The door was cautiously opened a crack along with the sound of its rusted hinge, and a freckled girl poked her head out to ask me a question.
“Who are you to be looking for our Mollang?”
It was the daughter of this village’s chief. Although I had gotten along rather well with her in the 1st Playthrough, a trip back in time didn’t suit a normal person like me; after all, even the good memories made with good people would all become illusions.
The village chief’s daughter was far younger than I remembered her. She was now a sweet little girl, not a respectable lady. This was only natural since I had met her 9 years later from now in the 1st Playthrough. She was a married woman at the time and was always hugging her infant son. And…
The perpetually wobbling ‘great being’ was also with her, hugged tight to the girl’s chest like a pillow, instead of the infant son who would later be born. Lanuvel, who had peered over my shoulder on tiptoes to take a look, murmured dazedly, “The great being is a slime…?”
Slime. A jelly monster which appeared in countless fantasy games. These slimes which looked like round steamed buns were lumps of EXP most commonly encountered even in this fantasy world. They lived wherever, ate whatever, and their reproductive ability was excellent as well. The reason why the sewerage systems in Fantasia’s cities, which were of pitiful standard compared to those of Earth, didn’t get clogged and could be maintained for prolonged periods of times was also thanks to slimes cleaning them up.
I said to Lanuvel in a serious tone, “Don’t look down on it for being a slime. This personage is no ordinary slime.”
“Yes, that’s right! Mollang can wobble!”
It was just as the girl had said.
Ordinary slimes jiggled—they couldn’t wobble like this great being.
“Lanuvel, your eyes are rott… No, nevermind. It should be faster to show you rather than explain. Little Miss, can this big brother here hug your cute and lovely friend for a moment? I only need just a brief moment.”
I was dressed splendidly like a noble as usual. The sharp-witted girl shot a furtive glance towards the village chief and his wife, who were watching us with bated breath from the back, before giving a reply.
“You won’t harm our Mollang, right…?”
I carefully received the great being.
The great being violently wobbled as if being wary of me, a stranger, but it soon calmed down as the girl comforted it with caressing touches.
Hugging the great being, I closed my eyes standing as if to meditate. I serenely felt that wobbling sensation.
Yeah! This is the feel!
The slime was the most perfect living organism that I knew of. It could freely undulate its jelly-like body, eat anything without discrimination and digest it quickly. The most surprising thing about it, however, was that it had no ‘brain’, and yet it was capable of expressing itself in a wide range of manners, jiggling all the while. This meant it was a spiritual kind of existence that wasn’t confined by its body.
But on the other hand, what of humans?
Their movements were restricted apart from certain moveable joints. It was impossible for them to play dead like a lizard or sever a part of their body to run away. Their body when aged didn’t recover. There were many kinds of animals they couldn’t eat, they couldn’t even dare to think of consuming rotten or contaminated food, and their body would malfunction if they didn’t drink water for even a single day.
Humans were extremely imperfect creatures.
Therefore, we needed to study. That’s how humanity had survived until now and that would remain unchanged from now on as well. Now, a one-dimensional-minded foolish human would struggle to attain powerful fantasy related things: martial arts, magic, elementals, psychic abilities, Demon Sword, Holy Sword, divine power, power of a god, game status abilities, heart of a dragon, Elf wife…
But I thought differently.
The power of humans originate from nowhere else than ‘science’. The advancements made by humanity on Earth confirmed that fact—breaking the boundaries of Earth and stepping into the cosmos!
A majestic notion that can’t even begin to be imagined from a fantasy world view. There are no Murim experts who battle on Mars, are there? In other words, science is a study that had different boundaries.
“This big brother will show you something fun.”
There are people who look down on fitness trainers, but the diet and training planned out by those trainers aren’t based on the occult, but on science. It is a refined study, a science of health. It fundamentally boasts high efficiency as well as improvement of beauty, and helps lessen the negative side and after-effects of over-exercising.
What I was about to do from now was the same.
‘Automatic system control.’
All living things live because they can’t die. To give a very simple example—no matter how we desperately beg, “I Want to die!” at the end of a horrifying torture or despair, our hearts wouldn’t stop beating. It’s my body yet it won’t act as I want. This is because of an automatic system. In fancy talk, it’s called:
The autonomic nervous system.
This nervous system works to maintain the homeostasis of basic bodily functions such as respiration, metabolism, body temperature, digestion, secretion and reproduction. Getting aroused at the sight of a pretty woman, salivating at the smell of something tasty, heart pumping when you exercise a lot… these subconscious behaviors are all influenced by the autonomic nervous system.
What would happen if this system disappeared?
The instant it did, you would die as your heart and lung stopped as if somebody had ordered, “Freeze!” and that is why all living things couldn’t control their autonomic nervous system as they pleased—except for the slime.
“Huh?! Hero-nim’s muscles became bulging!”
“Goodness! Hero-nim, what kind of balance is that?”
Slimes knew how to control their entire body as naturally as breathing. It was such a natural thing that they weren’t capable of teaching others how to do the same. However, there are always exceptions.
This great being alone, who wobbled all day long, could tell the method simply as it wobbled adorably. It wasn’t as if it wobbled intentionally, but that’s how much its ‘wobbling’ contained the fundamental rhythmic movements unique to slimes.
I didn’t learn it seriously in the 1st Playthrough. Because my mind and body had been exhausted to the extreme after spending 9 years adventuring in Fantasia, I had realized late just how great an existence Master Mollang was.
It was going to be different this time, however. I was ready to learn in this 2nd Playthrough. I accurately understood Master Mollang’s teachings and engraved them in my soul.
“Thank you! Master Mollang!”
The great being wobbled left and right as if it didn’t know at all the reason for my thanks. I could understand that, seeing as I had learned this technique of my own accord:
It was impossible to learn it through theory in books as you would with magic or martial arts. There was no other way than to personally feel these rhythmic movements yourself and realize it—you just had to wobble hard!
You might ask: How do you describe this?
The answer would be that it’s a profound study that can’t be explained with words or writing.
“Hero-nim! Hero-nim! How did you do it?” asked Lanuvel with sparkling eyes.
I firmly pushed away Lanuvel, who was acting cute in a low-key manner and trying to cling onto my thickened forearm, and asked in return, “Have you heard of growth hormones?”
“Nevermind if you don’t.”
Endocrine glands are the organs which regulate hormones such as the pineal gland, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid, parathyroid glands, adrenal gland, kidneys, pancreas, ovaries, testicles and so on. The hormones secreted by these endocrine glands control bodily functions. The growth of people were also influenced by these hormones.
Growth hormones are secreted from the pituitary gland, and it promotes the production of Insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF-1) which increases the growth cells of bones, cartilage and the like. These two hormones were not only related to the enhancement of muscles, ligaments and tendons, but even in breaking down fat which is the raw material for hormones. The secretion of hormones are normally stimulated through anaerobic exercises. But what if… this could be freely controlled?
Ripped and ready!
You’d easily be able to create an awesome body. One that’s to your liking, that is.
A bit of time would be needed in order to raise the Skill ranks to their maximum, but it was literally only a matter of time. I only had to wait from now on.
‘Professor Morals, why are you asking me that?’
Whether other people rolled to the left or right wasn’t of my concern. And shouldn’t one speak the facts correctly? As someone whose 10 years of effort vanished into thin air due to an unwanted trip back in time, nobody had the right to talk about effort to my face—even if that may be a god!
To think Professor Morals apologized!
Professor Morals took his leave after throwing me an insult-like compliment. He said he would come find me at an unexpected time.
“Ah, shoot! Sorry! Master Mollang!”
I hurriedly returned the great being, who was wobbling in an irritated manner, to the village chief’s daughter, and then gave her a generous reward as thanks. Surprised at the sum of money, the village chief intervened.
“Sir! There’s no need to give so much…!”
“It’s fine. If it really bothers you that much, then take good care of Master Mollang’s meals. That will be enough.”
I had just completed my objective in spending two days coming to this remote countryside in the northwestern corner of Fantasia’s middle continent—I had obtained the power of science.
This wasn’t a Skill, but a Technique. A byproduct of knowledge and experience. Whatever I did whenever and wherever, I would be myself. The french philosopher, Descartes, had said this:
Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am.
This fantasy world was questionable, and in reality might even be just a crappy dream. But I couldn’t deny my own existence as well, see how I was capable of thought like this. Even going back in time couldn’t affect this.
“Hero-nim! I want to hug Mollang as well”
“Me too… Ahem-hem!”
Lanuvel and Porter mimicked me, unable to contain their curiosity. I waved my hand as I let them do as they liked. There was no reason to stop them at all, after all. Merely, I felt a little apologetic.
The great being’s suffering began.
‘Master Mollang, please endure it a little even if those fellows are bothersome!’
“Come back before it gets dark.”
I only told Lanuvel and Porter to come back to the inn after having touched Master Mollang to their heart’s content… if they were still alive by then, that is. The reason for this is that a human who doesn’t even have a notion of the autonomic nervous system will 100% die upon realizing Master Mollang’s teachings. That human’s heart and lungs would cease working and they wouldn’t even know why.
It could perhaps be described as falling into water without a plan? The victim would flounder about before suffocating to death.
The ranks of my Skills were evenly increasing in an explosive manner to a level beyond my constantly evolving body. The incomplete version of Master Mollang’s teachings were amazing enough to give the Demon King a good pummeling, but the complete version was exhibiting an efficiency far beyond my expectations; an extremely welcome thing for me. As for what was left to do now?
“A place to create an alibi for my 204 Level, but…”
I couldn’t not take ‘achievements’ into account even while doing so, the reason being that in order to return to Earth, I needed high grades in all four subjects of my ‘examination’ aside from taking down Demon King Pedonar .
Combat ability, achievements, reputation, character.
Putting aside combat ability, since if it was low you wouldn’t even be able to slay the Demon King, I had no need to pay attention to achievements in the 1st Playthrough because I had spent 10 years going here and there, poking my nose into all kinds of matters; my achievements had piled up by themselves. But this 2nd Playthrough was different. I was certain to get an F-grade on my achievements at this rate.
“That’ll be troublesome.”
I didn’t want to see the Elf princess, whom I had so painstakingly killed, once again. Even I would feel chills to see Sylvia in healthy shape after having confirmed the kill, and it would be wearisome to repeat the same adventure for the 3rd time as well.
Fortunately, there was one young dragon secretly living near this area. It’s Level and Skills were extremely low as it neglected to hunt due to its gentle nature. In the 1st Playthrough, it was like a pie in the sky because all of my companions had opposed to killing the whelp. Those dastardly so-called companions had held back the Hero from becoming strong. In this 2nd Playthrough, however, no one could interfere in my ‘graduation’.
Could there be another achievement as certain as this in a fantasy world?
But that wasn’t all. A dragon itself made for good prey, but its heart was also a mass of EXP. Your Level could make a leap in an instant upon consuming it. This would become the best alibi for me who was known to have a low Level. Moreover, this was a regular hunting.
“Even Professor Morals wouldn’t have a problem with this, right?”