After climbing the narrow mountain path and finding the gate to the 54th level, the three decided to take a break. Tsutomu took out tools from the magic bag and prepared them.
First, he spread the folded mat and laid it on the ground. The mat, made of slime, felt comfortable to touch, so sitting on it was less tiring than sitting on the hard ground. As Tsutomu told Camille and Garm to rest, they took off their shoes and sat down on the mat.
Garm took off his silver armor, as his black inner shirt was drenched with sweat. Camille moved her body around while sitting to enjoy the feel of the mat.
Tsutomu embedded a magic tool, much like a stove’s fire, into the ground. When a net was placed on top and a magic stone was thrown in from the bottom, and a knob was twisted, a small red fire appeared.
He put a pot on the net and warmed the pot, and took a deep plate and a flat plate out of the magic bag. He placed a round bread filled with dried fruits engraved like dice on the flat plate.
While gazing at the white and thick stew with ingredients warming up, Tsutomu added a colorless scrap magic stone to the stove to adjust the firepower. He used to pay for food at an inn that made a variety of stews, but now he was sleeping in a dormitory with Garm, so this stew is handmade.
“…Mm, don’t make loud footsteps. There’s two, no, three.?”
“Ugh, are there orcs? What bad luck.”
There are basically no monsters in the vicinity as you exit from the gate, so it is safe. However, very rarely, you may encounter monsters. Tsutomu began to extinguish and store the valuable magic stove.
“No, those are probably investigators. I can hear them speaking too.”
Garm, with his dog’s ears tilted forward, gets dressed, puts on his armor and gets up. Tsutomu widened his eyes upon hearing Garm’s words.
“Are they on our side? Are they coming closer?”
“Kukuku. Maybe it will be a battle. We might be mistaken for monsters.”
Tsutomu had seen other parties several times in the dungeon, but they didn’t interfere with each other. Even if they did, it was brief, and they didn’t interact further.
Adventurers couldn’t join up in the dungeon even if they saw their peers. The black gate only accepted the first party that entered, and once opened, the gate disappeared and relocated to a different location.
As such, there is no reason to interact with other searchers in the dungeon, so non-interference was recommended. However, if you know the characteristics of the place where the gate appears, and you are making progress, there’ll be competition in getting there.
There was a threat surrounding the parties on the lower floors. Theft of magic stones. By stalking parties and extorting them to get to the gates, people could get into fights, but after the 30th floor, the probability of being watched by the eyes of God increased, so the practice became less common on the higher floors.
Then what kind of purpose did they approach for? Tsutomu, who prepared for the most disgusting monsters that he could imagine, was focused on the sounds of the bushes while holding his staff.
“Oi. You’re Garm, right?”
A human man came out with a crazy voice. Dressed in armor similar to Garm’s, he carried a bird-like woman. The silver armor dripped with red blood.
Behind them is an avian woman, with bright blue feathers on her arms. She had horned bird’s legs below her knees, and she looked at Garm with a relaxed expression, playing with her blue hair. As Tsutomu saw this, he was shocked.
Garm crossed his arms. He didn’t know this man.
“And who are you?”
“I’m Missil. The leader of the Silver Beast clan.”
Tsutomu had heard of the name of the clan and had seen them several times as he scouted the valley through the medium-sized monitors. A mid-sized clan, where most of the clan members are made up of demi-humans. The impression that the fifties were captured by a party composed of birds was still strong in Tsutomu.
Garm let his arms rest, being familiar with the clan.
“… What do you need? It’s clear just by looking, but…”
“Our healer and baggage have been killed, and we have serious injuries. I want to retreat, but I can’t go back to the first gate. I’ll give you all the magic stones I’ve gotten.”
“Okay. Wait a minute. I’ll get permission from the party leader… Tsutomu. I would like to lend a hand if possible, but what about it?”
Garm, who received a request for help from the brown-headed man named Missil, looked back at Tsutomu. Camille sat down on the mat as he asked, leaving the decision to Tsutomu.
But Missil had a bitter face with his head down. This was Lucky Boy, who had forced Amy to follow his orders. Garm was pleased to find a friend in these birds, but it had fallen out of his head that Lucky Boy was his party leader.
Missil speculated that Garm, who was deeply compassionate, could not forgive such tyranny even though Amy was a bad friend. Missil also thought that Garm was also weak. If so, it could be explained why Garm was with Tsutomu.
Then only the guild leader could stop him, but she also sat on the mat with an unfamiliar face. Speculations, close to conspiracies, on whether Lucky Boy had the information necessary to get the guild leader to follow him, flew through Missil’s head.
What did Lucky Boy require? Perhaps he liked women, as with Amy’s case. If he were told to give up the women beside him, Missil would regret making such a request. He put his face down, determined.
Without knowing what Missil was thinking, Tsutomu decided to take on his request for aid.
“First of all, let’s treat those behind you. They’re dead, so this will take a toll on my mental strength.”
“… I’m grateful.”
Raise was a skill that could revive people within three minutes of death, had a much higher mental consumption. A bird-woman with red wings was devoured by a monster, her leather armor dyed red and her internal organs visible.
Tsutomu had tried to get used to the sight through the monitor, but seeing it in the flesh was a different experience. Hiding his disgust, Tsutomu spoke to Missil.
“Is this the only injury?”
“Her legs are broken too. Other than that, yes.”
Tsutomu held his staff up over the yellow bird legs, concerning himself over whether or not they would heal.
“I understand. Well then… you there. Can you roll up your leather armor? Also, return the leg to its normal position.”
The blue birdman that heard Tsutomu’s request rolled up the leather armor and placed her leg back in the normal position. A voice of anguish leaked from her trembling body. Tsutomu, having grasped the full extent of the injury, cast recovery skills.
“Medic. High Heal.”
After applying Medic to cured the abnormal conditions first, he closed the wounds with High Heal. Tsutomu was relieved that this cured her broken legs as well. For the first time, he had saved a life, but the woman’s complexion was still bad, so he tried doing body-wide heals. When the recovery was complete, a red birdman got Missil’s attention by tapping his shoulder.
“Huh? That guy isn’t in our guild.”
“This person helped us.”
“Ah, I see. Thank you…”
Missil returned a bitter smile to the red birdman, seeing Tsutomu’s face and hardening his expression. He felt as if he had to be on guard against Tsutomu.
“I’m going to go for lunch now. If you haven’t had lunch yet, you can come join us.”
Camille warmed up the stew by adding magic stones to the magic stove and shook their hands. After looking at each other, the three bowed their heads and asked for lunch.
The stew, eaten in a forest with a slightly chilly wind, warmed them from the core with a simple taste. Missil, who usually dined in the dungeon with dry bread and dried meat, quickly ate the stew.
“Delicious. Hot food is good, ain’t it?”
“Thank you. Do you want seconds?”
“…sorry, is that alright?”
“No, no, I’m glad if you can eat this. Our party members will stay silent.”
As Tsutomu handed a bowl of stew to Missil, Garm put his bowl on the mat, shrugging his shoulders.
“…Tsutomu, this is delicious.”
“Just like the inn’s?”
“Can I go for seconds?”
While Tsutomu attended to Garm’s request, Camille got a bowl as well. As such, the two birds were reluctant to decline the offer, and two more pieces of bread were simmered in the stew.
Missil looked at the three people who were talking with each other and wondered if there was a secret Lucky Boy was hiding from them. However, he thought that it was not good to have those thoughts in a situation like this, so he suppressed them.
Tsutomu washed the dishes lightly with water, put them carefully in a special bag, and then stored them in the magic bag. Garm also folded up the mat and handed it over.
“Now, Missil, are you going back to the gate? Where is it?”
“It’s just down the mountain. It’s not far away. Leave battling the monsters to us, though we might need your help if there are too many.”
Cooperation could not be taken at face value. Tsutomu smiled and accepted the offer, even though he thought they should fight separately.
“I understand. I’ll support when I can afford it. It’s basically just casting Protect, so it’s not particularly straining.”
“Ah, please do.”
And so, the three party members and the Silver Beast Clan descended the mountain. Monsters appeared as soon as they noticed the scent of blood. There were five orcs, each with a weapon. Missil grabbed the kukri hanging from his waist, and the two birdmen went up into the trees.
Tsutomu cast Protect from behind onto the three. With an ochre-colored aura behind him, Missil concentrated on the orc in front of him, looking back for a moment.
It was more than 2 meters tall, and strong. If an ordinary person received a punch from it in the face, it would be powerful enough to cause their skull to collapse. The orc tried to attack Missil with a club.
As the skill was named, the kukri blurred. At that moment, the kukri cut through the club, and Missil pierced through the orc’s heart. He twisted the blade to widen the wound, and then pulled it out.
A birdman who was waiting in the trees, perching with her claws, spread her wings from above, and a lot of dartlike feathers landed on the orc. Missil swung his kukri towards the orc, whose face was covered with its arms so as not to damage its eyes.
He cut through the tendons of both its legs. As the kukri passed through the neck of the orc as well, its blue blood dyed the grass on the ground. Tsutomu was impressed.
The kukri sword cut legs and necks. Missil treated the orcs as if they were fish, and the five orcs turned into magic stones.
“Two Red Grizzlies to the east. One Uliboar to the north. If this keeps up, there might be a Verdant Wolf coming too.”
Many omnivorous monsters had been attracted by blood. Tsutomu gave information about where the monsters were while keeping an eye out for the Verdant Wolf. Missil sighed deeply and headed towards the Uliboar. The Red Grizzlies were restrained by the claws of two birdmen flying around.
The Uliboar fired two earth-colored tusks towards Missil. Avoiding the tusk on the left, Missil knocked the remaining one to the ground.
The Uliboar’s fangs were dangerous not only at long distances but also at short distances, so stopping them from regrowing was ideal. Missil held the kukri diagonally.
Double Attack instantly performed a two-stroke attack. It was an easy skill to train for warrior-type jobs. As Missil used this familiar skill, the Uliboar’s cheeks were scraped off. The Uliboar faltered after receiving the attack.
Missil tried to beat it to death, but a green blur passed him by. The Verdant Wolf.
Missil rolled back. The wolf’s fangs easily penetrated the back of his hand, which was protected with hard leather gloves, and the kukri in his hand fell to the ground. The Verdant Wolf shook its head from side to side, rejoicing that it had triumphed over its prey.
Missil forcibly pushed his hand into the back of the Verdant Wolf’s mouth without screaming. He continued to shove his hand up its throat. Then, when the Verdant Wolf began to feed, it was beaten up with Missil’s left hand.
The Verdant Wolf fell with a thud. Missil rolled around to avoid the fangs that had been blown out of the earthen soil. The fangs pierced the ground, cutting through the grass.
Missil’s dominant hand was crushed. Seeing his crushed right hand. He picked up the kukri from the ground with his feet and held it with his left hand. When he approached the Verdant Wolf, still on the ground disoriented, a green flash flew towards Missil’s right hand.
The pain in his right hand gradually eased, surprising Missil and causing him to stop for a bit, but he pierced the grass wolf’s head with the kukri sword in his left hand. A splash of light soared with a whisper.
Missil, who had completely restored his right hand and held the kukri in it, went to finish the Uliboar. It seems that the Verdant Wolf went to the Red Grizzlies, but Garm and Camille were there to help. Missil concentrated on the enemy in front of him.
Immediately after its earthen fangs had regrown, Missil cuts its forelegs with a double attack. The Uliboar put its knees on the ground. Missil jumped over the Uliboar and pierced its torso with the kukri. It stabbed the heart, lifted it up, and tore through it. Then the Uliboar rushed to Missil, but exhausted itself and turned into a small magic stone.
After confirming that the Red Grizzlies were also defeated, Missil looked at his right hand and then looked at Tsutomu, holding the cane.
[Was that Heal a projectile? Come to think of it, that Protect was the same too…]
Although there was a risk that the monster will be healed and strengthened in the event of a misfire, Missil felt that the support and recovery skills were useful. In fact, Missil felt that his dominant arm was restored and saved.
[If you hit a monster with that, you’re done for, but if you don’t miss the shot, it’s practical… Why does nobody else do this?]
The clan called Silver Beast was born to raise orphans to become independent. Missil, who was the leader, was a hardworking man. Not as hard as Tsutomu, who worked even on rest days, but he was also up-to-date with dungeon live broadcasts and newspapers. Even then, he had never seen support or recovery skills.
Even the slightly famous mid-level clan that incorporated two white mages into their party didn’t use skills like this. Missil stopped thinking while craning his neck.
[Let’s try this out when we get back, maybe.]
Thinking of the face of a white mage who would be waiting in the guild with flax-colored clothes, Missil returned to the place where the five gathered while collecting the magic stones.
Silavin: We need translators to continue this series. They need to be able to understand Japanese since I’m not skilled enough to vet their work in Japanese. For those interested, do pm me through discord.