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After killing their 9th lizardman for the day, Randidly was rather pleased. Almost enough to return back to camp. Most of the bodies were intact, and they hadn’t encountered anything but lizardmen. Although there had been a couple times that they had to flee, taking the freshly killed bodies, as patrols passed by.

But it had been fruitful for him. 2 Levels in Spear Mastery, 1 in Phantom Thrust, 1 in Footwork of the Spear Phantom, 2 in Eyes of the Spear Phantom, 1 in Fighting Proficiency, 3 in Block, 1 in Haste, 1 in Sweep, 3 in Roundhouse Kick, 2 in Edge of Decay, and 4 in Empower.

Entangling Roots, Root Manipulation, and Mana Shield Rose 1 level, while Fireball rose 5.

Meditation, Equip, and First Aid each increased a level, but the big gainer for the day was Pathfinding, which rose 7 levels.

Randidly supposed they covered a lot of ground, but this was a bit ridiculous. Still, he wasn’t complaining.

“Ghosthound, what is your agility at?” Decklan asked timidly. Randidly saw Lyra roll her eyes at the term, and felt slightly awkward. It wasn’t his fault he had inherited a weird last name from his father’s family.

Randidly considered lying, but decided it wasn’t worth it. “46, plus a few bonuses. Why?”

Decklan shook his head wonderingly. “My agility reached 39 with that last level. But it’s basically my only stat that high above 20. Still, you seem… quick. Impossibly quick. Those few points sure mean a lot.”

“No… I suspect it’s not that.” Randidly said simply.

Decklan frowned. “Then what is-”

“Ugh, It’s the skills, obviously.” Lyra interjected. “Doggy, you have a skill to speed up your movements, right?”

A vein in Randidly’s forehead twitched. “...are you talking to me?”

“Of course I am! Now answer, I’m making a point about how beautiful and farsighted you are.”

Slightly confused by her statement, Randidly said. “...yes actually, two of them.”

“Uh huh, and you have other passive physical skills right? Physical fitness? Probably spear mastery?”

“...Yes.”

“And what level are those?”

Randidly paused, considering. “...Around 30.”

Lyra nodded sagely, now pointing at Decklan. “No one else is as advanced as the doggy, not even Sam, so it’s hard to tell, but this is where skills really start to shine. Taking a class gives you fast growth, but he has top end utility. Your stats might be similar, but he will have 4 skills enhancing his stats at all times. The conversion isn’t clear, but it adds up”

Decklan nodded thoughtful, and Lyra extended a hand towards Randidly, saying the words he was beginning to dread. “Mana Potion.”

Sighing, Randidly sat down on the ground, gathering the material and crafting more potions. He went for enhanced versions, so he got another skill level in Potion Making and Enhance.

“You… aren’t wrong.” Decklan said slowly. “But we also receive class related skills every 10 levels. We have tried a couple times already, and it doesn’t look like these are skills you can learn through practice. You can get variants, sure-”

Randidly continued t make potions, tuning the two of them out. Academically, he was interested in Classes, but for now, he wanted to find out how long he could survive without one. Even if he waited too long, he wouldn’t have a chance to regret it; he would simply die.

But halfway through the 7th mana potion, he froze. It had been a good thing that he had sat on the ground for this. Otherwise he wouldn’t have felt it coming.

Randidly instantly activated Haste and Empower, pushing Decklan to the side and wrapping his arm around Lyra’s waist, leaping across the dune.

The sand underneath where Randidly had been sitting exploded, a huge centipede, rippling outward, its legs making a vicious chittering, grinding noise that set your teeth on edge. It screeched and shot towards Decklan.

“Excuse me, but the first dance is mine.”

Roots burst out the ground, wrapping around the Centipede’s trunk, but it just ripped through them after a slight struggle. But that moment was enough for Randidly to cover the distance to the centipede, and hit it with an Empowered Phantom Assault.

Randidly’s brow furrowed as most of his blows skittered off its chitinous shell, and even the direct attacks barely cracked it. He would need a few direct hits to get through. The centipede spun, its body smashing outwards, and Randidly easily dodged it, landing on its back. Its head twisted and smashed towards him, but was met by a fireball in the face.

While it was hissing in pain, Randidly looked at Decklan. “Aim for the legs. When it’s looking at me, get close and try and cut them off. Watch out for when its body spins.”

“It’s legs…?” Decklan’s eyes were confused. “But there are so many. Cutting off a few-”

“I’m not talking about a few,” Randidly said grimly, dodging out of the way of another diving bite. Then the head twisted and spat acid at him. He spun his spear in a Spear Deflect, and knocked away most of it, but some still landed on him. Randidly grimaced.

Why always acid…?

“I’m talking about them all,” Randidly finished grimly. “It’s gonna take a while to wear down its health. And I feel like this will finally shut up Sam about his needing new materials. And you…”

He spared Lyra a glance. She just smiled cheerily and waved at him. “....well, don’t do anything stupid.”

The centipede screeched and attacked. Randidly spread his hands wide, roots springing out of the ground to seal its movements, fire in his hands to cause it pain. A small smile played across his lips.

This was what he lived for now, this thrill.

Carefully keeping an eye on his stamina and mana levels, Randidly rushed forward, dodging closer. The centipede could spit acid and writhe its powerful body, but it couldn’t do much else.

Decklan stayed to the side and would rush in, severing one or two legs with his blades, then hurry away. If the centipede noticed this, Randidly hit in the mouth with a blast of fire, earning its ire.

The battle dragged on, minutes crawling passed. Minutes clumped together, until the total time they were fighting neared an hour and a half. Randidly continued to swallow potion after potion, maintaining a reasonable condition.

Every few minutes Decklan would stop and take a break, his chest heaving. Only after his stamina recovered did he rejoin the battle.

There were several large holes on the Centipede’s torso now, ichor oozing out. It’s hisses became more and more wrathful, however, as fury at its attackers overwhelmed any self-preservation instincts.

Eventually, after a battle so long that even Randidly was reaching the end of his potion fueled stamina, the creature swayed and fell, one of Lyra’s birds perched on its head.

Randidly collapsed. 2 whole levels of Physical Fitness, 1 of Spear Deflect, another 2 in Fireball, 2 in Haste and Empower, 1 in Running.

Just enough PP to finally finish off The Monster Slayer Path.

Congratulations! You have completed the The Monster Slayer Path! +10 stat(s) +5 to Health Regen, Mana Regen, and Stamina Regen. +.5 Health, Mana, and Stamina Regen per level. Although the path before you is long, you cannot stop. You can only drink the blood and bath in the gore. You may emerge changed, but you at least you will be alive.

A growth rate that includes regen stats…? Although this wouldn’t help him currently, the other bonuses were enough of a boost to his current abilities that he didn’t mind. It was a good haul. Randidly slowly got to his feet and grimaced, looking at the huge body.

Annoyingly, it looked like most of these points would go into Strength just so he could bring the thing back.

****

It started as a low noise, pretty similar to the usual bustle of activity at the Newbie Village, which people had begun calling Donnyton, a grunting and dragging. But it had a strange way of spreading. As if everything nearby the source of the noise went quiet.

All in all, it was extremely annoying to Daniel, who was working out schedules for the Dungeon. They had split their now almost 200 strong Classers into 20 person groups, putting veterans with some fresh blood, sending them into the Dungeon for tempering, as most of the nearby monsters had been pushed back by their expansion.

There had been a few casualties, which made Daniel regretful, but it was hard to take it too much to heart; so many people had died since the System came to this world, and more would die tomorrow. That was just the way the world worked.

And why this was necessary; they needed to gain strength to survive.

Now though, Daniel was stuck with the annoying task of scheduling it all. Theoretically, they could have it in use almost constantly, except for the 24 hour cooldown. But they would need more people for that. So for now...

Daniel looked up. Finally, the strange dragging reached the front of the village, and everything else seemed to have fallen completely silent. Annoyed, he walked out to see what all the lack of fuss was about.

The sight made Daniel just as speechless as the rest of them.

Randidly, walked forward, a veritable Atlas, carrying a huge, centipede body on its shoulders. He appeared to have looped it several times around himself, so he could carry a larger portion. The body of it was thicker than most men’s torsos, and stretched for 30 meters. The tail dragged on for about 20 of those, the rest on Randidly’s shoulders, a exhausted Decklan pushing from the back.

A lovely girl with blonde hair appeared to be napping on the middle section of that thing’s back, heedless.

Randidly looked at them all and grunted. “Dozer, give me a hand; Decklan isn’t pulling his weight.”

The joke earned a few nervous chuckles from the crowd, and Dozer walked forward, gesturing for several people to follow. Dozer went to the middle of the body and lifted. Immediately his expression changed. He shifted his stance and picked up again, taking the weight onto his shoulders. Two of Dozer’s men nervously approached the lovely girl, unsure of whether to help or leave her alone, but her eyes snapped open and she snorted.

Hopping off the Centipede, she blew a kiss at Randidly. “It’s been fun. Let’s play again, Doggy~. You take me the most interesting places.” Then she walked away.

As Dozer’s men came to the centipede, Decklan collapsed, grateful.

Randidly grunted again and began walking. “Taking this to Sam’s. Let’s see him complain about materials after I drop this on his fucking doorstep.”

Almost all of Dozer’s men holding the Centipede gulped and began to sweat.

It wasn’t a far walk, but…

But more importantly, how the hell far did you bring this thing, all by yourself?

Daniel could hear it too. The whispers.

Ghosthound… Ghosthound…

That’s the Ghosthound.

Slowly, those individuals who were new to the town looked on with bright, awestruck eyes.

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