“What do you mean you didn’t see anyone jumping out the window!?” Unnalt’s voice rumbled through the sewer grating, bringing a smile to Edward’s face as he splashed into the sewage water. “Are you all blind!?”

“If they ran past us and through the gate, there would be footsteps in the snow leading towards it!” A goblin soldier shouted back.

“Damn it!” Unnalt roared. “Where the fuck are they, then?”

Edward smiled as he clambered up out of the sewage water and onto the sewer walkway. His smile grew wider at their chaotic shouting and scrambling. But his smile dropped as he staggered to his feet. “We should probably move further away from the grating,” Edward said, looking down at Charlotte as she panted on the ground, and Richard as he curled up and shivered. “Just in case they check.”

They both nodded. Charlotte dragged herself up first and followed Edward. Richard pulled himself up after they got further away. They turned a corner in the sewer, and it shocked Edward that the nose shanking stench of the sewer only got worse and worse.

Sewage, dirt, and blood covered all three of them. More smothered their feet and ankles as they trudged across the muck and rat-cadaver infested walkway. Vomit coloured and smelling water streamed between them and the walkway on the other side of the sewer. Rancidly smelling drops of water fell from the curved cobbled ceiling and dampened their hair. The scurrying of rats and the slapping of their feet on the slimy floor whispered over the tumult of Charlotte’s continuing to pant and gasp for breath, and Richard’s rubbing of his arms and chattering of teeth.

After turning a few corners, Edward leaned against a wall and slumped down on the ground. “We should rest here for a bit,” Edward said with a sigh. “Let our HP regenerate.”

Charlotte nodded and sat down next to him. Richard sat a few paces away from the two of them. Thinking back, he and Charlotte were quite cruel to Richard, so it was only natural that he would sit far away from them and want nothing to do with them. Whilst Richard was frightened, it was only natural. Edward still couldn’t believe that he behaved the way he did and that his life changed so drastically. He kept blinking over and over again, expecting that the next time he opened his eyes, he’d appear on the beach once again.

Not only that, but the fact that he survived such a perilous situation was mind boggling. In real life, he’d be shivering in fright at the prospect of a school exam, but now he was fighting for his life and actually performed reasonably well. He and Charlotte were the exception, Richard was the rule. He shouldn’t have been so mean to him. Edward shook his head and slapped his face in his palms. The contents of his mind were too scattered to think straight.

He didn’t know what he should think or what he should do next. All he knew was that he wanted to go back to the beach. He wanted to feel the soft sand again. He wanted to lie down and bask in the skin-toasting heat of the summer sun whilst laying next to Vanessa. He wanted to see her smile again. He wanted to see her laugh again. He wanted to tell a corny joke, see her not laugh, but laugh himself after hearing her tell him to never try to become a comedian for the sake of the world’s IQ. He wanted to hug her again. He wanted to kiss her again.

Sketches of his kindly smiling parents, drunken and laughing friends, and blushing girlfriend glowed in his mind. But murals of a burning and melting eight-year-old boy, the severed head of a young girl, the cracked skulls, bloody corpses, and screaming faces of a hundred dying people shattered those flimsy sketches and ravaged his heart.

His fists clenched tight, and his eyes snapped wide and turned wild when Wickancis’ smirking and smug face flashed in his mind’s eye. He needed to escape the city he was in, find a place to hide, level up, hunt that wretched goblin down, have him tell him, Charlotte and Richard how to get home, and then indulge in the pleasure of killing him. He couldn’t accept the world any other way.

After the rage quietened, and the adrenaline from the fighting and running wafted out of his body, he exhaled a long held in breath and grimaced as an even stronger pain burned across his body. He then turned to Charlotte, expecting the pain she was experiencing to be much greater considering what she went through. What he saw shocked him.

She curled up, her knees pressing against her chin, and gazed into the depths of the sewage water that streamed between the walkways. Shadow smothered her frowning face. Tears glistened in her eyes. Ever since he first laid eyes on her, she was strong, confident, and aggressive. So such a vulnerable sight made Edward bristle. But the sight shouldn’t have surprised him. He felt the same way. Anyone would.

“We’ll get out of this wretched world soon,” Edward said, patting her shoulder. “Wickancis was afraid of me. I’m not sure why, but I promise to prove that he was right to be afraid. Not just of me, but of us. We’ll all level up and defeat him.”

Her shadow smothered face turned to him, and she smiled. But sorrow and tears still drenched her eyes. “Thanks for saving me back there.” She turned away from him, gazed back down at the sewage, and her smile fell back into a frown. “But don’t risk your life for me again. Whilst Richard may be of use to you, I don’t see how I ever will be. He has a ‘Rare’ class, and you have a ‘Legendary’ Class. Whereas, I have a mere ‘Uncommon’ Class, and have a garbage racial ability and special ability. If you have any intention of surviving, don’t bother with me.”

“You really think I would’ve saved Richard, of all people, because I thought he would be a competent and helpful ally?”

She snorted. “I guess not.”

“Not to mention, without you checking everyone’s stats, I’d have no idea what to do.”

“That’s all I can do, and it’s not like it’s a big deal. “

“Remember when Unnalt used his skill where his eyes flashed red?”

She nodded.

“Without you warning me, I would’ve died. You saved my life.”

The sides of her mouth twitched upwards. .

“Have hope, Charlotte.” He pulled her into a hug. “You’ll be fine.”

Her shuddering eased, a smile glowed on her face, and she hugged back.

They sat, rested, and waited for a few hours so their HP and Stamina could regenerate. Edward’s HP regenerated much faster than theirs, and Charlotte’s faster than Richard’s. She said that it was because of their difference in Defense stats. Richard had the lowest and Edward had the highest.

He said that it must be a pretty calm world if everyone could just sit down and automatically heal any injury. But Charlotte said that while that may be the case for people with Uncommon classes and above, people with Common Classes started off with 0.5 in every stat except magic which started at 0. She imagined that people with Common Classes would heal their bodies in the same way that people would in the world they came from.

After thinking about it for a bit, Edward frowned. It was a much harder world than the real one, considering how severely unequal it all was. People’s destinies were decided at birth, and there wasn’t much they could do about it. How could someone with a Common Class ever compete with someone of an Uncommon Class? One was born a regular person, the other practically a superhuman.

He suddenly felt even more grateful for happening to start with a Legendary Class. But he didn’t smile, because guilt also smothered him when he thought back to the goblins slaughtering all the people with Common Classes and throwing them into meat wagons.

Despite that, he shrugged and pushed it out of his mind. It wasn’t his world, and he had no interest in staying much longer in it. All he could do was make sure Wickancis couldn’t do such a thing to anyone else by getting rid of him. Richard appeared to have fully regenerated his HP, so Edward and Charlotte stood and beckoned Richard to get up.

He rolled his eyes. “Can’t we just sit down a bit longer?” He moaned, inspiring a clenching of Charlotte’s fist. “I’m not in the mood to get back into another life or death chase so soon.”

“Hold on,” Edward said as he put an arm in front of a seething and fist clenching Charlotte, stopping her from doing whatever she was about to do after marching towards him. “Richard, the goblins are gonna keep hunting us, and the further we get from them, then the less likely we’ll have to get into another life or death chase”

“Ugh,” Richard whined, dragging himself to his feet. “We’ll go now, then.”

Edward sighed and shook his head. He and Charlotte led the way through the sewer. After delving deeper into the darkness, hopping over more maggot infested rat cadavers, tip toeing around puddles of rat vomit, and turning around corner after corner, they finally found the sewer’s exit.

It was a ten foot tall circle covered with thick iron bars. The sewage water streamed into a river below it. In front of each walkway, a rusty iron door stood. They were locked, but he could easily kick them down. But after seeing what was behind the bars, Edward dashed back behind a corner, pulled Richard behind it, and Charlotte had the sense to follow. Because the river that the sewage streamed into wasn’t just a river, it was a canal.

Wooden ships and dinghies sailed off from quays that were covered with goblins and thick sheets of snow. Some were commoners - many shovelling up the snow from the quays and pavements. Some were sailors, some were merchants, and many were soldiers. All the commoners, sailors, and merchants were level 1, and the odd one was 2. The soldiers were all Level 3 to 6, like the ones under Wickancis’ employ.

Was fighting monsters the only way to get XP and level up? Were the slimes that Edward fought in his Dream World the weakest type of monster in this world? If so, that could explain why the average person barely levelled up, especially if you were born with an uncommon or below class.

Regardless of their levels, trying to escape at the moment was unwise. Glancing up at the sky and the sun that hid behind dark grey clouds, it was around noon. The reservoir was at its busiest at that moment. It’d be best to escape during the night.

“I’m not going out there now,” Richard said, eyes snapped wide and knees trembling at the sight. “There’s way too many.”

“For once, I agree with you,” Charlotte said with a nod.

“Let’s wait a bit until it gets dark,” Richard said.

“We should,” Edward nodded. “But not tonight. Let’s go to the next one.”

“Why?” Richard turned to Edward with a glare. “Do you like bathing in piss, shit, and vomit? I wanna get out of here as soon as possible.”

“Looks like I spoke too soon,” Charlotte said, furrowing her brows at Richard.

“We need to wait until our ability’s cooldowns have reset,” Edward turned and walked back into the darkness of the sewer. Charlotte followed, and Richard dragged himself further behind. “Which will be in 24 hours. But we’ll have to wait another 12 hours after that to leave at nighttime.”

Edward stared at his hands and looked at his ‘Marathoner’ ability. It had a 24 hour cooldown. He kept track of the time by looking at that cooldown.

After walking around a dozen turns, they slumped down into what they hoped the middle of the sewer maze was. Edward and Charlotte memorized their path to the exit and tested each other on their memories once they found somewhere to sit.

Once they sat, Edward told them that in those 36 hours, he’d be levelling up as much as possible inside his ‘Dream World’. It’d give him 360 hours to train and level up. He shivered with excitement as he speculated about how many levels he could get in that space of time.

He told them they should try to rest as much as possible in the meantime, but just in case, one of them needed to stay awake at all times. He therefore suggested that they rest in 8-hour shifts.

“I dib sleeping first!” Richard blurted out as he shot his hand up into the air as if he was in a school playground.

Charlotte shrugged. “I don’t mind.”

Edward narrowed his eyes at Richard. “Considering how severely injured Charlotte was, it’d be best for all of us if she was the one to catch some sleep first.”

“But I’ve got a ‘Rare’ class! I’m way more important than her.”

Edward chewed the inside of his mouth as rage burned in his chest. He thought Charlotte was being a bit too angry with Richard earlier, but he regretted having such thoughts. His rage only burned hotter when he saw Charlotte not even twitch at such an insult. “You’re not important, Richard,” He glared at him, making him bristle. “The only reason we’re alive is because of her. If you had your way, the goblins would have thrown us in the meat wagons. They would’ve poured gravy on our flesh and sunk a fork into us by now.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” He murmured, crossing his arms and turning away.

Edward clenched his fists. “Do you not feel ashamed at behaving in such a pathetic way?”

“What is there to be ashamed about?” Richard quizzically cocked his head.

Edward sighed. He was a lost cause. “Look, just do as I say. We’re in enough shit as it is, we don’t need to squabble amongst ourselves as well.”

Richard rolled his eyes and groaned. “Fine, she can sleep first.”

Charlotte nodded at Edward and smiled. “Thanks.”

He nodded back as she closed her eyes, and her breath deepened. Richard sprawled out across the slimy floor and continuously tapped against the stone. Edward wished he didn’t tap, it made a bit too much noise and could attract the attention of Wickancis if he sent soldiers into the sewers to check for them. But Edward thought he might as well allow Richard to have that little bit of entertainment in order to keep him awake.

Edward then turned away from them, and shifted his legs, arms, and back in order to get into a comfortable sitting position.

He then activated his ability: ‘Dream World’.

He smiled as his vision swirled and the stench of the sewer vanished from his nose. Instead, the pleasant aroma of dirt, grass, and nature filled his nostrils. Whilst the rain and the mud of the ‘Dream World’ were cold, it was much warmer than the sewers. So his smile widened as his senses shifted further and further away from the physical world and adjusted to the ‘Dream World’.

But then his heart lurched when he remembered where he exited his dream world. Sweat rushed down his face when he remembered what was next to him.

The Level 5 Slime shot its core at Edward’s cheek. He spun into a pirouette, flew, and crashed onto the grass, splashing mud up into the air. Blood dribbled out of his mouth and pooled onto the grass.

The attack dropped his HP to 30%.

A note from Jonsoon

How do you think the story is progressing so far? Feel free to positively or negatively rate or review! I'd love to know your thoughts! 

About the author


Bio: -

Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In