The Mimic woke up violently. It shot out several unrecognizable limbs from its underside that were perhaps intended to be spider legs, but they came out so malformed and unrefined that they looked closer to oversized noodles. They flailed and thrashed around for a few seconds before managing to tip the chest over and make it fall on its backside with a thud. The sudden impact with the ground seemed to snap the monster out of its haze and allow it to finally remember where it was and what it was doing there.
The root cause of its distress, was that it had never experienced sleeping before. This sensation of waking up was vastly different from the time it slipped into a 3-day Rank Up coma. Back then, its mind seemed to wake up before the rest of its body did, which was the opposite of what happened just now. The whole slumbering monster thing was vastly different from the other times it took a break. After all, no matter how tired or hungry it was, its consciousness had never slipped out from under like that before. It’s not like the thought of resting its body was strange, but this was the first time it needed to rest its mind.
Or, to put it in another way, this was the first time it had a mind that needed rest. Up until a few days ago, it was still a simple Lesser Mimic whose main concerns were not dying, how tasty things were and where it could get more of the tasty things. But now it was a Greater Mimic, a creature that could form coherent thoughts and had a much higher capacity for learning and understanding. Complicated emotions like gratitude towards an enemy were now also within reach. And that higher-performance cognitive ability demanded maintenance in the form of sleep.
That’s not how the Mimic saw it though. It almost felt cheated, to be honest. Why did it have to suddenly lose consciousness like that? Didn’t such a thing make it incredibly vulnerable? If it knew about this sooner, it would have not allowed itself to sleep in the first place. Or at the very least it would have wanted to have its familiar around to guard it.
Eventually it would find out that it was actually quite a light sleeper and would wake up the instant it detected something within the range of its magical perception or felt an odd vibration through the ground it was ‘sitting’ on. It’s just that right now, it had no idea about any of that. Such things were not present in this deathly silent chamber.
“Ack!” it exclaimed. It picked itself up off the floor and stood up. Or at least, as close to ‘standing up’ a spider-chest could get. It quickly scanned the room and confirmed three points of interest. The dungeon core was still there, the former Fleshmaiden was still dead and the entrance was no longer sealed shut. Having made sure its safety was not in immediate danger, it allowed itself to relax a little. Only a little though, it still had things it had to do.
First of all, it leaped up in the air and did a backflip, then performed a few stretches and trial shapeshifts to make extra sure everything was in working order, which seemed to be the case. Its body actually felt strangely refreshed and full of energy. If these were the after-effects of a good night’s rest, then perhaps sleep wasn’t all bad. Well, it was still only day 2 of its life as a Greater Mimic. It would still need more time to get used to its new species.
There was still the matter of the Fleshmaiden’s corpse though. It went over to it and tried to use Cadaver Absorption, but the Skill failed to activate. Even if she did have a heart and brain, they would have been completely destroyed by the Ebonfire Spell. Her body was in such a horrible state that the Mimic didn’t even want to eat it the old-fashioned way. Which was a shame considering that the few pieces it bit off her during the fight weren’t half bad. Perhaps a bit juicier than it preferred, but tasty all the same.
It felt better about it when it remembered to take her other mithril dagger, though. That one clean stab she got on the inside of its mouth did a whopping 130 damage to its HP. It was therefore looking forward to seeing if these new weapons would serve it well. These weapons also had the added benefit of being shiny. Mithril was technically a precious metal also known as white gold, so the Mimc instinctively felt a certain amount of satisfaction when it put both of those things in its Storage.
Next it checked its Status. It remembered it had managed to become a Level 16 Warlock before drifting off to sleep, meaning it could unlock one additional Skill.
|Skill List: Warlock
Unlocked Skills: Summon Familiar, Power Overwhelming
Available Skills: Blood Magic, Crystallize Magic, Demonology
You can unlock 1 additional Restricted Skill from this Job.
Once again its options seemed oddly limited. At Level 5 it could only pick Summon Familiar. At Level 10 it had a bare-bones choice between Power Overwhelming and Blood Magic. It chose the former because it seemed like the more useful one, even if it turned out to have bad compatibility with Stealth and Assassination. Not to mention the other Skill looked more than a little dubious.
Description: The Warlock offers up his own life force to power his magic
Requirements: Level 10 Warlock, END 60
Type: Toggled (OFF)
Activation Time: N/A
Effects: Ruin and Domination Spells will consume HP instead of MP.
Reduces the HP Cost of Ruin and Domination Spells by 3% per Level of this Skill.
It was a Skill that demanded the Mimic willingly sacrifice its HP to use magic. There’s no way the monster would agree to something like that, though. Preserving MP was important, but keeping HP above 0 was its top priority. It may have been a different story if it had the power of regeneration like that Fleshmaiden or maybe the healing magic that adventurers were seen using, but such things were beyond its reach for the moment. It might reconsider its choice if it gained some method of instantly recovering its HP.
And then realization hit it like a whale crashing into a rowboat.
Potions. The magical red liquid that would miraculously close wounds and restore HP. Those three vials it crunched yesterday would have been incredibly helpful in the fight it just went through. It finally understood why those humans kept the tasty thing bottled up rather than drink it immediately. Healing potions were not food, they were medicine. Okay, it didn’t use word ‘medicine,’ exactly. That much was still a foreign concept, but at least it recognized them as ‘tasty thing that makes the pain go away.’ Close enough, right?
Regret was not tasty. It had wasted more than a few of those life-saving vials during its time, completely oblivious to the fact that it could save them for later. But now that it was aware of it, it made up its mind to keep a ready stock of them inside its Storage. The importance of preparation was yet another lesson it had picked up during this dungeon crawl, among other things. It truly felt a smidgen of gratitude towards the Fleshmaiden for showing it just how conceited it had become.
Ah, but it was getting side-tracked. It still had two new Skills to check up on!
Description: Binds magic spells to a more permanent form, allowing it to be stored for later use
Requirements: Level 15 Caster Job, INT 90, WIS 60
Activation Time: Instant
Cost: 0 MP
Effects: The next Area Effect Spell will have its MP Cost increased by 25%.
The next Area Effect Spell will be stored temporarily inside a conjured Spell Crystal.
Shattering a Spell Crystal will unleash the stored Area Effect Spell.
Spell Crystals will last up to 6 minutes per Level of this Skill before disappearing.
Another complicated Skill with a lot of weird restrictions. However, its effects did seem to be worth the trouble. If the Mimic could prepare a bunch of these crystals in advance, it wouldn’t need to chant at all. All it had to do was keep them in its Storage and then throw them out at the right moment. However, that seemed limited to only Area Effect Spells, of which it currently only had two.
Requirements: Level 5 Warlock, INT 15, MNT 15
Type: Area Effect
Cost: 50 MP
Range: 5 Meters
Effect: Sends all living things in the immediate area into a magically-induced panic attack.
Has no effect on Undead, Demons and Golems.
Mass Panic had the problem that it only affected the area around the caster. If the enemy was already that close, then there’s a good chance they would be able to interrupt the chant. But if that was sealed in a Spell Crystal, it would eliminate that possibility. It should even be possible to throw the crystal and drastically increase the range. The usability of this Spell would go way up!
Requirements: Level 13 Warlock, INT 60, MNT 40
Type: Area Effect
Cost: 120 MP
Range: 25 Meters
Effect: Causes a violent shock wave of darkness at a target area.
The force of the Spell will forcefully repel all matter within 3 meters of the target area.
Grows in power in dark places or at night, gaining up to 50% additional force depending on the environment.
Dark Explosion on the other hand had a rather lengthy chant that took 3 or 4 seconds to complete, significantly longer than something like Ebonfire or Shadowbolt. Therefore, preparing the Spell in advance would allow the Mimic to throw it out instantly at the opportune moment! A strategy that fit in perfectly with its dirty fighting. Would the other Skill be able to compete with that?
Description: The study of demons and demonic rituals
Requirements: Level 15 Warlock, Level 3 Summon Familiar, WIS 60, MNT 60
Activation Time: N/A
Effects: Increases the Cost of Summon Familiar by 2% per Level of this Skill.
Allows the Warlock to contract and summon 1 additional demon through the Summon Familiar Skill at Level 1 of this Skill.
Allows the Warlock to contract and summon 1 additional demon through the Summon Familiar Skill at Level 8 of this Skill.
That did indeed seem to be the case. The succubus had proved to be extremely useful when it came to infiltration and deception. Her magic was nothing to scoff at either, but she was sorely lacking when it came to close quarters combat. Therefore, if the Mimic had another demon under its command to fill that gap, they would be able to fight far more efficiently as a group. It even had the added boon of allowing it to use more MP during the summoning, meaning its demons would grow steadily more powerful.
There is strength in numbers. This was the simple truth the chest had gleaned from its fights against adventurers. And it had experienced it first hand. It was highly likely that the chest would have perished in the encounter with the Fleshmaiden if Xera wasn’t there. It would be a long time before the Skill reached Level 7, but sometimes the wait made the meal all the more tasty.
Ah, but Crystallize Magic looked tasty as well. But which one was more delicious? Telling just by looking really wasn’t possible, after all. The greedy Mimic wanted both, and that could technically happen once its Warlock Job reached Level 20, but it still had to choose the one it wanted first. This really seemed like a tough decision. Magical grenades or another capable minion? If only there was someone around to give the stumped chest a fresh perspective.
“Greetings Master,” said Xera some 10 seconds and a flash of light later. This was immediately followed by “Ughh! What the fuck?!”
The dumbfounded succubus grimaced fiercely as she took in the surrounding scenery. The aftermath of two shapeshifters going at each other with bladed weapons was on par with a natural disaster! Dried up blood and dismembered body parts littered the floor, including an out-of-place, half-molten head resting awkwardly in a puddle of something.
The nearby pile of charred meat that used to be the Fleshmaiden was the biggest problem. Not the way it looked, although that was pretty disgusting in and of itself, but rather the horrible stench it gave off. That indescribable scent of burnt flesh seemed that seemed to permeate this entire room.
“What in the hell happened here?!” she asked with a hand over her mouth and nose. It wasn’t helping though.
‘I won,” said the Mimic with a hint of pride.
“Yes, I can see that! I mean what’s with this horrible smell?!”
Right, treasure chests didn’t have noses. The succubus actually envied that lucky bastard of a box right now. Ah, technically speaking, she didn’t really need hers, either. So she took a page out of her master’s book and shapeshifted it shut. Even if the horrible stench didn’t technically cause her any harm, unpleasant things were still unpleasant.
“Is the smell tasty?!” probe the Mimic.
“No, Master. It’s extremely disgusting. I would not recommend trying it.”
If it did, it would undoubtedly get pissed off. Which meant snack time until it calmed down. And Xera did not want any more of that. She didn’t, okay?
“Oh. Okay,” it responded dejectedly. Higher mental functions or not, it still felt disappointed when the verdict of this new thing was ‘not tasty.’
The succubus walked over to the former dungeon master and gave it a curious look. This was the first time she had seen something burned up so thoroughly before. And yet it still seemed to be… leaking.
“Master, what did you do to this thing?”
“I hit her with a big spell.”
Xera’s eyes widened in shock. A single Spell? Given how quickly she moved and how she shrugged off having half her torso bitten off, Xera was convinced she must have been at least Level 40. Not to mention she was obviously experienced at fighting Casters. Then again, nobody is really prepared for the ridiculous things this box does. It probably used some underhanded trick to seize a weakness.
She chuckled. What she was most surprised about wasn’t the power it displayed, but the fact it actually remembered to use it. It seemed like the succubus would have to give her master some credit. Just a little though.
“Alright then, what do you want from me?” she asked in a business-like tone. It was highly unlikely this chest summoned her for no reason.
“Do you know the Demonology Skill?” it asked.
The succubus furrowed her brows and dug through her memory, but had trouble recalling anything about that particular Skill. That was to be expected since her knowledge regarding the Warlock Job was quite superficial. She wasn’t one herself, after all - she merely worked with them. Often against them, actually.
That was pretty much her expected behavior, though. Relationships between a Warlock and its Familiar were always founded on distrust and deception. And with her being a succubus that thrived on such things, it meant she was trusted even less. Nobody in their right mind would want to listen to her opinions, lest they fall for her schemes and ended up as a dried up corpse in a ditch somewhere.
She really didn’t need to go that far, though. The Warlocks that she managed to turn the tables on complete idiots that practically killed themselves. There was that one guy that stuck his penis in her mouth and gave her some vague command like ‘Make me cum buckets.’ How did he not realize that was an open invitation for her to suck the very life out of his dick?!
But her current master was radically different from all of her previous ones. Well, that was to be expected considering it was a monster with no sex drive. It treated her like dirt, constantly ate her flesh and even tortured her psychologically with its inane attitude and brazen shapeshifting habits. And yet, it understood and even encouraged her urges to devour the lives of mortal men. Sure, it was idiotic, merciless and completely devoid of common sense, but this was still the best working relationship Xera had ever had with another person. Well, another mortal at any rate.
Deliberately or no, that chest still did wonders to alleviate her boredom. That was ultimately the most important thing. It’s only been a week or so since their contract began, yet she found herself incredibly curious as to how far it would be able to go.
“No, Master. I am not familiar with this Skill,” she answered after putting her thoughts in order.
“What about Crystallize Magic?”
“I don’t know that one either.”
The Mimic then proceeded to explain both Skills and how it wasn’t sure which one to pick. Would it go for the nasty crystal surprise or opt for the extra pair of hands to help out in fights? It seems that it had been obsessing over this decision for quite a while. However, Xera almost immediately pointed out something that her master didn’t consider.
“You do realize what would happen if you dropped one of those crystals, right?”
The chesty Warlock thought back on the first time it used Dark Explosion. The Spell had been aimed at a group of 7 goblins that were foraging for food in the forest. Two of them were right at the center of the detonation. They became red mist. Three of the others were closer to the edge of the Spell’s area of effect and were thrown into the air like ragdolls. They crashed into trees and rocks at high speeds, dying instantly from the impact. The last two were outside the blast zone, but still suffered heavy damage from fragmented stones and bones sent flying by the explosion.
Having recalled that rather vivid memory, the Mimic then imagined what would happen if it fumbled a Dark Explosion sealed inside a Spell Crystal.
Proficiency level increased. Demonology is now Level 1. WIS +2. MNT +2.
Sometimes it really helps to bounce ideas off other people.