Chapter 8 – You’re a Big Guy
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As we got further away from the city and more into the fall, the slimes we encountered got more and more numerous. Eventually we also encountered other groups out on slime hunt as we really got into slime season. Killing monsters for XP sure was a lot more time efficient than any other method I’d tried. In just the span of a little more than two months I’d reached level 18, from my starting 12 when we set out. I thought I’d level up more, but the XP requirements for levelling up sure got steep fast. Still, many a few makes a whole, or something like that?

Unfortunately I didn’t get to level my skills much, since I’d maxed out Sword Technique (Advanced) and I wasn’t so sure about using more skill points to upgrade it, since I wanted to get more into magic.

I’d asked Koshiro about using fire magic against the slimes since they had Fire Weakness, but he’d told me it simply wasn’t worth the effort using Basic fire magic against them, and Advanced fire magic would risk melting the core, meaning no payment for the kill.

Still though, with the skill point I got at level 15, I decided to get Fire Magic (Advanced), just in case we encountered some higher level slimes. Also because who doesn’t love fire magic? It’s actually very useful outside combat situations as well, creating fire on demand is always handy, and from what I can understand, with a strong enough Fire Magic skill, one can keep oneself warm at all times passively. I swear I’m not just a pyromaniac trying to justify their decisions!

~ ~ ~ ~

One night after we’d set up camp for the night, and while Akemi and Koshiro were preparing dinner, I was sitting a short distance away, levelling Appraisal by using it on various bugs that gathered around the light from fire magic I was playing around with.

I'm surprised by the levels of these small guys. They range from 5 to 10, yet their attributes are terrible and it barely gives any XP to kill them. I guess levelling and attributes work differently between species?

My train of thought was interrupted when I felt the ground faintly shake. Koshiro must’ve felt it too, because I heard him call out for me.

“Tiye! Get back here right now!” He shouted forcefully.

Deciding that it was probably a good idea, I made my way back to camp as fast as possible. 

“What’s going on?” I asked as soon as I was in talking range.

“I don’t know.” Koshiro was on full alert. His ears were fully raised and his tail was completely stiff behind him. “But something big enough to make the ground shake can’t possibly be anything pleasant.”

The ground shook again, this time a bit stronger.

“Put out the campfire, It’ll allow me to better use my Night Vision skill!” He commanded.

Akemi, who was already next to the campfire, began putting out the fire with a small trickle of water. She’d learned how to use magic a while back, but wasn’t too enthusiastic about training her magic skills. Seeing how little water she was producing, I decided to help her out, and used Create Water on the fire.

Koshiro was frantically looking around, trying to spot whatever was causing this disturbance.

Another shake.

Suddenly he stopped. “We need to pack up right now! No time to lose, now move, move!”

“What’s going on?” Asked Akemi, her ears folded back in fear.

“It’s too far away to appraise, but it’s a massive slime. Probably a King or Emperor,” he explained while packing his bag. “King Slimes are at least level 100, so there’s no way we can fight it. But what in Liis’ name is a King Slime doing this far out in the open?”

Koshiro had told us a bit about slimes during our trip, and if I recall correctly, he’d said that high level slimes usually lived in swamps or underground caves.

“But even if it’s that big, why would the ground shake?” Inquired Akemi. “Don’t they just kind of slide along the ground?”

“Not the higher level ones,” he explained. “Once slimes reach the stage of Giant Slime, they begin jumping around instead of sliding. The only reason Baby Slimes and Adult Slimes don’t jump around, is because they just don’t have the strength yet.”

The ground shook again.

As we were about done packing up camp, Koshiro retrieved a small stone bird from his backpack and he began speaking to it. “This is Koshiro speaking. A King or Emperor Slime has been spotted to the east of Kuhingen. Requesting immediate backup! We’ll be waiting in town.” With that, he threw it into the air, and it darted off.

“We’re going back to Kuhingen, where we wait for reinforcements. That messenger should reach the guild in Akenburg some time tomorrow, and if we’re lucky they’ll be here in a few days. Understood?” He sounded like some kind of military commander.

“Yes!”

“Understood!” Akemi and I answered at the same time.

He really has a different vibe to him when in serious mode.

“Now then, let’s get moving!“ He shouted as he led us on our way.

The ground shook again.

“Now,” he started, as we were moving. “Hopefully that thing is going to be distracted by the livestock in the area, so the town should be safe.”

~ ~ ~ ~

It took us probably around an hour to get back to Kuhingen. The town was bigger than home, which was called Heimdorf, by the way, but still nowhere near as big as Akenburg. Most of the houses were still made of wood, but there were some larger stone buildings at the town square. The streets were mostly empty at this hour, with only a few townspeople walking about, mostly ones who were drunk and on their way home. Speaking of which, a man wearing a helmet and holding a torch, had a man draped over his shoulder.

“Hey!” Koshiro called out while we walked up to them.

“What’s up? A bit busy here, Heinrich here can barely stand by himself,” the guard answered. Or, well, calling him a guard might be a little generous. Kuhingen wasn’t big enough to have a standing guard, but they had a nightwatch to be on the lookout for illegal activity at night and help home those who got drunk in the late hours. They were distinguishable by their conical helmets. 

“We just need you to help relay some information to the other townsfolk,” Koshiro responded. “We spotted a King or Emperor Slime to the east of town.”

“Oh? Well I’m no monster expert but that sounds bad, I guess? I thought slimes were weak monsters,” the nightwatch said as he tried to scratch his chin, almost dropping the man he was shouldering. “Whoa there, sorry bud.”

Which was answered by his passenger throwing up.

“It is very bad,” confirmed Koshiro. “King Slimes are at least level 100, and Emperor Slimes 150. We need to get word around that no one should go out east until it has been dealt with. I have requested help from the Akenburg Adventurers’ Guild, should take a week at most.”

The nightwatch whistled. “Didn’t know slimes could get that strong. How come you’re not sure which one it is though?” He inquired.

“Only saw it from a distance, didn’t get a chance to appraise it,” he stated matter of factly. “I’ll go out again tomorrow and try to get an appraisal.”

“You’re going after it?” Asked Akemi. We’re-” she was interrupted by a yawn “We’re coming too,” she said sleepily as she grabbed both mine and Koshiro’s arms.

Hey, don’t include me in this. 

“No, you girls stay in town,” he stated firmly as he looked Akemi in the eyes. “I’m just going to get close enough to appraise and then get the hell outta dodge.” He turned his attention back to the nightwatch. “Anyway, just spread the word that going out east is dangerous.”

“Sure, I can manage that,” confirmed the nightwatch with a small nod. “Now, if that is all, I need to get this here fella back home,” he said as he nudged his head against the half conscious  man.

"Ah, yes. Sorry for keeping you," answered Koshiro with a small nod.

"A'ight then. Good night to you, sir, ladies," he said with a small wave of his hand carrying the torch. With that, the two slowly continued down the street.

“Now," Koshiro knelt down and put a hand on both our shoulders. "Let’s find a place to sleep, it’s way past your bedtimes, you two.”

“No protest here,” I answered with a yawn, feeling the day’s activities catching up with me.

“Mm-hm,” agreed Akemi with a nod.

We quickly found an inn and got a room with two beds. We all went straight to bed, and I quickly fell asleep with the now accustomed snuggles and headpats from Akemi.

For you.

I got my second shot and I hoped I could finish the chapter before the side effects kicked in, but then it knocked me the fuck out, making me lose momentum.

Originally I wanted to include some more in this chapter, but I felt I reached a good point to split it up. Not that I'm opposed to longer chapters, but if it's good for release why wait?

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