A few minutes after consuming the succulent piece of wolf steak and savouring it’s familiar flavour, Dawn cleared her sleeping spot of loose dirt and laid down. It only took a minute or two before she fell asleep.
A short time later, the shadows of two figures loomed over her sleeping body, watching her twitch and stir in her sleep.
Dawn lay strapped to a old wooden chair, stationed around the edge of a dilapidated and incredibly mossy cabin. Around her, several other men and women varying from the ages of 13 to 20, were also strapped down. She couldn’t help but notice that each one was very attractive.
Creeping in the room’s centre was a dark and thick cloud of black fog. It muffled the screams of agony and fear that rang out from within it. A short while after, the cloud dissipated and a pretty girl emerged from it, crimson blood clinging to her hands and mouth. She turned to face the people around her. Slowly, she studied them, seemingly trying to pick out her next target. Dawn studied her right back.
She was a brunette with a small amount of freckles on her cheeks. Her eyes were hazel in colour. She was short and looked no older than 17. If the people she had once considered classmates were here, they would most definitely comment on her perky, medium sized breasts and how she was thicc with a triple c.
Her searching abruptly stopped when she laid eyes on Dawn. For a few seconds, she just stared at her blankly. Soon after, her body began to tremble noticeably as tears rolled down her face in two large streams. Dawn’s eye widened as she realised who this girl was. She looked rugged and dirty, but there was no mistaking it.
Carli’s tears soon became unruly waterfalls as she crept over to another person and unstrapped them. Dawn mere stared on in horror. Carli push the blonde man down to the room’s centre and climbed on top of him. This time, the cloud didn’t appear. Dawn really wished it did.
Gripping his neck so tightly his face was turning purple, Carli bared her teeth and began to bite into his neck. In a frenzy of blood, tears and screams of agony, Dawn witness Carli tearing large chunks of flesh off his bones.
After only 30 seconds, she swallowed the last chunk of his upper body and began to lick at the crimson fluid that had pooled on the floor. With what seemed like a gruelling amount of effort, she turned to face Dawn, her head trembling from the strain.
“...Please, help... me. Please...”
Gasping for air, Dawn shot up, once again drenched in sweat. The smell of B.O. filled her nose. She really needed to find a nearby stream or something.
Evening out her breathing and calming the heart hammering in her chest, she just listened to the simple sounds of the jungle. The rustling leaves. The various animal calls. The quiet whistle of the wind. She looked up. Just like every morning, thin rays of light shone through the endless tree tops and illuminated the clearing she called home.
As of now, she was beginning to doubt that what she was experiencing were just nightmares. They seemed so... real. So unnatural. Thinking back, something fit the description.
Dawn opened the Performance tab and looked at all her only status proc.. Nightmare Remnants was currently at 47%. She sighed in half relief and half anxiety. She was glad they were just status proc. induced nightmares, but based on the fact that it was sitting at 87% a few days prior, that meant that she still had like 2.3 nightmares left to experience, which stressed her out majorly. They were so realistic, as though she was really there watching what was happening in the real world. Carli’s plead sounded so pained and desperate. It was... disturbing.
Slapping her cheeks lightly, she pushed her thoughts to the back of her mind and stood up. They were just nightmares, that’s all that mattered. With a smile of relief, she looked at her clearing. She froze. A few meters from her tent, rested a large wad of crimson red hair. It seemed to be smouldering slightly.
Dawn crouched slightly and took a few steps forward as she summoned out her mana pistol and held it high. The hair looked fresh. Ever so slowly, she crept closer until she was finally standing before the slightly smouldering heap. With a small orange flash, the smouldering accelerated.
In shock, Dawn aimed down the iron sights and fired, sending a bolt of deep blue mana shooting towards the hair. With a sound akin to iron bashing iron, the projectile bounced off and flew into the trees. A loud crackle resounded.
Not long after, a loud whistle rang out. Panicked, Dawn ran and took cover in the fauna at the clearing’s edge. Something blurred in the tree tops and collided with her Tepee. An explosion of dust filled the air. Dawn swore.
Soon, the dust settled and revealed a sight of carnage and destruction. Now, a tree trunk spanning several meters was sitting in a small crater, her fire pit and Tepee trapped below it.
“...Are you fucking kidding me...”
Two figures sat on a thick trunk high up in the tree tops, watching the black haired woman down below. They couldn’t help but laugh as the tree trunk her projectile had hit landed on her camp and destroyed it. What a dumbass!
“Ordela? Are you sure this is the human Our Lord wanted us to observe. She seems... awfully retarded...”
Ratcha, a young looking boy tilted his head at the older girl beside him. She rose her eyebrows at the girl, before nodding slowly. She sighed.
As she spoke, she ran her delicate pale fingers through her crimson hair. It felt like silk. She smiled at this revelation while the boy pouted at her response.
“Don’t worry Ratcha, we only have to watch her for a bit longer before we report back-”
She froze as the girl stopped kicking the tree and looked towards the tree tops. Her eyes flicked over and scanned every tree furiously. Ordela sighed in relief. With her stats, finding them this high in the trees was impossible.
Ordela was quite surprised that this human had obtain a Sense skill. They were rare and hard to come by in every layer of Systemic Multiverse, so it was an incredibly rare sight to see one in the most unstable layer. Although she was definitely not one of the strongest humans in the Infested Jungle, she was by far the most interesting.
The tree top stalker’s eyes began to glow crimson as she began to studied the human woman’s World Aura. Largely, it was a deep blue. It flowed around her calmly like the ocean. Ordela smirked as she looked at the inner most layer. It was more of a navy blue or a black than an ocean blue. It probably represented her aura’s corruption by becoming infested. That was not a good sign.
Seemingly satisfied with what she found, the girl in the clearing turned away from the tree tops and looked back at the branch obscuring her camp. She began to swear again. She was definitely the most interesting human she had seen so far.
She smirked as the girl sighed loudly and began to snap of the smaller branches. She threw them into a pile at the edge of the clearing, probably to be used to feed the fire.
Ratcha began to tug at her sleeve. Despite responding with an annoyed expression, Ordela actually enjoyed the feeling of tugging on her ‘sleeve’. She was very glad that her lord had let them take the ‘clothes’ of the deceased humans they had found.
“Sis, why doesn’t the girl just burn the trunk?”
Ordela just stared at the boy dumbfounded. What idiot sets a trunk of that size on fire in the middle of the jungle, where there are thousands of highly flammable trees surrounding you. She rose her eyebrows at him.
“Are you fucking retarded?”
Ratcha responded quietly as he went back to watching the human methodically break apart the trunk and sort it’s parts into a pile. It seemed that after establishing a routine, she had picked up the pace by several fold. Her speed was kind of impressive.
After a half hour, when only about a quarter of the trunk was disassembled, the girl summoned out a couple meter long stake and began to hack at the wood yelling “Slash!” with each swing.
Although it wouldn’t make a difference, it seemed the girl was starting to realise imagination had a large part in obtaining skills. That, or she was just an idiot. Sadly, it really did seem like the latter.
“Sis, her aura grew slightly. Did you see?”
Humming in response, Ordela brushed a strand of her hair out of her face and narrowed her eyes.
Slowly, her vision blurred and various wriggling auras appeared around the blurry figures of the fauna and human girl. Like the girl, the trees had a calm, ocean like aura, except they were forest green with small specks of brown. Carefully, she studied the girl’s aura.
Grunting in confirmation she stood. Her brother was right. Although it was barely noticeable, the girls aura had grown slightly larger. It was the early signs of a skill forming. Maybe stupidity was the key to becoming a god within the systems.
“Yes, it seems a skill is beginning to form. Good job for noticing. Anyways, let’s return. It’s not good practice to keep Our Lord waiting.”