Inari washed herself off in the shallow river, then casually shook her pure-white fur, sending the water flying in every direction. Afterwards, she lazily walked over to the left side of Michael’s head and laid down, almost immediately losing consciousness.
Strangely enough, as soon as she did, time seemed to pass by at a ridiculous speed. Within what seemed like seconds to the floating, pitch-black willow-wisp, the Moon had disappeared from the sky, clouds were flying around at unreasonable speeds, and the birds, bats, bugs seemed like streaks of light; after a minute, the sun had already risen, and it was almost what he considered ‘noon.’
The moment that Michael opened his eyes, everything slowed back to normal. He didn’t have the ‘Bleeding’ debuff anymore, and both his health and stamina had reached their maximum capacity.
Since normal humans typically had one or less Vitality and Endurance, they obviously would have died very swiftly under those circumstances, but he managed to survive. In fact, he even received a new passive skill called “Superior Regeneration Level 1.”
He couldn’t get something for nothing though; it was an ability that automatically drained mana, and he needed to be unconscious, or it wouldn’t work. However, considering that organs and bones could be completely restored in merely a few hours of sleep, it was definitely a very useful ability… for someone who couldn’t instantly respawn.
Essentially, that meant his appendix had regenerated, and taking another mana-core would most likely cause him to suffer from the same torment again. Michael woke up, feeling as if any sudden movement would make him lose control over his bowels and bladder at the same time; which was completely understandable, considering that he had been unconscious for at least twelve hours, and the last thing that he ate was raw rabbit-meat.
The still-naked man, stood up, and grumbled “Damn it… who the fuck wants to play a game where your avatar still has to piss and shit? Sigh, there’s no toilet paper… see, this is why people hate camping. Ugh, my neck, and back, why the hell did fall asleep on a bunch of rocks anyway? Oh yea, I was expecting to die, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with any of this nonsense…” There were many large indents on his skin, from where the smooth stones were pressing against his body.
It took him a few minutes to find a suitable place to relieve himself, a hundred meters downstream from where he was before. Since he saw the sun rising, he assumed that, like Earth, that direction was east; unfortunately, that meant he couldn’t tell north from south.
However, while Michael wasn’t particularly amazing at video-games, he still had an abundance of knowledge and experience regarding them. While he was nonchalantly contaminating the river, he decided to open the ‘Map’ feature.
The first thing that appeared was a ‘World Map’ which was more like a holographic image of the entire planet, except that it was completely covered in a thick fog and he couldn’t see anything. He also managed to toggle it into a low-detail, two-dimensional screen, which looked a bit more like the kind that he was used to.
Unfortunately, it was entirely obscured, and even the area that he had explored so far, looked like a little dot. If it didn’t show what he could see from two-miles up, as a wisp, then he probably wouldn’t have been able to find out where to zoom-in.
That grassy-deathtrap where he had started out in was called “Ariel’s Meadow” and north of that was “Carrabelle Plains.” Apparently, he was somewhere in the middle, squatting in a shallow stream.
He muttered “Hmmm, how do I activate the ‘Mini-Map’ though? Ah, there it is! Adjust size to… yeah, that looks good. Let’s see, there’s gotta be a way to lower the opaque-ness… shit, it disappeared! Oh, that’s better, hahaha! Well, without something like this, I’d just be stuck wandering aimlessly forever; unable to tell where I had been, and just walking in circles until I learned some kind of flying magic… Wait a second, holy shit!”
Suddenly, the pitch-black wisp emerged from Michael’s still conscious body, and flew a dozen meters above and behind his head, before seemingly locking into place. He had discovered the ‘Third-Person Point of View’ function and immediately activated it, but after a few seconds he turned it off, while complaining “Nope, shitting in first-person is bad enough… It might be useful in some situations, but not being able to see out of my own eyes is kinda awkward if I’m trying to fight.”
Once he finished and washed himself off, he walked back to the riverbank where he discovered a quietly snoring Twin-Tailed Fox. It was about the size of a small dog, with a tiny snout, relatively large ears compared to its head; before evolving, it had been a fairly young red-fox, so its body shape and stature didn’t change much.
He snickered, then contemplated “Now, the question is whether or not I should feed it the ‘F’ rank mana-gem from my own corpse, or use that ‘Vicious Sparrow.’ Actually, I don’t want to accidentally kill her… There might be some kind of compatibility nonsense, or she might need to wait a few days before being able to evolve again. If it was a normal game, there would be a fucking tutorial, or I could just look up a strategy guide on the internet. Hmmm, probably best to take it slowly. Even if she doesn’t end up being perfect, it shouldn’t matter too much.”
His voice was quiet, but it still managed to wake-up the sleeping vixen, who proceeded to run back and forth along the riverbank a few times, before rubbing up against his left leg and rolling over on her back. Michael couldn’t help but say “Awww~, such a cute foxy.” while crouching down and scratching near her neck right his right hand; the whole time she was nibbling on his palm, while making a whining noise.
Then he asked “Are you hungry Inari? Okay, which do you like better… the bunny or the rat?” as he stopped playing with her, and accessed his extra-dimensional bag. The vixen obviously had no idea what he was talking about, and just stared up at him with an absent-minded look on her tiny face.
As soon as he pulled out the carcasses, she immediately became extremely excited, and got up on all fours, while yelping a few times. Michael placed the rabbit to his left, and the giant field-mouse to his right; both of them were level-one magical-beasts.
After pacing back and forth for a few seconds, she finally decided on the white-furred bunny and began eating heartily. The vixen growled as she tore it apart and eventually became sated, though she wasn’t able to consume everything, since there was simply far too much food.
When she was finished filling her stomach, only then did she move on to the mana-core. Immediately upon consuming it, her body was enveloped in a bright radiance, and then a status-screen popped up in front of his eyes. However, just like when he leveled up, he was also given the choice for how he wanted to spend the stat-points… though, there was only one.
Race: Twin-Tailed Fox
Mana Regen per minute: 10
Health Regen per hour: 10
Attack Rating: 5
Defense Rating: .5]
Surprisingly, he was allowed to split the single stat-point in half, and bring both the Vitality and Endurance of Inari up to one each. He remembered back to how the white-rabbits only had five HP, and figured that under normal circumstances, the little kit probably would have automatically stacked Agility and Intelligence, before anything else.
Michael wasn’t planning on turning her into a ‘Tank,’ but he definitely didn’t want the little twin-tailed fennec to instantly die the moment it received some kind of damage. Even if it could dodge more effectively if he gave it Agility, he felt that there wasn’t a huge difference between two and three.
What he didn’t realize, was that the reason his body didn’t feel much different after doubling his own Agility, was because his weight had been kept in check, even after gaining so many more stats in Endurance, Strength and Vitality. Thus, he was still only two-hundred pounds, regardless of the massive increase in muscle and bone density.
Inari had become slightly heavier, but since there was no visual difference, he really couldn’t tell. Michael did however realize, that unlike himself, the little fox didn’t gain any extra stats.
As he was staring at her status-screen and quietly contemplating, he suddenly saw her experience bar jump to 1/10. While he had been distracted, she was tearing open the rat’s head, and swallowing a mana-core.
Then she looked up at him with anticipation, making whining noises, as if asking for more. Considering how ‘easily’ he was able to kill level-one mice and rabbits, he didn’t feel the need to stockpile them, so without thinking too deeply about it, he withdrew nine more bunnies.