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The Level 5 slime hopped much faster than the Level 1 and 2 slimes. Each time it landed on the ground, the impact boomed in Edward’s ears, splashed mud into the air, and all the grass in a couple metres radius rippled.

So he grimaced as he pushed himself up to his feet, spun, and sprinted away. Continuing to count, he clicked his tongue.

He had 8 minutes left.

If he de-activated his ‘Dream World’ before leveling up, then he’d have 5% HP during the escape. No matter what Richard did or didn’t do, he’d die if he only had 5% HP.

Glancing backwards, the level 1 slime he previously stalked gave chase for a while before giving up; it was too slow. But the Level 5 slime did no such thing. It continued to boom behind him and only got closer and closer.

Edward’s eyes snapped on the boulder he got ambushed at before. An idea flashed through his mind. It was the key to victory. So, he slid across the dirt as he turned and ran towards it.

The world around him blurred as he slid across dirt, somersaulted down hills, and leapt over level 1 slimes that tried to chase him but were too slow to do so. His eyes focused on the distant boulder.

Blood splattered all over the ground as he ran. His stamina dropped to 10%. His panting was violent. It felt like the skin in his throat tore with every gasp. His legs trembled and his arms flailed in the air as he scrambled for the boulder.

Leaping into another patch of tall grass, he approached it.

He had 6 minutes left.

Zooming behind of the boulder, he pressed his back to it. He quietened his breath and tried to focus his ears on the booming of the level 5 slime’s hopping.

Filling him with fear, he didn’t hear it. What if the rain’s battering of the grass prevented him from being able to hear it before it was too late? His teeth chattered at the thought of his plan failing in such a way.

But the incoming squelching and pounding of slime against dirt and grass eventually soared over the sound of the rain. Edward exhaled a long held in breath. Once the pounding got louder, Edward crouched and grabbed a loose but large rock. He then stood and waited for the slime’s hopping to get louder.

And then louder. And then louder, until he could see the slime’s splashing of mud around the corners of the boulder.

It hopped again, and its shadow oozed half a metre next to his right foot.

He dashed to the left side of the boulder and threw the rock into the tall grass ahead of him. Crouching behind the left side of the boulder, he watched the Level 5 slime rush into the patch of tall grass. It followed the thudding of the thrown rock and the rustling of grass. He slipped around to the front of the boulder so that there’d be no way of it seeing him, even if it turned around.

Then he ran.

He had 4 minutes left.

Repeatedly flicking his head left and right, his eyes rattled as he scoured the plains, desperately searching for a Level 1 slime so he could level up and regenerate his HP and stamina.

He saw a level 4.

30 seconds passed.

He saw a level 5.

30 seconds passed.

3 minutes left.

Excitement struck him like a streak of lightning when his eyes snapped on a Level 1 slime that was hopping through a patch of tall grass that he killed another slime in earlier. It must’ve respawned.

Grass shattered and mud splashed as he smashed his foot on the ground and sprinted towards it. He slid across the dirt as he slowed down and somersaulted to enter the tall grass. Crouching, he sped across the mud.

He reached its back and zoomed towards i-

His feet slipped on the corpse of a slime he killed before, and he fell on his front. His prior assumption shattered; the slimes didn’t respawn. Atleast not so soon. The level 1 slime he tried to attack shuddered, spun, and hopped towards him.

He only had 5% HP, so he couldn’t risk fighting it head on. Especially since he was on all fours, the slime would surely get the first attack. He could try to dodge, but he hadn't been able to do so thus far. So he stumbled to his feet, spun, and sprinted away.

He had 2 minutes left.

Glancing backwards, confusion scattered the contents of his mind at the sight of the level 1 slime staying hot on his tail. Why was it so fast? But then he felt breath rake across the inside of his throat as he panted and gasped for breath, reminding him he was low on stamina. He checked his stats and saw that he only had 5% stamina left. Of course, he’d be much slower than usual.

Slapping his eyes back on the boulder he hid behind before, he slid and turned his body towards it. He staggered as he plunged up hills, stumbled as he tripped over rocks, and sighed in relief when he crouched into a patch of tall grass and approached the boulder.

Edward zoomed behind it, crouched, and picked up a rock. He waited until he could hear the Level 1 slime’s pounding of the grass. He couldn’t hear it. But he could hear a deeper, faster and louder sound. It came from in front of him.

The Level 5 slime rushed towards him.

Despite that, he kept waiting with his back against the boulder. He waited for the sound of the Level 1 slime. Watching the Level 5 slime appear bigger and bigger and hearing it pound the ground louder and louder, only 20 metres away from him, he finally heard the Level 1 slime approach.

He had 1 minute left.

The Level 5 slime rippled the grass 10 metres away from him. He heard the Level 1 slime slam the ground on the left side of the boulder. Edward threw his rock at the tall grass in front of him and zoomed towards the right side of the boulder. The Level 1 slime passed the boulder and rushed towards the tall grass. But the Level 5 slime ignored the rock and kept hopping towards Edward.

He scrambled up to the top of the boulder. Standing at its peak, he looked down and saw the Level 5 slime hop in front of the Level 1 slime. It jerked and pointed its core to the top of the boulder, seeming to communicate with the Level 1 slime. Edward leapt off of the boulder and towards the back of the Level 1 slime.

It hopped, spun, and faced him, finally listening to the Level 5 slime.

But by then Edward already slammed his feet on the ground, splashed mud into the air, somersaulted in front of it, and shot his foot at the Level 1 slime’s core. Shards of the core shattered and spread across the grass. Cracks formed and circled it.

The Level 5 slime bristled, hopped to Edward’s side, and lunged its core at him.

But he ignored it. He flung his fist. His knuckles shot towards the Level 1 slime’s core. His arm sunk into its goo. The Level 5 slime’s core blurred. It zoomed towards his temple. It filled his periphery.

He smashed his knuckles against the Level 1 slime’s core. His arm passed through it. Fragments of it flew across the grass. The slime spat. It spluttered.

It fell into a flat puddle.

‘ding’


[You have killed a Level 1 Slime!]

[Reward: 10 XP]

[Progress: 10% to Level 4]


‘ding’

‘ding’

‘ding’


[Congratulations! You have levelled up!]

[You are now Level 3!]

[You have been given +3 Stat Points!]

[You have recovered 100% of your HP and Stamina]


Edward grinned and a sugary joy smothered him like a waterfall made of honey, but he didn’t have time to celebrate. The Level 5 Slime’s core shot towards his head.

He had 30 seconds left.

So he de-activated his ‘Dream World’.

Hundreds of drops of rain hovered above his head. Not a single breath of wind brushed his skin. Not a single blade of grass shivered, let alone rustle.

The Level 5 slime’s core froze centimetres next to his temple.

Then the world whirled, wobbled, and spun. An incoherent scramble of random splashes of colour enveloped his sight. After more twirling, twisting, and thrashing of his senses, he eventually made his way back to the goblin’s hall.

A bright blue light still shone in front of Wickancis’ palm. Two Level 5 Warrior goblins still clenched both of his arms on both sides of his body. Unnalt still crossed his arms and grinned behind Wickancis, but when Edward opened his eyes, his expression changed. He glared at Edward and mouthed something slowly.

“Don’t get cocky,” he mouthed. “Know your place.”

Edward shuddered. He didn’t think of the possibility of the goblins noticing his levels increase, and his HP rapidly decrease and increase for no reason. Glancing at the goblins by his side, fifty minutes ago they were calm and grinning, but now they were sweating and grimacing. They were probably unnerved by his randomly changing levels and HP. Fortunately, Wickancis had his eyes closed during his spell-casting, because if not then he’d have burned him like the ‘Fire God’.

Regardless, Edward continued his plan. He stared down at his feet to bring up his status screen.


Level: 3

Stat Points: 3

Strength: 9 : +

Defense: 8 : +

Agility: 10 : +

Magic: 8 : +


After allocating his stat points, his stats became:


Level: 3

Stat Points: 0

Strength: 9

Defense: 8

Agility: 13

Magic: 8


He had 15 seconds left.

Edward looked over his shoulder at Richard and Charlotte. It surprised him to see Charlotte grinning and shaking with excitement. She was probably happy to see his levels, HP, and stats change so much over the last 5 minutes. Some of that excitement wormed its way into himself as well, so he winked at her and she winked back, smiling and trembling even more.

However, Richard still stared in shock with a tear-smothered face. His HP dropped even lower than before, probably beaten up a bit more by Charlotte. He wished she didn’t. But despite that, he stared into Richard’s eyes and nodded.

He stared back.

10 seconds left.

He grimaced at the ground and hesitated.

9 seconds left.

Charlotte kicked the back of Richard’s leg and presumably whispered some obscenities into his ear. Richard turned and glared up at her.

8 seconds left.

Richard turned and stared at Edward.

He shook his head.

7 seconds left.

Edward’s heart hammered into his sternum. A sweat colder than his already glacial skin stampeded down his body. His eyes rattled as they scattered across the hall, desperately searching for something he could use to escape.

“What the fuck is wrong with you!” Charlotte roared with quivering lips. She smashed the front of her head against the back of Richard’s, inspiring a squeaky squeal, and dropping his HP down to 80%. “We’re gonna die if you don’t do something!”

“H-how do you know!” Richard spun and whimpered back. “W-why don’t we just wait and see what happens to E-edward!”

5 seconds left.

“I know you’ll die, because I’ll fucking kill you!” She swung her foot at Richard and smashed her shins against the sides of his thighs. He shrieked and tripped to the floor. His head rattled on the stone. His HP dropped to 70%.

“Stop messing around meatbags!” A goblin growled as he strangled the shaft of his axe and marched towards them. “I thought I already told you to keep quiet!”

But Charlotte ignored the incoming goblin. She continued to stamp on Richard’s head. Blood soaked his blonde hair and spilled on the stone tiles. He writhed and wriggled, and his HP dropped to 60%.

“Just stop it!” Richard shrieked, after eating a kick to the face. “Don’t kill me!”

“Then do what I fucking told you to do!” She stomped on him.

“What’s all of this shouting?” Wickancis grumbled, opening his eyes.

2 seconds left.

Richard’s HP dropped to 50%.

“Fine!” He shouted.

A goblin snatched Charlotte’s arm and yanked her away from Richard.

1 second left.

Richard rolled across the floor and pressed his chest to the stone.

“I’ll do it!” He screeched.

Richard spat on the ground. Edward slammed his eyes shut.

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