“And that’s the gist of it.” [Ryouma]
After thinking about it I decided to introduce Niki-kun to all of my different slime variants, as well as their good points. I also gave him a simple explanation of some of their evolutions.
The people had long left the cafeteria and my slimes were lined up on the table. Niki-kun is looking at them with interest, so I think things went fairly well.
“So which slime are you interested in?” [Ryouma]
“Hmm… That would be the medicine slime! With it around, if I ever got really sick or hurt, I won’t have to go to a neighboring village to treat myself. It’s really convenient!” [Niki]
An unexpectedly acute reason…
“True. It can secrete a liquid that can serve as an antidote or as a disinfectant, so it can be quite useful for minor wounds. But it can also secrete poison and it feeds off of poison and medicine, so it’s hard to manage. In that regard, the heal slime is superior. It can use healing magic, but only needs water and sunlight for its food. I would recommend this one instead.” [Ryouma]
“I see… But slimes that can use magic are rare, so they must sell for a lot when sold, right? Somehow you have five different variants that can use magic, though.” [Niki]
“Yes. In my case, I raise my slimes and evolve them. I don’t know how long it would take if I had to go look for them out in the wild. An acquaintance of mine that’s privy to monsters says that there’s barely anyone with five different variants of magic-casting slimes.
I don’t know how much the magic-casting slimes would actually go for, but there seem to be a lot of people among the nobles who want ‘things that other people don’t have’, so it should be fairly high. A ‘rare pet’ they can boast to others about that’s easy to raise.” [Ryouma]
“…I get the reason, but I don’t understand the feeling.” [Niki]
“You don’t have to worry about it so much. I’m sure you’ll figure it out eventually. And even if you don’t, it’s not really a big deal.” [Ryouma]
It’s man’s nature to compare himself with others, so he’ll probably understand it in time as he becomes an adult and suffer for that. But if he is able to grow up without thinking about such things and not suffer because of it, then I think that’s fine too.
“Hmm… Ah, by the way, you mentioned that the slimes will evolve differently depending on what they eat, right? So does that mean that if you keep feeding slimes fish they will turn into a fish slime? Is there even such a thing?” [Niki]
“There’s a lot of evolutionary paths for slimes. In fact, there’s so many that not even the researchers are able to grasp all of them. It’s possible there just might be a fish slime out there. Of course, I don’t actually know for certain.
For example, my metal slime and iron slime went down different evolutionary paths according to whether they ate a soil with multiple metals in it or just iron. Perhaps just like the iron slime, there are other slimes too that could be born after eating only one type of metal. Like for example, aluminum, lead, and tin. Maybe then a different slime could be born.” [Ryouma]
I went on to tell him that slimes going down different evolutionary paths according to what they eat is really nothing more than a hypothesis of mine, and recently I’ve even begun to wonder that that might not actually be the case.
“Not the case?” [Niki]
“Yeah. But it’s not that it’s a completely wrong hypothesis. Rather, it’s not wholly accurate.” [Ryouma]
Based on my observations of the slimes until now – especially, those I’ve been researching from the start like the sticky, poison, acid, and cleaner slimes – I have been able to control which evolutionary path they take by controlling what they ate. That’s why I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my hypothesis in that food influences their evolution.
“But I feel like there’s still something missing… I think that other than the food they eat, there might be another condition that dictates what evolutionary path the slime goes down on.
As for why I’ve started to think that, that’s because of the weed slimes – slimes that evolved after going through weed diet – but some of these so-called weed slimes have actually began eating poisonous herbs and medicinal herbs. Because of that I expect them to evolve into poisonous herb slimes or medicinal herb slimes, but…” [Ryouma]
“Huh? But doesn’t feeding them poisonous herbs lead to poison slimes?” [Niki]
“—Exactly! That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. All this time, the slimes that ate poisonous herbs have turned into poison slimes! In other words ‘doku (poison) slime’! I’m still waiting how this weed slime is going to turn out, but if it doesn’t evolve into a poison slime after eating the poisonous herbs, then there must be ‘something else’ that causes the slimes to branch out between poison and poisonous herb.
There are so many different variety of slimes that researchers can’t ‘fathom’ them all. There’s so many that it wouldn’t be strange if there were more specific evolutions like in the case of metal and iron slimes… Besides, if you look at the acid slime, you’ll note that even though it feeds on bone, it didn’t turn into a bone slime. I’m guessing what happened in its case is that it increased its digestive powers in order to feed on the bones.” [Ryouma]
“…Onii-chan, you look like you’re really having fun. Even though you keep saying there’s a lot of things you don’t understand.” [Niki]
“No, it’s precisely because I don’t understand that I want to understand. And it’s that pursuit of understanding that’s fun. Observe, hypothesize, experiment. From that discern where the hypothesis is wrong, make adjustments, and try again. And if I can find the answer after doing that, that’s where the fun really lies.” [Ryouma]
Oops… Was that too hard to understand? I’d intended to simplify my explanations, but I ended up getting too into it…