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1-13 Good Riddance

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

By the time Erin had reach the forest, dawn had broken through completely and the morning mist had lifted.

There was not much preparations to be made, aside from some extensive stretching. She worked up a lot of sweat from the warm-up. Her glistening skin against the rising sun had enticed all the eyes around her as she walked through the streets and passed through the town’s entrance gate.

The walk to the forest was short but the imbalance elevation of the ground was doing a number to her feet. Thankfully, she wasn’t carrying much on her. In her past life, she would carry the bare minimum amount of potions and some other useful tools. However, she couldn’t afford them now and for potions, there wasn’t even a single Alchemy store in this small town. At most, there was an apothecary just beside The Guild but those were not suitable for adventurers.

Apothecary sold conventional medicines and Alchemy Stores sold potions. What was the difference, many had asked. Potions were basically medicine with Magic properties. Potions had enhanced effect but most important of all, their effects were fast-acting, a dire feature for adventurers.

And so, Erin made do with just a weapon and some armor for this excursion. She should be fine as long as she didn’t venture too deep into the forest where the most dangerous monsters awaited.

With a sword by her waist, she strode through the trees that laid strewn about in the pungent forest. She never noticed it before, probably because her mind then was always on other thoughts, but the forest of Green Scar had a peculiar stench to it. It took her a while to realize it was the collective scent of the monsters lurking in this very forest.

It was slightly unpleasant to her sensitive nose but at the same time, it was a blessing in disguise. From all the congregated scent, she was able to determine the scent that belonged to the Kobolds. She didn’t know how a Kobold smelled like before but somehow, she just knew that this scent belonged to the Kobolds.

Probably because of my past life, I guess? But then again, I never did tried to specifically take each monster’s scent to heed. Maybe I had unconsciously done so?

Not an hour went by, she easily found the Kobolds which had make their camp at a clearing. The monsters she encountered on the way here could be counted on one hand, although she stayed her hands from killing them to avoid the chances alerting the Kobolds. For a forest that supposed to be the adventurers’ source of income, the monster amount was surprisingly sparse.

Not good. Focus now, Erin. You’re not the Sword Saint anymore. You can’t afford to care about other things with your current strength.

Erin rebuked herself. Recollecting her focus, she directed an observant glance at the camp. There were no guards or patrol outside of the camp. Since Kobold’s traps were made from animal or monster’s bones, she could smell them if there was any trap. There was none.

She crouched low and approached them slowly among the dense vegetation, minding her own feet from stepping on twigs. It was quite a challenge to make sure her tail did not disturb the branches or rustle the leaves too much. She began to think maybe stuffing her tail into the trousers wouldn’t be too bad of an idea.

What the f̲u̲c̲k̲ am I thinking right now? Focus, damn it!

From her spot, she could see there were nine Kobolds in total. There were no Kobolds hiding in the bushes nor any waiting atop of the trees. The Kobolds were just going about their lives, sharpening their tools, skinning their catch, bantering with one another, almost like humans. Erin felt some sympathy but she wasn’t naive. If given the chance, the Kobolds were sure to do terrible things to other races, even if the other race was friendly. In essence, Kobolds were hostile by nature.

One of the Kobolds seemed to be the head as that particular Kobold was a size larger than the others. It even had a steel sword stabbed into the ground beside the “throne” it was sitting on. Just further to its right, there was a crudely made wooden cage. From this distance, she could only vaguely make out the cage was housing a prisoner and it was a humanoid. But due to direction of the wind was blowing, she couldn’t catch the humanoid’s scent.

Erin pondered on her approach but ultimately decided on the straightforward method. For one, let alone a master, she wasn’t even remotely good at stealth. Also, she feared that she would lose her pride entirely as the former Sword Saint if she used covert tactics to defeat her opponents. And if she used covert tactics, she wouldn’t be able to “recover” her sword skills through such means.

Well, they don’t have bows or slingshots. So I don’t need to worry about ranged attacks.

With a deep breath and a braced mind, Erin walked out of the bushes with her sword drawn.

Instantly, all of the Kobolds turned their attention to the Fox-kin girl that brazenly walked into their camp with nothing but leather armor and a steel sword.

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Three Kobolds with spears made of stone as the tip approached Erin with hisses that seemed to indicate warning and mockery in tandem.

Erin infused a little amount of Arcane Edge into her sword. She swiped her blade at the ground, raising a cloud of dust towards the three Kobolds. She deactivated Arcane Edge before it strained the steel blade too much. With Fleet Foot, she closed in on the three blinded Kobolds and swung her sword with precision and speed. She aimed for their throat as it was the most vulnerable spot of almost all humanoid creatures.

Under three seconds or less, she had taken down three Kobolds.

[Experience Gained +20%] [Experience Gained +20%] [Experience Gained +20% – Level Progression: 110%] [Erinthea: Level 4 increased to Level 5] [Status has been restored] [Skill Points Gained +2] [Ability Points Gained +2] [Level Progression: 10%]

Erin smirked at the increase of her level. Seeing her confidence, the rest of the Kobolds bellowed in rage. The remaining five Kobolds, not counting the big one, armed themselves with stone swords and charged at Erin without any tactics or strategy.

Hmm… They’re not as smart as the Kobolds I know.

Erin flicked one of the fallen spear into her free hand. She infused the spear with Magic and tossed it towards the Kobold in the middle. The spear tore right through the surprised Kobold and continue travelling straight at the chief Kobold.

[Experienced Gained +15% – Level Progression: 25%]

Panic were instantly drawn on their face as their widened eyes followed the spear. The chief Kobold dodged the spear effortlessly by slanting its head slightly. Although it survived that sudden attack, rage burst onto its face.

With their focus robbed by the endangerment of their leader, Erin dashed towards the two on the left. Before they could realize her approach, she swept the legs of one with her feet and cut the throat of the other with her sword. Then she went back to stab the throat of the one she toppled to the ground.

[Experience Gained +15%] [Experience Gained +15% – Level Progression: 55%]

Without a pause in her actions, Erin flung a fallen stone sword she snatched off from her last kill at one of the two Kobolds in her sight.

They were daze by her prowess and were unable to react in time as the sword cleaved deeply into the Kobold’s head. With only one left beside the chief Kobold, the last Kobold lashed wildly at Erin. She easily caught the flailing blade into a lock, parried the stone sword, and slashed across the Kobold’s throat.

[Experience Gained +15%] [Experience Gained +15% – Level Progression: 85%]

Erin began to laugh. It was amusing on how easy it was despite losing so much her abilities as the Sword Saint. These Kobolds were weaker than the ones she was familiar with. She turned her head to the chief Kobold and smirked with her sword pointed at it.

The chief Kobold snarled and rose from its throne. It drew the steel sword from the ground and strut confidently at Erin.

You’re not going to play fair, I know.

Unlike its underlings, the chief Kobold had some degree of intelligence but still no where the level of rationality. It growled and raised its sword rushing at Erin.

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She widened her footwork in response and raised her sword horizontally to her head.

The chief Kobold then threw its sword straight at Erin.

To that trick, Erin only widened her smile. She had seen this coming. She deflected the thrown sword with a toiling blow.

Urgh! That’s heavier than I expected.

Although she battered the sword away, it had manage to throw her balance off by a little. The chief Kobold leaped at the window it saw, closing the remaining distance between it and Erin with its claws and fangs bared.

“How naive,” Erin remarked.

She poured Magic to her feet and hopped into the air, shocking the chief Kobold. As she was directly above the Kobold, she sent her sword straight down into its defenseless head.

There was no cry or roar to signify its agony and death. The kill was quick and clean. Just like that, Erin had eliminated a camp of Kobolds and not five minutes had went by.

[Experience Gained +40% – Level Progression: 125%] [Sword Art Lv. 5 increased to Lv. 6] [Erinthea: Level 5 increased to Level 6] [Status has been restored] [Skill Points Gained +2] [Ability Points Gained +2] [Level Progression: 25%]

Other than the amount of experience gained, Erin was surprise that Sword Art’s level increased without her putting a skill point into it. But upon remembering the conversations she had, this was just to be expected.

Wait. In that case… why don’t I leave Sword Art’s level increment to its own device? I can manually level up the other skills that I don’t frequently used? Yeah, that’s a good idea, I hope.

Thinking so, Erin decided to increase Spirit Magic’s level.

[Spirit Magic Lv. 3 has been increased to Lv. 5]

Presence Sense and Spirit Mend, these two concepts appeared into her head. Presence Sense was similar to Sixth Sense in a lot of ways. Sixth Sense only activates upon danger whereas Presence Sense can be used whenever. Although, her ears and tail could do just as much as Presence Sense.

Spirit Mend was a healing spell, and it heals not just physical injuries but also the mind. It was an incredibly handy spell but upon realizing the Mana cost, Erin decided to use this only as last resort.

When she tried to increase Spirit Magic to level six, a message appeared.

[Warning: Skill Level above five will require two points instead of one. Proceed?]

This was unexpected but at the same time, she saw it as only natural. If every level costed only a single point, that would be too easy. Whoever created this system, they did not created it heedlessly, Erin thought to herself.

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Maybe I should invest on other skills.

For now, she used one point in Fleet Foot and one point in Arcane Edge. She left the remaining two points alone for now.

[Fleet Foot Lv. 2 has been increased to Lv. 3] [Arcane Edge Lv. 1 has been increased to Lv. 2]

Unlike Spirit Magic, she didn’t receive any knowledge of sub-skills, as she had taken the liberty to dub it as such. She just knew that Fleet Foot was faster than before and Arcane Edge cuts better now.

For her ability stats, she had four in hand, proverbially speaking. After much contemplation which only lasted a few seconds, she went for two in Might, one in Arcane, and one in Finesse.

[Might: 11 has been increased to 13] [Arcane: 10 has been increased to 11] [Finesse: 10 has been increased to 11]

Alright. That’s enough about myself. Now, who’s the prisoner or what’s the prisoner?

Erin approached the wooden cage with her sword drawn. She didn’t sense any hostility but she wasn’t taking any chances. When she was close enough, she picked up the scent of a human.

“H-help…” she heard a meek cry from within the cage.

But she made no attempt to save the human. The only thing in her head were two words, “good riddance.”

The captive of the Kobolds was the bandit from yesterday. More specifically, the one that sacrificed his own companion to the Rot-rats. The steel sword the chief Kobold used came from this bandit, Erin realized.

When the bandit managed to have a clear look at his apparent rescuer, he shuddered. It looked like he remembered Erin. Despite that, he shamelessly asked for her help.

“P-please… help me…”

“I have no right to take your life as you seemed to have been punished for your wicked acts already,” Erin said.

The bandit was about to beg more shamelessly but Erin next sentences dispelled all of his hopes.

“But I do not have to save you either. So, good day,” she greeted and walked away from the cage, all the while the Bandit tried to scream for her assistance but much less his strength, he couldn’t even find his voice to yell.

She would have killed him if he didn’t look so pitiful. Although she had taken many lives in the past, she was never fond of it. She believed in the honor of a duel but not in the act of taking a life. While taking the life of a wicked person might save a thousand in the process, it only added to the pile of nightmare that she had.

Plus, the bandit wouldn’t live long, especially when night descends.

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Ignoring the pitiful bandit, Erin came to the carcasses of the Kobolds. Now it was the hardest part of the test, to extract the monster’s Cores. Lyra had given her some verbal explanation during supper last night. She tried to recall what Lyra had said. It was hard not to let her thought drift to the event after meal.

“Cores are usually found between a monster’s heart and liver,” Erin remembered Lyra saying. She broke off the stone tip of one of the fallen spear and used that to make an incision on a dead Kobold’s torso. She was gentle at first but when the stone blade proved to be too blunt, she ended up tearing into the Kobold’s stomach with much force. Some blood spurted onto her face but she blocked it with her hand.

Why the f̲u̲c̲k̲ am I averse to blood now? Surely my mind has not turned into a delicate maiden now, has it? I’m not even a virgin anymore!

Calming her unfounded frustration, she continued to cut the Kobold’s torso apart. After taking out the few organs in the way, she finally saw the Core, a crude red spherical crystal ore that wasn’t any bigger than her palm. But she didn’t take it out just yet. A few minutes were needed at most for the Core to complete its crystallization before it could be harvested. Taking it out too early would render the Core useless in its entirety, a far too common mistake of a lot of beginners.

The harvesting process of the Cores took longer than it did for Erin to eliminate all of the Kobolds. Core harvesting was actually much easier on non-humanoids as the right angle of incision could reach the Core easily. The chief Kobold was even more difficult given its size. The organs in the way were bigger and heavier. It took her about fifteen minutes to finally reach the Core. In the process, she obtained something unexpected yet familiar.

[Might: 13 has increased to 14]

She ignored the message. She wasn’t sure if she should be happy that she received an increase in Might or exasperated that the task was so arduous that it even increased it.

Oh damn. This is going to be heavy.

Erin gasped at the Monster Core that could barely fit in her palm. With Might at fourteen points, she didn’t doubt her ability to carry this much weight but the sack and the string she brought along was another question. She managed to fit all of the nine Cores into one sack but the weight was a little bit concerning. She prayed that it wouldn’t tear apart the sack with its weight along the way back.

She looked around the camp, scouring for any items worth scavenging. All the tools she found were too crude to be used, unless one had a death wish or incredibly desperate. The only thing that was salvageable was the bandit’s steel sword. She decided to take it. It was technically not stealing since the bandit probably stole it from some other person in the first place.

It’s not stealing if it’s already stolen, that was the bullshit she told herself.

Right as she decided to head back, the direction of the wind changed and her eyes widened at the scent that drifted into her nose.

[Sixth Sense activated. Immediate danger detected.]

At the same moment, the wind tore apart as a projectile came flying at her way. She converged her Magic to her left temple. The projectile, a stone hit her at that very spot and it bounced off from the Magic protection.

[Magic Arts: Arcane Armor Lv. 1 – Acquired]

Glad as she maybe, Erin was focus on her assailant. She stared right at the bushes, where the stone came from. She picked up a stone sword and tossed it right into the dense vegetation.

She heard the sound of flesh rupturing apart and a pathetic death groan.

She approached the bushes slowly with Arcane Armor on. She covered only her head with it since she realized how much Magic Vigor it was draining. If she put it on her whole body, it would drain off her Magic Vigor in a few seconds.

She spread apart the bushes and her assailant came into her view. A short pallid green humanoid creature with crooked teeth, long ears, and pointy nose. It was lying on the ground with its guts spilling out from its cut-opened stomach. It was obvious that the wound was Erin’s handiwork. It had a slingshot in one hand and a short knife in the other.

“A Goblin?” she muttered under her breath. She immediately took a huge whiff of the air again. She smelled many monsters mixed in that congregated scent but Goblins were not one of them. What’s more, Lyra did not mention any Goblins present in this forest. Yet, here lay a Goblin.

I should report this to The Guild. Let’s go back.

As she turned around to leave, the Goblin sprang back up with its knife plunging at Erin.

She remembered Nivia’s words at that instance. “I have witnessed a Fox-kin who uses his tail as a weapon.”

On an instinct, Erin spun a full arc. She slammed her tail coated with Arcane Armor unto the Goblin’s head. The small cretin went flying and hit a tree with its head first, bursting it open like a citrus fruit.

[Experience Gained +10% – Level Progression: 35%]

That was… careless of me.

She reprimanded herself as she retraced her steps back to the main road with constant vigilance, but not before staining her hands for the last time with some of the most fetid blood and flesh just to retrieve a Core that was a few sizes smaller than her palm.

This should be enough as proof, I hope.

Erinthea – Forest-kin: Fox-kin

Level: 6 | Status: None

Might: 14 | Arcane: 11 | Finesse: 11

Magic Arts – Spirit Magic Lv. 5 | Arcane Edge Lv. 2 | Arcane Armor Lv. 1

Combat Arts – Sword Art Lv. 6 | Fleet Foot Lv. 3

Innate Skills – Self-appraisal Lv. Ex | Night Vision Lv. Ex | Sixth Sense Lv. Ex | Toxin Resistance Lv. 1 | Lust Deviant Lv. Ex

Level Progression: 35%

Skill Points: 2

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