After enjoying its first meal, the Mimic let out a small burp and went back to pretending to be a treasure chest. It had spent the first five days of its life in this very spot, patiently waiting for a chance. Having fulfilled its purpose, it simply continued to sit there, slowly digesting its victim.
Mimics were very good at pretending to be chests. Sight alone was insufficient to determine if this monster was the genuine article or not. After all, it looked exactly like a wooden box that was 80 centimeters long, 35 centimeters tall and 40 centimeters on its side. It’s ‘skin’ was a light oak-like faux-wood, with imitation steel reinforcing its corners and a half-cylinder lid that served as its upper jaw.
However, it could not keep calm like before. Although sightless, it could still perceive everything in a 10 meter radius around it through magic. And what it ‘saw’ left the simple monster with an odd sense of dissatisfaction. Its flat resting place was now a mess.
The ripped up clothing, discarded sword, still-lit lantern and several puddles of blood were a problem. Some part of it realized it would be bad to leave things as they were. Several dozens of small, insect-like legs sprouted sideways from its bottom and lifted it a few centimeters off the ground. It then opened its mouth and let its huge red tongue fall out of it. It spent the next several minutes scuttling around the place, determined to erase any and all evidence that someone had died there.
The blood was lapped up and the scraps of fabric simply stuck to the wet tongue. The fleshy tendril-like organ coiled itself around the lantern before swallowing it whole. When it attempted to pick up the iron sword in the same way, the Mimic tightened its tongue a little too much around the blade and cut itself.
It let out a hiss at the unexpected jolt of pain and reflexively let go of the sword. Several drops of sticky yellow blood dripped onto the floor.
You suffered a shallow cut. HP -4.
Another strange window popped up into its consciousness. Although it somehow understood the words, it simply lacked the brain capacity to process their meaning. Not that it had any intention of doing so right now. The sword was still a problem that needed to be dealt with.
It approached the inanimate weapon warily, carefully observing it. It was a completely normal iron sword - completely mundane and entirely unmagical in every way conceivable. As expected of a beginner’s equipment. Not that a Level 2 monster had any idea what it actually was.
The Mimic recalled the way its breakfast had struggled a little while ago. The adventurer was holding onto the strange object without hurting himself. His fingers were wrapped around it, much like how the Mimic attempted to do. The only difference was that the Mimic had grabbed the pointy end by mistake.
Realizing its blunder, the monster warily stretched out its tongue again. However, the fleshy organ was a bit too thick to properly grip onto the short handle. The creature briefly considered this fact before simply warping its wide tongue into a more tentacle-like shape. Mimics were, technically speaking, a species of shapeshifter. Granted, they were not as good at it as other monsters. Something like warping their tongue or sprouting small legs to move around was the extent of their ability.
Now that its tongue was in the proper shape, the animated chest wrapped it around the handle of the sword. It picked it up safely and held it above itself. Its numerous legs moved in unison, rocking the chest-like body left and right like it was doing a little triumphant dance!
The Intelligence (INT) Attribute has been created through a special action. INT +1.
Another mysterious window. It completely ruined the mood, causing the Mimic to stop its little celebration. Still, it now vaguely understood the thing it was holding onto was a weapon. It moved it around by using its tongue in lieu of an arm. Brimming with curiosity, it swung the sword downwards into the floor.
The blade slammed into the stone floor, letting out a clear bell-like sound that echoed through the cave. There was a tiny crack in the floor, which didn’t escape the Mimic’s notice.
“Hm? Did you hear that?”
The distant voice made the Mimic freeze. It had gotten carried away with its new toy and attracted attention.
“Yeah, I definitely heard something. Come on, let’s go check it out!”
Another voice followed. Although it didn’t understand the words, the Mimic clearly recognized they were moving closer to its location. It quickly retreated back to its spot and sat down. However, there was a serious problem - it was still holding the sword with its tongue! It had serious doubts whether it should try to eat it and there was nothing around that could be used as a hiding place. Not sure of how much time it had, the Mimic did the only thing its tiny mind could think of.
* * *
Two sets of footsteps approached from one of the tunnels. The Mimic followed its instincts and stood perfectly still, lying in wait. A man and a woman entered its perception range. The blond man was holding a sword and a lantern, wearing similar clothes to to the monster’s first victim. The brown-haired woman wore a plain white robe and held a wooden staff with one hand.
“Oh! A chest!” the man exclaimed.
He approached the Mimic with a rather carefree gait.
“Hold on Ron! It could be a trap!” the woman grabbed onto her companion’s collar while warning him of danger.
“A trap? Come on, Gloria! It’s a box! What’s the worst that could happen?!”
“The rumors said something about Mimics appearing in this dungeon recently. Monsters that look like chests! You can’t be careless!”
“Wait, this place is supposed to have only bats and rats, right? How come there’s Mimics all of a sudden?!”
“I don’t know, but shouldn’t we be careful? Our lives are on the line you know!”
Gloria’s green eyes darted between her brother and the chest. While new types of monsters appearing in a dungeon was not unheard of, it was still quite rare. The cause of such changes was unconfirmed, although the likely culprit was the appearance of a new Dungeon Master.
“Alright, sis. Tell you what. Your big brother’s going to stab the big mean box just to be sure, okay?” Ron reassuringly patted Gloria’s head.
“Mmwu! Don’t patronize me like that! We’re not kids anymore!”
“Fine, fine! I was just kidding, sheesh…”
The Mimic had no idea what was going on right now. Its new prey had shown up and stood idly by instead of going straight for the ‘prize’ like the first one. It heard the voices and saw the faces, but understanding what these people were saying and doing was impossible.
Then the slightly plumper one started approaching again. However, this time something was off. The man was holding a sword - something the Mimic already recognized as dangerous. And this sword was not hanging idly by the adventurer’s side, but was held squarely in front. The Mimic instinctively understood that its prey had grown suspicious. And suspicion was a shapeshifter’s worst enemy.
Ron approached closer and closer. Once he got into striking distance of the chest, he slowly lifted his sword arm up in preparation to slash at the wooden box. Worst case scenario, he blunts the blade a bit. Best case scenario he avoids a deadly trap. Even if a fight broke out, he was confident his swordplay could handle the weaklings in this cave.
The Mimic, on the other hand, had extremely limited knowledge of swordfighting. It knew exactly two things about the subject - ‘the point bit hurts’ and ‘swinging it downward can break rocks.’ Both of those tidbits made it realize just what was about to happen. It felt cornered. And like any cornered beast, it lashed out.
Just as Ron was about to perform an overhead strike, the wooden chest before him sprang open! And amidst the rows of serrated white teeth and the undulating fleshy tongue, there was a flash of something shiny, followed by a piercing pain in his abdomen.
“Urk! UGAAAH!” he screamed at the top of his lungs! The Mimic had stabbed him clear through the stomach!
The Mimic was a monster that survived on deception. It instinctively knew leaving evidence behind was bad, that it had to appear as unassuming and unspoiled as possible. But eating this weapon was dangerous, possibly lethal. So with nowhere else to put it, the monster ended up hiding it in its mouth cavity while gripping onto the handle with the tip of its tongue.
And now, those trustworthy instincts caused it to lash out and land a devastating blow on its unsuspecting victim.
The Strength (STR) Attribute has been created through a special action. STR +1.
The Wisdom (WIS) Attribute has been created through a special action. WIS +1.
Proficiency level increased. Sword Mastery is now Level 1. STR +2. DEX +2.
“Ron!” shouted Gloria “Hold on!”
She gripped the wooden staff with a determined expression. She mumbled something under her breath for a second. Her hands glowed with a soft light as she completed her incantation.
After uttering the command word, the soft light shot out towards her brother, enveloping him. However, it was not enough. Even if a low-leveled Priestess like her could not mend that sort of injury with one cast, she could still buy time to get off another Quick Heal.
“KAH! KOFF!” Ron sputtered out blood. He felt reinvigorated by his sister’s healing magic. It restored a sizable chunk of his rapidly depleting vitality. He used that bit of strength to swing his sword arm downward, but couldn’t put any real power behind the blow. With just gravity to assist it, his sword simply bounced off the Mimic’s solid teeth with a small clanking sound.
You suffered a minor scratch. HP -1.
Having been attacked, the Mimic broke out of the stupor it had been in. It knew about swords now. The knowledge that flooded into it from the Skill was almost too much for its tiny mind to bear, so it took a while for the monster to adapt to it.
“Quick Heal!” came a shout from the side.
Its enemy had regained a bit of strength again and was about to attempt another strike. However, the Mimic already had him in checkmate. It pulled on the sword with a bit of dexterity and - instead of sliding it out of its fleshy sheath, it dragged its victim into the Mimic’s waiting maw.
“NOOOO! ROOON!” shrieked Gloria, her voice echoing in every direction of the dark passage.
Her dearest older brother, that goofy but reliable guy was now being eaten right in front of her. Blood and guts gushed out all over the place as his thrashing feet went limp completely.
“YOU! YOUUUU!” she screamed. She was outraged. That much was obvious. However, she was a newbie Priestess. Her offensive magic was practically non-existent. If her opponent was a demon or one of the undead, then she might be able to do something. Against this particular monster though, she was helpless. Not that her mind could process that right now.
“I’LL KILL YOU! PIECE OF SHIT!”
She was too busy screaming in grief and anger to do anything else.
The Mimic stopped chewing once it made sure its prey was good and dead. It spit the mangled up corpse back out and readied its sword. The tiny legs at the bottom reappeared and it scuttled quickly towards the shrieking woman.
It was over. Gloria had realized her folly entirely too late. She stared in abject horror as the mass of teeth and flesh in front of it swung a bloodied weapon around. She somehow mustered enough strength to turn around and run away, but was too slow. The Mimic pierced through her chest from behind.
“GUAHH! BLERG! No! NO! I don’t- Please- Argh!”
She struggled weakly, desperately begging for salvation. Such a thing wouldn’t come though. All that awaited her was despair and a large number of sharp teeth.
Congratulations, you are now a level 4 Mimic! All attributes +4.
Sword Mastery is now Level 2. STR +2. DEX +2.
There it was again, that weird window. And now that the Mimic finally had its Intelligence (INT) and Wisdom (WIS) reach 5, it was finally able to understand. The window was telling the monster it had grown stronger.
*CRUNCH MUNCH MUNCH*
That was the extent of this revelation though. Objectively speaking, this individual was already a genius when compared to your average Mimic, but in the end, that didn’t amount to much. Even now it was way too busy eating up the remains of its latest victims to care about such things.
After swallowing up the woman, licking up any spillage on the floor and crushing her wooden staff in its teeth, it went back to the mangled male corpse and repeated the process.
A few minutes later, the grizzly scene was completely erased. All that could be seen in that oddly flat section of the dungeon tunnel was a simple wooden chest with the tip of an iron blade poking out from behind it.