Chapter 7 – First Blood
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[ ???? - Lesser Demon (S Rank Monster) - Level 57]

The only reason [Identify] had fired up was that she had been making a habit of using it on everything she came across. There was only enough time for a single, “Oh Shit” before the thing slammed into her, knocking her off her feet.

As she fell it managed to grab hold of her shoulder as she tumbled, and a sudden burning pain erupted in her left bicep. Releasing a scream, she grabbed at the thing and tried to throw it off her. 

That resulted in a bite on her wrist and then more bites on her arm as she rolled about on the ground, in a poor attempt to get rid of it. 

It is trying to eat me!’

Blood poured out freely from the deep bites the jagged teeth had left. After another vain attempt to free herself from its grip she managed a solid punch to its head, and the thing flew off of her. It rolled as it landed coming to a stop on its arms and legs before levering itself up and dashing back at her.

Without thinking, Elania reached into her pocket and pulled out her dagger and pointed it at the demon. The imminent threat made it pause, giving her first good look at it.

 

[ ???? - Lesser Demon (S Rank Monster) - Level 57]

 

The monster was shaped like a short and stocky person like a dwarf, but the resemblance ended there. Its face was elongated and scrunched up in a snarl, revealing a bloody mouth full of sharp looking teeth. That was her blood, and it stared at her with glowing crimson eyes that stood out against its alabaster white skin, giving it a possessed look. It was wearing a single thin brown piece of hide.

‘It's the same as me? We are nothing alike!’

It snapped and snarled at her as it slowly circled her, eyes riveted on the dagger as it sought out a chance to lunge at her again. It made a few aborted attempts, and she realized it was wary of the weapon. Maybe it had fought against someone armed before. The creature couldn’t have known that she had no idea of how to use the dagger or fight.

Warmth trickled down her arm, and she noted she was still bleeding from the bites on her arm. She winced in pain as she shifted to keep the dagger in line with her assailant. 

 

[Your physical Status is degrading.]

[Due to your excess power, your body is exceeding its limits!]

[Your body is experiencing thermal degradation!]

[Your body is slightly adapting.]

 

"I fucking know!" 

The creature snarled back at her in response, making a longer dash straight at her, but it turned away right before it could come within reach.

Through the pain and frustration, she started to get angry. If she had so much fucking power that it was eating away at her insides, where the hell was it? She thought she might be able to do the spark thing again, but she doubted she'd be able to hit the thing with them while it was moving so much. 

Suddenly, it lunged at her again, and this time it didn't dart away at the last second. Elania swung the dagger in a horizontal arc, hoping to slash it, but it was faster. As the demon ducked under the wide swing it jumped straight for her and grappled her. Despite the impact, Elania managed to keep her feet. Bringing her arm back down, she tried to slam the pommel into its head, but it latched onto her, immobilizing her arm with the dagger and then biting down on her robed arm again, tearing with its teeth.

Pain flared on her skin, and she tried to shove the thing off of her, but it held on firmly, claws digging through the robe and into her sides, adding to the pain.

Her other arm was already mangled, bloody, and weaponless. Elania attempted to punch it again, but it had a better grip this time and it didn’t seem to care if she punched it or not. Another painful bite ensued, this time on her shoulder. Finally, she grabbed the thing by the side of its thick neck and tried to push its face and teeth away.

‘I can't miss from here!’

She didn't have the Mana Shard in her hand, but she should have her own mana—at least that was what she was hoping for. She tried to repeat her earlier spark attack, but this time, she was in pain and desperate.

Rather than a few sparks, her entire hand was suddenly engulfed in a brilliant flare. That hurt even more than the bites. Her entire hand felt like it was burning away. The pain was intense but mercifully short-lived as the agony was rapidly replaced by a tingling numbness before turning to complete nothingness.

 

[You have gained a level in Mana Manipulation!]

 

The effect was tremendous, though, as she realized she had pushed her forearm through the creature's entire throat and out the other side. It immediately released her and scurried away, arms grasping at its head as it rolled wildly across the stone in a mad frenzy. It was eerily quiet as it did so, its throat and vocal cords totally disintegrated and missing.

 

[You have gained a level in Mana Manipulation!]

[Your physical Status is degrading quickly.]

 

Elania wasn't in very good shape herself, and she slumped down on the ground. The flare covering her hand went out, and she looked at the ruined limb in horror. Her hand was completely blackened and charred. ‘That is probably why the pain in my hand stopped. There are no nerves left to feel pain,’ her own relatively calm voice in her head offered. 

Leaning over, she promptly threw up the contents of her stomach, which was mostly liquid as she hadn't eaten anything. She told herself to try and keep it together.

 

[Your physical Status is degrading quickly.]

 

"What about my mental status?"

 

[Your physical Status is degrading quickly.]

 

With her still-mobile hand, she reached into the front of her oversized robe and pulled at the knot holding her breast wrap together. It took a few tries, but it finally came loose. She considered the numerous bite marks that were still bleeding, although many had slowed considerably.

"I'm going to die of infection anyway." 

Tears were streaming down her face, and she decided to use the wrap on her arm that was not a burnt crisp. It was the one the thing had chewed on the most, and the bites on her burnt arm had mostly stopped bleeding anyway. Wrapping her own arm wasn't easy, but she managed it with a combination of teeth and body movement. The exertion seemed to take the last remains of her energy and the adrenaline high from the fight was wearing off. 

As she leaned against a boulder, trying to stay still and ignore the pain, a new message appeared.

 

[ You have slain ???? - Lesser Demon (S Rank Monster) - Level 57]

[For slaying a being over 50 levels higher than you, extra experience is rewarded.]

[You have gained multiple levels!]

[You have reached level 10. The attribute function is unlocked.]

[You have gained multiple levels!]

[You have gained 12 Karma for slaying an evil aligned being.]

 

She looked over to where she had last heard the rolling and scrambling sounds of the creature. Sure enough, it had stopped moving and was lying still. 

 

[Your physical Status is degrading quickly.]

 

The bandage wasn't helping much, then. Elania realized she was probably going into shock.

‘What about my [Status?] I unlocked the attribute function…’

 

[Status]

Name: Elania Reyes

Race: Lesser Demon (S Class Monster)

Level: 11

Power: 112/124

Karma: 24

Titles: [Locked]

[Some functions are disabled due to insufficient requirements.]

 

‘Oh, my power is fixed. I guess I only had to lose my hand to get it in check.’ Despite the fatalistic thought, Elania quickly called up the new screen.

"Attributes."

 

[Attributes: Elania Reyes]

[1 Available Attribute Selection]

[Current Attributes:

Demon Contract (1 Available)

Demonic Self-Sustenance

Enhanced Physical Abilities (Strength, Mana Capacity)

Immunity (Darkness)

Resistance (Poison, Mana)

Weakness (Holy)]

[Available Attributes: Weakness Negation, Resistance Improvement, Resistance Selection, Physical Ability Improvement, Body Manipulation, Regeneration, Reactive Adaptation, Power Absorption (Touch)]

 

Elania scanned the list, the reason she hadn't felt hungry or thirsty yet becoming clear. She already had several attributes that had been helping her, along with the poison resistance she had gained during the moss wildfire. 

When she reached the available attributes, her eyes widened. Several of them looked rather impressive, although there was only one that she latched onto, considering her current rapidly deteriorating condition.

‘Regeneration.’

 

[Do you wish to select Regeneration as a new attribute? Y/N]

 

"Yes."

Nothing happened for a second, and she was about to try again when the message suddenly appeared.

 

[You have gained the Regeneration attribute!]

[You have spent all your available attribute selections.]

[Due to your high power, Regeneration is enhanced!]

[You have met the requirements for Bone Demon evolution.]

[Do you wish to evolve your race to Bone Demon? Y/N]

 

The healing wasn't instantaneous, but she felt better immediately. The bites and claw marks healed first, and she wondered if her body was replacing all the lost blood as well. Staring up at the ceiling of the cavern, she didn't even consider the question of becoming a 'Bone Demon.' Elania had no desire to be related in any way, shape, or form to that monster.

Sitting up, she looked at the charred remains of her hand and frowned. It was lifeless, and there was no sensation. If it was already dead, how would it heal?

As if to answer her question, the skin further up her arm near the burnt tissue began to bubble and then extend over the charred remains. 

‘Oh.’

It progressed fast as the rest of her body finished healing itself, and then the pain started.

Curling up into a ball, Elania was distantly aware that her screams were echoing through the entire cavern before she passed out.

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