There were still no monsters in sight.
But I had a hunch that they had to be out there somewhere.
I used【Call Monster】, hoping to attract some monsters.
I sensed several responses to the skill outside the corridor.
But I didn’t know exactly what was out there.
It wasn’t that convenient of a skill.
The corridor winded onwards.
I finally encountered a monster.
No, actually I didn’t know. It had a strange figure, one I couldn’t quite describe in words.
Of course, I used【Identify】on it.
Monster Enemy Target Active
Definitely a monster.
But it looked more like an oversized mushroom.
Looking closer, I saw that it had limbs, just kind of screwed on. It looked kind of like a doll.
The cap of the mushroom looked like its head.
Although it didn’t have a face.
It was a pretty fat monster, and its height reached to about my chest.
With its stubby legs, it radiated a very slow, clumsy aura.
But in the next moment, it suddenly closed in on us with unexpected speed.
I was caught off guard.
Looks can be deceiving, huh?
I stopped it with a firm prod from my rod.
It had a strange feeling.
It was definitely pretty heavy, but if I had to describe it…
Kind of like poking jelly.
Its HP bar dropped by a sliver.
I followed up with a kick.
It was a proper kick, but it didn’t look like it was that effective.
No, its HP bar was definitely decreasing, I suppose it was alright.
I gave the mushroom a gap, which it took with an attack.
It quickly rushed towards me, all while moving randomly left and right.
I couldn’t read its movements.
I dodged it the first time, but it quickly turned around and hit me head-on.
The shock knocked the wind out of me.
It was using its mass pretty well.
Of course, all my companions were attacking it too, but they weren’t doing too much damage to it.
It wouldn’t take any major damage, even when Mii-chan slammed into it.
It was a lot heavier than it looked.
We surrounded the monster, and after a long while, managed to defeat it.
But along with me, Volff and Mii-chan took quite a lot of damage in counterattacks.
Although I managed to heal everyone to full health using【Earth Heal】, we still had to be careful.
It was alright with just one of them, but the battle would get tough if they grouped up the way Wild Dogs did.
「How were the bow-and-arrow attacks?」
「They weren’t so good, just as expected」
「Is that so」
Looked like I would have to come up with a counter strategy on my own.
The corridor was small and narrow, not allowing us to fight on horseback.
We were really forced to fight the monsters head-on. It made me wish we had a tank.
I guess I could try fire magic on it.
Although the large MP cost may become a problem in a long fight.
Maybe I’ll have my next Summon Monster be one that was specialised in this kind of combat.
I dug into the mushroom with my Survival Knife.
I was pretty excited to see what I would get.
I pulled out an item.
【Material】Shiitake Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 0+
Raw shiitake mushrooms. When dried, they can be used in making soup stock.
「A shiitake mushroom, huh?」
「It says “material” instead of “ingredient” for some reason」
「Yeah, looks like it」
I wondered why that was the case. It gave me a headache.
I remembered that it was the same with the burdock.
Besides, the shiitake mushroom boasted a pretty nice size.
What do you use this for?
Let’s leave thinking for later. I need to keep moving.
We encountered another mushroom.
No, I suppose it was Fungus. Looking closer there were two of them, so Fungi?
I fought more cautiously this time.
I looked for a pattern in their movements.
I noticed that there was a precursor to their attacks.
Right before they charged, they would bend their heads backwards slightly.
But it was difficult to tell when they were doing it.
They didn’t have a face, after all.
Just from a glance, it was impossible to tell whether they were facing forwards or backwards.
I judged the direction they were facing using the angle of their arms.
By doing that, avoiding their attacks became a lot easier.
It still took a lot of time to defeat them, but that couldn’t be helped.
Out of the two mushrooms, I distracted one and tried fighting it on my own.
I knew it was very heavy, and I wanted to take advantage of that somehow.
It looked like a giant water balloon.
Its monstrous weight seemed more natural when I thought about it that way.
In a stroke of good luck, a great idea popped into my head.
I noticed that it was having a lot of trouble getting up once it was knocked over.
It would take a lot of effort to knock it over, but it would be well worth it.
Let’s try it.
If the four Summon Monsters could then surround it, I bet they could defeat it without taking any damage.
I had a hunch I was on the right track.
I rained kicks down on the mushroom and after a while, I managed to make it fall.
Its HP bar didn’t go down by much.
I tried jumping onto it with my knees and elbows.
Those attacks were relatively effective.
Looked like a head-butt was its only attack method.
Its body made up for the lack of variety in attacks by being really sturdy. I hadn’t found any attacks that were especially effective on them.
But it’s not like they didn’t have any effect. I could always just grind down its HP bar slowly.
One of the mushrooms was taken down after being bitten by Volff.
I took out the other with an elbow strike.
I could more or less deal with them now.
「Keith, can I ask you something?」
「That was a knee drop, right? And an elbow drop too?」
「Huh? Who are you talking about? Me?」
「Were you trying out pro wrestling moves on them?」
「Who knows. I mean, the mushrooms were on the ground, so any attack would look like a pro wrestling move, right?」
「Huh… Is that really so?」
I ignored Irina and the glare in her eyes and took the items drops from the mushrooms.
But the results were pretty unexpected.
【Material】White Shimeji Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 0+
White shimeji mushrooms. Though not to the degree of the brown shimeji mushroom, they have a very deep flavour.
【Material】Nameko Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 0+
Nameko mushrooms. Very juicy mushrooms with a slimy texture.
「I got different mushrooms this time」
「They’re all edible too, nice」
「I wonder how many different mushrooms we can get by the time we’re done?」
It was a mystery.
No, I felt like the GMs were just messing with us here.
We moved further onwards.
After a while we finally reached what looked like the end of the corridor, and stepped out into a wide hall.
In the middle of the hall, there was a floating fireball. Another Spirit.
But this one was a shining a deep blue.
Its brightness was changing, almost making it look like a flashing light.
《These art the Lost Woods》
《If thy wish is to escape, thou must go through all the room》
The voice resounded around me.
Do I have to fight it again?
When I thought that, the spirit disappeared.
I turned around, and the dark blue spirit was above the entrance to the green corridor. It was shaking and spreading glowing particles all around the doorway.
Probably telling me that it was the exit.
I looked around the hall.
In front of me, and to the right and to my left, were narrow passages.
I could only see a metre or so into each passage, before the path seemed to fuse with the darkness.
Well, which way should I go?
While I was standing still pondering it, I noticed something come up from the ground.
Three of them this time.
「Focus on just one at a time!」
Shouting just one sentence to guide the others, I selected and used a strengthening spell.
I stepped forward and pulled out my rod.
I quickly managed to knock down a mushroom.
I took some damage while I was wrestling it, but I didn’t have the free time to recover it.
Once the mushroom touched the ground, Volff and the others started beating down on it.
I could leave finishing it off to them.
「Physical Enchant: Earth!」
I increased my DEF in preparation for the next one.
Looking closely, I realised their caps had all kinds of different shapes.
Ah! That one at the very back!
There was a mushroom with a short cap. Looked like a slightly overgrown bowl cut.
It looked kind of obscene.
I felt an irresistible urge to kill it.
I closed the distance between me and the next mushroom. I jumped and rained kicks down on it, sending it flying.
No, I lied.
It was too heavy to fly, I just made it roll over.
They weren’t so good at getting up, so once you broke their balance, it was quite easy to keep them on the ground.
Although you had to wrestle a bit to get them on the ground in the first place.
The other mushroom charged at me with a head-butt. I dodged it by a hair.
I delivered a full-force kick to its knees, and pulled on of its arms at the same time.
It was one of my favourite techniques.
But it didn’t work.
It didn’t have bones and joints like a human did, so I just left a dent in its clay-like body.
Its HP bar didn’t drop by much.
This physical manifestation of public indecency.
Filled with frustration, I pulled on its arm harder, but I didn’t expect what happened next.
It tore off.
Out of the place where its arm used to be, a liquid started spilling out onto the ground.
Could this be its weak spot?
No, that couldn’t be…
While I was thinking about it, the arm I tore off started hitting me.
It didn’t do any real damage, but I was just surprised to see the arm move.
It may be plain, but maybe toppling them was still the best strategy. I threw the arm away before it made me sick.
When I finally managed to knock over the obscene mushroom, I saw the other one try to get up.
Like I would let you.
I tackled it right as it was about to get up.
I proceeded with a ground and pound.
It was a group fight now.
There were multiple enemies.
Looking behind me I saw the obscene mushroom try to get up too.
Although since I tore off one of its arms, it was having a difficult time supporting its weight.
I stopped hitting the mushroom I was on and got up. Walking up behind the obscene mushroom, I gave it a firm stomp to the back.
It was quite a nice sight.
The mushroom was launched into a puddle on the ground.
Volff and Mii-chan quickly got to work on it, and a little later, Jean and Toggle joined them too.
Looked like they finished off the first mushroom.
I didn’t want to look at the mushroom anymore. I left it to them.
The mushroom I was pounding down on earlier was trying to get up again.
I delivered a strong kick from the side.
But it was too heavy and wouldn’t move.
I treated the mushroom like a punching bag and used it to practice my knee strikes.
I held its head in place using my hands and delivered knee strike after knee strike to its chest.
I think I saw this in Muay Thai once.
Although I ended up looking rather dumb, fighting this short, sumo-wrestler-like mushroom. Well there was nothing I could do about that.
The mushroom was a lot tougher than it looked.
After who knows how many knee strikes, the mushroom’s HP bar finally dropped to zero.
Looking closer I saw that the mushroom’s body was split in two.
It really was just a mushroom, even on the inside.
I’d never seen that before with the other mushrooms. Maybe it was a random effect from receiving critical damage?
I looked over at the obscene mushroom.
With the many bite marks on its body, it definitely looked dead.
Looked like it all worked out somehow.
They were difficult, but we managed to beat them somehow.
We split up and took the item drops.
I got another shiitake mushroom.
「Nice, let’s move on」
「Ah, could you wait for a moment? I got this strange item」
Adele got a shiitake mushroom too, but Irina had a completely different item in her hands.
【Material】Eryngii Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 0+
Eryngii mushrooms. They have a poor flavour but a crispy texture. Good for boiling or grilling.
Its shape was… Uh…
Let’s just say we were reminded of something other than a mushroom.
I wonder what the developers were thinking.
「I don’t want to believe it, but I think there may be more」
「Like maitake, for example」
「And matsutake too」
「The common mushroom」
「Maybe we’ll even see truffles too…」
「We haven’t seen enoki yet, have we?」
「Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if we could get some high-class mushrooms? Like bamboo fungi, or porcini mushrooms…」
We stood in a circle, daydreaming about mushrooms together.
I felt like our expectations were moving in the wrong direction.
Let’s get back to exploring.
I decided to start from the right side.
It was pretty dark, compared to the corridor we came from.
I used【Flashlight】to light our surroundings and moved onwards.
I realised it wasn’t just the darkness. The whole place was oozing with an unpleasant atmosphere.
The ceiling dropped down in front of us.
No, looking closer, something just dropped down from the ceiling.
A monster. It looked like a wood puppet.
It looked like a Bloody Wood, but its body was much denser, and its arms were made out of thick branches.
There were two of them.
「Focus on one at a time!」
I shouted out just a single sentence and stabbed at one of them with my rod.
A dry sound reverberated around me.
Looked like it wasn’t effective.
I dropped my rod and tried a jab with my fists.
It felt pretty firm, just like I expected.
I followed up with a kick.
It was definitely solid, but it wasn’t that heavy. It slightly lost balance from just a single kick.
The monster faced me and threw a punch.
Its movements were pretty similar to a human’s. I couldn’t dodge the attack.
Fueled by the adrenaline from taking a punch, I took its arm and tried to twist it.
But I couldn’t do it.
It was pretty strong.
The monster ripped me off of it using its other arm.
I took some distance and tried using【Identify】.
Branch Golem Lv.2
Monster Enemy Target Active
A golem, huh.
Well yeah, they were strong monsters.
I took some more distance and looked at the other one.
The other golem was surrounded by our Summon Monsters, collapsed on the ground.
I could hear scraping and scratching sounds, along with the occasional snarl.
Those sounds probably came from Volff and Mii-chan.
Since it was completely made from wood, it couldn’t scream, or make any kind of sound at all. Even then, the scene sent shivers up my spine.
Looked like they could take care of it on their own.
I focused back on the monster in front of me.
Even though it was a golem, it didn’t have the weight that I expected from them.
But it was very solid.
I wish throws would work on it the same way they worked on Bloody Woods.
But since it was so strong, I doubt they would.
In fact, with such a strong opponent, there would be quite a risk in just getting close to it, much less trying a throw.
I would have to fight while keeping their speed in mind.
I retreated as the monster advanced on me.
I wasn’t running.
I was speed walking.
It just felt fast because the monster I was facing was so slow.
So punches, kicks, joint locks, and throws were out of the question.
I had no choice but to figure something out with my magic spells.
I selected and used strengthening magic before trying my hand at a close-ranged battle again.
I focused on dodging its attacks, while waiting for an opportunity to counterattack.
I dodged a punch and slipped through to its back.
Looked like it had an effect. Its HP bar dropped.
Although not to the degree that I was hoping for.
Let’s try out another spell.
I put some distance between me and the golem and used my next spell.
Since it was so slow, I could cast the spell uninterrupted.
It was the most effective spell so far.
But still, I have to say that I’m disappointed.
I managed to cut down its HP bar to nearly half, but considering the MP cost of the magic spells it took to get there, I wasn’t very happy about it.
I wondered if I had anything else.
I had one thing up my sleeve.
Although I didn’t really want to use it.
I used it in a similar situation before, when I was still a child playing tabletop role playing games. I wasn’t very fond of the memory.
I selected and used the spell.
The monsters still looked fine.
I was pretty sure it would survive, but anything that could wear it down would be much appreciated.
A fire spell.
I started a fire inside the monster’s body.
Since the monster wasn’t completely solid, air could still enter, and putting out the fire would be a lot harder for the golem.
I looked at the monster in anticipation.
It was amazing.
It went as I expected. Actually, maybe even better than I expected.
The monster exploded into a giant flame.
The monster moved around in a panic, but it was only fanning the fire.
You could see it try to put out the fire, but it was too late.
The dark path was illuminated by the flames.
I realised that the path itself was made up of trees, entangled around one another.
I prayed that the fire wouldn’t spread.
But as the monster’s HP bar dropped to zero, the fire itself calmed down and faded with a line of smoke.
Was fire a wood monster’s only weakness?
The skill was very effective, but one wrong move and I might end up setting the whole place on fire.
I had to be careful.
I heard Adele’s voice over the other Branch Golem’s collapsed body.
Looked like they defeated the other one without any major issues.
I gave Volff and Mii-chan potions to heal the damage they took in the fight.
I took an item from the Branch Golem I defeated.
【Material】Charcoal Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 1
Ordinary charcoal. Used in cooking and heat in the household.
Because I used fire?
Would it be alright for me to interpret it that way?
「Hey Adele, do you have【Fire Magic】?」
「Looks like【Pyrokinesis】works really well on these monsters. Let’s keep using it」
「I will! But they were really scary up close」
「Irina, what did you get?」
「Looks like ordinary timber」
She showed me the item she got.
I used【Identify】on it.
【Material】Buna Wood Log Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 2
A small buna wood log. It still needs to be processed before it can be used in building or carpentry.
A log, huh.
Just a log.
With shiitake and now a log, only one thing came to mind.
Could I grow my own mushrooms now?
《Racial Level Up! Please assign 1 point to a desired stat.》
Sweet, I finally levelled up.
A virtual window displaying my stats appeared in front of me. I spent a while thinking first.
I raised INT last time.
Guess I’ll raise SPI this time.
The more nice, round numbers I have the better.
I’ll raise INT again next time.
《2 Bonus Points awarded! You now have 22 Bonus Points!》
Coming to new hunting grounds, and levelling up while I was at it too, it was very nice.
Looking at the trend so far, I bet the next skill that will level up will be【Summon Magic】.
I was really looking forward to being able to have three Summon Monsters active at a time.
I was really excited.
Race Human Male Racial Lv6（↑1）
Job Summoner Lv4
Bonus Points Remaining: 22
Staff Lv4 Punch Lv3 Kick Lv3 Joint Lock Lv3 Throw Lv3 Evade Lv3 Block Lv2 Summon Magic Lv5
Light Magic Lv2 Wind Magic Lv3 Earth Magic Lv3 Water Magic Lv3 Fire Magic Lv2 Dark Magic Lv1
Alchemy Lv3 Pharmacy Lv3 Glassmaking Lv3
Cooperation Lv5 Appraise Lv5 Identify Lv5 Cold Resistance Lv2 Grab Lv4 Horsemanship Lv4 Precise Manipulation Lv3 Jump Lv1 Heat Resistance Lv3
Kaya Wood Rod Wild Rabbit Breastplate+ Series Snow Ape Armguard Wild Horse Boots+ Snow Ape Leather Helmet Rucksack Item Box x2
Old Summoner’s Temporary Pupil
Man of the Middle Path
Volff Wolf Lv4
Zangetsu Horse Lv3（Asleep）
Helix Hawk Lv3（Asleep）
Obsidian Owl Lv3（Asleep）
Jean Bat Lv1
Adele and Mii-chan
Irina and Toggle