He washed his face in the river, double checked his meager belongings, and set off upstream.
He had walked for a few hours, when he came across a small fox-like creature drinking from the river. It was small four legged mammal that had fur, a bushy tail, and ears, but that’s where the similarities to a fox ended. The fur for one was a neon purple that sparkled and seemed to glow from within. The ears were tiny and mounted the very top of its skull, and the body was long like a ferret despite weighing probably forty pounds.
Michael figured this was as good a time as any to practice with the bow. As slowly and as quietly as he could, he drew an arrow from the quiver at his hip and knocked the arrow on his bow. He drew the bow to its full length, steadied his breathing, carefully aimed, and… loosed.
The arrow thunked into a tree three feet to the right of where the fox-ferret thing was. Immediately the animal took off like a shot, swiftly climbing up into the nearest pine and vanishing among the high branches.
You have learned a new weapon: Bow
A ranged weapon favored by hunters. It’s great for taking down creatures at a distance, provided you can hit them.
Michael grumbled at missing his shot so spectacularly. He stomped over to the tree to pull the arrow from the trunk, but it was stuck good. He placed his foot against the trunk and yanked. The arrow finally came out with a pop, leaving the stone arrowhead buried in the tree.
Michael stared at the now useless stick with feather in his hand, and threw it in the river.
‘Ok. Need some practice so I can actually hit something, but I need to find something I can shoot at without snapping all my arrows.’
He continued northward, keeping an eye out for anything that might make a good target or any small animals that he could try to nab. A few hours later he came across the perfect target. There was a tree that had fallen partially in the river. The water had softened the wood to a sponge like consistency, and there were giant pink mushrooms the size of his head all over it.
Michael stood about twenty feet away from the tree and launched arrow after arrow into it. When his quiver emptied, he gathered his arrows and started all over again. His initial shots were pathetic, missing the targets by feet, but as he continued he started to get closer and closer to the mushroom that had become his pincushion.
He stopped when the sun was high above his head and checked his progress.
Just shooting at a target and he had gained a ton of skill points. It was slower than the club, but he figured that skills gained in combat must be worth more experience or something, but it was good to know that the skills could be leveled through practice alone.
He was now able to hit the target four out every five shots. It was good, but in the last two days he had died and nearly been beaten to death.
‘Maybe just a little more practice.’
It took another hour before he finally heard the trill, and got the popup for bow level two. Michael wiped the sweat from his eyes, and massaged his forearm. His health hadn’t officially taken a hit, but his arm still felt battered and bruised from the string hitting it over and over again. He collected his arrows from the tree and reviewed his skills.
‘So combat experience and training with a teacher count for a lot, but grinding still works in a pinch. Wait, I accidentally created Bash when I was fighting the spiders, I wonder why spears and bows doesn’t have any special attacks.’
Michael thought about the problem, and tried to remember what he had done differently. It all happened so fast, it was kind of a blur. The only real difference was that he had to spend his spirit power to trigger the attack.
He nocked an arrow and drew, aiming at the mangled remains of the mushroom that had been his target for the last few hours. This time he embraced the crackling energy in his chest, just holding it while he aimed. He focused on a tiny piece of the mushroom root, and held as steady as he could. Breathing slowly, he gently released the arrow.
It sunk deep, right where he was aiming.
You have created a new skill: Aimed Shot
A carefully aimed shot that does STR+AGI+Weapon damage. Requires 5sp
Having a ranged ability that had an attack bonus was going to be huge for his survivability. He needed to test this skill immediately. It took soul power though. He didn’t want to waste his precious sp on a tree. No, he needed to find something to hunt.
He collected the last of his arrows, and took off at a brisk pace down the river. Sooner or later he was bound to come across some sort of animal that would make for a perfect target.
As if his thoughts had triggered it, his stomach rumbled with hunger. He tried to remember the last time he had eaten. It must have been yesterday morning, he had some stew from the campfire after the feast.
‘I really should find some food.’ He thought, patting his stomach in a soothing fashion. ‘Hush now.’
Sadly the sun began to set and he had still not seen any other animals along the trail. Michael grumbled to himself and his stomach loudly agreed with him, but there was nothing he could do. There just simply was no game nearby.
He was able to walk another couple miles before the light disappeared enough to hinder his walking. He quickly made a bed of leaves and some moss he stripped from trees, under a large bush before promptly passing out.
The next day more of the same. Walking until noon, a few hours practicing his archery against the soft sand of a hill landslide, then continuing north. The sooner he could get to some sort of civilization the better.
This “tribe of thousands” sounded an awful lot like a city to him. He didn’t have any currency, but he was sure that he could get a quest that would net him some coin and allow him to start building up. He needed better gear, and desperately needed access to a trainer.
‘I distinctly remember seeing a town in the trailer, which means there has to be some sort of civilization. Somewhere.’
Michael continued to stumble through the woods, following the river which seemed to be getting larger and more fierce. On the end of the day three, he rounded a particularly rugged portion of terrain, where the river had carved a deep ravine through the woods, and he spotted a small herd of deer drinking from the water.
He very nearly blew his cover by whooping for joy.
Quickly restraining his emotions, Michael fumbled for an arrow and nocked it to his bow. He crept forward through the brush, and snuck up behind a tree only a dozen yards or so from them. He quietly peeked around the large, gnarled trunk, to check his positioning.
The deer were nearly identical to earth deer, except the buck’s rack was huge, and seemed to be covered in some sort of moss, he had two sets of eyes, and his hooves were as clear as glass. It was a beautiful creature. He was so taken with the majesty of the animal, he very nearly forgot that he needed to eat. His stomach gladly reminded him.
The thought of killing the gorgeous animal made him a little sad. He may be a being of higher reasoning, but he was still just a mammal. Mammals gotta eat.
Leaning around the tree just enough to get a sight picture of the animal, Michael drew his bow and steadied his breath. He aimed down the sight at the deer, aiming for just behind the shoulder of the forelegs. He knew somewhere in that torso was a bunch of important organs, so it seemed like the best target.
Holding his bow as steady as he could, he activated Aimed Shot. The arrowhead glowed dimly with the crackling white aura. The arrowhead seemed to adjust itself minutely down and left, and then on the end of his exhale he loosed.
The arrow flew across the river, and buried itself deep in the chest of the deer. The deer started and let out a coughing bray. The others in the herd immediately galloped off into the forest, but the one he had shot only made it a single leap before collapsing.
This time Michael did let out a whoop of joy.
“Hells yeah. Aimed shot worked and now I’ve got me some dinner!” Michael pumped his arms in the only dance he ever learned: the Running Man. “Go Michael, go Michael. Its ya birthday.”
He knew he was alone in the forest, but he still glanced around to make sure no one had seen him.
Michael ran up to the deer. It wasn’t even bleeding heavily. He must have hit the heart. As he closed on the carcass, the mist rose and sank into his chest. He glanced up at his soul power and saw that it now sat at seventy.
‘I was at sixty sp from healing myself, minus five sp for the Aimed Shot, that means the deer was fifteen sp. Not bad.’ He thought to himself, as he yanked the arrow from its side. The head was chipped, probably from a bone, but it was still serviceable. He jammed it in the riverbank, letting the current do most of the cleaning for him.
The buck was magnificent. Easily two hundred pounds of hide, horn, and usable material, but what Michael was really interested in was the meat. He hadn’t eaten in two days and he was starving. He showed no negative effects yet, but his stomach was letting him know that he was indeed well on his way to starvation.
One small setback. He had the animal, but now he had to get all that delicious and nutritious meat out of the deer, and he had no knife.
Michael looked around for a sharp rock or something he could use to cut, but nothing jumped out at him. He ended up reaching into his quiver and finding the largest arrowhead he could, and began hacking and slashing at the animal.
After nearly an hour of bloody and greuling sawing, Michael had successfully separated a large chunk of shoulder muscle from the animal. It took him nearly another hour to build a campfire, whittle a spit, and create a fire spell.
You have created a new spell: Small Flame
A small flame that can be held in the palm of your hand, and used to light fires, and torches. Requires 1SP.
Michael couldn’t believe it took him three whole days to figure out that he needed a basic fire spell, but necessity is the mother of invention.
The campfire crackled merrily away and filled the river bank with the delicious smell of roasting meat. His stomach smelled the food the same time he did, and stabbed his spine in reminder that it required sustenance and it required it now.
While his meal cooked, Michael set to the carcass again and cut off several additional strips of meat and wrapped them around skewers as well. Soon he had nearly ten pounds of meat cooking over the campfire, and by the time the last skewer was finished, the first was ready.
He tore into the piping hot flesh with a wild abandon. The fatty juices ran down his chin as he gnawed away, tearing off chunks and pausing barely long enough to chew before swallowing. He devoured the entire first skewer in seconds. His lizard brain told him to keep eating, there was no possible way he was full yet, but his higher reasoning told him to wait. He wasn’t sure if the game would let him get sick from overeating, but it was probably a good idea to try and stretch the rest of the food as long as possible.
He let the other skewers cook longer than he thought was necessary, to make sure the meat was well smoked and would last a few days. When he was convinced any more cooking would just lead to burned meat, he dunked the them in the river to stop the cooking process, and placed them in the front pockets of his shirt.
It was well and truly nightfall now, and Michael had lit up the entire riverbank with a campfire and filled the air with the delicious scent of bbq. It was time to go before some larger animal showed up and laid claim to his prize.
Michael doused the campfire and wandered as far upstream as he could safely, and then climbed in to a tree overhanging the river and wedged himself into a fork of branches. The meal coupled with the exhaustion of having to carve a deer with an arrowhead put him to sleep instantly.