Adding to those strangely real settings, whenever your crafting product rank went up, it was possible that you would need other crafting skills in order to create high rank products or that you’d even need to use multiple crafting skills at one time in order to process them.
Since these sorts of things that required ridiculous dedication were apparent, even for those who managed to overcome the barrier of the initial stamina and cumbersome procedures, half of the intermediate level players would just give in and quit.
To make matters worse, as mentioned previously, at intermediate level, all you could make were things that could already be bought from NPCs. This lack of a sense of accomplishment would usually quickly drive anyone out who wasn’t seriously stubborn and deeply devoted to it.
To cut straight to the point, this vulgar process of crafting was the one major complaint of the users of Fairy Tale Chronicle. Not only that, but in the same way that the crafts people were no longer allowing their products to go into the marketplace, the number of people in the crafting occupation were comparatively few compared to other games.
This was why countless times, requests were made asking the developers to at the very least make the crafting levelling up process slightly easier.
『I’ve always thought this, but I really would like to see all of the contents of your storage, Hiro-san』
「I don’t mind showin’ ya, but it’s filled with manufactured products and raw harvested materials, so there ain’t many valuable items」
『Oh, come on. Those Level 8 potions that you say you have a mountainful of are already valuable items, mate』
「Everyone who does advanced crafting pretty much all have storages that resemble one another. I wouldn’t even be surprised if there were an immediate price collapse if we were to sell ‘em」
『Your storages are all that ridiculous？』
「Welp, I mean there are like twenty-four peeps who can make Level 8, n’ each one o’ them has ten thousand of each variety, so at the very least, just using one of those sections from their storage would make a total of a minimum of two million one-hundred forty-thousand bottles」
At a glance, these were staggering amounts, but if you were to think about it from the perspective of the total number of players and amount of consumption, you couldn’t really say it was all that much. After all, in just one trip through a dungeon, you would normally expend fifty to a hundred potions.
『Well, moving on. Hiro-san, wanna delve into a dungeon right now？』
「Ooo, that sounds good. I was just about to run outta raw drop materials, and I was plannin’ to rest a bit today or tomorrow for the entrance exam, so once I’m done with the work right here then I’d be glad to join ya」
『What are you making right now？』
「I’ll save the surprise for later」
Insolently jesting, Hiroshi continued his work as his friends tentatively set the meeting place and start time. Glancing at them from the side, he continued his work……
「Alriiight, skill maxed out！」
Having achieved the objective of his work, he confirmed that he had mastered the unique skill that he had recently obtained from a quest. After he had taken out a transition stone and some other things in preparation for going to the meeting place, the sound effect for receiving mail rang.
Peeking at his mailbox, there were three letters with odd titles and clearly garbled text. He immediately sought to delete them, but just in case, he reached out to only his acquaintances and friends.
「Hey. Did anyone send me mail just now？」
『No, I haven’t. Why？』
「Ya see, I just got three letters with garbled text」
『……You’d best not touch those』
The oldest member warned Hiroshi.
「Seemed suspicious so I didn’t intend to look inside, but why？」
『Lately, there have apparently been several cases of trouble with clients being destroyed due to garbled mail. Even the public has picked up on it』
「Whaaat? That the first time such a fatal bug came in? Oh shoot, yer right. There’s a notification from management」
『So once you contact management, you need to make sure to avoid touching them, even if it means not erasing them』
「Understood. Thanks fer lettin’ me know」
He thanked him, thereafter contacting the GM regarding the garbled mail. He also reported the bug to management with a screenshot attached. Just in case, he made a backup that didn’t include the aforementioned garbled mail, then activated the transition stone to finally delve into the dungeon, when all of a sudden, an irregularity occurred.
「The heck is this！？」
The garbled mail began filling up his mailbox, commencing its invasion even through the other windows.
「The garbled mail just started pourin’ outta the mailbox！」
「I dunno！ Wha, why did it just open without me touching it！！」
The chat members heard Hiroshi’s cry, and they hurriedly tried calling out to him. However, he wasn’t even allowed to answer them as the garbled mail began piling up more and more in his vision. A new location in garbled letters was added to the location selection for his transition stone and was automatically chosen.
「Hold yer horses! Movement cancel！」
Hiroshi’s scream was futile, the transition stone was activated, and all he could see were errors and alerts filling up the area. When those two warning displays enveloped his field of vision like a magic circle, Hiroshi’s consciousness faded.
「……The heck is this……」
He muttered, grimacing as he looked at his surroundings. The moment he opened his eyes, he saw that he was lying down in a familiar, yet unfamiliar sort of forest. Well, it was a forest, but it soon became clear that he hadn’t gone too far in after he walked in the direction of the light and saw open grassland. Though it wasn’t clear as to where the entrance was, he didn’t think there was any issue with registering it as being within that vicinity.
「Seriously, what’s goin’ on……」
Paying close observation to his surroundings, he sighed at how ridiculous the situation was. It would have been no issue if the plants that made up the forest were all unknown to him. He didn’t quite have enough knowledge to differentiate between vegetation, yet he found himself recognizing nearly all of their names. It went without saying that the majority of them were not found in the real world.
「And in this outfit? Ya’d never catch me in this……」
His clothing was not what he was wearing before putting on the headgear, nor was it what he had been wearing in-game: A simple shirt with something like a monk’s tunic over it, pants that were of much too insultingly rough making to be called slacks, and shoes that were a step above having no shoes at all, but with soles that made you question whether it made a difference. He remembered what this was: the clothing set you start out with in Fairy Tale Chronicle. It was quite honestly shabby.
His possessions were no different: other than his clothing, he had only one shoddy knife. He had no purse nor satchel. Even in the clothes he had previously there was no purse, so a knife was at least better than nothing, but this was still going to be a tough situation.
「Now then, the heck do I gotta do first……」
Ending his escape from reality that had also functioned as confirming the situation, he grumbled as he searched for something that might give him an idea as to what he should do for the moment. Joking aside, there was a chance that his life was in danger, so he made it a priority to search earnestly.
As he was doing all that and closely observing his surroundings, all of a sudden, he heard something akin to a female shriek. Since it was a female voice, Hiroshi had instinctively thought to escape in the opposite direction of the voice, but the situation itself was quicker.
「What in tarnation！」
Not even ten seconds after hearing her voice, he saw a somewhat familiar-looking blonde girl rushing desperately out of the deep forest while screaming. As she ran along at a speed unfathomable for normal humans, he saw that behind her there was a gigantic bear of about three meters.
Hiroshi, who had been shaking as he looked at the girl, lost balance with his footing, and before he knew it, he had tumbled in between both the girl and the bear who had nearly caught up.
Before the attractive girl with the familiar voice and appearance had even yelled that out, he had instinctively drove the knife into the bear’s stomach with all his might, causing it to fly away. The inside of his head was by this time a blank slate, and the shaking from his entire body would not subside.
Faced with the deep trauma associated with the beings known as “females” on one end, and with the imminent danger of a gigantic bear on the other end, his reason and emotions should have withered away in fear, but he did not instinctively acknowledge the bear as a threat. He stepped forward precisely because he was more frightened of the other.
Though quivering with uncontrollable fear, Azuma Hiroshi was pushed by his instincts to stop the giant bear in its tracks.
「So ya had garbled mail sent to ya too, Toudou-san?」
「So you also received it, Azuma-kun……」
「In my case, seems like the transition stone was the trigger, but what about you, Toudou-san？」
「For me it was when I tried going through the eastern Wulls transportation gate」
After dissecting the bear, the two of them had roughly split apart the meat and cooked it, discussing the events prior to this as they filled themselves up. They were still conversing at quite the distance, and Hiroshi was clearly still guarded, but Haruna got why that was the case, so she decided not to comment on it.
「They just brought us over here without no equipment, items, money…Not cool, man, not cool」
「Seriously. And I just had a Berserker Bear pop up out of nowhere as I was searching for safety……」
「You’re not all that lucky after all, Toudou-san」
Recalling what it was like to reunite with Hiroshi, she expelled a deep sigh. Just like Hiroshi, she had been sent over here, running in a panic as fast as she could after being attacked by a bear in the middle of searching for a safe area.
However, no matter what abilities you had, once you got into a panic, you would not be able to use those abilities efficiently. As a result, she had only run for a bit when she tripped on a rock and the bear had nearly caught up to her, which had happened just earlier. As they were both present for everything after that, there was nothing more to be told.
For the battle itself, she had noticed Hiroshi’s quivering attempt to stop the opponent’s attack and had followed up with support magic, thereafter managing to both attack it with their weak startup knives and make it through with nothing more than light bruises.
For better or for worse, they retained the abilities and skills from the game, easily managing to put an end to this boss bear even with their meager equipment.
「Actually, in retrospect, it wouldn’t have been difficult to defeat that thing solo with this knife……」
「Yup. Thankfully, our levels, skills, ‘n parameters seem to have been carried with us」
He nodded, recalling the battle from earlier and their healing up afterward. The Berserker Bear was in actuality a field boss meant to kill first-time players, but from the standpoint of most players, it was nothing more than an inferior low-level dungeon enemy.
「I recall messing with the appearance of my avatar a good amount, but what do I look like now？」
「Uhh…other than yer clothing, yer still the old Toudou-san who was the class moodmaker」
Haruna said with a sigh. Hiroshi wasn’t sure what the matter was.
「I don’t really see why ya’d be worryin’ about your appearance when we were suddenly blown into this odd situation……」
「You say that, but…in this game where personal information is abundant, I’m a little hesitant to walk around without makeup」
「Ohhh, in that sense, it would probably be best for ya to be careful, yeah」
「So you understand？」
「Yup. Plus your parents are famous and all」
He looked at Haruna once more as he was speaking, recognizing another issue.
「Now that I think ’bout it……」
「The startup clothing in this game would leave a lot to be desired in real life……」
「……Now that you say it……」
They weren’t concerned about it when they were in their avatar forms, but the game’s startup clothing was designed to be loose, which left a surprising amount of gaps. Although it was crafted so that nothing major could be seen, depending on the pose or angle, it wasn’t difficult to be able to see cleavage.
And as of now, Haruna’s body type was not the washing board it had been for the whole time she played, but was instead her real body that could beat a gravure idol any day……
「There really are quite a few issues with fantasy clothing……」
「I wouldn’t mind makin’ ya some clothing if ya want」
「Sewing? Heck, as a crafter, you kinda hafta be decent at everything if ya wanna aim for advanced level」
Due to various circumstances, it wasn’t well-known what required crafting or what could be accomplished by crafting. At the very least, it wasn’t likely that anyone other than craftsmen knew that the slogan “Everything in the Game can be Crafted” was in fact true.
「Well for the time being, what would we do ’bout money if we wanted to go to town?」
「This whole penniless situation with this startup equipment is seriously sucky……」
「And we don’t even have shoes……」
As they were grumbling, they took notice of the bear’s pelt that they had roughly dealt with. They had been thrown into this situation with nothing but the clothes they had on, so the remains of the bear were like a mountain of treasure to Hiroshi as he contemplated all the things he could make.
「Well, I say I could make shoes with this」
「You can do that？」
「Without too much difficulty, yeah. For now I’d need string and a needle. For the string, I can make do with the fur of those rabbits wandering around here, and for the needle……I saw a river back there, so I could probably make do with fish bones」
「So that’s all you need……」
「Yeah, at least for makin’ shoes. So with that being said, I’ll take care of the rabbit fur string, but sorry, would ya do me a favor and grab some fish bones? Ya seem like yer cookin’ skills are better than mine」
「Roger. May as well make dried food while I’m at it」
After hearing her say that and seeing her off to the river, he made use of the nearby rabbits and began weaving string. The rabbits in this region were like Angora rabbits in that they had fluffy fur, so they were ideal for making string.
To put it into further perspective, with a high-level weaving skill, even without tools it was possible to weave a minimal line of string. Of course, it would still be difficult to weave cloth.
「At this rate, we gotta think ’bout wilderness survival……」
「That’s how it has to be for now……」
He grumbled while weaving thin string to the limit with his bare hands. After handling the fish she had caught, Haruna moved onto preparing it for smoking as she expressed her agreement with a sigh.
「For now, once we’ve gathered a certain amount o’ tools, we’d be able to make some sellable medicine and whatnot, so I guess we may as well start from there……」
He let out a deep sigh as he had finished weaving the necessary amount of string and had given it the minimum processing, needle in hand. While being fed up at how far they had to go, this was how the first day of their fantasy life began.