Randidly quickly stumbled upon a problem. Originally, he had just planned to happily grind up his skills while staying near the safe room, increasing himself stat by stat. He had even started out quite well, earning himself Lvl 4 in Running, and learning the skill Physical Fitness and swiftly leveling it to 2, just jogging around the safe room.

But then Randidly realized he was getting hungry. He stopped, sweating lightly from the constant exertion. He supposed a few hours had passed, but still…

Gritting his teeth, Randidly faced the truth. He knew where some food was. While he was walking outside, he had spotted strange fruits and berries in the jungle surrounding him. But going out there…

His stomach rumbled unpleasantly. After much thought, Randidly put his two more points for levels into the Newbie path, and put both of those PPs into Agi. The plan would be to go in and get out as fast as possible.

Randidly hopped experimentally side to side, and was pleased to find he certainly felt a little faster. With that extra bit of confidence, he walked to the door and opened it. The indoor rainforest swayed softly, almost invitingly, and Randidly shivered, but still crept out and tiptoed towards the treeline.

When he reached the edge of the ferns, which extended for several feet before the vine encrusted treeline. And right beyond that treeline…

Randidly hesitated. He could continue to move slowly, trying his best to remain quiet, or he could simply dash in and grab some fruits, and then leave. But because he hadn’t seen any berry bushes in the area, just a few scattered glimpses through the treeline, he chose the conservative sneaking route.

And as he began to walk quietly forward, he learned Sneak Lvl 1. Although the first level of a skill didn’t give a path point, it still boosted his confidence that he might be able to pull this off.He wound his way slowly forward, pressing aside the ferns and entering the trees. He peaked around a particularly thick trunk, eyes scanning. No animals, no movement. But there was a bush that was heavy with dark purple berries 10 yards down from him, still near the edge of the treeline.

He began creeping down in that direction, his breath sounding extremely heavy in his ears. When he reached the berries, he had another conundrum; how would he carry them…?

Well, first things first. He tentatively bit into a berry, which was a little bit larger than a grape. It was sweet and ripe, filling his mouth with a wonderful fruity taste. He had to spit out some seeds, but initially, it seemed like they were good for eating. Satisfied, he pulled up his shirt and began filling it like a pouch.

Around the time the pouch was full was when he realized he was being watched.

A lime green frog, around the size of a small dog, sat on a low branch, gazing at him. Above it hovered the notification Lvl 27.

Randidly stopped picking and backed slowly away. The frog watched him go, tilting his head to the side. Receiving a notification that his Sneak skill was now Level 2, Randidly turned and ran back through the ferns into the safe zone.

There, he ate about half of his gathered berries, spitting the seeds into the dirt by the small tree.

Afterwards, he collapsed on the ground, looking up at the stone ceiling. The fluorescent lights had apparently also been transformed, because the light they produced felt a lot like warm sunlight on his skin…

Sitting up, Randidly went to his paths and put the point he had earned for Sneak 2 into the Newbie path, getting an End stat. As he watched, the extra point in End. Watching closely, he saw that the End got him 5 points of health and 3 of stamina, but only .25 health regen and no stamina regen. So End was more base, Vit focused on regeneration…?

When it came down to it, Randidly supposed he would probably prefer to buffer up his Endurance then, for now. Increasing the maximum value of his health and stamina was more important than anything else.

Laying back, Randidly fell asleep, half hoping that this was all a dream, half hoping that tomorrow would be filled with even more grinding.

It was strange that he felt so torn. Although this was life or death, there was always something about RPGs that he appreciated. The simplicity, the systems and the stats. Like there was a secret way of playing that could allow him to break the game.

In life, there were no secrets. Or at least no secrets that didn’t leave you feeling slimy. So although his heart was pounding, Randidly felt… content.


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