Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 397
Defense Specialization and the Frozen Forest
After roughly inspecting the two countries, Maple, just as she had already decided in the very beginning, chose to side with the country of water and nature. And so she reentered and changed the mark that showed which camp she belonged to.
When she had compared quest notes with all of the other guild members, the conclusion had been that at this point, there was no quest that would be especially difficult. And so Maple Tree decided that aside from the quests, the eight of them would split up and gather as much information as they could before the event.
For instance, while Izu was gathering materials, she also made records of good gathering spots.
If this field was going to be used as is, it would surely help if the acquisition of supplies could go smoothly.
And since Izu had already needed materials from the ninth later, this was killing two birds with one stone for her.
As for Sally, like she had said while acting with Maple, she was confirming the strength and abilities of monsters, while Chrome and Kasumi explored and looked for terrain that would be advantageous, depending on whether they were attacking or defending.
Compared to the fourth event, the position of their army was on vast and varied terrain. Obviously, there would be parts that they were not aware of, but they wanted to decrease them as much as possible.
As for what Guild Master Maple was doing during that time.
“Hmmm. Free exploration is harder than it sounds.”
There hadn’t been anything in particular that they wanted her to do. And the direction had been that she should explore everything in the way that she wanted to.
“I should go and check a place that the others aren’t likely to have seen!”
They regularly shared messages about where they had explored with each other. So as long as she avoided those places when exploring, she would not have to worry about gathering old information.
That being said, the guild had not really chosen this direction in the hope that Maple would fill in the holes. It was more out of an expectation for Maple’s tendency towards unpredictable brilliance.
Of course, they did not say this to Maple, and she had been merely told to explore in the usual way, which was however she wanted.
“Syrup? Which way?”
She tried asking Syrup, who walked next to her, but obviously, there was no reply.
“Hmmm… Then let’s go this way.”
As they had said she should do whatever she wanted, Maple had accepted a few quests at the same time. Her intention was to continue with the ninth layer quests while exploring the surrounding terrain.
Maple was currently headed towards the frozen forest, which this time, she recognized from afar. The tall trees here were frozen completely as they glimmered under the sunlight.
She was in no hurry, and took her time until she reached her destination. The surface of the trees seemed to be covered in thick layers of ice, as if the trees were being preserved in clear glass.
“It’s so pretty… I wonder why it doesn’t melt?”
She tried hitting it, and a hard knocking sound answered her. Even after touching it, it showed no signs of melting. So they would probably stay like this forever if left alone.
“All right. Let’s search!”
This time, Maple was on a gathering quest, which was quite unusual for her. The item that she was searching for was the frozen leaf. But it wasn’t like the leaves she could see everywhere, and was supposed to be instantly recognizable.
Gathering quests were Izu’s territory, but this one had been left, as there was a reason that she couldn’t come here alone.
And thought Maple had heard all about it, she would concentrate on gathering until the problematic phenomenon occurred.
“Where are they?”
As parts of the ground were frozen, she had to be careful so that she didn’t slip while searching.
Since this was still the first quest, it did not take her too long to find what she was looking for.
Perhaps it was covered in an extra thick layer of ice, as the leaf was almost blue in color. It definitely stuck out from the rest, and you immediately knew what it was.
“But it’s quite high up…”
There was not enough space to enlarge Syrup, so Maple switched her shield instead.
“It’s been a while since I last used this.”
It was the shield made of purple crystal that she had acquired during the second event. She activated the accompanying skill, and a wall of crystal grew out of the ground.
While it was a wall, Maple almost always used it to stand on top of.
And so she climbed up the crystal wall and then stretched out her hand. Then she was able to tear off the leaf with ease.
“And…got it. It’s the one!”
Now she just had to gather the necessary amount and the quest would be complete.
However, as she continued to gather the leaves like this, the thing that was the reason that Izu couldn’t come showed itself with a roar.
This one was much smaller than the one she had seen at the floating castle, but it was still covered in blue scales, and had sturdy, large wings that beat in the air. It was without a doubt, a dragon.
“Woah! It came out!”
But before Maple could do anything, the dragon unleashed its watery breath over the area where she was standing.
There was so much water that Maple could not see ahead of her. But though she was surprised, she was relieved to see that she had taken no damage.
However, her relief was short lived, as the dragon unleashed its cold breath again. It drenched both the ground and Maple, and then froze them in a prison of ice. Bizzare Eater prevented her shield from freezing, but it could not swallow all of the ice that enveloped her body.
“…Thi-this is bad!”
Her body seemed to be completely frozen stiff. And though she could see through the crystal clear ice and was aware of her surroundings, she could not move her limbs at all.
As Maple tried to think of a way to melt it, she noticed a large shadow had appeared around her.
It was the follow up attack. A giant block of ice had been created above Maple’s head, and it fell down immediately. As it smashed against the immobile Maple, the mass of ice crushed the ice surrounding her, causing her to fly into the air.
“Yes! I’m free!”
However, it seemed to have done no damage to her. If anything, she was happy to be free from the icy prison. If this was how the follow up attacks were going to be, then there was no need to figure out a way to melt the ice.
“Deploy Barrels! Commence Attack!”
Maple deployed her weapons as if to launch a counterattack. The artillery fire shot into the air, but the enemy seemed to have great evasion ability as well, and only some of her attacks landed. And she did not reduce its HP as much as she had thought.
“This is going to take some time…”
Thinking this, Maple gave up, as it was no use, and started walking away. Her purpose for being here was not to fight.
All the dragon did was cover her in ice, and it was no actual threat to Maple.
And so the best thing to do was to ignore it. Though, it was not actually something that you were supposed to be able to ignore.
“I’ll be out as soon as possible!”
Maple promised, as she rushed away in order to gather more frozen leaves.