As soon as Lone and Sophie had woken up and washed themselves, they enjoyed breakfast together. Unfortunately, Lone was forced to waste his mana points on creating food for them starting four months ago. One boar could only last for so long, even if its body was preserved eternally in Lone's Dimensional Storage.
Sophie preferred it this way. Before, all she got to eat was roasted boar meat, but now she got to have luxury meals that never existed during her time. She was particularly partial to a good hamburger.
Lone spent the morning crafting as he waited for his mana points to regenerate while Sophie watched him and carefully played with his tails without disturbing him. She had gotten really good at that lately. It annoyed Lone that Sophie wasn't considerate with his fluffy limbs all of the time, but he knew that she'd forget if he reminded her of that anyway, so he never brought it up.
The moment that Lone's MP was back to maximum capacity, he told Sophie to go put her combat gear on. The mentioned clothes were the exact same ones that Lone had made for her six months ago, except they now had a few bits of hardened leather and small metal plates to serve as armour.
It was far from perfect, but it would definitely help to save her life if she ever found herself being attacked in the neck, the heart, or her head. Lone found it to be a struggle to not laugh the first time he saw her wearing the mark II version of her combat gear. She looked both very silly, and very adorable.
Lone knew very little, if anything, about smithing and leatherworking, so he had relied entirely upon the system to make Sophie's armour. Thanks to this, it lacked all sense of style and was created purely for utility and protection.
Lone himself had no armour, and his reason for this was so that he would be a more ideal target, giving Sophie a better opportunity to sneak up to the goblins and teleport them into the sky.
Naturally, Lone wasn't a fan of the idea that he was essentially serving as bait, but what other choice did he have? Sophie's Immortality skill was sealed and he possessed his Basic Regeneration. It would be irresponsible and cowardly of him to not take up the role of a damage sponge and aggro machine.
The two silently left their little fort and ventured into the forest. Within minutes, they had found a group of goblins. "Don't do anything. There's at least twenty of them that I can see. That's way more than we can handle. Slowly move back and try not to make any noises. We'll find a smaller group," Lone whispered very quietly.
Sophie was shaking like a leaf. She weakly nodded her head and followed Lone as they tried to flee. Keyword: tried.
Sophie accidentally snapped a particularly thick twig, creating a loud snapping sound throughout the area.
"Ah... Uh.. Um.. Ah... I-I didn't mean-" Sophie's panic was cut off by Lone's brisk and unhesitant voice.
"Unsummon Sophie Vladimirovich." All twenty of the goblins were charging over to Lone and Sophie's position, so even if she hated that place, Lone made the tactical decision to return her to the dark Summoning Room.
He had no confidence in being able to deal with twenty goblins without a lot of them escaping. That being the case, at the very least, he couldn't let the foul beasts realise that Sophie was with him. Lone would be lying if he said that how upset and jittery Sophie had gotten about making a mistake wasn't impacting his choice.
He didn't want her to get hurt during this eventual fight, and with how panicked she was, not only would she get in the way, but she would definitely get hurt, or maybe even worse. Lone shook his head.
'Now's not the time for idle thoughts, you idiot,' he said to himself.
Lone took his new metal swordspear out from his Dimensional Storage and threw himself at the approaching mob of green-skinned little people. They were slobbering and yelling with glee.
Lone managed to successfully skewer one of the fatter goblins with the spearhead end of his swordspear, however, not without a cost. Two goblins had gone to either of his flanks and riddled him with holes. Their shabby and rusted weapons pierced his skin and his body jolted in pain.
He let out a low grunt as he forced his body to pivot. With that, he slashed his swordspear and cut down the two goblins on his left. This only allowed several more of the other monsters to swarm around him.
Lone madly swung his weapon, but after he'd sliced open the bellies of three more of their kin, the other goblins realised how sharp and dangerous his weapon was, even if the man wielding it was nothing but an amateur no better than themselves.
Three of the Green Devils jumped onto Lone's arms on either side while two more ripped his swordspear from his hands. They then jumped on him and madly clawed and attacked him with their nails and weapons.
Panic flashed through Lone's eyes. He was dying. He could clearly feel his health points draining away. Even as his Basic Regeneration restored his broken flesh, it could do nothing about the weapons still stuck inside of him, nor could it keep up with the sheer number of wounds.
Left with no other choice, Lone rapidly tried to use his most powerful skill, Mental Destruction. At I-rank, he could only use it a total of one time, but that didn't stop him from trying to spam it.
Much to his and the goblins surprise, two of the green-skinned monsters toppled over as their eyes rolled back and blood trickled out of their facial orifices.
Lone recovered from his shock far sooner than the dim-witted goblins did, so he punched the one who was holding his swordspear in the face and ripped the weapon from its dirty hands.
He then grabbed a dagger that was lodged in his ribs with his other hand and used that to stab the eyes of two goblins just before the beasts finally realised what was going on.
Lone quickly scurried back to get a bit of distance between himself and the monsters. They did the same. The group of goblins glared menacingly at Lone while he returned their gaze with an even fiercer one.
He tore the weapons that were still in his flesh free and threw them at the goblins wildly. Lone then tried to scream at the beasts, but instinctively howled instead.
Their numbers were once twenty, but now only ten remained. They were considering what to do briefly. Continue to attack the non-goblin, or run away? They had their answer when they saw all of Lone's wounds close themselves. he was looking as good as new.
A second unintended howl from Lone prompted the beasts to run further into the forest.
Lone grinned very slightly before he wavered and almost toppled over. He steadied himself by stabbing his swordspear into the earth. "I'm fucking howling now... Fuck me. Do foxes normally howl?"
His stamina and mana points were at rock bottom. Healing himself completely via expending his mana points had been a gamble, but it had worked out, thankfully.
Lone collected the broken and rusted weapons of the slain goblins before he spent the next hour carefully hobbling back to his home. He was being extremely careful so as to not alert any more of the wretched creatures.
The very instant he passed through his Illusionary Dome, with the last of his mental strength, Lone said, "Summon Sophie Vladimirovich," and then passed out cold.
He knew how much Sophie hated the Summoning Room. She had made a point of it several times over the last half a year, so he didn't want to trap her in there for only God knows how long he'd be unconscious.
Lone slowly opened his eyes. 'Well, this feels familiar.' He looked down only to find Sophie laying on top of him. He was in their bed and had been undressed and cleaned of blood apparently.
He was quite proud of how well Sophie had actually taken care of him. Lone didn't expect her to go as far as to remove his tattered and dirty clothes and wash him. Of course, he cared little if she had seen every nook and cranny of his body. At this point, the two of them were extremely close, so such benign barriers had been forgotten by the two a long time ago. Lone still viewed Sophie as a child, and she was too ignorant to even know anything on the subject.
Lone didn't want to disturb his chest's occupant, so instead, he simply lay there and took the time to check the flashing notifications in the corner of his eyes. He had barely been able to walk, let alone focus on such things when he was returning home, so now was as good a time as any to check them out.
The first message was one he had suspected was waiting for him.
|Congratulations! The host has successfully gained enlightenment and ranked up. The host is now an H-ranker.|
As Lone had assumed, he'd ranked up mid-fight. If he hadn't, then it would have been impossible for him to use Mental Destruction twice in one day instead of just once. He had to thank his lucky stars for this.
Although, Lone did have to wonder what it meant by 'enlightenment.' Was the system using that term in the traditional sense, or was there perhaps a deeper meaning? Lone wasn't sure. More investigation would have to be done discreetly upon finding a larger settlement of people than the Elven camp.
What followed next was a large string of skill level-up notifications. Lone glanced over them briefly.
|Congratulations! the host's passive skill [Physical Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 4.|
|Congratulations! the host's passive skill [Physical Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 5.|
|Congratulations! the host's passive skill [Physical Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 6.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique skill [Basic Regeneration] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 8.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique skill [Basic Regeneration] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 9.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique skill [Basic Regeneration] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 10.|
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Spear Mastery] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 2.|
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Spear Mastery] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 3.|
Lone was both happy and sad that his Basic Regeneration has reached the maximum level for the beginner mastery. Happy since it should heal him faster and cost fewer mana points to boost the next time it levelled up, and sad since he had to get close to death's door apparently for the damned thing to even level up in the first place.
The last two notifications were simple enough. They were just letting him know that his actions in combat had been seen by the system and rewarded via his Growth Accelerator.
|The host has developed the passive skill: Hand-to-hand Mastery.|
|The host has developed the passive skill: Swordspear Mastery.|
The only thing left to do, really, was to check his status and see what stats he had earned from his battle and subsequent rank-up.
|Species:||Foxkin||Rank:||H [Up from I]|
|HP:||860/860 [+300]||SP:||3,100/3,100 [+600]|
|Strength:||74 [+32]||Vigour:||86 [+30]|
|Dexterity:||120 [+40]||Agility:||96 [+21]|
|Vitality:||310 [+60]||Luck:||53 [+2]|
|Magic Power:||583 [+103]|
Lone laughed internally. 'Of-fucking-course. Why wouldn't killing ten goblins and nearly dying, be worth more stats than crafting for six months? Also, only a single level?'
Lone was clearly bitter. Did he really have no other choice than to fight if he wanted to get strong enough to protect Sophie? He shook his head. The entire world couldn't possibly be as hostile as this one island, right?
Apparently, Lone's musings and slight movements had woken up the little girl treating his tails and chest like a blanket and bed respectively.
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