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A note from vladerag

I had something to say, but I forgot what it was...  I am too tired to think right now.

I guess I'll just say that Patreon is 4 chapters ahead now and that I hope you enjoy this chapter!

  Why don’t intelligent Demihumans Evolve into other Species more often to take advantage of their racial abilities? Ha! Everyone asks that when they learn how Horizontal Monster Evolution works! From the smartest [Wizard’s Apprentice] to the dumbest [Thug], everyone gets an image in their head of a monster with enough racial abilities to make them invincible and the brains of a Demihuman backing it up. Nevermind that many Demihumans find the idea of Evolving into a monster repulsive - even if they can Evolve back into their own Species - there is actually a very, very good reason why they don’t do this more often.

  Every Level costs more than the last, and that counts for Species as much as it does Classes. Sure, a powerful and smart enough Demihuman could Evolve through several different races to pick up racial abilities, but they would undoubtedly stunt their future growth. At a certain point, the lower Evolution state monsters just stop giving experience altogether for the higher stage Demihumans. They have to hunt stronger and stronger monsters to get a single point of experience and that means that even an extra fifty points of experience might mean months of work.

  Anyway, it is never as easy as that. No Demihuman or Monster besides Dragons are born strong and smart enough to do something like this until they have Evolved a couple times, and the increased experience costs are far worse than a mere fifty by then.

  -part of a lecture from S-Rank Adventurer Dre the Massacre given to new Adventurers.

 




  In the morning, I had two problems. The first was my health, although I had restored a fair bit last night. [Regeneration: Minor](lesser) was a lot better than it sounded just from the name. The actual Skill read:

 

  “[You heal faster and can regenerate limbs and organs! This is a lesser version of the Skill, so you heal slightly slower than the full Skill.]

 

  [Your natural regeneration has increased to (1 hp + 1% of missing hp) per hour.]”

 

  I heal more than twenty four times faster, and in the past nine hours I have regained ten health! I’d be at full health in less than a day, and that was an incredible relief. I wouldn’t have to spend weeks being mostly dead anymore.

  However, speaking of the dead, my second problem was that I had ninety-two dead Boreal Toads lying around. What the hell was I supposed to do with them? Obviously, I couldn’t leave them where they were. Aside from the fact that it would be disgusting to let them rot outside my house, I could already see a couple of Green Lizards eating them. Obviously it makes sense that they would attract predators.

  They were just hatchlings though, so a couple of minutes later I had another two experience in the bank. The only question now is, what the hell do I do with them? It would take me all day to drag them away and who knows how long it would take if I tried to bury them all. There was nothing for it though, it had to be done. Which meant a trek through the forest, dragging a corpse behind me, while trying to avoid being ambushed by literally everything that moves.

  Fun, fun, fun! This life really is excellent Podi, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do this! Oh by Podi, I got their blood in my mouth! At least my poison abilities mean that the Boreal Toads aren’t dangerous to me. Those two lizards actually had red and swollen eyes, you’d think they would have stopped eating the toxic corpses before that.

  Of course, it isn’t like Hatchling Boreal Toad toxin is deadly. So maybe they don’t care? My [Toxin Control: Minor] allows me to make my poison more deadly, among other effects, but since I have to focus to use it I don’t have a use for it outside of traps. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can make the poison deadly enough to kill on skin contact or make a trap that can get the poison inside my targets.

  ...I feel like I am missing something, but I keep getting distracted before I can complete the thought. Hmmm… I wonder if I could try Meditation again to try and see if that helps? I can take a few minutes to try and figure out this niggling feeling inside my head.

 

  “[Meditation has Leveled up! Meditation is now Level 2!]”

 

  Oh Podi, I am an idiot. I am surrounded by bait and I almost didn’t realise it. I just need to add my toxin to the dead toads and then the monsters will just eat them and die! How the hell didn’t I think of that sooner?

  Right, new plan. I am going to drag these bodies off into random places, poison them all, and then let the idiocy of lizards and slimes do my work for me. Well, presuming toxin works on slimes, I have no idea about that. Worth a shot anyway.

  [Toxin Control: Minor] was a frustrating ability for me to use though. Most of what I could do was through instinct. I don’t know how I do it or why it works, and I am certain that if I could understand either I would be able to do a lot better. As it was I did something and that changed something with my skin which allowed me to secrete a toxin that I knew did something deadly from my tail, which I then wiped on the dead toad.

  This was after a good half an hour dragging the toad body through the forest that had made me realise: even if I didn’t poison them, it would still take me days to dispose of all the bodies because of how small I was. If nothing else, this life would instill in me a great respect and appreciation for hands. I never thought about how useful they were until I had to drag a dead toad through some woods for half an hour using my mouth.

  Between dragging the toads away, poisoning them, and then coming back each trip took me nearly an hour. I often came back to find more monsters at Newthome, which added to the amount of bodies I had to move. Plus, my stamina wasn’t up to the task of working constantly, I had to stop to rest every so often.

  At least I got [Trap Making] Levels from my work. I had a suspicion that I got more of whatever hidden experience ruled the Skill from making complex traps, but the amount of “traps” I was making made up for the difference. After two days of work I had reached [Trap Making] Level three.

  I also was getting a good amount of general experience as I worked. My plan was killing a lot of creatures, even some Young stage ones. Ever since I Evolved, I stopped getting any bonus experience for monsters above my level - although I still got the penalty for the ones below it - and I only ever got bonus experience for Young monsters. When one of them died in my trap, plus a few extras, I was able to Level up again!

  At the rate I was going, I might be able to Evolve again within a week! My excitement over that though was helping me keep working despite my newt instincts, although I suspect it only worked because it caused my instincts to conflict with themselves. All monsters, I think, wanted to Evolve. So my newty brain was trying to decide between hiding under some leaves and working to Evolve more quickly.

  I spent the monotony of my work thinking about what Evolutions I could get. My plan was to pick something not naturally slimy, if one was available, because I was confident that I could activate my poison if I needed to. After all, apparently I kept all my racial Skills when I evolved into something different.

  It was hard to think strategically about it, mostly because of my low Acuity and Willpower, but also because I didn’t have a way to check what Evolutions were or could be available. How was I supposed to plan for the future without any information? Eventually, I gave up thinking of the future entirely for now, instead redirecting my efforts to meditating while I worked. I knew that improving my skills could give me more Evolutions, after all.

  Another Species, [Trap Making], [Stealth], and [Crafting] Level later, Newthome was finally free of bodies and repaired. In total, it had taken me five days of constant work, but now all I would have to do is sneak around and check my traps every so often. Then I just add more poison to the dead bodies and let these idiotic monsters donate their experience to me. Really, it was almost too easy.

  Nine days later, I hit Level five again.

 

  “[Congratulations! You have reached Level 5!]

  [You have gained +1 Willpower, +1 Magic, +.4 Charisma, +.4 Agility, and +.2 Dexterity!]

  [You have reached the limit for your current Species and Growth stage! You may Evolve!]

  [Would you like to see your available Evolutions now? Warning: deciding not to choose an Evolution will result in the System choosing for you.]”

 

  Oh hell yes I want to see my available Evolutions! Hit me with it you pathetic Podi rip off! I’ve broken your system now, this world is mine!

 

  Evolution Species:

 

  Young Boreal Toad: (Common) The Young Boreal Toad has survived the difficult competition of a Boreal Spawning and is stronger for it. These large toad monsters are highly aggressive and known for actively seeking prey even when their hunger is sated. +15 to all Stats, +1.2 to Str, End, Vit, Agi, and Dex per level, [Torpor](racial), [Salutivore](racial).

  Unlocked by: Being a Hatchling Boreal Toad in your past Evolution.

 

  Young Witch’s Newt: (Rare) The Young Witch’s Newt is just as prized as a familiar and for its alchemical reagents as its Hatchling form, but few [Alchemists] would want to kill one. Once a Young Witch’s Newt Evolves into a Juvenile Witch’s Newt their value increases exponentially. +10 to all Stats, +2 to Mgc and Wil per level, +1 to all other Stats per level, [Regeneration: Minor](racial).

  Unlocked by: Being a Hatchling Witch’s Newt.

 

  Hatchling Kalif Toad: (Common) A slightly less aggressive cousin of the Boreal Toad, the Hatchling Kalif Toad is better suited to dry environments. The Kalif Toad is more agile than the Boreal Toad, but correspondingly less durable. +3 to all Stats, +1 to Agi and Dex per level, +.4 to Str and End per level, +.2 Vit per level, [Water Retention](racial).

  Unlocked by: Have the Skill Jumping above Level 2

 

  HypnoToad Tadpole: (Very Rare) The HypnoToad is a quite rare monster that tends to only be found in Dungeons. While Young HypnoToads are considered a C-Rank threat because of their mental abilities, HypnoToad Tadpoles have yet to unlock them. The Adventurer’s Guild posts hunts for HypnoToad Tadpoles during HypnoToad spawning times which is every ten years. +5 to Wil and Mgc, +2 Wil per Level, +.2 Vit, Per, Acu, Cha, and Mgc per Level.

  Unlocked By: Being able to breathe underwater, having the Skill Swimming at or above Level 2, Having the Skill Meditation at or above Level 2, having above 15 Charisma, having above 10 Willpower, having above 6 Magic, having been at least two amphibian Monsters, being in the earliest development stage of your current species.

 

  I stopped part way through the list to read that entry twice. The HypnoToad Tadpole had a long list of requirements and also had the Willpower I desperately wanted and needed. Plus, from the description, I could guess that it would become very strong when it hit the next state of its evolution. It was a tempting choice, but one I quickly decided against. Being a tadpole would make my life ridiculously hard, especially with how much experience I would have to gain.

  As an aside, I wonder if the Incarnator reading Skills applied to reading menus? If they did, maybe I should consider buying them next time I see Podi. Or rather, I should buy them so that I can test to see if they do work.

 

  Carnivorous Lungfish Fry: (Uncommon) Lungfish are not monsters, however when exposed to significant amounts of Mana they can mutate into monstrous versions of themselves. The Carnivorous Lungfish is not considered an especially dangerous monster, and its fry even less so. +2 to all Stats, +1 Vit and Agi per Level, +.4 Str and End per Level, +.2 Dex per Level.

  Unlocked By: Being able to breathe underwater, being able to breathe in mud, having a Swimming Skill at or above Level 2, having above 12 Agility, have had an entirely carnivorous diet.

 

  I beg your pardon!? I will have you know I have been an insectivore! There is a difference - I think? It has been a while since my last biology class, ok?

 

  Young Kalif Newt: (Uncommon) The bright orange Young Kalif Newt is considered quite pretty to look at, but the color is a warning that any monster or adventurer would be wise to heed. Although not particularly aggressive, merely touching a Kalif Newt is enough to paralyze a man’s hand. Prolonged exposure quickly leads to death if the adventurer does not have [Poison Resistance] or a very high Endurance and Vitality. +10 to all Stats, +1.4 Agi, Dex, and Mgc per level, +.4 Str, End, and Vit per Level, +.2 Cha per Level. [Intense Toxin: Kalif Newt](racial), [Regeneration: Minor](racial).

  Unlocked by: Having the Skill Taunt, purposely trying to use your skin’s poison in a fight.

 

  Young Hunter Newt: (Very Rare) Hunter Newts are extremely aggressive predators that are more than capable of killing new adventurers with ease. They are known for their tendency to prefer eating human children and have been hunted to near extinction as a result. Very few are born naturally with most resulting from evolution. +10 to all Stats, +12 to Str, End, and Vit per level, +2 to all other Stats per level, [Regeneration: Minor](racial), [Salutivore](racial).

  Unlocked by: Killing an opponent at least one evolution stage higher than you, killing more than you can eat, killing without the intention of eating.

 

  Hatchling Green Lizard: (Very Common) Green Lizards can be found throughout large parts of the world but are considered a minor threat at most. Even in their Adult stage they do not pose a threat to even D-Rank adventurers and their younger Stages help to suppress more powerful monsters from reaching adulthood. They are very aggressive towards anything smaller than themselves or anything that seems injured, but will avoid attacking things bigger than themselves. +2 to all Stats, +1 Str, End, and Vit per Level, [Scale Armor: Minor](racial).

  Unlocked by: Having above 4 Endurance.

 

  Hatchling Black Lizard: (Common) Black Lizards are related to Green Lizards and for the most part are largely the same. Aside from the difference in color, the only notable difference is the rather weak toxin that the Black Lizard has in its bite. +2 to all Stats, +1 Str, End, and Vit per Level, [Scale Armor: Minor](racial), [Envenomed Bite: Hatchling Black Lizard](racial).

  Unlocked by: Having above 4 Endurance, having used poison to kill an enemy.

 

  Hatchling Komadus Lizard: (Very Rare) The Komadus has a fearsome reputation for aggression and toxicity, but this is not entirely warranted. While it is true that the Komadus can and will hunt and kill both humans and monsters considerably larger than itself, they will generally avoid hunting humans unless humans go deep into their territory. While the Adult Komadus will display a standoffish attitude when confronted, Hatchling and Young Komadus will generally go out of their way to avoid humans. +4 to all Stats, +2 Str and End per Level, +.4 to all other Stats per Level, [Scale Armor: Minor](racial), [Envenomed Bite: Hatchling Komadus Lizard](racial), [Poison Resistance: Major], [Disease Resistance: Minor].

  Unlocked by: Having above 15 Strength, Endurance, and Vitality, having above 10 Agility, having the Skills Ambush, Charge, Digging, Swimming, and Taunt, having used toxins to kill, having killed an opponent twice or more your size.

 

  Note: Horizontal Evolution (Evolution into a new species but not into a higher Evolution stage) will not reset level experience costs. You will retain all Racial Abilities you currently have after Evolution.

 

  It is interesting how much stronger the Very Rare Evolutions are compared to the other ones. The HypnoToad, the Hunter Newt and the Komadus Lizard were head and shoulders above my other choices in terms of Stats and racial abilities.

  Honestly, it made my choice pretty easy this time. I chose to be a Komadus without hesitation; finally I would get to stop being slimy and I would get a lot of other bonuses as well! Just like last time, I blacked out and when I woke up I eagerly checked my menu.

 

Name: -   Species: Hatchling Komadus Lizard   Level: 0/5   Experience: 000/110

Class: -locked-    Health: 69/69    Mana: 6/6   Stamina: 100/100

Statistics:

Str: 24    End: 23   Vit: 23  Agi: 18    Dex: 13

Per: 22    Acy: 27   Wil: 15    Cha: 21   Mgc: 13

Lck: 163

Abilities:

[Breathes through her Skin](racial)   [Toxic Skin](racial)   [Toxin Control: Minor](racial)

[Regeneration: Minor]  (lesser)(racial)   [Scale Armor: Minor](racial)

[Envenomed Bite: Hatchling Komadus Lizard](racial)   [Poison Resistance: Major]

[Disease Resistance: Minor]   [Better First Impression]   [Healthy Thoughts]

[First Words]  [Killing Blow]

Skills:

Ambush: 1   Analysis: 1   Charge: 2   Crafting: 3   Digging: 5   Dodge: 3

Jumping: 4   Meditation: 2   Sprinting: 1   Swimming: 2   Stealth: 3   Taunt: 1

Throwing: 1   Trap Making: 5

  I was starting to feel strong now. Confident that I could take on whatever the forest had to throw at me! It was time to explore without fear.

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About the author

vladerag

Bio: Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!

You can find them here! https://royalroadl.com/profile/76129/fictions

And if you are interested in supporting me, you can do so here as well! https://www.patreon.com/vladerag

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