The mouse had only one ability to share with me—'Berserk', worth five entire points of EXP. From what I witnessed of it, the ability was worth every single one. But I had limited funds, and I had to prioritise.
In the current moment, my primary goal was to increase in size, but the cheapest form of the ones bigger than mine was too expensive still. 'Garelia Bird' cost three thousand four hundred and thirty-one EXP. Like two more mice. I needed more food.
Until then, I picked the 'Berserk' ability. I was sure it had its own drawbacks, but it would make a fine panic button.
The pain of evolution was the straw that broke the camel's back. I couldn't endure it, and my last thought before the exhaustion and the anguish took away my conscience was hope that nothing will crawl to get me while I'm so helpless.
I counted my legs when I woke up. Still six. Antennas—two. Mandibles—also two. No one tries to eat me in my sleep, but now I wanted to eat someone. A lot of someone. It was time for me to increase in size, and hopefully without too many adventures.
I checked my character sheet before moving out. My base stats increased a little, though not so much that it would make a drastic difference in the near future. I also could level up all my abilities except for the 'Devourer'… And decided not to. This time, had to save my EXP for the future.
It was day when I crashed asleep, but now my surroundings were dark as I got out from under the rock where I holed myself. Thankfully, even in the dark, my sense of smell was good enough to orient around, though I wouldn't dare to fly. Not when it wasn't an emergency—a buzzing of my wings would attract every night predator around.
The ground was still damp from yesterday's downpour. Other insects, much more reckless than I, chirped somewhere in the darkness. A slight breeze rustled leaves, bringing more sounds to liven up the night. In the forest, it wasn't the time of sleep—it was a time of opportunity for all who could see in the dark.
I wiggled my antennas, searching for my scent on the ground. I hadn't flown to that hollow, as I had to save EXP, and the clearing where I ate the monster mouse wasn't far away. Now, I followed my own tracks there until I registered a sharp smell of blood.
It was a little old, but I still could easily move from droplet to droplet. The herbivore bled profusely, but as I remembered its hulking body, I doubted it died. It probably had CON at least of fifteen. Thirteen, at least. It could lose that much blood and more.
Now that I wasn't in a high-risk situation, I tried to remember what it was called. It tugged on my memory, that knowledge. I had it once, but then decades in Hell took it away, together with the faces and names of my family and friends. I had eight point thirty-five INT now. Surely I could remember.
Though if I couldn't remember it when I had above twenty INT, why should I now? All the deaths must have eroded my soul.
In the end, giving up wasn't in my nature. As I crawled over the trail of blood, I kept remembering the creature. Its tusks, its triangular-shaped flat nose, its grunting, its bristle. I put it all together and concentrated until my head hurt.
Boar. It was a boar. Why could I remember mice but couldn't remember a boar?
A minor victory, but it left me elated and wishing for more as I kept crawling. Soon, the darkness of the night lightened with the beginnings of dawn, and I took flight. On my wings I covered the ground much faster, and the sun had barely riser over the horizon when I spotted my prey.
The boar had walked far from the place of its fight with the mouse, but now I appeared to find its den. It was a hole in the ground, covered by roots of a wide old tree. I felt the scent of the creature coming from there, and the tracks led there too.
Innocuous as I was, I landed on the ground and crawled in. The burrow wasn't deep—soon I found the giant frame of the boar, with its legs tucked under it. The boar's sides rose in even intervals, and soft sounds escaped its mouth once in a while. It was sound asleep.
I doubted I will have enough poison in my stinger to kill it. I thought that even if I keep stinging it continuously day and night, it will regenerate faster than I can damage it. There must've been something else I could do.
Nothing came to mind. I was just a bug. I'd die if we fought, even with 'Berserk'. My STR wasn't high enough to bury the boar in its own burrow. My strongest attacking ability besides Stinger was 'Devourer'… but with my tiny mouth right now I won't eat the boar before it will smack me flat.
I guess if I wanted to eat that piece of bacon, I would have to make an investment first, and do it wisely or it will be an empty one. I looked at my abilities list.
Devourer (lv MAX) (Evolution options available!)
Flight (lv 6) (Can be levelled up!)
Stinger (lv 6) (Can be levelled up!)
Web Spinning (lv 1) (Can be levelled up!)
Underwater Swimming (lv 1) (Can be levelled up!)
Berserk (lv 1) (Can be levelled up!)
Chitinous Carapace (lv 1) (species boon)
Yes. That one… that one should work.
Which one? Hum?
And keep your votes coming, guyz!
Mass release goals: 500 PS = 3 chapters 700 PS = 5 chapters