Just the other day, I finished party cooperation practice with Lyna and Al, then reported details of it to Letia and Emily-san through friend chat.
After returning to solo activities once again, I went through the item delivery-type quests I have been putting off.
The breakdown of quests I have completed by using items I took from the 【Atelier】 was——
【Potion Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip.
【High Potion Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip, 20kG.
【MP Potion Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip, 20kG.
【Bad Status Antidote Delivery (10 of each type)】──1 Quest Chip.
【Copper Ore Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip.
【Iron Ore Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip.
【Herb Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip.
【Medicinal Spirit Grass Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip.
【Magical Spirit Grass Delivery (30)】──1 Quest Chip.
【Arrow Delivery (1 set of 30)】──1 Quest Chip.
By doing item deliveries I was able to quickly earn 10 Quest Chips.
There still were delivery quests remaining for me to do, but when I did potion delivery quests their quest paper has turned yellow suggesting that the quests weren't completely done, so I decided to finish them first..
After that I took Ryui and Zakuro with me and headed to deliver the next set of items to the Quest NPC again, then returned to the quest board and took the next potion quest.
When I completed all potion delivery quest I was called out to by the NPC.
"I'm sorry to stop you, but are you the one who made these potions?"
"Yeah, that's right, why?"
Judging by the way things are, I could roughly tell it was a conversation leading to a next quest.
"I'm in charge of this town's general store, you see, Obaba the Pharmacist who delivered us potions has fallen ill. That's why I'm buying potions from the outside to compensate for the potions she was delivering, but we're at our limit. If possible, could you go and see if you could do something about Obaba's state?"
"Understood. Where is she?"
"In the Eastern part of the town you go into a passage towards the north, there she has a pharmacy with a small garden. Please take care of it."
At the same time the Quest NPC finished speaking, I have received a new quest called 【Cure the Pharmacist's Illness】.
The quests I did were easy to clear, but most likely to receive them you had to possess a specific Sense──in my case it was most likely the 【Dosing Master】 Sense.
If these quests are aimed at crafters, then Magi-san, Lyly and Cloude have most likely acquired them. No, some of the crafting quests' papers were coloured red so they must have completed them already.
While thinking about that, I headed towards the designated pharmacy together with Ryui and Zakuro. When I reached it, I found a building that looked more like a witch's house than a pharmacy.
It was an eerie store with the outer walls covered with ivy. The store sign was also nearly-covered with ivy as well, and on it there was a picture of a steaming cauldron used for Mixing, but it was discoloured due to age and rather than a pharmacist's symbol it was more like a kettle from hell.
"I-I guess it's here."
I stood in front of the pharmacy and slapped my cheeks, resolved myself and opened the door quietly but...
"Excuse me, is this the pharmacy? I've been asked to check on granny here."
"What is it? Coming with work? Can't do it now."
When I faced towards the source of the voice, I saw an old woman sitting in a chair.
The cranky-looking granny tried to stand up, but I approached her in a hurry and had her sit down in the chair again.
"What is it? You're unexpectedly sharp. I guess you're sent by the general store anyway. Sorry, I can't make any medicine with my body like this!"
"Granny, certainly I did come because I was asked to check on you by someone from the general store. Are you ill?"
Based on the quest's name, I guessed the old woman was suffering some kind of illness.
That's why I asked about that.
"My illness is one that causes my limbs to tremble. That's why it's dangerous for me to walk, I can't go outside either."
While saying so, she extended her hand and showed it to me.
"If it's trembling, then won't a 【Paralysis Antidote Potion】 heal it?"
"【Paralysis Antidote Potion】 can only alleviate symptoms, it has no effect on the root of the problem."
I grasped her wrinkled hand, but was unable to suppress the trembling and my hand also shook.
"If I make a mistake when mixing a medicine with my hands trembling, it will turn into poison. That's why I'm not making any medicine. Go tell the guy from the general store this: if you don't want to make me a murderer, don't ask me for any more medicine."
"Actually, I can do 【Mixing】 as well, could I help somehow with curing your illness, granny?"
If the old woman's illness is healed, everything will be resolved. Hearing my words, the granny gripped my hand with her own trembling ones.
Although her hands were very dry, granny's touch was surprisingly gentle as she checked my palm.
"Hmph. That man from the general store seems to have sent me a quite capable person."
"I'll have you gather materials and make a medicine to cure my illness."
With that said, the old woman conveyed the content of the quest to me.
"The three materials I specify will have to be gathered before nightfall. They're 【Waterfowl Grass】, 【Swamp Lotus' Root】 and 【Crimson Slime Mould】. Also, material's freshness is very important. Make sure not to use the 【Portal】 or materials will go bad all at once!"
"Before nightfall?! And I can't use the portal?! There's no time!"
"If you have time to talk, you might as well go already!"
Along with receiving of the quest, I was chased out from the store.
Simple information on the three types of quest item materials was added to the quest description.
After reading it I understood that they were in locations it was possible for me to get to on foot, although it would take some time.
"No helping it. Let's hurry up and finish this to make granny healthy. 《Enchant》──Speed!"
Emitting yellow light I ran towards the outside of the town.
While running I planned recovery of the quest items.
【Waterfowl Grass】 was in the back of the Second Town's forest, growing in a lake a little further than the location from where Lyly and I ran away.
Honestly speaking, I haven't gone that far before so I intended to go there while ignoring enemies, using my armour's additional effect, 【Recognition Inhibition】 to its fullest.
Next one was 【Swamp Lotus' Root】, apparently clusters of it grew in a Western section of the Wetlands located South of the First Town. Since it was a place I approached several times while collecting materials it would most likely be easy to find.
The last one was the 【Red Slime Mould】, a type of a slime which seemed to be living in a mountain zone whose staple food was iron. Ahead of the Abandoned Village where the 【Revival Medicine】's material – Wisteria Peach Petals could be gathered, there was 【Wyvern Mountains】 in which the slime could be found.
Since the areas the quest items could be collected were all over, there was a need of collecting the items efficiently.
To start with, I aimed for the colony of 【Swamp Lotus' Root】 Wetlands in the South.
Ignoring attractive collection points I would normally never ignore, I headed to the colony of 【Swamp Lotus' Root】 and one-sidedly, using my bow from a long distance I wiped out 【Moor Frogs】 occupying it.
Then I entered the swamp, ignoring the fact I was soaking in mud up to my ankles I pulled out a 【Swamp Lotus' Root】 from it all at once.
"So this is 【Swamp Lotus' Root】... it does look like root of a real lotus root, maybe it can be eaten?"
Ryui and Zakuro were reluctant to enter the swamp so they stayed away, meanwhile I gathered 【Swamp Lotus' Roots】.
"Now, this much should be enough... whoops, I can't get out of here."
I'll end up losing time in here! Starting to feel impatient I somehow pulled out my leg out of the swamp and aimed for the edge of it one step at a time.
After I exited the swamp Ryui and Zakuro wouldn't approach me until the dirt disappeared with time.
Still, I didn't stop and wait for that happen, instead I headed to the Second Town while still dirty and wet with mud.
I continued to run while feeling an uncomfortable sensation of muddy water inside my boots, the dirt and moisture disappeared by the time I reached the Second Town. Then, I headed to the forest on the outskirts of the Second Town.
I ignored Fluff Clouds and other mobs and arrived at the lake, it had a considerably large size and there were multiple players gathered by it.
"Is there a different quest here as well...? But right now I don't have time to examine the details of that quest."
Although I could see the figures of players on boats fighting against something in the lake, I had to look for the 【Waterfowl Grass】.
I looked around the lake by using 【Sky Eyes'】 far-sightedness and located 【Waterfowl Grass】 on the shallow waters on the opposite side.
I was able to find the 【Waterfowl Grass】 that was my goal, but it was a hassle to dutifully circle around the lake to get it.
"It can't be helped, let's find some closer by."
After changing my Senses I ordered Ryui and Zakuro to wait, and I dived inside the lake.
It's pretty deep here. I hope there's some nearby.
The place I jumped in wasn't shallow waters, rather, it was quite deep in there.
And after looking around at the bottom of the lake, I found a bluish-white water plant that seemed to be the 【Waterfowl Grass】.
Oh, even without going to the other side I can gather them.
I dove headlong to the bottom of the lake as I was and pulled out pale blue water plants that were growing there.
One wasn't enough, so I recovered several of 【Waterfowl Grass】 that sparsely grew around, when I did, 【Waterfowl Grass】 has ceased to act as a quest target and changed into a normal object. With that, the gathering of the second material was complete.
It ended faster than it would if I had to go to the opposite side of the lake. With this I might have bought myself some extra time.
While majority of the quest was moving around, I was happy thinking that I gained some time, and looked up to the surface from the bottom of the lake.
When I looked up I saw the bottom of a ship that was on the surface, there was another player together with me in the water, who was engaged in fierce combat against a giant fish mob.
For just a moment my eyes met with his, and we both nodded lightly.
Then I emerged from the water making my appearance all at once.
The sound from above I heard muffled as I approached to the surface had turned loud all at once at the same time I emerged out of water.
The majority of voices has come from the players on to of several boats.
"Hey! Captain isn't coming back!"
"Don't give up! It's our captain! The man who challenged that huge fish all alone!
"B-but heyy. All thirteen members aside from Captain have already fled to the boats. It's over, impossible, the quest failed."
While players on the boats floating on the lake started giving up──
Raising up a harpoon from inside the water, the player showed everyone what seemed to be a drop from a giant fish, a giant tail fin.
The player I nodded to was their captain and apparently they splendidly defeated a boss with multiple parties participating, and managed to safely return to their boats.
Seeing the captain alive and the boss subjugation complete, players on top of the boats have shouted to each other in the same manner as their captain.
I got up from the water and looked at the sight and once again, my eyes met with those of the player who beat the boss. This time he turned towards me and──
My voice was a little low because I was embarrassed, but he still nodded contentedly and went back to his comrades.
"That must be... Shichifuku, right."
The player with short silver hair which looked damage by the ocean breeze who had goggles on his head and a harpoon in his hand was the guild 【OSO's Fishermen's Union's】 guild master, Shichifuku.
Within his guild he wasn't called "guild master" but "captain", he was underwater combat specialist and Taku's acquaintance.
An originally hobby guild for people who want to do fishing on ordinary days, has gradually grew and become a guild specializing in underwater combat because of certain circumstances.
However 【OSO Fishermen's Union】 was a medium-sized guild and didn't have enough players to take on raid quests.
When I looked at them in more detail, I saw that some players on top of boats had equipment that didn't seem like something 【OSO Fishermen's Union】 members would use.
The fact they were together with another guild meant that they received a raid quest together with other small and medium guilds.
I recalled how Letia spoke of small and medium guilds participating together in joint quests and muttered to myself.
Finished with what I had to do in the lake I left the forest in order to search for the last quest item, the 【Red Slime Mould】, and headed down the main road extending from the Second Town.
And after advancing up to where the road split up, I stopped in front of a certain cave.
"Uugh, since I can't use portal I do have to pass through here after all."
The cave that was filled with the sound of screams whenever the wind passed through it──The 【Horia Cave】.
The commonly known Horia Cave was a location where mobs such as Skeletons and Spectres have emerged.
However, unless I passed through it I wouldn't be able to reach the Wyvern Mountains that had the 【Red Slime Moulds】.
"...Countermeasures are important. I won't fail a second time."
Holding 【Confusion Antidote Potions】 in each hand in case the Spectres put a 【Confusion】 bad status no me, I equipped myself with 【Spirit Tolerance】 and asked Ryui walking next to me, to immediately use 【Purification】 were my behaviour turn any strange.
"All right, let's go."
Although I raised an energetic voice, I entered the cave slowly – almost dragging myself inside.
Then after a walking for a while I heard the sound of bones clattering behind me──I took a look around and there I saw Skeletons springing up from behind and a Spectre slipping through a wall.
"Hiiihhh, this is impossible after all!"
At speed that should be impossible for someone this scared, I ran in a straight line through the cave.
In the middle of the cave skeleton hands extended to me from the walls causing me to scream, and then together with Ryui who was holding Zakuro we somehow managed to successfully run through the 【Horia Cave】.
"Haa, haa... I'm really bad with passing through there after all."
Sprinting at full speed I exited the cave and leaned on a disfunctional fountain inside the Abandoned Village to adjust my breathing.
I repeated taking a deep breath several times and looked up towards my next destination.
"So that's the Wyvern Mountains the 【Red Slime Moulds】 are in, huh."
I was looking towards a different road than the one leading up to the hill where the Wisteria Peach tree stood, one that lead to a mountain road.
The enemies appearing in that area were strong, large Wyvern-type mobs but they wouldn't appear unless you climbed on the mountain high enough. Also, the mountains were also filled with a number of natural caves.
"Well, according to the quest description even the entrances of the lower levels of the caves allowed for getting 【Red Slime Moulds】."
I once again re-configured my Senses and then headed to the 【Wyvern Mountains】.
Although I passed by collection points with great reluctance as I looked for the 【Red Slime Moulds】...
"Can't find any. Do I have to climb up a bit higher?"
Thanks to the fact the large Wyvern mobs didn't appear in the lower parts I could move on without fighting, but I still couldn't find the item I looked for.
"There's none in the lower levels. Which means I have to look by the caves in the mountains."
I had no idea what's there inside the mountains themselves, but I couldn't do anything unless I searched them.
And I took a step inside one of the cave entrances present in the lower layers of the mountains.
"...I can feel someone's sight on me? Though I can't see anyone here, probably just my imagination."
For a moment I felt like my 【See-Through】 Sense reacted, but when I looked around I couldn't see any players.
Before long I forgot all about that and entered the cave.
【Wyvern Mountains'】 natural caves had a fantastical origin and were lit up by light-emitting ore, so they were just a little dim . Using 【See-Through】 Sense I carefully looked around for 【Red Slime Moulds】 but I could only find one mining point for ore.
After walking inside the cave for a while, I noticed.
"...So it wasn't my just my imagination."
Faking my actions to look like I'm looking for quest items together with Ryui and Zakuro I quickly advanced towards the back of the cave.
"Let's run! Ryui!"
And matching the signal I hurried further inside to run away from the players chasing after me, but lurking in the passages ahead of me there were more than just one player and they all threw shuriken-like things at me.
Fortunately, I was the only one hit by the attacks and the damage wasn't too high either.
When the thrown weapons hit the mobs I passed by, the attackers were targeted by them and beaten instead.
That method of protecting myself wasn't too pleasing to the guys who chased after me.
And then, ahead of where they led me to──
"──What is this place?"
The place I was led to was a large room. On the walls there were multiple holes with each having a passage in it, leading to them there was stair-like spiral-shaped scaffolding leading up to the top.
"It's where you meet your end."
Spoken to by a player, a young man standing in the centre of the room I directed my sight to him.
He had a smile that didn't make him seem to be a person who tricks others, but it was horribly artificial.
Before I realized, the players who have been chasing after me also started gathering all at once through the countless holes in the room's walls.
"What the hell do you want from me, to lead me all this way?!"
I shouted emotionally while in my mind I devised a way to escape.
Surrounded by roughly thirty players I could rush into a gap between them, or try make an opening during a conversation.
"By what, I would say that we're going to PK you. That's all."
"Why in a place like this? And what for? There's isn't much for you in doing that."
The benefit you get from PKing other players in OSO was that half of the PK'd player's money is given to the PKer.
"Well. If I were to answer that question – we need money you see. That's why we PK people here, where strong players gather."
"Strong players gather here...?"
I answered with a question and stared intently in the young man's eyes, meanwhile other players around me set up their weapons which made it seem like the conversation will soon be over.
"This is the location for 【Wyvern Subjugation】 raid quest's boss fight. Multiple parties locate key items inside this cave to progress with the quest and call the boss here by using those items."
The young man, no, the PK player fell silent there, pulled out his own weapon – a long sword – and pointed the tip at me.
"Players from the raid party who split up would have been led here one by one and PK'd by our numbers. As expected, players who take on raid quests are strong, but thanks to that we would get lots of money all at once!"
Intoxicated with his own plan, the PK grew more and more excited.
"I didn't think there would be a player silly enough to come inside where we are lying in wait. If you leave all the money you have on you, we'll let you go – how about it?"
The young man made an ugly smile as he proposed.
And my response to such a blatant lie was──
"My answer is already decided. ──Not happening!"
"I see. Then──"Then, what?"──Huh?"
The moment I heard a surprising voice interrupt the young man, he himself, as well as others who stood on his sides have been pierced from behind and fell forward.
And along with a distortion in the air, a single player made his appearance.
"Did you enjoy PK? It's fun, right! I love PK! Fighting strong players is exciting!"
The one who cut down the young PK from behind was PK guild's 【Flame Prison Corps】 guild master, the one called "the worst" PK – Flein. He pierced his thin sword into the fallen player's back and stepped on him.
The fallen PK's comrades couldn't get any closer because Flein was too close to him and could finish him off any time.
"I also love PK. I can indulge in fighting strong people all I want! I want to cut down all strong people and those who are a nuisance to me. But you see, going about it without any principles would be troublesome. That's why I have, we have decided on making rules. ──My rules of PK."
At the same time he pulled out the pierced sword from the young man he moved his leg away from him, then kicked him in the belly raising him upwards.
"First, for decent players you first obtain their consent and go at them from the front. Second, if you want to kill someone, no complaints if yourself get killed instead. And all people who cause trouble will be cut down by us."
The young man who was kicked away had slammed into the wall of the cave powerfully, the hit received was only possible for those who had PVP-limited Sense. After receiving damage from hitting the wall, the PK fell down and collapsed.
Then, at the same time Flein showed a signal towards the holes in the walls, 【Flame Prison Corps】 member have appeared behind the PKs who were lying in wait and the location has quickly turned into a battlefield between PKs.
Seeing the battle between PKs unfold all of a sudden I felt like I was left behind by the flow of events and stood there dumbfounded, but having my clothes pulled by Ryui I returned to myself.
Realizing it was a good chance to escape I rushed in a straight line towards the nearby hole.
"Heey, that's quite something of you to look away from us at a time like this. ──《Killing Edge》!"
One of the PKs from the ambushers' side jumped out to stop me, but a single male player has slashed him from behind.
"So you're here as well, huh, Tobias!"
"Yo, been a while. How are you?"
The 【Flame Prison Corps】 guild's sub-master Tobias also made an appearance.
In the past I wouldn't ever think that Tobias, a PK who attacked me in the forest before, would save me.
Recalling what happened back then I did not thank him properly. When I stopped in place for a moment, a yellow light has appeared in the cave's room.
The source of light was inside hands of the young man Flein has kicked away.
Apparently he was using some kind of item as the yellow light has rose up to the cave's ceiling.
"Ahahaha! Fools! I won't let you PK me! Even the PvP-specialized PK guild 【Flame Prison Corps】 can't beat a raid boss!"
"This guy, prepared to suicide he summoned the damn quest boss! It's coming, Flein!"
Wary of the ceiling which shined with yellow light, Tobias shouted to Flein.
Flein cut down another PK, then happily looking up to the ceiling he made a distorted smile.
"Nice! Not just PKs, but quest boss to beat too! To think we'd get two nice meals at once! Folks! Make sure that annoying lizard-wannabe doesn't eat our prey! And then we'll drag down that lizard-wannabe as well!"
Hearing about the raid boss I recalled that this boss required several parties to beat and my expression cramped up.
Ahead of where I looked up to, I saw an organism with a reptile body and bat-like claws, sticking down to the wall with its claws it looked down on us.
"A Wyvern, and a quest boss sub-species too."
The Wyvern I looked at with my 【Sky Eyes】 Sense was completely different from the ones appearing in the 【Wyvern Mountains】, it was a raid-class quest boss.
Size-wise it was more than twice the size of a normal Wyvern, its nails and fangs were both longer and sharper, it's body was of grey-brown colour. Moreover, it had bloodshot eyes and saliva dripping from its mouth seemed to be like strong acid. It looked very ferocious.
"Heck, this is no time to be looking at him care-freely. I need to hurry and run──Nwahhh?!"
I escaped to a nearby hole, but as to follow after me the Wyvern's sub-species has breathed fire at me.
"This is bad, real bad! Ryui, Zakuro! To the side passage!"
I escaped from the flame breath looming in to burn the inside of the cave and at the same time together with Ryui and Zakuro we jumped to a side passage, meanwhile Ryui made a simple barrier with a water shield.
The water shield was made momentarily and somehow held back the fire breath, but it could not stop such high firepower for long.
I took out a large number of Magic Gems from my inventory and activated them all at once to temporarily seal the entrance to the passage with a multiple of earthen walls.
Some of the flame breath has spouted from the gaps in the wall and the entire soil wall cracked, causing me to cover with cold sweat.
Thinking that it might be real dangerous at this rate, I proceeded to the back of the passage taking as much distance from the earthen wall as it was possible.
After several tens of seconds, flame has stopped coming from the gap in the earthen wall and the roar coming from the other side of the wall has stopped. A silence has come.
"...Is it over?"
Strength left me all at once and leaning back on the wall I sat down.
The side street we jumped into fortunately allowed us to proceed further so it was not necessary to return through the passage the breath of fire ran through, but I was still anxious to walking blindly not knowing where the exit is.
"Haa, no choice but to go on. Ryui, Zakuro, what is it?"
Ryui and Zakuro who were snuggling up to my side had briskly walked deeper inside the side passage.
When I raised myself heavily and went over to them I saw Ryui try to move a large stone with his head and Zakuro tried to help by digging a hole below it with his front legs.
"Is there something in there? Leave it to me. 《Enchant》──Attack."
I had Ryui and Zakuro move away, then stood in front of the large stone. And lifted the heavy-seeming stone with an attack enchant applied on me.
"One, two──woah, so light?!"
As a result of vigorously lifting a stone that was lighter than I expected it to be I fell on my butt and dropped the stone on the ground by my feet.
"Oww, this is bad, the stone broke... hihh?! Disgusting!"
When I tried to turn the broken stone around, I ended up touching a red viscous fluid that oozed from it and pulled my fingers away momentarily.
That's when I received information from my reacting 【See-Through】 Sense and understood that it was the 【Red Slime Mould】 that I was looking for.
I didn't want to touch it, but I had to in order to acquire it. I touched it with my index finger before the red fluid coming from the cracked stone had escaped into the ground.
"Oh, I got it."
When I made sure the 【Red Slime Mould】 is on the list of quest items in my inventory, I saw an icon of a red fluid in a bottle. I actually took it out and somehow seemed to have a bottled version of 【Red Slime Mould】.
There was no point in thinking when was it bottled, I only looked into a distance while thinking "this sure is a fantasy".
"Why do I find it now, of all times?"
If I were to find the 【Red Slime Mould】 before encountering the PKs I wouldn't have been involved in all the trouble, I thought and sighed.
"But I can't just give up in the middle of a quest. That granny's waiting, can't lose in here."
I slapped my cheeks once and stared towards the cave passage leading forward.
Let's hurry and proceed ahead, we need to aim for the exit.
From time to time when we heard a sound of sword strikes Ryui and Zakuro went ahead to scout thanks to which we advanced by avoiding people.
Otherwise, we proceeded while always taking the left passage in the wall. It was a more certain method than going by intuition.
Midway we encountered enemy mobs appearing in the cave so we either defeated them with surprise attack or passed by them, and then slowly proceeded onwards.
As time was ticking away, we proceeded aiming for the exit.
After continuously walking inside the cave's branches I returned to the cave's entrance.
As I looked from a slightly elevated location the light of the sun has began to sink in the West, since I walked inside a closed cave for a long time I was stunned by the sudden openness.
"...We're finally out, huh."
I muttered quietly and sighed. Ryui and Zakuro who were walking by my side up until this point have snuggled below me under my hands so I patted them unconsciously. And Zakuro who was riding on top of Ryui had come up to my shoulder and started licking my cheek earnestly.
"W-what is it, Zakuro? Stop it, stop I said."
When I held Zakuro in both hands and raised him up to stop him from licking my cheek, he seemed to ask "feeling better?" so I hugged him to my chest, thinking he was really cute.
That moment──my line of sight lowered all at once.
"Huh? Why am I sitting down? Why am I so limp?"
I placed my left hand on my face and sighed grandly again, but I couldn't find any strength in my legs anyhow.
I was attacked by a group of PKs, witnessed a confusing battle between them and 【Flame Prison Corps'】, then barely escaped from a raid boss' attack just to wander inside 【Wyvern Mountains】 interior for a long time.
Relieved by the fact I was able to exit the cave I seemed to have had strings of tension cut.
Even though I had to deliver the quest item 【Red Slime Mould】 to the pharmacist granny, I couldn't force myself to move.
"──Looks like you properly came outta that cave."
That's when I heard a voice come from behind and turned around reflexively. There, on top of protruding rock above the cave, was Flein looking down on me.
"Since you didn't come out for a long time after escaping I thought you might've died and went back to town, but I see you're tenacious."
Hop, he lightly said and jumped down from on top of the entrance to land beside me.
"I didn't think that guy would call a boss right there. With that said, in the end we managed to hunt down all the PKers before he came and I myself cut down that delicious raid boss. I'm quite satisfied now."
"Flein, why were you there? There's no way that was a coincidence."
Seeing me glare at him and Ryui, who stood in front as if to protect me, Flein laughed.
"The reason they're PKing was──the guy said it himself right? Leave your money, that is."
"...What do you mean?"
While I made a puzzled expression, Flein happily spoiled the story.
"Right now in the First Town there's casino gambling. If you win, you get large amounts of Quest Chips. These PKs were gathering funds for that casino."
"Then... I was aimed at by them for such a thing, huh."
He said that with a wonderful smile, but hearing the truth I put my both hands on the ground appalled.
"They were indiscriminately assaulting normal players y'see. In order to continue PKing as per normal ourselves we have thoroughly hunted them down."
It seemed like Flein's mad dog's nature from back when there was no bounty system yet hasn't changed at all.
"When we were thinking on how to gather those PKs scattered all over the cave and beat them all at once, suddenly you went inside the cave out on your own and was led to that room allowing us to beat them in a single swoop, you have our thanks."
"I don't want to be thanked for such a thing though..."
I lowered my shoulders dejected, then looked up at Flein again.
"Heey, Flein-san! It's about time for us to withdraw!"
"Tobias' callin' huh. I'll be going to look for another prey. Go on and walk around all over, then bring us more of them! We'll eat them all up."
I don't want any more trouble coming to me! I protested in my mind but didn't speak it loud because I could imagine him snort at me, so I just saw off Flein, Tobias and other members of 【Flame Prison Corps】 while sitting down.
Because it took extra time to escape from the cave, the day was coming to an end.
Finally able to stand up I went down the 【Wyvern Mountains】 and headed for the First Town.
However, the sun has set increasingly faster, faster than I could run with my speed enchant. After getting down from the mountains I stopped by the withered fountain.
"Haha, ahaha... In the end, the quest failed huh. What a shame."
I looked up at the reddish sky, although it was a game I felt a little frustrated after doing all this work quite seriously.
"I wonder if I made that pharmacist granny expect a lot? Heck, she's just an NPC so I guess not."
I laughed at myself for the words I muttered.
I couldn't play smartly like Taku. I couldn't fight as cool as Myu. I couldn't deal with things as well as Sei-nee.
All I could do was not to give up, even when I'm doing stuff in unrefined and uncool way.
Like that I'm getting some lucky chance at victory, or get a helping hand from one of my acquaintances.
However, just this one time──
"Haa, I don't want to give up but this time I can't do anything."
This time I couldn't make it no matter how fast I ran.
"Good grief, so laughable. No wonder I get a stupid nickname like 【Nanny】 when I look this pathetic."
I muttered mocking myself and sitting on the edge of the fountain I watched the sun fading beyond the mountains.
It was going so well up until the last part, I wasted a lot of time when I caught that PK bunch's eyes. Moreover I went all limp after exiting the cave and sat down, wasting even more time.
And after coming this far, I gave up.
"Haa, I'm so pathetic. Ah..."
The moment I muttered that, Zakuro escaped from my arms and──water was poured on my head.
I raised my head to see what's happening, and saw Ryui headbutting me while snorting roughly.
"W-what are you..."
I wanted to ask him why did he do that, but he did not allow me as he poured more water over from over my head.
"H-hey, wait! Are you angry?! Why?!"
Another bucket of water was poured on me.
I smeared myself with mud, dived into a lake and by the end of the day I was soaked by Ryui.
While thinking that and raised my hanging-down wet hair to stare at Ryui, his appearance started to change.
Strong light was emitted from his body, so dazzling I couldn't keep my eyes open.
His barely-visible outline inside the light has gradually changed and when the light subsided, there stood adult Ryui with a splendid horn on his head.
──The tamed mob has transitioned from 【Young Beast】 state to 【Adult Beast】 state. The ability limitation of 【Young Beast】 state has been released.
──Due to the growth you acquired EX Skills 【Young Beast Form】 and 【Adult Beast Form】. When the Adult Beast is using a Young Beast Form the cost of summoning is reduced in exchange for limitation on its abilities.
Receiving two pieces of information at the same time, I looked up at adult-form Ryui.
After growing into a splendid unicorn, Ryui rubbed his neck against my face the same way he did when he was a young beast.
Zakuro, shocked at the sudden change had jumped towards my soaked chest.
"Hahaha... You grew at a timing like this, it's like a manga situation."
Then, adult Ryui matched my height and pointed at his own back with his head.
"Get on, you mean? Can we make it if you run at full speed? I already gave up on delivering the materials to pharmacist granny, but you sure are spartan."
Despite saying that, I fixed Zakuro in my arms and sat on Ryui's back.
There was no saddle nor stirrup. Not having any riding experience in the first place, I rode Ryui relying on memory of what I saw on TV.
Grabbing onto Ryui's neck I sandwiched his torso between my legs.
When I felt the smoothness of his mane that was unchanged even in adult form Ryui rose up with his hind legs and my vision was raised all at once.
"This is a little scary."
My body was suddenly pulled backwards and I felt the wind press on me making it feel more like I was on a suddenly-accelerating roller coaster rather than riding on a horse. Since he suddenly started running in a hurry I strongly embraced Ryui's neck and sandwiched his body with my legs more strongly.
Although I couldn't afford to look at the surroundings, we left the Abandoned Village and were nearing the entrance to the 【Horia Cave】.
We charged into the cave full of undead mobs such as Skeletons and Spectres without decreasing our speed.
In addition to a mix of rodeo machine and a roller coaster the situation added horror elements in the background, with all that I could only scream pathetically.
"We're passing through there?! It's the shortest route, but there are ghosts there!"
As we passed by a Spectre had appeared by my side where I was looking towards but disappeared shortly, then Skeletons stretched out their arms to us one after another but were all repelled. Meanwhile my screams did not stop.
"Ryui! Stop! STOP! Don't charge in there!"
Numerous Specters were blocking our way.
With no way to avoid Spectres as he was, Ryui further accelerated and heading towards them──he released 【Purification】.
Along with pure white the wall of Spectres in front of us had their figures turned into particles of light and blown away by the wind, opening the road for us.
Adult Ryui's abilities grew dramatically and he kept running while oozing with pride.
As Skeleton stood up, they were blown away and hit different skeleton toppling them over, it looked like bowling.
And with speed higher than when he was charging enemy mobs Ryui rushed through the 【Horia Cave】 and then jumped out of the entrance.
I felt like we were floating due to a large leap.
I clung to Ryui in order to bear the shock of landing.
And then he continued to run down the main road, passed right by the Second Town and headed towards the First Town.
Getting quite a bit used to straddling Ryui I raised my head and checked the sun's position, the sun was already fallen behind the other side of the town.
"At this rate we won't make it for the quest. Any faster than this will be bad for my heart, but let's win in the very end! 《Enchant》──Speed!
I further increased our speed with an enchant targeted on Ryui and the wind passing by my ear started to howl.
We passed by the Blade Lizard's side, jumped over Big Boar's large body and upon reaching the grasslands we trampled over small mobs such as Slimes and Herbivorous Animals.
Right before rushing into the First Town a haze enveloped our bodies.
At this rate we'll hit other people, I thought, but no one was even bothered by Ryui passing by at high speeds.
It was as if no one saw Ryui with me and Zakuro riding on him... no, in fact he must have been using some kind of skill as he passed by people one after another like a ghost.
So these were Ryui's original abilities which were restrained by limitation until now, while I thought that, we passed by lots of people and finally arrived in front of the pharmacy.
Exhausted after clinging to Ryui all this time, I slipped down to the ground.
After horse-riding for the first time I tried to stand up with my trembling legs to pat Ryui, but instead I got nearly headbutted by his splendid horn.
He appeared to be saying "it's fine, just hurry and go", so I obediently headed to the pharmacy.
"...I gathered all... materials."
Despite staggering while I walk I moved in front of the old woman and held out the quest items to her.
"Hmph. You barely made it on time. But well, looks like you do have a spine. Well then, I'll have you make me a special medicine by using those materials."
Pulled by the pharmacist granny's trembling hand I was dragged into the workshop she had in the back of the store.
Then, I stood by the Granny's side and while listening to her say how to process the three kinds of materials, I made the medicine.
Gathering the materials was difficult, but making the medicine was somewhat easier than that.
The detailed methods of processing and mixing were similar to those I used for 【Mixing】 and Cooking so I was able to make it well enough.
And finally, I placed the finished medicine in front of the pharmacist granny.
"Well done, considering it's your first time making it. I'll use it."
The Granny poured the still-warm liquid medicine, it seemed like it was quite bitter.
She closed her eyes and fell silent as if waiting for something.
When she did, her faintly trembling hand and shoulders have gradually stopped shaking.
"Looks like the medicine worked. Thanks to you I can still remain active as a pharmacist."
Making a grin on her wrinkled face, the Granny made a smile that was more provocative than kind.
And she continued to speak.
"I'll pass my knowledge as a pharmacist to you, so come any time you want. Also, call me Obaba. All people close to me call me that."
Along with those words, the old woman, or rather, Obaba, has left the Mixing workshop and sat down in the chair by the store's counter. With that, the quest has been cleared.
──The quest 【Cure the Pharmacist's Illness】 has been completed.
The reward for clearing the quest, 4 Quest Chips and 50kG was on the higher side, but after being attacked by the PKs I felt this wasn't sufficient enough.
However, I didn't say anything about that as I left the pharmacy and──
Seeing Ryui waiting in front of the pharmacy along with Zakuro who was no longer riding on Ryui's back I could finally make a relaxed smile.
"Thanks. I was able to clear the quest thanks to you and cure the pharmacist granny's illness. Thanks, really."
When I stroked scruff of Ryui's neck, he squinted comfortably.
Meanwhile, I received a new quest to learn new Mixing recipes from the pharmacy's granny, but for the time being I wanted to go back to the 【Atelier】 and spend some laid back time with Ryui and Zakuro.