That's a goodsleeping face. Well then, goodbye. I killed another Hobgoblin with aslash from Greed.
<Gluttony skillhas been activated>
<Status update:HP +440, Strength +220, MP +110, Spirit +110, Agility +110>
That was the 45thkill. Ohh?! All at once, my body felt satisfied. Just like that, thehelpless waves of hunger faded away. I was finally released from thestate of starvation. In the dimly lit forest, I leaned against thelarge tree nearby with sigh of relief.
"Fate. If you areresting, climb up this tree. Rare as it may be, a Hobgoblin might beawake and walking around in the middle of the night. Your abilityboosts from the state of starvation have disappeared. Neither yoursmell detection nor red eyes are effective now."
Just like Greedsuggested, I climbed up the tree I was leaning against and sat on abroad branch.
"It should be fineif I hide here. Moreover, I had to defeat a fairly large amount ofdemons to satiate this hunger."
"That's how itis. In certain cases, the state of starvation will turn your mindcrazy, making you attack anyone without hesitation. It cannot bereleased so easily. If you dislike it, hunt demons regularly and letthe Gluttony skill consume their souls."
"Ah, I'll dothat. This hunger, I don't want to experience it a second time."
I lay down on thebranch and took a break. The moonlight shone through the gaps in thebranches and leaves into the forest. Damp and a little chilly, itfelt comfortable after having moved around so much.
When I looked at theground below, I saw the occasional Hobgoblin pass by. Although theywere not nocturnal, there seemed to be a few of them actively keepingwatch. It was a good thing that I followed Greed's advice.
After I felt restedenough, I was about to descend when the ground began to shakeslightly from something huge approaching. The footsteps grew louderas a figure proportionate to the sound appeared, taking on the formof a huge goblin. It was more than twice my height tall. The colourof its skin seemed to be turquoise. In his hand was a club thatappeared to be roughly hewn from a large tree in the forest.
As the moonlight hitthe club, my face instinctively tensed. It was covered thickly inblood and flesh.
Furthermore, lookingat what he held in his other hand made me feel nauseous. It had mostlikely become unrecognisable from being beaten many times with thatclub, however, it was undoubtedly a human.
Ordinary humanswould not visit the Hobgob Forest so late at night. Hence, the corpsehe was dragging belonged to one of the skilled warriors who I hadseen at the outskirts of the Commercial District before I left thecapital. Being that arrogant, and yet you still died!
Nevertheless, thefact that this had happened to a skilled warrior who should beexperienced with the dangers of night hunting, that massive goblinmust be considerably powerful.
As he passed underthe tree where I was, I felt curious about the strength of such ahuge goblin, so I used the <Appraisal> skill to investigate.
Goblin King Lv30
Goblin King?! Isthat so…
The other servantsin the Heart Family had mentioned this. The Goblin King was the bossof all the goblins here and was said to be extremely strong. Sincethere were very few of them in the forest, the chance of encounteringthem was incredibly low, however, meeting them was akin to preparingfor death. Of course, this demon could be easily defeated by a HolyKnight. Yet, ordinary warriors would die instantly from a singlehit…
His status wasdefinitely 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 behealed.
Ohhh, this was agood skill. With this, I could continue fighting even if I sufferedminor injuries. I wanted it!
With my currentstatus, 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 monstertype, few in numbers. Even if I wanted to challenge him again afterpowering up, it would be pointless if I could not find him again.
Alright, I made adecision. I climbed down the tree silently and pursued the GoblinKing. He was the king of the forest. It was a grand sight to see himwalking forward so calmly.
There were noHobgoblins near the Goblin King. They probably ran away afternoticing the footsteps. Looking as if he owned the place, hisdestination was a small clearing in the middle of the forest, coveredin flowers. In the centre stood a single dead tree. Sitting down andleaning back against it, the Goblin King rested his club on theground.
Crunch crunch… Icould hear disgusting sounds even at a distance from my hidingposition in the trees. The Goblin King was eating the defeatedwarrior as though it was delicious. Occasionally, the munching andbone-cracking sounds reached my ears. Ugh… As I was feeling ill,Greed spoke.
"Why are youmaking a fuss over something so ordinary."
"Surely you knewwhat happened to those defeated by demons. Like that, they would be adelicious meal. To monsters, humans are delectable. Especially humanchildren…"
"I get it, stopalready. I knew that. But, this is the first time I'm seeing it."
Demons ate humans. Iunderstood that. However, being aware of that was different fromactually seeing it in person. It was more shocking than I hadexpected to witness the devouring of such fresh meat.
Calming myself downfor a while, I looked back at the Goblin King again. I felt alrightnow. He was still munching messily.
If I was attemptingthis challenge, the optimal tactic would be to attack from his blindspot in the back. Since this flower field was an open place, therewas nothing to hide behind. Cautiously observing the Goblin King, Iproceeded 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 GoblinKing's shoulders were visible.
"Be careful fromhere on."
Paying closeattention, I stepped into the clearing. As before, the Goblin Kingwas busy with his meal. Feeling nervous as my heart rate soared, Ikept my breathing soft and quiet. Finally, I succeeded in reachingthe dead tree. From behind, I heard his munching sounds closely.
"Fate, do it now!"
Greed signalled methrough the <Mind-reading> skill, and I swung the black sworddown towards the right shoulder protruding out from the large tree.
I did it. I slicedoff his log-sized right arm. Greed warned me against being relievedby the success of the first strike.
"He has not diedyet. Retreat quickly!"
I jumped backwardsas the Goblin King swung his club and smashed the large dead tree atthe position I was at just a moment earlier. The hit was so powerfulthat the ground sunk in and shattered stone pieces flew out from thecollision. If I had been hit by that, I would probably have died.
"That wasdangerous. I'm saved."
"It's too earlyto be relieved. He's coming."
Bleeding heavilyfrom his right shoulder, the Goblin King raised the club with hisremaining left arm. Just as I was wondering how to dodge it, Greedspoke.
"Believe in me. Aclub like that poses no threat."
"In that case!"
I put my faith inGreed and dashed forward, attacking in a single movement. The GoblinKing's hand was cleaved off along with his club. This sharpness wasamazing. I should keep going and finish this quickly. Continuing withmy attack, I raised the black sword as I leapt upwards.
Arghh─! The GoblinKing fell to his knees with a roar. What remained of his left arm hadalso been cut off. Despite being severely wounded, he still glared atme as I pierced his face with my sword. A sickening wetness drenchedmy hand, yet I paid no heed as I pushed the blade further in. Pullingit out, I shook off the Goblin King's blood on my sword.
<Gluttony skillhas been activated>
<Status update:HP +21000, Strength +24000, MP +5230, Spirit +4560, Agility +11200>
<Auto-recoveryskill has been added>
In previous fights,my opponents and I had been on equal ground. I had not experiencedthis sense of tension from monster hunting up until now. Theknowledge that I might die had constantly swirled in my mind. So, Ifelt a greater sense of accomplishment from surviving this battle.Perhaps this was the real pleasure of monster hunting. Now that thetension had dissipated, I sank to the floor as Greed spoke.
"Well done. Withthis, your status has accumulated quite a substantial amount. In thiscase, let's open my first rank."
"My new form. Byabsorbing my user's status, I can add a new form. What will you do?Will you try it?"
"How much of mystatus is needed?"
"The moment youmet me is your starting point. If I take all the power you havegained since then, I can open my first form."
In other words, inorder to strengthen Greed, I had to return to the state I was in whenwe met even though I had grown so much. On further inquiry, I foundout that the first rank could be achieved with my current status,however, for the second rank, the third rank… Each time I raisedhis rank I would need to relinquish a higher status.
Ultimately, theuser's mentality was the trigger, and if I chose not to open hisnew form, I lost my qualification to use Greed. That's right, I hadto choose to either strengthen or release Greed right now, righthere.
"I must do itright now huh…"
"Indeed. It isunavoidable as you are my user. In the same way that you cannotescape the hunger from your Gluttony skill."
Geez, when I askedGreed how much he was going to absorb, "Since I am greedy, I willconsume almost all of it," was his response.
"Will youstrengthen only yourself, or strengthen me to walk along this pathwith you? Choose! I will tell you now, you will not regret making mestronger."
Well, it wasunnecessary to consider this any longer. Greed was my only partner.If we could become stronger together, he would be even moredependable.
"I understand.Please do it."
"Well then, here Igo!"
As though my consentbecame a contract, the black sword began to glow. At the same time, Ifelt my body losing power. When the light died down, there was ablack bow in my hand.
"This is my firstform, type: magic bow. From now on, I will be be your power both as aone-handed sword and a magic bow."
I used <Appraisal>on my own status. Sure enough, after handing over my power, it hadreturned 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), HPEnhancement (small), HP Enhancement (medium), Auto-recovery