Kiel has already headed back and started training with Bik again. I spend roughly 45 minutes practicing my new skills before I wander a bit further into the forest. I only gained about a single level whilst at the river, largely due to my focus on experimenting. Not a single creature in the area came anywhere near the river after the display I put on, making hunting a bit difficult. The location of the slime cave is quite close to the river I was experimenting on, so I was expecting at least one or two slimes to wander out of the cave and near the river. When they didn’t I was a bit disappointed, but now I’m grateful because I can likely gain at least another two levels taking out the cave they have infested.
A chill runs down my spine as I hear a slurping sound nearby. Looking in the direction of the sound I discover the mouth of the cave. I continue forward but stagger a bit when I pear further into the cave. It looks disgusting as the walls are almost completely made of slimes moving on and around other slimes.
“Fal-Su-Feir Fireball!” I say thrusting my hand.
As before when I do three orange fireballs appear and float in front of my hand. I line them up in front of me and send out the middle one attempting not to touch the walls of the cave or slimes.
As the fireball illuminates the cave the slimes convulse and move backward. Seems they aren’t very fond of the light. The cave seems to be quite shallow, as I can see the back only about 30 meters deep. Since it doesn’t seem like they have much of an avenue to escape I start testing their weaknesses. I guide the fireball into one of the slimes closest to me. My hope is that if they freak out that they will retreat further into the cave instead of rushing out.
The fireball drifts into the slime and smothers immediately. It shows how ineffective it was that the slime hardly even reacted to it, past attempting to get away from the light it emitted. I decide to test physical resistance next… but I don’t want to touch them.
“Fal-Kei-Tera Earth manipulation” I say placing my hand on the ground in front of me.
I focus all my attention on the same slime… partly because the way it convulsed began to look like a taunt. I slowly raise a spike from the ground below it, which slowly rises through it and skewers the slime lightly raising it. It stops moving for a second… but starts its mocking motions again right before splitting into two smaller slimes releasing it from the spike.
“I’m beginning to see why creatures as disgusting as you are still around despite being such a convenient medical ingredient. I figured those at the merchant guild would have cashed in on you already unless there was some reason they couldn’t.” I say scratching my head.
…I’m rather confident I know how to get rid of them, but I wanted to confirm that they were difficult to take down first. I might be able to squeeze yet another reward out of that head merchant if I clear this cave and bring back the ingredients.
I take my rapier from my belt and point it at the two slime that just split.
“I beseech nature to spare your wrath, stun my enemies. Ai-Va-Aer.” Lightning shoots from the tip and strikes the first slime.
I focus hard to try and control the arcing of the electricity, but it doesn’t follow my intended path even slightly. The lightning hits a large selection of the slimes near the mouth of the cave, in a sporadic fashion. The slimes hit lose their shape, and fall into a large puddle of whatever they were made of. The slimes that got away with little or no damage recognize the threat and retreat into the cave, as far back as they can manage to go. They look even more grotesque now that they are all fighting to fit back there squishing, flopping off, and forming to fit into gaps.
“… I would really feel bad about exterminating you like this… if not for how disgusting you all look squishing around back there…. I wonder…”
I come up with a rather convenient idea. Putting my rapier in its holster I prepare to recite another spell.
“Fal-Kei-Tera Earth manipulation” I say placing my hand on the ground.
I begin to raise a wall in front of the large group of slimes. It takes a while, but as their intent is to get away, none of them pass it and the wall manages to completely cover the back of the cave. I could just leave now, and pretend that I did take out the slimes… but I imagine my image to the merchants will only go down once they figure out the truth.
I start to move the wall forward further into the cave. Eventually it slows down due to the resistance. The plan is to squash the entire infestation in one go… especially since that way I don’t have to see them.
…though that doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out too well.
The wall cracks and crumbles. I thought at first it was just due to the pressure of the slime that was being squeezed… but the truth was far less nice. The wall rather violently collapses and reveals the fate of the slimes. The goop in one solid lump falls forward onto the collapsed wall. I still thought I succeeded until the rocks floated to the middle and the rest of the slime didn’t fall.
I begin to see a familiar convulsing from the entire slime and notice my mistake. Seems I helped them combine into a much bigger threat. The slime begins coming towards the mouth of the cave… which is by far the most sickening thing I’ve seen yet. The slime itself seems to be bigger than the cave now, so there is just a wall of slimy liquid coming forward with a disgusting squelching sound accompanying it. Well as interesting as this was… I really don’t want that thing to touch me. I draw my rapier and point it at the slime.
“I beseech nature to spare your wrath, stun my enemies. Ai-Va-Aer.” I say aiming for the center of the slime to make sure as little of the electricity gets grounded by the stone of the cave.
Unfortunately, that trick doesn’t work anymore, as it moves the rocks it’s picked up into the walls of the cave. The electricity visibly goes right for the rocks and into the cave walls. The slime slows slightly but continues undeterred. I put away my rapier once more as I think of my list of skills, and very little comes to mind that could actually damage it. It continues forward slowly until the wall slightly emerges from the cave. It stops for a moment when it passes into direct sunlight.
… But after a short pause it continues to move forward again. I can’t really face it now; it was a lot easier before it merged like this…. The restore spell supposedly lets me change things to a form they were recently in. Maybe it will allow me to revert this boss slime back into tiny slimes.
“Fal-La-Tu Re- guh!” I begin to recite the skill and extend my hand towards it.
I stop when I realize that I have to touch it…
I pick some grass out of the ground and throw it into the slime. It slowly moves towards the center, but aside from that seems untouched… I suppose that means it’s not acidic…. I really don’t want to touch it though.
It convulses for a short time before one of the smaller stones it picked up coming out of the cave, moves from the center towards me at a high speed. Once it reaches the outside it retains its speed and shoots outward. I move my head in time to dodge, but only slightly. It manages to cut my cheek.
“Guh! No choice then I suppose. Fal-La-Tu Restora” I yell plunging my hands into the slime.
It is every bit as unpleasant as I imagined it would be….
The slime convulses violently before turning into a mass of slimes falling over one another. The reality of having so many slimes so near to me dawns on me and I draw my weapon in panic, but thankfully the sunlight was too much for the smaller slimes to handle and they retreat back into the cave.
A wicked smile appears on my face as I point the sword towards the retreating mass.
“I beseech nature to spare your wrath, stun these disgusting vermin! Ai-Va-Aer!” I say thrusting the sword forward.
As if responding to my emotions the lightning comes out for twice as long as normal. Where the arcing of the attack still occurred randomly the length of the attack managed to make sure it arced into each slime at least once.
“Hah hah hah, take that you vermin! That’s what you get for being so cocky!” I say kneeled over panting.
It seems the extra length also meant more MP was taken in its activation. Using several high-level skills so close together in the first place wasn’t all too wise.
“Hahaha, same said about you human!” I hear in a scratchy odd voice behind me.
“Huh?” I say turning to see the source.
Sitting on the branch of a tree behind me is a goblin. It is quite a bit smaller than the one that attacked me yesterday and is equipped with the bare minimum of a pair of ragged cloth shorts. It seems to be a child of its species.
“Uh oh, human notice. My speed better!” The goblin says standing and preparing to jump away.
“Wait!” I yell
“…Why human can speak? Can human understand?” The goblin says turning his head, but not changing its position.
“…I can understand your language if that is what you are asking. I wasn’t aware that you could speak.” I say returning my weapon to my holster to show that I’m not hostile.
The last one attacked me like a wild animal, so I figured they must be feral at first. I’ve begun to wonder about their intelligence since the fight, however, due to some of the things it did during the fight. If even this child knows how to speak, that must mean that they are a generally intelligent species.
“Not know human speak either, human just kill.” The goblin says as it readies its legs to jump again.
My blood runs cold for a moment as I think about how a child would get such an impression.
“What is your name?” I yell out somewhat desperately as I regain myself in an attempt to make it stay
“Name? What word mean?” The goblin says with a look of joy and it turns and sits on the branch to face me
Huh? Such a sudden change in demeanor throws me through a bit of a loop.
“Name? It’s what you call yourself, and what others call you by” I say dropping my shoulders in relaxation but with a stout look of bewilderment
I have no idea what to think of this situation. I’m trying desperately to make sure it doesn’t leave, but I’m not entirely sure why yet. I was going to set out to hunt them down in just a couple minutes before, and now I’m talking to a child… I suppose I want to end this without shedding blood if possible… and use this kid for info, or as a hostage if necessary. I still know nothing about them, so I suppose if I don’t talk to this kid while I have the chance, I might not have the opportunity to know whether or not I should even go through with this.
“Is that like title? I no have title.” The kid says scratching its head.
“No, no. It’s how others address you. For instance, if you wanted to get my attention or talk about me. You would use my name.” I say attempting to find words simple enough to explain the concept.
“Hmm me no have “name” either. Sound fun. What your name?” The kid says as its legs begin to swing
“My name is Mano. If you don’t have a name, you could always just come up with one. What word do you think would represent you?”
“? Represent like make other think about right? Chief represents the whole tribe.” The kid asks cocking its head
I don’t mean to sound rude, but it’s quite an odd scene. As much as the kid is acting in a very innocent and normal fashion, it looks grotesque in comparison to a human. Its face is covered in thick green skin, with warts and boils protruding from all over. Its jaw also extends a bit farther than the rest of its face, giving it an odd sense of age despite the fact that it is a child.
“It’s similar yes. In this case, you’re looking for a trait that represents who you are as an individual.” I say looking nervous as I realize my explanation is only getting more complicated
“Then me name Learn!” The goblin child says confidently as it stands up