Published at 2nd of February 2021 09:27:14 AM
Chapter 362: The Rabbit, the Fish, and the Slime (Unedited)
Francine always knew her journey was, at most, a part of the story of someone great—someone with protagonist qualities such as Cross, Fargo, Shueria, or Sila . Her time in a virtual reality online game was like that of ordinary people—consisting of grinding levels, polishing skills, or catching monsters . However, an important quest seemed to run into her today .
“Savior . ” This word sounds imposing and seems to come with great responsibility . She was sure that it isn’t something mentioned frequently . The target of this word must be the figure who had been specifically chosen in order to free the weak slimes from a thousand-year-long cruel suppression . The word brought her a sense of duty like she was destined to save them . Thus, she didn’t hesitate to accept the quest .
From what Luaid told her, her mission was to bring “The Village’s Hope” (a . k . a . Luaid) to where the Devil Lord dwelled, which was deep underwater . The Devil Lord was an evil sorcerer who was casting dark magic to annihilate the Slime Kingdom . The only way to stop him was to disturb his continuous spellcasting with Luaid’s Slime’s Roar . In that regard, Francine's cooperation was absolutely necessary . Luaid’s skill alone wasn’t enough to dispel the powerful domain of darkness . Only when the skill was enhanced by her psychic power, which had the ability to strengthen monsters, that it would be able to take it down .
From the southern beach, the shortest route toward their destination was to go through the town and exit via the north gate, heading to a harbor .
As a matter of fact, the south and north sides of the Island of Beginnings were relatively safe since only a few monsters lived . The east side had the Stone Forest while the Illusion Forest was located in the west . The Stone Forest had become more dangerous as days passed—from the era where the Millennium Apes ruled, the time when slimes showed their aggressive nature, to the present time when dark clouds totally covered the sky . Thus, most people were now gathering around the Illusion Forest .
From the intel in the forum, Francine knew that the Elven Village was becoming popular . There were new zones and quests unlocked, prompting more players to flock there in order to perform quests or obtaining new items . While she was interested, she was afraid she would run into someone who recognized her, so she had never gone to the village .
Francine arrived at the south gate of the town . She tightened her hood to cover her face . On her wrist were two pet-keeping bracelets, where Fluffy and Quasar rested inside . Only Luaid refused to enter a bracelet, though she didn’t mind . She knew that some monsters were reluctant to stay inside a pet-keeping item . Forcing it to enter the seal would harm their relationship, resulting in a decline in Affection Level . For Francine, it was a problem more serious than a decrease in levels .
For most players, Affection Level is merely a factor to determine how likely their pets will follow their command . However, for a monster-tamer expert like her, it was far more important than that . Firstly, some of her skills explicitly state the least amount of Affection Level that the pet must have toward her in order for the skills to work . The better the skills, the higher Affection Level they required . Secondly, some special skills will show better results according to her pet’s Affection Level . Lastly, it’s related to her ‘ultimate skill’ that she had never used before despite acquiring it for a long time . For her to use this skill, she had to use it with a pet with Lord Rank or above, who has a maximum Affection Level toward her . Currently, Fluffy was her only possible target .
Luaid’s presence didn’t pose too much trouble to her . His body was small, so she rarely felt his weight even when he was sitting on her shoulder . Additionally, with his Moon Reflecting Mirror skill, Luaid’s body was very transparent, unnoticed by surrounding people .
Unfortunately, the public’s target was not Luaid but the Monster Queen . There had been many strange events happening in the Town of Beginnings and the town was also a good place to recruit new players, so there were many people keeping watch throughout the city . One of them noticed Francine and recognized her . They quickly relayed this intel to their teammates .
Francine momentarily halted her step when her Psychic Sensory skill kicked in . Like every other psychic-type skill, this skill had many applications depending on how people develop it to be . While she wasn’t particularly good at this skill, it allowed her to sense hostility directing at her within twenty meters radius .
‘Someone used an inspection skill on me . . . What should I do? Unfortunately . . . I still haven’t got myself the Disguise skill . I should have finished the quest if I knew this was going to happen . ’
Disguise is a common skill that many psychic-type players tend to possess in order to add complexity to their skill pool and bring confusion to enemies . However, quests for psychic-types vary in contents according to the quest performer’s nature and personality . Thus, some may find some quests more difficult to achieve than others . (Francine’s foundation centered around taming monsters . The Disguise skill was quite unrelated to that, so she found the quest to obtain such a skill difficult . On the other hand, someone like Yardpirun, whose abilities centered around spying, would find the quest easy . )
To avoid becoming the center of attention, Francine didn’t run but strode faster . Walking fast while ignoring people’s gazes, she hoped she would arrive at the north gate soon . She fully relied on her Psychic Sensory to stride in the opposite direction of where she felt hostility coming .
“Oh, no . . . That way is . . . ” Luaid muttered when Francine avoided the main street and walked into an alley . “ . . . Nevermind, ya . It’s too late . ”
Francine was still on the run . She didn’t know who was after her, though she was sure that there was more than one person .
Finally alone in the alley, she lightly asked Luaid what he was saying a moment ago .
“What were you saying? Sorry I didn’t hear you . ”
Luaid kept a straight face even though he was excited . “It’s nothing, Savior . It’s just that we’re now surrounded . ”
“Eh?” Francine stopped her feet . She focused her mind to expand her sense, checking Luaid’s claim . Concentration plays a big role in using psychic abilities . Most of the time, staying still and paying attention will improve them .
“Savior, your Psychic Sensory’s detection range seems to be quite limited . I guess it’s around twenty to thirty meters, no? Lord Divine once told me that fighting is like a game of chess . Being safe now doesn’t mean you will still be safe three moves later . Your enemies deliberately guided you to this alley, Savior . ”
If she traveled on the main street, there would be many innocent players passing by, allowing her to blend into the crowd and slip away . It was common sense that her enemies wouldn’t want to make enemies out of ordinary people if they could . Even though most players living in the Town of Beginnings are newbies, one day they might grow into powerhouses and join their group .
After sensing surroundings for a while, Francine realized that she was indeed surrounded . If Luaid didn’t tell her, she wouldn’t even know how she got cornered despite having Psychic Sensory .
The danger was approaching . Francine pulled out a whip to hold in her hand . She had purchased this weapon from the Town of Beginnings, so one couldn’t expect a lot from it . It was only potent enough to defeat weak monsters living around the town .
Seeing his Savior’s behaviors, Luaid said smilingly, “From what I can sense, there are five humans surrounding us . Level-wise, every one of them is superior to you . One of them is even superior to me . Do you think that weapon alone will be sufficient, ya?”
Francine gritted her teeth . The tips of her fingers became cold . In this exact same situation, if the main character of the story was Sila, it would be just a peaceful day for him . However, Francine wasn’t a direct fighter . It was her crisis . As she intended to summon Fluffy, she discovered that her bracelet didn’t respond to her command .
“Ah . . . ! I shouldn’t have sealed Fluffy . ” Francine realized she was already under attack . Among her hunters, one of them must possess a psychic-type specialist, able to mix some skills with the Seal skill, forcefully blocking her ability to summon her pets . This implied that these people knew who she was and had planned a countermeasure against her . Additionally, the fact that she had been under the effect of the skill before she belatedly realized it meant the user of the skill must possess Mind Concealment of a higher level than her Psychic Sensory .
“Let’s smile, Savior . Keep calm,” said Luaid .
“Smile? At a time like this? Aren’t you afraid?” Francine’s hands, which were holding the whip, were shaking non-stop .
“Lord Divine once taught me that every kind of worries will muddle our mind, blocking us from finding the easiest solution . His Moon Reflecting Mirror refers to the undisturbed pond that is so clear, able to perfectly reflect the reflection of the moon . The more you’re worried or afraid, the more you must keep calm . A calm mind is the strongest psychic . Don’t let your foes see through your mind . You should smile even in the face of despair . ”
Francine tried to force a smile, but she couldn’t do it . On the other hand, Luaid became even more transparent than usual . It seemed he became a lot calmer in the face of danger .
“Take a deep breath, Savior . Keep it slow . Do not hurry . How long we have is not important . As long as you can keep calm, even a few seconds will be more than enough . ”
Francine matched her breathing rhythm to Luaid’s . Exactly as the little slime said . The values between the five minutes of a panicked person and the ten seconds of a calm one are incomparable .
“Now, ya . Let’s carefully analyze the situation . We’re both psychics, so we can surely find a way . There are five enemies . What is our best option? Use our strong points . ”
Successfully driving away some of her fear, Francine had calmed down . Even though it wasn’t at Luaid’s level, her mind had regained enough composure to think things through .
“I’m a monster tamer . As long as I can summon my pets, my victory will be half secured . ”
“An excellent answer, ya . Our enemies refuse to let you summon, so this means it will be troublesome for them if you can . No need to engage in a direct clash . Just find a way to summon monsters . Who among them is responsible for sealing your ability?”
“It shouldn’t be the strongest person in their team . This person can even seal the target’s ability from a distance . This means their ability focuses on sealing and unsealing . Their fighting prowess shouldn’t be high . ”
Luaid was still smiling . “What if they’re someone who is good at both fighting and skill utilizing?”
Francine shook her head . “It’s very unlikely . True, there are people like that, but there is no way people of that caliber would be assigned to station in the Town of Beginnings . I’m confident that this person is not a direct fighter . Their hand-to-hand combat ability should be around my level at most . ”
“Good . Now, where is that person?”
Francine took a few deep breaths . Her enemies were gradually approaching her . It seemed the fact that she stopped moving confused them, making them wary of traps .
“In some safe spot,” replied Francine . In order to prevent her from summoning her pets, that person must be in the spot where she couldn’t easily harm them . “I don’t know exactly where though . . . ”
“For now, this much is good enough . ” Luaid sensed that the enemies were very close . If they did nothing, they would be completely encircled . Thus, he revealed the answer . “He is among the group of two behind us, following after the strongest person . ”
The strong point of a monster tamer like Francine was that she and Luaid were mentally connected with the Mind Connection skill . It was one of the skills that she was confident to claim herself as the best in Monster Soul . Even a second was unneeded for her and Luaid to formulate a plan together . Their minds belonged to each other . Their collaborated actions were smooth like they had trained for more than ten times .
As Luaid suggested in her mind, her whip struck at a narrow corner of the alley . A female mage fighter was stepping out from that corner, so she was hit by the unexpected strike . Following her was a psychic-type man . This man was none other than Francine’s real target .
“Ouch!” The whip lashed on the female fighter’s face . The attack power was low, but it tore her muscle, bringing sharp pain .
Francine flicked her wrist, whipping a second time . However, the female fighter was now ready . She raised her arm to block while chanting a quick spell that turned her entire arm into metal .
The Tamer Whip had low attack power . Against such a solid defense, it dealt no damage to the target . Still, a whip was Francine’s preferred type of weapon . Instead of performing a simple strike, the tip of her whip rolled around the female fighter’s arm .
Cladding her body with psychic power reinforcement, Francine exerted her strength to pull her opponent toward her .
“What a fool you are! You’re weak, yet you’re asking for it . Come here!” The female mage fighter chuckled . She was fundamentally stronger than Francine, so their roles swapped . She pulled Francine toward her .
Francine resisted the pull at first, but she then seized the right timing to kick the ground, jumping forward while letting herself go along with her opponent’s force .
Her opponents didn’t imagine Francine would be the one daring to rush at them, so they didn’t expect this reaction . Francine relied on their carelessness to approach the sealer . Still in mid-air, she took out a dagger from her waist and clad it with psychic power reinforcement .
Nevertheless, the mage fighter was assigned to stay close to the sealer for a reason . It was her duty to protect this man . She was more than delighted to see Francine coming at her . Against her superior brute strength, a psychic who relied on techniques wouldn’t be able to block her attack . In fact, it was even possible that Francine would die in one hit .
The mage fighter clad her right armguard with her Unique Magic . It emitted a metal-colored magical vapor as it got an insane boost in attack power . She threw a fist at Francine, who was now above her head . As soon as the punch landed on the target, this hunt would end with her overwhelming victory .
It was then . The female mage fighter suddenly heard a mysterious whisper .
“As expected . You really attack with all your might . Let me borrow it for a bit, ya . ”
Racial Skill — Moon Reflecting Mirror .
Luaid’s Moon Reflecting Mirror was enhanced by Francine’s psychic power . It manifested out of thin air in the form of an antique mirror . The attack that it reflect contained twice its former attack power . This was the benefit that Luaid obtained from becoming Francine’s pet .
He slightly shifted the angle of the mirror, making the attack power flying toward the sealer instead .
Francine naturally didn’t have the capability to take down an opponent in one hit without the help of her pets . On the other hand, for a combat-type player who had honed their offensive ability, just a single punch was enough to kill the sealer .
As Luaid had said, it was the easiest and quickest solution to the problem .
The shadow of a punch that bounced off from the surface of the mirror precisely flew toward the sealer’s head . The sound of his skull being crushed reverberated, prompting Francine to avert her eyes .
Even though her eyes didn’t focus on the gruesome scene, Francine didn’t slow down her next course of action . The bracelets on her right wrist emitted a glow, releasing a black-haired girl and a giant rabbit from their seals .
There was no need for instructions since their minds were perfectly synchronized . Quasar threw two dark-element magical daggers at the female mage fighter . As soon as they stabbed her chest, the metal color of her armguard became dimmer . Quasar’s dark magic power was contaminating it .
Concurrently, Fluffy dashed at the female mage and bashed its palm against her .
Snow Moon Qi — Rabbit Hunt .
In less than two seconds after the two monsters were released from the seals, the female mage fighter collapsed, gravely injured . The two daggers in her chest had dispersed, but the wounds they made constantly releasing black smoke . Her magic power was consumed rapidly . The black smoke solidified into hundreds of daggers, bombarding her . Her magic power reinforcement grew thinner with every passing second . Eventually, she died, turned into a light white, and disappeared .
Quasar clicked her tongue as she regretted her vicious combo would never work on Mammon . It was a combo where she converted her opponents’ magic power into weapons that work against themselves .
Mammon was an item specialist . He had high defense from his equipment . Even when he didn’t clad himself with energy reinforcement, he would still be able to endure damages done to him to some degree . A psychic-type like him tended to rely on battle gears, unlike qi-types or magic-types who possessed enough power to negate the incoming attack head-on .
Three more people arrived at the scene from the front . Noticing that their strongest member had died while Francine had her pets surrounding her, they immediately ran away .
Quasar was the least obedient to Francine, so she threw daggers at the three’s backs without waiting for instructions . Unfortunately, the three of them were too far away . They only got some minor injuries on them as they had escaped from Quasar’s attack range .
“We’re safe, Savior . Let’s seize this chance when they are panicking to escape from the city, ya . ”
Francine nodded . She didn’t dare to waste her time . Her identity was exposed, so there was no need for her to hide her presence anymore . She jumped onto Fluffy’s shoulder, who had been circulating Snow Moon Qi for a while, making its body lighter . It hopped to a roof, then flexed its leg muscle, soaring high into the sky, leaving the Town of Beginnings in a couple of jumps .
On the street, new players were pointing at her, totally amazed by the sight of a woman riding on a polar bear in the sky .
As expected of Monster Soul’s Town of Beginnings . . . It was truly the habitat of various kinds of strange events .