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Merlin dashed through a vast collection of shrubbery as he closed the distance between him and what he could only assume was the older sister of the kid he spoke with earlier.

The rest of his party were following behind, some of which seemed to find running through the thick foliage to be quite difficult. This was evident as Alvira's foot caught on a thick root, almost causing her to fall flat on her face if not for Typhoeus's body being within arms reach, allowing her to catch herself.

Merlin eventually spotted four individuals, three of which were nothing more than shambling corpses with decaying skin, and a young woman who was frantically trying to crawl away from the bloodthirsty husks.

Merlin drew his blades and dashed towards the group.

The three undead noticed Merlin approach, but the closest zombie managed to bite down on the woman's calf before Merlin closed the distance.

Merlin thrust one of his blades into the eye socket of the zombie that had just attacked the woman, and with as much force as he could muster, used the blade lodged into the zombie's eye socket as leverage as he ripped the zombie's head away from its victim.

With a forceful shout, he forcibly shoved the zombie away from the woman, causing his dagger to slip loose as the zombie flew.

The other two zombies turned to Merlin, who was now within range of both of them. The zombie closest to him had begun digging its claws into Merlin's arm, but as Merlin turned to look at the zombie, he noticed that its head was suddenly freed from its body, and the monster's grip loosened almost immediately.

Zankoku's figure appeared in the corner of Merlin's eye, he appeared to be mid-swing, so it was clear to see who had dealt with his attacker.

Merlin's attention snapped back to the remaining zombie, who was suddenly readying itself to pounce on him. That was until the head of a large war hammer slammed into it, sending it flying into a nearby tree.

Merlin could have sworn that he heard the zombie's spine shatter as the creature was wrapped around the tree like a drunk driver's car around a stobie pole.

"Thanks for the cover guys," Merlin said.

Merlin took a deep breath, but as he turned to look at the woman they had just rescued, an arrow whizzed past his face. He quickly turned to see where the arrow had landed, only to see a zombie with a sliced-up eye socket fall to its knees, this time with an arrow sticking out of its skull.

"Nora, do you have a melee weapon?" Merlin asked, "The blessed weapon passive won't apply to your bow."

"Yeah, I've got one of Alvi's spare daggers," Nora replied.

'Spare daggers? How many does she have?' Merlin thought to himself.

"Well, that takes care of that," Alvira said, walking over to the group while trying to pull prickles out of her pants. As she got closer to the rest of the group, her eyes fell on the woman they had just saved, "Oh god, she's been bitten!"

The group all turned to the woman, their eyes falling on her calf, where they could clearly see a blood-soaked bite mark. After witnessing that, everyone's eyes turned to Merlin, each and every one of them seemed to be waiting for a solution.

"We were too late," Alvira continued in the background, "The kid is gonna be so sad..."

Merlin couldn't help but facepalm.

"She won't turn into a zombie," Merlin said, "These are fantasy zombies, not sci-fi horror zombies... They weren't created from a blood-borne infection, they're just empty husks raised by necromancy."

Everyone's reactions seemed to brighten as they realised that they didn't fail the quest.

"Well, while the bite won't turn her into a zombie, it's still a bite from a rotting corpse... Who knows what sorts of nasty infections could be swimming around in that bite wound." Merlin said as he opened his inventory.

Everyone's expressions seemed to get slightly darker as they watched Merlin's next actions.

Merlin had sat down next to the woman who was clearly confused at the group's sudden appearance, and especially their actions.

"Hello there, although we may seem like a strange group, we're actually here to help." Snowbunny sat down next to the woman as well and started talking to her. "We were asked to rescue you by your little brother."

The woman's face lit up and she began to speak with snow, occasionally glancing towards Merlin, who had sat down next to her and pulled out his herbalism kit.

"What are you doing?" Alvira asked Merlin.

"Saving her life." He responded while reaching back into his inventory, pulling out a strange plant with a long grey-ish stem that was covered in bulbs of small white flowers and tooth-edged, ash-green leaves.

Merlin plucked a handful of the leaves from this plant, placing them into his mortar as he threw the rest of the plant back into his inventory.

"What, how have you already learnt alchemy?" Alvira asked.

Merlin didn't respond, instead, he reached back into his inventory and pulled out a white lily-like plant, placing that into his mortar, he quickly began crushing the two plants together into a paste.

He added the usual amounts of Impletio, the dark grey seeds with a wrinkly surface, and Alanemine, the plant with long string-like white petals, to enhance the effect of the other two ingredients.

"Damnit, why do I never remember to buy a waterskin," Merlin muttered to himself. He turned to the woman and noticed that she had a waterskin tied to the basket strapped to her back. "Hey, can I borrow some of the water in your waterskin?"

The woman turned to Merlin and nodded.

Merlin took the waterskin from the basket and poured just enough water into his mixture to make it drinkable. He mixed it for a few more seconds before turning back to the woman.

"Here, drink this." He said while holding up the mortar.

The woman looked at the mortar with a suspicious glare.

"Hey, what did you just make?" Alvira asked while looking at the slop that was present in the mortar.

"Medicine." Merlin responded, "The leaves of White Horehound decrease inflammation and the petals of Liliox have a mild healing and detoxing effect. The other two were to boost and stabilise the effects of the other two ingredients."

"This will do for fighting off infections for now, but she'll have to clean the wound and rest. Unfortunately, I don't have better ingredients on hand, so this is the best I can do." Merlin said as he turned to the woman once more, "Drink this and we'll help you get back home."

The woman slowly took the mortar and took a light sip of its contents, her face immediately scrunched up and her pleading eyes asked if she really had to drink it.

"It's medicine, it's not supposed to taste like candy... Drink it or you will become a zombie." Merlin said with a sigh.

With that statement, the woman eventually did as she was told, drinking all the contents of the mortar before handing it back to Merlin.

Merlin took the mortar, placed the pestle inside of it and cast cleanse on both of the items before throwing them back into his inventory.

"Alright, with that, let's move out. We're heading back to the village." Merlin said.

Mason and Snowbunny assisted the woman with walking through the shrubbery, while the rest of the group kept their eye out on their surroundings.

"So how did you learn alchemy already?" Alvira went back to nagging Merlin.

"That wasn't really alchemy." Merlin finally responded, "At best you could probably call it herbalism, I was just mixing a couple of different plants to bring out their effects. Essentially a natural remedy, not brewing a potion."

"And you can learn this sort of thing at the rangers guild, they give you a lecture about this sort of stuff when you sign up. They even have a whole laboratory to work in." He said. "You could even ask for extra classes if you were interested in the subject."

"Forced lectures and even extra classes, jeez. I came here to play games, not study." Alvira retorted, "Who would actually go through that sort of thing..."

"Well, Merlin would," Snowbunny spoke up from behind the duo. "Holly mentioned that he has an entire room dedicated to growing medicinal plants in real life."

"Oh my god, you really are an old man," Alvira said in a playfully mocking tone.

"It's a helpful skill to have. Being able to mix a couple of common herbs together could save you from wasting an expensive potion." Merlin said while shaking his head.

"Well, it's a good thing we've got you on the team, huh?" Alvira said, "Our team's personal alchemist."

"Herbalist." Merlin corrected.

"Herbalist, whatever." Alvira retorted.

Snowbunny chuckled in the background, and the group started talking about other topics as they made their way to the village.