After we cleared the quest we have undertaken, we have automatically received the next part of the chain quest.
However, since I have reached 50 Quest Chips when completing this quest I had no need to continue questing. I did not, but...
"This escort quest was a really valuable experience. Thanks guys, I'll be go——"Yun, let's talk for a moment with everyone before you log out."——Tch, couldn't get away, huh."
I wanted to log out as naturally as possible and get back to my daily life, but Taku grasped my shoulder and stopped me from leaving.
"I know that you have no intention of continuing this quest, Yun."
"Then why do you stop me from leaving?"
"Just think about this for a moment. Lots of players have attempted to finish this quest but didn't manage, it's very difficult and of course, the reward must be nice. Let's talk about this taking that into the account."
Standing in front of Taku, I focused on listening.
"First, if you come with us you will receive a good amount of Quest Chips and items that suit the quest's high difficulty."
Taku opened his menu and has showed off the reward for the 【CQuest - Devil Cultists' Hideout Destruction】 chain quest that we received.
It was 20 Quest Chips for each party member and a mysterious reward displayed as 【???】.
Not only the reward constituted of more Quest Chips than the multi-party raid quests did reward, the mysterious reward tickled a gamer's heart enough to make them rush towards the quest's completion.
Continuing, Taku spoke of the less attractive conditions for the quest.
"As for the demerits, it would be the high difficulty that will make us spend a fair amount of time to complete it."
"In other words, if we challenge the quest and fail we will just waste time."
Minute said, and Taku nodded in response.
Certainly, no matter how special the reward is, if a quest takes an entire week of time not only we will not benefit from it, but be in the red. By gathering 3 Quest Chips a day, one could gather 21 chips within a week instead.
Well, it all depends on the mysterious reward, but taking too long on one quest is still a big loss.
"That's why I want everyone to decide whether we use the limited amount of time we have to complete this quest."
"Yeah! I want to try do this quest!"
Gantz didn't show any sign of thinking before approving the proposal to do the quest. While amazed by his reaction speed, Kei shared his opinion.
"I'd like to continue this quest, too. However, is there any need to calculate like that? We can decide on a deadline, and stop the quest progress when we reach it in order to complete other quests we still haven't done."
What he said was very constructive, Minute and Mami-san agreed with him and approved.
And then, Taku spoke to me next.
"So, what about you, Yun?"
I closed my eyes to think.
At first I had no intention of continuing this quest, but I feel like trying since it's a time-limited quest.
Also, in order to craft Mega Potions and MP Pots for 【Atelier】 I need to increase the number of Mystic Medicinal Grass and Mystic Spirit Grass anyway.
Well, Mixing-related quests from Obaba's pharmacy and the errand quests around the town could be completed in fairly short amount of time anyway. Even if we don't finish that quest, I already have enough Quest Chips too. There is no need to rush.
"Fine, I'll help out. However, if we get to a point where it's clear we can't finish the quest I will give up on it."
"Great! It's decided! Then let's disband for today, we'll challenge the quest starting tomorrow."
I might have rushed the decision a little, I thought and logged out for the day.
The next day——I logged into OSO immediately after coming back from school and appeared in 【Atelier】's workshop, I slipped through the store part to the main street, aiming for a certain place.
It was the church plaza, the one I have first met up with Myu and Sei-nee when OSO first started.
Taku and the others were already there.
"Sorry, am I late?"
I opened the menu to check the time, but it appears I made it for the meeting time.
"Hello, Yun-chan. It's just everyone coming too early."
Saying so, Minute greeted me with a smile.
"Well then, let's get on with the quest. We gathered some info from other players who tried to do it, first we'll move to where the map quest item points to."
Said Taku. Everyone looked at 【Map to Devil Cultists' Hideout】, a place in the Northwest part of the First Town was marked on the simplified map.
"Um... is this the place?"
When we arrived at the place marked on the map, we saw a single mansion standing there.
Although it was as big as the mansion of the Noble NPC client that we have entered for the first quest, it had a somewhat desolated atmosphere to it.
The main gate was wide open, but the gathered players did not enter and instead, were exploring outside the mansion.
"Hey, are they all...?"
"They all probably are players who received the same quest, aren't they? But it looks like they can't enter the place itself."
There were over six parties worth of players and all of them have desperately searched for a way to enter, but it didn't seem like anyone managed to enter the 【Devil Cultists' Hideout】.
"What's going on? This IS the location marked on the map, isn't it?"
"Well, it's because the first part is "infiltrating the hideout". Items like these wouldn't be necessary if it was so easy to enter."
While Taku muttered those words, there were players in front of us who tried to climb the iron fence around the mansion to enter, but along with the sound of a bell they all stopped moving and fell down.
Next, black-hooded NPCs who appeared to be Devil Cultists came out from hiding in order to carry the players and drop them outside the gate.
That moment, the restriction on players was broken, they appeared quite frustrated.
"If you make such open attempts or you're found, a sound of bell rings out and players become unable to move and the quest is forcibly rendered as failed."
"Can't something be done about not being able to move, like making preparations against bad statuses?"
"No. Apparently the only way to prevent that, is to defeat the cultists that ring the bell."
"Then how do we beat those ringing cultists?"
"No one knows where they are and our movement is sealed the moment we pass the iron fence."
It's a game, there must be a way to get past that, I thought when I heard that. Figuring out what I was thinking, Taku said.
"When there's a way for a country-saving hero to let himself be found trying to enter bandits' den and surrender to let himself be brought into the den and locked in a cell, you don't just go "cut them all down!", right?"
"It's as you say, sir."
Hearing Taku say this, I reflexively imagined such strange action be taken by the green hero.
Meanwhile, Gantz and others seemed amused by our conversation as I could hear their muffled laughter.
"Well, it seems like there are multiple ways to enter, let's try them."
In any case, we have to infiltrate the hideout first.
"Based on how the quest appears to look like, it will be divided into several steps. Hideout infiltration, searching the hideout and probably boss battle. I guess it'll take a day for each step."
I groaned while observing from afar as the players try to infiltrate the mansion.
Basically, all the players who entered had their movement stopped by the sound of bell coming from the inside.
Also, when the bell sounded at one of the players who tried to get past the iron fence, two other players dashed through the front gate. One of them was immediately stopped by the sound of bell, but the other seemed to have either 【Concealment】 or 【Recognition Inhibition】-type Sense or equipment as the bell sounded for him a bit slower.
In other words, the bell sounded for each intruder separately and everyone only received the effect of their own bell.
"So, how about we go look at the other infiltration routes? When we separated yesterday I came here and found several entrances."
"What kind of places are they?"
"While there are several, the one with the highest chance of success is a route connected to a dry well on the North side. It requires players to fight boss-level mobs one after another and leads to the hideout's lower chambers."
Nope. I thought when I heard this.
Fighting boss-level monsters only scrapes away my spirit. I started searching for another method to avoid going through that.
"When battling in the underground passage the bosses don't revive, so even though it takes time to get past we will get to explore the hideout by tomorrow."
"Taku, before that – can I try infiltrating from the front one time?"
"If you're found several times the quest is failed... so just once."
Taku exchanged glances with Gantz and others, then agreed while giving a condition.
"Thanks. If it doesn't work, I'll properly go with you on the other route."
I said so, and while worried whether I'll be able to get in with my own method I took out a white summoning stone.
Summoning the now adult Unicorn, Ryui, I stroked his back.
Help me out a little, I said and took his reins while holding his body.
Turning transparent along with Ryui's body, I moved towards the mansion's gate.
Our party members quietly watched our actions while we maintained transparency.
During the reveal, Ryui managed to deceive everyone's eyes. It might work if it's Ryui's transparency skill, I thought as we slowly passed through the gate.
When we were halfway to the mansion's entrance——
Hearing a clear sound of a bell I stopped in my tracks.
Was I found? I panicked and nearly let go of my hand touching Ryui, but bearing it I took a look around.
Then, I saw a Devil Cultist standing on the balcony of the mansion who was shaking a bell in a different direction to where I was. I see, so he's watching from a high place and rings the bell the moment an intruder is found, huh?
Understanding that the bell responded to another intruder, I started moving again for the time being.
When I reached the entrance to the mansion and touched the door, it opened without me having to put much strength.
Since it was in a blind spot when looking from a balcony, the cultist on it did not notice me opening the door.
I had Ryui remove the transparency there.
"...70% MP remaining, huh. There's plenty to spare."
I used an MP Potion just in case, recovering to max then once again had Ryui put transparency on us to return back to where Taku and others stood.
"Looks like we can get in."
Hearing me say so as if nothing happened, Taku stared at me intently.
"Looks like...? Why do you have succeed so easily using the hardest route there is?"
Taku said so with amazement and heaved a sigh, everyone else nodded in agreement.
"W-well, just think that we're one day ahead of the schedule."
I looked away in order to avoid their stares.
"But, what area can Ryui's transparency cover? Can it include players other than you?"
Kei pointed out, making everyone go "ah!".
I wonder about that. Can Ryui's transparency only cover me, the summoner? But it always includes Zakuro who is together with us, so the area of effect must be quite wide.
"Mami-san, lend me your hand."
I called Mami-san, who was the nearest person standing to me and held her hand, then touched Ryui with the other hand and asked him to activate the transparency.
Starting with my hand touching Ryui, transparency slowly spread and covered both me and Mami-san.
"So it's possible to use it on multiple players."
"Looks like it. But..."
One thing that bothered me, was that the amount of MP consumed increases all at once.
The MP that tamed mobs need in order to use their skills is being taken from the player who summons them. I measured the amount of MP consumed when I walked towards the entrance earlier, together with Mami-san I consumed far more MP as compared to that.
"Minute, can you hold hands with Mami-san?"
When Minute held Mami-san's transparent hand, she gradually turned transparent starting from her hand.
However, that moment my MP consumption had further increased and before Minute completely disappeared, Ryui's transparency was forcibly cancelled.
Kei muttered seeing what's happening, so I explained.
"The MP consumption increases when there's more people."
"Then movement towards the mansion's entrance is..."
"For a short amount of time I can take three people at once."
During combat it doesn't seem possible for three people to be hidden, but it should be all right if it's just moving some distance.
Hearing my conclusion, Gantz yelled.
"GREAT! I'll be holding hands with Yun-chan and Mami-san as we move onto the entran——"Shut up there."——GUEH?!"
Minute thrust her mace at Gantz's throat, forcibly silencing him and quickly took my hand, then held Gantz by his neck with her opposite hand.
"Let's go now."
I lost out to the pressure Minute was giving off, after recovering my MP I asked Ryui to hide us and we moved to the entrance under transparency.
The sight of Gantz being dragged on the cobblestone while transparent was quite surreal.
After that, I left the two by the entrance and once again returned to the gate with Ryui.
Next, I moved Mami-san and Kei. For the last round I walked together with Taku, and succeeded delivering everyone to the entrance.
When I arrived by at the entrance together with Taku, the two of us holding hands, I felt quite bothered by Gantz and Minute's gaze but decided to ignore it.
"Sorry, Ryui. Looks like I can't take you any further."
Because of a system restriction middle-size tamed mobs could not be summoned inside the mansion.
Thinking it must be because the action takes place in rooms, I returned Ryui to the summoning stone and entered the mansion.
The moment I entered the doors of the mansion, the world changed along with the sound of my step.
The world filled with sunlight disappeared and I entered a dim interior.
"Ohhh, so that's how it looks like inside the mansion, this sure will be a pain."
Everyone was confused by the radical difference between the outside and the inside of the mansion, Gantz was the only one who cheerfully raised his voice as he inspected the entrance.
The brightness of the outside and presence of people has disappeared, the incredible silence pained my ears.
Darkness spread in the space outside the window, the light inside the mansion came from thin candlesticks set on the wall at even intervals. Candles' flame was swaying unsteadily.
"So this is Devil Cultists' Hideout interior... seeing as the space changed between inside and the outside, I guess it's treated as a dungeon?"
Gantz muttered. His thinking was probably correct.
We couldn't feel any presence at all inside the mansion, aside from our own.
"Hey, Taku. There should be other players who entered the mansion aside from us, why aren't they here?"
"Well, I guess each party has a separate instance for themselves? I didn't hear anything about parties meeting inside."
"I see, no wonder."
Although the entrance route from the outside was shared, the inside of the mansion was on exclusive instance for each party.
It might have been set this way in order to stop parties from getting in each other's way, competing for items, dragging others into combat and other kinds of hindering each other.
"Let's gather hints and quest items around the mansion to progress with the quest... Everyone hide."
I raised my head hearing Taku's words, on top of the spiral staircase that stood in the center of the entrance hall stood a human figure.
We hid under the stairs and behind pillars so that the presence on top of the stairs doesn't find us.
While everyone held their breath, a man wearing a black robe and holding a candlestick had only passed by on the second floor. It was probably just a patrol.
Thanks to the night vision of 【Sky Eyes】 I saw the face of the man, lit by the candlestick's light his face was hideously altered.
When the light above disappeared, everyone let out the air they were holding in.
"Huff, to think that there are NPC-turned monsters in here..."
"Hmm. They ARE called cultists, it wouldn't be so strange if they had a devil ruling over them from behind, deforming them and making them into their puppets, right? Anyway, look at the quest description."
Everyone checked their quest log in response to Taku's words.
——【CQuest - Devil Worshippers' Hideout Destruction】—— Explore the Devil Cultists' Hideout. —— 2/4
Gantz and others opened the menu and checked the status.
Taku who had confirmed the quest details earlier turned towards us, seeking our opinion.
"I think we should search rooms one by one."
"Naw, it would be faster if we go after the patrolling NPC."
Minute and Gantz shared their different ideas and looked into each others' face.
Then asked Taku for his opinion.
""Which plan do we choose?!""
Their voice was quiet but powerful, I focused on watching the three.
"Let's see. Searching the rooms one by one like Minute says is a basic method, but this mansion is quite large so it will take some time. We might be able to narrow down the places we search to the important rooms by tailing the patrol, but the risk we'll be found is high."
Mentioning the good and bad sides of both strategies, Taku crossed his arms and sought opinion from Kei, who also took a similar pose.
"What do you think, Kei?"
"We can't take too much time doing this but I think we need to get some grasp on the mansion's structure since we'll be fighting in here. That's why, one day to search as many rooms as we can on the first floor, and tomorrow we will tail the patrolling NPC on the second floor, how about that? There is no need to risk being found right from the start."
"Sounds reasonable. The first and second floors are probably similar so it will be easy to grasp the structure. I really don't think we can just force our way forward that easily by stalking the NPC."
Taku muttered. First, for the time being we started exploring the first floor of the mansion.
On the second floor of the corridor that could be seen from the entrance we could occasionally see the deformed NPC holding a candlestick. Patrolling NPC on the first floor were not deformed, the patrols on the first floor were really bad, allowing us to easily avoid being found by hiding ourselves the moment we saw one.
When we moved between the rooms, it was Gantz and me who were in front.
"Hey, Taku? Why is it me and Gantz who are in front? I'm supposed to be rear guard."
"In this party the only one who has Sense that can detect traps is you, Yun. Also, Gantz has the 【Trap Disarm】 Sense so the two of you make the best combination."
Certainly I do have the 【See-Through】 Sense that allows me to find traps. Furthermore, in combination together with 【Sky Eyes】 that granted night vision it was very suitable for searching the dim Mansion
"You had the 【Trap Disarm】 Sense, Gantz?"
"I got it after the fairy quest. As dungeon difficulty level increases, the trap difficulty increases as well and we could no longer rely on brute-force methods, and thus I got it."
So that was the reason, I thought, but seeing as his 【Trap Disarm】 Sense had low level we couldn't feel completely safe.
I decided to focus on moving in a way to avoid traps, rather than let him disarm them.
"Well, I'll make a map as we explore."
I took out the pen and paper I used when noting down 【Mixing】 combinations and started drawing schematics of the mansion as far as I could see around us.
"Speaking of which, Yun-chan, didn't you draw a map before during the fairy quest?"
Gantz muttered, he seemed to remember that I made a map when we were doing fairy quest.
"If we have data on the entire mansion's structure we might be able to find something out."
I said and I drew the entrance to the mansion and the passage we were in.
"It will be easier to check things later, it's all up to you, Yun."
Told so by Taku, I continued along with Gantz along the passage and found several traps.
"Clapper, alarm, a pitfall, hypnotic gas. There's lots of traps that hinder players' action and alert the NPCs."
Walking through the corridor we searched the rooms we could enter. Although most of the rooms on the first floor appeared open, they had traps set up hindering us from entering.
When we investigated these traps we noticed that they were easy traps that could be found even without any Senses. We either disarmed or avoided them as we searched the mansion and we found items, potions, consumables and gold that served as secondary rewards.
And when we finally found the only locked room——
"There're weapons here, too... but are they made from gold?"
Inside a clean room Gantz had opened with his low-level 【Trap Disarm】's 《Unlock》 skill we found lined up wooden boxes. Stored inside them, were weapons made of gold that weren't fit for actual use.
Moreover, there were few dozens of them with enough weapon types to equip the entire party.
Golden weapons couldn't be used in actual combat, but they could be crushed and remade into Gold Ingots for which we could earn money. Well, personally there were no items that caught my attention, but...
"This feels kind of artificial. I'll take two long swords for now."
Said Taku and pulled out two rich-looking swords.
Minute took a mace with a jewel embedded into it, Mami-san – a gold-plated staff. Kei reluctantly picked up a golden armor, shield and long sword making him a possessor of the most shiny equipment.
"And Gantz's equipment is..."
"I don't actually need any equipment since I'm a martial artist who fights with bare hands."
"Then what's left are metal spears, arrows and throwing knives."
I put those distasteful items into my inventory, planning to remake them into ingots later.
We searched for other places on the first floor but we haven't found any room or item that seemed like our goal, instead, we found something interesting.
"So this is where the infiltration route leads."
We found a basement that was connected to a cellar with wine, when we descended it we found that it connected the mansion with the dried-up well.
Since I was wary of the consecutive boss battles I couldn't check the inside of the underpass with my Senses, so Taku and Gantz got down there directly but there were no mobs at all inside.
"Looks like once you infiltrate the hideout once, all other routes are opened."
"That's great, we won't have to cautiously leave this place through the main entrance."
Seeing me relieved that we won't have to leave through the front, everyone smiled wryly.
During the search of the first floor we found a few other infiltration routes, but nothing that would seem like quest's key items.
"We've checked the entire first floor, but it really feels like a reward for players who have cleared the quest up to this point. I guess the real thing starts on the second floor."
Everyone nodded in response to Taku's words, we took a step forward——
"——Oh, it's dinner time."
The alarm I set up in my menu reminded me of the time, everyone else also realized it was already evening.
I logged into OSO as soon as I came back from school and we've been searching for about two hours. If I stay logged in any longer Myu would probably complain that dinner's late.
"Certainly, it's good time to take a break."
"True. Let's leave through the well for the time being."
Kei and Mami-san agreed that it's about time for a break. With the search of the first floor complete, we escaped the mansion.
When we climbed up the rope ladder hanging inside the dry well we saw players line up to infiltrate the hideout, we were also welcomed by evening sun and cold wind.
"So what do we do about continuation? We gather later in the evening?"
Taku brought up the topic of plans for doing next part of the quest, but Minute answered apologetically.
"Sorry, I don't have time this evening. How about tomorrow evening?"
"What about everyone else?"
Taku confirmed the schedule with everyone and logged out.
After logging out, Myu and I shared information on our current situation as we ate dinner.
"Hee, so you cleared the bodyguard quest in that mansion, Onii-chan."
"Yeah, and then continuing I ended up helping out with hideout destruction chain quest."
While explaining to Myu what happened, I extended my chopsticks towards food. For dinner I prepared chicken wings and boiled eggs with vinegar, oil and sugar, simmered with ginger and vegetables, as well as miso soup.
Chicken wings I simmered inside pressure cooker were soft and giggly, the taste permeated well and it was delicious.
Thinking of which, OSO has an item similar to ginger so it might be possible to reproduce this dish with Cockatrice's meat. While I thought so, Myu took a strong interest in the quest.
"Hee, so you undertook that quest too. Apparently it's an incomplete quest, how does it look like?"
"Well, it's a quest you can't complete just by brute force. The main entrance has high security, but aside from that one there are other special ways to infiltrate. The route through dry well forces you to beat multiple bosses one after another. Though, once you enter the mansion once all other routes open up for you, until then it's kinda harsh. Also, there's a malformed NPC patrolling the inside of the mansion."
"Hm-mm. Then I'm sure Tobi-chan would play a huge role for our party!"
Although in Taku's party it was Gantz who played the scout's role, he just barely started leveling up Senses related to scouting and was inexperienced.
"I heard lots about that quest, too. If I'm not wrong, someone said that you can't kill the patrolling NPC inside the mansion."
"What I heard was that once you're found several times, the quest is forcibly labeled as failed."
"Information I have was something I heard just a while ago. The patrolling NPC is fairly strong and can't be beaten alone, it takes quite some time to beat one. Meanwhile other NPCs gather and once there's a certain number of them, players have their movements forcibly restrained and are thrown out of the mansion."
"Does that mean the same kind of bell as the one outside is used? If that's the case, it's definitely forbidden to force your way through. Still, if you have more than one chance it's probably not that bad?"
"If it was possible, I'd love to rampage around inside that mansion!"
Does she mean, that kind of scene? Slashing enemies on top of the spiral stairs and have their bodies roll down? I wondered as I listened to her.
"Well, we'll proceed cautiously and avoid using force."
"Do your best, Onii-chan. I'll be going with Sei-oneechan's 【Eight Million Gods】 to beat the raid quest!"
Apparently, they're preparing meat for the party that's to be held in 【Eight Million Gods'】 guild home in a few days.
The dinner ended as we talked like that, Myu sipped some tea after eating and I washed dishes.
As we spend the after-dinner time in silence, Myu suddenly muttered as if recalling something.
"By the way... I heard that once you finish that bodyguard quest you receive a party dress——"All right, let's prepare the bath!"——Hey, Onii-chan?!"
I overlapped my voice over Myu's mutter and quickly headed to the bath after finishing the dish washing.
I heard her voice calling me from the living room, but I decided to ignore it.
I took a bath, then during the little time I had before going to sleep I logged into OSO and did some crafting inside 【Atelier】.
Sorting today's spoils, I took the golden items aside from Golden Arrows and melted them in the Magical Furnace to return them back to Gold Ingots.
The workshop at night was lit up by light spilling out from flames of a lantern and a Magical Furnace.
I poured the melted gold into a forms for ingots, then once they cooled down a little I removed the forms and struck the surface with black iron hammer.
The impurities surfaced and a high-purity ingot was crafted.
"Phew, I guess it's something like this?"
After I finished processing golden weapons other than arrows, I had a stack of Gold Ingots on the table.
"So, what do I do with this? It's pure gold, maybe I should use it for alchemy instead of accessories?"
Happy that I got some materials I made a loose smile and picked up the ingots. That moment——
A knocking sound came from the store part of 【Atelier】, making me stop working.
"W-what is it?!"
I turned towards the store with an anxious expression on my face. Hearing a knocking sound again my body twitched.
Neither Ryui nor Zakuro were summoned now and Kyouko-san had closed the store and left long ago. I wasn't waiting for anyone either.
Feeling like I was in some kind of horror movie, I fearfully checked the inside of 【Atelier】 and saw a shadow by the closed doors, the shadow knocked on the door time after time.
I entered the store while making sure not to make any sound. Probably because of 【Cold Damage】, or maybe because of the horror atmosphere, I felt a chill on my back and trembled slightly. Moving to the doors, I fearfully opened them.
When I did, standing there was——
"Brrr, so cold! Can I enter?"
"Huh, so it's you, Taku. Don't scare me. You should have called or messaged if you're coming."
"I did call you when you logged in, it was you who didn't pick up."
I hurriedly opened the menu when Taku refuted and indeed, there was a message from him.
When it came, I was concentrating on remaking golden weapons into ingots and didn't notice.
"Sorry, I didn't notice. So, you need something?"
"Well, it's not on the level of "need", I have some spare time now and wondered if you'd go with me to gather some materials for simple delivery quests."
"Haa, if you're that desperate I'll just share with you some materials I have."
I said and guided Taku inside 【Atelier】.
Since the oven's and stove's flames weren't lit I guided Taku inside the still-warm workshop and prepared tea.
"C'mon, drink this, it will warm you up."
"Oh, is this a 【Hot Drink】? It gives 【Cold Resistance】 when drank, right. Thanks."
I looked as Taku drank the slightly spicy drink made from grated Hakuga Roots and sweetened with honey to make it easier to drink, then raised cup of my own to my mouth.
"So? What kind of materials do you need? Mob's drop material? Or maybe some ore-type?"
"Nah, I wanted some herbs. I thought you could help me out gathering them since you know where the collection points are."
He said and opened the menu to show me the list of quests he accepted. They were the quests I already finished.
I opened the item box that was 【Atelier】's item storage and took out the necessary items, then passed them to Taku through trade.
He put in 100k into the trade window, but I refused that.
"These materials aren't worth this much, drop the 100k."
"It's my thanks. And I'll get 3 Quest Chips when I clear this quest, too. Thinking of the time expanse, this is a fitting price, right?"
Since one Quest Chip was worth 30k I was talked into accepting the money by Taku and the trade was established.
Afterwards, Taku who was looking around the workshop with interest had found the ingots placed a table.
"Hey, Yun. Are those Gold Ingots...?"
"I made them from the weapons we found in 【Devil Cultists' Hideout】 today. But seriously, this is really lots of gold. I wonder if there's some meaning behind this."
"I don't know either, but since there was a lock on that room it's possible that there's some meaning behind it. Among the new info, there's some saying that it's best to completely avoid fighting against the mansion's NPCs."
"I heard of it from Myu. I'm wondering how are we supposed to search that mansion to have the quest continue."
As I said "search" I was struck by how vague it is, I had no idea what should we do.
"For the time being we should search the second floor, maybe we'll get some quest items. Could you show me the map you drew?"
Requested by Taku, I took out the schematics of the first floor that I made today.
With the entrance as the center, there were lots of small rooms on the left side and big rooms such as the dining room and kitchen on the right side.
"If the second floor's structure is similar to the first floor, I guess the quest's goal would be the right side of the second floor?"
"Well, thinking of this with gaming logic, yeah. A large room is necessary for a boss battle."
I voiced my realistic opinion as I looked down at the schematics together with Taku.
"Also, this isn't certain info but when you're found by the enemy NPC, he calls others from all over the mansion. You need to either beat him before he calls others, or restrain him so that he can't call them."
Taku said, making me put a hand on my chin and think.
In that case, I probably should prepare 【Sleep】 and 【Stun】 bad status inducing potions. I thought and moved to the item box in order to take out necessary items, but my hand stopped in the middle of it.
"Oh, bow isn't fit for fighting inside the mansion, so maybe I should prepare another way to fight. Maybe I should make something for Gantz to use."
Managing my longbow inside a narrow passage is difficult. In which case, in order to make some items for Gantz to use with his 【Throw】 Sense, I took out Iron Ingots this time.
Then putting them into Magical Furnace I melted them in order to make several dozen of throwing needles.
Next, I synthesized those needles with bad status potions and made new items named 【Iron Sleeping Needle】 and 【Iron Stun Needle】.
On a side note, if you ever wonder why didn't I make them from a Silver Ingot, it's because synthesizing silver with bad status potions causes the silver to turn dark and the attack power drops drastically.
Silver weapons have a bonus against undead mobs, but on the downside, it was very weak against poison and their compatibility excludes the mix.
In any case, I ended up engrossed in making the two types of throwing needles.
"Yun, you sure make interesting stuff."
"Ah! Sorry Taku, I forgot all about you."
I completely forgot Taku was there as I focused on making items.
Finding that interesting, Taku chuckled.
"Naw, I just thought that you're really lively like that. I'm glad I got to see a rare side of you like that."
Told so by him, I averted my sight diagonally downwards in embarrassment.
"You won't get anything out of me by flattery."
"I just said what I thought."
As if to escape from Taku's gaze, I forcibly passed half of the throwing needles I made to Taku.
"I'll take half with me, you take the other half."
Said Taku and put the throwing needles in his inventory, then suddenly made a serious expression and spoke again.
"I see you aren't scared during this quest."
"Huh? Why would I be scared?"
Not understanding what he said, I made a inquired back.
"You're quite bad with horrors, dark places and such, right? That's why although I invited you, I wasn't sure myself if 【Devil Cultists' Hideout Destruction】 isn't too much for you. I'm glad you're all right."
"You're misunderstanding something, Taku. It's not like I'm bad with all kinds of dark places and horrors."
Although others think that I'm reluctant to play horror games and watch movies because I'm bad with all kinds of horror stuff, but that wasn't the case.
"This quest doesn't feel much like horror to me. It might be dark inside the mansion, but there's no ghosts and the monster who's patrolling isn't much different from the mobs I'm usually fighting."
"Then, what's your distinction criteria for what's horror and what is not?"
Questioned, I put a hand on my chin to think. I haven't thought about this well before, but most likely the difference whether it's acceptable to me or not is——
"This time's deformed NPC is a monster type and a mutant kind so it's okay. On the other hand, even a normal NPC would probably be worse if it was a malicious murderer. Also other stuff you know I'm bad with."
"So zombie and spirit types are out, huh? Also, you couldn't stand meat walls so you're bad with guro, too."
"Yup, yeah. Those kind of things."
Things that can be categorized as SF which was monsters and mutant types made me think rather than scare me, so I quite enjoyed those.
On the contrary, zombies, spirits and guro roused instinctive fear in me so I was bad with those. Also, I was bad with sudden surprises, they were bad for my heart.
"Yun, you cut meat as you cook and yet you're bad with guro..."
"Stop, don't make me think about it. What if I turn unable to cook starting from tomorrow?"
Hearing Taku's mutter I protested with all my might, making him let out throaty laughter.
"Sorry, sorry. Still, I'm quite surprised to know something new about my childhood friend."
"Of course there'll be things you don't know. Sometimes I'm even surprised at myself."
While at first I was invited to play OSO by Myu and Taku so that I can meet Sei-nee, I never thought I would get so serious about playing it.
I thought so but didn't say it, meanwhile Taku shrugged and said "I guess you're right".
"Well, I'm relieved to hear that you won't suddenly panic during this quest."
"Hmm? Did you come to the store at a time like this so that you can confirm that?"
You could just ask about it tomorrow in school, I thought, but was a little happy for his consideration.
"All right Taku, see you tomorrow I guess?"
"See you tomorrow too, you mean. I wouldn't mind at all if you joined our party, Yun."
"Not happening. I like to play at my pace by myself."
Joking around, we bumped our fists and laughed.
That day both Taku and I logged soon after, but I felt like I received some motivation for tomorrow's quest.