Re:Interference Chapter 1-Crawling Danger

[Navi: Detected- Slime x10 (lvl 1)- Outnumbered! Surrounded !Suggested Retreat]

<<Damn!>> I shout out loud in realization. They must have surrounded me while I was dozing off.

The monster’s levels are the same as mine. Maybe I would be able to win 1 on 1, but there are too many of them. I pick up my spear and lunge toward the nearest slime.

[Navi: Attack failed- Enemy Slime resists physical damage!]

Of course…the spear pierces the Slime’s body. The impact feels like I am stabbing water, and the spear is stuck on the slime. I unhand it, recoiling in surprise as the wooden weapon slowly melts inside the slime’s body.

<<If one of those catches me…it’s the end>> I mutter while keeping my distance.

The campfire is near…and an idea pops in my mind.

<<Maybe…>> I whisper. I tear a small piece of cloth from my shirt and wrap it around the other spear’s tip. Next, I push the spear tip inside the burning coals. The cloth catches fire…a makeshift torch. I swing it in front of the nearest slime, and the creature shudders and back away from the flames.

<<So…weak to fire, are we?>>

I resolve myself. Of course, I will not do something stupid like attacking every one of them. They look slow, so my best option here is use the torch-spear to make an opening and run the f*ck away.

<<Ok…let’s do this!>> I shout to psyche myself, launching an attack on the nearest slime. The creature avoids the attack, and I move away from the fireplace. Visibility is bad, but thanks to the torch I can at least see where I am going. I run along the riverbank, scaring away the approaching slimes with my torch-spear.

The situation, however, is way worse than I thought. More slimes are crawling from the waters and the forest…and some of them are bigger than the others.

[Navi: Detected- Grand Slime lvl 20]

<<Are you kidding me?>> I shout in disappointment.

The big slime shakes. And then, in an instant, it attacks me. Although it was still far away, the monster stretched with incredible speed,  his form twisted into long, spear-like protrusions. I manage to avoid the attack, by sheer luck.

Stumbling to the ground, I lose the grip on my torch, which flies away from me.

A burning sensation envelops my arm. Apparently, I landed on my back, ending up with my elbow on a slime.

Screaming, I roll away from the monster. Illuminated by torch, several other slimes are now encircling me. The noise they make is revolting…bubbling, moist sounds, and a low pitch hum. Terrified, I try to crawl on the ground and put some distance between me and the beasts. It’s no good. More of the bigger ones are now coming from the water…

I avoid the attack of a small slime. It still grazes my thigh, burning clothes and the skin below. Limping, I try to push myself, stumbling away from the approaching monsters. The only clear path follows the river, so I run.

Jumping, stumbling, running…I spend every breath trying to flee from this predicament. Several times I get hit by their attack. Although the blows are shallow, the burning pain still sears my mind. Worse than that, is the smell of my own skin being corroded.

I tremble, thinking about what will happen to me if one of them catches me for good.

Luckily, some big stones ahead offer me a bit of cover. I jump behind them, just as one of the big slimes launches his spear-like appendages on me. The rock starts melting with a loud sound.

Panicked, I start running again. My strength is at its limit…I will not be able to flee for much longer.

And their number is increasing as time goes on. Using my skill, I now see more than 40 slimes, some of them pursuing me while other approach from the side.

This is the worst. Slowly, crawling on the floor, they relentlessly pursue me. Is this retribution for all those slimes that I decimated in my previous gaming life?

Daylight starts brightening the sky. Did I run all night? Nevertheless, the monster still pursue me. Some of them are retreating, crawling towards that accursed forest. The bigger ones however are still going on, bubbling and humming their disgusting song.

I continue to run away from them, sending glances behind my back .

Perhaps, too concerned by the imminent danger, I neglected the crashing sound coming from the direction where I am headed. Louder and louder, the sound grew, without me paying any attention to it.

And now I find myself trapped. Behind me, hungry monsters. And right in front of me, a huge waterfall. The current is too strong, so I cannot flee into the river. Slimes are still crowding the forest’s undergrowth, so I cannot flee that way and risk running into a hidden slime.

I walk towards the edge and look down.

One hundred, maybe even two hundred meters down, the falling water forms a lake. Perhaps…I can jump down, although I would end up severely injured, if not dead on the spot.

Still, falling to my death seems more appealing than being slowly melted and devoured by the slimes.

<<So…this is how it ends huh?>> I mutter.

Suddenly, one of the smaller, level 1 slimes pursuing me emits a loud sound. I turn around, and I see it hurl itself in the air! It’s jumping at me! The monster lands behind me, blocking my escape path. The others are emerging from the forest’s shadow, although slowed down by the sunlight. Again, I find myself surrounded.

Cornered, wounded, panting heavily from the effort, I start trembling. What can I possibly do to survive this?

I decide to push forward. Charging recklessly, I scream while I run towards the monster. Ripples appear on its red, semi-transparent surface, as it launches itself to catch me. The slime’s shape changes midair, tooth-like protrusion now emerge from the surface, as the monster closes on me like a deformed mouth.

I stake it all on one, reckless move.

By mustering all my willpower, I jump towards the slime. At the same time, I activate “Black Mist”, pointing my hand towards the monster. As before, black smoke appears from my hand, and I am blown away by the recoil, successfully evading the slime’s attack. Black smoke envelops the monster. It looks like the smoke is…entering the slime. The monster writhes in pain, and his color is changing from transparent red to jet-black. It…screams, a ear piercing shriek comes from the black slime.

<<Did I…did I just power it up?>> Dazed by this result, I run towards the cleared path. This time, one of the bigger slimes attacks me. I am grazed by his sharp protrusions, however I manage to jump away into the empty air.

<<This must be the stupidest thing I have ever done!>>

As I am falling, those words echo in my mind. Panic kicks in, and I scream atop of my lungs as the water’s surface becomes closer.

Fast, even faster, I am falling.

I try to impact the water with my stretched legs. If I am lucky, I will survive this with just few broken bones.

Hitting the water feels like crashing into a concrete wall. I almost reach the lake’s bottom, and the water’s current sweeps me away. I try to move my legs, but a sharp pain assaults me. Looks like I broke something.

I try to swim towards the surface using my arms. The current is strong, but I manage to emerge and take a deep breath. Barely managing to stay afloat, I let myself to be swept away.

After a while, the current loses some strength and I drift towards the riverbed. With broken legs, I use my arms to crawl away from the water.

Gasping in pain, I reach a big driftwood piece, and I crawl near it. I lean my back on the smooth, white wood, while I check my leg’s condition with Inquisitive Eye.

[Navi: Status check-Success. Checking Roshal’s condition: Critical-Hp 1/10. Injury: femur fracture (l), tibia fracture (r), acid burn (various body parts), severe fatigue]

<<Great…>>. My voice sounds so weak, and I feel my consciousness fading away. My vision blurs as I stare the river’s calm waters. I can almost hear a faint, bubbling sound…

I freeze when I realize that. The bubbling sound, and now the low humming…it’s coming from the water!

Panicked, I look around me, activating my skill to detect the slime in a last, desperate effort.

No response from the skill. And the sounds are getting louder, and nearer. Finally, it emerges from the water. It’s the small slime from before, the one that I hit with my skill. Slowly, it’s crawling towards me.

Like a nightmare scenario, I lay powerless, unable to escape while that…thing slowly creeps on me. It’s now near my foot, and I cannot move.

Shrill screams are coming from my mouth, so distorted by fear that I almost do not recognize my own voice.

The black, liquid mass extends towards my foot. I anticipate the burning pain. It lowers his protrusions, enveloping my whole leg.

It burns! It burns! But the thing does not stop, it’s expanding, swallowing me whole. The black goo now reached my chest, and I frantically try to rip it away from me using my hands.

No result. Some of the slime now sticks to my hand, and it’s starting to envelop them..

I scream, and scream, until the thing reaches my neck, and then my mouth. The disgusting sensation as it covers my face, and the burning pain…I feel like I’m going mad.

Blackness now surround me, and I hear that constant, bubbling noise…

I open my eyes again.

<<What the hell??>>

[Navi: Skill Effect Black Mist- Enemy slime successfully absorbed! Obtained Form Control Skill! Obtained Dissolve Skill! Obtained Absorb skill!New skill unusable due to racial restriction (restricted to race: monster)-Detected affinity between Black Mist and new skills! Would you like to Integrate new skills with Black Mist? Y/N]

What is this random development? My head hurts…I’ll just answer “Yes”, although I do not even know what the hell is going on.

[Navi: Skill Integration Successful! Black Mist Black Fluid lvl 1]

My injuries are gone. I get up on my feet…even broken bones have been healed. Is this a miracle?

<<Ohi Navi! Do you know what just happened?>>

After a brief pause, the Navigator answers me:

[Navi: Record of Black Mist, Black Fluid skills effect- unknown, impossible to answer. Record about “Skill Integration”-Available. Would you like to hear it now? Y/N]

I nod with my head.

[Navi: Skill Integration- A rare phenomenon, where two or more skills can be fused together to produce a stronger one! Only same-level, compatible skill can be Integrated, producing a lvl 1 skill with combined, superior effects! Try to experiment with skill combination, but remember, failure in Integration will make you lose the selected skills!]

Apparently, I have been really, really lucky. Overwhelmed, I just sit on the ground, holding my head between my hands.

I take a huge, deep breath. Right now, I am happy to be alive. For a moment, I really thought that I was a goner. Instead…full health and power up! Sorry, Black Mist…I thought badly of you, and I owe you my life, apparently.

Well, the skill got powered up. “Black Fluid”…it sounds so edgy. Who names these thing…a 12 years old boy?

<<Whatever…let’s try it out!>> I shout with newfound energy.

I invoke Black Fluid. Unlike before, a pitch dark, tar like substance flows from my hand. It strongly resembles the Slime that got absorbed by my skill…

[Navi: Black Fluid-Activated. Skill Effect: user can manipulate several properties like shape, sharpness(more properties available as skill level rises); Dissolve/Absorb- On contact Black fluid can dissolve/absorb target. Absorption restores full health. Chance to obtain target skills/material properties (no skill obtained on non-living targets; smaller chance to obtain material properties from living targets; effect depends on level)]

This seems convenient. First, I try to control the fluid’s shape. I can move it, like a tentacle. Even grab things with it (although it feels so wrong). Next, I try to extend this liquid tentacle as far as I can. It becomes thinner as I stretch it, reaching almost two meters before it reaches its limit.

After that, I try to change various properties: sharpness and hardness. When hardened, the tentacle cannot extend, but I can control the shape to form a small blade. The sharp edge feels more like an animal claw than a knife. It’s not as sharp as a metal blade, but it has some cutting power on it. I can freely change shapes between blade and tentacle, and even, after some tries, manage to produce a spear-point, by hardening only the tip and keeping the rest flexible.

<<Hm…I wonder if…>> As I think out loud, I imagine to fuse “harvest” skill with Black Fluid. To confirm my intuition, a message pops up:

[Navi: Compatibility between Harvest, Inventory and Black Fluid detected. Would you like to Integrate the skills Harvest+Inventory+ Black Fluid →Black Fluid (Harvest, Inventory skill effect added). Confirm Y/N]

It would be better if the system let me fuse only Harvest with Black fluid but oh well…

<<Let’s try this>>. As I answer, Harvest and Inventory skill disappear from my status menu. For a moment, I thought the process failed, but the next message from Navi reassures me. Success!

Immediately, I use Black Fluid on a small piece of driftwood. I grab it with “tentacle mode”, and dissolve it slowly. When the piece of wood disappears, gathered wood is transferred right into my inventory. I can also directly transfer things by touching them with Black Fluid, but this action does not trigger the “dissolve/ absorption ” effect. This way, I can freely choose to keep useful objects, while I can simply harvest materials by dissolving them and also gain their “material properties”.

By the way, I got the “material properties” from the driftwood before. Now I can exactly replicate driftwood hardness and texture with Black Fluid. Of course, I immediately do the same with stones, and even water…but it fails, and I do not get any new ability or property…I wonder what are the requirements here.

However, it’s still a huge success. Escaping from near death without an injury, and even getting a power up! Theonly negative aspect is the condition of my clothes, as I am basically covered in tattered, dirty rags after the battle.

Still, reassured by this new ability, I stroll away from the spot. With this, I can effectively fend for myself, at least with same-level enemies. Although, I still need to be careful.

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