Day 8 of the Grand Auction: break day.
And one, and a two~.
"Lily, are you doing fine?" - Garami
"Scary... too high..." - Lily
"Relax. It could be worse. For example, this place could have been twice as big. While it's cool to be scared, freezing up and not moving won't lead you anywhere." - Flint
"*Sniff*, okay..." - Lily
Tch, he stole a good line there, that lizard...
We're currently climbing on a caldera, a cauldron-shaped rock-formation with some stupid-high "walls", and this butte is supposed to be a special area that monsters known as Military Monkeys have taken over as their territory. They're a strange breed of monkey that values growth through danger more than anything else in the world, and some believe they've arrived at this place solely for the dangers of the desert. Crazy monkeys. I'm not gonna let Lily eat anything from those. What if she catches their madness?
After reaching the top of the rock formation, we peered into the "cauldron" that the Monkeys should be living in...
"All hail lady Filyn!"
"Your voices are too soft!" - Blot
"ALL HAIL LADY FILYN!!"
...But now it's a picture of hell. Several half-naked men and monkeys were shouting out with a voice touched with madness while carrying boulders on the size of small cars on their backs.
"...Shall we go back?" - Garami
"Ah, Garami. You came to visit?" - Blot
Damn, he saw me. I jumped down and met up with Blot.
"I must say, despite the situation, it is a good job you did in attracting Jim over there," said Blot while pointing at the hero who was among the rock-bearers. For some reason, he looks way healthier since the last time I saw him.
"Don't say it like I voluntarily got in trouble." - Garami
"It is due to you that Jim arrived at this continent." - Blot
"How so?" - Garami
"Someone named 'Ria-chan' said they would erase some sort of 'negative Blessing' that Jim owned." - Blot
...Negative Blessing? Oh, like the one Alf had? That one's definitely negative, alright.
Ria-chan? Where have I...... a certain someone popped up in my head, but I'm afraid for being right, so I'll bury that idea for all eternity.
"And what was so bad with that 'Blessing'?" - Garami
"Simply put, it turned him into a 'yandere-magnet'." - Blot
"......Come again?" - Garami
"Please don't make me repeat myself." - Blot
"...Just asking, but that Blessing, is it that 'intense affection' thing?" - Garami
"That is what it was called, yes." - Blot
That's some freaky "affection"...
"Wait, why're you talked about it in the past tense?" - Garami
"Because that Blessing is already destroyed." - Blot
"How!? And by who!?" - Garami
"By me. Back when I gave Jim my own punch of affection." - Blot
...Vice-boss, you're too awesome.
"I want to take the credit for getting rid of that deviant power, but unfortunately, I can't. I had an Oracle take a look at Jim after I had recruited him, and it was revealed that the Blessing was supposed to be removed at a later date." - Blot
"Huh?" - Garami
Are Blessings supposed to do that? Blot retrieved a piece of paper from a spatial opening, something akin to my own [Spatial Storage], and showed it to me. It's a description of the Blessing we talked about, from the looks of it. W-whoa... that's some fearsome effects...
- Increases natural charm to monsters and deviants.
- A further increase to mentally ill characters.
- Increases stress experienced.
- Bonus to all stats when facing someone charmed by the first ability of this Blessing. [Variable]
- Increases rate of natural self-recovery. [Small]
- Improved rate to remove the Blessing each time a deviant is defeated, captured, or killed.
- When the Blessing is removed:
- Increases rate of natural self-recovery [Small]
- Increases ability to withstand stress.
- Increases natural charm, except for deviants and mentally ill characters.
"...The Life Goddess is worse than my own." - Garami
I couldn't stop myself from saying that out loud. Is this thing part of some plot by the Life Goddess? By having the hero face deviants more often so he could impress the other gods? Wait, then having him experience more stress will backfire big time. And the last two effects...
"Was the purpose of the Blessing to be removed after a while? But it would be more useful to simply increase all his stats without that nasty charm..." - Garami
"Maybe goddess Yrlanaya wanted Jim to grow up strong by facing villains and gain allies that could empathize with his situation?" - Blot
"Huh? Are you stupid? No way that's possible. Those kinda bonds are bound to be broken someday." - Garami
"I-if you say so...*Sulk*" - Blot
No, I can't imagine what's going on in that goddess' head. "Ria-chan" is easier to find out, that eternal troll.
In any case, the hero looks like a century's worth of curses has been exorcised from him. At this rate, he'll be a goon for Blot for life...
"Damn, he's fast!" I shouted as I saw a girl coming up to him with a bottle of water. And why's he not wasting away like on the fourth day!?
"Are you referring to miss Ariens?" - Blot
"Why's a former gynophobe suddenly hooked up with a sheep Therianthrope!?" - Garami
Not to mention a damn cute one!! I wanna touch that fluffy wool!! Our group has 0 fluff!!
"It's because I introduced them." - Blot
"Haaaa?!" - Garami
"Jim is in dire need of emotional care, so I introduced him to one of the workers of the Belial house. Miss Ariens is as sweet as her appearance says, so I have no doubt she will help with healing the wounds on Jim's heart." - Blot
"...You're surprisingly supportive with that guy." - Garami
"The two of us are equals in our quest for true love." - Blot
Ahh, these two won't be goon and boss, but best buds...
"Tch, just explode and get reincarnated as the goddess' toy already, damn newbie-normie..." - Garami
"Garami, your tongue is beating your dagger in sharpness," said Flint who decided to come over after having a look at the Military Monkeys' primitive weapons.
"Anyway, vice-leader...?" - Flint
"Please, call me Blot." - Blot
"Then Blot, do you have any clues where we could find the swarm of Kansandrats?" - Flint
"Kansandrats?" - Blot
"Huge rats with incredible jumping-power, an appetite of a small army, and is living in desert environments like this place." - Flint
"We're going after them. Got it as a request from the local Adventurers' Union." - Garami
Besides, rats are beasts, meaning I may upgrade my Beast Slayer title to Slaughter, which gives me the upgraded SP-increase skill! They're also rodents, so with luck, I may upgrade both my SP- and RES-skills!
"It's also to test the weapons we bought yesterday. To see if they're worthy of being mass-produced for the Dungeon monsters." - Flint
"Hmm, I can't say I have. I have practically isolated myself on this rock-formation ever since I recruited Jim and his friends." - Blot
Tch. And the Union's also in the dark about the rats. That's the reason the Quest is still active and all, but couldn't those damn pests be a little easier to find...?
"Hey, did anyone see where Lily went?" - Garami
There's no Chimera within sight in the valley.
"Maybe she was bored and decided to take a walk?" - Flint
Damn, and she's the one holding the weapons. Better look for her...
Gwaaa!! Ugh! Doh! Iyaaah!!
Ouch... why isn't the ground quality-checked? Suddenly collapsing under me... now I'm back at the bottom of the hill!
Climbing up again will be a pain... let's just wander around till Garami's finished talking to the vice-leader.
Oh? Ants. Are they on the way back home? Here. I'll share some of my lunch. I'm a little food-tired at the moment. Not only did Garami trick me to eat the still unborn Phoenix (she resurrected, but still), she made me eat that freaky, black heart! No, the black-hearted one here is Garami!!
The taste of the heart was so horrible that it knocked me unconscious for two whole days. That's 10 meals' worth!! And all I got from that was that [Extremely Foul Eater] title, and that [Voyager of the Depths] skill! Sure, the name sounds damn awesome, but it's only useful if I'm at the bottom of the ocean!! And the title is just pure insulting to a self-proclaimed gourmet like me!!
*Sniff*. I'm enduring it all, aren't I? What a dog life I'm living...
What was that? I wiped the sweat coming from my eyes and looked around to find a floatship not far from here. Did they have an accident? Let's try to help. Mommy always said to help people in need. They'll reward you with food after all.
The floatship was a little far from the rock hill, but it's not a distance I couldn't cross in a minute.
"Hey, are you alright up there?" - Lily
"Huh? We're alright. Who's down there?" answered a voice, too busy with the machines in the interior of the ship to see who had arrived.
"Lily Katraka. An adventurer." - Lily
"Really!? Mind giving me a hand here? I kinda need it."
I climbed up the floatship and saw that the engines on the back were unharmed. Hey, this ship is of the same model as Garami's! No wonder I thought it looked similar.
I entered the interior of the ship that was spewing smoke and was met by a human dressed as a merchant. On his shoulder was a... yellow chick? Several others are walking around the interior of the ship, some handling tools while others try to move large buckets filled with water. So cute~...
It took awhile to help the merchant-looking guy with fixing the machine but we managed to stop it from spewing smoke. It did manage to cover us in soot before that though. I want a bath...
"Thanks a lot! Let me introduce myself; I'm Crichor Chocrocho, a traveling Merchant." - Crichor
"Lily. Adventurer." - Lily
"I remember. The floating mechanism must have failed during the trip through the desert. Luckily no danger of it exploding, but the heat generated could have affected the engines and the fuel tanks, so I'm glad you could help." - Crichor
Floatships... have a floating device that lifts them above the ground, plus the engines which propel them forward, was it? Think Flint mentioned something like that when I joined him in maintaining Garami's ship that one time.
"Excuse me for asking, but why is miss Lily here in the desert?" - Crichor
"Looking for... Kansandrats? We're hunting them." - Lily
"Please do. Those rodents are a pain for everyone in the desert," said Crichor with a disgusted look. So did the chicken. But they look cute even so~.
"Why're Crichor in the desert?" - Lily
"I'm a little late, but I have a piece of merchandise that I need to bring to the Grand Auction that's being held in Shahamar close here." - Crichor
"Really? But you're more than 'late' for that. It's been on for a week already." - Lily
"Please don't rub it in. The machine has been acting up all the while now, and we need this sale to upgrade it and the others at the ranch." - Crichor
"Ranch?" - Lily
"Yes. We are raising Fengfengs just north of the desert. These little ones are Small Fengfengs. They are a popular breed of monsters that people use as mounts. They are even named after one of the famous Phoenixes!" said Crichor, with an obvious hint of pride in his voice.
"...Is Crichor a tamer?" - Lily
"Why, yes. My main class may be Merchant, but I'm a proud owner of the Bird Tamer class like the rest of my family." - Crichor
"...Mind teaching me a little?" - Lily
"? I would love to, but I need to transport the goods to the auction hall first. I'm way too late already, and it is to be sold tomorrow." - Crichor
"It's a magic item?" - Lily
"Yes, something we were lucky enough to find close to the ranch. If we fail to deliver it in time, despite reserving space for it, I think this will be the last time our family's allowed to join the auction. *Sob, sob, sob*..." - Crichor
"...Then, if I help you transport it, would you teach me how to be a Bird Tamer?" - Lily
"Will you!? That's awesome! You have a deal! Ah, but do you have a bird that you can, you know, tame?" - Crichor
"Mhm. Although, it's still not hatched." - Lily
"Then we'd better hurry. A newly hatched monster will become the most loyal partner you could ask for!" said Crichor with a smile on his face.
I helped Crichor drag out the large crate from the ship
"We're not able to carry this thing all the way to the city, are we?" - Crichor
"...Nope." - Lily
The crate is as big as the Grotto Scorpions in the Dungeon. So big that it was barely able to fit inside the ship.
"...Wait here. One of my friends can summon mounts to carry it." - Lily
"That would be helpful. Are they close by? And will the mounts be okay? The crate is pretty heavy without a carriage?" - Crichor
"No biggie. She's right over there at the hill. And she's a Necromancer, so they won't feel any pain." - Lily
"Yes, yes. Undead are already dead... NECROMANCER?!?!" - Crichor
Is it that big of a-*BOOOOM!*-deal!?
A large amount of sand flew up into the air as if it had exploded, and something big appeared. A gigantic, ink-black snake had emerged from the desert sand.
I know those eyes. That snake's eyes are saying "I'm hungry"!! And they are looking at the floatship! The chickens!!
"*Hissss*!" - Snake
Whoops... my body had automatically thrown a stone at the snake before my mind could come up to speed. And it hit the snake in the eye. ...Sorry?
"*Hishaaa*!!" - Snake
No change. I see. I'm outta here!!
The black snake lunged at me with a speed that shouldn't be possible with that big size. I had no other choice but to run for my life! Onward to the hill! Garami, save me!! I'll be a nice chimera and eat my food properly from now on, just save me!!
As I ran, I felt a chill on my back and jumped away. Ugh, I was right! A large puddle of purple liquid hit the spot I was running towards. And it's making one heck of a fizzing sound! Poison!? Venom? Acid?!! And one that's deadly potent as well!
The snake kept on hurling slabs of toxic acid at me while charging at me. Something that big shouldn't have access to long-range moves!
Ugh!? It's blocked the way to the hill with the toxin. Crap, this snake has brains!
I stopped short of the toxic sludge as the snake came at me again. Wh-wh-what should I do!? Ah! [Dustcloud Battleground]!
A large amount of dust started to whirl around me. It's not doing any damage, and the sand will only irritate people a little, so I thought the skill was a miss when I obtained it after eating the Desetravling Camel monster's meat from the auction. It's the only other skill I obtained in that city after that "Voyager"-skill, however, it is exactly what I needed right now!
I fled the dust cloud while the snake was confused and irritated over having swallowed a large amount of sand. Now, to the... the toxic is spreading?! Is that also an area-skill? Crap, the tail!
I ducked the tail swipe of the snake and was met by the sight of the snake having blown away all the sand. Oh no, this ain't good...
......T-too close... I used [Dustcloud Battlefield] in panic, and it must have irritated the snake enough for it to miss me… by a few centimeters.
I should run. I want to run! But, I can't. This thing will simply chase after me, or attack the chickens... I mean, Crichor! And, I think I have a chance here. The snake may be strong and fast, but its moves are getting sluggish. Maybe it's that growing toxic that's tearing on his energy reserves, but in any case, this is the time to fight, not run!
The snake was about to lift its head out of the dust cloud, and right before it had risen above it, I canceled the skill. The snake froze in surprise with its mouth open, or maybe it was pissed off and wanted to shout at me. No matter, I did what I had planned: throwing the Burst Tomahawk, one of the weapons that Garami had forced on me to carry, into the big guy's mouth!
The tomahawk flew into the snake's mouth... not! It's going off-course! Uhh, why didn't I get the [Throwing] skill like Garami suggested!?
...Huh? The tomahawk changed its trajectory and flew into the snake's mouth... maybe I have a golden right arm?
The snake wasn't able to close its mouth in time and the one-handed ax struck the back of the snake's throat.... and exploded with a large "BANG!". The big snake collapsed with a large hole where the tomahawk had struck it... yeah, no way he's getting up from that...! ...Nope, he didn't. No "flags" here, as Garami calls them.
"Good work there." - Garami
"Gyaaa!!" - Lily
No way, the devil arrived when I talked about her?! And why now, when everything is finished!?
"Because everything's finished." - Garami
"Mind reader!" - Lily
"The question's painted on your face. Not that you needed help," said Garami while looking at the corpse of the big snake.
"......I have to eat this?" - Lily
"After it's detoxified. Damn..." - Garami
"Is your eye okay?" - Lily
Garami was rubbing her left eye for some reason.
"Ah, nothingatall! A-anyway, let's go and get those rats!" answered Garami with some panic in her voice. Is having dry eyes that embarrassing?
"Before that, can I ask of something?" - Lily
I asked Garami while pointing at the chickens'... at Crichor's floatship. I'm a Chimera that keeps her promises.
Lily's Status Page:
|Race:||Growth Chimera (Human) | Gender: Female|
|Main Class:||Pugilist Lv.46|
|Sub Class:||Brawler Lv.11|
|HP: 224/224||MP: 140/140||SP: 209/209|
|STR: 240||VIT: 177||MAG: 102|
|RES: 190||SPD: 182||DEX: 172|
|INT: 89||LUC: 140|
Garami's Status Page:
|Race:||Kur Kigal | Gender: Female|
|Karma Value:||-200 <Chaotic>|
|Main Class:||Assassin Lv.28
|Sub Class:||Necromancer Lv.25|
|Sub Class:||Alchemist Lv.39|
|Sub Class:||Weaver Lv.50|
|HP: 509/509||MP: 824/824||SP: 500/500|
|STR: 616||VIT: 442||MAG: 635|
|RES: 668||SPD: 815||DEX: 847|
|INT: 120||LUC: 150|