When Rakna woke up, the first thing he saw was a spinning fan hanging from a white ceiling. He blinked several times until he suddenly felt something hitting his face.
He grunted and picked up whatever was obstructing his view. He was met with the bright blue eyes of Pronos who was staring at him in what seemed to be glee and relief.
Rakna scowled. He was actually quite confused. He sat up and looked around before expressing his insightful reaction, “What?”
For the lack of a better description, he was sitting in the middle of a convenience store. He was currently in an aisle filled with nothing but… blankets.
“…who the hell has an aisle dedicated to blankets?”
“Is that really your first question?” An unfamiliar voice then sounded from behind and a smell of lilac and sulfur invaded his nose. Rakna’s eyes narrowed and he quickly stood up to face whoever it was. He noticed at the same time that his left arm had somehow been regenerated but he ignored it for now. He grabbed his scarf which was lying on the ground next to him and squinted.
When he took a look at what was behind him, his scowl got even deeper. In front of him stood a woman as tall as he was. His eyes scanned her from the bottom to the top. She wore a one-piece vermillion dress and as his sight drifted upward, the more rapt he became. Her figure was undoubtedly one of the best he had ever seen and he was forced to admit that her cup size was almost as impressive as Flavia’s.
When he reached her face, he recognized a sense of both exasperation and curiosity in her expression. She had long red hair with a shade so vibrant that he thought he was looking at unmoving fire. Golden, sharp eyes with a bright yellow tint around the pupils. She also had fair smooth skin and glossy lips.
If this was all of it, Rakna would have concluded his observation with just her being beautiful. But what his eyes caught afterward stunned him. On her cheeks, there were some very faint but noticeable whiskers. On top of her head, there was a pair of vulpine ears and freely moving behind her were nine fox tails.
His expression was as cold as always but the corner of his lips was twitching as he took in her features. He had just dealt with a nine-tailed wolf and now he was confronted with this?
“What’s wrong, puppy? The view is too much for you?” She grinned at him and spoke with a voice promising endless teasing.
Rakna breathed in and relaxed. “All right… I have a few questions.”
“Well, shoot. I’m here for that anyway.”
“Why is this aisle dedicated to blankets?”
“…are we really doing this?”
“This place is big,” the fox woman deadpanned. “Way bigger than you can see. Consequently, the variety of items is very large as well, same for their quantity. Which results in this kind of situation; where a certain product simply can’t be in only a single shelf but at least an entire aisle.”
“Uh, makes more sense than I expected,” Rakna commented and Pronos climbed his shoulder.
The woman glanced at the little snake for a second before focusing on Rakna again. “So? What are the other questions?”
“If I stay in the logic of a game, this should be a shop where we can use that currency the System gave me. A safe zone at that. You’re probably the caretaker or something similar.”
The fox woman’s eye twitched once. “Yes, smart kid. You could just ask me though.”
“Also, from what I’ve gathered, you’re supposedly here to assist me in understanding the situation. You said ‘I’m here for that’ earlier. The question would be whether you’re an actual being made by the System solely for this shop or if you’re a Host yourself, commanded to do this.”
Her smile became crooked as he continued.
“You’re probably the latter considering the fact that it would be weird to make something as fancy as a nine-tailed fox to manage this place. So, my question is… what’s your name, I guess?”
She stared at him with a blank look. “Are you always like this?”
The fox woman face-palmed and sighed. “I feel bad for your AI. And you could at least say thank you. I’m the one who healed you when you came in here and I’m working overtime because of that too. What did you do to lose a damn arm? Did the Kobold Rider’s mount get you?”
“Hm? Does that mean that every Host has the same enemies during the initiation?”
She groaned in response. “Yes, smartass, at least for your batch. Did someone ever tell you that you’re a rude kid, puppy? Where did all those cute boys who stutter when they see me go?”
“What? You’re into kids?” Rakna quipped with his usual tone and pulled out a cigarette.
“I’m not and no smoking here,” she uttered and it disappeared while it still was in his hand.
Rakna frowned as he looked at his empty hand and had to push down the urge to use Appraisal on that woman. He knew it would be a bad idea. He sighed and put Sonata around his neck. “Fine. Let’s stop clowning. I’m Rakna Xiorra. The little guy on my shoulder is Pronos. What about you?”
The vixen snorted. “Finally. I still haven’t heard my thanks but I guess it’ll do. The name’s Kaelith Yahkshasa. Be sure to remember it.”
“Yahkshasa? You have something to do with yakshas?”
“Looks like you’re uselessly knowledgeable too, huh?” She raised an eyebrow. “To answer your question, it’s no. Yahkshasa is the family name of the fox branch of the nine-tailed clan. It just sounds the same but we have nothing to do with those holier-than-thou spirits.”
“The nine-tailed clan?” Rakna muttered as he remembered what he had seen on the status of the wolf he killed.
“Yeah, you should know about it, right, puppy?”
“Will you stop calling me puppy?” He retorted. “Why are you calling me that anyway?”
“Why, you say… Haven’t you taken a look at yourself?”
“What do you-?” He was interrupted by Pronos hissing in his ear. The little snake had a weird look on his face as he pointed somewhere with his tail.
Rakna followed it and froze when his eyes fell on something that was located around his lower back. He stayed stunned for quite a while until it finally registered in his brain what he was looking at. Now that he focused on it, he could also feel it like any other limb and when he tried to control it, it abruptly started shaking.
He slowly grabbed it and gawked at the dark blue and very fluffy… tail. A wolf tail to be exact, in all its splendor, directly coming from the spot above his tailbone. It had even pierced through his clothes to grow.
Rakna then came to a realization and hesitatingly put his hand on his head just to feel two very unfamiliar additions that tickled every time he touched them.
‘Wha… how?’ His mind was in turmoil.
“You’re okay? You look as if it’s the first time you’ve ever seen your own tail,” Kaelith tilted her head in pure confusion. It looked like she didn’t even humor the possibility of him being human originally.
“I’m not okay. There are too many things wrong right now for me to be okay,” he said impassively and she was even more perplexed. “And wait… that still doesn’t explain why you call me puppy. At least, use wolfy.”
“…has someone ever told that you have a weird sense of priorities?”
“What a weird brat I’ve been assigned to…” She shook her head and turned around. “We’ve been getting sidetracked for too long already. Follow me. It’s unpleasant to keep standing, no?”
Rakna squinted his purple eyes which, unknown to him, had gained a more bestial look. He started following her while silently ordering his status to appear.
❮ ◈ ❯
Host: Rakna Xiorra
Age: 17 | Level: 6 (57/60)
Race: Nine-Tailed Werewolf | Title: Legendary Slayer
Strength: 1.9 -> 4 | Endurance: 2.5 -> 3
Speed: 2 -> 9 | Dexterity: 4 -> 8
Intelligence: 3.6 -> 4 | Luck: 9
Available Points: 1
Stamina: 27/27 | MP: 40/40
Swiftness: 26 | Agility: 25
Senses: 72 | Atr Cap: 37
Attack: 34.5 | Defense: 13
Magic Attack: 12 | MP Regen: 0.28/min
- Polearm-Mastery (Lv.8): +16% Attack when wielding polearms.
- Taekwondo (Lv.7): +14% …
- Dagger-Mastery (Lv.7): +14% ...
- Cooking (Lv.6): +60% …
Cognitive Skills (Passive):
- Pain-Resistance (Lv. Max)
- Fear-Resistance (Lv. Max)
- Eye of the Mind (Lv. Max)
- Fatigue Resistance (Lv. 7)
Spontaneous Skills (Active):
- Appraisal (Lv.3)
- Claws (Lv.1): Extend and retract claws at will. +10% Attack.
- The Harvester: An exceptionally rare type of skill; Assimilation. The Host has the ability to acquire a being’s trait by devouring their heart. The first heart consumed by the Host will determine the core genome and alter the Host’s race.
Current Number of Traits Assimilated: 1/4
1St Trait (Core Genome): Nine-Tailed Wolf. One Tail Unlocked. Next Tail: Lv.6/Lv.10.
Currently Attuned Abilities: Smell of the Wolf God, Claws, Shape Shift.
Unique or Racial Traits:
- Eion Auto-Sustainable Nanomachines: Automatically kills foreign organisms and allows rapid improvement in body strength as well as the use of more muscle cells.
- ???: An alternative mind that changes the Host’s behavior. The change is so drastic that the body itself has to follow. When this trait is activated, strength and endurance are swapped with speed and dexterity and for a minute, the metabolism stops bleeding and accelerates healing.
Shape Shift: A skill exclusive to the Nine-Tailed Werewolf. Grants the ability to shift between three forms; Wolf (+70% speed), Werewolf (all attributes +50%), Therian.
- Smell of the Wolf God (Incomplete): +100% to Senses and the Host gains the ability to recognize auras through smell.
❮ ◈ ❯
It was a lot to take in. Even for Rakna. First of all, he wasn’t human anymore. It’s not like he was the kind of person to become depressed because he couldn’t be called as such anymore but the suddenness of it was unsettling.
He then quickly went through the new skills he had gotten, purposefully skipping the Nirvana Skill to came back to it later. To start off, the ability to smell auras was probably the reason why Kaelith smelled like lilac and sulfur to him. He also discreetly tried the Claws skill and his nails sharpened and grew in length before returning to normal at his command. He thought it was pretty handy but what caught his attention the most before that were the other two new Unique Traits.
For the unnamed one, he knew where it came from but its effect gave him a big surprise. That explained how he had suddenly been able to nearly overpower the wolf and survive the magic it launched head-on.
The second one, Shape Shift, was very interesting. From his understanding, the Therian form was his current one; the default one in other words. The Wolf form was probably just a regular quadrupedal one. As for the Werewolf one, it was self-explanatory.
After going over that, Rakna now fully focused on his Nirvana Skill; The Harvester. It was an ability that allowed him to scavenge the hearts of creatures and appropriate their traits for himself.
The fact that he outright became a werewolf was most likely due to the ‘Core Genome’. By taking in the heart of a wolf, he went from human to werewolf; a mix of the two. It seemed that he also had to unlock the nine tails by leveling up.
And finally, there was the ‘1 out of 4 traits assimilated’ note. Since the first was the Nine-Tailed Wolf, it meant that he could absorb the traits of three other beings. He had no idea if that number would increase in the future or not though.
As Rakna was thinking that, Kaelith had arrived at her destination. It was an open area in the middle of numerous aisles of different nature. There was a sort of desk in the center and two couches placed opposite of each other next to it.
Kaelith sat on one of them and motioned Rakna to sit on the other. He complied silently while closing the System window. He still wanted to check the title he had gotten, but it would have to wait for now.
“Well then, wolfy, get comfortable. I’m going to tell you what you need to know for now.”