Chapter 1 – New Skills and Possibilities
「Nyan♪ Nyan♪ Nya~n♪」
The behemoth was walking with a spring in its step. Although one reason for its good mood was because it confirmed its strength, that wasn’t all.
Such a nimble body, and comfortable at that!
Its body moved lightly, even better than when it was human. It didn’t feel any fatigue no matter how much it bounced around.
To elaborate a bit… After defeating a pack of goblins, the behemoth continued beating down monsters left and right. All of its opponents were slaughtered in a single blow with «Flame Howl», a derivative of its inherent skill «Elemental Howl».
As expected of the body of an S-ranked monster. I wonder how much “Mana” this body really contains…
Mana― The energy found inside every living being in this world.
Regardless of their race, whether they’re human, demon or monster, their mana is consumed when they use magic or skills. The amount of mana consumed increases in proportion to the power of the magic or skill used.
The behemoth had already used «Flame Howl» several times. He was rapid firing a skill that boasted extremely high firepower. Even so, it didn’t make so much as a dent in his mana pool. It could be said that this overwhelming abundance of mana is what classified behemoths as the strongest monsters.
「Nyan? (Mu, that’s…?)」
The behemoth’s stroll came to a stop. A new monster peeked its figure out from the shadow of some rocks.
It was transparent like liquid. Its round body jiggled like no one was watching.
It was a «Slime». An E-ranked monster, similar to a goblin.
Another monster, huh? With how many I’ve come across, this place is probably a labyrinth.
It was all rock, rock and more rock, everywhere you looked. The paths were numerous, branching out and leading back into each other like a maze. Adding in the frequency of monster encounters, the behemoth grew ever more confident in the conclusion it reached.
That was when the behemoth made a decision.
That is, to leave and go outside. To live its second life (as a cat) to the fullest. Living out its whole life in a dark, gloomy place like this? No thanks.
It was easier to stay on track with a goal in mind, so the behemoth made a mental checklist with two things on it.
First: walk around and explore.
It needed to leave, and as previously stated this place was just like a maze. Not only did it need to keep track of potential exits, it was still a living thing, so it needed a safe place to sleep. For both of those things, it needed to get a good handle on the labyrinth’s layout.
Second: train up.
No matter how powerful it may have been, the behemoth was still a newborn. Another low-ranking monster like a goblin wouldn’t be an issue, but it could still get wiped by something higher that can use a skill.
It’s also possible that it’d meet people once it’s out in the open. Amongst humans, there’s an occupation called “Adventurer”. Their job is subjugating monsters, and they make a living by trading the monster’s remains.
Adventurers, same as monsters, were divided into ranks E through S. And if it met any of these people, there was a chance the behemoth would be targeted for subjugation. That’s why it needed to get used to this new body and all its abilities.
I’m a former human, too. I’d like to avoid fighting as much as I can.
Worst case scenario, it would encounter and have to kill one of its family. Imagining that sort of meeting, the justice-driven former knight let out a weak mewling noise.
But it was too late to feel sad about that. Its new enemy, the slime, was right in front of it.
To deal with this guy, you have to destroy the core in its body. Should I just burn the whole thing with «Flame Howl»…? No, something else. I’m fighting a slime. Let’s try something different.
Due to their low speed and offensive abilities, slimes were even weaker monsters than goblins. It was the perfect punching bag for testing skills.
The behemoth initiated with a war cry. The slime heard it, making a high pitched 『piki!!』 in response. Then it started taking cautious steps in the behemoth’s direction (even though it doesn’t have feet).
Yes! Here we go.
It raised its voice to get the slime moving in a way that was easier for it to hit. As expected, being literally brainless, the slime fell for its taunt. The slime, whose only purpose was to eat, saw the baby behemoth and thought it was harmless enough.
「NYAN! («Rock Howl»)!」
When the slime got close enough, the behemoth invoked the earth variant of its «Elemental Howl», and rocks of all shapes and sizes fired out along with its little howl.
The slime convulsed and squealed. Out of all the rocks shot at it and piercing through its transparent body, one shattered the core with a flash. Hm. It’s a different kind of destructive compared to «Flame Howl», but it’s certainly powerful. It can break through a slime’s strike-resistant body without any resistance. A behemoth’s special skills really are something.
It nodded in satisfaction at seeing its own power at work.
Then a cute sound echoed. It was the grumbling of the behemoth’s stomach.
Come to think of it, I haven’t eaten anything since I was reborn. Monsters are supposed to be omnivores, if I remember right. Should I try eating this thing?
It felt weird to be eating monster… Even more so when the main ingredient was the gelatinous goop of dubious origin called slime. However, it had no idea when it would get another chance to eat anything.
The behemoth sniffed at the slime’s carcass.
It smelled as strange as the behemoth felt to be smelling it. But it didn’t smell dangerous. Its sense of smell sharpened quite a lot after being turned into a behemoth, so it probably had a good nose for that kind of thing.
It couldn’t call itself a man if it didn’t have guts. The behemoth then quickly surrendered to its gut, and bravely bit into its impromptu meal.
This is…! This is actually pretty good!
The behemoth’s golden eyes widened so much they nearly bulged out. It expected tasting something bitter or indescribably disgusting, but the slime was delicious. Even the texture was satisfactory. If he had to describe it, it was somewhere between gummy candy and gelatin.
This is terrific!
He took another bite of the carcass. Anyone who could have caught the sight of the kitten stuffing his tiny mouth and eating noisily without a care in the world would have thought it adorable. Not exactly a display befitting the strongest monster.
「Nyagh? (Hm? What’s this?)」
The behemoth noticed something unusual happen when he took his third bite.
«Skill Predation» appeared in the corner of his vision. It was one of his inherent skills.
The skill activated? But all I did was eat a slime, and nothing even happened…. What’s that supposed to mean?
There wasn’t a trace of any skills going off around him, and he didn’t notice any change in his body.
Um… ah! Is this maybe a “Status series skill”!?
The Status series is a group of skills that affects one’s state. Skills like Offense Up and Defense Up fall under this category.
To confirm his suspicions, the behemoth used its analysis magic.
His information is as follows.
Race: Behemoth (Infant)
Inherent Skills: «Elemental Howl», «Skill Predation»
Predated Skills: «Storage»
… No state change in the logs. Guess «Skill Predation» isn’t a Status series skill, huh?
Normally there’d be a change shown in the entry logs, but this time there wasn’t one.
Then what kind of skill is it? If it’s not a Status type… Wait a second, the hell is this!?
He took another look just before he closed the status display.
There’s more… I’ve got another skill!
When he reincarnated, there were only his two inherent skills. So what was this? Underneath the inherent skills, there was a new listing—Predated Skills, with «Storage» as its only one.
I see, so that’s how it works!
The behemoth came to an important realization about one of the greater mysteries of his race. Behemoths are extremely powerful creatures thanks in part to a mana pool that would be more appropriate to call a mana ocean, but one thing about them stands out that nobody can understand.
They can use a wide variety of abilities, and every behemoth has a different skillset. Even if one fought a hundred behemoths, they’d be going against each one as if they were completely different beasts. As a result, unlike other types of monsters, there is no known method for capturing behemoths. A single method simply doesn’t exist That unsolved mystery is another reason why behemoths are classified as S-rank monsters.
And he just solved it. Behemoths can acquire new abilities using «Skill Predation», automatically invoked upon eating new prey.
Alright, let’s give this skill a go.
The behemoth turned his eyes to the half-eaten slime corpse, and decided to use the «Storage» skill he gained.
In the blink of an eye, the slime suddenly vanished.
He focused on using «Storage» again, and the result was as expected. Its remains reappeared in front of him as if they’d never left.
Slimes were capable of preserving objects inside its body. And the behemoth’s «Skill Predation» absorbed that ability for himself.
This is incredible! That means I can use the skills of anything I eat!
Discovering exactly what he needed to do to get stronger, the behemoth raised its head and roared a delighted 「NYA~~AON!」