I was awoken by a roar. I sat up, groggy. Then, as the tree next to me toppled over, I scrambled to my feet. I looked up and saw a giant shaggy body, which was luckily facing away from me. It roared again, struggling to stand back up.
Shuffling backwards, I could see that in front of what appeared to be a 10 foot tall black bear there was a huge snake, its coiling body at least 30 meters long, its body 10 inches across. It hissed lightly, its head waving back and forth in a mesmerizing manner.
I turned and hurried away as quietly as I could. Seems like there is no need for me to go into the forest yet. I should just eat some more frogs.
I considered the group of 5 frogs sitting with half closed eyes below me. They were in a small, shallow pool of water in a thin ravine. I had been exploring for about an hour, and this was the only manageable group that I came across. There weren’t any easy solo frogs like before, but the frogs were pretty weak. It didn’t seem like I would have any problem handling this many, when I had the element of surprise.
I dropped down behind two of them like a phantom, the cudgel whipping out too quickly for two of them to react. Their skulls cracked, and the fell on their side, senseless. Two leapt towards me, mouths wide, but I just smiled and sidestepped, letting them harmlessly sail past. I rushed up behind them when they landed and cracked them both on the head.
I rolled to the side, expecting a tongue to shoot at me, but when I looked around, the 5th frog was gone. I frowned, then shrugged. Still a good haul.
I walked around and finished the wounded frogs off, and as I killed the last one, several notifications popped up.
|Congratulations! You have reached level 2. All Biomass has been consumed.|
|Due to your special circumstances, you will receive the racial growth rates of a random race based on the amount of biomass consumed.|
|Congratulations! You have received the racial growth rates of a “Radioactive Sewer Hog.”|
...I was a Radioactive Sewer Hog…? I frowned at the notifications. Or at least GROWING as if I was one. Also, how is Radioactive Sewer Hog a race? From what list were they drawing these names?
Another point to consider, one which that impression within me was most closely focused on, was whether the growth rates I had received were any good. What were the typical human growth rates? And what did the stats do?
Wait, what is a human?
I pondered the question a bit before shrugging. Not worth my time. The impression within myself seemed to fade at the very question. I sat down and began to devour the frog carcasses, considering.
After some experimentation, it seemed pretty clear that I had grown significantly stronger from that one level up. Str would appear to benefit my Str directly, where End probably let me continue strenuous activity for longer. Both Vit and Agi resisted any noticable difference, but I didn’t have any memories before yesterday, and I hadn’t exactly been focused on how healthy or fast I was.
I brought up my status screen.
|Vit:||5 (+1)||End:||5 (+1)|
|Str:||5 (+1)||Agi:||4 (+1)|
|Dex:||4 (+1)||Int:||5 (+1)|
|Wis:||5 (+1)||Luck:||31 (+1)|
|Lesser Air Affinity||Endless Stomach|
As pleasing as the symmetry that emerged in my stats was. I wondered rather helplessly what I should be doing. Well, what seemed to be implied from the notification was that the more Biomass that was consumed when I leveled up, the stronger growth rates I could gain. So I guess I continue with the hunting frog plan…?
My stomach rumbled. I patted it, then froze.
That noise had made me realize how quiet the marsh around me had grown. I slowly looked up. Dozens of Frogs lined the edge of the pool, their beady eyes following my every move.
Of course, this is how the Frogs survive. They bring the entire family to fight a predator.
Then, almost against my will, I laughed.
“Predator, huh.” I spoke, not worried about the noise I was making at this point. It was far too late. My lips twisted. “I like the sound of that. Predator. That will be my name.”
|Congratulations! Due to your actions, your Title “Nameless” has evolved into “A Creature Which Named Itself Predator”. The stat bonus has increased to +2 to all stats. Damage has increased by 5% against races you have already killed.|
The frogs in front of me, as if they took the blue notification for a signal, launched their tongues forward towards me. I dodge to the side, hissing, but at least 6 stuck to me, yanking me forward to my knees. I could hear a soft whistling behind me, as I knew the remaining frogs were leaping with open mouths towards my back.
I gritted my teeth eyes glinting. I needed to time this almost perfectly.
The whistling grew insistent. I could almost feel their drool.
Roaring, I whipped around, dislodging two of the frogs with tongues stuck to me from their perch above the ravine, granting myself a small amount of mobility. My cudgel whipped out blindly, and I hastily prepared to compensate if the Frog was somewhere I wasn’t prepared for.
But it wasn’t; it was a foot away from my back, its mouth impossibly wide. I smashed the cudgel against its lower jaw, dislodging it and sending the whole frog careening into its compatriot, who was about to munch the other side of my back.
Several other of the frogs had landed on the ground were about to pounced towards my legs. They croaked evilly, and I sensed the determination in their eyes. Several tongues hit the back of my legs as I steadied myself.
I didn’t resist when the tongues heaved against me as one, hopping backwards. The frogs on the ground in front of me leapt toward me. In the brief second I had some slack in the insistent tongues stuck to me, I twisted, the 9 of them wrapping around the left side of my body, acting as a flesh shield against the jumping frogs. They bit into their compatriots tongues, barely looking, just grinding with those rows of jagged teeth.
The frogs who were currently having their tongues ripped apart screeched in fury, the tongues disconnecting from me, letting me slip away with a grin on my face. One tongue stayed attached to my left leg, but I ignored it for now.
My cudgel blurred, smashing the 4 frogs who were biting tongues, either stunning them or killing them. Then I launched myself to the right, catching up to the two frogs I had knocked to the side previously. Smashing both into oblivion, I had a sudden thought, and jerked the leg which still had a tongue attached to it, yanking the frog towards me. I wrapped both hands around the pommel, and swung what I instantly knew was a perfect baseball swing.
The frog splattered from the force. Grinning, I scanned the upper lip of the ravine to see how many remaining frogs there were. I only saw 4 when two things happened: A set of teeth clamped down on my left shoulder and a set bit into my right calf.
I froze for a split second. But then instincts kicked in and the cudgel became a vengeful force that obliterated the frog on my leg; I needed to be able to run away.
In that time, the frog on my left shoulder set his jaw and BIT. Roaring with pain, I brought the base of the cudgel around and smashed it in the head twice. The grinding pressure stopped, but it hung on doggedly, its teeth slowly tearing my flesh open. I was raising the weapon for a third blow when I saw those 4 frogs still sitting above launch their tongues, their eyes fixed on the cudgel.
Furious, I endured the agony and raised my left arm, feeling my shoulder tear and pop as I did. Still, it blocked all 4 of the tongues, and when they began pulling, I pulled back, harder, pulling them down into the pool. Only two more seemed to be above, waiting to shoot out their tongues. Or…
Well, I’d deal with that when I had time.
A frog that was stunned earlier leapt up towards me, hoping to catch me unawares, but I met it with a blow from the cudgel. A tongue shot out and hit my chest, but I just ignored it. Smashing the frog biting my shoulder under with a whimper, it loosened and fell off.
At that exact moment, some strange instinct flared up, and I twisted around. The right side of my face burned where a frog had ripped its teeth across a moment earlier. It felt as if my ear was nothing but dangling flash. My face fell to a grimace.
I yanked the frogs that had their tongues on me and smashed them to pieces. Then I leapt to the frog that had marred my face and ended it. I scanned the lip of the ravine, but the two frogs were gone.
Cheh, typical. They were going to fetch more friends. Well, I can’t let them go that easily. With the adrenaline still pumping through me, the leap up was a simple one, and I sprinted through the tall grass, all pretense of stealth lost, intent to track down the two fleeing frogs.
It took me about an hour, but I found them both. They were intelligent enough to head in separate directions, and one had almost reached what I could only refer to as a frog settlement. If what I killed had been about 20, there were 100s there, and larger, scarier things that my instincts warned me I wasn’t ready for.
As I returned, I blissfully ate one of my prey, enjoying the taste. But when I reached the edge, I froze. Standing below, holding a frog leg above a purple flame, was a strange creature. Its bottom half was metal, with four powerful metal legs that resembled a bug. His torso was naked, resembling a human’s, except for blue skin.
He registered me about the same time I saw him, and by the time I had crouched and hid my wounded arm behind me, he had drawn and knocked an arrow.
There was a moment of silence.
He broke it. “Leave, stranger.”
I tilted my head to the side, my eyes evaluating. “Frogs are mine. Give, then I go.”
His eyes gazed at me for a long time. I wondered idly what he saw.
After a moment of hesitation, I spoke again. “You only have one arrow left.” An empty quiver rested against his hip.
“It would only take one arrow to kill you.”
Another stretch of silence.
With a sigh, he relaxed his bowstring and let the tip of the arrow drop. He didn’t unknock the arrow. Sensing the tension had passed, I hopped down, gleeful. Aside from the two that it seemed like the strange creature was eating, there were 14 frogs laying around. After surreptitiously gathering them all into a pile away from him, I began to eat with relish.
After I finished, I leaned back, burping and satisfied. He seemed almost bemused. He had since put his bow back over his shoulder. I coughed dryly and pointed to the remnants of his two frogs. “Are you finished with those?” He nodded.
I ate them, delighted. By the end of it, my Biomass reached 52. Now, if I leveled again, hopefully I would get an even better growth rate….
I frowned at my left shoulder and flexed my fingers. Feeling was slowly coming back, and if I watched closely enough, it almost seemed like it was healing right before my very eyes. What a weird place.
“I have seen others of your kind, stranger. But mostly they died, screaming and attracting more predators. For sharing a meal with me, I will give you some advice about this place. How long have you been here?”
Noticing that he seemed to be waiting for an answer, I grunted. “A day.”
He nodded. “I suspected as much. They usually send groups of your people in on the 1st day and the 5th day. You came in the first day. All those sent here will have a week to get stronger. Kill creatures and level up. Unless you want to travel a vast distance, those frogs are your best bet. Avoid the forest. But be careful you don’t earn the ire of the frogs too easily. If their patriarchs come.... Survival will be difficult.”
“That’s basically it,” He said, looking at me with strange, yellow eyes. “Kill creatures to earn experience. Use your skills to improve your mastery. Survive. And in a week, you will have the chance to ascend the tower. And based on your race… You likely won’t have any chance of surviving unless you reach level 10, or have a godly skill. But if you had that, you wouldn’t have ended up here. Good luck.”
Then he left.
After I was sure he was gone, I ran away from the area, thinking that when the frogs investigated, I didn’t want to be caught with this bloody arm. I found a small river that attached to the marshy area, and slept under some gnarled tree roots.