Chapter 2: The Wide World
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Chapter 2: The Wide World

 

I sat on the ground as I quietly munched on the last remaining bit of meat from those humans. It turns out I could get more essence from their meat as well, but it seems most of the essence was concentrated at the heart. Still you should never waste food.

As I ate I pondered my apparent numbness to the idea of killing and eating human flesh. I remember I used to think it’s a bad thing but now it just seems like nothing. I tried thinking of their families and the inevitable grieving that will take place when their disappearance is noted. However, somehow I just couldn’t make myself care…

Yeah they were dead, but they tasted good and I was hungry. Somehow that was a good enough justification in my mind. I suspect it’s something to do with my new body, I would assume my new brain worked differently from the human brain. That might explain why I seem to have lost all my revulsion for killing and bloodshed.

Well that was a problem for later, for now how the hell do I get out of this place? I ponder this next question just as I swallow the last bit of human flesh. The moment I swallowed I heard the voice in my head again.

 

Human Genome Assimilation Complete

Achieved [Human Genome] Level: 1 / 10

[Advance Cognition] improved

[Colour Perception] improved

[Fine Motor Skills] improved

[Auditory Communication] improved

 

Hmm [Advanced Cognition]? Does that mean I can now feel bad about what I just did? I try to make myself feel bad again… and... nope still don’t care. Maybe this means I can do math better or something? As for the rest, well the world does seem slightly more colourful than before and as I move the fingers on my hand I find I can control them a little better. 

“Hello.” I say out loud and I hear a garbled crude hello sound out. Well it’s better than the screeching noise I was making previously. At least now I can attempt to communicate with another person if they decide they want to kill me.

Then I hear the sound of stone grinding and I see the stone door in front me start to open. Well that’s one problem solved, let’s go see what’s out there. I raised myself back up and I moved out the door. I am much faster now compared to when I was a human, I’m not even trying to move fast and it looks like I’m moving about as fast as a bicycle.

When I exit the cave I find myself in a calm forest. I could hear the trees rustling and birds singing. I notice I can smell something peculiar in front of me, I try to pinpoint it and before my eyes a glowing trail appeared, it led into the forest and as I looked around I saw the trail led into the cave behind me as well. I’m guessing this is the smell of those four humans. 

Should I follow it? I mean the past four were far weaker than me, but then again they said they were iron ranked adventurers. I’m not sure how strong “iron rank” is but I guess I could look around and see what I find.

So with that thought in mind I followed the trail and I soon found myself at the edge of the forest. I had just torn through the forest, my body easily able to navigate around the trees, the terrain proved to be no hindrance to me. 

Then I felt a chill in my bones and I instinctively knew danger was near. I clambered up a tree and faced where I sensed the danger was coming from. I saw a group of six humans moving along the road. They were wearing fine armour and I could see they were much better equipped than the four I just killed. I knew in my gut I couldn’t beat them if we fought so I just watched as they moved past.

“We’re finally at gold rank, I wonder what’s all the fuss about gold rank quests being significantly harder than silver rank quests.” I heard one of them say.

“Well this is our first gold rank quest, I guess we’ll find out.” another one of the humans replied.

“The pay is so much higher, I can’t wait to upgrade my equipment.” another one said.

I eavesdropped on their conversation as they walked past me and down the road none the wiser to my presence. So it seems I can’t fight gold ranked adventurers yet… I think it’s best I avoid human civilization for now…

Once they were out of sight I clambered down the tree and began heading deeper into the forest. I didn’t have to travel long before I ran into another living creature. I turned to see a strange lizard suddenly freeze when I flew past it. 

It freezed and it’s form seemed to disappear before my eyes but soon a glowing red silhouette appeared. It looks like this one can go invisible… I could use some invisibility…

In a flash I was on top of it and I brought my claws right onto it’s head. I could tell this one wasn’t a match for me and sure enough I splattered it’s head into the ground with the force of my swing. Once again my senses are assaulted by the sweet aroma of the corpse, so I greedily dug in to my latest kill. I went for the heart first and like before it was delicious.

 

New Essence acquired

Type: Stalker Chameleon

Insufficient essence for assimilation

 

As I expected there wasn’t enough essence from one of these. If there’s one here, I can bet there’s more in this forest. I sniffed at the blood left on the ground and I caught it’s scent. I looked around and saw a trail. I’m not sure if I’ll find any more by following this trail but it’s better than hurtling blindly through this forest.

I followed the trail for a period of time and I started to sense the trail was getting thicker and thicker. I eventually arrived at the mouth of a cave, from what I could tell this cave was practically bathed in the scent. I sensed no danger so I decided to enter to have a look. I got a meter into the cave and Immediately met another one that was attempting to leave the cave. It froze and went invisible, well it didn’t work for the other one and it’s definitely not going to work for this one. 

This time I just lunged at it and tore its head off with my teeth. The Stalker Chameleon didn’t even have time to cry out as I removed it’s head from its body. Again I gorged myself on the body not wasting a single bit of flesh. It seemed like this hunger in my belly was almost insatiable, it didn’t bother me, it was more like a mild hunger that one would feel when you want a snack.

As I finished up I heard some strange screeching coming from inside the cave, the screeching was then echoed by several others. I think I may have found a nest… lucky me…

These lizards were strange, they had these scythe-like appendages growing out of their backs. I assume these were for combat but I think the lizards could tell I’m much stronger than they were so they opted to hide. 

Well their weakness is a good thing, I really wanted that invisibility ability. I’m not sure how I know that eating them will give me their abilities but I just do. It’s something like common sense to me, I guess it’s what most people would call instinct? Well I’ll find out if my instincts are right once I clear this place out.

As I continued down the tunnel I ran into a pair of them. This time they hissed and lunged at me. I guess they realised that I could see them, well to me they might as well be moving in slow motion. I slashed one and bit down hard on the other, in that one moment they were both dead. 

After I ate these two I heard the voice in my head again.

 

Stalker Chameleon Assimilation Complete

Achieved [Stalker Genome] Level: 1 / 10

[Invisibility] acquired

[Arm Blades] acquired

[Thermal Vision] improved

 

With that I felt something in my body change. I looked down at my hands and I felt like I could change them somehow. I ran the thought through my mind and I saw my hand transform into a scythe like blade. My top two arms now looked like the kind of hands a praying mantis would have. This was surprisingly easy, it seems my body instinctively knew what to do. So bearing that in mind, what about invisibility? 

Before my eyes I saw my hands disappear and my vision switched so I could see a glowing silhouette of my arms. Well this silhouette would make it easier for me, I can imagine how confusing it would be to try and use my limbs when I couldn’t see them. 

Alright then let’s try these new toys out…

I hurtled down the tunnel and I realised the Stalkers couldn’t see me, I was quite surprised at that fact. I did get the improved [Thermal Vision] so I assumed they would be able to see me. Maybe my body didn’t give off any heat?

Well regardless this made my job easier, I was able to cut down a Stalker with a single swing from one of the arm blades. I decided to clear out the cave before eating any of them. I don’t want any to escape. With me moving at top speed I had the cave cleared out within fifteen minutes, which left me with a haul of ten more corpses to eat and about two dozen of their eggs.

By the end of my feast I was at [Stalker Genome] Level: 3 and my arm blades were much stronger than before. I slashed at the rock wall I found I could easily carve right through it. Well this is certainly going to be useful. 

Still I wasn’t full, I could still feel that slight hunger in my belly. I guess trying to remove my hunger would be a pointless task. As I moved to leave I realised a problem…

I’m too big to enter the passageway that leads out of the cave…

If only I were a bit smaller… as that thought ran through my mind. I felt my body change and as I looked down I realised my body just shrunk down. Well this is awfully convenient… I wonder how small I can go? I tried to shrink my body to the size I was when I first hatched but I found I couldn’t, I could only get down to the size of a man. Previously after eating all the stalkers my body was almost four meters tall, now I’m around two meters tall. So I guess there is a limit to how much I can shrink. I think I’ll stay as small as possible for now, best to keep a low profile…

With that I activated my invisibility and exited the cave, as soon as I left I heard the faint sound of screaming. It sounded like a girl's voice… it was coming from the road...

Should I check it out? I mean if I run into some powerful humans I might just get cut down. I never got a good look at myself in a mirror but judging from the reactions of the first humans I met I’m not exactly a cute looking creature…

Still I don’t think humans are that strong overall, those humans in the tomb looked quite fit all things considered. Then I heard the scream again, the girl was clearly terrified. I wonder if she is getting attacked by something. Well I could just go have a look with my invisibility and if things don’t look good I could always just flee. I mean I’m really fast, I’m pretty sure your average human can’t catch me.

Alright fine let’s do this…

I checked to make sure my invisibility was still on and ran or perhaps slithered at full speed towards the road. As I made my way to the road I realised that even at full speed I was quite silent. Somehow my body automatically moved in such a way that minimised noise, there was still the sound of leaves being ruffled but it wasn’t loud by any means.

Then I reached the road and I saw what was causing all the commotion. I saw a wagon with the horses pulling them all dead in the dirt. I wonder what horse tastes like? Ok, no, getting distracted…

Anyway as I surveyed the rest of the surroundings I saw a dead man lying in the dirt, he was rather plump and judging by his clothes he seemed rather well off. I mean I could see his clothes had some fancy patterns sewn in, not sure if that’s normal fashion but he definitely dressed better than me in past life.

On the sides I could see two men laughing, they were wearing a random assortment of armor and I could see crude weapons in their hands. The girl's screaming was coming from the other side of the wagon. 

Well I’m already here and might as well have a better look, judging by what I can sense those two armed men pose no threat to me…

With that thought in mind I circled around the wagon and I saw a young woman she looked to be about in her early twenties? The men had her pinned on the floor and one of them was cutting her clothes off. I know where this is going…

In the back of mind I felt a little bad for the woman, I definitely don’t feel as horrified as I should. It was more like I was viewing a mildly unfortunate set of circumstances. Like if someone fell down in the snow or dropped their food or something. 

These men were probably bandits or something, is that what these types of people are called? Back in my past life people called these types of people thugs and thieves. If I recall bandits were like roving bands of thieves and murderers back in those medieval times. You know what I’m just going to call them bandits. Anyway these bandits looked weak too, I could probably take them all by myself.

Well rape is bad and I am hungry… ok as far as I know I’m always hungry but the point still stands. Rape is bad, me hungry. Well technically they were going to rape her, they aren’t rapeing her at this moment, they were still cutting her clothes off.

Oh well might as well eat the bandits… maybe the woman will actually talk to me if I save her. She might even have a mirror so I can get a good look at myself. Girls like mirrors right?

With that thought in mind, I creeped up behind the man that was positioning himself between the woman’s legs as he fumbled with his pants. He had no idea I had already opened my mouth and was itching to bite his head off.

Then in a flash I bit down hard on his head and I felt his skull cave like a melon. I ripped his head clean off his shoulders. The moment I did I sensed my invisibility fade, so it looks like my invisibility only persists until I attack someone. 

The men around all screamed in shock as they saw their fellow’s head being removed from his body. I grabbed the headless body and tossed it towards the side against the carriage with enough force to break one of the wheels. I’ll eat the rest later... eat once the meal is prepared… but it’s ok to taste test…

The rest of the men all shouted as they drew their weapons.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!” I heard one of them shout.

“I DON'T KNOW KILL IT!” another screamed in reply.

One of the men shot an arrow at me, the arrow hit me in the face and it bounced off like it hit a brick wall. 

“Oh shit…” one of the men said as he saw the arrow deflect easily off my skin.

I leapt towards the nearest man, all my arms now transformed into bone blades and I easily hacked him in half at the waist. There was little to no resistance from his armor and flesh. I might as well be cutting air.

I felt another arrow bounce off my back and I turned to look at the archer. I saw his eyes widen in fear as he realised he was next. In a flash I buried one of my blades in his chest, while being careful not to damage that beautiful red fruit in the middle of his chest. As I tore my blade free to a spray of that red nectar I sensed an attack coming. I instinctively dodged off to the side and I felt the sword cut the air behind me. My posture was a bit awkward for me to use my blades… let me try something…

I turned my body and used my snake-like tail to strike the man. As soon as my tail hit him in the left ribs I felt the bones shatter and as I turned back around I saw the man flying back as he spewed blood from his mouth. He landed in the dirt scrabbling at his chest as he gasped and choked on the blood bubbling out from his mouth. I think I probably broke half his ribs and probably liquefied some of his organs. On closer inspection I saw the side of his chest that I had hit was caved in. Well he’s dead, now then, two more…

When I looked at the two remaining men I saw that they were bolting down the road with their weapons lying in the dirt nearby. So trying to run? I saw one of them turn his head to look at me and as I activated my invisibility I saw his eyes widen in fear as my form vanished. He let out a scream as he tried to run even faster. Sadly for him I caught up to them in just a few seconds. I decided to go for the other one first since he was slower. 

I opened my jaw and bit down hard on his right shoulder and ripped the shoulder, some of his ribs and his arm clean off his body. The body fell as I snapped up the little snack and swallowed it greedily enjoying the taste and crunchiness of the bones. 

As for the final one I caught him a few seconds after beginning the chase. For this one I decided to have a little fun, I grabbed him by the back of his clothes and lifted him off the ground after transforming to my full size. When I turned him around he screamed when he realised I was now much larger than before. His feet were dangling almost a metre off the floor as he kicked and thrashed trying to escape.

I could sense his fear and I must admit that fear was delicious. It only added to my hunger, it was almost like seasoning on food. 

“Good try.” I say and I see his eyes widen as he realised I could speak.

“Please let me go… I promise I won’t kill anymore… I’m sorry…” the man wept as he continued to struggle.

“You think I’m here because you're attacking that woman? No, I'm here because I’m hungry…” I say with a small laugh as I use one of my hands to grab him by the chest, to stop him from struggling.

“You know what’s the best thing about meals that run?” I ask and the man now frozen in fear looks at me with sheer terror in his eyes. 

 

It makes it more fun...

 

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