Diving to the side, Eric executed a clumsy roll, cradling his bow to his chest. Tumbling to his feet, he quickly nocked the arrow and took aim at the demonic rabbit that was turning to charge him again. As it exposed its flank, Eric loosed the arrow, which sprang from the bowstring like a viper towards the hapless rabbit.
Thwock. With a meaty thud, the arrow penetrated deeply into the rabbit’s left flank, pinning the beast to the forest floor. As the rabbit fell, he threw himself forward once more, jerking his dagger from its sheath.
A blur of angry brown fur smashed through the space he’d occupied only a moment previously. Whirling around, Eric buried his dagger deep inside its side. Jerking it out and stabbing twice more for good measure, he was rewarded with Eleanor’s fairylike voice announcing his victory.
[Demonic Rabbit has died]
[Demonic Rabbit has died]
“Whew," wiping the sweat off his brow, Eric quickly looted the corpses before continuing onwards. He’d hunted well over seven dozen demonic rabbits at this point and he was starting to become fairly proficient at the task, even managing to hunt two at once now. There were a few tricks to successfully killing the demon bunnies.
First, he wanted the jump on the rabbit; if it saw him first, then he would be forced to dodge the first charge before retaliating.
Second was that the demonic rabbit had two major weaknesses when charging. The first weakness was that the rabbit could not adjust its trajectory very much mid-charge. As long as he kept a cool head, dodging was a fairly simple affair. The second weakness was that the rabbit took time to turn and reposition itself after missing a charge. This time could be increased by rapidly moving from side to side, forcing most rabbits to consider their direction they should charge in to hit him.
By taking advantage of this ending lag on the demonic rabbit’s attack, Eric could easily line up a shot with his bow or use a spell to strike the rabbit. As a result, the rabbits in the forest were becoming increasingly helpless against him. Unfortunately, he still hadn’t leveled up, having only increased the levels of his Basic Archery and Basic Arcane Magic skills.
He’d wanted to use flame magic. But, after setting a significant portion of the nearby brush on fire as well as burning a rabbit to a crisp and receiving no drops from its corpse he had abandoned the idea. The thought of what might happen if he missed and set the forest ablaze was another powerful deterrent to leveling his flame magic. At least for now.
Apart from using flame magic, he had also attempted to create some new spells, mostly focusing on the basic arcane runes so as to avoid turning his surroundings into a sea of flames. Vaguely recalling the shape of the arcane arrow rune Calyn had used during the tutorial, he’d attempted to recreate it on his own.
Unfortunately, he must have been doing something wrong as the spell refused to cast. His mana was eaten up at an alarming rate during this process and he’d been forced to abandon the idea of creating a new spell.
Recalling this failure, Eric sighed. Magic really is harder than I thought. Unfortunately, I don’t really have time to waste testing out theories. I’ll give it one more attempt before I get back to hunting. Seeing that his mana had refilled, Eric tried once more, doing his best to recreate the shape he seemed to remember Calyn making, creating a vaguely teardrop shaped rune in the air.
As he finished drawing the rune and began to infuse it with his mana the rune began to glow. His face lighting up in excitement, Eric infused more mana, filling the spell structure with his mana. With a bright glow, the spell was completed, the rune flaring once as Eric prepared to fire it.
Aiming at a nearby tree, he cast the spell, the rune glowing as it coalesced into a brilliant violet...blob? Slowly and shakily, the blob floated through the air, eventually hitting the tree and softly dispersing, bright glowing motes of violet light sparkling in the sunlight as the spell faded.
[Congratulations! You have created a new spell: Arcane Blob]
Arcane blob is the first spell created by Erick Kystfyr. It’s a poorly and crudely drawn rune that forms a blob of arcane energy. Lacking both power and elegance, the spell seems destined to be forgotten. Would you like to add this spell to your spellbook?
Looking at the system’s message in disgust, Eric forcefully declined the system’s offer to add Arcane Blob to his spellbook.
With a sigh, Eric abandoned the idea of using magic as his main method of attack for the time being. As long as he remained in the forest, he simply couldn’t safely use magic that was powerful enough to contend with the monsters nearby without the risk of accidentally burning himself to death. Hopefully, there was a magic tutor in the village, or possibly in a nearby town, as he had no idea how long it would be before he reached the Filoketh Magic Academy.
Noticing his notification icon gently glowing, Eric brought up the notification window.
[Basic Archery has advanced to Beginner 5]
[You have learned a new skill: Basic Evasion]
Seeing this, Eric raised an eyebrow in surprise, he’d been doing his best to create a new skill but so far nothing had worked. He’d tried aiming more precisely for vital targets, shooting the bow while moving, and even lost an arrow (and nearly his life) when he’d tried combining flame magic with his shot.
Barely suppressing the joy that was bubbling up inside, he quickly brought open the skill panel for his new skill.
[Basic Evasion] - Beginner 1
You have gained the ability to avoid blows that would make your continued existence difficult. However, your clumsiness is apparent and you are unable to perform any other actions while dodging. Train this skill to improve your ability to avoid attacks.
Closing the panel, Eric grinned and pumped his fist. It was a fairly basic skill, simply a confirmation that all the dodging he’d been doing had been recognized by the system. But it was still his first skill and it confirmed that repeating an action had the ability to grant a player that action as a skill.
Checking the time, Eric realized that it was almost time to meet up with the guys. He had twenty more minutes before they’d agreed to meet up, which meant forty minutes in game. Enough time to kill a few more rabbits and maybe see if there were any other monsters in the forest. He’d heard something fairly large moving through the leaves nearby at one point, but he’d run away quickly before it could kill his weak level one self.
Moving quickly, Eric soon found himself in a new part of the forest that he hadn’t been to previously. A small brook snaked its way through a copse of trees, bubbling softly over a few large rocks in the riverbed. The brook was at its widest perhaps only two meters in width, with a depth that didn’t seem to exceed more than a couple feet. Following the brook for a ways, Eric was suddenly jolted into alertness by the sounds of battle nearby. Gripping his bow, he cautiously moved towards the sounds of metal clashing against wood and flesh, interspersed by the occasional grunt or loud yell.
As he got closer, the woods thinned slightly to reveal a glade, divided in two by a fallen tree, mostly decomposed into mulch at this point. The brook veered off to the side of glade, passing by just in front of his hiding place. Only a few metres across the brook, a pair of figures could be seen fighting a trio of wolves. The wolves were enormous, each the size of a large dog with the same glowing red eyes that the Demonic Rabbits had. Their fur was dark brown, with a reddish tint visible where it met the sunlight streaming down from the gaps in the trees.
On the ground nearby lay the corpse of a demonic rabbit and the smoking body of another wolf, while behind the two human figures lay an injured woman, clutching her side as she watched her companions engage the wolves.
The rabbit must be what had attracted the wolves, Eric realized. Perhaps the party had just killed the rabbit and was resting when the wolves suddenly attacked, drawn by the rabbits corpse. The injured woman was holding a wand and seemed to be a mage, which meant she probably overused her mana in the initial skirmish, killing one of the wolves and going down herself, resulting in a 2v3.
As he watched, the wolves lunged towards the larger of the two figures, a tall man with blonde hair, in one hand he wielded a short bronze sword, similar to the ones Eric had seen on the wall of the smithy, while in the other hand he wore a small shield made of wood. Receiving the lead wolf’s attack on the shield, he thrust out viciously with the sword, making up for what he lacked in technique with brute force.
The man’s blade stabbed deeply into the wolf’s shoulder, but as he was preoccupied with the first wolf, a second wolf leapt at his sword arm, digging its jaws into his forearm and tearing at his side with its claws. The third wolf leapt at the second figure, a slender woman with mid-length red hair who wielded a spear. Gripping the spear, she dodged to the side, plunging the blade into the wolf’s gaping maw. Withdrawing her spear from the beast’s gullet, she began hacking and stabbing at its head and shoulders as the animal tried to withdraw, choking on its own blood as it attempted to call to its companions.
"Tch," Eric swore. The scene did not look good. Despite the fight the two standing members of the party were putting up, the wolves were just far too strong. If things continued as they were, the entire party would be dead in another minute. Should I try to help out? Even if he were to step in, there was no guarantee that they would win. In fact, it seemed likely that his body would join theirs, as morbid decorations upon the forest floor.
“Alex! Tammy! Just leave me!” Pleaded the injured woman, forced to watch helplessly as the wolves leapt repeatedly at her two companions.
“Not a chance, Kat,” the shieldbearer replied, throwing the wolf on his shield arm off and stabbing forward towards the wounded wolf. The spearwoman simply nodded in response, her eyes focused upon the beasts in front of her.
As her companions continued to fight, the injured woman, Kat, gazed around frantically, desperately searching for a way out of the predicament she and her companions had found themselves in. As she searched, her gaze met Eric’s, hidden as he was in the foliage behind the brook. Her eyes widened as she saw him, calling out in a hoarse voice.
“Please! Help us!”
"Damn," Eric swore once more. He had been hoping to stay unnoticed as he backed quietly away from the fight. From what he could see, joining in would not change the outcome of the battle. Now that he had been seen, however, there was a choice to make. Should he stay and do his best to save the party? Or flee, and be branded a coward should they ever cross paths again. Not exactly an ideal outcome for one who wanted to go pro.
Unfortunately for the mage, her cry distracted the shieldbearer who turned to see what she was yelling at. Losing ones focus in a battle like this had fatal consequences and, as he turned, the uninjured wolf jumped up, tearing at his chest with both paws, which glinted red as the man’s cotton shirt was torn apart. With an unwilling yell, he collapsed, a bloody mist rising from his body. Under the horrified gazes of both women, he fell, the wolf still on top of him, his body growing still as his sword and shield clattered uselessly to the ground beside him.
The remaining woman didn’t shirk back at the death of her companion, instead drawing her bloody spear close to her body she swore at the two wolves, “Come and get me you mangy bastards," she snarled as they circled her, hunting for an opening.
Slowly the wolves circled, the woman keeping them in her eyes, only to realize a moment too late that she had been outmaneuvered and the wolves were now between her and her wounded companion. Gritting her teeth, she let out a yell and attacked, lunging forward with her spear, only to be met by the uninjured wolf leaping at her with its jaws outstretched. Holding her spear in front of her chest, she met the wolf’s leap with the shaft of her spear, its jaws clamping around it and refusing to let go.
Pushed to action, Eric nocked an arrow to his bow and took aim at the wolf stalking towards the injured mage. As he sighted carefully down the shaft, the wolf moved suddenly, pouncing towards the mages’ neck. Panicking, Eric let the arrow fly slightly too high. As he watched, it soared over the wolf’s back, narrowly avoiding the spearwoman as the wolf’s jaws descended upon the mage’s neck.
The wounded woman continued to stare unyieldingly at Eric even as the wolf’s jaws closed around her neck, her eyes accusing him of more than her lips could ever speak.
Kicking the wolf on her spear aside, the spearwoman leapt into the air, her spear descending like a lightning bolt directly into the skull of the wolf with her companions neck still in its jaws. As the wolf collapsed, her companion pointed once at Eric’s hiding place, before collapsing onto the ground. As motes of light from the dead wolf rose around the spearwoman in a beautiful halo, she gritted her teeth and glared at Eric before spinning back to deal with the third and final wolf.
Now that he’d revealed himself, he had no real choice but to aid her in dispatching the wolf, Eric told himself as he groped for another arrow. It definitely wasn't because he felt guilty about his inaction. Not at all. Pausing, he suddenly realized his dilemma. With the wolf and the woman locked in mortal combat, both were moving far too erratically for him to guarantee a good shot. He had almost equal chances of hitting the spearwoman as he did hitting the wolf.
With a sigh, Eric nocked a second arrow to his bow, gritting his teeth as he took aim. He had no choice but to attempt the shot. There was no way this spearwoman would understand that his first arrow which had nearly skewered her had been an accident if he did not at least try and make a show of helping her kill the wolf, especially as it had resulted in the death of her companion.
As he took careful aim, the fight between the woman and the wolf had reached its climax, with the two exchanging blow after blow. The woman was bloody all over, ignoring defence in favour of a berserk-like fighting style. The wolf fought with equal savagery, the deaths of its two companions at this spearwoman’s hand fresh on its mind, warning it that if it did not fight with everything it had it would be its corpse joining the dead in this sunlit glade.
Sighting down his bow, Eric was unable to line up a good shot, every time he was about to loose the arrow, the woman would jump in front of his shot or the wolf would leap at the woman, entangling the two in a flurry of claws, metal, and fur.
Exhaling, he emptied his mind of the interfering thoughts, as he did so the sounds of the brook, the birdsong, and even the insects disappeared, his vision narrowing until the only things he saw were the woman and the wolf. As the woman lunged once more, the wolf dodged agilely to one side, pouncing on the off balance woman and knocking her to the ground. Now, Eric thought, loosing the arrow. Before the arrow had even left the string, he could already envision the result, watching as the arrow leapt forward to skewer the wolf’s eye as it brought its jaws down to snap the woman’s neck.
[Red-Maned Wolf has died]
With a simple system message, the battle was over. All three wolves lay dead, while two of the three members of the party had died, leaving Eric and the injured spearwoman as the only beings left alive in the glade.
The guiding light for gamers lost in the sea of online games.
Hey guys, I'm Lighthouse, a gamer from Canada who loves helping others in games. I've been a gamer for almost two decades and learned about LitRPG and webnovels a couple years ago. I finally decided to write my own novel in 2018 and Fate was the result.
I mainly enjoy fantasy and LitRPG novels and as a result my own novel is a fantasy LitRPG with a competitive gaming twist. Hopefully everyone enjoys my work ^.^