Breaker of Skulls (LitRPG)

by

HereBeTreasure

Chapter 45 – Wood Isn't Supposed To Have a Hearbeat, Is It?

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The knight’s initial response was similar to that of any other rational, reasonable human being’s.

Wood isn’t supposed to have a heartbeat.

Is it?

“Wood isn’t supposed to have any kind of… heartbeat, or something, right?” Marcello asked a resident of this world, his goblin shaman slave, who looked onwards with a confused look on its face.

“Human stupid?” the shaman said. “Wood no heartbeat.”

“Right,” Marcello replied, taking his hand off of the wooden chest. “It shouldn’t have one.”

He knelt down to a prostrated position, sticking his face right next to the wooden chest, listening to it as if he was a doctor with a stethoscope.

Nothing.

“Huh…” he said in a low tone, a bit confused. Why did he not hear anything now?

The answer was, perhaps the heartbeat was not a physically audible one. This world was far different from the world that he came from, and the laws of physics appeared to be warped and bent by that substance known as mana.

Marcello remembered something that that apparition told him back in the waiting room. Something about his world being corrupted with mana, far earlier than expected.

In this case, maybe that strange heartbeat had to do with the mana. He laid his hand back onto the treasure chest and extended his tendrils of wood affinity mana into the treasure chest, enveloping it in a slight glow that complemented its original bronze glow.

Dum.

Dum.

Dum.

He jerked his hand back, having realized that his intuition was correct. There was a heartbeat here, but it was not the kind that he expected. It felt particularly faint, and within the very depths of the wood itself.

Marcello used identify of the bronze treasure chest in an attempt to glean more information about this strange phenomenon.

[Empty Bronze Treasure Chest] – A bronze treasure chest that has been emptied of its contents. Will disappear after a predetermined amount of time.

It was a description that would make any other adventurer simply move on, not thinking too much about it. It was just an empty chest.

But Marcello was not just any other adventurer.

There is more.

His inner voice spoke to him as he took out his rusty hatchet. The voice only confirmed what he already had suspicions about. This was how his intuition seemed to work. If he didn’t consider something first, it would not activate. Only when he already considered an angle in his head did his intuition reveal itself to guide him a bit more.

Marcello hacked down at the bronze treasure chest, lopping off the metal seams before separating a hand sized piece of jagged wood.

He held the piece of wood in front of him, as the goblin shaman looked on dumbfounded.

“Human no like chest treasure?” it said anxiously, misinterpreting Marcello’s actions as a violent rage against the treasure chest itself for not yielding an adequate reward. The goblin shaman’s eyes shifted towards the tent on the other side of the clearing with rotten animal offals in it.

Marcello caught the goblin’s intentions and kicked the shaman in the face. “No liver. Stop thinking about it. Just sit down and stop talking, or I’m going to chop your head off and feed it to the fish.”

That shut the goblin shaman up immediately. Finally, time to get to the bottom of this mystery.

He stared at the jagged piece of wood in his hand once again, activating identify. This time, without a goblin distracting him.

To his surprise, identify actually worked.

You have identified a new material.

[Fragmented Wood from the World Tree (low-grade)] – Divine crafting material. As someone may have suspected, the wood used to construct treasure chests is gathered directly from the world tree itself, otherwise known as the Yggdrasil. This low-grade fragment of wood from the world tree still contains vestiges of the world tree’s vitality.

If a bronze treasure chest yielded low-grade fragmented wood from the world tree, then Marcello could only assume that golden treasure chests yielded high-grade fragmented wood.

Marcello groaned upon the realization that he had left so many treasure chests to waste back in the terrestrial realm, including a gold and a silver one. He also left another silver one back at the place where he killed the white dire wolf keeper of the forest.

“Damn,” Marcello cursed, trying not to think of all the divine tier crafting materials that he had hastily left behind in his adventures up until now.

From now on, he would pay much closer attention to treasure chests, especially the higher grade ones. He began to take apart the bronze treasure chest, salvaging as much of the wood as he could.

Bronze treasure chests were smaller in size than gold and silver ones, so he ended up with only a handful of the divine tier wood fragments. Still, better than nothing.

The size of the fragments was actually a problem when it came to crafting. Even though he could glue things together with wood mana in a way that appeared seamless to the human eye, in actuality those seams could be broken apart if enough force was applied. This meant that if he ever wanted to craft a shield or the shaft of a weapon, using less segmented wood was of vital importance. Meaning, he needed silver and gold treasure chests to yield the type of wood that could actually be usable in more complex constructions that required strength.

Marcello walked over to his goblin shaman slave and smacked it at the back of its bone headdress, rattling its thick skull. “Show me where all the other treasures are. Show me every single one, one by one.”

The goblin shaman nodded, scurrying forward to lead Marcello to even more treasures. They began to clear all of the tents, and then the lockboxes near the bonfire, and the goblin shaman even pointed out a hidden stash of crafting materials hidden underneath a pile of dung. Marcello quickly vetoed checking that out and promptly forced the goblin shaman to watch its hands, much to the goblin’s disappointment.

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Dead bodies lay strewn across the battlefield in the wake of Agnis’ advance upon Eric’s attacking force.

The attack was swift and brutal, but a retreat was immediately called after both sides realized that they had been duped.

Michael had spread rumors about a golden treasure chest in the vicinity of his camp. This was done as a ploy to lure in Agnis, who Michael was abundantly familiar with from all the bloodshed that had transpired in sector two.

The ploy worked for a brief period of time, until both sides discovered that they were fighting for the wrong reason.

Several post-promotes had been killed on both sides over this fictitious golden treasure chest. Every human initiate in the forest knew about how powerful the items that came from treasure chests were. There had been stories about how the Lion had claimed a golden treasure chest, and used the item within to dominate an entire swath of the forest.

Such a treasure was something that many people were willing to spill blood over. In a world where might was right, obtaining a monopoly over the best equipment and rewards was of utmost importance.

Sadly, there never was a golden treasure chest near Michael’s camp. It was a well crafted lie.

Agnis withdrew his forces without so much as a remark to Eric, and the two camps separated from their entanglement.

Out of the entire forest, only six humans had come into contact with a golden treasure chest. Of those six, only three were still alive after their ordeal.

Those three were the Lion, the Puppeteer, and the Knight.

The Lion was a powerful individual who had formed a large camp in the forest. He was known for his ferocity and deadliness in combat.

The Puppeteer was a secretive initiate. Little was known about her besides the fact that she had dominated sector nine with her clay soldiers. Out of all the sectors, sector nine had the fewest survivors coming into the third round. Of those survivors, none were willing to talk about the puppeteer, but one survivor did let slip that the puppeteer was a young girl.

As for the Knight… he had made his mark in the forest, but very little was known about him, other than the mad ramblings of a woman named Hilga. Few had encountered the knight, and those that did appeared to be even more scarred than the survivors of the puppeteer.

Out of the three, it was rumored that the Lion was the strongest, the Puppeteer was a close second, and the Knight was the weakest.

The rumors were wrong.

--------

Several hours later…

The treasure trowl was nearly over. The knight took a tally of all the different items and collectibles that he had gathered.

Out of the miscellaneous items, he had collected five health potions and mana potions from a stolen pouch, an assortment of garbage tier crafting materials, several bone spears and arrows, and some small gems and jewels that were not particularly valuable. The goblin ritual site was poor.

For bigger ticket items, there were a few interesting ones.

[Goblin Longbow (common)] – A common goblin longbow. Can be used to shoot arrows at longer distances than the common longbow.

He had far outgrown basic tier equipment like the basic shortswords and daggers that were granted by the system after the waiting room, and this longbow occupied a similar range to the archeios javelin, but it was always nice to have a bit more equipment. For example, what if he needed to set something on fire far away? Archieos Javelin couldn’t perform that duty, but a nicely placed flaming arrow could.

[Goblin Shaman’s Bone Sceptre (uncommon-rare)] – A bone sceptre used by goblin shamans. Falls between uncommon and rare in the multiverse’s rarity ranking system. Capable of producing dark affinity orbs that will hunt their targets with homing precision. Amount of orbs produced and the power of the orbs is decided by the user’s proficiency with mana and dark magic. +Dark damage

Now this was a pretty sweet find. The goblin shaman had led Marcello to the store of ritual equipment, and this was one of the items that he found there, alongside some maps and offerings to the Old Ones that warranted further investigation, after he figured out how this sceptre worked. Marcello had destroyed the sceptres of the shamans he fought so far, so finding a usable bone sceptre that casted that powerful dark orb spell from earlier was quite fascinating.

Marcello’s intelligence and wisdom were lagging behind, but he had always wanted to try out a magic type weapon or ability at least once.

Now was his chance to try out a magic type weapon for the very first time. His burning curiosity about what it would feel like to cast offensive magic had taken hold of him, as he had always wondered how magic felt in fantasy worlds.

He took the bone sceptre in his hand and attempted to summon orbs, waving the sceptre in front of him.

No orbs appeared.

You have failed to cast dark orbs.

Your understanding of dark magic is too low to use this ability.

“Hey,” Marcello shouted at the goblin shaman sitting by the side of a tent snickering. “Show me how you do that thing with the orbs.”

You have requested a goblin shaman to teach you how to utilize dark magic.

“Human too simple! Cannot learn! Only the Old Ones can bless worthy!”

Your offer has been rejected.

Marcello’s right eyebrow twitched with annoyance at the goblin shaman’s audacity. It was time to remind him about who was the master here. He raised a fist and began to pummel the shaman’s face, socking the green bugger.

After giving him a good beating, he unsheathed his longsword and pointed it at the goblin shaman’s torso, as the goblin was now sprawled on the ground underneath his boot.

“Teach me.”

You have requested a goblin shaman to teach you how to utilize dark magic.

The goblin shaman whimpered.

Your offer has been accepted begrudgingly.

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A note from HereBeTreasure

More chapters are available on patreon, thanks everyone that joined! I really want to do a shoutout to show appreciation for all of you, but right now I'm hard pressed for time and sanity, please understand T_T 


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HereBeTreasure

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