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I woke to the grumbling of my stomach. I still had a throbbing headache, and my body ached all over, but on top of that, I was starving. I didn’t know how long I had been out. It had to be at least a day, maybe two. My mouth was dry, my lips were cracked, and everything I had experienced so far had felt like a bad dream.

As soon as I tried to sit up, I felt a weight on my chest. I looked down to see the bald head of the slime. It hadn’t been some strange fever dream. A monster that resembled the governess was now lying on my chest. In fact, she had been quite warm, and her warmth and capacity to keep away the other slimes was perhaps the only reason I was alive at the moment. I didn’t know how I felt about that. This was also the same slime who had eaten my hand. A scabbed over stump was all that was left of that hand.

When I shifted, the slime shifted too. She had never bothered to close her eyes, so she looked up at me as soon as I sat up.

“Do you sleep?” I asked.

The slime continued the trend of speaking with a fifteen-second delay. It shook its head no after a brief delay.

My stomach growled again, and the slime looked down at it with a curious expression. She extended her hand and a single finger and then poked my stomach. As luck had it, my stomach growled again, and she pulled back her hand as if it had frightened her.

“I’m hungry,” I explained. “I need to eat. Do you understand?”

She nodded after a pause, then stood up. Watching her walk away, a perfect ass that was all too real wagging seductively, I closed my eyes.

“Can you put on some clothing?”

I didn’t want to find myself becoming aroused by a slime. At the point I was ready to fuck a monster, I might as well just give up on a normal life. She glanced back at me expressionlessly but then opened her mouth. It looked like she was gagging up a hairball, but to my surprise, clothing fell out of her mouth. It wasn’t folded or anything, and it wasn’t covered in gunk.

“You kept that inside you?” I said, trying to hide my disgusted expression.

The slime didn’t respond, instead starting to put on the clothing. Only when it was on, did I realize that this had been the outfit the governess was wearing. It was the tight pants and the blouse with just a bit of exposed midriff. Since she had duplicated the governess, then this clothing would fit the best. It also was the same exact clothing, not some replication. Although the bloodstain had been removed, there were still holes just under the breast where she had been stabbed.

I forced myself back up to my feet, fighting through the pain and weakness to move. I had lost a lot of blood though and hadn’t eaten anything, so I wasn’t going to get better unless I moved.

“I’m not healing fast enough,” I said out loud. “If we keep going like this, I’ll probably die.”

Perhaps I was a bit dramatic, but I did truly feel helpless right now. Squeezing out through that rocky crevice right now would be impossible for the current me. I had come in with adrenaline, but now that the wound on my shoulder had time to fester, I could barely move that arm. And since my other arm didn’t have a hand, well, there was little I could do. Standing by using the wall and backing up had already taken me to my limit.

While I was dealing with standing and self-derision, the slime had walked to the side of the ship. They seemed to be peering at something over the edge I couldn’t see. Their eyes were sharp, and they were scanning carefully. She threw out her hand, which suddenly extended, turning green as a long tendril shot off into the dark. It actually was such an aggressive act, that it made my expression turn a bit green too.

A slime that could send out a tendril like that would truly be a terrifying presence. Just who was this slime? How did they become so powerful?

The arm returned, but it still had the shape of a blade. There was also something on the blade. She walked over to me, and as she came closer, I could see many wriggling legs and a red body. Her spear arm had pierced a red, hard-shelled creature. Of course, I knew a crab when I saw one. It was one of the main foods on the island.

She pushed the crab to me. Its pincers were still desperately clamping, and its legs were still skittering. Despite being run through, it was still trying to cling to life.”

“It needs to be cooked,” I said, pulling away.

She looked down at the crab, and then her arm started to change. Innumerable tentacles came out until it ended up swallowing the crab just like a slime would normally do. Like that, the crab was gone. Was she just teasing me, after all? Showing me food and then making it disappear? I was just about to be angry, but then she opened her mouth wide. I let out a cry as pincers came out of her mouth.

She started looking like she was vomiting again, and the whole crab came out and then plopped right in front of me. It was no longer moving. I reached down and touched it. It was warm. It wasn’t hot, but it felt about room temperature. It also had a clean feel to it.

“You cooked it? No… you acid-treated it.”

She didn’t cook it, but she did allow her acid to burn away anything bad on it. It wasn’t quite the same thing, but it should be edible. Either way, I couldn’t be picky. However, I couldn’t pull it apart without a hand.

“Could you help?” I showed her my stump, a difficult expression on my face.

She got down on her knees and began to rip open the crap with her bare hands. Once she pulled out some meat, she handed it to me. A piece at a time, she ended up feeding me the entire crab. It felt a bit gross, but when the alternative was death, I ate what she gave me. When I was done with eating, she at some point became interested in my wounds. I couldn’t see my eye. I only knew it throbbed and I couldn’t see out of it. As for my hand, it was actually the least painful.

What hurt the most was my shoulder. She peeled the fabric of my shirt away, and it was swollen and red. It was a definite infection. This was the kind I had seen kill a man. After surviving all this way, I could die from that. It was truly pitiable. She poked the wound and I slapped her hand.

“It hurts, dummy!”

She looked at the wound for a bit and then started gagging something up.

“Ah! Can you not gag it out of your mouth? That’s really gross.” I said, not wanting to see her gag up any more hairballs.

She looked over at me and then shrugged. She stood up, undid her pants and pulled them down. Then she squatted like she was about to do her business. I realized what she was about to do.

“No! The mouth is fine! The mouth is fine!”

She shot me another annoyed look. She pulled her pants back up and then finished gagging something up. This time, I had no clue what came out of her mouth. It was a small, hard ball. It was white in color, and seemed to glow faintly with light. She handed it to me. I took the ball from her and looked at it, but it didn’t mean anything to me.

She didn’t want me to play fetch with her, right? It would truly be pitiful if a slime wanted to chase a ball back and forth to pass the time. Just as I was preparing to hand it back to her, I felt something in the ball. I didn’t feel it physically, but mentally. I curiously pulled on it, and a moment later there was a flash.  I blinked, feeling like I had been hit with something. My mind was numb for a moment. When I looked back down at my hand, the ball had lost all light. It was dark down, and it crumbled in my hand before falling apart.

“Ah… sorry…”

The slime shook her head as if this was of no consequence to her. She stood and walked away, heading down the stairway that I had seen the Governess emerge from when we first got there. I wanted to shout after her, but the slime seemed to be moving with purpose. Instead, I decided to lean back and relax as I digested my meal.

Strangely enough, I started to feel more strength. Only about an hour had passed, and the slime hadn’t returned, but I felt considerably better than I had in days. I checked my wound to see that the swelling had gone down substantially. Furthermore, my stump had completely scabbed over as well. Even my eye throbbed a little less. What was going on?

I carefully worked on getting myself back to my feet. My arm could move a little now. I walked across the deck of the ship, using the side rail to keep myself upright. I reached the stairway the slime had gone down, and I followed down after her.

Inside the ship was a large room. This appeared to be the control center of the ship. There was a large window that stretched out a 180-degree view. I could also begin to get an idea of the size of the ship since none of this area had collapsed rock on it. It was about 120 feet long, and about 25 feet wide. A lot of this space was filled with various kinds of equipment. Some of them flickered and showed nothing, while others were lit up with displays, although I couldn’t understand anything on them.

A noise brought my attention to the slime girl, who was lying on her stomach and was under a control panel. She seemed to be looking at something and was tinkering with strange-colored wires.

“You shouldn’t touch those! This is ancient technology! We don’t know what it will do!” I protested.

She ignored me, but as I approached, the thing she was working on suddenly lit up. There was a blue, horizontal panel which had a hand outlined on it. Then, there was a vertical panel that was black with green text. I actually could read the words as they were in our language. That didn’t mean I knew what they meant.

“Status… Relay?” I read out the words and then blinked. “Hey… I think the Governess mentioned something like this.

The slime girl pulled out from under the panel and then stood up. She glanced over at me. However, when I stared back blankly, she rolled her eyes, grabbed my hand, and then pushed it down where the handprint was. A sound came off, and a line rose up. I went to pull away, but the slime girl kept my hand pressed down on the device. After another minute, some words popped up on the display.

Detected Skills:

{Fast Healing} Level 1

{Flee} Level 2

{Glibed Tongue} Level 9

“Huh? These are my skills? No, I only have two skills, where did that third come from?”

The slime girl gave me a flat look.

“You? That was a skill orb!” I let out a cry of shock.

She had found a skill orb and had given it to me. It was not just any skill orb, but a skill orb that had {Fast Healing}. That’s why I started getting better all of a sudden. I had a healing related skill. I couldn’t believe it. After everything that happened, and just like that, I had earned a new skill. I also could tell what my levels were now. I had never worked on my skills before, although I used Glibed Tongue naturally so it must have gotten better with practice.

“I can’t believe you just found one lying around. You’re one lucky slime.” I said that while staring excitedly at the monitor.

I heard her gagging nose again, and then she plopped another white orb on the counter. I stared at it in wonder. Had she found two orbs?

“May I?”

She nodded.

I picked up the orb. It took me a moment, but like the last time, I absorbed it. There was a flash, and then I suddenly felt knowledge being poured into my mind. This was a lot different than when I had added Fast Healing. That was a passive skill that modified my ability. This was a technique. Actual knowledge was being poured into my head. Once I went through the information, I’d be certain of what I gained, but I was too eager, so I touched the Panel again. This time, there were four skills on the screen. I had never imagined I’d have four skills in my entire life!

Detected Skills:

{Fast Healing} Level 1

{Flee} Level 2

{Glibed Tongue} Level 9

{Wind} Level 1

“Wind! That’s a spell! I can cast wind magic, just like the Governess could do! What are the chances? She had that ability, and then I got an orb…” I froze as I suddenly began to connect the dots.

I turned over to the slime who was standing there, watching me hesitantly. That… that can’t be true. Could it?

“This… this skill is the governess’s wind skill?”

The slime nodded.

“When you ate her… you could take her skill?”

She nodded again.

“And then, you turned that skill into a skill orb? You can make skill orbs!”

She didn’t nod this time, instead, having a somewhat worried expression on her face. She didn’t need to confirm it though, as I already knew it was true.

“So, {Fast Healing} was the other pirate’s skill?”

She shook her head.

“Oh? Is it your skill?”

She nodded.

She was a slime, after all. They had to have some kind of regenerative ability. However, that gave me a thought.

“If you make a skill orb, do you lose the skill yourself?” I asked.

She nodded.

“So, you gave me your {fast healing}? You can no longer heal yourself?”

She made a face and lifted her hand, tilting it back and forth.

“Sort of. You can still heal quickly, but maybe not as quick.”

She nodded.

Even if she didn’t have fast healing, she was a slime after all. By their very nature, they probably could heal quickly. However, by giving me these skills, she was giving them up for herself. She could become a powerful and terrifying monster, but for some reason, she was lending me her strength.

“The pirate, did they have a skill too?” I asked eagerly.

She lifted her head for a second as if this question required more thought, and then shook her head.

“So, you only can harvest the skill sometimes. It’s not a perfect thing.” I said sadly. “Or… maybe she had no skills, but that seems unlikely.”

Everyone was born with skills. However, the absorption rate wasn’t perfect; it seemed.

“If…” I licked my lips. “If I give you good things to eat… things with skills, will you be able to harvest more skill orbs for me?”

She hesitated for a second, but then gave a clear nod.

I let out a low breath. Did all slimes have this ability, or was it unique to this slime? Even if all slimes could do it, there would be no need for a normal slime to ever give up an ability. Thus, no one would know that slimes could actually do this. This slime was unique in that she had the willingness and the desire to give me her skills. She was a skill core generator.

With that… I could have a power that no one else in this world had. I could find my family. I could bring them back. Most of all, I could kill the bastards who had done this to them.

Only ten minutes prior, the only thought in my head had been survival. I was trying to figure out how to reach tie citadel and keep alive. Like that, my thoughts had changed. If I could become powerful, truly powerful, then I could reclaim the life that was taken from me.

“Slime… ah… if we’re going to be working together, we need to come up with a name for you.”

The slime cocked her head and then pointed at herself.

“The Governess? No… I think giving you her name would be a bit disrespectful. Besides, her name is Nxteriopsoli or something like that. I gave up trying to pronounce it. No, we should give you a new name.”

She cocked her head for a bit but then nodded and smiled excitedly.

“Slimey. Ah! I was joking!” She had taken a threatening step forward with her fist up.

“There was a name… I had heard it somewhere and always liked it… not that you need to pick something I like!” When she gestured for me to go on, I took a deep breath. “Zoe. I like the name, Zoe.”

She cocked her head in her usual manner when she was taking in new information, and then nodded in assent.

“Okay, Zoe…” I held out my hand to her, which she looked at before taking. “Let’s get along together, okay?”

She gave a beautiful smile and then nodded as we shook. Like that, I had made a deal with a monster, and the world would never be the same.

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