Advancements in Petnology — Part 2
Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
It took about an hour on the road for us to reach the Wicked Forest’s western subdomain.
“Found one,” I said, as I pointed to a bizarre looking creature. At a glance, it seemed to be a cross between a horned chameleon and a hedgehog. Its lizard-like frame was covered from head to toe with large prickly spines, and its head featured a pair of fearsome looking, forward-facing impalers, likely made of either cartilage or bone.
It lazily raised its head, looked at us, and hissed whilst flicking its tongue like a snake to warn us not to approach it. Oh, and just for those of you out there who assumed it was small because I was comparing it to chameleons and hedgehogs, it’s not. The god damn thing’s about the same size as Rir.
It was a fairly fearsome beast, as one could expect given where it happened to live, but it wasn’t anything too outstanding. Rir and I were both capable of taking it down without any assistance. I wonder how they’ll do against it.
“Alright boys, it’s time for some action. You four will be taking that hedgemeleon thing out for a spin,” I said, whilst looking at the recently evolved, not-so-new recruits. “Rir, you’ll sit back and keep Lyuu safe. Got it?”
A snappy bark of acknowledgement came from Rir as he took up a defensive position by my bride.
“Thanks Rir! And I’m sorry for causin’ you trouble.”
“What about me?” asked Enne.
“You’ll be with Rir. Make sure nothing happens to Lyuu, okay?”
“Alright, move out!” I had everyone jump into action as soon as we were all clear on our instructions.
The first into the fray was Orochi. He initiated by dashing up to the hedgemeleon and tackling it with all the speed of a bullet and the force of an oversized truck. Since he started a bit of a ways away, his foe managed to react. But not in time. It ended up being caught in his attack even though it’d attempted to dive out of the way.
Likely because Byakku had interfered.
The fallen feline had used one of her spells in order to distort the lizard’s perception, which ultimately led to it dashing in the wrong direction and getting smacked in the face as it caught on and tried to correct its mistake.
“Wow… I think I woulda ended up gettin’ blown to bits if I got hit by anythin’ like that.”
“Not me,” said Enne. “I would’ve cut him in half.”
“Yeah, I guess you would have,” I said with a chuckle as I ruffled her hair. “You are more than sharp enough, after all.”
The chameleon certainly did deserve a good bit of praise, given that it had managed to not only dispel the debuff affecting it before Orochi’s attack landed, but also warded off the attack, to an extent. To be precise, it’d leapt backwards to mitigate the amount of damage done by the serpent’s charge. It then took advantage of the resulting opening to counterattack by launching its spines in basically every direction. Unfortunately for the oversized lizard, its attempt to retaliate was warded off by Wsprit, who’d caught the deadly, forearm-sized needles by setting up a water-based barrier.
Upon realizing that it was at a disadvantage, the cold-blooded bootleg triceratops cast a spell that turned itself invisible in order to escape, but that too was completely thwarted. Yata dove down from the sky at an absurd speed and used his beak to tear off one of the lizard’s front legs. The shock that came with the unexpected attack disrupted the spell and caused the creature to lose all traces of its invisibility right before successfully fading away.
Though gushing blood, it tried to retaliate by chasing after Yata with a headbutt, only to once again find itself involved in a traffic accident with an eighteen wheeled snake.
Orochi’s second attack was much deadlier than his first. Rather than headbutting the creature again, he’d instead opened his jaws wide and drilled his fangs, which had flashed with a tint of green, straight into its exposed neck. I’m guessing that means he probably popped Poison Fang right as he bit him.
The chameleon tried to live. It flailed and struggled as much as it could. But it began losing what life force it had left as its veins were filled with deadly poison. Slowly but surely, its limbs—and heart—stopped for good. R.I.P. Hedgemeleon.
“Good job out there.”
I rewarded each with a series of headpats as they triumphantly made their way back. That was a pretty convincing win if I’ve ever seen one. Looks like they didn’t even break a sweat.
Orochi and Yata made an especially fearsome combo. The former drew a tonne of aggro, as he was both the main tank and primary source of damage, which often distracted their foes from the latter, who could quite literally swoop in and catch whichever targets caught his fancy completely off guard. Byakku’s magecraft was also incredibly effective. Her illusions could totally throw just about anything off their game. Wsprit hadn’t actually shown much of its hand this time, but it was actually a huge part of the process. Its buffs, debuffs, and heals dictated the flow of battle.
This was, of course, by design. I had chosen to summon these precise creatures because theorycrafting had led me to understand that their strengths would work in tandem to create a single, cohesive unit. I was glad to see that it really had ended up working out in practice, even against monsters whose stats were much higher than theirs.
And that was with one member of the team, the ever reliable Fluffrir, on standby. When I said reliable, I meant it. He served as their shortstop, the glue that kept them held together and fully functional no matter what the battlefield happened to bring. Heh. Not bad guys. Not a bad show at all. Next, let’s throw Rir back in and actually see everyone in action.
“Alright, let’s keep up the pace and track down a few mo—or they can come to us. That works too.”
My enemy detection skill notified me of impending danger mid-sentence. I guess it must’ve started heading over ’cause it heard us fighting or something. Let’s see… it’s just shy of two hundred meters off from us huh? Looks like conflict is unavoidable. Not that I expected anything less. Getting chased down and forced into another bout right after a battle was classic Wicked Forest stuff. And I mean, hey, more DP for me, right?
“Get ready,” I warned. “It’s already here.”
The leaves began rustling immediately after I finished speaking, which prompted me to look at my would be target, only to find myself suddenly on the verge of shitting my pants.
It was a satanic incarnation, a creature with lustrous black shell, long thick antennae, and legs covered with thin hair-like protrusions, a creature capable of not only surviving on Mars, but also adapting to the point of becoming bipedal. A roach. And not your everyday garden variety. Like everything else that inhabited the Wicked Forest, it was much larger than any of the varieties that had plagued my kitchen back in Japan.
“Oh fuck noooo!!!!!!!!”
A shrill shriek rang throughout the Wicked Forest. It’s origin? Me, of course.
“M-Master? W-what’s wrong? Is that monster really that terrifyin’!?”
“Y-yeah, fuck that! Dealing with it is impossible!” I turned to my pets and began shouting out orders in a panic. “Get rid of it, now! Rir, you go too!”
They seemed a bit taken aback by my sudden lack of composure, but followed my instructions and got a move on nonetheless. Lyuu interpreted my less-than-proud display as a sign that the cockroach was some sort of unstoppable behemoth. But it wasn’t. Rir squashed its head with a single quick strike.
“Eugh!!!” I reeled back in revulsion. Oh god… Oh god why… Its brains are leaking everywhere…
“M-Master? Are you doin’ okay?”
“Master… Calm down,” said Enne.
They grabbed my hands reassuringly, which allowed me to slowly recover and return to much less rattled state of mind. Holy shit… that shit was so gross it almost completely emptied out my sanity bar…
“I-wait, nonono! Rir, stop! don’t come any closer! Why the hell are you holding something that gross in your mouth anyway!? Spit it out! Spit it out!!”
It seemed that he was bringing the roach over because he found it odd that I was terrified of it, and wanted to prove to me that it was no big deal, but I wasn’t having any of it. Though he was still a bit confused and seemingly at a loss as to how to react, he ended up following my orders and dropping the disgusting, unsanitary, filthy creature.
I didn’t want to see it for even another second, so I purged its corpse by converting it to DP immediately.
“Whew… Man… that was close. Having to stare at that thing for any longer would have driven me insane.”
“You seemed to be freakin’ out real bad, Master. I ain’t never heard you scream like that before.”
O-oh shut up. It’s not my fault. Cockroaches are the bane of continued human existence.
Seeing it reminded me of the time that I saw a black spot in the middle of a hallway, only to have said black spot leap straight at me as soon as I bent over… Wait… what came after that again? Alright, fuck that, I’m stopping myself right there. Digging up trauma isn’t going to help anyone, especially if it’s trauma I clearly don’t want to remember.
“Master has lots of weaknesses,” said Enne. “This happens often.”
“Wow, Enne. You sure know Master real well.” The warwolf gave the younger girl a series of headpats as she spoke. “This is my first time hearin’ about all this.”
Patting the girls on the head was something that just about all the adults did, as they happened to stand at such a height that it happened to be natural. Er, wait a second. This isn’t the time for this. Goddamn it Yuki, stop letting yourself get sidetracked. You’ve got duties to attend to.
“Alright guys, listen up,” I said, addressing my pets. “If you ever see any of these anywhere, attack them like you’re trying to wipe them off the face of the planet. Actually, scratch that. Actually try to wipe them off the face of the planet. Don’t let a single one remain unless you want them to totally wreck the forest.”
“A-are they really that dangerous?” asked Lyuu, while trembling in fear.
“Undoubtedly,” I said with a firm nod.
Underestimating the rate at which roaches could reproduce was the height of folly. As the saying went, the presence of even a single individual meant that there was an infestation. Given their size, it was safe to say they could have easily ended up terraforming the whole planet to suit their needs. And the worst part is now I know that they’re casually scuttling around the Wicked Forest. Actually the last thing I ever wanted to find out… I’m getting fucking goosebumps!
“Listen well, maggots. Today marks the start of Operation Pest Control, a mission critical assignment that has the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Don’t show them any mercy or compassion. Kill and destroy every individual, every family you come across without hesitation. And, most importantly, do it where I can’t see it! Because fuck those things!”
Confronted with the full force of my spite, all five of my pets had no choice but to nod.
Thus began a tale in which five brave warriors repelled the greatest threat that mankind had ever faced and saved all of creation from the brink, all while the world at large remained none the wiser.