Inside the forest filled with singing of the birds, in the centre of the forest's opening a giant lizard with sharp scales had hugged his tail with his eyes closed.
Since there was nowhere to hide in the surroundings we pounced at him all at once.
As I jumped in first slashing at the giant lizard——the Blade Lizard, he avoided by rolling on the ground and started his counter-attack on our party's members.
"Myu-chan! I know you didn't get to fight in front lately, but you're overdoing it!"
Even while she spoke worriedly, Hino-chan held the large hammer in her hands and without letting her guard down, swung it with all her strength aiming for Blade Lizard's head.
The Blade Lizard who was durable enough to withstand such a heavy blow was appropriate for a boss mob.
"Next, he went Luka-chan's way!"
"Tobi-san! Please match me!"
Dressed in brand-new crimson armour, equipped with an one-handed sword and a shield Luka-chan protruded the shield to block the Blade Lizard's rush.
As her entire body was pushed towards the ground by Blade Lizard's tackle, she subsequently parried a tail swing with her shield.
Facing against the Blade Lizard who was a mob difficult for beginners to deal with, Luka-chan slashed him with all the fighting spirit she had, matching that, Tobi-chan approached in that moment and thrust her dagger aiming for the gap between scales.
In order to prevent us from chasing it the Blade Lizard bristled his scales and rolled on the ground to the side, moving away from us.
In the meantime we verified our cooperation.
"How is it, Luka-chan? The 【Shield】 Sense you newly picked-up?"
"Hmm, it's slightly different from what I imagined. But, it works well balancing out the weapon I use now so I'd like to try it for a little longer."
"Rather than that, what about you, Myu-chan? To think you'd miss first strike, I'm more concerned with that one."
"Ahaha... so you noticed after all?"
When Hino-chan pointed that out, "yes indeed" said and nodded Tobi-chan, who was freshly recruited to the party.
Until yesterday we have practiced cooperation in party of four. After fighting weak mobs and Big Boars who are appropriate to our levels, we scheduled to defeat a boss mob, Blade Lizard today.
"Um... actually, I succeeded in defeating a Blade Lizard all alone last night."
"Myu-chan, you're rushing ahead all alone again."
Hino-chan muttered appalled.
Meanwhile, the Blade Lizard who rolled around warily had recovered and stretching out his limbs, he took a stance for a rush.
"Myu-san! We're going to talk about this properly later!"
"Got it! Let's do our best to take down the rest of his HP then!"
Told so by Luka-chan I once again raised my one-handed sword and circled around the Blade Lizard from the right side.
Luka-chan stood in front of the Blade Lizard, Hino-chan on the left, Tobi-chan stood in a position from which she could support us anywhere.
This time's subjugation of the boss mob, Blade Lizard, was a test for the roles in the party we have come up with.
Luka-chan alone didn't use her usual fighting style, but using a 【Shield】 Sense she safely practised how to grasp the timing for parrying with a sword and avoiding attacks. The shield and the sword she was using were remaining drops from the Living Armours, if there isn't enough of them, we can always go and get more.
Like that, we have become a party of three ultra-physical vanguards and one assassin-type.
"These days we're all vanguards, let's go pound him down!"
"In that case, I'll attack properly so that Myu-chan can fight!"
Matching me as I ran towards the Blade Lizard, Hino-chan also ran while carrying her hammer on her shoulder.
The Blade Lizard felt my approach and twisted his body, swinging the tail full of bristled sharp scales. The moment I noticed the initial motions of his attack I thrust my heels onto the ground to reduce my speed and averted my upper body.
Although I felt the wind pressure from Blade Lizard's tail swing that passed right in front of me, I succeeded in avoiding.
It was an attack pattern I have experienced many times both in the β version and just recently when I challenged it multiple times before going to bed. I avoided it by hair's breadth and moved a step in.
If I fought alone I would have delivered two light attacks and escaped, but now I stepped in.
"I won't let you get her! HAAa!!"
Hino-chan struck a heavy blow to the Blade Lizard's side from the left and stopped his movements for a moment.
By cooperating we could do things we can't do alone. A combination attack starting with one person's attack, then stopping enemy's movements to make an opening for using Arts.
"I'll join in as well. ——《Shock Impact》!"
I was able to deliver a large amount of damage with five consecutive slashes by using an Art, but I was exposed to attacks. However, the strong blow Luka-chan added on top of it had prevented the enemy from counter-attacking. Then, Tobi-chan thrust her dagger continuously at the Blade Lizard whose movements were stopped, delaying his recovery.
And, together with Luka-chan right after we were released from the Arts' fixed movements——
At the same the commander, Luka-chan spoke everyone focused on avoiding a large tail swing of the counter-attacking Blade Lizard.
In our party we didn't concentrate hate on one person, all of us avoided attacks.
Instead of having one person gain high amounts of enemy's hate, so to speak, we used tactics where everyone attacked and acted as a decoy at the same time, with high emphasis on avoidance. Therefore, the one who has become the target now was——
Involuntarily, a happy laughter leaked out of my mouth.
"Luka-chan, everyone, match the timing!"
"Understood! Don't get hit by an attack, okay?"
I told Luka-chan to match my timing for a simultaneous attack, but she worried about me getting attacked instead. In fact, even though we emphasized on avoidance with our tactics our stats weren't as low as to be defeated with a single blow. Also, we did take bad status received from the enemy into account. What's left, is to enjoy the avoidance's thrill and to draw the enemy to myself!
"Now now, this way!"
To attract the Blade Lizard so that he charges at me I didn't move too close in or too far out. I avoided attacks from his claws and tail as well as jagged fangs as I approached the location I aimed for, then started running at full speed behind the Blade Lizard.
Responding to my sudden action the Blade Lizard turned around and rushed at my back. However, I kicked off the ground and ran vertically up a trunk of the only tree that was in the surroundings.
The Blade Lizard put its front limbs on the tree trying to chase me as I climbed on top of it. Using his hind legs and tail dexterously he leaned on the tree with his huge body and reached up to where I was.
"What a shame! See ya."
I kicked off the tree's trunk and jumped into the air. Doing a backflip I passed right next to the Blade Lizard's claw.
For a parting gift, in the middle of a backflip I fired a light bullet at the Blade Lizard's back.
I dealt damage to his back, but that wasn't the end of attack.
"Myu-chan, nice decoy! ——《Smash》!"
Hino-chan's crushing blow was hammered into the Blade Lizard's back and sandwiched between the hammer and the tree trunk, the boss was stunned.
"What was that movement just now?! I'm curious, but for now let's strike him down. ——《Fifth Breaker》!"
Since the Blade Lizard tried to stand up Luka-chan cut the left leg and the tail supporting his body, meanwhile Tobi-chan crept up from behind the boss and slashed the right leg's tendon.
With that, the boss lost support and separating from the tree trunk, leaned backwards then fell on his back.
At this stage the Blade Lizard had 30% HP remaining and was stunned, lying down on the ground he exposed his abdomen - the only place not covered in sharp scales. There were only a few seconds left until he recovers, but I didn't miss the chance.
I kicked off the ground jumping high up and thrust downwards piercing the Blade Lizard's chest.
"It's still a boss mob, huh! So hard. But——!"
I leaned on the half-way pierced in one-handed sword to push it deeper in. It seemed like the stun status expired with that as the boss started flailing his limbs and tail to escape, but I ignored that and pressed my palm onto him at zero distance and——
"——《Light Shot》《Light Shot》《Light Shot》!"
Dealt damage with light magic.
In order to prevent the boss from failing its limbs and standing up, Luka-chan with others delivered damage to his head, limbs and tail.
I clenched the sword pierced deeply into the boss, by holding it I prevented myself from falling off the violently shaking body and continued to fire light bullets at him, finally able to decrease his HP to zero.
Finally, along with feeble cries the Blade Lizard had turned into particles of light and disappeared.
Were Yun-oniichan to see this one-sided battle——he'd say something like "Stop that! He's way too pitiful!", thinking so I chuckled.
Whether he's defeated or defeats the enemy, Yun-oniichan is gentle even in this dead-or-alive game world.
Certainly, once I stood up after defeating the boss, I saw my comrades look my way seemingly used to it, they might have felt quite some guilt during combat this time, but were already used to it.
"All right! We've downed the boss, Blade Lizard! We did it!"
I turned towards everyone else cheerfully, but they were looking at me with a strange look on their faces.
Hino-chan was once again appalled.
Luka-chan furrowed her eyebrows angrily and put a hand on her hip, that look of hers reminded me of Yun-oniichan when he turns quiet and scary.
I couldn't see Tobi-chan's expression since her mouth was hidden behind the muffler, but she was fidgeting as if she wanted to ask something.
"W-what is it, everyone...?"
"There is a few things we'd like to ask. This time, why did you miss the first attack, about how you defeated the boss alone, and what were those nonsensical movements!"
"Luka-chan, they aren't nonsensical... Uh, Tobi-chan is nodding."
I wanted to protest, but as everyone stared at me I could only say the reason for that.
"Um, you see. First, the reason I missed with the first strike is because I acquired new Senses upon leveling up and I've got them equipped..."
I responded while timidly looking up Luka-chan's expression .
A player's stats change depending on the level of equipped Senses. Even if higher Senses are equipped, if they're level 1, there will be a temporary weakening.
And so, when I equipped new Senses before the boss battle, my first attack missed because my stats were too low. Still, the only thing that decreased was my speed and other Senses didn't change that much... probably.
As to defeating the boss alone, it's simple.
I challenged the boss mob every night before going to bed prepared for death penalty, using my stats and skills I faced him all alone. Normally one would defeat the boss in a stable manner cooperating in a party and it was difficult to do it all alone, but in exchange the amount of experience gained was large.
By the way, it was then that I leveled-up and acquired the new Senses I spoke of earlier.
"So, what Senses did you get?"
"Umm... 【Equipment Weight Reduction】 and 【Action Restriction Release】 Senses."
As a result my light-class equipment had become even lighter and together with 【Action Restriction Release】 Sense, it made possible for me to move as lightly as a feather.
Using that enabled me to use three-dimensional acrobatics for combat. However, the Sense levels were still a bit low so I felt only a little lighter.
"And you see! Even using a sword and armour I can do things like this!"
As I continued my explanation about the Senses to Luka-chan and others I started growing more passionate, then started speaking enthusiastically. In the end I started showing off continuous backflips and twisting motions in the air, in response to which Luka-chan and Hino-chan made shocked expressions.
"...Myu-san, what are you aiming to be?"
After seeing the series of my movements, Tobi-chan asked anxiously.
I'm a swordsman and I use light magic. An universal magic warrior who can also use recovery magic. And what I aimed to be by adding wondrous acrobatic ability is——
"Of course, a paladin! A holy knight y'know, holy knight!"
When I answered her confidently, Hino-chan who was silent up until now started laughing, her shoulders shaking violently.
"Ahahahaha!! As I thought, Myu-chan. This surprises practically everyone! It shocked me plenty in the β version as well!"
As Hino-chan held her stomach and started laughing, Luka-chan and Tobi-chan tilted their heads puzzled and dumbfounded.
Hino-chan and I knew each other since the β. I recalled her surprise back then when I took the same Senses.
"But, I'm still far from that. I need to move as lightly as a feather."
Although Hino-chan used her fingertips to wipe the tears that gathered in the corners of her eyes, I still wasn't satisfied. I nearly reached my main Sense build I used during the β version.
"...shall we proceed to the Second Town from here?"
Tobi-chan put on hold our conversation about my Senses and prompted us to move on.
"You're right. We defeated the boss mob, Blade Lizard, let's proceed onwards."
Luka-chan agreed with her and we decided to move on ahead of the defeated Blade Lizard.
Spreading out beyond the east exit of the forest, was a town different from the First Town we landed in when we first logged into OSO.
While the First Town looked like a medieval European town surrounded by walls, the Second Town was a small town with idyllic atmosphere which was surrounded by wooden fence.
"The town gives off a good feeling. Kind of like countryside."
When Luka-chan looked around curiously her gaze was caught by a nearby water wheel.
A small river flowing through the town moved the water wheel, powering it.
The sound of wheat being ground had come out of the hut regularly and the water splashing from the wheel looked very refreshing.
"...what kind of town is this?"
"Hmm, you see. I guess you could call it a town dealing mainly with food, wood and tailoring items?"
Inside the town there were NPCs in the small fields who carried backpacks into which they harvested vegetables.
I preferred the lively atmosphere of the First Town, but there were people in the β version who immersed themselves in the atmosphere in here and in the surroundings.
"What shall we do? Some leveling on the enemies nearby? Or maybe take some quest?"
While asking that I touched the transition object of the portal installed in the Second Town. By registering with it, from now on I will be able to transition to here from the first town.
"Um... I'd like to walk around this town for a little longer."
"... I-I'd like to take a look around here."
Luka-chan proposed timidly and still new member, Tobi-chan responded in a stiff manner. It was the first time coming to this town for the two.
"Sure! We'll then, the two of us who have learned everything there is about this town will guide you! What kind of place do you want to see?"
"Let's see. Then, one with a pretty scenery?"
"That would be the boundary with the forest, I guess? It's decided, let's go!"
I raised my first and started walking in the front.
In the vicinity of the Second Town there was a forest spreading along the road, once one entered the forest area enemy mobs immediately appeared.
But what we were looking at now, was the boundary with that area.
"This is nice, very pleasant."
"Right?! After hunting in the forest everyone comes here to rest!"
I boasted about it as we stood near the small stream flowing from the forest into the town.
Compared to the well-maintained stream inside the town there were rugged rocks in the stream here, one could sit down and put bare feet in the water then enjoy the townscape leisurely.
Multiple big and small streams passed by the Second Town, since there were very few buildings in it, it was possible to overlook it all at once.
Watching the routine work of the NPCs and the rare passage of players, I fluttered my legs in the water.
"...this sure is relaxing."
"Well, lately we've been acting really busy y'know."
"Aaa-ah, I'll be going for a nap here and now!"
Tobi-chan, Luka-chan and Hino-chan, in this order everyone was possessed by this place's charm.
"Since we've picked this place, how about we go into the forest once we finish walking around?"
"Eeh, but mobs that appear in the forest are troublesome. How about we recruit some mages to our party first?"
The enemy mobs appearing in this forest were physically strong Bull Beetles and fast, numerous Bullet Crosts. Certainly, it might be difficult without a mage.
"Grr, I get it. Then I too will rest today."
I said so, fell on my back and looked up at the sky.
And just like that, when I relaxed my body and closed my eyes I heard people's voices coming from between the trees further away.
"You! Why did'ya do 'dat at a time like 'dat!"
"Fufu, um. She was defenceless I just..."
"Because of yer 'just' making a pass on her we got kick'd outta party!"
I could hear girls quarrelling over something.
One of them seemed angry and the other ignored it lightly, not paying attention.
"Aa-aah, wat'do we do! We ain't have vanguards!"
"Fufufu, we just have to find a new party. Next time I'll only look at them as not to get kicked out."
"Yes ya do that, seriously. ...hey Rirei, where're ya lookin'."
"Fufufu, give me a moment."
When I opened my eyes and raised my upper body, I saw the two girls to whom the voices belonged.
"Fufufu, girls, are you free?"
The one who called out to us with a smile was a girl wearing a two-forked hat. Behind her, with an appalled expression there was a girl with shaved eyebrows and small, round glasses. The girl with shaved eyebrows was wearing an eye-catching kimono-like clothing, rarely seen in the OSO's world.
"Yes, we were taking a break, do you need something?"
"No, I just wondered if I could ask you a question. But first, self-introductions. I'm Rirei."
Luka-chan cordially responded to the girl with two-forked hat's question. On the other hand, Rirei spoke with a smile.
"Do you perhaps need mages in your party?"
"Why do you think so?"
"Hey, Rirei! Dun' be rude, suddenly askin' that! 'm sorry! I'll be takin' her right away!"
Although the girl behind Rirei suddenly grasped her clothes and tried to drag her away, we stopped that since we were curious about Rirei.
"Wait a moment! It's not rude at all! Tell us why do you think we need mages!"
When I said that loudly the girl with shaved eyebrows let go of Rirei's clothes and stopped her legs.
Ahh, they got interest'd, the girl muttered while looking up at the sky. Did something happen?
"Fufufu, then forgive my insolence. I felt that's the case because, first, since you're in the Second Town, means you're skilled players."
Rirei raised one finger and explained her thinking.
"And, because most of the players with high enough levels who can reach this town are physical fighters. Therefore, you got no mages. Either that or you have someone who serves both as a warrior and a mage."
"That's correct. But we might be waiting here for someone to join us y'know?"
"If you did, you wouldn't have made the meeting spot this place, far away from the Second Town's portal. This too, is simple reasoning."
"...amazing. It all matches."
Tobi-chan muttered quietly.
"So, Rirei and... your name?"
"Oh, didn't make self-introduction yet, eh. I'm Kohaku. Nice to meet you."
I recalled the conversation Rirei and Kohaku had earlier, it seemed like they were kicked out of the party. Also, thinking of their equipment which didn't look like that of warrior-types——
"So, what do you want, Rirei, Kohaku?"
"Fufufu——to market ourselves."
So that was it, I thought. I regarded this as a good chance.
"Kohaku and I are both mages. If you include us in your party your attack power will grow all at once."
"Rirei, there's no way sum'one will take us into their party with such 'marketin'——"Okay, that's fine."——Hey, 's fine?!"
Hearing Kohaku's skilful retort Hino-chan and Tobi-chan gave her light applause.
"Y'serious? Ya real serious? I mean, I'd be happy t' join a party but..."
"We actually wanted some mages, so there's no problem."
"Just as Luka-chan says! We need mages, you need vanguards to protect you. Isn't it fine to form a party based on aligned self-interests?"
When Luka-chan and I responded so, Kohaku opened her eyes wide and blinked several times.
"Fufufu, negotiations established. Please take care of us."
"Aa-aah, once again Rirei's gonna sink her poisonous fangs into girls..."
While we exchanged handshakes with Rirei who reached her right hand to us, Kohaku muttered holding her head.
"We have to introduce ourselves too, right! I'm Myu. I use sword and light magic. Also, I use recovery magic in combat."
"I'm Lucato. My role is that of a vanguard swordsman and I'm commander-in-training."
"I'm Hino. I use large hammers and spears, a multi-weapon vanguard."
"...Toutobi. A scout."
Once we simply described our fighting styles, this time Rirei and Kohaku spoke.
"Fufufu, how polite. Once again, I'm Rirei. For magic I use only fire element, but my Sense build emphasizes on firepower."
"Kohaku here. I use wind and water magic. But, to balance out Rirei's ridiculous firepower I focus on barrages of attacks and restraining the enemy."
After speaking of each of ours specialities, we started rebuilding our party.
Not like this. Not like that. As we slowly consulted party members' movements in details with each other, we slowly formed basic movements. In meantime I felt like the distance between Rirei and us was really small, but thinking of the sense of distance between me and Sei-oneechan this wasn't all that out of ordinary.
"Maybe we can go take down the Golem with this setup?"
"With our firepower Golem'll be easy. You probably'd beat it without mages, too?"
Hearing Hino-chan's mutter, Kohaku calmly added her opinion. Certainly, even without mages we could beat it with a prolonged battle...
"Ahahaha... it would take too long and we'd get completely bored."
"Ahh, there's 'dat too."
After the game started we did go to challenge the Golem to do 【Golem-sensei】 leveling, but recently there were many players who raised their levels and challenged the Golem.
Among them, there was a single party who challenged the Golem with a bad setup and the battle lasted for a long time, inconveniencing other parties. Taking that into the account we didn't challenge the Golem yet.
But, as there's very few players playing at night I could take my time challenging and subjugating Blade Lizard alone without inconveniencing anyone.
"Then, how about we go to where Golem is right away?"
"First, how about we take on some medium-level mobs in the First Town to confirm everyone's cooperation in the party? Discussing it and actually trying it makes a huge difference."
In party combat the more people there is in the party, the more people bring own individuality movements making cooperation more difficult.
That's when I was reminded of something I was told by Taku-san.
Speaking of which, didn't Taku-san and Yun-oniichan say they did play in a party for a bit?
Although I did eat dinner together with Yun-oniichan every evening I didn't ask him for any details, but Taku-san did tell me about his activities and his playstyle in the party.
From what Taku-san said, he just gathers trash Senses and plays at his own pace, but his player skills aren't too bad.
In particular, his ability to cooperate with party members he met for the first time was incredibly high. Without any practice his movements in the party were perfect.
It was true that Yun-oniichan was never that good at games, but his ability to cooperate and assist allies to bring out their skills was always strangely high.
While that's impossible for me, it's possible to refine party's cooperation through repeated battles.
Yup, I nodded to myself in my mind and decided to practice cooperation in this party of six as soon as possible.
"Myu-san, what happened? You suddenly fell silent."
"Are you okay? Is something worrying you?"
Before I realized I lowered my head and fell silent, making everyone worry.
"I'm okay! It's nothing! Also, Hino-chan, Tobi-chan, don't leave me behind!"
I hurried after Hino-chan and Tobi-chan who moved quickly and clung onto them upon catching up.
"...mhh, Myu-san, you're heavy."
"Ahh, you're horrible, Tobi-chan! I'm not heavy!"
It seemed like Tobi-chan was embarrassed when I clung onto her and tried to move away from me, when seeing that I clung onto her even harder, her gaze wandered around, troubled.
"Fufufu, a sight for sore eyes."
"Rirei, control yerself."
On the other hand, we didn't notice the quiet exchange between Rirei and Kohaku.
Everyone transitioned from the Second Town to the portal in the First Town, then we headed towards the forest in the west.
In the west there was the forest area full of weak mobs such as Wild Dogs and Bats, as well as Forest Bears which were relatively strong, medium-sized mobs. Beyond the forest there was the quarry which had Sandmen and the Golem. Focusing mainly on Sandmen we battled with various mobs repeatedly.
Currently, we were in the middle of confirming our party's cooperation on Forest Bear-type mob taller than we are.
A battle has began, Luka-chan parried a Forest Bear's blow to the side using her sword and shield, then Hino-chan thrust at the bear with her spear from outside his attack range.
Tobi-chan and I continued to attack the forest bear's side and back alternately, from time to time we took away hate from Luka-chan and using the moment Forest Bear's target changed we overlapped our attacks on it.
"Le's go! ——《Quick Blast》 《Aqua Bullet》!"
Because the Forest Bear was very tall, it was Kohaku who used low-level wind and water intermittently to attack the places high up such as his head.
"Fufufu, preparations complete."
As Luka-chan commanded, everyone moved away from the Forest Bear and immediately after that, Rirei fired a fire elemental magic 《Flame Burn》, a blazing pillar enveloped the bear's body.
"We did it! Ain't that good 'nough cooperation?"
When Rirei's high-powered magic exploded Kohaku was convinced the Forest Bear was defeated and smiled broadly. Enticed by that, Luka-chan, Tobi-chan and Rirei lowered their weapons.
I guess this is the difference in experience with β testers' experience, I thought and immediately dealt with the Forest Bear that appeared from the pillar of flames.
I kicked off a tree in the forest and ran upwards in front of the Forest Bear. The claw swing coming my way in response was parried away by Hino-chan's spear and the Forest Bear ended up in a posture with his big head averted.
I slashed with my sword vertically straight at the bear's brain, then rotating in the air through the momentum I landed behind him.
"Really, while magic is very powerful you shouldn't get careless the moment enemy disappears from your sight!"
While I turned around and warned them, the Forest Bear's huge body fell forward onto the ground causing it to shake strongly. Just like that it had turned into particles of light and disappeared and behind it, I saw four people look at me dumbfounded.
"...y-yer right. I'll take care from now on. Heck, no wait! That ain't it! What was 'tat! Just now!"
The way Kohaku first responded in level-headed manner just to switch onto a retort was really interesting.
"Ehh, it's just 【Action Restriction Release】's three dimensional movement."
"Bein' able to do such impossible moves, dat's a real cheat. Are ya receivin' astronaut trainin' or 'wat?"
When I did a second demonstration today, starting with light steps just to do somersaults, kick off trees and walls, everyone looked at me with amazement.
"Fufufu, she's so cute being all energetic like that."
"Aa-aah, she's completely become Rirei's target."
Although Kohaku and Rirei were muttering something, I ignored it and started searching for the next Forest Bear instead.
"Didn't our cooperation improve quite a bit?"
"You're right. It looks good for a hurriedly formed party."
I agreed with Hino-chan's evaluation and felt grateful for Kohaku and Rirei's entering the party.
"Fufufu, thank you very much for taking us into your party at such short notice."
"No, we did need mages ourselves so there's no problem."
Luka-chan smiled and politely thanked Rirei. On the other hand, Rirei squinted and started swaying back and forth suspiciously.
Feeling a slight change in Rirei's state, Luka-chan tried to move a step away——
"Fufufu, in that case, can I get something as thanks?"
Then Rirei moved even closer to Luka-chan and breathed into her ear.
"Hyah?! Ww-what are you doing?!"
"Fufufu, that was an even cuter voice than I imagined."
"Rirei! Wat' da heck ya doin'!"
Rirei who moved away from Luka-chan upon hearing her cute squeal licked her lips in bewitching manner and broke into a run towards her next target. Everyone froze up at this sudden happening, meanwhile Rirei circled around her target and——
"You have a very shapely butt, don't you. Fufufu..."
She whispered in Tobi-chan's ear and gently stroked her butt so that it could be clearly felt even through the armour. Tobi-chan reacted to it in overly-sensitive manner and rolled forward.
"Rirei! Cut 't out!"
Kohaku yelled trying to stop her, but because she was calming down Luka-chan and Tobi-chan she couldn't make it to help me.
And I, who have become the next target——
"Ear, butt. And now, a modest chest, I'll be digging i——"
She tried to thrust her hand into the side of the silvery white chest armour, but I reflexively caught her hand and jumped.
Holding Rirei's arm I jumped into the air using my physical abilities heightened by 【Action Restriction Release】 and held her neck down with both of my legs. Just like that I had her fall on her back and performed an armbar on her.
"...eh, AHH?! Sorry. I did that on reflex!"
"No, I don't think there's any civilian who moves like that on reflex.
Although I suppressed Rirei with acrobatic movements, she looks okay, I thought as I looked at her face.
"Fufufu, this sensation, a beautiful girl's thighs on my arm. I can't get enough of it. Ah, oww, owww..."
Since she didn't seem to feel remorseful I slightly increased the strength I put into the armbar, causing her to start complain. Martial arts don't deal damage unless you have 【Throw】 or 【Fist】-type Senses, but there is pain.
"Myu! Keep 'er like 'dat! I'll tie 'er down!"
"Kohaku, where did you take that rope out of?"
The only person who didn't suffer any harm, Hino-chan retorted, but Kohaku wound the rope around Rirei and her had sit in seiza as she faces in our direction.
"I'm very sorry, I didn't keep this retard's reins firmly enough because of which you suffered something as unpleasant as that!"
The two prostrated with Kohaku pressing down Rirei's head onto the ground. While Hino-chan and I felt impressed by this splendidly performed prostration, Luka-chan and Tobi-chan who received some damage took distance from them, using us as a shield.
"W-why did she do such a thing?"
Certainly, although it all happened all of a sudden and I got confused completely, I was indeed curious as to why did she assault Luka-chan and Tobi-chan.
"Uhh, y'see. Er, how do I say't."
Speaking with difficulty Kohaku averted her gaze. After a moment she seemed to have determined herself as she let out a grand sigh and explained.
"Rirei is, uh... she loves yuri."
"By yuri you mean, between girls and such?"
"Exactly. She's satisfied by lookin' at girls gettin' along with each other, but from time t' time she's can't endure it and ends up sexually harassin' others, just like this time."
Kohaku muttered resigned.
"The reason we approached ya, too, is 'cause she harassed a girl in similar way in front of our previous party. Y'see, the party leader was a boy who had hots for that girl. He kick'd us outta party because we were in da way."
Well, whatever happens now, Kohaku exposed everything.
That's when Tobi-chan, blushing, timidly asked.
"...then, you two, um... are in relationship?"
"No way. Dat's impossibru."
"That's right. Even I have the right to chose the girl I go out with."
"Somehow being rejected like that with a straight face pisses me off to no end."
Hearing Rirei wrapped around with rope reject her strongly, a blue vein appeared on Kohaku's temple and she started to poke Rirei. While Rirei was unable to fight back, for some reason she was smiling relaxedly.
"Then why are you two together? Couldn't Kohaku remain in your previous party?"
When I asked that Kohaku stopped poking Rirei and and started thinking, puzzled.
"I guess it's because I just can't leave her alone. Despite everything, Rirei's a good girl and even if she's going complicating everything, I can hold her reigns firmly."
Kohaku smiled self-depreciatingly. Seeing her expression I could tell that Rirei isn't that bad of a girl.
"Hmm. Myu-chan, Luka-chan, Tobi-chan, can I consult you with something?"
"It's 'bout our treatment, right. I get it."
"It's okay, Kohaku. Don't get so depressed."
"Whose fault is this y'think! WHOSE?!"
We'll probably get kicked out huh, said Kohaku resigned, in contrast to that Rirei acted care-freely. Hearing the two's exchange Hino-chan burst into a quiet laughter.
"They are kinda interesting, those two. I like that kind of thing."
Looking at Kohaku and Rirei sitting in seiza, Hino-chan was quite positive. On the other hand, Luka-chan and Tobi-chan had bitter expressions.
"Certainly, they are fun people, but having someone breathe into my ear was surprising."
"...me too, um, having my butt... touched by someone else was a first time so I was surprised."
Luka-chan who was breathed into her ear was still anxious and restless, Tobi-chan blushed deeply after the bodily experience she had.
Certainly, it was sudden and surprising. I too, had my modest boobies nearly touched. That's right, my still-developing boobies!
"Myu-san, how about you? You're also a victim aren't you?"
"Hmm. It's just as you say Luka-chan, but it's not all that different from the skinship I have with my sisters..."
I put a finger on my chin, thinking of all the mischief and skinship I had with Sei-oneechan and Yun-oniichan, it seemed quite normal to me. Also, I think it's normal for girls who get along well to touch each other's bodies.
"What if this time's physical contact had come from a girl you are getting along well with?"
"That's... I would probably forgive her."
"...um, I don't have that kind of experience."
Although I did get consent from Luka-chan, Tobi-chan blushed with embarrassment.
"Ahahaha, sorry about that."
When I was glared at intently by Hino-chan I laughed dryly as to cover it up, Tobi-chan raised her voice in panic.
"...u-um, that's not it. Now I'm friends with Myu-san and others, I would be surprised by such skinship with you, but I admire that kind of thing."
Red up to her ears, Tobi-chan raised her muffler high to try escaping out gazes.
"This time Rirei failed to measure the sense of distance between us, but if we get along better I think we'll be able to party together."
"I think so too."
"I, uh, would like to take my time getting along with her."
Luka-chan and Tobi-chan who suffered this time were willing to overlook it, but that's where Hino-chan interjected.
"Letting this go by unconditionally this time is too much, at least for me."
"Mhhm, that's true. But, what are we going to do?"
We might have to set up some kind of condition, but I couldn't think of any. Though, it seemed like Hino-chan thought of it properly.
"That's simple. You see——"
Hearing the details, all of us agreed.
"We are prepared for being kicked from the party! Still, leaving a party is a bit painful."
"Stop going all weak-willed after acting so harsh to me."
"It's yer fault we're gettin' kick'd!"
We stood in front of the two who as usual, engaged in acting as a boke and tsukkomi. Seeing that our consultation had ended and we returned, Kohaku and Rirei tensed up and waited for us to speak.
"We finished conferring, for the result——we are going to decide based on the results of the temporary party for subjugating the Golem."
Kohaku blinked repeatedly in response to my words, thinking them over.
"We will form a party to subjugate the Golem, then judge you based on your combat skills and other stuff, by the end of the party we will decide whether we want to continue playing in party with you. How about it?"
"No need to ask, we're not in position to complain! We're getting a chance, Rirei, get serious already and stop making problems that'd make us hated!"
At the same time as she spoke to Rirei, Kohaku cut the rope and released her.
"Well then, let's go beat the Golem boss!"
When I raised my first up and yelled, only Hino-chan joined and matched me.
Luka-chan smiled bitterly and Tobi-chan stood in place embarrassed not knowing whether she should raise her hand or not.
Kohaku took our conditions seriously and focused on challenging the Golem, on the other hand, Rirei looked at us with a blush on her face but didn't try to get into needless contact with anyone.
After moving for a while we arrived at the location of the west side's boss, the Golem.
"Now, battle start! Go go!"
Everyone promptly moved to their positions as instructed to by Luka-chan.
"Once everyone arrives in their positions Kohaku-san will start with a pre-emptive attack, from there on we continue as practised."
In accordance to her instructions, the vanguard surrounded the Golem, the rear guards, Kohaku and Rirei stood in the back and in front of them – Luka-chan. These positions are subject to change in case of irregular happenings, but this was the base formation.
"A'ight, startin' up! ——《Quick Blast》, simultaneous firing!"
Three accumulated shots of invisible gust of wind rushed forward and struck the Golems upper body. The big body difficult to shake up with physical attacks stood firmly, rebuilding its posture.
"Let's go! HAa!"
"I'll do my best too!"
Tobi-chan and I took the advantage of our mobility to attack sporadically and stop the Golem's movements by the back of its knees and leg joints.
Hino-chan swung around her sledgehammer which was a blunt weapon and also relatively effective on the Golem. She aimed at the torso and sides to deal damage.
When we gained hate and the target changed from the front to us, Luka-chan moved in front of the Golem and parried its attacks, then struck it with a counter. Also, the open spot was filled by one of us who was nearest to protect the rear guard.
Meanwhile, Kohaku fired her magic in quick succession at the Golem's head, constantly shaving off its HP.
"Fufufu, preparations complete!"
"Everyone, spread out!"
Hearing Rirei's report Luka-chan instructed briefly!
The vanguard who were attacking the Golem from close distance all leaped away, making distance accordingly.
A large pillar of fire sprouted from beneath the Golem, but it flailed its arms trying to extinguish the flames.
While receiving damage from magic, the Golem counter-attacked. Normally when it did a large swing I would pass beneath it or flee from the swung arm around it, but I couldn't escape like that now that there was magic raging in its surroundings. It was correct to open safe distance from it.
"HAa! ——《Fifth Breaker》!"
Each of us used an effective Art to deal damage. At this point the Golem had 70% HP remaining. The efficiency was far greater than when we fought against it with Hino-chan and Luka-chan, mainly using physical attacks.
"Fufufu, I prepared the next spell!"
Enveloped by the flames for the second time the Golem waved its arms, tearing through the pillar of fire.
Hearing Kohaku's mutter I thought that if we didn't see the boss' HP, it would seem as if our attacks didn't work on it, I agreed with her in this respect.
The Golem who swung his arms had passed the pillar of flames and took a step towards Kohaku and Rirei in the rear guard.
"The target changed to the rearguard with last attack! I'll move to protect them."
"Then we'll focus on stopping him!"
I started running at full speed and swung my one-handed sword at the back of the Golem's knee. Matching me, Hino-chan swung her sledgehammer at its shoulder to try toppling it backwards, but the Golem withstood that.
However, matching that a magic burst beneath the Golem's feet and caused him to lose his footing. The boss fell on its back.
"Ohhh! Nice timing!"
"Y'can use magic in other ways than striking the enemy directly y'know. But, with this I'm out of MP, need to wait until it recovers!"
In response to Kohaku's words I said it's enough and used the chance she created to move close to the Golem all at once, then fired magic from up close.
"——《Light Shot》 《Light Shot》. And one more 《Light Shot》!"
I used the time it took the Golem to stand up to fire magic at him. Hino-chan too, focused on attacking its shoulders and arms in order to slow its rising. Tobi-chan got on top of Golem's head and quickly thrust at the crystals on the head with the tip of her dagger.
It seemed like we overdid it seeing the chance to attack. The Golem's arm swing was fast and incongruous with its appearance.
"Hino-chan?! Kh, kha!"
Although Tobi-chan leaped away quickly and avoided the attack, Hino-chan and I were blown away by the strongly swung rocky arm.
Since Hino-chan used the hammer as a shield, she fell on her butt while still holding her weapon. In contrast, I was blown away and just like that I made full use of 【Action Restriction Release】 to rebuild my posture and connect it to the next action.
"...everyone! Are you safe?!"
"More importantly Luka-chan, we'll help you out right away!"
"I'm all right. HAa!"
She parried the Golem's right fist with the side of the sword, then she avoided the following blow by moving away half a step. By parrying and avoiding she stranded the Golem.
After that, we closed onto the Golem once again and healed up the entire party's HP with recovery magic, then waited for Kohaku to recover her MP.
Once we cut down the Golem's HP to 30%——
"Fufufu, let's go with a big one!"
"I recover'd half of my MP! I'll match Rirei!"
As the two reported we waited for Luka-chan's signal.
In that moment everyone moved away from the Golem. This time magic caused an even more powerful blaze to manifest.
Fire and wind magic wrapped around the Golem, increasing each other's power with a synergistic effect.
Although by chaining magic normally one could increase the damage they dealt, for two different players to deliberately chain their attacks together was a proof of their high player skills.
"Amazing!! Can it be, possibly..."
I muttered quietly, expecting a lot of the two's skill. Meanwhile the torrent of flames wrapped around the Golem, then before long the black shadow standing in flames collapsed and disappeared.
After magic was released this time everyone remained vigilant, once the flames disappeared and we confirmed the Golem disappeared everyone relaxed their limbs.
"...is it over?"
"So that it is. A victory you can't complain about!"
Tobi-chan asked still not sure and Hino-chan answered her.
It seemed like Luka-chan was quite tense because the last time we came here for Golem leveling she emphasized on avoidance, and this time she had to parry enemy attacks in order to protect the rear guard, but now she was smiling a little bit tired.
While the four of us were happy to have defeated the Golem, Kohaku and Rirei still made tensed, stiff expressions.
"So, what 'bout us?"
They felt our decision to be more important than the fact we defeated the Golem.
And, my answer was——
"Hm? What do you mean?"
"Kohaku, calm down. There, there."
I ain't no horse! Kohaku yelled at Rirei. Seeing her riled up I apologized lightly.
"Aw, sorry about that. You were too serious so I wanted to relax first."
"So, the result is?"
Since Kohaku went all limp, Rirei asked for her. I told them they passed.
"Personally, by all means I'd like you to join. To think we'd meet such a hidden gem."
Luka-chan and others didn't seem to have any problems with that after seeing them in combat.
"But, suddenly touching people is too surprising, so overtly physical contact is prohibited."
While Kohaku looked very pleased hearing that they passed, with the following words Rirei slumped heavily turning into a shadow.
"W'at a shame, Rirei. But doing that's bad. Next time we'll get kick'd out."
"Fufufu, but considering the environment, being able to look really pretty girls from up close, this isn't too bad."
*slurp*, Rirei wiped off the drool dripping down from her mouth, causing Kohaku to stare at her.
"Let's refocus and go to the Third Town! Also, we need to celebrate completing a party of six!"
"You're right. At first it was just me and Myu-chan, it's great to have gathered everyone up."
While Hino-chan acted earnestly, Luka-chan recalled how she was scouted and put on a light smile.
Tobi-chan thought that the three of us were together from the start and was surprised. Kohaku and Rirei too, have thought that all of us were together from the beginning.
From an objective point of view, it means that we're very compatible.
"Now that we completed building a party we need to hurry and conquer the areas and mobs we haven't yet! We can't let ourselves be left behind by my sisters!"
Having fierce competition such as Sei-oneechan and Taku-san with the others on the frontlines was really thrilling.
"Fufufu, so Myu-san has sisters. I look forward to meeting them. After all, there's the kind of people who gather around beauties and pretty girls. I really look forward to it."
"...Rirei, from time to time I envy your positiveness."
Then, we have arrived at the Third Town that was in the vicinity of the iron and soil mine and immediately completed registration with the transition portal.