Translator: Charlotte Editor: Weasalopes
The time was about 3 pm.
I was planning on returning to the forest maze and then exploring the S1W1 map through the southern exit, but I ultimately decided against it.
I wouldn’t have enough time, and I didn’t want to explore in the dark.
Then what should I do…
I looked around in the abandoned village.
Going further west was an option too.
I hadn’t explored everything the W2 map had to offer either, so I could even go north or south if I wanted.
I reached a decision.
I decided to keep heading westward.
I felt a little like a pioneer in the U.S. western expansion.
A noticeable change occurred when I left the village.
The grass was neatly cut, and quite recently too.
The cut tall grass was piled up on the ground.
And with the lingering effects of【Sense Magic】, I could see that there was magic in the stone walls and the fences.
It was a similar situation to the one I saw at the earth shrine.
The village looked completely different from when I first saw it.
I opened up the map.
I was in a place called the Abandoned Village of the Wind Spirit.
I could probably expect a similar event at the S1W1 area.
I made a mental note to check it out the next day.
I looked around the village one last time before exiting westward.
Looking closely, I realised that the village’s surroundings used to be pastures and farms of some sort.
I saw some primitive-looking stone canals here and there too.
Although they all looked like they broke down a long time ago.
Well, it wasn’t called an abandoned village for nothing.
And there weren’t any inhabitants to take care of the place.
I kept heading westward.
Volff was quite relaxed in the village, but that changed as soon as we left.
Volff took on an alert stance.
The same went for Helix, flying a short distance above me.
The wildlife around us suddenly went silent.
Some kind of monster?
A trap set by the GMs?
We kept going for a while until we found a monster.
It was in the sky.
Helix noticed it first and attacked immediately.
In just a moment, a fight started between it and Helix.
They both fell to the ground and I started heading towards where they landed a distance away from me.
Helix followed it and started fighting before I arrived on the scene.
The monster was madly flapping its wings as it resisted.
When I got close enough to use【Identify】, both Helix’s and the monster’s HP bars were down to 80%.
Enraged Crane Lv.3
Monster Enemy Target In Battle
It was noticeably bigger than Helix, but it was still fast enough to match him.
But Helix still managed to keep it on the ground long enough for Volff to come in.
Volff quickly bit down on its throat.
The crane was flapping its wings even harder now, and its legs tried its best to scratch Helix.
Helix backed away and then started using his beak to help out Volff.
I could see the crane’s HP bar go down pretty quickly.
By the time I arrived with Zangetsu, the match was already decided.
All I had to do was walk up to it to collect the item drops.
What a giant…
It was a lot lighter than I expected it to be.
And looking at the length and sharpness of its talons, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was an eagle or something.
It definitely didn’t have the nobility and beauty that I associated with cranes.
I felt like I’d seen that colour scheme before…
That beautiful grey coat reminded me of a hooded crane.
A crane that only comes from Russia in the winter.
It’s only popular as a seasonal bird and as a vector for avian flu.
I got distracted.
I stuck my Survival Knife into the body and got an item.
【Material】Enraged Crane Beak Raw Material Grade C Rarity 2 Weight 0+
The beak of an Enraged Crane. It has a gentle curve.
I looked it over, wondering what I could use it for.
I figured I could just sell it as is.
I realised I could tell when a monster was close not just from Volff’s and Helix’s reactions, but also the wild animals in the field around me.
I put the beak in an《Item Box》and continued westward.
Another monster soon attacked us.
A lizard? No, it looked more like a dinosaur…
It stood on two legs.
I used【Identify】on it.
Monster Enemy Target Active
It was an actual dinosaur.
I ran around it on horseback, trying to find a weak spot.
I couldn’t tell what it was thinking, but it suddenly turned at me and screamed.
In the next moment, it rushed at me.
I was glad I only had to deal with one of them.
Helix managed to deliver an attack directly to the back of its head.
As it stopped and turned around to check what had happened, Volff jumped on it and bit down on its throat.
Like the crane before, it started to flail about, trying to get Volff off of it.
But this time, Volff was shaken off and forced to back up a bit.
「Physical Enchant: Wind!」
I used a strengthening spell on Zangetsu and immediately prepared to cast my next spell.
While I was waiting for the casting process to complete, I used my rod to attack the monster.
The monster looked like it had a short attention span, and only cared about where the most recent attack came from.
With Helix, Volff, and me ganging up on it, whittling down its HP bar was pretty easy.
But it would still be a long fight that way.
I hit the spell from close range.
I saw the monster’s HP bar go down by a quite a bit.
But it was still at over half.
I kept circling it on horseback while I prepared to cast my next spell.
At times, I went in for a simple attack with my rod.
I couldn’t get careless.
I learnt that after I got too close and Zangetsu took an attack from its claws.
Zangetsu had a very high VIT stat.
But even then, Zangetsu’s HP bar went down by 20%.
I didn’t even want to imagine what its jaw was capable of.
I used a recovery spell on Helix and prepared to cast my next spell.
Zangetsu still had enough strength to keep running.
I kept attacking with my rod.
Helix did a critical hit to the back of its head, taking off about half of its HP.
Not to be outdone, Volff bit down on its tail.
But he was quickly shaken off and knocked onto the ground.
Looked like Volff was already at his limit.
But I had to heal Zangetsu too…
I healed Zangetsu back to full health.
I decided to take the monster charging at me head-on.
A move I hadn’t used before.
With the difference in our masses, Zangetsu managed to knock the monster away.
We quickly went in for the follow-up.
Zangetsu kept going and trampled the monster.
It did a good amount of damage.
But the most important thing I got out of that move was time.
Time to finish casting my spells.
It was a hit, but no marker indicating any abnormal statuses appeared above the monster.
But in the next moment, Helix gave me an incredible opportunity.
The timing was perfect.
Helix attacked its head again, causing it to lose its balance.
I quickly went in with Zangetsu and trampled it again.
I managed to get an attack on its head with my rod too.
I felt like I hit something soft… It’s eyes?
Zangetsu kept trampling it with her front legs.
I released another attack spell from close range before backing up.
The smell of burnt flesh tickled my nose.
The monster’s HP bar was almost at zero.
But it still got up anyway.
It slowly moved towards us until it was attacked by Volff, finally finishing it off.
A bite to its belly.
It fell over and didn’t get back up.
《A skill link has been established! You may now learn【Dust Magic】!》
《A skill link has been established! You may now learn【Lava Magic】!》
《Summon Monster『Zangetsu』Level Up!》
《Please add one point to a desired stat.》
A lot of info screens appeared in front of me.
All of them were good news.
I healed Volff and Helix with potions and looked at Zangetsu’s stats.
The stat that went up during the level-up was STR.
I decided to put a point into AGI.
Zangetsu Horse Lv4→Lv5（↑1）
Trample Dash Endurance Run Wild Gallop Stampede Kick
Zangetsu’s HP bar wasn’t at full yet, but it was still recovering due to the lingering effects of【Fire Heal】.
That Raptor was a strong enemy.
I realised I had to use attack spells more often.
I had a habit of getting scared and casting enchant spells instead, but I realised that that just made fights longer than they had to be.
I made a mental note to fix that in my next fights.
I didn’t get any items from the Raptor.
I would’ve loved a fang or a claw…
Oh. I almost forgot.
There were two new magic spells I could learn.
I knew that the Fire + Earth combo was going to get me【Lava Magic】.
So that would mean that the Fire + Wind combo was【Dust Magic】.
I wondered what kind of spells it would have.
Well, there was only one way to find out.
I spent three Bonus Points and learnt【Dust Magic】.
I decided to get【Lava Magic】too while I was at it.
Might as well go all the way.
I got Zangetsu to keep going at a slow pace while I checked out the new magic spells.
Image-wise, it made sense. Lava from heating rock, Steam from heating water…
And now Dust from heating air… Sort of.
I had a feeling it would be a magic skill with spells that involved decay.
I looked at all the spells.
As usual, there were three of them.
Lower ATK（Dust Magic）
A spell that rapidly speeds up the aging process of an object, thereby dealing damage.
The range is small, and the damage it does is small too…
But it has a chance of inflicting a status effect that does continuous damage.
Unfortunately, it only works on living monsters.
Contrary to its name, it’s a spell that speeds up a reaction.
Quite similar to some alchemy skills.
The spell also works on anything.
Raw meat will go bad, wood will decay, and stone will turn into sand…
Less of an attack spell, and more of a general-purpose spell.
I noticed it was pretty similar to the first spell.
And lastly, Lower ATK.
Like the name suggests, a spell that lowers the ATK of the target.
Reminded me of the【Lower DEF】spell from【Lava Magic】.
I was glad to have more support spells.
【Lava Magic】looked just like how it looked in Fiona’s message.
I edited my spell list again to make navigating through my spells easier.
It was getting harder and harder to sift through the catalogue of spells I had.
My MP bar wasn’t looking so good.
I decided to use【Dark Heal】to heal Volff.
My MP bar went down by 10%.
It went down by a lot less than I thought it would.
Now that I thought about it, Volff’s SPI and INT stats were pretty good.
I completely forgot about my Summon Monsters’ MP.
I made a mental note to make use of that more often.
I kept heading westward.
I crossed some hills and rivers on the way.
The place was silent again. No monsters.
I used【Call Monster】, and realised I was wrong.
There were quite a few cranes and Raptors around.
Just not a lot of them.
I didn’t bother calling any monsters and just kept heading west.
I wanted to reach the western edge of W2.
I wanted to see if there was something like another forest maze.
In the map, it looked like I had already entered W3.
I thought there would be something separating the two, but it didn’t look like there was anything there.
I could only tell where the boundary was by the fact that W2 was a lot greener.
I couldn’t see any forests at all in W3.
But I was more worried about the sun.
It was already 4:30 pm.
I wanted to do as much exploring as I could before the sun went down.
Call it a derivation of Murphy’s Law.
If it’s even possible for you to encounter a monster, you will encounter a monster.
I wanted to believe that it was just a simple wild animal, but it looked like that wasn’t the case.
Either way, it was still strange…
A wild bull.
It was a little bigger than Zangetsu.
Short, sharp horns.
A stout-looking black body.
Definitely a bull.
Sukiyaki, steak, a hamburger… Maybe even churrasco.
Ah, I got distracted.
It really wasn’t the time to be thinking of that.
I took a deep breath.
Fighting Bull Lv.4
Monster Enemy Target Active.
I had a really bad feeling…
I looked at the monster and prepared to cast a spell.
Its stride was getting longer.
It was probably waiting for me to attack.
I couldn’t fall for that invitation.
There was still a fair amount of distance between us, it would take a while to close the distance.
I decided to wait.
Volff put some distance away from me and took up position behind the bull.
This way, it always had its back to either me or Volff.
The bull looked like it realised the danger it was in and charged at me.
It was probably the right choice.
If it had waited any longer, either me or Volff could’ve gone in for an attack.
But I had another Summon Monster for exactly that situation.
Helix came down and easily intercepted its attack.
「Physical Enchant: Wind!」
I first raised Zangetsu’s AGI stat.
I prepared to cast my next spell while I circled the bull.
Helix was keeping it occupied.
Its roar of anger sounded rather strange.
It suddenly broke out into a charge without even looking at Helix.
Not at me.
Not at Volff.
It was running away.
It was fast.
Maybe that was because it didn’t have any real direction in mind.
But after a while, it suddenly stopped and turned around, charging back at me.
「Physical Enchant: Earth!」
I raised Zangetsu’s VIT stat.
And the moment after, I got Zangetsu to run.
Zangetsu managed to dodge the bull’s charge.
I quickly managed to get behind it.
I tried to get a rod attack in, but the bull was too fast.
I would have to do something using my spells.
Zangetsu could match its top speed, but the bull could accelerate to that speed much quicker.
It continued with its hit-and-run tactic attacks.
I tried out the spell that failed earlier, but it looked like it finally worked.
The monster stopped.
But that wasn’t all. Its momentum sent it flying forward, knocking it off balance.
A perfect opportunity.
I rushed for the follow-up, but Volff was even faster, attacking its exposed belly.
I got off of Zangetsu and went in to attack its head.
It was trying to get back up.
It was now or never.
I stuck my rod between its horns and started pulling.
I pulled harder and harder, using the rod like a lever.
I twisted the bulls head by more than 90 degrees.
It was starting to get a little difficult.
I needed more strength.
「Physical Enchant: Fire!」
I raised my own STR stat and kept pulling.
I managed to twist its head by about 180 degrees.
I finally broke its neck.
The monster’s HP bar went to zero in a moment.
Only Zangetsu took any damage in the fight.
I was about to use another heal spell, when I realised…
I had only been using【Fire Heal】and【Earth Heal】.
I tried using a different spell.
Zangetsu’s HP bar went back to almost 100%.
《A skill link has been established! You may now learn【Steam Magic】.》
It counted if I used the spells after the fight, too.
And now I could finally learn【Steam Magic】.
Why was I even debating it?
I quickly learnt the skill.
It was a little too late to be worrying about having too many magic skills.
Up close, I could really appreciate how big the Fighting Bull was.
About 1.5 times as big as Zangetsu?
I tried to collect the item drops, and as expected, I got some meat.
【Material】Fighting Bull Outer Thigh Meat Raw Material Rarity 2 Weight 3
The outer thigh meat of a Fighting Bull. Not a fattened animal, so the meat has a low fat content.
But because of that, the natural taste of the meat is heightened.
Could it be…
Could I get different pieces of meat depending on where I harvested the item drops?
In the time I was thinking about it, the body disappeared.
I reminded myself that I had to keep going while the sun was still out.
I kept heading westward for another 30 minutes.
I found some Fighting Bulls, but I ignored them because they weren’t active.
To be honest, I doubted I could take them on anyway, they were in big groups.
I could take on one, but I wasn’t confident enough to fight multiple at a time yet.
I found another suspicious place when the sun was about to go down.
A hill, with a spring and a forest on top of it.
It felt like finding an oasis in the desert.
It really stood out in the flatlands around me.
I used【Sense Magic】.
It was an easy way to check for any abnormalities.
Race Human Male Racial Lv8
Job Summoner Lv7
Bonus Points Remaining: 4
Staff Lv7 Punch Lv4 Kick Lv4 Joint Lock Lv4 Throw Lv4 Evade Lv4 Block Lv4 Summon Magic Lv8 Spacetime Magic Lv1
Light Magic Lv4 Wind Magic Lv4 Earth Magic Lv4 Water Magic Lv4 Fire Magic Lv4（↑1） Dark Magic Lv4 Ice Magic Lv2 Lightning Magic Lv2 Tree Magic Lv2 Dust Magic Lv1（New！） Lava Magic Lv1（New！） Steam Magic Lv1（New！）
Alchemy Lv4 Pharmacy Lv3 Glassmaking Lv3 Woodworking Lv3
Synergy Lv6 Appraise Lv6 Identify Lv6 Discern Lv2 Cold Resistance Lv3 Grab Lv6 Horsemanship Lv6 Precise Manipulation Lv6 Jump Lv3 Heat Resistance Lv3 Climb Lv3 Dual Wield Lv3 Mental Reinforcement Lv3
Kaya Wood Rod x2 Kaya Wood Tonfa x2 Snow Leopard Push Dagger x3 Wild Horse Leather Armour+ Snow Ape Armguard Wild Horse Boots+ Snow Ape Leather Helmet Rabid Horse Belt+ Rucksack Item Box x2
Survival Knife Woodworking Set
Old Summoner’s Pupil
Guardian of the Forest
Man of the Middle Path
Volff Wolf Lv6
Zangetsu Horse Lv4→Lv5（↑1）
Trample Dash Endurance Run Wild Gallop Stampede Kick
Helix Hawk Lv4
Obsidian Owl Lv4
Jean Bat Lv4
Jericho Wood Golem Lv3
Goki Demon Lv3
Senki Beast Ape Lv2