*Authors Note* Hey guys, it’s me again. Glad it seems like you’re enjoying the story. Sorry if it doesn’t update as much as you might like. I’m currently in college right now, and while I do have about 6-7 different parts saved up, until I can get ahead of it enough where I feel safe, it’ll continue to be about 2 parts per month. Maybe more if I am feeling up to it. In any case, enjoy this part!
Something like this never even crossed my mind. Dammit! Drake let go of the officer, and after a moment of concentration, bolted off in the opposite direction.
What do I do.. What do I do.. What do I do… I’m stuck like this, and I can’t even talk to anyone! Taking a moment to calm himself, Drake realized that he couldn’t return home. He would be attacked on sight, and there was no way to explain anything to anyone.
I need somewhere safe. Thinking back to where he transformed, he made his decision.
Sprinting back to the forest, he came back to that same small opening left open by an upturned tree.
Taking a moment to calm down, he pondered to himself, “Well, it seems like I’m on my own now. I can’t rely on anyone. As the week goes on, more people will take their chances with the beast race transformations. Considering how that Minotaur went rogue, I don’t see anyone letting a monster that can’t even speak close enough to them to explain what happened.”
If it’s going to be like this, I need to prepare myself. Clearing away stray pieces of brush, Drake began to dig. Expanding the small opening that he hid in after the griffin attack, he spent roughly 2 hours expanding the interior and deepening the hole itself. Just as he was finishing, he looked at the tree he had fired his mana shards at. Much to his surprise, he could see that the tree seemed to have decayed severely, leaving what looked like burn marks checkering the entire tree.
No way, did my attack do something like this? As Drake touched the tree, the burn marks seemed to wither away at his touch. The marks slowly faded away into dust and floated away from the tree, leaving twenty holes roughly an inch wide.
Troubled by what happened, Drake focused on himself, and in a moment, a large red shard of crystallized mana appeared in front of him.
“I need to see just what this can do.” Pressing the shard of mana against the tree, the tree itself almost seemed to shake. The shard slowly began to enter the tree, growing ever so slightly larger as it did so.
So my absorption isn’t just limited to eating enemies. My mana grows stronger as it absorbs living material. Thinking back to when he first finished his transformation, he remembered seeing small strands of mana flowing into the surroundings.
“It seems those Caracatia are planning to introduce mana to the entire planet. Although I’m not sure what for, I can use that to my advantage now.” Pulling the shard out of the tree, he noticed something strange. He could see the slightest amounts of the natural ribbon-like mana surrounding the crystal was beginning to change into his menacing shade of red mana, and began to slowly circle the crystal.
“With an ability like this, maybe it’s better I’m by myself for a while.”
*Growwwlllll* Drake clutched his stomach. He realized he hadn’t eaten anything substantial since he was human. Thinking back to the griffin, he walked over to the small clearing he made when they crash landed and began dragging to griffin back to his new home.
“You can’t hold this against me, you know? The winner has to eat sometime.”
After indulging himself, Drake noticed something peculiar that was left glistening in the griffin’s body. He could see a small marble-like structure was imbedded in its chest. Looking closer, he could see that it was some kind a crystallized form of mana, likely formed sometime after transforming.
“I wonder what it tastes like.” Popping the core into his mouth, it seemed to resist for a moment. Suddenly, Drake could feel the core begin to burn intensely inside of his mouth. The red mana inside him seemed to recoil in protest, and quickly surrounded the core. After a moment, the core melted away easily, leaving Drake with a strange feeling. “I don’t really feel any different, and there it doesn’t seemed to have changed me physically.” Looking into the source of his mana, he noticed that his mana pool had changed. Where before he felt that he had fully absorbed as much as he could, he now felt that he could grow and absorb even more.
It seems like they liked the concept of monster cores so much that they had one formed in all of the beast races. It’s likely that I have one somewhere as well. Looking around, Drake decided on a course of action. I can’t go into civilization anymore, at least until I’m strong enough to beat down anyone who tries to kill me.
Taking another look at the large red mana crystal he made, he thought of a plan.
“It seems like these things can convert mana for me, given there are enough in the area, at least for now.” Drake sighed. Returning to his cave, he began the arduous task of creating multiple crystals to surround the walls of the small cave he had made under the tree.
“It takes all my mana to solidify four large crystals. It may take a few days, but I should be able to finish soon enough.” Preparing himself, over the next few days, Drake began the task of crystallizing all of the mana in his body into 4 large crystals, which he planted on the walls. He then had to go out and re-convert natural mana in the environment back to his own mana, before continuing the process all over again, until he had completely surrounded his new home with thirty mana crystals, each roughly a foot apart.
After 4 days, Drake looked at his new creation and smiled. “Now I don’t have to go through that annoying task of making new mana, and this will help me immensely with that other task I’ve been putting off.”
Initially when Drake first tried to expand his mana pool through the extra power the griffin core had given him, he felt that he hit a wall. No matter what he tried, he just couldn’t absorb enough mana to break through that wall.
“If I don’t have to convert mana, I can absorb as much as I want.” Drake smiled with glee. Sitting down in the middle of the small cave, he began to absorb the mana the crystals gave off. It was slower than conversion, but much less work. Given enough time, he could slowly absorb the mana that was given off by the crystals and grow in strength. Within an hour, he felt like he hit his previous maximum.
“Looks like it’s finally time.” Taking 2 of the mana crystals off of the wall, he willed them to be absorbed back into himself. The crystals in his hands almost seemed to shake, and after an initial resistance, the wall inside of himself broke.
As the mana in his hands was absorbed, Drake felt a rush of power unlike what he had ever felt before. The mana inside of him, which initially seemed almost liquid-like, began to fully solidify for the first time, leaving a small, blood-red ball floating in his pool of mana.
“Ahhhh, that feels so good. I haven’t felt this alive since I took a bite out of that griffin. Let’s see…” Looking towards two other mana crystals on the wall, he willed them towards himself. After a brief moment, the mana was absorbed easily.
“It seems that I’ve gotten a lot stronger. I haven’t been out in a few days, and that griffin is just about gone. I need to look for more food, so now is a better time than any.” Crawling out of his small hole, Drake took a moment to himself to stretch. Smiling, Drake was excited to see just what he could do now. Leaving the forest, Drake made his way towards the city.
At the very least, I should be able to see what’s been going on for the past few days. As he approached the city, he noticed that it had changed considerably since he last saw it. The entire portion of the city that had been attacked by the golem seemed to be missing entirely, with huge portions of buildings missing as the path of destruction led further into the city.
Looking deeper into the city, Drake could see a traces of strange scars covering several buildings, seemingly at random. The golem didn’t do this. This looks like it was made from.. an attack of some kind. Shaking off his curiosity, he continued into the city.
“The real question is where the hell all the people are, this part of the city seems to be completely abandoned now.” Looking around, Drake could see pieces of abandoned vehicles scattered all across the area. This part of the city was indeed abandoned, and there was no sign of where the inhabitants may have gone.
Well.. there’s no harm in going further into the city. No normal human can fight me, and I’m curious just what happened here. Walking forward, Drake decided to follow the path of the golem. It was relatively simple, given the path of destruction it left in its wake.
As he started to enter the interior of the city, he saw the first group. There were 5 different people altogether, standing on top of a large pile of rubble, with each one at varying heights. However, Drake could tell at a glance that something was different.
“Whoever they are, they certainly aren’t human. I can see each of them drawing in large amounts of mana.” Drake decided to get within earshot, hiding behind a large amount of debris, presumably left by the golem as it ate its way through.
“It was a lot more difficult than I was expecting. It tore its way past all the actual law enforcement like it was nothing. We’re the only ones who could even damage it once it got started.” Drake could see a particularly large man speaking. Strangely, he was completely bald, with strange tattoo-like lines covering his pale, muscular body.
“Yea, yea, come on already and help me look for it. They all have one, and it helps with my spells immensely.” One of the smaller ones started speaking, it was a women, at least Drake believed so. She was roughly 4 feet tall, and was surprisingly muscular. “Honestly, I’m glad it was a rock-type monster. Ever since I changed, I seem to have acquired a taste for different things.” Taking a large handful of rocks, she threw them into her mouth and ate them like it was nothing.
Hey, is that really sanitary?! How can you just eat rocks and not break your teeth right away?
“Jeez Rachel, I don’t understand how you can just eat that without any problems, it’s painful to even hear you eating that stuff.” A man with a medium build started talking. Tall, somewhat skinny, pointy ears… He’s definitely an elf of some kind.
“You wouldn’t understand, with this big guy at least, he tastes absolutely fantastic, imagine something like red velvet cake, it all tastes like dessert. It’s fantastic. Shame about being so short though. The benefits of a dwarf compared to my other choices were just too great though.” The short woman continued to plow her way through the rubble at a surprising speed.
Wait, is that huge pile of rubble is the golem? It’s twice as large as when I saw it! Well that answers some of my questions at least. The golem died, and there’s a dwarf, some kind of giant judging by his size and stature, and an elf so far. Looking at the other two digging through the rubble, Drake realized that they looked remarkably similar. They were both women, and even though he just caught flashes of their faces occasionally, he could tell they both had very striking features. They both wore a cloak, and didn’t seem to be very talkative.
They have to be some kind of race that focuses on agility by the way they’re having such a hard time moving the rubble around.
“Rachel, do we really have to find that thing? Me and Alyssa are exhausted. We still aren’t used to using magic at all yet.” The dwarf looked over towards them. “Of course we have to find it, it’s one of the only reasons we’ve all done so well. That thing amplifies my abilities so these two idiots can do their job.” The elf and the strangely tattoo’d man just looked at each other and sighed.
The dwarf looked over at the hooded figure assumed to be Alyssa. “You know, if you managed to get a few of your own, you and Kat wouldn’t have near as hard of a time.” The hooded figure seemed irritated, and the cloak seemed to move by itself. Strange, why would it…
Holy crap, they’re both fox girls. For a brief second, a silver tail briefly poked out from underneath the cloak, angrily waving back and forth.
“We would already have one for the both of us, but you keep on taking them all.” Alyssa definitely seemed to be angry. Her hood seemed to be moving as well. Why god, do you let such adorable ears be hidden from the world?
Well, while I would love to watch some cute girls for a little while longer, I need to leave. The last thing I need is to be caught by these guys. Moving away from his hiding spot, Drake prepared to leave. As he did, a stray piece of rubble came loose when he moved, and a small shower of pebbles and other debris bounced down.
“Rachel, did you hear that?” Damn elf, why did you have to say anything.
“No, but I felt it. It came from over there.” The dwarf was pointing directly at Drake’s hiding spot.