[Vol. 2 pt. 8]
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Elanah might be here to use her magic against any of those annoying bastards up on the ceiling, and this tactic has been working for us so far, but it’s not like she’s going to be able to use her magic forever.

Void magic is exceptionally dangerous to use too often. Honestly, I’m surprised that she’s even able to use it as much as she already does. The only other people I’ve known to use void magic as much as her were way, way crazier than her. Comparing her to them… she’s honestly kind of sane for a void magic user.

But still. A half abyssal elf and a void magic user in one. She should really try to keep to only one thing making her crazy instead of doubling down on it.

More importantly, we need to get out of this dark zone before she has to stop casting spells.

Or I need to figure out a way to help her.

But how?

How the fuck am I supposed to attack things on the ceiling?

I didn’t have a problem fighting the lower form of these bastards on the higher floors because their webbing didn’t burn me. All it did was get all sticky in my fur and be annoying. As soon as I got Sticky Resistance, they were no problem.

But now their webs burn. If I got as covered in their webbing as I got on the upper floors, it would deal some serious damage to me and cause all sorts of problems.

Actually, there might be a way for me to fight back after all. It’s risky, is going to look stupid, and is even more emasculating than it is risky and stupid, but it could work.

Snow might not be willing to fight but she should be willing to help me fight.

“Hey, do something for me,” I bark at her.

Snow looks down at me with a tilted head as Elanah engages the next enemy ahead of us.

“Pick me up.”

Snow tilts her head in the opposite direction now, acting more like a dog than me, but she does pick me up.

With my blade held between my teeth, I bark one more order at her.

“Throw me at them.”

“At… them?”

“Who do ya think? Throw me at the bastards on the ceiling.”

“You… want me to throw you at them?”

“Don’t make me repeat myself. Do it before that girl up there becomes useless.”

Thankfully, she doesn’t make me repeat myself anymore. Instead, she gets a good hold on me, sets her eyes on one of the ceiling bastards that Elanah isn’t already targeting, and throws me.

She seriously fucking throws me!

I didn’t think she’d be able to throw me this damn easily! I feel like a fucking bolt shot out from a crossbow!

But I can’t let this go to waste.

If I’m going to be emasculated by being used as a throwing weapon, I’m going to try to regain as much of my masculinity as possible.

Shit, I’m not even going to have to swing my blade at this point. I’ll be able to just let my momentum do all the work.

“Wo-Woofen?!” Elanah asks as I fly past her.

All I have to do is turn my head a bit, aim my sword, and… there!

[Magnurr Corrosive Peripatus slain!]

[Instant Kill increased to rank 2!]

It might have only been a single attack, but it was an attack that sliced the bastard’s body in half lengthways.

Seeing that surprised face on Elanah was pretty great. It makes me want to find even more ways to surprise her.

But before that, I need to kill the next monster.

“Snow! Did you throw him?!” Elanah shouts back at her like some sort of concerned mom.

Now that’s annoying.

“Tell her to shut up and throw me at the next one!” I bark at Snow.

Snow repeats my order without the shutting up part.

“I’m not going to throw you!” Elanah says. “That’s too dangerous!”

Does this girl have faith in me or not? And I don’t want to hear her talking about danger when she’s not paying any attention to the bastard on the ceiling above her!

Fine, if that’s the case, I’ll just have to use this board as a board.

She’s close enough to the wall for me to jump onto the wall, jump onto her to use her chest as a springboard, and send myself up to the bastard!

[Magnurr Corrosive Peripatus took 47 damage!]

[Wall Jumping increased to rank 2!]

Damn, I wasn’t able to kill it in one hit that time, but I did slice open its underside. There’s no way that it’s going to survive for more than a few…

[Magnurr Corrosive Peripatus slain!]

Yep. Having all of your guts spilling out from you tends to do that.

Speaking of spilling guts… they all missed Elanah except for one thing.

The sac inside of the bastard’s body that held all of the liquid to produce that sticky webbing was directly above her.

As soon as I sliced that open, a waterfall of white, sticky liquid poured onto Elanah.

The good news is that this liquid isn’t corrosive before being turned into webbing. It only gets its corrosive quality after being combined with another liquid held in the back of the bastards’ bodies.

That second liquid also makes the white one much less thick but also multiple times stickier.

So the liquid that is now covering Elanah from the top of her head, on her face and shoulders, and going down her chest, is slightly sticky, white, and as thick as honey.

I’ve never seen her look so dead inside.

Thanks to this dark zone, I’ve gotten to see two new faces from her. I can’t tell which one is more amusing.

At the same time, I’d be lying if I said that she didn’t look very… provocative right now. It should be more than obvious to any man and most women what that liquid looks like.

“Something… something other than Woofen made me look like this,” Elanah says in a low voice.

Yep. She knows exactly how it looks.

And now I know that she imagines me making her look like this.

“Woofen – it’s… something else dirtied me…”

I think that she’s worried about this for all the wrong reasons!

“Use cold water, not warm,” Snow says out of nowhere.

So, Snow also knows, but why does she know that much?!

I guess that Snow isn’t as pure as she looks. I mean, it makes sense. She might have pristine features and pure, white hair, but she’s still a mature woman.

Well, I’m not judging. I’d be a hypocrite to do that.

It’s just one damn big contrast against how she looks.

“Would ya two stop being weird about it? It should harden and peel off easily in a few minutes,” I bark to Snow.

That explanation… probably didn’t make the situation any less weird.

“It smells so bad,” Elanah whines.

She’s not wrong.

“You will get used to it,” Snow says.

Snow is completely changing how I look at her!

That white outfit I imagined her in needs to be changed to a black one like how I imagined Elanah’s!

“I wanted Woofen to be my first…”

I am just… alright. While those two women deal with Elanah, I’m going to go ahead and make use of one of the latest bastard I killed since the rest of its body has dropped down now.

I want that second sac at the back of its body – the one full of corrosive liquid.

I already have the snake’s venom from earlier on my blade. While I might not be able to mix these liquids with proper tools like I used to back in the day, it should still be good enough if I dip the edge of my sword into the sac. These two venoms can combine to make one that has the best effects of both.

Though, it would really be better if I have Elanah mix it into one of the jars she’s got full of snake venom that we’ve been collecting.

I’ll just go ahead and cut this bastard up to reach that sac and wait for Elanah to calm down.

She’s gone from looking dead inside to… hugging Snow. And Snow is keeping her head up high and turned away from Elanah to avoid the smell.

These women are something else.

Fortunately, they’re able to peel off the dried liquid after a few minutes, and then I get Snow to tell Elanah about how to mix the venoms together for the best effect.

If there is one thing that I’m good at, it’s all things poison.

Poison. Venom. Poisoning food. Coating blades in it. Creating antivenoms. Creating drugs.

I probably know how to make use of any sort of toxic material that there is.

“Tell her to hold the jar for me,” I order Snow after Elanah has emptied half of the snake venom into another jar to replace it with the new, corrosive liquid.

Elanah tilts the jar a bit so that I can reach it well enough to dip my sword into it. Now, since it still needs mixed up, I try my best to rotate my head in a way that will stir the liquid together.

I know to stop when a new skill pops up.

[Skill Acquired!

Brewing |R1|

+1 INT

A basic understanding of brewing will assist you in your crafting.]

That skill is going to be way too difficult to rank up and get the advanced forms of as a puppy – well, as anything that doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

But all I wanted to get out of that was the one point into intelligence. That should help me out in case any of my next evolution options require intelligence again. I don’t want to run into a situation where I’m short on that. Again.

“Tell her to do what I just did with another of the corpses and the other jar she just used. The more of this coating we have, the easier things will be for us,” I bark at Snow.

Snow repeats my words and Elanah obeys them.

The end result is that we have two jars full of combined venom to use on our blades, and all three of our weapons are now coated in it. My sword and her two blades.

“And, Woofen… please don’t use my chest like that again,” Elanah says with a shy whine.

I ignore her to continue on through the dark zone.

“Wo-Woofen! Don’t ignore me! My chest isn’t for you to jump off of!” Elanah shouts.

If she doesn’t want her chest to be used as a board then it should stop being as flat as one.

 

An hour later and we finally make it to the end of the dark zone.

The stairs to the sixteenth floor can’t possibly be too much farther from here, but there’s another problem now.

A very annoying and serious problem.

What stands before us is not an abnormal monster, but it is a very unique one that rarely ever spawns.

While it might be another orc, and orcs are nothing against us anymore… it’s an orc modified by the nature of these floors.

Sprouting out from its left eye socket is a blooming flower while said flower’s roots stick out through its right eye socket. Its right forearm has been replaced by long, prehensile tendrils that look like a tree’s root, and it has bark growing all over its body to serve as armor.

It’s just one thing after another.

The worst part is that the usual tactic to deal with tentacles won’t work against this bastard. The tactic we were using earlier required the monster to stay at a distance to try and attack us from there.

This bastard isn’t going to take it easy on us like that. It’s going run at us and use all of its body against us. Not just its tentacles.

The most dangerous part of its body is going to be that left arm of its. While its right “arm” might be a bunch of tentacles, its left arm is fat, muscular, and covered in thorny vines.

And, of course, those thorns are tipped with powerful poison.

People like me normally love these floors for all of the monsters with venoms and poisons for us to take from. But, right now, I really just want to go and do what the vampire wants so that we can get out of this tower.

This bastard is in our way.

“Whatever happens, don’t let those thorns touch ya. They’ll put ya to sleep if they do,” I bark at Snow who, once more, repeats my warning to Elanah.

“It’s okay, Woofen. If you get put to sleep then I’ll protect you until you wake up,” Elanah says.

“And what else are ya going to do to me while I’m out of it?!”

“A sleeping Woofen is a Woofen that I can do whatever I want to…”

She didn’t even mean to answer my question but she still managed to.

All I need to know is that she’s planning on doing something weird if I get knocked out by those thorns.

“Void Missile!” Elanah opens up with her go-to spell, sending one of those magical spikes straight towards the monster’s head.

And it hits.

But it does next to nothing.

It dents his head but that’s it.

Well, I guess now I won’t have to explain to her that it’s magic defense will be too high for her to bother with magic.

“Seriously annoying,” she says, once more stealing my word.

I don’t get a chance to tell her to stop doing that before the bastard comes charging at us.

First are its tentacles. They lash out at us while its fat feet cause vibrations in the ground that I can feel under my own.

I have to jump onto the wall to dodge the attack since the vegetation all around me is too dense to properly move around in, but this gives me the chance to jump off of the wall to cut at its tentacles.

[Blooming Tower Orc took 18 damage!]

I always did think that these bastards have a stupid name.

Meanwhile, Elanah is defending against its thorny arm with both of her blades. The bastard is still able to push her back even though it slams its arm into the edges of both her blades, barely taking any damage.

Time to see if the new coating on our blades will be enough to affect it.

It looks like the tentacles I cut are already having some trouble and decaying, and its thorny arm has bulging veins pressing up through its layers of fat now.

So, the venom is definitely working at both ends.

But we’re basically going up against something with the same interest in self-preservation as a zombie right now.

In other words, venom doesn’t matter.

It’s going to continue throwing itself at us until either we’re dead or it is.

“Snow! Get ready to throw me again,” I bark.

Elanah doesn’t look too happy about that but she doesn’t say anything.

She knows that this is a fight that we can’t take lightly, and I proved how effective throwing me is the last time Snow threw me.

With Elanah the closest to the monster, it focuses both its arm and its weakened tentacles on her as Snow picks me up and prepares to toss me.

“Where should I aim?” she asks.

“Its head,” I answer.

Elanah’s magic might not have been able to penetrate the bastard, but its skin isn’t so thick that it will be able to resist my blade.

Let’s see if I can take this bastard out with one more attack.

Snow tosses me straight at its head.

I swing my sword just to add a little bit of extra force behind it right before reaching the bastard’s head, resulting in my sword slicing straight through it!

[Blooming Tower Orc took 25 damage!]

But, while I might have sliced through its head… I only cut through the very top of it. I basically ended up slicing its scalp off.

I also broke through its skull and got some of its brain there, too.

Well, what’s left of its brain.

I only got a quick glimpse at the inside of its head.

The inside of its head was full of hundreds of thin roots twisting around its brain, growing small flowers – it was fucking weird.

But that’s to be expected from bastards like this. They’re basically zombies but kept alive by a plant instead of magic.

More concerning is the fact that now I’m by myself in a bunch of dense vegetation with a monster standing between me and the others.

But, with its tentacles shriveling up like they are, they shouldn’t be a threat anymore.

It’s just a matter of who it wants to focus its attention on.

Will it turn to face me, or will it continue concentrating on Elanah?

One choice will result in a fast victory for us. The other choice will result in some trouble but should still be winnable.

Fortunately, it turns its attention to me.

Shambling forward to attack me, Elanah jumps onto its back, stabs one blade into its shoulder to help keep her hanging onto it, and stabs her other blade through the back of its head.

I get to watch as the tip of her second blade comes out through the center of its face.

That venom should make quick work of what’s left of its brain.

And that’s exactly what it does.

After just a few more seconds, the bastard drops to its knees and falls forward.

Now, I get to watch as its brain and the vines twirling around it shrivel up and turn black.

Whatever parts of it don’t shrivel up and turn black instead melt away.

[You have reached Hellfire Pup Level 20! Body and spirit restored!

+3 VIT

+3 STR

+2 INT

+2 DET]

Thank fuck for sharing experience with the party and having to go through so many monsters.

I wonder what I’m at now.

Information.

Information
Name
Woofen
Skills
51
Primary Title
Talented
Titles
9
Race
Hellfire Pup
Proof
5 (10)
Level
20 (2%)
Rank
E (Elite)
Life Attributes
Body Attributes
Name
Value
Regen Per Second
Name
Value
Name
Value
HP
204 / 204
.0015
STR
56
DEX
41
MP
150 / 150
.003
VIT
66
DET
36
SP
184 / 184
.010
INT
32
CHA
12
EP
214 / 214
.014
WIS
45
LCK
3
Average Combat Stats
Important Notes
Physical Attack
69
·
Physical Defense
74
Magic Attack
56
Magic Defense
66
Speed & Evasion
43
Critical Chance
21

Nice. My health is officially over two hundred now. My average combat stats are getting higher, too. It’s a small increase, but it’s still an increase.

I don’t have any right to complain about how slow it might feel, either, considering that it took me months to get this much progress when I was a human. Yet, here I am as a puppy, achieving in weeks what it used to take me months to do.

Being a puppy is nice. Annoying at times, but nice.

Though, I’ve got to figure out a way to boost my regeneration stats up. They’re still at the same defaults that they were at when I first got reincarnated.

Too bad those are some of hardest numbers in the entire world to raise.

I’d check on my skills while I’m at it, but those are too many numbers and too big of a list for me to care about right now. Besides, I doubt that the list has changed that much since I’ve last checked. Aside from a couple of new skills and Severing Attack increasing a few times, there’s no good reason to check.

For now, there’s something else that I could be doing.

We can make our venom even stronger.

Admittedly, I’ve never combined these three ingredients before into one venom, but my gut feeling is telling me that it should work.

“I don’t have an easy way of doing it myself, so tell the board to carefully cut some of those thorns off from the bastard’s arm. Ten should do,” I bark at Snow.

 

Alright. Elanah has got the thorns and, from following my orders, has placed five of them into each of the jars we’ve got before closing them and shaking them up.

The more she shakes the jars, the more of a red color comes off from the thorns to mix into the rest of the liquid.

Our jars of venom go from a yellowish look to a pale reddish one.

They’re also bubbling to the point where, if the jars are opened now, the venom is going to burst out and get everywhere.

I tell Snow to tell Elanah to not open the jars until the bubbling stops.

The last thing we need is getting ourselves covered in a cocktail of different toxins. It would be especially dangerous since I have no idea what’s going to happen as a result of all three being mixed together.

Huh. Probably should have only experimented with one of the jars instead of both of them in case it goes wrong.

Oh well. We’ve got enough of it on our blades that we should be fine until we find something else to extract venom from.

It’s not like the upcoming floors are going to be lacking toxins at all.

We might even get to extract some from traps depending on our luck. Or lack of luck, depending on how one looks at it.

“Tell her to take as many of those thorns as she can get and put them in a pouch or something that they won’t poke through. They can be used for more mixes or used as weapons later, like caltrops. Small caltrops, but they still work,” I bark.

After Snow passes the message on, I cut myself a small clearing in the grass to lie down in and clean myself.

I no longer have any reservations about licking myself.

I mean, it’s just a natural thing for a pup to do, and I’d rather not be dirty if I can help it. I just don’t lick myself when there’s anything too gross on me.

Also, I’m pretty sure that I’ve licked myself while drunk as a human a few times before. If I could do it then, I can do it now.

As for why I would have been licking myself as a drunken human… I have no idea why and I would rather not find out.

“Hey,” Elanah says while leaning over the monster’s arm. “I want to ask you something,” she says, looking back at Snow.

“What?” Snow asks.

“You know the windows? All of our skills and attributes and everything?”

Snow nods.

“What do you think they’re from? Like… water comes from rivers and the ocean. Magic comes from mana. Where do the windows come from?”

“Isn’t… that like asking where, ah, where… where mana comes from? You know magic comes from mana, but where does mana come from?”

“Mana comes from everything. It’s in everything and always around everything and everybody… I think. Something like that. But, I’ve never heard of an explanation like that for the windows before. Or attributes. Like, we have the strength attribute. Woofen’s is probably higher than mine, but he’s just a puppy and doesn’t look that strong… no offense, Woofen.”

Eh, I don’t care. I’m just happy that I get to chew on my sword’s handle during this downtime.

I love having a bone that has been turned into a proper weapon.

“It doesn’t really make sense,” Elanah continues. “Do you have any ideas?”

Snow shakes her head and says, “All I know is… what my father told me. He told me that they are… how you would say… divine messengers. The ‘windows’ as you call them are spirits trying to help us.”

“So, you think they’re spirits? But then why does everybody get them? Why would divine messengers be helping everybody? Wouldn’t some people not deserve their help?”

“They are neutral.”

“Then why help at all?”

“I… do not know. Do you have a different idea?”

“I don’t know. I’ve just always thought that it’s weird. Things like strength and dexterity aren’t really things that can be measured by numbers, right? Even if they’re usually close to each other because of related skills, what about things like intelligence? I’ll admit that my intelligence attribute is probably way higher than it should be… it makes me look smart even though I know I’m not that smart. And my strength attribute makes me look strong even though,” Elanah pauses to point at her left arm’s biceps, “I don’t really look like it. It makes my attacks stronger, but I know men with a lower strength attribute than me who can pick up things three times heavier than anything I can pick up. It just… doesn’t really make any sense to me.”

Something I’ve noticed is that the more she talks, the more precise her fingers are. It’s like talking about something as confusing and stupid as the windows and attributes is relaxing her.

“I think… there is a difference between the strength attribute and real strength,” Snow says. “I don’t know all the differences myself, but… my father lived by what the divine messengers showed him.”

Now that they’re talking about it, I don’t even know what my own thoughts on the windows and attributes are.

What do I think?

I’ve never really thought about it before. They were there from as early as I can remember as a human, so since I was a little kid.

I remember skills and attributes getting easier to gain the older I got and then harder to get past a certain age.

It was just… always there. Windows and numbers were as natural as breathing, eating, fucking, and sleeping.

I never questioned it.

Nobody ever questioned it.

This might honestly be the first time I’ve ever heard anybody question it outside of a few drunken ramblers.

I wonder what Zurie and the other vampires think. They’ve been alive for way longer than us, so they might have a different view on the whole thing.

Maybe I’ll ask her about it sometime.

She can pet me and scratch me while she talks about it.

That’d be nice.

But seriously, now that I’m thinking about it… is there any sort of further explanation for the windows and attributes?

Are the windows actually spirits or divine messengers or whatever? Is real strength different from the strength attribute?

I have no damn idea.

Whether it’s something unknowable like the origin behind mana, some sort of religious or spiritual thing like divine messengers, or just… a natural part of life as simple as air, I have no idea.

All I know is that it’s useful for growing stronger.

And really, that’s all that matters.

I don’t care about any of that other stuff, so I shouldn’t be wasting any time thinking about it when I can be chewing on my bone and thinking about how Elanah looked when she was covered in thick, white, sticky liquid.

And now I’m thinking about how Snow would look covered in it, especially since she’s apparently got some experience with that sort of thing.

And now I want to see Zurie looking like that.

With Zurie’s perfect body… damn, that’s a nice thing to ima—

“Alright, that’s all of them. I got twenty-nine, Woofen,” Elanah says.

And the mental picture is gone.

Damn it.

“Come on,” I bark. “The next floor can’t be far and I want out of this damn grass.”

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