Episode 12 (3)

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Khrx met Lorin’s gaze. “Let’s go to a lake. There should be a lake nearby, right?”

“Yes,” Lorin said with a nod. “The stream from Swift’s Peak ends up in a lake near the base of the mountain. Shall we head there right now, master?”

Khrx ignored the fact Lorin only called him master when she had done something wrong. “Mm, let’s go. I found a perfect quest.” Without sparing a second glance at the seven kneeling figures, Khrx climbed up Lorin’s dress and into her arms. The fallen angel spread her wings and soared into the air with a bright smile on her face.

“What kind of quest did you find?” Lorin asked, lowering her head to stare at Khrx’s ears. They were twitching and swiveling in the breeze as Khrx read from a rectangular screen.

“We’re going to help a water spirit,” Khrx said. “There’s this person on this forum who said they received a quest that gave them a skill which increases natural recovery by 10%. And water spirits are commonly found in lakes. There’s three other people who reported the same results.”

“Is 10% a lot?” Lorin asked. “A sword wound can take up to two weeks to heal. With that 10% recovery, you’ll save a day. And don’t you have Blissful Rest?”

“Never underestimate tiny percentages!” Khrx said. “They add up. One percent here, another percent there, maybe a couple from somewhere else, and the next thing you know, your recovery’s increased by 100% or more.”

Lorin bit her lower lip. As expected from a negative intelligence child. But who was she to crush his dreams? “You’re right, I was mistaken. We’re getting close to the lake. You can see it over there.”

Khrx tore his gaze away from Bongle’s interface. Swift’s Peak was really large. From way up in the sky, it looked like a pimple protruding out of the ground. A green, uneven pimple with tiny figures walking about. A line of blue flowed down the side of the mountain, forming a raging river to the south that ended up in a lake nearby. “That looks like a perfect place for a water spirit to reside.”

It wasn’t long before the duo landed by the lakefront. Some tengu, humanoid creatures with long noses and feathers for hair, were loading up barrels of water to be taken up the mountain. They threaded rods through the handles and lifted two barrels each, balancing the rods on their backs and shoulders. A few waved at Khrx and bowed while murmuring, “Senior Officer Khrx’Lrvnjl.”

Khrx’s chest puffed up as he climbed out of Lorin’s embrace. He waved back at the tengu as he approached the lake. When he reached the edge of the water, he placed his hands on his hips and shouted, “Come on out, water spirit!”

The tengu stopped and stared. The surface of the lake fell still, as the surroundings became silent. Khrx waited with his tail drifting back and forth, but there was no response. He dipped one foot into the water and swirled it around like he was melting a cube of sugar into hot coffee. “I said come out!”

“Who dares disturb my slumber!?” a deep voice filled the air as the surface of the water churned. Waves bobbed up and down as a vortex appeared at the center of the lake, causing the nearby tengu to retreat. They ran back towards the mountain, even the ones who had yet to fill their barrels. A giant transparent hand rose out of the vortex, revealing an arm, an elbow, then a shoulder, followed by a massive torso. A second arm rose out of the lake, then another, and another, until a five-armed torso with red eyes where a person’s nipples should’ve been appeared, hovering over the vortex. The torso’s belly button split open, and the thunderous voice boomed once more, “Was it you!?”

Khrx nodded. “Oh, you look like someone with lots of problems,” he said, reciting the generic quest-begging line incorrectly. “Do you need some assistance?”

The water spirit stared at Khrx with its unblinking red eyes. “The only problem I have … is someone disturbing my slumber!” One of the spirit’s arms rose up above Khrx and slammed down.

Lorin leaped towards Khrx and hugged him, covering him with her wings while summoning a mana barrier above her. The spirit’s palm collided against the barrier and stopped in place.

“How rude!” Khrx said as he shook his fist at the spirit from underneath Lorin’s wings. “I just wanted to help you solve your issues.” He tugged on Lorin’s arm. “Zap him for me.”

Lorin’s eyes glowed white as she thrust her palm towards the spirit. “Chain Lightning!”

A lightning bolt rushed out of Lorin’s arm, striking the spirit’s torso. It let out a scream as the lightning bolt enveloped its body in a web of electricity, bouncing off its arms and back to its torso.

The spirit’s eyes flashed. “You dare—”

“More,” Khrx said, tugging on Lorin’s sleeve. “More lightning.”

“Chain Lightning! Chain Lightning! Chain Lightning! Chain Lightning! Chain Lightning!”

Lorin ceased her spells only when more lightning than water could be seen on the surface of the spirit’s body. It let out a miserable cry as vapor rose off of it, disappearing into the sky as the spirit shrank.

“S-stop! I—”

Khrx cleared his throat, cutting off the spirit’s words. “You look like someone with lots of problems. Do you need some assistance? Maybe, healing some injuries caused by lightning?”

“This is abuse! Flagrant, outright abuse! I—”

Khrx frowned.

“More lightning?” Lorin asked, her palm crackling with electricity.

“More lightning.”

The spirit’s screams filled the air once more. Soon, the once massive spirit had shrunk down to half of Khrx’s height. It almost looked like an upside-down octopus with arms instead of tentacles. It quivered as Khrx snorted and said, “You look like someone with lots of problems. Do you need some assistance?”

“Y-yes,” the spirit said, its voice smaller than before. “A monster is trying to kill me; please, get rid of it.”

[Quest acquired!]
[Kill yourself.]
[Rewards: A skill.]

Khrx sighed. “More lightning,” he said, his voice defeated. He shook his head as white lights flashed, striking the spirit. “Who knew obtaining new skills would be so difficult?” When the spirit was the size of his foot, he gestured for Lorin to stop. “You look like someone with lots of problems. Give me a proper quest or I’ll wipe you off the face of the planet.”

The spirit let out a whimper. “I really don’t have any problems though…. I mean! Yes! Yes! Right away!”

Lorin snuffed the lightning dancing on her fingertips and patted Khrx’s head.

[Quest acquired!]
[Water spirits dislike creatures with lungs. Remove the carcass of the buffalo that fell into the lake.]
[Rewards: A skill.]

“Great!” Khrx said. “What’s a buffalo?”

“It’s a type of cow,” Lorin said. “I’ll remove it. You don’t like water, right?”

“How’d you know?” Khrx asked. As a red dragon, magma was much more preferable than water. Water was cold and slimy and disgusting and slipped between his scales. He didn’t know why Sneksnek liked living in the ocean when there were so many magma chambers available.

“Just a guess,” Lorin said. Only some large cats naturally liked water. And Khrx was pretty small. Lorin slipped off her dress, placed her weapons down, and leapt into the water, but not before glaring at the spirit to make sure it wouldn’t try anything fishy.

Khrx hummed to himself as he found a nice patch of sunlight and lay down, splaying his arms and legs. He preferred staying holed up in his underground room, but sunbathing every so often wasn’t a bad feeling. He should’ve done it more in his dragon form while the humes didn’t have their giant missiles of exploding nonsense.

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