The giant lizard king swelled up like a balloon, its rotund belly extending as its head and arms grew larger by the second. This was the King Jaeger’s signature ability, a manifestation of the characteristics of the Terrestrial Biome itself. Everything grew larger here as the flora and fauna were nurtured by the potent vital energies leaking from the world tree’s many gnarled roots. Several years ago, the King Jaeger had stumbled upon and consumed a piece of the world tree’s roots.
At the time of its consumption of the world tree’s root, the King Jaeger was simply a pig-sized lizard roaming the lower regions of the pillar. But its size and level growth were explosive after the consumption of the root, allowing it to climb to higher regions and grow and further its dominance over the life forms of the pillar with each passing day. And the crowning jewel of the root was that it allowed the King Jaeger to use its own body as a reactor for a temporary gigantism effect, allowing the lizard to take down any foe that it faced thus far.
With increased size came increased stats, but the King Jaeger’s ninety foot enlarged body was not as agile, as the king lizard constantly found itself encumbered by trees and other obstacles that Marcello had carefully planned along his retreat path. Actually, even without the gigantism effect activated, the King was not exactly the most nimble monster. Its fighting style revolved around brute strength and size rather than speed.
What Marcello lacked in size, he made up for in wits, as he used the enigmatic bulwark knight’s supreme strength stat to pre-move some fallen trees into ideal positions to hinder the King Jaeger’s chase.
“Why’re you so slow, huh?” Marcello taunted, sticking up the middle finger at the King Jaeger which was hot on his tail, the giant lizard letting out a fearsome roar every few steps. Again, it wasn’t as if the King Jaeger could speak english, but even animals knew how to read body language and a person’s aura to a certain extent, and the language of a middle finger with a taunting attitude transcended species.
The King of the pillar was not used to any lower life form taunting it like this, so this puny human standing before it angered it greatly. The King Jaeger walked right up to a fallen tree, picking up the trunk in its mouth and throwing it to the side.
By human standards, Marcello was quite intimidating, but even the most bulky of humans was simply an insect compared to a ninety foot tall monstrosity like the king lizard.
This difference was clear as day now that the King Jaeger had switched up strategies from simply chasing Marcello, to taking its time to chuck massive boulders at him.
Suddenly, a simple kiting exercise became a life and death dodgeball match.
Marcello just barely dodged to the side as a tremendous boulder crashed right beside him. His strength and constitution stats were very high, and his endurance and vitality were also quite good due to the growths from his carpenter profession, but his agility stat was just mediocre.
The Enigmatic Bulwark Knight was always meant to be a frontline fighter that drew attention away from the other legionnaires of the Empire, not a speedy fighter.
Another massive boulder landed right in front of Marcello’s tracks, as several pieces of rock and shrapnel debris flew up towards him from the impact. Thankfully, those small pieces of shrapnel all bounced off his armor harmlessly. His high constitution stat and well made armor were good for this sort of thing.
His health went down a sliver from the rock shrapnel, but it was such a miniscule amount that the number still rounded up to full health.
Two earth beavers scattered in the distance, wanting to have nothing to do with the rampaging king lizard that was thumping its way down the field with its mouth gaped open.
Marcello just kept running for it, no longer turning back to taunt the King Jaeger. He just needed to keep going for a bit longer, past the hill and towards the edge of the cliff, where he could make it big.
The massive lizard’s thumping footsteps were heavy on the ground, and up the hill there was no more cover to hide behind. Marcello could only book it as fast as he could, knowing that his own mortality was just a one-shot away from being snuffed out forever. His inheritance had a long cooldown period, and so this time it was not going to save him.
Glancing back, he saw that the King Jaeger was now chasing him without bothering with boulders anymore now that the field was clear of obstacles. Its steps were large, and it covered as much ground Marcello had to take fifteen steps for in one large reptilian step.
A clawed leg came crashing down right next to him, as the King Jaeger caught up to him. Not good. He still needed a few more minutes to reach the platform. Marcello pumped his arms as hard as he could to increase his stride, trying to forcibly increase his speed and use his newfound strength to propel his body forward.
In the end, muscles were the workhorse of the body, so it did make sense that activating more explosive strength from his calves and thighs and even the forward momentum from his arms would increase his agility in a roundabout way. Marcello sped up marginally as his muscles flared up, shooting forward past the King Jaeger’s leg right as its jaw came down on his afterimage.
Upon reaching the top of the hill, Marcello lost his footing for a second due to the elevation change and tripped over a rock, falling to the ground and tumbling like a tumbleweed all the way down the hill.
Meanwhile, the King Jaeger thumped forward right behind him with a furious look on its face, that of a greater being humiliated by a lower life form that had caused it so much trouble and even made it chase him all the way over to the boondocks.
Its portly belly bounced as it lunged down at Marcello, who just barely managed to scramble to his feet and dodge the jaw thrust.
He could see his wooden platform! Now it was do or die time. Marcello prayed to the god of carpentry that his hastily made platform would hold for just long enough for his plan to work. He ran onto the platform, the wooden deck covered by just enough soil and grass to make it a believable extension of the cliff, although the hollow sound that could be heard when he walked over it still belying the underlying wooden scaffolding.
Of course, the King Jaeger’s great big head was far too far up to actually hear something as inconsequential as a faint wood tapping sound from Marcello’s steps onto the platform. Right as Marcello cleared the platform and jumped onto a nearby tree, scrambling up the winding tree branch, the King Jaeger stepped onto the platform.
The several ton monstrosity planted a foot on the wooden platform, and Marcello’s eyes went wide as saucers as he saw the platform bend ever so slightly, that mana cement that he used to adhere the wood to the stone cliff face being tested to its limits, as were the planks that he used to put everything together. Suddenly, each and every plank that he so meticulously carved out of wood that he laboriously cut down felt like his baby, and now he felt like his darling creation was finally being put to use, to the ultimate test.
Five days of chopping wood. Three days of making planks by hand, sawing each log into main planks and sideboards. Countless hours applying mana and cementing each plank together side by side, as individual planks turned into large boards, and large boards were then mana soldered together into a section of the deck.
Then those sections of the deck were cemented onto the rock cliff face, as he chugged mana potion after mana potion and nearly depleted his reserved as each puzzle piece was fitted into the jigsaw puzzle that was the inwardly concaving crescent edge of the cliff face. After so much effort, the wooden platform was finally completed.
So many days of scheming, planning, troubleshooting, and slogging through backbreaking work, all for this one illusion.
Now, there was only one question left.
Would he bite?
The answer was, not that easily.
The King Jaeger noticed that something was wrong as it put down its foot. The platform had moved just the slightest bit, but anyone would have noticed if the ground they were standing on shifted a bit.
Marcello went into emergency mode. He needed to distract the King Jaeger and keep up the illusion. Luckily for him, he remembered that pain was always a good distraction.
Equipping his tall Wooden Plank Shield onto his left arm, he drew his Archeios Javelin, the javelin’s flared speartip sharp enough to pierce through any human being.
Marcello rotated his entire body into the throw, sending the archeios javelin hurtling towards the King Jaeger’s face, the speartip point digging into the lizard’s nostril. It roared into the air, thrashing about as it moved onto the platform, its claws retracted and ready to strike the accursed human that set this whole thing up.
Blinded by rage, the King Jaeger had no idea that planting its two feet onto the platform had caused the platform to tilt to an unimaginable degree. Still in pain from its nostril being hit by a herculean thrown projectile, the King Jaeger mistook his lack of sense of balance with the nostril hit. A costly mistake, as the platform began to crack, several of the wooden planks simply unable to hold on now as the structurally unsound characteristics of the wooden platform began to reveal themselves.
In fact, Marcello had not done anything particularly special to the wooden platform to make it structurally unsound. What made it that way was the fact that it was a single thin layer of plank wood melded together with mana, without any scaffolding or triangular trusses underneath. Marcello knew next to nothing about engineering, but he did recall from a much younger age that he was taught that some of the sturdiest shapes to construct were triangular trusses, as they could distribute the weight in a way that allowed the material to hold more weight than normal.
The crack in the planks became evident as the King Jaeger lunged forward towards the tree that Marcello was inhabiting, the ninety foot giant more than capable of killing him in one bite if the platform held on for any longer. Besides trying to deter the King Jaeger with arrows and longsword strikes, there really was nothing else for him to do at this point than pray to the seven gods that his construction would stop being so damn sturdy for once.
Marcello heard it before he saw it, the crackling sound of the wooden deck finally unable to tolerate several tons of weight on it. But it might’ve been too late, as the King Jaeger was just a single step away from the tree that Marcello currently was hiding in.
The giant lizard's jaws opened menacingly, its teeth glinting dangerously in the sunlight. Marcello could already see the specks of decaying beaver flesh caught between the giant lizard's teeth, and the splash of dried blood on its scales from its previous engagements with the local wildlife.
He ducked to the other side of the tree, monkey branching over right as the King Jaeger’s jaw clamped down on the tree trunk where he was standing just moments before.
Right at that moment, half of the platform cracked, and a jagged piece of moss and dirt covered wooden deck fell to the abyss below.
The King Jaeger let out a low grumble as it held onto the pillar by clamping its jaw on the tree trunk, as it tried to get a foothold onto the tree. The rest of the platform had now broken as well, as another large chunk of the platform fell into the abyss below.
Even as it was serving its purpose, Marcello felt a tinge of sadness to see his hard work unraveling before his eyes. But it had done its job for sure.
Right now, the only thing keeping the King Jaeger from falling into the clouds below was its hold on the sideways growing tree trunk that Marcello had used to escape.
You know what you must do.
His sense spoke to him again, making him slightly worried about his own mental health. But the message was clear, and something that he intended to do in the first place.
“Thanks, captain obvious. Really wish you could’ve filled me in sooner the last time you were around.”
He retrieved a particular rusty hatchet from his inventory, and he finally noticed that the rusty hatchet’s wooden handle seemed to hold the same energy as the world tree of the terrestrial plane.
There was only one thing left to do. As the King Jaeger lay suspended above the atmosphere, growling intimidatingly and attempting to find its foothold by swinging its massive body back and forth, Marcello had to race its attempt by doing what his profession did best– woodcutting.
He took his hatchet and aimed it at the tree trunk of the bent tree. With the herculean strength provided by his Enigmatic Bulwark Knight class and the additional woodcutting speed provided by his Tenacious Woodcutter title, his first swing connected with the tree trunk with a satisfying thunk, piercing straight through the bark and into the cambium and sapwood of the overgrown tree.
The King Jaeger was beginning to hoist itself up, but Marcello had a one track mind. He concentrated just on one swing at a time, as he felt a connection between his body and the tree trunk through his hatchet, understanding the grain of the tree at a close level. The hatchet’s white marked edge dug through the living bark and into the sapwood, and after a few swings the blade had connected with the heartwood.
His work was only aided by the King Jaeger’s stabilization movements, as the tree teetered dangerously and began to tear apart at the seam that Marcello had created.
The giant lizard king had finally hoisted itself onto the tree and uprighted itself, a feat only possible with an inconceivable strength stat, as the lizard weighed so much that something like that looked to be physically impossible. Its snarl was deadly, as it began to move down the tree trunk towards the human.
Marcello shut the encroaching death out of his peripheral vision and focused purely on the jagged cut in the tree trunk. His hatchet bore into the heartwood of the tree, and finally reached the soft pith in the middle.
Suddenly, the axe slice in the tree trunk began to grow larger.
The entire tree cracked in half at the seam that Marcello had installed, and the upper portion of the twisted tree began to fall backwards, right as the King Jaeger was about to reach solid ground.
Letting loose a wild roar, the king of the pillar realized that it had been bested by a lower lifeform. Its cry rang through the entire pillar as Marcello leaned over the edge to see the undefeatable King Jaeger fall into oblivion, before disappearing through the clouds with the tree trunk still clasped in its hands.
Marcello leaned back and let out a wild whoop and a laugh in celebration of victory over the insurmountable.
The notification for killing the King Jaeger did not come though.
Ah, yeah. It was a long way to the bottom. Whatever. Marcello still had a day and a half left on his timer, which was all the time in the world to just kick back and relax. He had spent five days chopping wood and three days making planks and assembling the wooden deck, but some of those days were overlapped with each other.
Well, in the meantime there were some extra wooden planks laying around that he never got around to using. Mostly the sideboards. Might as well make a chair as he waited.
Marcello put together a crude chair with some mana binding and sawing, then plopped it down near the edge of the cliff, not close enough that he was in any danger, but close enough so that he could relish his lengthy victory over the King Jaeger.
An indeterminate amount of time later, he finally got the notice.
You have slain [Lvl 62 King Jaeger (Lord)] - You are the sole contributor to this kill, and have received bonus tutorial points for the kill. Bonus experience awarded for solo contribution. Bonus experience awarded for killing a higher level enemy.
Secret quest: [Conquest of Lords]
[Conquest of Lords]: Each pillar of the terrestrial realm is home to a variety of different life forms, some of which are quite powerful. The King Jaeger of this particular pillar is no exception, and is a lord tier entity. As an enterprising member of humanity, you may assimilate some of the strengths of the lords that you slay. Slay the lord to gain conquest over his signature ability. King Jaeger slain [1/1]
Conquest complete. Assessing rewards.