Alaric's rank-1 slimes had each eaten a corpse. There were 22 villagers and 22 rank-1 slimes. The numbers fit nicely.
'I guess... these slimes can take the names of the villagers they ate.'
After verbally assigning names to them, using his talent, Alaric felt that he could distinguish each and every slime from one another.
"Interesting, but not a point of note for now..."
Alaric had already decided to immediately begin his plan for revenge. First, he needed an army. It was an obvious assumption since the attackers seemed to be an organized party of those black-robed individuals.
After investigating, he discovered that each one had no identifiable traits, even their faces had been burned and marled to a point of unrecognizableness. The only thing he found of interest, was that each of the robed corpses had a blood-red knife on hand.
Twiddling about with one of the knives, Alaric thought out his preliminary clues.
"Since each of them has these knives, I assume it's a form of identification in whichever force attacked the village. This can be useful, they're all identical and don't have any mana signature— I may be able to use them later.
They also seemed to be rather weak, individually. Even my unawakened father slaughtered four of them while protecting my mother. I can tell this much by the situation in the house. Wurst seems to have brought down 7... Wurst is definitely more than double my father in combat power, this number is a bit odd."
Alaric looked towards the two slimes he was keeping closest to him. He had named them Pamela and Gunnar respectively, they would be his closest subordinates, besides the slip slime of course, out of respect for his parents.
'I plan to form a slime colony, an organized one. Slimes already show signs of intelligence at rank-2, it's completely possible with my ability. With an organized collection of magical beasts, especially so ones on the level of the slip slime... I'll be very powerful.'
It was the obvious direction any lord-type talent would take. Although weaker lord-types could only become generals under the king, any others would look beyond that. Governor, King, Emperor, they wanted these titles.
Alaric knew, however, that he didn't have a large enough population yet. After all, 22 slimes and 1 slip slime barely translated into a legion. The slowest legion in existence, in fact.
"I'll bide my time and exact vengeance slowly. The royal family wouldn't care for our village's destruction anyways, there's simply no point in wasting money to visit the city.
First, I'll need to fix this population problem."
There were 2 ways of solving the issue of population. 1, Alaric could find more slime colonies and bring them in. Or 2, Alaric could have his current slimes reproduce.
Slimes reproduced asexually, in a way similar to mitosis. They would use the magical energy in their body in order to clone their core, and slowly but surely that core would separate from the main body, bringing a hunk of slime with it.
The result was two slimes, smaller than originally, but they would grow and continue their reproduction cycle quickly. In fact, 1 or 2 of Alaric's slimes already had 2 cores!
"The reproduction process of a slime tends to take 48 hours. This is definitely the quickest way for me to solve the issue of population. But... can I make their cycle activate with just an order?"
Activating his talent, Alaric looked to the slimes and spoke, "Reproduce!"
The slimes all moved their eyes in Alaric's direction and their cores began glowing. Well, all of them besides the slip slime and the two slimes that had already begun their cycle.
"Ah, you can't? Maybe only rank-1 slimes can..."
For such an unnatural evolution process, it would make sense if they made some sacrifices along the way. Sacrificing the ability to reproduce, although a fundamental part of survival, wasn't a horrible trade. Slimes could live forever if necessary, which is why their populations had to be strictly controlled.
In 5 to 10 minutes, each and every one of the slimes had two cores in their bodies, which told Alaric that slimes had command over their own reproductive processes.
'Useful for sure, they can produce plenty of evolution material for me.'
Slimes were extremely unordinary magical beasts. They evolved through the consumption of their fellow slimes, they were weak but became strong very quickly at rank 2, and now they could control the reproduction of more slimes. And at this point, Alaric had verified the contents of the blue tentacle monster of legend being a slime, meaning that they could become extremely powerful in the future.
Until now, Alaric is still wondering how the slimes had come to the village so quickly in his time of need.
"I just hope that nothing happens during the process of strengthening the population. It takes 8 sacrifices to create a rank-2 slime. Within 2 days, I'll have 22 more slimes. However, I assume that slimes need to be fully grown before they can evolve, the reproduction process reverts their growth in half.
Thankfully, it doesn't take time to grow slimes, but food. As long as the food has enough energy, the slime will grow. Even the ground below us is sufficient, albeit much slower than something like meat."
Food was, however, in low volume. There had barely been enough in the village for Alaric to survive on for today. The robed assailants seemed to have looted everything, including most of the money.
'They even took some of the bodies, the village chief's isn't around. Was he the target? Or maybe...'
Alaric suspected the village chief of a crime but didn't want to. Chief Forger had been similar to a 3rd parent to him,
Looking at the slimes with a piece of bread in his hand, Alaric thought, 'Whoever it is, they'll die a miserable death.'
The prospects of 22 slimes didn't seem very good right now, but they would become infinitely better in the future. Even in the case that the slimes couldn't reach rank 3, an army of slip slimes would be enough to destroy any opponent without a rank-10 wielder on its side.
Alaric had finished eating and stood up.
"Time to take inventory while these guys... do their thing. Slip slime, come with me."
'Kri!' the slip slime hopped onto Alaric's shoulder.
"I haven't named you yet, have I? Any thoughts?"