Nate’s plan was pretty simple. The bag that saved his life appeared to be stuck in the beast's mouth. With no threat of the beast biting him, Nate's concern over the situation lessened. The beast’s size also seemed to be manageable based on the size of its head, so Nate thought that he could easily overcome the creature in a fight. The only threat to his safety would be if the snake managed to wrap around him. His paltry education had given him an introduction to most types of wildlife so he understood that some snakes could be constrictors.

Nate’s logical analysis had let him think of a solution to the possible snake attack. If he could get the snake to only move part of its body out of the tree hollow, then he wouldn't be at risk of getting his body wrapped up. He would use his smelly dirty clothes to lure the snake partially out of the tree. When the snake came out to investigate, he would attack and stab the beast in the head with his knife.

Maybe it was his hopefulness or maybe it was his inexperience with the wilderness, but Nate never realized that he hadn’t received an increase in his [Wisdom Stat] for this idea.

After a few minutes, Nate finished making his preparations and was dangling from tree bark about a body length over the entrance to the tree hollow containing the snake. Of course, he had decided to use his filthy shirt as bait so he was bare-chested. His pale body stood out against the dark bark of the tree. He looked ridiculous with his knife pinched between his lips as he used his belt to swing the funky shirt ball near the tree opening. Nate smacked the stinky shirt against the entrance a few times then waited.

Nothing happened for a good minute. For a second, he realized the stupidity of his idea. Just as he was going to give up and try to find a place to hide for the night, the snake started to move out of the hole.

At this point, Nate really started to curse himself. The snake had looked small before because he was way up in a tree when he saw it. Now that he was close enough to touch the snake, he knew that its head was even bigger than his own.

Thankfully, the bag was still lodged in its jaws. Now that Nate could see the beast up close, he actually noticed blood leaking from the beast's mouth. It appeared like the force of the bite on the bag had actually caused one of the metal shards to poke through and stab the snake in the mouth.

Despite its apparent injury, the snake moved partially out of the hole to investigate. The snake seemed to be aggressively investigating the commotion that Nate had made. Honestly, Nate couldn’t believe the scenario was actually happening as he planned. Feeling like he had been correct in his idea, Nate began to quietly shift himself into position. He was going to go forward with the attack. He tucked the stinky shirt ball into a crevice in the bark. With his newly freed hand, he removed the knife from his mouth and gripped it tightly. His adrenaline was running rampant as he plunged down with a knife in hand and stabbed the snake.

As Nate plummeted, the snake must have been alerted. It moved. The knife dug in about a hands length away from where Nate had intended. Instead of stabbing the animal right between the eyes, the knife sunk into the flesh at the base of its head.

It wasn’t the instant kill that Nate had planned. He had no other option than to hug the snake and get thrashed around by the flailing animal. The snake had tremendous strength as it slammed Nate into the tree and roots over and over again.

[You have been affected by ‘Bleeding’ status]

[Your health will decline at a rate of 1 per minute until ‘Bleeding’ status removed]

[Health: 29/100]

Nate tried his best to hold on but the beast wouldn’t stop thrashing violently. He had a thought that maybe he could get his knife free and stab the snake again. Moving his right arm away from the snake’s body, Nate reached for the knife handle. The snake seemed to time one of its thrashes perfectly and Nate when flying off into the distance. With a rough impact, he landed on the leaf-filled forest floor. Nate was disoriented. After taking a second to get his bearings, Nate looked over toward the tree hollow. The snake was gone.

The snake must have managed to pull itself back in the tree with a ball of Nate’s clothes and a knife stuck in its body.

[You have been affected by ‘Bleeding’ status]

[Your health will decline at a rate of 1 per minute until ‘Bleeding’ status removed]

[Health: 28/100]

The alert brought Nate’s attention back to his condition. He felt pretty beat up physically, but this whole incident was a terrifying mental blow. Nate only realized now that his plan was utterly stupid. He had risked his life fighting over a soggy spot inside a tree. Now, he was stuck standing in the middle of a dangerous forest with no knife to protect himself, no shirt to cover his pale flesh, and no belt to hold up his pants. And he was bleeding to death. His whole situation had gone downhill because of this stupid idea. Nate took the experience to heart and swore to himself that if he lived then he would spend more time thinking over his schemes and not rush into dangerous situations.

[Wisdom Stat has increased by 1]

“Fuck, is that an ‘I told you so’?,” Nate cursed the system. It was like the system was rubbing his shitty idea in his face.

His bleeding back stung but surprisingly it didn’t feel that bad.

“Must be the [Pain Resistance],” Nate thought to himself as he tried to figure out his next step.

Picking up a stick off the ground, he flung it into the hole of the tree. No movement was heard inside.

“I wonder if the snake is dead. It was bleeding really badly,” Nate thought as he tried to figure out a way to stop his own back’s bleeding. If he still had his supplies, he had an extra clean shirt that he could put on like a bandage. But everything was inside the tree.

Time steadily ticked by as Nate tried to think of a way to get himself out of this mess. A system alert pulled him out of his thoughts.

[You have been affected by ‘Bleeding’ status]

[Your health will decline at a rate of 1 per minute until ‘Bleeding’ status removed]

[Health: 24/100]

“Fuck. I don’t have much time,” Nate thought as he flung another stick into the tree hole. No sounds of movement. 

“Maybe it really is dead,” Nate thought as he tried to work up the nerve to go into the tree to investigate. He really needed the supplies or he would die from blood loss in about 20 minutes. He had already wasted too much time.

Realizing that he had no other option, Nate moved closer to the entrance. With a painful movement, he slowly slipped into the tree hole. Once he got inside, nothing happened. All he could see was darkness.

[Will Stat has increased by 3]

[Stamina Stat has increased by 1]

Ignoring the notification Nate stood perfectly still, Nate could roughly make out the outlines of things inside the tree. He could see the shadow of the snake curled up off to the side unmoving. It didn’t appear big at all when it was curled up, but Nate knew otherwise now.

Nate slowly moved his way over to his pile of belongings at the opposite side of the snake. The beast wasn’t moving or breathing from what he could see, but he was still cautious. After a few seconds of creeping over to his stuff, Nate managed to grab hold of the healing ointment. With a bit of awkwardness and pain, he applied the ointment to his own back. The process was messy and he was sure that he was wasting a fair amount of healing ointment, but he needed to stop the bleeding quickly. After smearing the ointment on, he grabbed his extra shirt and put it on. He leaned up against the tree insides to press the shirt into his wounds. Worried about how much time he had spent with this process, Nate pulled up his health status.

[Health: 18/100]

“Damn,” Nate cursed as he realized that he had spent much more time than it seemed with treating his wounds.

Standing against the inside wall of the tree, he kept his eyes focused in on the snake. He had done everything that he could to get the bleeding to stop. Now, all he could do was wait for the status effect to be removed. He watched his health status slowly tick down minute after minute.

[Health: 17/100]

[Health: 16/100]

[Health: 15/100]

[Health: 14/100]

[‘Bleeding’ status has been removed]

[Health: 13/100]

Finally, Nate felt relief flood his body. He had pursued his only option and succeeded in his attempt. Now, he only had the issue of the snake to deal with.

It looked dead. He had been standing inside the small tree hollow with the beast for quite some time, but the beast had never moved. Nate decided to see if he could figure out the beast's condition.

After watching the creature for around 15 minutes, Nate started to become impatient. Nothing had happened in all that time, so Nate was seriously considering that the snake was dead. But since his bleeding status was removed and the situation was somewhat stable, he wasn’t in a rush to check. Right now, he was trying his hardest to see if the beast was still breathing. He could manage to make out the outline of the animal and he could tell where its head was by the glint of the metal handle of the knife.

[‘Dark Vision’ has increased to Level 3]

As he continued to watch the snake, the alerts continued but Nate didn’t really enjoy them this time. He was too busy trying to plan his next move. If he had confirmation that the snake was dead, then he would simply just stay put. He might even cut himself a snake steak to eat tonight. But that was only if the snake was dead. If the snake was just sleeping off an injury, then his disturbing the beast would probably only result in his death. Nate continued to watch but soon realized a problem. The dimming light of day was gradually making the inside of the tree darker and darker. His [Dark Vision] skill could only help out so much and soon he would be left in complete darkness with the snake that had almost killed him twice. 

He realized that he needed to take action now, but was scared over the possible outcome. Not wanting to test his luck fully, Nate picked up a stick off the floor of the tree hollow and tossed it at the snake. It smacked the snakes side and the body of the snake immediately started flopping around inside the tree hollow. 

Nate couldn't dodge the chaotic thrashing of the snake and was soon hit several times by the snake's whipping movements. Nate tried to protect his head and face with his arms, but an extremely hard impact sent him flying into the wall of the tree hollow. After hitting with a thud, Nate slumped down on the dirt of the tree hollow. His body losing most of its ability to move. The pain this time surpassed his previous experiences and he knew that at least one of his ribs was broken.

[‘Pain Resistance’ has increased to Level 6]

[You have been affected by ‘Bleeding’ status]

[Your health will decline at a rate of 1 per minute until ‘Bleeding’ status removed]

[Health: 5/100]

Nate could barely move his body so all he could do is sit against the wall and stare forward. From the lack of a continuous beating, he assumed that the snake had stopped with its fit. Nate felt awful as he sat in an almost paralyzed state waiting for the snake to come finish him off. He was so tired.

[Health: 4/100]

Thinking about his experiences since his awakening, Nate managed to smile. He had seen so many things during the little amount of time since that day. He had seen the wilderness and even fought a beast. He had actually gotten to do so much that he had always wished for while slaving away in the Grey Sector of Newcomb City. The thought of all that he had managed to do made him begin to settle down mentally. He knew he was going to die, but this wasn't all that bad. At least, he wasn't dying working in a soot-filled factory. He took a deep breath and relaxed.

[‘Mental Calm’ has increased to Level 10]

[Level has increased by 1]

In his delirious state, Nate managed to let out a chuckle. With the laugh, his body must have exhausted all of its remaining energy. Nate passed out from his injury and slumped over on the ground. As he lay there dying, Nate's health continued to tick down.

[Health: 3/100]

[Health: 2/100]

[‘Bleeding’ status has been removed]

[Health: 1/100]

[Calm Survivor Class Obtained]

[Level has increased by 1]

System alerts continued as Nate lay slumped on the damp and dirty floor inside the tree.


About the author


  • 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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