[Arc 1] Chapter 12: The Pied Demon of the Dungeon
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*swish*

"Squeak!" - Rat

 

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Skill [Cutting Thread] has reached LV10.

0.2 Skill Point(s) obtained.

And there goes one more. This bonus stage is just the best! And to think that a few days(?) ago, I thought I've drawn a miss.

---

Right after I've appraised the Glavras Rexus's skills:

Okay, what to do now. I aimed at this level because my former home was turning to be a little too populated for my taste. Therefore I came here to eventually set up a new home as well as train with the (potential) weaker monsters.

I mean, dungeon-monsters should be stronger the further down the surface you go, right. In other words, the closer to the surface, the weaker monsters. That dino-bastard was not in my expectations, but that guy is an exemption from the rule.

Now then, just what kind of monsters are there on this floor?

---

There is no difference between the floor!!

All the monster's I've seen are either raptors, frogs or rats! There are some of those fish humans like the ones I saw at the water-pillar area, but nothing else! Just the same old stuff! The fish-humans are called Sahuagin by the way.

Damn it, was there no meaning in changing floors?  If this is the case, I should have just stayed in my old home. The migration of monsters was probably because of that new Rexus that had evolved and killed in the river area.

I guess I should just take some more kills and leave after that. But, where are all the monsters?

I've reached a new set of tunnel, but there is no presence of monsters here at all. These upper-tunnels have been more populated than the lower-tunnels where I made my former home, but this place is practically deserted. The tunnels themselves are bigger, big enough for even the Rexus to walk through here, despite being a close fit.

Something smells funny here. And yes, I'm able to smell. Not that it has done anything good for me.

Why would the monsters ignore tunnels with this much space? 

Hey, there is something further ahead. And now I see that there is something behind me as well! An ambush? Not likely, but let's move from here. 

Good thing that the tunnel has some cliffs at higher levels here. Think of it as terraces on the tunnel walls.

Then, just throwing some thread up there, then a little [Thread Control] like I did at the river area, and up we go!

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Skill [Thread Control] has reached LV10.

0.2 Skill Point(s) obtained.

Why thank you. But I'm more interested in what's going on down below at the moment.

I look down from the cliff, trying to see what was trying to ambush me. 

[Appraisal] Result:
Name: Glavras Bunkkurtle
Rank: D-
Type: Turtle (Monster)
Attribute: Water
Description:

A Water attribute turtle monster with the head and neck of a snake.

These monsters use their quick necks and strong jaws to decapitate those who oppose them. While not attacking, they are hiding within their sturdy shells that could withstand having a dragon stamping at it.

The first one I managed to see was a new snake turtle. That's surprising. I've not seen many of those, so I was expecting a frog or something. This is good since it's not able to climb up here. Then the other part is... a rat?

Okay, so it was not an ambush, just two monsters that took the same path as me. But poor rat, being a snack for the turtle snake. Wait, isn't snakes usually eating rats? 

"Squeak! Squeak!" - rat

Huh, the rat is making a lot of noise. Is it's last will or something, is what I, and probably also the turtle snake, though.

Our expectations were quickly betrayed. As if waiting for a signal, no, that must have been exactly what they were waiting for.

Rats. Tons of rats. So many that you would forget that this place was a water dungeon instead of a literal rat hole.

The turtle snake is scared shirtless by the crazy amount of rats. Can't blame him, I'm the same. This is a different fear than that of the water serpent down in the lake or the Rexus just recently. However, no amount of rats should be able to penetrate the crazy defense that the turtle snake has.

The rats have reached the turtle snake. In retaliation of the rat army's assault, the turtle snake is snapping up rats several at the times and eats them right there before going at the next bunch. 

That's what was supposed to happen, but after swallowing some rats, the turtle snakes movements started to turn stiffer by the second. The rats reached the turtle snake and tried to bite it. Biting through the shell proved to be impossible, but the neck and limbs didn't wasn't of the same sturdiness.

Just what's happening here? The turtle snake is covered in rats that are eating it alive. It looks so grotesque that I can't keep watching. Rest in peace, poor turtle snake. Even I have to pray for the monster's soul after been shown that.

These rats aren't normal. Their unified actions that didn't stop even when their allies were eaten, and that the turtle snakes movements stopped like that. There is something fishy going on, or maybe something ratty.

Name: Nameless 
Race: Pararat   | Gender: Female
Level: 3
Skills: 3
HP: 20/20 MP: 12/12 SP: 19/19
STR: 10 VIT: 5 MAG: 2
RES: 21 SPD: 22 DEX: 12
INT: 55 LUC: 77

Hey, I managed to appraise a rat at this distance. The improved [Appraisal] continues to impress. Increased appraisal-range included with additional information, why isn't this worthy of a System message?

And, 'Pararat'? Is someone trying to be funny? Anyway, race appraisal, please. Oh, and skills.

[Appraisal] Result:
Name: Pararat
Rank: F-
Type: Rat (Monster)
Attribute: none
Description:

A subspecies of rat monsters like the Graycave Rat or Greentree Rat. 

While they lose the special characteristics of the rat monster it originates from, it gains the [Paralyze Bite] and [Swarm] skill.

The Pararats' main strategy is to overwhelm intruders to their territory with numbers and will not give up before the intruder is slain or all Pararats are killed.

SKILL LIST
Attack Skills: [Paralyze Bite LV.2]
Passive Skills: [Breeding LV1]
Leadership Skills: [Swarm LV.9]

These guys don't have [Night Vision] like the Greycave Rats. But that [Paralyze Bite] is enough to compensate for that. It's the same as my [Poison Bite], just with the Paralyze-status instead of Poison.

[Swarm] makes the user work with other [Swarm] users like a single living being. The bad part about it is that the users will just work for the sake of the swarm, even if it means killing oneself. That's not a skill that I would like to have. 

The turtle snake is being dragged into the tunnels by the rats now. Good thing that I decided to watch the situation instead of taking the fight to them. 

But this is bad. There is no way that I can train here when I'm in danger of being rat-food like that. Or maybe... the rats only came when the first rat asked for help or did they?

From the looks of it, the rats were lying in wait. They could have known that the turtle snake was coming into their territory and was setting a trap for it. Yeah, that's more likely. 

Then, what about an unknown intruder? Like, some demon with the [Stealth] skill? A horrifying creature like that could take out rats without notifying the rest of the herd. Hmm, maybe swarm is a better way of calling them?

Ah, who cares about that? Let's try that idea.

---

After the rat army had taken the turtle snake away with them, probably back to their nest, I started to look for a safe area to do hunting. One of the golden rules in RPG, only pick fights on turf you're familiar. Don't wanna fight a rat with a thousand others behind my back.

I found a good spot in another tunnel. There is another cliff here, leading to a room in the wall. In the room, there is a crack in the wall which leads water into a pool before going into a smaller pool with a hole that leads out the water. This place will be perfect for camping.

Connected to the cliff are small bridges, that will allow me to travel the tunnel without being detected from below.

Below the cliff, there are large boulders scattered around the tunnel that will make great cover while waiting for prey.

Okay, I've made my mind. I'll make my bedroom in the cliff-room, not that I sleep, and use the bridges to travel the tunnel. If the bridges aren't covering enough ground, I could make my own bridges with my threads. Just have to make them the same color as the roof.

Then, time for some redecorating and DIY work!

---

After made my home, I started my exploration of the upper area of the tunnel, also known as the bridges.

It was easy to create a new home. Instead of a web, I made a camouflage carpet and attached it to the opening of the cliff-room, making it invisible for anyone without decent perception abilities. After that, I made some simple furniture out of threads, like the futon I discarded when I left my old home, and a hammock-like chair. Why the last one you ask? Because it's fun to swing around on it.

Back to the bridges, these are a godsend. I don't know how they were made, and I don't care either. They are to my advantage, and that's good enough.

This upper area is covering almost all of the tunnels, and they keep ongoing. The reason that no one has discovered them is that no one's small enough to fit here and that can climb the straight dungeon walls. Well, maybe those spiders could do it, but they are too big to fit.

I didn't forget about creating a thread for marking my way back home either. I wondered if I should keep the threads white to make them easy to see for me, or blueish to hide it from potential monsters. There is close to no chance that there is someone else than me that can walk on these bridges, but I still made the thread blueish just in case.

After crawling for a while, I finally found a rat. [Appraisal] told me it's another Pararat, and [Magic Sense] told me that there were no other rats nearby. 

I took out a pocket web from my inventory, added a new thread to it, and threw the web down at the rat. I expanded the web with [Thread Control] so that the whole rat was covered, then I closed it to completely trap it. Then, again with ]Thread Control], I hauled the rat up to the upper area and quickly finished it off with [Poison Faaaa].

Whaa, ish, thish? M' bdyy ish numv. A'm ssho shupid. Paralish. Ah, shhill shop. Paralish, parashish, PARA!

SKILL SHOP

Available skill points: 1.1

Search by word: PARA

Search by skill []

Available skills:

  • [Paralyze Resistance], 1 skill point

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

åDo individual [Grey Demon] want to acquire the skill:

[Paralyze Resistance LV.1] 

for 1 Skill Points?

Y/N

Yesshh.

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Acquired skill from Skill Shop: [Paralyze Resistance LV.1]

Gah! That was numbing. I forgot that these rats dishes out paralyze-status. Good thing the whole dino-mess boosted my skill enough to get enough skill points to buy this skill. I'm still a little numb, but the skill is working wonders for an LV1. Guess the rat's proficiency in the skill was low from the beginning. 

Speaking of the rat, it died from that one attack. I managed to wrap it up and kill it before it called for help. I need to stuff the corpse into my inventory before any other rats catch the smell of the corpse and come to investigate. The rat was using just one storage-slot, so I left some web here and tucked it in. That did level up the [Demonic Storage] skill as well, so I returned the web to the inventory.

I think I'll call it a day now. Gotta level up this new resistance before taking on some more rats. That, and this numbness is nasty.

---

I'm back in action and ready for round 2!

I ate the rat while trying to wash away the numbing feeling with the aether-filled water from the pool. It did help a little, like nano-little but still. Thanks to that, I'm now the proud owner of a [Paralyze Resistance LV4] skill!

Even so, I want to use as little [Poison Bite] as possible. It's bad enough with eating the rats, why should I taste that yucky flesh more than needed?

Therefore, I've come up with a new attack I want to try out. The good news is that these rats are the weakest monsters in the dungeon when not counting me. No, right now, even I could take out that rat in a one-on-one fight. Should I be happy that I'm not the weakest living being around here anymore or should I be sad about comparing myself to a rat? *Haahhh*

Anyway! These rats are literal lab rats. No way I'm gonna miss this opportunity. Gue-he-he-he-he...

---

Back to the present

I've cut another boring rat. Sha-kin.

Oooh! One of my top ten lines I've always wanted to say just once! Well, not exactly. And I can't talk,

After placing [Poison Bite] on wait for a little while, I started to use [Cutting Thread] when finishing off rats. Now that it's at LV10, I'm able to harden the thread to make a pseudo-sword. It's pretty sharp. Now I'm able to slice up the big boulders in the tunnel that my home lies in. Not that I can cut off that big pieces since my STR is a measly 25 damn it. 

Guess it's easier to just show my skill list:

SKILL LIST
Ability Skills: [MP Reinforcement (Small) LV.19] UP10
Attack Skills: [Poison Bite LV.12] UP3
Active Skills: [Stealth LV.9] UP3 [Thread Control LV.17] UP8  [Cutting Thread LV.10] UP8
Passive Skills: [Hidden Strike LV.16] UP11  [Throw LV.21] UP8  [Concentration LV.28] UP7  [Language Adaption]
Resistance Skills: [Poison Resistance LV.16] UP6  [Paralyze Resistance LV.11] NEW  [Heretic Immunity]
Perception Skills: [Magic Sense LV.13] UP3  [Appraisal LV.7] 
Racial Skills [Spider Thread LV.26] UP9  [Albino] [Demonic Storage LV7] UP5  [Shape Change LV.21] UP8

Thing is starting to get good. No, great. No, fabulous! All those capture webs and my new thread-sword move have made an explosive raise in my thread-related skills. [Thread Control], [Cutting Thread], and [Spider Thread] all gained 7 or more levels.

[Paralyze Resistance] skyrocketed thanks to the rats, even when it's the newest member of the skill list.

My ninja skills, a.k.a. [Stealth] and [Hidden Strike] gained levels due to hiding from patrolling rats when I wasn't sure there were reinforcements close by and due to taking all the rats I killed by surprise.

Who knew that [Hidden Strike] was that easy to grind? Must be a low-rank skill. Oh, by the way, skills don't have ranks like monsters have. Items do though. My Berry Box, for example, is a rank E storage-type item.

My poison skills went up due to using them when I ate the rats. Ironically, the poison managed to kill some of the foulness of the rat meat. 

All my other skills that weren't combat-directed went up as well. [Shape Change] did well in reaching the higher 20-levels, and [Demonic Storage] got boot-camp treatment since I added the rat corpses into it in a haste after killing them so that the other rats would not come running after the smell.

[MP Reinforcement (Small)], [Throw], and [Concentration] all went up at the usual pace, with [MP Reinforcement (Small)] being a little quicker, since I use [Thread Control] for almost anything.

The raptor- and spider corpses were used as [Poison Fang] targets to increase it even more. The result of that training wasn't just leveling the skill but also [Poisoned corpse of Glavras Slipraus] and [Poisoned corpse of Glavras Aquaect]. I overdid it there. Since even I couldn't eat this, I left it behind in a tunnel somewhere far from my home.

Thanks to all my skills becoming stronger, I've managed to get 1.8 skill points, to a total of 1.9.

Now then. How much higher do you think my level is right now after all that?

The answer is 0. Zero, zip, zilch, nothing, AT ALL!

These rats are thrash that has strength in numbers. The non-Glavras monsters all gives close to no EXP, and the rats are even worse at that. I do get experience by hunting the rats, but without EXP, I won't evolve into a human form.

It's good for grinding skill levels, but that's not my goal. And the rats are probably starting to understand that there is something strange going on in their territory. Sooner or later they'll catch me. 

Guess I'll just get some more level ups, then I'll skedaddle out of here. Maybe I'll leave when [MP Reinforcement (Small)] reaches LV20. And maybe [Concentration] at 30. 

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