"Oh right. I'm going on a trip today, want to go with me?"
It was the lunch break in the high school. When we talked as I ate my boxed lunch, Takumi suddenly told me such a thing.
"What is it? So abruptly. A game event? Or maybe queuing for a new game's release? It can't be that you want going to a company's booth on a game show or something?"
When I stared at Takumi intently, he frowned with a disgruntled expression and denied.
"Wrong. Going to an event requires preparation in the first place. Also, it's easier to purchase a game via mail order rather than wait in the queue on release day."
"That's really blunt of you again."
"I don't want to play the games I like as soon as possible, but rather play them even if a second longer."
Hearing that, I had an impression that's very like him.
"Then what is it? A trip, is it about OSO? Why do you have to take me with you?"
Speaking of what I recalled, although he mainly hunted in the game, Takumi had a fixed party members and had an option of making a temporary party with acquaintances. There was no reason to go out of his way to call me, a half-hearted crafter.
"Others are doing well, that. It's time of studying for tests and taking tests so we can't match our timing."
"Then, how about you study too..."
"Our test period ended last week!"
I don't know how it is in other schools, but our regular tests ended last week and a relaxed atmosphere had spread in the classroom after drilling the tests.
"Also, you know! Watching the same scenery lacks stimulation right. So, I intend to have a change of pace with something different."
"Still, why would you invite me."
"No, I mean, Shun, you haven't gone outside recently have you?"
"Of course I di——"
Having that pointed out by Takumi I tried to refute but——
I went to school, I did housework after I came back, I rest for a little and then started studying.
And during the break time I logged into OSO, where I checked the sales of 【Atelier】's potions and using the skills I quickly crafted items.
Also, if I found some more time I made ornaments with 【Craftsmanship】 Sense in order to put the strengthening materials I got from the rare drop hunting in them.
By using 【Craftsmanship】's skills like 《Colouring》 and 《Design》 I freely changed their appearance and after a change of pace, I returned to studying.
"——Well, it's not like I'm troubled about it."
"Thought so. Even though Miu-chan sees you at home, I'm hearing from various players that you aren't coming out of the store and got worried."
At least show yourself to your acquaintances acting cheerfully. Told so, I could only growl, unable to refute.
"I get it, geez."
"All right, got your consent for going out! Now, where do we go!"
"Hey, I didn't say I'm going to make a party with you!"
"If you want to show yourself to acquaintances acting energetic, it's best to make a party, right?"
Making a pleasant smile, Takumi drank some juice from a paperback that was sold at a vending machine and raised his lunch's chip butty up to his mouth.
One way or another, I ended up accepting it.
However, looking back at my recent activities, I certainly did feel shutting myself in is bad. Going outside on adventure would mean leveling my combat Senses, but I didn't put much importance to that.
"But, it is a fact it's hard for me to adventure alone. My stat
"Shun, I don't think that rampant picking-up of yours can be simply classified like that."
"Well, speaking of areas appropriate for your leveling, it would be north of the First Town."
After he finished drinking the juice Takumi started to bite on the straw and speaking of his idea.
"Enemies in there are reasonably strong and drop items are quite good. Since for the time being it doesn't seem like I'll be able to party with acquaintances, we can focus on leveling your character and earning some funds."
"And, your real motive?"
"I challenged the areas too high for me, my weapons' and armour durability dropped, I'm out of potions and other consumables too. I'm in red now so I need to compensate."
"I thought so."
When I asked for Takumi's real motives, "but leveling your character being the reason is true as well", he still pressed on the case.
"So, what kind of area is the north of the first town?"
"There's an area spreading along the mountains. What I want you to take care of, are the enemies in the sky."
"Enemies in the sky? Well, I can understand splitting between you doing the close-range and me doing long-range attacks but..."
"The mob you get best experience for is Bunker Bee. Also, if we're lucky and defeat a rare mob called Queen, we'll get some strengthening materials."
"I see. You take the ground, I take the sky. Easy to understand. While at it, while I aim at Bunker Bees take a look around for items to pick up, mainly herbs and ore."
"Then after going home, before logging in I'm going to mail you."
Yes yes. After that we talked about making adjustments and some other pointless things.
After school ended and I returned home, I checked the mail from Takumi and logged in to OSO.
The place for meet-up with Taku was in front of general store by the north gate. I found Taku, among a few sets of other people similarly waiting to met up with someone.
"Sorry. Am I late?"
"No, no problem. You're on good time."
Leaning on the wall, Taku checked his menu and raised his hand.
"Let's go to hunt as scheduled then."
When we started walking, I could feel the lines of sight in the surroundings gathered on one point. Although I felt somewhat unpleasant menacing gazes, when I looked around I couldn't find them and tilted my head in wonder.
"——nemies in the area are... hey Yun, are you listening?"
"Ah, yes. Sorry. Something distracted me. We were talking about mobs in the northern area, right."
"Right. So in the area along the mountains on the ground there are plant-type mobs called Mad Seeds and Rafflesian's, in the sky appear Aero Snakes and Bunker Bees."
Judging from their names, the mobs on the ground were seeds and flowers. Just recently we fought against plant-based mobs like flowers and thorns during the Fairy Quest. And, the flying mobs that I was supposed to fight were two types, Aero Snakes and Bunker Bees.
"Mad Seeds' characteristic is that they are small and thus hard to hit. Their base stats are low, but they have a lot of defence. And their number one characteristic is——"
"——That they explode."
"Hee〜, they explode... wait, they explode?!"
"Yep, if you don't bring them down with a single hit they start blinking red and approach their enemy at abnormal speed, then three seconds after they stick to someone, they explode dealing physical damage."
Just by imagining that my legs slightly gave out. I mean, suicide-attacking enemies are scary."
"If you can take them out in a single hit, they're great mobs to fight. In case they're defeated by exploding on you, you get experience but you don't get any drops for them, so be careful for that."
Since you got no items if they suicide, I felt mild harassment from the developers in that, but in case several of them were stuck in Mud Pool and caused a chain explosion in short amount of time, a phenomena similar to my Magic Gem's chain bonus might occur, so it's better to be careful about that.
"And the other kind, Rafflesian, calls in the Mad Seeds."
"No, it has also high physical and magical resistance. Their occasional physical attacks have unexpectedly high damage. But since it's a close-range attack, it's not something you have to worry about from your position, Yun."
"Is that all? If that's the case then there's a lot of similar mobs..."
"The called-in Mad Seeds explode even if they don't receive any attacks."
It was like a meta tactic against low level players. Rafflesian's instigated Mad Seeds on players to defeat them with explosions. And, they didn't get any drops for the Mad Seeds, it wasn't too profitable without a proper level. But...
"Hey, Taku. Then can't you use Rafflesians and Mad Seeds for leveling defensive Senses?"
If it's just receiving attacks, it would work for leveling defensive Senses.
"It's possible to level them if you ignore the expenses for damage to armour and the death penalty, but there are more efficient methods of leveling established. They aren't suitable for leveling."
He easily discarded the suggestion. It seemed like there already were people who tried the method of leveling I came up with.
"Aero Snakes and Bunker Bees are flying snakes and huge bee flocks, so I'll explain about them later."
"That's really sloppy. Geez... well then, should I put up enchants now?"
"Sure, go on. We should be in the northern area soon. Once we find the enemy, we'll defeat them one by one moving to the mountainside."
"Roger. 《Enchant》——Attack, defence, speed!"
I put up triple enchants and we rushed along the mountains in the north.
Then before long we found conspicuous plant-based mobs with red flowers that had dots on them——with the appearance of Rafflesian we started the battle.
——*KYOEEEEE*, raising an eerie screech, Rafflesian raised its beautiful flowers upwards cutely and puckering them, spew poisonous red pollen, then started to swing its vines.
"Yun! You aim for Rafflesian! I'll take the incoming small fries!"
I raised my bow and settled my aim at Rafflesian. In the meantime, Taku held long swords in both hands and cut down the Mad Seeds summoned by the pollen emitted by Rafflesian with a single hit each.
"Now! Bring it on!
Raising his voice he provoked the Mad Seeds which looked like an acorn and continued to swing his swords.
As he manipulated long swords with both his hands, when sometimes the Mad Seeds passed by his slashes, he sometimes sent them flying with the sword hilt.
When the individuals received a hit and started flashing before explosion, Taku took a step forward and killed them before they started moving.
"Whoops, that was close. It really is a good practice for defending."
"No way, you call this defending practice?!"
As the enemy loomed towards him, Taku prioritized hitting them immediately before acting to defeat them, making me feel the difference in our sense of values.
He sometimes avoided with light footwork, parried the Mad Seeds with the side of the sword and kit them with the part of the handle.
The optimized movements for defence looked like a beautiful dance.
"Ops, it's no time to be admiring. I need to do my part."
I calmed myself taking a big breath and drew the bow to the limit. I aimed at the Rafflesian's central part.
"——《Bow Skill - Arrow Stitching》!"
The arrow whose power was enhanced by Art passed over Mad Seed's head and pierced the centre of the red flower with white polka dots and the Rafflesian raised a creepy screech.
Rafflesian didn't fall down with just one hit and had recklessly swung its vines, it tried to block the arrow, but I shot the second and third arrow accurately, delivering damage.
But the Rafflesian wouldn't collapse so easily. As expected of the plant-based mobs, their HP and toughness is extremely high.
"Hurry up... and go down!"
As it cried out, I pierced the Rafflesian's centre and finally defeated it. The moment I relaxed I heard Taku call out.
"Yun! I hit one and it leaked through!"
An acorn-shaped Mad Seed rushed at me. It was already hit by Taku's long sword's hilt as he defended and was flashing before the explosion.
When I saw that, 【Sky Eyes'】 ability activated automatically and the time I experienced had extended.
I immediately discarded the bow and pulled out the knife from the holder at the waist and swung it holding the knife in reverse grip, cutting the seed apart. At the same time my sensations have returned to normal and the repeatedly-blinking Mud Seed fell down on the ground, then disappeared becoming particles of light.
"Sorry. I blew him away in wrong direction."
"No, it's fine, albeit a bit bad for my heart."
Haa, when heaving a big sigh I turned my gaze at Taku, he was dealing with the last Mad Seed.
I recovered the bow from the ground and put away the knife in the holder on the belt. While I was able to fight back instantly with the knife, if the same scene repeats I didn't have confidence I could react the same.
"Haa, if I get attacked like that again I might get stuck with my head going blank."
"Hmm. Really? Well, matter of getting used to."
So in order to get to used to that I have to be assaulted from surprise, huh, I heaved a sigh.
"Mad Seeds are one thing, but Rafflesians have quite high durability. You should find a way to beat them faster, Yun."
"Even faster than that?!"
"If you can, yeah."
"...I'll do my utmost best."
In that case, I had to find a more optimal method of fighting.
From the methods of attacking I have now... as I growled considering that, suddenly Taku's laughter spilled out.
"W-what is it, suddenly laughing."
"Naw, I thought you picked up misfortunate Senses at first, but you can fight quite well now."
"It's not like whether they're misfortunate matters. I've just grown familiar with them."
That was one of the reasons why I haven't used any other weapons.
Although it seemed like Taku was praising me, I was troubled as to how should I react.
"Rather, let's move on. We don't have that much time."
I rushed laughing Taku and we proceeded ahead.
Several times we have encountered groups of Rafflesian and Mad Seeds, and after repeating that we arrived at the edge of the mountains.
In the meanwhile, I was able to deliver much more effective attacks to Rafflesians by using fire 《Elemental Enchant》 on my weapon, but since Fire Elemental Stones were consumed, I had to be careful about the amount of them remaining.
And, what awaited us when we arrived by the mountain——
"Woah, a cliff huh. And there are mobs up there."
"What you are seeing now, Yun, are Bunker Bees."
Taku said so and ahead of where he pointed with his finger, more than thirty metres above in the sky, there were two types of mobs flying.
One type,was a flock of bee-type mobs, but they had very atrocious shape. After all, their needles were pointed at their bellies and were very thick. Moreover, they didn't move alone but in flocks of several bees.
"So these are Bunker Bees."
"Yeah. There's a lot of them up in there and they come down tracing their patrol routes. Their method of attacking is sticking to players as a group and stab with their pile bunker-like needles."
"Moreover, if you are in middle of a confusing battle with Rafflesian's and Mad Seeds, your body will turn literally into a beehive and you'll suffer a storm of multiple explosions!"
I didn't want to hear such information. I probably wouldn't be able to stand having my body pierced with thick needless countless times and engulfed in continuous explosions of Mad Seeds. Of course, meaning both my mind and HP wouldn't be able to withstand it.
"Bunker Bees have low resistance and defence. Their characteristic is that they specialize in attack and speed. The other enemy type are Aero Snakes, they are small in number and won't come down to attack unless targeted, they're normal flying snakes."
When he said so and I looked in another direction, I saw snakes with green bodies and wings like bats who were swimming in the sky. Rather than flying with their wings, their wiggling in the air made if feel more like they're swimming in the air. It seemed like they used their wings for moving quickly up and down.
For numbers, the snakes moved alone and the bees moved in flocks of nine on average. Among the bees there was a possibility that there was a special one called Queen, but I couldn't tell if there was one.
Looking intently at the pitch black group of bees above us, I imagined the moment the countless bees came at me along with a low humming and I started to get scared.
"...hey, Taku. How about we give up on Bunker Bees, aren't Rafflesian's enough?"
"Stop acting like a spoiled kid. Compared to dragons and giant monsters, this is still quite plain."
"Even if you compare different types of fear..."
Hurry up and do it, he said and strongly appealed at me with a stare. Although I glared at him in response, ultimately I was the one to give in.
"I get it. But protect me well."
"I won't fail with that. So, I expect you'll get us a queen with your luck."
Even at this age I was weak against such baseless simple smile of trust pointed at me. Good grief... I responded and after heaving a long sigh, I breathed in deeply.
Drawing an arrow on the bow, I aimed at the Bunker Bees in the sky.
Unlike Rafflesians who hardly move at all, each bee moved vigorously and it wasn't possible to settle my aim at them.
And so, I aimed at the flock most densely populated with the black bees and shot an arrow.
"It's difficult even for you, Yun. Well, it's natural. It's one thing for magic's area of effect attacks, but your bow has a single point attack."
Just as Taku said, the shot arrow disappeared far in the sky without dropping down a single bee.
And, the fact that it didn't hit had hurt my pride as an archer a little.
"I'll definitely drop them down."
Since it came to area attacks rather than power and effects, I prepared an Art I normally didn't use.
"Taku, I'm going to set it up so take care of the rest."
"Ohh, you're up to something?"
Finding it interesting Taku made a belligerent smile and raised his two swords in preparation for interception.
"《Enchant》——Attack, speed. 《Elemental Enchant》——Weapon."
I put up a speed and attack enchant on myself, and furthermore put on a wind element enchant on the weapon.
And then, aiming at the flock of black bees in the sky I triggered an Art.
I aimed not at a particular individual but at the whole flock.
"——《Bow Skill – Gust of Wind》!"
The Art I have obtained by reaching the specified level had pulled a green tail behind the arrow as it penetrated through the flock of bees.
Without hitting any bee the arrow penetrated the flock, but with a slight delay a green wind pressure had spread, striking an entire layer of the black bee's flock in the air.
As the bees received damage from the wind pressure left from the arrow's passage, their numbers decreased.
Rather than damaging a single bee, the entire flock's HP was significantly decreased.
Still, the bees that were further away from where the arrow had passed through were alive and well despite receiving damage, recognizing us as enemies they were coming down.
"Yun! That Art...!"
"I'll explain later, the remnants are coming!"
Acknowledging enemies, Bunker Bees' compound eyes were dyed red and they surged all at once approaching us.
Although the waiting time for using Art still hasn't expired, it was easier to aim at the enemy mobs coming at us rather than aiming at them when they draw 8's in the sky.
I shot one arrow after another and as I shot down the bees, finally the Art had become available again, and I triggered it.
"——《Bow Skill – Gust of Wind》!"
Once again I shot the same Art and had the majority of gathered bees crash down.
Although most of the bees I aimed at were defeated, the bees who rushed over to us were too close and I couldn't use the same Art against them.
I switched the weapon from the bow to the kitchen knife and cut down the incoming bees.
While giving up on arrows I cut down bees one by one, Taku cut down a few, getting rid of the remaining bees immediately.
The moment Bunker Bee's swarm HP had reached zero, the bees who were fighting up until now have escaped into the sky all at once.
Withdrawing when a certain percentage of the flock is gone, they're like army. Thinking so, I watched them leave.
And even though it was just a single battle, I received multiple drops from a single flock of Bunker Bees. Confirming there were a lot of drops, I did a high five with Taku joyously.
"What! So you did have an area attack!"
"Well, I don't have too many opportunities to use it and its power is quite low in the first place."
A little embarrassed I scratched my cheek with a finger lightly. The Art producing a wind pressure had damage lower than normal arrow, moreover, the damage decreased the further the enemy was from the point the arrow passed through.
That's why the bees further away from the arrow survived. Were it magic, probably all bees would receive same damage within the effect range, I thought.
"Well, don't be so discouraged. We've got a good enough attack means. C'mon, aim the next one! Next!"
"Yeah, got it! Let's beat more of them!"
After Rafflesians and Mad Seeds, we aimed for the Bunker Bees and continued to hunt. Although we fought while thinking of the strengthening material that drops from the one called Queen, but that one didn't really appear and we just continued to collect drops from several defeated flocks.
"We repeated it several times and I got used to hunting Bunker Bees, but I didn't manage to bring even one of them. And in consecutive battles too."
"That can't be helped, right?"
"No, but, hmm."
"Worried about something? Or are maybe you're tired?"
Taku turned around as I growled.
No, it's not a big deal but...
"I am slightly tired but... I was thinking that I don't have time to collect herbs or ore, and such."
"You... forget about that when you're hunting or leveling."
"No, I mean! We've come this far, it's a waste!"
As I emphasized that, I was looked at as if I was pitiful.
"But, they are patrolling a wide area and you to stay in one place for a long time. That's why, if you care-freely collected items, we'd lose our initiative in combat."
"B-but, along the mountain there are only Bunker Bees."
"It's fine if I take those Bunker Bees on, but a few of them will surely leak out to attack you, and if I try collecting and you leak some to me, I'll die."
Grrrr, isn't there a way to gather safely. I thought, and was reminded of a certain item.
"Then if we can repel the Bunker Bees, there's no problem, right?"
"If only there was such a convenient ite... ahh, there is one, speaking of which."
Although it was limited to bug-type mobs, I took out the item they couldn't get close to——the 【Insect Repelling Incense】.
If I use this rod-shaped incense, the Bunker Bees won't be able to come close. In other words, the area by the mountains where only Bunker Bees appear will become safe.
"I see. So by using it you make a pseudo-safety area."
Depending on the location, it could be used in order to ensure a place to take a break. I have once ran out of stock since I used them for escaping, but I have remade them and left them in the inventory.
"Got it. Go on and use it in order to safely collect."
I immediately put fire to 【Insect Repelling Incense】.
"If Bunker Bees no longer can get close, you can wipe them out one-sidedly from long distance. That sounds tasty."
Ahead of where he looked up, the insects spread in the air in a reaction to the 【Insect Repelling Incense】's smoke and fled from it moving behind the mountain's cliff.
As expected, I couldn't aim at them when they were hiding, so Taku's one-sided wiping-out was impossible.
"Then while I gather by the cliff, you can rest a bit, Taku."
"Yeah, I'll do that. Still, an item with limited use, huh."
Hmm, Taku put a hand on his chin and continued to stare at the 【Insect Repelling Incense】 placed on the ground as it continued to smoke.
"Could you give me some of this 【Insect Repelling Incense】 ? It looks convenient."
"Sure, but properly pay for it."
"Of course, I can buy them here and now."
Since he said so, I took out five 【Insect Repelling Incenses】 and passed them to him by throwing and received the payment.
"You're welcome. Well then, I'll start with digging this mining point on the cliff."
I took out the pickaxe for mining from the inventory, located the mining point that appeared on the wall and swung at it.
"Yun! I'll act as a lookout so share some with me!"
"Then, how about fifty-fifty?"
"That's too even. I probably won't be doing anything, right——?!! Yun, avoid!"
I don't really mind if it's half each I muttered and swung the pickaxe, and that's when Taku panicked.
What? And ahead of where Taku had turned to, a voice had come from the sky the bees have disappeared from.
A deep male voice. The scream which could be either a warning or anything else had quickly approached from a distance. No, it was falling down from the cliff.
This sudden event caused my thinking to freeze and I stopped moving.
(Damn, to think I can't move at a time like this! Why did it react when Mad Seed was rushing at me and it doesn't now!)
As I cursed my unmoving legs hatefully in my mind——
"Yun! Avoid this way!"
Seeing me motionless, Taku pulled my arm and sprung away from the spot. The pickaxe I had in my hand had fell out when my arm was strongly pulled, and I fit snugly in Taku's arms.
I looked at the person falling from the top of the cliff.
He had marks of the battle that happened just earlier. And, with the damage from the fall his HP was completely exhausted in front of us.
It might have been the first time I stared so intently as someone's HP turns 0. The player's body fell on its back and wouldn't even budge.
The player who fell down was wearing a durable-looking thick leather armour and a tough-looking metal helmet on his head, for boots he was wearing trekking shoes. It was a muscular man, on his back and the belt he had backpack and belts, and was also equipped with ropes.
Heck, what am I doing, calmly observing him here——
"At times like this, uh——gotta use a Revival Medicine!"
Before I could hurriedly take out Revival Medicine, the man's eyes opened and he stared at us.
"Hyah?! He got up!"
The dead guy just got up on his own! I thought, but as long as someone is in possession or Revival Medicine they can revive even if their HP falls to 0.
After waking up, the muscular man raised his upper body, took out a potion from the inventory and recovered his decreased HP with it.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you. Naw〜, I thought I'd die."
Were this reality, I would definitely die. The muscular male player said and laughed heartily.
"What? Did I interfere with young'uns date?"
Pointed out by the man in front of me, I was reminded of my own state. I was seen solidified in a state where Taku had caught me.
I took distance from Taku in a hurry and in order to calm myself I muttered repeatedly taking deep breaths.
("It couldn't be helped. It couldn't be helped. Suu-haa, suu-haa.")
"Yun? You okay?"
"Y-yeah! I'm fine!"
Spoken to by Taku I responded with high-pitched voice, but I somehow managed to calm down and once again faced the player who fell from the cliff.
"Sorry about that. Old man didn't intend to interfere with lad's and missy's date."
"No, I'm not a missy, I'm a man."
"What? Embarrassed about your date?"
"Why does it turn out like this!"
Wahahaha, as the muscular player laughed heartily, I pressed my index finger against my temple as to suppress a headache.
Just how, did it turn out like this.
The heartily laughing male player's name was Ivan. He looked so powerful it seemed unthinkable he would fall from a cliff of only that height. Every time he laughed his muscles swelled up and I had an illusion that the leather armour he was wearing had screamed.
"So old man Ivan, why are you here?"
"When I was climbing for a hobby, I made a little mistake."
As for the talk with Ivan, I left it all to Taku. In the meantime I swung the pickaxe recovering materials by digging in the mining point at the cliff's side.
Between the high-pitched sounds of hitting the rock, I stealthily listened to Taku's and Ivan's conversation.
"I'm what you could call a hobbyist player. I use one of the Senses, 【Climbing】 to repeatedly climb those cliffs and rocks."
Rock climbing and bouldering, even walking in the mountains of the modern Japan requires hours of preparation, so in OSO where one could find natural fields to your own taste and mood, it was easily to perform those.
"Hee, so you did that kind of thing."
"Yeah, mountains are great! They're a man's romance!"
Ivan spoke about the greatness of the mountains as he spread arms of his mountain-like body. Taku sat down cross-legged and talked with Ivan face-to-face.
"Well, that's not so strange. Among my acquaintance players I have some who like fishing, but since they can't go fishing on weekdays they took【Fishing】 Sense and are doing it in OSO."
"I'm similar. I've heard about this game from an acquaintance. I didn't have any interest in the game itself, but I started it for my own hobby."
Really, you know your stuff, lad. Said Ivan happily.
"So, what caused you to drop down from that cliff?"
I stopped my arm swinging pickaxe and listened to Ivan's response.
Folding his arms, Ivan growled and furrowed his eyebrows.
"It's a pathetic story though. I was dropped down from the cliff by bees. Suddenly a horde of bees has rushed at me, I tried to somehow get rid of them but was taken down. But it's not a big deal as compared to snowstorm and avalanche in the snowy mountains in mid-winter in reality."
There was a lot I felt like retorting to.
Experiencing blizzards and avalanches in real was amazing, but considering the fact they were assaulted by bees and the relevance of mine and Taku's actions right before that...
Taku stared at me. I put the pickaxe back into the inventory and I sat down beside Taku in front of Ivan.
Let's talk honestly and apologize.
"...um, it's just probably, but... I think we might be the reason why that bee swarm flocked to you."
Ivan put his hand on his chin and raised one brow, interested.
I explained what happened right before he was dropped down. That I had 【Dosing】 Sense, and I described the effect of the 【Insect Repelling Medicine】 and that we used it to chase away the bees from this place.
"That is... I'm sorry."
When I lowered my head deeply and apologized, a laughter had come from over my head.
"Whaat. So that's it. It wasn't on purpose, right? Also, you held a potion wanting to recover me after I fell. No need to worry missy. To begin with it's my problem that I was unable to deal with the bees."
He said that and lowered his rugged hand at my head and stroked it. Somewhat embarrassed, I felt it hard to raise my head. And, as Taku tried to muffle up his laughter... I glared sideways.
"Still, I was surprised. I fell by chance in a place where a boy and a girl are... really surprising."
"I was surprised as well to see a huge man fall from above. Unconsciously I grabbed Yun and leaped away."
"I said, I'm a man! Also Taku, you're doing this on purpose! Why won't you correct this mistake!"
I retorted to the two as they spoke, but Ivan, with his arms folded had tilted his head puzzled.
"What? missy, still hiding your embarrassment?"
"Come on, why does it turn like this! As if I was embarrassed! Taku, stop laughing!"
I'm saying you should just correct it! I said, but he turned his ears deaf to it.
"Geez, I'm thankful for immediately pulling me by my arm, but I can't even thank you."
"Yun. Did you say something?'
I denied strongly, but Ivan looked in my directions with a big grin somewhat pissing me off a lot.
"What's with that face."
"Naw, that's youth for you, I though."
For some reason I got really irritated. Let's call him "old man" from now on.
"Well, whether missy is a man or a woman has nothing to do with me."
"But it's a big problem to me!"
I raised my voice protesting, but he wasn't bothered in the least. On the contrary, I lost the mental battle as he smiled showing white teeth despite his rock-like body.
That sympathetic gaze and its difference with that oppressive physique had caused my comfort to strangely deteriorate.
"Won't you try climbing the mountain with me?"
As I responded with a high-pitched voice, Ivan spread his arms and started talking about the goodness of mountains.
"Mountains are great! Going around in circles on ground is just too small! The places you normally are in look really small."
"And, you can laugh like a villain seeing the world so small."
"Taku, don't make fun of it."
As Ivan started to talk seriously Taku started to ridicule him, so I hit him lightly in the flank where a gap in his armour was. He tilted his body and fell silent.
"When you climb mountains, whether you are a man or a woman, human relations and work troubles, difficulties of life, all of it seems puny! That's how big the mountains are! And they teach you that human worries are tiny! That's why, let's climb the mountain together!"
" "............" "
Taku and I were overwhelmed by the powerful voice. The bass voice had sounded deep inside my belly like a gong and had intuitively caused me to be amazed...
"What's your basis for t——"There's none! If you go to a mountain, you'll understand naturally!"——Is that so."
Ivan was a mental-supremacist mountain dumbnut.
"——And so, let's climb the mountains together!"
"Not even waiting for us to agree?!"
"Spirit of challenge above all. Have a heart of challenge! And so, wanting to get on top of mountains and big rocks makes you a man among men, right?"
"No, that'd be just you."
I have no intention of climbing. Ridiculous, I thought and in order not to cut this talk short I turned my back to Ivan, took out the pickaxe again and swung it.
And towards my back, he said certain something.
"——A man's running away?"
As I was about to swing the pickaxe, my body stopped moving. After a few seconds, Ivan spat out the continuation.
"Ohhh! That's right. You were a weak girl, right. Sorry, sorry. My mistake."
When he spoke those words acting exaggeratedly I frowned, I won't go along with his provocation, I chanted in my mind but——
"You sure are high-spirited, but a girl after all, huh. It's lonely to hear you aren't interested in mountains."
"I said I'm a man! If you're going that far, show me that mountain of yours or whatever!"
Ah, I noticed after I said it. And here I thought I shouldn't let him provoke me.
"Kukakaka!! You bit the bait, missy! You say you're a man, and a man doesn't go back on his word!
"Khh, I am a man! I won't!"
However, unable to back down any more, it was decided that I'll climb the mountain with Ivan.
And fearfully I turned towards Taku.
"Yun. Are you an idiot?"
"Uh, s-sorry. But..."
Taku heaved a sigh and looked at me as if I was a pitiful guy. Stop it, don't look at me like that.
"Old man Ivan, can I ask something?"
"Oh, what's up? You gonna go with us, lad?"
"I don't mind participating. But when acquiring a new Sense, even if it's a hobbistic Sense, it's better to learn from someone who already knows it rather than go with trial and error."
But. Taku added.
"Is there any benefit for us in obtaining that 【Climbing】 Sense?"
Narrowing his eyes Taku asked him seriously. This face of his, is that of a gamer. He looks like this whenever he appraises the item and skill effects and the worth of getting them.
In response to Taku acting like that, Ivan put a hand on his chin and groaned.
"Hmm. See, I'm doing it as my hobby. Satisfying my own desire is the greatest advantage of it, but when it come to benefits for others——"
Ivan wondered for a while.
"Can't think of anything. At best, you can pick up ore on the cliff and I found an entrance to a cave above this place. It's right there."
"All right, I'm in! Let's tackle it at full power!"
"So easily?! Taku, are you fine with that?!"
"Rather, there's more than enough benefits for us!"
When he said so, I looked up at the cliff using my combination of 【Sky Eyes】 and 【See-Through】 Senses.
"Why didn't I realize it earlier. There's a lot of mining points up there."
Beyond comparison to the mountainside where I was digging earlier, there were countless places to mine on the cliff.
And, on top of the protruding cliff, ahead of where Ivan pointed to, apparently there was a cave.
If I was able to mine on this cliff, just how many crafting materials would I be able to gather?
"Hey, Yun. Won't you pick up 【Climbing】 and tackle it together with me at full power?"
"I changed my mind too. But, what's in it for you, Taku?"
"It's an unknown cave! There might be a dungeon in the back of it. And it might be leading to an area on the other side of this cliff!"
Taku couldn't hide his excitement as he said so.
"But, Ivan probably investigated it alre——"I didn't go inside."——You didn't?"
Normally, the discoverer would check it right away, right. I thought, but it seemed like I was wrong.
"Searching caves has nothing to do with climbing mountains. Also, if it does lead to the other side, then I want to get there through the top of the mountain!"
There's a mountain so I'll travel over it. He seems to think. I was appalled.
"In any case. It seems like I successfully got a lad and a missy to get 【Climbing】 Sense!"
Ivan said so and laughed heartily. Taku and I, got fired up and picked up 【Climbing】 Sense from the Sense acquisition list in the menu
By consuming one SP we have equipped ourselves with 【Climbing】 Sense and immediately started studying under Ivan.
"So, Yun and I equipped 【Climbing】 Sense, but what do we have to do to raise its level?"
What Taku asked about, was Sense's basic performance. How is it used, for what action is experience accumulated, what kind of correction is added to actions. We didn't really know such information.
"Certainly, you're right. Even though it says Climbing, everything walking on steep mountain roads to getting up steep walls could count as climbing."
As Taku asked his question, I added my own thoughts too. The pioneer, Ivan responded——
"You do get experience for hiking, but it raises very slowly. Although it might seem impossible at first, but once you're capable of climbing a ten metre cliff there won't be no problem, based on my experience. From time to time you'll just have to take a break on some ledge."
There and there are ledges you can sit down on. He pointed with his finger, showing them to us.
"First, it's important to climb alone to the lowest ledge. Wait a moment."
Ivan said so and leaving us, he climbed up to the ledge ten metres above without any aid. There, he nailed something in and hung a rope, then using it he returned to us.
"This is a safety rope and a harness. You equip it and go up while driving bolts in at regular intervals. It's your lifeline for when your hand slides. Go on and try, missy!"
You go first, my back was strongly pushed and leaning over I took two steps forward.
When I stood in front of the tower cliff and I wondered where do I put my hands and feet, I naturally realized how does the Sense's assitance work.
I confirmed points mixed in among mining points and put my hand on the rocky surface.
There certainly was a response telling me where should I grab next to climb. But——
"——No wayy! I won't go any further than this!"
I gave up early and raised my voice. Unable to find any undulations within the reach of my hand and was unable to reach further even though only a little was left. And, I went down to try finding a different route but it took a lot of time to return.
"Are you okay, Yun?!"
"Impossible! My arms are all shaky!"
"Calm down, missy. Come down for now!"
Told that, albeit slowly, I carefully went down while looking for scaffolding below me. Then finally, I kicked off from the wall when I approached nearly my own height. When I finally arrived on the ground, I fell on my knees and started laughing before I sat down.
"It's harsh! What's with that, really!"
As I complained, my body trembled unable to find any strength, so I rested myself.
"What. You don't have enough muscles. Eat more meat!"
"This is a game!"
"Well, let's leave jokes at this. You try next, lad. I'll explain the rest to missy while looking at you."
"Got it. I'll be going then."
After saying so, Taku started climbing and it went smoothly as it had for me, but he stopped in the middle. It was the same place I had stopped in.
"Missy, why do you think that doesn't work?"
"Hmm. Since his right hand can't reach the undulation, choosing a route?"
"Actually, there's a trick to reaching that place with your right hand. lad, look in the opposite direction to the place you want to reach and then try again!"
"......? Got it."
I don't understand, said Taku's expression, but the result from his trying it was drastic.
"Oh? I reached. But why?"
He said so and raised up where I couldn't go any further. It didn't seem like his arms were shaky, I lost to Taku in both stats and the way of handling the Sense.
"But, why did he reach it when he couldn't earlier?"
Even though both I and Taku have tripped on the same place, thanks to Ivan's advice Taku had proceeded smoothly.
"It's simple. Although he can't reach it normally even by stretching out his hand, by turning his head in the opposite direction his body naturally twists around and he is able to extend his hand by that amount, is what it means."
I actually tried to turn my left and right, with my neck's movements the opposite shoulder had moved forward. Using reach longer by that amount, it was possible to reach the point.
Taking only a single advice form Ivan, Taku had climbed up ten metres until he reached the ledge, then easily got off and climbed up again, striving to level up.
On the other hand, possibly because I didn't have enough muscles I fought against my trembling arms and repeatedly resting, I stretched the distance I travel bit by bit.
"How is it? Did you grasp the trick?"
"Hmm. It's quite harsh on arms. But I know how to do it, so it feels like I can go further."
"Then go and try it."
"Do your best, Yun."
Told so, I challenged it again.
Ivan watched over me in silence as I slowly climbed up.
"Yun, you're almost there."
"Missy, a little more!"
For the last spurt I put my hands on the ledge and climbed up.
Strangely, for the places I couldn't reach before I only turned my face in opposite direction as I was taught to and stretched my body, and I was able to climb up with all of my strength.
"...huff, huff. So harsh."
I rolled and collapsed on the small resting space of the cliff and looked up at the sky with my back on the rocky mountain.
"You two learn quickly right from the first day. There's worth teaching you."
When I looked in his direction, Ivan who was watching us from the bottom had climbed the same distance we have without any lifeline, catching up to us. As expected of 【Climbing】 Sense's pioneer, his abilities were really high.
"...Taku is as you can see, but I don't have any talent, right."
"Lad's just abnormal. You missy, just use your muscles more than usual."
Although I was praised, climbing ten metres was enough to have me exhausted.
After resting a little I regained some composure and exhaled.
"All right. Well then, next, we'll repeat the practice we've done so far and aim for twenty metres!"
"No way, impossible! Rather. It's about the time I have to log out."
Although the sun was still high in OSO, when I checked the time in the menu, it was already six o'clock in the afternoon. If I don't start making dinner soon I won't make it in time for dinner at seven o'clock.
"Speaking of which, it's that time already. I'll get some more advice from Ivan and log out too."
"And here I thought the amount of climbing companions increased, how lonely. It can't be helped, let's have a manly talk, lad!"
Then, one-sidedly Ivan placed his hand on Taku's arm. Honestly speaking, it was stifling so I took a step back.
"I'm logging out then."
"I'll be climbing here for a while. If you want to raise your level, come again."
"Sure, in order to dig out the ore in here my 【Climbing】 Sense and skill itself isn't enough after all."
Since I wanted to mine the points scattered in this area so I intended to come here for a while.
And then I logged out, returning my consciousness from OSO's world back to the real world.