“Since there’s always an expert here, I see it’s all kept in working order”
Shin got down from the Elder Dragon and whispered to himself while looking at the surroundings.
In Palmirack and Celciutos, the lack of maintenance had not caused serious problems, but in Rashugum, the aboveground part had been preserved perfectly.
The fact that the temperature wasn’t too low and it wasn’t difficult to breathe, despite the altitude, was proof that the atmosphere control system was working. The dragons dwelling here surely found it very pleasant too.
The group followed Vizzy to the front of the castle.
Shin tried concentrating on his hearing as they walked, but could not hear any sound of fighting. The attackers had either been driven away or annihilated. He checked the map and, as expected, found no sign of the Wyverns.
“Hey, that…can’t be…”
While the group was heading towards the front entrance, Tiera noticed something.
Shin looked in the direction Tiera pointed at; Rashugum’s flatland area, which had been added because they felt the need for some nature, and the mass of colorful creatures crawling and squirming on it.
“Wow, that’s impressive.”
Shin remembered Rashugum’s nickname and understood. What they were looking at was a group of dragon-type monsters, of all kinds and levels.
Eastern-style dragons with long torsos, western types with powerful limbs and all kinds in between: it was like a dragon exhibition.
Looking more closely, there were wyverns too, but different from the ones that had just attacked the castle.
“T-they won’t attack, right?”
“They won’t, no worries. They’re a~~ll good boys and girls.”
Tiera was nervous, but Vizzy replied in her usual tone.
Some dragons noticed the group and raised their heads to look. As Vizzy was with them, the dragons probably understood that they weren’t enemies. Most dragons either went to sleep or started flying again.
“You could stand up to them by now, right Tiera?”
“Indeed, some of them you could take down on your own.”
“It might be, but…they’re still scary.”
Even if her stats had increased, Tiera had only recently become much stronger, so dragons still looked like fearsome foes.
Seeing so many dragons left grazing freely like that, she couldn’t help fretting.
“Hey, that one’s coming closer…?”
Tiera, who was looking at the dragons with a stiff expression, stopped walking.
Shin looked too and saw “something” covered in ash grey fur emerge from the pack and waddle towards them.
Vizzy saw it and expressed her surprise. She didn’t stop it, however, so it shouldn’t be dangerous.
Looking at the creature better, the group realized that it too was a dragon. Even including its tail, it was still very small, about the size of a puppy.
The mini dragon waddled left and right, unsteady on its feet, but straight towards Schnee. Then, despite Schnee’s confusion, it proceeded to rub its face on her feet.
“Oh~~This is rare~~baby Illusion Dragons rarely get close to people~~”
“Why would it come to me?”
“Actually, this baby’s parents were found and rescued by you, Schnee~~. I don’t know why their child would warm up to you, though…”
Apparently, the baby’s parents had a connection with Schnee. During a material gathering mission, Schnee had defeated some monsters and found young Illusion Dragons nearby.
Illusion Dragons had peaceful temperaments, so Schnee healed them, then talked about them to Vizzy: that is the reason why they were brought to Rashugum.
The parent dragons thought of Schnee as their saviour, so they were very fond of her.
“Since it’s come to you like that, why don’t you pet it a little~~”
“Shouldn’t we hurry on, though?”
“We’ll go first. It’s not like we need lots of people for what we have to do anyway.”
Schnee was not sure what to do, but Shin told her that she could give priority to the baby dragon. Following Vizzy’s advice, Schnee timidly tried touching the dragon. The baby then started rubbing its head against it.
“Baby Illusion Dragons are so different from their parents…”
Shin expressed his surprise at seeing how easily the baby dragon had approached Schnee.
“I was surprised too the first time~~”
As opponents, Illusion Dragons were impossible to even touch if they weren’t tamed: they were monsters formed by smoke or fog in the shape of a dragon.
“Ehm, what should I do with this baby?”
The baby Illusion Dragon was playing by tapping its front paws on Schnee’s hands. It was a very peaceful scene, but Shin and his party had things to do. Schnee probably thought that she couldn’t just stay there.
“Keep an eye on the kid until the parents come back.”
“The search didn’t take much at Celciutos either, right? This is a rare occasion too, why don’t you just relax once in a while.”
“Well, I admit it would be difficult to leave…”
The baby dragon cried sadly every time Schnee tried to go, making her feel guilty. Shin didn’t need much help, after all, so he asked Vizzy to stay too, for when the parents would return. Yuzuha, apparently intrigued by the mini dragon too, jumped down from Shin’s shoulder.
Shin left her to Schnee and walked away. He didn’t need a guide to know what was where in Rashugum.
“Oh, here comes Raster.”
Shin felt a presence coming from inside the castle and stopped. At present, Vizzy and Raster were the only ones present in Rashugum, so it had to be him.
The map showed two overlapping light dots: he was probably riding one of his mounts. After a while, a young man riding a small dragon appeared.
Raster Zay, servant of the Blue Trickster Cain, one of Rokuten’s members.
Characterized by his silver eyes -covered by a bandana- and copper skin, Raster was a High Lord in his twenties.
He too was of higher race, but his stats were almost all concentrated in DEX, making direct fighting not his forte. On the other hand, he was a master at using items and supporting his allies.
“Come o~~n, you’re so late~~”
“Whoops, sorry, sorry. The Illusion Dragon egg hatched, but the baby disappeared somewhere. I knew that lord Shin’s group had arrived, but I had to look for it…”
After hearing the apologizing Raster’s words, Shin’s party directed their eyes at Schnee and the Illusion Dragon baby she was holding.
Next to her, Yuzuha -now a fox about 1 mel in size- was looking curiously at the baby dragon.
“I looked everywhere, and there you are…I was worried, you know.”
Raster followed the gaze of Shin’s group, then sighed in relief.
“Well, problem solved then.”
Shin tried cheering up Raster, who had clearly been worried sick. Shin knew how it felt: accidents like this could be dealt with if they happened one at a time, but for some reason they tended to occur in multiples.
“That’s exactly it! Besides the parents were worried too, I had to go welcome Lord Shin’s party, yet I couldn’t help but worry…”
Shin told the apologetic Raster to not worry about anything.
“Okay then, I leave to rest to you guys. If Vizzy’s here, the parents won’t attack you…not that Schnee would have trouble with them, though.”
“That’s uncalled for. In case anything happens, I will focus on defense.”
According to Raster, the parent dragons were on edge because of their missing child. Normally, it would be possible to spot the baby through its presence, but there were too many dragons at Rashugum, so its presence was thin and hard to find. It hadn’t completely disappeared though, so the parents would surely come back soon, or so said Raster.
“Me and Vizzy have taken out resources and stuff from the warehouse, but we never laid a hand on the Rokuten members’ stock.”
Each member’s sections and the materials to preserve Rashugum were stored separately, so Shin and the other members’ items did not risk being used as material. Some materials, however, were difficult to find and were getting pretty low in stock.
“I’ll refill the stock with the spare stuff from our generator later. Let me just check the lists first.”
“Sure thing!! It’s great enough that you’re going to refill our stock. I’m really thankful!!”
Raster bowed again.
The maintenance materials were usually bought from Berett or gathered with the dragons’ help. Highest class items, like Drops of Erathem and Chimeradite, were always needed, albeit in very small quantities, but they were impossible to find.
They could be replaced by other items, but lowering the quality also lowered the overall result, so Raster and Vizzy were rather troubled.
“Oh yeah, you haven’t learned 【Generate】 yet?”
“I only need a little more proficiency, but as you know, at this level you need to mess with really high grade materials to gain any points…but we don’t have enough stuff, so I can’t just use ’em up for practice.”
Raster’s proficiency was indeed just steps away from acquiring 【Generate】. When practicing to raise proficiency, it was not uncommon to render materials unusable, which was keeping Raster from advancing.
It involved using rare metals such as Chimeradite, Mithril, and Orichalcum to create things after all. All of them were very valuable in this world: using them in large quantities just to increase proficiency sounded just like something out of a videogame.
“Okay, I’ll give you some materials to practice after I’ve refilled your stock then. Our generator’s been working hard enough, so we won’t run out anytime soon. How much do you need?”
The items just kept piling up, so Shin made this proposal to Raster thinking of putting them to good use.
“Fo, fo, for real!?! As expected of a noble High Human, just like lord Cain! I cannot thank you enough!! I’ll check the items and tell you later!!”
After calming the overjoyed Raster, Shin and the group reached the storehouse and checked the item lists.
They checked all sections twice, like they did in Celciutos, but could not find the item they were looking for.
“Nothing here either…”
Tiera was worried, but Shin laughed.
They hadn’t checked the storehouse in Palmirack yet. But as they barely found any event-related items in Celciutos and Rashugum, the probability of the same thing happening in Palmirack was high.
Just like Shin and Tsuki no Hokora, Rokuten members had homes outside their guildhouses. He couldn’t check those, however: differently from him, the other Rokuten members did not materialize their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Cook’s home, Shigureya, remained intact, but according to Zazie the item they were looking for was not there. Cook never kept items unrelated to cooking, so there was nothing to do about it.
“…then, what about Garden?”
“It’s a guildhouse focused on cultivating medicinal herbs, with also many structures to create all sorts of catalysts. A High Human called Hecate was in charge of it. It looks like it’s in a relatively dangerous area now, though.”
During his explanation to Tiera, Shin reflected.
『White Scent Nectar』 is extracted from a plant called Lily Orchid. The possibility of vegetable-related materials being stored in Garden was considerable. Higher than the other guildhouses, at least.
It had been abandoned by them, after all, so it was also a good opportunity to go check on it.
“This is the right chance. Let’s go check Palmirack first though.”
Shin and the party had already visited it once, so they could teleport to Palmirack directly from Rashugum. Shin was also currently registered as Palmirack’s master, so they could go straight to its storeroom.
Leaving Tiera and the others behind, Shin teleported from Rashugum’s to Palmirack’s teleport point, then into the storeroom.
Several minutes later…
“I can imagine what you’re going to say, but…did you find anything?”
Tiera guessed while looking at Shin’s expression. Filma, Shibaid, and Raster could also pretty much tell, so they waited in silence for Shin to talk.
“I found the item in question, but…it’s still not enough to make a Blessed Tag.”
Shin had actually found 『White Scent Nectar』 in Palmirack, but just 1 item card of it. Adding to what he already had, he would need at least 2 more.
From the bottom of his heart, Shin hoped that his search would end here.
“Do you know where that Garden is?”
“Yeah, I know just the place.”
Shin answered Tiera’s question.
A large forest area to the east of the center of the continent of Eltnia. Apparently, Garden -officially called “5th Daze Garden Romenun”- was at its center.
“I actually went there once to check too. It was a heck of a party, poisonous plants and monsters everywhere. Monsters without poison resistance couldn’t even step close to it. Even poison-bearing monsters had to be pretty strong to get close.”
Riding a dragon, Raster had gone on reconnaissance from the sky. Romenun’s surroundings were covered by thick poisonous fog, and even the Elder Dragon Raster was riding refused to go near.
Romenun itself looked unaffected and unharmed, at least from the outside.
“We can’t get in contact with Oxygen and Hydro, right?”
“Correct. But hey, considering the location, I think they’re both alright.”
Raster meant to say that the two were both so focused on their research that they didn’t step one foot outside. At least, they wouldn’t try to leave Romenun now that it was surrounded by toxic mists. The structure was self-sufficient, so they would not risk starving to death.
In THE NEW GATE, in case of failure when creating or developing items, the materials used normally turned into trash. In rare instances, however, unexpected results happened: dangerous items called “failures”.
Such items often had “Something like a…” or “Fake…” in their names and were generated more easily the more valuable the materials used were.
Some exploded when used, others summoned monsters, other bizarre ones changed the surrounding players into swimsuits when materialized…etcetera.
They were dangerous items: no one knew when they would activate or what effects they could have. The more one delved into the depths of creation jobs, the more one would encounter them. Naturally, Shin was no exception.
“Well, at least it seems they can’t turn into sudden death items.”
The failure items could have all sorts of effects, but it had been officially stated that they would never exhibit sudden death effects. Shin couldn’t be sure that this applied to the current world too; besides, Oxygen and Hydro were probably rational enough not to use failed items without thinking.
Trusting in this, Shin chose to stop thinking about it for the moment.
“Raster, does the name 『White Scent Nectar』 tell you anything?”
“Really sorry sir, but nothing. There is someone here who could know, though.”
By “here” Raster referred to Rashugum, of course. Shin thought that only Raster and Vizzy were supposed to live there, but then an idea flashed in his mind.
“The Ancient Dragon?”
“Yessir. There’s one here that’s like the boss of all the other dragons. It’s been living for pretty long, so it knows all sorts of stuff.”
There were monsters who could speak human language in the game era too. Dragons were rather famous for it, but other than them, Element Tails like Yuzuha and Fuji’s Kagutsuchi belonged to this category too.
It was fairly common for dragons to communicate with humans in the novels and comics Shin read too, so he remembered easily accepting the idea in the game.
“Rashugum sure turned into an incredible place, huh.”
“I tell you, ever since Vizzy brought the dragons to live here, things turned pretty bizarre. The Ancient Dragon noticed that lots of dragons started dwelling here and appeared all of a sudden…that was a huge shock. Ah, the Ancient Dragon’s name is Tzaobath.”
“Oh, Tzaob….wait, really!?”
Raster mentioned the dragon’s name very casually, but hearing it made Shin stop in his tracks. Filma and Shibaid did the same.
Only Tiera failed to understand why everyone stopped, and looked at them confused.