A little more than two hours after Mia and Colson began Mia's level grinding expedition in the Clearlight Forest, they finally encountered their first Slime.
Mia had done a lot of thinking in the meantime. Slimes were one of the tankiest creature types in the original game, so the same should hold true for this world as well. This was the main selling point for her decision on why to take a Slime as her magical pet.
However, many questions still remained. What was the best way to use the Slime's natural tankiness to her advantage? Slimes were one of the lowest-popularity magical pets to have in the original game for several reasons.
First of all was that the tankiness didn't provide any advantages to the player! Slimes had no way of forcing the computer-controlled monsters in the game to attack them. Most monsters would simply choose targets according to a random number algorithm, which left the Slimes unable to perform the tank's main role in any party formation, absorbing damage for the party.
There was also the factor of the Slime's low attack power. It was so paltry in the early levels that it was almost ignorable, and Elemental Slimes wouldn't learn attack or support spells until they leveled up at least a few times, by which time players would typically switch to some other magical pets.
Not to mention the rarity: Mia and Colson (and Risa) had encountered and slain sixteen Humongous Bees, and ten Wild Boars in the past two plus hours. She was about halfway complete to receiving her first level up already, but this was the first Slime she encountered in all this time.
However, the main reasons that Mia preferred a Slime to the other possible creatures in this area were that Slimes were one of the strongest endgame creatures available to her in this nearby area, and that Slimes were comparatively docile and non-aggressive towards humans relative to most other monsters around here. She figured that without an actual monster taming ability, it would be best to start from a friendlier creature.
Mia planned on locating a Wind Slime, conveniently color-coded as green in order to help protect her and enhance her own wind magic powers. This particular Slime that they met was a sky blue in color, indicating that it was a Water Slime. It wasn't the element that Mia wanted, but she decided to stick around and observe and learn about Slimes.
After all, the capturing and taming of magical pets was made easy by the game itself through a simple "Capture" command available in the battle menu, and any taming would be automatic. Although Mia figured it would be possible to replicate, she currently had no idea of how to recreate the effects.
Not only that, there were also mundane things to now worry about. Just what did Slimes eat? What did Slimes like to do? Would Slimes have to… go to the bathroom? How did they reproduce?
Okay, well, maybe the last one wasn't particularly important to Mia. But, Mia knew that having to take care of a magical pet would be rather similar to taking care of a real one. Luckily, she had experience with raising both a cat and a dog before in her past life, so she had some confidence with animals, if not a wild magical creature like a Slime.
She figured that without a convenient system in place, the best way to obtain her magical pet would be through befriending one. In order to do this, she intended to observe the Slime in its natural habitat first and learn how it behaved.
…Unfortunately, they spent about half an hour doing nothing, as the Water Slime was simply sleeping! Even Risa who was trained in the political arena and knew the value of patience couldn't help but wonder what was going on. Of course, she was a trained professional, and wouldn't ask in such a direct manner. However, Colson wasn't afraid to speak his mind.
"Milady, what are we doing here? Is there some specific purpose you have in mind?"
"I'm here to do research regarding Elemental Slimes. Tell me, what do you know regarding Slimes?"
Colson was rendered speechless by this question. Slimes were a common creature found in many places, well known to all for being harmless and possessing tough defenses. Elemental Slimes were a slightly rarer variant that possessed additional magical abilities, but nothing significant, and they weren't considered all that much stronger than their normal brethren. Slimes were a species that nobody ever bothered paying attention to – relegated to the farthest back corner of most people's minds. He was unable to fathom why the young girl he was serving would take an interest in Slimes.
He told Mia the limited common knowledge that he knew about Slimes and directly asked what he was thinking. "Milady, what specifically did you want to know?"
"Oh, I was thinking of catching and raising one. You know, just what does a Slime eat, what do Slimes like doing, how to befriend a Slime, these sorts of things. Proper research will be necessary so that I can take proper care of it."
Colson's mouth was now so wide agape that it seemed like his jaw would hit the floor. Judging from his reaction, Mia figured out that the catching and taming of wild magical creatures had not been popularized yet. Perhaps it was only a necessary step taken by the humans later in the future, as a resort against the later calamities?
If there was no information available on this topic then, it was all the more important for her to figure it out on her own.
However, merely observing with no results seemed to be a poor, low-efficiency idea, so she started asking Colson about this topic.
"I was thinking of keeping a Slime as a magical pet. I had the idea that perhaps I could catch and tame one. What do you think? Have you ever heard of anyone doing something similar?"
Colson wordlessly shook his head no as various thoughts flashed through his mind.
'What would be the purpose? Slimes are well known to have weak attack power, and humans are unable to communicate with them. It's not like you can ask a Slime to act as a guard dog or know that it understands your intentions. Why would anyone want to befriend a magical beast which is supposed to be the natural enemy of humans anyways?'
Well, these thoughts were too direct for him to say out loud, as even he knew they would be rude and disrespectful.
"Colson, have you ever had any interactions with Slimes before?"
"Hmm? I think there were some ordinary Slimes that lived in the area close by to my hometown. I never actually bothered with them though, as there was no point. They won't attack unless they're attacked first, and their defenses are so tough that it's difficult to even scratch them. Might as well just leave them alone."
Mia nodded upon hearing this. "Do you know if they like to live in groups or if they're typically alone?"
"…I think that the ones I saw from a distance were always by themselves. Are you really planning on catching a Slime and raising it? How are you going to do that?"
To be honest, Mia didn't know how to do it either, but since there was a system for doing it in the original game, she figured it was worth a try to get her own magical pet. Besides, there were no possible downsides that she could think of for doing so for the time being.
At any rate, Mia decided to take action rather than wait around for the Water Slime to wake up. She started slowly walking up to the Water Slime, maintaining her sense of vigilance in case that anything would happen, even if stories said that Slimes were non-aggressive.
The Water Slime woke up and turned around to look at her inquisitively. It had a blobby shape where no distinct body parts could be seen on it apart from some basic facial features; in fact, it appeared rather cartoonish. Its overall size was roughly equal to a medium-sized dog, and since Mia was currently only five-and-a-half-years-old, it reached a bit over half of Mia's height.
Mia's first impression however was…
'It looks so much like Jello! I wonder if I can have a taste?'
But before she could get any closer, the Water Slime turned around and began to hop off. Boing, boing, boing. Mia felt like she was watching a delicious dessert escape…
Well, there was no need to chase after the Water Slime. It wasn't of the element that she desired, and there would always be further opportunities in the future to learn more about Slimes.
And if future Slimes that she met behaved in the same way and avoided humans, then that would mean that the first part she would need to work on was to befriend a Wind Slime without it running away at the sight of her.
Not to mention, there was still currently an unknown outsider with them. Judging from Colson's reaction already, catching and taming a magical monster was something that was currently uncommon, although it would surely become popular by ten years in the future.
Mia had no desire to stand out and become the center of attention. She preferred to keep her own knowledge as a transmigrator to herself. After all, tropes were tropes for a reason.
All in all, Mia did have the self-realization about her own current young physical age, however old she may be mentally. Besides, information would be more valuable if kept to herself. She felt that it would be to her advantage, if she could somehow master having a magical pet before everyone else.
After all, she was born into a different country rather than the main country of the game's storyline, and well before the game's main storyline was scheduled to begin. Much of her knowledge about what would eventually occur down the road couldn't be applied as of yet, so she could only stick to some foundational basics.
They could always continue tomorrow as well when it came to level grinding or looking for Slimes. There were almost ten years remaining before the game's storyline was set to begin, which Mia considered to be ample time. There was no need to rush.
Mia decided to end any further explorations of the Clearlight Forest for today. Although it was only the middle of the afternoon, her stamina was quite drained. Physically walking around in a forest was far different from controlling a game character on a screen for many hours at a time. Plus, she wanted to see if their "follower" would leave them alone after she returned, or if there was something else this woman had in mind.
Luckily enough, when they arrived at the Hart mansion, that seemed sufficient for Risa. Mia didn't want to go through the hassle of bringing a stranger which would put a damper in her habits of coming and going as she pleased, nor did Risa intend to draw extra attention to herself, as she had also achieved her goal already. Risa had been paying attention to the topographical lay of the land as she followed Mia to the Hart mansion, and she valued this information more than anything regarding Mia herself.
Two days later, a letter from the spy Risa made its way to Felix and his retainers.
The girl in question was indeed the daughter of Count Hart, in more ways than one. She seems to have inherited his penchant for cruelty, if nothing else. After struggling with facing another Wild Boar after we separated, she appeared to have lost her temper and ordered her retainer to begin clearing out the monsters in the forest. However, this was no act of altruism. What happened was that her retainer was ordered to merely knock the monsters unconscious and that she would come up and give the helpless monsters a killing blow. While monsters may be us humans' enemies, this is no different from a slaughter just to sate one young girl's bloodlust from throwing a temper tantrum. Not only that, Milord, as you are aware, there are harmless Slimes residing in the Clearlight Forest. This girl appears to have an abnormal fascination with the Slimes for an unknown reason. She patiently watched a Water Slime sleep for thirty minutes, an act of unusual patience for a child her age. After finally losing her patience and rushing towards the Slime, she spooked it as the Slime escaped successfully. However, the burning passion I saw in her eyes at that moment gave me the shivers. I could not guess at what tortures she must have planned for that poor Slime, as she then returned home to the Hart mansion. Regardless, she appears to be an ordinary, even meaner than most noble girl with strange fetishes. She should pose no threat of any kind whatsoever to our future plans. This concludes my report on the investigation of Count Hart's young daughter.
PS: Attached is a basic map I have drawn of the surrounding area. May it be useful to our cause. May our Rodan Kingdom remain ever prosperous.
Hi there, I'm the author, imperfectluck! Thanks for reading my first attempt as a novel! I've based my story on familiar tropes and cliches that I myself prefer to read. I hope that you all can enjoy this story as well! My goal is to update this story a minimum of five times a week, maybe even seven. Please let me know what you all think!
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