I put on the work gloves, holding the scoop and the jute bag. I begin digging up the Healgrass.
Is it just me, or am I already becoming a pro at collecting on my second day?
And from now on, I’ll have to consider where to gather herbs and be careful not to overdo it.
I feel like a truly thorough and thoughtful gentleman.
I have overcome many trials and difficulties, obtaining various skills in order to accomplish this noble task!
Behold! The fruits of my labor!
Filling a mere jute bag within an hour is child’s play!
And I’ve also mastered the way to differentiate between Healgrass and Paingrass!
The trick is the same as predicting your opponent’s moves in kendo.
You have to study your opponent.
But you can’t observe the tiny details.
You need to watch his entire body.
And you can’t just gaze at him.
It’s just like seeing an entire forest through a single tree.
And it’s just like seeing a single tree through a forest.
You won’t miss even the slightest difference.
Paingrass… There you are!!!
I got most of them wrong though.
That’s how I’ve used my own unique natural high to motivate myself, although I’ve been working quietly the whole time.
Master should have no way of knowing what’s going on in my head.
Doing a monotonous task for an extended time is sure to cause me to let my guard down and make mistakes.
That’s why I’m doing it out of necessity.
This is my way of doing things.
In truth, this task is boring me to death, and I’m keeping it a secret.
I don’t care even if anyone thinks I’m a dangerous drug dealer.
It’s not good for me to pretend that I’m someone else.
Isn’t it okay that I have my own ways to enjoy myself?
Watching the 2 Automatons working at double my efficiency makes me feel like my efforts are in vain.
Dammit, I don’t stand a chance against machines when it comes to this type of work.
「Oh, looks like it is time for a break. We shall have lunch now.」
The 2 Automatons stop working when they hear Master speaking.
It’s physically impossible for them to eat!
Volff and Helix are also reacting to him.
No, to be precise, it looks like they’re reacting to something descending from the air.
The Roc Bird is coming, with its claws on its prey.
I wonder what it caught this time.
I’m using【Identify】to see what it is.
Hunter Bear Lv.???
Monster Enemy Target Carcass
The giant bird is carrying this dangerous looking bear with one leg.
Thus the hunter was hunted.
Just how strong is this Roc Bird?
This bear is about the size of an adult polar bear, and yet the bird is carrying it around so easily.
Master seems pleased and uses his Survival Knife on it.
There’s some fur and 2 pieces of meat.
「This is my favorite.」
The meat is soft to the touch. In fact, isn’t this a whole wrist?
【Material】Hunter Bear Paw Raw Material Grade B- Rarity 5 Weight 1
The paw of a Hunter Bear. Soft and delicious, and usually fetches a high price.
【Material】Hunter Bear Meat Raw Material Grade C Rarity 3 Weight 5
The meat of a Hunter Bear. Has a peculiar smell, but is rich in nutrition.
【Material】Hunter Bear Fur Raw Material Grade C Rarity 3 Weight 3
The fur of a Hunter Bear. Thick and keeps relatively warm. Looks tough to process.
I’ve never seen an item with Rarity 5 before.
Master casts a new summon spell, summoning another humanoid.
It looks similar to the Metalskin and Automaton.
But its surface looks a lot shinier than the Metalskin.
Monster Summon ???
Another mysterious humanoid summon.
But I wonder why Master summoned it.
The Silverskin is taking out various tools from Master’s《Item Box》.
It’s all kitchenware.
The Silverskin removes the bones from the meat, which it then slices with a kitchen knife. It’s making creases on both sides of each slice using the kitchen knife, sprinkling some salt and pepper as well as some kind of brown herb on the meat slices.
Now it’s grilling all the meat.
Even though the Silverskin didn’t remove the blood, the meat still looks hearty.
The Silverskin removes the fur from the Hunter Bear Paw and begins steaming it.
It seems strangely skillful.
I bet Master routinely makes the Silverskin do the outdoor cooking.
「And as for the Paingrass, it is edible when you heat it thoroughly. It is rather delicious.」
The Silverskin places the bones into the soup, then adds some shredded Paingrass into it, letting it cook.
There’s also some bread and cheese.
I didn’t expect this to be a proper meal.
I’m trying out the Paingrass as Master suggested.
And when I【Appraise】the food, it looks like this.
【Food】Hunter Bear Steak Satiety +15% Grade C- Rarity 3 Weight 1
Slight STR buff, lasts for 1 hour
A simple steak made from Hunter Bear Meat, with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
That’s a long buff.
I did hear from Saki that there are items that provide the same effects as Enchant spells.
She was stunned when I asked her what a buff was. I’m glad she was willing to teach me.
It’s treated as a food item, but I’m sure players would love the stat boosts.
【Food】Braised Hunter Bear Paw Soup Satiety +10% Grade B- Rarity 5 Weight 1
Slight INT buff, lasts for 2 hours
Hunter Bear Paw soaked and braised into thin soup.
The most common way to cook and enjoy a Hunter Bear Paw, which is regarded as a delicacy.
This one too.
Any magic user would want the food made from Hunter Bear Paws.
I’ll take a screenshot of both food items just in case.
【Food】Paingrass and Hunter Bear Soup Satiety +30% Grade C Rarity 3 Weight 1
Hunter Bear Bone Soup simmered with Paingrass. Especially filling.
This dish really has no buffs whatsoever.
But the satiety is really high.
Eating the steak, bread, cheese, and the soup fills my Satiety by more than 50%.
I’m trying a small bite of the Hunter Bear Paw.
It’s frustrating when I can’t describe what about it is tasty.
The only thing I can say for sure is that the meat is especially soft and easy to chew on.
Master probably likes it because of that too.
Master is feeding the bone in the soup to Volff, and a raw slice of bear meat to Helix.
Just to be clear, I’m still their master.
The Silverskin cleaned all the dishes.
I didn’t have time to help anyway.
Or rather, it finished its task too quickly and precisely.
The Automaton is most likely to be the advanced monster summon of the Wood Puppet, but the Silverskin seems even more advanced.
Master has recalled his Silverskin.
No, he’s also recalled both Automatons.
There are 5 jute bags that are filled. The amount is the same as yesterday.
Then we’re probably going back to his house to make the potions.
「Are we done gathering herbs?」
「Then I suppose we’ll be making the potions now.」
「Hm? We are not finished here.」
Master, please don’t make that face.
「Shall we have one more battle, this time starting unarmed?」
Right now, my HP is full, but my MP is at 30%.
Some of my skills have indeed leveled up, but is he really trying to make me fight another risky battle?
「Do not worry. I shall help you if it becomes too dangerous. Now, prepare yourself.」
Master begins casting a spell without waiting for me.
Is this tough love?
Or is it simply abuse?
My opponent approaches after a short time.
It’s another Snow Ape coming from the forest.
It’s coming at a slower pace, but something else seems different about this one.
It’s holding something in its hand.
It’s a bone shaft with a piece of rock attached to the top.
It’s a stone axe.
I have a bad feeling about this. I check it using【Identify】.
Snow Ape Lv.5
Monster Enemy Target Active・Guided
This monster is 1 level higher than the other Snow Apes.
「Sorry Master, but I think this monster is a little stronger than the others.」
「Is that so? Hmm… Oh, I may have made a mistake. Well, just try fighting it.」
Are you doing this on purpose, Master?
I think I’m about to cry.
Getting straight to the results, it was an overwhelming defeat for me.
It hadn’t taken a minute before Master interfered and destroyed the monster with a single spell.
I couldn’t tell what spell it was, no matter how hard I stared at it.
I suffered an abnormal status and couldn’t use any of my skills. My vision was clouded as well, as if I was trying to see through a thick glass.
I wasn’t being complacent either.
The Lv.4 Snow Apes are already difficult for me.
I know for sure that I was acting cautiously.
This ape was only 1 level higher.
And it was holding a single weapon.
I had told myself that in the beginning of the fight, but putting it plainly, it felt like a totally different monster.
I managed to dodge its first blow.
What happened next took me by surprise.
It threw the stone axe at me.
I avoided the stone axe as well, but I couldn’t avoid its sudden charge.
My HP dropped by 70%, even though it wasn’t a direct hit… I think.
But then I suffered an abnormal status similar to intoxication.
I found out later that it was an abnormal status effect caused by a critical hit.
According to the explanation, there’s a chance of suffering an abnormal status when getting hit by a physical attack that reduces my HP by more than half.
The abnormal status that I had was 『Stunned』.
The status causes a temporary decrease in all of my stats and renders me unable to act.
When I recover my HP using spells or potions, there’s a chance that I’ll recover from the abnormal status depending on my SPI resistance.
But because of the status effect itself, there’s no way I can get rid of it.
The worst abnormal status is『Unconscious』, which is similar to『Stunned』, but also reduces my resistance due to SPI.
The least worrisome is『Dizzy』which still allows me to act, although all of my actions and skills suffer a penalty.
In other words…
Things will get bad if I suffer a heavy blow.
I’ve experienced it firsthand. Along with the pain.
I think I’m about to throw up for real, Master.
「If you are unable to fight, your monsters will be rendered powerless. Do you understand?」
I understand, Master.
There’s no point if I fall before my monster summons.
The most logical place is for the Summoner to remain in the rear, with the monster summons in the front lines.
But I don’t feel like changing my current play style.
「Now that you understand, you know what you have to do. You have the means to do it.」
Do your lessons have to be so practical, Master?
「You do not have to force yourself to speak. Take your time to rest.」
Master sticks his Survival Knife into the Snow Ape.
I can’t really see what the item drops are.
「I shall take the skin as a research material. You may have the bones and stone axe.」
I can see Volff in front of me.
I’m about to fall asleep, but I’m fighting to stay awake.
Otherwise, Volff and Helix would be recalled automatically.
「You are a stubborn one, but I suppose it is fine.」
I somehow managed to climb Master’s Roc Bird by myself.
Right, I should think positively about my defeat.
It’s not like I died and revived.
The trip back to Master’s house is a peaceful one.
The Roc Bird is flying lower and slower, but it’s still cold.
Volff is staying close to me and keeping me warm, so it helps.
I should make use of this time to assess my situation.
That was really bad. My stats have dropped by about 40%.
I can’t go on an adventure like this.
I should take this as a lesson.
Let’s take a look at the item drops that Master gave to me.
【Material】Snow Ape Bones Raw Material Grade C Rarity 3 Weight 0+
The bones of a Snow Ape. Light and tough.
【Weapon: Axe】Wild Ape Axe Grade D- Rarity 3
AP+3 Power 3 Weight 3 Durability 90 Throw Range 10
A simple axe made from Snow Ape Bones with a stone attached to it.
The size of a hand-axe. Can be thrown.
I’m saving a screenshot and keeping them in my《Item Box》.
I should open the link to the forums that Fiona gave me, and start writing my post.
I don’t feel like taking the time to read everything that’s already on it.
I somehow manage to rouse myself and write the information.
The stat penalty has decreased somewhat by the time we arrive at Master’s house.
It’s been about 20 minutes on the Timestamp.
That’s about 70% of my stats.
But that means it’s about halfway until the debuff expires.
I’m probably not ready to go on an adventure yet.
But helping Master shouldn’t be a problem.
I went to the 2nd floor and changed out of my tattered clothes into my new Cotton Clothes.
Looking at the Simple Clothes now, it looks like it’s impossible to get it repaired.
It would’ve lasted long enough if I wore it under some kind of armor though.
There’s probably nothing else I can do with it except throw it away. Or use it as a duster.
I head down to the underground workshop with Volff and Helix. Master and his Metalskin are already working on potions.
「Well, you don’t have to push yourself.」
「If it’s just filling bottles, it’s no problem at all.」
Master is using Alchemy to make the potions at a fast pace as usual.
As for me, I’m arranging the bottles and pouring in the liquid using the funnel and wooden ladle, then putting them into the《Item Box》.
Quickly and precisely, without making mistakes.
Besides bumping a bottle into another just once, I didn’t make any mistakes.
Reina sent me another message, but I’m already absorbed in my work. I’ll read it later.
I’m supposed to be working anyway.
Master stops after making 400 potions.
There’s still a little more than a bag of Healgrass remaining.
「How do you feel now?」
Now that he mentions it, the stat penalty is completely gone.
「I think I’m okay now.」
「Mm. I shall remain downstairs then. You may use the Healgrass as well as any of the tools in the workshop as you please.」
「Understood. Thank you very much.」
「Make sure to put the potions you need to deliver to the Guild in this《Item Box》.」
Saying that, he gives me another《Item Box》.
It looks like an old backpack made of cloth.
In fact, just how many《Item Boxes》does he have?
He’s too mysterious.
Since I have Master’s permission, I think I’ll complete the quest I received personally from the Adventurer’s Guild.
My MP is still far from fully recovered. It’s about half of my total MP.
I’ll use Alchemy after I’ve recovered some more MP.
I’ll only use it to conjure water.
I’m making the potions while referring to the steps in a virtual window.
For now, I’ve arranged 30 potions to fulfil the quest.
First, I use 1 Healgrass to make 2 potions. They turned out to be Grade C.
Okay, no problem.
Now, I’m doubling the input and output.
Still no problem.
Probably because it’s a simple task, and I have the steps right in front of me as reference.
After repeating it multiple times, I’m beginning to have some doubts.
It’s about the steps for making potions.
Grind some Healgrass with a mortar.
Mix it in water and extract it.
Filter out the solid from the mixture.
Boil the extracted liquid for 5 minutes.
Cool it to room temperature.
Fill the liquid in a bottle as per Guild specifications.
When making tea, the ingredients are usually extracted using hot water.
It’s not like you can’t make tea using cold water, but it’s terribly inefficient because the cold water won’t make the tea leaves thinner.
So why do I have to extract the ingredients before heating it?
Why can’t I put the crushed Healgrass in hot water?
Is there something about it that will hinder the process?
Logically speaking, there should be a reason why I have to extract it from the water and heat up the mixture.
And it’s strange that just using the extracted solid is enough to make recovery pills.
Besides the fact that it’s more concentrated, doesn’t this suggest that the extracted solid still has a recovery effect?
Looking into it may be worth it.
But before that, I should make the potions as requested.
I can experiment after that.
It’s another bad habit of mine to ignore other things when I get absorbed in the task at hand.
I need to watch myself.
《Pharmacy Level Up!》
Halfway through making potions, my Pharmacy skill leveled up.
I thought the Grade of my potions would increase from there, but it didn’t happen.
Besides a single Grade C+ potion, all other 30 potions were Grade C.
There’s not much improvement.
Making the potions myself makes me realize just how much more skilled Master is.
It’s extremely difficult to mass produce something with a consistent Grade.
The 400 potions that Master produced today were all Grade C.
Is there a way to manage the Grade?
Even in factory production, it takes incredibly high technology to standardize the quality of the products.
Going beyond the standard specifications will only make the cost go up.
That said, even if I simply try to lower the Grade, it will most likely result in just that.
If I can maintain a consistent Grade, it will keep my costs down.
That’s right. I want to avoid delivering Grade C+ potions to the guild, so if I don’t make them all in one go, I’ll have to do it again.
In other words, it’ll cost me time and materials.
If you consider time to be a personnel cost, it becomes a pretty big one.
I’ll make all of my potions Grade C.
I kind of want to give it a try.
I’ve been making potions at a good pace, so I’ll make some more in excess.
Since my work has been pretty smooth, I’m saving the workflow of my newest potion into my memory.
I’ll use Alchemy to make 4 potions.
They turned out to be Grade C.
The MP cost was big, but not as much as yesterday.
Is it because I’m a little more skilled now?
《Alchemy Level Up!》
Now my Alchemy skill has leveled up.
I should move on to the next level.
I’m using 3 Healgrass to make 6 potions at once.
Throughout the workflow, the part I have to pay the most attention to is grinding the Healgrass with the mortar.
As the amount of Healgrass increases, it becomes more difficult to make it evenly thin.
I have to grind it carefully.
Whenever I touch it and feel that it’s not thin enough, I increase my force slightly.
I’m working carefully, focusing on the nerves in my fingertips.
An idea suddenly comes to mind.
Is there a stat that determines the Grade when I’m working?
I think the process itself depends on the player’s skill.
It’s only natural to think that DEX has something to do with the Grade.
I’ve successfully made 6 potions.
There are 2 Grade C- potions.
I feel a little unhappy about it, but maybe it’s time to test my hypothesis.
I bring up the spells list in a virtual window and select the spell that temporarily raises my DEX.
Then I execute it.
The spellcasting is automatically finished.
「Physical Enchant: Aqua!」
I should make sure that my stat has increased.
It’s the first time I’m seeing a +3 with Physical Enchant.
I wonder just how much a mere +3 increase will affect my results.
Originally, it would be difficult to determine the effect without increasing the size of the sample.
I can only judge based on how easy the process will become.
And I shouldn’t waste valuable time.
The spell only lasts for 15 minutes.
I’ll use a little trick that Fiona taught me.
There’s an extremely tiny bar on the very top of my virtual window, showing the remaining time for buffs.
I make it easier to see.
I should hurry.
I quickly make 6 potions, making no excess in my movements while remaining precise and calm.
By the time I’m finished, my forehead is sweating.
All 6 potions are Grade C.
If I wanted to make Grade C+ potions and put more effort into grinding the Healgrass, I think I could have done it.
An info popup resounds in my head.
《You may obtain the following Support Skill(s):【Precise Manipulation】》
Something seems to have triggered the availability for this skill.
I need 3 bonus points to learn it. I have 5 bonus points right now.
I’ll try it out.
If it’s anything that will help me make consistently high Grade potions, it’s definitely worth it.
I immediately obtain and activate it.
I’ll try it again.
I can see that the effects of Physical Enchant: Aqua is about to expire.
I have less than half of my MP remaining, but using the spell a few more times is no problem.
This time, I’m actively trying to increase the Grade.
I’m using 1 Healgrass to make 2 potions.
Quickly, precisely, and carefully.
I think I’m making better progress than before.
This is the result after using【Appraise】:
【Recovery Item】Potion HP+11% Recovery Grade B- Rarity 1 Weight 1
An ordinary potion. Restores a small amount of HP.
Leaves a bitter aftertaste when you drink it.
※Cannot be used repeatedly. Item cooldown is 6 minutes.
They’re both Grade B- potions.
The recovery amount is even higher than Grade C+ potions, and the cooldown is shorter too.
I save it under a separate workflow for the purposes of using Quick Recreate, and make a hard copy of the【Appraise】results.
After that, I became absorbed in my work.
For convenience, I did it 4 times, changing the variables each time.
I tried increasing the amount from 2 stacks of Healgrass to 3.
I also tried speeding up the process and allowing myself to make mistakes. It was pretty rushed, and it was the fastest I’ve ever done while ignoring the quality.
I’ve obtained the results in every category I can think of.
But I’ve realized somewhat that I can’t be sure of the results until I increase the sample sizes.
What I do know for sure is that the combined use of Physical Enchant: Aqua and【Precise Manipulation】improves the result.
I thought that Physical Enchant: Aqua was only useful in increasing the accuracy of weapons in battle.
I never thought that it would see its use here.
It may apply to other spells too.
There are other elemental enchant spells I’ve never used before.
I know for sure that I’ve never used any light elemental spells.
I’m arranging each of the potions according to Grade.
On the top is the Grade B- potions, and on the bottom are the Grade D ones, which have increased in number.
I’ll just deliver all the Grade C potions to the Adventurer’s Guild, and keep the Grade C+ and Grade B- potions for my own use.
Since my MP has mostly been used up, maybe I should stop experimenting for now.
Aren’t there other things I can try out?
I pour one of the Grade B- potions into the light measuring cup that I just bought today.
After confirming the amount, I pour it into the pot.
With the help of the measuring cup, I pour the same amount of water into the pot.
I mix it with the wooden ladle and pour it back into the empty bottle.
I’m experimenting with the results after diluting it.
It was a simple experiment that cost no MP at all. I’m checking the results using【Appraise】.
【Recovery Item】Potion HP+5% Recovery Grade D Rarity 1 Weight 1
An ordinary potion. Restores a small amount of HP.
Leaves a bitter aftertaste when you drink it.
※Cannot be used repeatedly. Item cooldown is 5 minutes.
Yup, the recovery amount has been reduced by half. Perfectly logical.
The cooldown is what catches my attention.
It’s been reduced by 3 minutes.
What does this mean?
I thought that the cooldown was implemented in order to stop players from repeatedly using potions.
But with this result, it looks like there are some other factors involved.
What could it be?
Maybe I should ask Master if he knows.
The Metalskin opens the door to the workshop just as I finished cleaning up.
It looks like it’s time for dinner.
Master enters the room as well.
「How is your work progressing?」
「I’ve managed to finish the request for the Guild. I’ve also made a few potions of higher Grade.」
Bear meat isn’t on the menu for dinner.
It looks like rabbit stew. Normally it’s hard to chew on, but now it’s soft.
The strong sour taste is standing out.
It’s a pity that this food doesn’t provide buffs.
「Master, may I ask a question? It’s about these.」
I show him the Grade B- potion and the Grade D potion that resulted from diluting the other Grade B- potion.
He stares at the potions while eating, as if he’s lost in thought.
「You thought about it and made these on your own?」
「Good. Keep it up.」
He stops eating and looks at me with a serious expression, then starts talking.
「Listen. Whatever you do, you need to learn and improve on your own. Keep asking yourself questions. That is what it means to be a student.」
「You may very well stay on the course of Alchemy, but if you are doing it simply because I told you to, then that is not the way.」
「To be a magician is to learn about the world and to pursue its truths. And to manipulate such truths is also the duty of a magician.」
「If you simply use what is given, stolen, or bought with money, then you are not learning.」
Yes, I know.
My parents taught me that too, that “studying” is simply another word for being forced to learn.
In any case…
I’m finding it harder to ask him about the shorter cooldown for the Grade D potion.
Maybe I’ll do some research during my adventures.
After doing some thinking, I just realized that Master has already finished his food.
The Metalskin has already started cleaning up.
「That will be all for today. We shall deliver the goods to Remut tomorrow morning.」
「After that, you will be helping me make potions.」
That means it’s going to be the same as today.
I doubt I’ll be able to avoid a fight against another Snow Ape tomorrow.
After making sure that my belongings are in the 2nd floor of Master’s house, I decide to do some scouting in the forest.
I’ve barely let Volff in on the action today.
I’ve managed to employ a search-and-destroy approach on the plains using Zangetsu and Helix in the morning. I wonder how a wolf and hawk combination would work out.
A wolf and a hawk, huh.
I’ve seen that in a fantasy movie in real life, long ago.
A man and a woman in love with each other.
When the sun sets and the night falls, the man transforms into a wolf. When day breaks, the woman turns into a hawk.
The 2 lovers are only able to meet each other at twilight and dawn.
That’s right. I watched it with【－－－】.
How long has it been?
【－－－】liked movies as well as love stories where people overcome such hardships. She often cried when watching those movies.
I think she was just being friendly and wanted to hang out that time.
Oops, I’m getting distracted.
Right, wolf and hawk combo.
Since the sun hasn’t set yet, I think I can still go hunting.
Even if it gets darker, I can just use Light Magic.
The ants and bats are somewhat troublesome, but I’ll make escaping a priority if I encounter them.
Maybe I’ll do some hunting at the plains.
I went on a search-and-destroy trip in the forest, with the lookout tower beyond the forest in my sights.
Because of that, there were some problems standing out in bold relief.
The biggest problem was mobility.
I can’t move as fast as Zangetsu, nor can I keep up with Volff or Helix.
I guess that’s to be expected.
I did have something to cover up that weakness, more or less.
Physical Enchant: Wind.
My movement speed increased just a little.
The next was Helix.
He was doing okay at first, but the minute the sun had set and the stars became visible, he couldn’t fly as high anymore.
He even seemed afraid.
Even though he can see at night, it’s not as effective as it is in the day.
The next was the increase in surprise attacks on the plains.
A Horn Rabbit suddenly jumped out from its burrow and attacked us.
Volff’s Sense Danger ability allowed me to avoid most but not all of it.
It bit me hard on the shoulder, causing my HP to drop by about 30%.
In the end, that was the only Horn Rabbit that caused damage to me.
During this time, Horn Rabbits quickly escape into another burrow whenever their surprise attacks fail.
Obviously, I have no way of pursuing them.
Their move patterns are different at night, and are extremely annoying.
The last was a mystery.
Since I never got close enough to【Identify】it, I never knew its name. All I saw was a glowing light floating around.
Volff kept tugging at my sleeves to stop me from approaching it, so I maintained my distance.
I only encountered it once.
It’s not like there were a lot of the same monster in the plains, but it just felt uncomfortable somehow.
I took a screenshot just in case, but for some strange reason, the picture became messed up.
What exactly is this?
A psychic photograph?
Both the plains and the forest turn out to be really scary at night.
But still, I got what I came for before the sun set, so it was worth the trip.
I decided to head back to Master’s house before it got pitch black.
When I reached the lookout tower in the forest, I lit my way back.
A ball of light appeared above and slightly in front of my head.
I saw pretty well within a 10m range, and I could see slightly well within 20m.
Whenever I consciously looked elsewhere, the light would adjust itself accordingly.
But the benefits were greatly reduced when I entered the forest.
The trees blocked a lot of the light and cast long shadows.
There were many dead ends as well.
Helix stopped flying completely, and perched himself on top of my rod.
On the other hand, Volff had no trouble at all in the dark.
He scouted ahead and led the way while staying alert.
I’m almost at Master’s house. Something’s happening.
I hear something following me from the thin path surrounded by long blades of grass. It’s showing itself.
It’s some kind of sphere.
It’s much taller than me.
I use【Identify】on it and see a bunch of red triangle markers.
It’s a group of Lv.1 Evil Ants.
There are a few Lv.2 ones in the mix.
Ants are creatures that gather after all.
I see a single green marker.
There’s only a bit of HP remaining.
Is there… a player… trapped… in there?
There’s a sword sticking out from the ball of ants. It’s getting sucked back inside.
The HP bar disappears completely, and the green marker fades and disappears.
The ball of ants is wriggling around as if it’s an entirely different creature on its own.
It looks like the player’s body has disappeared along with the green marker.
A dent appears in the middle of the ball of ants for an instant. The ants quickly regroup and continue wriggling.
Is this what happens during revival?
I, too, may meet such a fate one day.
What should I do?
The answer is obvious.
I’m backing off slowly so as not to provoke the ants.
Volff follows along quietly.
Helix is frozen stiff.
I begin running once I’m at a clear distance.
I think I hear something behind me, but I can’t stop and think.
I keep running.
The sound is getting closer.
The overlapping sound of ticking is assaulting my ears.
Hurry, hurry, get away!
I go to my list of spells on the virtual window and select Physical Enchant: Wind.
Why does it have to be so slow?
「Physical Enchant: Wind!」
The sound coming from the ants is getting just a little fainter.
Even if I reach the gate to Master’s house, it will take some time for it to open.
I need to shake them off as much as possible, otherwise I’m in danger.
I see the lights of the house. Just a little more.
I feel a headache coming just from running at full speed.
There’s an info popup, but now isn’t a good time at all.
I’ve reached the gate.
It’s opening slowly as usual. Argh, dammit!
I turn back and see an even bigger number of Evil Ants.
Why are there 2 balls of ants now?
Volff, who was standing by next to me, gets ready for combat and growls in a low voice.
Helix looks like he’s puffing his feathers. He spreads his wings on top of my rod, crying softly as if trying to threaten the ants.
The red markers are flashing wildly under my Flashlight.
The ant shells are reflecting the light, making it an eerily beautiful sight.
The unpleasant feeling assaulting my spine has reached its climax. I give in and throw up, unable to bear the urge to do so.
I prepare myself for an impossible battle, when suddenly the ground rumbles on both my sides.
Large chunks of rock are moving towards me.
No, it looks like a part of the stone fence is moving.
It’s no longer a stone fence.
There are 2 giant slabs of stone with yellow markers on top of them.
【Identify】activates by itself, revealing their identity to me.
Stone Golem Lv.???
Monster Summon Intercepting
Are these the Stone Golems that Master told me about?
They really are giants about 3 times as tall as me.
They have heads, but no faces.
They’re slowly facing off against the swarm of ants.
I can see another yellow marker on the shoulder of the Stone Golem on the left.
It’s Master’s Magi Owl.
The owl silently flies into the air, and that seems to be a signal.
The battle has begun.
No, the stampede has begun.
The Stone Golems seemed to be moving slowly, but their attacks were surprisingly fast.
They crushed a few ants with each swing.
They also stomped on the ants, literally crushing them flat while causing the earth to rumble.
It was a sloppy way of fighting, but it was brutally efficient.
Along with Helix, Volff and I were facing the enemies in front of us.
In all honesty, we had to go all out against the ants trickling their way towards us.
Volff and Helix prioritized on chasing them off. They weren’t too successful in finishing them off.
The 2 golems quickly reduced the ants’ numbers.
But it seemed as if they were coming in faster than we could kill them.
Additionally, there were a few ants approaching from the forest as well.
The golems slaughtered the ants that were coming to me from the sides.
Volff and I kept shaking off the ants that were trying to surround us.
There was an ant that went around us and tried to attack me from behind, but Helix got rid of it with an aerial assault.
Somehow we had set up a formation to intercept the ants, with each of our roles determined almost naturally.
The rate of increase in ants started to decrease, but there were still a lot of them.
I didn’t know what it was at first.
For an instant, the area was lit brightly. The smell of something burning reached my nose.
A great number of ants stopped moving, and were going up in smoke.
At the next moment, I was able to see what had happened.
Master’s Magi Owl spread its wings, summoning bolts of thunder that continuously rained down upon the ants.
The ants were being exterminated beautifully and mercilessly.
With another torrent of lightning, the ants were completely annihilated.
《【Light Magic】Level Up!》
《You may now obtain the following Support Skill(s):【Dash】》
《You may now obtain the following Support Skill(s):【Endurance Run】》
《Your monster summon『Helix』has leveled up!》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
I’m staring blankly at the info popup that appeared in my virtual window.
Helix’s stats appear. His AGI has already increased by 1.
I decide to raise his STR.
Monster Summon Helix Hawk Lv1→Lv2
I close Helix’s stat window and feel a wave of relief.
Honestly, I can’t believe I was saved.
《It seems that it is done. I shall leave the cleaning to you.》
I hear Master’s voice through the Magi Owl.
Cleaning, you say?
I can only stay shocked at the horrible sight.
How long is this going to take?
I take my Survival Knife in hand and look at the mountain of ant carcasses.
In the end, it took me more than an hour to collect all the item drops.
Race Human Male Racial Lv3
Job Summoner Lv2
Bonus Points Remaining 2
Staff Lv2 Punch Lv2 Kick Lv2 Joint Lock Lv1
Evade Lv1 Block Lv2（↑1）Summon Magic Lv3
Light Magic Lv2（↑1）Wind Magic Lv2 Earth Magic Lv2 Water Magic Lv2
Alchemy Lv2（↑1）Pharmacy Lv2（↑1）
Cooperation Lv3 Appraise Lv3 Identify Lv3 Cold Resistance Lv2 Grab Lv2
Horsemanship Lv1 Precise Manipulation Lv1
Equipment Beginner’s Rod Cotton Clothes Cloth Shoes Rucksack Item Box
Items Survival Knife
Volff Wolf Lv3
Zangetsu Horse Lv1 Recalled and Resting
Helix Hawk Lv2（↑1）