TNG Vol. 16 Chapter 2 Part 3
After checking their equipment, Shin’s group headed to Baomultan’s area. Hydro and Oxygen had explained how it looked, but even so he couldn’t hide his surprise.
“The earth is weak and the air impure, but the flowers are brimming with life. Something like this should only be possible around the World Tree.”
“It’s just as Tiera says. Looking at these flowers, I can see why your research didn’t find any abnormalities. Without seeing this environment, one would surely believe they were raised in a location with high quality water, soil and a perfect environment for them to grow in.”
Shin also thought they were impressive, but the two elves, Tiera and Schnee, praised the flowers in full bloom even more.
The flowers were completely different from the ones growing in Romenun: they were sets of toxic-looking and beautiful-looking ones.
“Since when did this area turn into this?”
“Let me see, they reached the edges of the area about 30 days after they started blooming. The flowers are blooming about 1 cemel from the spot where Baltan first died.”
The lake where the Durgin was sinking had a circular shape, about 400 mel in diameter. It was about one kemel away from the border with the Romenun area.
In the four kemel area on the opposite side of Romenun no flowers were blooming, it was just a barren wasteland.
“Looks like the flowers are blooming around the spot where the first Baltan died as their center. Its purification power might be somehow connected.”
It was hard to tell because of the lake and the border, but the flowers were blooming at a set distance from the Baomultan’s remains. Shin agreed that it was a plausible explanation.
Shin’s party proceeded, careful not to step on the flowers.
Nothing blocked their sight, so they could see the lake soon.
It looked like a lake of beautiful blue waters. It was hard to imagine that it was actually lethal.
“There it is.”
On the shore of the lake there was a massive silhouette, colored a burnt brown close to black.
Four robust limbs, a long tail equipped with a sharp blade and one set of wings. Its shape resembled a western dragon.
Its skin, however, was twisted as if it was scorched and its eyes clouded by what looked like stained glass.
Its wings were tattered, suggesting that it would hardly be able to fly. The blade on its tail was rusted and yellow, chipped here and there.
“That’s the monster that purifies the land?”
Tiera had already heard about Baomultan’s main features, but was still shocked after seeing it with her own eyes.
A monster that can purify the earth’s impurities. Despite possessing such an incredible ability, there was nothing sacred or pure-looking about its appearance.
It wasn’t strange to be confused by the large gap between its appearance and its abilities.
“It looks better when it appears, though. After some time passes, it turns like that.”
Before the purification begins, Baomultan is a beautiful dragon with white scales. In that state its character too is different: it flies away as soon as it sees someone approaching.
In that state it didn’t drop precious items, so most players left it alone.
“Looks like it noticed us.”
As Shin’s party approached Baomultan, still sitting down, turned its long neck towards them. It was looking directly at the group.
— 【Baomultan – Level 749】
【Analysis】displayed information about Baomultan.
The weakened state was a sign of its impending demise. Hydro probably said it would die soon because she noticed the change in status.
Hydro and Oxygen waved to Baomultan, which cried in response. It was a mysterious sound, similar to a high-pitched flute.
”Looks like it’s interested in you and the others too, Shin.”
Baomultan slowly stood up and started walking towards the group.
If it was standing, its height reached about 5 mel, while its length was about 7 mel. It was one size larger than the Baomultan Shin remembered.
Baomultan approached the group, making barely a sound, and stretched its neck towards Hydro and Oxygen first.
The two talked to it and gently patted its head.
Although they couldn’t touch it with their bare hands due to the poison, Baomultan’s expression did not change at all.
Judging from its faint cries and the fact that it went closer to them, it was clear that Baomultan was happy.
It also looked like its tail was wagging a bit faster than before.
After a while, Baomultan turned towards Shin’s party.
“….what does this mean?”
“Hmm, I have never seen one act like this before.”
“It also seems particularly interested in Shin…”
For Baomultan, all of the party members were supposed to be new faces, but for some reason it focused only on Shin.
Its clouded eyes made it hard to tell where it was actually looking, but Shin felt that he was being watched.
“Yuzuha, can you try?”
Simply staring at each other wouldn’t solve much, so Shin asked Yuzuha to try to communicate with Baomultan.
After a while, just when Shin was about to give up, something changed in Baomultan. Its body was enveloped in a white light, which gradually gathered around its face.
After the light disappeared, a diamond-like gemstone appeared. The fist-sized gem floated in the air in Shin’s direction.
The floating gemstone suddenly started falling, as if it had lost all its powers, so Shin put out his hands to grab it by reflex. He then looked at it closely.
“It’s a treasure gem.”
Some monsters dropped items called treasure gems.
The treasure gems somewhat resembled the characteristics of the monsters that dropped them, but they were usually chiseled to a round shape.
Since the gem created by Baomultan fit the description, Shin thought it was a treasure gem. He then tried all his analysis skills on the item, which confirmed that his prediction was right.
In THE NEW GATE, there were items called gemstones.
They were items that glowed only after the players processed certain basic materials, a different category from treasure gems.
“I guess it’s saying for me to have this?”
It was difficult to think otherwise, but Shin tried to confirm it just in case. There was no response from Baomultan, however.
“Is it Tiera’s turn now?”
Baomultan had turned its head towards Tiera. After coming up close, Baomultan stopped still, a stern expression on its face.
“Another unusual reaction…”
“It looks like it’s observing her. Does she have any special powers maybe?”
“Ah…yeah, she does. I guess it feels like they have something in common.”
While Tiera’s powers as World Tree priestess, purifier of impurity, were different from Baomultan’s, they were probably similar enough to attract the monster’s interest.
It looked at Tiera from the front, from the left, then from the right, like a child that had found something never seen before.
“I-is it going to be okay?”
“Yeah, don’t worry, it’s not hostile. It wouldn’t attack without reason either. Kagerou isn’t worried either, see?”
Tiera was anxious due to Baomultan’s close attention.
Kagerou was curious about the movements of Baomultan’s head, but it just popped out of Tiera’s shadow in small wolf mode and imitated the dragon’s movements.
“It’s my first time seeing one, it’s pretty intimidating…”
Baomultan’s jaws were large enough to devour Tiera’s head in one bite. Since it was Tiera’s first encounter with the monster, it was normal for her to be extremely concerned.
Baomultan was eventually satisfied with its observation of Tiera, as it headed back towards the lake and lied down again. It stretched its neck, apparently relaxing.
“It doesn’t look like anything changed with Baomultan itself.”
“Do you think so?”
“I’ve seen plenty of them because of Cashmere. I’ve seen it rest like that before.”
Cashmere, being a huge fan of all monsters, naturally approached Baomultan many times too.
Shin was forced to join her at first, but eventually started enjoying it too.
Because of this, he was very knowledgeable about Baomultan’s behavior patterns.
“I’ve never seen it create items like this or look at someone like it just did to Tiera, though. But Baltan used to give out claws or other items, and it looked at Tiera like it did whenever it found something curious. It doesn’t look abnormal, at least.”
The only thing that concerned Shin was that Baomultan didn’t normally drop treasure gems.
“We should analyze this after we go back to Romenun.”
Shin was slightly dejected: the golden crystal’s analysis was still incomplete, but they had another mysterious item to deal with now.
“Can we help with the analysis too?”
“We’ll do our very best~”
Hydro and Oxygen, however, reacted in the opposite way. Item research was their passion, after all.
“Please do. Honestly, I was thinking that it’d be difficult for me alone to make a complete analysis.”
Shin was especially knowledgeable in swords and minerals, but not so much about other kinds of items. Oxygen and Hydro were specialized in items, so their offer was very welcome for Shin.
“Can I pick up some flowers? I want to analyze them too.”
“Yes, I would love to hear your opinion about them, Shin.”
“Hopefully the research can proceed a little~”
Flowers weren’t Shin’s speciality, but the possibility that he found something new was still there. Shin thus decided to pick up some flowers to research them himself.
“Next up is Durgin, then.”
The remains of the monster sunk into the lake. In a way, it was the most important factor.
Shin stood next to the resting Baomultan and looked at the lake.
The deep blue lake was an outstanding view.
It was impossible to see anything beyond the water surface, however. It was a brilliant color, but a very abnormal one.
Shin collected some of the lake “water”, then looked at the depths of the lake. He activated multiple skills and could thus see the entirety of the lake.
“It’s deeper than I thought.”
Shin peered deeper into the lake.
100 mel, 200 mel, 300 mel. Skills displayed how deep he was observing.
When he reached about 400 mel deep, something different brushed past his field of view.
“I see, that’s really huge.”
At first he thought he had found a massive boulder.
When he looked at the object in its entirety, however, he realized that there were protrusions too sharp for a boulder and some curves that were too smooth. They were Durgin’s outer shell and its joints.
Though it was lying down with its tail wrapped around itself, it still measured over 50 mels in length. It was an extra large specimen, unthinkable in the game era.
“Its features look the same as before, though.”
It was much larger, but that was the only difference. A face like an extremely feral bat, four powerful limbs.
Its arms were joined by a membrane that allowed it to fly. Its legs were very robust, in order to support its weight. Its tail was covered in scales from the base to the tip. It was said to use the wind to fly via its membrane and to change direction by maneuvering its tail.
“Does anything else catch your attention?”
“…the color, I guess.”
The water was turbid, so light wouldn’t reach the lake’s depths. But, thanks to his skills, Shin could see Durgin’s color.
“The color? If I recall, it was black when it fell. No, that was…”
“Many colors blended together, resulting in black. I suppose you could define it this way. Besides, it used to have a sort of mist, or aura,the same color as its skin enveloping its body.”
Hydro complemented Oxygen’s words and further commented about the aura-like substance that enveloped the monster’s body as it fell.
“I can’t see that mist now. But its skin is pitch black. Durgin’s skin grows blacker the more pollution it absorbs, but…just how much did this one collect…?”
The larger the body, the more capacity it had.
Shin estimated the size of the Durgin’s remains to be at least 10 times a regular Durgin. He couldn’t imagine how much its absorption capacity could extend to.
“Baltan is taking hundreds of years to purify it, after all. I can’t imagine it either.”
“With a sample we might learn something, but we can’t exactly dive in to take it…”
There was a high chance that the equipment made by Shin could withstand it. With the device used when they went to look for Celciutos it was probably possible.
However, Shin wondered if it was safe to approach the monster.
The purification was proceeding at present. It would take time, but one day this area too would probably turn back to normal.
Because of this, he couldn’t bear it if they triggered some response in the monster and the situation worsened.
Especially in Shin’s case, Yuzuha was living proof of that.
Once approached, the remains might move. They might attack. Shin couldn’t deny such a possibility.
“Let’s stop here for now. Let’s go back and analyze the samples we took.”
Better let sleeping dogs lie. Shin chose to be prudent.
He then turned back towards Romenun.
“…hey, Shin. Behind us…is that alright?”
“Yeah, no problem.”
Shin’s group walked back towards Romenun. Behind them, Baomultan was following with heavy steps.
It had grown attached to Hydro and Oxygen and knew that Shin’s party wasn’t hostile, so it followed them.
Only one member of the party, Tiera, frequently turned around to check.
She checked if everything was alright, but did not show signs of fear. Walking next to her, Kagerou looked at Tiera and Baomultan, wondering what was going on with them.
When they arrived at the border of the area, Baomultan stopped walking and watched Shin’s party walk away. It was one of its behavior patterns with players it had interacted with enough times.
Its feeble cries made it difficult to walk away.
“I’m starting to feel guilty for leaving…”
“If you stop now, it means Baltan’s charm won you over.”
“Aah…I can’t deny it…”
Tiera appeared to have gone through “Baomultan’s baptism”.
Despite the lingering desire to stay longer, Shin’s party left the area. They had to return to Romenun and analyze the samples, with Hydro and Oxygen’s help, in one of Romenun’s research rooms.
“Okay then, hopefully the analyzer can tell us something.”
The analyzer Shin used was a high spec device, also equipped with the function of breaking down items composed of multiple materials.
Certain materials needed to be cleansed of specific components before being processed, or the end product would have negative effects. Shin used that function for this reason.
The analyzer could tell the various components that formed an item and their percentage, which could help estimating its usage and other things.
Shin tried analyzing the treasure gem Baomultan gave him, but it turned out to be impossible to analyze.
Either the analysis failed or it was one of the unique materials the analyzer did not work on.
The game creators had implemented this system because “Being able to analyze anything and everything would take away the fun of trial and error”.
Shin had tried using the analyzer on the golden crystal too, just in case, but it was impossible to analyze too.
“As expected of an item that could trouble even Shin…quite the tough nut to crack.”
“I thought it could tell us something about the treasure gem, at least…”
“It’s highly likely that they’re both non-standard items. Their data might not even be present in these devices.”
The possibility that both items did not exist in the game era was high.
“Well, in these cases the important thing is to never give up. No need to fret, let us proceed slowly and steadily.”
“I would love to do that, but it all depends if the approaching trouble will be slow and steady too.”
“As expected of Shin, I suppose things have never been slow, steady or peaceful for you.”
“Why do you say that with a smile!? I’m not happy at all here!”
Hydro nodded to herself, but Shin couldn’t help but sigh.