The average human was actually only level-zero, and they certainly didn’t possess a mana-core. In order to obtain one, a person would have had to consume one from a rank-G magical-beast, or spend years going through intensive training for their respective field of expertise and gaining a ‘Class.’
Michael was different; perhaps it was related to the being that brought him from his original world, but he did start with a significant advantage over most humanoid races. Of course, he had no way of knowing it at the time, and could only writhe in agony as his body struggled to stay alive.
He yelled “Oi, Hare-Bear, where the hell are you!? Someone, please just fucking kill me!” It wasn’t that he didn’t try to bash his skull open with a rock, or tear out his carotid artery with his fingernails, he definitely did attempt to commit suicide in quite a few ways… but he wasn’t allowed.
Whenever he was about to do it, an invisible barrier appeared and stopped his actions, while a monotone feminine voice told him “Friendly Fire has been averted.” There was no emotion, yet he felt as if she was taunting him.
Michael yelled “Sarah, didn’t you want to use me to evolve?! You’re there somewhere right?! Come on, don’t worry, I’ll let you do whatever you want with my corpse, just please kill me, okay?!” Unfortunately, rather than attracting the attention of ravenous predators, bandits, or monsters, he was just lying there, slowly losing health and gaining it back in a never-ending cycle.
Ironically, his HP regen was boosted after digesting the level-two mana-core, otherwise he would have died a lot more quickly. Eventually, his stamina reached the point where he was about to lose consciousness, so at least he didn’t have to worry about the pain for much longer.
However, it was at that time, when he heard a faint whimpering near his left ear. He lazily opened his eyes, and glanced at the adorable red-furred fox that was laying down beside his head.
He asked himself “Geeze, why does it feel like… ugh, the wild animals in this world, are way too easily domesticated? Although, considering how aggressive those magical-beasts were… maybe it’s some sort of balancing mechanic?” Michael reached over and picked up the docile creature, and placed it onto his chest, while gently caressing its relatively small and fragile body.
Foxes were part of the Canidae family, so they followed many of the same behavioral patterns as dogs. Although, most animals who lived in the wilderness, didn’t easily grow accustomed to humans, and would typically avoid them.
As the dying man gazed into those cat-like, bright yellow eyes, he smirked and whispered “Did you come looking for more of that tasty bunny-meat? Heh-heh, don’t worry, I still have quite a bit left…” He pulled a rabbit-carcass out of his bag, and placed it to the right of his body; without hesitation, the kit quickly got off of his chest and started devouring it.
It was rather messy, and a decent amount of blood and other juices splashed onto Michael’s body, but he was in too much pain to care. As he lost consciousness, a jet-black wisp emerged from his forehead, and hovered a few feet in the air.
Immediately after eating the mana-core of the white-rabbit, the red-fox began to change. It’s fur lost all its color, and its eyes turned a bright-crimson: the vulpine pupils remained the same though. Then, its tail split in half, and both became significantly longer, while maintaining the same magnitude of fluffiness.
The wisp muttered “Seriously, so cliche… but it’s still kinda cool. Usually, the maximum is nine, but if the highest rank is SSS, which I’m just completely guessing at this point, shouldn’t it be possible to have eleven? Although, there’s no guarantee that each additional evolution would keep increasing the tail-count. Sigh, oh wow, those ears… it definitely looks like a fennec now.”
Suddenly, he received a notification: “You have created a White Twin-Tailed Fox, would you like to tame her or release her into the wild?” It was a tough decision; he didn’t know if there was some sort of limit, perhaps he could only ever have one pet, or maybe his experience would diminish each time he gains a new one, he also suspected that it might cost him a level… but he felt like it would probably be worth it in the long run.
Michael finally whispered “Yes, I would like to tame her, though that sounds kinda weird when I say it out loud.” Immediately following his words, a bright light emanated from his unconscious body and enveloped the newly-evolved, rank-G, magical-beast.
Then the notification changed, and asked him what he wanted to name the young vixen. He thought about it for a moment, before muttering “Would Inari be too unoriginal? Well, it’s a cute name, and I can’t really think of any other fox-related names at the moment. Yea, let’s go with Inari…” When he finished speaking, the light faded, and instead of the neutral yellow, the animal’s name was written in a friendly green.
Since he had nothing better to do, he wanted to see just how amazing his new pet was… but considering that it was level-zero, and had five HP, he wasn’t expecting much.
Race: Twin-Tailed Fox
Mana Regen per minute: 10
Health Regen per hour: 5
Attack Rating: 2.5
Defense Rating: .25]
Michael immediately started laughing, and said “Wow, that’s pretty bad… damn. Those fucking bunnies would slaughter her… Although~, since I already have about eighteen mana-cores from level-one field-mice and rabbits, I should be able to give her a bit of a power-up. Sigh, of course, I have to actually die or wait for recover first, which could take a while.”
Rather than a slave or a pet, Inari was simply connected to him through a spiritual link, and couldn’t be forcefully controlled by him, not that he would want to do that in the first place. In fact, the game did have a decent amount of rules, and they were automatically enforced; similar to how he couldn’t kill himself, if someone tried to rape or enslave another person, they simply wouldn’t be able to do it.
It was a fairly large taboo, considering that a god-like being personally enforced all of those laws, the perpetrators were typically seen as heretics by nearly all other humanoids and harshly persecuted. Friendly Fire applied to everyone, not just Michael; as long as two people love or care about each-other, they literally can’t intentionally or accidentally kill or even maim each-other.
For some, it might seem like divine protection, while others felt as if they were cursed. However, it wasn’t up to Humans, Elves, Orcs, Goblins, or any of the other races to decide; they couldn’t oppose such a powerful entity, and very few would ever dare to try.
Perhaps if Inari’s intelligence was higher, she would have been able to communicate telepathically with Michael, to help him alleviate his boredom, but she wasn’t even capable of understanding English. She certainly was a very smart fox; in fact, from the moment that she met him, her plan was to act ‘cute’ and receive a free meal.
Her scheme worked far better than she had ever anticipated though, and she even managed to evolve because of his generosity. The vixen, like all other ‘normal’ animals in that world, had an innate comprehension of what mana-cores were, and which kind they need to eat to grow in various ways; they also knew that, if they try to skip a step, and consume one that was too powerful, they would definitely die.
Humanoids weren’t gifted with the same genetic memories and understanding, so they needed to experiment and perform tests. However, Michael had a massive advantage over all other beings on that planet: He was a ‘Player.’
Not only was he truly immortal, but he had access to the various ‘game-like’ information-screens. There was also the ‘extra-dimensional bag,’ some sort of imprisoning system, notifications, astral-projection and plenty of other completely unreasonable abilities, which he didn’t even know about yet.