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A note from Exterminatus

It seems I had made some mistakes in the first Arc regarding the Cadaver/Corpse Absorption skill. Deciding on the name took quite a while and I changed it several times while writing it, so it was a bit inconsistent. Sorry for the mix up!

I've fixed it in previous chapters. 'Cadaver Absorption' will be its official name going forward. I like using Cadaver because it sounds more scientific than Corpse, making the name oddly fitting for our MC's boxy disposition.

The sword made a sharp sound as it fell on the neck of the last adventurer. The blade cut halfway through the black-haired man’s neck, ending his life in an instant. His killer, a Mimic that had just found its freedom, went about its business. Even though it had just robbed this man and three of his friends of their lives, it did not have the capacity to care. It gave absolutely no shits about whatever it was they were screaming about as it mercilessly reaped their souls. If anyone were to witness this, they would undoubtedly assume only a being incapable of emotion was capable of such cold cruelty.

But that assumption would be untrue. In fact, the Mimic did feel something from this encounter. A distinct sense of happiness, that is. This was a perfect opportunity to finally try out its latest Skill - Cadaver Absorption. It had already wasted its first opportunity due to its own foolishness. It couldn’t use it on those guard corpses since it lacked the MP and needed to satiate its hunger to recover it. And while it did still carry certain bits of those men inside its Storage, there obviously was not enough of them left to constitute a corpse.

But now, it would finally give this thing a try!

It’s first choice was the bow user. The one that tried to shoot arrows at the monster as it approached. She was particularly annoying, and managed to shave off a total of 34 HP from it. Well, it’s not like it didn’t expect to get some scratches in a frontal assault like that. It sat down next to the woman and chanted “Kadahah Akhsohsohn.”

Nothing happened.

“Kadahah Akhsohsohn,” it repeated. And again, nothing happened. This was worrying. Unlike its Storage, which could be activated without chanting, Cadaver Absorption required one to speak the name of the skill out loud while focusing on the corpse. That’s just how it worked. Or at least, how it was supposed to work. Learning a new Skill gave one the basic knowledge regarding its use, so there was no doubt this was the right way to activate it. In fact, the Mimic could recall how to use its Skills completely flawlessly, which was a bit odd in itself all things considered.

Still, it decided to double-check. After all, the information it wanted was just a couple of thoughts away.

Cadaver Absorption
Description: Allows the Mimic to absorb residual knowledge and power from the remains of its prey.
Requirements: Level 15 Mimic, WIS 30, INT 30, Has devoured at least 30 of the same Species.
Type: Active, Corpse-targeted
Activation Time: 2 seconds
Cost: 150 MP
Range: 2 Meters
Effect: A portion of the target’s Attributes, Skill Proficiency or Job Levels will be permanently added to the Mimic’s Status. What is absorbed is random.
This Skill can fail. Success rate depends on the Level of this Skill and the strength of the LCK Attribute.
The amount of knowledge and power absorbed increases with each Level of the Shapeshift Skill.

It examined the Skill window once more. The Activation Time referred to how much time the Skill would take to fulfil its purpose and produce the desired effect. However, that was supposed to come after the monster had started the process by chanting the name. Since absolutely nothing happened in the first place, this particular requirement was not the problem.

Its MP was currently full at 170 so the Cost wasn’t the issue either. As for the Range, it wasn’t sure exactly how far ‘2 Meters’ was. Was it too far away? Maybe that was the issue? It certainly wouldn’t hurt to try. The chest sprouted its legs and sat right next to the body. This was probably within range, right?

“Kadahah Akhsohsohn.”

Nope, nothing. Then… maybe it was misunderstanding what Corpse-targeted meant? Maybe this woman was far too skinny to count as a dead body? That was certainly a possibility - she was basically skin and bones, except for two soft-looking lumps in the middle of her torso. Were they nutrient repositories, perhaps? The Mimic vaguely remembered that black-robed woman it killed shortly before acquiring this troublesome Skill. She had some big ones too. They tasted strangely sweet, come to think of it.

“Ack!” it yelped. No good, it was getting distracted. It needed more information. Ah, but information regarding Skills was usually a thought away, so maybe it just needed the right thought? It focused its mind on the ‘Corpse-targeted’ term in the still-open Skill window. About a second later, a different screen popped up.

Corpse-targeted
Requires a corpse.
The corpse’s original brain(s) and heart(s) must be present to establish it as a viable target.
Missing limbs or body parts will reduce the strength of the generated effect.

Now it was getting somewhere! So the Skill needed both the brain and the heart to function and needed all its bits to produce the best result. The heart was that juicy thing in the chest and the brain was that mushy bland-tasting thing inside the crunchy skull. In that case, that would explain why the Skill failed to activate. It also meant its ‘lunchboxes’ would be unusable, but it had already accepted that.

The Mimic got up and walked off toward the wall. It stretched out its tongue and grabbed the bloodied, pointy-eared head that had been sitting there for a while. It dragged it along the ground by its long platinum blonde hair. Resisting the urge to pop it in its mouth, it walked back to the woman and placed it squarely on her chest. 

It let out a long breath that was probably intended to be a sigh. If it knew the head had to be attached, it wouldn’t have bothered to remove it from the rest of her in the first place. Then again, it was slightly unintentional. Her neck was entirely too slender so the monster’s sword strike cut clean through it. That black-haired guy it killed last seemed to be made of much sterner stuff since his neck actually offered some resistance.

So, now that all the parts were accounted for, it sat right next to the body and repeated the chant for the third- no, fourth? Or fifth?

It sat down and repeated the chant.

“Kadahah Akhsohsohn.”

Now, something definitely happened. It actually felt the majority of its MP disappear in an instant and leaving it in a tired, somewhat lethargic state. About a dozen or so transparent purple tentacles sprouted from its narrow sides, each of them about 2 meters in length. These mysteriously glowing appendages looked like they weren’t actually there - like the Mimic was seeing only an outline of their true form. Ignoring its idle wonderment, the appendages immediately bent towards their target and skewered it in multiple places. The soft, pink skin quickly shriveled up as the corpse rapidly became nothing but skin and bones. The Mimic noticed unidentifiable gray goop rapidly move up each of the twelve undulating tentacles and disappear somewhere inside its body.

Precisely two seconds after the monster finished the chant, the tentacles retracted inside the monster, dragging the rest of that colorless mass with them.

Your Cadaver Absorption was a minor success!
6% of the target’s highest Attribute has been added to your own. AGI +1.

“Yosha!”

It worked! The Mimic didn’t get much out of it, but it definitely worked! A new way of growing stronger! Ah, but it didn’t get to actually eat any of that. The simple creature’s excitement level quickly fell down to 0 when it realized that. It wanted to strip the flesh, rip the meat and crush the bones. Not liquefy and drink it all without even tasting it. Where was the fun in that?

The gluttonous monster took one more look at the corpse. All that was left of the former elven Ranger was a skeleton wrapped in gray, chalk like skin. It seemed to crumble into nothing under the weight of her clothing. Even the severed head was left as nothing but a skull with a few patches of skin and several strands of gray hair. Oddly enough, there was no hole in it even though two of the tentacles most assuredly pierced it from both sides.

This looked completely unappetizing. Was there even a point in eating these dried out remains? Actual dirt would probably be more nourishing than this pile of ash. Still, it was a way of using corpses for something other than pigging out. That was definitely a good thing. Even if it did a shortage of dead bodies, all it had to do was find something it could kill and BAM! Problem solved!

Feeling better about the whole ‘people have no taste when I drink them’ situation, the Mimic went over to the next corpse - a bearded, bald man in a chainmail shirt. It sat next to him and waited patiently for its MP to recover. Since it already saw the Skill in action, it now had a good grasp of the range. It simply needed to be close enough for those ethereal tentacles to reach the corpse.

Roughly 10 minutes later, it’s MP had gone back to full. “Kadahah Akhsohsohn,” it chanted and the tentacles happily liquefied and drank up the former Warrior.

Your Cadaver Absorption has failed.

“Nyeh,” it shrugged. It’s not like it expected it to work every time. It had already given up on chowing down on these people so it just went through the motions. Since this Skill targeted only living tissue, any gear and equipment the adventurers were using was left behind. The elf from before just had a tunic, a pair of trousers, a bow and some arrows in a quiver. This guy, however, had a sword and shield.

It was the first time the Mimic had given someone a chance to use their shield. The wooden, iron-reinforced disk had managed to deflect two of the monster’s swords. The third one then ran the Warrior through the chest while he was off balance, killing him instantly. Still, it was a relatively impressive display that piqued the Mimic’s curiosity. Wearing armor was out of the question, but its tri-tongue could easily intercept and deflect attacks with this sturdy 30-centimeter wide circle. After some practice, of course.

Also, it could probably double as a weapon. One such shield was responsible for knocking a hole through that infuriating steel grate, after all. It was an attractive idea to be certain! Having made up its mind, the creature tossed the warrior’s sword and shield into its Storage for safe keeping and walked over to the third corpse. 10 minutes and another chant later, the gray-haired Priest was also slurped up.

Your Cadaver Absorption has failed.
Proficiency level increased. Cadaver Absorption is now Level 2. All attributes +1.

The Skill-up was good. The failure - not so much. Still, a higher Level of Cadaver Absorption meant a better chance of gaining something useful. The Mimic would have to train this up as much as possible so that it would be ready the next time it caught something big. But how much of a chance did it actually have? Was there a way to find out? Would it even comprehend what all those numbers meant?

It had to wait for its MP to come back anyway, so it had some time to kill. It decided to mess around with the Status and Skill screens inside its head. After about 5 minutes of random window-opening, it tried to focus on a particular line of the Cadaver Absorption Skill Screen - the one that read “This Skill can fail. Success rate depends on the Level of this Skill and the strength of the LCK Attribute.”

Nothing happened, as expected. It was hard to ‘focus’ on a long sentence like that. Instead, it tried to home in on individual words.

Wisdom (WIS)
Improves critical thinking and decision making.
Every 10 points of WIS increase automatic MP recovery by 0.1 per second.

 

 Luck (LCK)
Very slightly tips the odds in your favor.
Very slightly increases your chances of finding items of Uncommon quality and above.

 

Skill
Improves your understanding and expertise when it comes to performing certain tasks or using specific tools or weapons.
Proper use of a Skill will raise its Proficiency.
When Proficiency hits a certain threshold, Skill Level will rise and you will receive a permanent Attribute bonus.
You can Inspect individual Skills for more information.

 

Attribute
Improves a specific aspect of your mental or physical condition.
New Attributes may appear as a result of specific actions or conditions.
You can Inspect individual Attributes for more information.

These were the only screens it could open. Just like the others until now, it saw a lot of confusing things that didn’t make much sense. The Mimic felt it could spend a really really long time just digging through all these endless menus and screens. It tried to limit itself to the ‘surface’ as much as possible, but all this ‘reading’ still felt like hard work. Liberated or not, it was still very much an airhead. Mentally strenuous activities like this always gave it a headache. Or was it a toothache? Maybe a chest ache? Well, it wasn’t quite sure what, but something ached.

A special action has been performed. INT +1.

Now this was odd. This was only the third time that INT had gone up on its own. The first time was when it learned how to hold a sword without hurting itself. The second time was when it found out about the Status screen and learned how to navigate it. Feeling extra curious, it decided to double-check it anyway.

Intelligence (INT)
Improves your memory and capacity for knowledge.
Every 1 point of INT increases maximum MP by 5.

There was no change from the last time it went over its Attributes. While these screens did describe each one, they held very few hints as to how to raise them outside of Level Ups. The Mimic wasn’t able to grasp the requirements for these ‘special actions’ at all. The only thing it knew for certain was that it was getting less and less of these as time went on.

The truth was that increasing one’s Attributes through training demanded that they consistently pushed their limits. Lift heavy things until your arms are about to fall out. Run until you’re throwing up. Read books until your head’s about to burst. And then keep on going. It was a painful and arduous process. The only reason the Mimic seemed to enjoy frequent boosts at the start was that it had very little to begin with. In actuality, raising a new Attribute to 5 seemed to happen very rapidly. Getting the first point of it was actually much harder than getting the following four. That is, unless a Skill or Job created the Attribute for you.

For example, that very first point of INT this Mimic earned shortly after its birth? Just remembering what had happened 10 minutes ago pushed it beyond the limit of 0 INT. It had come a long way since then, but such revelations were just still of reach. There’s no way something born less than 3 months ago would be able to deduce that sort of obtuse rule. If it had figured it out on its own, then its WIS would surely have gone up as a result.

Ultimately, the mentally immature monster ended up staring blankly at its final target until its MP filled up. And then it casually absorbed the final corpse - that of the black-haired scruffy-bearded man.

Your Cadaver Absorption was a major success!
A special action has been performed. LCK +1.
6% of the target’s highest Job Level has been added to your own.
WARNING: Unable to create Job at Level 0. Compensating.

Level up!
Congratulations, you are now a level 1 Warlock!
The Mental Fortitude (MNT) Attribute has been created through a special action. MNT +1.
INT +2. MNT +2. END +2.
You have learned a new Spell: Shadowbolt.

The Mimic’s only eye blinked several times. It suddenly had so many questions that the metaphorical gears in its mind ground to a complete halt. If it could give voice to its most pressing concern, it would undoubtedly shout out something like ‘Where the hell did all my Levels go?!’

“SHASHUSH!” it screamed in panic.

General Information Attributes Job Information
Name   Name Value Name Value Name Level Progress
Species Mimic (Lesser) STR 45 LCK 6 Mimic 15 33%
Sex N/A DEX 49  MNT 3 Warlock 1 0%
Age 2 months AGI 38          
Guild   END 47          
HP 273/280 (+0.4/sec)  INT 39          
MP 28/195 (+0.4/sec) WIS 40          
Skill List
Name Level Proficiency
Assassination 4 29%
Stealth 3 11%
Storage 2 54%
Shapeshift 3 69%
Cadaver Absorption 2 20%
Sword Mastery 5 6%

It felt relieved. It really did not want to go back to being a Level 1. Wait, wasn’t it technically a Level 1 AND a Level 15? And how can someone do two Jobs at once?!

Why did the number of questions keep increasing!?

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About the author

Exterminatus

  • Chestiest Chest That Ever Chested

Bio: I'm a programmer, a mythical creature that survives completely on beer and cynicism. We skulk in the dark, secretly cursing and despising everyone else. Especially other programmers.

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Neiden @Neiden ago

Thanks for the chapter :D

It finally used the "Cadaver Absorption" :D

By the way, does absorbing corpses fill its hunger or not?

 

Lift-Off @Lift-Off ago

Mhm... This is so damn good.

 

But I wonder, what is the average for the INT stat? Because 39 seems quite decent, in my book at least. Care to explicate the rough stats of a soldier or such, same level as Mr.Mime of course?

Neruz @Neruz ago

I'm surprised it has stuck with just the one eye, though I suppose with eye plus magical perception its only blind spots are a distance away and its not exactly the most creative entity, being one whose very nature is that of mimicry.

10/29/2016 11:36:11 AMLift-Off Wrote:

Mhm... This is so damn good.

 

But I wonder, what is the average for the INT stat? Because 39 seems quite decent, in my book at least. Care to explicate the rough stats of a soldier or such, same level as Mr.Mime of course?

 IIRC author mentioned earlier that stats are subjective, not absolute. A 39 Int Human would not neccessarily be as 'smart' as a 39 Int Something Else.

By mimic standards the protagonist is an absolute genius, however mimic intelligence is focused towards hunting, ambushing etc and finds things like abstract reasoning and complex problem solving that is not directly related to hunting and ambushing rather difficult.

On the other hand it is capable of accurately shapeshifting parts of its body into literally anything as long as it can copy it from somewhere else, I bet controlling a shapeshifting body that can sprout any number of limbs at any time takes a hell of a lot of brain power. Octopi had to develop special distributed neural networks in order to get their tentacles under control and that's just 8 fixed limbs. I can't even imagine the mental processing needed to control eight spider legs and three tongue tentacles plus whatever else happens to be going on at the time, any of which might or might not exist at any given moment, but it's definitely not something any human can achieve.

Hell just processing the input of the magical sense ('feel' everything within 10 meters of you at all times) would consume vast amounts of brain power even with specialized brains. For reference the majority of awake human brain processing is used to process sensory input, and it isn't strong enough. Your brain has to cheat constantly to keep your ego's perception up to speed with reality.

DrunkenDutch @DrunkenDutch ago

Good read. In almost all novels monsters level up by killing other monsters andtry to avoid killing humans at all.

Its nice to see a more realistic story where humans are actually food/xp.

 

 

Roknar @Roknar ago

much better, thanks for the chap.

Misery's End @Misery's End ago

10/29/2016 11:42:17 AMNeruz Wrote:

I'm surprised it has stuck with just the one eye, though I suppose with eye plus magical perception its only blind spots are a distance away and its not exactly the most creative entity, being one whose very nature is that of mimicry.

10/29/2016 11:36:11 AMLift-Off Wrote:

Mhm... This is so damn good.

 

But I wonder, what is the average for the INT stat? Because 39 seems quite decent, in my book at least. Care to explicate the rough stats of a soldier or such, same level as Mr.Mime of course?

 IIRC author mentioned earlier that stats are subjective, not absolute. A 39 Int Human would not neccessarily be as 'smart' as a 39 Int Something Else....

 

My take on the whole intelligence question is + int from special actions will add to base intelligence where as + int from lvling should be considered bonus intelligence. So say your standard lvl 15 mimic will have 30 int, it would still looks like (0+30 int), so its a smart mimic. Since Chesty here may have gone above and beyond the norm for a mimic, still has the base intelligence of a retarded lvl 15 goblin (5+30 int). 

Siaye @Siaye ago

Thanks for the chapter!

ZanthaV @ZanthaV ago

thanks for the chapter.

gte22 @gte22 ago

Thanks for the chapter :)

Dragrath @Dragrath ago

Well the humanoid population is doomed our mimic has gained the powers of magic! Sigh if only he hadn't wasted that necromancer girl's corpse curse Dungeon mind supression!

I'm curus how the mimic evolution will go the next step is logically to evolve into a full mimic which presumably would let our protagonist apear as any inanimate object but what comes after that? Would an evolved mimic be able mimic living things?

I also wonder of our mimic will as it evolves get more selective towards its prey as it tries to collect only the good abilities. Hopefully the retaliation against our protagonist isn't incompitent otherwise they will all be mimic food.(Unless our mimic protagonist learns to farm prey)

As for skills/classes go collect them all mimic! 

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