Marcello wiped the sweat off his brow with his wrist, breathing heavily with his rusty hatchet in hand as he took a step back and reviewed his handiwork. He had carved this particular totem with the black magic creature in mind, and hoped that the results would show for themselves with a creation that finally had an additional effect just like his Awful Totem of an Ice Giant.

He used the imp’s tail in this particular totem, crushing it with his hatchet and smearing the remains across the bark, which he purposely did not remove this time around. A quick review of the imp’s tail with identify before he destroyed it showed that it was related to dark magic and some sort of binding reagent. Hopefully that would be enough to imbue the totem with some kind of dark magic related effect.

[Imp’s tail (common)] – A common crafting item that is the ingredient of some low level dark magic rituals or even some exotic elixirs, imp tails are an all-around solid conductor of mana and a binding reagent for other exotic materials.

It felt good to use some of those excess crafting materials that he otherwise would consider complete garbage. Being able to clear his inventory out of that useless junk while also augmenting his constructions gave him a sense of satisfaction.

Out of the tree that he felled, this was the second totem that he made. The first one turned out to be a dud yet again. All he could hope for was that things would be different this time.

He used identify, his eyes lighting up in surprise at what he saw.

[Peculiar Wooden Totem of Dark Magic Warding] – A strange totem made by a novice carpenter that is slightly misshapen and lopsided, and meant to ward away evil spirits of the forest. It has been imbued with intent to destroy malevolent dark creatures.

Grade: Fine piece

Those who visit this totem will receive +15% damage against creatures that use dark affinity energy for a set amount of damage.

Dark creatures that encounter this totem will momentarily have their stats reduced by 1 and their movement speed slowed.

Characteristics: Misshapen, strange.

The carpenter’s understanding of his creations has improved.

Marcello pumped his fist in triumph, relishing in the fact that he finally replicated his initial success by constructing a fine piece with an effect. Two additional effects this time as well.

He quickly glanced over and saw that he had a new buff against dark affinity creatures where the platform’s buffs once were. Finally, his profession had some kind of usefulness in combat now.

Marcello had entertained the idea of making pit traps with wooden spikes at the bottom, but he forgot to pick up a shovel in the tutorial store and did not want to waste the time digging pits with his own hands when there was experience to be collected otherwise.

With a renewed surge of confidence from his new construction and buff against dark affinity monsters, Marcello ventured forward to grind some more against those wolves and other keepers of the forest.


A ranger and thief reluctantly led Devin and Hilga to the place where they encountered the monster in the forest. They protested loudly against revisiting the deer-eating monster’s campsite, but they could not argue against two post-promotes that Eric had personally installed to watch over the camp.

“A-are you sure it’s okay to leave camp like this?” the ranger asked with a shaky voice, having finally come across that same dragged deer carcass trail that they tracked last night.

His question was answered by a slap to the back of the head by Devin. “We’ll be back before you know it. Boss won’t even notice that we were gone. Now hurry up and show us where the campsite is, before that monster gets away.”

The lanky man with dark eye bags narrowed his eyes with a deep smirk, in anticipation of the experience that he was about to earn. Beside him, the newly promoted pudgy red haired woman Hilga shared an equal sentiment.

The ranger knew that these two warriors were some of the strongest in the entire forest at the moment due to their post-promoted status. Eric’s camp was still getting a steady trickle of recruitments, and the ranger saw that most of the recruits had garbage tier levels, as they were unable to find anything to farm because the lower level creatures were being killed shortly upon spawn.

With two post-promotes on their side, perhaps this monster wouldn’t be all that big of a deal, the ranger thought to himself.

They followed the trail of the deer until reaching a familiar part of the woods. The ranger drew his hand back in a stooping motion, and the thief nudged Hilga.

The communication was clear as day, even without a single word uttered. This was the monster’s camp, right ahead. The ranger still remembered the encounter vividly. He recalled the creature’s unmoving stiffness, its strange elongated form, and those horrifying appendages sticking from the sides of its body.

Four swords were drawn as the party advanced forward.

“Come here, my precious experience…” Devin cooed in a disturbing voice, as if he was talking playfully to a doll of some kind.

Hilga also chuckled loudly, making the two scouts rather uncomfortable, but they dared not question either of them at the moment.

They exited the forest clearing suddenly, as Hilga charged forwards explosively with a promoted warrior ability.

Steel flashed across the remains of a campfire and butchering site, only for the members’ blades to meet wood. At the current time of day, the awful totem’s effects were not in effect.

“The hell is this?” Devin scowled, as Hilga yanked her sword out of the wooden totem’s log body. “Did you two lie to us?”

The thief shook her head vigorously. “Of course not. I-I swear to god, it looked like a monster in the middle of the night! And it had dragged that deer over here and butchered it!”

“Tch,” Devin said with an angry glare at the thief, before walking over to examine the remains of the butchered deer. “You imbecile, look at the knife marks on the hide. Do you think monsters use knives?”

“N-not that I’m aware of, sir.”

“Exactly. This is the work of a human being.”

Hilga laughed as she knocked down the awful wooden totem. The destroyed totem fell to the ground with a thud. “Does it make a difference if it’s a human being or not? Human or monster, they give experience either way. And clearly this human is in violation of our territory.”

The lanky man with sunken eyes laughed. “Hilga has a point, doesn’t she. You two should think a bit more like her, and stop being the numbskulls you are currently. At this rate you’ll never get promoted.”

He paused for a moment, then spoke, pointing at the heavy footprints in the ground near the campsite leading further north. “He left a trail. Let’s hunt this human.”

Further protests about not diverging too far from the base camp fell upon deaf ears.

“You two can head on back. This experience is ours.”

The two scouts took that to heart, eagerly leaving the campsite and heading back to Eric’s camp.

Meanwhile, Devin and Hilga continued to track the rather obvious trail that the unknown human had left, before coming across a series of strange totems. Hilga took great pleasure in using them as punching bags to test out her new promoted warrior class, before the two proceeded onwards hot on a certain knight’s trail with the intention of killing him upon sight.


Marcello crouched by a small running brook, refilling his waterskin with fresh water. It reminded him of his time in the terrestrial plane, which was already beginning to feel like a while ago.

He suddenly stopped, alerted by the sound of rustling in the bushes ahead of him. Drawing back from the brook, he summoned his archeios javelin and eyed the bush up ahead carefully.

He was just a bit north of where he had slain the patrolling dire wolves, and so he was on high alert. The enemies around here were bound to be tougher than those level thirteen deer that he killed so easily back in the shallow areas of the forest.

Without waiting for whatever it was to come out, Marcello hurled his uncommon rarity javelin into the bush. Marcello felt that the javelin struck something meaty, and just as he expected, a high pitched yelp came from the bush.

Out stumbled a green creature that he was more than familiar with. It was the first monster that he had encountered in this tutorial.

[Level 21 Goblin (underling)]

This little creature was a lot higher level than the ones he last remembered. As the javelin had only hit its arm, the goblin was still alive. Marcello quickly drew back his archeios javelin with mana, before chucking it again at the goblin.

The goblin held up a crude wooden shield, but the javelin spear tip pierced through it, just barely losing momentum a few centimeters away from the goblin’s ugly mug.

Marcello attempted to draw back his javelin once more, but the javelin was lodged in the wooden shield. Using a bit more effort with his mana, he yanked it backwards, jerking the shield out of the goblin’s hand.

He broke off the crude wooden shield with his bare hands. The shield was poorly made from the beginning and made of drastically worse material than his own wooden plank shield, and so it broke far more easily. That was compounded on top of the fact that Marcello had an attunement with the wood element from his carpentry class, which let him dismantle it with ease by finding the grain of the wood and tearing it apart from the seams.

The goblin cried and began to run away through the bushes, but a well aimed javelin to its back put it out of its misery.

You have slain [Lvl 21 Goblin] - Experience has been awarded. System points have been distributed between contributors.

Marcello was greeted by a familiar system message. That felt almost… too easy for him now.

But if there was one thing that Marcello knew about goblins, it was that if you found one, you were bound to find more. He leapt across the brook, landing with a thump, then walked over to the slain goblin and yanked his javelin out of its back.

“Fuck!” Marcello shouted, as he suddenly realized his mistake while looking at the back of the slain goblin.

That quest the gnome gave him specifically talked about a grove guarded by goblins. If only he had left the goblin alive, it would’ve guided him straight back to its burrow, which if the stars aligned might have been that grove.

Marcello had gotten so used to the motions of killing things that he never even considered that he should have stayed his javelin toss. His decision making heuristic thus far had kind of boiled down to killing any monsters that he could handle, and running away from monsters that were out of his depth.

In part, it was just because it felt good to kill monsters. He had spent so long hiding from monsters back in the terrestrial realm that he savored the exhilaration of vanquishing reasonably leveled monsters.

Marcello began to step away from the goblin before he did a double take, noticing something laying on the ground next to it. It was loot. More specifically, a map.

[Fragmented Map of the Inner Woods] – An incomplete map of the inner woods found from the body of a dead goblin. The map is crudely scribbled in, but some meaning can still be derived from the messy scribblings of its previous goblin owner. The location of a hidden grove, an old abandoned castle, and a goblin shamanic ritual site have been marked on the map.

All three of those sites were interesting and worth exploring. It was a no-brainer that the three sites were highly likely to contain links to the secret of the forest, and some treasure as well.

The directions made very little sense given the messiness of the goblin’s scribblings, but Marcello was able to find his bearings by following the outline of a brook running diagonally across the lower left hand quadrant of the map. That was the same brook that he sniped the goblin across from.

He wasn’t exactly sure where on the brook that he currently was, but having a landmark did contextualize the map a lot more. Judging by the density of the mist marking the corner of the map, he was probably still in the lower left hand quadrant of the map.

The grove was in the middle left, the shamanic ritual site was further to the east, and finally, the old abandoned castle was in the far north where the map ended.

Marcello decided to head towards the grove first, to retrieve the silver sword and complete the gnome’s quest.


“Found you,” exclaimed a lanky sunken eyed man. His eyes were fixed on a human in full plate armor in the distance, who seemed to be meandering, walking back and forth like a maniac with an old parchment splayed out in his grip.

“That’s the guy that Eric was talking about,” remarked the pudgy red haired woman standing beside him.

They tried to identify him, only for it to be blocked.

[Level ? Human]

“What level do you think he is?” Hilga asked Devin.

“I hope he’s at least level 20,” Devin replied, unable to contain his excitement at the culmination of a long hunt.

It was not uncommon for initiates to pick up some kind of identify obscuring ability after promotion, and several members of Eric’s camp had such an obscuration ability, so neither Devin nor Hilga found it odd for them to be unable to identify him.

“Let’s get him,” Hilga said with a haughty air. “Two versus one, and we have someone of your caliber? He stands no chance.”

A note from HereBeTreasure

Hey guys, I just started writing a new novel called Speedrunning the Demon Summoning App here on royalroad. It's about a protagonist who regresses and uses his knowledge to become overpowered in the most efficient way possible. 

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