Chapter 3:

Forest of Dek and First Kill

Hour Empty Child


Kudo Braven, a newly formed Adventurer, who has gained his white colored Adventurers’ License just a few moments ago, immediately started on the first objective of his journey.

With the money in hand now, which was around 12,000 Jib, he started collecting all the necessary items. As he is now, he can’t join any parties, so he has already chosen the option of going solo since the very first day.

As a new Adventurer, he can’t be weak. He needs to be stronger in order to help the party. This was Kudo’s goal. He wanted to be strong first before he goes out and join any parties.
And with that, Kudo decides to raise his level.

Upon gaining the new Growth Crystal, the license for all Adventurers, Kudo has the ability to become stronger by gaining experience points, a source of energy gained by killing monsters made out of bad mana.

The corrupted mana collected by the monsters then gets transferred to the Adventurers that killed it, converting them into the purest sense of mana. The purest mana then raises their own power level, which are thus called Experience Points.

Gaining Experience Points allows them to level up, and then gain 5 stat points. With their Growth Crystal, they are able to manipulate their own bodies’ growth by administering these stat points to their overalls stats:

Strength: Increases physical Attack power, and outside of battles make the Adventurer more stronger physically, among other things.

Intelligence: Increases the magical Attack power and raises [MP] overall stat. Outside of battles, it raises their cognitive abilities and gains better memory.

Wisdom: Increases the recovery rate of Mana Points, or [MP], and increases the accuracy of magical attacks. Outside of battle, the Adventurer is able to solve problems faster with thought.

Vitality: Increases their Health Points, or [HP], and its recovery rate, enabling them to survive longer in battle and take more hits. Outside of battles, it increases their stamina and become more healthy.

Dexterity: Increases their Speed and mobility, making them move and react faster. Outside of battles, it enables them to be more nimble and flexible, among other things.

Luck: Increases their chances of striking a critical hit to their enemies. Outside of battle… the Adventurer becomes slightly lucky.

Luck was considered an odd stat to increase. It surely raises the chances to gain a critical hit, or perhaps make an unlucky shot into a lucky one, but in the end, it is all according to luck, so hardly anyone increases it.

As Kudo made his rounds of buying what he needed with the money he had now, he considered what kind of Class he gained.

“It’s a Special Class, so it should be unique… but it is unknown. I’m kinda afraid to check it out.”

Kudo heaved a sigh as he starts to recall his decision to take on an unknown Class. As he begins to doubt his chances of having a good Adventurer’s life, Kudo stops in the middle of the district and checked out his spoils.

First, he bought some beginner gear. It was armor that was suited for his level 1 body. It was a simple Medium armor class gear, which had hard-leather over his chest, leggings and forearms. Most of everything else was a black shirt with long sleeves and pants. He also wore boots, but were made of cheap leather.

And then, there was one weapon. The one weapon where Kudo felt giddy and excited every time he looks at it. Kudo hid away from the other people, and then took out his blade in his lonesome.

It was holstered at his backside—because it was a broadsword—which its blade tapered from the bottom to the tip. It was a simple sword, made of cheap metal, but to Kudo, it was the very sword of his dreams that he has waited so long to get.

Wow…! It looks so cool every time I take it out!

His inner child was screaming on the inside as Kudo waved the sword around carefully, yet fully taking control of the weight thanks to his hands that were trained in his poor farm.

What Kudo brought was actually a bastard sword. A sword that was the combination of both one-handed and two-handed sword, which is perfect for either using one or two hands.
It was hard to figure out whether I wanted more speed or power, but in the end, I rather have both!

Kudo felt proud of his decision as he carefully holstered the bastard sword behind his back to the holster for large swords tied over his chest that was given to him by the vendor.

After he bought his equipment, he later bought every type of potions readily made available for him. The potions were created by Alchemists, which has a special property of healing the damage caused from fighting monsters. The potion contains a powerful liquid created using mana and natural components. Once consumed, the mana spreads all over the body and starts to heal the inflicted wounds at a faster rate—at about 200% faster than how the human body normally heals.

Kudo expected to get hurt during his first venture, so he didn’t bring much. The reason for that is that Kudo doesn’t want to rely on potions. After all, they were expensive, so he only bought 5.

After he checked his spoils, it was finally time for his first review on his new Class.

Accompanied with a heavy sigh, Kudo inhaled his breath and called out.

“Stat Menu!”

Kudo shouted, and along with the shout came along the very same screen that he has seen before back at the reception desk. Since his Growth Crystal was fused into his mana, he can call out his own information easily, so he can see the ‘stats’ of his body, and the skills that he can use.

Skills are techniques that allow him to make special attacks given to him by his Class. A [Mage], for example, can use a skill that allows them to cast a spell that launches fire at their enemies, making them literally burn. Mana is the internal energy source that they have had since birth by the gods of the Upperworld, so they can harness it and create their own magic.

Upon checking out his screen, he was shocked at what he saw…

———————————————————————————————————————
Name: Kudo Braven
Class: ?????
Level: 1
HP: 100, MP: 340
Attack: 24, Defense: 35
Magic Attack: 45, Magic Defense: 20
STR: 12 INT: 22
VIT: 3 WIS: 21
DEX: 4 LUK: 18
Available Points: 0
———————————————————————————————————————
Seeing his stat points left Kudo in disarray. Other than his strangely higher [INT] and [WIS] stat, everything else was sub-par, especially his [VIT] and [DEX].

I can understand that I have never really trained my stamina before, but what’s with this [LUK] stat? It’s higher than my strength.

Kudo tilted his head at response to the strangely high [LUK] stat as well. At this point, he believed that he should have been a [Mage], rather than something else entirely.

What got him even more anxious, however, was his Class’ name. It had no name at all and only question marks were there.

“Well, I should check out what this Class can do…”

With another heavy sigh, Kudo focused on his next words:

“Skill Menu!”

The screen in front of him changed colors, but it hardly affected the change, as it became a darker blue rather than a lighter blue. This time, his skill list showed up.

—————————————————————————————————————
【Plus Bomb】 Lv. 1 (Proficiency: 0%)
ZP&Mn)p:dp&:6Eo’+n!nFuq>L<ms8E?’p&:oUr;QKjq>^’nD<=D6<.(rWiE’et)[+qu6s7ZfqoWVXk6t/\Vs%*AZGJNZ0D&[hkHeBQa+aQ<.L:>l)js8EYTe,K.Ap\+B7mIpmIpMXQuq=jmKLT9qEp\sjXE/95Eo^hV”4N[nc/V”mJj!Bs7?9’s*;sVnZf<C1OcBC.\f^rVs
—————————————————————————————————————

Kudo was left speechless once more.

His class was hardly even trying! There was nothing but senseless garble that Kudo can’t possibly comprehend in his mind. Kudo bit his lip in anxiety as his body tensed up from his nerves.

“So far, the only thing I know about this skill is that it’s called 【Plus Bomb】. So, it’s a bomb skill which explodes? Or…”

Rather than staying and continuing to whine about his circumstances, Kudo decided to break down his Class and Skills.

However, since there was nothing as of yet to explain, Kudo was left with an impression that his bomb skill just explodes… or so he thinks.

Either way, he has no choice but to use its effects in battle. And so, he begins his grinding session.

Grinding: A special method of continuously killing the same monsters over and over. It was a method that his guidebook kept mentioning every so often, so Kudo learned that word by heart.

However, the act of killing monsters got Kudo stumped. He has to kill something, an action which he hasn’t done so before in his life.

But since he finally became an Adventurer, he has to do this. As he walked forward, his mind focused on the task at hand as he made it to the gates of the city.

He sees the same guards with full plate armor again and saw that there was a line of people who has the same goal of getting out of the city. Kudo saw at the end where one of the people who reached the end of the line gave some sort of pass to the guard, enabling them to leave the city.

Then he recalls something Quin has said to him. She said that his License, his Growth Crystal, also acts as a pass. Kudo steadily walked towards another guard who was not busy, and asked.

“E-Excuse me, I would like to leave the city for a moment.”

Kudo spoke wearily. His mind was still not used to talking a random stranger.

“Mmh? If you need to leave, show your pass. This way, we can ensure that you will come back to the city again.”

“I-I understand. Here it is… Call!”

The guard raised his right brow as Kudo held out his hand. Then, motes of blue light started to appear, forming into the very same dream-catcher shaped crystal, his Growth Crystal.
“Oh! You’re an Adventurer. Here, you can leave.”

The guard widened his eyes and immediately let Kudo passage, showing him to the gates outside.

“I-I don’t have to go through the line?”

“Adventurers have special permission to leave and come back whenever they please, as long as they show the pass. They do not have to go wait in the line.”

“Ah! I see…! T-Thank you very much!”

Kudo made a slight bow of gratitude before he went towards the gate. After he passed the gate, getting a few stares from the people waiting in line, Kudo ignored that and continued his path.

Remembering his guidebook, he recalls that the nearest forest near the city of Klein should be infested with weak monsters. Kudo made his research before he entered the city that the surrounding areas around Klein were only low-leveled areas.

The Forest of Dek. Taking some time to research, Kudo figured out that the Forest of Dek only had the lower leveled monsters called Goblins.

Goblins were the weakest of the monster groups, yet can vary in different abilities. Though they were weaker physically and magically, they’re gifted in coordination and cheap tricks, such as blinding the enemy with nearby gravel.

Kudo studied the goblins’ behaviors with the help of his guidebook to the point of being able to imagine their movements perfectly.

However, a shroud of fear and anxiety still hold Kudo’s heart strongly, not letting go of its tough grip. He knew that fighting a monster at all would mean certain death if he was careless, even if it’s against a goblin.

Kudo slowly walked forward to the emerald-colored forest, heading deep into the densely forested area, holding his sword in hand.

His bastard sword was held strongly in his hands. The solid steel covered with a soft clothed cover to make holding the handle easier made his hands warmer. Kudo stepped slowly and with a focused mind, making sure that he doesn’t fall into a trap in the forested area.

The smell of grass and flowers entered into his nose. The crumpling of grass and leaves under his feet only made him more nervous. He looked around, seeing every hazel-colored tree that stands in his vision.

——*Shrug* *Shrug*

The bushes a few distance away from him shook, making Kudo’s heart jump out of his mouth. Kudo turned his head and noticed something coming out of the bushes.

It revealed a creature that was like a small human. Kudo noticed its large, beady eyes, gruesome yellow spiked teeth that curved upwards out of its mouth. It had a greenish skin color and it wore nothing but a brown underpants made of a strange fur.

Kudo widened his eyes as for the first time, he sees a monster. A monster created out of nothing but corrupted mana, made into form. Even when Kudo was a complete novice, and had no teacher that taught him the ways of battle, Kudo could see a strange, aura-like energy coming out of him. It was a dark, mortifying aura, making Kudo’s heart beat faster in a panic.

“Hah…”

Raaaaah!

The goblin roared, bellowing out as it took out a dagger out of its small belt, not even minding the little cut he has just done since the blade was not covered.

The goblin did not pay Kudo any heed and immediately charged. He pushed against the grassy ground and held its dagger’s point straight to Kudo.

Without any hesitation, without any sense of right and wrong, the Goblin decided to attack Kudo.

Kudo’s body instinctively reacted, and held his bastard sword higher. However, the size of the sword affected his reaction time. The Goblin’s fast pace got him near Kudo, and strikes Kudo’s bastard sword with its dagger.

——*Ting!*

The sounds of blades colliding filled the air. Kudo’s balance nearly fell while his ears nearly ached from the high-pitched sound. He didn’t expect the goblin would be so strong.

The goblin didn’t stop there. He continued the onslaught by attacking Kudo as he was nearly stumbling. Seeing the dagger nearly close to his body, Kudo reacted.

——*Ting!*

Another clash of swords resounded, this time, Kudo made the goblin stumble. The size of the sword mattered in speed, but it also mattered in strength. The Goblin’s tiny and nicked dagger was no matched for the newly made sword that Kudo bought.

Now’s my chance!

The guidebook’s rule in battle: Do not ever waste a chance! If you see a monster falter, stumble, or made a mistake, attack it. There’s no sense of honor when monsters are involved. They will take whatever chance they have to kill you, so you must do the same.

As he thought of this rule, Kudo also remembered the biology of Goblins. Kudo realize that since they have small hearts, it’s hardly impossible to kill it on the first cut, so Kudo decided to attack the next prioritized part:

Its legs.

Kudo took a wide stance, swung his sword upwards as the goblin was nearly falling, and swiped horizontally downwards.

—*Kriish!* Raaaagh!

The goblin’s bellow resounded in the dense forest as the huge blade of iron cuts off its legs with ease. Blood splattered and sprayed out, painting the once emerald colored grass with tints of crimson blood.

Kudo’s right cheek was also hit by its drop of blood but he didn’t mind. The adrenaline coursing through his body now that he made a cut clouded his mind. His panting breath was the only thing he could hear other than the pained screaming.

The goblin fell to the ground but it continued to squirm like an animal that had lost his limbs. Kudo jolted and stepped back once he saw the gruesome state of the goblin.

But that became his mistake.

Despite having no legs, the Goblin extended its long arm with the dagger in hand, getting Kudo to react and stepped aside.

But the blade cuts through his skin. The armor that covered him managed to help stop the dagger from reaching deeper, but Kudo’s left waist was cut, and a stinging pain coursed from it.

“Ggh!”

Kudo grimaced as he spots the wound for a short moment, seeing it bleed out. However, only a small trickling of blood was seen. Kudo thought for a short moment of his situation.
It’s not deep! It’s not fatal! I can still go on!

Kudo grimaced as he thought, but he gritted his teeth as he recalls that this was only the first pain he could feel. If he faltered and ran, there was no way he could continue on as an Adventurer.

Thankfully, the Goblin, now that he has lost his legs, could no longer stand with its arms, and his torso fell to the grassy ground, splattering the blood all over the ground.

Kudo’s adrenaline, as well as his rage, fueled his mind. He lifted the sword, pointed the tip downwards straight to the goblin’s back, and felt his mind focused on one single point.

Raaaaahh!

—*Krrish!*

Graaah!

The sounds of screams would make the passerby that walked by shudder in fear.

The bastard sword pierced through the goblin’s torso, making it bleed out like a newly discovered geyser.

Not… not yet!

The next rule when it comes to fighting: Always give the finishing blow. Never for once think that it’s over now that you cut the enemy. Always give the finishing blow, by doing this technique…

Kudo moved his hands so that they would hold the sword strongly, and then brought all of his strength into his wrists.

—*Krrish!*

Without mercy, Kudo turned the sword sideways, while it was still piercing the Goblin’ back. The blade made a sound that would make a grown man cringe, making the blood stream out like a river. The goblin did not scream this time—that made Kudo cringe the most.

He could tell now that the goblin is dead. The goblin no longer squirmed or made a move. He could see that the goblin let go of its dagger as well.

Kudo’s harsh panting was the only sound that was heard in that area. Kudo was the only one left alive. His body shivered, his adrenaline disappeared, and soon his wound began to hurt more than before.

“Aggh! … it really hurt.”

Kudo whined, but he knew that there was more to be done. When he was looking at the dead goblin’s body:

《Experience points have reached the maximum. Level 1 has become Level 2》

Suddenly, a small screen appeared in front of him, showing him this message.

“W-Whoa! I leveled up already? Amazing!”

Kudo shouted as he checked his status screen.

He noticed that his level has increased to Level 2. The feeling from earlier changed to that of excitement as he reached the next level. But then he remembers that he has a job to do first.

The greatest rule after defeating a monster in battle: You must loot it! Carcasses of monsters tend to decompose faster than normal, so you must quickly loot the spoils before you lose your Jib!

As he recalled, he quickly opens his backpack and took out a small blade.

It was a blade meant to dissect animals for cooking. A curved blade that tapered to the tip with a strong enough iron to cut through even bones. Kudo spent quite a hefty sum for this blade and was not going to waste it.

Kudo stood near the dead body of the goblin, and bit his lip in disgust. The smell of the dead carcass invaded his sense of smell, causing him to nearly retch in horror. But he held in his vomit. Kudo knew that his livelihood was depending on this.

Kudo pointed the blade and pieces the dead goblin’s chest. He cuts it across in a vertical shape, and once the blade reached the bottom of its stomach, Kudo regretfully opens up the skin.

He definitely feels regretful.

Inside was decomposing organs, a view that would make the children from his village have nightmares about. In fact, it would give Kudo have nightmares as well, but he didn’t mind it.

Ignoring his sense of disgust, Kudo gouged out the organs one by one, as if he was looking for something. Once he managed to get most of the organs out, only the bones were left. He crushed the bones with its blade, until finally, he saw it.

“There it is!!”

The one item to loot for after killing a goblin. It was a special item that rested deep inside some bodies of monsters once they were defeated.

Kudo put his hand into the warm, stinky body and felt something hard and sturdy in his hand. Holding onto that sturdy item, Kudo gritted his teeth as he pulled it hard while pushing the goblin’s head downwards to make a balanced pull.

—*Krrk!*
He felt the bones crush as he finally got it out. Only to realize that he crushed the goblin’s head. Ignoring what he just saw, Kudo saw the item in his right hand.

It was covered in blood, but it contained a small shine that rivaled the shiniest blades. It was a small, dark-purple jewel that shimmered and glowed a strange light. Kudo stood up and saw the jewel with a smile.

“A 【Corrupted Jewel】!”

Kudo shouted with pride as he finally managed to gain a loot from a goblin.

The【Corrupted Jewel】 is a gem that is embedded in most monsters. Due to their created forms with corrupted mana, they require a gem to make their forms. When a monster is killed, if not taken out properly, the jewel would also decompose along with the monster.

But when taken out, the【Corrupted Jewel】 can be used to provide a small energy source. Once converted, the corrupted mana can be used to make certain magical objects continue their resource, such as a blacksmith’s station or a stove for alchemists.

An Adventurer can sell this item for a good sum of Jib, so the guidebook taught Kudo to take it out before anything else. Of course, if it doesn’t take much time, Kudo can take out something else.

But before he could, he realized that he was too late. When he saw the goblin, hoping to find something else, the goblin’s body was already decomposed. The stench of death made his nose curl, and the body was nothing but skin now. Before long, he saw even the skin slowly form into dust, and the winds scattered the dust away.

“Whoa…”

After seeing such a pathetic state of a monster, he felt remorseful. Even though monsters were made to only attack and destroy, the fact that they have to suffer through being defiled for the sake of Jib by an Adventurer and was left, without even being buried, to scatter across the wind.

Kudo stepped closer to the place where the Goblin had its last breath, and put his hands together into a prayer.

“I’m sorry… but I need to live as well.”

It was his first monster kill. He did not regret killing it, but he apologized and thanked the monster for being his first experience.

“Ah… Mmh, this is good. I got a level and a 【Corrupted Jewel】. If I keep this up, I can—”

“Kyaaaaahh!”

Kudo’s heart jumped out of his chest. The scream of a young woman was heard throughout the forest.

“N-No way… is someone in trouble?”

Kudo’s instinct of helping someone forced his body to move at a quick pace. He followed where the scream was heard from, and charged in after the source to help.

Even though he was a total beginner, even when he only killed one monster, Kudo continued to run for the one that screamed for help.

As he passes through the hazel-colored trees and the vast green view in front of him, he finally reaches to the blinding light as bushes were blocking most of the view.

Kudo ran towards the bushes and hid in it. He wants to help, but he needs to check out the situation first.

However, it only served to widen his eyes.

A young woman was surrounded by four goblins, each carrying different weapons. Trapped in a clear field with no trees and rocks that stands in the way, the young woman was cornered.

However, that’s not what made Kudo widen his eyes.

What made his eyes widen was the fact that the young woman was wearing such expensive looking armor, held a katana with a keen edge that looks like it would cut your eyes out if you stare at it, and then, finally, the flowing fiery-red hair, along with the tapered, panicking eyes that followed it.

Is that… Hinota Flamver?
****************************************************************************
Suddenly he finds the popular girl in a pinch! What will he do?!


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