The Many Lives of Cadence Lee

by

vladerag

Chapter Twenty Six - The Importance of Acuity and Willpower

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  With two more lizards approaching rapidly, I had to finish the first one quickly. Actually fighting three versus one might be a bit much for me, so I slammed the lizard into the tree again, and again!

  “[You have defeated a Lvl. 4 (Hatchling Green Lizard) and earned 10 xp!]

  [For killing a higher leveled monster than yourself, you have earned 50% extra experience! You earned 5 xp extra!]

  [Congratulations! You have reached Level 2!]

  [You have gained +1 Strength, +1 Endurance, and +1 Vitality!]”

 

  Perfect! I have just enough time to jump out of the way of the lizards charging at me from behind! I hop to the side and the monsters ram into the dead body of their comrade and into each other. They almost seem to forget about me for a second as they start hissing at each other, and for a nanosecond I wonder if I can sneak away. No such luck though, as they turn on me again.

  The closest one lunges at me again and I hop over it to hit the one lagging behind. I need to keep one of the lizards between me and the other one and not let them surround me. Unfortunately, without something to knock them against the lizards are hurt but not disoriented by my attacks and the lizard tries to claw me! I dodge once but get scratched by the lizard’s second claw!

 

  “[You have learned the Skill: Dodge! Dodge is now Level 1!]

  [Jumping has Leveled up! Jumping is now Level 2!]

  [You have been scratched! You lost 4 hp!]”

 

  I ignore the notifications for now as my opponents turn on me. I am forced to dodge again almost immediately as one of them tries to bite me again. I try to evade in such a way that the same movement allows me to slam into the slightly more injured one again. I don’t feel like my body slams are doing much damage right now, but what else can I do?

  I don’t really have any weapons, natural or otherwise. Clearly, the lizards don’t care about my [Toxic Skin] racial Skill either because they are immune or too stupid not to try and eat me anyway. I could try and kick-!?

  Before I even finish that thought, one of them knocks me over. It is now or never, I either kick or die! A lizard is about to pounce onto my exposed belly and I kick out as hard as I can- and it tosses the lizard into the air… My thoughts are, but right now, at Level Two, I am five times stronger than a normal Level one Hatchling Boreal Toad, three times stronger than a Level three Hatchling Boreal Toad and only a little less than one sixth as strong as the average human!

  I might not have enough mass to really hurt them much when I Charge into them, but I have more than enough Strength to toss them around! The only issue is that my toady anatomy isn’t exactly suited for this, so I need to get creative. I manage to scramble back onto my feet and launch into my newest plan: hopping on top of the lizard’s head!

  I immediately jump off, the force of my movements cracking the lizard’s head against the ground. I aim my jump at the other lizard, slamming it off its feet again. If I keep this up, I will undoubtedly win!

  Fifteen minutes later I stood alone in the forest, victorious over the bodies of my enemies!

 

  “[You have been scratched! You have lost 3 hp!]

  [You have been scratched! You have lost 4 hp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 3 (Hatchling Green Lizard) and earned 10 xp!]

  [For killing a higher leveled monster than yourself, you have earned 50% extra experience! You earned 5 xp extra!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 4 (Hatchling Green Lizard) and earned 10 xp!]

  [For killing a higher leveled monster than yourself, you have earned 50% extra experience! You earned 5 xp extra!]

  [Congratulations! You have reached Level 3!]

  [You have gained +1 Strength, +1 Endurance, and +1 Vitality!]

  [Jumping has Leveled up! Jumping is now Level 3!]

  [Dodge has Leveled up! Dodge is now Level 2!]

  [Charge has Leveled up! Charge is now Level 2!]”

 

  ...Yeah, I might have won, but it had hurt to do so. I had lost twenty health in that fight, and I was exhausted now as well! I decide to slowly head back to my burrow; I’d rather not rush right now. My head won’t turn enough without me turning my body, so I can’t tell for certain, but I am fairly sure I am bleeding a little bit in a couple of places. I need to take some time to recover.

  On the bright side, my updated Character Menu definitely showed progress!

 

  Character Menu:

  Name: -   Species: Hatchling Boreal Toad   Level: 3/5   Experience: 0/40

  Class: -locked-   Health: 25/45    Mana: 0/0   Stamina: 35/100

  Statistics:

  Str: 16    End: 15   Vit: 15   Agi: 9    Dex: 5

  Per: 15   Acy: 20   Wil: 3   Cha: 12   Mgc: 1

  Lck: 163

  Abilities:

  [Breathes through her Skin](racial)   [Toxic Skin](racial)   [Better First Impression]

  [Healthy Thoughts]   [First Words]   [Killing Blow]

  Skills:

  Analysis: 1   Charge: 2   Digging: 1   Dodge: 2   Jumping: 3   Swimming: 2

  Stealth: 1

 

  Wait, how do I heal? Hopefully I will do it naturally? What if I am dying right now!? Analysis, help me!

 

  “[Your Health. When your Health reaches 0, you die. Your current Health is 25/45. You are healing at a rate of: 1 hp/day.]

  [Base Health is equal to your End plus 2 times your Vit. (h=(e+2v)). Base Health Regeneration is equal to 1 plus your Vit divided by 100 rounded down to the nearest whole integer. (⌊(1+(v/100))⌋=r). You heal 2 times faster while sleeping.]

 

  How the hell was I supposed to know those mathematics abilities would suddenly be useful for my survival as a toad!? Creeping through the forest on my way to my little hole, I have the time I need to think. And I really do need the time.

  I had never really considered what it meant to have low Stats before. Sure, every time I was reborn as a baby my Stats were pretty low, however I rarely had to use them. Babies don’t often need to fight and their only real job was to learn things. My low Acuity would be a problem, except that my ability [First Words] made it easier to learn a new language, which was the only difficult thing to really learn!

  Otherwise, what did I have to use my Acuity for as a baby? What danger could I be in if my low Willpower means I am distracted easily? Plus, if you combine low Acuity and Willpower, that just exacerbates my inability to think! Not only do I think slowly, but I get distracted easily. It has been incredibly hard to keep up this train of thought during my walk even.

  My low Endurance and Vitality is also screwing me over as well here. Those lizards could probably barely hurt me if I had the average human’s Endurance, and the damage wouldn’t even matter because I’d have around three hundred health! Plus, I would heal twice as fast. As it is, it will take me somewhere between ten and twenty days! Doing the math to actually figure out how many days is too hard right now.

  I finally made it back to the pool, having eaten a few more bugs along the way so that I wasn’t hungry, and made my way back to the bush and my little hole in the ground. I hunkered down inside and went to sleep.

 

***

 

  I’m not sure how long I was asleep. It was daylight, but my xp had yet to tick up- presumably it would go up by one when twenty-four hours had passed since I hatched. My health had yet to go up as well which left me in a difficult situation. There was a part of me that wanted to hunt - to fight - but I was also terrified to do so when I was just a little bit above half health.

  I learned, from reading the Analysis of my species name, that I wasn’t just any old toad. No, a full grown member of my species could swallow people whole. Actually, it made me wonder why I didn’t see one of my parents around. You would think it would be hard to miss a giant toad like that. More importantly, my species was described as “highly aggressive carnivores,” which explained where my constant and ill-advised desire to hunt came from.

  If I just sat here, I would probably be overwhelmed by my instinct, so I had to do something. In the end, I decided to make my home a little more homey. First, by digging out a bunch of mud and creating a little wall around my little hole beneath the bush. I gathered sticks to help hold the inside together and fetched pebbles to go around the outside.

 

  “[Digging has Leveled up! Digging is now Level 2!]

  [You have learned the Skill: Crafting! Crafting is now Level 1!]”

 

  Shouldn’t it be construction? Is this discrimination against toads!? Don’t make me make Podi slap you again System!

  A few hours later, I got another notification.

 

  “[You have gained 1 xp!]”

 

  Woohoo, I’ve survived one whole day! I even built myself a home in that time; I feel very productive right now. Of course, when I step back to look at my new “house” I have to admit that it might just be a pile of muddy sticks and rocks, but what matters is that it is my pile of muddy sticks and rocks!

  I did my best to sleep and rest in Toadhome, but by the time I had recovered a single point of health, I had to admit I was incredibly bored. I wanted to hunt so bad! Sitting still when I wasn’t tired was simply impossible, I just couldn’t do it. I ended up hopping around my little home for hours, desperately trying to expend enough energy that I could go back to sleep and heal.

 

  “[Jumping has Leveled up! Jumping is now Level 4!]”

 

  The worst part was when a snake came to the pool to drink water and my instincts were to just attack it immediately. Watching it drink, apparently unaware that I was even here, was driving me to madness! I barely had the wherewithal to Analyze it before I leaped out.

 

  “[Young Glass Lizard, Lvl 1]

  [Often confused for a snake, the Glass Lizard is - as its name implies - a legless lizard. They can move surprisingly fast.]

  [Quite cowardly; Glass Lizard’s tails can be detached and when detached will thrash around to distract predators. While carnivorous, they cannot unhinge their jaws as snakes do which limits the size of their prey. Adult Shatter-Glass Lizards are capable of regrowing their main body from their broken off tails, but most other varieties are incapable of doing this.]”

 

  It is lower level than me. As long as I am not distracted by its tail, I should be fine! Weird that it is a lizard though, it really looks like a snake. Either way, it is going to be my first victi- I mean, test subject - for an idea I had for hunting. At some point, I noticed that I didn’t have to always look forward or move my head to shift my eyes.

  I could actually somewhat look behind me without even moving! Although my depth perception became pretty shitty, which might be very relevant in a second because my grand plan was to “kick” some of the small stones I gathered at my opponents.

...Yeah, I missed and the lizard ran - slithered? - away. It really was quite fast! On the bright side, it didn’t seem interested in trying to eat me, so I think I can call that encounter a win and pat myself on the back. The only issue was that I was back to square one, unable to sit still!

  I decided to try and play the ambush predator. I feel like it should be easy with my racial ability [Breathes through her Skin] allowed me to breathe underwater, and in mud? That bit seemed strange to me, but I will think about it when I am smart again.

  Thoughts were hard, so I kept my plan simple. I sit under the water, creatures come to drink, I jump out and murder them. Easy! The only problem was that the first monster to come to the water was huge.

 

  “[Young Green Lizard, Lvl 2]

  [A highly aggressive and common Lizard monster. Known for attacking just about anything that moves.]

  [Only growing to the size of a large dog and often unwilling to share territory with others of its kind when it reaches the Young and Adult stages, Green Lizards are considered a “nuisance” monster and do not have a posted bounty from the Guild. In fact, because they tend to suppress the younger forms of much more dangerous monsters, it is generally advised to try and avoid killing them whenever possible.]”

 

  “Suppressing the younger forms of much more dangerous monsters,” isn’t that just a euphemism for, “it eats other monster’s babies before they can grow up!?” It is a lower level than me, but it is four times the size of the Green Lizards I’ve seen so far! Is it because it is “Young” instead of a “Hatchling?” Does that mean that the Young Glass Lizard I scared away probably could have turned around and murdered me!?

  I am just going to stay under the water of this pool and just let it drink. I am not ready to fight something like this, especially not when I am injured.

 

  “[Stealth has Leveled up! Stealth is now Level 2!]”

 

  I wait for a while after the big lizard leaves and then pick a different spot for my ambush. It is, for the most part, an utter failure. Monsters come and drink, and I am almost always too far away to do anything! It was incredibly frustrating, although it kept my instincts down enough for me not to actually try and hunt the lizards down, so I guess you could call this a day of rest and relaxation. At least I managed to level up my Swimming…

 

  “[Swimming has Leveled up! Swimming is now Level 2!]”

 

  As soon as dusk hit though, I no longer was content to just sit around in the pool. I had to hunt; the most I could manage was to try and be far more careful this night. The area was swampy, so I decided to try and stick to the shallow water instead of just wandering into the woods.

  I had a lot more success sneaking around when I hid under the water. My first attack, on a Level 2 Infant Blood Squirrel, was a wonderful success! I even learned the Skill Ambush! Unfortunately, it was barely worth any xp at all. I only gained a single point from it because there was a fifty percent xp penalty since it was below my level! I suppose it shaved a day off the time until I could evolve out of being a murder toad, which was something I guess.

  I did get a better idea of the wildlife that lived in the area. Considering that most everything was trying to kill everything else, it was pretty diverse. Monsters were fighting each other everywhere. I guess monsters are born and then fight amongst each other until the strongest evolve and go somewhere else?

  Most of them looked like things I would have seen in a forest on Earth, just dialed up to eleven. However, some things were distinctly not Earth like, the slime being one of them. Slimes, as far as I can remember, were supposed to be some of the weakest creatures in a lot of fictions. Here? I watched Spawnling Common Slime slaughter a whole nest of Blood Squirrels. Anything that tried to attack it just got stuck in it and eaten!

  It wasn’t until a Hatchling Glass Lizard managed to break - out of pure luck or maybe pure Luck - an orb floating in the slime that the thing died, and it was basically dead and half digested anyway. I, not wanting the xp to go to waste, finished the Glass Lizard off and gained six xp for my trouble.  It was level three so I didn’t get a penalty or a bonus for my effort.

  Counting the xp I gained passively, I only managed to gain five xp today and recover a single point of health. If things kept going at this rate it would take me a long while to evolve into something else. From an xp point of view, the only prey worth hunting was at or above my level.

  I would head back to Toadhome tonight, but tomorrow I think I will have to take some risks. Perhaps, as hard as it might be, it was time to stop thinking like a murder toad and start thinking like a person. I didn’t need to be stronger than my opponents if I fought smarter, and my Acuity might be causing me trouble but I still was far more intelligent than lizards that charged ahead with their mouths open and their eyes closed!

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About the author

vladerag

Bio: Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!

You can find them here! https://royalroadl.com/profile/76129/fictions

And if you are interested in supporting me, you can do so here as well! https://www.patreon.com/vladerag

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