I know this goes against my own rule of attacking lower level beings only, but I think if I stay flying or at a distance I can pepper it with my spike spells until it dies. If I get below half mana I will just use the mana wings to fly away and fight another day. I quickly think about my mana rainbow, since this is a dark mana jungle cat the opposite element should be the most effective. That would be light mana. I don’t have a light mana offensive spell. Well that whole strategy is worthless then. I will just cycle through my spikes until I see which does the most damage. Stone first.
These thought had flashed through my head quite quickly as I was flying back towards the Shadow Jaguar. I calmly called up a stone spike in my hand and launched it at the cat when I was about 40-50 meters away and then turned and flew in a new direction. I do not want to get any closer than about 20 meters. I do not know how far this thing can jump or how fast it can move, but I need to be careful. Even though I turned onto a new flight direction I made sure to keep the Shadow Jaguar in sight so I could determine the result of the Exploding Stone Spike.
Why that stupid cat actually managed to dodge my spell. Its agility must be through the roof. I must have been luckier than I thought to actually dodge its first attack. Luckily it did not realize that my spells only need to get close. It was peppered with stone shrapnel when the spell exploded near it. I can see a few spots of blood, but no major wounds. That is not going to cut it. I need to hit it directly. I guess I am going to have to launch the spell from closer so it has less time to dodge. While thinking about which type of spike to use next I realized something.
I have two hands. Now this may not sound like that great of an epiphany to you, but it made me realize that I was limiting myself. If I can shoot one spike out of my hand, why can’t I shoot one out of each hand at the same time doubling my effectiveness? I mean in theory that should work fine. No time like the present to test it out. I loop around again and start concentrating on forming one Exploding Lightning Spike in my right hand and one Exploding Ice Spike in my left hand. Soon enough.
You have learned the skill multicast.
Oh it’s a skill. Not now, focus Mark. The lightning and ice spikes form, one in each hand. I make sure to get a little closer to leave less time to dodge. At 25 meters I launch and then climb in my flight. I see the Shadow Jaguar look confused, almost like it can’t decide which way to dodge because this time there are two attacks. Aha, it took too long to decide and both hit. It screamed in pain, and while I did not think it was possible the scream got even louder when they exploded doing more damage. I could see it slump down onto the branch.
Alright now to swoop down and finish it off. I close quickly using my Elemental Mana Wings and land next to it only to be greeted by a swooping paw. I manage to deflect most of the force and tumble not so gracefully backwards. The jungle cat does not move after that. That was close. It seems it was a last ditch effort to take me with it. I decide another ice spike is probably the safest way to make sure it is actually dead this time. I call one up and launch it. No movement even after the explosion, just more blood. Note to self, always make sure the opponent is dead before approaching, or at least treat it as if it was still alive for safeties sake. Observe.
Carcass of Shadow Jaguar Level: 20 Magic: Dark
Should have done that in the first place. It is definitely dead now. I approach it and place the carcass in my inventory. Next up a little light healing. Minor Heal Self. Minor Heal Self. That should do it. I probably should check my status and see what this battle and my training has done for me before I continue. Status Do Not Show Bonuses.
Name: Mark Stefanopolis Race: Magic Chimera Mimic Virus (Elemental Mantis form)
Primary Profession: Sorcerer +10% exp Secondary Profession: Not Assigned
Unassigned Stat Points: 5
Strength: 25 Agility: 25 (29) Intelligence: 15 (30)
Wisdom: 20 (23) Constitution: 15 (34) Perception: 15
MP: 2,450 out of 3000 HP: 330 out of 330
MP/Regen: 230% per hour HP/Regen: 34% per hour
1. Observe Level 8 – 14%
2. Direction Sense Level 4 – 48%
3. Multicast Level 1 – 12%
That made the status screen much easier to read. I can still see what my bonuses do for me, but less clutter is better. I can always add them back later. I notice that I have leveled up and that did not refill my health or mana. I had to heal myself. Good to know that I do not get everything back if I level like in a computer game. I could have been waiting for it during a fight in the future and not having it happen would have left me in a bad situation. Since I earned them I might as well place my unused points. I think with everything that has happened I better use all of the points this level to increase my perception. I am hoping that it will have both immediate and long term benefits. I mentally select the placement and suddenly I feel like I am noticing some items around me for the first time. Over there are some berries I had not spotted previously. In the branches off to the side I sense something watching me.
I quickly cast a double Annihilation Spike and send it in the direction of where I am sensing the watcher. Soon enough I see it impact and start to dissolve leaves, branches and a snake. Observe.
Tree Snake (Green Variant) Level: 14 Magic: Nature/Camouflage
Yep the perception is paying off already. I can see that the snake is on its last legs, or scales, or whatever. I send one more Annihilation Spike at it to put it out of its misery. Time to continue the exploration. I have another 45 minutes to go before I want to turn around. I spend the next forty-five minutes cataloging even more things than before due to my higher perception. When I hit my self-imposed time limit or at least what I feel is very close to the time limit I look around for the highest tree so I can check and see how far I have traveled.
Up I go, I look to the west and I am surprisingly close to the water. I am probably only 15-20 kilometers away from where I see the shore start. That means I have traveled about 50+ kilometers in about two hours. That works out to be 25-30 kilometers an hour for moving through the canopy. That seems really fast. Humans walk at an average speed of about 5 kilometers an hour. If we double that for jogging or running it is still only 10+ kilometers an hour. That means I am about two to three times as fast as an Elemental Mantis than my human form from my previous life.
I should definitely keep checking this as I level up. I bet strength and agility play a large part in how fast I can move. My high constitution is definitely why I am not tired after moving so fast for two hours. I mean I even fought a short battle in the middle of my exploration. In conclusion I think my high travel speed is a mix of my new body and my new stats. It is hard to pin down how much exactly of each contributes to the increase in my abilities.
Now that I have explored it is time to make my way back much slower and paying attention to my surroundings a bit more. I will move in a zig zag pattern to locate more things. What I am especially interested in is the location of the Giant Bee hive. I had a massive sweet tooth in my last life and just the thought of all the honey a Giant Bee could produce is making my mouth water. I do not know if the taste will be the same since I am a mantis now, but I would really like a chance to find out. I want my sugar rush.
Almost two hours pass on my way back before I spot another Giant Bee. I am moving at about half of the speed I did before so that puts this bee in the same general area as I saw the first one. That probably means the hive is relatively close by, or at least I hope so. I start the long boring job of follow that bee. Sniff a flower, wander around, does this thing not have any sort of agenda? I mean, pollinate and move back home little bug, I want my honey. While this thought is flashing through my brain I see that Giant Bee suddenly attack a smaller fluffy animal. What the heck? The bees are not just pollinators but carnivores in this world. What does that mean for my honey? Observe.
Giant Bee Level: 6 Magic: Unknown
Carcass Tree Lemur Level: 2 Magic: Unknown
Okay, not only did it kill and is now transporting animal, it is one I have not seen before. Well if it is carrying it, it must be taking it back to the hive. I decide to keep following the bee. After 15 minutes, I start hearing a buzzing sound that is getting louder as we continue to travel. Yep, that must mean the bee hive is ahead of us. Suddenly I see it in front of me. That is one big hive. All I can think of is the line from Star Wars, IT’S A TRAP.
How the heck am I going to get anything from that bee hive? It looks like there at least 50-100 Giant Bees flying around at any given time outside of the hive. How many are inside the hive are anybody’s guess, but it has to be a lot. They may all be individually much lower in level than me, but I have the horrible image of being swarmed, by ironically enough a bee swarm and dying. While technically this would just force me back into the closest inhabitant virus it is not an experience I want to experience again. Especially since I feel all the pain when I get hurt and dying by a thousand bee stings does not sound pleasant. I should be immune to their poison, but I would still have hundreds of punctures in my body that would kill me.
I am going to have to come up with something good in order to get the honey I want. Is the price I am going to pay worth the aggravation? I think so. I mean not only will I be getting a sweet reward, pun intended, but I will eventually have to deal with infiltration or group battles in the future. This should be a good way to test myself and figure out how to deal with any of these types of situations in the future. The key here is not to rush anything. It is obvious that this hive has been here a while judging from the size so the bees are not going anywhere any time soon. I think I will keep my schedule for the next three days to explore in each direction but try to come up with a single idea no matter how far-fetched or dumb each day to deal with the situation.