Above me, dozens of what looked to be tree branches wove around each other, forming a massive net of branches. The bizarre thing was the size of the branches. The branches looked to be hundreds of times thicker than the forest trunks I found back where I woke up. And those tree trunks were a dozen times my size! And crazier yet is that the net of branches above me loomed far above me. Which begs the question what type of plant grows branches that big!?
I thought I was underground! Where the hell am I if I'm not underground!? I have so many questions right now. The sheer insanity of this plant is off the charts! And why would a tree grow so large? And that's without asking why it would have such a ludicrous amount of branches they form a net!
Focus, man, focus! You're not here to sightsee! Right now you're here to eat. Even if this minor shock dampened my hunger a bit...
[The minimum requirement of surviving 29 hours has been filled]
[First daily mission being issued]
[Daily mission: Find food]
[Reward: 25XP and 1 free trait]
Wait, what? Missions? This seems awfully similar to a video game... Between the anxiety from sleeping in the open and that monster, I forgot all about this system thing! But hey, I'm searching for food anyway so this should be a simple mission to complete, right? And I get some cool rewards while I'm at it! So this mission should be worthwhile.
I glanced back at the other flower as it continued walking, unaware of the system's notifications. Casting one last glance at the branches overhead before trudging along after the plant. After a few minutes of walking when the other flower stopped in its tracks and stood ramrod straight. My root raised itself to step forward before I hesitated and retracted the root, now wary of the strange behavior the flower showed.
Why did it stop? Is there something dangerous nearby? Or perhaps it's been deceiving me all along and was planning to eat me! I mean I don't know how intelligent these plants are so it is possible. Especially when you consider the insanity, I've witnessed.
The flowers bud silently slid open and several tendrils tipped with round green balls slid out and swayed in the air. These tendrils continued their slow swaying before sliding back into the bud. The bud then closed, and the flower started walking again to the right without acknowledging my presence.
What the fuck was that? It's one surprise after another in this forest! At this rate, I'll become desensitized to the world and not become surprised by anything anymore. Wait. Perhaps I can open my bud and also use those weird vines? I should test that later. But I have other goals to complete.
I shook myself free from my thoughts and scurried after the other flower. After an hour of walking, I spotted what might be the goal of this journey. What appeared to be a gigantic grey blob was up ahead with smaller green blobs swarming around it. By now I knew that the color blobs was just my distorted vision coming into play but judging by the size of that blob that thing is huge.
Now that the goal was in sight, I decided I didn't need to follow the other flower any longer. I promptly rushed forward to investigate this unfamiliar creature. But lo-and-behold, just as I picked up speed, the other flower finally acknowledged my presence and started running too! And when that flower ran, it made what I thought was a decent sprint look like a half-assed jog. Within a few seconds, the distance of us nearly tripled!
Stop! Wait for me my green-skinned brethren! I just wanted to eat! How's that flower running so much faster than me! This is discrimination against reincarnators! Damn it. It's already fading into a blob. The slow and lonely way it is.
I slowed down, resigned to my fate as the slowest flower there ever was, and took my time. Based on the size of that blob, it'll be gone by the time I arrive. Hmm... I'm finally able to see this thing more clearly and damn that's one big boy! Or girl. Even with the crazy things I was seeing before numbing my shook senses, this is still surprising!
It was an animal. Of that I was certain. What type I wasn't able to tell with my poor eyesight and viewpoint. Its skin was as expected grey. A light grey if we're getting specific here. The size of the carcass was over a hundred times my size and crawling with various plants. The part of the body I could see was its stomach, but that was torn wide open exposing its ribs and inner organs.
From what I could see, this absolute behemoth resembled a whale. The whale-like creature looked like it had flippers. Two large wing-like flippers towards one end and a second pair of flippers a third of the size of the others on the opposite end. Its tail looked strange, though. Its sides of the outer tail looked thinner while the center part was a lot thicker and more powerful looking. Like an eel's tail except on its side instead of being right-side up.
But how did this massive creature end up here in a rainforest? This thing looks like it should belong in the oceans, swimming to its hearts' content. And last I checked, I didn't spot any bodies of water big enough to fit something this big! It's only my second day here and I'm only finding more and more questions instead of answers. Bah enough of this hypothetical thinking! More finding out how to food less of everything else? Now, where did that other flower go? It should be eating by now.
Looking around, I spotted the flower from early standing halfway up on the monster's corpse with its bud open again and tendrils waving about. The tendrils were patting the giant's carcass as if it was searching for something. Soon enough the vines touched the exposed inner flesh and promptly retracted back into the bud.
Instead of closing up the bud as I had expected it to, the green petals expanded to nearly double its size! The petals then tore a small chunk of flesh from the carcass and closed back up with the bulb now several times larger than it was before. From the angle, I was looking at the back of the pedals. So I wasn't sure if it had teeth or not. But that's an answer I'd rather avoid.
Ah... well, fuck. That is not what I had expected! Do flowers work like this here? I'm not sure flowers work like this. Even in a different world, why would they evolve to eat like this!? I mean there are Venus flytraps but they don't search for corpses to eat. Wait, I will have to eat like that too, aren't I? I'm not looking forward to eating raw meat but I also need to eat... And I want to complete that mission... I may not know what I'm able to do with a trait, but I'm sure there will be a use for it.
I stepped up to the corpse and started walking up one of the larger flippers like a ramp. The skin felt strange under my roots. It felt almost like hardened dry leather, but something was off. I couldn't tell what, but my mind was too preoccupied with getting food to care. I wasn't the only one who walked on the flipper. It forced me to navigate my way through the gathering of plants until I forced my way closer to the open wound.
But how do I open my flower bud? Hmm... Maybe if I concentrate on opening it?
I focused on my bud and imagine it sliding open like the other flower. For the first few seconds, nothing happened, but then a sudden chill hit me and I felt something moving. I redoubled my efforts as my leave trembled with exertion. The chill rapidly grew before it faded away.
I think I succeeded... I could already sense a massive difference from before. But not just being able to feel my tendrils and the inside of my bud. No, I could smell now! I never realized that I wasn't able to smell anything this entire time, but now that my bulbs open I can smell everything.
The iron stench of blood, unfamiliar scents coming from the other plants practically screaming out their hunger at me. Was that what the flower I was following doing with those tendrils? I think it is, but dang. Wouldn't that mean my sense of smell is like a shark? Now that is phenomenal!
Wait, I'm getting off track again! I need to munch on this giant flesh. Here goes nothing...
With some hesitation, I engulfed a sizable chunk of the flesh and stood there waiting for something to happen.
[Meal time! Mission completed. Rewards pending....]
[Ding! Rewards have successfully been transferred. Next mission in 46 hours.]
And that's a score for the flower team! I should get off of this carcass and out of the way of these plants. They may have been passive so far, but I don't want to take too many risks. Once I'm a safe distance away and in a somewhat safe area, I'll take a peek at my rewards.