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Jake held the bowstring as he felt his stamina slowly drain. When he finally let go, the arrow literally exploded forth from the bow as it smashed into the ostrich. The arrow itself broke into splinters upon impact due to the massive power behind it. Not that the ostrich fared any better.

The arrow had hit it on its neck, effectively blowing its head off. Jake could only smile at the tremendous power of his new Powershot skill. The stamina drain was quite insane when he made shots like he just did, but it was still oh so satisfying to do.

The skill had many drawbacks, though. First of all, you had to stand nearly entirely still while channeling the shot. You could make minor movements by turning your upper body but taking a step would ‘drain’ a bit of the charged up energy and force you to sometimes start over entirely, which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the second big drawback.

It was a very slow skill to use. It took several seconds to charge a shot that did just half-decent damage, while it could easily take close to 10 seconds to fire a shot like Jake just had. The skill’s power increased exponentially as he charged, but so did the stamina drain and the general drain on his body.

Funnily enough, his high defensive stats turned out to be very useful with the skill. He could imagine if he tried to use the skill after simply leveled to 10 in his class a month ago. He wouldn’t even be able to charge the shot for 5 seconds without his arm giving out.

Earlier in the day, he had tried to do the maximum charge he could. He held it for 12 seconds before his arm simply gave out as it’s veins burst, and half his arm got covered in blood along with a very sore shoulder and upper body. However, this did show the skill’s potential as the arrow hit a tree carving a fist-sized hole into it. The wooden arrow was borderline disintegrated upon impact, completely splintered in all directions.

If he had been able to use that skill against the metal-manipulating caster, he would have been able to pierce straight through that wall of iron, or at least have the kinetic force behind the impact be strong enough to send the wall smashing back into him. Too bad the guy didn’t allow him to stand still and charge a shot for over 10 seconds. Quite rude, actually.

Checking his notifications, he noted that he had put another level under his belt.

*You have slain [Velocta Ostrich – lvl 24] – Experience Earned. 4000 TP earned*

*’DING!’ Class: [Archer] has reached level 19 - Stat points allocated, +1 free point*

The leveling was getting quite a bit slower now, and that was disregarding the difficulty in finding beasts. He had yet to see a single one above level 25 so far, but he had also purposefully avoided heading further into the forest.

It had been around two days since he met the caster who called himself William. He knew the caster still had to be alive as he had never gotten any notification for the kill. He wanted to avoid other people for now as he still deemed it too risky to meet others. A squad of Williams would very likely result in certain death.

So, he leveled. His plan currently was to get to at least level 25 before making contact. It all depended on how long his leveling would take, but for now, he had time. Looking at the tutorial panel, he noted that less than a month was remaining.

Tutorial Panel

Duration: 29 days & 23:17:03

Total Survivors Remaining: 389/1200

He said less than a month, but it still was still nearly an entire month - plenty of time for a lot to happen. A month in the dungeon had resulted in him getting a profession, level it 44 times, evolving it once, and even evolve his race twice. Oh yeah, and he met a god.

Jake was still worried about his colleagues, but if they had lived to now, he saw no reason to rush to their side. If they hadn’t survived… he would process that if that time comes.

The levels had naturally also come with a skill at level 15. Jake had honestly been expecting nothing and had thought of going with the basic tracking skill he passed up at level 5 over a month ago. The logic behind it being to try and use it to locate his colleagues when the time came.

He also considered getting basic dual-wielding briefly. Jake preferred using a weapon in each hand a lot more than just a single dagger. So when he finally leveled and saw the options, he went with a new option that was a welcome addition for sure.

[Basic Twin Fang Style (Uncommon)] – The twin fang style is an ancient dual-wielding fighting technique. Fighters of this style prefer shorter weapons and do not shy away from using afflictions to take down their foe. Unlocks basic proficiency in the Twin Fang Style and adds a minuscule bonus to the effect of agility and strength when using a fitting melee weapon. Grants an increased bonus while wielding melee weapons of bone.

It was essentially a kind of dual-wielding specialization. How Jake unlocked it, he didn’t know. Maybe it had something to do with the Dagger of Bloodletting being made of bone, but it also mentioned the use of afflictions, which was very closely aligned with his profession.

Of course, there also was the whole Malefic Viper angle to consider, fangs being easily associated with vipers after all. Not that it mattered much in the end, he was just happy with the skill.

As with other skills of its nature, it came with a lot of instinctive knowledge. But compared to an inferior-rarity skill, this one also came with more ‘true’ knowledge. Like he had been thrown a guide-book into his memory, but he still had to learn and practice it himself, which he had spent a while doing whenever he had time. Yet he found that he barely used what it taught. He only used it to improve his existent style, if you can even call it that. Currently, he just acted based on instinct when fighting, relying on making split-second decisions over anything else.

Speaking of other skills he was offered, they were all rather basic. One of them even gave a small passive danger sense, which he found kind of funny considering he already had one through his bloodline. He did consider picking it up to see what would happen but skipped over it.

Having obtained another skill requiring practice did give him more to do while not hunting. He was already practicing his mana techniques whenever possible, so having a physical exercise was actually pretty nice.

His mana manipulation was improving steadily. He had gotten some inspiration from his spatial storage necklace and learned how to use mana better intuitively. Using items, however, wasn’t close to the same as having to manipulate the mana yourself. It was as if the system pretty much did everything for you. You just had to think about what you wanted.

On the topic of items, he had tried hard to locate more lockboxes but had ended up with not even a single common-rarity item or token. The area seemed to have been entirely scoured by other survivors, which was likely also the reason why nearly no beasts remained. He remembered before the dungeon that if one looked for beasts, you found beasts within minutes. Now he was happy if he saw two small groups within an hour.

Jake knew this meant he would have to move inwards soon. He hoped to get a skill, either increasing his speed or his defenses at 20. Beasts were naturally not his concern; in fact, he hoped to meet stronger beasts than he currently was as those below 25 were a bit boring.

Walking through the forest, Jake still enjoyed the atmosphere, something he doubted most did, considering that some war was apparently going on. But he liked it. Perhaps the confinement of the dungeon was still at the forefront of his mind, but he loved how open it was. The weird ‘immortal birds of ambiance’ even appearing endearing now. Yeah, those were still a thing. Somehow dodging every single arrow effortlessly. He couldn’t even use Identify on them.

As an extension of that, then if he had to mention one thing he hated about the new world and the tutorial more than anything, it was the lack of information. Jake liked to know things. While instinct was good most of the time, that didn’t mean knowledge wasn’t just as important.

So not knowing anything was annoying him endlessly. Not knowing how his parents were or if they were even alive, the state of his other family members, how the world was currently looking outside… what would happen to all the animals on earth. All of this was disregarding his general lack of knowledge about the system and the tutorial itself.

All of this, with him being fully aware that he knew far more than most, heck, he was still carrying an entire library-worth of books around with him. He hadn’t really had the time or desire to read since leaving the dungeon, but at least he had the option.

Everyone else had to be far more in the dark than himself. Unless Jake had missed another massive happening besides the whole faction war going on, they should all be utterly clueless as to how pretty much everything worked. Which kind of made Jake think that for a tutorial, this place sure sucked at teaching them anything.

Though despite that, Jake still thought he was doing pretty well. A bit less well after meeting that William fellow, he thought he was pretty strong on average. Looking at this status, it sure also amplified that thought.

Status

Name: Jake Thayne

Race: [Human (E) – lvl 31]

Class: [Archer – lvl 19]

Profession: [Prodigious Alchemist of the Malefic Viper – lvl 44]

Health Points (HP): 2986/3100

Mana Points (MP): 3248/3680

Stamina: 694/1040

Stats

Strength: 105

Agility: 126

Endurance: 104

Vitality: 310

Toughness: 157

Wisdom: 368

Intelligence: 107

Perception: 247

Willpower: 180

Free points: 0

Titles: [Forerunner of the New World], [Bloodline Patriarch], [Holder of a Primordial’s True Blessing], [Dungeoneer I], [Dungeon Pioneer I]

Class Skills: [Basic One-Handed Weapon (Inferior], [Basic Stealth (Inferior)], [Advanced Archery (Common)], [Archers Eye (Common)], [Powershot (Uncommon)], [Basic Twin Fang Style (Uncommon)]

Profession Skills: [Herbology (Common)], [Brew Potion (Common)], [Concoct Poison (Common)], [Alchemist’s Purification (Common)], [Alchemical Flame (Common)], [Toxicology (Uncommon)], [Cultivate Toxin (Uncommon)], [Malefic Viper’s Poison (Rare)], [Palate of the Malefic Viper (Rare)], [Touch of the Malefic Viper (Rare)], [Sense of the Malefic Viper (Rare)], [Blood of the Malefic Viper (Epic)]

Blessing: [True Blessing of the Malefic Viper (Blessing - True)]

Race Skills: [Endless Tongues of the Myriad Races (Unique)], [Identify (Common)], [Meditate (Common)], [Shroud of the Primordial (Divine)]

Bloodline: [Bloodline of the Primal Hunter (Bloodline Ability - Unique)]

His stats had experienced significant growth, especially his agility and strength, now both being above 100. He had decided to put all his free points into strength and agility, trying to get them to an acceptable level. It was a bit sad that wisdom, his highest stat by quite a bit, did nothing for him in direct combat. He had his Touch of the Malefic Viper, but he only used that in emergencies as he prioritized using his daggers and bow for now.

He had also collected quite an amount of tutorial points too.

TP Collected: 313.920

He called it quite the number but compared to most everyone in the tutorial, it likely sucked. Which, by the way, was another bullet point on his list of information he would really like to have. What the hell are tutorial points even used for? A frustration he very much believed he shared with a lot of others in the tutorial.

He also made a mental note that he had yet to sleep since he left the dungeon. He had made it a habit only to meditate to restore stamina and mana, partly due to the weakness that came from sleeping. It did take him quite a while to mentally filter out the constant feedback from his sphere when he wanted just to rest his head. Yet, at the same time, he didn’t want to completely cut off the outside world, leaving himself vulnerable.

Instead, he had somehow managed to relegate the sphere solely to his instinct. It was still active, and he had been woken up from his meditation once when a lone beast came close. His sphere had reached a radius of around 15 or 16 meters by now also. It was far more potent closer to him than further away.

Where most growth was found was his ability to also feel the mana, however. After his first level 10 evolution, he had been able to vaguely feel something, while now it was nearly second nature for him to detect it.

After sitting down and meditating for a few hours, both his mana and stamina were fully restored, and his health points had also managed to regenerate passively.

One peculiarity Jake had noticed with how health worked was the interaction between toughness, vitality, and to a lesser extent, endurance. While vitality increased health and health regeneration, it didn’t mean that they increased 1 to 1. Someone with 100 vitality and 1000 health would take longer to regenerate from 1% HP than someone who only had 10 vitality.

Toughness made this process even slower. With higher toughness, health got harder to lose as the body durability increased. But it also got harder to heal the now tougher body. Jake had also discovered that endurance did make the body slightly more durable, but far from as much as toughness. He wasn’t exactly sure how exactly it made him more durable, but it clearly did something.

Oh, another thing just got on the list of information that I very much hate not having, Jake thought. If the system would be so kind as to just send him a spreadsheet of how stats worked exactly, it would be fantastic.

Shaking off the frustrating feelings, he got up, fully restored, and started hunting for prey once more. It was dark by now, but that didn’t really affect him at all. He doubted it really affected anyone by now, as most would have gotten significantly higher perception just from race levels.

However, the beasts were still docile during the night, making the fights more manageable, but finding them harder. At least they sometimes made loud noises during the day.

As he walked, his sphere continuously scanned his surroundings as he practiced levitating a pen above his hand. Levitating it was easy enough; the difficulty lay in keeping it tethered to his hand while he moved.

After more than two hours, he finally came upon a beast, and as he Identified it, he could only smile.

[Steeltusk Boar – lvl 28]

The big piggy had gone from being an Irontusk to a Steeltusk boar. Relatively linear evolution tree it got going on there.

This was naturally the evolved version of the first level 10 beast he had ever fought. He felt a strange excitement when staring it down. This had been his first real challenge in the tutorial, and back then, he had faced it together with his entire group of colleagues. They had won after Jake emptied his full quiver in the beast… but not without taking significant damage to their group. He hoped Joanna had somehow managed to stay alive. Jake realized how much of a dick he had been back then, and not just to her, but pretty much everyone. He felt a lot of regret from how he handled things. Not leaving them and going his own way, but how he left.

Shaking his head, Jake dispelled the thoughts. He shouldn’t dwell on a past he couldn’t change. He could only move forward and attain more power. Only then could he reunite with them. And it wasn’t as if there was anything wrong with enjoying that process a bit…

With a smile on his lips, he drew the bone dagger in one hand and a starting dagger for archers in the other. Perhaps this beast would finally give him an exciting fight…

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A note from Zogarth

I feel like I have to address the whole POV thing and people really hating pretty much every single character besides Jake. Gonna be honest, I won't even argue much there. This first arc is rough, and this is after heavy rewrites already. Sadly, the larger strokes are necessary for happenings further on, so just soldier through and dispel some disbelief. Yeah, the logic isn't all there, and a lot of things are a bit stupid, with plenty of the character's logic being quite flawed. Many plot points feeling forced. The later parts of the tutorial are a lot better IMO and way more true to the novel's name. These first chapters are way heavier on POV parts/chapters than the later ones.

They won't stop as I feel like they add a lot of value for greater world-building, but hopefully, they won't be as bad as they currently are.


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Zogarth

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