The author published 16 new chapters the past couple of days after a month of inactivity https://ncode.syosetu.com/n0358dh/ Happy New Year
Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 296
Defense Specialization and the Marshlands
The desert was connected directly to a forest. And since there were no monsters around them, they decided that it was a good place to split up.
Sally checked her map again and told the others the direction they would take.
“All of our party members will be displayed on the map. So we can separate here and then regroup shortly before the strong monsters come out.”
“Yeah, that sounds fine. We should go to the forest then. Maple’s team can go to the marshlands.”
“Okay! I’m going to find lots of medals!”
“Oh! And I’m going to find promising monsters and hunt them!”
While Maple waved her hand wildly, they separated from Chrome’s team and started ther search for medals.
“Alright, since ‘Dedicated Affection’ is still activated, let’s go and explore.”
“Yes, let’s do that! Are you fine, Mai and Yui?”
“Let’s go then!”
Now that they had tamed monsters, Mai and Yui could move faster than when they rode on Syrup. Mai and Sally got onto Tsukimi’s back, while Yui and Maple rode on Yukimi. And like that, they dashed through the marshland.
“Still, this field really is big. Hmm. Where should we look…”
“Hehehe. I thought this might happen… Look at this.”
Sally said as she sent the other three a message. It was a photo of Sally’s map during the preliminary.
“Since it’s supposed to be the same map, I marked down some likely places. I think it could be useful. Of course, I sent it to the other group as well.”
“You’re amazing, Sally! Uh, we’re currently right here, so…”
The three of them compared the image with their current map and found a mark that was close by.
“Ah! Maple, there is one in this marshland too!”
“Oh, there is!”
“Yes. So why don’t we go there first? Mai, I’ll give you instructions.”
“Okay, got it. Tsukimi!”
As they had decided their first destination, the four of them started to move towards it. There were almost no obstacles in their path. It was just water and short plants.
“It’s in the center, right?”
“Yes. Well, I doubt we will reach it so easily!”
As the four of them walked on, they were suddenly surrounded by dolls made of water and mud that rose from the ground. The things dragged their feet while moving closer and closer to them.
“Wh-what should we do!”
“Leave it to me. Syrup! ‘Sinking Earth’!”
Maple gave the order. And the ground around Syrup began to change in property. And the dolls that had appeared from it began to sink.
“Our main objective is to survive…Mai, Yui, let’s get out while we can!”
“Yes. They have no magic attacks and they move so slowly… I think they’re the type that are dangerous if they catch you! I’ll create a platform!”
They activated Star Step in order to move faster, and then they used the platform that Sally made in order to jump over the dolls.
“Let’s continue like this!”
“Since we have to save Maple’s skills for more powerful monsters, we’ll be counting on you, Mai and Yui!”
Like this, while Syrup slowed the enemy down, Sally made footholds in the air or created places for Tsukimi and Yukimi to climb with ‘Ice Pillar.’ They avoided combat until they arrived at the mark that Sally had put on the map.
Here, there was an especially large lake, with a single island in the center.
Small pink flowers bloomed on the island, and the atmosphere was quite different from everywhere else.
Of course, there were numerous water and mud dolls squirming around the lake as well. They were currently scanning the area from afar through Maple’s binoculars.
“What do you think, Sally? Is it different from before?”
“There weren’t nearly as many monsters last time. But the terrain is the same.”
“Yes…it does look like there would be something here.”
“What should we do?”
“Hmm. We won’t get any medals if we’re killed from the get go.”
Even normal monsters were strong on this field. Charging into the lair of a more powerful boss monster would only increase their chances of dying and losing out on the survival medals.
“But! We decided to hunt and gather more medals!”
Maple said. And the three nodded, as they felt the same.
“I think that if we ride the bears, we’ll have to fight until we reach the island.”
“That’s fine! It’s times like these that we should rely on Syrup!”
There were other monsters you could ride in Maple Tree. But Syrup was the only one who could fly.
“Syrup’s not actually supposed to be able to fly… Alright, let’s go from the air then. From what I saw, it seems like we won’t have to worry about being shot out of the air.”
Once that was settled, Maple called out Syrup and had it enlarge. Then they got on its back.
And so they were able to skip the monsters that squirmed on the ground, and arrive on the island with the flowers.
“It looks like I can just lower Syrup like this. Let’s go.”
And so Maple had Syrup land on the island. In the same instant, the island began to glow, and the four of them sensed that they were going to be teleported.
“It’s fine! We have Dedicated Affection!”
Maple said confidently. It didn’t matter what was on the other side. And like that, the four of them disappeared from the marshlands.