The World Is Overflowing with Monster, I’m Taking a Liking to This Life - Chapter 190
I zoom past the scenery like an arrow.
By jumping from building to building at a bullet-like speed, I leave behind the collapsed cityscape and the giant Marimos floating in the sky.
This is honestly amazing.
The power behind my legs is so great that I travel over a hundred meters with every jump.
So this is what it means to have the physique of a High Orc.
“Shadow Imitation” doesn’t end with simply imitating the appearance of a defeated foe.
It also copies the “status” of the defeated monster.
I check my status.
HP: 2200 (712)/ 2200 (712)
MP: 130 (320)/ 130 (320)
Strength: 902 (379)
Endurance: 680 (390)
Agility: 790 (803)
Dexterity: 230 (775)
Magic: 110 (185)
Magic Resistance: 80 (185)
This is how my current status looks.
The numbers in parentheses are my original status while the numbers outside are the ones applied to me right now.
(…These are some ridiculous numbers…)
Although it still falls short of Sora’s status, the “HP”, “Strength”, and “Endurance” that I have right now are much higher than the specs that I gained after evolving into a “Newtype”.
My “Agility” has been enhanced more so than the others, but it is pretty much the same as Rufen’s.
If its status didn’t drastically drop every time it got doused in water, Rufen would have definitely been classified as one of the strongest monsters.
It feels great to be able to wield so much power.
(But this won’t last for long…)
“Shadow Imitation” is a powerful skill, but it does have its shortcomings.
My status has gone up explosively, but there’s a time limit to it.
“Shadow Imitation” only lasts for around 15 minutes.
Once the duration is over, there will be a 5-miniute cooldown period before I could use “Shadow Imitation” again.
“—That’s more than enough time though.”
With that much time, I should be able to settle things with Peony.
The bigger question is whether or not my body will last until then.
The status that I have right now is something that I’m borrowing through “Shadow Imitation”.
In other words, my status is being forcibly raised.
“—My body’s screaming already…”
My muscles are screaming in pain.
It’s like that time when I forced my body to move using shadows.
Even if I could raise my status, it doesn’t mean that my body could handle the sudden surge in power.
To begin with, this isn’t how “Shadow Imitation” is meant to be used.
“Shadow Imitation” is a skill that demonstrates its true worth when it is used for ambush and deception.
It’s a skill that lets its user imitate the appearance of a defeated foe. Put another way, I’m only supposed to imitate a “weaker opponent”.
I’m not supposed to imitate someone whose status far exceeds mine, but that’s precisely what I’m doing right now.
‘—Undue power erodes the body.’
The price that I have to pay to borrow this power is nothing to scoff at, but I must endure it.
If I give up now, I’d be wasting the efforts of Sora and everyone else.
A faint light wraps around my body.
It’s from Kiki’s “Support Magic – Buff”.
It feels like my body has been partially relieved of its burdens.
While clinging to my neck, Kiki issues a reply.
She’s been fastened to my body using the “Shadow”, but it’s impressive that she’s clinging on.
‘GIGI GIGI GIGI!’
Two giant Marimos block our path.
“—Out of the way.”
I deploy my Item Box, crushing the two nonentities before us with tetrapods.
(I’ve defeated quite a few of them, but my level isn’t rising at all…)
Do these guys not drop “experience”…?
I was thinking of leveling up by defeating a lot of them, similar to what I did with the Ants, but that doesn’t seem to be working.
The giant Marimos have congregated to one place.
Just as I’m wondering what their plans are, they begin devouring each other.
No, that’s not it. This is—
The giant Marimos have merged in the process of eating each other.
They have essentially converged into one.
The final product that results is a huge sphere spanning a diameter of roughly 10 meters.
The ultra-big Marimo screeches the moment it’s born.
Then, it opens its innumerable mouths and stretches out its tongues.
I see. After realizing that they can’t overwhelm us through quantity, they’ve decided to come at us with quality instead.
“—that was a bad move.”
I summon forth a large wave of tetrapods around me.
You see, with my currently enhanced status, I can do something like this.
I grab the tetrapods that have begun to appear and hurl them one after another.
Hurling massive objects continuously.
It’s a devastating technique that fully utilizes the High Orc’s strength.
Because of the added speed, the destructive power behind the tetrapods is much greater than when I normally release them from the Item Box.
They would’ve had a better chance if they had rushed at me individually instead of merging.
If they had adopted the tactic I used to defeat the High Orc and rained poison on top of me to the point where I couldn’t dodge, it would have put me in a dangerous position.
I’m lucky that my enemies aren’t really bright.
After wiping out a lot of the giant Marimos in one go, I leap forward once more.
Peony’s body is right around the corner.
It’s awfully quiet.
Peony’s roots and vines haven’t attack me in a while either.
The distance between us is getting shorter and shorter, which is only making me grow more anxious.
And now we’re here.
I’ve arrived at the base of Peony, which is also the enemy’s main camp.
“Now that I look at it again, it’s insanely big…”
Seeing it up close, I once again realize what a huge monster it is.
We’ve come all the way here already. Why isn’t it showing any reaction?
I focus all my attention and approach the hollowed out portion of Peony’s roots.
“…That must be it.”
Deep inside Peony’s hollow base, there’s something that appears to be its core.
Titan’s “core” was shaped like a hard piece of stone, but Peony’s is more like an ovule that’s one meter in diameter.
Compared to its enormous body, its core seems very small.
What catches my attention, however, is the “thing” that’s sitting on top of the core.
To put it simply, it’s a wooden puppet.
It doesn’t appear to have a face, and its joints are connected by balls, much like a mannequin.
Such a thing is sitting on top of Peony’s core.
The wooden puppet notices me and stands up immediately.
The oppressive feeling coming out of this guy is incomparable to that of the giant Marimos.
The lower half its head splits open like a mouth.
The wooden puppet makes its move, appearing right in front of me in the next instant.
“You look delicious.”
A large chunk of my right arm gets ripped off.
Mogumogu. The puppet makes some chewing gesture, and it takes me a few moments to realize that it has taken a bite out of me.
I jump back in a hurry.
This one’s dangerous, far more dangerous than the giant Marimos.
“Delicious…DELICIOUS! AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!”
A chill runs up my spine as I watch the wooden puppet go nuts and perform a dance as if it has just found the most delicious sweet.
It’s so eerie and oppressive; it’s as if I’m facing off against a miniature version of Peony.
“What sort of skill is this…?”
First the giant Marimos and now this wooden puppet.
How many skills does Peony possess?
The sole silver lining is that my skills and instinct are telling me that this is Peony’s last line of defense.
What I have to do remains the same.
I must defeat this puppet and crush Peony’s core.
That’s all there is to it.
The wooden puppet makes its move again.
It’s fast. Too fast.
My eyes can’t keep up to its movements.
….But so what?
If I can’t see its movements, I must “predict” them.
Not even a moment of carelessness will be tolerated.
I dodge when the wooden puppet jumps on me.
Then, I land a counter with my fist.
I’ve hit it with the strength of a High Orc, but it’s still extremely hard.
It’s as if I’ve slammed my fist against a boulder.
The wooden puppet crashes onto the ground with such a momentum that its body bounces back up several times.
However, it immediately gets back up afterwards.
Are my attacks ineffective?
Wait, leaving that aside—
The puppet is chewing something again.
I glance at my hand in disbelief, only to realize that the tip has been ripped away.
You gotta be kidding.
I’m quite certain that it was the perfect counter.
I distance myself from the puppet and “regenerate” the parts that have been eaten.
Fortunately, both of the body parts were something made from my “Shadow”.
Hence, there’s neither pain nor blood.
That said, having one’s “Shadow” consumed by another is clearly abnormal, and I’m getting anxious because of this.
The wooden puppet leaps forward again.
The “Shadow” beneath my feet stretches out and restrains the wooden puppet.
However, a moment later, the puppet tears apart the rope that has been made from my “Shadow”.
In fact, it has even begun to feast on the “Shadow”.
The wooden puppet grins, and its mouth widens like a crescent moon.
“LET ME EAT MORE!!”
“…! Get away, you monster!”
I create some distance between us, and a faint light from Kiki wraps around my body.
The wooden puppet tries to bite onto me again, but “Reflection” activates that very moment.
Its body bends backward.
A rare opportunity has presented itself.
I quickly attach the pile bunker to my right hand, fix it in place with the “Shadow”, and fire.
The recoil from it is no joke, but I withstand it thanks to the High Orc’s powerful body.
I give chase to the wooden puppet that has been blown away.
Using my Item Box, I construct a wall behind the puppet, stopping it in its track and closing the distance between us in a single breath.
The wooden puppet suffers yet another impact.
Even so, it hasn’t fallen.
“In the case—I’ll continue until you break!”
Not yet. I must bear with this for another while.
Once again, I ram the pile bunker into the puppet’s stomach region.
Along with a dull sound, a crack appears on the puppet’s body.
This time, the crack spreads to the rest of its body.
Finally, after being attacked 5 times in a row, the puppet’s body shatters into pieces.
In the end, what was the deal with this guy…?
Whatever, I’ll think about it later.
For now, I should focus on crushing Peony’s core.
I turn my attention back to the core while thinking so…
…only to see another wooden puppet sitting there.
“…Is this a joke?”
There’s more than one of its kind?
Does that mean Peony can produce as many of these puppets as it wants?
(No, that can’t be right…)
If I’m not mistaken, I sensed a large amount of energy surging back to Peony’s core the moment I defeated the first puppet.
That means it can be revived an indefinite amount of times unless I destroy the core.
What a troublesome fellow.
The new puppet laughs and lunges at me.
This is bad.
I shouldn’t drag things out any longer.
It’s time for a change in strategy.
I activate a certain Ninjutsu.
“—‘The Art of Cloning’!”
Unlike with “The Art of Transformation”, “Shadow Imitation” allows me to activate other Ninjutsus.
This means that my MP would be consumed at a more rapid pace, but I can’t care less about that at the moment.
“Come, you wooden puppet!”
The puppet ignores my clones and runs straight at me.
That’s it. You’re doing well.
I’ll have the clones crush Peony’s core while I deal with this puppet.
That will bring this to an end.
I store the pile bunker in the Item Box momentarily, taking it out against and attaching it to one of my clones.
Meanwhile, the puppet takes a bite out of my arm.
The clones sacrifice themselves and slam Peony’s core with the pile bunker.
A crack forms along the core.
(Not enough…one shot isn’t enough!)
Much like the puppet, the core seems to be quite hard.
All my clones disappear due to the recoil from the pile bunker.
The core won’t break unless I hit it another time, but my hands are full already, and summoning another batch of clones would—
That’s when Momo pops out from the “Shadow”.
Momo nods and rushes towards Peony’s core.
She’s saying that she would break the core in my clones’ stead.
Haha, you’re truly the best companion I could ask for.
“Alright, Momo! Let’s do this together at the same time!”
‘Leave it to me,’ Momo barks loudly.
Thank you, Momo!
I stored the pile bunker into the Item Box before taking it out again so that I could reattach it to my right arm.
Then, I ram the pile bunker at the wooden puppet that’s biting my left arm.
It’s not only the wooden puppet that suffers damage.
Some of the “Shadow” enveloping me gets blown away along with a part of my flesh.
My left arm has become a wrangled mess, so much so that my flesh and bone are exposed.
A terrible pain assaults me.
But so what!
Endure the pain! Don’t collapse! Focus! Fight!
Even as it’s getting pounded by the pile bunker, the wooden puppet does not give up on eating.
What a scary appetite.
Peony’s double. There’s no better way to describe it.
I’ve finally understood why Peony has used this skill.
Despite the situation that it is in, Peony wants to continue eating.
Its body has become tattered, its regeneration no longer works, its core has been exposed, and most of the giant Marimos have been defeated.
Undeterred by all that, Peony has created this small body double to satisfy as much of its appetite as it could.
Peony has screamed that it doesn’t wish to die, and yet it has chosen to fight in order to satisfy its appetite.
It has long crossed the point of being excessive. In fact, it’s downright pitiful.
Why? Why would it go so far to——
“Want to eat——”
A voice suddenly echoes inside my head.
“Want to eat…No…No more killing…Food…No…Don’t want to die…Kill…”
Are these…Peony’s thoughts?
Are Peony’s thoughts flowing into me again? Like that time when I cast “Tracking”?
Something’s different though.
I sense something other than its desire to “eat”.
“No more killing…No more eating…Will die…No…”
“Eat. Eat. Eat. Everything…Food…priority…Food….FOOOOD!”
Although they both seem to belong to the same voice, I hear two contradictory thoughts echoing inside my head.
One of them is the “muddy” thoughts that I’ve heard from Peony many times before.
As for the other one…could this be the original Peony’s thoughts? As in its thoughts before it was consumed by its “appetite”?
I hear the click of something getting connected, and pictures start flowing into my head.
There was once a forest located in another world.
A tall tree stood in the middle of the said forest, bearing fruits and giving its grace to the creatures living there.
The tall tree was content with its life.
It blessed the forest with its graces and was pleased that the forest was flourishing.
The tree continued to grow, and when it came to, it was being revered as a sacred tree and worshipped by the creatures living in the forest.
“Could these be…Peony’s memories…?”
However, something happened to the forest one day.
Thirsty for resources, a human army had invaded.
The tall tree had been noticed by the humans due to its action of blessing the forest.
From the humans’ perspective, the sacred tree’s fruits, branches, leaves, and sap were all top-tier materials.
The forest was razed to the grown, its inhabitants were slaughtered, and it was on the verge of losing its life.
It was then that the God Tree became furious and killed all the intruders.
When the battle was finally over, it realized that nothing remained.
Overcome with grief, it devoured everything in its proximity and gained immense power, cursing the cruel world in the process.
It had obtained the forbidden skill known as “Gluttony”.
“I see. So you were…”
The power to overwhelm everything and devour anything.
The God Tree embraced its newfound power—and was consumed by it.
Nothing mattered anymore.
The place that it held dear had been burned down, and the ones that it wished to protect had been slaughtered.
Then let it be so.
Instead of bestowing others with its grace, it decided to deprive them of everything.
It would devour everything and anything in its path, leaving itself at the mercy of its unappeasable appetite until the day that its body broke down—
…Were you hoping for someone to stop you?
(Food…Eat everything…Every—No…No, No, NO!!)
Were you waiting for someone to put an end to your insatiable appetite? To your unappeasable hunger?
((No more…please put an end to this…))
And with that, the connection between us breaks.
The puppet in front of me laughs hysterically.
It drools uncontrollably and lunges at me, wanting to take a bite out of me.
Is it just me, or does the puppet seem to be crying?
Now that I think about it, Peony’s behaviors were never consistent since the beginning.
Going back and forth between wanting to eat and not wanting to eat, wanting to die and not wanting to die.
Its thoughts conflict with one another.
Peony’s original personality might have returned as a result of taking so much damage and being pushed to a corner.
Its thoughts seem to be in a mess because of that.
“If that is what you wish for…”
I shall put an end to this.
An end to your hunger, your suffering, your rage, and your sorrow.
Taking in a deep breath, I lock onto my target and pour all my strength into my arm.
The pile bunker’s third attack pierces through the puppet’s abdomen.
Almost at the same time…
Momo strikes Peony’s core with her “Roar” and her “Shadow”.
Along with some cracking sounds, the core and the puppet shatter into countless pieces.
Peony unleashes a cry of death.
Its tree trunk snaps and falls as if to signify its demise, causing terrible tremors and crushing the buildings in the surrounding regions.
Is it finally over?
“Shadow Imitation” gets forcefully undone, probably because my body can no longer hold on.
No, I shouldn’t collapse yet.
I must not faint.
Momo rushes back and supports me using her “Shadow”.
While swaying from side to side, I take a good look at the place where Peony’s core once laid.
A massive magic stone that’s around a meter long is rolling around on the ground.
Amazing. I’ve never seen one this big before.
There’s also a small seed next to it.
What is this?
For the time being, I store both of them in my Item Box.
A voice then begins to echo inside my head.
The announcements tell us that at long last, our battle is over.