For the time being, I guess I’ll try walking around the forest a bit more. The manticore not being dead is weighing on my psyche as well, plus I should get a grasp on which monsters are easy prey.
I also feel like my food supply problem is no more since I have the tributes, …but I’m feeling a bit uneasy about whether or not it’d be okay to eat them. It’d be great if I could start to make dried meat and stuff again too…
I so want to try taking a little peek into the Lithuvar tribe’s village too, but it would not be a good idea for me to wander away from here, would it? When they come here next time, I’ll have to stand ready, dignified, and so on and so forth. Now that it’s on my mind, if the Lithuvar tribe does come around again, then it would maybe be better to go ahead and eat a little bit of their tributes, huh? I’d hate to even think of them believing that it wasn’t to my liking or that I’m angry or something.
…They won’t consider treating me as a tribute thief, will they? They totally won’t, right? It would also trouble me if I were to be told “You’re the wrong dragon, so return it!” or something along those lines and made to hand over the food. Well, this time, once I’ve got some wiggle room, I guess it’ll be fine to, at most, hunt for some edible-looking monsters. I’d like to secure my hunting grounds and get that taken care of.
After putting together my plan of action, I exited the shrine. The sound of rattling could be heard from behind me. As I looked back over my shoulder, I saw Wight following me.
Ugh, it’ll be dangerous if Wight follows me, …but I guess it would also be risky for me to leave them here. I’d like to try leveling them up so that they don’t immediately fall to pieces… As far as that goes, I guess I’ll go ahead and take them with me. If I do catch sight of any dangerous monsters, so long as I make sure to immediately do a one-eighty, they’ll probably be fine. If it comes down to it, I can shove Wight into my mouth and just book it with [[Roll]]. That, and I don’t think there’s, you know, anyone or anything stronger than me.
I walked through the forest while staying aware with my [[Presence Sense]]. A major part of hunting is about being the first to find the other party. Whether you’re attacking or escaping, the first to detect the other party will have a far greater advantage.
I muted myself and walked along slowly. It’s all about being the first to find. The first to find. Wight’s here too, so I’ve gotta stay sharp. Follow me, Wight. Slow-…
Wight suddenly tackled me without warning. The top part popped off from their shoulder, falling to the ground. Wha- Hey! The hell you doin’?!
Wight, showing no signs of caring about their busted body, continued to tackle me. The continued beating of their body became the continued busting and scattering of their body.
What’s wrong? Are you confused? Partner. For now, just use [[Fake Life (Soul Appendment)]]…
Partner, also changing her countenance without warning, suddenly began roaring. She seemed to be in a complete state of excitement and did not at all appear to honestly reciprocate my thoughts. Damnit, a status ailment? There are no signs that there are monsters around, so maybe this is the work of a plant or somethin’.
I’m safe right now, but you can never tell when confusion is going to blindside you. Right as I was about to turn tail and get out of there, I saw an insect the size of a red ant chomping down on my tail.
It had a striped pattern with a monochrome theme that conjured up feelings of disgust and attached to it were eight peculiarly long legs that bent here and there in a way that emphasized their joints. Around its mouth were these things that looked like serrated teeth, however, they appeared to be markedly different from that of teeth, with there being too many to count.
Its outward appearance, I would guess, is close to that of a whip spider’s. It looks to be sucking the blood out of my tail, so it would seem that this thing’s nature is completely different from that of a whip spider… If I were to describe the impression it gave off with just one word, it would be this: It was gross.
I joined in with Partner and roared as I wildly whipped my tail, slamming it against a tree. Prussian blue blood splattered out from the pseudo-whip spider’s mouth-like thing—blood that was probably mine.
It sent shivers down my spine just thinking that I was being gnawed on by one of those things. Or more like I felt like I was gonna hurl. I seriously don’t feel good. I so wanna wash my tail later. I so wanna howl. I so wanna book it outta this forest already. Why couldn’t I sense such a monstrous monster? Why me?
I swung my forelegs about, recklessly firing off my [[Wind Slash]]. The blades of wind gouged the tree, mowing it down. The pseudo-whip spider wriggled its long legs, cleanly avoiding my attack, and began to escape. The way that thing moves seriously makes me feel sick. Straight up, if you’re gonna run away, then please don’t come here in the first place.
“Gawgh!” “Gawgh!” “GaaAWGH!”
As Partner barked and roared, black light enveloped the pseudo-whip spider. Looks like she’s directing [[Death]] at that thing, but she doesn’t really seem to be hitting it.
While the thing wasn’t all that fast, both Partner and I were flipping out. Besides, how best to put this… neither of us wanted to give it a good, hard look.
As far as being able to drive that thing away goes, I could accept that, but I also had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to have peace of mind with it being left alive. So although it made me feel relieved when it slipped out of sight, I was getting mentally assaulted by eerie, foreboding sensations.
Huff- Huff- Huff… Which way did it go? A status check. Man, I should’ve done that ahead of time. It’s nothing but fear of the unknown of something unidentified and horrifying and so on. Once I know its true nature, that’ll, at least comparatively, put me at ease…
Damnit! Something’s numbing my tail up. Had it been dulling my sense of pain?
So it crept up on me by minimizing its presence, dulled my sense of pain, then it sucked my blood…? With that black-and-white color pattern, I’d say it looks more like a mosquito aiming for a large-sized monster. No, mosquitoes are leagues better than that thing, as well as being better visually. The impression it gave off was closer to that of a cockroach than that of a mosquito.
Well, it does put me at ease for the time being. Thank you, Wight. You tackled me because that thing was coming for me and you even went so far as to destroy your body to inform me that it was. You were a real help.
I looked down at Wight, their body strewn. Wight shook their head back and forth.
Huh? What is it? Is something wrong? Wait, was that because of the wind just now?
As Wight bent the joints of their arm bones, they pointed their finger behind me. Drawn into what they were doing, I turned around.
The pseudo-whip spider was coming for me, crawling toward me at a tremendous speed. No, it’s not exactly all that fast, but even so, due to its legs being long and moving swiftly, it gives off the illusion that it looks like its whole body is running at high speeds. And for some reason the lack of any sounds contributes to the sensation of speed as well.
Suddenly, a memory from my previous life came to me. A memory about a time when a cockroach I thought had escaped from me suddenly and unexpectedly flew toward my face. Although I couldn’t remember any detailed aspects of the room and such, as if my view was blocked by a haze, the image of the cockroach, just the cockroach, appeared clearly in my mind with no fuzziness around the edges.
“Gwogh!” “Gwogh!” “GwoooOOGH!!”
“Gawgh!” “Gawgh!” “GaaaAAWGH!!”
Partner and I each threw out many a [[Wind Slash]] and [[Death]], respectively. A single [[Death]] made contact with it, but the thing easily crawled out from the black light’s grasp. It’s no use. [[Death]] doesn’t have any effect on it. It seems that for this skill, the difference in level between one and one’s opponent factors majorly into it, huh?
But, that doesn’t mean that I won’t take away any lessons from this as well. If you can’t look at the thing dead-on, then it’s better to aim for something else from the start.
A tree that I chopped down with my [[Wind Slash]] pummeled the pseudo-whip spider’s body. With a bursting snap, a crack ran along the pseudo-whip spider’s back as cream-colored bodily fluids bled out from it. As if malfunctioning, its eight long legs squirmed.
Now I have no concerns about letting it get away. Aiming for the head, I fired a [[Wind Slash]] at it with a wide and hard swing. Cleaving the pseudo-whip spider’s head down the middle, its movements ceased.
[186 experience points have been acquired.]
[Due to the title skill [[Walking Egg: Lv –]], an additional 186 experience points have been acquired.]
[Level of individual [[Ouroboros]] has increased from level 60 to level 61.]
Whew… What a relief. A presence minimizing skill, a blood sucking skill, and then after that a paralyzing skill? What an obnoxious monster. I can’t even bring myself to eat that thing. Not even a little bit. Guess I’ll just get some details on it and put that to rest.
[[[Abyss]]: C ranked monster.]
[Clinging itself to large magical beasts from their blind spots, this monster sucks the blood out of them and replenishes the blood with an equal volume of bodily fluids.]
[The bodily fluids from an [[Abyss]] contain a poison. It lays its eggs when and where its prey meets its end, fashioning itself a nest to raise its young.]
[When it does simply hunt, it will often search for creatures smaller than itself. Consequently, these monsters will frequently cannibalize each other.]
…It- …It’s terribad. I’m glad I won. If I had died, would I have been fashioned into a nest for a brood of Abyss?
…Oh god, I’m starting to feel sick. So my numbed tail is because of those bodily fluids, is that right? …I wonder if I can cut it off and autoregenerate it…
Author’s Chapter Postscript:
Notice: As was mentioned in the story, they’re modeled after whip spiders/tailless whip scorpions. However, since they aren’t exactly pleasant to look at, I recommend that only those who are less squeamish to please attempt looking them up.