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As soon as Edward entered the Feral Forest, he checked his stats.


Level: 10

Strength: 18

Defense: 17

Agility: 16

Magic: 8


He climbed up a tree and leapt through the forest, searching for Level 5 direwolves. Landing on a branch and crouching on it, he came across a pack of five as they trotted between the trees. He thought of waiting for one of them to isolate, but he spent a lot of time levelling up, increasing his stats, and training, so he was confident that he could take them all on.

He jumped between the branches and landed on one that was directly above them. Then he fell.

As soon as his feet touched dirt, he snatched the heads of two direwolves, and smashed them down on the ground, ripping squeals and whimpers out of their throats, and dropping both of their HP to 50%.

The other four direwolves bristled, spun, and growled at him. As they galloped towards him, smothering his vision with dark grey fur, they battered his ears with barks. The two direwolves he attacked rolled to their feet and rushed towards him as well.

The sight of them all surrounding him trembled his knees and brought memories of how their fangs and claws felt rumbling through his mind. But he slapped his knees, furrowed his brows at them, and dropped into his fighting stance, fists raised in front of his face and knees bent.

A direwolf leapt at him, swinging his claw covered claws at his chest. Edward pushed off the ground to dodg-

The claws ripped skin and burned boiling cuts across his chest. Clicking his tongue, he looked down at his legs and realized that he didn’t bend them enough. He winced and stumbled backwards. His HP dropped to 93%. Gritting his teeth, he lunged at it as it plunged past him and swung his fist at it.

His knuckles smashed against its torso, cracking ribs and ripping a squeal out of its muzzle. It’s HP dropped to 55%.

But he groaned, because once again his form was off. He didn’t put his legs into the punch and didn’t twist his torso enough. Sparring with Charlotte was completely different from fighting real animals. It was completely different from fighting under pressure in a life or death situation.

So for a single second, he closed his eyes. He blocked out the barking of the dogs, and the scalding cuts across his chest. His panting slowed. Inhaling and exhaling deeply, his face relaxed. He opened his eyes. A gaping muzzle and snapping fangs filled his vision.

He rose his hand to the wolf’s neck and pushed it past his shoulder. The wolf’s claws whipped at his neck, but he pivoted to the side with bent legs, letting it shoot past him and stumble in the mud behind him.

Edward plunged towards the stumbling wolf, slammed his feet on the ground in front of it, swung his fist at its skull, pushed his bent legs at the ground and twisted his torso. His knuckles crashed against its skull, splattering blood out of its muzzle and dropping its HP to 50%.

He heard pattering behind him. He spun. A wolf leapt at him, swinging claws at his neck. Dashing to the side, he snatched its leg, swung the wolf in the air, and smashed its ribs against the ground, cracking them and dropping its HP to 50%.

Another wolf leapt at him from the front and snapped its fangs at his shoulder, but Edward pivoted and pushed its muzzle out of the way. He whipped his foot at its neck, twisting it further than it should, smashing it on the dirt, and dropping its HP to 50%.

Ducking under the slashing paws of a leaping and bleeding wolf, he winced as its claws still sunk into and scraped across his back, shoving his HP down to 86%. He spun, and smashed his fist up at its chin, crushing its teeth, smashing its jaw, and rattling its brain. It’s HP dropped to 0%.

Five wolves left.

'ding'


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 5 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 200XP]

[Progress to Level 11: 6%]


A direwolf rushed at his back. He spun and jumped over it. Landing on the ground, he flung his foot at its face, twisting its head into a circle and plummeting its HP down to 0%.

Four wolves left.

'ding'


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 5 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 200XP]

[Progress to Level 11: 7%]


Glancing to his left, a wolf ran at him. Glancing to his right, a wolf ran at him. He bent backwards, dodging under the thrusting and snapping jaws of the wolf on his right. Snatching its neck with his right hand, he rammed his left fist into its gaping muzzle and plunged his knuckles into its skull, smothering his arm with blood. It’s HP fell to 0%.

Three wolves left.

'ding'


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 5 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 200XP]

[Progress to Level 11: 8%]


Twisting his torso, he grabbed and strangled the swinging arms of the wolf on his left, flipped to a stand, spun, and smashed its back against the coarse bark of a nearby tree. It’s HP dropped to 0%.

Two wolves left.

'ding'


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 5 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 200XP]

[Progress to Level 11: 9%]


They ran at his back. He flipped over them and stomped on their tails. They tripped and tumbled on the dirt. He grabbed their napes and smashed their skulls against each other, ripping fur, tearing skin, cracking bones, rattling their brains, and shoving their HP down to 0%.

'ding'


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 5 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 200XP]

[Progress to Level 11: 10%]


'ding'


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 5 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 200XP]

[Progress to Level 11: 11%]


Whilst his HP barely dropped, his stamina fell to 50%. So he slumped down on the grass and gazed at the carnage before him. He couldn’t stop smiling. Why would he ever think martial arts practice wouldn’t be useful? It was a game changer, and would only become more so as he got better and better.

So as soon as his stamina hit 100%, he hopped to his feet, rushed up a tree, and leapt between branches, eager to find more direwolves.

After 24 hours of hunting direwolves, he levelled up a few times.

‘ding’


[Congratulations! You have defeated a Level 6 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 300 XP!]

[Progress to Level 14: 3%]


‘ding’

‘ding’

‘ding


[Congratulations! You have levelled up!]

[You are now Level 13!]

[You have been given +3 Stat Points!]

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


He grinned as he allocated his stat points.


Level: 13

Stat Points: 0

Strength: 21

Defense: 20

Agility: 19

Magic: 8


His stomach was roaring, begging for food. But it didn’t bother him much because, during his hunting, he collected a gigantic pile of direwolf corpses. He piled them up at the edge of the cave he found earlier, and ran out of the forest to find Charlotte, so she could skin them and cook them with her Basic Hunting ability. He hoped she was at a high enough level to make protecting and escorting her through the Feral Forest feasible.

He eventually found her as she swung her foot through the core of a Level 4 slime. As the slime flattened on the grass, her level rose from 10 to 11, inspiring a punch in the air and a smile on Edward’s face.

Whilst Edward led Charlotte to the Feral Forest and to the cave he left the corpses at, Charlotte looked for tinder along the way. Whilst they couldn’t use any wood because of the trees being indestructible, she knew they could use dry grass instead, which she collected from various small patches that spread throughout the forest.

She also told him she learnt a new ability when she hit Level 10. The ability was called ‘Precision’. It gave her the ability to scan an enemy with her eyes and temporarily find its weak-spot. When she attacked that weak-spot, she’d deliver double damage. If she attacked with a ranged weapon, then her damage would be multiplied by 4. After 30 seconds passed, she’d forget the location of the weak-spot. Unfortunately, they only had their fists to work with so she had to settle for double damage. Hopefully, she’d get a bow and arrow soon.

She also asked him how long they had left. He said they had 316 hours left.

They soon arrived at the cave. Whilst Charlotte skinned the direwolves, started a fire, and cooked the meat, Edward sat in the cave and kept his eyes peeled on the area, making sure no direwolves or arctotheriums entered the cave, but especially making sure none within the cave approached them.

When the meat began cooking and its savoury aroma wafted into his nose, his stomach started roaring again, and his mouth watered, occasionally pulling his eyes away from the cave’s shadows or from the outside bushes and to the fire’s licking of the glistening juicy meat.

But fortunately, those distractions didn’t prove fatal, because no direwolves or arctotheriums attacked them and seemed to leave them to feast in peace. Whilst the food was enjoyable, the heat of the fire on his stiff and icy skin was even more pleasurable.

Despite spending 46 hours in the Dream World, he didn’t feel tired at all. So after they finished eating, they put out the fire and left the cave. Edward led Charlotte out of the forest, and then they went their separate ways again.

After another 48 hours of hunting direwolves, Edward smashed his knuckles against the skull of a Level 7 direwolf, dropping its HP to 0%.

‘ding’


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 7 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 400 XP!]

[Progress to Level 16: 2%]


‘ding’

‘ding’

‘ding’


[Congratulations! You have levelled up!]

[You are now Level 15!]

[You have been given +3 Stat Points!]

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

[You have learnt a new Class Ability: Giant Mountain!]


Edward jumped for joy at the sight of the new ability, excited speculation as to what it could be rushed through his mind. But before he read the ability’s description, he allocated his stat points.


Level: 15

Stat Points: 0

Strength: 23

Defense: 22

Agility: 21

Magic: 8


He then read the ‘Giant Mountain’s’ description. It seemed to be another monster location, just like Feral Forest. He barely scratched the surface of the Feral Forest, so whilst it was cool, such an ability wouldn’t be useful to him anytime soon. Regardless, he ran over to the plains so he could show Charlotte the creation of what he assumed this time would be some sort of mountain.

Once he found her on the plains, she was Level 13. She smashed her fist through the core of a Level 5 slime. Defeating that slime didn’t level her up, so she instinctively ran away from the slime and glanced around the plains, searching for more prey. Edward had to call out to her to catch her attention. And when he did, she smiled and approached, appearing excited when he mentioned his new ability.

Then he activated it.

The ground rumbled and shook. Their bodies shuddered and wobbled, but then the shaking got so violent that they both fell off their feet. Their backs slapped the grass. Despite being far away from the Feral Forest, the howling of direwolves and the roaring of arctotheriums rumbled out of the forest. The trees shivered and canopies rustled. Some of them even fell, leading to the squealing of direwolves and arctotheriums. Presumably, some fell on them. The idea boggled Edward’s mind. He thought they were indestructible. But maybe it was the roots of the trees that got damaged by the creating of this mountain, and that caused their falling.

Further ahead, on the horizon, the ground broke. The grass lost its green. It turned yellow, then brown, and then shrivelled into ash. The peak of a mountain pushed up out of the ruined ground, pummelling Edward’s ears and inspiring Charlotte to cup her ears. Edward did the same since eventually his ears ached, and then sting due to how loud it was. Rocks and soil spat out from the rising mound of rock. It rose and rose, appearing wider and wider, until a humongous lump of rock shot up into the sky, the peak hidden by the clouds.

The clouds in that area darkened and thickened, and the rain in that area froze into hail. Then snow fell instead. It soon became a gigantic avalanche of snow, burying the rocky and ruined ground of the area, and the gigantic mound of rock. The noise of the cracking ground and erecting of rock lessened and eventually vanished. The ground’s rumbling ceased. The mountain’s movement stopped. Only snow rained and buried the land outside of the grassy plains.

“Woah,” Charlotte gasped. They both stared at the distant mountain for a few minutes, not saying a word. They then both laughed, the only way to ease the tension that such a brain jumbling sight created.

Unable to hold in their excitement, Edward and Charlotte hopped up to their feet and jogged over to it, excited to see what sort of monsters the area had in store. Some of that excitement, however, waned. Because the closer they got there, the colder they felt. Eventually, the cold was even greater than what they faced in the physical world.

Their feet stepped on icy grass. Then snow buried all vegetation. Snow replaced the rain. It fell slowly, like dropped pieces of paper floating in the breeze. But the closer they got to the mountain, the harder the snow fell. Soon, they trudged through the middle of a blizzard. The white of snow surrounded them, restricting their vision.

Just when Edward’s marching slowed and thoughts of turning back from the skin scratching blizzard pulled on his mind, movement that didn’t belong to the stampeding snow blurred through it. After getting closer, Edward saw what it was.

A white-furred gorilla galloped through the blizzard. It rushed towards what looked like a great lump of soil in the vision smothering snow. Edward and Charlotte crouched down and crept behind a mound of snow so they could get closer without getting spotted. Whilst they pressed their backs to the freezing snow, the grand lump of dirt shifted and turned. It wasn’t a lump of soil. What they saw was fur, and when it turned, long and circular bone white tusks peeked out from behind it.

It was a mammoth.

The white-furred gorilla roared and leapt at the mammoth, batting its torso with its body long arms. Brown fur rippled, ribs cracked, and the mammoth shrieked. The troll snarled and chomped a chunk of fur and flesh with its fangs. After spitting it out, the troll raked its claws across the mammoth’s leg, wobbling it.


Snow Troll

Level: 20

HP: 100%

Stamina: 85%


Edward looked at the mammoth.


Mammoth

Level: 22

HP: 80%

Stamina: 100%


The mammoth jerked its boulder of a head at the troll and whacked its tusks at it, slashing at its chest and slamming it into the air till it crashed in the snow. It’s HP dropped to 60%. The two of them fought for a while, painting the white snow with dark red blood. But only the mammoth was left standing in the end, brown fur caked with blood. The troll, however, laid on the snow, arms ripped off and neck sliced open.

Edward didn’t know whether to cry in fear or smile with excitement. But both he and Charlotte were very sure about the fact that it’d be best to leave the Giant Mountain and all the monsters that laid within it till later. Much later. Especially since the icy snow only made him colder and colder, turning his skin blue. Glancing at Charlotte’s constant shaking and teeth chattering, she seemed to be of the same mind. Which was why they didn’t walk out of the snow and back on the grassy plains; they ran out of it.

But as soon as the cold but warmer grass greeted their feet, and the cold but warmer rain pattered their heads, they went their separate ways and went straight back to hunting for XP. They only had 268 hours left after all.

After two days of hunting direwolves in the Feral Forest, he levelled up.

‘ding’


[Congratulations! You have killed a Level 7 Direwolf!]

[Reward: 400 XP]

[Progress to Level 17: 1%]


‘ding’

‘ding’

‘ding’


[Congratulations! You have levelled up!]

[You are now Level 16!]

[You have been given +3 Stat Points!]

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


Edward thought about how he should allocate his new stat points.


Level: 16

Stat Points: 3

Strength: 23

Defence: 22

Agility: 21

Magic: 8


He shrugged and continued spreading it equally between Strength, Defense, and Agility. It’d be best for him to take to being a jack of all trades at this point. Except magic, which didn’t seem to serve any use to him thus far. Whilst he could invest primarily in defence and operate as a frontline tank, it wasn’t like Charlotte had a bow to act as a ranged archer, nor was Richard reliable enough to leave the ranged damage dealing to him, if he bothered to even train and level up in the first place. So he put one point into strength, defence, and agility.


Level: 16

Stat Points: 0

Strength: 24

Defence: 23

Agility: 22

Magic: 8


They had 220 hours left, and 8 hours should’ve passed in the physical world. So he left the Feral Forest and searched for Charlotte so they could go back to the sewers and hopefully convince Richard to train in the Dream World.

But before Edward could even leave the Feral Forest, he heard her shouting and grunting. Running towards the sound, he found her slapping her bloody and wounded foot against the skull of a bloody direwolf, corpses of the rest of the pack surrounding her. The direwolf’s skull cracked and splattered blood on the grass and her body, its HP dropping to 0%.

She then laughed and jumped for joy, whacking her foot at the rain in her excitement. Because by killing that Direwolf, her HP regenerated back up to 100% and her level increased to 15.

Edward asked her what ability she got. She said she received the “Intermediate Hunting Skills” ability. A ton of knowledge relating to constructing traps and tracking animals rushed through her mind. But the piece of information she was excited about the most was constructing make-shift clothing out of animal fur. Even Edward giddily smiled at her as she said that.

So before they left the Dream World to tag Richard into it, they went back to the cave where they left what remained of the skinned wolf corpses. Edward then sat down and waited for Charlotte to finish creating the fur clothing. It took a few hours for her to do so. She crafted two sets of wolf fur shirts, trousers, foot-wrappings, and gloves. As soon as Charlotte said she was done, they both hastily threw them on.

Back in the real world, he would’ve felt extremely uncomfortable and probably disgusted by wearing the fur of an animal he recently saw alive and ate the meat of. But considering how cold he was for what had technically been nearly a week, the fur felt more warm and comforting than any bed sheet or beach. They both smiled and sighed in relaxation. But their smiles were weak.

The thing that made Edward nervous was whether the clothing would get transported into the real world as well. It made little sense for that to be the case. It’s not like the rain transported with him. But if so, what of the items from the Dream Quest? If they couldn’t transport clothes, would they be able to transport the Dream Quest rewards? So Edward gulped as he and Charlotte left the Dream World.

The world whirled and morphed into incoherence. He opened his eyes, and he was back in the sewer, sitting on the floor and resting his back against a wall. Charlotte was next to him, and her eyes opened.

They both grimaced in unison at not seeing their fur clothes anywhere on their bodies. Touching his naked and icy skin, he could still remember the wolf fur’s feeling of warmth and softness. Shaking his head, he stood up and hoped that he’d eventually get an ability that’d allow him to take items from the Dream World out into the real world.

Richard noticed them getting up and groaned.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Edward said as he pushed himself up to his feet. “But it’s time to get some XP.”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes, if Charlotte can do it, then you can as well.”

Richard sighed and shook his head. “I was getting pretty bored, so I might as well, i guess.”

“That’s your fucking reasoning?” Charlotte’s face slapped in her palm.

“It’s better than nothing, at least,” Edward said as he walked up to Richard and crouched down so he was level with him. He placed his palm on his shoulder and activated the ‘Dream Touch’ ability. His hand glowed blue and swiftly flashed the dark sewer with cerulean. Richard’s eyes closed. Edward sat down next to him.

“Good luck,” Charlotte said as she sat down by his side.

“I’ve gotten pretty used to the monsters now,” Edward said. “Your martial arts training was ten times more valuable than I initially thought it would be. Thanks to you, I’ll be fine.”

“That’s not what I mean,” Charlotte nodded at Richard. “Be careful to not let him give you a migraine.”

“Oh, that,” Edward chuckled. “If all else fails, I can just grab him and throw him at the monsters. Hopefully, killing monsters with him as a weapon gives him XP instead of me. “

“Not a bad idea,” Charlotte giggled. “Be safe.”

Edward nodded and activated his ‘Dream World’. The world swirled and jumbled into incoherence again. Opening his eyes, he was in the cave. He shook his head and grimaced.

Once again, he forgot he should de-activate his Dream World in the plains, where the person he touched would end up. He focused way too much on the fur clothing to remember that.

So he jumped to his feet and sprinted out of the cave. It wasn’t hard to find Richard because as soon as Edward burst out of the bushes that bordered the edge of the Feral Forest, a bright light flashed from atop a hill. He ran at it.

Once he got closer, he could hear Richard crying and wailing. After reaching the foot of the hill, Edward could eventually see a Level 1 slime hopping around randomly after getting hit with a ‘Spark’. Richard was running away from it, splattering tears and snot off his face on the grass. He was doing a decent job of getting away. That was until the ‘Spark’ wore off. The slime rushed towards him. Richard was running as fast as he could, but the Slime hopped much faster.

Edward reached the peak of the hill. The slime smothered Richard’s figure with its shadow. Richard tripped on a rock and fell to grass. The slime lunged towards him, its core shooting at his head.

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A note from Jonsoon

Shoutout to a great upcoming author: Hi I'm Ren, and her amazing new story, I Awoke Today a Demon.

I Awoke Today a Demon

by Hi Im Ren

Through no fault of her own, a girl becomes a demon, losing the memories of her past life. Treated as a monster, she becomes Public Enemy #1, and is accused of attacking a town. How will she survive when she wants nothing more than to live a normal life? 


Chapters Mon/Wed/Fri before 11pm CST

Why you should read

Whilst it's somewhat of a slice of life, the premise conjures a lingering feeling of unease and suspense that occasionaly becomes akin to a thriller. But because of it still being a slice of life, the characters are given the time to develop and get you invested in them. As a result, the characters are incredibly sympathetic and you're immediately emotionally invested in their wholesome but complex relationships. Be sure to give it a read, it's above average in comparison to what you usually see on Royal Road, and deserves much more attention. 


About the author

Jonsoon

Bio: -

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