We reached the end of the hallway, which led into a dimly lit room.
It was a pretty big room, you could even call it a small hall, but it was still smaller than the hall we were in earlier.
Including the path we just came out of, the room had three passages extending from the room.
There was one right to our left, and another one diagonally to the left.
Just like all the paths so far, they were dark and impossible to see into.
I decided to take the one diagonally to the left.
In the darkness, I used【Flashlight】to light our way.
The ground was made of trees, almost braided together.
Walking through the path, I could even hear the sound of crunching leaves under my feet.
I tried using【Call Monster】, when I found out something pretty scary.
There were responses from all around us, especially in the direction we were heading.
There were even responses from underneath where we were standing.
There were reactions from above the ceiling too, probably Branch Golems.
I bet most of them were passive, since we hadn’t been attacked yet.
But it was still a very dangerous situation.
I instinctively broke out into a run.
But the monsters wouldn’t forgive me for that.
We fought three battles in the passage.
Three mushrooms, two Branch Golems, and then another four mushrooms.
We were getting used to fighting them in groups, but they were still tough enemies nonetheless.
I started to miss fighting Evil Ants.
How did it come to this?
We got three Shiitake and one Eryngii, along with three new items.
【Material】Maitake Raw Material Grade C Rarity 2 Weight 0+
Maitake mushrooms. They have a nice flavour, along with a crispy texture. Take care when stewing, maitake mushrooms tends to turn a clear soup cloudy.
【Material】White Mushroom Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 0+
Common mushrooms. The big ones are usually baked and eaten as is.
【Material】Enoki Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 0+
Enokitake mushrooms. Essential for a healthy diet. Roast on an open fire before eating.
I burnt one Branch Golem and let Volff and the others take care of the other one.
We got more Buna Wood Logs and Charcoal from them.
「I think I get where the developers are going now」
「A hot pot?」
「If you added butter to the mushrooms and sautéed them I bet they would taste great. Oh, with salt and pepper of course」
「You think we’ll find any matsutake mushrooms soon? I’ve never tried those before, even in real life and I’d love to try eating them」
No, I wasn’t talking about food.
There were mushrooms in Remut and Legias too right?
But I did feel like there was something missing with the ingredients back home.
The game was really encouraging players to go into production jobs.
I had the idea of cultivating mushrooms earlier, but I suppose you could only do that in a place where the sun didn’t shine. The forest?
Whatever. It was all out of my field of expertise anyway. I wasn’t a farmer.
Farmer? Maybe closer to Lumberjack?
I’ll ask Fiona about it when I get back.
I’m sure she had friends in both jobs, the Player’s Guild didn’t care about your specific job after all.
The path led to another room. It was the same size as the room we came from.
There were four exits, including the one we were just in.
One straight to the left and one diagonally to the left.
The two exits were dark, and I couldn’t see far into them.
There was another exit to the right. Out of all the paths so far, it was the only lit one.
It looked a little like the very first green corridor that led us into this mess.
In the centre of the room, another spirit was floating above the ground.
Except this one was coloured a dull black.
It was radiating a rather unpleasant aura, and its shade was changing, making it look like it was flashing.
《These art the Lost Woods》
《If thy wish is to escape, thou must go through all the rooms》
The voice resounded around me again.
They were the same words last time too.
The spirit disappeared.
It reappeared above the entrance to my right and started shaking.
Just like when I first entered the hall.
I tried exiting through the right.
But I couldn’t pass through. It was like there was an invisible barrier.
Looked like I had to do something else here first.
I went through the exit diagonally to the left.
We were attacked by a group of three mushrooms, but we managed to fight them off.
The mushrooms were pretty strong.
But they were nothing compared to a wolf or a tiger.
Adele and Irina could relax in the back.
Well, that’s the way a summoner was supposed to fight.
But I fought them up close.
I tried a lot of different methods, in the hopes of finding an effective strategy.
Of course, I took some damage while doing this.
I had to use a lot of trial and error to figure things out after all.
But it was fun.
I learnt that it was a bad idea to rely on magic alone.
While we were walking, we were suddenly attacked by Branch Golems.
Five of them.
I didn’t have any room to experiment when there were so many, so I used【Pyrokinesis】to take out three of them.
I left one of them to Volff and the other Summon Monsters.
I decided to fight the last Branch Golem in close quarters.
The golem was certainly strong.
Definitely stronger than even a Snow Ape.
I wanted to fight them up close to find out some sort of weakness.
To see how it would react to all my different skills.
Since it was so slow, I got a lot of opportunities to attack.
But even in those moments, I couldn’t do anything.
I tried joint locks, I tried feints, I tried a lot of different techniques.
But since it was so strong, they weren’t particularly effective.
But I did figure out one thing. I would have to use its own strength against it.
Coincidentally, I was just about to try something that was based on that principle, something called the four corners throw.
I used【Physical Enchant: Aqua】to increase the accuracy with which I could use【Joint Lock】and【Throw】.
With my DEX skill raised, I bet fighting in general would get a lot easier too.
【Physical Enchant: Wind】was pretty useful.
The skill made it a lot easier for me to sidestep or backstep to avoid attacks.
Just as a test, I tried slipping behind it and doing a back throw, but it was surprisingly effective.
I confirmed it when I compared the damage to the damage from normal punches and kicks.
Well, my opponent here was a wooden golem.
It probably couldn’t feel pain anyway.
It was kind of dumb for me to think that pain-based techniques like arm twists would work on it.
I continued using back throws until I finally managed to take it out.
《Summon Monster 『Jean』 Level Up!》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
A long-awaited level-up.
The stat that went up during the level-up was AGI.
I chose to raise the VIT stat.
Jean’s HP bar tended to drop by a lot every time we fought a monster. I was just a little worried.
I could relax a little more this way.
Monster Summon Jean Bat Lv1→Lv2（↑1）
Bite Flight Echolocation Evade Ambush Suck Blood
Jean was doing alright against the mushrooms, but it looked like he wasn’t very good at dealing with the Branch Golems.
It was a hard monster, in many ways.
It was the same with Irina’s Summon Monster, the snake Toggle.
For doing physical damage to a Branch Golem, I’d recommend an axe, or a mace. Definitely not your teeth.
And definitely not a bow and arrow either.
Evil Ant Stings were sharp and had a lot of penetrating power, but the arrows didn’t do much to the Branch Golems’ HP bars.
Obsidian Arrows were actually more effective here, since they had more destructive power.
Adele and Irina had Obsidian Arrows with them, but not that many.
We had to rethink our equipment when we got back.
The defeated Branch Golems were lying on the ground around us.
I got different items from the ones we defeated without using【Pyrokinesis】.
【Material】Beech Wood Log Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 2
A chinquapin wood log. It still needs to be processed before it can be used in building or carpentry.
【Material】Mongolian Oak Wood Log Raw Material Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 2
A Mongolian oak wood log. It still needs to be processed before it can be used in building or carpentry.
Were the Branch Golems going to follow the same pattern the mushrooms had?
I bet this would sell great. I felt the urge to just drop all this and become a tree farmer.
The path opened up into another room.
No spirit in sight.
It looked just like the two rooms I was in before.
No monsters either.
I could afford to rest a bit.
Just in case, I used【Call Monster】, but the skill gave me no responses.
Great. We needed some rest anyway.
I checked everyone’s HP and MP.
Adele’s and Irina’s MP bars were surprisingly low.
I had to use【Physical Enchant: Fire】to strengthen my attacks.
And I had to use【Physical Enchant: Earth】to strengthen my defence.
Being the vanguard, they were skills I had to have active at all times.
Compared to that, Adele and Irina, who were using bows and arrows to attack from the back should’ve used a lot less magic.
Actually, I was the one dragging them to an area way above their level in the first place.
I let Adele rest until her MP bar crossed 50%.
Well, when I say “rest”, I mean “sit down and drink some water”.
Adele got Mii-chan and Volff to snuggle up on her right and left. She looked like she was having a lot of fun, with her arms wrapped around them.
I meant to keep moving, but after seeing that sight, I decided to just have a proper break.
Hey, you’re getting way too into it, Volff.
Remember whose Summon Monster you are please.
It must’ve felt really good, being pet by Adele.
You could tell from Volff’s face.
What about Mii-chan?
She was already asleep.
「It’s too dangerous for us to keep going, evening is closing in. We might be a bit late, but I think we’ll make it to Legias in time for dinner if we turn back now.」
「Huh? I think we can go a little further…」
「Let’s not take the risk」
「No, I mean, we have enough food and water, right?」
「How are you guys on time?」
「We’re alright in that regard too」
The monsters here were definitely strong, but they weren’t impossible.
They would definitely be dangerous if we didn’t have our Summon Monsters.
Even in consecutive battles, the Summon Monsters wouldn’t get any weaker from fatigue.
We would be in quite a lot of trouble if we didn’t have both Volff and Mii-chan with us.
I might actually run out of MP.
「All right then, Adele, let’s go」
We ended our break and kept moving.
I thanked Irina for freeing Adele from her prison (heaven) of fur. It took her quite a lot of time and effort.
Leave that kind of thing for later please, Adele.
We continued on the path diagonally to the left.
Thinking about it like we were on a map, it looked like we were going in a big circle.
We were attacked by a group of three mushrooms, but we managed to take them out and reach the next room.
This room had a spirit in it.
It was shining a brilliant white.
《These art the Lost Woods》
《If thy wish is to escape, thou must not return by the trodden path. Go forward always, and look not behind thee》
The spirit disappeared, reappearing above the exit to our right. Like all the spirits before, it started shaking above the exit.
I tried to go through the path to my right, but just like last time, there was an invisible barrier blocking my way.
While I was checking the exit, four mushrooms, and then four Branch Golems came up to attack me.
There were a lot of monsters in the room for some reason.
But the fights were still interesting, so I wasn’t complaining.
Leaving the item collection from the mushrooms to Adele and Irina, I went about taking all the charcoal from the Branch Golems.
The《Item Box》came in handy, but I had to keep in mind that they had a storage limit.
Checking the two item boxes I had, I saw that one of them was about 70% full, while the other was at a little over 50%.
I gave all my mushrooms to Irina, which let me regain some space.
All the logs were really piling up in there.
Did we walk into a trap that the developers set for us? Were they just messing with us?
I had a little hunch that was the case.
We kept going through the path diagonally to the left.
We took out a group of three Branch Golems and kept moving.
The damage was starting to accumulate.
I decided to use potions to heal everyone. I was confident that the cooldown time would pass before we would have to use it again.
I used around half of the potions I had on me.
I may have underestimated the damage we took.
The next room was a little narrower.
But the position of the exits didn’t change.
There were no monsters.
We went straight for the exit diagonally to the left.
Passing through the next path proved to be pretty difficult.
We had to face two groups of five Branch Golems, a group of six mushrooms, and a group of five mushrooms. A lot of enemies came to attack us.
I just used potions on everyone, so I was forced to use recovery magic instead.
Eventually, we managed to repel the enemies, but our MP bars were dangerously low.
I thought about returning to the earlier room and spending some time recovering our MP in safety, but…
We kept going.
We arrived at the next room.
As expected, there was a spirit.
It was shining a bright red, it was the first spirit that looked like a proper fireball.
《These art the Lost Woods》
《If thy wish is to escape, thou must continue to proceed on your chosen path》
The spirit disappeared, reappearing above the exit to our right. It started shaking above the exit.
I already knew I couldn’t go through the exit to the right, but I tried it anyway.
Unfortunate. Let’s keep moving.
Right before we stepped into the next room were a group of five Branch Golems.
I was getting lazy so I burnt four of them right away, leaving the last one to the Summon Monsters.
I got a new item from the Branch Golem the Summon Monsters defeated.
【Material】Evergreen Oak Wood Log Raw Material Grade C Rarity 2 Weight 2
An evergreen oak wood log. It still needs to be processed before it can be used in building or carpentry.
Another type of wood, huh.
But just this once, I didn’t complain.
I knew this type of wood was really hard, suited for making wooden swords.
It was good for making tool handles too.
Not to mention furniture.
It was a type of wood that took a lot of processing before you could use it, but after that, it would last you a long time.
Maybe that’s why its Rarity was higher than the others.
《【Light Magic】Level Up!》
《You have acquired the【Light Magic】spell【Resist Light】!》
《You have acquired the【Light Magic】spell【Light Heal】!》
《You have acquired the【Light Magic】spell【Confuse Blast】!》
Maybe because I’ve been using【Flashlight】all this time, my【Light Magic】leveled up.
Just from their names, I could figure out what【Resist Light】and【Light Heal】did.
I looked at the explanation. Apparently, it was a skill you could use on only one opponent.
It was a spell that inflicted the Confused debuff on one enemy. The probability of success was level-dependent.
Looked pretty useful.
Following the pattern, the room was empty. We went straight for the exit diagonally to the left.
The moment we entered the path, we were attacked by a group of six mushrooms.
Give me a break. Please.
I tried to use a martial arts skill just to mix things up.
To be more specific, 【Bless】.
It was a skill used to increase the probability of a critical strike.
I’ll have to try out【Confuse Blast】too.
The results of using【Bless】were…
Honestly speaking, the effects were very subtle, almost non-existent.
I wonder why the Doppelganger used it.
I’m kind of glad it did now.
There were definitely more critical hits in my punches and kicks, but only about one more for each.
And even then, the difference in damage dealt wasn’t anything special.
Oh well, that was that.
Maybe I just had really bad luck in general.
Should I rethink my whole battle strategy? The fights were starting to get pretty tedious.
I was using mainly back throws to fight the mushrooms and Branch Golems.
Although I knew that a normal summoner would usually let their Summon Monsters do all the work.
Just like how Adele and Irina were fighting. It was a very “safe” way of fighting.
It would get a lot safer once they learnt recovery magic.
How could I have been so blind. The reason the fights were always so difficult was obvious.
We didn’t have anyone acting as a tank.
I decided on my next Summon Monster.
We stepped out into the next room. It was a lot wider than the rooms we were in before.
There was no spirit in the centre of the room this time.
Looking around, I realised the spirit was already on top of the exit to our right. It was shining a deep blue.
It was the only exit we could step into.
Looked like we had gone full circle.
「Looks like we went all the way around」
「Looks like it」
「I bet there’s something in the middle room!」
There had to be a room in the middle, surrounded by the eight rooms we just visited.
But before that, food.
「Let’s settle down in a room without any monsters and eat first. We’ll check out the middle room after」
Our simple dinner was arranged by Adele and Irina, using the sandwiches they brought here.
I helped out by using【Liquid: Water】to fill everyone’s cups and a pot to make stew.
I pulled out some Paingrass and included it in the stew.
We used shiitake mushrooms instead of soup stock.
【Foodstuff】Paingrass Stew Satiety +10% Grade C Rarity 1 Weight 1
A simple dish, made by boiling Paingrass and shiitake mushrooms.
I dipped a sandwich that Adele and Irina brought into the remaining stew and ate it.
It was surprisingly delicious.
But that wasn’t all.
Adele and Irina mentioned that they had the【Cooking】skill.
It was a skill that I wanted to avoid like the plague.
We sat in a circle and had a picnic for a while.
After finishing my meal I took some time to rest.
I wanted to recover some MP in preparation for what was to come.
Race Human Male Racial Lv6
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 Lv3（↑1） 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→Lv2（↑1）
Bite Flight Echolocation Evade Ambush Suck Blood
Adele and Mii-chan
Irina and Toggle