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That’s a good sleeping face. Well then, goodbye. I killed another Hobgoblin with a slash from Greed.
<Gluttony skill has been activated>
<Status update: HP +440, Strength +220, MP +110, Spirit +110, Agility +110>
That was the 45th kill. Ohh?! All at once, my body felt satisfied. Just like that, the helpless waves of hunger faded away. I was finally released from the state of starvation. In the dimly lit forest, I leaned against the large tree nearby with sigh of relief.
“Fate. If you are resting, climb up this tree. Rare as it may be, a Hobgoblin might be awake and walking around in the middle of the night. Your ability boosts from the state of starvation have disappeared. Neither your smell detection nor red eyes are effective now.”
“That’s true, alright!”
Just like Greed suggested, I climbed up the tree I was leaning against and sat on a broad branch.
“It should be fine if I hide here. Moreover, I had to defeat a fairly large amount of demons to satiate this hunger.”
“That’s how it is. In certain cases, the state of starvation will turn your mind crazy, making you attack anyone without hesitation. It cannot be released so easily. If you dislike it, hunt demons regularly and let the Gluttony skill consume their souls.”
“Ah, I’ll do that. This hunger, I don’t want to experience it a second time.”
I lay down on the branch and took a break. The moonlight shone through the gaps in the branches and leaves into the forest. Damp and a little chilly, it felt comfortable after having moved around so much.
When I looked at the ground below, I saw the occasional Hobgoblin pass by. Although they were not nocturnal, there seemed to be a few of them actively keeping watch. It was a good thing that I followed Greed’s advice.
After I felt rested enough, I was about to descend when the ground began to shake slightly from something huge approaching. The footsteps grew louder as a figure proportionate to the sound appeared, taking on the form of a huge goblin. It was more than twice my height tall. The colour of its skin seemed to be turquoise. In his hand was a club that appeared to be roughly hewn from a large tree in the forest.
As the moonlight hit the club, my face instinctively tensed. It was covered thickly in blood and flesh.
Furthermore, looking at what he held in his other hand made me feel nauseous. It had most likely become unrecognisable from being beaten many times with that club, however, it was undoubtedly a human.
Ordinary humans would not visit the Hobgob Forest so late at night. Hence, the corpse he was dragging belonged to one of the skilled warriors who I had seen at the outskirts of the Commercial District before I left the capital. Being that arrogant, and yet you still died!
Nevertheless, the fact that this had happened to a skilled warrior who should be experienced with the dangers of night hunting, that massive goblin must be considerably powerful.
As he passed under the tree where I was, I felt curious about the strength of such a huge goblin, so I used the <Appraisal> skill to investigate.
Goblin King Lv30
Goblin King?! Is that so…
The other servants in the Heart Family had mentioned this. The Goblin King was the boss of all the goblins here and was said to be extremely strong. Since there were very few of them in the forest, the chance of encountering them was incredibly low, however, meeting them was akin to preparing for death. Of course, this demon could be easily defeated by a Holy Knight. Yet, ordinary warriors would die instantly from a single hit…
His status was definitely different to the Hobgoblins. The skill also seemed useful. I used <Appraisal> on the Auto-recovery skill.
Auto-recovery: Wounds are healed at regular intervals. Fatal wounds cannot be healed.
Ohhh, this was a good skill. With this, I could continue fighting even if I suffered minor injuries. I wanted it!
With my current status, I would not be able to kill him. As I wondered how to act, the Goblin King walked deeper into the forest. He was a rare monster type, few in numbers. Even if I wanted to challenge him again after powering up, it would be pointless if I could not find him again.
Alright, I made a decision. I climbed down the tree silently and pursued the Goblin King. He was the king of the forest. It was a grand sight to see him walking forward so calmly.
There were no Hobgoblins near the Goblin King. They probably ran away after noticing the footsteps. Looking as if he owned the place, his destination was a small clearing in the middle of the forest, covered in flowers. In the centre stood a single dead tree. Sitting down and leaning back against it, the Goblin King rested his club on the ground.
Crunch crunch… I could hear disgusting sounds even at a distance from my hiding position in the trees. The Goblin King was eating the defeated warrior as though it was delicious. Occasionally, the munching and bone-cracking sounds reached my ears. Ugh… As I was feeling ill, Greed spoke.
“Why are you making a fuss over something so ordinary.”
“Surely you knew what happened to those defeated by demons. Like that, they would be a delicious meal. To monsters, humans are delectable. Especially human children…”
“I get it, stop already. I knew that. But, this is the first time I’m seeing it.”
Demons ate humans. I understood that. However, being aware of that was different from actually seeing it in person. It was more shocking than I had expected to witness the devouring of such fresh meat.
Calming myself down for a while, I looked back at the Goblin King again. I felt alright now. He was still munching messily.
If I was attempting this challenge, the optimal tactic would be to attack from his blind spot in the back. Since this flower field was an open place, there was nothing to hide behind. Cautiously observing the Goblin King, I proceeded to sneak from tree to tree until I was directly behind him. The one thing between us was the giant dead tree, and only the Goblin King’s shoulders were visible.
“Be careful from here on.”
Paying close attention, I stepped into the clearing. As before, the Goblin King was busy with his meal. Feeling nervous as my heart rate soared, I kept my breathing soft and quiet. Finally, I succeeded in reaching the dead tree. From behind, I heard his munching sounds closely.
“Fate, do it now!”
Greed signalled me through the <Mind-reading> skill, and I swung the black sword down towards the right shoulder protruding out from the large tree.
I did it. I sliced off his log-sized right arm. Greed warned me against being relieved by the success of the first strike.
“He has not died yet. Retreat quickly!”
I jumped backwards as the Goblin King swung his club and smashed the large dead tree at the position I was at just a moment earlier. The hit was so powerful that the ground sunk in and shattered stone pieces flew out from the collision. If I had been hit by that, I would probably have died.
“That was dangerous. I’m saved.”
“It’s too early to be relieved. He’s coming.”
Bleeding heavily from his right shoulder, the Goblin King raised the club with his remaining left arm. Just as I was wondering how to dodge it, Greed spoke.
“Believe in me. A club like that poses no threat.”
“In that case!”
I put my faith in Greed and dashed forward, attacking in a single movement. The Goblin King’s hand was cleaved off along with his club. This sharpness was amazing. I should keep going and finish this quickly. Continuing with my attack, I raised the black sword as I leapt upwards.
Arghh─! The Goblin King fell to his knees with a roar. What remained of his left arm had also been cut off. Despite being severely wounded, he still glared at me as I pierced his face with my sword. A sickening wetness drenched my hand, yet I paid no heed as I pushed the blade further in. Pulling it out, I shook off the Goblin King’s blood on my sword.
<Gluttony skill has been activated>
<Status update: HP +21000, Strength +24000, MP +5230, Spirit +4560, Agility +11200>
<Auto-recovery skill has been added>
In previous fights, my opponents and I had been on equal ground. I had not experienced this sense of tension from monster hunting up until now. The knowledge that I might die had constantly swirled in my mind. So, I felt a greater sense of accomplishment from surviving this battle. Perhaps this was the real pleasure of monster hunting. Now that the tension had dissipated, I sank to the floor as Greed spoke.
“Well done. With this, your status has accumulated quite a substantial amount. In this case, let’s open my first rank.”
“My new form. By absorbing my user’s status, I can add a new form. What will you do? Will you try it?”
“How much of my status is needed?”
“The moment you met me is your starting point. If I take all the power you have gained since then, I can open my first form.”
In other words, in order to strengthen Greed, I had to return to the state I was in when we met even though I had grown so much. On further inquiry, I found out that the first rank could be achieved with my current status, however, for the second rank, the third rank… Each time I raised his rank I would need to relinquish a higher status.
Ultimately, the user’s mentality was the trigger, and if I chose not to open his new form, I lost my qualification to use Greed. That’s right, I had to choose to either strengthen or release Greed right now, right here.
“I must do it right now huh…”
“Indeed. It is unavoidable as you are my user. In the same way that you cannot escape the hunger from your Gluttony skill.”
Geez, when I asked Greed how much he was going to absorb, “Since I am greedy, I will consume almost all of it,” was his response.
“Will you strengthen only yourself, or strengthen me to walk along this path with you? Choose! I will tell you now, you will not regret making me stronger.”
Well, it was unnecessary to consider this any longer. Greed was my only partner. If we could become stronger together, he would be even more dependable.
“I understand. Please do it.”
“Well then, here I go!”
As though my consent became a contract, the black sword began to glow. At the same time, I felt my body losing power. When the light died down, there was a black bow in my hand.
“This is my first form, type: magic bow. From now on, I will be be your power both as a one-handed sword and a magic bow.”
I used <Appraisal> on my own status. Sure enough, after handing over my power, it had returned to the state of when I first met Greed.
Fate Graphite Lv1
Skill: Gluttony, Appraisal, Mind-reading, Concealment, One-handed Sword Technique, Two-handed Sword Technique, Strength Enhancement (small), HP Enhancement (small), HP Enhancement (medium), Auto-recovery