The fifth round had the enemy we have fought multiple times already.
"...Red Ogre and Blue Ogre, huh."
We have repeated those so many times. They won't be much of a problem now."
"But if they're the fifth round's opponent, means that the sixth round onward will be harder than the boss. I don't mind retiring after I get the eight round's prize, what do we do?"
"We're going as far as we can! And if that doesn't work, we'll challenge it again!"
"Then I'll continue supporting you two with all I have. 《Enchant》——Attack, defence, speed!"
I applied a triple enchant on Mikadzuchi and have seen her off.
While watching Sei-nee and Mikadzuchi who optimized their movements for fighting the Red Ogre and Blue Ogre at the back gate, I contributed to the battle by attacking with bow and arrow.
At early stage I used 【Curse】 arrows for cover fire to seal enemy's special attacks so we were able to get through the fifth round without any difficulty.
So far the Red and Blue Ogres from the fifth round were the strongest, but since the fourth round's Hobgoblins fought as a group they were even harder to fight against for a small group of people like ours, because there was a limit to how many of them can one person take on at once.
The sixth round, the one that awarded the 【Diffusing Crystal】, the strengthening material I wanted. And the round's opponent was——
What appeared was a nearly two metres tall, huge bake-danuki.
Covered in fluffy hair, he had a kettle-like armour on his torso as if to hide his fatty belly and was holding a spear in his hand, a spear with cross-shaped blade.
Although he had a cute silhouette, just like the "grudge" in his name suggested he glared at us with resentment in his eyes, these eyes butchered all cuteness there was to him.
"Oh-hoh, a new type of mob came out. Let's turn this uncute tanuki into a tanuki soup. Of course, Missy will cook it."
"Enemies in the arena don't drop items, so I can't cook it."
"Yun-chan, so that's what you're retort to, mm? Anyway, it's starting!"
This time, it was Sei-nee who retorted to me.
Right after that, the sound of a gong had started the sixth round.
At the same time it started, the Urami-danuki leaped up high.
Ahead of where we looked, the Urami-danuki let out a comical *bofun* sound and a white smoke spread from his body, hiding it.
"We have no idea what's coming, be careful!"
"This smokescreen can disappear for all I care!——《Bow Skill – Gust of Wind》!"
At the same time Mikadzuchi warned I invoked the art creating strong wind pressure along with an attack.
The arrow pierced through the centre of the white smoke and after scattering it, disappeared in the sky.
"What?!! He's gone!"
"Or rather, he divided? Look, we're surrounded."
Sei-nee silently moved as to protect Mikadzuchi's and my blind spots and as the three of us stared at the enemy standing back-to-back, little Urami-danuki's surrounded us.
There were five Urami-danuki's tall enough to reach my waist, each of them held a spear suiting their physique. They have steadily decreased the distance between us and them.
"Trying to surround us like the Goblins won't work!!"
"Dumbass! Don't attack a new enemy carelessly!"
I switched the weapon from the bow to the meat cleaver and slashed at the Urami-danuki standing in front of me.
At the same time the meat cleaver reached, the Urami-danuki disappeared literally turning into smoke.
Along with that a blow from the cross-spear had come out from the white smoke and grazed my side.
As expected, with a blow delivered at zero distance even by making full use of my 【See-Through】 and 【Sky Eyes】 I was barely able to avoid the spear tip and ended up having my flank torn by the spear's blade.
"Oww! Heck, seems like the attack is also accompanied with 【Curse】."
I could hear a quiet scream from the audience when I received the counter, I just held my cut flank and took a step back.
"So rather than dividing, he made shadow clones, huh. In that case we need to find the real body between the clones."
Mikadzuchi calmly analysed the fact that one of the Urami-danuki disappeared turning into white smoke.
Meanwhile, Sei-nee healed me up, returning me to perfect state.
"Seriously, how do we find it."
Succeeding with an attack on me, the Urami-danuki's mouth distorted turning into a cynical smile.
"We can attack all the shadow clones at once. We can eliminate all those clones and then attack the real body. Also, we can try preventing him from his special attack. That's about all I can think of."
Or, we can try frontal attack on them to try finding the difference between clones and the real body. Mikadzuchi muttered and at the same time she rushed towards the Urami-danuki and thrust with her hexagonal stick.
As the weapons fiercely clashed against each other Mikadzuchi parried Urami-danuki's spear and hit him in the torso. However, just like the first one the enemy disappeared letting out white smoke and another shadow clone appeared, joining others surrounding us.
"Seriously, what do we do about these?!"
Although I desperately avoided the attack from the cross-spear, my HP was cut down by the counter-attack coming from inside the white smoke.
The shadow clones' attacks weren't strong enough to take us down with a single hit, but they put on 【Curse】 bad status, moreover, the spear's shape was troublesome.
The 【Curse】 bad status in addition to reducing MP had caused random negative effects from time to time, so if we continue receiving those attacks there's a chance of receiving a lethal negative effect.
Right now we could recover with items, Sei-nee could also use 【Recovery Magic】 to maintain the margin of safety, but it didn't seem like we could deliver any damage to the enemy.
The cross-spears had broad attack range as their tips had crescent-shaped blade so it was hard to avoid them, unless you avoid them by a large margin you will get caught.
Also, since the spear encirclement narrowed from all sides, defending ourselves had gradually become more difficult.
"Damn it!! ——《Zone Bomb》!"
Desperate, I used the lowest magic in the Earth Element in combination with 【Sky Eyes】.
Focusing on multiple enemies in my range of vision I invoked 《Bomb》 magic all at once.
As a result, four shadow clones of the tanuki were wrapped around by 《Bomb》's yellow explosion and received slight damage, but since they were attacked at the same time four of them thrust at me with their spears.
"Nowah?! T-that was close!"
Abandoning any shame and respectability I avoided by crouching, four enemies' spears have passed over my head. As if crawling, I slipped away from under them.
"Missy, what are you doing?"
"What, you ask. Trial and error!"
"That attack just now was dangerous. Try imagining what would happen if you received that spears' simultaneous attack."
Told so, I thought of a situation where I receive multiple simultaneous attacks from four shadow clones and came to conclusion that there was a high chance I could receive severe 【Curse】.
As well as chain damage from continuous attacks within a short period of time.
"Seems like you understood. But well, it's a good example of a failure. The guild's members will surely take note of that."
Kukuku, Mikadzuchi let out a muffled laughter as she parried an attack of a shadow clone and continued to search for a clue on beating them.
After that, I received several counter-attacks from the Urami-danuki, and while recovering the damage with potions I used 《Bomb》 magic to accumulate damage on a single Urami-danuki.
"Damn, attack with 《Bomb》 don't deal too much damage. I need to think of a more efficient method."
"Missy, can't you find the main body with your 【See-Through】?"
'Not happening. I've been looking at them all for a while now, but I can't seem to find tanuki any different. His 【Concealment】-type Sense must be quite high."
"After coming this far we had a nasty opponent appear. We might get really exhausted if it goes badly. But, what if..."
While Mikadzuchi and I idled fighting against the Urami-danuki, Sei-nee seemed to have found a way out.
White light had appeared on the tip of the staff and the single target heal 《High Heal》 was activated.
Its target wasn't me or Mikadzuchi, but the Urami-danuki's shadow clone.
Although the clone screamed and turned into white smoke, no spear had come as counter-attack.
The other shadow clones of the Urami-danuki returned to the main body and all the damage dealt to them so far had been included.
"I guess it's simple once you realize it?"
"Sei-nee, what do you mean?"
"Urami-danuki is an undead enemy so physical attacks are ineffective I think. Moreover, unless it's specific magic it will have very poor effect."
"I see. It's simple once we know the trick. Missy, give me fire element."
"Roger that. 《Element Enchant》——Weapon!"
The counter-attack was fast once Mikadzuchi and I learned the enemy's weakness.
I used Fire Elemental Stone and applied element enchant on Mikadzuchi's weapon.
From thereon, Mikadzuchi fought Urami-danuki using fire elemental damage, Sei-nee attacked with recovery magic and I continued to deliver damage by using silver arrows that were very effective against undead.
Finally, the Urami-danuki let out his death throes and sprouting white smoke from his body, he collapsed.
"He was quite tough. I used lots of 【Yellow Potions】 there."
"I also hit him quite many times with 《High Heal》 so I don't have much MP Potions left."
Although Sei-nee and Mikadzuchi were in perfect state, they didn't have enough consumables to support that.
"Are you all right? How many 【Yellow Potions】 you have left?"
"Got 10 right now. At current pace it feels like I'll be able to barely reach tenth round."
"Looks like for now, we don't have to think about retiring half-way."
I listened to the two's opinions and though that at this rate we'll get through the seventh round and will likely be able to get the prize for eight round, the one Sei-nee wanted. Possibly, we might see through it to the end.
While I stood there relieved I'll get the strengthening material I wanted, suddenly I received an impact in the back.
The shock was strong enough to crush my naive ideas about the arena challenge.
A purple cross-spear had protruded from my belly.
Sei-nee and Mikadzuchi also were pierced by the same thing and voice like a scream sounded from the audience.
With a loud *whump* I was pierced by a purple spear, but I didn't feel any pain or received damage.
I twisted my body to look behind and saw a purple, semi-transparent Urami-danuki looking at us with resentment. In the end, right before disappearing he put on a cynical smile.
"What was that, just now..."
As I rubbed my abdomen stunned by the lack of pain it was Mikadzuchi's voice that made me return to myself.
"Tch! He got us!"
Mikadzuchi immediately cursed and confirmed her status in the menu.
"In the end he left us a ridiculous 【Curse】! How about you, Sei?"
"It was somewhat reduced since I have 【Curse】 resistance accessories on but..."
When the two looked my way I confirmed my status in the menu.
Seeing the 【Curse】 effects displayed there, I was at loss for words.
"...what the hell is this?"
My status was currently displayed as 【Cursed】 and there was no value that would indicate its intensity.
Moreover, unlike normal 【Curse】 I received a variety of negative effects.
"【Skills Sealed】, 【Healing Skills and Items Disabled】, 【Statistics Decrease】. Also 【HP Decrease】 and 【MP Decrease】? What's with this?"
I was stunned by the overly-strong 【Curse】's effect.
With this I couldn't recover my HP and MP, as well as from the bad status. The HP Decrease wasn't as fast as that of 【Poison】 but it was steadily decreasing.
And it seemed like Mikadzuchi received the same 【Curse】 as me.
"So Missy didn't resist it and got the whole set. And you Sei?"
"Just 【MP Decrease】. But, since my MP is decreasing I won't be able to use much magic in combat."
"Tch, Urami-danuki's final attack huh. Let's get over the retirement choice and rush for the seventh round. In fact, this turns into a battle with time limit."
Final attack is a general term for attack that forcibly activates when mob's HP reaches zero, it's also called 【Attack Upon Death】 and 【Stray Attack】.
During arena battle you cannot pass recovery items to each other.
Right now Mikadzuchi and I cannot use items we have available, the only one who could use items was Sei-nee who mainly picked up MP Potions.
"It was going too easy, I should have been more careful."
Mikadzuchi muttered quietly, her mutter echoed in the completely silent arena. Then, "it was easy for you, Mikadzuchi", a retort had come from the audience.
What we clearly understood now, was that the situation had changed from a comfortable one into one where we are backed into a corner by the Urami-danuki's 【Curse】.
"He appeared, the seventh round's enemy..."
The enemy from the seventh round that was ahead of Sei-nee's line of sight was——Twin-Torso Warrior.
It was two demon warriors' bodies stuck back-to-back as one, they held curved swords in their hands, a two-faced embodiment of four swords-style.
The demon warrior in front wore heavy armour, the demon warrior in the back wore loose kinagashi.
"How does the guy in the back move with those legs? Is what I'd like to inquire, but I guess it's no time for that."
"The guy attached to the back has reverse ankles like those common in robo-games. That thing has an unexpectedly strong jumping ability."
"Yun-chan, Mikadzuchi, we don't have time to talk about that. So, Mikadzuchi, what do we do?"
"Sei, you'll act as a healer just in case. Don't attack and spare MP. Missy, use all items you can. I'll settle this quickly!"
I immediately passed non-recovery items I had in inventory and that could be used to Mikadzuchi.
"Here, Enchant Stones and Boost Tablets. Also, I'll lend you the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】, it can block up to three attacks."
"I know how to use Enchant Stones and Boost Tablets so no problem there, but this ring is your treasure isn't it, Missy?"
The 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 was unique equipment that could completely invalidate the attacks depending on the size of the gem fitted on its pedestal.
For me, who has poor defence this is a very powerful item.
"If you fall, Sei-nee and I behind you won't win this. We can't have you losing, Mikadzuchi. Also, I'm a support character. Since I'm a support, my role is to arrange it so that combat positions fight at their best."
"Missy... I get it. I'll be borrowing it."
After saying so, Mikadzuchi put on the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 on the index finger of her right hand. Then continuing, she crushed the Boost Tablets between her teeth and said the keyword for the attack, defence and speed Enchant Stones, activating them.
"It feels like the enchants mostly offset stat reduction."
By lightly swinging her arms and stretching, Mikadzuchi checked up on her own body.
Sei-nee and I also used strengthening items to mitigate the stat decrease, readying ourselves beforehand.
Once it was time, the Hobgoblin referee sounded the gong and the seventh round started.
"Well theeen, I'll be going."
"Go on, I'll support you as much as I can."
In order to make it through this battle I did my best to provide cover fire with the bow.
The arrow I shot over running Mikadzuchi's head was cut down by the Twin-Torso Warrior's curved sword, but I continued to shot arrows without rest so the enemy couldn't ignore it.
And, once Mikadzuchi sprung in front of the Twin-Torso Warrior, they started exchanging blows.
She delivered precise blows with her hexagonal stick as she avoided lightly. The Twin-Torso Warrior had continued to let our wide-ranged slashes, cleaving with his curved swords.
Normally after the enemy attacks there's an opportunity to hit them, but enemy's four swords delivered too many attacks covering the openings so Mikadzuchi couldn't hit the Twin Torso Warrior cleanly.
However, having Mikadzuchi strike at him the Twin-Torso Warrior was unable to block my arrows and various places unprotected by armour were pierced.
Actually I did use arrows synthesized with bad status drugs, so the moment arrows have pierced into enemy their effect could be seen.
Although arrows themselves dealt little damage, 【Poison】's slip damage, 【Curse】's random negative effects, 【Paralysis】; 【Sleep】 and 【Stun】 inhibiting actions have blunted Twin-Torso warrior for an instant, allowing us to come out advantageous.
Still, since the Twin-Torso Warrior recovered from bad statuses quicker than Ogres, the effect wasn't too strong.
"He's stronger than the Ogres! This is harsh! This isn't something I'd like to fight against if I was completely weakened!"
Since Mikadzuchi wanted to preserve the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】's protection she continued to avoid the attack of the warrior.
Because of that, Sei-nee who acted as an emergency healer was unable to participate and only watched over us.
As the Twin-Torso Warrior's front and rear heads howled, the warrior in front swung down his curved swords diagonally then took a step forward, that's when the other side swung its swords cleaving from the sides.
Mikadzuchi avoided the attacks and slipped to the side of the Twin-Torso Warrior, but ahead of where she avoided to the rear side had released a thrust. In order to avoid that, Mikadzuchi leaped further to the side.
"Pheew, that was close. Since he has another body on his back he has no blind spots behind him."
This time, Mikadzuchi confronted the demon warrior wearing kinagashi that was on the Twin-Torso Warrior's back.
And, Sei-nee and I have faced the demon warrior wearing an armour in the front. We positioned ourselves as to do a pincer attack from the front and the back with the three of us.
"Um, won't this turn real bad if he ignores Mikadzuchi...?"
"At that time we'll might have to stall for time no matter what."
"You'll think when that happens. HAA——"
Mikadzuchi slowly slid her feet on the ground moving forward, measuring the distance of enemy's curved swords, then with a loud shout she thrust with her weapon.
Matching that attack I shot an arrow at the demon warrior in the front.
That's when the Twin-Torso Warrior showed a move we haven't seen yet.
The demon warrior on Mikadzuchi's side blocked the attack with the swords in his hands, but the demon warrior on our side didn't help with that. Instead, he struck down the arrow that were ignored until now.
"This is... don't the movements of the front and back side have a subtle difference?"
Up until just earlier, all four swords focused on intercepting Mikadzuchi, but now they have been distributed to sides.
And, with just the two swords on the back he was unable to suppress Mikadzuchi's onslaught, allowing Mikadzuchi to approach.
"Blow away! Haa!!"
Filled with fighting spirit she thrust with the stick at the kinagashi-clad warrior., as a result the Twin-Torso Warrior was blown away in our direction.
In order not to let him close onto where Sei-nee and I were, I threw a magic gem in a hurry.
"Make it! ——【Clay Shield】!"
Starting with the location the thrown gem had fallen to, an earthen wall had grown from the ground into which the Twin-Torso Warrior slammed.
After slamming into the wall the warrior fell in that place and sluggishly rose up.
"That's some power. The attack just now took 10% of his HP."
"Looks like you didn't see it from your side, Missy, but half of that came from him slamming into the earthen wall you made."
While saying so, Mikadzuchi shouldered the hexagonal stick, then once again readying the weapon she lowered her waist.
The Twin-Torso Warrior had 70% HP remaining. And, Mikadzuchi's HP was reduced to 60% by the Urami-danuki's 【Curse】.
Since it would be dangerous for her HP to fall below that, Sei-nee who has been on standby has moved.
"Mikadzuchi, healing. ——《High Heal》!"
"Oh, thanks. Well, let's try my best for little longer!"
Sei-nee used recovery magic to heal Mikadzuchi, who resumed combat with the Twin-Torso Warrior.
I continued shooting arrows as I observed the change in enemy HP's decrease.
"Doesn't the Twin-Torso Warrior have slight differences between defence on both sides?"
"So you noticed that too, Yun-chan."
Since I ran out of bad status arrows, I stopped for a moment to take out normal ones. Meanwhile, I listened to Sei-nee's analysis.
"The back is vulnerable to physical attacks. Mikadzuchi must have realized that since she matches the Twin-Torso's movement as it tried to turn with front towards her, and continues to stay behind him."
That's when the demon warrior cleaved broadly and did a half-turn to the left. Along with that movement the front warrior had turned towards Mikadzuchi and swung his curved sword, but Mikadzuchi matched those movements and rolling she avoided it. Once again, Mikadzuchi confronted the demon warrior in the back.
"Tch, he turned with the front again."
"Mikadzuchi, I'll recover your HP. ——《High Heal》"
"And Yun-chan, you also received as 【HP Decrease】, haven't you? ——《High Heal》"
"Thank you, Sei-nee."
Since I'm a rearguard I neglected my own HP, and before I noticed it dropped down to 40%.
I had much lower max HP as compared to Mikadzuchi, so using heal magic on me with the same timing would be a waste of MP, so Sei-nee used heal on me once for every two times she used it on Mikadzuchi.
"My MP is already low so settle it before it runs out."
Hearing Sei-nee's words Mikadzuchi waved her hand and took a step forward.
The battle with the Twin-Torso Warrior was to resume again, but after having his HP cut down by 30% the enemy made a movement completely different from how he moved until now.
"He's taking a step back?"
The Twin-Torso Warrior took a big step back, lowered his body, and leaping forward he cleaved at Mikadzuchi with the curved swords.
"Tch, he's fast!"
The sound of air being cut with strong momentum by the curved swords reached me in the rearguard. Mikadzuchi, averted her upper body avoiding the attack by a hair's breadth, but the Twin-Torso Warrior twisted his body and advanced another step forward.
"Got it! ——【Clay Shield】"
Just in case, I moved together with Sei-nee.
"Tch, he's chasing me?!"
Mikadzuchi lowered herself further avoiding it, but the Twin-Torso Warrior continued rotating, switching front and the back constantly he let out heavy slashes at Mikadzuchi one after another.
The second attack was received by the stick, but Mikadzuchi lost in contest of strength and was parried away, her posture collapsing.
With the third attack she received damage for the first time and the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 took effect, letting out a quiet sound of breaking. Then the fourth and fifth attacks the Twin-Torso Warrior let out had easily exceeded the damage 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 could receive.
Mikadzuchi was unable to fix her posture as she received the nullified attacks and receiving the sixth cleave, some of her HP was shaved off.
And, when the Twin-Torso Warrior was about to release the seventh attack I threw magic gems at Mikadzuchi's feet, creating earthen walls under her and scooping her up.
Multiple walls were too brittle for the strong attacks of the curved swords and have collapsed, but thanks to the fact walls grew under her feet she was able to escape upwards.
"——《High Heal》, 《High Heal》!"
Sei-nee invoked a heal on Mikadzuchi twice, restoring the received damage worth of HP.
"Sei, Yun. You saved me there."
"...no way. She called me by my name."
"The attacks earlier were really persistent, if not for this thing Missy lent me, your support wouldn't make it in time. One more hit and it would be over for me. Also, Missy, thanks for this ring."
"So, how do we take the rest of his HP?"
Sei-nee used recovery magic in succession so her MP hit the bottom, forcing her to recover it with MP Potion on hand.
Still, because the 【Curse】's effect was reducing it little by little, she sought to settle it early.
"In that case there's no choice but to decide it all at once with all firepower we have."
While saying so, Mikadzuchi took off the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 that had the gem on its pedestal shatter and returned it to me.
After once used, the 【Substitute Gem's Ring】 had several hours of cooldown applied to it. Good work, I muttered to it and stowed it away in the inventory.
We turned towards the Twin-Torso Warrior, it seemed like he finished his big move and fell on his knees, completely defenceless for about ten seconds.
"I'll give up on avoiding and continue attacking him physically."
"I will use the remaining MP Potions to barrage him with magic."
"I-I'll spread around remaining Magic Gems to blow him up."
"Well, it's decided!"
Mikadzuchi switched from her current fiery red light armour to the unique equipment that had a gloomy, wolfish design, the 【Dark Wolf's Armour】.
The 【Dark Wolf's Armour】 was unique equipment received as a reward from a raid quest, it's negative effect 【Skills Sealed】 had overlapped with the negative effect from the Urami-danuki's 【Curse】 so currently it had no disadvantages. Moreover, it's 【Might】 additional effect increased the user's ATK significantly.
"All right, let's go!"
As if chasing after running Mikadzuchi, I also started to run towards the Twin-Torso Warrior.
Sei-nee created water bullets and ice lances in large amounts, and consuming MP Potions she continued to wait until the moment she can use them all at once.
"Missy, match Sei's magic. Don't get hit until then!"
"I'll do this from a safe place."
I moved to medium distance while shooting with the bow, then started placing 【Bomb】's Magic Gems little by little, throwing them beneath the Twin-Torso Warrior's feet.
Mikadzuchi parried a swung curved sword with armour on her arm and circled around to enemy's side, then using stats increased by 【Might】 she thrust the stick at the demon warrior in the back. When she did, the enemy's body rotated, receiving and mitigating the attack with the armour in front.
"Tch, but... I'll force it through! DARAAahhh!!"
The hexagonal stick thrust into the front demon warrior's belly and strongly dented in his armour.
Along with a loud, dull sound, the Twin-Torso Warrior lost strength in his knees and fell on the ground.
While it was possible to reduce the damage by allowing the impact to flow behind, the enemy was unable to do so and it had spread in his entire body.
The demon warrior in the front pierced the curved swords into the ground and supported himself with both arms and the demon warrior in the back immediately counter-attacked.
Mikadzuchi parried that strike to the side with all her strength, then struck the demon warrior on the back.
"Now. ——《Aqua Bullet》《Ice Lance》, fire at once!"
"Let's do it. ——【Bomb】!"
Sei-nee fired several dozens of magic that was waiting behind her, all straight at the Twin-Torso Warrior.
The water bullets flying at high speed made dents in the front warrior's armour, the ice spears gouged his limbs, water burst out meeting the icy air and froze the Twin-Torso Warrior.
And while the enemy was unable to move, 【Bomb】's Magic Gems activated all at once. The Twin-Torso Warrior was unable to avoid the multiple bombing and as he was swallowed by yellow explosions, the contours of his body were distorted.
"I threw in several dozens of Magic Gems there. This should do."
"Not yet! Mikadzuchi, last hit!"
As the explosion's flash gradually faded, the Twin Torso Warrior appeared to have survived, although his armour in the front and kinagashi in the back were all in tatters.
He stood up despite having less than 10% HP, poising his four swords broken in half he launched a continuous rotation attack on Mikadzuchi.
However, the broken swords had small range and Mikadzuchi easily avoided them, moreover she was able to release the final blow by taking advantage of superior reach.
"Great timing! Blow away!"
Mikadzuchi thrust with all her strength at the enemy's side that was exposed by the rotation.
The rotation added to the attack's strength and the Twin-Torso Warrior's armour was crushed and the strike deeply sank into his flank.
The Twin-Torso Warrior was blown away along with a cry, hit the wall of the arena and slipped to the ground.
In there, his body turned into particles of light, disappearing.
Since we have been fighting with our Arts and skills suppressed ever since the seventh round started and the very end was flashy, the cheers from the audience were the loudest so far.
"All right, let's continue to the eight——"We're retiring."——Sei-nee?!"
The seventh round ended and I felt enthusiastic since next one had the prize Sei-nee aimed for, but she herself had declared we're retiring.
The retirement had been accepted by the system, but I asked Sei-nee in wonder.
"Is that okay? I mean, isn't the next prize what you were aiming for?"
"It can't be helped. Urami-danuki's 【Curse】 still continues. Also, I only have enough MP for one spell and few potions. Mikadzuchi and Yun-chan, even if you can fight with your HP you can't use skills, right?"
"If we force ourselves to challenge it here and lose, we lose all the prizes so far. It's wiser to withdraw here."
While saying so Mikadzuchi put a hand on my head from behind and ruffled my hair strongly. Shaking off her hand, I had to agree with her.
"Yup, you're right. Maybe I wasn't calm enough."
"No, Yun-chan, you were taking me into consideration weren't you. Thank you."
Sei-nee gently pat my head as if to comb my hair, causing me to feel embarrassed.
In the edge of my vision Mikadzuchi's mouth distorted in dissatisfaction that I shook off her hand, but that's because she was too rough.
Mikadzuchi suddenly exhaled, then rose her voice as to let the entire arena hear it.
"Now, we have challenged the arena as the first, how was it? Will that serve as tips?! We have come in without taking any special measures, as a result we retire after the seventh round. Take advantage of this information. Also, look at how other guys challenge the arena and use that to knead your own measures. So yeah, do your best!"
Along with Mikadzuchi's closing declaration a variety of cheers had come from the arena's audience. I smiled wryly seeing that enthusiasm, then left.
After challenging the arena, we have distributed the prizes and as a result——
Each of us picked a single prize out of the prizes for all seven rounds and four prizes remained.
I received the 【Crystal of Exorcism】 first, then Mikadzuchi received the prizes for the third and the seventh round. Since Sei-nee retired before we acquired the item she wanted she had a right to choose the prize out of the remaining four on priority basis.
"I'll...take the fourth and fifth prizes. You're next, Yun-chan."
"Eh? I... then, the second round's prize."
"You're lacking greed. We got the items we wanted so you should take all remaining ones, missy Sei."
Saying so in the end, Mikadzuchi received the remaining prize and the allocation was over. On that day, since all three of us were already exhausted we decided to rest.
Then, the next day, in the evening of the sixth day of expedition.
I was doing the final adjustments of the accessories in the 【Eight Million Gods】 guild's craftsmen room.
Whew, I ended up practically re-crafting the accessories for Sei-nee and Myu again.
I stared at the accessories placed on the table.
For the blue and silver accessory made with Blurite Ore, I first strengthened the ingot itself by synthesizing in a water 【Element Stone】, increasing the water element effect.
As for the bead bracelet, I first made transparent glass beads, but then I thought that the way the 【Crystal of Exorcism】 diffuses light would suit Myu, so I continued to process the beads.
I roasted the glass beads on a frying pan and had it rapidly cool in ice to make cracked glass to match the look of the 【Crystal of Exorcism】.
I was given advices by Otonashi and Langley which I used as reference, finally making an accessory for Myu.
Also, I used a light 【Element Stone】 on this one as well, combining it with the materials at early stage to add additional effect 【Light Element Increase (small)】.
All that was left to do, was using the strengthening material I had on hand on these two.
I took out four strengthening materials.
The Highlands Area's boss mob's King Cockatrice's drop, the 【Chicken King's Crown】
The drop from the sea anemone-like Electric Parasitic Insect boss that was inside the Grand Rock, the 【Parasite Pacemaker】.
And the two strengthening materials I acquired in the Volcanic Area's 【Demonfolk Resort】, the 【Precious Magic Crystal】 and the 【Crystal of Exorcism】. I added the effects to each accessory.
And the result was——
Blue and Silver Mystic Ring 【Ornament】 (weight:1)
DEF+7 INT+3 MIND+12 Additional Effect: 【INT Bonus】【Water Element Increase (medium)】【Magic Increase (small)】
Snow White Bracelet 【Ornament】 (weight:1)
DEF+8 MIND+12 Additional Effect: 【Recovery Increase (small)】【Range Improvement (small)】【Light Element Increase (medium)】
For Sei-nee's 【'Blue and Silver Mystic Ring】 I used the 【Precious Magic Crystal】 in order to add the effect increasing magic-related stats.
As for other effects, there was the 【INT Bonus】 that could be attached by crafter's 【Engraving】 Sense and 【Water Element Increase】 that was an additional effect added by the use of Blurite Ore.
It was an accessory specialized in water element and magic.
Myu's 【Snow White Bracelet】 had used the remaining three strengthening materials and was an accessory that boosted recovery, light magic, and had an auxillary effect.
Thanks to the light 【Element Stone】 and 【Parasite Pacemaker】's overlapping effects the 【Light Element Increase】 effect had strengthened by one stage.
"Sei-nee's magic will grow even more powerful. And since Myu says she wants to be a paladin, I made a general combination of effects for her."
Imagining the two's happy faces I ended up smiling.
I stretched my body and noticed it was already night.
"Ah, it's almost time to sleep... I took a bath already, so all that's left is to go to sleep."
After muttering that, I suddenly remembered.
"The hot spring building in the Volcanic Area, there should be no people there at this time..."
The frontline area was populated with few players. Furthermore it's around midnight so there isn't as many people online, I might be able to enjoy the hot springs without being seen by anyone. Thinking so, I immediately started acting.
I transitioned to the portal at the back gate of a dungeon from one that's out of sight, then headed towards the hot spring.
"...there's no one here. Comin' iiiin."
After making sure there's no one inside or around the building I took off my boots at the grate in the entrance and sneaked inside on tiptoes.
And, the moment I passed through the door to the dressing room——
"OHH?!! My entire equipment was changed huh."
What was my equipment earlier, had forcibly changed into a bath towel wrapped around me.
Apparently if I had a swimsuit I would have been equipped with it instead of a bath towel, but unfortunately I don't have that kind of equipment...
"I'm all naked under this... heck, what am I thinking about!"
I hurriedly shook my head and got rid of needless thought, then headed to the bath.
Holding down the unreliable bath towel with my both hands I walked slowly.
"Woah... so this is how it is inside."
When I entered from the dressing room to the bathroom, I saw an open-air bath made with rugged rocks.
After once again confirming there is no one inside, I a nearby bucket and poured hot water on myself before entering the bath.
"In real you can't have the bath towel get wet, but here it can't be helped since it won't come off."
I held down the unreliable bath towel that won't get off no matter what I immersed my body in the bathtub.
"Haa, this is paradise. 【Demonfolk Resort】 might really be a good match with me. Mmm, I sure spend this week leisurely."
Combat, farming boss and the arena challenge weren't all that tiring. All of that was many times better than mobs in a grotesque dungeon.
"It has an atmosphere like that of an hot spring town, there's a lot of shops with delicious stuff I enjoyed."
Tomorrow is the end of the guild expedition huh, I said and relaxed, I looked towards the night sky seeing off the white steam disappear in it.
Then, after spending some time in daze, my 【See-Through】 Sense perceived signs of life in the dressing room causing me to panic.
"EH?! There's someone else coming in at this time, what do I do?! I'll be seen!"
If it gets out that a man like me entered women's bath it'll be end of my social life. I need to hide somewhere, I thought and started looking around, but other people have already entered the bathroom.
"So you really were here, Missy."
"Good evening, Yun-chan."
Finding out that they're my acquaintances I was relieved, but also thought that I can't stay here and hurriedly rose up from the bath.
The water I have been soaking in up to my shoulder had flowed down my body, the drenched bath towel felt heavy.
Holding down the heavy bath towel with my hand I headed towards the dressing room but——
Just when I thought I passed by Mikadzuchi, she caught the edge of my bath towel and threw me back into the bath.
I fell into the bath along with a loud splash, then rose in a hurry and raised my voice in protest.
"PWAH! That was dangerous! What if my bath towel comes off?!"
"What are you getting all embarrassed for. Also, you just got in so don't leave so early, accompany us for a little bit."
Saying so, Mikadzuchi soaked in the bathtub right next to me.
I tried standing up again but she held my head down and forced me back into the bath.
Unable to resist because of the difference in our stats I gave up, then soaked up to my mouth in the cloudy hot water in order to hide my body.
"Why did you two come here?"
"Mm. We saw Yun-chan run this way and got curious."
"Still, aren't you embarrassed to come after me as far as to the bath...?
"We have swimsuits under this, look."
Sei-nee said that and showed off shoulder straps that were visible despite the bath towel wrapped around her.
At that time her chest was strongly emphasized, causing me to avert my gaze.
"Aahh, fine. I get it already——hya!"
"Kukuku, so innocent. Aren't you cute."
Mikadzuchi lightly stroked my back with her fingertips. I reflexively bent backwards, turned towards her and glared.
"Mikadzuchi! Heck, what the hell are you showing off here!"
Seeing her shift the bath towel to show off the swimsuit just like Sei-nee I immediately averted my eyes from her.
"Why are you overreacting like that? It's too cute, makes me want to bully you."
"What? Do you have a complex over your small breasts? Don't worry, mine aren't too big either."
As if! When I shouted that in my mind and stared at Mikadzuchi, she took out a tray from the inventory and placed it on the edge of the bath.
Then the next thing she took out, was a painted sake cup and a liquor bottle.
"Mikadzuchi, liquor again?"
"It's stylish to drink while looking up at the moon, right?"
She poured the content of the bottle into the sake cup painted red, filling it up.
"And that is?"
"Arena's seventh prize——【Magic Cup】"
And saiyng so she drank little of the liquor from up, then tilted the cup horizontally. When she did, liquid had started coming out of the cup as if springing up from a fountain.
"The liquid poured inside earlier can be reproduced by consuming MP. If you pour a potion in, then a potion, if liquor, then a liquor. Of course, the amount of MP consumed depends on what you pour inside."
"Mikadzuchi is using it differently from how it was intended to. Moreover, she aimed for the third and seventh prizes in the arena just for this, you know?"
Haa, Sei-nee heaved a sigh. The prizes Sei-nee and I have chosen, the second and the fifth one were of two types, big and small tsuzura boxes.
The content of the wicker boxes changed at random, Sei-nee's large box had one large item inside and my small box had three smaller ones.
"My fourth prize is a material called 【Nameless Demon's Horn】. And as for the fifth prize's box, I don't have luck so it'll probably be a item I don't need."
Although we were immersed in a pleasant bath, Sei-nee started letting out a depressing atmosphere, making me panic.
"It's all right, Sei-nee. Um... if you won't need what you get, I'll exchange it with what I get from the box."
"Uuunh, Yun-chan's kindness pierces my heart. But at the same time, it looks like no one expects anything of my luck."
Seeing Sei-nee even more downhearted, in contrast, Mikadzuchi smiled happily.
"Once the expedition is over you should open them in front of everyone. Whether you have luck or not, everyone will get fired up."
"Uuu, Mikadzuchi, you talk as if it had nothing to do with you."
"In fact, it doesn't. Also, missy Yun, come participate in tomorrow's party."
Mikadzuchi called me by my name again. She did that once in the arena before, at the same time I felt a little happy to be called so, I was ashamed to be called that right now and sank into the bathtub up to my mouth again.
"And, it's about the time you decide what will you do, Missy."
"Whether you officially join our 【Eight Million Gods】 guild, or leave."
"...it's all right. I have already decided."
It all felt too cosy I sometimes nearly forgot about it. That's why I have decided right from the start.
Hearing my words, Mikadzuchi responded with "I see, I see." and drank the rest of liquor all at once.
"Well then, I'll be going ahead."
"Sure, good night. Don't be late for tomorrow's party."
"Good night, Yun-chan."
I held down the heavy bath towel with my hand and walked towards the dressing room with sound footsteps.
Behind me, I could hear Sei-nee and Mikadzuchi speak to each other.
"Yun-missy sure is strong."
"You're right. It does seem like Yun-chan goes with the flow, but since long ago whenever she decided on something, she would always carry it through."
Hearing their words I denied that in my mind. I'm not strong or anything, I thought.