Prologue - Shop and Lack of Customers
A single-floored brand new wooden building with no traces of sunburn had simple décor, and its entrance was made out of cobblestones.
The inside of the building was like that of a common private house from fantastical settings. I looked at the light entering from the wide-opened entrance.
"...no one's coming..."
Haa, I spat out a tired sigh. There weren't many customers who would come over to 【Atelier】.
Feeling a bit sulky, I pressed my cheek to the counter, the cold feeling was very pleasant.
After a while, as I continued to wait without any motivation suddenly the light has been blocked. I reflexively got up.
"Welcome. ——Ah, Kyouko-san eh."
The one standing in the store's entrance was Kyouko-san the clerk NPC.
"Yes, I'm back. So, what were you doing?"
"I was waiting for customers, but it doesn't seem like anyone is coming."
"Even if people aren't coming, this shop's flourishing, isn't it."
"Well, I guess."
Certainly, this shop was freshly built and wasn't well-known, normally people didn't come, but people who knew about this shop's existence from the consignment shops might. I waited patiently.
After saying that with a charming smile, Kyouko-san started reporting like a secretary.
"With that said——Magi-san and Cloude-san gave us a good price for Enchant Stones to sell in consignment."
"That's great. Did we reach the target amount of money with those?"
"Yes, we have enough."
With the amount of money I've had on hand, even after deducting necessary expanses I could expand the store and buy equipment for Dosing. However, my spending money would completely vanish.
The place I was in right now was a shop inside of OSO which mainly specialized in dealing with consumables.
This shop was in possession of my game character – Yun; I was the shopkeeper.
There were special circumstances behind my 【Atelier】's establishment. I skipped the 'selling steadily at stalls' step and instead I earned money by selling things in consignment with other shops. And because I wanted to continue my consignment with those shops, a problem has arisen, people wouldn't come to my shop.
"It's lonely without anyone coming."
"Then you should go outside to earn money and replenish the stock of potions. I'll stay here instead of Yun-san."
With a charming smile on her face Kyouko-san made a sensible proposal, well, that's true. Convinced, I took out my equipment to check it.
"We have reached the target amount for facilities expansion, I'll go and order it right now."
And while I'm at it, I wanted to practice hunting as well, and while muttering so in my mind I left the store and was replaced by Kyouko-san.
The first place I aimed for was the old man NPC who managed purchases and selling of fields.
"Old man, got time?"
"What is it? Oh, it's the Missy."
"Don't call me 'missy'. I'm a man."
There was a reason as to why the man with a strong tan treated me like a woman.
That's because the machine misidentified me during my initial OSO character edit, and I have become a female character because of that, the NPC called me 'missy'.
"I want to ask you for a store extension, a workshop behind the store. Also, I want you to prepare higher level Dosing equipment."
"You're finally taking another step, it won't be just a counter store any longer."
He muttered as he received money from me. Not your business, is what I want to say. Certainly, currently it's just a wooden building that looks like a box, and only has a counter inside. In the back there's only a field for cultivating medicinal plants. Still, it played its role as a base well.
"Well, fine. How long will the renovation take?"
"Few days at most. Now then, I'm going back to work."
The NPC folded his arms standing in the same place he always stood, just what kind of work is that. I felt an urge to retort but managed to suppress it. I walked through the town.
As I walked, the feelings of happiness from having the store renovated started to appear and a smile of joy gradually appeared on my face. With a light gait I've headed to hunting grounds.
The hunting grounds I usually use is a forest a small distance away from the town. In this place I could find materials to use to craft items for 【Atelier】 like herbs or ore. My mood was great and it felt like a stroll.
However, today I met a party which was there ahead of me. Their prying eyes focused on me and their whispers have reached my ears.
("Look, she has a bow on her back.")
("That thing has horrible accuracy and high usage costs.")
("Well, it has nothing to do with us.")
I looked back reflexively after hearing that, found them and readied an arrow.
I aimed over the three people's heads and released an arrow. Immediately after the arrow pierced through the mob that was above them, the mob fell to the ground and after bouncing off it, it disappeared. Seeing their surprise I felt gratified, I should do that more often. And feeling like that I proceeded into the back.
The bow——to be exact the 【Bow】 Sense had been receiving horrible treatment because it required consumable arrows to use. It was my main weapon, and I was quite fond of it. And because of that, I felt slightly offended when they were badmouthing it, I could fight using this weapon as well as I would if I mastered a regular weapon. Feeling like that I proceeded to look for stronger mobs.
"I'll definitely change they way they look at it!"
And after entering an area with strong enemies in it I fought my first battle and returned to town after dying.
"That's right. They were progressing in a party of three, what am I doing assaulting those solo, I'm such an idiot... let's cool my head off a little."
The moment I got motivated, I failed. I scratched the back of my head and while letting out a sigh, I selected 'Log Out' from the main menu. The character named 'Yun' has withdrawn from the world of OSO.
I stood in the kitchen in the early morning preparing a boxed lunch.
My attire, was an apron on top of a summer school uniform. My little sister Miu was sitting dressed in her summer school uniform as well, she ate the breakfast before I did. Although there was still time and there was no need to panic, she put the ham and fried eggs on toast and already started eating.
"Miu, even if you don't hurry like that you'll still make it."
"Ughh... that's true but the time's precious. I'll use the remaining time to collect info!"
And while saying that, Miu poured the tea into her stomach all at once. She said 'thank you for the meal' and put the dishes into the sink right next to me.
Miu finished breakfast and after bringing a laptop from her room, she looked at it with a serious expression.
"So, did you find anything?"
"Onii-chan... right now, there's a server maintenance ongoing."
"Oh, that reply makes it seem like you're not interested. Also, some specifications will change with the version change."
"Specification changes? Did they find some bugs?"
"No, not that. Something like a balance adjustment?"
I was beckoned over by Miu who looked like she was about to devour the laptop's screen with her gaze after she brought it to the living room. She put it down right next to the prepared lunch boxes.
"They introduced a satiety system which utilizes the mishappen 【Cooking】 Senses."
"Hee〜, in other words..."
"Meals will be also necessary in-game. The stats will decrease with hunger, and at worst you can die of starvation. Haa, it reminds of a certain roguelike."
My third year middle schooler little sister folded her arms and nodded several times. You, you're supposed to be younger than me but it feels as if you remembered something nostalgic from ages ago.
The roguelike Miu mentioned seemed to be a stealthy-type RPG.
In the game, players and monsters continue to act by alternating turns and move on square fields, a very simple game where the behaviour is determined by order which is influenced by their agility. However, if you don't make full use of items and traps, you will die surrounded by enemies. If a single player is surrounded by eight or more enemies, it would not end well. The solution to that was to wipe out an entire column of enemies or kill the them on three adjacent fields in front.
If one's surrounded in a bad way, the monsters will use friendly fire on their companions and rank up, or if the player is stuck in a trap might be mercilessly attacked.
And if one continues to level while remaining in the same field he will start feeling hungry, it was a difficult game.
Shizuka-nee was good at these roguelikes, she used to say 『"Player's skills will work only if you can predict what's ahead. And if you can't look ahead, there's no choice but to learn by dying."』it was that type of game.
However, the thing I was concerned about was...
"What if we can't eat in the real later after eating in the game. If even though I made dinner we couldn't eat it because of that, it would be sad."
"I don't think that'll happen. I tried eating food item 【Rice Ball】 in the β version, despite having a taste it didn't fill the stomach. So it's just game status-based thing."
Such a thing. I looked back at the screen convinced.
On the screen, there were various samples of food items arranged.
My in-game store 【Atelier】 was dealing mainly with consumables. Adding food-type items to the offered products sounded interesting. I could make items like sandwiches with ease just by putting the ingredients together.
"...let's try picking up the 【Cooking】 Sense."
Responding to my absent-minded murmur——
"Onii-chan, aren't you picking up too many? 【Bow】 and 【Enchant】 as well as 【Mixing】. And now 【Cooking】..."
"Leave me be, you cheat of a little sister."
I thought that I was spreading my skills too wide as well, but I didn't regret it. I intended to play the game at my own pace. And if I didn't use a Sense, then I could always put it away.
"If it's Yun-oneechan, I think the support-magic type role mage would fit her best."
"I said, don't call me 'Yun-oneechan'."
Although I scowled hearing what Miu said, I understood what she meant. I could increase stability of the party by combining 【Recovery】 and 【Enchant】, and if there was time to spare I could attack with magic. That's how the style was envisioned but... hey, that's no different what I'm doing now.
For recovery, whether potions or magic, there was no difference. For attacks, it was the same whether I use bow or magic.
My role wouldn't change much. Moreover, the character I have is already devoted to support. If someone needs food, then it's my role as a support to deliver it.
Of course, even if it wasn't improved at this time I thought of eventually taking 【Cooking】 anyway. Things like steaks from dragon meat felt like a dream to me.
"Grr... if that's how it is, then let me eat delicious food in the game as well."
"Yes yes. Lunch box's gonna get get cold, so put the lid on it."
"What's in it today?"
"Yay! Onii-chan, I love you!"
Although she was happy about a childish meal chicken rice was, on the other hand I felt embarrassed about it. Well, I was fine with it since it was easy to make.
"Come on, put the lunch box in your bag before you forget."
"Onii-chan, come here for a sec."
The moment I tried to eat my breakfast after putting away my lunch box, Miu sat right next to me showing me the laptop's screen once again.
On the screen, there were business contact as well as various schedules for OSO. Among them, there was the latest information about the update in a video format.
"I'll play it."
『"Nice to meet you everyone. I'm Yoshino Kazuhito from 『Only Sense Online』's development department."』
We watched the man who appeared on the laptop's screen. It was a handsome man in his twenties. Ain't that an idol from somewhere?
『"The announcements this time is the contents of the update as well as an event announcement."』
I glanced sideways at Miu who had a serious expression on her face as she stared at the screen, it was as if she wanted to make a hole in it with her gaze. Silently I looked back at the video.
『"This update incorporates more realism by introducing Satiety system. As for the official event, we have been preparing a surprise during the entirety of summer holidays operations. In ten days at 1 p.m. there will be an official event held in the First Town. The participation is restricted to parties up to 6 members. The number of items one person can hold is restricted up to a hundred. Depending on how you conduct yourself during the event, even players who haven't played for a long time can become strong in a short period of time. Moreover, the event also contains gift-type elements to it, please join us and participate."』
Although the video was peaceful and no longer than three minutes, Miu started pondering about its contents.
"An official event... getting stronger in a short time... the condition is the number of members in party and amount of items."
"Miu? It's time. We're going to school."
Even as we left the house, we continued to discuss the contents of the announcement from earlier.
"What does Onii-chan think about the announcement from earlier?"
"It's my first event right? There's no more details about it so there's nothing for me to think about."
"That's true but, considering they mentioned getting stronger in a short amount of time, it seems like we can acquire some unique items. It smells like rares."
"It's a world I don't know much about. So, should I join and try it? What about Shizuka-nee?"
"Onee-chan's a hardcore gamer so she'll definitely participate, and since it's summer there'll be a lot of people participating too〜."
Miu walked next to me and stretched her hands all at once and said while squinting in the sun. I squinted because of the dazzle in the same way.
"If Shizuka-nee was available, we could try participating together."
"Ahh, impossible, no way. Onee-chan's a guild's sub-guild master. They've got like thirty people now, she can't favour relatives over them. And she's ahead of us too."
"Yeah. Right now we're raising our levels near the southern entrance. Onee-chan has a higher level and she's even further. Also, she's been earning money for the guild."
Hoo〜, she already has a guild. After doing the guild establishment quest it seems like the next bottleneck are the funds, so she even cleared that step. I have no intention of joining a guild, though that's completely unrelated.
"In other words, there's no one I can rely on. Maybe I should participate alone. Well, I'll at least do some preparations."
"I guess. I need to prepare too, by leveling up and such. Even so, ahh, I started feeling like playing now. School's such a pain."
"It's just half a day, also I've already prepared boxed lunch."
"Onii-chan will make a good bride in the future."
"What's this little sister saying to her brother..."
I protested to Miu and sighed.
We still had time to spare before school started. The whole way to school was travelled on our own two feet. Walking in this hot and humid weather over hot asphalt was physically demanding.
Finally after reaching the school gate, we separated as I was in high school and Miu was in middle school. As I walked down the hallway I heard voices leak from classrooms, I entered my own classroom.
"Yo, Shun. Been a while."
"It hasn't has it. We're meeting occasionally in-game."
As I complained I threw him a punch with no strength behind it. Takumi received it.
"Somehow, you seem sleepy. Did you get enough sleep?"
"No, I've been leveling up to twelve o'clock midnight. I've been in charge of pulling a strong enemy in a mine. It was a delicious level up."
"You game addict. So, how was it? Did you get any good items?"
"Nah it was useless. It was an ore-type but we couldn't use it. Also, that boss is too strong. We're trying to raise our level to the very limit and proceed in the north direction."
"I see. I'm doing things like harvesting or crafting. If you need anything then visit my store."
"I'll do so then."
Hmm. A mine huh. I'd like to try going there once. Well, let's try going to take a look after I level up my 【Craftsmanship】.
We spoke about the maintenance from this morning and the update info as well as the official event.
The impression Takumi had after watching the same video was that it was made to have people take advantage of Senses that weren't used up until now.
Other than that, I spent time that remained until the morning homeroom talking with Takumi and other classmates I haven't met for a while.
It was a school day that happened during summer holidays, in response to the teacher's notice we gathered to clean the school after which we went home. That was the flow of events.
Takumi went running back home in order to log into OSO as soon as possible and check the contents of the update.
I went to buy groceries for dinner on my way home, and immediately after coming back I logged into OSO as well.
Chapter 1 – Cooking and Satiety
The satiety system made it so that the satiety number decreased as time passed or activities were done. It was necessary to regularly restore satiety by using food items.
When satiety hits 25% there will be a negative status that has an impact on stats, and when satiety reaches 0, HP will gradually start decreasing.
The satiety level put a status on the player that was different from other abnormal effects and couldn't be recovered from as such. In order to restore satiety one could use consumable items like pills and potions which recovered a small amount of satiety, or food items like rice balls which recovered a high amount of satiety.
In short, that's how it felt.
Also, if you have a 【Sense】 and make food items from materials that dropped from monsters, it will temporarily increase one's stats. Also, the opposite could also be achieved...
"Oh, Yun-san. Hello."
"Ah, Kyouko-san. Hello. Any customers today?"
Not moving from in front of the 【Atelier】's counter, I checked the menu screen for satiety and didn't notice a person standing next to me until they I've been called out to.
"No one came. Although it would be good if someone did."
Kyouko-san said so while raising her shoulders. Come to think of it, because of the maintenance which started this morning no player could log in and purchase anything from the store. NPCs are really close to real people. I thought, they had very realistic personalities.
"What happened? Yun-san."
Because I stared intently at Kyouko-san, she looked back at me in wonder.
"It's nothing. Could you buy a larger amount of Herbs, as well as materials for Blue Potions tomorrow? I need to replenish the Beginner's Potions stock."
"I understand. Then, this is today's harvest."
I looked at the items I've been passed. They were herb-type items that were grown on the field next to the shop.
The herb-based items grown on the field were higher level than normal ones, and if potions were made out of that material, there were effective to the point of overhealing.
Well, because of that I compensated it with another Sense.
"What should I try today. I need to secure money for upgrading the facilities too..."
Also, I want to acquire the 【Cooking】 Sense because of the newest update. And I need to organize items for delivery before that. When I looked down at the menu for that, I've heard a voice call out.
Since I was called out to, I stopped working and looked in the direction it came from.
"Yahoo. It's been since earlier today, Onee-chan."
"Hello there, Yun-san."
It was my little sister Myu and her party member Lucato.
The reason Myu called me 'Onee-chan' was my current appearance.
Since I was originally feminine, the correction that was applied on me by OSO's character edit added even more femininity. My hair extended to my waist, my voice was higher, and my body has gained curves. Once again I was reminded of that fact and let out a sigh.
"What happened? Is there anything on my face?"
"Stop that, um... calling me 'onee-chan.'"
"Even so, it doesn't seem like there are any customers. Are you able to properly secure funds?"
"Listen to what people are saying, geez..."
As Myu looked around the store no customers visited, Lucato who was beside her smiled wryly. I spat out a small sigh.
"The item types and prices aren't bad, but people won't come just because I made a shop."
"The restrictions you placed on the number of items purchased is probably one of the reasons. Please get rid of that."
"ST Recovery and Highpots. I get it. I just have to steadily continue."
The NPC Kyouko-san was doing accounting instead of me. Initially when the game started there were multiple resellers who bought out all the potions and sold them at high prices, to avoid that happening to 【Atelier】 and to sell potions to everyone at an affordable price I imposed a limit on number of items. Though, unless I remove it I won't have enough people coming over. And, the accounting was completed as I was lost in thoughts.
"Now that we have prepared ourself for an adventure, let's go on one that's full of dreams and romance, expect a souvenir! Because I expect a delicious dinner!"
"Isn't that the same as always. Good grief... Lucato, can I leave Myu to you?"
"Yes, it's the usual thing..."
Lucato's smile made it seem like I could leave it to her and be at ease. I sent off the energetic Myu and Lucato, then once again, I considered what to do.
"So, what do I start with."
Help came from the NPC Kyouko-san who had her arms folded.
"How about you deliver items and show your face at Magi-san's?"
"You're right, lets start with that. I'll be going then."
I took the items and left the store. Since there was an update in the morning there were a lot of people on the streets, I walked while observing them.
People were forming parties, purchasing equipment as well as advertised their stalls with loud voices. While enjoying the atmosphere I arrived at Magi-san's shop, 【Open Sesame】.
"Magi-san? You here?"
"Heya, Yun-kun. It's been a while. Since you've been leaving all the deliveries to NPC I started to worry about you."
Although she said she worried, Magi-san greeted me with a smile on her face. If anything, it seemed like she had fun talking with me.
"Well, since it's been a while since I came over to Magi-san's place, Kyouko-san proposed that I come myself this time."
"The NPC's are highly autonomous aren't they. Just a while ago, one got really angry at me."
Magi-san turned her gaze at the NPC who was organizing weapons in the store.
While we were talking like that, I delivered the items.
Magi-san's shop was dealing with metal weapons and armour, she herself had a 【Smithing】 Sense. I was crafting potions and medicines with 【Mixing】 Sense and sold them in consignment with Magi-san. The Blue Potions I delivered to Magi-san were made from relatively cheap materials and their effect was reasonably high. Because there was a lot of people coming to Magi-san's shop, they sold out like hot cakes.
"Why are they selling like that at Magi-san's place... even though they're the same items..."
"I still haven't seen Yun-kun's shop, how does it look like?"
"Ah, want to see a screenshot?"
I displayed the screenshot of the shop I was proud of for Magi-san to look at.
A small wooden store, the store I loved. Also, the verdant herbs. As well as the Vitality Tree that has started to bear fruits recently.
"Amazing, it looks like part of the background."
That's how it must've been looking from perspective of general public, and as she saw my eyes cloud over, Magi-san started to panic.
"N-no, I think it's good! I-it has a good taste or... how to say it..."
"It's all right. The store's pretty shoddy, but I can set the limit on items purchased or leave it all to the clerk, I haven't advertised it yet either. So the only ones coming are my little sister's party members. The consignment is the majority of my income."
Another thing to do, was to invest into the shop's appearance and equipment. That's why, I wasn't being sad at all right now. Hey, just now, my visibility has distorted a bit.
"Come on, Yun-kun. I have a proposal for that. Won't you sell Enchant Stones in here?"
"Enchant Stones, huh?"
While rubbing my moist eyes, I blinked to see Magi-san.
Enchant Stones were one of main 【Atelier】's products.
It was an item I made with 【Enchant Arts】's skill 【Skill Enchant】.
When my 【Enchant】 had reached level 30 I received a skill 【Skill Enchant】 which allowed me to put Arts and Skills I possessed into an item which could be activated with a keyword afterwards, it wasn't a crafting skill in a strict sense of the word.
I was using 【Enchant】's skill on Stones which were an inexpensive material and made convenient Enchant Stones. Moreover, the skills that can be put into an item were dependant on the skills I had. One of them were enchanted Gems called Magic Gem, because I couldn't create many of them, they became my personal means of attacking.
The once-enchanted items, no matter their level and type, whether its weapons or materials, they all disappear after being used once. Therefore, it was a basic disposable consumable item.
And like that, I was slightly lost in thoughts.
"Yeah. I'll make sure to properly explain to people how to use them and give your store publicity. Since we're mainly a store which deals with metal items, it's fine if you give us just the attack and defence stat raising ones."
Hmm, it's an attractive proposal. If the existence of such items is known, there might be people who will come to 【Atelier】 seeking magic attack and defence ones. And if the amount of customers increases, there will be more repeaters coming over to our store. Incidentally, the rearguards will probably purchase MP Potions as well.
"Is there something that bothers you?"
"No, it takes a minute to make them, it's more like casting magic on an item rather than crafting items."
"So, what do you mean by that?"
"Assuming I have a hundred of herbs I can use a skill to make a hundred of potions at once. As for Enchant Stones, I need to select the target stone and apply magic on it so it would be troublesome to make many of them. Well, one per minute."
Included in that there's the process of polishing and dyeing. This effort was done in order to make it easier to differientate each type of enchant.
"And if I don't gather the material, which is stones..."
"So you can't make too many of them. Then, that person! I mean, me, I will try to advertise your store to people."
"Then, how about I deliver some starting from tomorrow? Also I'd be glad to hear impressions after people use them."
"Understood. Looks like a customer came, see you later."
"Yes, see you."
I said so, and left the store having a customer replace me.
I acquired 【Cooking】 Sense by using the surplus of SP I had and purchased a beginner's crafting kit for it after which I transferred to the Second Town through the town portal.
【Hawk Eyes Lv31】 【Speed Increase Lv16】 【Discovery Lv12】 【Magic Talent Lv34】 【Magic Power Lv32】
【Enchant Arts Lv9】 【Dosing Lv4】 【Craftsmanship Lv24】 【Crafting Knowledge Lv21】 【Cooking Lv1】
【Taming Lv1】 【Synthesis Lv22】 【Earth Element Talent Lv3】 【Bow Lv22】 【Alchemy Lv24】
I instantly switched over to the idyllic scenery leaving the First Town.
And I called out to the NPC Clerk who stood next to the portal.
"Good day, Martha."
"Oh, Yun-kun. Hello."
I greeted the well-built middle aged woman who was holding a basket. This person was Martha the Baker. From Martha you could get a item delivery quest, but also undertake one more quest from her.
"Will you deliver for pocket money today too?"
The delivery quest Martha gave was one that had you deliver items to local residents, there was a similar quest in the first town as well, all you I had to do was to pass out items on the street, it was an easy way to make money. The amount was small but it was easy and safe, players also got various items from the NPCs involved with the quest.
"No, I came to receive bread-making lessons today."
"Oh dear?! For such a young girl to come to me! It's 5kG for one lesson."
"Then here, tuition fee."
That moment, I received the quest 【Martha's Bread-Making Lesson】.
This was a tutorial quest which assisted a player in utilizing the Cooking Sense in many ways.
A tutorial quest was one that taught players knowledge and techniques it wouldn't hurt them to know in exchange for gold. Currently I still needed to take a similar quest from the fish store and a butcher.
"Now then, I'll show you how to make bread in a way even beginners can use. Well, don't strain yourself and use the tools and materials as you please."
While being slightly overwhelmed by the NPC who continued to do preparations, I wore the brown apron that was pressed against my chest.
"Now, I'll explain. The 【Cooking】 has three basic skills,【Preparing】 【Processing】 and 【Facilitating】. The 【Facilitating】 skill can be used to shorten the time it takes to prepare dough. And to tear it to form the shapes you desire. The next one is 【Processing】 which allows you to change the rough shape into the form that has been registered. If you don't have time then you can use the【Cooking】 skill to make dishes right from the material. However, because this skill is used to make it all at once, the evaluation is low. You need to make it properly if you want to cook something delicious. Now then, try making the bread the way you want it."
"Hey, what's with that all of a sudden. Oh well, there are tools so I'll just do as I like."
As I was told to make bread, there appeared a material called 'Fresh Bread'. I took advantage of it.
With Martha's bread, lettuce and bacon and the cheese I cut appropriately, I used an easy and fail-proof recipe to make a sandwich.
Yun's Sandwich 【Consumable】
Satiety+25, Evaluation 5
A sandwich Yun put her heart into making.
And it became like this “『Crafter's name』 and 『Dish Name』” has become this item's name. Moreover there was that description. “『Dish Name』『Crafter's』 has put his/her heart into making. ” as well as the item evaluation which was something that estimated how tasty the item was in numeric value.
"Oh, you've made it. Now then, try eating it."
Although the Satiety stat still had a wide margin, since I already made it after so much trouble I might as well eat it.
"Here, the bread you've made. Also here's this house's recipe."
I received a poor quality brown paper from Martha as well as a mountain of bread packed into a basket as a quest reward. Although I glanced on the several recipe sheets, they were all simple and that consisted mostly of required material listings. It was stuff that could be made without any cooking knowledge.
"Now then, bread-making lesson is over. Incidentally, I have a bread delivery for old man Hustel. What about it?"
"I'll do the delivery quest then."
I received the paper bag containing sandwiches for delivery and the quest.
"He's fishing in the river as usual. Be careful when passing through the woods. You might be an adventurer, but it's still dangerous."
The old woman saw me off with a peculiar sigh. All of those NPCs have that human-like smell as they smiled wryly.
With a paper bag stowed away in my inventory I left the town and started running through the dense forest.
Through a gap in the forest entered light. The moment I left the forest, I felt cool moisture of the river on my skin. It was wider than the river flowing through the town and its flow was stronger, it deserved to be called a mountain stream.
This was a place inviolable by mobs, and they didn't emerge in it. A point made for players to take a break at——the safety area.
I found an old man fishing while sitting on a large rock beside the stream.
"Hello, Hustel-san right?"
"Indeedly, what's up?"
As I said that, old man Hustel turned back towards me happily.
"I totally forgot about the meal. Thanks, Miss."
The way this old man interacted with others was very gentlemanly. However, It's a shame. Old man, I'm a man.
After receiving the paper bag from me, the old man Hustel immediately began to rummage through its contents. He skilfully sandwiched the fishing rod between his legs and took out the sandwich.
The moment he received it the Martha's delivery quest was completed. The old man Hustel stuffed himself with the sandwich. He happily said "Yum, tasty.", I felt that appearance of his was pleasing.
Hustel didn't miss the reaction from the fishing rod sandwiched between his legs and caught the fish with practised moves and threw the fish to the basket beside him. He looked at me as I stared at it and flashed a smile.
"This 【Fishing】 is just a hobby of an old man's. Well, it's about time to stop fishing for today, guess I'll go back home."
The old man stood up heavily and moved away from the river while dragging his right foot. I also stood up the same way, thinking of going back together with the old man, then, I noticed.
"Old man, is there anything in the water?"
"Not really. Stones and rocks. A quiet spot you can find fish in."
"...stones! I see. There are stones in there! "
"Whoa?! What's with your sudden shout!!"
"Thanks, old man. I'll be going back into the river for a bit."
I turned around and headed back where I just came from, hurrying towards the river. I entered the river without any hesitation, even though I was surprised by a strong flow which seemed like it would carry me away despite how shallow it was, I knelt and plunged my hand into the water.
"Uhee?! It's cold!"
As the places that touched the cold water immediately felt cold seeping into flesh and bones, I picked up stones from the bottom. They were of good size. As a material for Enchant Stones they were satisfactory. I continued to pick them up one by one and put them in my inventory. Before I realized I was already near the middle of the river. The water has come up to my waist but I kept picking up stones without noticing it. And, I carelessly——
Slipped in the water. It was in the deepest part of the river and I flowed together with the stream. Water soaked my clothes making them heavy. I panicked because of what suddenly happened, I struggled but water was only passing through my fingers. When I finally grabbed something, it turned out to be a fist-sized stone. And my consciousness faded away gradually, I understood I was rolling around on the bottom of the stream.
I was washed away, and so to speak, knocked out. Cold water flowed into my mouth.
The momentum of water currents differed in various places, while spinning, the stream washed me away.
Every time I hit a rock the air leaked out from my mouth. The edge of my field of vision was gradually eroded.
Not releasing the stone until the very end, my consciousness gave out——when I woke up, I was in the central square of the First Town. Among people who died just like me, I was the only one with wet hair and standing in daze.
And I was bathed in gazes on the spot, I checked my body. It was all soaked, wet and heavy clothes were sticking to my skin.
It wasn't the colour of clothes themselves as they were all dark-coloured, but the lines of my body which stood, making people around focus on them.
Heyyyyyy!? This is embarrassing! Returning after dying was fine, but this isn't!
I screamed in my heart and began to run at full power. I ignored the mental exhaustion due to my half-drowned body which was heavy with water and escaped to 【Atelier】.
The sight of me leaving at breakneck speed while leaving behind yellow light might have made a different kind of strong impression. When I reached 【Atelier】 after running I immediately logged out and lied down on the sofa in the living room lifelessly.
Having drowned in a river inside of a game has dealt a blow to my spirit. I noticed that after logging out. The hands which were removing headgear were trembling slightly and my knees were trembling.
To try rehydrating myself I took out the chilled barley tea from the refrigerator, I was walking unsteadily like a newborn fawn.
"Haa. Today was quite dangerous."
I no longer had motivation to do anything. Sorry Miu. Today's dinner will be retort pouch, or maybe instant? Onii-chan's tired. I apologized in my heart.
When I planned to lie down on the sofa and sleep, my mobile phone went off.
It was the default continuous ringtone, after it rang out four times I decided to pick it up.
"Yo, Shun ...how is it?"
"...this morning we met in school haven't we."
"You seem under the weather. What happened?"
Probably sensing it in my voice, Takumi asked. Geez, when it came to noticing people's change of mood he was really something.
"I've come back from my worst death ever."
"Ahh, careless, did you fight with a boss?"
"No, I was collecting items in a river, my feet slipped and I drowned."
No, that was seriously a death. It wasn't something' on the level of 'painful', it was an unstoppable violence. I'm in a groggy state now.
"Seriously, what are you doing."
"Hahaha, how to say it. When I drowned, water entered my lungs, my body hit the rocks as it was being swept, it was more and more painful until I finally came back from the death. You too should try it out."
Probably imagining it, Takumi let out an unpleasant voice. That place, although I picked a large amount of stones in there, it was dangerous. Unless I take safety measures like binding myself with a rope, today's occurrence will repeat itself.
"Which river did you drown in?"
"The safety area around the second town. The scenery was nice."
Come to think of it, I forgot to take a screenshot of the landscape. For the time being I don't want to go back there and gouge out the trauma.
"Hee〜, so there's a place like that."
"There was no enemies, it was a quiet spot. So, I ask you this late, but the reason for the call is?"
Oh, yeah. He let out a voice as if he remembered. I wonder what's happening.
"I wondered what are you going to do to prepare for the event."
"What do I do. Hey, what do you normally do before an event? I tried to cope with the update changes but..."
"You mean the satiety level update? That 'coping with' you don't mean..."
"Hm? I acquired the 【Cooking】 Sense."
It can't be, that conversation was a flag... and Takumi started to mutter incomprehensible stuff on the other side of phone.
"So, what do you normally prepare for event."
"Ah, yeah. That's leveling, strengthening equipment and replenishing consumables. So, how about you?"
"Naw, nothing big. I'm steadily crafting potions."
"That's barbarous! We discussed the party balance yesterday and decided by consensus it would be best to have you. Though, I wouldn't mind it even if you joined us for the event too."
I was happy being relied on, but it was bothersome. However, I couldn't refuse my best friend's request.
"Good grief, it can't be helped. Next time, take me to a place I can gather some ore and I'll team up with you temporarily."
"But only occasionally. If I feel like it. Also, show your face at my store at least once. I've decent assortment right now."
"Thank you very much, tsundere." he said. Hey, I'm not a tsundere.
Well, the story from just now, if I weren't a crafter then I would probably have gladly accepted it. However, there were several things I wanted to do right now.
"Establishing a safe way to secure stones is a priority now."
I reached out towards the ceiling of my home.
"All right, my energy's back! Let's make dinner."
I raised my voice to inspire myself. Somehow, after speaking with Takumi my mood has gotten better. For that, I'm thankful to Takumi. I thought.
I ended for the night soon after. Mentally calm, I logged in into 【OSO】 next afternoon.
What was waiting for me over there, was newly prepared equipment installed and waiting for me in the new workshop. I looked at it with a satisfied expression.
"Not good, this isn't good Kyouko-san. I can't stop smiling."
"Well. With this we have secured the minimal required appearance."
"Ahh, I want to call over others for some tea. Or rather, I want to boast."
Because I was way too happy, I tried touching everywhere. The texture of stone walls, a big mortar that was a part of Mixing equipment, wooden windows and item box for materials storage.
As I was delighted like a child, Kyouko-san continued to smile, but that smile was an incredibly wry one. When I noticed that, I unnaturally cleaned my throat and changed the topic.
"Next time, please buy materials that can be used for making sandwiches which will be sold in the store."
"I understand. But no matter what you make, make sure it sells, the store is having a hard time getting by..."
Haa, Kyouko-san let out a tired sigh. No, I'll do my best.
"It's all right. The number of item types we sell will increase! It'll definitely sell... probably."
"...probably, is it. Well, there's a lot of products in stock at the moment, it's not like they'll sell out immediately. The harvest on the fields is done, will you use this time for research?"
Implicitly she stated 'the customers aren't coming, so there'll be stock left over', but I wasn't bothered.
"I will. I want to use different materials like raw monster meat which wasn't used up until now."
"Do your best. Then, I'll be go back to store."
She said so, I saw Kyouko-san off as she went to the counter store's section, then started Mixing.
I put a large amount of herbs in the bigger mortar and started to grind soundly. Before, I decided to discontinue preparing it by hand outside, and felt it was a progress. But this time... this time I put the liquids that were extracted in process of grinding the herbs in the new device, the condenser.
It was made with the same amount of material synthetic potions consumed, but what's the effect?
The component extraction was complete, I stared at the change like a child.
But as it continued to boil in a large pot, I began working on something else.
With a well equipped workshop extension like this I could work on pills and potions in parallel.
Right now, I concentrated on Mixing the usual Pills which was a solid recovery drug, and the High Potions which were an upper level recovery potions.
Haa, looks like having a lot of space and tools just like when I'm cooking makes it fun... oh damn, the potions?!
It seems like the new condenser component was operating beyond expectations. Usually it turned into something dark ten minutes after putting in potions as a material.
Condensed Potion 【Consumable】
It was registered in recipes as as a completely different kind of potion. Despite being concentrated, the effect recovered was the same as that of an ordinary potion. Since it was condensed, then it should be fine to return it to normal with water, thinking like that, I diluted the concentrate with five times the amount of water and was able to obtain five times the amount of Potions.
When I diluted it with ten times more water, I received Beginner's Potions.
"Somehow, I managed to do it without failing, but what is Condensed Potion used for?"
I don't know. The recovered amount didn't increase, I felt like there isn't any use for it considering the extra material it needs. However, in order to confirm how the condenser operates, I subjected variety of materials to it.
Antidote Grass, Paralysis Grass, Medicinal Spirit Grass, Magical Spirit Grass as well as variety of dropped meat-type items.
For herb-type items, if previously dried herbs are subjected to concentration there seems to be a slight increase in effect as compared to usual. For Antidote Potions and Paralysis Potions their state recovery increased making them 【Antidote 2】 【Paralysis 2】.
The High Potions and MP Potions were improved having now 1 more charge. In the future, I will continue producing them through the condenser.
It was possible to condense High Potions and MP Potions as well, but as compared to Potions, it took more time to produce.
In addition, when I tried producing an item like MP Potion from the condenser through a 【Recipe】, the MP consumption was very intense and I couldn't continuously use the skill.
The usage of crafting skill was replaced by a tedious task which was condensing MP Potions to the limit. I did everything with skill before condensing, and then did the necessary stuff manually in different manners.
"Well, I could recover MP between manual work. Even so, for medicine to become a poison. Although I say that, it seems like I can make poison too."
When I tried extracting from Poison Blood which dropped from bats, I've gotten 【Poison ・Droplets】. It was a different item from Poison itself and as the name suggested, it was an item which caused someone to fall into an abnormal state.
When I tried to extract that poison component further, it has changed into an item called 【Poison ・Weak】. It was causing an abnormal status 【Poison 2】. Considering the rules that govern it, if I concentrate it five times more, up until the item's limit, it will be no longer possible to concentrate it any more. However——
"Hahaha... I knew there's more than one route already."
By consuming all of the 【Poison ・Weak】 I crafted from the Poison Blood and using the recently neglected 【Alchemy】's Higher Matter Conversion skill on it I have succeeded to put it on a separate route beyond of Dosing limits.
While it was only one sample that I successfully managed to make, for me it was a major progress. I needed to gather ten more of 【Poison ・Weak】, but currently I didn't have any material for it.
"So the crafted item's effect is 【Poison 3】 huh."
In ten seconds it slipped in 1% of damage. It was an item that dealt 9% of total HP in damage over 90 seconds.
Other than that, I studied if I could generate any items by using poisons.
Starting with poison, I crushed monster meat and drop items, mixed them with water and put in them in the condenser.
But the best thing I could make, was the weakest poison 【Poison ・Droplets】. And it could only be condensed into 【Poison ・Weak】. After which the effect could be raised with alchemy, I gave up on trying to acquire the necessary number of 【Poison ・Weak】 to improve it further.
"Haa〜. there's not enough material items. For the event, it seems like I'll have to take mainly Magic Gems with me."
In order to prepare consumables like potions for my own use, and to prepare some for the shop, I will definitely have to collect some gems. I realized that.
And for that, I have to overcome the trauma of drowning in the river no matter what.
One week has passed since the event announcement, the update introducing the satiety level has caused a slight confusion but they were able to react to it immediately thanks to NPC stores which were dealing with food items. As the official event was getting closer I continued to swim in the river to overcome my trauma.
【Bow Lv22】 【Hawk Eyes Lv31】 【Speed Increase Lv16】 【Discovery Lv12】 【Magic Talent Lv34】
【Magic Power Lv32】 【Enchant Arts Lv9】 【Dosing Lv4】 【Cooking Lv5】 【Swimming Lv5】
【Taming Lv1】 【Synthesis Lv22】 【Earth Element Talent Lv5】 【Alchemy Lv24】 【Craftsmanship Lv24】
【Crafting Knowledge Lv21】
("Ain't this an endless supply of gemstones!")
While grasping the rock on the riverbed to withstand the rapid flow, I threw stones and gemstones into my inventory.
I acquired 【Swimming】 Sense in order to work safely in water, and I continued to work hard at collecting materials.
"Puhhaa! So tired〜."
I rose from the water and after sitting on a nearby rock I wiped myself and the clothes with the towel I took out from the inventory. The characteristics of 【Swimming】 Sense was making it possible to swim in clothes as well as allowing one to dry them. As such, it was a quite good Sense.
There were two things I discovered, a good one, and a bad one while I swam. The good discovery was that 【Hawk Eyes】's far sight effect is adapted to water, and coupled with 【Discovery】 Sense it was possible to find items on the bottom as well as fish. Thanks to that I could comfortably act in water.
On the other hand, the bad discovery is that since I couldn't speak normally in water, I couldn't cast skills and it was a fatal flaw when it came to combat. However, I didn't feel like such a condition in which I couldn't use Arts and Skills put me at a disadvantage.
"Both 【Swimming】 and 【Cooking】 are currently at level 5 huh. The growth rate is so-so."
While resting I checked my Sense status. The two I just mentioned were growing, however the other ones weren't changed much. The exceptions were 【Hawk Eyes】 【Discovery】 which leveled up during the activities in the water, but only slightly.
My 【Earth Element Talent】 increased to level 5 and I acquired a defensive magic 【Clay Shield】, if I enchanted Magic Gems with it, I would have defensive Magic Gems prepared.
The surroundings were all speculating "The first official event?! It might be the First Town defence!" or "It might be a PVP event." like that. And while there were people who raised their combat Senses in a hurry, I've had a defiant attitude. I felt it was meaningless if everyone raises their combat Senses in a similar manner and amount, so I continued to raise my crafting Senses.
"——There's not enough slots for the items."
With the event imminent, I stocked up on the items. Enchant Stones, potions, although I also prepared items like Magic Gems, I haven't decided on the main configuration yet.
With the official event having a limit on number or items which can be brought set at 100, the things I brought——
Alchemy, Synthesis, Mixing, Polishing, the portable crafting kits for these and a portable furnace for Craftsmanship as well as a cooking kit.
My bow. Six sets of Iron Arrows. Three of my armour pieces. That's ten weapon items and six crafting items.
The breakdown of the remaining 84 item slots was still undecided.
What about cooking, what about recovery consumables, and what about Magic Gems? How much attack and defensive Magic Gems should I bring? In the first place I didn't know what I might be short on during the event. As I thought so, it seemed like hundred items wasn't enough.
Maybe I should distribute space equally to be on the safe side, and just when I was about to spit out a sigh, a friend call from Magi-san came.
"Yes, what is it?"
『"Ah, Yun-kun? Are you going to participate in the official event?"』
"Yes. Though I say that, I intend to participate alone. Most of my acquaintances have fixed parties and it's hard for me to join any of them."
『"I see I see! Looks like Yun-kun's alone!"』
Was there someone else beside Magi-san? She immediately replied.
『"Yun-kun, won't you participate together with us?"』
"And who's 'us'?"
『"Other than me it's Cloude and Lyly who are participating. I'd love to see what kind of official event it is!"』
"Is it fine? For me to join that is. Aren't there better people who could join you?"
『"Ahh, nope, not at all. Everyone's like 'yahhoo a battle event!' and ain't laid back like we are. Our goal is to tour the event. Look, we prefer soloing, and we're not too good at acting as a group."』
"Haa, I guess you're right. I'm not that fired up with the participation either. Take care of me."
『"That's decided then! Sorry for being sudden, but we want to have a meeting so could you come to my store?"』
"Yes, I understand. I"ll come over immediately."
After saying so I ended the call. After that I passed through the portal in Second Town and went to Magi-san's store, 【Open Sesame】.
Cloude and Lyly were already waiting in the store, when I entered they raised their hands to greet me in a carefree manner.
"Sorry for being so sudden. But we need to carefully select the items we need..."
"I understand. So what items are the three of you taking?"
And then I listened to the three of them. Magi-san had a smith's crafting kit and full set of armaments including mining pickaxe. Other than that, she had metal ingots as well as heavy weapons.
Cloude and Lyly who were crafters were generally the same, Lyly who was a woodworker had processed wood with him and Cloude who was a weaver brought cloth and leather with him.
"In that case looks like I need to go with 【Dosing】 and 【Cooking】 after all."
"So Yun-kun took 【Cooking】 huh. Then how about I decrease the amount of food items I hold?"
"Hmm. If I bring ingredients with me I'll be able to increase the food number by Cooking... in that case——. But why are you bringing so many heavy weapons, Magi-san?"
Cloude and Lyly brought crafting materials, but Magi-san took a large axe and a large sword with her, other things like metal weapons and full body metal armour were taking her equipment slots as well.
"I've got quite a few sub-weapons. But the rest is similar to Yun-kun's. If I melt the equipment I can make multiple ingots from them. Well, their value will decrease though."
Magi-san spoke with a bitter smile, indeed it worked well for suppressing the amount of items brought, I think it would work. But there was also a need to bring some ingots as well to get to work instantly. Balancing it out was difficult.
"The things I'm crafting are mainly consumables, so it requires a lot of materials... it's difficult to bring the materials in large amounts."
"Certainly. Since Highpots and MP Potions are consumables so you can't bring many of them.."
"No, I've got that figured out already."
For the time being, when I heard what they were saying I remembered about a way of compressing items. If I bring a 『High Quality』 material it'll need only one frame. After that I can decompress the items by using 【Alchemy】's Lower Matter Conversion after the event starts. Also, there's the way of condensing potion-type items with Dosing and dilute it with water afterwards. I should bring high quality materials for High Potions and MP Potions as well as ready Highpots and MP Potions which could be used immediately.
It was unclear what the contents of the event will be. It might turn into a free-for-all fight immediately after start, we might not have time to organise the crafting. But I don't think such a hard event would happen without a prior notice considering the large amount of players participating. No, I hope it won't be.
After that, we discussed the items we brought with each other, each of us saying what was our opinion.
It took us a surprisingly long time to select the items, after which we went back to our own stores to diligently prepare for the day of the event.
And on the day itself. After eating lunch I met up with Magi-san and others to make a party, after which we waited for the event to commence.
"I look forward to it! With this much people gathered in one place it looks like a festival."
Lyly let out a smile as he said so and Cloude spat out a tired sigh.
"I don't feel well. I hate crowds."
Then why did he make a store, aren't people gathering in those?
"How about you Yun-kun? Nervous?"
"Not at all. It's just a game after all, there's no need to panic."
"Oh-hoo, you've got nerves of steel. I'm a bit nervous myself."
"You don't look like it at all."
Magi-san and I were waiting for what was about to come as well.
And when the time has come, a loud announcement has resounded throughout the main square of the First Town which was the meeting place.
『"The official event will start soon. The participating parties are asked to remain in place. Non-participants are asked to move away from this place as soon as possible."』
There were few people who only looked at the scene from far away. As I looked at the people all around, players nearby had expressions of anxiety or full confidence.
『"Now then, everyone who has remained on spot will be transferred into a different, special server. There will be a detailed description after the transfer completes. You might feel a slight shock, but there will be no effect on your body. 10, 9..."』
As the countdown started, a visible tension appeared on everyone's faces, I prepared for the shock of the transition.
『"——2, 1, 0."』
My field of vision distorted, I felt like I was on a rocking ship. Not feeling good, my legs bent, my body has swayed and unable to withstand it I fell on my butt. Immediately after my senses went back to normal, I looked around.
"...where is this?"
"Who knows? From what it seems, it looks like a vacant space in middle of a forest. What do you think Kurocchi?"
"It might be a safety area. Even so, where are the other players?"
Around us, there were about ten groups, everyone was looking around restlessly.
There were much more players who are participating, others must have been moved to a different location.
"Hmm. The parties were located all over the place〜. This isn't an event for mass battle event."
Magi-san said so, and stretched out her hand towards me and helped me to stand up.
"Thank you very much."
"It's all right. Let's just help each other. Also——"
Just when she wanted to continue, an announcement rang out once again.
『"Thank you for participating ladies and gentlemen. I am Yoshino Kazuhito from 【OSO】's development department."』
As I looked at the 3D hologram which was projected in the sky, I thought 'huh, this guy again'.
Chapter 2 – The Summer Event and the Young Beasts
『"Thank you for participating ladies and gentlemen. I am Yoshino Kazuto from 【OSO】's development department."』
With that announcement, the ruckus players were making suddenly stopped as they listened to it.
『"This event is configured so that many players can enjoy it together. This time event is——【Forest Camping Game】. If we speak of summer, it has to be outdoors. You guys will spend 7 nights camping in this forest."』
From somewhere came a 'don't fuck around! This is a killing game, I'm logging out', and although such voices appeared, the announcement wasn't over yet.
『"Everyone seems to have misunderstood something. This isn't dangerous, but it doesn't consume any of your time either. The flow of time in this field has been stretched about eighty times on this special server. In other words, one week in this place will take two hours in real. That means you can level up a lot in a short amount of time. Now, you get what I mean don't you."』
That meant, the people who participated in this could secure a week's worth playtime. That's how it was. Hey, is this a special training room?
『"Of course, people who want to progress the game as normal can go back by dying to monsters. In that case, the death penalty will not occur."』
Everyone went silent after they heard this part. They seemed to be motivated all of a sudden. There was an unknown forest in there. They should try leveling up in there, there was no loss in enjoying it. That was the atmosphere.
『"Now then, I will explain the rules. The camp event will last seven days and six nights.The place everyone is right now is the safety area. In this forest there are multiple safety areas. It doesn't matter if you move from the location you are in right now. This is a stray continent, it has lakes, ruins and mountains. Of course, the event's unique monsters and items are placed in each location. Believe in your own Senses and find your own way to enjoy it."』
The voice sounded as if it was said from a distant location.
『"Moreover, further in the forest there are inactive monster young animals wandering around. If you're able to build a friendly relationship with one in a week, it will become a summoning stone and your exclusive pet. If you have a 【Taming】 Sense, it will be possible for it to fight with you as your magical beast."』
Continuing, the voice came from a different place.
『"The last thing, people who have survived the entire week will be judged with a numerical value depending on their actions and the top five people will be presented with souvenirs. Moreover, you will also be able to take all the items found in this area back with you. You don't need to aim for the prize, you can enjoy yourself looking for rare materials."』
At this moment, the excitement seemed to have reached its climax. Everyone aimed for the victory and in the middle of everyone who was being motivated, I thought of something else.
I see, so the item cap was there in order for us to have a camp. It would be good if I could bring some rare plant materials to cultivate. I had completely different ideas from the normal players.
As the excitement was growing, Yoshino Kazuto poured cold water on the players.
『"However, there is a limit. All players can acquire up to one Sense during this period."』
Well, that's reasonable. It would be troublesome if players were to acquire new Senses only to use them temporarily.
『"And in case a player did not acquire the 【Survival】 Senses beforehand, it will impose a negative correction to point conversion on the final day. Don't expect to win without it. By the way, the acquisition of 【Survival】 will also count if you acquire it right now. Now, the last matter, the items that are available to for picking up in this forest can be immediately appraised. To feel its effect you need to appraise an item with a Sense corresponding to it. The appraisal information can be shared amongst each other within a party. Do not hesitate to share your field map with your party either. I want you to work hard under such limitations, but if you rush too much you will scrape your feet, I recommend you to proceed steadily without rushing."』
The announcement was over, as everyone was stunned I opened the map of this field. The place we were in seemed to be the centre of this continent. The range of hundred metres I could see with my 【Hawk Eyes】 was mapped, the rest of it was gray.
I cast a sceptical gaze at people around who went into the forest and sat down.
"Now then, shall we make a base camp? Securing food is a top priority with the introduction of the satiety system."
After hearing Cloude's words we all nodded. After discussing it we judged that with the well-balanced items we brought with us we can hold up for up to two days.
"How about we experiment first? Wait a moment."
Magi-san moved away slightly from this place, and when she came back she held several types of grass in her hand.
"Cloude, Lyly, look at this. Can you tell what kind of item is this?"
"Nope, not at all."
"Sorry Magicchi, I've no idea."
"Then, next. Yun-kun."
She showed me the grass while saying so, it was divided into three types——Medicinal Plants, Poisonous Plants and Herbs. During the current event, the items that exist in here need to be appraised by an expert, if one doesn't have a corresponding Sense, it cannot be appraised. That was the reason Cloude and Lyly were unable to verify them.
"Umm, Medicinal Plants and Poisonous Plants as well as Herbs."
"Ahh, I understand it now. That means Yuncchi has a corresponding Sense which allows him to appraise the plant?"
"If that's the case, it must be the 【Dosing】 Sense. It's the one that uses the plants after all."
Cloude muttered convinced and Magi-san puffed her chest proud of her reasoning. In other words, just like the 【Survival】 Sense which is very general, my 【Dosing】 could also pinpoint such things.
"Now that my reasoning was proven right, let's act separately. We'll divide into two squads, one procuring food, and the other making the base camp. Yun-kun and I will gather food around, Cloude and Lyly will make the base camp."
"Understood. We'll prepare the best beds there are."
"I'm looking forward to it! I'm excited about the thought of staying over for the night."
"Haa〜. I wonder what would be good for the dinner?"
I muttered and looked up at the sky. Oh, the sun was directly above me, which meant that sun would set in about six hours. At the very least, we needed to ensure food and water.
"Now then, take precautions, and check everything. Do not eat items we took with us carelessly. First of all, eat only items previously appraised by Yun-kun. And if there's not enough materials, contact others through the friends list to have them gather more."
"Haa, damn it!"
Suddenly, Cloude raised his voice. Everyone turned around to look.
"I didn't bring dyes. Like this, I can't make camouflage costumes or boy scouts costumes?!"
"...haa〜, you're the same as always aren't you, Kurocchi."
I respected him in a certain sense for not losing his nerves at all in a place like this. Though, I have no intention of wearing those clothes.
No, if you can extract the colours from natural materials you could make an indigo dye... Cloude muttered to himself. Just how obsessed with it was he.
"Well, we're going to explore and map the surrounding area. We'll return before the nightfall."
"Yup. Magicchi and Kurocchi, be careful."
We left everything to Cloude who was submerged in the sea of thoughts as well as Lyly and decided to fill the map starting from the eastern direction.
Along the way we located the places in which plants were growing in abundance and continued to collect information on collection points on map. It were very detailed notes.
"It's great to have Yun-kun with us. Look, another item."
"Magi-san?! That's Paralysis Grass! Also, this is a cluster of Confusion Grass, if you don't prepare it properly you will end up with an abnormal status."
"UWahh?! That was dangerous. It looked like spinach to me, so that's how it was."
"That horribly-looking grass over there seems like it can be eaten after its flavoured."
We steadily appraised the herbs and items that could be eaten. Among herbs, we confirmed there were Medical Spirit Grasses and Magical Spirit Grasses which could be used as material for Highpots and MP Potions.
Surprisingly, more than half of the items we found weren't edible. Just by the looks, we found a tree with fruits which seemed delicious and yet were extremely hazardous as they put an abnormal states of 【Poison 4】 and 【Confusion 4】 on the ones that eat it.
Also, fruits like apples and bananas could be collected. Although the climatic requirements were completely ignored.
Since among the only items that could be collected were wild grass and vegetables, it seemed like we will be eating healthily for a while. Although nutritional balance was pointless in a game, I wanted some proteins from animals.
"We've gathered a lot of plants, how about we try some different ingredients?"
"I'll leave it to Yun-kun. The map is also nicely filled out."
About three hours after starting the sun started to slowly set, and we have covered only about 10% of the map. The areas we uncovered had a radial shape and started from the centre.
We could see a mountain far in the north, there were two rivers flowing from it down south drawing arcs and downstream there was a lake.
Since our base camp was sandwiched between those two rivers, it would be good to look for fish in either the east or west river.
While we were filling the map we passed through other safety areas, unlike us, they were too busy looking for unique monsters rather than collecting food. I wonder if they'll be all right. I was worried about lots of things like that.
"Now then, how about we go and fish in the river."
"You're right... ah wait a moment. It seems like I'm hungry. Let's take a small break."
I agreed to Magi-san's proposal. The satiety level seems to have decreased slightly I wanted to recover it right here by eating a sandwich.
I used a stump instead of a chair and sat down, we took a break.
"You've got food don't you, Magi-san?"
"Yup. Look, hot dog bun."
"How's the taste?"
"Hmm, I can't say it's tasty."
"Then, how about you eat my sandwiches?"
As Magi-san answered with a wry smile, I made a proposal. Since retrieving food items in here would be a hassle, I activated the 【Preparing】 skill from Cooking Sense and made ten sandwiches instantly from four types of ingredients.
I took it out of inventory and held out to Magi-san.
"That seems like a delicious sandwich, its evaluation is high too. Looks like possessing a Sense makes all the difference."
"It's just ingredients sandwiched with bread, anyone can make it."
As Magi-san happily stared at the outstretched sandwich, I took out my own sandwich as well.
That moment, I felt more than a single gaze on me. I stood up from the stump quickly and looked around.
I triggered the 【Hawk Eyes】 and looked towards a place with a lot of trees, but there were too many blind spots to cover. However, combined with 【Discovery】's high accuracy I managed to find them.
"There's something there."
Still tense, I looked towards the grass which seemed like the source of the stares, what has left it eventually was——three small young animals.
The three small beasts were eyeing our sandwiches.
"Ohh, we met the young animals this fast. A dog, a cat, and a bird? Let's record them immediately. How did it work again..."
A light blue-silverish fluffy and round puppy was looking at the sandwich expectantly with a glitter in its eyes.
The two-toned kitten that had black fur and white tips of its paws has come to my feet and pressed against them while letting out sweet meowing.
The last one was the bird, it was a bright-reddish coloured chick, it had a yellow beak and slightly see-through feathers. The bird moved unsteadily desiring a sandwich. It didn't fly, it jumped and helped itself by moving its short wings.
If I were to move, I would scare them away, so I tried not to.
"Recording's on... so, what do we do Yun-kun? They look like they want the sandwiches."
As I moved the sandwich slightly to the right, their line of sight followed it.
When I moved the sandwich to the left, the three young animals' line of sight followed it——and the kitten fell over.
"...for now, let's give them one."
I brought the sandwich before the three.
First was the puppy whose nose convulsed as it confirmed it by the smell, and it opened the small mouth.
Once the puppy started eating, I was prompted by the animals stares saying 'more more' and held out another sandwich. Maybe they liked the sandwiches, because they continued to eat more and more and after eating the sandwiches I've held in my hands they started greedily licking my hands.
The chick pecked my finger sweetly with its beak, the puppy's and the kitten's gazes moved towards the sandwich Magi-san had.
"Ah, you guys. Magi-san's no good. I've got more in here."
"Kuu〜n." "Naa—." "Chirp, chi...." ——As if they understood my words, the three stared at my face strongly.
Uwahh, that look of expectation is so dazzling.
I calmly took three sandwiches out of my inventory, and put them in front of the three animals.
"Look, sandwiches. Come on, eat them."
In response to my words, the three started to eat the sandwiches innocently.
"Hey, were those little ones hungry?"
"Who knows? But there's something I found out."
"What is it?"
I looked as the little ones held down the sandwiches with their limbs and struggled to eat it. Although one sandwich was enough for me, the young animals continued to beg me for more despite the fact that their bellies already turned round.
"These guys, they want to eat my sandwich no matter what."
"That must be because Yun-kun's sandwich is delicious."
"Is that so? They might just be gluttonous."
Even though I said that, I was in a good mood and held out another sandwich to the three.
The result was that out of ten sandwiches in total seven of them have been eaten by the little ones, and since the two of us ate one each, there was one sandwich remaining. As someone responsible for the party's food supply, I was a bit worried by the unexpected consumption. I was forced to rapidly remake the plans for food.
The young animals seemed to be satisfied, the puppy exposed its stomach by lying on its back, the kitten was licking its own paw to taste the sandwiches flavour and the chick was asleep.
"How cute. Heere, *tickle* *tickle*."
Magi-san lightly stroked the puppy's belly, it moved its body feeling ticklish.
"It calmed down. I'll send a screenshot to Cloude and Lyly."
"Ah, I'll take one too."
Magi-san scooped up the chick from the grass and put it on her own palm before taking a screenshot.
I took screenshots of the fluffy hairballs which looked like they felt really comfortable after a meal.
Seeing Magi-san have fun, my expression also loosened.
"Well then, shall we go?"
"Yun-kun, Yun-kun, can't we take these little ones with us? Rather, I've been asked by Cloude just now to bring them over no matter what."
"I won't oppose it, since it's a part of the event. However, we need to get some fish from the river before that."
"I understand. Also, what will we do when the small ones get hungry and start begging us again?"
"I'll pass the last sandwich to Magi-san. Please divide it between the three of them."
When we started moving, the puppy and the kitten at my feet have responded, they understood from our conversation that I gave Magi-san a sandwich and moved towards her feet.
Kuhh, these guys only care about themselves. I couldn't help but think so.
Magi-san held the three in her arms and we moved towards the river.
"Haa〜, it's a hairball festival. So fluffy〜."
"You look really happy... I might be a bit envious."
The last words were muttered in low voice, but they seemed to reach Magi-san's ears, she had a slightly surprised expression but immediately after a smile bloomed on her face.
"Want to touch? Hold? Cuddle?"
"Ah, no, that's..."
"I don't mind. Here."
She held out the three little animals in front of her while supporting them properly. Holding them in a slightly unstable way, I received them from her.
Their fur was so fluffy and pleasant, when I carried them my fingers sank into their fur.
For a moment I've become so obsessed with the fluffiness in front of my chest I forgot myself.
When I stroked their ears and neck gently with my fingertips the three leaned on me very weakly. Magi-san looked at it and laughed as if she's seen something interesting, it seemed she had a good time staring at this.
The moment I noticed it, Magi-san was already all smiles.
"P-please don't tell anyone about this no matter what!"
"Yupyup, it's all okay. So, how was it? Did it feel good?"
"?!! I-I don't know. Rather than that, since I'll be going to get ingredients please look after the little ones."
When I heard the sound of water from our destination, I passed the small animals to Magi-san to cover it up and started to walk towards the river.
"Now then, I'll look for ingredients for dinner. If there's anything, please call me."
I stowed the outerwear in the inventory and went inside of the river lightly dressed.
As to reduce the water resistance I swam together with the flow of the water I grabbed the rock on the bottom and looked around.
(The fish... there they are.)
I found two fish in the shadow of a rock nestling themselves, I caught them with my bare hands.
(I appreciate the fact that I can store the caught fish in the inventory. If I think that we need a dinner for three little animals who can eat like a person, I need fifteen or more fish.)
After that, while also picking up the stones from the riverbed I went around looking for fish. Unfortunately there were no gemstones on the riverbed, but the stones were also a valuable material for me.
I surfaced in intervals that were up to five minutes long, and after catching my breath I dived again. I occasionally looked towards Magi-san, she put the little animals on her lap and spent the time peacefully.
By the time I finished the quota I set for myself, fifteen fish, the young animals fell asleep completely.
"Magi-san, I've finished over here."
"Cheers for the good work. Sorry to have you work by yourself, Yun-kun."
"Please don't worry about it. There are things that can be done because there's two of us here. But there's something we need to do before that. Please take out your weapon."
Magi-san let the young ones down and took out an axe form her inventory.
I equipped the outerwear on top of still-wet clothes and took out the bow. I calmed my breathing and turned the bow towards the woods.
"You guys stay down. Yun-kun, I'm a little anxious to be in front, but I leave the rest to you."
"I'll count on you. It's coming from on top of the tree."
I responded to Magi-san's words and sent an arrow towards a black creature that came jumping at us.
Long thin legs, covered with spiky hair, they had something like a yellow powder on its mouth, six red eyes were glaring towards us——the moment I saw the monsters name, Spice Spider, the young animals started trembling, frightened.
I was speechless seeing her unexpected behaviour. She has thrown the axe she held in her hands, the axe combined its own weight with the centrifugal force, and while vertically rotating it approached the target with strong momentum. However, it hasn't dealt a fatal wound to it as the spider avoided to the right. Instead, it has cut off all of its legs on one side. Without losing the momentum the axe was stuck into the tree behind the spider.
That moment, Magi-san who was now unarmed ran in front of the spider and raised both of her hands high up.
"Now, it'll be over with this."
A sledgehammer was taken out of her inventory and appeared in her hands.
She swung down the sledgehammer using her brute strength and gravitational force on top of the spider's brain who couldn't escape.
*gugiiii*...sounded the death cries of the monster who was finished by splatter-style combat, I'm really glad that flesh and blood doesn't splash around in this game.
"That was surprisingly bland."
After saying so, Magi-san recovered the thrown axe and hid it in her inventory.
"...nonono, what's up with that combat style?!"
"What? I just normally threw a weapon by using 【Throw】 Sense."
Although she said it so casually, I knew that there's a requirement of ATK and DEX. The damage dealt by throwing could increase depending on the thrower, but it must be hard control. The crafters high amount of DEX made up for that, and also the user has to train with the weapon.
Truly, the ultimate weapon-wielding technique which can be used only by craftsmen.
"The weapons that are normally thrown are daggers aren't they."
"Dealing with such small things is tedious and I hate it. Originally I thought of using a throwing weapon."
Normally, the throwing axes were smaller, but Magi-san threw this one with both of her hands.
"That aside Yun-kun, your reaction was a bit lacking. Onee-san is a little disappointed."
"That might have been an unique mob aimed at the beginners. Rather, there seems to be a treasure chest at the spiders location."
"That's true, let's hurry and open it immediately."
I held up the still frightened three young beasts, Magi-san opened the treasure box and peeked inside.
"Yun-kun should use this unique item."
"Umm... 【Set of Magic Seasonings】?"
The description said 『The seasonings that do not deplete despite being used. The seasonings alone do not recover satiety.』.
I wonder if that was made so in order to prevent recovering satiety just by eating sugar and licking salt. So, it was made to be used in cooking only. It seemed like it was salt, pepper, sugar and curry powder, a useful item that could infinitely yield those four seasonings. It can't be, was the powder the spider blew from its mouth a curry powder?
The Spice Spider dropped unique items assisting in food preparation.
"No way, do unique mobs drop things like camping sets and barbecues?"
"Could be. The low level players wouldn't have a Sense configuration that could help them with survival, so these are the items given to assist them."
Responding to my murmur, was Magi-san's calm analysis. Well, let's use all we can.
"Now then, let's go back before night falls."
"You're right, let's limit our operations at night as it's dangerous."
I headed back towards the point we set up a camp at while embracing the three hairballs.
Along the way as we returned, Magi-san sent me screenshots. They displayed my feminine appearance as I held the three fluffy animals with a look of joy. When she saw my face all red and on fire as I saw it, she floated a mischievous expression and grinned.
"M-Magi-san!? When did you take this!"
"Who knows? Yun-kun's pretty defenceless, nishishi."
"Magi-san, please don't show that screenshot to anyone!"
"I know. Sometimes you're being unexpectedly cute."
"Not really... forget that."
Regarding the screenshot that Magi-san sent me, I pressed on to make sure she doesn't show it to anyone. It was somehow embarrassing. If Taku were to see it he would tease me until I'll completely admit defeat.
"Fuhh. Even so, we finally arrived at out base camp."
"Yeah, we haven't seen it for just a short while but... if my memory is correct then there should have been a lot of vacant space here..."
In front of our eyes there was a splendid log house. Although it was a bit small, it was at a perfect size for sleeping in.
"Magicchi, Yuncchi, welcome back. I did my best! It's a splendid log house!"
"No... this isn't camping any more, what is this? And what 'splendid', it looks like a holiday house."
"Indeed, praise me. I've finished the interior walls as well."
Cloude emerged from beyond the doors expressionless like usual, but then he smiled. As I saw him like that, I felt like he was handsome after all. Kuhh. When I compared his face with my own feminine one, a wound has opened in my heart.
"Come, gaze upon this! The bunk beds created by Lyly! And the generously prepared beddings! Moreover, each of the three small animals has their own fully equipped sleeping place! How is it!"
I was slightly taken aback by Cloude's high tension. In Magi-san's case, she said "Hoo, amazing." raising her voice slightly and drawing the words out.
Indeed, it seemed like it would be comfortable to spend the night under blankets and on comfortable bedding. The bunk beds were used in order to use the small space of log house in an efficient way, moreover it was equipped with a curtain. It seemed to be done out of consideration to separate men and women. Wait, I'm a man!
In addition to that, there were wooden boxes fitted with cushions, it was a sleeping place made for the three little beasts.
This was the proficiency of the best carpenter and weaver... they were reliable allies to have in this survival life. However, I felt like saying that this is a waste of talent.
"I've prepared a wooden table and wooden tableware to help Yuncchi with her cooking."
"Woahh, the table's so wide! And the tableware looks pretty solid."
Although I was in daze after seeing the absurd workmanship of the log house, I got motivation to cook when I learned there was tableware.
"Fufufufu, we have prepared a safe and comfortable place to sleep tonight. Now, it's your turn next!"
"Yes yes, here's our harvest."
I took out the fruits and plants from my inventory, I put them side by side. The fish seemed to retain their freshness, and in the end I showed them a set of magical seasonings.
"I think there's enough food until tomorrow morning, but if we're lacking, we can go for a night hunt."
"The harvest is better than we expected. But you should stop with the idea of night hunting. The visibility in forest at night is poor, it's dangerous."
Although what Cloude said was right, I had the 【Hawk Eyes】 night vision, in addition if I used 【Discovery】 it was easy for me to make them my prey. It was a hit&run tactic which focused on taking down enemy with a surprise attack before they could retaliate.
Even if the enemy was too strong for me, my survival rate should be pretty high if I used a speed enchant on myself and a curse on the enemy.
If I were to be unable to run away, it would just mean I was unlucky.
"The night is my exclusive domain. Originally, I was a solo player. You don't have to worry. Well, lets light the lights before it gets dark."
The darkness wasn't a problem for me, but for Magi-san and the others it wasn't so. Welcoming the night in a state where we have no light source like magic or lantern would cause anxiety. I made a circle with the stones I picked up on the bottom of the river and inside, I put down branches and left over timber used by Lyly to make a bonfire.
And I was reminded of a certain thing that should be prepared when cooking.
"Now then... to put the pot on the fire... ah..."
I forgot something critical. I didn't secure water. Like this I can't make a soup can I. Moreover, I couldn't distil water because all the potions I had were concentrated.
"Ahhhh. I've made a blunder."
"What is it Yun-kun?"
Magi-san and the puppy she held in her arms stared at me anxiously.
"No, I just forgot about water. I'll run to the stream and get some right now."
"Wait. It's already dark and dangerous. We can have someone acquire 【Water Element Talent】 to get us some."
"But I don't want to pick a Sense like that on the first day. We don't know what will happen ahead."
As I reluctantly responded to Magi-san's proposal, the puppy twisted a little and let out a small howl. The moment it let out a voice, the pot started to shake and a rigid sound came out of it.
Every time it barked, a 5 centimetres large block of ice materialized in the air and fell down with a *plop*. I watched as the ice filled the pot.
"...no way, is that your magic?"
"Ohhh! You're amazing Ricœur!"
The puppy wagged its tail furiously as Magi-san held and praised it.
"Did you name it Ricœur?"
"Ah speaking of which, Yun-kun was the one who won him over. Should I have asked you for permission?"
"It's fine. I have no naming sense."
The three small beasts played with the three top crafters.
Magi-san held the puppy. Cloude held the kitten and Lyly held the chick.
Each of them respectively showed an interest in the ones who were holding them, and gave off an atmosphere of acknowledgement. Admittedly, each one of them has separated from me and found their own partner.
"It's fine. As long as they're happy, for their sakes I will..."
"AHH! Yun-kun, come back to reality!"
Still feeling a bit sulky, I started to prepare the dinner. I put the pot full of ice on the fire to melt it, after it was turned into water I was able to prepare the food without a hitch.
"Heey. Dinner's done."
After I called out, three people, and three animals came over. Although it was just half a day, they must have been starving for decent food other than the standard NPC one which had a bland taste.
"Today's dinner is grilled fish, soup from minced fish, fish steamed in herbs and flavoured wild grass. I feel like there's a bit too much of fish, but it's just the first day. I intend to explore more area starting from tomorrow."
"No, it's enough. If anything, then Socks will be pleased with the fish festival."
He pointed at the kitten which was waiting eagerly on the table for the moment we start to eat.
"Look, even though his entire body is black he has white paws. It's as if he's wearing socks."
"It does look like it. Hey cat, are you really fine with such a name?"
"Naa—" it squealed happily. Earlier it rode on Cloude's shoulders and rubbed its cheeks against his, how enviable. Not that, I mean, it must like Cloude a lot.
"The puppy's Ricœur, the kitten is Socks. Lyly, did you name the bird?"
"Hmm. Not yet. This will be improvised, let's have it Neshias. The nickname will be Shiacchi!"
Hearing that voice, Neshias stared at Lyly and started to jump up and down happily.
"Uwahh... that surprised me?! Shiacchi, we're going to eat now."
Yeah. It seems like something important was born. Eh? Weird. Before I noticed all the young beasts left me.
"...uuu, my fluffy hairballs..."
"Ahh, Yun-kun. What is it? Don't get so depressed."
I thought they were willing to be tamed by me, but that was just an illusion. The young ones seemed to have found their own partners. While the other three ate a meal with their partners I was engulfed by loneliness. I decided. I will absolutely find a partner of my own.
"Thank you. Fuah〜. That was delicious Yun-kun."
"Thank you for the meal."
I finished eating as well, the drinking water made from melted ice Ricœur provided has calmed my stomach.
As we ate dinner, it's become really dark. It was a very dangerous time to go out. Moreover, it seemed like we had a monopoly as no other party has come back to this safety area after leaving. It was very quiet.
"It was indeed delicious. I might have eaten a better meal than I do in real. The taste was pretty firm and despite eating a lot I won't get fat. That's nice."
Cloude evaluated the meal as such with a mild look as he stroked his partner. Socks too was full and looked happy being stroked, his tail was slowly wagging.
Lyly who was next to him started to sway back and forth, I was worried he might crush Neshias that was in his hand.
"Lyly, you all right? If you're sleepy then how about going to sleep?"
"Hmm. I will. Somehow I feel really tired."
He rose up from his seat and headed towards the log house in a wobbly gait. And not only Neshias sleeping in his hands, but also sleepy Ricœur and Socks followed him.
In order to build this log house, unexpectedly he must have used a lot of his willpower. The biggest contributor today might have been Lyly.
"Lyly did really well."
"You're right. It might have been a recoil from excitement after being placed in an environment like this. Since we can't explore anything at night, how about we go to sleep?"
"I'll try organizing the items a little. I've nothin' to do anyway, I'll be awake until about midnight."
"And I'll try making potions from the new herb types I gathered today."
There was a large container with water Ricœur prepared so the water for potion-making was secured.
At the very least, I need to dilute the concentrated potions, we will need them tomorrow.
"I see. Then I"ll go join Lyly and sleep ahead of you. Wake me up at midnight. It's a non-combat safety zone in here but it's better be vigilant just in case."
"Okaay, then I'll wake you up when I'll be going to sleep."
After saying so, Cloude disappeared in the log house.
"Hmm. Let's start our nighty night then."
"Also... speaking of camp at night, girls' talk is a classic isn't it."
"No, I've told you before, I'm a man."
I retorted to Magi-san who made a cheerful smile and proceeded with my work.
The poisonous herbs-type material and the abnormal state recovery-type material, it was possible to convert them into seeds by using 【Alchemy】, I need to bring them home, I thought. The new plants I've have on hand now are Awareness Grass, Sedative Grass, and Dispel Grass, that's how they were named.
From the poisonous herbs-types there was a pair of Hypnosis Grass which caused the target to sleep and Confusion Grass which caused the target to fall into a state of confusion. I was also able to find a grass which caused curses; Curse Grass.
The same way I did the abnormal state recovering medicines up until now, I mixed two new herbs to make a potion.
The medicine I was able to create was Waking Solution, Calming Solution and a ST Potion which dispelled curses. In addition, I was only able to craft a few things from poisonous herbs.
Having the items prepared including the diluted concentrated potions, I've had a number necessary for the tomorrow's activities. Magi-san too reshaped the large weapons she brought back into ingots.
"What is it?"
Although there was a loud sound of the blows she made with her hammer, they didn't sound strange or unpleasant. The sound with a certain constant rhythm engraved in them reminded me of metronome, my eyes naturally started feeling heavy, to oppose the sound which invited me to sleep I chatted with Magi-san.
"Do you have any melee weapons?"
"Why ask that out of the blue?"
"Since Yun-kun has the 【Cooking】 Sense, I thought it would be interesting if you had a kitchen knife for a weapon."
"Is there any archer who would suddenly pull out a kitchen knife to fight?"
A fighting cook who hunts his prey while poising a kitchen knife in both of his hands? Quite surreal.
"Can I even use one? A melee weapon that is."
"【Smith】 allows me to attack with all the weapon types I can create regardless of the acquired Senses."
"Seriously? Isn't that a cheat?"
"Not at all. It only allows me to roll an attack, there's no weapon damage correction nor arts. That's why I use throwing tactics where the damage is left to the weapon's strength."
Hoo, unexpectedly I've heard something interesting. But a kitchen knife as a weapon huh. A knife from the cooking kit would be surely inferior to a throwing knife, I thought.
"Similarly for 【Cooking】, if I use a weapon I normally use for crafting to attack, then the attack should hit right."
"It's possible for me to make such a weapon. Ufufufu, Onee-san will make you the best cooking knife there is."
While saying that she put away an ingot melted from a weapon. and pulled out another heavyweight weapon.
And then I continued to create potion-type items while listening to the sound of Magi-san's hits on the metal.
Since I was able to gather many types of herbs during the daytime I tried adding simple materials and food to the process.
"Yaawn! So tired! But I managed to return all of it back into ingots!"
"Cheers for the good work. I've finished preparing the supplies for tomorrow as well."
Magi-san stretched her back tired and turned her shoulder around a few times.
"I'll make a kitchen knife for Yun-kun now."
"But is that fine? What about money?"
It was alarming for me who was broke. How much should I pay, how much will it take me to pay. But Magi-san waved her hand showing she doesn't mind it at all.
"Ah, I don't need money, in the end during this camp life we'll understand it sooner or later, that meaning of money disappears for this period of time."
"...you're right. Certainly that is so."
There was no restriction on the amount of money brought to the event. Although there might be people who have it with them, there is no stable supply of items from NPCs or crafters in a place like this.
And if I continued to endlessly create potions in here, I would cause inflation.
"...how much do you think the new potion types I made are worth?"
"Asking that now huh. Even though there is only space for hundred items the amount of consumables one can bring is too small to fight bosses of the equal ranking. By the way, there's a possibility people won't be able to move at all unless they repair their weapons at least once during this week."
Magi-san spoke with a tone of voice that suggested she had fun, in fact, bringing crafters together with you during an event might be terribly important, I thought. Isn't this camping event quite unreasonable too? When we walked around on the first day today, among collectible items there were a lot of malicious ones like poisonous herbs or fruits.
"Well, me making a knife for Yun-kun is something like a reward I guess? Thank you for the meal today. And I'll be in your care in future. That's the kind of meaning, also, it will serve like a charm for you."
"I see. Thank you very much."
I received it from her and honestly showed my gratitude. I peeled the skin of an apple and boiled it together with dried herbs in a pot. After some time I filtered it the same way I did for potions and poured into my and Magi-san's cup.
"Please try this."
"Hm? This potion has quite a nice smell."
"It's a herbal tea. I made it from apple skins and herbs I found today. I have 【Cooking】 after all, don't I? Well, I just made something to drink instead."
"Haa, Yun-kun's really versatile. I was right to invite you."
"Versatile huh, in a meaning that's a bad thing. A jack-of-all-trades but master of none."
While saying the obvious, I sipped the herbal tea as well.
Magi-san tilted the wooden cup she held with both hands and drank quietly.
"I feel healed. I'm relieved with this warmth. It tastes refreshing. It feels tranquil to be far away from hustle and bustle of the city, like a moment of bliss."
"That's true. Even though it's a game, the night sky is beautiful."
"One can see them well since its an open location."
While I listened to the sound of popping firewood I looked up at the sky, and agreed with Magi-san's words.
"Mmm. Thank you for the tea. It feels like I can do my best again."
"I see. Then I'll go ahead and go to sleep before you. Though first I'll pass the potions I made to you."
I passed three quarters of each potion type I made to her. I left a quarter for my own use, it weren't that many in the first place. But things like potions were only an insurance for long-range fighters.
"Thank you for everything. Now then, good night."
"Yes, good night."
I said so and entered the log house.
Inside I saw the small animals curled up in boxes and sleeping, I laughed softly.
I muttered quietly and fell on the lower part of the bunk bed.
- ↑ Dragonball reference! ^_^
Chapter 3 – The Unicorn and the Collapsed Elf
Sleeping inside a game. It was the first time I've ever done that, it was surprisingly smooth making it anticlimactic instead.
Haa, the feeling of thoughts being heavy dissipated then it became clear. It was no different from sleeping normally.
I must have slept five, six hours. When I woke up I was wrapped in a dim light.
I slept on the lower part of the bunk bed, I heard a quiet regular breathing from above. I realized that it was Magi-san sleeping and got up quietly.
"...you woke up."
"Good morning Cloude. Were you on the lookout the entire time?"
As I woke up, I found Cloude sewing some leather by the table.
"I was doing my own crafting. There's no problem at all, in real I stay up all night as well."
"You better start living a healthier life."
Cloude responded to my advice after which he passed me a leather belt and a knife to me.
"This is Magi's gift and my apology for earlier."
"...that's umm, for naming the little one on my own, also as thanks for the food."
"Something like that? I don't really mind."
As I said that, I started to prepare breakfast from the ingredients which were left over from yesterday.
He must have been looking at me since I've felt his gaze on my back, I started a conversation with him.
"Are you really okay with that? For me to take a cub you've tamed."
"Ahh, well. I would be lying if I said I don't feel anything about that. However, can I ask something?"
"What is it."
Cloude spoke strongly. He must have thought that I'll request something instead. That's vexing. It really wasn't such a request.
"Let me touch Socks as well. I'll be healed just by touching him."
"...something like that? As long as they don't hate it, you're free to play with them as you please."
"Okay. Thanks〜. Also, thank you for the belt. I'll try putting it on."
I equipped the belt and the knife right away. The thick leather belt passed through the belt loop of trousers. The knife I took out was slightly longer than a knife that was in a cooking kit, it was almost the same size as kitchen knives in real world.
Magi-san's Kitchen Knife 【Weapon ・ Knife】
CS No.6 Ochre Creator 【Torso】
DEF+8 MIND+8 SPEED+4
I thought that both the belt and the knife were good equipment. To try I equipped both of them and tried to hold the knife.
As I tried to slash in front, behind, left and right there was a sound of air being cut, it was enough to show how good it was. But——
"It's an ordinary kitchen knife. Although it can be used as a weapon, it's still just a kitchen knife."
"I see. But I need to properly tell what's my impression to the crafter. I'll report to Magi-san on it afterwards."
"Well, you know how to use a normal knife."
To use the knife and finish making the breakfast. Although it was first time I used this kitchen knife, it fit mysteriously well in my hand.
"Ah, let me tell you before I forget."
"What is it?"
"Open the menu and look inside."
What is that about? I thought after hearing these words suddenly, but I opened the menu and saw there was something extra added to the usual menu screen.
"——【Information Board】? What's this?"
A new menu has suddenly appeared. The trigger for its release was probably the time which elapsed ever since the event started. Or maybe when a certain amount of players retired. The already locked thread was filled with rambling, and the information on the current situation was divided by content.
While Cloude and I spoke, maybe woken up by the sounds of our work Magi-san holding a cub and Lyly came over.
Cloude started talking about the today's schedule based on the information from the thread as we sat to eat breakfast.
"Since a lot of players died on the first day, I can roughly tell how this area looks like."
The breakfast everyone ate was fruits, cooked apples, ohitashi, and a healthy salad. I wanted carbohydrates, but considering it's a game, we could recover satiety with just this.
The little beasts also gladly ate it.
"The image of the area is like this, mountains in the north, lake to the south, ruins to the east and underground was the main highlight in the west. In middle of each area there are high level enemies and materials, a number of players who work on peripheries of nearby safety areas."
"Mmm. I'm sleepy."
"The breakfast was delicious, but I'd be happy to have bread; Yun-kun, can you make bread?"
"If I obtain all the ingredients. But since we don't have facilities to make it, I can't guarantee how it'll look like."
A blue vein appeared on Cloude's temple. No, we've heard what you were saying, but it seems like it'll take a while and that's a pain〜.
"You guys, listen to what I'm saying. The things I, Magi and Lyly need are mainly in the north. And the food and herb-type materials Yun needs are on east and southeast. What will you do? Will you work together with us? Or will you move solo?"
"Then, can I head south solo? But what about this log house? We were keeping watch on it yesterday and now we're leaving it behind like that."
"No problem if it's that. Lyly is still owner of the log house and it can't be taken away. Even if the log house were to be broken, it can be set up once again. By Lyly, that is."
He relied on Lyly without any hesitation.
"Repair, construction, leave carpentry work to me〜, uu〜sleepey〜."
With Neshias on top of his head, Lyly was munching the salad. Neshias was also sleepy and slowly ate by moving its small beak.
"We'll be active in early hours and come back to the base camp later. I get it. What about lunch? Go back to explore once we're back?"
"That would make it inefficient, let's make simple lunch boxes."
"Then that's decided. Preparation and distribution of items for lunch as preparation. Let's search the fields nearby."
Reacting to Cloude's words the ones who finished eating breakfast started to move.
"All right. I thought of allocating potions to everyone now, while at it I'll pass you this too."
I took out the Enchant Stones I made in a rush.
"The keyword is 'Speed'. They're only the speed increasing ones so use them if you need to escape."
"Thank you, Yun-kun."
"I'll use it gratefully."
"Uu〜, mnn〜, haa, t-thank you Yuncchi."
Lyly finally woke up, and he stared at me with his eyes which finally found focus.
And then, as a result of us scattering to explore the surroundings, we found a new ingredient.
By the time everyone finished their preparations, I've prepared lunch boxes for four people + three animals and handed them out.
"Now then, we'll be going, Mom."
"Okay, make sure to take care. Also, Lyly. Who the hell are you calling 'mom'?!"
When I retorted to Lyly the others only giggled but didn't set it straight.
Kuhh... stop with 'mom'. It pains my heart. At least make it Onii-san.
"Yun-kun, call us if anything happens!"
"Understood. If you encounter any problems contact me from your side as well."
"Then we'll be going."
The three went north to find their own prey. Well, they have the lunchboxes, and even without appraisal they won't do something as stupid as eating poison. Also, they should have enough potion-type items.
They are the type who know when to quit. But I was still a bit worried.
"...what the heck, I really am thinking like a mother!!"
I took a breather after self-retorting. It's all right, I just need to do my thing. I proceeded towards the east alone and planned to start moving south from there.
As for the enemy's strength, I've learned from the information board that even unique mobs aren't very strong. The real danger is posed by mobs in the west and east dungeons. But because one won't encounter them unless they approach the ruins in the east, I was able to proceed alone and with confidence.
Even though it was only a single day yesterday, I've raised the level of my Senses.
【Bow Lv24】【Hawk Eyes Lv33】 【Speed Increase Lv19】 【Discovery Lv16】 【Magic Talent Lv35】
【Magic Power Lv34】 【Enchant Arts Lv10】 【Crafting Knowledge Lv23】 【Taming Lv1】 【Cooking Lv7】
【Synthesis Lv24】 【Earth Element Talent Lv7】 【Alchemy Lv27】 【Dosing Lv10】 【Craftsmanship Lv26】
The amount of Senses I have increased considerably and management has become quite hard. In combat I need to properly switch out the crafting Senses. I tend to rely on DEX as it makes my bow stronger so I'm restless unless I have 【Crafting Knowledge】 which gives a strong DEX bonus.
Although I have equipped 【Taming Lv1】 in order to look for my own partner today, I wasn't sure how to exert an effect with it. I can only hope for a chance meeting like the one yesterday. I continued to proceed east until I reached the front of ruins, after collecting herb-type materials I proceeded southeast.
While taking on only mobs that seemed like they would yield food ingredients, I concentrated on recovering items in the woods.
There were food-type materials and potion materials, moreover, there were mobs that looked like the Blue Slime which appeared near the First Town. I proceeded while gathering, not feeling any impending crisis.
I went south along the river, the landscape changed from the river landscape filled with natural objects.
Stacked stones, an amateurish artificial canal directed towards the southeast.
I advanced while tracing the water canal, and I raised a loud voice seeing the sight.
"Uwaa... its a wheat field."
The waterway ended at a reservoir on the hill, right beside it there was a pasture. Golden wheat fields spread over it. *slosh* *slosh*, players were waving their weapons to harvest wheat. Deeper into the open area there was a remnant of an old field, a place which had various native plant species vacate the space.
First of all, I need to gather wheat, right. If it goes well we might eat some carbohydrates today.
I moved closer to wheat and tried pulling it but... it wouldn't budge.
"I can't pick it... my wheat masterplan is..."
Everyone in front of me seemed to harvest it by reaping it, I tried to copy the method. I removed the knife I've been given this morning and started cutting it at the base.
It felt crunchy, it was pleasant sensation to collect wheat randomly. After I gathered a bundle of wheat I changed it to Flour by using 【Processing】, a basic skill of 【Cooking】 Sense. I collected 10 bundles of wheat and processed it into a 1kg bag of Flour. After collecting about thirty bags I went back to the pasture.
"That was tiring. Eh, did I gather too much?"
I crouched down and looked at the circle in which I collected the wheat. However, the wheat started to grow once again from the left over roots and was restored to its former state soon enough.
The artificial canal in the middle and the cultivated areas, as well as the dungeons and ruins were evidence that people lived in here. This stray continent probably has a 'people once lived here' setting.
"Well, let's investigate it step by step. Now, to gather some more ingredients."
Although thirty bags of Flour was enough for more than four servings, I'm still worried about food. I made the flour with 【Processing】, but why did it appear in a bag, or rather where did the bag come from. Well, let's stop retorting to myself.
The next field I headed to had materials for poison potions, poisonous plants, they were mingled with vegetables.
When I pulled out one of the vegetables thinking it's was a carrot, I found that it was a poisonous plant which had a curse effect and the form of a carrot——Mandragora.
Speaking of which, they certainly do look like carrots, it would be easy to fail recognizing it by appearance. I could appraise it immediately after collecting so I could tell whether its safe or not, understanding the danger.
Considering the normal vegetables were mixed with the poison it took me a while to gather a sufficient number. After that I went to the pasture and decided to have a lunch.
The weather was good, I bathed in sun while having a picnic at the meadow.
"I'll take a look at the information board."
Suddenly, I thought that my current knowledge of the situation was underwhelming. Both about the circumstances surrounding me, and my own standing. I thought that I might have overlooked something fatal. I removed the easy-to-eat lunch and ate as I browsed through the board. Although it was bad manners, I focused on efficiency.
The board was divided into several categories.
The titles of the threads were as follows, 【Ruins Dungeon Guide Part 3】, 【Young Beasts are too cute :)】, 【Everyone's safe life】, 【Stray Continent's Mob Pictures】, 【Trade Board, Rates Consultation】 and so on.
From among them I examined the information that was relevant to me, like a kid in candy store I opened the threads that interested me even though it was pointless.
The dungeon configurations and types, the recommended Senses and levels. There were also stories of failure in the middle of the event.
『"If a fruit seems delicious, it's most likely a poison ：）."』 『"Because of 【Confusion】 state we cut down three of our party members :｝."』, and so on. It seemed painful.
The contents of the topics was either interesting or funny, I was absorbed in reading it.
"Waa! Young beast's screenshots?! I can post here!"
The thread which raised my tension the most was the one about little animals. A fantastical creature, a black mini dragon covered with fluffy feathers... a small silver monkey stuffing itself with fruits...
Small animals as big as stuffed toys frolicking around...
"Haa, I want a partner of my own as soon as possible."
I couldn't help but think so.
"Fuu... let's eat my lunch and do my best in the afternoon... hey, where's my lunch?"
The lunch I took out and left unattended has disappeared and was all cleaned up, instead, I found a pure white foal resting on its knees sleepily.
In front of me there was a pure white foal with beautiful fur, I'm sure that if I stroked it, it's mane would feel really good in touch. That was the extent of my thoughts. But considering the circumstances, this white horse must have been the thief who stole my lunch...
"Hey you, just when did you appear."
I must have been too focused on the information board to notice... I thought. But it seems like I was wrong.
The moment the white horse glanced at me, the scenery around it distorted and the horse disappeared.
However, when I concentrated my gaze at the location it disappeared at, I've seen its figure vaguely. The white horse didn't move a single step. It seemed as if it read my surprised expression, and responded with 'how about it, amazing right?'. It acted quite arrogantly.
"...you've got a stealth feature huh... impressive."
An impression that mixed both a surprise and praise leaked out of my mouth.
"If I didn't have 【Discovery】 I wouldn't have noticed you."
The 【Discovery】 Sense allowed me to find hidden people and collection points, if not for this Sense which allowed me to find mobs easily the lunch thief would have succeeded with his perfect crime. However, even though I looked at it carefully I could only see it vaguely, if I looked normally I definitely wouldn't have found it.
Feeling like that I muttered under my nose. Without any emotions in particular, the white horse replied by only shaking its tail once. For this horse, I might have been just an irrelevant existence.
The white horse's stealth capability might be one of the individual properties young animals had, just like Ricœur's ability to summon ice. Even so, it didn't seem to have too favourable impression on me. There wasn't any hostility, but it lacked interest as well.
"That aside, I'm hungry too, you lunch thief. Well, I can always make more."
Making it was simple and there was plenty of ingredients. I took out a cooking kit and started making a proper meal.
The foal stared at me as I finished preparing food, it stood up quietly and then stared at the fried vegetables.
"...you, you just ate and you want to eat again?"
As it nodded, I held out dishes in front of the young horse.
Seeing as it gobbled it down I wondered, can I touch it now? And motivated by curiosity I moved to its side and touched its body.
Even though I touched it with my hand it wasn't fazed at all. *pat* *pat*... *sparkle* *sparkle*
It wasn't as fluffy as other little ones, but this comfortable feeling might turn into a habit.
In particular when my fingers passed through its long mane, the light was diffused randomly. Beautiful.
"...you, do you want to come together with me?"
The white horse turned its head towards me and stared at me with its clear eyes. Ten seconds, then twenty seconds, silence continued to last.
No good huh. Just when I was about to give up, it poked my belly with its head.
"Hey!! Wait, don't push me!?"
The sudden occurrence made me fall on my butt, and I had my knees raised up, my legs making up a triangular shape like this ㇵ——ultimately I sat in a feminine way. The white horse came over and put its head on my lap.
"Hey... what does this mean."
It just waved its tail, it closed its eyes completely.
The white horse broke into a nap. I still haven't eaten my lunch, 'dis way I can't cook anythin'. Despite thinking like that, seeing the foal lie like that comfortably I felt like I shouldn't disturb it. I relieved my hunger by eating a fruit I took out from the inventory.
I caught a bit of its mane in my palm and enjoyed the feeling, I pat its forehead and mane. There seemed to be something hard on the white horse's forehead, I pushed the soft hair away to examine it.
Certainly, there was something there. As I pushed aside the hair on his head which lied on my thigh I found what I have caught on earlier.
I blinked and looked towards the heavens to make sure it's not a hallucination. Seeing my reaction, the foal raised its head a little. 'What, any complaints?', that's how it felt.
Cause, this little one had a small horn. I didn't notice it earlier since it was hidden in the hair, but it was a famous mythical beast that had a horn growing out of its forehead, a Unicorn.
Unicorns were said to approach only maidens. Hey, I'm not a woman, I'm a guy.
For a while I wondered what was it. And reached that conclusion. The horse felt really nice in touch so the presence of a horn didn't matter. It's not like it disadvantaged me anyhow.
And while I enjoyed its sparkly fur, the white horse suddenly interrupted its rest and stood up.
"…? What is it?"
It rotated its neck a few times, and after staring in the direction of lake, it broke into a run towards it.
I chased it in a hurry. The white horse ran down the gentle hill and entered the woods, it continued to rush through the gap in the trees.
"At this rate I'll be left behind. 《Enchant》——Speed."
As not to lose the sight of it I raised my speed as well and chased. The white horse looked back once to see how I'm faring, and after confirming that I'm keeping up it raised its speed even further.
"Shit! What's up with him all of a sudden!"
I proceeded while avoiding obstacles like stones and tree roots. Passing by, I ignored all unique mobs occasionally saw which could drop useful items for survival. I felt it was a huge waste.
And from the wheat fields I entered a forest, the white horse stopped in a place where according to the map there was nothing in particular.
"I suddenly chased you, but it's not like you were escaping from me was it——hey, there's a person!"
Under the white horse's feet there was a player lying face down.
I realized its a woman from her petite figure and long hair, around her there were two animals, a Herbivore and a Mill Bird.
"She's being attacked?! For now——"
I took a step back making distance from Mill Bird and the Herbivore. Moreover, the white horse positioned itself between the fallen player and the two mobs. The fallen player was a priority.
"Hey, you all okay?"
"...I cannot... move."
"Were you attacked by some kind of mob?!"
Haa? Certainly, it was unnatural for her to have a full HP if she was attacked, and she didn't seem to be inhibited by an abnormal status. Also, by food she means...
Despite having a pretty face she said something really disappointing, I took out a fruit and passed it to her. She grasped the fruit with trembling hands, and because of how wild she ate it, my admiration cooled down in an instant.
"Fuu... I finally recovered to 30%."
"You going to eat more?"
"No, I'm fine, but these tamed ones need food."
She pointed with her finger as she said so, she called over the Mill Bird and Herbivore that were surrounding her earlier. It seems like they weren't enemies but allies... so that's how it was.
"So you have the 【Taming】 Sense?"
"Yes, let's talk in detail as we're eating..."
No, that way of speaking makes it seem like I'm to prepare the food. That's not a line which should be said by someone who just collapsed, is it. I was about to put these words in my mouth, but I noticed something and took a step away.
"Ah, yes. Elf ears indeed."
"Hm, I was playing around with ears in the character edit. I wanted to look like an elf."
Hee. I left the default from camera shoot, and my body was modified too. To a more feminine one.
The loose hair-strands of her blonde hair were raised up by the ears, since she showed her pointed ears I observed them intently for a moment, but I realized I shouldn't gawk at women and looked away.
I've heard her story while she was eating, it seemed like the three animals have eaten all the food she had. Hey, white horse. You've eaten earlier haven't you. As I stared at it, it pretended not to know anything. Geez...
"Now, self introductions. I'm Letia. I've made the character in image of the forest people; the elves. Now these tamed beasts, the Herbivore is Haru and Mill Bird is Natsu."
"I'm Yun. As you can see, an archer."
"Well, I can see that. And I advise you to change it as soon as possible."
"I've been told that by my little sister. However, I've started to like it so give that a rest... rather than that, Letia, why have you fallen over in such a place."
"That's... there's a profound reason for that..."
A profound reason. Maybe her food was stolen by someone, or maybe she left it all as she ran away...
"Although I went into the woods hoping to find a rare young beast during the event, I've distributed my portion of food to Haru and Natsu... a lot happened."
"No, I won't say 'you reap what you sow', but food can be collected at various places. And if you have a corresponding Sense you can appraise items to check if they're safe, right?"
"That's... embarrassing, but I've acquired 【Light Element Talent】 for overnight activities and cannot get another new Sense."
Yup, she reaps what she sows after all. I spit out a tired sigh.
"Then you could join some party, or barter with items you had on you for food."
"The consumables only restored a small amount of satiety, I have eaten them. Several times I have received an abnormal state after eating food I picked."
Is that something to boast of?! Moreover, she didn't use the ingredients but ate them...
"Haa, geez. I'll teach you how to make safe food. If I tell you about it you'll be able to see the details on the item. In exchange, give me the ingredients you've been eating earlier."
"In other words, despite being already sate, I'll eat in excess, right?"
"That's what you're worried about?!"
"To go further, you want me to eat Haru's and Natsu's portion... you're a demon."
"Somehow, I want to protest..."
As I poorly retorted with an indifferent expression Letia spat out a small sigh and smiled.
"I'm joking. Thank you very much for taking care of me. Yun-kun's a gentle girl."
"——So what's this white horse's name?"
"Listen to what I'm saying, you sorry elf."
I couldn't relay that I'm a man to Letia who was together with the Herbivore Haru and Mill Bird Natsu who had swollen bellies. What interested her more was the white horse.
"A rare beast huh. I want it. Does it have a name yet?"
"No, even if you ask me for a name... right."
I looked at the white horse for consent, it snorted and looked away. I haven't given it a name yet, and it hasn't become my partner. After a while it dispersed going somewhere.
"Oh, it's gone."
"Did something go wrong?"
"Isn't it just going on and off on a whim? That aside, let's go and look for proper items. I'll appraise them for you. We will gather the items we found in two, is that fine?"
"Yes, are the ones that have poison in them all right too?"
"It's fine. Poison can be used as a crafting material for other things than food. If you have a base camp somewhere we can trade the ingredients and products there."
"I understand. Let's do our best looking."
With that said, she used the two tamed beasts Haru and Natsu and started to look in the forest.
I also went in the forest to replenish the ingredients that I have used up. Also, I've felt the presence of the white horse following me even though it disappeared earlier.
"So for example, if you mix the poisonous herbs I've been eating for satiety you can make a medicine that recovers from bad status which reduces stats."
"No, although your wording is funny, it's not entirely wrong."
Among the mountain of items we collected together there were many types, I needed Letia to remember them.
"Look, eat this. Also, you can eat this too."
"Impossible. Why can you eat it despite knowing it's poison..."
"Don't worry, if you eat Antidote Grass immediately you can minimize the damage."
Currently, I've had Letia remember which ingredients are dangerous, it was literally having her body learn. It was the so called 『Discerning』. Moreover, as we chatted I've told her how to use each one.
"If you have 【Mixing】 and have materials which cause abnormal states and recover from them, you can make a variety of items. Next one, it's a normal ingredient but..."
It appeared that if it was a normal item which had no disadvantages to it, then the tamed beasts, Haru and Natsu could appraise them. Even though Letia and the beasts didn't want to use poisonous plants, they took this to mouth voluntarily. It's not like I'm bullying them.
"Uuu... this is a camp, even if I put poison in my mouth I'll survive."
"No, if you normally appraised it you wouldn't have to eat it. Also, if you eat it once you'll be safe later."
The elf-styled girl stuffed the materials into her mouth indifferently to identify them, she turned her gaze towards the tamed beasts. They ignored their lord's gaze and munched the materials. It seemed like doing something dangerous should be done together by partners. The moment I thought that, I've gotten a surreal feeling that it was something subtle and sad.
"Well, whatever. It's good to be able to survive during the event. That's why, don't overdo it."
"You're a mysterious person. Helping someone who collapsed and teach them a way to survive without asking anything in return..."
I didn't really help her with any special intent in mind...
"And you have a bow as a weapon. I can sympathize as I too hold a mishappen Sense."
"Hey, are you selling me a fight here?"
"No such thing. 【Taming】 too is considered a mishappen and dead Sense, I've been told a lot of stuff about it."
"Ah, speaking of which I've heard something like that when I asked about 【Taming】. I've acquired it, but haven't been able to use it"
I recalled what Letia said, 【Taming】 Sense was a dead Sense. The probability of taming a mob was low, it was a dead Sense because a huge amount of luck was required for it to work properly.
"That recognition is half-right, and half wrong."
"Haa? What do you mean?"
"There must be something else other than relying on luck. For example winning them over, didn't you notice anything?"
"Umm, feeding I guess?"
"Indeed. Also, you can win them over by showing your combat skills with Taming turned on."
Certainly, although if you use 【Taming】 in combat at the enemy it's all up to luck, but it's possible to increase the chance of success by several methods. If you use a best method matching your opponent, they are likely to become your companion. However, the element of luck is still involved, and more attempts might be necessary. Also, if the mob becomes a partner, he will turn into an item called Summoning Stone which will allow one to call them.
Calling a mob with a Summoning Stone costs MP, the amount is determined by the mob type. Because of that, players MP limits what mob can be used with 【Taming】.
"Something like that."
"Hmm. Is that so."
I identified items while listening to Letia's explanation. I could already see the end of the item pile.
"Haa?! There's a young animal."
"Eh, no way. Where..."
Letia's gaze pierced into my back, she looked in the direction I was staring and she saw it stay on top of tree's thick branch.
It was a creature with bright red eyes and white fur, it had a long and narrow body. It was a creature resembling a ferret or a weasel, it was staring at us.
"Then, let's demonstrate what we were talking about earlier. Let's try several things before we try having it surrender in combat."
While saying so, Letia took a fruit which was identified as non-toxic and spoke to the little one on the tree.
"Look, it's food. Come over here."
The weasel's line of sight was focused on the fruit, it should come down soon enough. However, unlike the time I encountered the little ones, it was quite wary and wouldn't just come close.
"Next, you can try captivating it by playing a musical instrument."
She said and took out a flute. As expected, the self-proclaimed elf must be able to let out a beautiful tone from from it. I've had high expectations but——
*pihyororo〜*, an indescribable silly sound jingled in vain throughout the forest.
"Like this you use a 【Musical Instrument】 to deepen your friendship with the other party."
"Before that, it has already turned stiff in amazement! That weasel's mocking you!"
"Weird. When the enemy was a goblin it waved both of its hands and started dancing... well, the performance is finished, let's try it. It might have been because its level is low."
That ain't good. Just when I thought that, the young weasel's atmosphere changed.
Unfortunately, the moment the flute stopped playing, from being wary it turned into being wary and hostile, it tried to intimidate us.
"Hey, isn't it completely furious..."
"Sometimes they turn hostile for no reason at all in the middle of solicitation. How unusual."
"That's no good at all! Hey, uwaa?!"
The weasel's paw was wrapped in pale green light and there was wind swirling. I avoided a sharp wind blade that was released from the paw it waved, it left a small scar on the ground.
"A Kamaitachi huh. It's hostile now, is there no choice but to defeat it?"
I pulled out the knife that was attached to my belt, wanting to confront wind blades with it. Letia and her two tamed beasts positioned themselves, but it didn't mean we have formed a party. We decided not to make one in order to avoid receiving a penalty.
"Letia, what to do once it turns into a battle?"
"Unfortunately, I have no way to fight in close quarters. Mostly I leave it to Haru and Natsu. Do your best."
"Haa, I too am an amateur when it comes to close combat."
The distance was too small and it would be difficult for me to maneuver with a longbow. Although I took out my knife, it would be better to have a tactical retreat. However, with this atmosphere I couldn't just leave it like that.
"I'll go in front. Letia, support me from range in a way that won't cause us to get a penalty."
The tamed beasts immediately moved and stuck closely to Letia's side as she has moved into the back. I'll move pre-emptively... and when I thought that I felt like something caught my hand in which I held the knife.
The young Unicorn that was hiding from Letia up until now has pulled on my sleeves making it so I couldn't swing the weapon.
Did this guy turn into an enemy? I thought that, but it didn't seem like it was attacking me. It didn't seem like it was anyone's enemy, there was no hostility in its eyes.
"?!! It hurts."
Both the young Unicorn and I received the wind blade and our HP was reduced. I took one step back in shock, but Letia instantly healed my and the Unicorn's wounds with recovery magic.
Even after being attacked by the Kamaitachi, the Unicorn didn't show any hostility against it. Don't kill it. That's what it seemed to say.
"I get it. We just need to render it powerless. If that's fine then let me go."
I didn't know whether it understood my words, but it stopped pulling on my clothes and distanced itself from me. A way to incapacitate it without taking it down, there was one.
"Letia! Don't stop healing me! 《Enchant》——Mind."
I increased my magic defence with an enchant and took a step further. I have received the wind blades that were released in succession with my crossed arms, it seems like I managed to decrease the amount of damage taken as compared to before. With heals being cast on me I reduced the distance steadily. The wind blade attacks seemed like they were released in confusion and disproportionate. And when I got to the distance where I could reach it with my hands——
"Don't give me so much trouble, geez——"
I sprinkled a liquid I removed from the inventory on the Kamaitachi, immediately after it stopped moving and fell over.
"No matter what I make, it always turns out to be handy. An abnormal state drug."
In response to the drug, an abnormal state of 【Sleep】 was caused, the Kamaitachi started to let out sounds in sleep. Even so, after this it might wake up in less than ten seconds.
And then the young Unicorn moved forward and stood by my side, light has gathered near its forehead and it contacted the sleeping Kamaitachi. It recovered Kamaitachi's reduced HP and the abnormal state. We didn't deal any damage to it, that must have meant it was damaged earlier.
"Oh, it woke up."
Although Kamaitachi was in an excited state after waking up, it checked its own recovered body and after glancing at the Unicorn and us it ran away in a hurry. Letia was watching that from behind, even though she muttered regretfully, she didn't really say anything.
"Thank you for the support."
"No, it was a right person for the right job. Yun-san's a mysterious person after all. Well, to defeat a rare animal like that would be a waste. I think it was a good decision."
"It wasn't my judgement though. Hey, it's gone already."
The young Unicorn disappeared using its stealth ability right after it was over, it stayed some distance away.
"Even so, it seemed like it was damaged by someone before it met us."
Was there a player who aimed at the young ones, or did it fight with another mob.
"No clue. Hm, sunset is about to come. What will you do, Letia?"
"I'll make a base camp in an appropriate spot and go to sleep."
"Then we'll be separating here."
"It seems so. Next time, if the fate's willing."
She said so, and after taking her partners with her, Letia went into the forest and was no longer visible before long.
"Now, we should go back too... hm? What's this."
In the place Kamaitachi stayed in, there was something shining dully. It was a metal ring that had a reddish colour. Because I couldn't see any details I equipped the 【Craftsmanship】 Sense, I identified it.
Wrath Ring 【Ornament】
DEF+15 MIND+15 Additional Effect : 【Anger 3】
It was dangerous equipment. However, why was it in a place like this. As I examined it closely, I found a pattern that was strangely ominous.
"Well, no matter how much I think about it I won't find an answer. Let's just put this thing in the inventory."
I muttered so and went back to the base camp. The Unicorn followed me halfway, but when it saw Magi-san and the others in our base camp, it ran away to hide again.
We''ll meet again if so willed by fate, I stored these words in the corner of my head and reported today's results to everyone.
- ↑ To better describe the mentioned pose (it's obvious in Japanese, but not so obvious in english) I'll have this lass to present it: http://i.imgur.com/WWfxkR6.jpg – something like this.
- ↑ Haru means spring, Natsu means summer. She's naming her tamed beasts with the names of the seasons.
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamaitachi
Chapter 4 – Swimming and the Ruins on Lake Bottom
"Today we're acting separately as well, will you be okay Yun-kun?"
"There's no problem. I'm going to use 【Swimming】 Sense to check whether the rumours about the lake are true. I might be able to find something."
In the morning of the third day Magi-san was quite worried. Yesterday when I told her that I challenged a violent young beast and didn't resist it, she was seriously worried.
"Yun-kun, don't be too reckless. Come back safely."
"Come on, we're going. Today too we're going to look for crafting materials."
Magi-san seemed to be broadening the area of their search together with Cloude and Lyly. Yesterday they seemed to search while maintaining a safety margin, but the mobs which appeared were mostly weak and it gave me an impression of a monotonous work.
While embracing little furball in her arms Magi-san anxiously looked back a few times, I sent her off with a smile, I continued to smile until she disappeared. What a worrywart, I muttered.
"Now then, now that they're gone, let's head straight towards the lake today."
I muttered and moved out of the safety area in which we had our own base camp, the young Unicorn appeared in front of me, I put on a wry smile as it started walking beside me.
"You were close by after all. You should have come to our base camp yesterday."
The foal walked right by my side, it was as big as a pony, it had a different charm from Ricœur and others.
"It's inconvenient not to have a name right? What do we do about it?"
I looked at the Unicorn but it didn't show any reaction in particular, I started thinking of names with a finger on my chin.
"Not much of a talker huh. You're not talking so... how about Taciturn. Hey, uwaah?! You didn't like it?! Sorry, sorry about that."
I was headbutted from behind, the white horse showed its dissatisfaction. Names are quite difficult.
"Then, Ryui. How about it?"
As I said that, it stopped headbutting me. Although it showed an aloof attitude, it didn't leave me and kept up with my pace. I don't know if it liked it, but it seems like it has acknowledged it. Speaking of which, about the young Unicorn——I've forgotten to tell Magi-san about Ryui.
We faced the waterway on southeast, and went along it towards the lake.
There was a clean boundary between the lake and the canal, there were tidal flats by the edges of the lake.
"There are living things in the shallow water too, I don't need to use 【Swimming】 to secure food."
Although I took a step forward into the tidal flat, it seemed like there will be a delay as my footing was unstable and I lost balance. Ryui didn't enter the unstable ground at all.
"You're not good with these huh. Wait there, I'll be going to pick some food for tonight."
As I said that, Ryui lied down and started napping.
I focused on the tidal flats again and proceeded deeper, after a short while I was able to pick up something that looked like oversized shrimps.
When I bent over to pick them up, the shrimps and shellfishes attacked me with its limbs or shells.
"Hey that's dangerous... these are treated as mobs too?"
Although I pulled out my knife to try attacking it, there was no damage. Since I didn't have an appropriate Sense it seemed like it didn't judge it as an attack. Though, I only tried hitting its shell.
"It's slow and it doesn't move. And it's a mob... like this, move around the shrimp and stab the knife into a gap in it's shell..."
I held the opponent down with my leg, and after stopping its movements I pressed the knife against the gap. Fuuh, I took a deep breath. I put some strength into the knife all at once and bisected the shrimp starting with the gap.
It's shell gave a strong resistance at first, but as I pushed it forcefully and before long it gave a death cry and disappeared. 'Shrimp' has appeared in my inventory.
"So I can use a kitchen knife to hunt mobs. It's not a dagger, I don't want to be joked about as a 'kitchen knife user'."
But a dagger was quite thick. I was able to attack the gap like this because of how thin and sharp a kitchen knife is.
After that, I was able to insert the knife inside of a shellfish's shell and after cutting the adductor muscle inside I obtained a shellfish.
Since I had to stop it from moving and aim at the gap it couldn't be said it was too efficient. It was time-consuming.
However, when I killed about a hundred of them——
『"The 【Cooking】 Sense is level 10 or higher, a skill was generated after subjugating over a hundred enemies with Cooking-type equipment."』
"Ehh? So skills appear after fulfilling conditions that are different than the Sense level or events huh."
A new skill was added to 【Cooking】 besides the 【Preparing】 【Processing】 and 【Facilitating】.
Even so, the level went up by attacking mobs with a kitchen knife. Hey, what's this?
《Ingredient Knowledge》——For 10 minutes a red marker appears on enemy, damage increases if the marked place is attacked.
In other words, it was a skill that revealed weaknesses. When I tried it, a red marker appeared in a gap in the shrimp's shell.
Unlike 【Enchant】, it felt more like a Sense increasing weapon damage. An additional damage correction within a limited range felt completely different from how enchant worked.
"I've gathered enough ingredients, let's check out the lake and go back."
I unequipped the 【Dosing】 Sense and switched to【Swimming】 Sense. Although I was slightly anxious removing the high level 【Dosing】, I'll try covering its correction with an enchant.
The water wasn't unmoving, the aquatic plants swayed back and forth as underwater streams moved them.
I swam freely in the water as there was less resistance as compared to the stream's rapids. When I found a building on the bottom of the lake, on the edge of my vision I saw a black shadow of a fish swimming towards me at breakneck speed, I immediately avoided it.
(Danger...?! What's that.)
I looked over my shoulder for signs of the fish, a pitch black 1,5m long giant fish was there. Its name was Western Bluefin Tuna.
I was convinced that it was seafood that had strength incomparable to shrimps and shellfishes I've picked up until now.
(This is the lake's unique mob.)
What to do, although I want to examine the building on the bottom of the lake, this guy will definitely get in my way. There's no other way than to get rid of it.
I returned to the surface once again. Although the Bluefin Tuna gave up on chasing me halfway, seeming as if it had no intention of leaving the depths, and it went back into the depths.
"Now then, let's come up with a strategy to defeat the guy."
If it comes to worst, I'll escape to the surface where he won't chase after me. I can challenge him as much as I want. I adjusted my posture in water and took a breath. I cast three enchants on myself, ATK, DEF and SPEED. I've also cast the 《Ingredient Knowledge》 I've acquired very recently to see its weak points.
I clenched the knife and once again dived into the water, I looked for the tuna.
I didn't have to look long, the tuna which avoided still water came out of the area it occupied and assaulted me.
This time when we got in contact I didn't avoid it completely, and I swung the knife at the marker on the tuna's body.
Although I swung it with all strength I had in my arms towards the large figure, the moment the knife has struck the tuna——
(It hurts?!! My arms——)
I didn't pull the knife which pierced through tuna. With a knife still piercing it, the tuna held my body and started to swing to sides in water. As I was exposed to water resistance, my HP has gradually decreased.
Not good, I thought. I didn't pull out the knife yet, I waited until he slows down and then pulled it out.
The moment I pulled it out and thought of escaping, the tail fin was swung and hit my side, I've been strongly blown away in the water.
I've moved in the water traversing an unknown distance, and when the tuna finally stopped approaching me I escaped towards the surface in a hurry. The first contact was my loss.
"Shit! That guy received barely any damage, I've dealt only about 5% of his HP."
It's speed wasn't great when it was caught, but if I stab my knife in I'll be attacked and pulled around. At times like these I could use 《Cursed》 to decrease its speed, but there was quite a distance from the water surface and it was impossible to articulate in water.
I recovered my HP with a potion and went back into water once again.
The sense of distance wasn't a problem. I need to change the way I attack,
If I stab it in like before I'll be pulled around. With this blade length I could kill it as long as I lured it away from the underwater streams. I continued to avoid not finding a way to attack it.
...three times, four times, five, six, seven, eight times.
I confronted him nine times. An hour has elapsed since I first fought with the tuna. Mechanically, my body remembered how to move in water optimally. Meanwhile, I thought of a way to attack.
The only means of attacking I had was the kitchen knife in my hand. How do you use a knife?
In my head, I recalled the way a knife was used. Knife is pressed and then pulled. That's the basic movement. Then I need to press it against the tuna, but how do I go about pulling it.
Perfect, the tuna was heading towards me.
With elbows close to my body, I impaled the opponent in the place with a red mark using the knife I clenched in my hands.
When the driving force of my propulsion and tuna's added to each other, the knife cut smoothly.
(Good, it cut.)
Just to outstretch the blade and use our driving force to cut.
Because of the water's high resistance I swung my arms blindly, when I thrust the knife I just continued to swim——and this was the result.
The blow just now traced the marker, but it was slightly offset in the middle. Next time, I will follow the line precisely. Now, it's my turn to go on offensive.
I kicked the water and proceeded towards the tuna head-on.
I increased my speed in the water and created a waterflow.
The moment we closed in on each other, I diverted my body and pierced the knife into the longest marker. I put more strength into my legs and continued to swim forward until the the knife reached the tail.
Coupled with the momentum I've had from kicking the water, and without wasting my strength this time I cleanly cut along the marker.
With this, I have gained confidence. The time has come, I rose up to the surface and rebuilt my posture.
"At least I shaved off 10% of his HP. 90% left."
I challenged it for the tenth time.
I confronted it head on again and approached it. It was a chicken race during which we both gained momentum. If I miss the chance to avoid, I'll be hit by the tuna's mass and carried off, it will prevail, but if I avoid normally I won't be able to deal a large amount of damage.
Every time we crossed each other, its HP vanished. And it came down to the final showdown.
*slip*, the kitchen knife was stabbed into tuna's body and driven into the end of its life.
(——Dismantling complete. Or something like that.)
It was a formidable enemy. One vs one it was stronger than any mob I've encountered before. It was on par with a boss, it might sound funny, but the environment made the boss really strong.
And a treasure chest which was a reward for subjugating the water unique mob, was sinking.
I followed it in a hurry, after making sure everything is calm on the bottom I opened the treasure box.
(Now, let's see what kind of item did Western Bluefin Tuna drop.)
I looked at the items expectantly, and was stunned with surprise. And then, conveying those thoughts by kicking the water strongly, I rushed to the surface above.
"Why the heck the reward for Western is a set of western cooking tools?!"
The item contained inside, was a set of western tools.
A tool that turns pasta dough into pasta by putting it in and turning a handle, a bowl, a cylindrical pot, a large magical stove, there were various tools in it.
I appreciated it, the management has mischievously named it, but I still wasn't convinced.
"Ahh, I'm dead tired. Now lets confirm what's underwater and go back."
I dove underwater to look for artefacts. In the stone building there was only one entrance.
I entered it, the interior seemed to be filled with air. I lit a torch.
"Heyhey, I shouldn't be able to use a torch in such a damp place."
Despite me thinking so, when I used the cooking set's lighter it caught fire. Well, it's a game. As I proceeded to light the torches I was finally able to see the entire room.
It was narrow and long, the stone walls continued, there were pictures drawn on the walls.
On the picture there was a variety of animals. Wolf, tiger, large bird, elephant, bear, fox, dragon. Beside them there were multiple people coexisting with them. There wasn't a single character in it, but everything was expressed with a picture.
As I looked around the room, I found a passage leading to another space, but I was unable to pass through it as the ceiling has collapsed.
I explored the surroundings carefully, but there were only pictures of animals.
One by one, I took screenshots of it, I didn't want to divulge it though. The ceiling pictured coexistence on it.
And then I proceeded to the deepest part, the aspect of the pictures changed.
Humans coexisted with animals, and now the tamed animals cherished their ties with humans.
There was a particularly conspicuous presence in the picture.
It had a gaping mouth and irregular sharp fangs, an organism which had countless tentacles extend from its black body. The colour scheme promoted odiousness, its torso was so twisted it was impossible to be biological. The location in which pupils should be, had gaping cavities.
That organism captured the animals with its tentacles and threw them to its mouth.
A number of these creatures appeared and has overrun the animals, it has ruined the impression of idyllic murals.
It was as if it was a natural enemy of the animals.
"It might be just my imagination, but there might be such a setting for this continent."
And the people held weapons in its hands and attacked those natural enemies. The deformed profile had hidden eyes behind it and it targeted people with them.
In the end, there was a mural highlighting a fierce fight with number of irregular monsters. At the end of the dead serious mural, it was treasure time again.
The treasure chest that was enshrined in the deepest part of the space was more decorated and better build then treasure chests up until now, giving it a dignified feel.
This time, it was a treasure chest from the building at the bottom of the lake. I was able to arrive here because I had 【Swimming】 level 12. Considering there was no workaround for mortal combat with the Bluefin Tuna, the difficulty was considerably higher. If I didn't take 【Swimming】 Sense yesterday-today I wouldn't have arrived here. No, in a party of six it would be easier with an equipment like spear, and it would be easy to attack.
(This time, I hope it's not a joke item!)
After I opened the treasure box with a tense hand, inside I found four weapons I couldn't appraise.
—— A Staff, a battle axe; a longbow, and a pair of daggers.
The staff had an onyx gem on top which sucked in the light. It was distinctly black.
The battle axe was dark red, it felt solid and it didn't seem like I would be able to lift it. The blade had a cracked up surface and it pulsed with red and black like magma.
The pair of daggers, the colour of their blades was different even though the handle had the same design. One of them was black and glossy, the other was purple and looked poisonous. Both of them had a texture which seemed rough and didn't reflect light.
And with a red cloth wound around the flexible wood, made out of a material unknown to me and elaborately decorated with feathers, a long bow with a black string.
It was slightly larger than the bow Lyly made, although it was unlikely that I would be able to casually shoot it, if I stood unmoving, I would be able to shoot from it.
The last thing inside, was a memo.
"Umm, 『Congratulations. You have found a chest hidden in the field. The contents are unique weapons. These are weapon types that your party uses the most. You can learn the details by appraising them.』 hey, it's not appraised yet."
I checked the details, but they weren't appraised yet. I could equip them, but I don't know what will happen. Better confirm it with Magi-san and others tonight. Rather, these are weapons for the entire party.
Even though we're separated, we're still a party. Nice. I thought.
I didn't have anything else to examine in this place, so I dived in the water once again.
As I looked up from the bottom of the lake, water reflected sunlight and shined brilliantly. I stopped in place for a moment and recorded the scene before leaving the lake.
"...Ryui, you here?"
I might have left it for too long. I couldn't find the white horse even as I looked around. When I thought it must have been too long to leave him for two hours and scratched my head, a figure appeared from the grass nearby.
"You waited for me, thanks."
I bent over and stroked Ryui who approached me. It looked away, it was a sign of being grumpy. I did something I shouldn't.
"I finished searching the lake, should we return, or maybe search a different location... what is it Ryui?"
Until now it hasn't looked into my eyes, but Ryui hasn't shook off my hand that stroked it, suddenly it seemed as if it saw something and quietly it tensed up.
It happened few seconds later. Ryui moved to a position 30 metres away from me, it waved its neck signalling me to come. Urging me. Was the ability to perceive a crisis of animals also applied to the game? The moment I stopped near Ryui I heard a heavy metal sound and a loud shriek.
Along with a familiar voice, two huge monsters were blown away from the forest into the lakeside. It was the location I just stood in.
"Being blown away by a single hit, you're too lacking to be a field unique! Come on, become rust on my sword!"
Pointlessly high tension. Pointlessly brandishing a sword, cutting through the air.
Girls took on shrimp-type and a tree-type unique mobs appearing from the place they were originally blown away.
"...Myu. Taking on two opponents all of a sudden is too risky."
"Hmm. I'm fine as long as I can raise my Hammer's level on that hard crustacean."
"Well well, let's search-and-destroy before it's stolen by someone else! That's the best!"
Acquaintances, helluva acqueintances.
The lightly equipped Toutobi used her daggers to thrust. Hino took out her sledgehammer and laughed, and my little sister Myu was running out of control. Probably feeling danger, Ryui who was next to me in stealth straightened its vigilance.
Even so, where are the three remaining ones including Lucato? Well, I'm acting separately as well so I shouldn't question it.
"Eh? It's Onee-chan! Heey, Yun-oneechan!"
"Myu, in front, IN FRONT!"
Even though she was in middle of combat, she had time to spare to wave. She effortlessly avoided the pincer attack of the from monsters' wood and spear. Hey, cheating little sister. I beg you, don't worry your brother so much.
Toutobi pierced through the blind spot of shrimp-type mob's Timewasting Scissors, Hino swung her hammer and crushed its studs.
While the two of them dealt with one unique mob, Myu took the Sweets Tree-type mob all alone.
"Hey hey! You won't hit me with such a slow attack!"
Myu continued to resist curses the tree has been casting because of her high magic defence and avoided all the wooden spears made from the tree branches.
It quickly switched between offence and defence, I felt like it could be called a true unique mob. The spider mob we've seen on the first day was weak enough to be taken down by a beginner party, the Bluefin Tuna from the lake might not have had high stats but it was difficult to defeat. If even once one were to be hit underwater, there was a high possibility of losing.
And the two mobs in front of me had a strength that made me feel like I absolutely wouldn't be able to defeat them alone.
I've observed the fight with the Sweets Tree, it attacked faster than one could move one's arms and body. However——
"You're too slow so I'll make my move instead!"
"No, just how is that slow."
The growing branches were corresponding to its hands, the number of those piercing increased, if I didn't focus on avoiding them I would have been skewered immediately.
She continued to avoid it by a hair's breadth and closed the distance. With the sword she had poised in her hand she lightly cut down the branches that interfered with her approach.
It felt like both of them gave their everything in this battle. However, the Sweets Tree still had a margin. And Myu...
She's been blown away earlier, but now she was rooted to the ground and stood firmly.
After entering the range at which she could use Arts, Myu started operating one. I perceived a change in Sweets Tree and raised my voice.
She cancelled the operation and immediately stepped back gaining distance. The location in which Myu was earlier had wooden spears protruding from the ground.
The Sweets Tree was immobile, in the medium distance it used piercing attacks. Once one has approached it, it had wooden spears protrude from the ground. I immediately thought of countermeasures for that, that would be long distance magic attack, however...
"Nice! That's how it should be!"
"Yeah, my little sister has become a complete battle-freak..."
She avoided a dangerous blow, but she didn't chagrin or curse. She had a large childish smile on her face and happily held her one-handed sword.
Momentarily, she dropped her waist low and sprung out to reach it all at once. With just her speed she avoided the spears the tree attacked her with, she twisted her body and went past them by a fine line.
Her actions were the same as before, but her speed was in another league. Seeing that high level players are capable of such a things, I felt fear.
Once again she went into close range of the tree. When there was an unnatural upsurge from the ground Myu rushed without stopping.
The spears popped out momentarily like mines, they appeared from blind spots. It was inevitable.
"Naive! I won't get caught by the same trick twice!"
She suddenly stopped, leaving all the momentum remaining from the run centred on her right foot, she rotated around using the momentum and deflected the wooden spears with her sword. And once again she started running to confront the tree.
Truly, inhuman technique.
"This time——《Fifth Breaker》!"
The Arts left a pale light behind as the one-handed sword cut the Sweets Tree body.
Its HP was greatly reduced with each blow, even so it only shaved away about 30%. Because her first blow earlier decreased it by 10%, there was 60% remaining.
If she repeats the thing from before two times more she will win. Taking distance and using a hit-and-run tactics would be best, I thought.
However, it was Imouto-sama quality. She went beyond what I predicted.
"Lukewarm! This is lukewarm! So this event's strongest enemy isn't Ki-sama huh!"
When it comes to nuances, it must have been 『貴』-sama and 『木』-sama huh, even though it's just a Sweets Tree.
Hey, that wasn't what was surprising. Myu dropped her waist and took an action with a motion which looked as if she activated an Arts.
It clearly wasn't a technique, that attack was a series of five consecutive strikes. I could trace behaviour that seemed exactly the same as when she used the one-handed sword Arts called Fifth Breaker before.
The speed and precision was as good as that of Arts, but the Arts wasn't emitted. There was no damage correction applied to it which would shave off a large amount of damage. Just the action was the same.
The continuous attacks left everything to speed. No matter how long the interval was that took the wooden spears to be reused, fighting in close quarters was reckless I suspected.
The tree's tentacles approached, she hunched over and continued to slash with her sword ignoring the branches' attacks.
She was visibly damaged, but she continued to cast self-heals recovering it.
"With this it's over.——《Fifth Breaker》!"
This time it was the genuine Arts. Even though it was sunk down with just two hits Myu dealt the rest of the hits overkilling it, I felt sympathy for the Sweets Tree.
The fake-Arts attack from earlier was good, and it must have took a lot of courage to challenge an unique mob in close quarters combat.
Myu was abnormal after all. She was worthy of being called a cheater by normal people.
It was absolutely impossible for me. Even if I were to defeat it alone, I would have spent a lot of time attacking it from a distance of the underground tree spears.
"...oh, you don't need to be so wary. They're not enemies."
Immediately after Myu finished her battle, I said that to Ryui, but not only it didn't come out of stealth, but became even more vigilant as well.
"Ho, amazing. You're outstanding as usual. But you've received quite a lot of damage haven't you."
"Hm? I've took on those attacks to raise my 【Armour】 level."
So she withstood those attacks to raise her level huh. As usual, she ignores the risk and emphasizes on efficiency.
"That's too reckless. If you retire we'll be the ones troubled."
"Ahahaha, sorry. But we've got a treasure."
Although I didn't see it, it seemed like that the three saw the unique mob drop a chest. From how they acted, it seemed like they were opening a chest. And as I looked at them, they took out from the subspace an egg beater, a bowl, cup, cookie cutter and so on...
"All right! It's another step towards the sweets-making plan we dreamed of!"
"I think that since no one in the party has 【Cooking】 Sense, this dream will never come true."
"...agreed. Before that, you've forgotten something. Look."
"Oops, Yun-oneechan! It's been a while!"
The three approached me. Although I wanted to call out to them in a friendly manner, Ryui beside me was very wary and I didn't want to scare him.
"Y-yeah, you doing good? Also, sorry Toutobi, Hino."
"Why is Onee-chan apologizing?"
I glanced towards the two of them, you have my sympathies, I've relayed. Sorry about her always being a bother.
"So, why are the three of you here?"
"Hmm. Looking for food? See, because they implemented satiety we don't want to retire because of lack of food. So we acted divided into two teams, and then we found a party run away from an unique mob, so we pulled it instead. Because the place was narrow, we asked Hino-chan to blow it away with her hammer elsewhere!"
Wasn't that MPK? Also you guys are amazing for defeating two of them so fast.
"I see. If you're properly securing food I don't have to worry."
As I spoke, the three openly looked away. Hey, why do you look away.
"Ehmm, we haven't eaten any decent food ever since we came here."
"Fruits are delicious. We tried forcing Myu's and our cooking into ourselves..."
"...since all of us had 【Poison Resistance】 Sense beforehand, its level went up quite fast. Also, the poisonous fruits tasted like combination of strawberries and orange."
Umm, in other words. For food, they have endured the poisonous plants because of hunger? Strengthening one's tolerance to poison by eating it was a ninja's technique wasn't it. Letia whom I met yesterday didn't have any self-support capability either.
"Haa〜, enduring three days of such meals sounds the worst."
"Cause〜 we were suddenly given a Sense learning limit, we didn't know what kind of new Sense to take and level in order to adjust to the living environment. Everyone was lost. And when I wanted to do my best cooking everyone stopped me..."
"Myu, you better stop. Don't increase the amount of victims outside of our home."
"You're horrible, Onee-chan."
"Call me brother. Geez, you're lacking when the situation absolutely requires something, you need some ingenuity."
Top players making a commotion over cooking a single meal and creating poisonous miasma, haa〜, I sighed deeply.
"The necessities ran out... yesterday our potions have ran out in the dungeon and Luka-chan's weapon durability went down to the point of almost breaking. We've gotten a lot of drops and unique items, weapons and armour, but we want potions. And using unappraised items is scary."
"...luckily we were able to appraise normal food and poisonous fruits. If Myu was to rampage because of eating something with 【Confusion】, it wouldn't end well."
Hell, prepare to retire at that time.
"You guys, that's a critical zone. Get a hold of yourselves. Geez, I'll help you out a little."
Dumbfounded, Myu stared towards me.
"Dinner and potions, I can prepare it at our base camp. The dinner'll be later together with my party, is that fine?"
"However, I'll take compensation properly. It'll be 【Atelier】's bussiness trip, barter trade. I don't need money I will be able to use only five days later. I want items. Not really the unique ones, ingredients and herbs, as well as information. I'll give you potions and abnormal status recovery drugs as well as dinner later."
I think it was a quite a good idea. Even if I did something similar in real, I'm not a such good person to help others unconditionally. Give and take, is what it is.
"I'll be able to enjoy the taste of home for the first time in a while."
"I definitely won't have enough ingredients so it'll be impossible to do anything other than fruit meals."
"Okay let's go! Let's go to convince Luka-chan and the others!"
Myu raised her first and started walking towards the forest. Good grief, what a troublesome little sister.
"...umm... there's something I want to talk about, Yun-san. Is it fine?"
"What is it, Toutobi. If you have ingredients then that'll broaden what meal I can make."
"No, that's not it... there's something next to Yun-san... what is that?"
The timing was bad. I wanted it to remain unseen for now since it was stimulated after seeing that battle.
Also, Myu will be definitely interested. Although it was a short relationship, I already knew that Ryui absolutely wouldn't forgive anyone for touching it.
"Umm, Toutobi-chan can you see something? I can't see anything."
"That's probably because of a search-type Sense, I think. So, what's that next to Yun-san?"
"...eh, umm... That's... absolutely don't touch it."
Don't stimulate it. Myu was especially vigilant. I said few words asking Ryui to come out. *fshoo*, the eyes of the three were glued to the white horse which appeared.
"Calm down, they aren't enemies."
I crouched and stroked its body to calm it. All three responded differently, but Myu who was most cautious raised a shrill voice as expected.
"Uwa!! A young animal! And a white horse too! WANTTT!!"
"Not giving it! Not yielding it! Capture your own."
"Yun-oneechan, I didn't say a word about you giving it. But how did you get it?"
The other two were also curious. But I didn't really know.
"Like... before I realized it... it was beside me?"
"Why did you turn it into a question..."
"In fact, this guy is invisible so when I looked away for a moment it had eaten my lunch. Then it was tamed slowly."
Ryui's excitement settled down considerably as I continued to stroke it. On the contrary, it started pressing its body against me. No, that could be taken as showing off our relation. It could be expressed that way.
"Ryui, you heard her."
"Hey? Is it okay?"
But it averted its neck after hearing Myu's question, rejecting her.
"Arara... Myu, you were dumped."
"But I will touch!"
As usual, my little sister couldn't control herself, but Ryui's figure disappeared before she could touch it. Myu doesn't have a searching-type Sense so she didn't know where it was gone.
And like that, Ryui showed up further away, it was a bit weird. It was looked slightly uncomfortable.
Toutobi too seemed to feel it and she has raised her eyebrows.
"Fufufufu, to chase the running one is in my nature! It's the beginning of the game of tag!"
The young animal wouldn't beat Myu's overwhelming speed. So it seemed. But the reality was different.
The small white horse took on the existence which overwhelmed the Sweets Tree.
Its running speed wasn't great. It disappeared the moment Myu tried to touch it, and reappeared elsewhere. We could see an illusion as if it teleported a small distance.
And when Myu lost sight of Ryui and found it appear elsewhere she instantly unleashed her maximum speed.
She was one step away from touching it. That's when her body ricocheted away.
Running over, Ryui came back to us. After thoroughly making fun of Myu it looked satisfied.
"What happened? You lost 20% of HP."
Myu came back while applying a heal to herself. Although to Hino it looked like Myu was being only played with, Toutobi and I grasped the harsh reality.
"That, was an illusion wasn't it."
"...yeah, while hiding its figure it displayed an illusion of itself. And then, the object of her desire disappeared right in front of her."
The truth was that Ryui barely moved. What was moving, was Ryui's illusion. The phantom was erased every time she was about to catch it, it seemed like short-range teleportation because it repeatedly disappeared and reappeared.
The thing that Myu was blown away, was her own outrageous speed. She hit the tree that was hidden behind Ryui right directly from the front.
"Uhh. I give up on today, but let me touch you sometime!"
Ryui responded with a 'come at me, I'll take you on at that time'. It gazed at her a bit merrily. It might be the moment like those in manga where one recognizes someone as their rival.
With this as the trigger, the atmosphere became softened, for the time being we aimed at Myu's base camp and chatted. After withdrawing from there we will head for our base and after spending the night there, they will head to an underground dungeon once again.
The three finished contacting Lucato and the others, along the way I lectured them on the types of plants that can be eaten, picked up herbs and had the three appraise them. I adopted the same appraisal method I used for Letia. And, we laughed the most along the way when Hino and Toutobi abruptly touched Ryui. Seeing that, Myu was frustrated and once challenged Ryui to touch it.
I thought it will reject her again, but it might have been the result of Myu's unusually nervous and fearful appearance, without resistance Ryui let her obediently touch it. However, she's gotten too full of herself and after incurring Ryui's wrath she received a kick.
And when we arrived at Myu's party's camp——we found players caught up in the spreading pillar of flames.
- ↑ Now, a wordplay. Both 貴 and 木 can be read as 'Ki', -sama is a suffix for someone who greatly respect. To go further, 貴 can be a honorific for someone 'noble', but used with the honorific "sama" it means "bastard". So the nuance is that she's calling him "kisama" as in bastard or whatever. Sigh.
Chapter 5 – The Cursed Equipment and the Young Fox
One could call Myu party's base camp 'hell', and they wouldn't be exaggerating
A pillar of fire rose in the centre, the players who tried escaping from it were swallowed in the sea of flames. Why did something like this happen, neither I nor the three with me knew, we were all taken aback.
"Come on... no matter how much they wanted a campfire, isn't is still daytime?"
"It's not time for jokes! It's obviously an abnormal situation... let's join up with Lucato and the others. Contact them first."
I knew that Myu's was joking. But unlike when she normally joked, her face was tensed, strained. It must have shocked her that much.
Usually, as not to upset my little sister any further my heart cools down instead, I observed the surroundings.
The flame spread to the utensils like tents that were spread around, the camp's functionalities were devastated.
A blessing in disguise was the fact that tents had quite a distance between each other and they didn't block the road ahead of us.
"I contacted Luka-chan! Currently, she's leading the people!"
"Got it! We're going to act together for now. Let's find a place where we can share our parties' maps. Toutobi, I leave navigation to you."
The two nodded with stiff expressions. The truth was that if they escape, they will be spared from annihilation, but since they had a strong will to rush and help their comrades in a crisis I couldn't say so.
I recalled what skills I had, it was better than nothing. I cast MIND and DEF enchants on everyone as we went against the flow of people.
"Was there any sign of this happening?"
"...not at all! Like this we can't even confirm whether its a magic attack or a mob at all! In the first place, it's impossible for mobs to invade a safety area!"
Even Toutobi who usually spoke calmly was shaken.
"I think an unique item can be the cause. Maybe someone has a cheat weapon or something."
"Hino-chan, you're reading too many webnovels! In real games there's no such thing as cheats, if there were then people would stop playing!"
I don't want to hear that from you, realcheater, the voice of the three hearts other than Myu's were in sync. But the next moment, we could no longer afford such chats.
"Flame attack! Defences!"
I raised a voice and, everyone solidified on spot. I took out a Clay Shield's Magic Gem from the inventory and pounded it into the ground.
"—— 《Clay Shield》！"
The approaching flame strike clashed with wall of earth. The flame scattered on the mud wall and we were exposed to hot air.
I looked slightly from behind the wall, although I saw the flame on the other side, it was still raging and didn't calm down at all.
"...like this we won't proceed."
We weren't far from the location we wanted to reach, but passing through this flame would be difficult.
"Onee-chan, Luka-chan and the others won't come to us. 'Right now, we're devoting ourselves to protecting players that were left behind', she says!"
"Fine fine, it means we need to rescue them. We don't know the cause... I wonder if we can do it?"
Said Hino, the three were anxious. The defence won't be able to withstand waves of attacks from a flame like this even if they devoted themselves to defending. Everyone assumed that the worst lies ahead.
Shit, just when I was about to spat out a curse, something touched my right hand.
"...Ryui... sorry, you're anxious too aren't you."
Ryui snuggled up to my right hand and stared at me.
"The flame has weakened a little. A bit more and we'll be able to go."
There was a sign of flames weakening, it seemed like it came in cycles with an interval, we seem like we'll be able to proceed. And then my shoulder was poked, Myu had me turn around to her.
"Luka-chan wants to talk with you. Soon there will come a friend call."
"Oh, got it."
Immediately after that, communication came from Lucato. Currently, I wanted to know all I could about the situation in the field.
"Let's spare greetings for later, we'll try to get you out. I'll ask a few questions try to answer them, what's the cause?"
『"...a young beast."』
I recalled the young Kamaitachi we've been attacked by yesterday and frowned. Were the mobs made that way?
"Is there anything else? Something that might be the cause."
『"That young animal was brought by a player... no, rather abducted and forced to come, that would be more appropriate way to describe it."』
Abducted, not really too gentle a way to do it. In other words, it was brought forcibly. That's how it was.
『"On the first day there were a lot of players who kidnapped them the same way and brought young beasts over to the base camp, it happened yesterday too. As a result, the young beasts have went out of control, tearing up tents and places, destroying things and fled. Although we waited to see if this one will go violent the same way, but soon enough flames started to rise and spout out of it."』
"...a cause? Why did that happen?"
『"From a distance I can't tell. But it seems to have something shiny. It seems to me like a strange bracelet."』
Hearing that, I've found a strange connection between this incident and the Kamaitachi from yesterday.
Although there was no conclusive evidence, this young beast's and Kamaitachi's cases are one and the same.
Rather than appraise an item on a player, it was tested on a young beast resulting with it running out of control. An Item with demerits like the accessory I picked up yesterday, there's a possibility that a young beast has one equipped.
Geez, I want to kick ass of the fool who's causing so much trouble to others.
"Thank you. I've got a grasp on the situation. We'll head over immediately. Don't be reckless."
『"Yes. Thank you very much."』
With perfect timing, the flame weakened at the same timing as the friend call with Lucato finished, we proceeded deeper.
As we proceeded towards the centre of the flame my skin started to sting being roasted.
The centre wasn't that far away, but the way was blocked by the hot air and occasional flame bullets, heat haze was hung over the field of view, even with 【Hawk Eye】 I was unable to look far into it.
How do I find a weakness in something like that. The moment I smiled wryly, there was a response in the edge of my field of view.
"It looks like they're safe! We should go as well!"
We approached them and confirmed, they have endured in the wake of attacks.
In the pillar of fire there was a small shadow present, it faced towards the girls clearly knowing where they were despite the intense flames and started radiate flame waves and shot flames. Among them there were two mages Kohaku and Rirei who protected the remaining players, they withstood by casting defensive magic alternating between each other.
However, the density of the attacks was on different level from the ones that we have avoided. Just the two of them will be overwhelmed. That's what I felt.
"Na good! I'm outta MP!"
"Even if you say that, we have no MP Potions... ah."
The defence magic deployed by Kohaku and Rirei was being taken down, Rirei's defensive magic has been extinguished earlier, and all the load was applied on Kohaku's defence magic and it started to crack like glass, there was a countdown before collapse.
"Make it in time!——《Clay Shield》."
I took out a handful of Clay Shield's Magic Gems and threw it between Lucato and the young beast.
The flame hit the wall of earth made up from four pieces that was erected between the two, after that, that magic defence was extinguished as Kohaku ran out of MP.
"We came to help! Luka-chan, everyone."
Lucato, Kohaku and Rirei, as well as five members party that was led by them. A total of twelve of us has deployed a defence in here.
The guys that seemed completely out of MP didn't look like they would recover in time, I silently used MP Potions.
"Thank you very much, Yun-san."
"Leave thanks for later, before that, can you escape immediately?"
I confirmed using the least amount of words, her confused expression didn't make me happy though.
In the meantime, I didn't know how long will the earthen walls keep the attack at bay.
"Is it impossible?"
"Yes, since we're the target, as soon as we turn our backs to it we'll be assaulted. As we run away someone has to buy time... no, let's not speak ambiguously. We need to sacrifice someone."
Hearing those words, I've had an impression that I've stuck my neck into something really troublesome. So that's it. Retiring without making dinner tonight won't be forgiven will it. No, I absolutely can't die.
"There's one more way, to defeat that animal."
That was reasonable. It wasn't an adult mob. It's overall stats should be low. It was possible to win with the twelve people that were in here.
"Everyone, do you have no objections to defeating the young beast?"
Hearing those words, everyone nodded. All right, then we need to think of a strategy. Just when I thought that, I've been hit from behind.
As I staggered and looked back, I saw that Ryui headbutted me. And many, many times too.
"Hey, it's not time to play now. You know that right."
Even so, it continued to hit me again and again, I've felt suspicious and crouched to look into its eyes.
"What is it."
Without any words, not everything could be relayed to me. However, the emotion that was in Ryui's eyes which stared right at me. That was——a plea.
I thought of a reason why would the partner I met recently make such an expression.
It was the same as with the Kamaitachi yesterday. Ryui didn't want its brethren to die in front of it, it wanted to help them. Geez, it's just a speculation. But I was convinced that was the case and thought of doing everything to fulfil that wish.
Moreover, I would have difficulties with facing myself after this otherwise. Fulfilling the wishes of their partner, is a man's duty.
"I apologize, I took some time."
"It's nothing, what happened?"
Lucato asked me anxiously, I tried to answer brightly.
"Sorry! I'm against defeating it!"
While looking at everyone's dumbfounded expressions, I jumped out from behind the clay wall along with Ryui.
"Now, can we do what we need to do by ourselves? Partner?"
One person and one animal confronted the great flame. I wasn't really a top level player, but I had prospects for victory.
Ryui and I observed calmly while avoiding flames emitted from the pillar of fire.
I increased my speed further by using an enchant.
While Ryui avoided the fire by making full use of the illusions it specialized in, I was hell-bent on making sure I don't look inferior.
I cast the curse towards the young animal in the flames, the momentum of the flames has weakened.
This flame is magic. It was expected that it'll be dependent on the INT stat. If it didn't work, I would lower its ATK.
I applied enchant on us after a moment. The type I selected was enchant adding magical defence. The reason for waiting before casting another enchant was there to eliminate the large gap effect caused by the effects expiring at the same time and not to have it all consume MP at the same time.
Although it was a simple technique, the survival rate went up with this.
In addition to yellow light, a green one spilled from our bodies. Although we reinforced out defence like this, it didn't mean we had a surplus yet.
For about two minutes I continued to avoid the attacks from inferno, the flame from the pillar was interrupted.
Once again I started measuring time from the beginning and continued to run it around in my head.
1, 2, 3, 4...
I've heard voices of Myu and the others in the distance but I concentrated on the pillar of fire that was in front of me. Right now, I did a complete reconfiguration of Senses for combat, among them, I included Craftsmanship Sense.
11, 12, 13, 14...
Using the sound of my heartbeat I engraved the number of seconds that have elapsed. I focused as not to lose its initial motion as it starts once again.
21, 22, 23, 24...
It was currently impossible to look at the state of the young beast from behind the roar and shimmer of the flame. First of all I need to quell the flames otherwise I won't be able to observe it directly.
31, 32... it moved.
I avoided the flames that were spewed and licked the ground, the two minute test of endurance began once again.
Although I ignored how my body felt since it wouldn't even sweat, very tense, I heard myself leaking air from my mouth with a hoarse sound.
"Haha, I've got lots of prolonged battles today, first the tuna, now the pillar of flame. What an unlucky day!"
I snorted and continued to avoid.
Because the time between bombardments was the same and monotone, timing the evasion was easy.
I endured two minutes for the second time. On the edge of my field of view I saw Myu come out from behind the earth wall, but I glared at her sharply making her go back.
If you come out now, you'll just get in the way, that's what I relayed to her with my glare.
I didn't have a cool ability that would allow me to save everyone in a cool manner. I could only do my best. While thinking so, two minutes have passed and the flame has stopped. Waiting for this moment, I took out a Magic Gem from my inventory.
I threw two Magic Gems with a sidearm throw to left and right side of the pillar, scattering the flame with blasts.
The impact of earth and fire magic created a blank zone around the hypocentre.
The young beast was exposed from the pillar of fire, clad in flames it counterattacked after what just happened, it displayed its anger.
However, I didn't respond to its line of sight, I was appraised the thing that interested me and was exposed as flames dispersed.
The Sense that was related to accessories, 【Craftsmanship】 was used in conjunction with Hawk Eyes' capacity to see the equipment stats.
Dead Soldier's Bracelet 【Ornament】 Weight : 5
ATK+50 INT+50 DEF-50 MIND-50 Additional Effect : 【Ultra HP ・MP Recovery】 【Release at Death】 【Berserk】 【Curse 3】 【Resistance to Dispel Curse】
I was stunned by the completely broken performance of the accessory.
The raised stats and reduced stats were extremes, but the additional effects themselves were abnormal too.
It was a super attack-specialized accessory which discarded all defence. And yet, it was an impossible to control item that had a curse which disallowed taking it off.
Ultra HP ・MP Recovery. In other words, the thirty seconds during the attacks cease is the period during which these stats recover.
Release at Death, it must mean that the equipment is released when it dies. That's the kind of item. Otherwise, this berserk state would continue indefinitely.
Also, berserk and Curse 3. I tried to find out what was the meaning of it.
The last one, Resistance to Dispel Curse——going only by the name, it means that it has an increased chance at resisting dispelling the curses...
I've expected this, but really seeing it was the worst. The management killing off players.
Meanwhile, the amount of flames the young beast was clad in increased, and the pillar of fire was restored.
The interval after that was five seconds.
I decided on a strategy. Avoid for two minutes, disperse the flames with the Bomb Magic Gem during the 30 seconds it stopped and during the 5 seconds interval I want to release one curse with a Curse Dispel Potion.
"I've got only eight Bomb's Magic Gems remaining. The chances aren't all that high."
Once again, I devoted myself to avoiding. It seemed like there was no problem with Ryui's stamina either.
During the third round of endurance Ryui was the one dominant, I've avoided the flames dangerously close. Occasionally flames licked the edge of my clothes, although there was damage to my HP, it wasn't on a level of a fatal wound.
I reapplied enchants and recovered the lowered HP and MP without sparing potions. I somehow endured the third round.
The flames stopped, it was the moment of counter-attack. I threw two gems with my hand at the same time and broke into a run towards the pillar of fire.
I was too close and received some damage from the Bomb's blast, but compared to multiple blasts at ultra close range it was practically nothing.
I moved closer to the cub at a stretch, quickly removed a Curse Dispel Potion and hit it with my arm.
The bottle with liquid broke and it spilled. As soon as I confirmed it I rotated my body and escaped from the pillar of fire.
The flame loomed approaching me from behind. For a moment I felt pain and heat on my back as I was too late to escape, but I didn't have time to groan, I fled.
"That was... a direct hit in the back."
I could only see the end of the outerwear near my neck, but it was slightly charred. Pain ran down my back, I frowned. A large area on my back had been roasted, the skin on my back that was exposed was darkened.
During a moment of interval I took out a potion and attempted to recover, but it didn't heal me up completely. The effect of recovery was thinner and my MP decreased gradually. As I checked my own status, there was 【Curse】 written.
"Ouchh... it can't be, is this a chicken race with abnormal states. There's not enough potions."
I couldn't use Curse Dispel Potions on myself. What was the cause of this 【Curse】 in the first place. Was it propagation of the curse from accessory, or maybe the cub's own characteristic?
As I spaced out, Ryui immediately ran up to me and after producing water and after turning it into a ball of water, Ryui gently wrapped my back with the water.
The pain was subsided as if it was dissolved in the water. What was left behind after the water disappeared, was my clean back with no scratches on it, the abnormal status was also gone.
"In addition to illusion, you can do Healing Arts. Thanks! You saved me."
There were 20 seconds left of the interval, alongside Ryui we overlooked the pillar of fire.
The pillar of fire was red at first, the temperature was now raised and it changed into blue.
"Geez, on top of abnormal status it has resistance to curse dispels... I see, its additional effects' abilities raise whenever dispel succeeds. That's nasty."
That guys flame got stronger by a stage. If it was to be like this, I should have made Myu and the others should escape, I don't know what will be the aftermath of it.
"You guys! Use this chance to run away! I've no idea what's going to happen next!"
"What are you saying! We can't leave Yun-san behind!"
The moment I raised my voice, the attack from the young beast was resumed. I continued to avoid the flames which had increased power and tried to convince Lucato and the others.
"Run away immediately when it runs out of MP! If I'm stuck protecting here the situation will deteriorate!"
"If Yun-san can fight alone, then we too can fight!"
"Then listen! 【Curse Dispel】 has to be used on that guy's equipment! If you can't do it then stay back!"
I've seen Lucato's frustrated expression. However, sorry. If it was just defeating it then using a powerful magic or barrage of attacks it would end it. But the battle this time was my and Ryui's selfishness.
"I can use it! In the Recovery magic there's 《Dispel》 magic!"
The one who raised her voice was Myu. Other than her, Lucato showed up to attract the flame barrage and protect us.
"Geez.. you guys, we aren't beating it but dispelling its equipment, it's a huge hassle."
"It's fine. We just want to help Yun-san."
Lucato responded with a nice smile on her face. As I looked around, I found Toutobi in the flames, she probably used movement-type Senses and moved around leaving only an afterimage as she played around with the young beast.
In addition, Hino and Lucato paired up with the mages, Kohaku and Rirei participating in the defence and playing around with the beast.
Ryui attached itself to Myu who was a cornerstone, Ryui produced a shield of water and offset the flames protecting her.
The momentum of the flames increased, but so did the amount of people attracting them. The burden on me has certainly decreased. Let's do the final stretch from here on.
"I know. ——《Sidestep》!"
Toutobi and I used Senses which allowed us high speed movement and the Senses which allowed us to perceive the crisis to circumvent the flame.
Myu was just quietly waiting for her role to come, beside her Ryui created a shield of water which had a perfect affinity to receive the flame attacks.
"I can't hold the magic wall for long alone!"
"It's all right. The timing's good, please cancel it!"
Rirei and Lucato, Kohaku and Hino combinations didn't move to avoid the attacks, instead they brushed them away. However, exposed to the flames with increased firepower they weren't able to get out of it unscathed.
"Let's go! ...3, 2, 1——"
Along with Lucato's countdown cracks appeared on the magic wall's surface. It was erased when the countdown finished and the flame bullets approached them.
Lucato met the incoming flame and slammed into it with the sword she held in both of her hands. The arts was accentuated with a yellow light and accepted the flame, *gkinn*, a dull metallic sound rang out and like that, it leaked into the sky.
"I'll do it now! ——《Magic Strike》!"
In the same way, Hino swung her sledgehammer and flicked away the flame.
They endured by using magical defence, and when the wall's durability was gone they used Arts to send the magic back. And after that, they hid behind the magic wall to wait until they can reuse Arts once again.
Although they seemed to intersect easily, to hit the magic and send it back with Arts required a high skill from a player and a perfect timing.
Moreover, in order not to burden the weapon too much, it couldn't be used too often. It's what might become a folly of this 'one week survival' in such environment. It was difficult to repair the brand-new weapons.
And yet, everyone helped out with my selfishness. I need to respond to those girl's best efforts.
"Not yet, not yet is it."
While avoiding the flames that sprouted, I was running out of patience while waiting.
The moment the sword and flames clashed once again, Lucato's sword shattered. At that moment, Lucato lost any way to protect herself. I thought, 'come faster' and waited for the opportunity to counterattack and finish this.
I didn't know how much Magic Gems I needed to break through the blue flame that had increased thickness so I increased the number to four and threw them at the same time and broke into a run towards the flame.
My upper body shook from the blast which was stronger from before, I was about to fall but I raised my waist and rushed to the blank area where the blast happened.
Behind me, Myu was casting a white divine magic while being protected by Ryui.
When I entered the area where the flames where, Myu's Curse Dispel hit the cub's bracelet and the count on the skull dropped down to 『1』. Along with it, the blue flame intensified even further and changed into dark red flames.
As if closing up the wound, the black flames rushed to the blank space I was in.
In the distance I've heard a scream, but I could no longer run away. In the first place, if I intended to run away I wouldn't dive right in.
With Lucato's sword broken, prolonging the fight was no longer a valid choice.
The thing that would be most helpful in dealing with the strengthened flames until the I dispel curse, as well as the thing that would be in the biggest risk are my own muscles.
I triggered my own spell - 《Bomb》. Unlike the Magic Gem which needed some time before it activated, I could detonate the skill right after activation at close range.
The blast and shock engulfed my body, a ton of my HP was shaved off. The black flames were blown away, momentarily paving me a way to the cub.
Under the effect of the explosion and the flames my body had wounds all over. I didn't have time to recover with a potion, I tackled the young beast.
"To finish it off!"
I raised my voice and squeezed the potion to pour the dispel liquid. The black flames momentarily expanded. And that moment I——died. I looked at the situation around and realized.
The flames changed into white colour and bulged out. I didn't know why I moved like that, but embraced the cub to protect it despite the fact it was still clad in flames.
I closed my eyes tightly, and in the middle of the roar that shook my eardrums violently I waited for the end. Surely, when open my eyes next time, I'll be in the town square of the First Town.
I thought so and waited ten, twenty seconds. But let alone hustle and bustle of the town, I didn't hear anything at all.
When I fearfully reopened my eyes, I was still in the same place.
"...I'm... alive. That's great〜."
All the tension was unravelled and any extra strength left my body. The widespread flames were all gone, it was tranquil as if that flame was just an illusion. However, certainly there was something burning and brown on the ground, it was a testimony of the tragedy from earlier.
It was the same for me, I wasn't an exception. I've been engulfed in flames many times, caught up in my own explosions, and even though I could recover HP, the cloth armour which protected me was completely worn out.
The inner and outerwear had a huge hole on the back, the belt was sooty, and the pants had a slit torn in them.
Although part of it would repair itself automatically by absorbing my MP, but asking to have this one repaired was way too fast considering I just got it.
"Haa〜, at least the saving grace is the fact that the damage is not critical."
I let out a tired sigh like that... in order to have items repaired, I need to remove it first. When it comes to that, I don't have spare clothes.
"Onee-chan! You okay?!"
Myu and the others ran over in a hurry. Ahh, I must have worried them by diving into the flames alone.
"I'm fine... not really. I'm all ragged out. Mainly my armour, that is."
"Y-yeah... I'm having trouble focusing my eyes."
Lucato looked away poorly. No, don't look away or I'll get embarrassed instead.
"You all were really reckless. Sorry. So what's up with other people?"
"They went ahead, it seems like they'll join up with others."
"I see... now then, what do we do? About this one."
We no longer had any problems. And looked towards what has been the centre of the problem earlier.
It had black hair which looked really soft, red hair ran through it from the top till bottom. The young fox let out a characteristic regular noise from its nose.
"What do we do about the cub that was the main culprit."
"What... do you mean by that?"
"No, we can't just leave it behind like this. Rather, admittedly, I want to take it back with me but... in addition to Ryui there's three more animals back there, the young beasts that is."
"T-three more?! Yun-san, just how much do the young beasts love you!?"
Other members said something similar. Well, the other three already left my hands...
"Now, let's try contacting them."
I connected the chat with Magi-san.
"Do you have time now?"
『"Yup, I dooo. What is it?"』
"I've met some trouble on the road, my armour is broken and I'm bringing back more young animals."
『"EH?! Yun-kun you involved yourself with some trouble again?! You should have come with us after all... I get it. Bring them. Also, I'll ask Cloude to prepare spare clothes."』
"Ah, one more thing, can I bring my little sister's party with me? To have a dinner together with us, that is."
『"Got that. Then, hurry up and come back. We've got lots of achievements to share too."』
It was just a short conversation with Magi-san. However, I've started hearing some grumpy voices.
"There's a permission for everyone to come, let's talk on the way back."
I looked at everyone for permission and saddled the young fox carefully. Ryui moved right next to me.
There was something I needed to tell Lucato and the others.
"Um, I'm sorry. You went along with my recklessness. Also, the reason Lucato's sword broke is because of me."
"That's right. It's my only weapon, that's troubling. Please reimburse me."
"Luka, normally you wouldn't min'. Ain't dat' throwin' a tempa'?"
Kohaku stared at her, but I too wanted to compensate for it. With only good intentions, one won't survive this event.
"Kohaku and Rirei have weapons they don't use to hit the enemy directly, but Luka and I were brushing away that flame. The durability on the weapons decreased quite a lot. I still have a spear so I have a leeway but..."
"...the worst, I might equip a blunt sword we found in a dungeon, but it's possible that there'll be a curse on it."
Hino and Toutobi spoke next. I'm really sorry.
"Oh well. It couldn't have been helped it's become like this. Speaking of which, what happened with the accessory which made it go out of control?"
Before I realized, I found an accessory in my inventory and then materialized it, it rolled on my hand.
"That's exaggerated. If not for the disadvantageous effects, it would be a completely broken piece of equipment."
I retrieved a bracelet made out of black metal. On its surface there was an elaborate grim reaper and a man who looked like he was in anguish. Honestly, I wouldn't be able to bring myself to use such tasteless equipment.
"Uwaa, that's beautiful equipment. Onee-chan, it's amazing."
"Indeed. A wonderful piece of art."
Hoo, all the girls leaked a sigh of admiration at once. Eh, they mean this accessory?
"Isn't it tasteless, absolutely ugly."
" " " " " "Eh??" " " " " "
There's no way my little sister and the others have such a horrible aesthetic taste... no, that's definitely not it.
"Hey, how does it look to you?"
"Umm... a white bracelet with a female angel praying... isn't this bracelet like that?"
"...haa〜, how exaggerateddd."
Without an appraisal, someone would misrecognize it on a glance. It had a divine design, but in fact——that's the pattern it followed.
However, this must have went around as idiots experimented with using it and in the end they started to try it on young beasts. Well, maybe beast's potential was higher, or they were more compatible with the equipment, resulting in such a disaster.
"After appraisal, this accessory in fact turns out to have a design in bad taste. Everyone, if you recover any non-appraised items, I think it would be best if you appraised them first."
"Umm... thank you very much for advice?"
Lucato spoke seeming to fee a bit lost and confused. Well, we're tired and there was the tension there, I'll overlook it.
And then we advanced towards the camp in which Magi-san and the others were, along the way gave a lecture on herbs and food so we harvested them on the way, so it took slightly longer.
And although Rirei was more quiet than expected, I've felt her hot stare on my back.
Haa haaa, a beautiful white back, a wonderful nape, white thighs visible from under the torn trousers. Each time I've heard such dangerous remarks, Kohaku has retorted to her. I've felt like retorting would mean losing so I tried to ignore it.
We arrived at our base camp when it started to darken. When we reached it, I've reacted with 'finally arrived' and strength left my body. The young fox still sleeping peacefully in my arms.
"I'm back, Magi-san."
"Welcome back Yun-kun. Trouble has been haunting you since yesterday, don't make me so worried."
When I greeted Magi-san in a slightly tired manner, she gently embraced me and I couldn't pull us apart immediately. Myu and the others looked at the scene while grinning for some reason.
"Leave it at that Magi. Even so, for you to be able to damage the armour this much in such a short amount of time. How do you use it to have it turn like that. I'll raise its grade so that it doesn't end up like this again and repair it. Here, spare clothes."
Cloude pulled away Magi-san who attached herself to me in embrace and passed me new equipment in a trade screen. I received it.
Seems like both I and Magi-san needed a little bit of time to calm down, I quietly entered the log house.
Lyly wasn't here, I wonder why. While considering that, I replaced the equipment...
It was a white one-piece dress which covered only about half of the back. In the end, there were short pants in consideration for me, who hated skirts, but the hem of the dress was so long it was completely hidden.
"Hey, Cloude! What's the meaning of this!"
"Uwaa! Yun-kun 's made-over!"
Vitality returned to Magi-san's worried expression, Myu and the others' pupils were sparkling.
"Hm, it looks good on you. Yun."
Dat ain't ittt! I didn't look at the clothes since they were passed to me in trade, and the moment I was getting dressed was like a hero transformation. But come on!
"I don't want to wear such fluttery clothes!"
"What are you saying! Your slender-type body. Beautiful black hair, black eyes. I cannot leave a raw gemstone like that unpolished!"
Somehow, Cloude further emphasized it in response! I blocked my ears as not to listen any further and crouched.
"A pure white one-piece has a beauty reminiscent of simple maidens running through the gardens of summer. You have black hair. Although black and white contrast, both of them represent purity. There is not many things that are so compatible. I know you hate skirts, therefore there are shorts. Even if your skirt were to be lifted up there would be no vulgarity at all. Dare to imagine, your dress is rolled up by the wind, and while protecting your purity you can show your sex appeal as its rolled up, it won't show any excessive eros! The pursuit of beauty is not only eros!"
This person, what is he emphasizing here in front of the girls?! My little sister is here!
Moreover, for some reason he had an expression of someone who was in middle of work, what do you intend to do about this atmosphere.
The cries in my heart resulted in a single continuous sound.
It was clapping applause, Rirei alone looked towards Cloude with a mysterious look of respect.
"Indeed. Beautiful women should be indeed like that. While in front they should protect their chastity, but at the same time they must want to act a bit dirty. Wonderful idea, and that mental attitude, you deserve to be called my comrade."
"Seeing there is someone who understands, I too am pleased. How about we exchange our views to our heart's content?"
"Fufufu. Yes, by all means. How about going with gothic lolita as the theme next time?"
No, those two, why are they getting fired up? Kohaku-san, it's no good without the retorting role. Please function properly.
"Oops, I forgot."
"What is it."
Fed up with it, I glared at Cloude.
"Pass me the armour. I'll raise the grade while repairing. Also, this."
I've sent armour in the trade, on the other hand I've been given items which materialized.
"When you're cooking, by all means, equip it."
It was a simple apron. At the ends there were cute chicks made from felt sewn into it.
"Cut this out already!"
At the same time as I cried out, my fist had pounded into Cloude's belly.
In response to my body blow with a twist Cloude fell in place. His partner started to deliver cat punches to his head, healing his heart. Of course, I've saved that majestic figure in a screenshot.
Then, I introduced my party members to my little sister's party.
"Umm, this woman is Magi-san. She's a blacksmith, I've been always delivering potions to her. Hey, were you buying Bluepots at Magi-san's shop?"
"I'm blacksmith Magi. Nice to meet you. This is my partner, puppy Ricœur. Even though I say that, there are some familiar faces here."
The women were deprived of their line of sight by the sight of lovely Ricœur who was raised up in front of their faces, Magi-san smiled wryly.
"Next... well, I don't want to introduce him but... Cloude. The weaver who specializes in cloth and leather armour. Also, his partner Socks."
"My introduction is sloppy."
Cloude rose up as if nothing happened. I should have put a considerable amount of strength behind that, to make sure he doesn't get up I need to pack more strength in it next time.
"Of course. A guy who goes out of control in front of my little sister deserves no consideration."
By hooking its claws deftly into Cloude's cloak, Socks reached up to his shoulder by climbing vertically. Everyone looked at the lovely white and black cat that was introduced to them.
"Also, there's Lyly the woodcrafter. Magi-san, where's Lyly?"
"When we got a report from Yun-kun I asked Lyly to find some more ingredients... but it seems like he's back."
Lyly left the woods on the opposite side from where we came from, a small round reddish chick rode on his shoulder skilfully.
Lucato leaked out a voice.
"Magi, Cloude, Lyly... the top crafters. It's the first time I see all three gathered in one place."
"Well, it's not like we're always together, we've got our own shops. Lucato-chan."
"...?! Why do you know my name?"
Lucato was startled, and Magi-san smiled like a child whose prank succeeded.
"Well, I remember the regular customers who come to my shop to a degree. In particular, I've heard a lot about you from Myu-chan."
As Magi-san spoke matter-of-factly, Lucato glared lightly at Myu, it seemed like she was a bit impatient.
"B-but, girls like chatting with each other right? If it's Luka-chan then you'll understand right?"
"You want the best order-made, but you don't have enough money. I know it all."
Something that embarrassing was exposed and while blushing Lucato strongly protested to Myu. Seeing that Magi-san changed the topic in a hurry.
"So... how about 'involved-in-trouble' Yun-kun introduces the young animals she's brought."
Magi-san had an smile on her face, but somehow her tone of voice seemed to have anger in it. As my face was cramped up, the young unicorn beside me took a step forward.
"Umm, this is a young Unicorn, its name is Ryui. In fact, even though it joined me yesterday... it didn't appear in public and I haven't decided on a name. And this cub of a black fox was protected in the place there was trouble. I'm sorry for everything."
I showed them the young fox. It was in deep sleep and there was no signs of waking.
"Now then, let's take a small break and chat with each other for a bit."
We sat by a simple table, and I finally was able to spit out a sigh.
Myu and the others who haven't participated in describing what happened were struggling to find places for themselves to sleep. Their tents were burned in flames today. There was a spare tent that dropped from unique mob, I've heard that Lucato will be using it.
I didn't know what should I say, so I slowly started talking in a low voice.
From yesterday until today. I told them everything that happened yesterday and I haven't spoken about yet. My own point of view was mixed in with the story. I spoke about things that happened despite not organising them in my own head yet.
Cloude and Lyly who were listening to the story prepared a bed for the young fox in meanwhile. When my story ended, there was a slightly long silence, Magi-san exhaled with a grim look on her face and finally spoke.
"In such a short time you've had really thick experiences, Yun-kun. I'm interested in the cursed accessory, but let me say first——stop being so reckless."
"Yes. I'm sorry."
"Oh, that's right. On the board 『Fire Outbreak』 is treated like a joke, to think you stuck your neck into that incident. Yuncchi's 'reckless' appears first class. But... I'm really glad."
Magi-san and Lyly released the accumulated strength, they were happy that I was safe, I had a tearful expression. Even though I had a party which worried about me, I've been so reckless, I'm sorry.
"Yun. The cub in question seems to have woken up."
Maybe in response to our voices, but Cloude noticed a faint reaction from it and signalled us. The black fox's young that's been sleeping up until now was awake.
Maybe because of a difference between the place it has fallen and this, or maybe fearing the place it didn't know, but the young fox put some strength in its small body and was increasingly wary as it woke up.
It stood up with trembling limbs and while raising its tail and fur it tried intimidation.
No matter how you look at it, that poor figure could only be called a bluff.
"Eh? That child woke up. Hey, Onee-chan. Somehow, it's wariness is at MAX."
"I know. Everyone, don't stimulate it too much. You'll scare it."
As Myu called out to me after finishing preparation of her tent, the young fox was startled and took some distance.
This little one must have started severely distrusting people because of how those guys treated it... hey, the latest AI is way too amazing. Being wary of humans because of a self-learning function. This game is pursuing reality too much.
If someone tried approaching it, the young fox was visibly scared. At the same time as I thought it was quite a shock, I stroked Ryui's head as it snuggled to my waist and reminded myself.
"Just watch over it for now. That should be fine."
We met Ricœur and the others in completely different circumstances, let's look over it and see if its state improves. As expected, even Myu wouldn't forcibly touch a young fox whose feelings are mix of being frightened and intimidation. If anything, she was the one who was mostly bewildered seeing that appearance.
"Now then, we can't do anything even if we look over the young fox. Isn't it about time we decide on a reward for the party who saved Yun?"
With what Cloude said cutting in as a trigger, everyone's line of sight moved away from the young fox. With the gazes focused on it disappearing, the thread of tension it felt vanished and the young fox collapsed on the bed. After confirming it, I focused on the discussion again.
"Now then, what you probably need is to recover durability of weapons and armour, replacing Lucato-chan's broken weapon, potion-type items, and food, is that all right with you?"
I called out to Lucato who was relaxing after placing her tent.
"Yes. I don't mind. Or rather, I feel like I'm given too much..."
"Don't mind it so much, we just did what we wanted to do."
Lucato didn't feel like she could take it. I thought it was appropriate. It could have ended up with everyone being burned in flames and retired, it feels quite cheap considering that. However, Lucato was absolutely not convinced.
"Hmm. Then, how about this. Instead of replacing Luka-chan's weapon, I'll make you one made-to-order. I'll make it perfect for you later. What I can make for you now is a steel sword, how about it?"
"Ehh?! I said already, that's too much!"
"In exchange... how about we trade items. How about it? It's give-and-take."
"...Hmm. Is everyone fine with that?"
Lucato asked other party members including Myu, everyone gave a positive reply.
"All right, should I make it immediately?"
"Magi. There's still something we haven't done. We need to appraise the rare weapons Yun found."
"That's right, forgetting is no good."
From the inventory I took out a war axe, pair of daggers, magic wand and a long bow. Myu and the others were interested in these weapons and came over to peek, they didn't have corresponding Senses so they couldn't appraise them though.
"Hohoo, they've got an ominous appearance. An axe that flashes red suits my taste well."
"I wonder if these daggers are mine? Magicchi, appraise please. I'll appraise the staff and bow."
While saying so, the two's faces changed as they appraised the weapons and were no longer carefree, they tensed up. But it was a tension coloured with delight rather than the dark tension.
"Hey... Magicchi, how is it on your side?"
"Hmm. They all have the same performance. Geez, management has some nice hobbies."
While saying so, they passed the corresponding weapons to the wielders.
Wolf Commander's Longbow 【Weapon】
A longbow used by a expert sharpshooter of beastmen, Commander Wolf.
Only this? I thought. Cause for some reason it has similar performance to the knife Magi-san made. It was a weapon inferior to one Lyly made.
But I was surprised by a message that started flowing next moment.
【The additional effect of this weapon is that you can add 15 additional effects into it. Also, because this is a unique equipment, it cannot be stolen, it cannot be broken. Although you can delete additional effects freely, if you want to grant them once again you need to have it undergo the same process the second time】
"Kukuku... giving crafters base body that can be customized by crafters. They've got a good sense. The management."
Cloude was happy, and he let out an eerie laughter. No, I understand what you want to say, but the atmosphere is scary.
Next one was Magi-san who said "As expected of OSO. Giving me an opportunity to make only mine weapon", and she stroked the axe with a happy expression.
It was Lyly's turn, "If such cheat-weapons are given out, that denies the existence of crafters", he said.
Certainly, if people who are able weapons were to be given items beyond what they can make in a half-assed manner, that would really be a spoiljoy. In that sense, he was right.
"...right now I have no clear vision on how to customize this, what to do about it?"
I looked at the bow I held once again.
I glanced at the surroundings, Myu was staring with amazing sparkle in her eyes. Well, I know this is something amazing, but if Myu looked so greedily at it, I started to feel anxious for a different reason.
"Listen. That thing, is super rare! A magical weapon you can remodel however you dream of. If possible I'd assault you for it, that's how much I want it."
"That's dangerous. Oi, I don't want to be PK'd."
"Ahh, there's a possibility of being PK'd. Well, even if it can't be taken, it seems like people will do it out of jealousy."
"Magi-san, what are you saying so carefreely now."
As I stared in her eyes, she responded with a 'ahahaha, it's a joke' and waved her hands. However, I didn't feel like it was a joke though.
"Yuncchi, thanks for the best weapon."
"Yeah, the top motivation in the game is to enhance one's equipment, it makes me really glad."
Lyly and Cloude said so looking pleased, I felt an itch on my back.
"Don't worry about it. With that, the story's over right. Also, I'll send Cloude the screenshots from the bottom of the lake by e-mail later. Also, Lucato and the others, potions right. Tell me the types you require and the number. I'll prepare them before tomorrow."
"I'll make Luka-chan's sword. I've searched for ore entire day so I have enough material. Yun-kun, you'll use the gems right?"
We began to move to start doing what we were supposed to do.
Magi-san passed the gems she's found today to me and started crafting the sword for Lucato. Cloude started talking about the current situation while repairing my armour and armours of others, his gaze wandered and he seemed to be looking at the information board. That was quite skilful.
It was the same for Lyly, while performing durability recovery on the staffs he spoke with Kohaku and Rirei, I assume it was probably appraising goods in the biggest part.
"Yun-san, there's a single item as a reward for today."
"This is... Sweets Factory?"
"Yes. It's the drop from Sweets Tree. Also, the book which dropped from Timewasting Scissors. We can't read it."
"Then I won't be able to read it either... I want to read it though. So, where's that book?"
"Umm, Cloude-san has it now. It seems like he'll read it later."
Probably hearing these words, Cloude waved his hand this way.
I was envious that Cloude could read that book casually. Looking at books lined up making a collection, it might be a masterpiece. I wanted to read the book I couldn't read.
Then, I was pulled back to reality by Lucato as I immersed myself in delusion.
"I have high expectations. For sweets that is."
Joyfully, happily, lovely girls smiled to me. Yes, for the sake of sweets, for the sake of snacks.
Since it was impossible to work at night, I cooked and made sweets, I diligently made potions from the materials I gathered. The fruit jelly I managed to make will be left for tomorrow's breakfast.
After finishing my job, I turned my gaze towards the sleeping young fox for a moment.
"Hm? What is it Onee-chan?"
"No, nothing really? I'm tired today so I'll be going to sleep already."
"Ah, nn. Good night."
I called out to everyone in the place and after picking up a box with the young fox I headed for the log house. Although yesterday Lyly was the one who went to sleep earliest yesterday, today I've been assaulted by drowsiness the moment I decided to go to sleep.
While being careful not to curl up the unfamiliar one piece I laid down on the bed.
Gently, as not to wake it up, I put the young fox beside already sleeping Ricœur, Socks and Neshias.
When I closed my eyes tired, my consciousness fell into the darkness immediately.
My last thoughts were, yeah, I'm pretty tired. That kind of impression. We were able to safely survive the third day.
Chapter 6 – Revenge and the Mage
I opened my eyes, it seemed like I woke up at the same time I did yesterday. I saw a dim light enter the log house through a gap of the door.
"...morning huh. I need to get up."
I need to prepare breakfast. Being the only one who has the 【Cooking】 Sense, I stood up quickly and stretched my back.
"Oh, morning, and good night."
After saying that much, a dull sound rang out and Cloude started to sleep while breathing loudly. Hey, isn't he afraid of suffocating staying like that, I thought.
"If he's having a hard time being the look-out we should have switched, well, thanks to that we can sleep in peace."
I said so and left the log house. Toutobi was already up, with a dagger in her hand she was fighting with an imaginary enemy.
To the right, to the left, she thrust the dagger into nothingness while leaving afterimages behind her.
"You're fired up right from the morning aren't you."
"...good morning, Yun-san."
"How about the others?"
"...everyone's sleeping. Since I woke up already, I switched with Cloude-san."
"I see. I'll prepare the breakfast then."
For my armour, I put an apron on top of the one-piece from yesterday.
"Yeah, preparing processed food is time-consuming."
While saying so, I shook my hands and prepared a variety of tools.
I took out a stove and an oven Magi-san and the others obtained yesterday by hunting down an unique mob and started preparing food.
While crafting bread by using 【Cooking】 skill's Preparing to shorten the process, I prepared side dishes in parallel.
Although I didn't notice because I focused on the cooking, Magi-san and Lucato have woken up. Lucato was doing a swinging practice with the new sword, and Magi-san was looking after her while holding Ricœur in her arms.
Lucato's sword was longer and wider than a one-handed sword. While it was a sword held in both of her hands, it seemed like its weight wasn't sufficient——it would be classified as a bastard sword.
Even with the least amount of decorations possible, it had atmosphere of a first class goods and coupled with Lucato's appearance it didn't give any discomfort. She swung it lightly with her hand in search of a prey, occasionally she clutched it with both of her hands. Just the pressure from the sword was enough to scatter the grass around her.
"Good morning. It seems like it's finished, Lucato's sword that is."
"Morning, Yun-kun. Yeah, I've finished it last night, but since we were tired we're checking it now. So how is it, Luka-chan?"
"Yes, it's just as I imagined it. I'm more of a type that emphasizes on strength of the blow rather than the speed, the sword I've been using up until now was too light."
While muttering so, Lucato stowed the sword exhausted.
"So I can assume that sword was delivered? Yun-kuuun, what's the breakfast menu?"
"Hmm, freshly baked bread and scrambled eggs, salad, fried vegetables and meat, cut up fruits. Since there's the Sweets Factory, I can make hotcakes too. If I'm able to prepare dough, all that's left is to fry it. There's the jelly I made yesterday too."
"Ohh!? If I can pick one then I want to eat hotcakes."
"Then just pick what you want to eat from what's made later."
While saying so, I put a frying pan on the stove.
Using the dough I continued to prepare hotcakes which piled up more and more on the platter. Moreover, I put the freshly baked bread in the open basket crafted by Lyly.
Anyone could eat whatever they wanted from what I made, but since I thought it wasn't satisfactory, Lyly and Hino went hunting and brought me a bottle of honey which dropped from a bee-type mob. I think I shouldn't bother considering where did the bottle appear from.
After a while, all the preparations were finished and I was able to rest.
"It's still morning, and I'm already tired. Ten people and five animals is indeed a lot. Can we do with what's been cooked today?"
While saying so, I sat down on a wooden chair.
Seeing me like that, Magi-san passed a glass of water to me.
"Well done. Are you okay?"
"It's hard. For today and tomorrow we can save food in inventories, but we might have to look for ingredients for the remaining days."
As I said what I thought, Magi-san nodded repeatedly agreeing with me. With two people beside me, I ate breakfast. After putting a hotcake in my mouth I felt incredible sweetness of honey and the texture of the dough, I felt like some of my energy came back after eating.
Then, probably attracted by the scent of breakfast the little beasts have woken up, they greedily devoured their meals. Among them, only the young, black fox was still wary. When it comes to distance, rather than to us players, it had a tendency of snuggling up to other young ones who were at similar age. It especially stuck to large-bodied Ryui like superglue, but Ryui didn't mind it at all.
"Let's have a short meeting as we eat breakfast."
The one who called that out, was Cloude. Although he fell over and slept, after finishing his short nap he joined us for the breakfast as the last one. This man, he slept for only a short while and he seemed to look all right, that might be because we're inside of a game. I thought, but I was worried he might have been doing the same in real.
"Now then, let's talk about schedule for today. I thought of having Magi and me tour the base camps around."
"Why is that?"
"Let's call it development of infrastructure. Last night, there were many topics on information board stating that there's not enough support from crafters. Today, along with my crafting acquaintances we decided to support the fighters."
"The crafters can easily level up their Senses, and the fighters will gain some proper support. That'll make everyone happy."
It seems like there already were people who had contracts like that. I wonder if I should show my face there. Then, Cloude continued speaking.
"Well, at first we didn't intend on making a move, but it seems like the negotiations aren't too balanced and it became a hot topic. As expected, we can't overlook this. Our names have quite a bit of value, so we'll go over there for a bit."
"Hmm, is that so. Well, you've got it hard. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"No, nothing in particular. Yun-kun, you have no intention of undertaking contracts for making potions through the board, do you? Just stay behind at ease."
Although I've been told to take it easy, I put a hand on my chin and thought. I wonder if there's any merit in doing that? If I undertook it, I could somewhat advertise my 【Atelier】. Also, I could obtain things I want without using my own time.
However... that's only if I was able to get results satisfying both sides.
If negotiating with other party is no good, I could look around this stray continent accompanying Taku's or Myu's party, mainly undertaking the healing role.
I looked at the sky, thinking. Should I benefit in safety without moving, or prepare myself to take risk and adventure. Troubled, I turned my gaze to the side. Beside me, there was the young fox riding on Ryui's back.
That's right. If I took the risk, I would have to separate from these two to ensure their safety.
"Well, I'll try it then. If it doesn't work out, I just have to stop right?"
Hearing these words, somehow, an expression of relief appeared on Magi-san's face.
"Ohh〜, that'd help us a lot. There are people who have Mixing, but there aren't many who are as good as Yun-kun."
"Aren't you subtly saying that I'm not normal? Hey."
As I said that, "ahahaha", she responded with a dry laughter. Well, I don't really care.
"Also, sorry, your armour isn't repaired yet. It's scheduled to be done today. And it'll be over with this."
With these words, our discussion was finished.
After that, I passed the potions I crafted to Lucato and the others, with their equipment being as good as new they left to conquer the ruins in the east. I've received gemstones and stones from Magi-san, and then prepared a simple lunch box for Magi-san and Cloude, I passed it to them and sent them off.
Then, Lyly and I watched over our camp, and worked hard on our crafting. I'm sure that Magi-san's real intention was to have me rest after yesterday's trouble, it might be that Lyly was given role of watching over me.
I polished gemstones I received from Magi-san to replenish Magic Gems I used up yesterday and enchanted them with magic.
Lyly too was working on his crafting, it was on much greater scale than normal woodworking.
He crafted lumber from logs, plated the roof and built wooden hut.
"Hey, Lyly, what are you making?"
"Ryucchi's bed. Since its bed isn't small like Shaicchi's or the young fox's, he needs a proper bedding. Look, it's almost complete."
As he said that, he lifted a large piece of wood that was taller than him, and headed for the establishment beside the log house.
"All that's left is to prepare straw. Come on, Ryucchi."
Ryui who was lying further away with closed eyes checked the stable.
After approaching it while carefully looking all over, Ryui sat down on top of the straw that was laid down to confirm if it was comfortable. The stable was prepared in the shade, it seemed like a perfectly cool spot. The young fox didn't want to leave Ryui's side and headed to his side in a hurry. Ricœur and Socks who stayed behind with us, as well as Neshias were interested in the new place, five young animals clustered in one spot. They narrowed their eyes, and immediately fell asleep.
"Should we take a small break?"
"Why not. Oh, are there any snacks left?"
"There's some hotcakes left, is that fine?"
I said so, and while looking at the young ones, I prepared our tea time break.
"Do you guys want me to avoid getting in trouble yesterday, and have me spend my time quietly by crafting?"
"Yuncchi doesn't really have much spare time since he has 【Dosing】【Cooking】 and 【Craftsmanship】."
"There's also 【Synthesis】 and 【Alchemy】. Well, I think that having skills spread out like this is fun."
"Yuncchi, aren't you unexpectedly inconstant?"
"That's rude. Say that I have a spirit of challenger instead. Certainly, I did take too much but..."
Lyly started giggling, and after that we had a fun chat.
A while after, probably tempted by the smell of tea and hotcakes, the young beasts who were curled up on Ryui's bed woke up.
The young fox was one step behind the others who have cried out to me right by my feet.
"What, you want these?"
Their line of sight was glued in the direction of the dish that had hotcakes on it. Right, left, right.
And as I moved the dish, all of their bodies swayed back and forth, once again, Socks fell over.
I removed a hotcake from my inventory and placed it in front of them, but they wouldn't eat the hotcake alone. This time, their line of sight was glued to the bottle of honey I had in my hand, geez, while spitting out a sigh I poured the honey over the hotcake.
The hotcake covered in honey was sliced up from various angles, then the young ones began to eat. The circular hotcake reduced in size in an instant, and after distorting it eventually settled down in everyone's stomach.
But it did not end there. Three beasts clung to my legs, 'more', Ricœur and the others cried out 'more', the young fox stared at the bottle of honey in my hand. Also, Ryui circled around me and pressed against me with its head.
"H-hey, you guys. Calm down, calm doown!"
Pushed by Ryui, I fell down on spot. As usual, I thought of hating my own powerlessness which allowed me to be pushed down, but before I could do that, honey spilled from the bottle I had in my hand and it started sticking to my white one piece and my cheek.
"Uwaa... not good. Now I did it. Dirt's gonna be conspicuous because it's white... hey, this is a game, whether its dirty or wet, it'll disappear over time, I wonder if it's the same for this?"
While thinking that, I wiped the honey off my cheek with a finger. I felt a strong tingling line of sight on the tip of that finger.
The bottle in my hand that still had about third filled with honey, the honey that spilled on my dress, the honey that dripped of my cheek onto my nape and clavicle as well as the line of sight on my cheek and fingertip.
*slurp*... along with a sound of someone sipping their drool, young beasts jumped at me.
"Hey, where are you entering! Rather, you can't have honey!"
The young ones flocked over to me, making me unable to move. No, I could move, but I was worried that I might crush small Socks and Neshias so I didn't move. Moreover, I dropped the bottle with honey.
The young fox has put its head towards the bottle and desperately licked the honey remaining in the bottle. Occasionally, it stopped licking to glance towards me.
Neshias sweetly chewed my honey-covered right hand with its small beak, that feeling sent a chill down my back.
Socks jumped towards the honey that spilled on the one-piece near my belly and started licking it desperately.
Both of my hands as well as abdomen were pinned down, from the place where honey dripped onto my collarbone Ricœur entered my clothes and started licking. Ryui stretched its neck towards my cheek which had honey on it and started licking me. Ryui's physique was much larger than other young ones, and the pressure was stronger. Moreover, because Ryui's neck was on my shoulder I couldn't move.
"H-hey, you guys, stop licking! Don't suck on the fabric! Why are you sticking your heads in my clothes! Stop licking completely unrelated places! Ngh?!! Lyly, help!"
"Hmm, Yuncchi, do your best!"
While my cries of agony resounded, Lyly continued to smile happily. This guy, all he intends is to watch from the side. Confident of that, I withstood the few minutes of that torture. During that time, I've shown an appearance I don't want anyone to see. Ever. I don't even want to remember it.
"Cheers for the good work, Yuncchi."
"...haa, haa. Help me instead of just looking."
"Hmm, no way, impossible. Give up."
While saying so, Lyly shrugged lightly. Over time, the honey disappeared from my clothes and the young animals who were licking me reluctantly separated from me.
"Haa〜, I feel like I was too soft on them."
"That's right, Yuncchi. It was your complete loss wasn't it?"
I shrugged and stroked Ryui's neck.
For a while, there was a cosy silence, but I broke it soon enough.
"Lyly, change your Senses to combat ones."
I was thankful for such immediate response without any doubts. Were they there ever since I've been playing with the young ones? I also changed the Senses I equipped.
【Bow Lv24】【Hawk Eyes Lv34】 【Speed Increase Lv20】 【Discovery Lv18】 【Magic Talent Lv36】
【Magic Power Lv35】 【Enchant Arts Lv11】 【Alchemy Lv27】 【Dosing Lv11】 【Cooking Lv12】
【Taming Lv1】 【Synthesis Lv24】 【Earth Element Talent Lv7】 【Craftsmanship Lv26】 【Swimming Lv13】
【Crafting Knowledge Lv25】
I adapted my Sense build to what was required at the moment and took out my bow, my gaze wandered casually.
There were three reactions. Although they have hidden outside of the safety area, it was obvious for me. If they want to hide, they should first acquire an ability on Ryui's level at the very least, I sighed.
"So, Yuncchi, how many? Their equipment?"
"Three people. A warrior and two mages."
"Quite a good balance. Are they customers?"
"If they were customers, they wouldn't pull out their swords would they. So, what do we do?"
I responded to Lyly's unfunny joke, and considered the current situation.
In the safety area battles don't occur and players cannot damage each other. But it can't be said it's absolutely safe. There's the case of the young black fox from yesterday. We don't know what cards can the opponent play.
"I've contacted Magicchi and Kurocchi, but they're in the furthest away camps."
"That means they can't come right away. It would be good if they gave up on a sudden attack. In case they do attack..."
We thought of multiple ways out.
If they are players that don't have their own tents and want to take our log house——in that case, they might be intending to attack the person who prepared these facilities.
A raid with a goal of obtaining necessary recovery and rare items——that might be exaggerated, but I felt it could be that.
A raid with a goal of robbing the young beasts——that would be the worst. There was no room for discussion in this case.
"Lyly, how does your combat abilities look like?"
"Hmm? Moderately strong? If it's a non-complex nor unusual strategy then I can execute it, I can handle normal hunting. In the first place, crafters don't normally fight."
"Then, do you think two crafters can take three fighters in an unbalanced battle?"
"Impossible. Rather, whether it's three of them or just one, I would run."
Originally, we crafters have less beneficial skills and the stats that are related to crafting are high, while stats related to fighting are low. There's a difference in specs even if our levels are the same.
"Should we escape immediately?"
"Yeah. After hearing the story from yesterday, even if it's impossible to steal installation-type objects, it seems possible to damage them."
"Yeah, the tents right. But rather than damage, it's more like 'completely destroy' them. Then, let's run... tch."
Unconsciously, I clicked my tongue. The moment became more vigilant, the young ones hid behind Lyly.
Just when I thought about escaping, we were approached from the other side.
The three moved to a distance where even Lyly could see them. They were holding their weapons, but it was unlikely they will attack us immediately.
"Are you that black one's user?"
The swordsman was a boy with silky blond hair and blue eyes. Somehow, his eyes were really grim. He was different from the assailant I imagined. His gaze rather than hold a pointless malice, had a pure hostility in it, making me even more wary.
"What's with you guys. You're scaring the little ones, hide your weapons."
As I strongly furrowed my brows and replied, the mages on the left and right of the swordsman glared at me in silence, whatever. The warrior replied soon after.
The swordsman in question ignored my words and glanced at the young beasts hiding behind Lyly.
"I see, so that's it after all. You're the black one's user. I finally found you."
"Nono, I've no idea."
"Did you forget about yesterday's incident?! You've been a huge bother to us and many other players. The player who set up a black beast against us, is our enemy!"
The men on the left and right spoke after hearing my response.
"Yuncchi, let's run!"
I've been stunned by an unexpected accusation, and regained my senses only after hearing Lyly's words. We started to run immediately.
Thinking they're in the right, they branded me evil. I didn't really mind, but when I spoke, they jumped to a wrong conclusion. My words didn't reach them at all.
Lyly had Neshias on his shoulder and two other young ones in his hands, we escaped in the direction of east, Ryui also ran in parallel to us with the young fox riding on top of him. After that, those guys also chased after us, they were surprisingly fast.
"Let's get away all at once. 《Enchant》——Speed!"
While leaving behind a yellow afterglow as we run, our speed increased.
"Leave this to me. 《Wind Armour》."
The mage cast a spell from which a green magical veil wrapped around the pursuers.
And their running speed visibly increased.
"What's with that magic!"
"It's the higher level of 【Wind Element】 Sense, 【Storm Element】's magic. If he leveled it that much, then we would be done for after taking three hits from him."
"Why are you being so carefree! If we don't increase our defence we'll die. 《Enchant》——Mind!"
This time, I applied a protective enchant on us.
Intimidated by the pursuers who rushed at us from behind, I felt fear. Although Lyly acted frivolously, I could see impatience in his expression.
I tried to think of a solution somehow, but because I felt impatient and scared, I couldn't find any.
And I used the only solution I knew of. That's right——an SOS mail to all my acquaintances.
——『HELP. RIGHT NOW, LYLY AND I ARE ON THE RUN. WON'T HOLD OUT.』
The content was simple, if I were to reread it later I could easily tell just how panicked I was when I sent it.
Immediately after, explosions of the storm and flames approached from behind and grazed us. Enveloped in the light and deafening roar, Lyly and I screamed.
"AHHHhhhh! There's a cooldown on magic use isn't there? Why can he unleash such a barrage?!"
"It's quite short, he must have a high level of 【Chanting】 to shorten it!"
"I didn't want to hear that! Damn, hurry up and run out of MP!"
I spat out a curse loudly, and ran towards the east desperately.
The magic released burned trees and gouged the ground. It approached us occasionally, we defended ourselves with my Clay Shield's Magic Gems and Ryui's water shield. However, enemy's magic was powerful, our skin and hair was roasted by the aftermath and wind mercilessly hit our backs. We somehow managed to survive, but the supply of Magic Gems I had was running out, and Ryui's shield was not almighty either.
However, it wasn't as if we couldn't counterattack at all.
Remembering about it, I turned back towards them and shot arrows at the mages, but they were blocked by the swordsman. Frustrated he clicked his tongue as he responded to the attacks on the run. Being under attack, they couldn't continuously cast their spells.
As for Lyly, he was holding the little ones' and run while protecting them. Obviously, he couldn't concentrate while being attacked.
In other words, we were stuck in repetition.
Will the enemy run out of MP first, or will we be knocked out first. We continued to play runaway like that.
"Yuncchi, is there a way out?"
"I sent a mail to everyone I know!"
"That gives us some hope."
"Hey, what do you mean by that!"
I couldn't ignore the words Lyly silently spoke right beside me. What, you're saying I don't have many acquaintances?! Umm... Taku, Myu, Sei-nee... eh? It's just their friends, Magi-san and Cloude?
"What is it? Yuncchi."
"No, I actually might not have too many friends..."
"Geez, that was out of place... wha?!"
While speaking, I did a twirl and shoot an arrow. While doing such a surprise attack I checked what's going on behind.
The released magic which was originally stronger versions of fire and wind magic, was now gradually being switched out to the lower and more convenient versions. There seemed to be emphasis on fire magic too.
Moreover, I've seen enemy take MP Potions while taking a break from attacking, it felt like they were frantic.
Randomly cast magic sometimes blocked our path or scooped our feet. Once it stopped, it looked calm.
Nevertheless, it was worth continuing without stopping. A virtual body could run without regard to physical fatigue, after withstanding the sprint for long enough, enemy's magic has stopped.
"Are they finally out of MP?"
"Fuu... it would be good if that was the case. If so, then they won't chase us any further than this."
"Let's run away then."
We attempted to run away once again, and the moment we lowered our hips, I felt a new reaction from 【Discovery】. The new magic cast by enemy wasn't mighty. A mysterious invisible blow reached Lyly.
As I cried out, Lyly slowly collapsed. Since he was falling forward, he would crush the little ones in his hand, so he twisted his body and fell on his right shoulder.
I rushed to him in a hurry, but there was no damage to his HP, he just fell down. Judging by his eye's movement, he was conscious. But he couldn't articulate properly, a hoarse voice spilled out.
"Yun...cchi... this is... para...lysis."
"...got it, Paralysis lifting potions isn't it!"
The moment I took out the potion from my inventory, the invisible attack was released again. The potion slipped out of my hand and I knelt.
My body went numb, the only thing I could move freely were my eyes. The young ones around us were looking at us anxiously. Run away, I wanted to say but I couldn't speak up.
We had an abnormal state 【Paralysis 3】 on us and couldn't move. We understood that the cause of it was the mage in front of us.
His eyes were long and vertical, there was a coldness reminiscent of reptiles in them. The reason his pupils changed into those of a reptile could be derived from the paralysis——
I desperately moved my unmoving mouth, and muttered a groan.
"Indeed. It took quite a while, but it finally succeeded."
Indifferently, the three of them approached us, one of the mages pushed Lyly down, someone else locked my arm behind me, I was made to kneel in front of these misunderstanding bastards.
"You've resisted quite a while. Thanks to that we ran out of MP Potions, well, it's fine as long as we can purge the evil."
I glared at the swordsman who said that. I was pressed on from behind and the bow I held fell to the ground. I couldn't take out any weapons out of my inventory nor move my mouth. The young beasts seeing us in that state were terrified.
"...don't... touch the... little ones."
I intimidated them with a glare. If you dare to touch them with a single finger, I'll make you bastards regret it for your entire life. After I relayed my intentions, the witch behind me further pressed against my arm. I clenched my teeth, bearing the pain.
"Let's proceed before 【Snake Eyes】 effect expires. Our objective is only the black cub and the player who uses it."
"Tell me... the reason."
"Our party members were swallowed in flames released by that black cub."
"...then... it has nothing... to do with us."
After I muttered what I thought, my arm was twisted further. There was no more room for discussion. Deciding one-sidedly, the warrior raised his sword.
The moment sword was to be swung down, involuntarily I closed my eyes. I determined myself to be cut, but no matter how long I waited, the blow didn't come. I've had deja-vu of being in this situation before, I fearfully opened my eyes. There was a figure separating me and the swordsman.
"When I saw Yun-chan call for help I wondered what can it be. But this seems quite troublesome.
"Yun-chan, in game it's Sei-nee right?"
Don't use real names in game! Sei-nee spoke something out of place in such situation. However, the sword that was swung down at me was deflected diagonally with a staff.
"Why are you getting in our way! That's the black cub's user!"
"There's no way Yun-chan would do something bad. Also, Yun-chan asked me for help, that's enough for me to protect her."
"Then we'll take her down by force!"
While saying so, the warrior swung his sword aiming at Sei-nee. The magic-user Sei-nee's close combat ability is... I thought, but my expectations were betrayed.
She pulled the staff back, and after meeting the the sword she parried it. The attack came from the top returning, although Sei-nee was attacked again, she once again met the sword with her staff and she hit the sword while it was above, while maintaining its momentum the sword flew away and pierced the ground.
"The way you grip your sword is too weak. I wonder if it's because you mainly fight against mobs..."
Enemy was taken aback by that for a moment, but immediately after he started to cooperate with his party.
The two mages released me to respond to Sei-nee, as for the swordsman, he pulled out a spare sword from the inventory.
The magic of fire and wind was released at the same time. Facing the magic coming from two directions, Sei-nee dealt with it calmly.
After a quiet murmur, what appeared was a circular water shield, same as Ryui's. It was the same as the one created by Ryui but twice as large, although it felt unreliable, it splendidly protected us from the attack.
"You're not using the strong points of your magic. You need to learn better cooperation."
She used a single hand to create a water shield to match them, it perfectly resisted the magic of wind and fire that came at us. Her movements themselves were something that seemed slow in my eyes, she resisted the attack with the least amount of moves.
"Wind has a fast projectile speed and rate of fire. Fire, has a great instantaneous firepower. The perfect cooperation would be to use high temperature to break through my defence and aim bullets of wind in meantime. There's no need of high attack power to defeat me."
While saying that, Sei-nee prevented one attack after another as if dancing. She lectured the shocked people who attacked her. They shook, overwhelmed by her.
"Don't forget about me!"
The young swordsman jumped at Sei-nee from behind the barrage of wind and fire while she was distracted.
The wind magic user applied the same speed increase on the swordsman he used before when they were chasing us and the swordsman closed the distance all at once. While maintaining the water shield she has created, Sei-nee posed as to intercept him.
However, the opponent raised his sword before Sei-nee could cast magic and swung it down.
At the same time Sei-nee raised her staff to match the sword which was being swung down, the tip of the staff was covered with water and changed into a shape of a sword, it met against the enemy's sword.
A sword attached to a long staff, rather than a sword it felt more like a lance, it shook lightly and parried the enemy's sword same as before. With half-circular motion she swung back at the enemy's sword, and hitting it powerfully, she sent it back with her staff.
"You?! Aren't you a mage?!"
"I am. However, being able to use only magic is inconvenient so I learned a bit of stick fighting as well."
While saying so, when the opponent slashed once again she thrust with her staff.
Even as she was being attacked by the swordsman, Sei-nee continued to maintain the water shield in mid-air and parried the attacks with a staff. Even though her moves were slow, she avoided attacks lightly and flexibly like a willow tree and thrust whenever she had a chance. There was a difference in technique that could be seen even by someone with untrained eyes.
"Why! Why aren't my attacks reaching!"
Responding to his question, Sei-nee strongly thrust in the enemy's solar plexus. In order to lessen the impact from being hit, the swordsman jumped strongly to the back. And behind him was——
"It's okay. Onee-chan is really strong."
Before I realized, Paralysis' effect has worn off and I raised a voice, Sei-nee had a margin to spare and smiled. The three had the swordsman to buy time and the mage duo prepared a powerful magic attack.
Sei-nee surely had a large move prepared to eliminate that.
Sei-nee. Although I called out to her my voice was drowned in the roar of flame. I stared at the flames which swallowed Sei-nee. I watched as her figure collapsed.
It was impossible after all. I thought Sei-nee might win 1 vs 3 but...
"Flame magic's attack power is amazing after all. Were I to take it head on it would be dangerous."
When I looked towards the one who spoke, I saw Sei-nee stand on top of a tree.
She folded her arms below her chest and looked down at the place that was burned.
The three looked up at her and at the same time as they opened their eyes wide in surprise, the staff aimed for the wind mage and stopped moving.
That moment, dozens of water bullets appeared behind Sei-nee. It was a water element's beginner spell. But with a number like that it posed a threat despite being a beginner magic. Overwhelmed by the sight, nobody moved. No, were they to attack, the dozens of water bullets would rain on them.
"Certainly, if it's against mobs then it's best to shoot immediately after chanting, but when it comes to players, there's no need to use high-powered magic."
"What. What's up with that number of magic?! What's up with you! Why can a mage fight in close quarters combat! What's up with your attitude, holding back, looking down on us!"
As the swordsman turned hysteric and raised his voice, Sei-nee responded indifferently.
"I'm not holding back, and I have no intention of underestimating you. This is the way I fight."
As she spoke, the number of water bullets behind her further increased.
"It's a basic magic-user's build, the 【Delay】 I have allows me to stock magic I created temporarily. As for close combat, like I said earlier, I just learned how to fight with a staff. Time is about to run out. Now then——"
Do your best and endure it. And as she muttered these words, dozens of water bullets were released all at once with a loud sound.
The three desperately avoided the looming spheres, although they looked for an opportunity to attack desperately, they were unable to break out from the barrage of water bullets.
Gouging the ground, piercing the trees, the water barrage was scattered in an unnecessarily large range, although part of the water bullets missed, wherever they tried to avoid, the enemy was hit by the water bullets.
The two magic-users retired early, the boy with a sword advanced while prepared for the damage, but Sei-nee already compensated for the used-up water bullets.
The closer he got to Sei-nee the more dense the attacks were and so was the rate of fire. Unable to withstand continuous magical attacks, he was blown away.
"Are you interested in having a talk yet?"
"Why... why are you covering for her! She partially destroyed our party! She's the black cub's user!"
"I said, that wasn't me! Some idiot took a young beast and forced a cursed equipment on it which resulted with that. Certainly, this is the black cub in question, but it was an unfortunate incident caused by overlapping factors."
"Then where did that guy go!"
"It seems like he was the first one to be burned."
Sei-nee quietly said the truth.
"The day before that incident there seemed to be a similar incident with a cub going on rampage and setting the base camp in flames. The party that caused it was too slow escaping."
"Then who! Who do I take revenge against for my comrades! Those three were looking forward to the event! Is it fine to give them such unreasonable and half-assed ending?!"
The three had their HP reduced by a great deal, they dropped their weapons and grasped the ground.
As Sei-nee started walking towards the three without hesitation, I wanted to call out to her, but she placed her index finger on her lips stopping me. Seems like she thought of something. I guess I have to leave it to her.
"Looks like you're not convinced, but you know that pressing the guilt on Yun-chan and her friends is unreasonable, don't you?"
They faced down powerlessly, and responded faintly. Even so, Sei-nee smiled satisfied and cast a heal from recovery magic on the three.
Even though Sei-nee recovered the damage she dealt to them, it didn't seem like the mental damage would recover soon. Sei-nee gently and yet strongly spoke to the three.
"There's a few days left. Why don't you consider what you can do by yourselves instead? Something that won't bother other people that is."
"Something we can do? That's..."
They didn't know what they should do, the three looked at each other and Sei-nee continued to speak further.
"When the event is over, you need to puff your chest with pride and tell them it was fun. Will you raise your levels? Or maybe you're going to find some rare items to give as presents? Or will you boast to see their jealous expressions?"
Sei-nee, the last one was a mean thing to do. I murmured in my mind, but her words must have loosened the three's tension and their expressions softened.
"Also, although the retired people would be dissatisfied, what would they think if they learned you PK'd someone? I don't think your comrades would make nice expressions hearing that you went PK."
"...yes. I think so too."
The three meekly nodded in response to Sei-nee. Lyly was released from the paralysis as well, he lined up next to me together with the young beasts.
The swordsman wanted to say something, but Sei-nee stopped him from speaking the same way she stopped me.
"I'm not the one you should talk to about PK. Whether you will proudly reunite with your comrades or not, is up to you guys."
The attack itself was a misunderstanding caused by lack of information. But, should it be all forgiven? That's not what I should be saying... the victim this time wasn't just me, there was someone else here too.
I glanced towards Lyly who responded to me with a nod. I leave it to you, he said. That's why, I put my feelings in words——
"——Even if it's a misunderstanding, the fact that you attacked Lyly who's partnered up with me doesn't change."
"...what should we do to make you forgive us."
The three shrunk further hearing my words. I responded.
"After you doing something bad, you've got to apologize right?"
"Got it. Sorry."
And they lowered their heads.
"Not to me. Apologize to Lyly and the little ones."
I pointed at Lyly and Ryui with my finger, the three's eyes went round and they bowed deeply to them. After that, when he made sure the three left Lyly pulled my clothes and asked.
"Yuncchi, is that fine?"
"What I'm angry at, is them scaring the little ones. I don't care about anything else."
"Yun-chan never thinks about herself."
Sei-nee furrowed her brows troubled, I think that has nothing to do with this though.
"I thought that Yuncchi would forgive them, but I didn't expect her not to do anything."
Yuncchi's kind even when he's angry. He spoke to his partner, Neshias riding on his shoulder.
And, Sei-nee watched us with a smile before quietly speaking and stirring up my anxiousness.
"Speaking of which... in response to Yun-chan's mail, Taku-kun and Myu-chan with her friends are starting a large-scale search."
"...somehow, I feel like that'll become a serious matter."
"Yuncchi, you need to clean that up. Do your best!"
"It's okay. You can still make it. Well, you're not allowed to let them look for you overnight."
"Damn! Those three parties! They absolutely won't forgive me!"
I raised my voice resenting the difficulties ahead of me. Seeing that, a grin appeared on Lyly's and Sei-nee's faces.
Chapter 7 – A Stroll and the Emergency Quest
...hmm. My neck hurts. I wonder if its sprained.
While thinking that, I raised my body. I was sleeping under the bright sunlight.
"Yeah, I fell asleep like that."
I stretched my body and yawned, I looked away from the table I had my head placed on and looked around.
Our base camp turned into a large establishment with thirty people in it.
These were remnants of the last night's feast, there were a lot of people who fell asleep just like that.
"Even so, they had a really horrifying look in their eyes."
Although we survived the attack of those three, what was awaiting me were further difficulties. When we safely returned to our base camp——
"From the first party to fifth, search north. Sixth to tenth parties, search south! We're making this place the headquarters!"
"Yun-kun and Lyly aren't here! We shouldn't have left them alone after all!"
"Calm down. I'll go to hunt in the mountains! They appear in the party menu, so we know they're safe."
"That damn Yun, he disappeared after sending a such a short mail asking for help."
"T-T-Taku-san, calm down."
"Calm down, both of you."
The base camp I came back to was in chaos. A single woman led few dozens of people, it seemed like they would enter the woods any moment.
In addition, the shaken up Magi-san was being calmed down by Cloude's words.
Taku's knees were shaking, and it seemed like he would go flying any moment. And Myu's voice was trembling as she was really upset.
It's been a while since I saw my acqueintances like that〜, although that was my carefree impression, my expression must have been really bad. The entire place was chaotic, it seemed like headquarters for a search of a mountain climbing's victim.
"Heeey! I brought Yun-chan!"
"Wah!! Sei-nee! Wait a second!"
"You need to hurry up and give them relief. Give up, Yuncchi."
Lyly who's younger than me had an expression as if he was enlightened already and waited.
I couldn't withstand the gazes that turned towards me when Sei-nee called out and looked away——
"Where did you go!"
Magi-san came to us and embraced us by entwining her arms around our necks, she hugged Lyly with her right arm, and entwined her left with mine and squeezed us with all strength she had. I was both happy and embarrassed since her chest touched me, and also I felt apologetic. The black cub and Ricœur whom we were holding raised a voice as they were hurt, sandwiched in between. Responding to it, Magi-san let go, but she once again hugged us strongly while making sure she doesn't hurt Ricœur.
"Where did you two go. I was worried."
Not good. I can't think of an excuse. Why did I request aid like that, I couldn't give them a sensible reason. Lyly started to talk while overflowing with cold sweat in secret. It was a lie for a reason.
"I was invited by Yuncchi to look for ingredient items, but we were attacked. When we were running away, Yuncchi sent that mailbomb in a rush."
Since I was in a bind Lyly spoke, I cried out seeing his unexpected action. The surrounding seemed a bit embarrassed, but it seemed like the thread of tension was cut.
"So?! Did it turn out all right?"
"We found an unique mob in the woods by chance. Let's confirm the drop from it later."
I glanced towards Sei-nee, that's when a friend call came.
("That kind of excuse should be fine, right?")
Sei-nee smiled and explained while being consistent with what Lyly said, on the other hand she spoke through the friend chat.
("Is that fine? To lie to them.")
("It is. If we say the truth, those three we overlooked will become a target of mountain hunting.")
It would be troublesome if the party prepared to search for Yun-chan were to turn into a player-hunting party. Sei-nee added. And then, she readily said a fake story about the rare mob which emerged. The content seemed as if we really fought it——
("I really fought it. I didn't lie. I defeated the unique mob and then we saved Yun-chan together. No, wait. There's no mention of Lyly-kun being attacked there.")
Sei-nee's and Lyly's contents didn't match and she covered it up immediately.
If she spoke about unique mob right after Lyly said we were attacked, they would think we were attacked by an unique mob.
Well, there was a strange atmosphere that seemed like everyone was convinced, and while it lasted Sei-nee spoke to a certain player to change the topic.
"So, why is Mikadzuchi and the others here?"
The woman called 'Mikadzuchi' had her burning, wine-red hair bundled together, she had a slender body like a model and was taller than me, a high school boy. Somehow, there was an atmosphere which made her feel like an adult woman, she was somewhat intimidating, or maybe her charisma could be felt.
"Even so, it seems like sub-master's relatives are all an interesting bunch."
Hearing the woman's words, I've said in wonder, and was responded with a light introduction.
"I'm the guild master of 【Eight Million Gods】, Mikadzuchi. This time I've been asked by the one whose name starts with Kuro and brought my guild. Well, it seems like Sei, the sub-master found you. ——So, how about it? Won't you join our guild?"
After hearing these words, voices started calling out to me from various directions.
"Yun-kun, you have a constitution that attracts trouble so we have to protect you! Let's cooperate and start a crafting guild." Said Magi-san.
"If you stay out of our sight we'll get worried again, so join our party." Said Taku.
"No, join us!" Myu jumped on the bandwagon.
"Mikadzuchi, don't pressure people like this!" Sei-nee stirred the atmosphere further.
I've received their words with gratitude but——
"Sorry, but I have to refuse. I want leisurely play solo."
"I see, a shame."
Mikadzuchi said so and shrugged, it felt like she had nothing to lose by asking.
At the same time, I heard sighs of relief from the surroundings.
"That'd be enough for jokes, Kuro. What do we do now? In the end, it ended up being a waste of effort and we lost valuable time. How are you going to persuade us now?"
"We'll compensate you, Yun will——"
"The consumables' crafter, that's valuable. Then we'll borrow this missy here."
"Don't call me 'missy'! I'm a man! Also, don't rent people without permission!"
As I said so, I've been strongly grasped and led away. Magi-san and the others saw me off like that.
——What happened after that, is omitted.
"Geez, they made me craft items endlessly, and then they said they're hungry and requested a meal."
I muttered, recalling events from last night.
Although I was lent to them to replenish their consumables, they got hungry in the evening and I had to cook something up, after which I was made to craft potions once again.
On the other hand, even though I was caught up in their partying, the crafting work continued until midnight and I fell asleep as I was.
"I'm really glad I can make things by using 【Recipe】 at times like these, good grief."
I stretched my body which was stiff because I slept in a strange place, relaxing my body.
Yesterday, ever since we were involved in the trouble, Ryui and the young fox didn't leave me even for a moment. Thanks to that, I wasn't cold in the slightest as I fell asleep. I felt warm instead.
"Morning, Missy. Were you able to make the items?"
"Morning, Mikadzuchi. Also... don't call me 'missy'. I'm a man. As for items, I've crafted the requested number. Is that fine?"
"I won't complain any more then. It's fine if you rest today."
"Hey, don't ignore the part about me being a man... also, is it fine for me to get a payment?"
"No problem. It's just that obtaining the items you made was a priority to us, Missy. We're not as greedy to request them for free. On the other hands, are you fine with the items you've got?"
"It's fine. I'm satisfied with these."
Hearing those words she responded with "I see". She said so convinced, after that she distributed the items I made to the guild members and prepared for a hunt or a dungeon.
"Now then, see you in the evening. Yesterday was fun——【Young Beast's Nanny】."
"Haa?! What, what's with that nickname."
As I raised my eyebrows, she smiled as if she found something interesting and turned away. Mikadzuchi waved to me and left, Magi-san ran up to me in a hurry from the opposite direction.
"Good morning, Yun-kun. How are you feeling?"
"So-so. Rather than that, what's up with 【Young Beast's Nanny】?"
Magi-san caught Ricœur by its shoulders and embraced it while holding in front of her, it seemed like she was looking for words she should be saying.
"Do you remember what happened last night?"
"I was taken by Mikadzuchi, they made me craft potions, I prepared a dinner, I ran away from their partying..."
"When you escaped you said that you're going to look after the young beasts right? 【Eight Million Gods】 has a few of them as well, you looked after those too didn't you."
'Looked after'. Even though she says that, I only played around with Ryui, if anything, I was taking a breather after work.
"You gave off an image of a woman who comes in contact with young beasts without any discrimination. It resulted with a number of titles, the most decent ones being 【Young Beast's Nanny】 or just 【Nanny】."
Wh...at... when was such a nickname born.
Before that, what 'image of a woman', I'm not a woman but a man. No, wasn't there something else other than 【Nanny】? What kind of a nickname is that. It didn't mention that I'm an archer nor that I craft potions, it was completely unrelated.
"Well, as long as you're active doing different things, that nickname will naturally change."
"At least they should have given me a normal nickname..."
Rather than being called by that embarrassing nickname, I'd rather be called by my name, or have a nickname which represents my designation as a potion maker,an archer or a healer.
"Well, you'll get used to it. So, what kind of payment did you get from 【Eight Million Gods】?"
The collected materials, poisonous plants and extra items, cursed accessories, books that dropped from unique mobs, and so on.
"Yun-kun, that's not good. No——requesting that as a payment is strange."
"Is it that strange as a payment? Personally, I'm happy with it."
"It's super strange. In the first place, you better find a way to equip cursed accessories."
But the cursed accessories could be used in a different way, for example for their designs. In fact, I didn't gather them for them to be used, but to have them as references for 【Craftsmanship】 Sense, I've gathered quite a lot of cursed accessories.
As a result, as if it was a joke, I've gathered more than thirty dangerous objects.
"Just the opposite, dangerous things have their charm, and I want to have them. That's the kind of feeling."
"Ahh, they're the ones with abnormal states like the Dead Soldier's Bracelet."
The Dead Soldier's Bracelet, that was the main reason of the young fox going berserk. It won't come off, it cannot be controlled, it's extremely dangerous.
The other abnormal-state inducing accessories was the one dropped by Kamaitachi who attacked me. Starting with Poison, there was Sleep, Curse, Charm, Confusion, Fainting, Anger. Accessories which induced such abnormal states were among them.
Their performance itself was very high, but if the resistance check fails in the last moment, I'll receive an abnormal state.
When I checked the abnormal states, it seemed to occur at regular intervals, the fact that the next check happened before the previous abnormal state expired was a pain.
The only saving grace about them, was the fact that one could unequip them at any time.
"But there are useful accessories too, look——"
As I said so, I showed her a ring that had only a base and no gem attached. Although its appearance was a bit regretful, it was one of the few useful accessories I've been given as a payment.
"That's... something quite a few people are desperate to have. Moreover, it matches Yun-kun's playstyle."
The ring Magi-san evaluated as such, was simple and yet very potent.
Gem Substitute Ring 【Ornament】
Additional Effect : 【Gem Substitute】
Although it was an accessory that didn't change any of my stats, the 【Substitute Gem】 effect was useful. Its effect was to have the gem placed on the base to unconditionally receive attacks instead of me. Although I say unconditionally, the shabbiest attacks and one-hit-kills were nullified and counted just the same, but having a function which allowed it to protect me from damage was enough.
Moreover, even if the gem is broken, as long as I can meet the conditions I can use a different gem.
There were three rules. The number of attacks that disables jewellery is decided. The fully disabled gem will disappear. The last one, the fitted jewellery can't be taken and the ring won't accept new gems for an hour for each attack taken.
On top of having the special rules stated above, it's compatibility with my 【Craftsmanship】 Sense was good, and it fit well with my playstyle.
"But, right now it has no effect since there's no jewel fitted on it."
"That's right. I've gotten a lot of of food and recovery items, but I don't have any extra gems."
Although I used my limited inventory space to bring 【Craftsmanship】's tools, I had no opportunity to use 【Polishing】, I didn't bring any gems other than Magic Gems either.
Now then, what do I do. It would be good if I could trade with someone for some. As I muttered that, Magi-san asked me with a smile.
"Hey, Yun-kun, won't you go out with Onee-san for a change of pace?"
"What is it, and what's with that sexy tone of voice. If you need help, I'll lend you a hand."
"Woah, I've been refused. That's right. The place I want to go to is——"
Ryui and Ricœur, as well as the young black fox headed out. Cloude and Lyly remained in the base camp, so we took Socks and Neshias as well as we headed to a certain place. It was a collection point on the rocky mountain Magi-san found when she was working with Cloude and Lyly as we separated to look for materials.
Travelling with me, was Magi-san and one more person.
"...why is Sei-nee accompanying us?"
"It's because I'm worried about Yun-chan... well, not really."
Then why is it. I retorted in my mind, and stared at her, she quietly apologized and said the truth.
"We haven't met recently, there was some time to use so I... did I get in the way of your date?"
As Sei-nee narrowed her eyes, Magi-san strongly denied it.
"No, not at all! I'm glad that I get to talk with Sei-san about a number of things."
When it comes to a mood, rather than a date, it felt like two girls going on a walk... The fact that I'm not seen as a man hurt. We advanced through the forest to a rocky mountain area while speaking peacefully, contrary to how our conversation went on, there was a sight which made my expression twitch and spasm.
As we walked, not leaving a single mob we met behind, Sei-nee produced multiple water bullets and one-sidedly wiped them out.
While we went on a trip in picnic mood, we proceeded while hearing cries of agony of mobs and small birds within a mile.
And in the middle of that——
"Hmm, the image's different from a mage."
As Magi-san spoke, I tilted my neck in wonder, Sei-nee understood what she meant and smiled wryly.
"Magic-users are the number one damage dealers of a party. They annihilate the enemy with maximum firepower, that's the image I have. Sei-san feels like someone who defeats enemies with precision instead."
"Is that so? Sei-nee."
"That impression is roughly correct. The Senses I use right now increase my general versatility and rate of fire. Wait a moment."
Sei-nee moved her fingers in the mid-air, operating her own menu. It seemed like she changed her Sense build. After a small nod, in front of her she held a staff that was longer then the one from before.
In response to it, a light blue light appeared under her feet, creating a fantastic scene where light filled the forest.
"Come to think of it, I haven't decided on the target. Yun-chan, you have good eyes so find an enemy."
"No, decide on one beforehand."
"Hurry up, I'm wasting MP here."
I spat out a sigh as Sei-nee continued to maintain the spell active, I looked for enemy as far as 【Hawk Eyes】 could reach. And what I found, were two birds circling in the sky.
However, I was amazed by how big the birds in the distance were and stared at them. Seeing that, Sei-nee and Magi-san stared the same way.
"These are——Air Condors?! It's an unique mob that dwell in the northern mountain!"
"It would be cumbersome if we were attacked by them on the way, let's take them down."
Sei-nee aimed her staff towards the sky, she poised aiming for the birds circling above——
The change was instantaneous. The small water pool born beneath the ominous birds and while swirling, it has sprouted at an explosive speed, it swallowed the birds while swirling. The birds were spinning vigorously as the huge whirlpool that appeared in-mid air rotated them.
The whirlpool that has caught the birds lowered itself a few dozens of metres while intensely rotating, it stopped in front of us.
It turned over dozens of trees, the centre of the water spread under our feet. The human-sized birds had their necks and wings twisted in various directions, after convulsing their figures were broken down into particles of light.
The young black fox and Ricœur didn't want to wet their paws, so they went up to stay on my and Magi-san's shoulders. The birds were unable to even raise a cry, I've worn a surprised expression for the second time today.
Sei-nee looked towards where she killed the unique mobs Air Condors and raised a cheerful voice.
"Hmm. It seems like having too much power can turn into a friendly fire easily. It's hard to use a build prepared for maximum firepower but, were you satisfied seeing it, Magi-chan?"
After recovering a chest that was visible only to players that defeated the mob, Sei-nee looked back and asked Magi-san.
'Kh'? What's that. Magi-san who was a bit in ahead in front of me spoke quietly. That's not a voice of someone surprised. If anything, that feeling is——
"Khhh!! The mage's firepower is amazing after all!"
Her eyes were sparkling and glittering, she clenched her fist. After being showed Sei-nee's high-powered magic she spat out a satisfied and happy sigh.
"I'm glad you're satisfied. With this the amount of mobs that will disturb us at the rocky area should decrease I guess?"
"Yes! Yun-kun, let's go! Our destination is a bit further away."
"Please stop pulling me. Rather, why is the place we're going for on a nearly-vertical rock."
"It's okay. Nearby, there should be a stone staircase."
That's why there's no problem? While I tried to calm down the hurrying Magi-san, we proceeded. Sei-nee was one step behind us and looked at us with a happy smile.
We entered a staircase made from large rocks and took the long way up. Magi-san put Ricœur on her shoulders, I put Socks and Neshias on my shoulders while I held the young black fox in my hands. Hey, you guys, climb on your own...
"Magi-san, are we at the collection point yet?"
"We're almost there. We'll reach after getting up there."
Magi-san proceeded up the stairs while saying so, traversed the stairs all at once, I repeated after her and——
"Uwaa... this is..."
"Since it was very frantic ever since day one, coming to a place like this is good too, isn't it."
From a high place, we could see small meadow with blooming flowers, on the green space they created. There was a number of round rocks all over, and from a cliff in the destination one could look back to see the square base camp in the vast forest, as well as the lake. The view spreading in front of our eyes symbolized how vast was this continent.
"It's the collection point for ore and gems, there's a number of places like this one. I'm going to go to a different rock with a pick and dig for a bit. I'll join you later. Sei-san, what will you do?"
"I'll stay with Yun-chan."
Magi-san waved her hand and said "see you later" before separating from us. Though, it seemed like she swung her pick within our field of vision.
"It's been a while since I went out with Yun-chan like this. It feels like a picnic."
I walked around the small plateau looking for stones in places I could reach, looking for gemstones. A slight distance away from us, Ricœur and the other young beasts were playing merrily entangled with each other in the grass, seeing their movement and figures a smile appeared on my face.
"How is it? Are you enjoying 【OSO】?"
Suddenly, Sei-nee asked such a thing. And responding to it I——
"Yeah, it's fun. At first I took mishappen Senses and didn't know what to do, but I've become acquainted with more people and started to enjoy myself."
"That's great. At first Taku-kun invited you a bit too forcibly making you feel indebted. And then we left you alone."
"I'm not a child am I."
I'm fine even if I'm alone. Though it would be better if I stopped showing off my skin. Well, all the people I met up until now are good, so when I logged in I felt like I was going to meet friends.
"But you could show your face occasionally. I'm running a store that deals with consumables, 【Atelier】."
"I get it. But for Yun-chan to have a shop huh. How does it look like?"
"Don't have too big expectations. It was built very cheaply..."
"Fufufu, a shop that grows along with Yun-chan. That seems interesting."
Her eyes were droopy and gentle, she muttered that and smiled. She was a beauty just like Myu, making me worried in a different way.
"Yun-kuuun, I finished over here! How about you?"
Magi-san who lifted a pickaxe in the distance turned towards me, I responded in a loud voice and a wry smile.
"Just a little bit more!"
"Then let's have a break after that and go back to the camp!"
Sei-nee looked at us as we spoke and tilted her neck happily. I collected the young beasts and joined Magi-san, all of us took a break together.
"Yun-kun? How does it look like on your side?"
"There's a lot of normal ore, there isn't too many gems in here."
"The ones I mined are roughly 50/50. Want to trade gems for ore?"
"Thank you very much, let's do so."
We sat down on the green carpet and distributed the collected materials. Sei-nee looked happily even as we acted casually, her line of sight made me a little anxious.
"So, what kind of gems did you get?"
"In that place, there are splendid small Zakuros."
"Indeed, it's a another name for Garnets."
"Is that so."
While saying so, I picked up a single gemstone. It was still surrounded by a stone so I couldn't tell, after instantly polishing it with 《Polishing》 skill, I raised it towards the sky and looked at it. Small sized gems could be prepared by processing them with skill, the black contrasting with red in the middle was beautiful.
As I looked at the gem in daze, the young fox started poking me with its front legs. It seemed like it wanted to draw my attention to something.
At first it was fairly cautious, but it started acted spoiled towards me. Of course, I was healed by that too.
"What is it, are you interested in this?"
I showed the garnet to young fox right under its nose, after licking it, the fox understood that it couldn't be eaten.
"Hey hey, it's not something to be eaten... here, if you're hungry then eat this."
I smiled seeing the young fox skilfully hold down a fruit and eat it, I compared the garnet and the young fox's fur. The red hair shining among black hair, it was very similar to the garnet I held in my hand. It was probably a coincidence, but people sometimes feel such coincidences are fate.
I raised the young fox after it finished eating, and spoke.
"I was busy until now and forgot to give you a name, haven't I. It's simple, but I'll give you one now."
The young fox didn't understand what I was talking about and it tilted its neck in a classic move. I smiled wryly, and spoke the name in a clear voice.
"Your name is——Zakuro."
That moment, the fox's red hair scattered flames. The flames touched my hands directly making Sei-nee and Magi-san panic, but these flames weren't hot at all. It wasn't a fire that dealt damage to opponents and it was immediately extinguished. The young fox, Zakuro looked at Magi-san's frightened expression, and returned her stare as if saying 'what is it?'. As Magi-san and Zakuro exchanged wondering looks I shifted the atmosphere by muttering.
"Let's get along from now onwards, Zakuro."
Something heavy pressed against my back as I said so. When I looked behind, I saw Ryui rubbing his head on my back.
"I'm not forgeting about you, let's get along, Ryui."
Satisfied with these words, it back away two steps and lied down on the prairie.
I wondered if the event will finish with such a calm atmosphere. But——
"Yun-chan, what's that?"
"...young beasts, they're running?"
Because we were on a high rock we could overlook the forest from above, in the direction Sei-nee pointed to I saw small mobs running in the same direction. A wide variety of young beasts desperately ran in the same direction. Their appearance made it seem as if——
"It looks like they're running away from something."
As Magi-san muttered beside me and I started to feel anxious, a loud alert sounded directly above everyone's heads.
——An emergency quest 【Great Eater of Mythical Beasts' Interception】 has been given to all players.
From now on, until the quest is finished the penalty for joint struggle is cancelled on the stray continent.
The moment that announcement rang out on the stray continent, there was a drastic change.
- ↑As for Kuro, it refers to Cloude whose name starts with Kuro (クロード Kuro-do).
- ↑ All right, in this case Zakuro Stone (ザクロ石) is a Japanese name for Garnet, garnet appeared in the novel before but under the english name written in katakana, this time it appears under Japanese name, thus I'm leaving at Zakuro, there's also another reason two pages away.
Chapter 8 – The Great Eater of Mythical Beasts and Support
What greeted us when we hurried back to our base camp were players rushing around like bees from a beehive that was poked.
I thought that players who moved around the base camp were upset the same way as I was, but——
"Hey! Let's go for a hunt immediately. Let's locate 【Eater of Mythical Beasts】 and hunt him down."
"Wait a moment! How about we lure it over here and have everyone watch?"
"That's a good idea?!! Let's have parties and individuals compete with time attacks."
"I'll participate too!"
"Wait a second, what's that, it's disgusting. I don't want to approach that?!"
"Woahh?! It came over already! Let's go at it, bastards!"
" " "YEAHH!!" " "
What is this, what's up with the difference in temperature between my anxiousness and their motivation...
When I was returning to our base camp from the rocky area in the north I saw the 【Eater of Mythical Beasts】 mob only once. It was using its irregular mouth sharp teeth lined up inside to tear apart trees. The elements its body was comprised of, could be called eerie. It's torso had a meaty texture mixed of brown and black tones, countless tentacles extended from it, there were places which seemed to have human fingers sticking out of it, from the dark meat white and pale pink muscle fibres peaked out, it was painted with red to accentuate the colours.
The place that looked like its head seemed to have recessed; fallen in, the eye sockets were vacant and filled with darkness. With its raspy screech my spirit took a hit and I frowned feeling unpleasant.
Only now, I hated 【Hawk Eyes】 for being able to see that figure clearly. However, I did see a similar figure recently.
"——Eh?!! What is it?!"
"I know what Yun-kun wants to say. Well, this is the game's reality."
Because I started thinking deeply, I didn't realize it, but it seemed like Magi-san called out to me multiple times. Then I recalled it and asked Magi-san and Sei-nee about the 'temperature' difference I thought of a while ago.
"Sei-nee... normally, wouldn't one panic when they see such a monstrosity?"
"Well, this is a game. But thinking logically, if players were to be instantly killed they wouldn't be able to raise their levels, I wonder if they're feeling too safe."
"But, it's design takes into account physiological disgust and intimidation, I think that's interesting."
After hearing what Magi-san and Sei-nee said I was convinced. If anything, players happily collected information in this situation, places to attack and weaknesses, locations where damage can be dealt and locations there's none... that spurs need to exchange opinions to verify it.
When I furrowed my eyebrows as the situation changed, Cloude found me and approached.
"Perfect timing, Yun. Help us out."
"Haa? With what?"
"To prepare consumables for the decisive battle with the boss."
"Uhee, I made them just yesterday, you want me to do it again..."
I started to walk towards the location designated by Cloude. There seemed to be collected materials waiting in there.
And towards my back, he called out to me before leaving.
"Oh right. The screenshots you made on the lake bottom will be the hints for taking down the enemy. We're studying various hints aside from these, so we'll be able to find enemy's weak points at an early stage."
"Hm? Is that so? Got it."
I've responded to his words, so that was useful. With a small smile I started crafting potions.
And then, as the intense interchange of players to and from the safety area happened, the crafting system has been established in the safety area which was involved in this wild dance.
"Hey! Multiple Beast Eaters are approaching the base camp! Intercept them immediately!"
Reacting to the voice of the person who was on the lookout, the players who were taking a break took action immediately. And——
"...myth eating, is it after Young Beasts?"
I stopped moving my hands as I worked to check as the situation changed, I saw young beasts come to the safety area to take refuge.
Seeing the Mythical Beast Eaters who were hurriedly defeated by the players, the young beasts hugged each other frightened.
"Umm... what to do with these little ones?"
A woman carried several young beasts who were cuddling against each other and asked me.
"Eh, why ask me?"
"No... it's cause you're Young Beast's Nanny."
"Stop with that nickname. I hate it."
Even though I'm a man, to be called a 'nanny', I hate it a lot. I'll probably be teased by Taku because of that. It seems like there's gloom ahead of me. But well, I can't just leave them like that.
"Why don't you ask around if there's anyone who wants to take care of them? Maybe someone will be able to contract with them."
There seemed to be a number of people who were looking for Young Beasts but didn't meet any. It's a good opportunity for these people to look after them.
"Is that fine?"
"Fine or whatever, I already have two of them... and it's not like I have a right to tell others what to do. But, if there are people who are willing to look after them, isn't it fine to just cooperate with them?"
As I said so, the representative was taken aback. After returning to her senses she lowered her head deeply.
"T-thank you very much!"
"Don't act so humble, you make me feel apologetic instead."
Being relied on by such humble person made me feel a faint itch. After that, the woman's serious expression loosened in an instant and I realized that she's been already charmed by the little ones.
After that, without any mishaps the ran-away young beasts were able to find refuge. The men seemed to pick ones that might become strong in the future, focusing on the cool young beasts. Women seemed to emphasize on the young beasts' cuteness.
Trying to feed them, asking what's better for them, they made a commotion by talking to them, as well as explored the sense of distance by timidly patting the young beasts.
Looking at the situation objectively, it looked like a proper animal-petting plaza, it was soothing. However...
"Why do I have to prepare food for the young beasts."
"Practically none of us can use 【Cooking】, please."
"No, I need to craft potions though..."
"It's okay. You can mass produce them with the skill until you deplete MP, and use the time MP takes to recover to use 【Cooking】."
The one who came to talk to me first, was the woman I thought was humble earlier, but that's what she said to me.
However, despite several people taking the 【Cooking】 Sense and advanced it while listening to my lecture, it didn't become any less of a burden.
That said, the day was nearing its end, and after finally securing a constant supply of consumables I decided to get some rest.
Since it's virtual reality I wasn't fatigued physically, but I felt mentally exhausted. Nevertheless, as I turned my shoulders around or moved my eyes, my body seemed to operate as if I was normally fatigued.
"You seem quite tired, Yun."
"What, Cloude huh. I helped out just as you wanted me to. It'd be good if I was rewarded better though."
"Before we talk about the reward, there's another thing I want to ask you..."
"Hey, I hope it's not more work, I absolutely won't do any."
"Yun. Won't you participate in subjugation of the boss mob?"
"Haa, that's another thing which seems like it'll be a hassle."
Haa, although I spat out a sigh, Cloude asked me if I want to do it and didn't force me. I listened to what he had to say before making my decision.
"We confirmed six Mythical Beast Eater boss mobs in total, the 【Great Eaters of Mythical Beasts】. As for their weakness, although its their pupils just like with the normal Beast Eaters, they have an abundance of them on their huge bodies. Above all, they have an ability to generate Beast Eaters around them over time."
"So... why are you inviting me. It's not like I'm that strong."
Cloude should know that. I'm not strong enough to be useful.
"The ones who are inviting you right now aren't looking for fighting force. They need the support your enchants can provide as well as improvement in heals in the rear, thanks to that, the ones in front won't have to spend extra time and power. It's what you'd call reserve force."
"I see, my role is to be a medicine box."
That's what I said myself, but strangely, I was convinced.
"The ones being recruited are rearguard staff and magic-types who are relatively safe during combat. If you're anxious we'll have you go to the same place your acquaintances are now... what will you do?"
I am a bit uneasy but——I have earth magic, ranged attacks, I can act as a pseudo-healer with potions, I can use Enchant Arts to act as a buffer, I can fill various roles while maintaining safe margin as the rearguard. Although, the number one safe position is crafting in base camp...
"Got it. I'll roll out as a support. If I'm together with Taku and Myu then I'll feel secure to an extent and if it turns out badly I can always run."
"Fuu, very well."
Although Cloude smiled with his arms folded, that fresh smile of his was suspicious instead. That was something concerning.
"But I don't want to have Ryui nor Zakuro follow me to the boss fight."
"You should ask Lyly and Magi then. I didn't ask those two to go out to frontlines. I too, was invited to take charge of the front line operations and strategy."
I would feel secure were Ryui and Zakuro to stay with Magi-san.
"Then, let's assign you to one of your acquaintances. Your older sister should be fine right?"
"Why did you come up with Sei-nee all of a sudden."
"The best adjustment would be to place you near a highly skilled mage who would ensure your safety, under that pretence you would compensate that mage's used up MP with MP Potions."
"AM I AN MP TANK!?"
As I raised my voice, Cloude responded with "hahaha", he laughed shadily, but I wasn't joking there. It felt like truth to me.
"Now then, I'll go back to finish my own preparations first."
"Yun. Do you intend to challenge the boss like that? You forgot something."
As he said so, Cloude has passed me the armour I left with him for repairs, the Ochre Creator. Speaking of which, I got used to the white one piece and forgot about it, I raised the hem of the dress lightly.
"I made quite an effort to raise its grade, with this, the defence has increased and you can have some peace of mind right?"
"Thanks. See you later then."
I separated from Cloude and went to our dwelling to retrieve the materials. For as long as time and MP permitted me, I processed the gems and continued to embed magic in them by using 【Skill Enchant】.
I prepared two types of Magic Gems and the equipment, consumables, and confirmed my Sense build.
And after I finished my preparations, I headed to where Lyly was to leave my partners, Ryui and Zakuro with him. There I found——
"Magi-san?! Why are you here!"
"Yun-kun. You're not being fair, you're going to join something as interesting as boss subjugation and leave your Onee-san behind."
"No, I've just been asked by Cloude... rather, I've been only requested to help with rearguard..."
"That's——so you've been involved in by Cloude, so he forced you to do it huh."
Wow, it's the power play. I was surprised, but I'm not sure if I felt sympathy for Cloude or not.
Sei-nee was waiting for me ahead, she accepted Magi-san coming along without raising any problems and we joined forces.
The six bosses were to be defeated simultaneously. The one we were going to defeat was one that appeared near the lake in the south.
【Bow Lv24】【Hawk Eyes Lv36】 【Speed Increase Lv20】 【Discovery Lv21】 【Magic Talent Lv39】
【Magic Power Lv41】 【Enchant Arts Lv12】 【Alchemy Lv27】 【Dosing Lv17】 【Cooking Lv16】
【Taming Lv1】 【Synthesis Lv24】 【Earth Element Talent Lv9】 【Craftsmanship Lv27】 【Swimming Lv13】
【Crafting Knowledge Lv27】
As we marched towards the lake I've been lectured about the positions of parties and group battles, the duty assignment and switching, voice exchanges and other methods, and so on by Magi-san and Sei-nee. Because of that, since I was mainly playing solo I didn't really understand it and was anxious, but it seemed that the trick was to have a clear purpose in mind.
That's why I decided to stick to my goals and act accordingly.
As for the goal, I had no choice but to look at the current situation and judge what's required accordingly, although it's easy to decide on being flexible, if I were to mistake the timing it would be the same as not doing anything at all.
And after we arrived at the location before dawn, I squeezed out a voice full of disgust from the back of my throat.
A mass of black meat, I saw something similar to the Mythical Beast Eaters, but the scale was different.
The mountain-like mass of meat was covered in human faces with anguished expressions on them. Like a four-legged animal, it crawled on its own limbs while drilling holes in the ground and released a dissonant roar.
Moreover, the pupils that were a weakness of Mythical Beast Eaters were everywhere. On its limbs, on its back, throughout its torso and its head. All of these eyes shed tears of blood, hatefully they looked around with an empty and dark look in those eyes.
Just the sight of murky dark-coloured tentacles flailing around made me uneasy. Seeing that figure, I took a step back, and my shoulder was gently hit.
"It's okay, Yun-chan. Don't worry."
"Yupyup. Sei-san and I are here with you."
Hearing that Sei-nee is with me and Magi-san's encouragement I was happy and made a strong smile.
"I know it's artificial but..."
Seeing this creation which should have an age limit, my mood turned bad. It felt unpleasant and I was restless, I was unable to puke since it was a game, and as I stood there the creepiness undermined my spirit.
The spectacle that unfolded before my eyes. There was a huge body with countless amount of eyes and its subordinate Mythical Beast Eaters surrounding it, behind them, the lake could be seen——The Great Eater of Mythical Beasts had all of its eyes look in front, and the meat from its body was dripping down to the ground. With the pupils in the meat that fell to the ground as a nucleus, it continued to grow fresh meat, building a body. The eyes that fell into the lake turned into figures that slowly crawled out of the water, coupled with its black and red body colours, it produced a splatter horror.
"No way... it's creating Beast Eaters."
The pupils that were left behind grown meat and build bodies, the predators were born all at once. Then, those Mythical Beast Eaters have scattered all over the forest, and started to fight against the players that awaited them. Moreover, the newly created monsters stayed nearby the boss and protected it.
Expulsion of old mobs and creation of new ones. This cycle repeated and Mythical Beast Eaters appeared in various places. If it turns into a prolonged war, we'll be at disadvantage.
And again, brand new pupils dropped from the black meat and started moving.
"Looking at it from up close, it has quite an impact doesn't it."
"Yeah, it's big isn't it. There's its surface shine and the texture, those are... well, let's not say that."
It seems like for women, the sight of new Mythical Beast Easters being created was disgusting as well, Magi-san rubbed her arms and Sei-nee put a wry smile saying 'I'm bad with those too'.
The Great Eater of Mythical Beasts slowly deposited half of its body on the shore and continued to creep up to the shore.
While we had subtle expressions seeing this disgusting spectacle, our great game-addicted little sister was——
"Because there's a lake in the back, we can only seriously attack from the front... don't cluster up too much."
"The moment the eyes land, its henchmen are being created, it's the worst possible timing! Oh come on!"
Taku muttered, and Myu yelled angrily, you guys... I murmured quietly as I stared at them.
However, that was a fact. With a small amount of land area around it, surrounding and defeating it was impossible. The boss and the minions need to be defeated from the front. In such a situation, players couldn't pull their prey properly.
I've held a bow in my hand, but my role wasn't a big one.
Since I had no experience in group battles and couldn't read the enemy's behaviour pattern, I was unable to immediately begin shooting from outside of range or skilfully escape.
"Now then, we'll be going in front, Yun and the others should do their best too."
"Don't force yourselves too much, Onee-chans."
After that was said, everyone started acting their respective roles.
What I could do, was to heal people and support those within my reach, as well as shoot from long distance. That's the job I have tasked myself with.
"Now then, I'll aim for the places that are hard to reach. What will you do, Sei-nee, Magi-san?"
I've drawn the bow and I asked the two lined up next to me as I aimed the arrow.
The distance between me and the boss, Great Eater of Mythical Beasts was about seventy metres. There was a wall of monsters between us, but as long as I don't aim at the pupils at the feet of the monsters, there's no problem.
The place I aimed for, were the pupils at hard to reach areas.
I shot in the air at an angle of about sixty degrees, after drawing a large arc aiming for the back——the arrow fell into the lake.
That's no good. The voices of surrounding people judged the situation. The second arrow appeared in their line of sight.
I fine tuned power and strength, the arrow I released from my hand flew just as I aimed it and was stuck to the monster's back. However, it was stuck to the black meat between pupils rather then a pupil itself. Looks like the arrow's point attack was hard to use in a case like this, I changed my plan.
"This should be fine. If precise shooting is not good, then I need to shoot faster instead... next!"
As the third, fourth arrow advanced over the monster's head——the first collision started on the ground.
A single arrow didn't crush the pupil, but an accumulated damage from dozens of them caused one to collapse. My attacks with the bow didn't focus on precise aiming, and I didn't know how good were the results considering the attacks dispersed widely on the eyes that were located high up.
"Yun-kun, nice shooting. Could you put an a physical attack enchant on me too?"
"Understood. ——《Enchant》 Attack."
"Yup. Thank you."
After saying so, around Magi-san who waved her hand various weapons appeared, with a dull sound they all fell on the ground. A broad axe, javelin, throwing knives, a small iron ball, a battering hammer and various different metal weapons. From between then Magi-san pulled out a light javelin, she poised her shoulders and——
"First throw! GOOoooooo!!"
After a short run-up the javelin was released with a powerful momentum reminiscent of a cannonball, it has grazed the Great Eater's torso.
The Great Eater let out a loud shrill voice. The attack flew over the vanguard players heads and gouged the flesh in a flashy manner, my cheek started to twitch as I saw that attack tear off one of tentacles nearby.
"Hmm. The aim seemed to be a bit off? This time I'll aim for the middle."
"Nono, that's more than enough!"
"But look, because I didn't hit an eye, the tentacle and the gouged off part are regenerating."
The place she pointed at with her finger had dark red smoke appear from it and through cell division the meat was regenerated and wound closed, that sight made my mood plummet. Moreover, the mobs around intensified the attacks to give it time to regenerate.
The damage taken high up and the regeneration were completely separate from what happened below. After looking down on the ground, both vanguards had four out of six party members surround Beast Eaters and they continued to wipe them out.
One party was responsible for one monster. Roughly, the twenty parties efficiently slaughtered enemies at regular intervals and pressed in front.
"Luka-chan restrain it! I'll do it!"
"Understood! Hino-san, Tobi-san, suppress that side! I'll go in front. Myu-san from behind. Kohaku-san and Rirei-san support!"
"Yes yes... thereee!"
...well, one of the parties takes two of them at once, as expected, asking other parties to do the same would be cruel.
But to put it simply, we didn't have the required numbers.
The better the parties managed to take actions in conjunction to the disparate movements of surging mobs and reduce the time it took them, the greater were the results of player side.
All parties moved while emphasizing security as not to be taken down, there were no holes noticeable as of yet.
Even so, suppressing them all was impossible, the vanguard was fighting a defensive battle and the minions were pushing them backwards.
Eliminating them, was the role of mages located in the rear.
"Sei-nee, it's your turn. You okay?"
"I'm all right. I've already made my preparations."
As she said so, Sei-nee raised her long staff and five spears of ice which waited before her were raised higher.
Originally, the ice spears are released one by one. Sei-nee changed the time it was triggered by using 【Delay】 and five spears of ice were released all at once.
The result of her from her Sense structure which emphasized on power rather than firing speed, the legs of the approaching Mythical Beast Eater were gouged out, it has also pierced deeply into its head and chest pulverizing its pupils including the ones on the back.
In addition to two monsters that were killed on spot, three others luckily had the pupils on their back survive the attack. But another player swiftly came up and easily destroyed the eyes on the back of pierced monsters.
The end to this destructive sight has come.
"10% MP left. Need to recover."
"Roger. I'll use an MP Potion."
"Set it aside in case of an emergency, I'll just change my Sense build to quicken the recovery."
Sei-nee refused the MP Potion gently and after lowering herself a little, she watched the situation with wide opened eyes.
I too held my bow and after nocking arrows I aimed at the eyes and shot. And as I did that——
"Hahahaha! You're too sweet, you're sweeter than sugar mixed with honey and maple syrup that's been boiled for two hours! Fuhahaha! A good beast eater is a dead beast eater!"
"Heyhey, calm down a bit. You're attracting too much attention. Ah, Minute. Recovery please〜."
As for Taku's party, Taku alone held down one monster and other of his party members held another one.
The excited Taku was eye-catching, continued to buy time as avoiding attacks and giving others time to defeat the other monster.
"That place looks amazing."
"Yup. Taku's jumping all over the place."
"Not that, Taku-kun's party members' cooperation is very good."
The ones Sei-nee praised, was Kei and the others who were fighting against the second monster. Kei withstood the enemy's attacks from the front while Gantz hit the enemy's weak points from behind using his martial arts. Also, there was the cooperation of two mages, Mami-san's and Minute's who assisted in recovery and by attacking in moderation.
Taku was running around alone. Probably inspired by him, Gantz bounced off, dashed and raising a high pitched voice he did fluttered in the air making an acrobatic motion then attacked the pupils which were the monster's weakness. Seeing other players continue to annihilate them at this pace worried me in a different way.
"Good grief... Taku and the others seem energetic."
I looked around the battlefield and shook off pointless thoughts, I poised the bow once again. Probably because a considerable damage was dealt to the Great Eater, I was able to determine a weak point in the mass of meat, after activating a supportive skill I continued to release arrows mechanically.
——The skill 《Ingredient Knowledge》
Although it's a skill of the Cooking Sense, it allows me to find enemy's weak points in combat, as I tried to use it like this it turned out to be very useful. Light remained on the number of places on its body, but it disappeared from the part of the back.
At first I used a broad range of attacks, but I gradually changed into precise aiming. I crushed eyes one after another. I destroyed about ten pupils in the hardest to reach part on its back, all that was left was about half of them.
And when the wall of smaller monsters in front has diminished, everyone rushed aggressively seeing possibility to attack the Great Eater. That's when I observed a new type of movement.
"Retreat!! Beam is coming!"
One of the players in the back who was the supreme commander screamed.
Immediately after that, lights were lit on the tips of the tentacles growing out of the Great Eater.
I couldn't tell from my position, but I wondered if there was any indication of that happening in advance. Towards the forest and the sky, the beams were emitted including the ground, it was blocked by defence deployed by mages. There were various defensive spells. Everyone was chanting and created a colourful wall between themselves and the Great Eater behind which players hid and prepared for the impending rays of light.
I was no exception, I slammed a Magic Gem into the ground and activated it by chanting a keyword.
"Run this way!"
As I peeked out from behind the wall of soil I saw the boss whose eyes moved around violently as it looked for a target. The front lines backed off once again and the small monsters flowed into emptied space.
Although the special attack was suppressed, it was a hassle to maintain the front after that. A multitude of defensive magic types formed a semi-circular shape around the Great Eater whose back was in the lake.
Avoiding the walls, the small monsters flocked to places the defences were weak, here and there the situation turned dangerous.
"Oh, all the small ones gathered in the place 【Eight Million Gods】 is in."
"That's true. Mikadzuchi's there. Is that place fine?"
"I think they should be... but aren't they short on walls over there? Since Yun-chan can place walls too, come with me."
"Eh?! Is it fine to move around freely?!"
"It's okay. We're mainly a force that moves around freely. Rather than that, we might not make it in time, so put an enchant on us."
"Got it. 《Enchant》——Speed."
I said so and applied a speed enchant on Sei-nee and myself. Magi-san was left behind, protected by the wall of earth I created. I jumped from behind the wall together with Sei-nee and went to a place the forest was thin.
With one hand I prepared the Magic Gems, and immediately ran towards the place Sei-nee instructed me to go to.
As I ran, I saw beams of light aim at places where the defence was thin, in order to ward them off I placed walls of soil in these spots.
And as for the places there were holes in through which smaller monsters entered in, they ground their teeth as I filled the holes opened up by the beams of light.
As I looked around wondering what to do, I saw all the people who knew me make the same surprised expression. From among them I found one person I could consult with and spoke to her.
"Heyy, Mikadzuchi. Could you help out with reinforcing the walls?"
"You... why are you in this place. Weren't you in the rearguard."
"I came with Sei-nee to reinforce the defences, she's in the back."
In the place I pointed to there was Sei-nee who scattered the enchant's yellow light behind her as she created walls of ice in regular intervals.
"It seems like Sei's okay. Got it, we'll help you Missy! We started getting more injuries, we have to suppress them on the other side of the wall."
"I said, don't call me 'missy'!"
Although I raised a voice in protest to Mikadzuchi's words, everyone from 【Eight Million Gods】 who was hiding waited until the beam attack ends and jumped from behind the earthen walls, they engaged in combat against the Mythical Beast Eaters that entered through the gaps.
I used that opportunity to run around and close the gaps by installing one gem in each place where there was a hole in the defences. I also placed gems in places where the defence was weak.
On the battlefield that had attacks flying all over, I used the 【Discovery】 Sense and overlooked the battlefield to see preliminary motions. Since I had a full view spread out and could see the attacks, I could easily tell which ones were going to come my way, it wasn't that hard.
Well, I still relied on the enchant's speed increase to get away, it didn't look the best, although I was supposed to have a margin, there were blows I barely managed to avoid.
"Missy! It's fine now!"
"Roger that. ——【Clay Shield】!"
All the Magic Gems I held reacted to my voice and a five-layered wall of earth was created.
Seeing that, Mikadzuchi opened her eyes wide in surprise. Although Sei-nee could simultaneously activate multiple spells by using 【Delay】 Sense, this was an alternative approach to that.
I regained my composure as the influx of enemies has stopped.
"For the time being, let's call it a success?"
"It went well. All that's left is our, vanguard's job. But before that, we need to breathe some life into these guys"
As I came back Mikadzuchi smiled and said words of appreciation.
I checked if the beams of light from the Great Eater had stopped, confirmed how the magic walls built up until now were used in combat and understood it's not something I should join in. That's when Sei-nee came to collect me.
"Yun-chan, I'm here to pick you up. Let's go back to our original location. Also, Mikadzuchi I leave the rest to you."
"Sure. It's time to strike back! Disperse and deal with enemies!"
After staining her own rod-like weapon with her prey's blood she yelled.
While watching her from behind and the surroundings, we have came back to where Magi-san was positioned.
Our right side was dominating, the centre was restraining the enemy and the left side was using the walls to rebuild the front. The counter-attack was going well. At this rate we will push the front, if we're able to wipe out the minions before the next special attack, we will open the way to the main body.
We got this far after thirty minutes.
It would be fine to say that my role was over at this point of time.
I've used up the Clay Shield's Magic Gems when I built the earthen walls earlier, all that remained were Bomb's Magic Gems which I couldn't use unless I was close enough. They couldn't be used now.
As for High Potions and MP Potions, it seems like we'll manage to finish a fight while having some of them left over.
Together with Magi-san we were using my arrows and her weapons to take down the eyes on top of the monster's large body but——
"...I ran out of arrows."
If I continued to shoot with my bow, it would be possible to take down all the pupils.
Even if there was an auto-recovery function and I carried a lot of arrows, the bow's attack power was lower than that of an attack from close range. After shooting dozens of arrows I finally managed to take down a single pupil. If the arrow missed, it was judged as no damage dealt and the arrow was wasted. I don't know how many pupils I crushed with the flurry of long-range attacks.
"With this, my role's over isn't it."
It was fifty minutes after the battle started. Regular mobs were almost wiped out. Everyone surrounded the boss and continued to beat it. If we reached up till this point, we could say that this pattern means a win.
"Report——the boss on the north. Also, the northeast as well as western bosses are nearly subjugated! An unknown attack pattern discovered! Hundred eyes more discovered!"
As everyone heard the communication officer's voice, everyone called 'let's hurry and defeat this one too'. The morale has increased and most of the pupils were crushed. The Great Eater of Mythical Beasts had wounds all over its body and it has started the last offensive.
Thick hind legs penetrated the ground, it half-burried itself in the ground, the meat of its front legs melted and its tentacles rooted itself to the ground like a plant.
Although it looked like a beast, it hasn't opened its mouth until this moment, it has released a roar.
As the roar and a shockwave shook the air, everyone stopped moving.
In it's opened mouth there were conspicuously large eyes which hung down.
Considering it from biological perspective, they grew in the place tongue should have been, after establishing vision a pale blue light appeared.
It looked similar to the white beams from before. The remaining eyes flashed with these lights as well and emitted beams. Short lasers. That's how these rays of light looked like.
Although the range and the damage itself were greatly inferior to the special attack from before, the rate of fire and accuracy was higher. It has intercepted the approaching players and magic regardless of the type, making it difficult for anyone to close on it.
A storm of perfectly accurate lasers seemed to constantly reject anything approaching. The momentarily reaching laser accurately aimed for vital points, it was impossible to run through at constant speed.
"So this boss has it too. The enraged mode."
As Sei-nee muttered, I tilted my neck and asked. Magi-san immediately replied.
"It's the mode that appears after a boss' HP falls below a certain level, it gains stats and special attacks. Yun-kun."
"That means... isn't this bad?!"
I panicked a little and looked at the players on the frontline.
"YEAHHHH! Let's take it down!"
"Uohhhh!! I'll take the honour of doing the last attack!"
"I'll be happy if there was a drop!"
"""The last eyeball is first come first served!!!!"""
There were enthusiastic gaming maniacs who weren't afraid of the laser barrage nor tentacles in here.
The laser streamed from the right to left, as explosions under their feet sent players flying Magi-san and Sei-nee showed troubled expressions.
"Well, enraged mode is that kind of mechanic. The mob gets relatively stronger, but in exchange for raising its capacity, it abandons its defence to change into a peak state."
"Also, another troublesome thing is that as the mob is in the enraged mode, when its HP percentage decreases it uses special attacks."
"Oh, does it."
Sei-nee and Magi-san lectured me about the game. Originally, I didn't come here to learn about the game. I looked towards the Great Eater once again.
It's defensive posture, and the way it attacks was unexpected, it's as if it's buying time, that thought crossed my mind.
The only remaining weakness were five places in its mouth where new pupils appeared.
Three on the right and one on the left, one of those was in a place that's hard to reach. And one in the centre.
I stared at it, and understood from observation, each pupil aimed using its own sight and released the lasers. Sometimes it hit a shadow of someone with large physique or people hidden behind defensive magic before those who approached it, it might have been a coincidence or its habit. I thought.
With that said though, it's mine, an amateur's opinion. In fact, there was a person who rushed ahead while carrying a tower shield and as he hid behind it he wasn't targeted by the pupils.
The tentacles that have melted and sunk into the ground reacted and sprung out the moment he entered the range, it jumped out like a spear and pierced through his body mercilessly. There were lasers from the front, and if one reached that range, there was an attack from below one's feet. It would be one thing if it was a single tentacle, but you could have tentacles pop out all at once, one wrong step and you turn into a beehive.
The long range magical attacks too, were suppressed by the lasers and completely erased before they reached the flesh.
I thought that if all the mages cast their spells at once they would go through, but I couldn't recommend something that risky to magic users who had low defence, it would be suicidal.
"Well, I'll just watch until it's over."
"Is that fine? There's still room for participation."
"Hm? Ah, Taku. Yeah, as a rear guard who's out of ammo I don't have any means of attacking, so I have no choice but to act as a medic now."
As I shrugged my shoulders and spoke exaggeratedly, "What a liar" he said and laughed it off.
"I saw it. You jumped into the front-lines together with Sei-san and continued to create walls."
"You were being reckless too. Going against a Mythical Beast Eater alone..."
"Then, how about you join our party. You'll cover me from behind as the sixth member."
"I'm a solo crafter. Well, I occasionally hunt to raise my level but..."
"If you want to join us to hunt efficiently and have fun and you're making network where we get mutual benefits, then we'll gladly welcome you if you want to participate in our party. Then, you'll be our temporary member."
"I won't be temporary anything."
Although I retorted to him, Taku had a lively and happy expression on his face, knowing that I had fun playing the game he didn't complain any more.
"Geez, seeing you motivated in a different way makes it hard on me too."
As I spat out a sigh, what responded me was laughter. I too have completely devoted myself to the game called 【OSO】.
"Fuu, even so, it seems like they've lost interest in attacking. Yun."
Certainly, there were those who jumped whenever an opportunity came, but they were unable to land a proper attack at all and they have returned. It's about time we settled this, but is that something you should say in front of me? He pulled out the sword he had in his sheath, put more strength into the grip——
"Want to go at it together?'
"It sounds as if you were asking me if I'll go with you to a convenience store despite inviting me to danger zone. I'm not going."
"Even if you say that, you're too late. It's forced participation."
Ahhh... my acquaintances in the distance stared at me strongly. My sisters, Mikadzuchi, as well as Myu's and Taku's party members.
"Better resolve yourself."
"No way. I want to go back right now..."
"You've been already included in the strategy."
This conversation must have been planned to keep me here. Surely, we spoke naturally, but meanwhile he must have been receiving instructions through friend chat to detain me.
As I held my head in my hands, I've heard the details on the plan flow from Taku's mouth.
"First, Sei-san will make a foothold with ice magic."
"Is that really necessary?"
"We will attack from the sky in order to avoid tentacles in the ground. The decoy will jump from the scaffolding and go on top of boss' head to attract attention of all the pupils. If possible, blind them."
"And in the meanwhile, the attack will come from the air and bring it down. Huh."
Yup. And my position is——
"So, do your best, decoy."
At times like this, I always get such a thankless role.
"Rather, listen——is it possible to reach the boss' head with a normal jump?"
"Well, normally it's impossible. However, you can do it! No, only you can do it!"
It seemed like I raised a delicate topic, but the meaning behind his words was 'if you don't become a decoy, there will be much more victims', I felt like I was threatened with that.
"By the way, I want to hear what's the metho——"
"You'll make a huge double jump by riding on a magic's blast wave."
"Like I said, you will jump in mid-air. You will use the backlash of your own magic to propel yourself and gain momentum."
No, that's impossible. Simply impossible.
"A movement method using knockbacks, it's a little trick. You don't receive any damage as you are accelerated by the magic's blast wave, there's a PVP style that utilizes that skill and the fact you don't receive any damage."
"...don't force me to perform some tricks I know nothing about. Isn't that sort of thing more like something either you or Myu would do?"
"Doing those movements with an armour equipped is impossible. Also, you can activate multiple spells at once with those items, right? We don't know how to use it, currently you're the only one who can handle it."
"I've got the items, but anyone can use it as long as I teach them how. I don't want to do it."
"The problem is not the usage. You're absolutely needed in order to safely carry out the role of the bait. If it's you, it'll succeed. I'm confident about it! Please!"
He said that, then lowered his head and said "please" once again. Around us, several people who observed our exchange had concerned expressions.
"F-fine, raise your head. Their line of sight is..."
"Thank you. I'm in your debt."
"Geez, I'm weak at dealing with people who lower their heads."
As I was in daze, what reached my ears from the surroundings was "tsundere", "she went dere". "splendid tsundere" in low voices. HEY, come out whoever said that! You'll be acting as a decoy together with me!
When I looked around with a gaze full of resentment everyone looked away.
"Stop idling and start preparing!"
As everyone was standing restless, Mikadzuchi had everyone regain composure with a single sentence. In front of the Great Eater there was an ice slope prepared by Sei-nee, it was reaching to the boss as far as it was possible.
"Yun-chan, we're ready any time. Your objective is to gather their line of sight at you. Also, blind them. Do your best."
"Got it. Let me prepare for a moment."
I checked my own status. I had a sufficient number of Bomb's Magic Gems. Since I'm not aiming for the pupils directly I went with both of my hands empty. Since I had no Sense corresponding to one, I had no weapons.
I concentrated and performed a simulation in my head. At what timing should I detonate the bomb, and calculate back from it to learn when to recite the keyword.
"《Enchant》——Defence, Mind, Speed."
The last thing I could do, what a cheap trick which increased my own ability.
Magi-san approached me. She threw a number of weapons, and what was left is only her favourite large axe.
"Yun-kun, are you all right?"
"Yes, I'm okay."
Even though I said that, I don't want to be the decoy. It's dangerous... a strangely calculative thought appeared in my head but I immediately shook it off and determined myself once again.
"Then, I'll go ahead and act as Yun-kun's shield. That's why, be at ease and blind them——"
"Yes. Thank you for worr...ying...?"
Eh? Didn't Magi-san just say something strange?
The moment I thought that, Magi-san ran up the slope created by Sei-nee.
"Yun! Go together with Magi-san!"
I also broke into a run to chase after Magi-san. I grasped a Magic Gem in each of my hands and ran up the ice slope at full power. Without slipping, I threaded firmly on the icy road and continued to accelerate, I ran up to a position slightly above the Great Eater of Mythical Beasts.
Just before the end of the road I chanted the keyword and left behind gems I had in my hands. Five seconds until the magic activates. In my head, imagined the phenomenon that will happen.
I jumped over the edge and felt a gentle light-headedness as I flew forward due to inertia.
With the aid of the enchant I caught up with Magi-san who was leading ahead. Magi-san who was lined up next to me poised her large axe like a shield right in front of me. All the pupils were directed at me and a blue light near them.
Before the light could be emitted, the blast of magic pushed against my back, I accelerated together with Magi-san.
While overflowing with a cold sweat as the lasers passed right beside where I was just before accelerating, but then I felt relieved seeing as there was no damage as I was far away from the effect.
But it was something I won't be able to get used to. I predicted the location where we will land together with Magi-san. The distance we flew wasn't sufficient, at this rate we will fall by the Great Eater's feet. I could predict the future in which I will fall to the ground along with her.
"It's all right. I'm here for you, Yun-kun——GOOOooooo!"
While saying so, she took my hand in mid-air with no footing at all and——she threw me?!
The distance I travelled in the air was increased after being thrown, in exchange Magi-san's distance travelled decreased.
But what awaited me next, was failure. Next laser was ready to be released and it was aimed at me. The moment I felt like it's over as the light was emitted, I heard a sound of wind coming from behind, it offset the laser.
Seeing an ice spear crumble and turn into dust after being hit by laser I understood that Sei-nee covered me.
Since the thing that was about to intercept me was gone, I took out a handful of magic gems with both of my hands while still in mid-air.
In the place I was in right now, above of the Great Eater's head I scattered the magic gems. From this place I could easily see the pupils I destroyed with my bow, I had that out-of-place thought.
The eyes under me tried to capture me in mid-air, tentacles stretched as far as possible from its body but they didn't reach, they flooded. A number of players surged and cut then down preparing the road to the body of the boss.
As I said the keyword, the gems I've scattered over the six pupils started to shine radiantly. I maintained the momentum as I flew through the air and jumped on the back of the Great Eater and looked at the outcome.
The gems that poured down on the boss exploded at the same time, their power increased as multiple explosions overlapped making a chain.
The yellow explosion blocked the view and rushed towards the pupils.
Although the interception lasers tried to open a hole in the blast, the overwhelming power surged anyway.
"Tch... the impact's going to reach me too!? I need to hurry and run away!"
The power was increased because of the chain attack, but it seemed like the range and the power of the blast have been raised as well. I was surprised since I've felt the impact but didn't receive any damage.
The rest of the blast spread a yellow smokescreen, I could tell that the surge of players has finally reached the pupils, it happened when I decided to leave the rest to them and stood up.
From behind a pale blue light pierced my chest and my body floated in the air.
In my ears I've heard a *parin* sound as if something cracked and my body was blown away by a blast, I was carried away by the flow I was unable to control.
As I was being blown away, the pupils were focused on my position in the air, but immediately after they were crushed by Sei-nee's ice spears, I continued to fly away, at this rate I would fall into the lake.
(...I died. But it doesn't seem so, there was no damage.)
Unexpectedly, as my back hit the lake's surface and as I continued to sink, my own finger reflected in my field of vision resolved my question.
——Substitute Gem's Ring... has no gem?
In other words, it took one hit for me. It took over all the damage. That's how it was.
With that question resolved, there was no longer any need to continue sinking in the water. I immediately equipped the 【Swimming】 Sense and emerged to the surface.
At the same time as I appeared from the water, the mountain-like black organism turned into sand and all players received a message at the same time.
———【The Great Eater of Mythical Beasts' defeat confirmed. Five left.】
Loud cheers sounded on spot, and after a small delay, there was a report of the second one being defeated. Everyone went crazy.
And as that went on, I got out to the shore and slowly headed towards where everyone was.
"Yun-chan! Are you all right?!"
Sei-nee who ran up to me caught me, strength left my body and I nearly collapsed.
The excitement and battle fever that was beyond my expectations has cooled down after I dropped into water, mental fatigue attacked me all at once.
"I'm back and tired. Participating in combat after replenishing potions made me wanna sleep. I'm tired."
"You can rest after we get back. Bear with it until then!"
After a delay, starting with Taku and Myu, my acquaintances came over worrying about me, who fell into the lake.
"I know but that... might be impossible."
The rest of the strength left my body and I fell towards Sei-nee, after I completely leaned on her, Sei-nee who is a mage-type player with low ATK couldn't hold me up me completely. Magi-san reached out from the side and supported my body.
"Yun-kun, cheers for the good work. Rest well."
My body was completely soaked, when her quiet voice reached my ears I nodded lightly and fell asleep.
The sun has risen, and I fell asleep as a new morning has come. The next time I woke up, everything was already over.
- ↑ Well, in this case "sweet" means "weak", basically that.
Epilogue – Reward and the Customers
【"——Final result calculation initiated. No points will be added for actions from now onwards. After calculation, the results will be announced. I repeat——"】
I woke up when the surroundings turned noisy, I remembered that I was slightly hungry when I was going to sleep so I checked the status. The satiety level has decreased. When I confirmed the time, it was six o'clock in the morning of the last day. I seemed to have slept nearly 24 hours.
I looked at myself, there seemed to be a thin cloth on top of me, Ryui who was carrying Zakuro on its back was already awake, it seemed like it was waiting for me to wake up.
"Good morning, Ryui, Zakuro."
"You woke up, Yun."
"Cloude huh. It's the last day today isn't it. It was all shorter than expected."
"Right. There's still time before results are announced, Magi and Lyly are waiting."
"Also, here——the compensation for the damage you received yesterday, or so they said."
While saying so, Cloude passed the items to me he was entrusted with. These items seemed to be my compensation. For me becoming the decoy, also, consideration of the fact that I passed out seemed to be included in it.
Some rare equipment and unique goods, as well as variety of cursed equipment. Also, the book I secretly wanted.
"With this, I've got all the books."
"It seemed like you wanted them, so we farmed mobs to get it for you."
That's... quite a heavy truth.
"...did you read it while I was sleeping?"
"I have no intention of depriving someone of their enjoyment. Also, I've got the complete collection too."
I imagined that he exchanged equipment for them. He did better collecting them than I did, I thought.
"Heey, Yun-kun. Here here."
Magi-san and the others were waiting around the campfire. As I looked around, everyone seemed sleepy.
"Morning. Good grief, don't go back to bed, you've been sleeping all this time. We were worried since you wouldn't wake up no matter how we called out to you, Yuncchi."
Seems like I made them worry for no reason, while I thought that inside, I still smiled wryly.
"Even so, everyone seems nervous, did something happen?"
"Hmm. There was a party to celebrate the boss subjugation, after that everyone though it would be a pity to waste remaining time and they went on a hunt in the middle of the night."
Magi-san said so, she poured herbal tea into a wooden cup and passed it to me.
The heavy aroma of the herbal tea refreshed my thoughts. I sipped some and spat out a breath after tasting it.
When the information was transmitted, the reactions to the result sent by mail were; excitement, frustration, resignation, bitter laughter. Although there was a lot of disappointment, in the end everyone looked at their comrades with relieved expressions.
"Now, my result is——"
My own result that was sent to me had big characters written on the top.
【Score（Rank 4 / 2396）congratulations on your prize】
Was written in big characters, I didn't expect to win and my movements stopped in surprise. Seeing Cloude smile happily, glares full of resentment focused on him, he spoke somewhat indifferently.
"There are detailed results too. It seems to be prepared very fairly."
I also looked over the contents, certainly, it was devised in order to judge everyone fairly. Not acquired any Senses 【4000p】, vacancies in party 【40000p】, furthermore there was crafting weapons 【24500p】, crafting armour 【17500p】, crafting recovery items 【18200p】, there was a lot of points added for crafting. Other than that there were points for defeating mobs and defeating unique bosses.
"Bonus treasure box 【3000p】... on top of obtaining items we get points too?"
"It must be because of the difficulty degree. Your diving was just 【500p】 by itself which isn't much. It seems like not the fact you dive but the results that counts?"
"Hmm. Other than that... Cooking 【21000p】?! Isn't the rate weird?!"
"No, it's because of the amount you crafted. The individual rate is smaller than crafting weapons or armour, but it's multiplied by the amount created."
While that was said I scrolled down the entries further. Team negotiations, team cooperation and exchanges with other players, cooperation during the boss subjugation, destroying the weak points and so on.
And in the back there was score with unprecedented rate.
"Befriended young beasts 【100000p】, hey, isn't there one number too much?"
"That'd be the number of young beasts we partnered up with. 20000 for one animal. Well, the rate must be good because of how good our relation is with them."
I don't want to read that deep into the circumstances behind it.
"Well, this is the result of everyone's hard work. Cheers for the week's worth of good work."
"Yupyup. We made it because of the members we gathered! We made a house, hunted, cooked... it was fun!"
Magi-san and Lyly spoke, so they enjoyed themselves? And after hearing that I felt my expression loosen.
"But, Yun-kun, you haven't forgotten have you."
Suddenly, Magi-san let out a daring laughter. I asked her what is it, did I forget something?
"The winners get limited edition items. I wonder what will they be?"
"Items that almost break the game balance?"
That was the only thing I could answer with. In fact, only the top players would get exceptional game-balance breaking items. The content from the bonus treasure chest were items that could be modified with magic materials. I think they won't break the balance.
"For example, a dedicated home? That would be useful."
"Umm, stores and guild buildings can be used as homes... so there's no need for that."
I stammered hearing Lyly's sensible opinion.
Then, I wonder what will it be. And as I thought so, another mail came. Good grief, another mail from management. They should have sent the conents all at once, they're way too business-like when doing these things.
【——Congratulations on winning a prize. Please choose your prize from the items listed below. The chosen item will immediately appear in your inventory.】
"Somehow... there's a selection formula for the prizes."
"Well, it's better than having management deciding one-sidedly. It would be troublesome if crafters like us were given weapons."
Although Cloude said so, his expression turned serious immediately after.
As I skimmed through I saw 【A legendary-class weapon with a usage number restriction】, 【A legendary-class weapon with a set longevity】 【A weapon strengthened with a magical material】, and the armour had the same choices as weapons.
【Special Home's Expansion Rights】, 【Ownership of a Personal field】, 【The Right to Make Your Own Dungeon】, they were field-related items.
"——Crafting-type's 【Making Box】."
That's what has caught my interest.
The description was 'produces one random material from specified crafting-type per day'. And a possibility to change its setting to 'the box can replicate a material item housed inside once a day'.
In other words, if I set it to herb-type items I will get a random herb-type material, if I set it to metal-type, the function will give me a random ore.
The appearance rate varies depending on the rank and the replication function is not perfect either, the original item does not disappear but the replication might fail if the rank is high. While it was possible to change delivery settings, unlike single-item crafting like weapons and armour, potions were mass-produced. The materials for potions weren't limited to herbs. Monsters body parts are also required, there was no immediate income from it, it wasn't convenient in use.
"It's not too convenient but... I'm really interested in it."
"That thing's nice. Maybe I should try it too?"
The magic box seems to have caught Magi-san's eye as well. I felt a bit happy seeing we match.
"Lyly, what did you pick?"
"Me? I chose 【Ownership of a personal field】."
"Eh? Didn't you say you don't need a home earlier?"
"That's not it. If it's a field, then it'll be a vast area I can use as I please. There are many things I need a vast space to craft with woodworking... what should I make as I return? Before that, I need to gather materials〜. Shiacchi will help me out okay?"
Lyly spoke with a nice smile, it felt dazzling to me. In the contrast Cloude was——
"I see. Then Cloude, what about you?"
"Hmm. 【The right to make your own dungeon】, the period is three months."
"Cloude as a dungeon master? That gives me villainish vibes..."
As Magi-san stared at him, Cloude snorted and laughed.
"Although it's for limited period of time, I can freely operate a dungeon. That means I can determine what's inside of the dungeon. I can set the the nodes to tailoring materials and collect them extensively..."
"AHH?! Cloude, no fair! Set the materials to balanced!"
Cloude's handsome face distorted evilly. Although what we picked had its good and bad points, Lyly's appearance with his innocent smile healed my heart.
We've send our requests, and I've confirmed receiving the Making Box.
And, there was a final result announcement.
【——Young Beasts will be contracted to players shortly.】
The last event began quietly.
The contract with Young Beasts. With that announcement as the trigger, Young Beasts faced the humans they trusted most one after another.
All the people who towards whom the beasts were faced were unable to say anything. The contract was a necessary step, but everyone was speechless because they haven't heard anything about it. However, informing anyone was unnecessary as the situation will proceed automatically.
The Young Beasts have started to emit light one after another, the time of contract seems to have come.
I somehow muttered that as I faced the Young Beasts that were wrapped in light. Ryui was wrapped in white light while Zakuro was wrapped in dark red. As for others, Ricœur was wrapped in light blue light and Socks was wrapped in intermingling black and white light which looked like marble. Neshias was clad in mix of golden and vermilion light. I could see various lights shine in the surroundings.
About thirty seconds have passed and when the light subsided, there were Ryui and the others. However, there was a slight difference in their appearance.
"...Ryui has now a longer horn, and the number of tails Zakuro has increased to two."
From Ryui's forehead extended a spiral horn peaking out beyond its short hair, and Zakuro had two black bushy tails now.
As for Ryui, I knew he's a legendary mythological beast, Unicorn. But I don't know what Zakuro is, a fox with a lot of tails?
Other than that, as I looked around the held-up Ricœur and Socks didn't change much. On the other hand, Neshias' nostalgic appearance of a hairball was nowhere to be seen, it has undergone a transformation into a vermilion bird with a beautiful tail.
"The change from before and after was drastic."
Somehow, it felt like something rare.
"Aahh... that cute Ricœur is..."
"What happened, Magi-san?!"
"It's claws and teeth have extended! Somehow, it's both cute and cool at the same time now!"
Ricœur she was holding turned this way, as it breathed heavily with a 'haa haa haa' and let out its tongue we could certainly see that its canines have grown a little.
As everyone stared, Ricœur let out a short howl and collapsed into grains of pale light. What appeared in Magi-san's hands was a light blue stone.
"Ohh? Is the contract complete?"
"Then, next is my turn. Thy name is Socks. Become my kin for I shall be the one to take you in."
Socks started to skilfully scratch its neck with its hind legs. Cloude finished his embarrassing speech, I stared at him with half-closed eyes. Lyly smiled wryly and Magi-san held her mouth trying not to laugh.
"Fuu〜. Come, Socks."
Socks who was grooming its hair was called by Cloude, and instantly leaped in a way unimaginable from its small stature, its appearance changed into that of a stone with black and white mixed.
"So, contract's complete with this."
"But Cloude, what were those lines. Do you want me to laugh to death?"
As Magi-san pointed out, his face distorted bitterly, he remained silent and didn't refute. He seemed to be aware of how embarrassing his behaviour was.
Meanwhile Lyly was——
"Shall we form a contract too? Shiacchi."
Neshias who turned into a beautiful bird didn't take any actions in particular. It's appearance vanished and it turned into a a warm-orange coloured stone.
"That means——it's us now. Well, let's get along in the future as well?"
I bent my knees and beckoned over the two animals to make it easier for them to come up. Ryui bluntly started licking my face, and Zakuro went up my arm and started licking my cheek from the opposite side with its small tongue.
"Uppowah? W-wait a moment, that tickles!"
"...Yun-kun's being licked all over. Oops, that's really stimulating. I feel I'll have a nosebleed."
"Mmmm?! An inspiration for a new armour!"
"That's so nice〜. Shiacchi only gives sweet bites, let me mix in too."
No, help me instead! I thought, but the situation didn't last long. Ah, I leaked out a short sound and the two animals changed into particles. In my hands I've had a stone as white as snow, and a stone with red and black stripes.
"You managed to complete it safely, Yun-kun."
"Yeah, it seems so."
"I'm curious what kind of mob everyone partnered up with."
"Then, my Shiacchi is, ——a Phoenix. It's a name of a completely mythical legendary creature. Well, it's a young beast right now so it's fine."
Lyly, there's no use escaping reality right now. In the future, it will turn into a dreadful existence.
"A Phoenix huh. It can take place of reviving items, so anyone would like to have it."
"W-w-what to do!? Shiacchi will be crushed and used!"
Cloude's words upset Lyly who started to worry, it seemed like he wanted to shoo away the bad people.
"Don't worry. At that time we'll protect you two with our bodies on the line."
"Indeed. I'll help you too when you're in trouble."
"Well, that's it. Just be happy about it for now."
First Cloude, then Magi-san and I spoke to Lyly.
"Now, instead of worrying what's ahead let's announce what's the race of our partners. Next is Cloude, Yun-kun's after that."
"Got it. The name is——a Luck Cat of some type. It seems like a demonic beast that governs over luck."
"A cat that carries both good and bad luck within... it looks like a support-type young beast."
"Fufufufu interesting. In some places black cats are said to be an existence that carries luck to their owners. In other words, an existence that robs others of luck and passes it to its owner. It's peculiar but interesting. I like it."
Cloude who put on a daring smile was a bit repulsive. Magi-san encouraged me next.
"Next, Yun-kun. How is it?"
"Even if you ask how, Ryui is an Unicorn as its appearance suggests. Zakuro is..."
And my other partner was——
"——A heavenly fox."
Both the unicorn and a fox spirits in fantasy games were never main characters, they always had a supportive role behind the scenes as far as I could remember.
"Hmm. Two types that mature late I guess? Well, they're still Young Beasts, we'll see what's ahead."
"Then, Magi-san, what about you?"
"Eh, in my case it's——"
She spat out a 'bfttt'. Why was she so surprised. Ahh, she placed a hand on her forehead and looked towards the sky.
"Nn. It's a mythical beast called Fenrir. It's a name that appears in myths and games."
"If trained well, it seems like it would be the strongest one."
"And what will we do if they turn into giant monsters?"
The three of us couldn't respond anything to Lyly's murmur.
Yeah. These monsters are called Young Beasts. That means we'll discover them in a field somewhere. A Fenrir that stands in front of players, just how strong will it grow to become.
In this sense, the monsters we could contract during this event seemed to have a considerable potential and as long as we could meet the conditions it was relatively easily to contract them.
On the other hand, their bodies were limited to being Young Beasts, seems like management needs to watch over the balance at all times.
"...let's not think of something that dreadful. We're crafters after all."
"You're right. In the near future, let's just pray for the peace of souls of the people who collect materials."
"No wait, they haven't died yet. In the first place, its unknown when will they even appear."
For some reason, I naturally ended up retorting to Cloude who made a cross in front of his chest.
Well, if one intends to create something out of the rare drops that appear, he might end up request subjugation of the mob for said drop. In that sense, he's a man who thinks of the future.
Even so, in this safety area there's a number of Young Beasts, but only about half of them were able to properly make a contract. The rest has reluctantly went back into the forest.
Some people looked towards the fading Young Beast's backs and called out to them with a sorrowful, fearful voice. It was a sad farewell, but the fact that a party of the Young Beasts stayed behind was a remedy. There were people in daze all around who had the hair or horns and such appear in their hands and inventories..
Well, as a souvenir and something to carry around it was a good thing.
"It seems like not everyone involved was able to perform a contract."
"Well, those were Young Beasts that flocked to the safety area for refuge."
As Magi-san murmured, I turned around and stared at their backs in melancholy. I might might be counted as one of the people who have great luck. I thought.
【——All event procedures are complete. After this, within 10 minutes you will be forwarded to the normal server. Various functions used during this event will be disabled and the normal specifications will be returned. ——I repeat——】
The last announcement huh. After hearing they have won, the winners have come together in the end and although they were noisily celebrating, as expected, no one made it too flashy since it was a game. In the end, everyone announced their results and presented the items they have received.
Later, there might be some information passed around in secret too.
"Hmm. It's over, but I can't believe only a few hours passed in reality. Even if I were to be told that now, it would sound doubtful."
"What if we wake up now, and realize that a month has passed instead."
Magi-san and Lyly spoke to each other. Well, if time can be compressed, it must also be possible to do the opposite.
Thinking that way, it seems like Ureshima Tarou might become a popular joke in the game.
"Now then, it's about time. Well, let's get along on the other side as well."
"Magi. It might be late to say this, but, it was fun."
"Yupyup. The summer's over, let's try gathering together often?"
"That might be good too. Everyone goes their own way after this. So, take care of me next time."
As we finished to say our regards, I felt the same sensation I did when the event started.
After the event, there a small change happened to the 【Atelier】.
"Three sandwiches and various potions up until the purchase limit."
"I want five of Yun-chan's full-of-love sandwiches and same for the potions too."
"You... don't say such a thing in front of the person herself. Also, I want the same here, on the right."
Starting with 【Eight Million Gods】 Mikadzuchi, some of the players I got acquainted with started to come to my store as customers.
And the one who was servicing those players, was NPC Kyouko-san to whom I left it. Although I was sitting in the store's corner, currently I was being the store's customer-pulling attraction.
"Now then, I'll come again. Yun-chan."
"Thank you very much for the purchase. Also, don't call me Yun-chan!"
I called out to the customer who was waving to me in the store's exit and and let out a tired sigh.
"Yun-san, are you tired?"
"I wonder. Well, isn't it a welcome change in a way?"
"Then, please go and collect materials. With more customers now, we're lacking several materials."
"Got it. Now then, let's do my best for the store's sake. Let's go, Ryui, Zakuro."
The two animals who were sitting down together with me stood up swiftly and looked towards me.
Seeing that I nodded with satisfaction and hung the bow on my shoulder.
"Now, let's safely and leisurely hunt some."
I listened to the reply of two animals and left the 【Atelier】, after locating appropriately-leveled enemy I collected the materials.
Relaxedly, I spent time in this world in my own pace.
Name : Yun
Weapon : Black Maiden's Longbow
Secondary Weapon : Magi-san's Kitchen Knife
Armour : CS No.6 Ochre Creator (Outerwear, Underwear, Torso, Waist).
Accessory Equipment Limit 2/10
▪ Rugged Iron Ring (1)
▪ Substitute Gem's Ring (1)
【Bow Lv28】【Hawk Eyes Lv38】 【Speed Increase Lv22】 【Discovery Lv24】 【Magic Talent Lv42】
【Magic Power Lv43】 【Enchant Arts Lv16】 【Dosing Lv20】 【Taming Lv2】 【Cooking Lv20】
【Alchemy Lv29】 【Synthesis Lv26】 【Earth Element Talent Lv13】 【Craftsmanship Lv29】 【Swimming Lv13】
【Crafting Knowledge Lv30】
Accessories obtained during event:
▪Dead Soldier's Bracelet×1
▪Various abnormal state-inducing accessories (poison, paralysis, sleep, curse, charmed, confused, fainted, angry), a set of eight×1
For ones whom I met for the first time, those whom I meet after a while, greetings. It's Aloha Zachou.
To those who have picked this book up, H-san who is the editor in charge and in whose debt I am, the secondary editor A-san, yukisan who has provided nice illustrations for the work as well as the number of other people who read my work that was previously published on the net, you have my gratitude.
Because there were many people who have picked up volume 1, I was able to release volume 2 as well. Although it is a small step for me as a light novel writer, I was able to properly take it. For this, I'll relay how grateful I am, thank you very much.
As I try to write down my vague feelings, it doesn't seem real yet. I wrote a novel, and the editors in charge modified it again and again completing it. Every day was filled with that hurried preparation stage. And when everything was prepared to be published and I no longer had to work on it, my head went completely blank. It was a fluffy feeling like the one student gets when they finish writing a test in the middle of testing period, I felt like I was looking at someone else's work in a bookstore. Hoping that my work will become popular, I thought of doing my best from now on as well.
Since I started to talk a bit stiffly, I'll talk about Aloha Zachou's certain episode. In the 2nd volume our protagonist, Yun, has acquired a 【Cooking】 Sense, but I omitted many of the cooking scenes. In the web version, Yun exhibited his prowess. Since I focused on depicting food like that, it made me seem gluttonous.
Let's name that episode the 【Tuna-Eating Incident】 shall we.
My Father's friend has fishing as his hobby, and our house has received a freshly caught (though, rather than one that weights over a hundred kilogram like ones on market, it was a small one that was dozens centimetres long) tuna. Since our home is nowhere near the sea, we've been given a valuable oceanic fish in a cooler box. My Mother has sliced it, then the young me and my older brother have gobbled it up. Now that I think of it, it was a really extreme act.
The tuna was delicious. At that time, I must have remembered the taste of it. After that, in order to eat a delicious tuna we went to buy tuna in fresh fish-specializing supermarket in the neighbourhood, after eating it, it seems like I blurted out something ridiculous.
——This is not a tuna!
No, it was a tuna. However, a child shouldn't comment on the difference between fresh and tasty tuna and a tuna from supermarket! And thus I grew up while having my taste stimulated, I'm grateful to my parents who gave me delicious food to eat, my family is joking around whenever they recall that story.
In the novel, the tuna Yun has fought must have been delicious as well. Despite having such an extraordinary enthusiasm for tuna, rather than writing a cooking manga or novel, I wrote a VRMMO story. I wonder why? I don't know that myself.
From now onwards as well, please take care of me, Aloha Zachou.
To all readers who have picked this book up, thank you once again.
I look forward to the day I can meet with everyone once again.
May 2014, Aloha Zachou