I leveled up three times across my Subspecies and Class. I gained 1 level in [Daeva Cambion] and 2 levels in [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus], utilizing the latter to a minimum in that battle. I would’ve loved to use my Class more, especially against such high-leveled enemies for the experience that was rewarded, but it barely even helped. Not as it was right now.
I could use [Scatter Shift] and [Mystical Projection] to some degrees of efficacy in battle. But everything else saw little-to-no-use. Even [Temporal Distortion] was only useful in certain situations. Otherwise, I’d have leveled in my Class more.
Regardless, I leveled up once more in my Subspecies. I only just recently gained a level for it no more than a week and a half ago— during the battle with the Elves— and I was happy that I managed to gain another level now. Especially since the fight hadn’t been that hard. Unless, of course, I gained an extra experience from the [Razorsoul Falcon] due to its multiple Subspecies being at a high level.
Either way, I distributed most of my Stat Points to [Agility], with a relatively even spread between the remaining Stats, while focusing most of my Skill Points on [Haste] with some for my other Skills. I was kind of upset that I was slower than the [Razorsoul Falcon], and since my Greaves of the Wanderer was destroyed by the Lich, I didn’t have an extra artifact to help me move even faster.
I flew back up hundreds of feet up into the air, casting my gaze around the Rainforest of Monsters. Below me was a ravaged nest of Blackspike Beetles. Dozens of them lay dead, with their shells crushed and open. I might’ve even tried to give them a little taste test, only to find that they were too chewy for me. They weren’t gross— just not the best thing I ate today.
The landscape blurred under me as I continued my flight, tapping a hand on my chin, and trying to make out anything I could even under the blanket of night. I spotted a glowing object. It shot up at me— not a spear, but an orb of energy. I blinked and dodged out of the way.
What looked like a flower dragged itself out of the roots of a tall tree, its petals lined with fangs on its fringes. It let out a screech and shot another orb my way.
[Whomping Eevlane - Lvl 120]
I dipped down as the orb exploded overhead. Flames spread out around me, and I bared my teeth.
“Alright, you monsters are getting annoying. I much preferred it when I thought this place was peaceful!”
Defeated [Whomping Eevlane - Lvl. 120]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Defeated [Clawing Mantis Striker - Lvl. 99]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!
[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 42] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 43]
Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!
Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!
[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 43] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 44]
Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!
I leveled up two more times in my Class, which should’ve been a good thing, if not for the amount of time it was taking away from me searching the Rainforest of Monsters for any Golems.
The sun began to rise as the night came to an end, and I barely made any progress towards finding a [Lux Golmi]. I would’ve just focused on flying, ignoring the monsters that attacked me, but those that did were often very persistent. So, I ended up engaging anyway.
I had under a week now to acquire the Enigmatic Heart. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to find it. I thought I’d start seeing these ‘rock formations’ that was supposedly where Golems gathered, but even as I flew deeper into the Rainforest of Monsters, the landscape didn’t change.
Well, actually, it did change. The deeper I went, the forest grew denser. The trees stood even taller, forming a single solid canopy that cast an infinite shadow of night over the earth. The vegetation grew thicker as green, purple, and yellow plants blotted out the soil, smearing their vibrancy across my vision. Perhaps that was why, even as I flew high overhead, I managed to spot the single dull-colored object moving right at the fringes of the treetops.
There was a glint. A small creature pulled an arrow back. I narrowed my eyes.
“That’s… a Goblin?”
It was about to loose the arrow, and I conjured my own flaming projectile. Then a figure grabbed it from beneath the treetop, pulling it down into the sea of leaves with a yank. I blinked.
“Huh. What just happened?”
I probably should have continued on, but I was now confused and curious about what happened to the Goblin. It wasn’t like I’d be running into a Golem anytime soon, anyway, so I dove down and splashed through the leaves to see what was going on. A small orb sparked into existence right over my shoulder, lighting the darkness, and showing me what was beneath the canopy.
A Goblin was being dragged down the trunk of the tall tree by a taller figure. Except, instead of eating the Goblin or trying to kill it, the other creature seemed almost… placating? Both the Goblin and the other creature paused as they saw me. I cocked my head.
The Goblin let out a garbled scream. He raised its bow, and I prepared myself once again, but the taller creature once again stopped it. She made a loud barking-like sound and slapped the arm of the Goblin. The Goblin stopped as the other creature turned to face me. I stared at her. She had green skin and red eyes, with a pair of tusks poking out of the side of her face. She stood taller than me, although not nearly as tall as a Cyclopes. Barely taller than Daniel’s height.
[Banetusk Orc - Lvl. 75]
I descended slowly, landing right next to the Orc and the Goblin right at the base of the tree. The Orc stepped forward, pushing the Goblin behind her, a hand raised with a wooden club. She growled as I glanced between them, perplexed.
“Can you, um, speak?”
She barked once more, standing protectively over the Goblin. I glared.
“I’m asking you a question. There’s no need for you to be so aggressive.”
I raised a claw, and the Orc paused. She clearly hesitated. But the Goblin snarled. He looked like he was about to lash out, when the Orc grabbed him and yanked him back. I frowned, watching the Orc slowly lower her weapon, whimpering as she raised a hand.
“Huh. So, you can’t speak then. But you can understand me? Or— only sort of understand me.”
I couldn’t understand them either. The Goblin seemed to squeak and grunt, trying to tell something to the Orc. Or maybe... it wasn’t an actual language that was being spoken? It was just noises they made with their mouths that conveyed a particular feeling. No real meaning behind it.
“That’s… interesting. I mean, I’ve met some Goblins before, and while I tried to talk to them, they were—”
I watched the Goblin thrash in the Orc’s hands, swinging his hands in the air like a rabid beast, uncaring of our literal 50 level difference.
“They were just like you, yep.”
I nodded, and the Orc made another whimpering sound. She backed away slowly. She clearly didn’t want to be near me, instead wanting to leave and return to… somewhere with the Goblin. But I was curious now. The Orc was clearly intelligent. [Identification] read it like it was a monster with a Subspecies, but the way it acted was not like any other monster I’d met before.
“Are you even a monster?”
The Orc, obviously, couldn’t give me a proper reply. Even with [Universal Language Comprehension] helping me understand her a little bit and vice versa, we still couldn’t properly communicate. Because, well, she couldn’t properly communicate, could she? Not in an advanced way like I could.
“Look, I know I’m making you uncomfortable, but could you maybe help me out here? I’m lost, you see, and I’d like to find my way to some, um, Golems? Do you know of any Golems around here?”
I let my flames dissipate. It only made me seem more dangerous, and there was luminescent moss growing over the forest floor. It wasn’t that bright, but it at least enabled me to see. The Orc stepped back. She didn’t shake her head or nod— those were Human actions. Instead, she let out a soft bark, and spun around.
I watched her drag the Goblin off, leaving me behind. I furrowed my brows.
“Is that a yes or a no?”
I followed the Orc anyway.
I trudged through the muddy ground, heading after the Orc woman as I heard the rainfall patter on the treetops above. The water fell into the earth from various funnels in the canopy, pouring down like a deluge on spots throughout the rainforest, rather than as raindrops all throughout. These streams crashed down like small waterfalls, filling up mini-mud-lakes around us. They varied in size too, with some as small as a puddle on the ground, formed by a trickling of water seeping in from above, while others were a hundred feet wide, deep and only growing wider.
The Orc woman led me to one such mud-lake as a heavy deluge was concentrated into it from above. I could hear the roaring of the water, along with the barking and grunting of dozens of other Orcs and Goblins. I glanced up at the tall trees, seeing huts and houses built into them, and surrounding the large mud-lake. It was… a commune of monsters.
“Huh. Do you guys live here?”
There were crops being grown at the very edges of the mud-lake, with Orcs and Goblins alike tending to their wet soil so it wouldn’t sink into the murky water. Three hulking figures— each of them about the size of Lucerna, taller than a two storey house— entered the mud-lake. Their rock-like black skin was covered in grime as they reached into the mud-lake, pulling out what looked like dead animals that were caught up by the storm above.
[Hardened Troll - Lvl. 81]
They glanced over at me, their movements very glacial, and raised a brow. Their purple eyes bore into me, distrusting, but they didn’t speak. Rather, they couldn’t speak because of the lack of a mouth. But a single bark came from the Orc woman that was leading me, and they returned back to dragging animals out of the water.
I smiled at the Orc woman, but she simply marched on to a nearby tree. She let go of the Goblin she was holding, pushing it away, and he scampered off. Then she climbed the tree as I followed her up.
“You’re leading me to a house?”
It was made out of wood and mud and leaves, supported by four different trees, big and small alike. It was bigger than the other huts around, hanging off tree branches and filled with Goblins and Orcs.
“Are there Golems in here? Because you promised to lead me to Golems! Well… I think, at least.”
I shrugged as the Orc woman stepped into the hut, pushing aside a door made out of a giant leaf. There was a soft whistling sound as the shoots hanging above the doorway rattled. I entered after her, taking in the interior of the hut. Unlike Human houses or even Kobold houses, there was no furniture here. There were smaller Goblins— children— huddled together around leaves in various corners of the room. They perked up when they saw me. One of them even tried charging my way, but the Orc woman huffed loudly, and they all backed up.
“What’s wrong with you Goblins? Are you guys wild or something?”
Clearly, they weren’t. After all, they listened to the Orc… sometimes. But wild Demons didn’t even listen to each other: they couldn’t think. They acted only on instinct, while these monsters didn’t just act on instinct. They had a keener intelligence than many animals, even.
The Orc woman brought me to another section of the hut. It starkly stood out to the other room for a simple reason— because it had a boiling pot located at the center of it. And there were tables filled with plants and small animals, kept in bundles or in wooden baskets. A small creature, about half my height, dashed about, moving his mouth.
“Oh, Crkrs, I heard you come in. Sorry, i was just—”
He spun around and paused. We both stared at each other for a moment. He looked like a Goblin— he was no larger than the Goblin that nearly shot an arrow at me. But here he was, speaking casually like it was a normal thing to do. Not making the same garbled noises as the Goblins in the other room.
[Gremlin - Lvl. 115]
The Gremlin dropped a bundle of flowers. His mouth hung open as he pointed at me.
I nodded and pointed back at him.
“You can speak?”
He froze. I waved a hand in front of his face.
“Um, hello? Wait, are you seriously scared of me because I’m a Demon? Come on! That’s stupid! You’re not even a Human or a Kobold!”
The Gremlin backed away as I scowled. I threw my hands up in the air out of frustration— it was another stupid creature that hated me just because I was a Demon!
Then a smile crept up his lips. He burst out laughing, grabbing at his belly, and doubling over on the ground.
“Of course not. I fooled you, didn’t I? No, I’m not like a Human. I don’t care that you’re a Demon— ha! I should be more scared of your levels than anything. Aren’t they so silly, focusing only on your Species?”
He packed himself off the ground as I blinked.
“That was a joke?”
“It is, it is. Frankly, I’m not even sure how I even got to know the word, but [Advanced Language Comprehension] works in mysterious ways.”
Smirking, he sauntered up to me and patted me on the shoulder. I backed up, confused, glancing between him and the Orc woman. The Orc woman still spoke nothing, instead just looming over in the corner silently.
“[Advanced Language Comprehension].... Is that why you can…? Sorry, what? Wait, who are you anyway?”
The Gremlin tilted his head back and tapped a finger on his chin.
“Right, I haven’t introduced myself, have I? How was it that Humans did it, again?”
He swooped low into a bow, even bringing one of his legs back like a noble would. I stared at him, eyes wide.
“I’m Mngrph, the [Shaman] of this little village you’ve stumbled upon. And one of the few Goblins stupid enough to evolve into a [Gremlin] rather than a [Hobgoblin]. How may I help you today?”