IS, V1, Chapter 6: Hunting

Mana is a lot like radiation on steroids, except it wouldn’t simply mutate DNA at random. It would typically force a controlled evolution, altering specific aspects of a creature until it actually transforms into something more powerful or intelligent.

Magical Beasts, are what happens when a normal animal is transmogrified into a more ferocious killing machine. In the earlier stages, a wolf would become stronger, faster, more agile, and still retain its natural form and behaviors.

At that point it can either keep developing its body in a way that would make pack hunting unnecessary, or take the alternate path.

When that same pack of wolves makes a conscious effort to develop a basic language, that’s usually the starting point for the other type of transformation. They tend to become more humanoid depending on the density of ambient mana.

Beast Races included dwarves and humans in that world, although they didn’t know it themselves. Originally they were various types of apes, large and small, but after being exposed to mana… well, you get the point.

In low mana environments, animals will retain their original genetic structure. In medium density, they usually evolve into beast races which are very similar to humans, Cat Tribe only have the ears, tail, and fingernails from their ancestors.

A place with high mana density, like the outskirts of Lorthon Forest, would create humanoid rats. Retaining their original form for the most part, but becoming much larger and gaining the ability to speak, use tools, develop social structures, have complex emotions and pretty much everything else.

I wasn’t certain back then, but I had assumed that the main source of mana was either deep within the crust, or at the planets core. It was the latter but I didn’t verify that fact until much, much later.

The sun was constantly bombarding the planet with mana, along with all the normal solar radiation. However, it wasn’t nearly as much as the Earth was pumping out by itself.

The planet had a super-massive mana pool that was as dense as the physics in that reality would allow. Rather than exploding from the pressure, someone or something gave it a relief valve.

A Mana Well is essentially a gigantic wire made of crystallized mana, that connects the surface to the core. Some ancient civilization built giant pyramid shaped devices that tap directly into that nearly infinite pseudo energy supply.

Using those pyramids, they could perform magic on a scale that was extraordinarily dangerous and usually unnecessary. Fortunately, most of them were impossible to access and the ones that weren’t, only cast simple spells that couldn’t be altered.

A portal to the surface a few kilometers away was relatively safe, but if you opened one up right next to a black hole… not so much. I wanted them to stop playing around with that potential doomsday device as soon as possible.

Plants can feed off of mana and use it to grow much larger than normally possible and at an extremely accelerated pace. It’s rare, but they can develop sentience and higher cognitive functions.

A tree that can use nature or water magic can literally mold and shape its body however it wants, within reason. Once it starts walking around, then it’s called a Treant.

Dryads are the epitome of a plant’s evolution, they usually take a humanoid shape but their main trait is their mastery of nature and water magic. They’re typically considered nature spirits by elves, but most other races just think they’re dangerous monsters.

The origin of the ridiculous and mysterious creatures known as Slimes. Ever wonder what might happen if you pumped an amoeba or other similar unicellular organism full of mana? They mutate into potentially gigantic monstrosities that use water magic to more efficiently devour their victims.

Pathogens were a complete mystery to the people of that world. They knew what diseases and illnesses were, just not what was causing them. The best they had were some herbal remedies that occasionally worked, and healing magic to keep the person alive while their immune system fought the infection.

It didn’t matter how powerful you were, if you had no idea what was killing you. Just like everything else in that world, viruses, bacteria, fungi, prions, and parasites were affected by mana.

Curse is a very vague term which is often used to describe any kind of mana infused infectious disease or mana related ailment. Even witches and necromancers who could cast them, had no idea how they actually worked.

The one that was affecting Ethir was some kind of mutated skin parasite that prevented him from expanding his mana pool. I basically poisoned them using some blood magic, but it was a pretty weak curse.

Rae’s vampirism was a completely different story. If she had gotten it a few years later, after I had time to build up my mana pool… well, I did manage to reverse the damage to her brain. I neutralized the virus a few years afterward, but her body was already transmogrified.

Curses are actually the most common and extreme method of evolution. A Chimera is a creature that has multiple, different types of DNA within one functioning body.

An example are centaurs, which have a human’s upper body, attached at the waist to where a horse’s neck would normally be. The original centaur was probably a zygote that was infected by a mana infused virus which carried human DNA.

When that first one was born, it probably mated with some regular horses and thus a whole species of disgusting horse people were created. They’re kind of neat in theory… but they’re all nudists and exhibitionists.

They will have sex with anyone or anything at anytime, it’s pretty gross. They literally can’t wipe their own asses, not that they would, even if they could.

One time I had a centaur girlfriend… nope. Just never date a centaur. I was a minotaur at the time and we had been friends since childhood. The story ended with her leaving me for a unicorn. He wasn’t even a person! Just a damn horse with a horn coming out of its head!

Anyway, dragons… they’re usually much more faithful. Ah, so basically, dragons are usually mutated dinosaurs. In that world there was no huge extinction event or anything like that, well there were plenty of cataclysms and apocalypses. Mana was capable of destruction, but also creation, so regardless of how much was destroyed, very little was ever really lost.

Finally, elves are demons… or at least they were. In areas of ridiculously high mana density, only the most ferocious and demonic creatures can survive. Those monsters of incredible power can be as small as a virus or as large as the entire area around the mana well.

They’re called demons, and some of them are even humanoid. They are literally a physical manifestation of that mana well. Only one humanoid can be created per location, for some mysterious reason that really didn’t matter.

Every type of elf was created that way, although their progenitors forms would have been radically different from how the races currently appeared. They were unaging and practically immortal beings that interbred with various humanoids.

Most elves did age, just very slowly compared to other races. Green elves, or Orcs, typically had lifespans very similar to humans. However, High Elves could live for thousands of years… assuming they could avoid getting killed for that long.

Blood elves and even normal vampires didn’t age, but they typically lost more and more of their original appearance as time went on. Their minds became warped as well, which made their form of immortality very unappealing to most people.

I had no idea what the hell I was back then, but I really should have been able to guess. The rest of that long list of random mana related nonsense was information I had pieced together by reading several, crudely handwritten text books.

After my little chat with Nadja, she let us stay in one of the palace’s guest rooms. It was much more comfortable than that filthy hovel from before, but still kind of unimpressive.

Raelin was able to completely heal all of Ethir’s wounds in less than 30 minutes, he literally passed out when she touched his shoulder. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because he was exhausted… but with him unconscious, the healing spell was actually much easier to channel.

Me and Rae slept on the bed that could probably fit 4 Rat Tribe. While Ethir remained asleep on the sofa until we all woke up in the morning. That’s when the three of us took a trip to the royal library… and when I discovered that Rae couldn’t read.

The books were all written in the native language of Lorthon Forest, which she spoke fluently. It never really came up before, since we lived in a cave for seven years, but I did feel a little awkward reading poorly written textbooks to her.

Ethir didn’t speak, but I could tell that he was an avid reader. He looked so happy when he was reading that bestiary of the Lorthon Forest. However, there was no way in hell I was going to take those two with me on my hunting expedition.

It was never necessary before, but I grabbed a small glass pitcher from the palace kitchen and filled it with my blood. It was a decent amount, so I was feeling pretty weak afterwards.

Since a person’s blood is rich with their mana, losing large quantities is extremely dangerous for even a powerful healer. However, I closed up the wound before I was about to pass out and then quickly lowered the temperature of the freshly squeezed red liquid until it was frozen into a large bloodsicle.

Rae was always by my side and I would get a pleasant motherly feeling whenever I fed her directly from my wrist. Well, I was the one who felt like a mother… but we also didn’t have glasses or cups.

If you use fire and water magic to sterilize and smooth the stone floor of a cave, then use some earth magic to elevate it a bit. Dishes tend to become irrelevant and I was pretty lazy.

After returning to the library where the two of them were waiting patiently for my return, I placed the pitcher on the table in front of her and said “The two of you aren’t coming with me.” in a slightly cold voice.

Rae had a shocked expression as she yelled “What do you mean I’m not coming with you!? What kind of mother would let her seven year old child go on some dangerous hunting trip by himself?!” in an angry voice.

I sighed and said “Calm down, I won’t be gone for very long. Besides, how would you be able to help me if the second you take a step outside, you burst into flames?” in a serious voice.

Of course, she didn’t know that all a vampire had to do to move around in the daytime was protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation. If she worse some plate armor, or possibly just some thick clothing that completely covered her skin and eyes, she would have been able to walk around in a desert without getting deep fried.

Actually, depending on the latitude or cloud cover, she could probably just put on some sunscreen and be perfectly fine. Yet another important and useful piece of technology that I had to add to my ever increasing list.

She was wearing a defeated expression as she said “It’s not fair… what am I supposed to do while I wait for you to come back?” in a whiny voice, like a spoiled child who was being punished for the first time.

I pointed to the glass and said “Keep that frozen, until you get thirsty. If you run out before I return…” in a stern voice, then looked at Ethir. I said “His blood should be very similar to mine, but you would have to drink A LOT more of it to get the same effect. Ethir, I know this might be a little strange, but you should probably start draining a decent amount of your blood each day and have at least a pitcher or so ready beforehand.” in a slightly worried voice, because I knew that if Rae drank from his body directly… she wouldn’t be able to stop until he had nothing left.

Rae was blushing for some strange reason, then said “I… I’ve never drank anyone else’s blood before… are you sure it’s OK?” in a nervous voice while fidgeting in her seat.

I made a very confused expression as I said “Umm, it should be fine? Aside from that, maybe Ethir could teach you to read? Ah, but he would probably have to speak for that… well, you could teach him magic if you wanted to. There probably isn’t anything Nadja can do that you can’t, but she might know a few tricks of the trade that I just never got around to teaching you.” in a slightly worried voice, it felt like leaving your kids with a babysitter who you just met.

After Ethir nodded in agreement with my suggestion to learn magic from her, Rae stood up and hugged me tightly. Then she kissed me on the cheek and said “I love you and I know I probably don’t have to say this but… please come back safely.” in a worried, motherly voice.

I smiled at her and said “I love you too… mother.” in a serious tone, I found it difficult not calling her Raelin or Rae. Then I left the room while saying “I’ll be back in a week.” in a reassuring voice.

My next stop was Nadja’s throne room, where she was literally sleeping. She obviously didn’t have much to do on a daily basis, but that day was about to get particularly busy.

There was no way I could possibly do what needed to be done by myself. To keep 100,000 very small people, well fed for a day, it would take at least 1 pound of food per person. If it was magical beast meat, then they probably wouldn’t have to eat as much of it to get the same effect.

I needed a huge team of butchers, leather-workers, hunters and enough people to do the heavy lifting. There simply were no frost mages in the city, but mana rich animal meat takes a lot longer to spoil, so they weren’t required.

Thankfully I didn’t have to invent the wheel or axle, since that would be pretty tedious and I didn’t have enough time. They had plenty of wagons already, which were pulled by oxen or horses. Well, they looked like horses and oxen, but at least 50% larger than usual, which was very convenient.

We didn’t have to pack any feed for the animals because their main source of nutrition was literally tree bark. It was definitely strange watching them biting chunks out of the magically enhanced trees whenever we stopped to rest.

Nadja quickly put together a caravan of 50 very large wagons and close to 300 Rat Tribe who had at least some experience related to what I needed. By the end of the day I was riding in the back of the leading vehicle, which was empty except for me and the driver, and traveling through the rather large portal for the first time.

There was a 100 meter equilateral triangle engraved into the center of the ground within the giant hollow pyramid. As it activated the entire space within the pyramid was illuminated by a huge magical beam of light that concentrated like a laser onto that triangle.

It didn’t particularly feel like anything at all. The instant the wagon entered the beam, we were suddenly on the surface, still traveling at the same speed and in the same direction.

I don’t trust teleportation that disintegrates your body and then transports it at the speed of light, then reintegrates it into a different location. A magical portal literally breaks the laws of physics and moves the matter and/or energy instantaneously.

Well, I suppose it wasn’t really against their laws of physics, since it did happen. However, the amount of mana required was far more than even the most powerful dragon or demon could possibly muster within their own body. Only a mana well had that kind of ridiculous potential.

There was a huge triangular clearing the size of the Black Mithril pyramid around the beam of light our caravan was emerging from. To the north I could see what looked like a small village through the moderately spaced out trees. There was also the sound of running water, but we needed to go east and didn’t have time to sightsee.

It was already getting pretty dark, so we began making camp in the clearing. It was the only peaceful sleep we would be getting for the next week.

The portal on the surface was always active, but only glowed dimly in some sort of power saving mode, until someone unlocked it with a verbal command. Well, the password was essentially just “Activate.” in pretty much any language. It was mainly to keep out any magical beasts that might happen by, although there weren’t many in the outskirts of Lorthon.

I slept on the uncomfortable wagon bench, but everyone else seemed to have brought tents and sleeping mats. At least there didn’t seem to be mosquitoes, and the temperature was very warm, so overall it was pretty nice.

As long as you don’t include the stench of 300 dirty rat people who didn’t seem to understand the concept of bathing. Accompanied by the 100 or so giant oxen and horses who were fertilizing the grass less than a hundred meters away from me.

There was one dirt road that went east and it was wide enough for multiple carts to travel side by side through. It would prevent us from being able to turn around as easily, but it was still safer than having a huge single line that I couldn’t possibly protect.

Spread throughout the caravan were at least 30 of Nadja’s strongest and most loyal royal guards. I didn’t have much faith in them though, since none of them had ever even fought a magical beast before.

Every few hours we would stop to let the horses and oxen rest for a while. During that time, the hunters would spread out and search for some deer, foxes, rabbits, birds, pretty much all the normal forest animals that were edible.

We had preserved food supplies with us, but it was still better to save them for emergencies. My job was to stay with the caravan, so I felt bad bumming my meals off of them. They didn’t seem to mind though, since they would be useless once we traveled farther east.

I never mentioned it to Rae and Ethir, because it was a little creepy, but my mark on their bodies was a link that I could use to monitor their situation from pretty much anywhere. Whenever I became bored I would peek in on them and make sure they weren’t in trouble.

In the worst case scenario, I could channel some of my mana into their bodies… but that was only for extreme emergencies. Since a tiny lapse of concentration during the transfer could tear a gaping hole in their mana pool, which would most likely be fatal.

For two whole days we traveled like that, and it was pretty peaceful. During the nights several of the royal guards would keep watch at a time, but I just slept. If something was about to happen, I would have sensed it one way or the other, so there was no point in losing sleep.

In the middle of the next day, we had entered the second ring of Lorthon and everyone immediately noticed the dramatic change in scenery. However, I could feel it… smell it in the air, the mana density was what I would consider ultrahigh.

The trees had jumped from an average of 30 meters up to 100m and we could hear loud animal cries in the distance. It was the middle of the day but the trees were almost completely blocking out the sun.

I was constantly scanning our surroundings. My eyesight and hearing were excellent in that body. I’ve been blind and deaf before… several times, so I knew just how lucky I was to have sharp senses.

There was more to it than that though, I noticed it before the earthquake happened and again when I was in front of that dragon. My tail was tingling, like it was losing circulation… and it wasn’t the first time I experienced that feeling that came afterwards. The surge of adrenaline, accompanied by that unconscious notion of imminent danger, I knew that something was coming.

I jumped down off of the wagon, my body was almost completely healed and I was actually looking forward to some exercise. The ground was rumbling violently and even though no one could see through the thick forest, we could hear something coming from the south.

The guards and hunters were on high alert but everyone, aside from me, was terrified. Perhaps they were having flashbacks to that whole dragon incident that happened less than 2 months ago, but even if they weren’t, knowing something huge is coming to kill you is never a fun experience.

It was moving fast, very fast, but before we could see what it was, we noticed something strange up in the trees. The hunters were already aiming their bows in preparation to fire, when I realized what they were and yelled “Hold your fire!” in a loud voice.

Squirrels, hundreds of them, and they were quickly jumping from tree to tree towards us. A beast tribe, and judging from their expressions filled with fear and desperation, they weren’t hostile.

Ok so maybe I am a little biased towards cute fluffy humanoid creatures, but my instincts told me that they were weak and possibly friendly. They didn’t speak a language that I could understand, but there are plenty of communication methods other than the basic verbal ones.

I floated up into the air so that they could clearly see me, then stared into their leader’s eyes… well, he was the one in front of the rest. First I pointed at him, then pointed towards the caravan, then at myself and finally towards the direction they were fleeing from.

If they were natives of the region, then they would probably know where the largest predators were. I seemed to get the message across, because after that he nodded and then descended towards the caravan, along with the rest of them.

On average they were about 150 cm tall, but they looked a lot bigger than that because of their huge fluffy tails. Most of the group consisted of small children, but they were just as fast as their parents.

They didn’t wear clothes, but there wasn’t really much to see with all the fur covering their bodies. Since they developed in an area with such dense mana, they had even less humanoid features than the Rat Tribe.

As I lowered my body toward the ground I yelled “Don’t be rude to our new friends! I’m going to scout ahead and kill whatever the hell is making all this noise!” in an angry voice while looking down at the caravan, that was now full of squirrels.

After I increased my altitude until I was above the treetops, it was immediately in sight. I was wondering what kind of animal it was going to be, but I never expected to find one of those things so close to the outskirts of Lorthon.

A gigantic Oak treant was a mile away and briskly walking towards me. It was at least 200 meters tall and its general body structure was similar to a gigantic spider, with a small body and extremely long legs.

It had no eyes or even a mouth, but it was still pretty imposing. I was pretty disappointed, since I expected to find some giant slab of meat and then quickly return to Black Mithril in under a week.

Well, it was an interesting creature but not much of a challenge if you know its three main weaknesses. The first one is obviously fire, but since we were in a forest, that was not the wisest weapon to use.

After landing on the top of its torso, I knelt down, placed my hands on the bark and then began channeling. From what I knew about Lorthon, the general temperature of the region was never below freezing.

I didn’t have to freeze the whole thing solid, I didn’t even have to kill it, just slow it down for a while. In less than a minute, the huge treant was completely stopped and its body was drooping down below the normal trees.

At about -40 degrees fahrenheit a maple tree can explode from the frozen sap, it would take way too much effort to make that giant Oak treant anywhere close to that cold. I only had to chill its spider like abdomen a little below freezing and it could no longer control water magic, its main source of movement.

However, a few seconds after it stopped I started to hear the familiar sound of the fourth weakness that I completely forgot about. Termites, gigantic termites, and there were thousands of them, so I decided to get the hell out of there.

As I was flying back under the treeline to make sure they couldn’t see me, I looked back and saw flying termites the size of small helicopters swarming around the treant’s egg shaped body. I did not want to be anywhere near that cataclysmic termite infestation.

It only took a minute to reunite with my caravan and they could all hear the loud popping sounds behind me. I returned to my seat and yelled “Let’s get moving! We need to find food and get back home as soon as possible!” in an irritated voice.

Surprisingly enough, some of the Rat Tribe could actually understand and communicate with the squirrels. Apparently, their original language was very similar and some of them still spoke it.

One of the royal guards explained to me their situation and it was pretty similar to what I predicted. They lived about 100 miles to the south in a patch of great oak trees that one day started transforming into treants.

It was fine for a while, but eventually a huge swarm of giant insects began devouring them. The squirrels were getting eaten as well, so they fled along with some of the treants.

Basically, they were completely useless and had no information that would help us find food. At least they were cute and fluffy? They were all exhausted from running/climbing for so long, so they rode with us in the wagons for a while.

That night, I was finally able to eat magical beast meat. It tasted like chicken… most likely because it was basically a giant rooster. There was something more to it though, an extra element that a normal chicken just doesn’t have.

Even though everything in that world was bathing in mana to some degree, it was barely noticeable in the fish, pigs and chickens I had eaten up until that point.

Everyone in that world could sense mana, some more than others. Elves could hear it, wolf tribes could smell it, mermaids could feel it, owl tribe could see it, but pretty much everyone could taste it.

It wasn’t sweet, sour, bitter, salty, savory or even fatty, but a seventh taste. I had been to magical worlds before, but never experienced anything like that.

Although, I could have just forgotten about it, since most of my memories from past lives were either repressed or simply nonexistent. However, after that incredible sensation… I couldn’t imagine ever being able to forget.

Every creature in that world was genetically programmed to crave mana, but some of us were more strongly drawn towards it than others. It was addictive and incredibly dangerous in so many ways, but definitely worth it.

They attacked at around midnight, it wasn’t like I had a clock so lets just say the middle of the night. It was a flock of 2 meter tall, 500 lb chickens, which is much more terrifying than it sounds.

I woke up several minutes before I heard a loud *Clucking* to the north. We were camped out in a small clearing along the road, just big enough for them to set up their tents and start a few fires.

Most of the squirrel tribe was still sleeping soundly in the wagons behind me, so I didn’t use my obnoxiously loud wind magic to fly over and investigate. I quietly climbed down and briskly walked towards the edge of the clearing.

It was a distraction, I immediately yelled “We’re under attack!” accompanied by me tossing a fireball into the sky that created an extremely loud noise while illuminating the entire clearing. I could hear screams and loud squeaks coming from the southern side.

Within moments everyone was awake, but we were in a desperate situation. There were only three of the giant cluckers directly in front of me, about 10 to the left and 20 to the right. However, I had no idea of their numbers behind the caravan that was obscuring my view.

Magical beasts are a lot like mages who usually can’t use magic, but have incredibly powerful physical abilities. Which meant that I couldn’t attack their internal organs with water magic, or crush their lungs with wind.

Their bright orange eyes glowed fiercely as the three charged towards me. I reached into my pockets and pulled out two handfuls of serrated and sharpened steel arrowheads.

Using some simple earth magic it was easy to launch them like bullets, or maybe more like shuriken, one per eye. With their eyes and brains shredded, they were pretty much dead so I moved on to deal with the right.

The 7 royal guards were actually putting up a decent fight. One of the chickens was laying on the ground, bleeding out from a spear to the chest. However, they were still out numbered and individually weaker so I had to quickly give them some help and move on.

I still had a few more arrowheads so I only used aimed at one eye per chicken that time, 5 died instantly, the rest were wounded and finished off quickly by the rats. I yelled “Help out the western front! I need to reinforce the south!” in loud enough voice for them to hear me, over the sound of my wind magic.

Rather than hovering gently, I pretty much just catapulted my body at an arc with the force and noise of a jet engine. There wasn’t enough time for comfort or safety, because I already had an idea of what I would be seeing.

The squirrels were awake, but too terrified to do anything except cower in the wagons. If there were trees close to them, they would have been gone a long time ago.

I heard a loud roar *Cock-A-Doodle-Doo* and witnessed a rooster the size of a T-Rex pecking a hole through a giant ox, throwing it into the air and then swallowing it whole.

At least half of the horses and oxen, along with most of the Rat Tribe in the south were either wounded or just completely devoured. The royal guards were no where to be seen but there was still a hunter or two who were shooting arrows at the gigantic monstrosity.

The question I had asked myself was “How the fuck did I not notice something that big?” but then I realized the problem. I was sick, probably some kind of parasite that was dulling my senses dramatically.

That was the most dangerous aspect of such a mana rich environment. While you’re struggling to fight some ridiculously large creature, something much more powerful is attached to your body, or swimming through your bloodstream.

If I was infected, then everyone else was probably much worse. I was out of arrowheads, and they probably wouldn’t have done the job anyway, so I used something a little bit bigger.

As I fell towards the chicken, it noticed me and looked up. Then I launched myself again, but this time while making a diving pose, cat like fingernails first, spinning violently and drilling my way through its left eyeball.

Imagine being under a waterfall of warm olive oil, while having your fingernails torn off as you’re trying to do a handstand. Now imagine that one second earlier you were riding a roller coaster as it was twisting around and traveling at 100 mph.

As your fingers, hands, arms and shoulders break, you slam your skull into the ground so hard that it pierces through. Then you dive, with a massive concussion, into a giant globe of gelatin and accidentally inhale some thick gooey unidentified fluid.

That was basically what happened, except with a bit more eye juice, eye socket bone, brain juice and brain matter. I was so sick at the time that I actually expected that to work out well for me.

Pain, I was in so much of it that my mind simply turned the sensation off. It was completely disgusting and I was suffocating as well. However, I was inside of the beast, which was definitely dead by that point.

Using my broken arms and completely fine legs, I slowly climbed my way out of its eye-hole. With water magic I was able to clear the fluid from my lungs, then I inhaled a breath of… relatively fresh air.

My vision was hazy, but it looked like there were no enemies left. I could feel some massive internal bleeding and possibly damage to multiple vital organs.

It was very likely that when I closed my eyes, I would never open them again in that world. I wasn’t going to die without at least tasting my prey.

After falling out of its eye socket a few meters to the ground, I managed to stand up and make my way over to his abdomen. Since he fell over on his side, his gigantic breast and gut was easily accessible.

There was a short sword laying on the ground, with a rat’s severed hand still clutching it tightly. My arms were far too gimpy to actually be of any use, but even without moving my body I could still use most types of magic.

With every second that I spent gutting him, I could feel the end approaching. Finally, I was able to remove his liver, which was about the size and weight of the other over-sized chickens.

There was no time for cooking, but it would have been nice to saute it with peppers and onions in a sweet teriyaki sauce with mushrooms and possibly white rice. Fortunately, I was far too hungry and tired to care about all the reasons why you shouldn’t eat raw magical chicken liver that was probably infected with super salmonella.

One bite, one mouth full of that savory and delicious, yet moderately bitter, warm, bloody, soft and gooey meat. As I swallowed those three ounces, it hit me, the true flavor of a giant mutated chicken’s mana pool.

My consciousness faded as I fell to the ground while staring up at the beautiful starry sky. The moon seemed to be smiling at me but that was most likely just a hallucination.

When I finally closed my eyes, my body felt cold and I swiftly drifted off to sleep.

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