Chapter 9: The old  man goes into the jungle

Having bought our dolls, we returned to our inn.

As expected of the inn recommended by the guild, their service was solid. 

Since this inn was going to serve as our main base of operations, it’s a great location for us to raise our levels before the succession ceremony and with the quality of the inn, we’ll be able to rest comfortably for the rest of our stay.

After organizing our luggage, I turned towards the dolls in my possession.

In the game, this was a useful item for surviving unfortunate situations. I had bought this with hopes that its ability was still in effect. However at the same time, it is also highly unlikely that this is the case.

The doll’s actual ability was to prevent any events that were deemed as *unfavourable* aka misfortune flags, breaking itself in the progress. The effects of such events included an old trauma of mine, a reduction in the victim’s status due to “old injuries”, randomly destroying an item in your possession due to “wear and tear” or reducing the amount of currency you had by half due to “counterfeit currencies”.

I often felt miserable playing this game in the past. Previously while I was deep inside the dungeon, out of all the items in my possession the one item that was broken was my magic bag. I ended up leaving most of them in the dungeon when I escaped above ground. Just that plight alone dealt enough damage to me to cause a trauma.

Since the game was now reality, the concept of having a bad flag being raised with an event didn’t exist. If it was a game, the game would merely send a system message stating that the event has occurred. In reality however, a process was required.

Using our party as an example, my old scar of lowering the status could easily be prevented by performing proper body maintenance. Having damage inflicted onto our belongings could also be prevented through proper equipment checks while you could only lose money through actual cases of fraud.

If anything, I’m looking forward to whatever ability that will replace the effect of negating a misfortune flag.

There were also a small fraction of higher monsters capable of bestowing curses onto players. Even players were capable of inflicting cursess onto other players. It isn’t an ability registered as a skill, but rather a bloodline trait. These families also offered their abilities as a service, inflicting curses given the right amount.  

Just as there are ways to inflict curses, there are also items capable of preventing curses.

Thus, even if they weren’t easy to come by they were important items to have on hand. Especially for someone as prominent as Selene.

Inflicting harm without getting your hands dirty is a dream ability for people in the political world which made the necessary countermeasures necessary.

 

  [Yuuya is so cute. Luna will be hugging Yuuya to sleep tonight.] (Luna)

 

Startled by the voice behind me, I turned around to see Luna lying in bed while embracing my doll tightly. I was relieved as the one Luna will be hugging to bed tonight isn’t me but my doll.

Sleeping right next to Luna was Til.

  

  [Luna, you must really like that doll. You’ve been playing with the doll the entire time.] (Til)

  [Uhn. It’s my favourite. Wasn’t Til also been grinning while caressing the doll earlier.] (Luna)

  [It’s not like I was thinking of anything weird. Don’t go around saying weird things in front of Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)

  [Why are you getting embarrassed? Luna wasn’t saying anything weird.] (Luna)

 

Unlike me, Luna and Til seemed to genuinely like the dolls as I began to blush watching them pamper my doll-look alike. I understood how they felt though since I thought that their dolls were cute too but since it’ll paint an unsightly picture I decided not to play around with the dolls in self-restraint.

 

  [Kyu kyu!] (Erik)

 

Erik flew towards the two children with a loud cry as it began kicking the doll in Luna’s embrace.

 

  [Erik, bad boy!] (Luna)

  [kyu..] (Erik)

 

Erik looked despondent as Luna raised her voice towards Erik with genuine anger.

The unexpected sight of Erik making Luna genuinely angry was amusing as I let out a laugh. 

 

  [You got pretty angry at that. Erik must have been jealous.] (Yuuya)

  [Jealous?] (Luna)

  [You and Til have been all over your dolls that he must have felt threatened by them.] (Yuuya)

 

Thinking back to awhile ago back when Til just joined the group, Luna had felt a similar sense of jealous thinking that I was going to be taken away, resulting in her treating Til with more hostility than necessary. Erik was going through something similar to Luna in that time.

 

  [I understand. Erik, you kicked Luna’s precious item and you are a bad boy. But Luna understands so Luna isn’t angry anymore.] (Luna)

  [Kyu!] (Erik)

 

Luna hugged Erik as she began stroking his head causing Erik to let out a cry. The scene of the young girl playing with a faerie dragon was a therapeutic experience as I thought to myself, ‘I want it to stay like this’. However I couldn’t say that out loud as I had to prepare for tomorrow.

 

  [Now then, let’s begin discussing about our exploration tomorrow. It’ll be our first time entering this city’s dungeon. The environment of the dungeons here are different from Flaregard’s. There are several key pointers to remember.] (Yuuya)

 

Everyone began to gather as I started my briefing. The dungeons in Grannel were intermediate dungeons. Compared to the Temple of the Primal Flame, the dungeons here were easier however underestimating the dungeon was dangerous. Hence the reason they are called dungeons.

Thinking about our levels alone, there shouldn’t be a reason for us to be wary of intermediate dungeons. Hence this time, I’ll be minimizing my advice to observe the girls’ abilities to respond to unexpected situations. The main objective is to gain experience mapping out uncharted territory without any information about Grannel’s dungeons.

 

Note: I am interpreting curses and misfortune flags as two separate things as they have different kanji in the raws although their abilities might be similar. Their effects might also be preventable by the same items at least based on my understanding. 

 

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The next morning, we arrived at the dungeon entrance.

Since it was right after the dungeon’s reset, there were a lot of adventurers entering the dungeon. The glint in everyone’s eyes changed as they entered the dungeon.

At this rate, we’ll be left behind.

 

  [Yuuya, it’s green everywhere!] (Luna)

  [This isn’t what I expected. The wind feels stuffy and the ground feels muddy. I don’t like this place.] (Til)

  [It’s much more of a jungle than a forest.] (Phil)

  [I’m looking forward to the monsters that will appear in this dungeon.] (Selene)

 

Everyone began saying their first impression and as Phil stated, Grannel’s dungeons weren’t forests but a jungle instead. The greenery surrounding the town looks similar to Greenwood, however the rainforests here were filled with countless vines and undergrowth. The atmosphere here became even hotter as if it was agreeing with Til’s sentiments.

 

  [Everyone, have you properly prepared your equipment?] (Yuuya)

  [Perfectly!] (Luna)

  [I saw several good items in the market.] (Til)

  

Luna and Til took out a raincoat from their magic bag.

 

  [The unique trait of this dungeon was it’s weather. Squalls often occur here causing the weather to change extremely quickly, making it difficult to deal with without rain gear. At the same time, underestimating the rain isn’t an option either. Being drenched in the rain saps away your body heat reducing your physical strength as well as causes your footing to become unstable from the mud. Furthermore long ranged attacks had reduced accuracy and power. We won’t be able to challenge the dungeon at our usual speed and risk exhausting ourselves quickly. It’ll be easy if this was any other dungeon, however be sure to listen to your body this time around. If it’s getting difficult, we’ll fall out immediately.] (Yuuya)

 

Normally, the weather in the dungeon doesn’t experience changes. However this point onwards, we’ll start to experience dungeons with unique weather. Furthermore those dungeons often have gimmicks which takes advantage of this.

In this dungeon, there is also a hidden floor containing treasures which can only be entered by understanding the change in weather. Since this was a secret that could be understood by other adventurers, I have to be on the lookout for other adventurers.

 

  [Understood. But Yuuya, Erik doesn’t have a coat… Erik, if it rains be sure to enter Luna’s raincoat!] (Luna)

  [Kyu!] (Erik)

 

This should be enough preparation before our departure.

Let’s begin our departure.

 

  [Yuuya-ojisan. The quest I accepted in the guild was to gather meat from Paradise Birds.] (Selene)

  [Ah. The Paradise Birds appear in this dungeon…. Normally the meat dropped by monsters are roughly categorized as Beef and Pork. However there are rare cases where the meat has a unique name. For those cases, the meat itself is a delicacy. One of those meat belongs to the Paradise Bird, typically served as a special dish in the upper echelons of luxury for Grannel. I haven’t tasted it myself, but I’ve heard that it tastes exactly the same as its name, like paradise.] (Yuuya)

 

There were many people who visited Grannel just to eat this special dish. Just as you would expect, I did encounter the item in the past however as I was more concerned about my financial status I sold it. This time however I am curious about its taste.

 

  [Luna wants to go to paradise!] (Luna)

  [Uhn Uhn. I want to taste it too. We definitely have to get it. It’ll be our dinner tonight!] (Til)

  [The two of you should listen carefully. Our quest is a gathering quest and that takes priority. Although if we’re able to obtain more than required for the quest, we’ll be able to enjoy it too.] (Phil)

  [Luna will do her best!] (Luna)

 

Luna perked up her fox ears and began searching around. Whenever food is concerned, her motivation increases by another fifty percent.

 

  [Now then, let’s begin moving forward. We aren’t the only ones targeting the Paradise Birds. Above all, its meat sells at a high price. Everybody who is capable will be targeting it. It’ll be a scramble.] (Yuuya)

 

This was the reason why the adventurers’ attitudes flipped around as they rushed towards the depths of the jungle. Everyone was eyeing to hunt the Paradise Birds to make some quick cash. In other words, everyone is our enemy.

Our main weapons were our mobility, Luna’s Presence Detection and her Increased Drop Rate. Let’s earn as much as we can today using our specialized Thief and her exploration skills.

 

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We are currently walking within the jungle. 

Due to the heavy downfall, the soft soil turned into mud as our ankles began sinking to our ankles.

 

  [It’s difficult to move.] (Luna)

 

Luna had a tense look as her main weapon, her speed was being affected. Luna’s fox ears began twitching out of the blue.

 

  [It’s here! A bird-shaped monster. But something is wrong. I feel it there by the tree but there’s nothing there.] (Luna)

  [No, you’re right. Look carefully. It’s on that branch.] (Yuuya)

  [Ahh. I understand. The bird is perched on the branch right there. It has the same colour and shape as a leaf. It looks exactly like a normal leaf.] (Luna)

 

For male Paradise Birds, they stood out prominently with their gaudy coloured bodies while the females camouflaged into their surroundings like this. Thanks to this, the male Paradise Birds were often hunted by adventurers for their meat while the females were left relatively untouched as they went by unnoticed.

 

  [Til, can you hit it from here? If we get any closer than this, it’ll notice us.] (Yuuya)

 

The distance between it and us wasn’t that far however our footing was unstable due to the mud and the trees were dense here. Firing arrows in this condition would be akin to threading a needle.

 

  [Fufufu. Who do you think you’re talking to. Something like this can be done even with my eyes closed. Look at this.] (Til)

 

Til was full of confidence while Phil seemed to be uneasy watching her behave like this…  Or rather, she didn’t seem that worried as Til reached out for an arrow.

Til continued to fire with her usual elegance as her arrow flew cleanly through the vegetation towards her target. However, the arrow was slightly off as it pierced through the branch, shaking it.

 

The Paradise Bird took off in surprise as it tried to escape towards the sky. However before it noticed, Phil immediately took out her bow and arrow, firing two arrows which seemed to home towards its body, piercing it before falling towards the ground.

 

  [It won’t escape.] (Phil)

 

Phil acted so quickly that I wouldn’t be surprised that she had expected Til to miss. She was certainly expecting this outcome as Til grasped her bow tightly.

 

  [What is this!? I did it as usual. I read the wind correctly.] (Til)

  [You missed precisely because you fired it normally. You weren’t able to read the power of the wind correctly. The environment here is very humid making the wind heavier than usual. This shows that you’ve never fired an arrow in this climate before.] (Phil)

 

Til seemed tongue tied as she began to close her eyes, trying her best to grasp the feeling of the wind blowing past her body.

 

  [So this is what you mean. I still have a long way to go. However I won’t miss the next one.] (Til)

  [If it’s you, then I’m sure you’ll get it once you try it out several times. The important thing to confirm your surroundings as compared to firing everything as usual.] (Phil)

 

Til continued to ask questions. Phil was as great of a teacher as I expected. Knowing her I can leave Til in her care with confidence.

 

  [Meat.. I guess not.] (Luna)

 

Luna proceeded towards the location where the two elven sisters defeated the Paradise Bird however she turned around dejectedly, walking slowly back towards us. This couldn’t be helped as the meat’s drop rate was so low that even with Increased Drop Rate it was incredibly unlikely.

 

  [We don’t have time to idle around. The more time we waste, the more Paradise Birds will get hunted by other adventurers.] (Yuuya)

  [Uhn. Let’s continue searching.] (Luna)

 

For all we know, the male birds could have already been wiped out. It’s just a matter of how many female birds will be overlooked by the rest. We’ll have to be incredibly lucky to get the meat no matter how much we want it.

Just as we continued our hunt, heavy winds and rain began to pour as if a bucket was flipped over the sky. 

This was perfect as there were some places that we wouldn’t be able to access without the rain and it was about time for us to head there. Supposing no one has accessed the area yet, the Paradise Birds in that area will be ripe for the taking.

<End of Chapter>

Sorry for the delay! Since this chapter was barely completed late last week I decided to just release it today. Due to the nature of my job I won’t be able to release chapters consistently but I’ll try my best to churn out as many as I can.

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