It took Michael and Inari a whole hour to find their first quarry, though it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. Tigers were easy to deal with, because they always traveled alone, but the enemies that the two of them faced were a lot more numerous.
He complained “Since when do lions even live in the fucking jungle? Ugh, well whatever, at least there’s only six of them.” Aside from the fact that they were covered in shimmering silver fur, the rank-G, level-five lionesses, were fairly similar to the kind that normally lived in the savannas in his original world.
Without thinking about any sort of strategies or tactics, Michael immediately took out the Arcane Orb from his inventory and pitched it towards the one that was closest to him. Meanwhile, Inari growled at them and the moment that three of the felines pounced at her relatively large body, she leaped into the air.
Her Agility was extremely high, combined with the sheer size of her frame, her jump had easily reached three meters upwards. Then the four tails latched onto a giant tree-branch and waited until the lionesses landed, before she started her counter-attack.
Even with the distance being so close, Michael still needed time to throw and receive the ball. As he pitched the second strike in a row, his first target had died and rewarded him with five experience-points.
However, a different one pounced towards him as he was catching the Arcane Orb, so he wasn’t able to dodge in time. Noticing her partner’s crisis, Inari used her hind legs to launch herself downwards, chomping the back of the airborne lioness’ neck, and slamming her into the ground.
A huge ‘-55’ appeared, and then with a quick jerk, the cat’s head was literally torn off. Michael started laughing hysterically, and praised “Good girl! Now stop playing around with the carcass and help me kill the other three!”
Seeing that gruesome scene, the three remaining felines were slightly frightened and turned all of their attention towards the gigantic vixen. Even when the naked man threw the seemingly harmless ball at their bodies, they just ignored it and banded together to use their only spell.
As the lionesses roared, it caused Inari’s mind to become hazy, and nearly knocked her unconscious, while directly dealing over twenty-five points of damage. Fortunately, the combined attack was weakened when one of the three cats was swiftly killed by two bounces of a brightly-glowing ball.
After that, she was furious, and pounced at the one which was to her left, while Michael attacked the other. With a quiet whimper, one was reduced to zero health, while the other was viciously torn apart by the overbearing Quad-Tailed Nature-Fox. As the fifth lioness died, his body started glowing brightly and he heard that monotonous voice announcing “You have reached level seven.”
Out of curiosity, he placed both points into Perception, but when he did, both of his dark-brown irises began glowing bright-red. He glanced around a few times and yelled “Holy shit, it’s like I’m wearing glasses! Hahaha~, I can finally see again!”
His vision was superhuman when he was in wisp-form, but normally, everything was so blurry, that he could barely recognize his own parents from more than five meters away. However, it wasn’t merely his eyesight that had been enhanced.
Michael could hear all of the annoying animal noises within several miles, even louder and clearer. He could actually sense the mana in the air around him, and when he looked at his mini-map, there were plenty of white, yellow, red and purple dots, surrounding the two blue ones.
From his understanding of game mechanics, he muttered “White means they’re too weak to pose a threat, yellow is probably within our level range, red would most likely be dangerous, while purple will definitely kill us.”
After Inari devoured the five mana-cores, Michael collected the carcasses and turned them directly into pelts. Then he accessed the crafting menu, and sacrificed one of his field-mouse mana-cores to create some new equipment.
There was a bright-white flash, and he received a message: “Pristine Novice Silver-Lioness Fur Armor: Grants the wearer four Defense Rating, and two agility. Made to fit a short and muscular, male Human. Uncommon Quality, must be at least level-five to equip.”
It was nearly identical to the version which was made from white-rabbits, except for the fact that it came with a belt. The kilt and boots were extremely reflective, so it definitely wouldn’t have been very useful to a stealthy Class, but that didn’t really matter to him.
Noticing that the gigantic vixen’s Health was extremely low, Michael pulled out a rank-G, level-nine, ‘Bengal Tiger’ mana-core. Inari whimpered and begged for it, while gazing up at him with her huge bright-blue eyes. He chuckled and unhesitantly tossed it into her bloody maw, which immediately caused her whole body to radiate a blinding light.
Titles: The Feeder
Race: Quad-Tailed Nature-Fox
Mana Regen per minute: 20
Health Regen per hour: 40
Attack Rating: 12.5
Defense Rating: 2]
His reason for increasing her Intelligence by two and her Wisdom by one, was an attempt to allow her access to magic. Even the random rabbits that he had met in ‘Ariel’s Meadow’ were able to reinforce their bodies with mana, and use a ‘Headbutt’ spell.
However, there was a big difference between those little rodents and his adorable vixen: maturity. In the wild, magical-beasts were always adults already, because any baby animal that managed to evolve, would be immediately killed for their mana-core.
Inari had only been a regular red-fox kit a few days prior, and she was far too young to understand anything that complicated. Fortunately, stats were more important than anything else in that world, and Intelligence could increase a creature’s learning speed dramatically.
Michael smiled warmly, while gazing into her eyes and asking her “Can you understand me now?” She just tilted her head to the left, while panting loudly, and wagging her four tails in different directions.
After sighing dramatically, he grumbled “Of course you can’t… Ugh, even I took six months before I started speaking, and I’m a fucking Human. Hmmm, I did have a cat that could talk once, but she could only scream ‘Help!’ and ‘No!’ Well, whatever, let’s just go tiger-hunting.”
The reason why it was so rare for both humanoids and magical-beasts to make it past level-ten, was obviously due to the fact that they didn’t respawn. Death was relatively permanent for the majority of creatures, though not all; past a certain point, there were spells and techniques to resurrect others or themselves, but that was a realm of power that the majority of people never had the chance to reach or even know about.
Michael complained “Fuck my life; it’s probably gonna take a few days to reach level-ten.” Only an aberration like Sarah wouldn’t think that he was completely insane.
He wasn’t wrong, but according to his gaming-knowledge, the first twenty levels could usually be gained in less than a day. However, he had also played ‘RPGs’ on ‘hardcore’ difficulty, where his character would be deleted if he died.
Not only was he terrible at them, he also hated them with a passion, and preferred the easier ones. Under such harsh conditions, he would have already ‘lost’ the moment he was transported into that strange and magical world.
Fortunately, Michael’s only punishment for death, was the horrible, agonizing pain that typically accompanied it. The ‘NPCs’ on the other hand, needed to be excessively cautious and careful, slowly and steadily training, then eventually starting to hunt in groups.
That was also one of the biggest advantages that the ‘Player’ had. Anyone could ‘Solo’ monsters or other people, and receive the full amount of experience from each kill.
Parties however, were slightly different from the equal distribution that a Player and their Companions shared. The leader received thirty-percent, and the others would automatically split forty-percent, and then another thirty-percent would simply be lost.
As for Raids, which consisted of ten to forty people, they would lose half of the experience gained by the group. Armies were the absolute worst, and only a tenth was actually retained.
Under such harsh conditions, it wasn’t that strange for most adventurers, soldiers, and just about anyone else, to require massive amounts of time and effort, in order to ‘safely’ raise their levels. There was also another issue, which Michael had just discovered after casually throwing his Arcane Orb at a level-one, rank-G, ‘Golden-Ringed Lemur.’
When the relatively small creature died, he sighed and muttered “Figured as much…” Once Inari completely devoured the monkey, including its mana-core, a ‘+1 Exp’ popped-up above her head. He smirked and said “So there’s a five-level experience barrier, huh? Otherwise, wouldn’t there be a bunch of crazy overpowered assholes, constantly going around the starting zone and farming all the noobs? There would be no reason for NPCs to risk their lives, fighting against powerful enemies, because they could just head over to a field full of bunnies and go on a grinding-spree.”