“Johra! Just as I was on my last breath I received a request”
“And… did you accept?”
“Yeah, in my mind I thought anything would be better than dying.”
I nodded in agreement.
“By the way, I feel like something about me has changed, look at this.”
She took a small hop and stayed in the air, hovering about one meter off the ground.
Contrary to my expectation there wasn’t any loud sound despite having dropped from a relatively high height.
“This… I’ve changed right?”
‘Maybe it’s because you’re now a witch.’
“A witch? Really?”
I nodded once again to confirm, but surprisingly rather than be anxious, she seemed quite pleased.
“Wow! Since I was little I would always be jealous of witches in story books, flying freely on their broomsticks. I was a mage, so I always thought I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
I was glad to see her face light up with a childlike delight.
“Will I be able to soar through the sky in the future?”
‘I’m not certain, but I think it should be possible someday.”
I opened her status window
Status: Normal (Johra’s Familiar)
✧ Unique Skills
[Summon Fire Spirit Lv2] [Elemental Fireball Lv5] [Spiritual Connection Lv1] [Flight Lv0]
Her ability seemed similar to a tomb rat’s, maybe it was because she was still level 1 after her evolution.
‘It should be possible for you if you get stronger.’
“Really? Wow ah!”
I was worried she would get hurt by practicing her hovering ability but it seemed like she would always land very softly.
‘Ian, would you please come with me?’
The little guy behind me suddenly woke up.
“Oh my! What’s that cute creature on your back?”
Ian rushed towards me as if she had heard the most lovable sound in the world. I realised that she had never met the baby dragon, as he was usually sleeping inside my closed bag.
‘It’s a young dragon, it spends most of its time sleeping.’
It pokes its head out curiously, it was the first time I’d seen it show affection to someone other than me.
‘This guy… It’s hard to walk because he’s always swaying around.’
I placed him down gently on the floor.
It immediately rushed towards Ian, scaring her somewhat.
“Sir… can I hold it?”
‘I am worried he would bite you’
“No… he’s just too cute for that!”
Indeed she was right, rather than bite it instead stuck out its large tongue and began licking her vigorously. Ian just hugged him tightly and smiled, seeming to enjoy the affection.
Leaving the two lovebirds behind, I walked off towards the sound of termites fighting. This seemed to be their fighting area.
Tak Tak Tak
After our long battle, their numbers had decreased significantly, but it didn’t seem to affect their internal struggles.
The termites which heard the baby dragon’s roaring sound, rushed towards me.
‘Ian, go and take shelter in that small cave nearby, I’ll pull some giant termites and you’ll finish them off with your magic.’
“Alright! Got it!”
Ian dragged the baby dragon towards the cave on the side. All I had to do is carefully control how many I pull, she has to be able to one shot several of them to maximize experience.
‘Is this power leveling?’
‘Tak Tak Tak’
“Slow! Slow! Slow! Fireball! Fireball!…”
Out of the original 30 termites that were fighting, only 10-20 were left. I just reduced their health rather than killing them, so that Ian could get the finishing blow. Still, I felt strange because rather than chase they prostrated themselves before me with their heads on the ground.
‘Damn, I feel a bit bad being the bully like this, but you need to become sacrifices to level up Ian.
Tak Tak Tak
I wasn’t able to pull them, so Ian had to come over, as soon as they caught sight of her they rushed to attack.
‘Ian! Do it now!’
“I call upon the fire spirit King Jungryong, defeat the enemies before me!”
A giant fire elemental appeared before her.
Khoooo Pat pat pat…
It summoned 5 great fireballs and shot them out towards the incoming termites, before disappearing in a whisp of smoke. All the termites which had been rushing towards Ian were turned to ashes.
I had been expecting a simple fireball, but this was a different kind of magic.
‘Just what was that?’
“It’s a summoning spell, my mana capacity is very low, so I made a contract with a fire spirit.”
Her MP was quite low so normally she could only sustain one fireball, but her summoned spirit sent out five! Sure, the summoning had exhausted all of her mana, but it was still worth it. Checking her status, I noticed she had jumped up 19 levels, it reminded me of the good ol’ days when leveling was so easy.
‘Lets try for round 2, please follow me.’
“Hey, you don’t need to be so formal with me, you’ve saved my life countless times already, so it’s awkward when you speak to me so formally.”
‘Ok then, Ian just follow me.’
“Yes sir! I will follow your command!”
Ian responded powerfully.
Going back, there were still dozens of termites with their heads bowed down to the ground.
They didn’t even move their heads despite hearing the sound of the young dragon. Four flying ants approach submissively and repeatedly did subtle head jerking movements.
‘Do they want me to follow them?’
They were being too subservient and friendly, so I couldn’t bear to wipe them out with my magic.
‘Ian, head on back to the teepee’.
“Sure, catch you later.”
I followed behind the four flying ants, heading towards their nests. There were three giant mud hill with their entrances facing inwardly towards each other, roughly 10 meters apart. It seemed like the queens of each colony were on their way to meet me. Normally, they wouldn’t move often because of their huge size, which was required to lay the eggs.
‘Lord, thank you for accepting our invitation.’
Three voices rang inside my head simultaneously.
‘Is it the Telepathy skill?’
Just like the previous King, they could use Mind Reading to know my thoughts, and respond with Telepathy. Using my Ownership View, I could see that the names on their status windows were: Alpeon, Vega and Trisila.
‘Why have have you called for me?’
‘To formally submit to you Lord, we are willing to obey any of your commands. Please forgive our manners for being unable to come out and greet you in person, but our bodies simply can’t leave the nest.’
Alpeon spoke to me as their representative, while Vega and Trisila kept their heads bowed. Alpeon’s nest was the tallest and largest of the three mounds whereas Trisila’s was the one which was partially destroyed when the King broke out.
‘You are aware that I have the power to Erase you?’
‘We will follow any of our Lord’s commands.’
‘Are you aware that you almost killed those under my command?’
‘Please forgive our impertinence, if it is our Lord’s wish, we will pay for these sins with our lives.’
Immediately, all the termites in sight brought their jaws to each others necks, ready to abide by their queen’s order.
It was a weird sensation, Although I didn’t hesitate to kill those who threatened me, mass genocide just left a bad taste.
‘Forget about it, if you listen to my orders you can continue to live here.’
‘Thank you my Lord.’
All termites removed their jaws from their comrades’ necks and resumed a submissive posture.
‘Do you not hold any resentment since I killed your King?’
‘We obey the lord unconditionally, there is nothing else to consider, you are the King of the Pit.’
I could see Alpeon lower its body to the floor in subservience through my Lord’s view.
‘Everyone’s postures look uncomfortable, just make yourselves at ease.’
Instantly, when all the termites lifted their heads it seemed like the entire landscape had changed. A termite’s back was was milky white color whereas the bottom of their neck and upper body was dark black leading to a drastic change in scenery when they all looked up at the same time.
‘I have a question for you.’
‘Please, don’t hesitate to ask.’’
‘What do you guys eat that allows you to grow so big? I am very curious how you maintain your high numbers’.
‘My Lord, you are the owner of this Pit and have every right to know, please follow us.’
This had been nagging at me since I had first come. Termites would normally live and feed on trees, but the trees in this jungle were largely untouched. There definitely wouldn’t be enough trees to support the 10,000 somewhat termites that used to exist.
I followed Alpeon down the winding tunnels of their enormous colony. After having walked for nearly an hour, I heard Alpeon’s voice in my mind.
‘Lord, the answer lies within the room before us, none can enter without your express permission.’
Perhaps it had been the command of their previous King, but I needed someone to explain the situation inside, so I had Alpeon follow me in.
‘Come inside with me.’
I couldn’t understand the sight before me, giant tree roots were growing in the wrong direction, defying gravity and pointing towards the sky. They also had a golden gleam to them adding to their mystery.
There were a total of four roots protruding from the ground with circumferences of dozens of meters, a golden liquid could be seen flowing within them.
I tried to use my Identification skill to learn more information.
[Identification level is too low to view status]
It seemed like the level discrepancy was simply too large.
‘What is it?’
‘They are the roots of the sacred tree answered the queen.
I was slowly unraveling the mysteries behind these large termite colonies. The golden liquid form the sacred tree was likely very nutritious, which allowed for their large size and numbers.
‘This one drop is enough to sustain 1,000 termites for a month, and if you collect all the liquid, it fills up within a week.’
With just a quick look, I counted roughly 100 drops available. It seemed like for the colony food wasn’t a problem. This much could easily maintain 10,000 termites, my curiosity was satisfied.
‘Previously our King controlled how much liquid was extracted, as well as its distribution, what are your thoughts on this, my Lord?’
‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep increasing your numbers, it’s useless if you’re weak.’
‘Yes, well… the previous King was worried about being overthrown if he gave away too much liquid.’
Naturally these drops were incredibly nutritious and had strengthening properties so it was afraid of creating rivals.
‘Ok, continue taking the same amount of liquid as before but reduce your numbers by 75%, I don’t like having just cannon fodder.’
‘It will be as you command my Lord.’
‘For the moment you can go ahead and leave first, also from this day forth, you three queens are not to fight each other, is that understood?’
‘Of course, our conflict had been instigated by our previous King so it will now end.’
‘Rather than fight each other, you must work together to develop your strength.’
Alpeon bowed down to the ground and answered.
‘I am most graceful my Lord.’
‘May I mention something which I believe my Lord should be aware of?’
‘Every 3 full moons, the envoys will come.’
‘Those who wish to rule this Pit.’
I could understand others coveting this piece of real estate considering it’s natural defensive formations and vast resources.
‘Hmm? When the time comes I’ll fight them off, in the future, explain it to me in greater detail.’
‘Anytime, my Lord.’
‘Oh right, bring by some liquid to my teepee sometime tomorrow.’
‘As you wish.’
Leaving Alpeon behind, I headed back to the surface guided by a soldier termite. When I stepped out, I realised that the sun had already set, the stars and half moon were visible in the night sky.
Walking through the dark forest, I arrived to a peaceful scene of a witch and dragon sound asleep inside the teepee. With the half moon providing some light, I enjoyed the serene calm until daybreak.
“What are you doing? What time is it…huh? Johra! When did you come? You should have woken me when you arrived.”
Ian rubbed her eyes and complained to me who was watching from afar.
‘It’s ok Ian, I like to watch you sleep.’
“Well… I didn’t snore right?”
‘No, It was good scene’
Tak Tak Tak Tak
Four giant termites brought over roughly carved wooden bowls and placed them before the teepee, backing up and placing their heads on the ground.
I sent them away with a wave of my hand, and they disappeared into the forest.
‘Ian, bring in the bowls outside and we’ll split it with the young dragon.’
“Ok, got it!”
I was hoping it would have a positive effect on them.