The carnivorous beast in front of me had a different pattern to that of a tiger.
Its body was covered in black rings.
Another way it was different from a tiger was its fur. You wouldn’t be wrong in calling it pure white, but looking closer there were some spots that were dyed a slight brown colour.
Its belly was pure white.
The hairs were long, and the tail, even longer.
A fearless face. It was only a little bigger than Volff, but the difference in limb thickness was striking.
It looked pretty strong.
I remembered the tigers that Adele and Irina summoned, Mii-chan and Calico.
Their had quite a bit of fighting powers, despite their low levels.
Judging from appearances, the leopard didn’t look as strong as the tigers, but I wonder who was really stronger.
Its level was pretty high, after all.
I finished casting some preparatory spells.
It wasn’t according to plan, but I decided to do it anyway.
「Magical Enchant: Light.」
It didn’t look like an opponent that would use magic attacks, but just in case, I raised my magical resistance.
The strengthening spells I used on myself when I fought the Snow Ape were still in effect.
I was really grateful for that.
The leopard howled.
It was an obvious intimidation tactic, so I somehow managed to stand my ground.
Without a moment’s rest, it jumped at me. I dodged it in the last moment.
Ah, this is bad.
It was a lot faster than I thought it would be.
The leopard quickly turned around to face me.
I could see its fangs closing in on me.
I reflexively ducked.
A roaring noise came out of its mouth as it jumped at my throat again.
In just a moment, it managed to close the distance between us.
It was a lot faster than the Blitz I fought in this area.
In that case, I only had trick up my sleeve.
I had no choice but to counter its attacks as much as I could.
I moved to the side and wrapped my arms around its side as it jumped at me.
That was what I wanted to do, but for some reason my arms wouldn’t move the way I expected them to.
What on earth?
My left arm felt strange.
I missed the grip on the leopard. I felt the Snow Ape Armguard on my left arm. It didn’t have the soft feel it usually did.
It was rock hard.
It was frozen through.
Calm down, don’t panic…
I clenched both of my fists for a moment and opened them again.
I took a deep breath.
And I fixed my gaze on the monster.
I wasn’t focusing on the leopard.
It wasn’t even close.
But still, I could see all its movements.
May seem contradictory, but I had high hopes.
In the next moment.
Jumped at me.
To rip out.
Why was time moving so slowly?
In that moment, I pulled out my favourite forbidden move.
My right knee to its throat.
My right elbow to the top of its head.
Two hits at the same time.
My favourite one-hit kill move.
Well, it was supposed to be a one-hit kill move.
But the leopard slowly stood back up, blood trickling from its mouth.
I was genuinely impressed.
I didn’t mess up the technique, so it should’ve been instant death.
But nevertheless, the leopard approached me with burning murderous intent.
What an annoying monster.
Even though it was covered in blood, it tried its best to intimidate me.
It was actually kind of scary now.
But along with that feeling came a feeling of fascination.
That’s when I noticed something.
My right elbow and my right knee felt weird.
The leather armour covering them was rock hard.
Looked like they were frozen too.
I was in a pretty cold place, so it was to be expected, but it was seriously restricting my mobility.
My HP bar was still looking alright, but a single miss, a single movement too slow would be lethal.
The leopard approached me.
But its movements seemed a lot more sluggish.
I hit it in its throat with my right hand.
I got an opportunity unexpectedly easily.
But when I retracted my right hand, the leopard gave chase to it with its mouth.
I turned my body.
Ignoring its front legs, I wrapped my left arm around its neck.
Another pro wrestling move, the headlock.
Without losing any momentum, the leopard broke into a run, with me still wrapped around its neck.
I landed on my butt, but quickly used my feet to steady myself.
Keeping my upper body locked around the leopard, I used my body weight to bring it onto the ground before it could jump again.
The feeling of breaking bone resounded around my whole body.
A popping sound accompanied the feeling. Looked like I managed to break the leopard’s neck.
It was kind of terrifying, seeing its head bend at such a strange angle.
It was a really over-aggressive fighting style, it took me a while to believe I won.
「No matter who you’re dealing with, your methods don’t change…」
「…Why is that?」
Master sat down, clearly deep in thought.
While I had the time, I decided to mind my own business for a while.
I restored my HP bar using a potion.
Afterwards, I used my knife to collect the item drops from the leopard.
These were the items I got:
【Material】Snow Leopard Skin Raw Material Grade C+ Rarity 4 Weight 3
The skin of a Snow Leopard. Very soft and nice to the touch.
【Material】Snow Leopard Claw Raw Material Grade C+ Rarity 4 Weight 0+
The claw of a Snow Leopard. Sharp, sturdy, and light.
Both of the items had high rarities.
I got three of the claws too.
When I held them in my hand, I felt shivers go up my spine for some reason.
It wasn’t fear, more like… Awe?
The skin was soft and fluffy.
The skin wasn’t that thick, but it still felt flexible.
It didn’t feel like something you would use as armour.
Maybe as something to keep out the cold?
「Well then. Master, should I collect some Healgrass today?」
「Huh? No, don’t worry about it. Before that, there’s something I want to see.」
「Your normal fighting style.」
「Just take me with you on your next trip.」
By the time we returned to Master’s house using Roc Bird, it was already lunchtime.
I ate the simple dish Metalskin prepared and went out to hunt.
Together with Master.
He said he would just watch from the back, but was that really all he would do?
I started feeling a little self-conscious out of a sudden.
My Kaya Wood Rod was still broken.
And there was something else I was curious about.
I got an info screen saying that a Skill Link was established earlier.
A new skill was added to my available Support Skills, 【Dual Wield】.
【Dual Wield】, huh…
It sounded like a really nice skill.
Although since the only proper weapon I had was a staff, I doubt I could find any use in it.
Oops. I ended up spacing out for a while.
I forgot I had Master with me.
I looked around me, wondering where I should go.
I guess I’ll go to the forest maze deep in the forest.
It felt a little strange, having Master’s gaze on me at all times.
When we arrived at the entrance, Master entered without any issues.
Was it because he was a teacher character that he didn’t need to clear any events beforehand?
Or maybe it was because he was an NPC?
I didn’t really understand.
I looked up to see Roc Bird flying about.
Master summoned another Summon Monster when we entered the maze.
The usual Demon Fox.
It was as bright and colourful as always.
Oh, I almost forgot.
I summoned Jericho.
With the wood golem Jericho in the centre, I got Volff to take care of the sides.
The bat Jean would take care of the air.
The rear guard?
I didn’t have anyone in that position.
Ah, I suppose I could give Master that role.
It was a great formation.
I used【Flashlight】to light up the place.
「Well, let’s get going.」
We didn’t run into any other parties.
I decided to randomly walk around and kill any monsters that would show up.
I beat a group of five mushrooms, followed by a group of four Branch Golems.
I didn’t have Adele and Irina with me, but my fighting style didn’t change.
Well, to begin with, I wasn’t trying to change anything.
I beat the mushrooms by ripping them in two or by toppling them.
I used【Pyrokinesis】on most of the Branch Golems and beat the rest using throws.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
On the way to the central hall I ran into a Rush Fungus.
I had gotten used to fighting those too.
Rip off their caps and split in two.
The Summon Monsters were doing well.
Especially Jericho, he made things a lot easier.
Using【Physical Enchant: Earth】on him to increase his defence was a good idea too.
None of the monsters could compete with Volff in terms of speed. The damage he took was next to zero.
Jean contributed with ambushes from the air. He managed to end each fight unscathed.
I was the one who took the most damage.
But I was also confident I took out the most monsters.
I wondered what Master would say about that.
We went west from the central room.
I used the exit in the white hall to leave the forest maze.
Master followed me without any problems.
A cave full of skeletons was waiting for us.
Thinking about just the monsters, the skeletons were actually far weaker than the mushrooms or the Branch Golems.
The only issue was their large numbers. Getting surrounded was annoying.
We managed to break through four swarms of skeletons without any problems.
All of them were groups of over 20.
The battles were simple, but not easy.
Again, their numbers probably contributed to that.
I made it through by boosting Jericho’s defence. While I was at it, I boosted my own attack and defence too.
I didn’t think any of the skeletons would drop anything useful, but I got a Magic Stone from one of them.
I didn’t even have to use my Survival Knife to take it.
Master hadn’t intervened at all.
Since I was using a lot of spells continuously, my MP bar had dropped to about 70%.
I could use HP potions to manage my HP bar, but I didn’t have anything to fix my MP problems.
I wondered for how long I could keep going.
I arrived in a little open place in the cave.
It looked like an underground valley, maybe a ravine?
There was no water in sight.
I could clearly see the cave’s continuation in front of me.
The only question was whether Jericho could reach the place.
The path didn’t give much of a foothold, and it some places it was completely missing.
If we weren’t paying attention there was a good chance we could fall into the ravine below. I used【Physical Enchant: Aqua】on Jericho just to be safe.
Volff and Jean made sounds of warning at the same time.
Something was coming from the other side of the cave.
Red, fiery eyes.
Almost like a fire within its body was spilling out of its eye sockets.
An unpleasant rattling noise invaded my ears whenever it moved.
Skeleton Dog Lv.2
Monster Enemy Target Active
I used【Identify】on one of the three dogs.
They were about as big as Volff.
They bared their fangs and lined up next to one another, trying to intimidate us from the other side of the ravine.
They didn’t howl. They didn’t make any sounds.
That actually made them give off even more of an uncomfortable feeling.
I thought I would be okay since I had Jericho, but their eyes were set on Volff and me.
But they wouldn’t come over to attack us.
Looked like they were just there to prevent us from going further.
I got ready to cast a spell.
It looked like I would have to start the fight.
I got Volff and Jean to get ready too.
I ran over to them and grabbed the first dog that ran at me.
Another dog ran to attack me from the side.
Jean quickly moved in to intercept its attack with an attack to its skull.
I backed up and the dog in front of me jumped at my throat.
But it was slow.
Might be because I fought the Snow Leopard earlier.
I delivered a right uppercut to its jaw.
I grabbed its torso with my left hand as it flew into the air.
It was an undead monster, so I tried burning it with fire.
It wasn’t so effective.
Looked like I had used the wrong spell.
I followed up with an elbow strike.
The dog flew away from me.
The dog rolled away on the ground. When it came to a stop, Jericho stepped on it.
Jericho crushed its bones into a powder.
With just a single stomp, the dog was split into two.
There were spirit-like fireballs inside the dog, just like the skeletons earlier in the cave.
Guess that meant I could defeat them in the same way.
I kicked the spirit once and it scattered into mist.
The other one would be in the skull, right?
I stomped on its skull with my heels, revealing a spirit inside.
I kicked this one too, and just like the other spirit, it scattered into a mist before fading away.
Looked like defeating them would be just like defeating normal skeletons.
The only difference being that the spirits were red this time.
The other two Skeleton Dogs were the same.
I left one of them to Volff and took on the other.
Jericho stepped on it and helped me finish it off.
I turned around and saw Volff crush the last Skeleton Dog’s skull and with that, our battle was over.
As the fireball-like spirits disappeared, the bones disappeared with them.
Volff looked a little sad.
Maybe it was because his bone toys disappeared.
Try not to swallow too many, you don’t want to ruin your stomach.
Although we won the fight, I didn’t get any items.
I thought they would at least drop something, like the skeletons did.
But after the fight ended, I managed to get something else.
《【Fire Magic】Level Up!》
《You have acquired the【Fire Magic】spell【Resist Fire】!》
《You have acquired the【Fire Magic】spell【Fire Heal】!》
《You have acquired the【Fire Magic】spell【Fire Shot】!》
《Summon Monster『Jericho』Level Up!》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat》
A long-awaited level up.
Looking at Jericho’s stats in a virtual window, I saw that his AGI stat went up during the level-up.
Well, it certainly went up, but would a change from 4 to 5 really make a difference?
Maybe I should think of it more like a 25% increase.
I decided to put a point in VIT
The numbers looked prettier that way.
Jericho Wood Golem Lv2→Lv3（↑1）
Punch Kick Magic Resistance [Slight] Self-Repair [Slight] Block
My【Fire Magic】leveled up too.
I’d been using it on a lot of Branch Golems, so I’d been expecting a level-up for a while now.
With that, I was finally on the same level as Adele.
They grow up so fast…
Well, I was just glad my list of magic spells increased.
I kept going deeper into the cave.
The cave kept getting wider, but our footing kept getting worse.
If I wasn’t constantly casting【Physical Enchant: Aqua】on Jericho, he would’ve seriously slowed us down.
It was really annoying.
Well, Jericho had been a good asset in every fight so far, it was a worthy sacrifice.
We kept going, clearing two more groups of skeletons.
The road didn’t split.
As our footing started getting a little better, I saw a little light ahead of us.
Definitely looked like an exit.
I got Jean to fly ahead and make sure it was safe.
I felt a little relieved at the thought of being released from this gloomy place.
It was an exit. The cave led to a bright forest.
The forest was at a slight incline. It was a hillside forest.
The hill looked like an ancient Japanese tomb.
All the trees around us were tall and beautiful.
I used【Appraise】on the trees. Most of them were camphor trees, but there were some katsura, and Japanese horse chestnut trees mixed in too. I even saw some cedar trees.
But the trees were way too crowded.
Although some sunlight could still make it past the canopy, making it possible for me to find my way around.
It was a little difficult for Jericho though.
「Oh, what a nice forest.」
「Yeah, the air feels really nice.」
「Yes. But that’s not all.」
「I think you’ll understand when you sense it.」
Looking closely, I saw Demon Fox’s tail was moving back and forth in a very lively manner.
Volff was the same.
He looked really happy, no, fascinated.
I used the spell【Sense Magic】.
I realised the trees around us were oozing with magical energy.
It felt like we were swimming in life force.
I discovered something rather interesting.
There were some isolated places where it seemed like【Sense Magic】failed completely.
It looked a little like a black hole, except for magical power.
「There seem to be some places where I can’t feel any magical power for some reason.」
「Yes. I’m not too familiar on the subject myself, but I heard that great spirits live in some of the oldest trees here.」
「That’s right. There are times when the old tree itself becomes a spirit, and there are times when their magical energy concentrates, opening portals to the spirit world.」
「Do you know what elves are? At this moment they are the only ones who can summon spirits. It is said that it’s because their home is in the spirit world.」
What an interesting setting. Although I felt like I’d heard about it a thousand times before.
「Even among summoners, there’s still a lot of research to be done on summoning spirits. Well, just keep it mind.」
「Also one more thing, let’s keep this forest clean.」
Forests this rich have become painfully few.
To be honest, this was probably an experience I could only have in the virtual world now.
The air felt really nice.
Being surrounded in the smell of the forest was nice too.
I sat down and bathed in the atmosphere for a while.
Race Human Male Racial Lv6
Job Summoner Lv5
Bonus Points Remaining: 19
Staff Lv5 Punch Lv3 Kick Lv3 Joint Lock Lv3 Throw Lv3 Evade Lv3 Block Lv3 Summon Magic Lv6
Light Magic Lv3 Wind Magic Lv4 Earth Magic Lv3 Water Magic Lv3 Fire Magic Lv3（↑1） Dark Magic Lv2
Alchemy Lv3 Pharmacy Lv3 Glassmaking Lv3
Cooperation Lv5 Appraise Lv5 Identify Lv5 Discern Lv1 Cold Resistance Lv2 Grab Lv5（↑1） Horsemanship Lv4 Precise Manipulation Lv5 Jump Lv1 Heat Resistance Lv3 Climb Lv1
Kaya Wood Rod (Broken) Wild Rabbit Breastplate+ Series Snow Ape Armguard Wild Horse Boots+ Snow Ape Leather Helmet Rucksack Item Box x2
Old Summoner’s Temporary Pupil
Guardian of the Forest
Man of the Middle Path
Volff Wolf Lv5
Zangetsu Horse Lv3
Helix Hawk Lv3
Obsidian Owl Lv3
Jean Bat Lv3
Jericho Wood Golem Lv2→Lv3（↑1）
Punch Kick Magic Resistance [Slight] Self-Repair [Slight] Block