Taking a deep breath, I crossed my legs, focusing on my ki. There was a good chance that this process would get me a level or two in Monk, but that was alright in this instance. This was experience gained through study, so at least I am gaining information while I level up, instead of just gaining the experience in battle. This method would at least help build my foundations a little bit, though I will likely need a refresher course once monk techniques develop more.
Anyways, back to focusing. I could clearly feel the ki flowing through my body. According to what Ryone said, in order to convert my ki I would need to expel it from my body. From what I’ve learned through practice, ki does not drain as you use it inside of your body, like how I used it to enhance my sight. It only drains when you bring it out of your body. Though, when using ki to enhance a throw or a jump, it’s natural that you will leave some of it behind on the object you are throwing or leaping from.
If this is true, then ki can be considered a valuable resource. Until it mixes with another energy, it won’t disperse on its own, but that probably also means that it takes longer to recover. Then again, I’ve never taken long enough to experiment with how long it takes ki or mana to recover, because I’d always level up before that happened.
Well, with this thought in mind, I began pushing my ki outside of my body, keeping it close to the outer layer of my skin. I could feel that pushing it much farther than that would push it outside the range I could draw it back in, so I wanted to be careful. Keeping an eye on my status bars, I saw a yellow bar representing ki rapidly depleting. Once the depletion hit the halfway mark, I pulled all of the ki back into my body, stopping the process.
With my ki back inside my body, I closed my eyes to carefully examine it. I wanted to find any irregularities that would show the progress of converting my ki. As I worked my way through my own energies, I spotted a tiny portion, likely only one or two units which had a different feeling. Still, those one or two units of ki showed a clear change, and I was rather eager to see where it would lead me if I continued!
Of course, that would have to wait a little while, as I needed to give time for my ki to recover. Keeping my pose, I waited patiently for my body to produce more ki. The process took… a lot longer than I had planned. After what felt like half an hour of waiting, I had only recovered five ki. If it continued like this, wouldn’t I only be able to use this method once a day?!
Groaning in frustration, I decided to go ahead and prepare the fish that I had caught, using my knife to clean it. Once it was ready to be cooked, I carved a basic fire spell diagram into the ground. Skewering the fish on the spear I had used, I stuck one end into the ground and had the other end leaning over the formation.
From then, I just used a bit of mana to trigger the formation, letting it slowly cook the fish. Of course, before I did this I had confirmed that the fish wasn’t poisonous or anything by ‘praying for guidance’. Though, even if it was poisoned, my Keeper health would help me last long enough to make it to the Admin Room before I could take any serious damage.
I waited patiently for the meal to cook, and as I did there was some movement out of the corner of my eye. Turning to look, I saw a… blob, slowly rolling towards me. Its size only came up to my shins, and inside I could see two tiny balls, looking almost like eyes. It felt strange seeing a slime with two cores, but I easily confirmed that that was what it was by checking its name. Moreover, it was only a level two slime, so it did not pose any danger to me.
I thought about simply wiping it out, keeping the area clear for me to train in. However… if this was going to take as long as I was fearing, having a weak monster around to entertain me wouldn’t be all bad. Just to be safe, I sent a prayer up to the Admin Room. For anyone listening, there anything I should be concerned about with this slime, or is it fine to just let it hang out around me while I train?
The response that came back was, surprisingly, Accalia, the lycan Goddess of the Hunt. There shouldn’t be a problem. Slimes at that level can only burn through weaker substances. Although your clothes might melt if it hugs you long enough, it won’t be able to melt through the skin of someone at your level. If your skin starts to burn while it is touching you, just go ahead and smash it. Also, it seems like that one is getting ready to split, so it is probably looking for nutrients.
The detailed answer from the new goddess surprised me. Though, she did have Hunt as her domain, so maybe information regarding monsters was a part of that? However, a moment later, Aurivy spoke up into my mind, the childlike voice a stark contrast for the more adult lycan. It’s pretty weak right now. If you feed it, it’ll probably be a good pet to keep you company!
I considered her words while waiting for my fish to cook, but ultimately the slime took matters into its own hands. Even though it moved at a snail’s pace, it eventually made its way to the discarded waste materials from the fish, things such as the head or guts that I had removed before cooking it. Its small body slowly moved to encompass the pile of trash.
The small body of the slime gave off a little shake as I could watch the materials inside it slowly dissolving, one little piece at a time. Just like Accalia said, the slime really had been preparing to split, as by the time it had finished there were two slimes sitting there. Each of them had a separate core in their small bodies, and they slowly moved in my direction.
Part of me thought they might be seeing me as just a larger meal, but that thought disappeared when they stopped a couple feet behind me. I wasn’t sure what was going on until I saw a message appearing in front of me.
You have tamed two Green Slimes - Level 1
...Okay, so apparently they are now my pets? I had gained the Monster Tamer class back when I fought the pack of lion monsters, but I still didn’t really know how it worked. Aurivy, Accalia? What am I supposed to do with two slime pets?
Again, it was the lycan goddess that spoke first. Slimes are simple-minded creatures. However, their key aspect is mimicry. If they watch something long enough, they will start to replicate it as best they can with their bodies.
And once again, Aurivy chimed in with some extra info. Some halflings have tamed slimes before, and it doesn’t really go well. They are really dumb, and won’t follow any orders. They act like they’re driven entirely by their instincts. How about, once you leave this time, you send the slimes over to my dungeon? It hasn’t been able to attract many monsters, so I’m sure it’d enjoy the company!
I had almost forgotten about the first dungeon, which Aurivy had volunteered to take care of. I’d need to check in with them later to see if they had placed any other notable dungeons in the area. Alright, that sounds like a good idea. Better than just killing them when I’m done here, at least.
With how close the slimes were staying to my body, I couldn’t say that they would be entirely unaffected by me pouring my ki into the area around me. The worst case scenario is that it triggers an evolution down the line, but still. Slimes able to use ki would probably be pretty scary.
Once the fish was done, I grabbed the makeshift skewer and ate my meal. Honestly, I did not like the taste of it at all. Flame-cooked fish with no seasoning or anything would not be my first choice of a meal under normal circumstances, but right now I needed to endure long enough to finish this.
After eating the fish, I tossed the leftovers behind me for the two slimes to finish off what was left. They happily consumed the cooked fish while I began to get back into my training. To my surprise, my ki had actually completely refilled by the time I checked. By my estimation, it should have been at least another ten hours before my ki had entirely returned.
A quick prayer call to Ryone and Bihena confirmed that ki recovered like stamina. While resting would bring it back slowly, the best ways to recover it were to eat, drink, and sleep. Bihena also added in a rather interesting piece of information that I had not known about before.
Among the humans, some have found ways to increase their ki recovery. They set up a path within their bodies, and make the ki follow that path in a regular motion. Doing that makes it a bit harder to use the ki once it has adapted to the flow, because it is already moving in a set pattern, but it increases the recovery speed by a lot.
I considered her words, and debated doing something like that for my own ki while I was down here. However, I decided against it, because I already had enough on my plate dealing with this. If the ki became harder to control, then shortening the recovery time would be pointless. I could just wait, and in the future they will likely develop more advanced ki methods to use, ones that weren’t as restrictive.
Since my ki had recovered, and I confirmed that the small portion which changed had remained intact, I went ahead and repeated the process of sending my ki out to mix with natural energy. Once again, when I pulled it back in, I found that a few more units of ki had been changed. However, this time I decided to try my own method of recovery.
Briefly tapping into my Keeper abilities, I channeled a very small portion of that ki over to my normal ki pool, causing it to instantly refill. Immediately afterwards, I once again locked my Keeper powers, and checked the status of my ki. I hadn’t done this earlier because I was worried that the quick recharge of ki would destroy the portions which were already changed. However, that worry vanished when my ki was fine after having been refilled while eating.
Like this, I was able to repeat the process again and again. Each time, I would add between one and three units of ki to my ‘altered’ pool, setting it aside while I let the rest of it repeat the cycle. And every time, the two slimes behind me would shake their bodies excitedly, letting out strange warbling sounds. By the time that the sun was setting, I had converted eighty of my ki. However, at the same time I was also getting tired, finding it too hard to focus on continuing my training.
Giving a wary glance at the two slimes, I used the spell formulas that Ryone had taught me to lay a trap on my campsite. If anyone stepped too heavily into the area, it would set the whole place on fire. Though it would be a weak flame, giving me plenty of time to wake up and take care of it before it caused any problems.
To my surprise, I managed to actually sleep through the night without a problem. When I awoke, I felt the two slimes sitting down on my chest. The simple wool shirt that I had descended with now had two circular holes in it where they had chosen to make their camp, but otherwise I could not feel any discomfort.
As I sat up, they harmlessly rolled off, falling to the floor and squishing against each other before returning to their previous positions. With skewer in hand, I once more set out to repeat the cycle of fishing, training, eating, and then more training. And again, the slimes all too happily ate up any of my scraps.