Tunnel Rat

by

The Walrus King

Chapter 26: Snakes! Why'd it have to be snakes?

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Milo logged into the game and emerged from his small tent. It was utterly dark in his camp. There was slight glow that he recognized as part of the patterns on his watch lizard. He used his ring to start the tiny fire under his fondue pot. He noticed that the pot was suspiciously clean. His watch lizard gave him a look of total innocence, and then his long tongue darted out and dragged in a spider.

The lizard watched Milo as he washed the pot out and then added cheese to melt. When he saw the cheese, he leaned back and sat up like a dog, rolling his eyes. Since each eye could roll in a different direction, it was a bit un-nerving. Milo tossed the lizard a bit of cheese and watched it jump and catch it in its mouth. Satisfied, the lizard lay down for a nap. Milo patted it on the head lightly. "You have a name fella? What do I call you?" The lizard didn't seem to have an opinion on that. "Fine, I'll call you George. Good job George, I'll call for you next time I'm in camp." George understood, or seemed to. He stood up, yawned and disappeared.

A bit of melted cheese and bread, and Milo was ready to begin exploring again. As he exited the back area of the tunnel, he got a system message asking if he would like to make this his camp. Milo hit 'yes' and felt excited. He was deep underground, living in a hidden cave and couldn't be happier. Time to see how far this crack goes up.

Listening carefully, he heard nothing and began to scamper up the cable. After another 100 feet he came to the top of the cables. The crevasse had gotten narrower, and continued upward. Heavy timbers had been put in place across it both to provide walkways and to support the cables going down to the crude elevator. The cables were looped over large wheels and then threaded through a machine where they emerged on the other side and could be wound onto large drums. The machine must pull or lower the four cables simultaneously. There was a crank on one side with an assortment of gears. Anyone who could turn that crank would be stronger than 10 of Milo. On the other side he saw where another machine had sat, probably the engine to drive the elevator.

He wondered what the dwarves uses for power. Coal? Wood? Some type of magic? In a world with spells that created lightning and fire out of nothing, a spell driven power plant didn't seem farfetched.

On one side of the crevasse there were extensive mines similar to what he saw lower. After about 200 feet only the main tunnel kept going. He followed it to a set of stone stairs mostly blocked with rubble, and turned back. On the other side of the crevasse there were a few long shafts dug. Milo saw what he thought were bits of ore in the walls. This area looked like it hadn't been worked. This looked like a decent spot to work on his mining and maybe make some money. He brought out his chest and took out ore sacks, his pick and lantern, then dismissed it.

With the better light, he could see a seam of ore about 2 inches wide on either side of the tunnel. He swung his pick hard at the ore and the pick went into the stone about 2 inches and stopped. After several more swings and a couple of minutes work he knocked loose a chunk of ore and examined it.

Deep Copper Ore
Medium Grade
1 Chunk
You have earned 5 EP in Mining and 5 EP in STR

It was a start. He needed 50 EP or 10 chunks of ore to hit level one in mining, which would also give him another point of STR. Maybe things would go a bit easier then. He wasn't really concerned about it. He had put in years of work in the real world moving around machines, repairing systems, and spending hours fixing what he could. A big of grinding in a game was nothing compared to that.

Milo fell into a rythm. Chnk...chnk...chnk....thunk. Three swings and a chunk or ore dropped down. He worked the seam from the top to the bottom going in a foot. Then he had to widen the hole on each side so he could go deeper into the rock, following the seam of ore. After about 20 chunks had fallen, he saw a much brighter piece drop.

Deep Copper Nugget
High Grade Metal
You have earned 25 EP in Mining and 25 EP in STR

The nugget was almost entirely made of pure copper with few impurities. It was nice to see that something besides just ore was in the mines.

Chnk...chnk...chnk....thunk. Chnk...chnk...chnk....thunk. Chnk...chnk...chnk....Crack! He'd hit something different. Looking at the spot he'd hit, it looked like a copper egg. He was starting to reach for it when it cracked open and a small copper colored snake worked its way out of the egg and dropped to the ground. It was only a foot long.

Hatchling Copperhead
elemental

The snake coiled itself up into a small pile and stuck its tongue out. It was so cute! Milo wondered if he could tame it? He was pretty sure George liked cheese and he ate any bug he could find. Milo didn't have any bugs, but he did have some cheese. He took out a small piece of his cheese from his pouch and held it out. The snake eyed him, then eyed the food. He stuck out it's tongue and licked the cheese.

"It's all yours little guy, go ahead, eat it."

The copperhead launched itself at his hand, and bit deep, sinking sharp fangs into the tender part between the thumb and his index finger.

Hatchling Copperhead bites you for 5 points of damage.

You have been poisoned!
You take 5 points of damage. Your Health 200/210


"Ow, dammit, let go!" Milo dance around, trying to dislodge the snake. After biting him again, it dropped off to the floor. Milo looked at his hand. The area around the bite was turning green. He felt a sharp pain in his ankle as the snake bit him again.

Hatchling Copperhead bites you for 5 points of damage.

You have been poisoned!
You take 5+5+5points of damage. Your Health 175/210


Milo jumped back. The copperhead hissed at him, sounding like a leaky steam valve. The pick would be hard to hit the snake with. He pulled out the machete instead. As the copperhead slithered forward, he brought the machete down on it, cutting it in two. The snake turned into some nasty smelling green gas, leaving only a coppery-red nugget of metal where its head had been.

What a Meany! You killed a baby snake!

Since this is your first fight with an elemental, we'll clue you in. Gathering resources always has a risk involved. Elementals form from pure deposits of resources and gain sentience. "Killing" them just sends the spirit back to the material that birthed it. You don't have to feel so guilty about killing a baby snake. Larger elementals can give core skill points and nice rewards. Larger elementals are also much meaner.

You receive 25 EP in Short Blades and 25 EP in DEX.
You receive High Quality Pure Copper Nugget



Milo continued to take damage as his hand and ankle swelled up and the skin turned green. The messages and damaged stopped after a few more. All told the 3 hits and poison had done 90 damage total. That was horrible! He'd almost been killed by a baby snake.

Too late, he remembered someone in the guild hall saying to be careful about copperheads. The next time someone said "be careful about..." he promised that he'd ask questions and pay attention.

Time for cheese. He was hungry, and it would help with recovering his health. He wasn't going to keep mining with a throbbing hand and a swollen ankle. No more snake taming! Unless maybe he could put it in a cage somehow?
After a very large lunch of some nice camembert and a slice of edam, he took a quick nap. Nothing killed him while he slept, and he awoke feeling quite a bit better.

A full belly of cheese has helped you regenerate your health much faster than normal and boosted your health temporarily. (+50 Health, +2 STR) Health: 255/260


He was definitely going to need more cheese. This stuff was great! He got back to his mining, being more careful about what he was hitting. The little egg had a very thin shell that crumbled in his hand. Hopefully he could spot the next one and avoid hitting it.

Chnk...chnk...chnk....thunk. Chnk...chnk...chnk....thunk. Chnk...chnk...chnk....Milo continued to expand the opening and follow the vein of deep copper into the side of the tunnel. Each sack held about 50 chunks of ore and he'd almost filled the first sack entirely when he pulled down some ore and rock to reveal a bright vein of pure copper. If a small nugget was valuable, this much was going to keep him in cheese for a month.

That was when things went bad. The coppery vein seemed to pulse and shift. Milo scrambled backwards immediately hoping that this wasn't another elemental. Which of course it was.

Copperhead Vein-Lurker Level 3 (fast, poisonous, elemental)
mature elemental


Shit! Milo fired off a Bonespike immediately, and followed up with a skull.

Bonespike has wounded Copperhead Vein-Lurker for 50 points - 10 points (armored skin) Health: 260/300

The elemental was just done forming and hadn't moved yet when the Bonespike hit it. It snapped at the protruding bit of bone. The skull bounced up to rest against its gleaming hide. Milo had leaped to the side immediately after the throw, getting out of the mouth of the narrow crevice.

Exploding Skull has wounded Copperhead Vein-Lurker. The shrapnel from the blast bounces in the enclosed space doing double normal damage. First hit: 80-10=70 damage. Second hit: 100-10=90 damage. Total damage 160 points.
Health: 100/300

Copperhead Vein-Lurker is angry and is going to swallow you whole and slowly digest you.


The snake whipped around the corner. Milo slammed down Shadowblight, trying for a shot to its head. His attack just barely missed as the snake dodged to the side. The elemental lunged forward, sinking a fang into his leg and retreating. Milo had tried to dodge, but the thing was coming at him too quickly. He fell backwards in a roll, coming to his feet and firing another Bonespike.

Copperhead Vein-Lurker bites you for 30 points of damage. You take an additional 30 damage from poison!
Health: 195/260

His Bonespike missed. The snake struck again, and he swung with Shadowblight, trying to at least knock it off course. His weapon hit the snakes head, but with the haft, doing no damage, but at least he wasn't bitten again. But the poison did another 30 damage to his health. A second bite would leave him dead for sure!

The snake was coiling for another attack. Milo tossed the last skull he had handy.

Exploding Skull has wounded Copperhead Vein-Lurker. Damage 100-10=90
Health: 10/300

So close! Can the youthful challenger take down the veteran elemental?


The blast disrupted the Copperheads strike and wounded it badly. Milo swung with his weapon, trying for a hit. He had a better chance with the snake momentarily stunned. He still missed! The snake didn't

Copperhead Vein-Lurker bites you for 30 points of damage. You take an additional 30 damage from poison!
Health: 75/260

Bad news, ratfans! Our boy seems to be on his way down! Are we seeing a Copperhead comeback?


The poison was burning in his wounds and vision was bleary. He'd dropped his weapon somewhere...

In desperation Milo lept onto the elemental and clawed at it, his tail slapping down on its head.

Here it is folks! The rat is striking. He's going for the throat. Can he pull it off?
Tail slap fails to wound Copperhead Vein-lurker.
Weak Claw fails to wound Copperhead Vein-lurker.
Weak Claw...critically hits Copperhead Vein-lurker. You have slain the Copperhead Vein Lurker! Maybe there is some mongoose blood in you somewhere.

You have earned 500 EP that may be applied to any of the following skills: bonecasting, Small Blades, Acrobatics, Dodge. You may apply an equal amount of EP to the stats that govern those skills.

You have earned 5 core skill points. Base 3 points + 2 points for a creature over your level with special abilities.

 

Speaking of special abilities...like poison...
You have taken 60 damage from poison...
You have taken 60 damage from poison...

You have died.

Don't despair. Death in Genesis is not permanent. If you were a permanent resident of the world, you would receive time to reflect on your errors in life, receive counseling, and take a refreshing walk out of the underworld. Some people are back quickly. Some take years. And some decide to spin the wheel and incarnate as something new.

As a visitor from another world you have different options:
-Hang around in a cloudy gray area playing videogames. You'll like Tetris I bet.
-Log out and go back to your boring life.
-Retire to your personal room, which in your case is your Arcane Library.

Oh, and congratulations on getting to Level 2!


Milo was a bit disappointed. He knew he wasn't a great fighter. That wasn't where his skills lay. Still...a snake? He'd died to a snake? That just felt wrong somehow.

He logged out to go check on his systems, and see how much fun Kaminski was having. Sidney wasn't even waiting to ambush him; she was much too busy dealing with the chaos Milo had inflicted on the world.

                    =*=

Name: Tallsqueak Milo Class: Scout Race: Were-rat Human
Level: 2 EP: 1785 Boss EP: 750+500 Total: 3035/6000 Heritage: None
Base Per Level From Stats From CSP Total
Health 100 100 300
Stamina 600 100 800
Mana 100 50 100 +100* 450
Stat: Rank Cap EP Bonus Total
STR 2 5 300 0 1
DEX 2 5 540 2 4
AGI 3 5 700 2 5
CON 0 5 0 0 0
INT 2 5 465 2 4
WIS 1 5 150 0 1
CHR 0 5 0 0 0
PER 1 5 80 2 3
COR 0 5 0 0 0
RAD 0 5 0 0 0
CSP earned 28 Cronk-15, Malskitter -3, FreedSouls-5, Copperhead-5
CSP to Foundation 0
CSP to CS 23
CSP Saved 5
Skills Stat Level EP P/S/T
bonecasting INT

1

150 Primary
Skulk WIS

1

150 Primary
Climbing AGI 1 100 Primary
Dodge AGI 1 250 Primary
Small Blades DEX 2 475 Primary
Tail Fighting DEX 1 50 Primary
Mining STR 2 300 Primary
Acrobatics AGI 1 50 Secondary
Throw Sharp Thing DEX 0 Secondary
Fleet of Foot AGI 2 300 Secondary
Weak Claws DEX 0 15 Secondary
Sense Danger PER 0 15 Secondary
Forage PER 1 50 Secondary
Skinning DEX 0 Tertiary
Manipulate Locks and Traps DEX 0 Tertiary
Hide INT 0 Tertiary
Identify PER 1 15 Tertiary
Open 0 Tertiary
Open 0 Tertiary
Mechanic INT 2 315 Crafting
Bone Carving DEX 0 0 Crafting
Skrimshaw DEX 0 0 Crafting
Rune Lore INT 0 0 Lore
                    Core Skills
Skill Costs Rank Max Rank Spent
Smugglers Stash 3/5/10 2 3 8
Jumping Jack 2 1 1 2
Whip Tail 2 1 1 2
Unseen Tail 3 1 1 3
Invisible Tail 3 1 1 3
bonecasting 5 1 1 5
Total 23

 

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A note from The Walrus King

Just for fun, (and to totally negate plot armor,) a lot of the time I make up a page with all the various attack chances, damage, armor mitigation, etc
And then use a dice roller work out the fights. I have more fun. Milo probably didn't. 
The snake had 10% evasion, which actually saved it 2 times from getting hit! The claw attack at the end was a lucky 02.


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The Walrus King

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