Chapter 56: Lily is in troll-ble
When the light fades from the random teleport, I find myself falling to the ground from a few feet up. My surroundings are...an entire tribe of trolls! My skills are still sealed and I’ve been immediately surrounded! I try to force my way out, but their thick skin is too difficult to injure without qi techniques. I’m quickly overrun and some lucky troll knocked me out with a wild swing of its club.
I wake up screaming in pain shortly after to find myself strung up. I’m naked with a rope tying my wrists together and looped over a tree branch and my ankles are tied to a stake in the ground just below my feet. My body is hovering less than a foot from the ground with my length stretched to the sky and the trolls are dancing around while alternating between flogging me, smearing crushed herbs and spices on the wounds, and beating me with sticks.
Wuwuwu, my poor tender, delicate skin is being shredded! It HURTS!!! This is just great! They’re seasoning me and tenderizing my meat!! They plan to eat me!!! What’s next, stuffing or marinade?! This is all HER fault!! That Goddess definitely messed something up with the teleport!
As I’m busy jinxing myself, a troll walks over to me with a large, leather waterskin. The waterskin has a slender, foot-long piece of hollowed reed attached to the opening. I’m grabbed by the neck and held firm as liquid flows into me via the reed that’s been shoved down my throat. Everytime I’m about to vomit, my neck is strangled to stop me. When my stomach just can’t hold anymore, my neck is squeezed tightly around the reed and the waterskin is compressed. The sudden increase in pressure with no escape path causes the valve to my intestinal track to be forced open and the waterskin is then emptied within seconds.
My body is now bloated like a pregnant lady and my insides feel like they’re on fire. Not in a good way. I feel like my blood is boiling with lightning arcs crawling along under my skin. My mind also feels floaty and light, but worst of all is that my qi and mana are chaotic. I’m brought down and placed in a large stone bowl that’s been prepared over a fire pit with just enough water in it that I’d be boiled to death without drowning first.
Seriously, do they have some sort of fetish for prolonging their victim’s suffering? I’m pretty sure that I saw disappointment in the eyes of the ones hitting me earlier, like they were somehow saddened by the fact that I didn’t scream.
As they lit the fire, the seal on my skills finally expired. Of course I immediately tried to use shadowmeld to escape, only to experience agonizing pain as though my body was being ripped apart. It would seem that using my qi and mana right now is not a good idea. I can’t help but to cry from the irony that once my seal expired, my body’s current state made using them ineffective and painful.
After carefully taking stock, I find that I’m only capable of using my inventory and divine skills. I immediately used a protective divine skill and started healing myself. My physical wounds healed quickly enough, but it didn’t fix my weird state at all. At the same time, I pulled a sharp knife out of my inventory and started sawing away at my bindings.
Those stupid trolls are too busy dancing around the fire to notice that I’m free. Sneaking a peek out of the bowl, I find the thinnest concentration of trolls and make a break for the treeline. Unlike before where I was easily surrounded due to my panic from teleporting into the middle of a troll camp, my attempt to escape this time was successful.
I ran for a good while in order to lose my pursuers and then ran a bit more, getting myself thoroughly lost in the woods. My speed was weirdly fast, too fast considering what I’d just been through. While taking a breather, I also emptied my stomach of whatever it was that I had been forced to drink. Though, I’m still bloated with a much larger portion that has flowed deep into my intestines, but there’s nothing that I can think of to fix that at the moment. When examining the pile of vomit, I notice small pieces of something mixed in. Picking one up, I discover that it’s actually from a smashed up monster core.
Rustling noises in the bush next to me snap me out of my thoughts. I immediately put up my guard, but relaxed once I realized that it is just a harmless type of slime. A scavenger slime that was probably attracted by the smashed up core bits. Going back to my self reflection, I remembered that I had heard a ‘ding’ while running away that said: [Gained curse: Monster Energy Corruption]. I had immediately dismissed the earlier message due to my situation at the time being not good to investigate, but this curse seems really bad.
[Monster Energy Corruption(20%)] Your body has been flooded with monster energy resulting in your qi and mana being in a chaotic state. This makes using those energies extremely difficult and prevents you from naturally regenerating them. Monsters will try to eat you to enhance their own power. The excess energy puts your body in a high-energy state, enhancing your physical and mental abilities. Though, your mind may seem somewhat hyperactive because of the sudden change. Beware: metabolism is also enhanced. If corruption reaches greater than sixty percent, your mind will start to degenerate. At greater than ninety percent, your soul will be affected.
Crap! Not good! Considering how much of that stuff is still in me and how little time has passed, I’m totally screwed! Out of options, I check if there are any threats in my surroundings and then proceed to pray. Getting an immediate answer, my mind is pulled into her divine realm.
I just glare at the goddess as she’s explaining that she’s sorry and that she never meant for something like that to happen to me. She’s apparently already fixed the teleport destination issue. Next time, she said that it will avoid any high energy areas with potential threats and will put me much closer to civilization. It seems that I’m several days from the nearest settlement.
“So, what are you going to do to fix my body’s issue?”~me
“There’s not much I can do. My ability to interfere directly is limited. I can tell you that you can use divine energy to neutralize the monster energy that you’ve absorbed. You can at least slow the process with that and the neutralized energy will nourish your body, giving you a boost to your physical attributes.”~Kat
“Can’t you just give me some sort of potion.”~me
“I don’t have a potion for something like this. The ones I gave to Mary and Alice are part of my collection, that I have as a sort of hobby.”~Kat
“Maybe I should I just kill myself and start over again?”~me
“Don’t do that. I’ll promise to extract your soul before your mind is affected, but only as a last resort since doing so will diminish your soul to a low level. If that happened, you wouldn’t be able to choose your body and could only be randomly born as an infant. You’d better go back now and start neutralizing the monster energy. Just blend divine energy in with the monster energy kind of like you do when cultivating.”~Kat
I find myself once again in my body and double check my surroundings before I start to meditate. In the ten minutes I’ve spent meditating, my corruption level has risen to twenty-five percent! Which means I only have a little over an hour before my mind is affected if I sit here meditating and not moving around. Running at full speed earlier had accelerated it by at least double, if not triple the rate.
Huh, the little scavenger slime finished its meal and wandered over to me. It must have been attracted by the monster energy inside me and is now trying to crawl on me. This type of slime is utterly harmless though because they do not eat living flesh at all, nor do they have any attack power.
If only you could absorb this crap instead of me. Wait! That might work. But it’s such a gross idea. Brace yourself Lily, this little buddy may be your only hope!
I reached into the slime and made a fist around its nucleus core. The majority of the jelly layer collapsed as soon as I pulled its core out. That layer is controlled innately by the nucleus after being excreted, kind of like a mage’s water spells. The nucleus is only about the size of a small gumball and the monster core inside it is even smaller. I can’t believe that I’m really about to do this...