Well, I did run into a group of PK players, but they weren’t fighting anyone.
Or at least they weren’t anymore, because they all ran away quickly after spotting me.
Their speed was as impressive as ever.
But I did manage to use【Discern】on them, and it looked like they were a proper party of six players, all of them at an average of Job level 10.
I didn’t bother chasing after them.
They could have set up a trap somewhere, after all, and I didn’t feel like chasing them in a cave I was already getting lost in by myself.
I decided not to do anything reckless.
I kept going.
Soon enough, I did run into a monster I had never seen before.
Just one of them, though.
It was an undead monster.
Skeleton Ape Lv.4
Monster Undead Enemy Target Active
Battle Position: Ground Dark Attribute
It was maybe a little bigger than a Snow Ape?
It was quite close to Senki’s size, back when Senki was still a Beast Ape.
In terms of difficulty in fighting and taking it down, it was about as difficult as a Skeleton Raptor.
It didn’t feel that strong.
It was quickly caught by Tigris, and Tigris’s jaws easily crushed both the bones and the spirits inside.
But in some ways, it was still a tough enemy. It had equipment on par with Goki and Naraka, after all.
I still had the freedom to let the Skeleton Ape hit me with its shield once though.
Well, as long as I didn’t have to deal with many of them at once, they seemed like a pretty easy enemy.
It didn’t drop any items. That hurt.
For the next Skeleton Ape I ran into, I used my Tonfa of Torture as my main weapon to take it out.
I also found that using a Vajra Sword to pierce the ribs and cleanly destroy the spirit in the chest was a good idea.
It definitely resulted in a very clean kill.
I only had to take out the spirits to defeat them, after all.
Well, if only it were that simple for the Skeleton Mammoths…
The time was around 10 pm.
Once I exited the cave, I checked my Wide-area Map, and found that I was already near the middle of the S2 map.
And with that, my long journey was finally over.
I saw several bonfires burning in the distance.
Wait… The cave actually opened up unexpectedly close to the Area Portal… Why did it look like the fires were heading my way?
I had to make sure I wasn’t looking at anything strange…
I used【Call Monster】.
It was a group of Kasha.
It was also a Yokai I was very used to fighting, so I took care of them in no time.
Their levels were low, but to think that I would run into Kasha again in S2…
I looked around to see more Haunted Mists and Skeleton Apes too.
It looked like a pretty dangerous map.
There were also a few parties doing some night hunting close to the actual Area Portal.
What about me? What was I to do?
I decided to go and spend some time making myself some money.
There were quite a few swarms of Haunted Mists here and there.
I wasn’t about to let any of them go.
I wanted Florin and Naraka to get some level-ups too.
《Summon Monster『Florin』Level Up! 》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
Yep. That info screen made all the hard work worth it somehow.
The time was 11:20 pm.
I was going at a good pace.
The stat that went up with the level-up was AGI.
I put another point into STR.
Florin Bat Lv3→Lv4（↑1）
Bite Flight Echolocation Evade Ambush Suck Blood
There was still some time before midnight and the date change.
Maybe I could go at it for a little longer?
There was still some more hunting I could do.
There were few parties around me too, giving me a lot of freedom to hunt any of the monsters I wanted.
I ran into another group of Kasha.
They were definitely my least favourite monster to fight in S2.
They were the only ones actually quite difficult to take down.
Well, with my Summon Monsters, I could intercept their attacks without any problems, so I wasn’t really complaining.
And about the Skeleton Apes…
There were a few swarms of Skeleton Apes around the Lava Fort too.
They would definitely be a tough opponent for a low-level party.
But… That wasn’t the case for me.
I could easily round up many of them at once, and then use Sanctify Undead on all of them.
I could easily leave the rest to Tigris to deal with.
While I was at it, I decided to try and sharpen my accuracy with sniping the Snow Ape spirits with a Vajra Sword.
It was definitely tough to do when they were moving erratically, but in their weakened state, I was able to get it right at a good rate.
With just a few strikes from my Vajra Sword, I could take them down clean and easy.
But how could I apply that concept to taking on the Skeleton Mammoths?
Aiming through their ribs with a bow would definitely be very tough.
《Summon Monster『Naraka』Level Up! 》
《Please add 1 point to a desired stat.》
Yep, a level-up for Naraka was also in order.
Naraka was definitely a very good match against the Haunted Mists.
But I was already taking care of the Haunted Mists at a nice speed, so maybe Naraka wasn’t standing out so much.
The stat that went up with the level-up was DEX.
I put another point into STR.
Naraka Skeleton Lv3→Lv4（↑1）
Sword Buckler Block Physical Resistance [Slight] Self-Repair [Medium] Dark Attribute
Was it about time to call it a day?
Nope, it was technically already the next day.
It was 0:20 am.
I ended up getting too absorbed in what I was doing.
It was definitely time to call it a night.
I used【Instant Portal】and logged out.
《You have received some information from the GMs. Do you wish to read it? 》
I logged in at 6:30 am.
More info from the admins?
But the content of the message was as expected.
《Update: As of yesterday, the database has been updated! 》
Well, I could leave checking that out for later.
I wanted to see what the Lava Fort was like.
I was more interested in that than the database.
From where I was, I could see the Area Portal quite clearly.
The common name of the Area Portal was “The Lava Fort”, but its construction definitely did not resemble a fort.
Ah, but looking at it from a distance, it did kind of look like a fort.
Yep, it certainly did.
It was an abnormally huge rock in the centre, surrounded by a lot of smaller rocks to form natural wall of sorts.
It definitely looked a bit like a natural fortress
So, what was waiting for me in there?
It seemed like the whole area covered by the boulders around the giant rock in the centre was the Area Portal.
As I got closer, I noticed smoke coming up here and there.
According to Guren’s report, the Lava Fort was a base for Blacksmiths.
The reason behind that was the abundance of ores in the ground.
A lot of it was being mined straight from the cave I just passed through to reach S2.
Apparently, all the caves around S2 and S1 were very abundant in both coal and other ores and minerals.
The Lava Fort definitely was in a very convenient position.
With all the Production Job players having a base in the fishing village of Neeme in the neighbouring map of S2E1, it made for a lot of good opportunities to work together for the mutual good too.
I reached the Lava Fort, and took some time to look around.
A variety of street vendors and stalls lined the streets, and the whole place was very lively.
The tools on display were what attracted me though.
Mostly all the kitchen equipment.
My own skill in cooking was pretty much non-existent.
But if I could cheat that lack in skill with good equipment, I would take it in a heartbeat.
I ended up buying a lot of different things.
Well, even going into it was quite tough…
First of all, simple instruments like potato mashers, ice picks, tenderising hammers, and peelers.
While I was at it, I got myself a steaming pot too.
In a very strange-looking shop, I got myself a food mill to make sauce, and a simple hand-operated pasta maker.
I got so caught up in buying cooking utensils that I forgot about breakfast.
After I was satisfied with all the things I bought, I walked around to find a stall to eat breakfast.
As expected, there were a lot of blacksmith workshops, all displaying very attractive items.
Well, most of them were useful general-purpose items…
But nothing specific to get for Goki or Naraka came to mind.
I guess to make something special for my Summon Monsters, I would have to put in a commission somewhere…
It would probably be best to bring in my own materials too.
But after looking around the Lava Fort for a while, I managed to get a good idea of what it was like.
There were a lot of NPCs too, and there were enough facilities to make the Lava Fort a proper base of operations.
The only question left for me was whether the surrounding monsters were good prey or not.
The Lava Fort, and the S2 Map it was in, were two map squares away from the town of Remut.
The Wind Spirit Village was a similar distance away of two map squares.
Thinking about it logically, I would expect the difficulty of the monsters to be about the same.
Should I go west?
Should I go further south?
According to Guren’s report, the S2W1 Area Portal was already unlocked.
The name of the Area Portal was the Butterfly Plateau.
The terrain was mostly a wasteland.
All the Area Portals past the Butterfly Plateau were still unexplored.
And what about the south?
It seemed like the S3 map was mostly a forest.
The name of the Area Portal was the Grey Forest.
Of course, having a name meant that the Area Portal was already cleared.
Going further south, the S4 map was apparently an even thicker forest.
The Area Portal in S4 had a name too, and it was called the Deep Forest.
What about the S3E1 map, to the south of the fishing village of Neeme?
Apparently, half of it was a forest, and the other half was cut by the coastline, as expected.
The name of the Area Portal there was the Sunrise Lighthouse.
In other words, the Area Portal there was taken care of too…
Finally, according to the report, the Magi tended to appear mostly in maps with a lot of forest.
Having recalled my main purpose of coming to the south in the first place, I decided to head south.
it didn’t look like there was going to be anything knew no matter where I went anyway.
Alright, with my goal now set…
I started heading south.