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11 Narrow Passageways

 The further Izroth traveled into the cave-like structure, the darker it became until he could not even see his own hands in front of him. This didn't cause him to panic though as he was using his sense of hearing and feeling to get by just fine. Although he had only managed to cultivate the 'Heavenly Golden Body' physique to the very beginning stage, it still greatly sharpened his senses.

After traveling for around 30 seconds a small light came into view. It looked as though it was the light from a torch hanging on the side of the cave walls.

As Izroth arrived closer to the torch, he saw strange markings and a weird looking staff with all kinds of trinkets and small beast materials attached to it. In front of him were two different passageways and he didn't know what awaited at the end of neither of them. So he could only choose to depend on luck and so chose to follow the right path.

It was still quite hard to see, but there were torches lined up every so often on the side of the cave walls so he could at least make out the path. This reminded Izroth of his adventures as a young cultivator where he would often discover mysterious places. He had almost died countless times back then when he was still so young, headstrong, and naive.

Crrrrreeeeeeeeek...

Izroth ears twitched a bit as he picked up a low creaking noise. It sounded like something was constantly whining in a very low voice, but it was mixed in with inaudible noises and tones that Izroth had never heard before. It came from in front of him.

Izroth looked frontward and saw a pair of dark beady eyes staring at him.

The creature seemed to be very startled by the sudden appearance of an outsider. But it didn't waste any time and leaped in the direction of the intruder with a small knife in its hand!

Izroth was able to react and time, but he could not avoid the attack within such an enclosed space and could only try to parry off the attack!

Ding! The sound of metal clashing against each other rang out within the narrow pathway.

PARRIED!

-45 HP!

255/300 HP Remaining! (Izroth)

At nearly the same time as the attack finished, Izroth struck out launching a counter-attack with his sword striking and knocking the small creature backward!

-80 HP!

720/800 HP Remaining! (???)

When Izroth knocked the creature backward, he finally got a good look at what attacked him. It was a strange and small creature with sewage green skin. It had large beady black eyes and a vile stench with a long nose and short limbs to match its small body.

Name: Goblin Scout (Normal)

Level: 10

HP: 720/800

ATK: 80

DEF: 10

AGI: 30

MAG: 0

Skills:

Play Dead(Passive): If a goblin is near low HP it will try to play dead. If it remains untouched and launches a successful attack, it will deal 200% of its attack as damage that ignores defense!

Scout Call(Passive): When a goblin scout feels threatened they will instinctively call out to their fellow goblins nearby.

"What tricky skills.." Izroth thought to himself. If one were fighting a group of these things and let their guard down, then it could cost them their lives!

Izroth noticed something that he didn't see on other monsters before and that was next to the monster name it showed 'Normal'.

But he figured that it wasn't really worth looking further into it. Even though he had the memories of a hardcore gamer, it would only manifest when he recalled them. Think of it as a file on a computer; while it was stored there and one had access to it and search through it freely, they would not necessarily keep that file open all the time and stare at it. The one thing he had little to no control over however were the feelings of the original owner of this body, Jin.

"It isn't that strong, but I can't evade too well within this narrow pathway. I have to end this fight quickly and push forward to a more open space before I run into any stronger monsters" Izroth eyes were filled with a look of determination!

Crrrrrrrreeeeeeek...

Izroth's sword started filling up with a concentrated destructive energy, "First Baneful Sword: Destruction"

'Sword Force!' Izroth activated the weapon skill attached to his 'Nameless Sword'!

In one smooth motion, Izroth struck the 'Goblin Scout' with his 'Nameless Sword' that was surrounded by a milky aura. The 'Goblin Scout' was much smaller and had more room to move in such an enclosed space, however, its agility was still only half that of Izroth's, so there was no way to avoid his blade at this distance!

Slash!

-530 HP!

190/800 HP Remaining! (Goblin Scout)

This little creature was extremely vicious, as though it didn't care for its own safety, it launched right at Izroth.

Izroth tried to avoid it by moving to the side, but the side of his body knocked up against the wall of the cave, this space was simply too narrow!

The Goblin Scout bit down onto Izroth's arm!

-60 HP!

195/300 HP Remaining! (Izroth)

Izroth's greatest ability at the moment which was his agility was rendered useless in this situation, so he could only try to defend or parry the attacks. He didn't expect this little creature to suddenly bite down on his arm after receiving such a heavy attack!

Izroth immediately kicked the 'Goblin Scout' in its stomach with his foot, before just a bit later following up with a swing of his sword towards its neck!

The 'Goblin Scout' cried out while releasing those inaudible noises from before and not too long after that same inaudible noise seemed to travel from further within the cave.

Izroth's sharp hearing picked up on those noises traveling from deeper inside of the cave. He heard footsteps approaching at a rapid pace. 1.... 2... 3... 4... There were 4 of them! He didn't know if they were the exact same monster as this creature or a stronger monster, but he could not afford to stick around and find out.

But he wouldn't pull back his attack now, he would finish things!

-35 HP!

155/800 HP Remaining! (Goblin Scout)

Critical Hit!

-170 HP!

0/800 HP Remaining! (Goblin Scout)

Ding! Congratulations you have defeated Goblin Scout!

You have been awarded 300 EXP!

Loot Drop:

-10 bronze coins

Izroth quickly picked up the bronze coins. He needed to temporarily retreat and spend his stat points before starting to venture deeper inside. Originally he didn't believe that he would need to spend his stat points unless it was an emergency, however, it seemed that kind of thinking had been naive.

Although Izroth had the memories of a hardcore gamer, he was still a complete noob himself when it came to video games. Izroth knew he could not always rely on the memories of that hardcore gamer because he knew that this game was the first of its kind in this world. So, he had to slowly learn certain things by himself.

It was just like cultivation in a way; even if one had a good teacher, as long as that person never tried to improve themselves and was always relying on their teacher, they could only amount to just being okay.

'Shadow Movement!'

The cooldown period for Izroth's 'Shadow Movement' had long since been over, so he decided to use it to hide from the incoming enemies so that he would have a bit of time to better prepare.

Izroth fused together with his shadow and with the help of the cave, one would've to have otherworldly senses in order to discover him. He retreated back to the beginning of the split passageways before silently laying low. 'Shadow Movement' lasted for 30 seconds, so he could only hope that would remain enough time. If not, he would have no choice but to also use 'Flickering Steps' and escape completely from the cave!

That monster from before gave him a nice sum of EXP and he had this gut feeling that if he traveled deeper within the cave, he would only have gains and not losses!

Not too long after, 3 creatures who looked just like the Goblin Scout but slightly different, arrived at the location Izroth had left just a few moments ago. They all did not look too bright, but there was another creature with them who was twice the size of the small creatures around it making it almost as big as the average human adult. It was obviously the leader of the group as it spoke to them in that inaudible language as though it was giving orders.

The creature who was the leader of the group sniffed with its large nose, but it couldn't pick up any scent nearby. The scent seemed to come from the direction leading outside of the cave and then stop here before disappearing without a trace. It saw the body of the 'Goblin Scout' seemed to be utterly furious, but since it did not have any leads it could only return back from the direction it came. The three other creatures followed behind it.

...

Izroth let out a small sigh of relief as his 'Shadow Movement' technique ended. If he would have fought that group within that narrow pathway, he had no confidence in coming out of the situation on top. That was even more so if more of those monsters all came rushing at him in endless waves.

If it was a more open space where he could use his agility, then he would not even put those creatures in his sight!

Izroth opened his character window and decided it was time to use the stat points to improve his current strength. At the moment he had 15 stat points, so after pondering on the matter for a bit he decided he would invest 5 into his agility, 6 into his attack and 4 into his HP, so his stats now looked like:

Name: Izroth

EXP: 917/2,800

Level: 7(Stat Points: 0)

Title: None

Class: Combat Master

HP(Hit Points): 395/500

Energy: 100

ATK(Attack): 120(90+30)

DEFENSE(DEF): 20

AGILITY(AGI): 85(55+30)

MAGIC(MAG): 0

Gear Equipped:

Nameless Blade - Main Weapon

Shadow Necklace - Accessory(1)

Skills: (Skill Points: 1)

Breaker of Limits(Passive) Level: MAXED (S Class)

First Baneful Sword: Destruction(Active) Level: 1/3 (A Class)

Flickering Steps(Active) Level: MAXED (S Class)

Shadow Movement(Active) Level: MAXED (A Class)

Inventory: (Gold: 0 Silver: 4 Bronze: 34)

-x1 Demonic Boar Hide

Fame:

World Fame: 210

After going over everything and making sure it was okay, he decided to sit down and rest for a bit to regain his missing HP. He had observed that during the fight against the Shadow Wolf, some of the players were drinking something that seemed to be elixirs that restored some of their missing MP or HP.

"I should get a couple of those when I return to the village..." Izroth thought to himself.

After a few minutes of resting, his HP was now restored to full.

500/500 HP Remaining! (Izroth)

Izroth waited a bit longer until his 'Shadow Movement' was off its cooldown and stood to his feet while looking back towards the right side of the cave. This time he would be ready! He felt as though those creatures from earlier would also give good EXP, so there was no way he would give up such a chance.

Izroth once again took the right path inside of the cave going back towards the direction he killed the previous 'Goblin Scout'. The corpse that was there before had already dissipated and turned into particles.

As Izroth walked further down the narrow pathway it slowly started to expand more and more until he finally came to a large open area and what he saw completely baffled him.

"This... How can there be so many monsters in one place?" Izroth drew in a breath of cold air as he saw the sight before him. There was a large group of monsters who looked just like the creature he killed before, workings and moving various things around inside this open space as though they were constructing something important. They were scattered everywhere and there was always some distance between each of the groups or individuals.

In the middle of them was a creature twice their size constantly shouting in an inaudible language at the goblin workers and seemed to be their leader.

Ever since he entered the Willowed Forest he had yet to run into even a small group of monsters together, and yet here there were easily over 50 gathered in one place!

On the opposite side of the cave were many other paths leading to places unknown to Izroth.

For some reason at that moment he had a feeling, this place was indeed not as simple as he thought.