Ch. 220 The Manticore

While we both stood in a confrontational stance with each other, I prepared myself.

If I do something that will set the monster off, it could very well chomp that child to death, given that the child is being held in its mouth. Besides that, if I move… it moves. While we’re locked in this standoff, I might as well do a full check on its status.

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Species: Manticore
Status: Normal
Level: 73/80
HP: 453/453
MP: 142/142
Attack: 413
Defense: 228
Magic: 194
Speed: 534
Rank: B

Characteristic Skills:
[[Nekomata: Lv –]] [[Covert: Lv 4]] [[Presence Sense: Lv 6]] [[Grisha Language: Lv 1]]

Resistance Skills:
[[Physical Resistance: Lv 4]] [[Magic Resistance: Lv 5]]
[[Fire Attribute Resistance: Lv 3]] [[Poison Resistance: Lv 2]]
[[Paralysis Resistance: Lv 4]]

Normal Skills:
[[Paralyzing Numbing Claw: Lv 7]] [[Paralyzing Bite: Lv 8]] [[Humanization: Lv 8]]
[[Sandstorm: Lv 6]] [[Porcupinefish: Lv 9]] [[Surprise Attack: Lv 7]]

Title Skills:
[[Cunning: Lv 6]] [[Tenacious: Lv 6]] [[Stalker: Lv 9]] [[Feline’s Pride: Lv 3]]
[[Gale Outstripper: Lv 7]] [[Final Evolutionist: Lv –]]
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Manticore, huh? Of all the status checks I’ve done, this might be my first time seeing a monster where it pretty much all but says it’s a monster. Like, a lion with a human head? Who are you tryna kid?

It’s all physically focused by the looks of it… Its rank is lower than mine and I beat it as far as its overall stats goes, but losing in speed is gonna be a hard pill to swallow, because things can change considerably depending on which way the difference in speed swings.

I didn’t think that the first monster I’d encounter here would be a beefed-up large centipede. While I expected this place to be bad, I didn’t expect it to be this bad. I’ll be on the lookout for another place to move house. Seems like I’ve become some sort of breadwinner whose job doesn’t let them sit still.

…Hm? This… this thing has that shrewd skill, [[Humanization]], doesn’t it? Not only that, its skill level is one step above mine. Come on. My envy is flippin’ tangible, man… You’re the last damn thing that needs it.

…Ugh, well, does something like that even really matter? I mean, It’s the first skill you can rule out in combat.

Yo, Partner. For right now, I need you to give the child who’s being held in that thing’s mouth a recovery. If we don’t do something, they’ll end up dying.

I called out to Partner with my innermost thoughts, and when I did, Partner gave an affirmative nod.

“Gaaaw-!”

The light of the [[High Rest]] wrapped around to the edges of the Manticore’s mouth. The child’s hand twitched, subtly moving. They’re alive, good. Somehow or another, we have to get them pulled free.

“GUFFAWGH-AWGH-AAwgh-!”

As the Manticore moved its mouth, its fangs bored into the child’s back. Any one of that thing’s actions could outright kill that child. I have to rescue them as fast as I can.

The Manticore seemed to interpret my use of [[High Rest]] as a provocation and leapt at me without warning. With the exception of my speed, my stats are significantly higher than its stats.

Should I look for an opening and hammer it with full-on counters while fending off its attacks? With that status, getting as little as two solid hits on it should be enough for me to be able to take it down. This thing doesn’t have a single recovery skill, which is unusual for a high-ranking monster. All I have to do is make sure I land an attack.

“GUFFAWGH-HAawgh-!”

As the manticore got right up in front of me, it leapt up and brought its forefeet high up into the air. A clawing attack, huh?

Using my wings to block the attack, I swung them out in front of me. The manticore clawed my wings and then suddenly and abruptly turned, passing overhead of me. It seemingly clawed my back as I felt a sharp pain run down it.

I tried to get a hit in from where the manticore was at and aimed at it with my tail, but it was a swing and a miss. I turned myself around while bringing myself forward. Once again, I stood confrontational with the manticore.

Damnit-… Should I have fully and intently taken the attack head-on instead of partially going on the defensive? No matter what route I take with this monster, I have more HP than it could possibly hope to whittle down.

“GUFFAWGH-HA-HA-HAawgh-!”

The Manticore, feeling smug about its successful hit, came charging at me a second time. Yeah, come and get some! This time I’m gonna send you flying with all I’ve got!

My gut tells me that I’ll end up putting it on guard if it feels I’m too calm and composed. I turned toward the running manticore and fired three whole blades of [[Wind Slash]] at it.

“GUFFAWGH-AWGH-AAwgh-!”

The manticore moved left and right, dodging the blades of wind. The monster roared in delight, as if to say that such an attack could never possibly hit them.

I appreciate having you let your guard down for me, manticore. Now I just need you to get all nice and carried away, then we’ll be set.

The manticore kicked off the ground and sprung up into the air. It held itself in the exact same posture it did just moments ago, to a T. If you can dodge it, you will. You’ve already shown as much with your arrogance being worn on your sleeve.

From here, I could shoot you clear across the… Nah, let’s not do anything more than necessary. Play it safe. Let’s play it safe. If I don’t play my cards right, then there’s a high possibility that they’ll make some weird moves again just like they did last time. I’ll take their attack head-on. After that, I’ll drive a heavy blow into them, but not too heavy. The strength needs to be just right.

I took half a step back and brought my head down in front of me. The manticore dug its claws into my shoulder. Having aimed right for the moment that would happen, I bit into the manticore’s belly.

“GUFFAawgh-?!”

I used the skill [[Poison Fang]] and pumped an ample amount of poison into the manticore. After that, I kicked the writhing manticore away with my forefoot, sending them flying. The manticore’s body rolled away and took out a tree as it did.

The manticore, now in shock, collapsed to the ground, belly up. Blood was gushing forth from where I had bitten the manticore in its belly.

That all went rather quickly for how utterly carried away you were for me. Well, could it have gone any other way? I mean, your HP and defense weren’t all that high to begin with. And on top of that, you don’t even have any recovery skills.

You’re not tough enough, man, not tough. If you’re to survive, you need to be min-maxed and built solidly, like me.

I turned towards the manticore’s partially agape mouth and fired off a light [[Wind Slash]].

“GUFFAaw…”

Its human head turned the other way, as if it had gotten slapped on the cheek. The bloodied child, which was being held in the monster’s mouth, dropped from the monster’s mouth. Alright, goal number one achieved. All that’s left to do for later is to cook the manticore through-and-through until it’s nice and browned for today’s dinner while taking care to make sure my attention isn’t directed at the child.

The manticore stood up while breathing hard and raggedly.

“GUFFAWGH-AWGH…GUFFAWGH…”

Looks like if I drive one more blow into it, that’ll be it. I’ll win. Alright, buddy. Come on over here and let’s get this over with. You gonna come flying over here following the same trajectory as last time? What’ll it be?

Whoops, can’t forget the biggest enemy of all: letting your guard down. Plus, there’s even a saying for a wounded beast: A wounded beast must go on as a matter of certainty precisely because it’s been backed into a corner. Some might say otherwise, but so far it doesn’t seem to have any particularly dangerous skills. …Is it good with counter-strategies? For now, I just need to stay vigilant so that I’m good, even if something happens.

“…GUFFAWGH.”

The manticore turned its back to me and bolted off at full speed.

Hey! Don’t you run a-… way… Uh… Well… If I think it through with a calm and composed mind, anyone would do that. Its attacks weren’t effective, and when it got hit, it was super painful for it. Even I would be running away as fast and as hard as I could if the tables were flipped.

Since the only thing it beats me out on is speed, when it also turns tail and runs away with pretty much all it’s got, there’s not really much I can do. I may be able to chase after it with [[Roll]], but… is there even a need for that? Putting aside that this is how it normally would go, right now, the injured child takes priority.

Besides, the manticore’s been injected with poison, was profusely bleeding, and it didn’t even have that much HP. Since there might be a chance that I’ll find its dead body later, I wonder if I should try searching for it? That right there should be enough food to last several days.

However, that manticore does sport a face that looks subtly like a human’s, doesn’t it… If I happen to eat that, I feel as if I’ll end up crossing a line that I’ve been trying to stay behind all this time…

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