I did my third lap around the 12 Zodiac Shrines.
I literally did do one more lap, running between shrine to shrine and taking care of each fight as quickly as possible.
I cleared another round at 4:00 PM.
It was the 12 Zodiac Shrines + 1, but it took me less than two hours to get through it all.
I switched Denier to Goki, but what was the impact of losing that support from Denier?
I did get another front-line fighter with a shield to help our in the front, but the battles didn’t get much easier.
Some of the battles became more difficult, while others became easier.
Well, I suppose that was to be expected.
The third time round, I made sure not to forget something very important.
I wanted to see the true face of the Aquarius Guard.
Her physique was bigger than I expected, but her face was still very beautiful.
One of my many worries just got solved.
The last Ophiuchus Guards were actually quite easy to take down.
I could leave one of them to Goki without worrying at all, leaving me to easily take down the other.
So, what did I get from my third time around the 12 Zodiac Shrines?
When I beat the Ophiuchus Guards, I got some info screens:
《【Earth Magic】 Level Up!》
《【Lava Magic】 Level Up!》
《【Ropework】 Level Up!》
《【Acrobatics】 Level Up!》
《Summon Monster 『Taylor』 Level Up!》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
Yep, it was a good harvest, as expected considering the amount of fighting I did.
The stat that went up with the level-up was VIT.
I put another point into STR.
Taylor Big Crab Lv6→Lv7 (↑1)
STR 29 (↑1)
VIT 23 (↑1)
Pincer Strike Aquatic Earth Resistance Water Resistance
Just one more level before Taylor’s Class Change.
I could have swapped out Taylor for the next round, but I decided against it.
The fight between Taylor and the crab monsters accompanying the Cancer Guard was quite fun to watch.
As a meme, though!
I wanted to see that again, so I decided to keep Taylor in my team.
I cleared my 4th lap around the 12 Zodiac Shrines at 5:30 PM.
There was a reason behind why my pace was speeding up.
I was trying to use as many Lightning Magic and Ice Magic area-of-effect spells as possible. That cut down the time I spent for each fight by a lot.
But no matter what, I would still have to move between all the 12 Zodiac Shrines.
Sometimes there were also other parties I had to wait for before I could challenge the Heroic Spirits.
As much as possible, I wanted to cut down the combat time.
Well, my rushed attitude to the fights was good in some ways, but also bad in others.
I ended up taking quite a bit of damage in some of the fights. It wasn’t pleasant…
But it was definitely worth it for the speed.
When I cleared my 4th lap, I got another set of info screens.
《【Rope Artes】 Level Up!》
《【Dash】 Level Up!》
《Summon Monster 『Bunraku』 Level Up!》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
Bunraku was coming out to fight in the front with his sasumata a lot more often.
It wasn’t something usual for Bunraku, so it was actually quite puzzling…
Was it my fault?
It probably was my fault for giving him an example to follow.
The stat that went up with the level-up was INT.
I put another point into SPI.
Bunraku Metalskin Lv2→Lv3 (↑1)
INT 21 (↑1)
SPI 14 (↑1)
Two-handed Spear Bow Cooking Magic Resistance [Slight] Self-Repair [Slight]
It looked like Bunraku wasn’t the only Summon Monster level-up either.
《Summon Monster 『Gengetsu』 Level Up!》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
Well, Gengetsu had been providing a lot of good support for a few rounds already.
A level-up was in order sooner or later.
Thinking about it some more, Gengetsu was still at a relatively low level too.
There was another empty skill slot that appeared with the level-up.
That was a very nice sight to see.
I recalled a similar pattern for some of my base Summon Monsters… It seemed like new skills would be available at Level 5?
The rule definitely didn’t apply uniformly across the board…
But it was definitely something worth keeping an eye out for.
Anyway, the stat that went up with the level-up was AGI.
I put another point into VIT.
So, what about the empty skill slot?
I focused my gaze on it, and four options appeared. I could choose from four attributes: Fire, Wind, Earth, and Water.
Well, any of the four would have been alright for Gengetsu…
But I decided to go for Fire.
I already had Shishiku and Telomere as Summon Monsters with very flashy fighting styles, but it wouldn’t hurt to have another Summon Monster with the Fire Attribute.
Gengetsu Imp Lv4→Lv5 (↑1)
AGI 21 (↑1)
VIT 5 (↑1)
Flight Levitation Echolocation Magical Resistance [Medium] MP Regeneration [Small] Light Attribute Dark Attribute Fire Attribute (New!)
After my fourth lap, I decided to have a quick meal in the Relay Portal.
I let Bunraku do all the preparations for my meal while I did some thinking.
What else was there for me to do for the rest of the day?
I already knew what I wanted to do deep in my heart.
I wanted to go through the cave and exit out in the S2 map.
I am very interested in the Area Portal of S2, the Lava Fort. It was high time to actually pay the place a visit.
It would be very nice if I could reach the place by the end of the day.
While waiting for Bunraku to finish preparing the meal, I made another Tonfa of Torture to replace the one that broke earlier.
It went straight into an 《Item Box》.
My piece of Hell’s Latch wood was getting shorter and shorter.
I still had another full piece, but looking at it by itself made it feel very lonely.
My first piece of Hell’s Latch wood was a very good servant, sticking around for a long time.
Anyway… Getting back to the topic at hand.
I finished the meal Bunraku handed me, and quickly got up to explore the cave.
It was also a good opportunity to bring some big changes to my Summon Monster team.
I recalled all my Summon Monsters except for Goki.
I definitely wanted to have Florin and Naraka on my team, so I summoned the two of them first.
For the remaining two Summon Monsters I could have on my team, I went with Tigris and Ninetails.
Well then, let’s get going.
What was the cave like?
It was very similar to a cave I was already quite familiar with. The cave to the south of the Forest Maze.
The two caves had many things in common.
There were goblins.
And there were also slimes.
The one difference was that their levels in the cave I was in were much higher.
And on top of that, Haunted Mists tended to appear too.
Haunted Mists were very familiar Monsters to me.
They were the guys that appeared all the time around the Wind Spirit Village at night.
And finally, there were also Skeleton Dogs.
It looked like ordinary Skeletons weren’t going to appear.
But those were the only monsters I could confirm by using 【Call Monster】.
In a way, it was a quite boring discovery.
It made me just want to get through the cave as quickly as possible.
But the structure of the cave was a lot more complicated than I expected.
I lost my way around the cave several times, but I was still trying to generally advance westward.
That being said, there were some hints the cave had to offer me.
Obviously, I could just follow other players heading towards the Lava Fort from the bottom of the crater.
In fact, there were so many players going back and forth that lines were forming.
Of course, I didn’t know which of those parties were going out of their way to hunt the monsters in the cave, and which of them were actually trying to get to S2.
But by looking at their equipment and behavior, I could more or less guess whether they were in the cave to get somewhere else or whether they were there to hunt.
But most of the players I saw were still at single-digit Job levels.
There were no Class Changed players either.
I was definitely a fan of hunting monsters, but the monsters in the cave didn’t seem very delicious to me.
Come on… Let’s get going…
But… It turned out to be not that simple.
There was something else in the cave that caught my attention.
Something that I wasn’t surprised didn’t get caught by 【Call Monster】.
It was a party of PK players.