moment. They had a stiff expression caused by fear as they fell.
The moment Taku stopped pressing against my back, I reflexively took a step towards the cliff.
"Yun. Don't go there!"
I slipped by Taku's hands as he tried to stop me and using 【Sky Eyes】 I peeked from below the cliff.
When I did that, a white mass had grazed right in front of me. I looked at it from behind its back.
"Yun. Come back!"
While I focused on the expression of the falling player, it seemed like Taku paid attention to other details. That is, the thing that chased the player.
Since I relied on my Senses for scouting I was late to notice it.
And ahead of where I looked up——
The presence on the cliff had emitted a high-pitched voice. Ripping through the wind at high speed, it held something big in its legs and was hovering.
It was a huge but slim chicken with a white body. It had a distinctive yellow crest and a serpent's tail. The boss mob spitting out flames from its mouth——the Cockatrice King had appeared.
I looked at the boss mob's leg and saw it had seized the body of the player who was falling just earlier.
The player was already limp from the fear of falling and didn't show any reactions. The Cockatrice King put in a lot of strength into the leg he held the player in, causing the player in front of us turn into particles of light and disappear.
Seeing this shocking scene right in front of me, I was unable to react immediately.
As a hoarse voice spilled out from my mouth, the Cockatrice King flapped his wings and caused a whirlwind which assaulted us.
The attack which didn't aim anywhere in particular had turned into a gust of wind and struck my back behind the cliff.
It was an attack I would withstand if I clung to the rocks. However, because I stood up I was thrown into the air.
Without footing and not holding onto the lifeline, I flailed my arms in mid-air.
In the experienced time stretched by 【Sky Eyes】 the scenery felt like I was falling slowly in zero gravity, and in middle of it I could see Taku run my way.
What an idiot, he should just give up on me. While I thought so and Taku grasped my hand, the experienced time had returned to normal.
In the middle of the two of us being thrown into the air a scream had come out from my mouth, and at the same time Taku had pulled me to himself with one hand and pierced his sword into the rocky surface in front of us with the other.
Our fall decelerated along with a crunchy, unpleasant sound, but the sword was unable to withstand it and broke.
However, for that moment my scream ceased and it was long enough for me to think.
"——【Clay Shield】. ——《Mud Pool》!"
The Magic Gem I threw below had created a horizontal earthen wall which extended from the rock where the gem triggered. Then, I used earth element magic's 《Mud Pool》 so that it works as shock-absorbent material into which the two of us fell.
An impact passed through my body. Although it seemed like my consciousness was slipping away, the mud on the earthen wall suppressed the impact and we fell on the mountain road one level below.
"...Taku, you alive?"
"There is no answer, it's just a corpse."
"If you can say jokes, you're all right."
The emergency use of the 【Clay Shield】's footing and 《Mud Pool》 for absorbing the impact, the item and magic were able to suppress the damage, but we lost more than half of our HP. Especially Taku's HP had decreased to near-death state of 10% HP left.
"C'mon Taku. I'll heal you with a High Potion, but can you move immediately?"
"Yeah, status-wise there's no problem. A blessing in disguise, it seems like I didn't receive any bad status."
"We were lucky we didn't receive a 【Stun】 status from the fall damage. Were we unable to move, we might have been taken out by Cockatrices right now."
There was the temporary bad status resistance from the fruits we've eaten just earlier. Also, the 【Black Guard's Ring】 I passed to Taku might have had its effect as well.
"Geh, we fell to the middle of the mountain."
"Seems like it."
"Geez, Taku, you're too reckless. You're the party leader, you should have abandoned me."
Taku furrowed his eyebrows in response to my mutter, but not noticing that I continued to speak.
"I'll retire here. If you use enchants and strengthening items, you'll be able to break through the herd of Cockatrices and re-join Gantz and others."
"Wait a second. Why would I leave you here."
"I would be a burden to you. Also, I can pass some time by mining ore——"
Unable to hide his dispersement Taku grasped my shoulders.
"I called you because you're needed, Yun. You're needed——so I don't want you to retire here."
You should leave that kind of passionate persuasion for girls. I thought, appalled.
"Good grief, I'm being pulled around by you again. Try having some consideration for me, trying to keep up with gamers."
"I'll go along with it until the end."
I sighed in response to Taku's persuasion. That said, since we fell near the middle we hadn't enough time to climb up normally.
"From here on, it's hard work. Let's go, Yun."
"It's all right. Let's use 《Clay Shield》 to make footing and climb up at the shortest possible course!"
In order to advance faster than normally using the spiral mountain road, I created footing artificially.
"Let's go! ——《Zone Clay Shield》!"
I created ten side-alternating earthen walls extending from the rock.
We equipped ourselves for climbing and using a lifeline, we climbed up the earthen walls.
"Taku, Cockatrices are coming!"
"Let's charge through!"
I shortened the distance by creating earthen walls several times and Taku had preceded me to cut down the Cockatrices who appeared by the border between the upper and middle part of the mountain.
Since Taku cut down many Cockatrices he gathered their hostility on himself and all of them have headed to attack him.
"Outta way! ——《Zone Bomb》!"
Although I couldn't use my hands when climbing, I could use magic. I blew away four Cockatrices I caught within my line of sight with simultaneous explosions.
By repeating that, we forcibly broke through and arrived in the upper layers.
Once we arrived in the upper layers, we saw magic and skills flicker everywhere, shining with bright colours.
"Taku! Where's Gantz and others?"
"No clue. But there's several Cockatrice Kings here."
Judging by the positions from which light was emitted, Cockatrice Kings must have been waiting at the end of each mountain route. Now that we had no idea on which path is Gantz and the others, if we climb poorly we'll get caught up in another party's combat.
"For now, let's climb up and check them up——?!!"
A shadow had appeared at the cliff in response to which Taku and I clung closely to the rocky mountain, assuming its a Cockatrice King.
And, that shadow had called out to us with a voice of an acquaintance.
"Phew, I didn't think you two would be falling down, but it was even more unexpected that you would recover by forcibly breaking through the shortest route."
"Thanks to that enemy numbers have become scarce and we were able to pass as well so it's all right, isn't it? Miss 【Material Merchant】."
"Emily-san! And Magi-san too!"
What the two were riding on, was a mob that looked like a centipede with multiple transparent wings. It must have been a result of using 【Synthesis】 Sense to combine a centipede with several insect mobs, it was a centipede mob with a wide body capable of flying in the sky as if undulating.
The two landed with their flying centipede beside us.
"Why are you two here?"
"I was invited here by Emily-chan. I want as much material for Wootz Steel as possible, you know."
"And I'm doing my work as 【Material Merchant】. Experimenting with flight-type synthetic mob and acquiring materials."
But well, we noticed you two falling in the middle of it, she added.
"Well then, Emily-chan. Recover me later, kai."
"Got it. I'll go up for now then. C'mon you two, get on."
" "......? What do you mean?" "
Seeing Emily-san encourage us to ride on the back of the flying centipede, both Taku and I tilted our heads in puzzlement.
"You're rejoining your party, right? It'll be faster to look for them from above with this."
"Thanks, that's a great help."
Taku jumped on the back of the flying centipede without hesitation. I also fearfully rode behind him and I entered my fingers in the gaps of the shell to hold on.
"I will only deliver you. Also, I'll have Taku-kun pay for it later."
"Why am I the only one paying! Well, as long as its reasonable!"
"Well then, let's go all at once!"
According to Emily-san's instructions the flying centipede started to fly vertically, aiming for the summit. Seen off by Magi-san, we rose above the square with Cockatrice King boss mobs and started to look for Gantz and the others.
"Taku, there. 《Zone Enchant》——Defence, mind!"
In the place we looked down to, Kei raised his shield desperately receiving the Cockatrice King's attacks.
At the same time as I prioritized double defence enchant on Kei, Taku jumped off the flying centipede.
Taku jumped using the flying centipede's back as a scaffold and leaped straight at the Cockatrice King, then pierced him with the sword using the momentum of his fall.
"Now, it's my comeback! Let's beat the boss right away!"
"Taku, Yun! You're late!"
Holding his shield, Kei called out. Gantz, Minuet and Mami-san also spoke happily seeing our return.
Since I was unable to do things as reckless as Taku, Emily-san approached the rearguard with the flying centipede and landed on the ground.
"Thank you, Emily-san."
"It's fine. I'll retreat before I'm caught up in combat."
She said so and the flying centipede undulated greatly as she dove downwards.
I once again looked at Gantz and the others facing Cockatrice King boss mob.
The Cockatrice King had about 60% of his HP remaining. The party was able to damage it in a stable manner under the lead of temporary leader.
"Can it be that we weren't needed?"
"No such thing! I'm happy that Yun-chan came back!"
Minute had greeted us. And, Mami-san also nodded while firing magic at Cockatrice King.
"Still, to think you'd come back in such a short period of time. And, just now..."
"Ahahaha... that's, well, I'll explain it step by step later."
Kei's gaze was turned in the direction Emily-san had left towards with her flying centipede. Taku rejoining the party had a big influence on the battle, but Emily-san seemed to have left plenty of an impression. We'll have to explain later.
"Now, Taku, what do we do from here on?"
Although Kei served as a temporary party leader, he tried to return the role to Taku, but was stopped.
"Continue leading, Kei. I came late, I'll move as just a party member."
"...got it. Yun and Mami in the middle, everyone else form a circle for anti-air defence! Yun and Mami focus on anti-air attack, Minute focus on light magic barrier."
At the same time Kei gave instructions, the Cockatrice King escaped into the sky and aimed to attack from there.
Everyone surrounded Mami-san and me, facing towards the Cockatrice King. Standing in the centre the two of us shot arrows and magic, but the Cockatrice King continued to avoid the attacks in an agile manner incongruous to his chicken appearance.
"Withstand the attack! ——《Wind Guard》!"
Holding his shield Kei used an Art which increased the entire party's defence, I matched the enchants with it at the same time in preparations for the Cockatrice King's storm.
Immediately afterwards a wide-range breath attack had come from the Cockatrice King's mouth and raged in the surroundings.
Minute's defensive magic and the circle made by vanguards has received it, protecting the rearguards in the centre.
When the breath attack weakened, Minute and I used recovery magic and potions to recover vanguard's HP, who dissolved the circle.
"Yun. Drag him down! Taku and Gantz, attack him the moment he falls!"
"Roger. —— 《Rapid Fire Bow - Second Form》!
I predicted the Cockatrice King's movement in the air and continued to shoot arrows continuously. Moreover, they were arrows synthesized with 【Paralysis】, 【Sleep】 and 【Stun】 bad status drugs in order to drag the boss down to the ground.
"Let's go, Gantz!"
'Yeah, its our chance!"
While the Cockatrice King fell to the ground and was unable to move, Gantz and Taku launched continuous attacks. Gantz dealt damage by using his entire body to attack and Taku chopped enemy up with the Damascus Sword.
Kei, in order to keep protecting the rearguard had joined the attack by using long-range Art. Mami-san and I used magic and arrows as to fill the gaps in the vanguard's attacks.
Shortly after the bad status on the Cockatrice King was released and he tried to escape to the sky.
"Vanguard return and prepare for breath!"
Again Taku and Gantz returned to form a circle, but once the Cockatrice King's displayed new movement once his HP decreased to a low value.
"——!! Everyone, get away!"
The Cockatrice King flew towards the remade circle from above. We rolled away in order to dissolve the close formation, but I received a kick to my shoulder from the rampaging Cockatrice King and was blown away.
"?!! My bow!"
The longbow I had in my hand was blown away towards the cliff by the momentum. In an instant our party's cooperation had broken down and the Cockatrice King aimed for Minute, the healer.
While Gantz's shout echoed, I slipped in between Minute and Cockatrice King's raised-up leg.
The blow of the swung-down leg resulted with a dull sound like that of something striking a thick, iron plate.
"Oww, as expected of a Black Iron kitchen knife. It's really sturdy."
Although I staggered after receiving Cockatrice King's blow, I somehow was able to catch the attack using the the side of the Meat Cleaver as a shield.
I didn't have the bow within my reach and the party's cooperation was broken. But——
"——It's not like I can only support everyone from the rear guard! I can become a living wall in case of an emergency, too!"
I raised my voice and cleaved with a huge swing using the kitchen knife, the Cockatrice King received the blow with a kick and its wings.
Even though I was pushed back because of my lacking attack stat, I avoided and parried skilfully using my high DEX as I waited for the party members to rebuild their postures.
"Yun, continue attacking together with Taku!"
Kei and Gantz finished preparations for protecting Minute and Mami-san. However, thinking of the Cockatrice King's remaining HP, Kei instructed me to continue attacking the boss and finish him off with Taku.
"Let's cut his head off in that case!"
With Taku's participation, our attacks have surpassed those the Cockatrice King had dished out.
And, avoiding the Cockatrice King's attacks I closed right under it, then slashed his neck with the thick Meat Cleaver. The brute slash wasn't enough to cut completely and stopped in the middle of his neck.
Since I hadn't the skill allowing me to pull out the knife from Cockatrice King's neck, I easily let go of it and took out the Dismantling Kitchen Knife from my inventory.
"Yun! Let's decide this! Match my attack!"
During the 【Sky Eyes】 extended experienced time, I used the Dismantling Kitchen Knife to carve the Cockatrice King's chest as Taku released his own slash. And then, with a further swings together with Taku, we engraved another slice on the enemy's back. The matching attack had received bonus damage for a chain attack and dealt large amount of damage to the Cockatrice King.
Then finally, during the time Taku and I attracted the boss to ourselves, Mami-san finished preparing her strongest magic and released it at the Cockatrice King.
The Cockatrice Kings final death throes came out from the middle of the magic inferno and were gradually erased by the flames momentum.
As a boss he could be said to be one of the weaker ones, but after so much happened I was tired.
Once I recovered the Meat Cleaver that was pierced into the Cockatrice King and the longbow which was blown away. I can finally catch a breath, my head was full of this thought.