It was quiet once again. The only sounds left were my beating heart and blood dripping from the rat's disfigured neck. It's metallic taste still lingering in my mouth. Surprisingly it didn't taste nearly as bad as I would've judged from the smell. I was quite happy I wasn't hungry right now, or I would've tried eating at least part of it. I guess my animalistic instincts were revealing themself slowly. As I was still lingering on the idea, Miia's voice thankfully derailed my train of thought. Dragging me back to the currently more important topic.
It could've gone worst. But you know... That whole claw thing you should definitely figure that out. Since you'll need to use them again, at least while you're in this body. Unless you want to become a mage.
You know what that can wait for later. Choosing your class can wait until you get to choose your focus. Right now you should probably just go further down the tunnels. I will alert you if I spot something."
Class. I never thought about what kind of class I would want. But it has to be something with flashy spells. Or it would be a waste of magic. But then again my race seems to be focused on assassinations. I'm just scared I'll become a stealthy archer again.
"Ahh. By the way, I almost forgot after you killed the rat. I've felt changes in your magic I can't tell what exactly happened right now I'm still too weak. But I know how magic manifests so I can make an educated guess. Magic becomes stronger the more you use it just like a muscle so if you use Hide all the time it will become more effective. But at the same time, your overall magic affinity becomes stronger meaning. Humans categorize that overall affinity with levels.
Do you remember the stats and resist screens back then. They show the measurements from what magic changes in your body. They grow when your affinity increases. What changes depends on what you did to get the affinity. So for example, if you use a lot of Mana your maximum and absorption will likely increase. These two respectively linked to what you call Wisdom and Intelligence.
Also just like the names suggest they not only affect Mana but also knowledge meaning someone with high Mana capacity can also remember more information and someone with high absorption will learn faster.
That happened to you for sure but still which stats is hard to tell. But more importantly, something else also happened to one of your abilities. It mutated. Mutation in this case meaning something different from the biological sense.
When someone talks about magic mutation it means that you've got a new spell related to one of the older ones you have.
Judging from the magic you used I would say you either got the passive ability Hiding from Hide or the Spell Bite for Biting.
The first one would need some time to show itself since its a passive and it would change your physical appearance. But actually, I think it's the second one since your race is known for not evolving Hide unless they live in snowy regions so as not to lose their white fur.
Which means congratulations: you've got your first spell, probably. And with that good luck."
Ahh. Umm. OK...?
I guess I have a spell now.
A little while after Miia concluded I got myself back together and got up. The rat's lifeless body beside me. I wasn't sure what to do with it. But for now, I reckon I'm just going to leave it here. For now, I should check up on the little cat I completely forgot about it in the heat of the conflict.
I made my way back to the animal just to see what I already expected. It was dead. It's lower body ripped to shreds by the rat's teeth to feed on its flesh. Not a pleasant death, being eaten alive. Maybe if I would've dealt with the rat faster I could've given it a quicker death...
I honestly don't know what to do. I don't think I can bury it in this stone floor, so I guess I'll just have to leave it here to be eaten. Not the fate you'd want for your pet or anyone. But then again I did the same thing to the rat. So am I any better? I guess I'm doing this for the greater good.
Haha.... how basic.
After getting lost for the docents time I was finally ready to get going. But first I wanted to check out the hole in the concrete. As it turns out it wasn't just a little bit of rubble broken down from the wall but rather the entrance to a smaller tunnel splitting up from this one. But this one was different from all the others I walked through so far. Mainly in its size, it wasn't even big enough for a human to walk through its diameter just a little bit over half a meter so even I had to crawl if I wanted to see where it lead.
But I wasn't even sure if I wanted to find out because at the moment I got closer the penetrating smell of shit and death assaulted my nostrils. This tunnel was definitely the source of the disgusting smell in the area around here. My best guess was that it was an entrance to the dead rat's cavern.
Not a place I want to go to at the moment. I'm pretty sure that if there were more than one I'd have no chance to win. I think my best course of action will be to go down the main one I could always come back here if I don't find anything, specifically monsters.
The further I walked down the tunnel the darker it became. After not even 100 meters or so even my enhanced eyes couldn't pick up enough light.
The lamps in this area probably went dark years ago. I wasn't sure if this was the right decision after all but I feel like Miia would've told me.
After stumbling through the dark a little further I saw light once again illuminating my path. Before me, the tunnel split off to the left. There was a new light source. Too dark to spill around the corner, it wasn't even sufficient for me to see the floor clearly. But it was enough to guide me
The closer I got the clearer it was that this wasn't just another lamp or the like. Instead, it was a crack in the roof of this tunnel. From it, the moon shone down. I could spot grass growing around the top of it a few vines even hung down into the darkness. On the floor, there was a small pile of rubble broken loose from the tunnel it was overgrown with moss and other small plants.
As I got closer I could see some blood on the stones.
"So this is how the cat got down here. At least now we know how it got down here. It probably fell down here and the rat found it."
As I looked up through the hole all I could see were leaves with the occasional glimpse of the moon. It seems like today was a bright night lucky for me. But then again I don't even know if there are moon cycles on this planet.
As I brought my vision back down to get going I saw a slight flicker between some of the rocks. As I got closer I could see it was a small silver pendant, Its red ribbon ripped. It laid in a tight hole stuck in between two rocks so I clumsily tried to get it out but I couldn't grab it with my paw and my head was too big to get in.
I guess my best bet was to try and get out my claws. To my surprise, this turned out more difficult than I thought. It wasn't just to move it like a muscle. Well maybe it was if you know how to, but somehow I just couldn't do it. I knew I just had to move a muscle and they'd reveal. Still, somehow no matter what I did nothing happened. It kinda reminded me of twitching your ear. I knew I could but somehow I just couldn't.
Kinda losing my patience I decided to look at the pile once again. And surely I found a flat piece of what looked like cement jammed under a few other pieces of rubble. It reached out far enough for me to bite and grip with my teeth. After a strong pull and me moving back fast, parts of the pile fell down. Just like I hoped the pendent became loose.
As it lay there I could see what was printed on it. A bunch of symbols I probably the cat's name, but as expected I couldn't read what was written on either side.
"It's pronounced "knʊdl̩" * it means cuddle but if I had to guess meant as a call to cuddle it. The writing on the other side is a Name and UIN or Universal identification Number with that we can find the owner. If you want to. " just as I pondered on how to read this Miia told me.
I guess getting this back to the original owner would be some nice closure for them and they wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.
So I decided to take it with me but that revealed a problem I anticipated already. I had no pockets or even hands. The only way for me to take something with me was holding it within my mouth. But I was already determined so I bit on the ribbon and picked it up.
As I made my way around the rubble I once again saw something which made unsure if I wanted to move on further. It seemed like over time rainwater dripping down here had formed an underground lake in the downwards sloping tunnel. If it wasn't for the fact that I could see some light blue light intriguing me I would've gone back.
As soon as I set my first step into the water I instantly noted how cold it was. The overall temperature in this tunnel wasn't too high, I could feel it on my nose. But my fur did an overall good job of insulating me. But the water just slipped past so it didn't do much. The fact that it was so deep that soon I had to awkwardly paddle didn't make it any better. On top of that holding my head over the water wasn't too comfortable.
It was quiet, the only sound my paddling through the darkness. I just passed the midway point when I noticed how overall clean the water was.
Well, clean wasn't the right word. The water was quite dirty, but I was expecting a lot more things like trash rubble to swim in it but nothing the like. Just as I thought that I nudged against something.
It was swimming on top of the water because of the darkness and its color I didn't see it until I got closer. It was dark blue with some dark green lines over its length. I couldn't quite make out its shape but if I hadn't felt its hardness I could've mistaken it for some kind of water plant.
But unless it was like something I have never seen, which would be very possible. It was to tick for a water plant it was almost a centimeter thick and from what I could tell at least a meter long. But what put me off the most was its texture. Not like a plant but rather like rubber.
Still, the cold was getting to me and I wasn't that interested in what this was so I just wanted to get out. So I swam past it. Just then suddenly in the blink of a second something behind me flopped and wrapped around my hind legs. Not a second later it began to pull, hard.
I panicked and trying to scramble free. But the grip was too tight. I had no chance to squirm loose. With all my power I tried to swim forward but I had no chance. I just had barely enough power not to get pulled under. One thing was sure, pure strength wasn't an option. The only way out of the was cutting it or rather biting. But then I would have to drop the pendant.
Unless... Not yet desperate enough to drop it I made a split-second decision. With the rest of my strength, I jerked my head over the water to take one last deep breath before diving down. I wrapped my front paws around the vine and once again tried to reveal my claws. But nothing happened once again.
I wasn't pulled down anymore but rather to the side against what I thought was a wall. It was getting even darker but what I could make out was that at the lowest point in the tunnel, where I was at the moment, there was another tunnel splitting off to the side. But the entire thing was underwater and that was where the vine was pulling me.
If I didn't do something quick there was no way I'd get out of this without alive. I was ready to drop it and just bite at it when I tried to claw one more time. And just then it somehow clicked inside me. My claws came out and with one quick pull, I cut the vine apart. Instantly I got the hell out of there. Swimming to the other side of the lake as fast as I could not risking staying in the water a second longer than I had to.
As soon as I got out I spat out the pendant and lay down panting. After a while I got my breathing back together and after picking up the pendant. And I got back on track.
The area here was illuminated enough for me to see quite well and all thanks to a bunch of light blue mushrooms growing everywhere. I've seen a few ones like this in the other tunnels but if at all they didn't glow bright enough for me to notice. Also instead of this light blue, they were all darker shades or even purple. Weird I wonder what makes them glow.
Before I could inspect them closer I had to stop because I once again heard something move a little further down the tunnel. As I sneaked closer I once again saw one of them. A rat. This one unluckily this one was not distracted. It was just kinda moving around checking out the area. Also, this tunnel didn't have anything in it. There was nothing I could hide behind. So for now I backed off.
I walked back so far that I was almost stepped back into the water, but I didn't careful not to make a sound. I stayed low as I watched it get closer just when I was sure that it would spot me soon It stoped. After sniffing the air a few times it quickly decided to move back. But still with the same careless attitude.
As soon as it turned around I took the chance and swiftly approached it from behind. When I was right behind it I pounced on its back. My right paw on the back of its head smashing it into the floor. Before it could realize what was happening I used my left paw's claws to quickly slip its throat.
That was a lot better than my first time.
Over the next hour or so I got further into the tunnel system a little while ago the tunnel went from Human-made to instead being carved into the stone. My best guess was that the rats carved them. I didn't wasn't sure how they survived down here, but sometimes I found a few of these mushrooms half-eaten so my current theory was that they either ate them or eat whatever eats them. While on the topic of mushrooms the further I got down the more they changed in color. I found some in green and yellow. But whenever I saw them they were either in small cracks or on the ceiling. Since I've gotten into the rat made tunnels I didn't find a single one. So I'm thinking that the rats like to eat them more than the blue ones. Also, the others were glowing a lot brighter. They were still a mystery to me.
As I made my way around another corner I saw yet another rat. This one took almost no effort to take care of. It luckily had its back turned to me already. Surprisingly these rats didn't seem active at all. Maybe it was the lack of any other creatures that made them weak but they aren't counting on me being here at all. I move around them when I can. Mainly because I was afraid of what would happen if one of the corpses was found. Whenever I could I would pull them into a corner so that they weren't found. But this one was already facing into a tunnel end. I wonder why.
As I, just the be safe, pulled the body into the corner. I noticed a small hole in the wall. The tunnels have gotten a lot smaller since I left the Main one. But they were still all big enough that I could walk or crawl but this one was especially thin. I wasn't even sure if I could squeeze through.
I picked the pendant back up after pulling the corpse. Somehow this too small tunnel stirred something in me. I wanted to make my way through it.
As I got down in front of it a faint light coming from the other side. While the rat's tunnels were lit in light blue light. This one was lit by an orange even slightly red glow.
I quickly decided that I had to get through. I got in and after a lot, and I mean a lot, of squeezing fearing getting stuck and making no progress I slipped out of the other side. The tunnel was at most a bit over a meter but still, it took what felt like ages the get out. But what I saw was worth it.
On the other side were a lot of mushrooms but not the blue ones. No these were mostly green, yellow, orange, and even a few turning red.
The more they turned the intenser their light was. the few red once managed to outshine the hundreds of green and yellow ones. And they outshined the thousand blue mushrooms. Here was also a trend the higher on the walls I got the Darker they got the red and orange once were on the around four-meter high roof. There were so many mushrooms I couldn't even see the original shape of the room. But I could make out what looked like cupboards all over the walls. And a small raised platform in the middle around a meter tall.
It was probably the most magical thing I've seen since coming to this world. No, the most magical thing I've seen since being born. But then I immediately regretted coming down here. There it was. To be honest I don't even know what it was, but it was gigantic.
In one of the corners, there was a gigantic ball of fur probably one and a half meters tall, and that while laying down. As soon as I made out its gigantic body I turned around. But Miia's voice stopped me.
"Stop. There it is. One of my body parts. The rat has it. "
I really didn't know what to say, not that I could.
"It has done what I want you to do. It has absorbed it..."
"You need to kill it."
If I wasn't so scared to make a noise I would've laughed out loud, that was so funny I would've even with this body.
"I'm honest. This is a great chance you made it in here and it's sleeping. Also, you've killed so many rats they if you go now they will be a lot more active the next time."
It made sense but how on earth was I supposed to take this thing out.
"Your best bet is to sneak up on it and just like the small once slice its neck. It may be big."
"...it may be gigantic. But if you cut its throat its will die anyway. Trust me."
OK. This is stupid. This is so insanely stupid. But then again I've got a goddess on my side, so how am I gonna lose this?
I got ever so closer to the thing and it smelled. If the rest of the rats smelled like death then this smelled like genocide. I felt like I would pass out. Probably the only reason I didn't as soon as I entered was me being distracted by the lights. Just then it caught on to me how did this monstrous thing even get in here the entrance was way, way, way too small don't tell me.
It doesn't leave... It doesn't fucking leave. If I wasn't this fucking scared I would make a gamer joke. Well, at least that explains the fucking smell.
Once I stood right before it I could see that I was lucky once again. It sleeps on its back with its throat wide exposed.
This really was the worst idea ever. But well... it's now or never.
I got to the right side of its head I carefully placed my left paw on my side of its neck and my ride one on the other side. I took one last deep breath, deeper than when I was about the down. I had its throat between my paws. I released my claws and with all my strength I crushed it between them.
To my surprise, I almost ripped the entire throat out, blood instantly splashed everywhere. And the deep snoring of the monster was replaced by a deep gurgling.
My vision was completely blocked by blood, but I did it. I actually did it I killed the damn thing. Now just collect the...
I suddenly felt a deep pain in my left side as I was flung against the table in the middle of the room. As I crashed into it my second side also flamed up in pain. I really thought I did it, but...
Numb from the pain my eyes still not able to see properly I heard moving in front of me. Then I heard a roar more like a bear than a rat, but fitting for its size. As soon as my vision came back all I saw was it. But now standing in front of me, towering over me at least two and a half meters tall standing on its hind legs. I guess it was way tougher than either of us thought.
I witnessed getting itself together even more stretching as far as it could now reaching the three-meter mark... And then it came crashing down upon me.
Suddenly it stopped its expression becoming blank as far as I could judge. Hovering over me just a few centimeters away from crushing me.
"Quick. Get out of here I can't hold it for much longer."
Miia... My mind ready to give up again, Miia saved me. Again. This time more literally.
"What are you waiting for? Get the hell out of here."
I didn't think she needed to say it a second time. But thank god she did. I instantly started running pushing through the intense pain. The tunnel was too thin this time again, but I just pushed. My body getting damaged even more. As I got to the other side I already heard more rats moving, Thank god there were none here yet.
Right after I got out I looked back into the hole for the final time and at first, I thought what I saw was my last mistake. The beast released from Miia's grasp sprinted for in a burst of speed and strength. It crashed into the solid wall and to my overwhelming surprise, it completely demolished it.
Its mouth wide open and ready to devour me. This was it, not even Miia could save me now. But then out of nowhere, an insanely loud siren shrilled. Destroying my already damaged hearing. Just as it started the whole area started to shake. Like a huge earthquake.
Right after both the floor and the roof cracked open and huge metal-plates crashed again each other sealing the room. Saving my life this time they completely obliterated the upper body of the rat completely smashing it. The upper part of its body flopped onto the floor with half its arms still on it. They were also broken. Blood splashed everywhere covering me even more. At this point I was probably completely covered in blood and pieces of flesh.
"GET ITS EYES!!!!"
"ITS EYES THEY ARE MINE. JUST RIP THEM OUT AND EATH THEM."
WHAT??? YOU WANT ME TOO...
"JUST FUCKING DO IT!!! AND THEN RUN."
In all honesty, I didn't have time to argue. I got my claws and pulled them out. To my surprise they weren't soft and watery like I expected but Hard like a stone. I quickly gulped them down whole.
And not a second too late. Around the one corner I saw a bunch of rats running, unsurprisingly attracted by the ear-shattering sounds. They came from the tunnel in front of me so I quickly run to the right. After a few minutes of running purely boosted on adrenaline, I found another smaller entrance. I wouldn't have taken this if I had a chance but there was no other way. The rats were still hot on my literal tail. As I squeezed through the rats closing in I could see the exit. Just before me.
I recognized it, it was the one I found before. But just when I was almost out a second earthquake shook and the tunnel collapsed.