After killing the Morenkai, Micheal and Sophia returned back downstairs, to the ground floor of their skyscraper. They then began to hunt, searching for more Golden Morenkai.
The method they used was the same as before. They would lure a few Morenkai in or find some down on the ground floor, sweep them up using Sophia's Fairy Eyes, and set them out hunting.
They would then travel back up to the roof of the building and trace the route of the stray Morenkai, following their trails. They picked the ones that had closer destinations, trying to save as much time as possible. Sophia could sense a general idea of how far away the destination each Morenkai had picked was.
Micheal also had Sophia hide her Fairy Eyes Ability as much as possible when they traveled atop the skyscrapers. With the white mask she wore and her head face down, she was practically unrecognizable.
Over the next several hours, they went on several hunting expeditions that took them all across the central zone. They avoided other teams or interacting with other people as if they were social recluses, going out of their way to prevent contact.
It wasn't that he was afraid. Far from it, with his current physique and powers, Micheal was confident very few people could cause trouble for them.
However, when offered a choice of either putting themselves at risk and potentially alerting the Cluster to their location, or spending a few extra minutes traveling, Micheal went with the safe choice every time.
'You don't become powerful by being a fool.' Brash bravery and arrogance was left for the grand heroes on their grand quests as far as Micheal was concerned. He considered himself a realist and tried to plan his goals around that.
He had considered using his Life Orbs to fly them around as they searched for Golden Morenkai, but ended up canning the idea. There were simply too many variables and too much danger to do that in broad daylight for an extended period of time.
Instead, they continued to lure the Morenkai and send them off hunting for targets.
While Golden Morenkai were not super common, there were usually multiple ones that could be found throughout the Cluster. With their coordinated teamwork, it should be possible to find several to kill throughout the week, possibly even another one today.
Several more hours passed as they searched. Day faded into afternoon, and afternoon faded into evening.
By this point, Micheal had killed a veritable army of Morenkai, his skill unremitting as they cleared out section after section. With his enhanced stats, he had a much easier time avoiding getting tired, allowing them to make fast progress.
The more practice he got in, the better and better he felt about his new body. He was getting used to his much lower stats, his exacting precision as a Grandmaster warrior coming through.
Unfortunately, after all these hours of hunting, they didn't find any more Golden Morenkai.
They found several Abnormals, all of which they killed, all of which ones that dropped a decent number of Points, and a veritable plethora of regular Morenkai. But not a hint of a Golden Morenkai.
'Still, it's better than I thought we would do.' He'd thought, shrugging. Finding a Golden Morenkai on literally their first kill had been a great boon in gaining Sophia's trust, and a very unexpected turn of fortune.
Unlike Shin, Micheal hadn't known of any Golden Morenkai locations, not early on. His memories of the First Layer, after so many years, weren't perfectly clear, but he was certain he had never personally stumbled upon a Golden Morenkai before.
As the evening light faded to night, Micheal and Sophia found themselves in one last battle.
"Hup! Got it!" Micheal's sword flashed out as he smoothly beheaded a freakishly large, lumbering Morenkai with alabaster white skin, an Abnormal. It was very strong, much stronger than a normal Morenkai, but also much slower.
—- Points Obtained —-
The large Morenkai weren't too big a problem. The only issue when it came to killing Abnormals that were large was if they were also fast. Those type of Morenkai were often classified with the ones called 'Monsters' or 'Monster Class,' depending on who you asked.
He could deal with fast ones and he could deal with strong ones. If he met one of the freakishly strong and fast ones, however, it would be a much harder fight. Thankfully, Morenkai like that were usually only found in the Main Cluster.
Black blood spattered out as the large humanoid figure fell to the ground, staining the ground floor of the skyscraper they were in. Micheal dodged all of that smoothly as he turned around, glancing over. The dying evening light combined with the indoor light bulbs to give the ground floor an eerie appearance.
"Hiya!" Sophia was currently fighting against two regular Morenkai at once. Her red hot blade was boosted by the Basic Sword Mastery Ability, making it strong enough to severely damage the regular Morenkai.
As he watched her performance, he noted her weaknesses.
'She leans too much to the side when she strikes, her footwork is only average at best. She has a bad habit of stepping back when she dodges, even if she doesn't need to. She has excellent coordination, however, and reacts very fast.' He mentally memorized all of her faults. If he was going to train her to be one of his allies, he would go all out, holding nothing back.
"Hup!" She mimicked Micheal slightly as she pushed out a long, twisting slash, her blade severing the head of one Morenkai and sinking into the shoulder of the other. She ducked her head under a blow from that Morenkai, jumping forward and stabbing the blade into its skull directly.
Black blood sizzled out, burnt by the heat as she stepped back, letting the corpse fall to the ground.
'Wow. She is really talented.' His eyes flashed.
Even with all of her faults, she showed an incredible level of skill and adaptability. Her Abilities were not the only reason she became an S Ranker. She was also, verifiably, a genius in the making when it came to direct combat.
'She just needs to be taught, and to gain a much stronger physique.' As he thought this, he checked over his status.
— - Status — -
Name: Micheal Care
- Stats -
Strength - 30 -> 31
Endurance - 24
Recovery - 22
Soul - 10
- Abilities - (3/7)
Life Orb Master
Ki Cultivator (Mortal Tier)
Grandmaster Sword Mastery (1/5)
'Hmm? I gained a point in Strength?' His eyes narrowed as he saw this. He focused for a brief moment checking over the condition of his body.
'Ah, I'm still in the early training period of my growth. Making small gains like that isn't unexpected, especially considering how my Life Orb will restore any torn muscles or ligaments.' He nodded.
Enhancing one's base stats became notoriously hard in later Layers. Increasing one's Ki Cultivation or upgrading certain Abilities were some of the best-known ways, though with all the knowledge Micheal had at hand, he had a few more options.
'More than 2,000 Points… That's enough to make the last two sets of Dragon Building Liquid!' He smiled. None of the ingredients he had previously bought could be reused, including the Boiling Dragon Ginseng Booster that he had leftover. Once he cut 3/4ths of it away, the last quarter would quickly, and inexorably, turn bad within the hour. It wasn't designed to exist while damaged.
He then knelt to the ground, looking at the body of the Abnormal for a moment.
'Too big.' He shook his head, tapping on his Low-Tier Spatial Ring.
In it, he had a variety of supplies and objects stored away. He also happened to have a large, green colored body, completely wrapped up in cloth.
The body of an Abnormal Morenkai.
Normally, Morenkai bodies would dissipate after a short period of time if they weren't used for some other purpose. Micheal was able to circumvent this by storing the body in his Spatial Ring.
This particular stored Abnormal was one that had proven rather annoying, able to emit bolts of energy from its hands. They had been forced to use Sophia's Fairy Eyes to beguile it in the end, the constant blasts of electricity forcing Micheal's hand. He had no reliable way to resist such energy attacks at the moment.
The only other easy alternative he had was to use the explosives he had left, but he'd rather save those for when he needed them.
'Not counting today, there are only 3 days left until the weekly Stardust Open Market takes place….' He rubbed his chin, scratching at the stubble that was growing there,
'I doubt the Black Flag Pirates would try to disrupt it, not when they're planning to attack the Godfather Organization soon, assuming our clash with Pirate Lord Brandon hasn't changed that. That means we should be safe to travel and trade at it.' He didn't think the Black Flag Pirates would give up on their plans just because of his intervention when it came to Sophia. If anything, it might make them more eager to attack.
'An Abnormal body like this would fetch a very pretty price.'
Just like on Earth, trade was something that flourished in the Stardust Cluster and, indeed, throughout the 7 Layers. People would gain Artifacts that they didn't want or seek to hire the services of others for various tasks. Necrozarks and a few other Ability users would be very interested in Abnormal bodies, which was what Micheal cared about.
Every week in the Stardust Cluster, on the 7th day, there was a large trading session that happened in a rather large skyscraper to the east of the central area. This skyscraper was located in territory that no one claimed.
Labelled the Stardust Open Market, hundreds of interested parties would come here. It was an agreed upon neutral zone from all the major forces. While battles occasionally broke out between smaller teams or unaligned fighters, it was still one of the most popular places for people with something to trade to go to.
"I took down all of my Morenkai. Are we all done here?" Sophia's voice sounded slightly winded as she walked up, giving Micheal a small smile. Her sundress swirled as she came over, clinging to her lithe body.
Dresses, in general, weren't exactly combat gear, but it wasn't like a coat or shirt would stop a Morenkai punch. Sophia seemed to prefer the freedom of movement they gave her, so who was Micheal to judge? He did faintly recall that the Demon Fairy, in his original timeline, was known to wear dresses into combat. It seems that part of Sophia remained unchanged.
She was covered in a sheen of sweat, but smiling cheerfully. Her chest heaved slightly from exertion as she carried her Burning Steel Knife, wiping it off with a stray piece of cloth.
'Hunting did indeed get her mind off her little sister.' Micheal nodded,
"Yes, we're all done! I think we should probably find somewhere to lay low and rest for the night. Before that, though, I'd like to tell you about something called Dragon Building Liquid…"