10: Pleasant and Unpleasant Suprises

First came the creature’s hand. The tips of its fingers alone were many times larger than the metal egg they’d been hatched from. Rising out from the metal canister like metal mountains. Each finger massive enough that an ordinary man would have had to spend many years in preparation if they’d wanted to climb to even the tip of the creature’s pinky.

 

Then came the creature’s arm, long, and thick like a branch from the world tree. It scale and musculature robust enough that one could easily imagine hanging a world off the end of it.


Then came another hand and another arm.

They rose and were followed by a head that was covered in rust and snow. A wild and untamable mane that flowed as free as the seas and the four winds.

 

I stared up at a face that was marked with great canyons and ravines, marked with pockmarks, scars and wrinkles.

 

Looking at the metallic coloring of the skin, I reason that I was staring at the metal-king of the metal-brutes, or perhaps the old man was some kind of metal-god. In either case, he was positively massive and there was no mistaking the overwhelming aura that radiated off of the creature.

 

His physique filled vitality and unfathomable strength.

 

It stared at me with eyes that were black and swirling. I stared at it with eyes that flickered with red flame.

 

“Ah…it seems you really weren’t mortal. My apologies. I couldn’t really see you while I was in the egg, and you’d sounded human.” said the metal-king. His voice surprisingly soft and even, for a being that looked like he’d burst forth from a time when the entire universe was young and primordial.

 

“I…Uh….Uh, don’t mention it. If I still feel a like a human that means I’m still more or less myself…” I said.  Craning my neck to stare up at the creature.

 

“Unh, Is that so? How odd. In any case, young one, I don’t suppose you would mind lending me your ear, before we do as we heroes and Demonkings usually do.” said the old king.

 

“…Sure.” said I.

 

After a moment’s hesitation, I took a more humanoid form. I didn’t think my tank-minotaur transformation would be necessary here and if “that” wasn’t the case, I thoroughly doubted that the bullish form would do much good against the continent-sized king.

 

Once I’d taken a human form, I let my scale swell till I’d was a few dozen stories tall, roughly seven hundred feet in height. Standing at the limit of the sizes I could safely take in the short term, without instantly draining all my mana stores.

 

Even with all that growth, I was still only above the giant’s big toe, my eye on level with the metal-kings lower shin.

 

I felt uncomfortable, not afraid exactly, just uncomfortable. It was like standing next to a very large herbivore, I didn’t feel directly endangered but there was a still a cautiousness within me, regarding the creature.

 

A wariness that the majestic creature in front of me might get skittish and turn violent at any moment.

 

“So you wanted to talk?” said I. Finally speaking after a few minutes of awkward silence.

 

“Mhm…Yes, yes. Really, it’s quite interesting, you know…not only did you come early you even came prepared.”

 

“Prepared?” I said. Puzzled and more than a little apprehensive.

 

“Unh…nevermind, you’ll find out soon anyway…I’m glad that you’ll get to keep that humanness though. Congrats….Um…what was it that I wished to say again…Ah, yes….Do we really have to do this?” said the metal-king.

 

Lost in the soft, gravelly digressions of the old iron fleshed king there was really only one thing I could say.

 

“….What?”

 

“Do really we need to fight. I hold no strife with you. You hold no strife with me. Can we not perhaps part in peace?”

 

Taken aback, I considered the metal-king’s words. It had been a while since I’d had a chance to face a foe that was all willing to end things with words.


To be fair, it had also been awhile since “I” had considered the possibility of ending things with words.

 

“Al-, alright…Depends on what you’re thinking of.” said I.

 

“For most this world, is one of dreams and nightmares, but for this old man, it’s just a very comfortable place to rest. A realm of good cosmic vibrations if you’d please.. I care not for the goings on of the people running across the surface. Nor do I care for the destruction you’ve wreaked upon my city. I want you to understand that…To me…in my eyes…all this is but a game. A Diversion from the real matters of this universe, just like all the other worlds in the mortal realms, are just games and diversions…” said the Metal-King.

 

“Okay….” said I. A little unsure whether or not to be offended by the giant’s devaluation of my world.

 

“And thus…having said that, it should be understandable why I hold no reservations with doing this… “

 

“Doing what, exactly?”

 

“Doing this? I give up.”

 

“Huh!” I said. Getting the gist of the old giant’s intention but not understanding his follow through. The space we were in began to shake and then the steel skinned giant faded from view.

 

Puzzled I just stood there trying to figure out what had happened. Then all of a sudden I felt a rush of mana into my core.

 

“Wait you mean, I can level up by just talking to people?!”  I said. Astounded.

 

In a way, I guess it made some sense, this world was game like enough that I supposed that I “could” see there being chances to absorb the exp-like magical energy from surrendered opponents in certain rare scenarios.

 

And having it confirmed made me start wonder if there was quest system I’d yet to interact with, also available and waiting for me to stumble over.

 

I called up my status as felt my strength soaring, then mid-way through the process of the level up I felt something beginning to go awry.

 

******

 

[Level Up!]

 

[Level Up!]

 

[Level Up!]

 

[Level-&%$#] – [Status System Down: Calamity King System Initialization In Process]

 

******

 

“Well…bollocks…”

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