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Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Predation (3)

If those tentacles were found, it spelled certain doom. So, whether they were handy or not was kind of a side note.

Isaac pondered making a run for it from the Codex of Light. He really didn’t want his fresh start to end up as nothing but ash on a stake.

But where could he go?

“Even the Immortal Order is on the hunt for that nameless chaos!”

He gazed up at the night sky for a good while. But soon enough, he realized he had to take action.

“I gotta hide them well, no other choice.”

Joining any order was risky business; getting caught was just as dangerous. However, the Codex of Light had a big following, which could help him keep a low profile.

Being a Paladin meant proving your faith, but it wasn’t as rigid as being a monk. Unlike monks who were all about the books, Paladins focused more on personal training.

“Maybe snagging a miracle will be tough, but using the order’s clout… that’s a possibility.”

Plus, taking down heretics’ territories could land him as the big shot there. Sure, donating was expected, but how could the order manage lands far away? He could hold the real power while offering just lip service to the order.

Of course, he’d need to set up a monastery or offer some cash.

For now, he’d keep his true identity under wraps until he milked being a Paladin for all it was worth. If he got caught, he could always bolt.

No, becoming a Paladin was a must for survival.

They say, “Hide a tree in a forest.”

If he aced being a Paladin, no one would suspect he had anything to do with the chaos.

He vowed to hunt down relics, reclaim sacred lands, and take out the Order of Immortality.

That way, no one would peg him as some wacky tentacle creature.

Isaac was dead set on leveling up as a Paladin with all his cool powers, skills, and knowledge. It was do or die. If these tentacles were going to wreck his life, he’d dive deep into the Codex of Light.

“I need to buff up for battle… but hey, I’ve got time since I’m still young.”

A follower of the chaos blending in as a Paladin within the Codex of Light.

The more Isaac mulled it over, the more genius it sounded.

As long as he didn’t get caught.

***

“Wanna help catch rats?”

“Yes.”

Isaac, now resolved, figured he needed a solid protein fix. Normal monks might be fine with just a potato, but Isaac wanted more.

“Even if tentacles can’t do taste tests, it’s a good chance to get some nutrients.”

Isaac wasn’t as weak as other kids his age. With the right nutrients, he could beef up quick.

Observation revealed that his prey was getting “digested-absorbed” nice and slow. Nothing weird like hair, teeth, or nails showed up in his waste.

“Looks like total absorption.” His skin cleared up, and he never felt hungry.

Sure! Here’s the revised text with a more casual style:

“Not too swamped that I need a kid’s hand. Do you really enjoy catching rats?”

“I’ll chip in with other stuff when I can.”

Gebel was juggling tons of tasks at the monastery, picking up the slack for the sluggish monks. Isaac’s offer came at just the right time.

“If you’re taggin’ a kid along, you gotta get the go-ahead from the monks. Did you ask?”

“I cleared it with Monk Alek.”

The kids usually steered clear of Gebel’s gritty, tough jobs. But not Isaac.

“I reckon stickin’ close to Gebel is the ticket to stayin’ fit and sharp.”

Isaac’s eyes gleamed with ambition.

Bagging rats was one thing, but Gebel was a total pro, a Paladin.

“A voiding such a battle-savvy vet would be a dumb move.”

Isaac figured Gebel had probably leveled up to a leader or teacher by now. Bonding with him could really fast-track Isaac’s Paladin dreams.

Gebel chuckled, “Just so you know, get in my way and it’s a spanking. Got it?”

“Got it!”

From then on, Isaac shadowed and aided Gebel.

What he called rat catching actually involved gathering trapped rodents or burying the ones Gebel nabbed.

In reality, he was feeding those critters to his tentacles.

The job was rough, but beat the boring garden work.

Honestly, it was easier than gardening for Isaac.

Feeling his muscles toughen up each day and the tasks getting smoother lifted his mood.

Gebel had been closely watching Isaac.

Actually, he’d been monitoring him ever since he brought him to the monastery. After a month, all he got was “a quiet boy who’s kinda lucky.”

“Was he the lone survivor when the village got wiped out… Or was it just chance when Calzen and the Immortal Order peeps vanished?”

Maybe there was more to Isaac’s survival story.

So far, Gebel saw Isaac as just a fortunate survivor, nothing extra. He wanted more, but ended up let down.

But lately, Isaac’s whole vibe had shifted.

“He’s pretty darn good… Well, actually, really good.”

Seemed like a flip had switched in him, stepping up big time.

Gebel had to bump up his opinion of Isaac by a few notches. He thought he’d give a thumbs up if Isaac just showed some effort, but man, Isaac was impressing.

In the past, plenty of kids had offered to help.

To dodge schoolwork or ’cause farm tasks were brutal, you name it.

Gebel’s gig was grimier and tougher than farming. Hard to get props since it went unnoticed. Still, Isaac tagged along every day, smashing his studies.

At 14, being able to read and do math was solid. He could’ve taken it easy, but Isaac spent all his free minutes assisting Gebel. That eased Gebel’s load bit by bit.

The real shocker was Isaac’s drive to learn from Gebel, not lettin’ up one bit.

Isaac was a curious kid who didn’t overlook even the simplest things. He always sought to understand the principles behind stuff. Even though this habit could sometimes irritate Gebel, it wasn’t a big deal because Isaac grasped everything after a single explanation.

From chopping wood and setting mouse traps to taming horses and identifying herbs, Isaac picked up all these skills quickly just by watching once. But that didn’t automatically make him a survival expert from Calzen.

Isaac was just a kid with an uncanny level of maturity and skills for his age. Yet, Gebel found himself fond of Isaac. Before he knew it, Isaac had become Gebel’s unofficial assistant.

As Isaac started spending more time with adults instead of playing with the other children, he began to attract uncomfortable glances from his peers. Even though he was considered an outsider by the children, Isaac didn’t bother trying to fit in. His focus was on learning and behaving well around the monks, which stirred up jealousy among the kids.

Regardless of the gossip, Isaac didn’t care much about his reputation among the other children. He was too absorbed in his studies, particularly his mysterious research on tentacles.

Isaac had discovered some intriguing things about the tentacles. For one, the process of ‘digestion’ wasn’t immediate. Despite his initial assumption that he would digest everything he consumed while asleep, the effects of his ‘predation’ abilities persisted for days. This meant he had to eat even when he wasn’t hungry, but it also meant he could retain and efficiently absorb the skills of his prey.

Additionally, the tentacles seemed to have a strange affinity for him. They would emerge from his body and assist him in various tasks, almost like an extra set of arms. Isaac pondered on how he could utilize this ability not just for fun, but for his own survival.

Isaac knew that he had to keep his identity and abilities hidden from others, as the chaotic forces and the mysterious Order posed a constant threat. In the end, he understood that he could only rely on himself, and the tentacles, whether he accepted it or not, were an integral part of his destiny.

Monk Alex was all like, “Yo, that nameless chaos is still out there, waving its tentacles and ready to crash the party in our world.”

And guess what? One of those tentacles was out there, snatching up a poor rat like it was no big deal.

“Man, without these dudes, I’d be stuck snacking on boring old potatoes.”

Crunch, crunch.

Chillin’ by an empty hole, Isaac peeped as the tentacle gobbled up the rat. Those tentacles were looking beefier than before, with more of ’em showing up. It was like the healthier Isaac got, the stronger those tentacles flexed.

“Gotta figure out how to boss them around properly.”

When Isaac wished for the tentacle to bounce, it dipped out real quick. Thank the stars they listened when he said to dip, but getting them to show up on command was a whole other mission.

“They usually pop up when they think I need ’em, or when things get dicey…”

Isaac had a lightbulb moment, thinking those tentacles might be onto something. If they showed up every single time, he would’ve been toast ages ago. So, maybe those tentacles had some sorta smarts.

They were lowkey self-aware.

Whether that was good news or bad news, only time would tell.

“For now, guess I’ll trust in their vibe and work out how to call the shots.”

***

Near a mouse trap’s bait, a rat was wandering around, eyeing the grub and checking it out. But then it hesitated, probably catching a whiff of its fallen homie all around.

Click.

Outta nowhere, the rat felt something sketchy and bolted. But, in a blink, it was skewered by a sharp noise whistling through the wind.

Crunch.

The rat, nailed by a tentacle, twitched and then went cold. Isaac peeped as the tentacle chowed down, his face dead serious.

“These tentacles are definitely beefier and longer now.”

As more chow went down, it wasn’t just Isaac getting stronger. Those tentacles were growing thicker and longer too. While Isaac struggled to beef up his bod, those tentacles were leveling up quick.

“This faith stuff might be the key.”

The tentacles were like a gift, courtesy of the nameless chaos and that wild faith. Maybe the reason they were going above and beyond was ’cause of the strong faith vibes Isaac was sending out. For now, they were pretty handy when there were no weapons around.

After munching on the rat, Isaac checked out the trap.

Gebel was into traps like noose traps that locked up when something touched the bait, or an oily barrel trap with treats inside.

Not bad traps. They caught a bunch of rats already, slicked up in tar.

“The numbers are way down from before.”

While the traps were working a treat, things were starting to slide. The rat gangs were getting wise to the game and dodging the traps. Less rats meant less protein, and Isaac wasn’t about to let that slide.

“Time to tweak these traps.”

Isaac saw room for some upgrades as he scoped out the scene.


           



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Paladin of the Dead God

Paladin of the Dead God

죽은 신의 성기사
Score 8.2
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
The only Paladin of the forgotten god, Nameless Chaos, and also the only Pope, Priest, and Worshipper.

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