“Take that, and that!”
Lenya was fighting by herself against a wolf-type beast called Cave Wolf – its level was 22/29. As for the reason she was fighting on her own, well, she’d felt so useless in the previous fight, that she had been bound and determined to fight something solo. When the Cave Wolf popped out in front of us, she called out as she ran to fight it,
“I can take this one on my own! You wait and watch back there, Tetsuya!”
When Mec asked if she was okay, Lenya replied back that it’d be an easy win, so I just sat back and watched her do her thing.
I did have some concerns at first, but those turned out to be unfounded. She evaded the speedy beast’s every attack and fought back with her claws. She cornered the beast, her claws ripping into him, and with one last slash, the Cave Wolf breathed its last breath, blood pooling under it from every orifice.
“Yes! I did it!” Lenya cheered.
The moment she’d downed it, she came racing up to me.
“See, I’m not a burden for you guys.”
“Hey, yeah,” I agreed. “You’re really strong.”
“Heheh, meow,” she said, smiling and giggling. She pushed her head towards me. “I won, so praise me. Pet me.”
I hesitated somewhat, but relented and pet her head. It seemed like getting petted was just really her thing. I didn’t mind it too much myself, either. Her hair felt nice to the touch, her ears were soft, and I couldn’t really get enough of it. After doing it for a long length of time, Mec got irritated.
“How long do you two fools intend to play around? This isn’t what we came out here for!”
“Sorry, you’re right,” I apologized gently, pulling my hand away.
It seemed like Lenya had wanted a bit more attention, but Mec was right – we had a long way to go still.
I put my hand out to the beast Lenya had slayed, absorbing it.
HP +10, MP +2, Attack +4, Defense +2, Speed +3, Skill points gained: +2.
I got a nice boost in attack this time. It’s just too bad I didn’t gain any skills or resistances at the same time.
We pushed on after I absorbed that beast, and we encountered a good number of monsters along the way, with me absorbing each and every one of them.
HP +60, MP +10, Attack +15, Defense +8, Speed +10, Skill points gained: +10.
Flame Ball leveled up from Lv2 to Lv4, and my fire resistance leveled from Lv1 to Lv3.
I never received another new skill from any of the beasts, though.
My new stats read as:
Name: Tetsuya Takahashi
Skill Points: 2
Skill: Corpse Absorption, Lv2 Identify, Lv4 Meteorite, Lv2 Acid Shot, Lv2 Thundershock, Lv1 Absorb Thread, Lv4 Flame Ball
Resistance: Lv1 Poison, Lv1 Electricity, Lv3 Fire
Oh, I also found out that I gain back all my MP in one go when I sleep. Along that vein, I used my “Meteorite” attack three times and lost about 30 MP, but “Absorb Thread” allows me to absorb some MP back. After using it once on another enemy, I gained back around 20 MP.
I also used 20 skill points to level up “Meteorite”. It’s my biggest fire attack, so I’d thought it was in my best interest to improve it some.
“There,” Mec said, gaining our attention. “That should do it. We should be able to defeat the giants at our current level.”
“Nice,” I piped up. “Should we head to the exit now?”
“That’s the plan,” she agreed, nodding.
“Let’s go!” cried out Lenya.
With our sights set on getting out of here, we walked towards our goal, and that was when it showed itself…
Somewhere far ahead of us in the distance was something that sounded like someone dressed in armor walking around.
“Hold on, you two,” Mec cautioned. “What was that sound?”
Both Lenya and I stopped as she’d directed. I focused my gaze on the route ahead of us. When I saw the figure that was coming towards us, my heart leapt into my throat.
It was a soldier wearing jet-black armor, but that wasn’t the biggest issue. There was some kind of menacingly dark aura clinging to the soldier. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I instinctively felt a deep set fear rise up in me, and something really off and wrong.
That thing wasn’t something to be messed with.
I brought up every last shred of strength I had to try and warn the two women.
“Wh-what in the world is that thing…?”
It seemed like I hadn’t been the only one to be wary – both of them were just as terrified.
The thing walked closer towards us.
Lenya was the first to kick herself into action. She moved slowly so as to not make any noises as she hid in the shadow of a rock. Mec and I followed after her, hiding with her in the shadows.
Its armor clanged with each step the thing took. I popped my head out from the shadows just enough to get a good look at it.
“What are you doing?!” Mec hissed, seeing me shift away.
“I’m going to try to use ‘Identify’ on it,” I whispered back.
I was scared out of my mind, but I had to try and see what we were dealing with. Waiting until the soldier came close enough for me to see it, I used the skill.
“No Data Available,” said the mechanical voice.
“Say what?” I gasped out, ducking back into the shadows. “No data available? I can’t scan it?”
“Wh-what did you say?” Mec replied hastily with surprise. “Hm, I had heard that you can’t use that skill on beings that largely deviate from your everyday abilities, which means that thing is something out of this world…”
“S-so, when you say ‘everyday abilities,’ what do you mean exactly?”
“No matter how good your abilities are, you’ll cap at around 9,999. Anything above that will surpass your everyday abilities.”
“Wha… 9,999?! What’s something like that doing here?!”
“How would I know?”
I could feel myself trembling, and Lenya was no better off as she clutched hold of me tightly. Why would something like this pop up when we were so close to our goal?
The sound of the soldier’s steps was slow, but steadily coming closer towards us.
“Heavens above, let us not be seen and make it out of this alive,” Mec prayed softly.
Clang… Clang… Clang… Clang…
As the sound grew ever closer, so did my heart beat ever faster. Drops of sweat beaded at my forehead, dropping down my cheeks.
We beg you, don’t come this way!
I wasn’t sure if something out there had heard my plea, but the sound of its steps started to fade away.
After waiting for a short bit, I stuck my head out to check on the situation.
It was nowhere to be found.
“Oh, thank god…”
“I’m so glad we weren’t found out,” Mec breathed out.
Now that I had time to breathe, I didn’t think it would’ve ended at just losing our lives, based on how the soldier looked.
Either way, with a sigh of relief, the three of us continued on our journey to the exit.