Chapter 4:

Beginners' Shield

Path of Pandora – My Worldbuilding System

The message showing his rewards was followed by a question.

[ Claim Rewards? ]

There were two options: 'Yes' and 'Claim later'. Tanuki chose the first option.

As he did, a yellow orb appeared behind the message. It looked like a golden bumblebee if maybe a bit more round-shaped. Tanuki reached out to the little light, but it quickly flung itself towards the purple obelisk.

"Was that an expansion point?" Tanuki asked before he heard something hit the ground. "Huh?"

Next to him was a green gift box. It was held together by a white ribbon.

"That must be the Beginners' Box."

When opened, it revealed a blinding white light. Suddenly, an item popped out of the box. It floated in the air with a message next to it.

[ Beginners' Toy Shield ]

[ Quality: Common ]

[ Level: 1 ]

[ Block rating: 5 ]

[ Lightning Affinity: Minor ]

[ A small metal shield attachable to the wrist via leather straps. Upon blocking an attack, it sends a harmless but staggering lightning blow through the attacker's body. ]

It was a livid piece of armor. Tanuki quickly grabbed and equipped the shield, which fit surprisingly well.

"Awesome!" Tanuki admired his new toy.

All of a sudden, something lukewarm rushed through his body. The pain in his left side completely disappeared. Confused, he quickly took off the black hoodie and looked at his wounds. Both his shoulder and wrist were healed.

That's when he realized, he was so amazed by the shield, that he did not notice the other content of the box. It had no physical shape, and the only proof for its existence was the message that floated above the box.

[ HP fully recovered. ]

Once his body fully recovered, both the message and the gift box disappeared.

Tanuki was fascinated by the healing magic. He touched his healed wrist and shoulder once again, searching for discomfort. There was none.

Not only were his wounds gone, both his body and mind were cured of all afflictions. That meant he regained his power and determined attitude.

"Cool!" He smiled, then set off to use the Gaia Core.




[ Time until next wave: 11h 10m 14s ]

Tanuki checked the 'Waves' menu and as he did, his skin went pale.

"E-Excuse me?!"

[ Wave: 2 ]

[ Title: Beginners' Trial ( 2/3 ) ]

[ Challenge Rating: 0 ]

[ Active effects:­­ ––– ]

[ Incoming enemies: Goblin (3x) ]

"How the hell is that considered a zero in challenge rating?! It took just one goblin to make me bleed a fountain! How am I meant to defeat three of them?"

Challenge rating is a popular concept in MMORPGs. It determines the power of monsters via their attributes, potential, and overall equipment. It's a pretty neat thing and it helps balance the difficulty of games.

Why goblins weren't considered a threat by the Gaia Core was due to what they were compared to. Or rather, whom.

An average human has a challenge rating of one. All monsters are compared to this value.

To match the power of a human, you'd need to gather four goblins. If you do the math, that means the average challenge rating of a goblin is: '0,25'. Their weapons boost this value by a little, but not enough for three to be considered a real threat to an average human.

But even then, Tanuki dreaded tonight's encounter.

"Do I have the same strength as an average human? No, that would be impossible. I was never any good at sports, nor did I ever try to get better at them. That leaves me with one other option…"


Not that he was more intelligent than his peers, but his artistic background helped him see the world through different lenses. This, combined with his incredible amounts of trivial knowledge and a basic understanding of structures, made him pretty reliable when it came to thinking up ideas.

"I can't defeat three goblins alone, but I don't need to handle all three of them." He opened the 'Expansion' menu and chose the grid west of the Gaia Core. "All I need is a little time to make some preparations."

[ Choose a tile! ]

[ Expansion Points: 1 ]

[ Available options: Field, Forest, Hill ]

"I'll choose forest!"

Green cubes began raining from the sky west to the Gaia Core.

"Forests are good for a multitude of reasons. I can gather twigs and vines, which I can use to craft tools and weapons. Trees also provide a natural defense, I can climb them and sleep at a safe distance from any monsters that might lurk in the dark. Besides that, I can gather berries to refill my energy."

The forest before him was thick and luscious. Various trees such as oaks and beeches were present, and the ground floor was colorful like a rainbow from the different berry bushes.

What came as a pleasant surprise were the movements Tanuki noticed in faraway bushes. There were small animals present such as crickets and birds.

Though they were scared of him, Tanuki felt relieved by their presence. Being alone in this empty world was so uncanny, it made him feel paranoid. Thus, as he observed the tiny squirrels collect acorns off the ground, a smile grew on his face.

"Alright!" He clenched his fists. "Let the preparations begin!"