– Adventurer Life Day 65 (Tue) – Morning – Olbia City – Plain Fields by the Palmyra Road
After exiting through the city gates, we had been walking for 30 minutes along the road towards the hunting ground.
The first hunting ground to go to in this city is next to one of the four highways from Olbia that leads to Palmyra.
The monster to hunt here is called Demon Horn, which is a creature that has the appearance of a snake-like head on a giant deer’s body. This monster is above the level of a forest wolf.
It is completely carnivorous, and like the name suggests, it is armed with a giant thorn-shaped horn on its head, which act as a weapon in killing its prey before swallowing it whole.
It’s not much of a threat if it were to be a small individual, but it later then grows to as large as a caravan to which it then becomes a huge problem when encountered if preparations haven’t been made prior.
However, the closer you are to the highway, the smaller these would be.
So in other words, so long as adventurers would stay close to the road, it should be easy to hunt those Demon Horns, including a couple of other monsters in the vicinity.
At that, our party was placed into groups as we gradually separate from each other.
In addition to Centurion’s and Philips’ teams and the 10 ordinary skeletons I sent out, we have a total of 18 skeletons, plus a horse and cart.
The 10 skeletons are in the front row, Centurion’s team are at the middle, the horse and cart follows along after them, and me, Benedetta and Phillips’ team are at the back.
By the way, since we’ll be entering the grassy areas here, we left behind the steel back at the warehouse, so the horse right now is moving along easily.
“It’s pretty open.”
“Yeah… If this were to be the same as Comnes, then I would have split everyone into different teams and have us all spread out…”
“Shall I be the one challenge it first?”
“Mmm, wait for a while.”
“… Is there something to consider?”
“Not to a problematic extent. I just want to see how an ordinary skeleton would fare.”
Once I can see how many of these undirected skeletons it would take against fighting one, I can determine how to arrange our teams from this once we all split up.
We haven’t been able to do much of a large scale hunting for some time ever since we hunted in that Abandoned Mine.
Understanding my intentions, Phillips and Benedetta nodded.
Proceeding down further into the plains, we encountered a Demon Horn.
Honestly, I got quite shaken seeing by how huge it was.
It was a four-legged creature whose shoulder height is higher than my own height. When it suddenly lowered its head and started charging at us, I almost had myself run out of the way out of reflex.
… And to think, this one is still only medium-sized.
I first had the skeletons put their shields to take that charge.
They got pushed back slightly, but they managed to stop it in its tracks.
Here, Benedetta shoots an arrow from our position!
It hit directly into the head, but the arrow remained stuck there as the creature tries to swing its horn around attempting to break the line of shields.
“The arrow wasn’t deep enough! Be careful!”
Benedetta shouted out her caution.
However, the skeletons lined up from the side and closed in around the body of the Demon Horn and the ones behind it starts to hit its hind legs with their weapons.
Though it resisted, once its hind legs were broken, they then aimed at its neck and around the head, to which it then gradually begin to weaken until it collapses and remained unmoving…
Now begins the dismantlement of the Demon Horn.
I take on direct control of some skeletons to deal with this, as the rest of the team remain on the lookout.
The most valuable material here is the horn, then after that it would be the snakeskin that reaches until its body. The rest aren’t all too valuable, and the meat of this stinks and would have to be processed for anyone to eat.
We left the meat behind and loaded only the horn and skin into the cart.
“Say, why was this guy still able to move back then?”
I asked Benedetta as I took a look at its head.
The force of the arrow from a while ago did seem to be quite strong.
“It’s because the scales and bones of it are so thick… It’ll be difficult for me to pierce through that using just a bow…”
“So the arrow only stopped at its head? … Quite the sturdy guy.”
Though if I were to think more onto it, it’s obvious that the head that uses to stab with would be any weak.
I had that initial thought since I compared it with a normal snake, but it looks like I’m going to have to change that way of thinking.
Benedetta also starts to inspect the corpse, looking for any more weaknesses around it…
I thought up of an idea part way from looking at it, but I’ll bring this up later.
“Nemo. Will the teams now be in groups of 10?”
“… Not yet… That row of shields we used probably wouldn’t be enough against a larger one… Lets find one of those first.”
“WOULD you STILL keep the FORMATION as IS?”
“I will, but I’ll rely on you if something happens.”
I’m a little worried at how the strength of just a medium sized individual was stronger than expected.
While maintaining our previous formation, we continue searching for a larger Demon Horn as we enter deeper into the plains.
After a while of searching, we successfully found one that was larger than the first one we encountered… however, some problems happened then.
We fought against it the same way as we did before, but the skeleton shield formation got broken, and although we had it surrounded in the end, the process of it wasn’t very smooth.
The encounter ended the same way, that it got taken down then beaten to death, but that initial problem still remain.
I’ve been staring at one of the skeletons for a while, so Benedetta came over to check on me.
“What’s the matter?”
“One of the skeleton’s wrists got done in… Take a look.”
Benedetta looks over and sees the broken bones.
Some of the bones at the wrist came off and the hand is now just dangling at a weird angle, which was on the side that it held the shield with.
Seeing Benedetta’s reaction, Phillips also came over.
“Lord? What is the matter? … Hm!?”
“It was from that collision just now…”
Although they barely managed to stop that Demon Horn, the skeleton that had to deal with the first collision had its wrist broken.
… I’ve always been anxious about the durability of these skeletons.
Although I was able to do something about their shins and arms, an amatuer like me can’t think of anything that would help do something about the strain their joints would get.
(At best, I could wrap some leather around the grip of their shields?)
But then, I can’t really achieve much shock absorption with just that.
It doesn’t seem like the usual skeleton tactic of, “stop impact with shield, then beat it”, is going to work as well as it did anymore…
Considering the possibility of a much larger and stronger monster than the Demon Horn we encountered just now, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll be able to keep up using the same tactics with the normal skeletons. Not to mention, the damage is only going to accumulate with every encounter.
Looks like I have no choice in this one…
(Come out, Talos.)
At least, Talos should be more than enough to keep the large Demon Horn in check.
I can also have some skeletons assisting.
I was a little hesitant on this, given its drainage on my mana.
Skeletons can also be replenished using the bones of the monsters we defeat, which makes them pretty convenient in most cases.
However, once the enemy’s attack power overwhelms their defensive capabilities, then I’ll have to leave it up to this guy.
Though speaking of which, it may be better to have it at the size where it would be split up for different groups.
As such, I had Talos divided into 3, making its height for the three of them dropped down from 2.3m to 1.7m.
(Now then, lets see how this set up would work…)
With that, we head over to another medium sized Demon Horn we saw earlier.
… It was an easy victory…
For large enemies, it was a little tricky to catch their rush, but once they’re caught, it’s a straight up take down from the neck and a punch with the fist.
There’s hardly even a scratch on the golem even after taking that rush head on.
It’s an understatement to say these golems’ fighting prowess surpasses the entire skeleton troop…
I was surprised to see it was that much of a difference.
Though, that does make me feel bad about the skeletons, given they were my very first summons.
(… Well, this was the golem’s original usage… I wonder if this would be the optimal set up now?)
The formation we have right now is, mini Talos would catch the charge head on while the rest of the six skeletons would aim at their legs to keep them subdued.
So in other words, we can split this up into 3 teams with one Talos and six skeletons accompanying for each team.
The reason why we still need the skeletons to come along is that, if the enemy is defeated by the golem, then the experience would entirely go into sculptor only, and there’s also a good chance the most valuable material, the horn, would get damaged during the fight given how the golem would fight.
Now with the hunting groups now established, I had the party all split up into their teams.
Each individual from Phillips’ team can hunt down a Demon Horn by themselves, so that’s 4 groups from them.
Centurions team is another group.
The Talos and 6 skeletons combination adds another 3 groups.
Me and Benedetta is joining with one of those.
Unfortunately, Benedetta’s bow isn’t enough to pierce through the Demon Horn’s skin well at the moment, which was why she is coming along with my team.
Just one individual from Phillips’ team couldn’t really drag the corpses all the way to us by themselves, so we’ll have to head there personally… which does makes things quite busy for us.
The spear wielding skeletons from Phillips are already capable of even taking on large individuals on a one on one battle, where the precise blow of their spear is enough to take it down in one shot. Of course this goes the same for Phillips as well.
Centurions team are all good at using their shields, and can take on the monster’s charge attacks much more skillfully than the ordinary skeletons could.
Talos is able to easily overwhelm them with its strength and defensive power alone…
Like that, the hunting can go at a steady pace with the seven teams… though there is that small problem to think about.
“What’s the matter, Nemo?”
Benedetta asks me something.
She noticed I’ve been suddenly quiet for a while… she does seem to be quite sensitive to things like this.
“No… I was just feeling a bit anxious when thinking about how the ordinary skeletons would become obsolete one day…”
“You don’t like that?”
“Sort of… I mean like, they’re still usable since the Golem is somewhat of an expensive summon, but I still want to have a way to use them in the future still.”
Not really wanting to keep it hidden, I told her my thoughts.
(… The thing I had been worrying myself over is finally starting to come up.)
In Freed Online, there was no concept of arming summons inside the game.
I’m not sure how the skeletons function exactly back then, but I don’t think they do much other than attacking with their bare hands.
Even if the weapons and armor can be strengthened through ‘Engraving’ and ‘Plating’, the skeletons’ actual durability doesn’t change much.
This was made evident during that fight with the Demon Horn. Despite successfully blocking with the shield, the skeleton’s arm still broke.
It’s most likely that the skeletons haven’t changed at all ever since they were first summoned.
Even with their numbers, their use could probably only go as far as hunting by the Gravel Fields.
Although the added equipment was something that would never be possible in the game, that also wouldn’t be able to last it long.
Golems on the other hand, increase in body size for every level, and if the same materials here exists as in the game, then there’s still plenty of improvement.
For skeletons however, even if I were to level up, the only thing that improves is their numbers. Without an actual change in their fighting prowess then…
(… Yeah, it’s only going downhill from here.)
If things are the same as in the game, then Demon Horn is still really only something that is hunted quite early in the game.
However, the enemies by the end game are evil dragons, giant deity statues, magic gods… then again, the chances of meeting those enemies when you haven’t reached the top levels yet is practically zero.
Even with ones a couple of grades lower than the above mentioned, if you encounter any one of those in your lifetime, then that’ll be a miracle in of itself. There’s not much of a need to think about those since that’s the case, but the fact you could already see the limit this early on is a little depressing…
“Speaking of which, I’ve been wondering for a while but what are you doing with your hand there?”
Benedetta was a little wary telling me this… and when I looked, there was the Ziggurat on my hand…
“You’ve been doing that for quite a long time, but you’ve never noticed it? Won’t that make that pretty dangerous?”
“… No, I wouldn’t go that far… maybe…”
I sense some power, but I don’t feel it to be sinister.
… However, it’s also true that I feel some power much different than what I had experienced before.
“Benedetta? Did you say anything just now?”
“No… Not particularly?”
Just moments after hearing that, I felt myself sucked into the Ziggurat from my hand…
By its core, there was an innumerable amount of rotating spheres.
“Like I thought, that really is dangerous! Let go of it… Nemo!?”
Like being dragged underwater, Benedetta’s voice began muddle…
I lost the strength of my body and continued on falling, but even so, I still clearly feel the voice reverberating through to me, and the images of rotating spheres are all stuck on my retinas, unable to look away.
[It is the small where the greatest originates, and the greatest is all made up of the small. It is the particles that make up the universe and the governor of it… Know this first knowledge to a greater secret…]
(Ah… I remember now!)
This was the same thing I sensed back in my dream!
I thought it was a schematic diagram of the planets orbiting a fixed star…
Just like the models and posters you would see in a science classroom.
I felt something connected in my head…
—- Summoning Memo —-
Members: Centurion, Skeleton 1, 2, 3
Equipment: Hatchet, Shield, Armor and helmet
Members: Phillips, Skeletons 4, 5, 6
Equipment: Spear, Shield, Armor and helmet
7 – 37: Club, Round shield, Armor and helmet
Metal Golem ‘Talos’: 1
Wooden Horse: 1
#Golems can be divided to a maximum of three bodies.