While Plate was the normal equipment choice for tanking it was practically impossible to create plate armor with bonuses to spellcasting or agililty. Since Gardenia’s method of tanking required her to heal herself she had taken to using chain instead. While the bonuses to casting weren’t as good as wearing cloth armor it was a nice middle ground.
Her shield was different however, it was made of a special allow which had higher magical resistance than normal metals. When she had defended against the juvenile dragon that shield had been destroyed and this was a countermeasure against more events like that. The special metals gave the shield a nice glossy silver color which she also liked.
Unlike her armor, her sword was nothing special. While there were many types of special swords that could be created hers was just a simple blade, a high quality blade but nothing particularly special. After all having a special weapon wasn’t really needed when being a tank.
Her selection of potions wasn’t particularly unusual either. Most of it was mana recovery potions, in two varieties. The first restored mana quickly and was helpful in a fight. The other was a much slower and could be used to help speed up mana recovery between fights. While the quick recovery potions were much more useful they were also much more expensive. No need to waste money when there was more time available.
She also had a handful of other associated potions. A couple of strong defensive potions for the really risky situations however those were even more expensive then the quick mana recovery potions so her supplies on those were always limited.
While there were more items she could plan for there wasn’t much more she could do until Drake knew where they were actually doing. There was a big difference between zones and each of them usually had different requirements.
Instead of spending even more time doing preparing Gardenia instead talking with the other members of the guild. While Drake was always off somewhere doing something the others did spend time in the guild room enjoying themselves with the other guild members. Perfect Zanth in particular spent a lot of time in the guild room, although honestly he spent most of the time perusing forums.
Steela occasionally hung out in the guild room. When there weren’t any planned events in the guild she spent time participating in PvP. There was an arena in the city and she spend a lot of her free time there. Her rating was pretty high but she wasn’t a full PvP build so some of the real experts could beat her. Still she kept trying and was slowly working her way up the ranks.
While Vanishing Doubt didn’t spend much time in the guild room he did spend a bit of time. He was a connoisseur of tea and used the guild room as a way to practice and enjoy the tea that he made. The fact that tea brewing was its own intermediate skill was always something that Gardenia was surprised about.
While Arthur Ironheart didn’t spend too much time around he did show up from time to time. He was a well known miner that Drake managed to recruit and when he wasn’t needed on one of Drake’s adventures he was working with other groups. A lot of smaller guilds didn’t have their own intermediate miner and Arthur was often hired out to join when going to certain locations that needed his skills.
All together it was a quirky team all gathered around Drake. Indeed when Drake called together everybody once more they showed up to hear his new plan. They surrounded the table with Drake at its head.
He laid out the map on the table. “This is Duzy jungle. You might not have heard about it since it is a few zones away from a different city but this is our target location.”
The map was pretty barren. There was the marker showing the entrance of the zone and a couple of points of interest but there was almost no detail, especially farther into the zone.
“And there is a dragon here?” Asked Perfect Zanth.
“Indeed. This zone has existed for a while now but it is a high intermediate zone which is fairly far from a city.” Pristallia had returned with Drake and she was explaining what she had learned. “ Currently the only real export from the jungle is wood although it is largely unexplored so there might be other goods which just haven’t been found yet. But that is just a quick background of the area. The important fact is that there is a dragon that lives here. Several reports from the region say they have seen the dragon flying over parts of the jungle. While it is not 100% certain it does sound like the dragon is also a juvenile.”
Gardenia raised her hand to asked a question, “Do you have a plan to prevent the dragon from escaping? While I believe it is true that we could beat a dragon of the same strength as the one we fought before, if it escapes when everything could be lost.”
Pristillia nodded, “I have acquired some extremely special bolts for just this purpose. When used they will knock the dragon out of the sky and keep it grounded for a little while. The only problem is that I could only get two of the bolts so we will need to make sure the dragon is dead before the second bolt wears off.”
There was a moment as the team pondered the setup. There were lots of variable when hunting dragons.
Arthur Ironheart finally made his voice heard. “Do we have a butcher lined up for this job? If we are looking to kill the dragon for a special drop we likely need an intermediate butcher to ensure that we get the proper item drop to make sure Drake learned the legacy skill.”
Drake shook his head, “No, I don’t have one planned. All of the high quality butchers are spoken for. Do any of you have suggestions?”
“I know one that I could probably convince to join us.” Said Gardenia, “The only problem is that I know she only plays during sleeping hours. I’m not certain how useful she would be in battle but her harvesting skills are top notch.”
Pristallia said, “An option but that time constraint is pretty limiting. Try to find out if she is available but know that her restrictions make her low on our priority list.”
Gardenia nodded, she had expected that but an butcher is better than no butcher when hunting such a valuable monster.
“Anything else we should know about the jungle?” Asked Zanth, “Common enemy times, things like that.”
“Normal jungle animals for one. Giant cats, giant snakes, giant apes.” Responded Pristallia.
“That is a lot of giants.”
“However the thing we really need to worry about is the lizardmen. They hunt is large groups and could easily defeat a surprised team. Because of that you need to make sure to stay alert in the jungle. Other than that make make your normal preparations.”
Drake waved his hand breaking up the meeting, “Alright, you all have the information you need. I plan on heading out tomorrow evening. It is the weekend so we can keep up at it as much as we can. Once I have an exact time for the meeting I will send a guild message and we can all meet up at the city teleport.”
Even with the knowledge that they were traveling to a jungle didn’t really make any changes for Gardenia. However she did call up Evening Wanderer to find out if she would be available for the journey. The responses was about what Gardenia had expected. Eve would be happy to join but she could still only play in the evenings.
Unfortunately as it turned out that was too much of a condition for Drake and they instead recruited a different independent players to help with the harvesting. It was a far too serious man named Leviathan. While his combat skills were as good as the rest of the party he did have the necessary skills and the available schedule.
The entire team of Forgotten Saviors, plus one extra, met up at the teleport point and paid the fee to transport to another city. Doing so wasn’t cheap but Drake said, “You can’t put a price an a Legacy skill” which was probably right.
Once in the new city they had to make sure to register at that respawn point. Although the goal was to avoid dying since the trip back to the zone would be untenably long. Then they took the Tunnels to another region. This particular region was very swamp like and could have been and issue if the team was not as experienced as they were.
They need to pass through the zone to enter another section of the Tunnels. Theoretically there was another route to their destination zone that didn’t go through the swamp zone but exploring the Tunnels was not something taken lightly.
After finishing the last trip through the Tunnels they finally arrived at Duzy jungle. In total it took around three hours to get from the city to the jungle. Not the worst travel time but definitely not quick. While there was penalties for dying everybody agreed that the primary penalty was the long travel times that were wasted.
As they emerged from the Tunnels into Duzy jungle they were struck by the thickness of the undergrowth. The area near the entrance had been chopped down leaving a small clearing near the where they entered. There was a wooden palisade surrounding an empty fire pit.
“It looks like a camp location has already been setup for us.” Said Perfect Zanth as he looked around the entrance area. “Do you think this was made by a player or part of the zone as it was created?”
“This is a wild zone so it probably was created by a player. One with a pretty high level carpentry skill too.” Said Vanishing Doubt as he looked over the camp. “Without a skilled carpenter the overgrowth would have reclaimed the palisade in short order. Still, this will be a good place to camp if it takes us a while to find the dragon’s lair. Unless it shows itself we will need to search the zone until the find it’s lair.”
Drake nodded, “Yes, however today should be focused on locating some landmarks and better filling out the map that we acquired. That was if the dragon does show up we can figure out where it is coming from and going too. We should also familiar ourselves with the local monsters. While we are still searching for the dragon our first objective is figuring out the local.”
With that they began exploring into the zone. Pristallia had the cartography and orienteering skills so she could keep track of all the locations they had visited. Most of the monsters turned out to be relatively easy for the eight person team however that wasn’t always true. The first time they got ambushed by lizardmen it was an incredible struggle. They got ambushed and nearly lost Vanishing Doubt before Gardenia was able to get into position to protect him.
That attack had only consisted of six lizardmen. It would certainly have been much more dangerous if there had been more of them. One of the things they discovered while exploring was an entire village of lizardmen. They gave the village a large berth. While they might be able to win if they took the village on carefully that was not their goal in the zone.
Another potential danger was the traps that the lizardmen had setup in the zone. The first time they accidentally tripped one of the traps it was Gardenia who took the brunt of the trap with large logs swinging out of the trees to crush her. She managed to survive because of her refinement which boosted her innate defense. Any other member of the team, except maybe Drake, would have certainly been crushed to death.