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As quickly as he was pushed forward by the hit, Nate was pulled back toward the opening in the tree with his body smashing hard into the bark. As he gasped for breath, Nate struggled to get away but only found himself pinned to the opening. Luckily, Nate had been wearing his backpack full of metal debris so the beast’s bite did not sink into his skin from the initial attack. But now, the backpack had him held against the opening with no way to get free.

With the bark digging into his flesh, Nate flailed in an attempt at escaping. But, his pack still held him against the hole. The pulling force increased some more. Nate felt like he was going to be folded in half and pulled into the hole. He body hurt like it was going to break. Then without warning, the pressure lessened for a split second and Nate managed to free himself from the straps of the bag.

Falling forward, Nate rolled over to the side and looked at the entrance of the tree hollow. He had only caught a glimpse of the beast’s head with a bag in its mouth before it disappeared. It looked scaley. The darkness inside didn’t reveal exactly what had attacked him, but Nate knew one thing for certain. He had almost just died and he needed to get away from the tree hollow.

Moving as quickly as he could, he ran to the base of the nearest tree and squatted down to hide among the large roots. Feeling the mental tremors from his near-death experience, Nate pulled up his health to check his status.

[Health: 48/100]

He hadn’t lost as much health as he expected but his body hurt none the less. Emotions flooded him as he peeked out from behind the roots to see the hole in the tree. Nothing looked any different. The beast was certainly waiting inside.

Nate was both angry and scared. Some beast had just taken his new home and even managed to snatch his pack. He had started to feel like he had made a good decision staying in the wilds, but now all his supplies were inside of the tree with the beast that had just tried to kill him.

He had nothing but the clothes on his back. With a quick movement, his hand went to his side. Thankfully, he had strapped the recently fixed knife to his belt instead of zipping it back inside his pack. With the danger still present, Nate reached to his side and pulled his knife from its sheath.

Nate stood at the ready with his knife in his hand waiting for the beast to come out of the tree and attack again. But nothing happened. Nothing came out of the darkness inside the tree. After watching for about a half-hour, Nate’s tension decreased a little as it seemed like whatever was inside was not coming out anytime soon.

“What am I going to do?” he asked himself as he tried to work through the problem.

But after thinking for a few minutes, he couldn’t come up with any solution to the issue that seemed feasible. All the ideas of fighting the beast would be very risky and probably result in his death. He couldn’t bring himself to take action knowing that he had a high probability of dying. Luckily, it was still early in the day, so he should have a few hours to find another spot to hide for the night.

Looking around the area, Nate moved over to another location amongst the tree roots that seemed a bit more secure. A tree nearby had a small knotty perch amid its roots that seemed like a good lookout spot. It was slightly hidden and he would be able to see any beast approaching the area. He also had a good line of sight to the entrance of his old resting place but felt a bit more at ease due to the increased distance.

As he settled into the spot temporarily, Nate tried to think of a way out of this situation. He really wanted back in his tree. Frustrated with his failure to find a resolution to the issue, Nate decided to pull up his system interface to check his progress. It had been a very productive morning until this setback, so he assumed that he would have seen some benefit.

—————————————————-

Name: Nathaniel Redsun

Level: 0 (Exp. 47/50)

Health: 49/100

Energy: 1/0

 

Primary Class: None

Secondary Class: None

 

Stats:

Speed: 1 Agility: 1

Stamina: 4 Strength: 3

Intelligence: 5 Perception: 4

Wisdom: 4 Will: 8

 

Stat Points Available: 0

 

General Skills:

Mental Calm (Passive)(Level 8)

Silent Crawl (Passive) (Level 5)

Pain Resistance (Passive)(Level 3)

Dark Vision (Passive)(Level 2)

————————————————-

He was so close to Level 1. Nate wasn’t quite sure about how to get experience points toward his level, but he had to assume that it was similar to the way the skills leveled. If his skill experience reflected his progress in developing a skill, then his level's experience should reflect his progress in developing himself as a whole.

After trying to remember what his level experience was before he left this morning, Nate guessed that he had gained around 5 or 6 experience points toward his level today. The only cause for the experience point increase that Nate could conceive was the physical activity. If that was the case, then he would be able to get the three points he needed to gain a level simply by moving around for a while.

“Where should I go?,” Nate thought as he leaned back against the massive tree, “I don’t want to go too far away in case the beast decides to leave.”

Perplexed at how to go about leveling himself, Nate leaned his head back and looked up toward the sky. Inspiration struck him suddenly. If he didn’t want to walk away and leave the beast inhabited tree unwatched, he could always just climb up a tree and keep an eye on the entrance to his enemy-occupied home.

The bark of the trees of Soaring Woods was very rough and textured. To Nate, climbing the bark would be no different than climbing around the vertical corridor ladders in the Grey Sector. Nate grew excited about the possibility of getting a better vantage point over the forest. Maybe he could find a hidden spot to sleep up high, so he didn’t have to worry about beasts on the ground.

Not wanting to waste time, he began to climb the tree he was resting on. After climbing up every few feet, he would turn around to look at the opening to the tree hollow to check for any sign of the beast.

After a few minutes of climbing up, Nate realized he had made a mistake. Climbing the tree was really as easy as climbing a ladder. He had easily moved up about as high as the three-story building. But, his arms and legs were getting tired and he didn’t have anywhere to sit and take a break. Looking around to find a spot to rest, Nate caught sight of another knotty bump sticking out of the tree a few body lengths up.

Pushing himself to continue climbing, Nate moved toward the large tree knot. The muscles in his arms and legs burned as he climbed. Just as he was pulling himself over the ledge of the knot, Nate received a system notification.

[Will Stat has increased by 2]

[Level has increased by 1]

The moment that the second notification sounded in his mind, Nate felt a rush of pain throughout his body. The intensity almost caused him to lose his grip on the edge. Veins bulged out of Nate’s forehead as he struggled to pull himself up to rest on the tree knot.

The pain was getting worse by the second. A fear of falling to his death sprung up in Nate’s mind as he struggled to stabilize himself on the knotty resting place. He needed something to hold himself in place if he lost consciousness. The pain continued to get worse. Nate’s mind was trying its best to fight through the pain to figure out how to save himself. He screamed unwillingly then tried his hardest to stop making such a commotion.

[‘Mental Calm’ has increased to Level 9]

The notification didn’t help as he doubled over from the pain. As he fell over, the handle of his knife dug into his side.

“That’s it,” Nate thought as he pushed through the pain and sat up. He pulled the knife out of its sheath and wedged it into the bark at his waist. The knife slipped in easily between the layers of bark and slid in all the way up to its handle. Not lifting his hand very far, Nate flipped a loop of his belt over the handle and tried to lean forward. He couldn’t move much.

[Will Stat has increased by 1]

[Wisdom Stat has increased by 1]

[Strength Stat has increased by 1]

[‘Pain Resistance’ has increased to Level 4]

The system notifications brought little comfort as the pain continued to wreck Nate’s body. Nate body writhed in agony as he slumped over in his seat. His belt pulled at his waist where he was latched onto the tree. After a few minutes, the pain finally started to subside.

Just like when he had first awoken the system, Nate smelled like shit was all over his body as a rotten sweat had come out of his pores. Not knowing of anything else to do, Nate pulled off his shirt and tried to wipe at the mess on his body. The mess really made him wish he had some water and the thought of water made him thirsty. While cursing his luck, movement from the ground caught his attention. Looking down toward the movement, Nate could see the head of a large snake peering out of the tree hollow that he called home. Nate’s bag still lodged in its mouth.

The stench coming from Nate’s body seemed to have attracted the snake’s attention as it looked up towards him. A jolt of adrenaline went through Nate as he locked eyes with the beast. Nate panicked a bit as the snake began to move, but, the beast just went back into the hole.

“So, that’s what attacked me,” Nate thought to himself as he continued wiping the gunk off of his arms and face with his shirt. Looking at the stinky mess, Nate had a movement of inspiration. The snake had peaked out of the tree when it smelled his stench and the bag appeared to be stuck in its mouth. Maybe Nate could use the stinky clothes to lure the snake out of the tree and have a chance at killing it. With a bag in its mouth, his chance of getting bit would be practically non-existent.

[Wisdom Stat has increased by 1]

Nate smiled at the alert. The system seemed to like acknowledging his good ideas by giving him stat increases. Thinking of stat increases, Nate remembered that he had actually gained a level. Excited at his recollection, he pulled up his user interface.

—————————————————-

Name: Nathaniel Redsun

Level: 1 (Exp. 2/100)

Health: 39/100

Energy: 1/0

 

Primary Class: None

Secondary Class: None

 

Stats:

Speed: 1 Agility: 1

Stamina: 4 Strength: 4

Intelligence: 5 Perception: 4

Wisdom: 6 Will: 11

 

Stat Points Available: 10

 

General Skills:

Mental Calm (Passive)(Level 9)

Silent Crawl (Passive) (Level 5)

Pain Resistance (Passive)(Level 4)

Dark Vision (Passive)(Level 2)

————————————————-

Nate was pleased by what he found in his user interface. He had finally made it to Level 1. This was the starting point of most people in Grey Sector, so he finally felt like he wasn’t completely worthless.

Continuing with his processing of the updated information, Nate was struck by one oddity. His level up had given him 10 stat points for distribution. This amount of stat point for leveling up would have caused a scene if he was still in Newcomb City. From all the information Nate had, the stat points earned from leveling up should correspond to the Level itself. For example, if someone increased to Level 3 then the stat points that they received would be 3. He had no idea why he got 10 stat points when going from Level 0 to Level 1.

After pondering over the issue for a few minutes, Nate chalked it up to his Level 0 start. Even the Sector Administrator said that he hadn’t heard of someone with a Level 0. Maybe the information just wasn’t available because it was rare.

Excited that he had so many stat points to distribute, Nate couldn’t wait to get started. After checking to make sure his belt was still secured to the tree, Nate pulled up the user interface and immediately used his available stat points.

[Speed Stat has increased by 4]

[Strength Stat has increased by 2]

[Stamina Stat has increased by 2]

[Agility Stat has increased by 2]

As the available stat points were spent, Nate felt a pleasurable sensation fill his body before his muscles went into a full-body cramp. He could feel himself changing as his muscles began rippling. The pain wasn’t as intense as when he leveled up, but it was still pretty bad.

This pain lingered for what seemed like ages. Nate felt like his body was undergoing a transformation as the pain made him aware of the changes.

[‘Pain Resistance’ has increased to Level 5]

Nate was growing tired of only hearing alerts when he was in pain. After a while, the pain began to fade into something like a tickle then it completely disappeared. Nate could feel that his physical constitution had increased. He felt different in a good way.

After a few minutes of collecting himself, Nate tried to judge the time of day. From the location of the sun, he figured that he still had a few hours to sort out the issue with the snake.

Still high off the confidence of his freshly increased strength, Nate started to develop a plan. He would need to make preparations, but he believed that his new idea would limit the risks involved with taking on the snake. Climbing down the tree, he began to make calculations for his attack.

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About the author

brokebutton

  • USA

Bio: I really like to read novels. Then one day I decided to write one. So now I do both.

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