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One of the items he obtained in the bag was a map, and after touching it, the map option in his menu screen became selectable. Inside, there was a general outline of the dungeon, which was simply called “The Underground Jungle”.

Ultimately, what he saw made Randidly’s heart sink. The dungeon he was in was simply too big. He was situated in the safe room halfway across the southern wall. It was equidistant from the entrance and the boss room.

...But that distance appeared to be something near 20 miles….

More disturbingly, while the bosses chambers appeared to be in the Southeastern Corner, the entrance was in the Northwestern corner, meaning Randidly would need to cross through at least some portion of the forest in order to get there.

Sighing, Randidly dismissed the menu. He had a long way to go before having any confidence in crossing the forest… Randidly  looked at his stats one more time before laying down for a nap.

Randidly Ghosthound

Class: ---

Level: N/A

Health(/R per hour): 138/138 (53.25)

Mana(/R per hour): 50/51 (17)

Stam(/R per min): 66/67 (20)

Vit: 15

End: 17

Str: 6

Agi: 13

Perception: 10

Reaction: 8

Resistance: 8

Willpower: 8

Inteligence: 8

Wisdom: 11

Control: 12

Focus: 8

Paths: Newbie 7/7, P.Def 10/10, M.Supp 10/10, Risk Taker 15/15, Basic Physical Fitness 20/20, Trainee 12/15

Skills: Running: Lvl 7, Physical Fitness Lvl 10, Sneak Lvl 4, Farming Lvl 11, Mana Bolt Lvl 7, Heavy Blow Lvl 9, Acid Resistance Lvl 4, Poison Resistance Lvl 4, Sprinting Lvl 6, Iron Skin Lvl 6, Equip Lvl 7, Plant Breeding Lvl 2, Meditation Lvl 4, Dagger Mastery Lvl 5, Entangling Roots Lvl 1, Mana Shield

 

***

After careful consideration, Randidly found himself sneaking back over towards the Howler Monkey area.There were two reasons for this trip. One was to stop by the nut, banana, and weird crystal trees and stock up on more food, and the other…

Was to actually engage the Howler Monkeys.

Well, hopefully to lure one away, and then bind it with Entangling roots, and then… something.

The more Randidly thought about it, the worse the idea seemed, but he also knew that grinding was done for the explicit purpose of going out after and getting some actual experience. He needed to be able to use his skills.

Additionally, the Howler Monkeys had only been scary within the treeline. Outside of it, they were slow enough that even a Randidly without all of his skills and stats was only slightly slower. He was now confident that his 13 Agility would be enough to outrun them.

Unfortunately, there were only 2 or 3 glowing crystals that had grown back, but there was several dozen nuts and bananas he had missed the first time. After filling his satchel, he began creeping back towards the monkey area. To his surprise, he gained a level in both Sneaking and Equip.

He was still unable to see the level of the dagger or the gloves, but the two PP let him almost finish off the Trainee Class, which Randidly did, huddled up against a tree.

Congratulations! You have earned +1 to Mana Regeneration.

Congratulations! You have earned +1 Stat(s).

The fact that the stat point went directly into Agi probably was evidence of Randidly’s nerves. With that done, he continued creeping forward, aiming to the Howler Monkey’s area.

As he approached, Randidly noticed what he didn’t previously, that in that area, the trees changed, their crowns stretching higher, their trunks farther apart. Also, the area was thick with vines.

Feeling slightly foolish, Randidly came out of his crouching position in the ferns and walked boldly past.

Nothing happened.

Randidly scratched his head. Last time had been so much easier-

A blur at the edge of his vision was all the warning he had. Had it been the him of a few days ago, it probably would have ended with him wounded. But the threat of danger and stat increases had sharpened his senses. As soon as he noticed the projectile, he summoned a Mana Shield.

It smashed against Randidly’s shield, slowing it only briefly, and a stone the size of an apple crashed into him, sending Randidly staggering. His head whipped around, and he saw a monkey standing in the tree, chittering with laughter as it hefted another stone. Furious, Randidly raised his hand and pointed, a mana bolt shooting out.

With Randidly’s improved control, his attack flew true, striking the Howler Monkey in the chest. With a squawk, it was dislodged from its position on the branch, falling to the ground. Howling, it then rumbled up towards him.

With not enough mana left to cast Entangling Roots, Randidly fled, returning to the safe room.

As he unpacked and sorted the gathered food, Randidly viewed the notifications he had with serious eyes. First, the stone had pierced through his mana shield with enough force to do a little over 30 damage. That means the stone itself, thrown by the monkey, would be about 55.

2nd, Blocking that stone had increased Mana Shield skill to level 3. Which seemed like an awfully quick level up, even though level 2 was usually quite easy.

Finally, hitting the Monkey in the chest with the mana bolt had increased it to Lvl 9. For a while Randidly had been wondering whether it was a common thing, to hole up in a safe room, where the regeneration is doubled, and grinding up their skill level. But he was beginning to suspect it wasn’t. Because it seemed that actually using the skills in real battle was much more effective at leveling them.

Sighing, Randidly used a PP to finish off the Trainee Path.

Congratulations! You have earned +2 to M. Stats.

Congratulations! You have completed the Trainee Path (Mage Branch)! +10 Mana, +1 Mana Regen., +1 Mana per level.

The two stats went into Control and Intelligence. If I was going to start trying to grind outside of the safe room, I needed a bigger mana pool. It wouldn’t be feasible in the short term to try and raise my regeneration to the point where it could matter.

When he went back to the path screen, there was only one option: the ??? from before, with 0/20. He clicked on it, and the name shifted to Wandering Survivor.

“Seems relevant,” Randidly muttered, and put his remaining 3 PPs into it. And to his surprise, he received something each time.

Congratulations! You have earned +2 to Health.

Congratulations! You have earned +2 to Mana.

Congratulations! You have earned +2 to Stamina.

...Apparently it was a rather helpful path as well.

Pleased, Randidly wandered over to view his growing plants. His initially planted berry bush was beginning to bud. Fruit would come soon. The others were growing to a good size, except…

Randidly frowned at the final banana plant, which was around double the size of the others, and about twice as tall. Abruptly realizing something, Randidly got out his dagger and began to dig. After about 5 minutes, he leaned back on his heels. As he thought, the red crystal that had been nearest in the ground to the banana was gone. The lone blue crystal and the red and blue together with both still there.

So the red crystal had been absorbed somehow by the plant…? And that was likely where the Plant Breeding skill had came from.

Thinking this, Randidly looked around, abruptly realizing that the room seemed slightly larger than he remembered. But he ignored it, instead going to the side and digging 6 holes, very far from one another. 3 were bananas, 3 were nuts. He did the same line of crystals, one red, one blue, and one both, just to see the effects.

Satisfied, he laid out the bedroll from the satchel and prepared for a nap.

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