Chapter 4 Goblin Infestation
Kegan collapsed onto the forest floor breathing heavily. His armor was torn in multiple places, revealing bleeding wounds beneath it. Around him were the bodies of dead and dying goblins. It had been a day and a half since this all started. Kegan was sleep deprived, his wounds stung, his muscles burned, his lungs struggled to pull in air, his heart was pounding out of chest, and everything else just ached down to the bone.
He couldn’t keep this up. It had been non stop fighting and running. The forest was filled with groups of goblins. If he outran any one group then he would quickly just run into another group. He had killed four groups of goblins each group anywhere between 10-20 goblins. One group he had been lucky and found them all sleeping after a meal and just clubbed them in their sleep.
They could climb trees better than him, so he wasn’t safe sleeping in the canopy. There was always a group sniffing around his cabin. Even though they had already found and dug up his hidden food supplies.
They ate their own, and the smell of rotting flesh always brought around new groups of goblins. He knew he was at risk staying here among the dead goblins, but he just couldn’t bring himself to get up. He closed his eyes and sleep took him.
He awoke to the sounds of goblin shrieks of joy and hunger. He could differentiate their different vocal sounds now. They started tearing into one of the dead goblins. They were eating corpse after corpse getting closer to him. Before they were too close he flipped over onto his stomach and tried to launch himself into a sprint away from the goblins.
He had drastically underestimated just how worn out his body was. So instead of flying into a run, he had rolled onto his stomach, failed to push himself up very far and his legs had lost traction on the leafy forest floor and he had just fallen on his face.
The goblins screamed in glee and were upon him in the next instant. His instant suicide perk activated and saved him from a painful death.
Kegan woke up in the spirit’s realm in the nice version of his cabin. He actually felt great. The spirit realm still felt weird, but the numbness was much better than how he felt just before he died.
He went outside and saw the spirit waiting for him, as well as the strange board that displayed his perks. There was now two boards. One with his current perks and a smaller one with newly available perks. Before he looked at the newly available perks the spirit spoke to him.
“Welcome back Adventurer Kegan! Your bravery knows no limits! You faced down an entire goblin infestation on your own. You failed of course, but what is important is that you
. Sadly I can’t reward you for such repeated displays of bravery, but some of your feats and the trials you faced have unlocked new perks!”
The spirit was annoying as always, but it hadn’t managed to spoil Kegan’s good mood, yet. Kegan turned to look at his newly unlocked perks, rather than engage with the spirit.
Experience points required
Achievement to unlock
Start each life at the peak physical condition of your last life.
Die while helpless in a state of complete exhaustion.
Your skin heals three times faster from cuts and scratches
Every part of your body has open cut/scratch wounds.
Illusion magic, actively blurs the outline of your body. Makes you more difficult to spot. Burns approximately 100 calories an hour.
Kill 20 enemies with ambush attacks.
Retain Javelin skills through restarts.
Kill 20 enemies with a javelin in one life.
The spirit had also given Kegan his point summary for the previous life. 71 goblins killed (71), 12 baby goblins killed (2), and 32 days survived (32). 105 points, earned. 15906 points total.
Kegan had always just thoughtlessly purchased all of the perks. He had a lot of points, and they all always seemed useful. The Ambusher perk was the first time he had ever hesitated to purchase a perk. It seemed a little useful, but not nearly useful enough to justify the steep point cost. He was barely earning any points and still burning through points quickly.
Maybe the spirit would answer some of his questions,
“Spirit, why is the Ambusher perk so expensive”
“All magic skill perks are expensive, just like the fire starter perk was very expensive.”
Kegan’s knowledge of the word magic was probably confusing him. The word seemed to mean ‘things would just work’.
“Why is magic different?”
“Magic skills tend to be stackable, unlike physical based perks. The right combination of magical perks can thus create very powerful advantages”
“Ok, and why am I just now getting perks for killing enemies? I’ve been hunting deer and killing wolves for over 50 winters.”
“Only certain kinds of enemies count for most perks. Generally if you are gaining experience for killing something it is an enemy, otherwise its a neutral entity and won’t count towards perk unlocks.”
“Thank you Spirit, this has been one of our most useful conversations.”
“Glad to be of assistance Adventurer Kegan!”
Kegan had thought about asking about the Javelin user perk, but he already knew why it would be useful. His memory of past lives was not stable. The last life he lived he tended to remember everything and nothing was lost. Any lives before that got fuzzier and fuzzier in his memory. Five lives back he only tended to remember major moments. Ten lives back he couldn’t remember anything. It worked in weird ways though, he could always keep remembering the same thing through each life and he would retain the memory.
So even though he had forgotten what it was like, he knew his initial lives here had been torture. He had only been able to survive for a couple days at a time, and it meant his memories were only about 10 to 15 days long. The memories he had held onto and re-remembered each life were still with him. The spirit was unhelpful, the spirit could help but chose not to, he needed water and food to live, the wolves would hunt him if he became weak, how to make fire, where the stream is, the red berries make you sick (though not anymore with his new perks), and which parts of an animal tasted best. He had other memories, but those had been many of the important ones that he always made a point to re-remember each time.
This Javelin User perk and the Peak Condition perk had him rethinking his whole approach to beating the goblins. He had beaten winter by getting ready for it in the summer and fall. Now maybe he could beat the goblins by preparing for them multiple lives in advance. He could train up his body in every restart, and keep the progress. He could kill twenty goblins with his club, his spear, and the daggers he had learned were also useful.
The spirit interrupted his planning
“Would you like to make any perk purchases, or just start your next life right now.”
“I’ll take everything except the Ambusher perk”
“Ok, that leaves you with 14906 points, good luck on your next life!”
Kegan hadn’t asked to start his next life, he had wanted to get more plans in order. But he didn’t have time to protest before he found himself waking up on the mountain shrine. He frowned and headed back down into the valley towards his cabin. In his mind he was repeating all of his memories of the spirit being unhelpful and the spirit being cruel.
Kegan’s life didn’t look much different than it had in the last life. He set about making all of the same preparations he did last time. He created a few extra spears and one or two extra clubs, and more of the short wooden daggers that had been effective last time. He mostly kept his Javelins smaller and lighter so he could carry more. Goblins were not very durable creatures, and a javelin with enough weight to pierce their skin was enough to usually inflict a fatal wound.
He set out a day earlier than last time, trying to figure out where and when the goblins actually entered the forest. He was still too late this time, but they were clumped up in the southern area of the valley, opposite of the shrine where he respawned. It gave him a good idea of where to search in his next life.
He had almost gotten himself killed during the scouting trip, because he ran into two full sized groups of goblins at the same time. Almost 40 of them altogether. Only some goblins were good at going down on all four and chasing Kegan, each group was usually half fast goblins, and half strong and slow goblins. He’d learned to handle 10 goblins chasing him at a time. But 20 at the same time made his life very difficult.
Kegan survived by leading them to the wolf den. The wolves didn’t hesitate to attack when their young were endangered. The goblins were caught by surprise, and since most of the goblins capable of chasing Kegan didn’t carry weapons it was mostly a one sided slaughter.
Kegan managed to survive for thirty three days this time, instead of the usual thirty two days.
He managed to take down 6 groups of goblins this time. His increased survival came mostly from his improved fitness, but he also took a risk a few times getting a bit of sleep here and there. His Sleeping Expert perk was very useful in catching the extra sleep. He learned that he could set the perk in such a way that he would wake up as soon as he heard any nearby creatures.
It was while catching some sleep that two groups of goblins converged on his position. He awoke due to the closer group, and ran away from them, only to run right into the second group. He tried fighting them and might have killed one or two before the fighting got too painful and his instant suicide perk activated.
The only new perk he was offered was spear user for 250. He took the perk. He’d earned 120 points, so his total was now 14776.
As he walked down into the valley in his latest life he was feeling good. He was making progress, he had a way forward, and with just a few more lives he’d take care of these goblins and finally get to live in peace.