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L1M Chapter 5

Between a Rock and Hard Place

I’ve been walking for a while, but nothing’s really caught my eye yet.

Ah, but there was something that I’ve been wanting to try since I first thought about it. I mean, since this world was practically like a game, that probably meant I could look up my status or something along those lines. I wasn’t sure how to go about it though. Maybe I’d just try calling it out aloud?

“Open Status.”

The moment I said that, a slightly translucent window popped up. It floated in front of me right at eye level. Listed all along it were:

Name: Tetsuya Takahashi
Age: 25
Level: 1/1
HP: 20/30
MP: 3/3
Attack: 3
Defense: 3
Speed: 3
Skill Points: 0
Skill: Corpse Absorption
Resistance: None

Apparently, I could see everything through that key phrase.

I was pretty sure every single number listed was on the weaker end. The 1/1 part shown under “level” must’ve been that Max Level crap they were talking about. Oh, and this Corpse Absorption thing… Was it a beginner’s skill? Was it strong? Eh, probably not, since that Miem lady told us when we were summoned that beginner’s skills aren’t typically strong. If that was true, this skill was useless to me. If all the skill did was absorb corpses, I didn’t see how that’d be helpful for me at all. I just wasn’t going to expect anything from it.

Still though, my health was down a good bit. I wondered if getting hit by those hoodlums had anything to do with it.

Anyway, now that I knew how to open the window, how did I get it to go away? Well, if saying “open” opened it, then…

“Close Status.”

Bingo! The window faded out of existence as soon as I said those words. So, “open” opened it, and “close” closed it. Easy enough.

Regardless, I was absolutely the weakest link in this world, and was super prone for dying, too. I’d have to consider every danger around me as I searched for a way out of here. With that in mind, I pushed myself forward.

Some steps later, though, I could have sworn I smelled something that seemed like it was rotting away – it was so bad, I wanted to throw up. I almost felt like it was coming from somewhere in front of me.

Chills ran down my spine and making an about-face, I started walking in the complete opposite direction. After walking for a short while though, –

Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp.

– I heard footsteps coming up from behind me. It sounded like the beings were a bipedal species of sorts. Were they humans, or…?

Checking all around me, I couldn’t tell where the things were coming from in the least. The steps progressively grew louder and louder, but there wasn’t a single place for me to hide. My last option was to run away, so I started running in the opposite direction from where the sounds were coming from. As I ran faster, so too did the sound of their steps.

I started gunning it, but they began running after me just as quickly. The problem was, the sound was only growing louder and louder. They were faster than me!

I glanced back behind me and off in the distance just barely, I saw the creatures tailing me. They looked small in stature, with green skin and horns coming from their foreheads, and the sight of their vicious faces shook me with fear. Just a small guess, but I’d bet those things were goblins.

I’d always imagined them to look weak and small, but those things had bludgeons in their hands, and my Max Level one butt was not going to beat them.

Which meant…it was time to get the hell out of there. Oh, but wait, they’re faster than me. Like, a lot faster. Or, was I just really slow? For whatever reason, I felt like I was way slower than I was even as a child. I mean, sure, I wasn’t the pinnacle of perfect health, but was I always really this slow? Maybe being a level one had to do with my physical prowess hitting rock bottom.

That aside, the most important thing here was that they were definitely chasing after me! Could I hide anywhere? I looked left and right as I ran.

Hm? What was that smell?

I’d smelled something rotten earlier, but rather than going away, it’s like it’s only gotten stronger? Was I not actually running in the opposite direction, then?

If the smell got too strong for them, they’d probably run away from it. I’d just have to keep up my pace, and so I kept running. Thing was, the goblins didn’t seem to pay it any attention at all.

What the hell.

What even were those things? Why were they even chasing me? What, they wanted to eat me or something? There wasn’t a delicious bone on my body, guys!

As I kept ranting in my head, the goblins behind me started throwing things at me.

What were those things, you ask? Rocks. All of them were throwing rocks by the dozens.

“Ow, damn it!” I yelled out as one hit my right leg on target.

Considering I was running, I hit the ground hard, rolling over and over. Pain roared through my body as I came to a stop, my back lying against the ground. I could taste the mixture of blood and soil coming into my mouth.

I tried to get back up, but my right leg just wouldn’t obey. Getting hit by that rock injured me more than I’d originally thought.

I glanced behind me again, and the goblins were now taking their time walking towards me. They’d taken down their prey and were all smiles and smirks now.

Damn it, I had to get out of here. Move, body, move!

I thought I’d be able to push myself into motion somehow, but my legs wouldn’t budge. Well, if I couldn’t run away, I’d at least try crawling.

But, fuck! What was this? What have I done to deserve this? What did I do?!

The thought of how unfair this was burned hot and heavy in my chest. When I’d been saved from falling onto a mushroom, I’d thought the existence of God’s grace was an actual thing, but I’d only come to find there really was no god in this world.

The goblins kept closing in on me, and I was at a loss of what to do next. I doubted I’d make it out alive if I just let myself get captured. In fact, the chances of getting out of this at all were pretty much zero.

Even still, I wanted to live. I’d do what I could to stay alive, so I kept crawling forward further.

Hang on, what was this?

There was a hole that had opened up within the earth, and on top of that, a horribly unpleasant smell of rot. It smelled so bad, I unconsciously grimaced. Well, if there was any place that smell had been coming from, then this would’ve had to be it.

The hole was too dark to see the bottom. It was probably so deep that I’d die if I fell through. On top of that, with how bad it smelled, that really made me reluctant to go down there into it. Then again, if I didn’t jump here and now, my death was a hundred percent certain by those goblins. So…

Nowhere to go but down. Making up my mind, I leapt for it.

Down we go!



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