The young Thief scowled and glared at Michael with her bright-blue eyes, before swiftly delivering a roundhouse kick to the left side of his face. Strangely enough, her attack, which was using all of her strength, had only shaved off three of his health-points.
Sarah immediately yelled “Shut the fuck up, Human!” NPCs generally needed to learn special skills to see damage numbers, health-bars, names and other similar information, but as long as they were at least rank-G, they could feel the general rank and level of a person or magical-beast: as long as it wasn’t too much higher than them.
Compared to the pain from the wound in his lower-back, that light kick didn’t even sting. Michael sighed, and told her “You’re really cute, but I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.”
After hearing that, the relatively young, male-Goblin who had originally stabbed him in the back, was preparing to aim a little higher, but their apparent leader shouted “Stop! We need him alive… so just use your fists!” Then the five of them began viciously beating on the paralyzed man, who was only receiving -1’s and -2’s from each strike.
“Resist Paralysis” reached level-two from being poisoned, but it didn’t allow him to move his body, only to feel the pain from their weak attacks. Eventually, he yelled “Ow, ouch, damn it, you fuckers are really starting to piss me off!” while channeling mana into his vocal cords and activating “Intimidation.”
Sarah wasn’t affected at all, but the others received a ‘terrified’ debuff, and lost control of their bodies. They couldn’t even scream, as the level-three girl wet herself, and the level-two man fainted.
Michael’s Health had reached 17/40, and his Stamina was only 5/20, so if they had continued to beat on him, he would have lost consciousness rather than dying. The paralysis had worn off, so he was finally able to stand upright and look down upon Sarah, while tightening his relatively large muscles, and telling her “If you keep this shit up, I’m going to start killing people.”
The conscious unranked Goblins received a ‘fear’ debuff and immediately abandoned her, while engaging their cloaking spell and disappearing into the darkness. Then she smirked, while pulling out her two daggers, and quietly said “I challenge you to a duel.”
Upon hearing those words, a message popped-up in front of his face: “Sarah, the rank-G, level-five, Goblin Thief, has challenged you to an ‘Evolution Duel.’ If you win, you will directly absorb her mana-core and gain a stat-bonus. If you lose, you will die, and your rank will decrease to ‘G’ after respawning: Stats will permanently decrease by one point, per level, though you can choose which to lose.”
While reading that, Michael muttered “Hmmm, so that’s how humanoids are supposed to rank-up, huh. Well, the question is whether I can regain the four stat-points after evolving again… Nope, not worth the risk.” He sighed dramatically, then told Sarah “Nah, I’ll pass.”
The message disappeared, and Sarah scowled while glaring at him, as she tightened the grip on her daggers, while shouting “If you won’t duel me, then I’ll just kill you!” Her body vanished into a cloud of black mist, but then reappeared behind his back, jumped a few feet into the air, and stabbed both of the knives into his neck.
They were each extremely close together at first, but then she pulled her arms outward and tore open both jugulars and carotid arteries, not to mention all the muscles. However, the most vicious part of her attack, was that she purposefully avoided damaging his spinal cord, so that he would be able to feel it all.
Her daggers were both coated in a ‘Deadly Poison,’ but it was completely unnecessary, because he died within moments of receiving that strike. The moment his lifeless body hit the ground, a raspy, masculine voice roared “Sarah! What have you done!?”
A five-foot tall, muscular, dark-green skinned man, with grey hair, bright-blue eyes, and thick leather armor, rushed over, carrying relatively large battle-axe in his left hand. Above his head were the words: “Lorekeeper Jonathan, Level-15 Hobgoblin Warrior, Rank-F, Elite.”
The pitch-black wisp muttered “Hmmm, only two-hundred HP? That seems really low, but he probably stacks strength, so he’s most-likely a glass-cannon. Although, there’s no way I could overcome that kinda level gap, plus the fact that he’s ‘Elite.’ I wonder if that’s limited to ‘NPCs’ or if ‘Players’ can also become ‘Bosses’ in this game-world?”
Jonathan’s face had a few wrinkles, and a thick and curly black beard, so it was easy to tell that he was at least ‘middle-aged’ and approaching the point where he would start becoming elderly. Looking back and forth between the nearly decapitated Human corpse, and the dagger-wielding Thief, who was smirking, his expression was gloomy.
The Lorekeeper sighed, while ‘calmly’ asking Sarah “Why, for what reason did you kill this unarmed and completely naked man?” It obviously wasn’t the first time that the young woman had taken a life.
She crouched down by Michael’s head and sheathed one dagger, while stabbing the other into the back of his skull. With a bit of mana imbued into her weapon, she twisted and popped the top-half of his cranium open, then casually reached inside with her tiny left hand, and pulled out a rank-F mana-core. Then she casually explained “I challenged him to a duel, but he didn’t accept, so now I have to do things the hard way.”
Immediately realizing what she was about to do, Jonathan shouted “No, stop!” but he was too late to prevent her from putting the little bead in her mouth and swallowing. However, before she had a chance to digest it, a completely naked, pale-skinned and muscular human suddenly appeared and delivered a heavy knee to her stomach.
The surprised Goblin-girl uncontrollably vomited out the mana-core, along with her dinner, as she tumbled backwards and rolled across the grass a half-dozen meters. Michael yelled “Eww, so~ gross! I think I’m gonna throw-up… Ugh, nope, can’t do it, I refuse! I’d rather die! Anyway, payback bitch! Hahahaha~!”
A huge ‘-7’ appeared above her head, and dropped her health down to 8/15, while she also received a ‘stunned’ debuff. Watching that scene, even the battle-hardened Warrior was surprised and confused; he clearly saw the same man’s corpse laying on the ground, yet there was now two of them.
His first thought was “Maybe they’re twins?” but then it moved onto “Probably a doppelganger…” Yet, his knowledge as the Lorekeeper of Riverside Village, gave him records regarding the ancient era, and the beings which existed back then. Jonathan cautiously asked “Young Human… are you perhaps, from another world?”
Hearing that question, Michael casually turned to face the old Hobgoblin and answered “Yep, pretty much. Oh yea, here’s some shitty relics that I came here to give to you…” as he made the small tin ring, and broken necklace appear in his right palm. Jonathan was dumbfounded, and almost couldn’t catch the priceless artifacts that were nonchalantly tossed at his leather chest-armor.
A ‘+2 Exp, +2 C’ popped up but the quest was still ongoing, since there were many other ancient Riverside heirlooms buried in that starting zone. Considering how ‘realistic’ the world was, Michael was actually surprised that he immediately received the two copper coins directly into his inventory; in fact, the official quest reward wasn’t even given to him by the Lorekeeper.
The old Hobgoblin examined the two items and immediately asked “These… where did you find these?” There were a few markings on the ring and necklace-chain, so he had a rough idea from what families they had belonged to.
Michael sighed dramatically, then explained “Five-ish miles south of here, they were buried a few inches under the dirt. Ummm, Ariel’s Meadow… the place with all the killer rabbits. Ugh, sigh, what’s up with the difficulty of this place anyway? I would normally rage-quit after dying so many times in the beginning of a game… but I kinda doubt that I have that option here. Well, whatever, do you guys have like… an inn or something? All I see are a bunch of huts made out of sticks and mud; is that a goblin thing, or are you guys just really poor?”
Before Jonathan had the chance to respond, the naked man reached down and touched his own corpse for an instant, before it suddenly disappeared. He was a relatively powerful Warrior in the region, but any sort of teleportation or instantaneous destruction magic was able to both amaze and terrify him.
However, as he looked behind the naked man, his gaze fell upon the Goblin-girl who was already preparing to retaliate. The Lorekeeper furiously shouted at her “Sarah! Go home, now! Go!” before turning to Michael and bowing his head, while saying “Please, otherworlder, if you wish to punish someone for my daughter’s actions… It is my fault as her father, and as this village’s elder. I cannot allow myself or anyone else in Riverside to die because of her foolishness, but please tell me if there is anything I can do to apologize on her behalf.”