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I haven’t been making any noise; I don’t think it’s heading for me. The crashing sounds like bushes and things, so I will probably be safe if I climb a tree? That cypress has a low branch. I nimbly climb, much more smoothly than I anticipate. With this height, I can see through the surrounding branches that the thing coming towards me is… Oh, dear. It looks like a cross between an alligator and a rhinoceros. It doesn’t seem to be particularly agitated; it’s just casually destroying the environment by walking forward. Milord Analyze, do your thing!

Ancient Swamp Drake King

Level: ?? Dragon (Hybrid)

HP: ??

MP: ??

Skills: ??

Titles: Apex Predator, Absolute Terror

Well, this can’t be good. I have to hope it doesn’t notice me, as I do not think my cantrip is up to this particular challenge. Except, oh no, our eyes just met and it’s charging my tree. WHAM! Okay, I will start with trying to pinch carotids. WHAM! Not good, so now I should try to buy some time by filling its eyes with irritating chemicals, like degreasing agents. Ouch, that roar really hurt my ears, but it isn’t ramming the tree anymore. I’m keeping those carotids shut, but I don’t know enough about its anatomy to be sure there aren’t extra arteries leading to the brain. A dragon is supposed to have stupidly high vitality, right? Let’s begin filling its brain case with neurotoxin.

I hear a tinkling fanfare, and see a window pop up, declaring I have mastered the ‘Multicast’ skill. Sweet, I don’t care right now, go away, you stupid window blocking my view of the angry dragon. He’s slowly blinking and seems woozy as I keep pressure up on his carotids and continue to pour neurotoxin into him. Good thing I paid attention in my biochemistry and entomology courses!

Wait, I took those classes? As my head reels while I try to seize on this train of thought, the dragon below snorts and falls down. Did I do it? I should check my XP.

XP: -500,000/1,000

I’ve cut my deficit in half! All I had to do was kill an ancient dragon by myself.  And how did a dragon just happen to show up just after I appeared? That shitty god definitely had it in for me. Oh, another window has popped up.

Title Acquired: Dragon-Slaying Infant

Is this because I killed a dragon when I was level 0?

Dragon-Slaying Infant: One who runs before they walk. Provides bonuses when dealing with dragons in any setting, particularly in intimidation.

I was already a god-slaying assassin, so I guess adding dragon slaying as a level 0 isn’t that big a deal? I’m curious as to what game all these stats and titles come from was like. And why is this world accommodating in translating everything back and forth between that game and this reality?

As these questions plague me, I realize the corpse is flashing at the base of the tree. Well, that can’t be normal, there’s nothing to do but check it out. In fact, I feel compelled to go down there and touch it, like an irresistible itch.

I carefully swing down branch-by-branch, finally landing on my feet. Reaching out with a hand, I touch the dragon on an enormous shoulder and…  This is a loot window. Not just any loot; this looks like high quality raid loot. Well, I will selfishly ninja loot it all for myself, thank you very much.

A dragon tooth dagger? Sure. A dragon horn spear? Don’t mind if I do. A dragon scale cloak, yes please. And it looks like this gear does not turn into garbage when I pull it out of the window! Well, time to check this stuff out in detail.

Tooth of the Swamp King: A dagger of the finest materials, an ancient dragon’s blackened fang. Allows the wielder to move through mires and bogs as though they are strolling through a meadow. Provides a bonus to casting certain spells. WARNING: Do not plant in the earth.

Horn of Defiance: A spear crafted of dragon horn and bone. Allows the wielder to perform a lightning-fast charge attack. Also acts as a spell-casting focus.

Cloak of Resplendent Rage: A mottled cloak of dragon scale. The brown and green pattern provides natural camouflage, but the cloak’s true power is in displaying the majesty of a furious dragon king. Also provides astonishing defense for its light weight.

Oh, there’s also a lot of dragon meats in this loot window, as well as random materials. It doesn’t seem like I get the whole dragon this way, but I get to skip manually processing its corpse, and I get ready-made gear. There’s also some numbers appended onto the gear, but I don’t really understand what the categories attached to any of those numbers mean at the moment, and I kind of feel as though I should start finding shelter rather than reading a plethora of descriptions. In other words, it is time to figure out where to go when lost in a swamp. Oh, the dragon corpse vanished! Well, at least I don’t have to worry about attracting scavengers.

I seem to remember that getting to a more open environment is important, but I don’t know which way to go to do that. I think next was to go downhill? There are patches of water surrounding me which means I am probably not going downhill. The water doesn’t seem to be flowing. If it is moving, it is so slight I can’t tell. Maybe I should throw in a twig? Huh, it sank. Okay, how about a leaf?

The leaf floats in a direction. I shall follow it. Onward, leaf, to destiny!


1 Comment

  1. zavyyn

    Swamp Fighter Zav probably is Shotokan; I hope he is the kind with teleports.


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