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A note from vladerag

Edit: Forgot to say that Patreon is now 3 chapters ahead, if you are interested.

  I had a deep suspicion about new things in this world. Aside from tiny insects, I had yet to see a single creature that did not want to kill me. Who knows, maybe those insects wanted to kill me as well but they were simply too small for me to notice their aggression? For all I knew an ant would Evolve and become the size of a small boar before proceeding to step on me.

  The point of my ridiculous musings here was that seeing my pond bubble put me on edge. Why was my pond bubbling? Was I on top of some kind of geothermal formation? I didn’t know anything about geysers and the like, but I kind of feel like I would have seen some sort of sign in the three weeks I had lived by the pool before today.

  I put my newly increased Perception to work and backed a few meters away from the water’s edge. Considering there was no steam or water vapor above the surface, I felt like the bubbling wasn’t because of heat but because air was somehow being released from under the mud at the bottom of the pool. Maybe swamp gas was actually a real thing? I had always thought of that as a myth or urban legend or something.

  My cautious musings were interrupted with a sound I had become quite familiar with: “SQUEAK!”

  That wasn’t me! I wasn’t even a toad anymore!

  “Squeak!?”

  “SQUEAK!”

  “Squeak.”

  “Squeak, Squeak!”

  Dozens, no hundreds, of squeaks began to fill the air. From the water’s edge, bodies began to emerge. In the pool, eyes peeked out from the water’s surface. Analyze confirmed what I had already guessed:

  My brothers and sisters had emerged!

  An uncountable number of Hatchling Boreal Toads began to make their way to land. All of them squeaking at each other as if all the squeaky toys in a pet store came to life and vowed to take revenge upon the world! That thought was humorous, but being another small creature in the path of that toadlet army was terrifying.

  I had just Evolved out of being a Boreal Toad, would they still recognize me as a sibling?

  A few dozen war cries from some very angry toads as they spotted me answered that question quickly. Clearly, I was now in the “enemy” category and maybe even the “food” category. I didn’t exactly have feelings for my siblings, but I would rather not fight them and be turned into a group meal.

  Not that they were very dangerous individually or even in small groups. I was well aware of exactly what the Stats were for a Hatchling Boreal Toad and knew I could beat them down in the dozens, but against hundreds or maybe even thousands? Nope, fuck that; I’m out!

  I turned and ran into the woods.

 

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

 

  Had I really never ran before? I suppose not, I would have hopped before. The gigantic swarm of my family was not exactly fast, so I really didn’t have to worry about them catching me. However, they did present something of a problem. Namely that this place was about to become a squeaky bloodbath and I would need to find a new home. I was going to miss Toadhome though…

  Actually, I really needed a new goal. Well, aside from Evolving into something that is not slimy. Being a newt was an improvement over a toad, but I have standards. So that meant hunting, except that as soon as I thought that I ran head first into my instincts again.

  “I don’t wanna do stuff!”

  I guess this is what the Species description meant by “docile.” I had a strong negative feeling about doing things like hunting, or even moving more than I must to get away from the flood of Boreal Toads. I kind of just want to sit under some moist leaves and… that is it.

  Of course, I am not dumb enough to actually just throw a couple of leaves on top of me and call that a home! Despite dismissing renaming Toadhome to Newthome, I did need to find a Newthome now. I would, of course, studiously ignore the pun in that thought; I might be a monster, but I am not that monstrous!

  Bad puns aside, I need to find a safe place or make one. I’ll also have to build a new wall. A better wall; a magnificent wall; a beautiful wall to keep out all of the monsters. I’ll never be able to think of a wall without being reminded of that, am I?

  I had never been so far from the water before. While my eyesight still left much to be desired, I was still able to see enough to call the forest quite pretty. Every so often the wind would push aside the branches of the trees and a shaft of light would reach down from the sun to the mossy ground. Bushes and shrubbery formed a dense undergrowth, broken up by rocks and fallen trees that the moss had taken over. Just past a few trees I was just barely able to see a sunny and flower filled clearing.

  It was a beautiful sight only somewhat tarnished by the sight of a Slime eating a Blood Squirrel in that same clearing.

  Yeah, I’d rather not go somewhere so exposed myself. That said, that fallen tree looked really appealing. The mossy fallen tree tickled both my Witch’s Newt instincts and my human aesthetics. The newt part liked the moist and shadowy space and my human part just didn’t think lying in moss was as disgusting as living in mud, so I went over to inspect it.

  As I started to climb up the fallen tree - which was at an angle - I got another new Skill that I would never have gotten as a Boreal Toad.

 

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

 

  And that felt good. Maybe I could make my goal to acquire Skills and Level them? I’ve never had Skills level before, but I bet that Podi will give me some points for that and I know that I gain one point for each Skill I have. I had intended to take my lives more seriously, or rather to take gaining strength in my lives more seriously, before I was turned into a toad and ended up throwing what basically amounted to a month long tantrum.

  The tree had a lot of little hollows that I might be able to use, but I didn’t feel like I could really fortify something this large. However, not far away there was a broken off part of the trunk that was leaning against a large rock that might be better. Maybe this time I could get the Construction Skill, presuming that there was a Skill like that. I definitely needed a better wall because I was sure that there were larger predators around somewhere and that I just hadn't seen them yet.

  I eventually decided to use a little mossy hollow in the smaller piece of the trunk as my new home and started to consider how I should protect it. I don’t think I can really build a wall strong and large enough to hold back anything in the Young Evolution Stage, so maybe I could use some traps? My new racial Ability, [Toxic Control: Minor], might allow me to make traps that could kill without me directly being present. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that I would get experience for that, but even if I didn’t it would contribute to my safety. With enough traps I would be able to hang around here and hunt the insects that lived in the larger trunk when I needed to eat.

  Yeah, that is definitely my newt instincts there. Now that I know to look for these instincts I am a lot more aware of how they twist my thoughts. Witch’s Newt instincts are a lot more subtle than Boreal Toad instincts, but no less powerful. Maybe they are more powerful because of their subtlety.

  The basic gist of my new instincts seemed to be, “find a safe place and stay there.” It is difficult for my human thoughts to disagree with that kind of notion. I liked safety, I liked safety a lot. However, if I wanted to level, hunting is my best bet. Although I wouldn’t want to fight another Young creature again…

  Maybe that is a good enough reason not to go out hunting? I mean, sneaking around the forest seems like a good way to get ambushed and eaten. However, with the advantage of my traps I can handle a Young Lizard, if just barely. I needed four hundred experience for my next Evolution, so I would need to hunt things in the Young tier if I wanted to Evolve in any decent amount of time.

  I guess I would need to test my poison soon to see what options I have…

 

***

 

  It took me a much longer amount of time to put my home together this time. Seeing as how I wanted to try and get the Construction Skill, I put a lot more effort into my thinking here. I decided to make something of a palisade, which required me to gather a lot of sticks. More than I thought I would need, even though I only had to make a half arc from the rock to the trunk that was leaning on it.

  I dug a trench, stuck the sticks vertically in it, and then filled the trench with debris and rocks. I still didn’t get a Construction Skill, though did I gain one Level in Crafting. Maybe I need to do something larger? As much effort as I expended doing this, it really isn’t a large or impressive thing.

  Newthome essentially was a somewhat rotted log on a rock with a bunch of sticks pushed into the ground in an arc. I maybe had a half meter squared of space as a yard? It wasn’t like I had built myself a three story house with a water slide and a pool. Still, my new home had a better bed than my last. Moss beats dirt, I think.

  Tired from the work, I decided to take a nap using some leaves as blankets.

 

***

 

  I woke up to the same familiar sound that had chased me from my last home.

  “Squeak.”

  It was dark, but I could see just as well in the dark as in the light. Which is how I could see that I had made a mistake, one obviously driven - once again - by my instincts. Because Newthome was surrounded by dozens of wandering Boreal Toads.

  Obviously, now that I think about it, I should have gone much further away. I doubt I was even a quarter of a kilometer away from my old home because the Witch’s Newt’s instincts were to hang around its territory. As a former Boreal Toad, I was well aware that their instincts were to wander and hunt. Of course they spread out from the pool and that was presuming that the pool was the only place they had hatched.

  The toads had not noticed me yet, and I decided to just stay under my leaf blankets for now. Hatchling Boreal Toads didn’t have the best Perception, after all, so if I didn’t move they probably wouldn’t notice me. But would they be gone in the morning? That was doubtful, this whole area was crawling with toads now and I had missed my chance to get further away.

  Well, that wasn’t entirely true. I could leave right now, but I didn’t want to or rather, the newt didn’t want to. My human brain understood that I could run right past the toads and Dodge around them with ease. Even if they did hit me they lacked the Stats to hurt me much, and even then if they somehow did manage to hurt me I had the Skill [Regeneration: Minor](lesser).

  But the newt part of me didn’t want to run out in front of a predator and I found myself struggling against my own irrational fear. Eventually, I started thrashing around my little den in frustration and that, in turn, attracted the toads. While I was still involved in my internal turmoil the squeaking grew in volume as the toads gathered, trying to find a way in.

  It was when their little toady brains eventually decided that there was no way in besides breaking down my wall that I finally returned my thoughts to what was happening in the real world. It looked like something out of a zombie movie, just with toads. Maybe a hundred toads were hopping over and on top of each other, pushing and throwing themselves at my walls. Instead of the groaning agony of those damned to a living death, there was the squeaking of toads that seemed to think that they were invincible predators.

  My wall was stronger this time, but not that strong. The sheer weight of the toad horde was already breaking it down in places which meant that as much as I wanted to avoid it, I had to fight. I gathered my Willpower and jumped down to attack the first Boreal Toad that made it past the wall.

  “[You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]”

 

  Sorry sister. Or brother? I wasn’t going to check, but I am sorry either way and either way the toad was shockingly weak. One good hit was all that it took to take one down! Another one got over the wall and that one I didn’t have the height advantage to pounce down upon so I spun my body around and hit it with my tail. It didn’t go down in one hit, but the second one ended it.

 

  “[You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]”

 

  The fight was hardly over though. As the walls were broken down more and more, more of the toads made it through to fight me. None of them were above Level one, and even the Level one toads only took two hits to take down, but I was sometimes fighting two or three at a time!

 

  “[You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 1 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]”

 

  My Skills and Stats were superior, but quantity has a quality all of its own. I simply was not able to stop them from hitting me because they were simply everywhere. They didn’t hurt much, but it could add up over time…

  “[You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 1 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]”

 

  The bodies themselves were becoming a wall of sorts with the toads having to push past their dead siblings - my dead siblings - to reach me, squeaking in absolute rage the entire time.

 

  “[You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

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

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]”

 

  My stamina is falling pretty quick and I am not sure that I can keep fighting for much longer. Eventually, I end up retreating further and further back up the log. There are less toads able to get up onto it at the same time and they aren’t able to fight well on the uneven surface.

 

  “[You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]”

 

  If I had to fight every toad in the forest, I was fucked, but out of the corner of my eye I was able to see the crowd thinning. I might actually have a chance of winning this! So I fought on.

  “[You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 1 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [Congratulations! You have reached Level 1!]

  [You have gained +1 Willpower, +1 Magic, +.4 Charisma, +.4 Agility, and +.2 Dexterity!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]”

 

  Almost… There… Just a few… Left…

 

  “[You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have been hit! You have lost 1 hp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 1 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

  [You have defeated a Lvl. 0 (Hatchling Boreal Toad) and earned 1 xp!]

 

  The last Boreal Toad fell off the trunk, squeaking one last time before it hit the ground and died. How many had I killed? I missed a lot of notifications in the fight, the only way I could tell was by comparing my experience before and after.

 

Name: -   Species: Hatchling Witch’s Newt   Level: 1/5   Experience: 32/70

Class: -locked-    Health: 22/57    Mana: 2/2   Stamina: 002/100

Statistics:

Str: 20    End: 19   Vit: 19    Agi: 12.4   Dex: 8.2

Per: 18    Acy: 23   Wil: 7    Cha: 15.4   Mgc: 5

Lck: 163

Abilities:

[Breathes through her Skin](racial)   [Toxic Skin](racial)   [Toxin Control: Minor](racial)

[Regeneration: Minor](lesser)(racial)    [Better First Impression]   [Healthy Thoughts]   [First Words]    [Killing Blow]

Skills:

Ambush: 1   Analysis: 1   Charge: 2   Crafting: 2   Climbing: 1  Digging: 5   Dodge: 3

Jumping: 4   Meditation: 1Swimming: 2 Stealth: 2   Taunt: 1   Throwing: 1   Trap Making: 1

 

  I had killed almost one hundred of them, and now I was so tired, so exhausted that I ended up just going right back to sleep.

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A note from vladerag

  You know, I didn't have a place for this meme:

  And you know what is worse?  Alex Jones is usually so stupidly wrong about his conspiracies that it isn't funny, but he wasn't wrong about this - he just was really bad at explaining what the issue was.

  Modern chemicals used in fertilizer and pest control cause mutations in frogs.  In addition to things like extra legs and what not, they have increased instances of same-sex interactions.  Of course, they already were having these interactions and the reason for the increased incidence is more because (last I checked, I could be wrong; more research was being done) they look more like females of their species.

  Well, technically, some of them literally became female as a result of exsposure.  Frogs are a bit loose on the whole "male/female" thing.

  He is even right that there is a conspiracy to hide it!  Not really a hidden conspiracy though, the companies who want to hide this just sued the scientist studying it.


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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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