...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.