1.6 – Sliver Fish Swarm

Every environment has it’s bottom-feeders. For the Eastern Lakes, it’s the Giant-legged Sturgeon; the Suon Kiin deserts, the tiny Scorpion Vulture. the Kith Kilan forests, the Rubber-bellied Carrion Newt; the Rou Ban highlands, the Laughing Spider-dog; and for the little know ocean under the Rhew, it’s the Sliver Fish–Just to name a few.

There are many, many bottom-feeders in the world, and most hardly present any danger to the common traveler as long as they are even somewhat prepared, except… except perhaps the Urban Cockroach.

– Barmir’s Guide to the Unknown, 976 

 

It’s been about a day since the naitaka attacked. I can’t really bear to be in the same room as it, but I also can’t bear the cost of transporting at the moment. If another thing comes when I don’t have any mana… I don’t want to think about it. But I’ve had enough moping around. I can ignore it, so let’s settle on some more… constructive things.

Floor first. I need to harden my floor. I can’t handle another entrance if something else decides to break through my floor. So, I pack it. It feels a bit different than just moving ice around or swallowing it. I have to squeeze, and it actually makes me tired, like I’m lifting weights or something. It’s a weird feeling since I don’t have any muscles.

Someday, I’ll get around to that. The more I recall random feelings of having a body, the more I seem to miss it. I wonder if there’s a way that I can get one. It would make things so much easier, honestly. As a plus, weirdly enough, packing ice didn’t seem to take up as much mana. I had thought it’d be the other way around. Huh.

After newly reinforcing my floors as much as I can with my level of [Ice Manipulation], and my walls while I was at it, I turn my attention to new rooms. Don’t blame me for running away. That open hole is dangerous. Even now it feels like an open mouth ready to swallow me whole. The feeling it gives me is so much worse that my first entrance. It’s like a constant tooth ache in my mind.

Again with the body references! I need to figure out how to get one so I don’t drive myself crazy with half formed ideas of what it actually feels like! Wait, not now. I need rooms. Distance is too important. I can’t leisurely experiment right now.

I force my attention to the staircase room. I’ll start building another offshoot room like this one over there, only this time, I won’t waste as much time being super ornate. This room has been pretty much ruined and all my decorations gone to waste. All my poor pillows…

My two rooms right now are set up like two circles right next to each other with a short hallway connecting them. The staircase is on the opposite side of the hallway. I start on the right wall from the staircase and make a much longer hallway. I loop it around to behind the wall of the staircase so I can make my new room as far away from the hole of death as I can. I’ll have three circular rooms all in a row. It’s a weird layout, but it works for my current purposes. I place more beaded silk curtains at each end of the long hallway.

I make this room slightly bigger than the other two, elongating it into more of an oval, and place a rather confusing maze of silk curtains. Not that it will really obstruct anything. Its more to just tangle anything moving through the room at a quick pace and to diminish visibility. I even managed to figure out how to make the silk slightly sticky. Hehe, it’s almost like a nest of real spider webs. Not a bad trap for my first try. Maybe I can make more…

It’s kind of hard thinking them up, though, and I don’t have very many materials on hand at the moment. I don’t really want to fill my home with a bunch of traps no matter how much safer that’ll make me. It’d just make the whole place uncomfortable, and well… paranoid feeling. And if I ever get a real body, I don’t want to be tripping over traps all the time. And I will get a body.

At least the silk curtains serve a dual purpose. They’re pretty to look at, and moving at a slow walk shouldn’t really get you tangled up. It’s more of a counter measure against lunging things like the stupid horse-snake thing.

For good measure, I placed more silk curtains in the fire pit room and upgrade my silk doors as well. Hopefully, it’ll slow anything trying to charge into my domain while I finish it off with projectiles. Speaking of projectiles, I should practice to get the skill up. They’re what saved my life, and getting better at them won’t hurt anyone. Well, actually they will. Heheehehee.

Can I create them anywhere in my domain, or only right around my core? I try creating a projectile near my staircase. It takes a second, but I manage to get an ice pellet in the air. It’s much harder than using the skill right next to me and it costs a bit more mana to create. I think distance has a role to play… something about my influence being the strongest directly around me. Alright, add that onto my growing list of things to do. Work on projectiles.

Back to traps, though. They’re really not that bad of an idea if I can find the right place to put them. Honestly, I really just want to close the hole. The knowledge that I can’t grates on me. Can I make like a trap door that only opens from the inside? That’d be really great, but I have a feeling that that would be pretty much the same thing as just closing off the hole.

What the heck, I’ma try anyway. I pull some ice up into a thick compressed slab and lay it over the hole. I wait for a second to see if it will crumble away like my attempts to cover the hole will. It doesn’t. Apparently, a slab covering a hole is not considered closing off an entrance. Hm… Maybe because it won’t actually keep anything out? That’s a scary though. It’s a pretty heavy slab. Still it’s weird that it lets me do this and doesn’t let me cover the hole…

And there it goes… My poor slab crumbles into dust. What was that? A delayed reaction? Or did it read my mind? Sigh…

As I’m mourning the loss of my slab, something silver flashes in the corner of my vision. My attention is drawn to it. It’s the corpse of the horse-snake. Did it just move? I really really really hope it didn’t. I stare it for a couple of minutes. Nothing happens. I hesitantly turn my attention back to the making another slab, when once again, something moves in the corner of my vision. I’m officially freaked out now as I stare hard at the dead thing, not daring to take my eyes off it.

Then, as I watch, something small and silver pokes out of the naitaka’s side. It pops back in, and I can’t see it anymore, but I can still see the hole it popped out of. That hole wasn’t there a few minutes ago. I continue staring. Another silver thing pops out in a different spot and then disappears back inside. Then, another, and another. Suddenly, the whole corpse is flashing with the things, popping in and out of the skin. Nausea assails me. Whatever they are, they’re eating the corpse. The corpse is deflating before my eyes.

“Stop. Stop! That’s not right! Stop eating it! Don’t you have a little respect for the dead?” I scream. Instinctively, I pull at corpse like I do my ice, trying to get it away from whatever’s devouring it. In my rush, I accidentally begin to devour it myself.

It’s a creepy process to watch, but kind of beautiful at the same time. First the skin flaked off, turning into glittering light reminiscent to snowflakes. The rest of the body soon followed suit as I completely absorbed it.

Flinch? Flinch is for coward. Strong must go into thick fight and tear flesh from bone. Makes best meal. K’lict Breakbone, Balor Warrior

Congratulations! The path of the strong comes from devouring the weak.

Level [5]!: You have absorbed your first defeated monster (+2 health; +2 mana; +1 path point; + monster’s characteristics as addable attributes; full restore)

 

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to!” I say in horror. I was just telling these silver things not to eat it and there I go and eat it myself. This blue screen is mocking me for it.

I hear a slight scraping sound, like metal against metal, and when I turn my attention to it, I get my first good look at what was eating the naitaka. Fish. They were fish floating in the air. Small, skinny silver fish with wide, glassy eyes all staring at me. They were about 3 inches long, but there had to be more than thirty of them. Their scales glinted ominously.

 Sliver Fish [Swarm 30+]: Level (25) – Carrion feeder of the ocean. Feeds off of corpses, especially the strong. A sliver fish is naturally weak on its own, but in swarms, sliver fish can devastate a level 70 creature with ease. Sliver fish can be identified by their silver coloring and razor sharp scales that can cut through almost anything under level 100, and cut through anything under level 50 like butter. They also have the ability to swim through air like it is water. They won’t often attack directly unless agitated.

 

They’re veritable swimming knives! And they’re giving me the evil eye! Why the heck does this keep happening to me? Don’t tell me it’s because of the stupid [Karma] skill! It just has to be one thing after another, doesn’t it. What’s a girl got to do to get some peace around here?

“Oh, no you don’t. Don’t  you dare move, you stinking fish. Don’t look at me like that! Okay, I’ll admit, I took your food away, but really, what’s a little bite between friends? So, if you could just back away…” I say.

And of course, they’re coming to swarm me. Why do my persuasion skills never work? Alright, fishes, get ready to rumble, ’cause for once, I’m actually prepared. As they swim closer to me, I released my tangle of silk on them, trapping them like flies in a web. They squirm around, frantically trying to get free, sometimes cutting up the silk, sometimes cutting up each other.

“If you would just… Stop… Moving! I could throw you out like the trash you are!” I reach out with my conscience, trying to use my mind to get them to stop moving. I feel myself almost start to slip into them. I felt clearly their limited thoughts and feelings. They were angry, they were scared, and always, always starving. I sympathized with them. It was a scary world out there, so I reached further, bringing all the force of my own feelings, my own fear, but also my willingness to accept them as my own, to protect them and feed them. One by one they slow, then stop completely.

I couldn’t help but bow. His manner, his might, it was too divine. – Corvis the traveling bard. 

Congratulations! Your influence grows. One day your domain will be teeming with life, and you will be sovereign.

[Influence III]: You’ve brought your first race under your influence. Creatures will now fall under your influence faster. (3% to creature conversion rate)

A good king makes good decisions when it is required. A great king listens to others first, then makes good decisions when it is required. A Ruler’s Almanac

Congratulations! Servants are what make the king. You have begun to gather your retinue.

Level [6]!: You have brought your first monster under your influence (+2 health; +2 mana; +2 path point; + monster’s characteristics as addable attributes; full restore)

 

Um, cool?

 Status Menu 
Name: [Locked] Race: Dungeon Level: 6*  Attribute: Green
Health: 46/46* (5/hr) Mana: 46/46* (5/hr)* State: Normal*
 Rooms: 3* Floors: 1 Named Monsters: 0
 Monsters: 38* Animals: 0 Plants: 0
[Ξ]
Path Points: 28*
Paths: {Beginner I (0/5)} {Ingenuity I (0/50)} {Valiant I (1/100)}
Skills: [Influence II] [Incorporation III]* [Ambient Aura V] [Earth Manipulation I] [Plant Growth I] [Green Thumb I] [Tamer I] [Karma I] [Ice Manipulation IV][Natural Projectile II] [Core Teleportation]
Achievements: |Ingenuity!| |Powerful!| |Dauntless!| |Against the Odds!| |Crack Shot!|

 

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AN- Wow, it’s surprisingly hard to keep track of stuff.

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