[Round 19, Day 10, 23:55]
“In the kitchen where the feast is being prepared, the dishes are clanking, and the doorbell at the main entrance is ringing and ringing…”
Of numerous great things about Myong Myong, the second one was that he was talented at so many things.
He was good at cooking, laundry and cleaning. Not only that, whenever he was resting, he sang songs like so while dancing along adorably.
Of course, the first great thing about Myong Myong was that he was adorable.
“Myong Myong, you are great at singing too.”
After finishing the song, I complimented him. He covered his mouth with his hands and smiled.
Oh my… How adorable.
It’s been ten days since I met Myong Myong after entering the 19th Floor.
Through the time, I became even closer with Myong Myong. I also got to know a lot more about him.
Myong Myong likes being complimented.
He also likes being smiled at. He likes having his hand held.
He likes having fairytale stories told to him. He likes having meals together.
Of all, he likes being hugged.
At first, I only held him in my arms when walking. Now, having realized that he likes being hugged, I had been hugging him all day.
Of course, I had to put him back on the ground when he is doing things like preparing meals.
“Do something fun for me too.”
He means that he is requesting me to do something since he just sang to me.
I put forth my right hand.
[Soul collect count: 183]
The ghosts had been ambushing us periodically, and I had been collecting them diligently. So, before long, I collected 183 souls.
I had been working hard every night, so I was able to learn some simple control methods.
The key things were mana and will.
The mana and holy power for the skill were provided by the God of Death, so I just needed to start the skill.
The word signaled my will to use the skill, and it effectively described the detail of my will.
It was not very different from other skills. So, I could get used to it soon.
Following my command, a small ghost appeared on top of my palm.
According to the Soul Collect’s description, the soul I could use maintained its form and abilities depending on the soul’s innate abilities and its compatibility with me.
The ghost was not all that powerful, and its compatibility with me was rock bottom.
So, the ghost that appeared on my palm appeared to be smaller than a pinky finger. Also, its body was faintly visible. It was almost transparent.
The baby ghost roared!
Its effect is incredible!
The roaring sound was like a baby kitten moaning. Myong Myong broke into smile.
The skill looked like it was going to be very difficult to make a good use of during a battle. However, the fact that I could use it to bring smile to Myong Myong made it a great skill.
I watched Myong Myong look at the baby ghost.
Actually, ‘appear’ and ‘disappear’ were the only commands I could give to the ghosts.
Orders like, scream, roar or move were not followed or received by the ghosts.
The ghost was acting cute in front of Myong Myong. With its arms tumbling around, it was doing its cute little roar. These actions were all by the ghost’s own will, not by my commands.
The souls collected by the Soul Collect all had an individual will and ability to analyze situations. They also had individual personalities and preferences.
The souls of the ghosts usually liked Myong Myong.
The ghosts didn’t move at all when I summoned them while being alone. However, when they were in front of Myong Myong, they sometimes acted cute and played in front of him.
Myong Myong watched the baby ghost for a long time. It seems Myong Myong is getting sleepy. He was rubbing his eyes.
“Should I bring out a tent?”
I asked just for the sake of it.
Fortunately, Myong Myong shook his head.
Myong Myong didn’t like sleeping in the tent by himself.
Even if it was a little uncomfortable, he preferred staying outside with me, who was standing watch.
During past few days, when I was sitting in front of the bonfire to stand guard, Myong Myong sat on my lap and leaned on me as he slept.
At first, I was worried that it may be uncomfortable. However, because of the flexibility unique to beastmen, it didn’t result in things like back pain the next day.
As for me, although it was a little uncomfortable, I liked holding Myong Myong sleeping through the night instead of spending the time pointlessly alone.
I brought out a large blanket from the inventory.
I covered my body and Myong Myong with it. Although the night inside the forest was quite chilly, having the blanket made me feel quite warm.
Soon, Myong Myong fell asleep completely.
Myong Myong fell asleep quickly when he tried to.
I envied him because I suffered from insomnia.
I stroked the back of Myong Myong who was asleep. Like that, I spent the time. However, something tripped my detection skill.
There were ghosts again.
There were 35 of them.
I pulled the blanket and carefully wrapped Myong Myong’s body. I slowly got up.
This is the first time that over 30 ghosts to show up at once.
Until now, even when there were many, there were less than 10.
Soon, I could see the 35 ghosts.
Their number was not the only thing that was different about this time. Their appearances were very different from the usual as well.
They were not human-shaped ghosts in white. They had dark bodies as if they were drenched in mud. It was as if they were hiding themselves in the darkness.
Also, their hands were sharp like ice picks. Their mouths had large teeth like daggers.
I really think these are for attacks?
So far, although I had faced ghosts, I never felt seriously threatened by them. This was because the ghosts were incapable of attacking others physically.
They could only frighten others by appearing suddenly in their white, blurry form to invoke fear.
However, through the detection skill, I could tell their approach before they got close.
Also, the ghosts had poor defenses, so they were no threat to me.
However, these ghosts definitely appeared to be different from the usual ones.
Actually, I was not even sure if they were ghosts.
Maybe they are monsters that look like ghosts.
I can hear their footsteps when they are walking toward me.
These bastards can physically affect their surroundings.
First, I brought out the Transmutable Thousand Arms from the inventory and formed a spear with it.
I was facing these opponents for the first time, but they were not threats to me.
The problem was Myong Myong, who was asleep in my arm.
It would be far safer for him to keep him in my arms instead of putting him down somewhere.
Also, not only am I hoping that Myong Myong would not get hurt, but I also hope that he won’t wake up.
He is sleeping so well. I hope he won’t wake up so he does not have to see these ghosts and get scared.
One thing fortunate about the situation was that these ghosts were not screaming to make noises.
The 35 ghosts slowly closed into a circular formation.
I calmly waited for it and thrusted my spear forward.
A ghost came within the range. I pierced its core clean.
After its core was pierced, it disappeared like dust. It looks like these are indeed ghosts.
Because I was holding Myong Myong who was asleep, I moved as slowly and cleanly as possible.
Next, I retrieved the spear and took half a step back.
At the same time, I changed the Transmutable Thousand Arms’s form to a long sword. A ghost was charging into the range. I pierced its core with it and destroyed it.
The two restrictions, having to make the movements small and slow, made the battle quite difficult.
I was giving up speed, which was my strong suit. Instead, I was moving slowly. To compensate for this, I had to be accurate with my predictions and attacks.
I turned around and swung the long sword across.
I swung it slowly as if I was painting with a brush. Two ghosts’ cores were precisely caught on its path.
Along with its trajectory, I took a step forward.
Next was a thrust.
I retrieved the Transmutable Thousand Arms to my right waist and then thrust it.
I struck the core of a ghost in front. I pierced through the ghost and took another step forward.
I turned to the side and dodged the icepick-like hands aiming at me from the right.
Along the turning movement, I swung my sword wide and cut the core of the ghost that just finished attacking me.
Although I’m fighting so slowly, it is working out somehow because there is a large difference in ability.
Also, the move I did just now was like something from swordsmanship techniques.
I thought about the swordsmanship techniques I learned from the Knight at the 16th Floor.
Although I learned them, I never got to make proper use of them so far. I think I should utilize them in this opportunity.
At 16th Floor, at the doppelganger’s stage, the swordsmanship I learned from the Knight had one unique attribute.
The swordsmanship was defense-oriented to hold out against attacks, and the techniques ended the duel with a powerful move.
Although the Knight who taught me the techniques did away with defensive measures and used his certain-kill move from the start, the basis of his swordsmanship was completely defensively oriented.
The Knight taught me 38 moves that were the fundamentals of the swordsmanship.
Of the moves, some of them focused on keeping the charging opponent in check while defending.
They were moves like using the shield to block the attack and introducing other variables by stopping the flow of attack.
The moves were defense-oriented. So, the attacks were not deadly.
However, they were very stable.
The goal of the moves was buying time and forming a solid foundation for defense. So, the moves didn’t involve significant risks.
The moves were short. After the parry moves, they always led to other moves that allowed me to safely avoid the attacks or prepare for the next move after defending.
Of the moves that the Knight taught me, I decided to focus on using these defensive moves.
There were many opponents charging at me. Also, I had to minimize my movement and leave no gap for being attacked.
I was certain that I was significantly stronger than the ghosts, so I assessed that I should be able to defeat them all using just the defensive moves.
One step, then another step… I moved forward like that and retreated.
I sidestepped and created distance and prepared the next move.
Again, I took a step forward and faced the approaching opponent a moment sooner.
In preparation for the next opponent, I retreated again and defended my rear.
Using this cycle of moves, I slowly swung my sword. Like that, I was able to defeat all 35 ghosts.
I breathed out heavily and looked around.
There weren’t any opponents left.
On the ground, there were numerous footprints from me.
It looked like as if I just danced at a banquet.
It was strange to see them.
My attack patterns were relatively simple.
Usually, I charged forward and approached the opponent and fought a close-range battle. That was all.
Instead of taking steps and moving a step at a time, I often took a large leap forward.
I thought it was the first time for me to fight while taking numerous steps like I these as if was dancing.
[Mid-rank swordsmanship level increased by one.]
That actually led to a level up.
Is it because I was seriously lacking in fundamentals when it came to this aspect of swordsmanship?
Anyway, this is good.
I had been feeling anxious lately because my skills had not leveled up at all from my overall level increasing.
I should practice the moves I learned from the Knight some more.
Having organized my thoughts, I plummeted down at the floor mat that Myong Myong placed in front of the bonfire again.
I put the Transmutable Thousand Arms away into inventory as well. I calmed my breathing. While I was at it, Myong Myong woke up.
He didn’t even open his eyes yet. He muttered something.
I tried my best to not shake him as much as possible. Still, it seemed like I woke him up.
“Myong Myong, what is it? Did you wake up because of all the shaking?”
Myong Myong shook his head.
He buried his face at my chest and said,
“The sound of your heart beat had grown faster, so…”
Oh my… It seemed that he woke up because my heart beat rate increased and he heard it.
“I see. Continue to sleep.”
Fortunately, Myong Myong went back to sleep soon.
* * *
Since then, the dark ghosts continued to come.
Unlike white ghosts, the dark ghosts attempted direct attacks, and Myong Myong was afraid of them.
Whenever the dark ghosts appeared, I tried to defeat them as quickly as possible. However, over time, more and more showed up, so Myong Myong ended up afraid for longer during each battle.
[Round 19, Day 14, 16:50]
Myong Myong was in my arms and shaking. I asked him,
“Myong Myong, how long will it take for us to reach the forest?”
In crying voice, Myong Myong said that it will take about nine days.
We had been traveling by walking slowly. I think this is as far as we can go like that.
The path was completely blocked.
The dark ghosts were coming in endless waves. They were blocking the path.
Including ones that I could see and the others within the detection skill’s range, I think there are several hundred of them.
As for the ones I cannot see because they are hidden behind tightly packed trees, I cannot even get a feel for it.
Of course, I have the confidence to defeat them all and reach the destination even if there were several thousand of them.
It is not like this is the first time for me to face an enemy force that approached a thousand in number.
However, I need to protect Myong Myong.
And it's hard to fight against so many while holding him in my arms.
So I need to charge around violently, crashing into my enemies to throw them off balance, without putting him on the ground for a single moment.
Still, I cannot put Myong Myong on the ground for a single moment either.
Alone, Myong Myong won’t be able to survive the dark ghosts’ attacks for even a moment.
God damn it.
I was enjoying traveling with Myong Myong every day. I was so happy.
These ghosts are meddling to no end.
This is too much.
“Myong Myong. Have you ever wished you could fly in the sky like a bird?”
It seemed Myong Myong was dumbfounded. He stared at me as if he was saying that the question was completely out of the blue given the situation.
I asked again, and Myong Myong said,
“I think flying in the sky would be dangerous…”
“No, it is not dangerous at all.”
I put the Transmutable Thousand Arms in the inventory and tightly held Myong Myong with both of my arms.
I wanted to explain this a little more, but the dark ghosts were approaching. I had to make the move before they came closer.
I opened the wings and flew up.
I avoided the tightly packed tree branches and ascended beyond the forest canopy.
The forest was always dark because of the trees blocking the sunlight. We got out of the forest and faced the bright and blue sky.
The scenery was refreshing to watch. It felt like my heart was opening.
The blue sky was extending endlessly above my sky. Below me was a sea of greenery. It was extending to the beyond the horizon.
The view was truly magnificent.
Except for the unwelcomed guests, that is.
Chasing after me and Myong Myong who flew up, the dark ghosts started to fly up.
I didn’t know those things could fly too.
While we’re at it, let’s check just how many of them there are.
I quietly watched the dark ghosts that were rising up to the sky. I slowly felt sick of them.
They continued to rise.
In my visual range, when there were over ten thousand of them, I stopped counting. I asked Myong Myong.
“Myong Myong, are you very scared?”
Myong Myong was shaking. He said,
“N… No. I’m not scared. This… Is this really not dangerous?”
“It’s not dangerous. Just trust me.”
Just trust the Big Bro. I cast the line and then tightly held Myong Myong in my arms.
Myong Myong also put his arms around my neck.
I put my hand behind his head and said,
“Now, we are going.”
“I… I trust you!”
At the same time, I activated the Talaria's Wings’s flight ability.
From the left, right, front, back, and even below and above… There were dark ghosts that were charging at me. To avoid the ghosts, I started to fly at full speed.