"I thought you were a smart one, but it turns out you're all muscle and no brain! Can't you tell I'm different from that other puppet of yours?!"

The Komodoensis started ridiculing Derrick, which made him even more apprehensive toward the beast. After killing it, Derrick's skill had leveled up, which had caused him to act impulsively and summon it right away.

The huge shadow was looking at Io in disdain, which made the Bat flap its wings in anger. It had almost been killed earlier so it felt some resentment. After a few seconds of silence and seeing that Derrick would still not budge from his defensive stance, the beast sighed and finally explained itself.

"As the strongest being of this region, my soul retained its memories. My name is Drako and as your summon, I'm obviously not able to harm you, you dimwit! So stop this useless posturing already!"

After the brief explanation, Derrick stopped being pensive and realized it was right. However, he could see that his new companion had no respect for him at all, which made him scoff.

"You talk big for someone that just got butchered like a pig!"

Derrick puffed his chest, feeling proud of his remark. In contrast, Drako's mood soured, and he shot back a cold gaze.

"Anyway, I don't think you'll like what I'm going to do next"

As time was of the essence, Derrick walked in the direction of the corpse, ready to harvest every part of it. He was quite excited.

"I don't mind. Even though you're a bit stupid, I respect your strength. However, you better not turn my corpse into trash!"

Drako was not disgusted at all and was, in fact, curious as to how Derrick would proceed. He had resided in this cave since birth and had only seen foolish humans twice. They had stumbled here by chance and were instantly killed.

Seeing the expectant look, Derrick didn't want to disappoint and carried on at lightning speed. He firstly took care of the skin by placing his knife between it and the muscles. His techniques were polished and the movements were swift. Not a single one was wasted. It was a masterclass.

He then started cutting the muscles in portions that could be eaten. The corpse was huge, and he quickly realized that he couldn't transport all of it. He would have to eat a lot in the coming days because he didn't want it to rot.

Next were the tendons. They were absolutely gorgeous pieces for craftsmen. Their elasticity, their toughness and their durability made them essentials and not a single one would be left behind.

The bones were all high quality as well. This corpse really was like a treasure trove. When he saw the happiness on Derrick's face, Drako was a bit speechless.

"What a scary Human..."

Derrick was numb to these things as he had been doing this for the previous months. His thirst for power had fundamentally changed him and his enemies were just means to an end. He would never back away from an opportunity.

After completely stripping everything useful, Derrick sat cross-legged and took a piece of raw meat from the freshly cut pile. He had to get rid of the poison building up in his body and the fastest way to do it was to get stronger. He also threw a piece to Io who gobbled it up.

"Do you have any cannibalistic tendencies? You'd get stronger if you ate some as well, but it's your body so..."

Derrick felt awkward trying to convince Drako to eat himself. He glanced at the monster with expectancy. The shadow humphed and cursed him before reluctantly agreeing. Derrick threw him a smaller piece, understanding that it wasn't an easy thing. He then took one himself and closed his eyes.

A burst of energy surged in his body, and he was quite surprised by its strength. The size of the piece he ate had been reasonable. After experiencing with various quantities during these last few months, he had arrived with a rough estimate on what he could handle. However, it took him all he had to remain conscious right now. His sweat started dripping on the ground.

[Hosts' body is refining energy! Stats are being recalculated...]

[Poison has been nullified! Continuing refinement...]

[Energy has been refined! Would you like to see your stats?]

It had already been a few hours, and he somehow held on. After opening his eyes, he started observing the changes that his body experienced. The difference felt was substantial, and he was giggling in excitement before saying yes to the system. His stats window popped up.

[Derrick Tarlin, 16 years old (Body), 37 years old (Mind)]

[Class : Necromancer]

[Strength : 10.2]

[Agility : 8.5]

[Endurance : 10.8]

[Vitality : 7.2]

[Magic Power : 15.5]

[Traits : Enhanced Body, Enhanced Vision, Death's Valet, Gluttony]

[Skills : Superior Appraisal, Contract (2/3), Summoning (2/2), Master Craftsman, Submission]

[Your skill Contract has evolved! Now able to contract up to 3 souls!]

[New skill! By releasing your aura, Submission will allow you to make creatures under 50% of all your stats submit!]

[Your skill Summoning has evolved! Your summons original stats will be amplified by 15%!]

Derrick was shocked by the gains he made. From a single piece of meat, he had received an extra 0.5 points for every stat. The new skill and two upgrades were also huge. It was simply pure bliss. After his thorough analysis, he turned his gaze to his two companions and used Superior Appraisal.

[Io (King Nightmare Bat)]

[Strength : 9.7]

[Agility : 8.2]

[Endurance : 9.9]

[Vitality : 4.2]

[Magic Power : 3.8]

[Trait : Advanced Echolocation]

[Skills : Sonic Wave]

[The trait Echolocation has evolved! Advanced Echolocation increases the effective range and allows the user to see the map in 3D. Will not evolve anymore!]

[New skill! Sonic Wave is an ear-piercing cry that creates ripples through the air to injure enemies up to 100% of its Magic Power stat. Will evolve with its user!]

Derrick was quite pleased with what he saw. Io had evolved with him during their fights and this was the culmination of all their efforts. Before, he basically only used Io as bait. He was now part of every offensive plans he had in mind. The evolution of his trait was also massive, but it saddened him a bit that it couldn't evolve anymore.

[Drako (Viper Varanus Komodoensis)]

[Strength : 20.2]

[Agility : 17.4]

[Endurance : 15.3]

[Vitality : 14.2]

[Magic Power : 14.1]

[Trait : Cold Blood, Vibration Sensor, Poisonous Tongue]

[Skills : Charge]

[New skill! Charge allows its user to break defensive skills or formations up to 125% of its strength stat. Can only be used once a day. Will evolve with its user!]

Derrick was once again flabbergasted. These numbers were sky-high and this skill was basically a cheat! After calming down, he realized he still had plenty of things to accomplish, which meant that he could not leave this place right away. He had to consume all the meat and then craft his new equipment. Seeing these final few steps, he was grinning ear to ear.

After a week of hard labor, it was finally time to leave this place!


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