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Corpse Dead's avatar

Corpse Dead

Queen of Devouring
Another Cycle

Volume 1: The Apocalypse

Another Cycle

The sun was shining brightly.

The rays of the sun were penetrating the thick foliage of the green forest.

Suddenly, in this peaceful area, Mana started gathering on the outskirts of the forest. It liquefied and turned into a black puddle. That puddle was only a thick, black mass. It was darker than the black.

The trees started withering in its surroundings, along with the greenery and every tiny animal. A dark wave rushed through the forest, covering an area of a hundred square meters, killing everything in its wake. A rotten stench covered the area as thick fog gathered in it. That black puddle started bubbling. It was like boiling water.

That mass shot upward abruptly, reaching a height of one and half a meters. Instead of falling back down, it stayed there. It looked like a three-dimensional shadow. Its outlines started flickering and it didn’t take long for it to turn into a black egg. The black mass on the ground was nowhere to be seen.

Dark winds started swirling around the egg, creating a black, impenetrable dome. Probably, no one on the planet had a chance at breaking through it. Especially considering the state the planet was in.

This world went through an apocalypse only two weeks ago. The humans didn’t know what was going on. Monsters started appearing out of nowhere and started killing them indiscriminately. Their weapons stopped working. Guns, rockets simply didn’t fire. They were like one-piece weapons, without any mechanism. Just like children’s cheapest toys.

 

Ten minutes later, the dark winds turned into intricate patterns and landed on the ground. After shining brightly with a black light, they disappeared. It was a formation, which would help to keep alien beings far away from the egg. It wasn’t an offensive or defensive mechanism. It was tinkering with the target’s mind! They would feel the need to turn to another way if they were to get in a kilometer radius of the egg.

Just as those lights dimmed out, the strange black egg started shaking and trembling. Knocking could be heard from its insides continuously. All of a sudden, those knockings turned into loud bangings. Cracks were appearing on the surface of the egg, which started spreading until reaching its bottom.

A tiny white hand broke through that thick layer and saw daylight. The fog also dissipated slowly, leaving behind the dry ground, without any life. The thing in the egg started flailing its arms, breaking the egg into pieces in the process. When it felt that the egg was weak enough, it jumped out of its interior.

 

A ten years old looking little girl stood there in the sunshine. Since the trees and leaves withered, the sunlight wasn’t stopped by the thick foliage anymore. With her eyes closed, she spread her arms to enjoy the warmness. Her shadows crept up on her body to cover it, leaving her without a shadow. It turned into a simple, black dress on her body, reaching a little above her knees.

The gentle wind brushed through her long, straight, black hair, raising it into the air. Inhaling deeply, she moved her toes, feeling the ground under her feet. But she soon realized that it was very much to her disliking. The ground was hard and dry. The air smelled rotten. With a frown on her face, she opened her shining green eyes to look around. She stood at a hundred and twenty centimeters tall.

Snapping her fingers, a part of her dress was torn off and it turned into a cub-sized panther, while her dress recovered in a moment. The girl raised her brows, looking at the cub, questioning it - “How long did you intend to stay in my shadow? Did you think that I wouldn’t notice you? You leecher…”

Its fur was completely black and its eyes were similarly green. The girl was a Shadow Progenitor, while the cub was a Devouring Panther. Both of them were legendary creatures, who came in pairs. If one of them was born, then it was sure that the other one would be there as well.

The little panther sat down and meowed like a cute little kitten. The girl frowned slightly, but she couldn’t stop a smile from forming on her face. “Okay, okay. Don’t look at me like that. Come… we need to eat this egg.” Knowing what to do, the girl said while reaching towards the cub. She raised it up into her embrace and then sat down in the center of the egg.

 

As a legendary being, she had inborn memories. Although it didn’t help her too much, at least she knew a few things. For example, how to talk… She also knew that there was a formation around her, which would protect here if something were to come towards her. Such being the case, she didn’t leave its area, even though she had to sit in this bad odor. After breaking off a large piece of her egg, she broke it into two halves, giving one-half to the cub, while she ate the other half.

Although the shell of the egg was sharp, when it touched her lips, it turned into a jelly-like texture right away. It also tasted really good, making her smile happily. “Mm~ This is so delicious for some reason,” she remarked while gulping down another piece. The little panther put its paw on her hand, asking for more, even though she gave the panther’s half to it just a moment ago.

“Aren’t you being too greedy? I need nutrition just as much as you! Stupid animal… What are you even?” She questioned it with curiosity clear on her face as she grabbed its two sides and raised it up. Not seeing anything, she couldn’t help but question the panther.

“Are you a gal?” Seeing no reaction, she asked if it was a guy, to which it answered with a roar. The girl laughed at his cute roar and then put him down. It didn’t take long for them to eat the whole egg completely. Not even they understood where it went. The cub sprawled out in her lap, feeling content. “What should I call you? And what should I call myself?” She asked as she put her hands on the back of the panther and started caressing it.

With her hand on her chin, she said with a thoughtful face. “Let’s think… maybe… Elena? Elena as ‘bright sun’! Haha~ The irony in that. Alright, I’ll be Elena! Now you… I’ll call you Dred, the dreaded!” Not thinking long about it, she decided their names in just a few seconds. As she put him down, Dred looked at her and after roaring once, he turned around, ready to sleep. He was actually liking his name.

These kinds of legendary creatures were very rare, numbering only around fifteen. Although there were different kinds of legendary beings, each of them was unique and there couldn't be more than one of them. This meant that Elena was the only Progenitor Shadow alive. Dred was a similarly rare monster, whose abilities were almost the same as Elena’s. The only difference was that Elena had a human body, while Dred was visibly a monster. He was very clever, maybe even more so than an average human, but he couldn’t talk.

These legendary creatures were very intelligent when they were born, thanks to their inborn memories, which also contained life experiences. Naturally, it wasn’t too much, so Elena still had a lot to learn and experience in the world. When these creatures were born, they had to eat their own eggs, which would serve them with nutrition. This would be followed by a long sleep.

 

Elena swung her right hand and the shadow of a tree crept up to her. While lying in that shadow, she found the ground to be warm and soft. Like a good bed. In the embrace of Dred and her shadow, she fell asleep. Dred put his head down in front of Elena’s and his left paw on her face. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep.

The next day, Elena was woken up by the bothersome rays of the sun. Upon opening her eyes, she found a pair of green slit eyes in front of herself, staring back at her. Not knowing what it was, in the heat of the moment, she jumped up with a shriek and hit the back of her head into a withered tree. “Ugh…” She growled in a low voice, feeling slight pain.

“Damn… you scared me for a moment. Even though I should have known that it was you,” she said with a long sigh, while looking at Dred and rubbing the back of her head. After going back to her place, she sat down with her legs crossed and shut her eyes. Dred did the same in her lap. Focusing on her surroundings, everything turned dark and silent. A few seconds later, she slowly started sensing colorful specks all around her.

This was quite easy, she thought happily, with a smile on her face. Focusing on the gray specks, she started pulling those towards her body. As they entered through her cells and pores, she felt a wonderful feeling spreading through her being. It felt warm and pleasant.

New Skill Acquired: Meditation

A window appeared in front of her, though she didn’t bother herself with it. This was only an indicator of her new knowledge. A proof of it. She would gain stat points and skills after her knowledge, not the other way around. As she turned more and more proficient at meditating, her speed also increased.

A few minutes later, opening her eyes, she stood up. Dred jumped out of her lap and landed gracefully on all fours. “How’d it go?” Elena questioned Dred with a knowing face. Expecting the answer, Dred roared proudly. “Pfft… S-Sorry, I really don’t want to laugh at you, but your roarings are so cute! Come here and let me hug you~” Elena raised him up and started petting him, with a smile on her face. In this game-like world, in truth, nothing was a game.

Elena’s kind was one of the rarest, which meant that she played a one-player game. She was a monster, meaning that humans wouldn’t trust her easily. Maybe it was different now since she was still just a little girl. The only partner she could really trust was Dred.

Maybe she can find worthy people in the future, who won’t look at her like an enemy, but for now, it is best to be careful. Both the monsters and humans were her enemies. Knowing this all too well, she knew that she had to gain strength as quickly as possible.

 

And although there was ‘Health’ on everyone’s status screens, they were no more than indicators of people’s current health. A prick on their finger or a bruise wouldn’t decrease people’s health. But a beheading would kill anyone instantly! Health wouldn’t turn zero unless someone really died, so these statuses were very much realistic and they just showed the abilities of each person.

Mana was the same. It just showed how much Mana was left in her body, which naturally had a capacity. But like everything else, that too could be increased if people meditated.

Having enough of Dred’s soft and silky fur, she put him down and closed her eyes. Focusing on the Mana in her body, she started moving it towards her right palm. After creating a tiny needle, she focused on the brown specks in the air. After pulling a few of them towards her needle-shaped, invisible Mana, she pushed them into it. It instantly took the form of an Earth Needle. It was visibly weak and frail at first sight. Upon pouring more brown specks into her needle, it turned much harder and pointy.

Thinking of moving it forward, the needle was propelled forward. It flew through the air with a whistle and penetrated a nearby tree. The withered tree was actually blown apart. When using Magical Attacks, people had to use their Mana. That was the frame, the skeleton of their attacks. It gave shape for their attacks! Meanwhile, the elements filled up those hollow skeletons and materialized the magical attack.

Naturally, there weren’t just elemental attacks. If people had enough knowledge of how Mana worked, they could create different spells of their own, or learn other people’s spells. It all came down to which path they focused on and how much time and work they poured into them.

Learning even the most basic elemental attacks took around two days for the humans, while Elena did it in a few minutes. This had two reasons. Firstly, she was a legendary being and she had inherent memories. Secondly, these humans were new to this whole system.

New Skill Acquired: Earth Magic

“Great!” Elena shouted out happily. She was still young, easygoing and happy. Trying it another time, she destroyed another tree. This time, it went as easily as breathing and even its force was greater.

“*~~Growl~~*” Looking down, she realized the origin of the sound. It was none other than her stomach. Slapping her forehead, she murmured - “I should get some food before I die of starvation…”

After deciding on a way randomly, she shouted ‘Let’s go!’. Dred raised his right front paw, pointing towards the same place as Elena and ‘roared’. Elena laughed at the little monster’s antics. They left the dead part of the forest and then both of them closed their eyes for a moment once again.

Focusing on their mana, they collected them into a single ball in their chests. Upon discharging it all around them, their Mana rushed through their surroundings and then returned to them. Those specks held information about everything that was around them, though it didn’t go further than a hundred meters.

New Skill Acquired: Sense


Elena smiled brightly upon seeing her newest skill. Both of them were using the same skills usually so that neither of them would get left behind. “Mana!” Elena shouted, focusing only on one aspect of her status.

Name: Elena

Mana: 30/120

“Ugh… quite low. Well, it should be enough to catch a small animal,” Elena talked to herself while thinking of her possibilities. Looking down at Dred, who was licking his own leg, she asked - “Are you ready to hunt?” Dred roared cutely as he rushed ahead. Elena ran after Dred happily. Her toes submerged in the soft and floppy earth. The ground was almost like sand in this lush forest.

Feeling the earth rushing through in between her toes, she felt great. The fragrance of the forest entered her nostrils, while the sun rays penetrated her skin. Her black hair flung in the air, almost flying behind her. She dodged the trees while chasing Dred, with incredible accuracy and fluency. A log appeared in her view, which was fallen over. It was stuck on something in mid-air. Not slowing down, she slid on the ground, right under it and then jumped up.

Dred stopped in place to use his Sense and sat down. Elena, who had her legs and her butt completely dirty, landed on the ground and did the same. Their sense caught a rabbit nearby. Elena looked at Dred, hinting for him to attack it. Dred nodded once, understanding her indications. He jumped above a bush and rushed into the lush jungle. Before the rabbit could run anywhere, Elena made Earth Walls appear all around the rabbit.

It quickly turned away, ready to escape, but before it could do so, Dred was already on it. An Earth Spike penetrated the rabbit’s head, killing it on the spot. Although more unique and strange monsters also appeared with the apocalypse, not every monster was affected. There were still a few normal animals, just like how there were still humans on the zeroth level.

“Nice job! Now we have something to eat. But before that, I have to rest… I’m almost completely out of Mana…” Elena said with a visibly tired face. She sat down on the ground, with her legs crossed and started meditating. Dred was similarly low on Mana, so he too followed her example. Ten minutes later when they finished filling up their bodies, they’ve got a notification.

Your skill has leveled up: Meditation Lv. 1

Although there were levels, it was working alongside their real advancement. People didn’t just ‘get more strength’ out of nowhere. When they fought a monster, they used their own energies. This not only made them more proficient, hence possibly gaining a level, but it also widened their Mana Veins.

The more Mana they had in their bodies, the more powerful their cells would become. It also helped them in keeping their younger forms for a longer period of time. This time as well, she has got this notification because she could gather Mana much more quickly and proficiently.

Both of them focused on the red specks and pulled it towards their Mana. They were slightly startled when a fire lit up in their palms. It wasn’t burning them since the frame of their fire was their own Mana. As long as it wasn’t someone else’s Magic, they wouldn’t get hurt. With a good enough Mana Control, they might be able to 'evade' friendly fire as well! After burning off the fur from the rabbit and washing it with Water Magic, they started grilling it.

About fifteen minutes later, the rabbit was ready to be eaten. Using a knife, made out of hard stone, Elena cut the rabbit into two halves. After eating it heartily, with their bellies full, they climbed up a tree and laid down. Elena hugged Dred into her bosom and they fell asleep, though they didn’t sleep for long.

Four hours later, she woke up. Seeing Dred’s sleeping posture, a smile formed on her face. But upon loosening her arms around Dred, and sitting up, she realized that there was something wrong. Dred was as big as a five months old dog. He has grown exponentially in these five hours.

Elena put her tiny hand on his back and pulled her fingers alongside it. His fur felt soft, warm and silky to the touch. Liking it, she started caressing his back, with her cherry lips pulled into a smile. It was visible that she would turn into a beauty once she grows up.

“*Purrrr~*” Dred started purring cutely upon waking up and feeling Elena’s fingers brushing through his fur.

“Good Morning. Shall we learn?” Elena questioned Dred as she stopped her caressing and stood up. Dred roared unhappily upon not feeling the pleasant movements anymore.

He sat up feeling unsatisfied, and then both of them started learning how to use the other elements. They knew earth, water, and fire magic. The remaining ones were wind, nature, lightning, dark, and light magic. These eight elements were the basic ones, and upon combining a few of them, different elements could be created.

They also started focusing on random trees, bushes and such, resulting in them not only learning the ‘Inspect’ skill but even leveling it up to the first level. After seeing seven more notifications, they were happy to see two new ones.

You have learned every elemental magic.
New Class Unlocked: Mage

A class which is powerful at using Magical Attacks

New skill acquired: Mana Control

But what they were truly happy for was the second one. They too knew that they could control their own Mana quite proficiently by the time they finished learning, and the notification was only a confirmation. The better they controlled their Mana, the easier it became to use magical attacks and meditate.

She knew how the elements worked thanks to her inborn memories. The skill called ‘Inspect’ was probably the only other lawless thing in this world, besides the classes. A class always provided people with some kind of bonuses and it was said that this was because of the World System. Inspect was similarly mysterious and by all means relied on the World System.

People could gain complete descriptions of every single thing they inspected. But this wasn’t the case when it came to living beings. The World System didn’t help them too much when it came to people. Depending on the understanding of their own skills and the level of Inspect, it provided them with a small amount of data.

With a too big positive difference in levels, this data could be even a description of their lives or personality. While the other way around, it could mean literally nothing or just people’s levels and names. The results could be easily very far away from the truth as well, so relying too much on inspect was one of the worst things to do.

 

Feeling that they didn’t have much Mana left, they started meditating for a few minutes. That much was more than enough to fill up their small reserves... Closing their eyes, they sensed their surroundings, but they didn’t find anything so they left.

After five minutes of walking, they heard the sound of a river. It didn’t take more than a few seconds to get there. Pushing a big leaf aside, she saw a wide and fast flowing river in front of her. They used water magic when they were thirsty, so they didn’t have such problems. They could use Magic to create a bathtub, but since this river was in front of them, they decided to wash their bodies here.

Dred rushed to the riverbank with Elena in tow. Their speed could be easily envied by others. Although they preferred backstabbing their enemies, fighting frontally wouldn’t cause them a headache either. Knowing that it would be dangerous to go too deeply into the water, they entered only its shallowest parts. Elena’s clothes turned back into shadows and stopped covering her body.

She was still covered in dirt, thanks to playing with Dred last time. She sat down and started washing her body. The water turned slightly brownish as it rushed past her dirty feet, cleaning it. A few seconds later, Dred started rolling around in the water, splashing it all over Elena.

“Hey! St-Stop! It’s not that warm!” Elena shouted while holding up her arms to defend herself. The water was quite warm since the climate was hot. But it still felt bad when it splashed on her body so suddenly. Dred would never do bad things to Elena, so he stopped his rolling.

Standing up, his fur was completely wet. He left the river and after being far enough from Elena, he shook his body. The water splashed all over his body. After combining the fire and the wind element with a ratio of four to six, he created a warm gust. When Elena was clean, she followed his example.

Her shadow turned back into clothes under her control. They were preparing to leave when a Boar walked through the thicket, towards the water. It had a strangely red colored skin, red eyes, and a long pair of thick tusks. Upon noticing them, it stomped on the ground twice and then charged towards them.

“Eh? Wait, stop!” Elena shouted in her surprise, with her eyes opened widely and her palm held towards the Boar. Naturally, it didn’t care about her exclamation. Dred turned into Elena’s shadow, who quickly jumped to the side and rolled through a bush.

Turning around, the Boar realized that its opponents disappeared. But a pair of green eyes were observing the monster. That shadow behind the bush didn’t have a clear shape. Naturally, it was Elena. She jumped up to the top of a palm tree, next to her. The Boar calmed down, thinking that its enemies disappeared and walked towards the river. Seeing that it started drinking, Elena used Earth Magic to grow two sharp and pointy stone daggers in her hands.

The daggers didn’t reflect light because a strange black light was covering them completely. As she crept towards the top of the palm tree, it slowly started leaning towards the Boar. When she was above it, she jumped down silently. The Boar didn’t even notice her as she landed on the ground gracefully.

Caused Damage: +150

The Boar didn’t move. A few seconds later, blood sprayed out of its neck, and its stomach was split open from below. Its head fell to the ground with a loud thud, and rolled towards the river, dyeing it red. Warm blood trickled down on the stone knife, dripping on the ground, and splashing on Elena’s feet.

You have leveled up to Lv. 1!

A window notified them of their level up. Dred climbed out of the Boar’s insides through its stomach, his body covered in its blood. Elena was looking at him with a frown while saying grumpily - “Great… now we can have a bath again…” Sighing loudly, both of them entered the water and a few minutes later, they were clear and dry once again.

Dred was the shadow covering Elena’s stone dagger. When she cut off the thick neck of the Boar, Dred rushed into the Boar’s body and destroyed it from the inside. While Dred was in his shadow form, his strength was added to hers. Thanks to her falling combined with their strength, she managed to perform a clean, beheading strike.

She looked at the corpse of the Boar and willed her shadow to move. This time her dress didn’t change, but a shadow crept down on her leg and touched the Boar’s shadow. It was slowly pulled into the ground. Dred also took out his part and devoured the other half of the Boar. She felt her cells moving, her muscles strengthening and thickening.

You have acquired: +2 Strength, +2 Vitality

“I guess it’s time to look at our statuses,” Elena said as she made a stone appear under her and sat down on it. Dred jumped into her lap and laid down ‘comfortably’, even though he was starting to be a bit too big for such things… But Elena didn’t feel bothered by it. She thought of the word status in her mind and a window appeared in front of her, which was visible only to her.

Name: Elena

Race: Progenitor Shadow (Legendary)

Level: 1

EXP:  2 / 20

Class: Unselected

Specialization: Not Available Yet

Health: 110 / 110

Mana: 120 / 120

Titles: The Only One

Strength: 17

Vitality: 22

Agility: 20

Will: 25

Intelligence: 30

Wisdom: 20

Elemental Magic:
Fire Lv.0 (91%); Water Lv.0 (20%);
Wind Lv.0 (61%); Lightning Lv.0 (22%);
Nature Lv.0 (10%); Earth Lv.0 (99%);
Light Lv.0 (5%); Dark Lv.0 (54%);

Resistances:
Magical: 20
Physical: 8.5
Passive:
Stamina: 110
Precision: 100

Skills:
Inspect Lv. 1 (3%)
Mana Control Lv. 0 (66%)
Meditation Lv. 1 (89%)
Sense Lv. 0 (52%)

Racial Skills:
Devour Lv. 1 (25%)
ShadowStep Lv. 1 (2%)
Shadow Form Lv. 1 (17%)
...

Since she had the ability to look at Dred’s stats as well, she couldn’t help but peek at it.

Name: Dred

Race: Devouring Panther (Legendary)

Level: 1

EXP: 2 / 20

Class: Unselected

Specialization: Not Available Yet

Health: 110 / 110

Mana: 68 / 68

Titles: The Only One

Strength: 27

Vitality: 22

Agility: 23

Will: 25

Intelligence: 17

Wisdom: 20

Elemental Magic:
Fire Lv.0 (91%); Water Lv.0 (20%);
Wind Lv.0 (75%); Lightning Lv.0 (8%);
Nature Lv.0 (10%); Earth Lv.0 (90%);
Light Lv.0 (5%); Dark Lv.0 (63%);

Resistances:
Magical: 20
Physical: 13.5
Passive:
Stamina: 110
Precision: 115

Skills:
Inspect Lv. 1 (3%)
Mana Control Lv. 0 (66%)
Meditation Lv. 1 (89%)
Sense Lv. 0 (52%)

Racial Skills:
Devour Lv. 1 (25%)
ShadowStep Lv. 1 (2%)
Shadow Form Lv. 1 (17%)
...

Their stats were mostly the same. The only real difference was that Dred was more of a physical, while Elena was more of a magical type. But that was only temporarily since Elena didn’t have a real weapon to use. Their Racial skills were also the same and even their Elemental Magic had only a tiny difference. After focusing on those points, a new window appeared.

Strength: The indicator of physical strength. This shows how many kilograms of strength you can punch with. The half of your strength is your physical resistance, which shows how big of a physical attack you can take without getting injured. You can increase this by training your body.

Vitality: The indicator of your health points and stamina. You can increase this by body training or by getting wounded continuously. One vitality means five health points and five stamina.

Intelligence: Shows the Mana capacity of your body. The more you have, the longer you can fight with magical attacks. One point of intelligence means four points of Mana. You can increase this by meditating and learning.

Agility: The indicator of your accuracy. One point of agility means five points on your precision. You can increase this by training or pouring Mana into your body parts for a long time, which can permanently increase your eyesight and the speed of your reflexes.

Wisdom: The indicator of your Magical Strength. Your magical resistance is always equal with your wisdom. This can be increased by learning and meditating. One point of wisdom shows how much Magical Strength you have. Damage on physical target will be doubled.

Understanding how it worked and how to increase them, she smiled happily. Her stats were way above the norm at her age and level. Usually, people had so many points only at level three or four. Other legendary beings were even more unfair because they learned very quickly and their bodies evolved easily. In this world, there was no limit on how much people could train their bodies. They would always turn stronger if worked hard!

But her real strength didn’t lie in her current statistics. It was her Devouring skill! As long as she kept killing and devouring, she could turn even stronger than any legendary being. This was because when she devoured a corpse, she gained its most useful traits and her body evolved. Dred was exactly the same. But if someone was weaker than them, their Devour didn’t bear any fruits.

 

They left the riverbank and a few minutes of walking later, they saw that the jungle was getting thinner and thinner. Leaving it behind, a few hours later they found themselves in front of a strange place. There were tall stone buildings and asphalted roads. But the city was strangely silent and the occasional roars of monsters only made it even creepier.

Not fearing the future, Elena looked down at Dred, with a smile on her face, asking…

“Shall we dance?”

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