Chapter 22 – The Enemy Is Complacency

Alex gathered the fruits.

There were 26 of them, which was insane!

The pig Alex had fed to the Hegemon before had only given him five, with one being taken away by the lizard.

But now, Alex received 26!

’Obviously, the Hegemon is rewarding me with fruits based on the power of the prey, ’ Alex thought as he gathered the fruits. ’What defines power? I guess it ’s mostly the amount of Mana inside of a being. The pig had only been a normal animal, but it had been quite massive. A normal wolf would probably only give me three fruits or something like that. ’

As Alex took up the last fruit, he looked at it with narrowed eyes. ’I can train my body without problems when it comes to muscles, but power isn ’t only muscles. ’

’I need powerful bones to resist my own power and to continue fighting after taking a heavy hit. ’

’I need powerful organs for the same reason. ’

’There ’s probably even something that can increase the effectiveness of my blood. More powerful muscles need more oxygen, and the blood is the thing that transports said oxygen. ’

As Alex thought about that, he furrowed his brows. ’Wait a second. If my body requires more oxygen, I would be taking far deeper breaths. After all, my muscles are already more powerful than any human ’s muscles on earth. Yet, I ’m breathing normally. In fact, now that I think about it, my breathing became even shallower. ’

’It ’s almost like the more powerful my body gets, the less oxygen it needs, which makes no sense, ’ Alex thought. ’I wonder, can Mana work as some kind of replacement for oxygen? I think that ’s a possibility. ’

Then, Alex sighed.

’Well, even without that, blood still plays an integral function for the body, and even if the blood itself has no chance of increasing its effectiveness, my blood vessels still need to become stronger. After all, I don ’t want to pop a vein whenever I bow forward. ’

’In short, everything ’s important. My normal training gives me all I need for my muscles, but I require these fruits for everything else. I need to damage my body so that it can absorb Mana, and any damage to my bones or organs could prove fatal without a lot of Mana. ’

Alex looked at the fire in the center of his clearing.

The fire crackled peacefully, and it was the sole source of light in a sea of darkness. The white snowflakes danced around it as the warm air pushed them away and melted them.

The sky was dark.

The forest was dark.

Only the fire wasn ’t dark.

What kind of impact did this image have on Alex?


From what?

From the fire.

The fire gave comfort to humans, but Alex didn ’t need comfort.

Alex ’s goal was not comfort and safety but power.

Alex wasn ’t prey anymore.

He was the hunter.

Alex ’s killing of the Stalker had reaffirmed this mindset.

However, deep inside, Alex still wanted to rest by the fire. He wanted to let go of all the pressure and dangers all around him.

But Alex wouldn ’t do so.

pᴀɴdᴀ nᴏveʟ Alex had learned a lot from his fight with the Stalker.

The two opponents had been about equal in power.

Yet, Alex had basically come out of the fight without even being injured or in danger.

The Stalker hadn ’t even been able to resist.




Alex had gone all-in and had put his life on the line. He had never thought about retreat, and he had only attacked. He would either win or die attacking!

’I ’ve been in similar situations before, ’ Alex thought as he gazed at the fire. ’Back when I trained my ass off for my fights, I had to uphold a strict diet, had to uphold a strict training regime, had nearly no free time. ’

’I had the uncertainty of my future on my shoulders. If I lost my fight, I would not have any ways to make more money. I decided to go all-in in my training, and if I didn ’t win this gamble, I would fall into oblivion. ’

’Keeping up with all of this was easy for a couple of weeks, hard for a couple of months, but the closer it got to the day of my fight, the heavier the burden became. ’

’Some days before my first fight, I wanted to just run away. I cried and wanted to end my life. All the pressure was overwhelming, and no matter what I did for the remaining couple of days, it wouldn ’t offset everything I have invested in the past years. ’

’My fate had already been decided by my past actions. Yet, I didn ’t know what fate would be chosen for me. ’

’It was a feeling of powerlessness. It was like I no longer had control over my destiny. ’

Alex looked at the fire.

’This fire reminds me of that place. I could abandon everything and simply sit down. I could find solace and escape this pressure. After all, I ’m powerful enough to survive. I don ’t need to go through this pain anymore. ’

Alex ’s eyes steeled. ’Yet, in order to achieve my dream, I need discipline. One day of skipping training will lead to another day a week later, which will lead to another day a week later until it becomes normal. Then, I will eventually take another day off, and the same thing will repeat itself. ’

’In the end, I will have mostly given up. ’

’Complacency will have invaded my being. ’

Alex turned around and took hold of the Stalker ’s hide.

Then, he went over to the fire and hung the hide near it.

Alex turned away from the fire again and walked away.

’I can ’t give in to complacency! ’

Alex arrived at his bag and looked through it.

’I still have newly-made jerky left. That ’s enough food for several days. I shouldn ’t eat anything right now since I will be training. I don ’t want to eat jerky just to puke it out again, ’ Alex thought.

Alex grabbed one of the fruits and looked at it with conviction.

Yet, no matter how convicted and stalwart his mind was at the moment, he still felt deep terror when he looked at the fruit.

This fruit symbolized another harrowing, torturous, traumatic experience.

’I ’m sure there are other ways to train my organs, bones, skin, blood vessels, and so on. I can ’t imagine everyone going through this hell. The path to power is hard, but not that hard, probably. ’

’Sadly, I don ’t know these other methods. Also, would these other methods be better than this one? Would they be faster? ’

’I don ’t know. ’

Alex hesitated a bit, but after gnashing his teeth, Alex finally swallowed the entire fruit.

Alex ’s body immediately felt like it started burning again.

However, Alex noticed a difference.

’The sensation of burning is not as intense as before, ’ Alex thought with fiery eyes. ’I will still explode if I don ’t do anything about this Mana, but it doesn ’t feel as immediate as before. ’

’My body has become more powerful, and the fruits no longer have as big of an effect anymore. ’

’Although, one fruit should still be enough for two jumps. ’

Alex climbed the tree and looked around. Thanks to the Mana, his eyes had become so strong that he could see the entire clearing and some surroundings from the tree, even in the dead of night.

Alex didn ’t want to be ambushed while he was injured.

’The Mana also heals my head, even if I don ’t feel the burning there. Even if I lose consciousness, as long as I don ’t immediately die, the Mana should heal me. ’

Then, Alex jumped.

Alex had never jumped from so high.

Some seconds later, Alex hit the ground.

He hit the ground spread-eagle.

Every part of his body hit the ground at the same time.

”Hurgh! ”

Suddenly, Alex threw himself to the side as he puked more blood. Then, Alex took a deep breath.

It felt like he hadn ’t breathed for a minute.

Alex looked to his side at the floor, and he saw a huge pool of blood.

Alex looked at his body and saw that there were basically no injuries.

’I ’ve lost consciousness for half a minute to a minute, ’ Alex realized.

It was a terrifying thought to know that it had been a very real possibility that Alex might not have woken up again.

Alex felt the Mana in his body and, sure enough, he had enough for one more jump.

Alex gritted his teeth.

’I need to continue! ’

Alex climbed the tree again.

On this night, for several hours, the loud sounds of explosions could be heard from this part of the forest.

The animals didn ’t go there since it sounded like a terrifying predator.

The predators didn ’t go there since the sound would scare away all the prey.

This was one of the reasons why Alex decided to train at night.

Everyone was more careful, and no one would want to go to a noisy place in a forest at night.

Thus, Alex hadn ’t been disturbed in his masochistic training for the entire night.

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