The first thing I did was to check our remaining fighters.
17 gnolls, an unconscious Syria, and me.
‘The gnolls have grown quite stronger.’
In fact, the gnolls I Dominated had a fast rate of growth. Their stats were 50% more compared to regular gnolls. I picked the strongest one among them and examined it using Mind’s Eye.
[Updating the information of ‘Gnoll 22’.]
Name: Gnoll 22 (Value – 134)
Str 25(24+1) Agi 23(22+1) Con 24(23+1)
Int 12 Mag 11
Special Note: Currently Dominated by ‘Hansung Oh’ and is receiving the buff effect of ‘From This Day We Are One(Str/Agi/Con +1)’.
This gnoll had survived the longest and had the highest potential among them. Its size was also bigger compared to the others; its body had developed along with the increase of its stats.
‘The growth rate of the gnolls I had Dominated is much faster than regular gnolls.’
This was a conclusion I came to after previous observations: Regular gnolls wandering about in the wilderness that I hadn’t Dominated also grew on their own. The total average stat of regular gnolls was about 50 while on the other hand, my Dominated gnolls reached around 80.
Why was this so? What was the cause of this difference?
‘Was it because I had them survive for longer?’
I shook my head, denying it in my mind. If it was simply a matter of survival then the potential of all the followers of a chief gnoll should have been filled. But it wasn’t so. This difference was definitely related to the power of the ‘Dominator’ skill I had.
‘It’s the same with Uriel Diablo’s Authority.’
Just like Mind’s Eye, it was an ability which employed an absolute kind of power. It seemed that there was something more to this skill which I didn’t know.
I rubbed my chin.
‘The points I hold amount to 7,700.’
This also counted as a power in my arsenal. Clearing the Ancient One’s trial paid off with an earning of over 7,000 points. With this, I could Dominate around 150 ordinary gnolls, but I had a different idea.
‘There are three gnoll chiefs. What if I used Dominate on one of them?’
There were a total of three gnoll chieftains that ruled over the nearby territories. I was attacked by one of them, but there were still two others remaining. My only concern was the value of the ruling gnoll chief. Their followers numbered, on average, a thousand or so, as such even 7,700 points may be insufficient.
‘There’s too many variables to how the decided value is calculated.’
But it was still worth challenging.
I still hadn’t finished hunting gnolls so I could probably gather some more. Of course there was a limit to the amount of points I could gain through hunting regular gnolls. That was because strong opponents gave many points when killed, while weak opponents gave little.
Upon hearing a groan, I turned my head around to see that Syria had regained consciousness.
The sun was still up at this time. Syria looked at the dusk sky about to turn nightfall, and then at myself in turn, afterwards opening her mouth for the first time,
“I’m not in the mood to joke.”
There was a big discrepancy between her personality and her usual attitude, as usual. Syria was always like this. She just didn’t talk much, that was all.
‘She hasn’t changed.’
I laughed inside. It seemed that there truly were things that didn’t change with time.
Syria looked at her own sticky body and gave a small frown.
“Will you wipe that carefree look off your mug, and explain why I’m in this state please.”
Not to mention that once she opened her mouth, a torrent of words would rush out, most of it profanity. And to think, she was later called the Saintess.
“What’s so funny?”
“How could you throw such words at the face of your saviour, isn’t that too harsh?”
“Were you the one to save me? Where are the others?”
“It wasn’t me that did the rescuing but my gnolls. And the others were scattered due to the gnolls’ ambush. It’s just the two of us here now.”
I answered her questions in turn.
Before long Syria was staring at the gnolls lined up beside me. The gnolls were panting like dogs as they went to Syria’s side right away. Their faces were similar to dogs so it was fortunate that she showed no signs of aversion in particular. Surrounded by the lively gnolls, Syria ended up collapsing to the ground.
“Looks like you go weak at the knees when you see cute things. Even though you’ve just been ambushed by gnolls.”
“Those were bad gnolls though. By the way…our conversation isn’t being translated. So, you know how to speak Russian.”
Conversations between Awakened were automatically translated between each other, so they could communicate. Linlin and Shaoting could speak Korean fluently, but not Syria. The person who taught Korean to Syria was me after all, while it was Syria who had taught me Russian.
“I can speak a bit. Anyway, how about you go and wash up a little?”
Syria’s face burned red when I pinched my nose. The odor given off by the Giant Man-eating Flower’s gastric juices she was covered in was worsening as time passed.
“Maybe I should have cleaned you up when you were unconscious?”
“Where can I wash up?”
A small spring was over where my hand pointed to. Syria got up from her spot and started quickly moving. But after she had walked for a distance, she came to an abrupt stop as she turned toward me and said,
“Thank you for saving me.”
“I didn’t quite hear that?”
“Was your personality always like this?”
And then she ran toward the spring, not sparing a glance back.
That easily embarrassed part of her remained the same as always. The reason behind her usual aloofness was for the sake of hiding her personality. I had always known…about her household. Her circumstances. Why she couldn’t show outward weakness. Everything. She was an enchanting beauty, but she cut her hair short because she disliked giving off a ladylike impression. She would grow it out later on, but that’s how she was at present.
Pant pant pant!
The gnolls were taking turns in looking at Syria, heading towards the spring, and me. This was most likely Dominator’s influence. Because I, as the Dominator, felt good-will towards Syria, these fellows were also feeling good-will towards her too.
‘I’ll be going all-out from tomorrow.’
Gnolls had good eyesight at night. If we move carelessly and get taken from behind again, there was no guarantee that we would be able to escape in one piece like this time. The gnoll chief that ambushed us was quite smart. Prudence at all times was needed; looking carefully in all directions was necessary in order to overcome our disadvantage in numbers.
I was tossing and turning where I lay, feeling as if a snake was creeping all over my body.
‘The same dream again.’
A dream where I intercoursed with the snake-like woman. The woman possessed a beauty to die for, but I was helpless once I was in her grasp. It all started from that day when I had fallen asleep for 7 days straight. From that day onwards I dreamt the same dream every night.
I was pressed down on, unable to do a thing. This situation had repeated several times over already…
‘I won’t just be on the receiving side today.’
..but this time it was different. Was it because of the conversations I had with Syria? I had no clue, but my body was given a certain amount of freedom. I changed my position. I pinned down the Snake Woman and then grasped onto her head by her hair. And then the Snake Woman laughed.
I couldn’t not ask,
“Who are you?”
“You have quite the strong and firm lower parts for a false god.”
And she was right. I had definitely gained freedom of my body, but my lower body was moving without rest to the point of exhaustion. It felt just as if I had fallen into a swamp. Her voice, which I was hearing for the first time, contained dignity, as well as a bewitching quality.
“A false god?”
“Did you not posture as a god within that Treasury? I mean the thing on your left hand.”
A ring was all there was on my left hand. It used to belong to Minshik. Its current appearance with a magic circle engraved on it was a little different than before, but it was indeed not mine to begin with. However, there was no one who had seen it until, not even Minshik. That’s why I had thought it was something only I could see and yet…
“That was the reason why I latched onto you.”
“The name is unimportant. For I was once an existence who swallowed the world. My goal is to borrow your strength and kill Odin…however, you are also not bad. If you can unravel the power of origin as well as the other power within you, then you shall be deemed worthy of the right to become my servant.”
Jörmungandr’s smile deepened, and the movements of my body became even more frantic. Finally, this world began to blur once again.
“The King’s power resides within you. When will you draw it out? I ask you, who contains two souls in one body.”
I raised up my upper body, entirely covered in cold sweat.
‘Nothing but skin and bones will be left of me at this rate.’
Spectrophilia of all things.
I felt like every drop of vitality was drained from me. It felt so real to the point of doubting whether it was really a dream or not. However, I wasn’t merely on the receiving end unlike usual. For the first time I heard the Snake Woman’s, Jörmungandr’s voice. I lightly touched the silver snake wrapped around my heart region as I fell into thought, recalling the words I’d heard at the end of the dream.
‘The King’s power.’
Two souls in one body, the King’s power…was she referring to the Demon Lord? Apparently Jörmungandr was aware that the Demon Lord’s and my soul were connected. However, draw out that power, she said.
‘If I could bring over other skills apart from Mind’s Eye and Dominator…’
I would do it a hundred times i that were possible. All of Uriel Diablo’s skills were alike in that none of them were not powerful. That was especially true for his trademark skill, ‘Black Star’. But as ever, the question of how I would bring them over remained. Perhaps I was supposed to use Transfer and once more enter the abyss.
“Aren’t you the early bird. Are you the type who can’t sleep well except on your usual bed?”
Syria put on a stony expression.
“…That’s not it.”
Syria was already wearing her dry clothes before I knew it, while my clothes had been carefully folded and placed beside my head. I had temporarily lended her my clothes because Syria had nothing to wear after washing hers. I laughed quietly before wearing my clothes and getting up.
I was feeling a slight sense of guilt because of the dream Jörmungandr showed me. Shaking my head to myself, I then looked toward the far horizon.
‘I should begin.’
The time to hunt had come.
The 17 gnolls followed after me like one entity as I once again set foot into the ‘gnoll’s ecology’. I picked out and attacked only the small groups of gnolls as I slowly drew near to the ‘gnoll chief’s’ territory. It wasn’t the gnoll chief that had ambushed us, but another one which I nicknamed ‘Hulk’.
‘It’s the biggest and dumbest one among them.’
However, gnoll chief ‘Hulk’ was being protected by around a thousand gnolls as expected. I needed a fighting power that matched up to those numbers if I wanted to go closer. As such, I was in the middle of quickly developing my 17 gnolls. The hunting was endless thanks to Syria’s presence. In fact, they were growing so fast that I almost couldn’t cope with it. At the same time I searched for the others who were scattered and missing, but it wasn’t easy to find traces of them.
In this manner we continued to hunt for a whole two days when a change occured.
[‘Gnoll Group’ has ended their hunt.]
[19pt has been obtained.]
[‘Gnoll 22’ has reached the limit of growth.]
[‘Gnoll 22’ has evolved to ‘Gnoll Warrior’.]
[The potential of ‘Gnoll Warrior 1’ has increased from 115 to 180!]
Gnoll 22 was the strongest among the pack of gnolls I lead. A light began to shine from Gnoll 22’s entire body.
Finally, two small horns protruded from Gnoll 22’s head while its body grew in size by about two times. It sweeped its surroundings with a fearsome gaze while extending its sharp claws as if showing them off.
I stood there dumbstruck, blinking repeatedly, as I blankly stared at the unimaginable scene that had occured before me.
3 for today. Next one’s tomorrow:)