Prologue [I Am a Cat (Behemoth), As Yet I Have No Name]
In a gloomy room.
The wall and ground were made of rock, going on forever.
A variety of “monsters” wandered the area.
This is a “labyrinth”.
As the name implies, it’s a maze-like place that spreads far and wide; a mysterious space that creates monsters out of thin air.
This area seemed to be in the middle of such a labyrinth.
Today as well, the labyrinth gave birth to an innocent-looking monster.
But what could it be?
Letting out such anxious cries.
Where am I? I could have sworn… that I fell to someone’s blade…
Somewhere in that monster’s mind, it remembered that it was once a knight.
And in battle with the enemy of humanity, the demon race, it was cut down.
Well, even if I remember, I can’t do anything about it. More importantly, I need to get an idea of my current situa—… WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!?
In the middle of its pondering, the monster stopped in shock.
The moment it tried to walk, its feet―no, its forelimbs—entered its field of vision.
It had four fingers covered with brown tiger-patterned fur, complete with sharp claws.
It lifted its foot with a dreadful timidity, and underneath found a squishy pink paw.
The monster immediately started moving.
It ran, searching for anything to confirm what the rest of it looked like.
It passed by what seemed to be a puddle of water, and quickly checked its reflection.
The surprise made it raise its voice.
Staring back from the puddle was the curious face of a kitten.
The monster shouted those words in its mind.
When it did, a string of letters appeared in the monster’s vision.
It was the self-analysis magic, «Status».
The monster that was supposed to be a knight remembered it as the kind of magic anyone could use to see its own information.
The contents are as follows.
Race: Behemoth (Infant)
Inherent Skills: «Elemental Howl», «Skill Predation»
Common Skills: None
The monster—no, the behemoth, nearly fainted at its discovery.
Monsters are divided into ranks based on the level of danger they pose, from E to S.
Behemoths are S-rank monsters.
In other words, the breed of monster called Behemoth sits at the top of the monster heirarchy.
It’s a superdreadnought-class creature, treated as a living disaster.
I should have been dead, but… a monster… I’ve heard rumors about this. I think it was “Reincarnation”.
Some living things, once that life came to an end, were reborn.
The behemoth came to the realization that it must have happened to itself.
The behemoth’s feelings were mixed.
It should have been overjoyed being given a second chance.
But monsters were an enemy to all of humankind, the very people it had sworn to protect in its previous life.
It didn’t seem all that disappointed, though.
The reason why is—
The first enemies of this new life appeared in short order.
They were a monster called «Goblin».
Short in stature like a child, with nauseating green skin—an E-rank monster.
There were two of them.
Drool hung from their mouths to the ground.
The behemoth could tell.
Looks like these guys are hungry.
A bit of a dilemma.
Behemoths may have been one of the strongest monsters, but this one was just born.
Its physical strength was middling, and it had no idea how to use its inherent abilities.
At this rate the goblins were going to tear it apart, make delicious kitten jerky with its flesh and pick their teeth with its tiny bones.
… Well, maybe if this behemoth was normal.
「Nyaa~ (Even for a child the likes of goblins are small fry, you know)!」
The behemoth cutely roared and glared at the goblins with its big kitten eyes.
Seeing such an adorable display, its aggressors let out a deep and hearty laugh.
Then the goblins rushed in toward the behemoth.
Each of them held a short sword in their hand.
One of them swung down.
It might have been able to kill the infant outright.
But despite its diminutive form, inside this little behemoth was the soul of a veteran knight.
It wasn’t going to die that easy.
It read the movement of the sword in a moment, and effortlessly stepped off to the side to avoid it.
As its feet touched the ground, the behemoth kicked itself forward.
Up close, the goblin that just missed its own attack received a powerful headbutt to the leg.
It was an unexpected counter.
The goblin couldn’t help but shout from the dull pain rolling through its shin.
Guh… That hurt like hell. Let’s try not to do that again.
The behemoth’s head was spinning from the recoil, too.
But it didn’t hinder his movement.
The other goblin grew angered seeing its ally injured.
It joined the fight and attacked with swordsmanship that could only be called basic without the “base”.
「Nya~~ (Take this)! 」
The behemoth could have seen it with its eyes closed, and leapt forward.
It flew in a perfect curve at the goblin, and the short sword passed right under.
Cute paw attack!
The sharp nails that protruded from its tiny paw stabbed into the goblin’s eyes.
Its screams resounded through the room.
Only natural, considering it just had its eyes gouged out.
「Nyan (Should I try one of my skills now?)」
When the pair of goblins were no longer able to fight back, the behemoth decided to try out one of the inherent skills it was wondering about.
It chose «Elemental Roar».
I wonder what kind of skill this is.
When it decided, an informational guide popped up in its head.
«Elemental Howl»: «Flame Howl», «Water Howl», «Aether Howl», «Rock Howl»
Hm. It seems to go as the name says, it has types based on attribute. Guessing by the names, I think they’re fire, water, wind and earth. Alright—let’s try «Flame Howl». I don’t know what kind of skill this is, but it seems like the one with the highest offensive power.
「NYA~N («Flame Howl»)!」
The behemoth roared—no, that was way too cute to be called a roar.
Regardless, the skill went off properly.
A scorching fire blasted out from the behemoth’s mouth, along with a sound much more terrifying than its own voice.
The raging flames enveloped the goblins’ bodies without mercy.
And in no time at all, they were reduced to piles of ash.
「NYAAA!? (My body is so small and yet, this power…!?)」
Such strength was a surprise to the little behemoth.
But let’s just say, “As expected of an S-Rank monster.”
I don’t know my purpose yet. But I’ll survive. Surely there’s a reason I was born like this.
A knight who was reincarnated into the body of a monster, in spite of its misgivings the behemoth steeled its resolve.
And it roared as loud as its voice could go.
That is the first roar of “the Strongest Cat”, to be told in legends handed down through future generations.