Chapter 10: An Inexplicable Mutation

Blue Maple stared at the Barbaric Bull King, and could feel excitement tingling in his heart. This was a difficult challenge, and a challenge like this made him excited. The Barbaric Bull King would have given him even more excitement if not for the fact that this wasn’t his first Boss, even if this Boss was more challenging.

Blue Maple was like that. New things that he hadn’t attempted before would attract his attention, and things that he had done before, not so much.

The eyes of the mysterious and scheming old man watching Blue Maple from the shadows sparkled excitedly as he nodded his head continuously, a cunning smile on his face. He sounded as shameless as ever when he muttered under his breath, “Not bad, he’s like me during my time.”

Blue Maple didn’t know what the old man was doing in the shadows, as his concentration was focused upon the Barbaric Bull King. Blue Maple would probably have lost his focus if he had known.

Blue Maple prepared himself as he charged at the Barbaric Bull King as quickly as he could. He wasn’t hoping to attack the bull first. He just wanted to strengthen his resolve, and that was good enough for him. Furthermore, the Barbaric Bull King wouldn’t use skills like Charge from the get-go. The bull’s casting time before charging and its pause afterwards were Blue Maple’s only chances at catching his breath in this battle, and he didn’t want to waste a single opportunity.

Blue Maple didn’t move that much closer to the Barbaric Bull King when it discovered him, and it bellowed furiously before it charged at him. Just as Blue Maple had speculated, the bull didn’t use its skill and attacked him with a basic attack.

Blue Maple only had one impression of the bull’s attack: it was so fast!

The Barbaric Bull King’s attack wasn’t that swift, objectively, but it was extremely fast compared to Blue Maple’s current movement speed. Blue Maple struggled to evade the attack even though he had prepared himself beforehand.

The Barbaric Bull King zipped past Blue Maple’s shoulders. The bull didn’t hit him, and he struck the bull with his sword as they crossed paths instead. A -15 damage sign appeared above the Barbaric Bull King’s head. The Barbaric Bull King’s rank was much higher than Blue Maple’s level, and that gave it much stronger attributes. Blue Maple could only deal that much damage, even though his attributes were also increased.

However, this was within his expectations, and was probably better than Blue Maple’s lowest damage. He would probably deal around 17 damage if he used Cold Light Slash, and he didn’t even think of trying to hit the Barbaric Bull King’s weak spots to increase his damage. Blue Maple was already lucky if he could evade the bull’s retaliatory attacks after striking it, so going after the bull’s weak spots was almost impossible. However, he could possibly get an opportunity from time to time.

The Barbaric Bull King’s weak spot was its neck, and Blue Maple couldn’t consistently go after it. However, he would have a relatively easier time striking the same leg. The reason why he wanted to hit the same leg was because this game was half-based in real life, after all, so striking the same spot should inflict even heavier damage, just like what would happen in real life.

This meant attacking the same limb would stack damage points and inflict heavier damage with every hit. The Barbaric Bull King’s speed would decrease if Blue Maple was successful. He couldn’t experiment with this fact with the bulls before, because they died after only a few hits.

Of course, Blue Maple couldn’t attack the same leg continuously. First, attacking the bull’s limbs dealt less damage, and Blue Maple would only deal around 10 damage. Secondly, if Blue Maple went after the same side of the Barbaric Bull King’s body continuously, the system had given the bull some intelligence and would allow it to make the necessary adjustments. For instance, the bull might turn to the same side more quickly than before, which wasn’t a desirable outcome.

Therefore, Blue Maple’s best option was to attack the Barbaric Bull King’s torso on one side and its leg on the other side. He could probably strike the bull twenty times, according to his current damage value and attack speed. Blue Maple could attack once every two seconds mathematically, but he couldn’t realistically hit the bull once every two seconds, and he couldn’t use kicks and whatnot as they would affect his attack speed. He was already struggling to evade the bull’s attacks, and didn’t want to hurt his attack speed. The Barbaric Bull King wasn’t like the Slime King. It would take him between thirty and forty minutes to kill the Barbaric Bull King, if nothing unexpected happened!

Blue Maple still didn’t know if the Barbaric Bull King would mutate, but he was hoping that it wouldn’t. He felt like the bull was already too quick, and its speed turning back and retaliating was also too high. The Barbaric Bull King moved past Blue Maple and instantly turned around to retaliate. Under normal circumstances, Blue Maple couldn’t attack it and could only dodge the bull’s attack, while his attributes hindered him and he wouldn’t be able to use a basic attack. He had no choice because he could only use his basic attack once every two seconds.

However, Blue Maple still had a skill: the Cold Light Slash! Even though Cold Light Slash was used with a basic attack, his previous experiments with the other bulls concluded that Cold Light Slash could reset his basic attack, much like how he used kicks in between his basic attacks with the Slime King. Of course, he didn’t bother thinking about kicking or pushing with his shoulders right now. Blue Maple didn’t use Cold Light Slash immediately after using a basic attack because he was testing the waters, and he was about to engage in this fight for real.

Cold Light Slash!

-17!

This damage value was within Blue Maple’s expectations, so he continued and dodged the Barbaric Bull King’s attack once again. He had no choice because the bull’s retaliation was too quick.

Blue Maple sidestepped and rolled to evade the Barbaric Bull King’s attack, but the bull’s next attack followed shortly afterward. The attacks were too fast, and Blue Maple wouldn’t be able to dodge those attacks with his movement speed if he didn’t react as soon as possible. Blue Maple even thought to himself in confusion, How do I predict the bull’s attacks like that? I don’t get it.

What Blue Maple didn’t know was that prediction referred to using a player’s experience with the game to predict the use of skills and whatnot. The player would be able to predict when skills could be used, when and how basic attacks or skills were connected and chained together. Blue Maple couldn’t possibly predict such a brutal fighting style, and he would only be able to predict the first several moves in the beginning at most, because these attacks didn’t follow any pattern or rhythm, so they couldn’t be predicted.

Strong players who wanted to fight a Boss like that one-versus-one could only rely on their nimble footwork. However, Blue Maple couldn’t possibly purely rely on his footwork to evade the Barbaric Bull King’s attacks under such circumstances. Changing his footwork and whatnot would be futile if he couldn’t react instantaneously to the bull’s attacks!

Of course, relying on reflexes alone wasn’t sufficient, because quick reflexes would be useless if one didn’t know how to dodge attacks. Blue Maple didn’t know anything about footwork, but he had fighting techniques and experience that exceeded those of normal players. Players could follow these things in the game like they could in real life, because they perform any action they wanted through their imagination. That was what a game that was half-based in real life meant, because aspects of real life could be integrated into the game.

The Barbaric Bull King turned around swiftly again and again as it attacked, while Blue Maple dodged its attacks continuously. Blue Maple retaliated when he had the chance. He became increasingly excited and engaged, but he didn’t forget to stay calm and meticulous. Blue Maple struck the bull’s left leg when he was dodging to the left side, while he struck the bull’s body on the right side when he was dodging to the right. Blue Maple repeated this combination with great difficulty and care as he mixed Cold Light Slash in between his basic attacks. Blue Maple’s dodges were perfect, his attacks were precise, and his technique was agile.

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The old man’s eyes sparkled as he watched Blue Maple from the shadows. He muttered under his breath, “What a monster. His reaction time, his fighting form, his intelligence. He looks like he’s born for fighting, and he has excellent fighting technique. I’ve found a treasure! I wonder what this dirty rascal did in the real world.”

The old man paused and he contemplated for a few moments before he continued, “At least, this fellow should have killed someone before! And not just a single person…”

If Blue Maple could hear the old man’s last sentence, he would probably have responded with “Anybody who hasn’t killed someone in the Chaotic Region has probably died!”

This was just one of the situations Earth was left with…

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Blue Maple dodged as the bull attacked, and they retaliated against each other in between while this continued for five minutes. Blue Maple could feel fatigue setting in, but the Barbaric Bull King’s onslaught was still as ferocious as when it first began. This left him feeling alarmed.

The system is so annoying. If the settings mirror real life, then I wouldn’t be fatigued so easily. Blue Maple complained silently.

This was already a long time for normal people, and normal people would probably last two minutes in a high-intensity fight like this before growing fatigued. Blue Maple was frequently caught in fights, so five minutes was extremely short for someone like him, but he couldn’t do anything about this.

I can’t continue this fight if I can’t deal damage to the Barbaric Bull King’s leg like I’d imagined, thought Blue Maple to himself as he dodged the Barbaric Bull King’s attack. He didn’t forget to retaliate at the same time.

Blue Maple struck the bull’s left front leg, and heard an announcement that made him heave a sigh of relief.

Ding! Game Announcement: Your consistent attacks have successfully caused severe injury to the Barbaric Bull King’s left front leg. The Barbaric Bull King’s attack damage has declined by 10%, and its movement ability has declined by 10%.

The Barbaric Bull King paused… then it was coming!

Crazy Charge!

Bang!

Blue Maple dodged the bull successfully, while the bull uprooted grass and plants as it came to a halt.

Whew!

Blue Maple was relieved. If his condition worsened, this would no longer be a fight if the Barbaric Bull King’s assault was still so ferocious, let alone killing the bull without taking any damage. He couldn’t even guarantee that he would not be killed instead. Blue Maple still had a chance in this fight with the current circumstances. He would have had an easier time if not for the fact that this terrain was too large and spacious.

A patch of grass without any obstacles at all. How annoying. Blue Maple was a little annoyed as he thought to himself.

Blue Maple made use of the Barbaric Bull King’s pause after using Wild Charge, but he chose to retreat instead of attacking. Blue Maple had to take this short intermission to readjust so that he could enter the next bout in a better state. He realized that the Barbaric Bull King’s Wild Charge was slightly slower than before.

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“Yes, excellent. He knows when to move forward and when to retreat; he’s not greedy.” The old man nodded his head slightly in the shadows and praised Blue Maple.

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Blue Maple rested for a few moments before he stared at the charging Barbaric Bull King and entered a fighting state once more.

Blue Maple attacked, evaded, and riposted. This process repeated continuously; Blue Maple and the bull seemed like robots repeating the same actions again and again.

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Twenty minutes later, the wound on the Barbaric Bull King's left leg started becoming worse, and suddenly a strong force erupted from the bull’s body and bounced Blue Maple away.

A mutation was about to begin!

Blue Maple was confused as he thought to himself, The requirement for mutation is to avoid letting the monster touch me, to the point where the monster is infuriated and will eventually mutate? Isn’t that entirely impossible for normal people? I don’t understand.

The game’s default setting was that monsters had a chance to mutate when their hit points fell below a certain level, except Blue Maple had raised that chance to almost one hundred percent. People who weren’t normal would have abnormal outcomes, and such was how things were…

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