The kid was hiding behind the tree with just the head peeking out. I checked on the little one once again.
I figured that this one was just a scaredy-cat, but it seems like the kid was also very kindhearted.
The child only ate two pieces from the kabab, the meat and the pimento, cleaned the area and even made a platform for the kabab.
What I could not understand was that the kid was still drooling. It seems the rascal is still very much hungry.
Also, it seemed the kid has starved for a long time. This one’s body didn’t appear to be in a good condition.
Is this possible?
After losing one’s mind over hunger, people would do anything, even snatching food away from another.
How could such a hungry child just leave unguarded food behind, eat a few pieces so it wouldn’t be noticeable, and then leave?
I’m certain that the kid spent more energy cleaning than the amount gained from eating the little bits that this one ate.
The wet leaves and small branches on the ground were all cleaned away from the bonfire.
Even sharp rocks on the ground were arranged so that the flattest surfaces faced upward. Uneven surfaces on the ground were filled in as well.
This rascal’s behavior is way different from what I expected.
It was enough to make me panic.
I pondered about this for a moment before I opened my mouth again.
“Ah, I think I should go to sleep now. I wish someone would eat the leftover food.”
With that brief line, I moved away from the bonfire.
After walking about 30 steps, I brought out a floormat, placed it on the ground and sat leaning on a tree.
Like that, I closed my eyes and stopped moving.
I did this because I was wondering if the little one might be more at ease to come eat the food if I stayed like this through the whole night.
Fortunately, as I hoped, the rascal slowly approached the bonfire, making little bits of progress every five minutes.
I calculated that it would take a little over an hour for the kid to get to the bonfire.
I hope the child will eat the kabob and the other foods.
I directed my thoughts away from this afterwards.
I was always short on time, and there were so much to think about.
The highest priority right now was the soul collect skill.
It was the skill that I obtained after clearing the 18th Floor.
The God of Death gifted me with the power skill while revealing that it came from the god. God of Death had never done that before.
Other skills from the God of Death that were gifted to me did not have indications specifying their origin in the God of Death. Instead, they merely said the skills were gifted by a god who does not wish to reveal the identity.
It seemed the God of Death was now really interested in me.
Anyway, I now have three skills gifted from the God of Death already.
Dead Summon, Soul Steal, and Soul Collect…
The Soul Cry is not a power skill, but it is likely to be related to the God of Death.
That means I received four skills from the God of Death.
I wonder if I might end up being the God of Death’s apostle.
[God of Adventure is feeling anxious.]
[God of Slowness is snorting and making fun of someone.]
It seemed that even the God of Adventure was feeling uneasy.
Meanwhile, it seems the God of Slowness is feeling confident.
Well, the God of Adventure was always feeling anxious even when there was just the God of Slowness to compete against.
Still, I think I’ll be choosing either the God of Slowness or the God of Adventure, not some other god.
Of the two, I’m leaning most towards to the God of Slowness.
In the past, I thought my characteristics were closest to those of the God of Adventure.
I became increasingly certain of this after meeting the monks at the 13th Floor.
The God of Slowness wanted the process of repetition to achieve results. Meanwhile, God of Adventure was all about having a goal and overcoming hardship and difficulty in the process. I thought the God of Adventure’s characteristics were closer to me than anyone.
The monks valued growth and duels. As for me, I valued victory as the result.
However, lately, my position on the matter was slowly changing.
I’m definitely different from the monks. I want to win and get the rewards.
However, what I want isn’t a large and final conclusion. I just want to win and continue to win.
I want to achieve victory after victory and grab the rewards from them.
I could understand myself more easily by thinking about my old days as professional gamer.
Even then, I only wanted to win.
My fellow players wanted to achieve victories to win the entire tournament and stand at the pinnacle. That was their goal. Meanwhile, I just wanted to win and win.
Also, I wanted to stay at the top indefinitely.
Instead of thinking of the victory as the result, if one thought of victory as the process, then my characteristics are very similar to God of Slowness.
This is probably why the monks thought my values were similar to their own.
[God of Slowness is looking at someone and smiling.]
[God of Adventure is yelling and running off from someone’s room.]
Still, it was not like I was incompatible with the God of Adventure’s characteristics.
Anyway, breaking through the difficulties and obtaining the victory and reward is in line with the God of Adventure’s character.
In the past, I was uninterested in my comrades, people around me, and my enemies. Now, I have been very mindful of other people and sometimes tried hard to understand them.
I think maybe I am becoming more similar to God of Adventure's character.
[God of Adventure suddenly looks better.]
[God of Adventure grinned and went back to someone’s room.]
[God of Slowness is telling someone to leave.]
The God of Adventure and the God of Slowness have some parts of their characteristics that are contradictory to each other, but I believe their values can co-exist.
I cannot be certain which god is best suited for me yet.
Let’s get back to Soul Collect skill.
[Soul Collect (Lv. Max)]
Description: After pondering on this for a long time, the God of Death gifted the power to the challenger the god had taken the most interest in lately.
Although careful, the God of Death is also impatient. The god is already regretting his decision.
When activated, the neutralized beings’ souls will be collected. You can use them as your subordinates.
The collected souls will last for a month.
The collected soul’s abilities will be proportional to the caster’s abilities and their compatibility with the soul in addition to the soul’s original abilities before death.
When activated, the godly power of the God of Death is used, so the skill does not require any power from the caster, such as mana, mental focus or holy power.
Thanks to Kiri Kiri’s help, there were more descriptions now.
From the description, it appeared to be more of a soul enslavement skill than a soul collection skill.
Before I said goodbye to Kiri Kiri yesterday, she handed me a small note. I opened it and looked what it said.
Surprisingly, the note contained writing in Korean, although the letters were not written very well.
I didn’t know Kiri Kiri could write Korean too.
The note was simple.
[How to use Soul Collect!]
PS. Make sure to buy me a cake next time.
Now that I read it, I realized the note was no different from the description on the skill.
It only had one additional tip about using simultaneously using Soul Steal.
The note is not all that useful.
Maybe Kiri Kiri was still feeling sorry about the 18th Floor so she decided to give me a small service.
Or, maybe she wanted to just tell me to buy her a cake.
Thinking like that, I put the note away into the inventory.
The Soul Collect skill makes me think about Pokémon. I cannot help it.
I thought it probably will be similar if I actually used it.
Spirit Monster, Go!
Now that I said it, this feels like one of those run-of-the-mill mobile games.
I should try it out when I get the chance.
While I was thinking about all sorts of things, a wet leaf fell on my face.
The leaf was wet as drops of dew collected on it. The water was flowing down my face.
I was about to raise my hand to get rid of the leaf, but I noticed a change in the little fox child who had been hesitating around near the bonfire. The kid made a move.
I was concerned about the little one being frightened, so I didn’t move. Instead, I waited.
The kid was only two steps away from the bonfire. The rascal glanced at the bonfire and then looked at where I was sitting. The kid kept looking back and forth.
That’s right. I’ll be sitting right here quietly, so please eat.
Suddenly, the kid brought the two hands together to the chest and made tight fists.
The hands were smaller than small pebbles.
The kid’s behavior is cute to watch.
It seemed the little one finally decided to eat the kabob.
The fox child nodded vigorously and stepped forward.
It looks like this one is finally going to eat.
I wasted two hours already while trying to get that kid to eat.
If this is not the triumph of human patience, I don’t know what… Huh?
The fox child ignored the kabab right in front of the nose. Instead, suddenly, the kid started to run toward me.
What? Hey, hey! Why are you coming this way!
I protested inside. Regardless, the fox child scurried toward me.
This is totally unexpected.
First, I awakened my focus and circulated mana through my body.
I thought it felt odd to assume a combat stance when a little child like this one was approaching me, but this place was Hell Difficulty.
I had to be prepared.
The fox child ran all the way to the front of me before stopping about two steps away from me.
It seemed the dash exhausted the little one. The fox child took a moment to calm his breathing. Afterwards, the kid walked to the front of me.
The fox child stood on the toes, and…
The little one lightly picked up the leaf from my face.
After that, the kid wiped off the dirt and water from my face using his hand.
As if the kid thought the work was done, the little one turned around and quickly ran off.
Dumbfounded, I opened my eyes and vacantly stared at the kid’s back.
With gigantic dark-green raincoat, the kid was diligently running into the distance.
That rascal just came to clean the leaf from my face?
[God of Goodwill is happy to see someone’s act.]
I think this is my first time seeing the God of Goodwill expressing something other than sorrow for someone.
The fox child went back to the tree that the kid had been hiding behind before.
The distance between the child and the bonfire had increased back to where he was one hour ago.
… Huh… Oh my… What an adorable little one.
* * *
In the end, the rascal didn’t approach the bonfire until morning the next day.
Throughout the night, the leaves fell on my face several times, and the fox child ran to me to clean them off every time.
I was surprised at first, but after that, I was able to accept it while smiling inside.
With short legs, the kid scurried toward me. Watching the kid do that made me feel happy every time.
It would have been better if the child picked up a few pieces of food and ate them while doing all that.
I scratched my head as I opened my eyes.
The dark forest had become a little brighter.
I checked the fox child’s location again.
The kid was still hiding behind the large tree trunk, which was about ten steps away from the bonfire. Also, it would take about one hour for the kid to get there.
I confirmed that the kid was asleep. I got up and quietly approached the kid.
The raincoat was as big as the kid. I looked at the kid here and there.
His condition is worse than I thought.
Since the sunrise, the rascal had been crouching down behind the tree trunk. So, I didn’t know how ill the kid was.
The fox child was sweating all over. His face was burning red.
His forehead was hot as fire as well.
The child was a scaredy-cat, yet this one was unable to wake up despite me being right here and touching the forehead.
As I thought, maybe I should have fed the kid something even if I had to catch the kid.
I regretted it a little.
I realized that I had developed a slight distaste for doing things that others might not like or hate.
It was not a good sign.
Anyway, it looked like I didn’t need to worry about the kid waking up as much as before. So, that was a good thing.
As it said in the manual that Kiri Kiri showed me, I brought out the sleeping bag and tent and set them up. I laid heat stones around to raise the ambient temperature.
First, I had the rascal lay down inside the tent and poured in warm water into the mouth.
I was concerned about water going down the wrong pipe. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
Next, I had the kid drink a few sips of a vitality recovery potion.
After the potion went in, the breathing and the facial color improved significantly.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a potion that cured the cold itself.
I had removed the large raincoat that the kid was wearing.
The kid was a boy.
Under the raincoat, he was wearing a rag-like fabric.
I felt sorry to call it clothing. The clothe was torn and worn out. One side of the shoulders was torn, completely exposing that side’s shoulder.
I wrapped my finger with mana to cut the clothing in order to undress the kid.
It was not awkward.
The kid was younger than my nephew.
Also, the kid was a boy.
Like that, I removed all of his clothes and wiped his body with a towel soaked in warm water. After that, I used a dry, soft towel to wipe off all water and put on a t-shirt and pajama pants on him.
It was fine to have him wear a large t-shirt. However, the pants were just too big.
When I pulled the pants up, it reached the kid’s shoulder.
Well, it won’t matter.
I put on another shirt that was thicker and had him lay on the sleeping bag.
With warm water towel, I wiped off the sweat from his face and neck before getting out of the tent.
It should be fine if I wiped off his sweat every few minutes.
I need to make food that this fox child can eat.
* * *
Although foxes can eat anything, I heard that they like fruits the best.
I think I saw that from Animal Farm.
A warm tomato egg soup with all sorts of vegetables, a few fruits, some eggs and a soup with ground meat should be enough.
The bonfire was still burning brightly. I brought out kitchenware in front of it.
I handled the vegetables and meat while waiting for the water inside the pot to boil.
When I saw the theme for the 19th Floor for the first time, I thought it was such a bothersome stage.
It was a lot of work to look after myself as it was. Now, I had to be a guardian for another. There was no way I could be happy about that.
While I was diligently working with the knife, I went over the treatments for fever, stuffy nose and throat, and cough. Also, I considered other complications that young children get from cold.
I didn’t know anything for certainty about these.
I posted a note on the community and looked for challengers who knew a lot about children and cold.
Fortunately, there were a few challengers who had experience in raising children.
It had been months since I chatted with people in the community the last time.
I felt very sorry for the child who was struggling next to me due to the illness. Still, looking after the kid and chatting with the people over the community was not bad.