The stars glistened in the night sky as a young man finally reached the end of his favorite virtual reality game, Battle Worlds Online. The game had taken the entertainment world by storm, immediately becoming the most played game on the planet.
Another mission success notification flashed across the screen, something the young man was used to seeing. His fame as the Rank 1 player in Battle Worlds Online was a well-kept secret in his personal life. Only a few close friends were aware of his secret. They urged him to reveal himself to the rest of the world and join a game club, but he flatly refused. The true joy of this game was found not in fame or wealth, but in the escape to a world where anyone could be whatever and whoever they wanted to be.
His name was Souta Ieshi, but the people of this world called him Blood.
Souta prepared to log out and stretch his legs, oblivious to the danger that was approaching him, as the capsule he had been confined to for several hours was beginning to take its toll. His screen flashes with "error" symbols in large bold red text as he reaches for the logout option. Souta's heart was filled with desperation and fear as he attempted to force the logout, but it was too late. Souta's capsule experienced an unprecedented surge of power, shooting electricity through his body. As the capsule exploded, a blinding white light illuminated the room.
Souta died with a bang that shook his apartment complex.
To conceal the failure of the machine, the media was silenced, not allowing even a whisper of the events that led to the death to be revealed. Souta and the incident would soon be forgotten, reduced to a nameless statistic, an integer.
The throbbing pulse within the creature's head began to subside for a brief moment. He felt as if his entire body was on fire and a metal bat had struck his head.
"Damn, it hurts!" He pushed himself into a seated position by placing his hands in the hard, brown dirt.
"Huh? Where is this? What the hell happened?" As his eyes cleared, he found himself focusing on his surroundings. Torches made of wood cast shadows on the high stone walls. The room itself was dimly lit, but he could see enough to know he wasn't in a familiar place. The damp air felt heavy in his lungs, thickened by the scent of wet earth and dust, and the taste of iron filled his mouth.
"Dungeon?" He couldn't remember where he heard the term, but as strange as it sounded, it felt like the best word to describe his surroundings.
He gathered his strength and stood up, noticing that the torches that lit the room were still a foot or two above his line of sight.
A grimace spread across his face as his gaze moved to the floor, where he noticed a pair of dark-green colored feet, each with five grotesque toenails covered in filth and dirt.
"Huh? What am I?!" His confusion grew as he lifted each foot, staring at his soles, calloused from walking without any footwear. He turned his attention to the rest of his body, noticing that his entire body was covered in the dark-green skin. It clung desperately to his bones, as his gaunt figure which has obviously suffered from extreme malnourishment didn't have much muscle on it. He rubbed his hand along his chest, feeling the rib bones pressing against the flesh as if it were trying to escape his body. His hand continued up to his head, pressing against his scalp as the last of the headache subsided. Not only was he green, skinny, and weak, but he was also bald! This was not his day.
A light blue screen appeared before the creature, mildly startling it. He glanced over the information on the interface.
Name: <unnamed >
Free attribute point(s): 3
Skill(s): [Dash], [Stab]
Skill point(s): 1
"I guess I just don't have a name." He had hoped to at least have something to call himself, but now was not the time to think of one. Obtaining as much information about himself as possible was far more important.
His race came next. "Goblin. Well, that helps, I guess." Knowing what he was helped to calm his nerves slightly.
He quickly read through the stats and noticed that, aside from his health, none of the numbers were in the double digits. Even with his limited knowledge, he could easily tell that he was a very weak monster.
He went down the list until he came to the skills section. "Skills?" the creature thought aloud. A second screen appeared on top of the first, appearing to be closer than the larger information interface.
[Dash] Level 1: Increase the movement speed by 10% when running on a straight line. Stamina cost: 2
[Stab] Level 1: Increase the piercing effect by 10%. Stamina cost: 2
As far as skills go, they appear to be fairly basic, and with only 3 stamina, he could only use them once before becoming exhausted. However, those are his only skills, so it will have to suffice.
He needed to think carefully about how to use his three free attribute points and one free skill point. He scratches his bare head, thinking to himself that he doesn't know enough about his situation. "I'll just keep these for now," he decides.
The goblin swiped the information screens away from him, causing them to vanish. He searched his immediate surroundings for any kind of weapon. He made his way to the worn wooden door on the far side of the room after settling on a rock that was just larger than his fist.
The door groaned as it yielded to his tiny green hand. The rough wood matched the rest of the room and appeared to have been neglected for several years. He stepped into a long corridor that stretched into the darkness from left to right. It appears to have been decorated in the same manner as the room he had just left, with lit torches strewn about in metal sconces. The flames on the torches appeared to be on the verge of going out at any moment, but they clung on, maintaining a low level of light in all directions.
He crept silently along the dirt and rock floor to his left, keeping a low profile as he followed the corridor.
The dim passageway came to an end. The creature carefully searched the dimly lit room from the corridor's entrance. The goblin's eyes darted left and right, eventually settling on a shifting shadow in the center of the room. The flames illuminated a dull, off-white complexion clad in leather armor. The mysterious creature's hand radiated a dull gleam of iron.
The goblin's breathing slowed and calmed. The skeleton soldier's defense was much stronger than his, and fighting without a weapon would be impossible. His heart began to beat faster, his blood rushed through his body, and his mind became filled with delight as he reasoned in his mind. He knew it would be nearly impossible to win, but instinct lifted his body and moved his hands to tightly clutch his rock. 'Let's do it!' ' He thought as he rushed towards the skeleton, howling like a feral goblin.
With a sickening crack, the green monster threw his stone with all his might, splintering the skeleton soldier's barren skull. The skeleton stumbled as a result of the blow, creating an opportunity for the quick-witted goblin to utilize it. While the skeleton was off-balance, the goblin leaped into the air and kicked the skeleton to the ground with all of his weight. After collapsing, the skeleton was pummeled by goblin punches, each one echoing the sound of snapping bone throughout the room.
As the skeleton tried to stand again, the goblin would kick the berated soldier back onto the ground, allowing the goblin to quickly unleash another round of blows on the fallen victim.
A chill ran up the goblin's spine. The green monster jumped back as far as it could as the wind from the blade of the skeleton's wild swing sliced through the air a hair's breadth away from the creature's green flesh. The goblin had sensed his weakness, but despite landing several powerful blows that caused his hands to tingle from numbness, the soldier was still alive. The skeleton was now covered in dirt from the floor where it had been lying, and cracks had formed on the left side of the skeleton's head where the rock had struck it. Several pieces of the skull had fallen to the floor after being struck by the goblin's fists.
The skeleton soldier rose to its feet and dashed towards the goblin. The goblin backed away from the creature, hoping for another opening to attack. As the skeleton soldier lifted his blade into the air, the goblin seized the opportunity to rush the skeleton, disrupting its swing. The iron sword crashed heavily against the stone, ringing loudly into the corridors. The goblin kicked at the side of the skeleton's knee with all his might. To his surprise, instead of feeling the resistance of the skeleton soldier's bones, the goblin's foot pressed against the joint, causing the lower leg to become dislodged from the upper leg. The skeleton once again fell to the ground, where the goblin rushed to the skeleton's skull and stomped as hard as he possibly could onto the creature. With another dry crack, the skull gave way to the goblin's foot.
A ringing sound pierced the goblin's mind, and a screen appeared in front of him.
You have earned 52 Experience for defeating a skeleton soldier.
As the goblin fell back onto the now-disintegrating soldier, a heavy sigh escaped his lips. His stamina had run out, so his body refused to obey his command to get up. After a few moments of rest, the goblin arose and examined the skeleton's remaining equipment. In the goblin's hands, the iron sword felt heavy. A notification appeared over it as he looked over it.
[Rusty Sword: +10 damage. Durability: 2/5]
The Goblin examined the worn blade and moved both hands to the hilt, where he gripped the cloth-wrapped handle tightly. He swiped the message box aside and lifted the blade onto his shoulder, where he could comfortably carry it. Another ding echoed in his mind as he began to move through the room to the opposite side of the room from which he had entered, revealing another translucent message box in his path.
Survival: Survive for 5 days
Reward: 200 Exp. 1 AP (Attribute Point)
Raiding: Complete the dungeon
Reward: 100 Exp and 1 SP (Skill Point)
The message box was sneered at by the goblin. How could he hope to clear the entire dungeon if he was this exhausted from fighting just one skeleton? The battle had exposed his flaws. He would have an advantage against one skeleton due to his speed, but if there were more, he would be dead. The goblin decided to use his attribute points to increase his power.
As he finished his thought, the attribute list reappeared in front of him. He focused his first two points on strength, sending a surge of energy through his body. His muscles felt stronger after allocating just those points, but he paused before allocating his third point to strength. He could feel inside his tiny green body that he would need more than just strength. His gaze was drawn to his intelligence score. He scoffed to himself, thinking it absurd to waste intelligence points when he could be even stronger, but the feeling persisted. The goblin's bony finger moved slowly towards the [+] on his intelligence.
His mind felt like it was splitting open as he pressed the button. He knelt down and grunted in pain. Thoughts, ideas, and memories that felt out of place but familiar flooded his mind, and they were all connected by a single name. 'Souta Ieshi'.
As the pain subsided, the goblin was able to recognize his own thoughts once more. Souta Ieshi was his name. He had died, and based on his previous experiences, he knew he was no longer in the world he once knew. He collapsed on his butt, a confused expression on his face, realizing he had been reborn as a goblin in another world. He curled up in the corner of the room, and held his head in his hands.
His thoughts were racing at breakneck speed. 'How could this have happened? This cannot be true! I can't be a goblin because they're so weak! '
Souta was perplexed by his predicament and struggled to understand why he was in this situation. Souta cleared his mind and took a deep breath after a few minutes of panicking, doubting the reality of his situation, and finally bargaining with himself. Souta slapped his face with both hands, a hollow "pak" filling his ears. He was doomed to die in this dungeon if he didn't get a grip on himself.
Souta sneered as he opened his stat window again. Although goblins were known to be weak, it was even more disheartening to know that those low stats belonged to him. He sighed and waved the window to close it. He remembered playing his games. This world reminded him the most of his favorite game of all time, Battle Worlds Online.
In the game, there are players from all over the world, but most player characters belong to one of three groups, the humans, demi-humans, and monsters. It wasn't often that someone chose a monster character. The beginning is extremely difficult since most monsters start off with weak stats in comparison to the other two. Humans and Demi-Human characters had fixed stats that increased gradually as they leveled up. However, monster characters didn't have fixed stats, instead, they had to grind as hard as they could to evolve into stronger versions of themselves, as long as the character didn't die, they could even become as strong as a field boss.
"Evolution." The concept was clear in Souta's mind, but any details about how it worked were obscured by a fog.
Souta shut his eyes and concentrated on his next evolution. The name of his evolution seemed to come to him through the void of his newfound knowledge as he thought. He needed to transform into a Hobgoblin.
Souta cleared his head, now focused on his quest to become strong enough to evolve. More information was coming to him, but it was becoming harder and harder to sort out what it meant. The fog felt as if it was slowly returning to his mind, taking information with it. 'The intelligence stat!' he thought. By using the intelligence stat he was able to get his memories back, but with as little intelligence as he currently has, he can't hold onto all of it. As his mind continued to slip back to that of a goblin, he swiftly opened up his attribute menu again. In the name field, he struggled to put in his name. 'It's a new start, a new life. I could name myself anything I want.' His thoughts pressed against him, but at that moment he knew that he could only choose one name, his name. The name that his mother and father had given to him as a celebration of his life and the name that he had kept hidden from the world until his death. The tiny fingers pressed hurriedly on the keys and confirmed his entry. Even as a goblin, there was one thing he shouldn't forget. His name is Souta Ieshi, in his world and in this one.
Souta took up the sword at his side, his mind returning to normal. He had the feeling he had forgotten something, but he wasn't sure what. Bits and pieces of information whirled around in his head, forming derailed trains of thought that continued to cycle.
With a sword in hand, he could now use his skill [Stab]. This would make fighting slightly easier, but the main issue remained: he had no idea where he was.
Souta silently thanked the system for providing him with a means of survival as he stepped into the corridor, pressing forward through the dungeon.