The goblin closest to Merlin began standing up, while the two club goblins ran towards Merlin. Even so, Merlin's attention was locked on the archer, he was the biggest threat.
Merlin sheathed the mangled dagger before suddenly pouncing forward.
The shield bearing goblin, while still on it's knees, noticed Merlin's quick approach, and held it's shield in front of it, covering most of it's body from Merlin's view.
As Merlin moved within a metre of the shield goblin, he suddenly jumped onto the shield and used it as a spring board, propelling himself closer to the ranged threat. At this point the archer goblin started to panic, it had just finished loading another arrow, this one didn't appear to be anything special however.
As the goblin let loose another arrow, Merlin ducked out of the way just in time. The arrow flew past his cheek and embedded itself into the soil a few metres from the shield bearer.
Merlin entered melee range with the goblin moments after, he swung down his sword, but the archer goblin managed to avoid his strike. Merlin pivoted the blade mid-strike and managed to clip the bow's string, causing all the tension in the bow limbs to suddenly release. It was now wielding a glorified stick.
The goblin attempted to hit Merlin with it's destroyed bow, but was quickly parried away with Merlin's shield. Merlin slashed at the goblin's throat, cleaving through it with ease. After killing it, Merlin ripped the makeshift quiver from the creature and began inspecting the remaining three arrows, it appeared the rest of the arrows were normal.
Turning his attention back to the other three goblins, they were all charging towards him. Merlin ran forward while tossing the quiver at one of the club goblins, hoping it would serve as a slight distraction, before charging the other club goblin.
Merlin slammed his shield into the club goblin, sending it staggering back, before cleaving through it's shoulder with his sword. He had aimed at the neck, but the sword slid towards his shoulder due to it being coated with a viscous black liquid.
A goblin's blood was vile and fatty, it stuck to bladed weapons over time, causing them to be harder to use. The best counter to this was a well oiled blade, although high quality weapons or weapons with magical properties also fared well against it. Unfortunately every beginner weapon was of a poor quality.
Merlin slammed his shield into the goblin's face to finish it off, it took two extra hits but the creature finally died. Merlin stabbed his sword into the ground and picked up the crude club, unfortunately he couldn't even spend a moment to try clean the blood from his weapon, so he had to make do with what he had.
The two remaining goblins were now side-by-side, marching towards Merlin. He no longer had the chance to pick each off individually. Merlin started sprinting towards the shield bearer, who raised it's shield in response.
As Merlin entered combat range of both goblins, he unsheathed the mangled dagger and threw it at the club goblin's leg, causing it to flinch. He then slammed his shield into the shield bearer's shield, unfortunately the goblin had braced himself, turning this conflict into a contested feat of strength.
Eventually the club goblin regained it's composure and swung it's club at Merlin. Merlin pushed away from the shield goblin, barely escaping the club's devastating blow. Merlin backed away from the two goblins and waited for them to approach. Due to the dagger embedded in it's leg, the club goblin was limping. After a small distance, there was enough of a gap between the two goblins for Merlin to work without being flanked.
Merlin ran around the shield goblin and instead decided to rush the club goblin, he was easier to dispatch due to not being equipped with any decent gear. Merlin entered combat distance with the club goblin, who had already started swinging his club in Merlin's general direction. Merlin parried the club with his shield, while swinging his own club towards the goblin's head.
The club goblin had sacrificed it's spare arm to guard it's head, the disgusting green skin started forming blotches of black where Merlin's club struck, and the arm itself went limp. It appeared Merlin had shattered the goblin's arm.
The goblin's face recoiled in pain, it's gargled growls turning more fierce as it swung it's club at Merlin once more. Merlin blocked it's path with the shield while swinging at the goblin's head. Both strikes connected simultaneously, Merlin's arm went numb from the violent vibrations of the club.
Unlike earlier where he would parry attacks away, completely nullifying the damage dealt, he took this attack straight on by blocking it, causing all the force to be felt in his arm. While this would still reduce the damage significantly, it still dealt some degree of damage.
Meanwhile Merlin's club had connected with the goblin's skull, shattering it. The club goblin fell limp, leaving one goblin remaining.
Merlin took note of his health, he had lost roughly a quarter of it from one attack. Although at level zero he only had ten health total. You gained 10 health every level, this could be amplified with titles, equipment and certain souls that gave bonuses to health.
In his previous life, Merlin's base health was only fifty off of reaching nine thousand. Although those who specialised in tank builds would have several times that at higher levels.
Merlin spent a moment shaking the numb sensation out of his shield arm. He reached down and picked up the second club, it was somewhat cumbersome trying to carry a larger weapon in the hand he was holding his shield with, but due to the buckles and straps he didn't have to worry about dropping the shield. He also grabbed the dagger, sheathing it once more.
The last goblin began charging at Merlin, intending to tackle him with his body's entire force. Merlin swung his club in the goblin's direction, releasing it at the apex of the swing. The club flew into the air, it would have made contact with the goblin's face had it not blocked the club with it's shield. Fortunately, the goblin blocking the club caused him to stop charging, all that momentum was now lost.
Merlin swapped his spare club to his main hand and then unsheathed the dagger to his offhand, smaller weapons were easier to wield when you had a shield strapped to the same arm.
Merlin ran towards the last goblin and swung the club at it. The goblin successfully parried the club, but Merlin followed up by punching the goblin in the face with the edge of his shield. The shield sliced a gash on the goblin's forehead, causing black viscous blood to flow down it's face, blinding it in one eye.
The goblin ran forward and thrust it's rusty blade towards Merlin, only to get parried once more. Merlin brought his club down on the goblin's head, smashing it's skull.
"It's a lot harder doing this with no stats." Merlin whined as he plopped himself down on the grassy field.
"Does this mean you want to give up?" Gaia's voice could be heard once more.
"Just give a guy time to catch his breath." Merlin retorted.
After a little while he stood back up. Merlin walked over to the mangled dagger, pulling it out of a goblin corpse. He wiped as much goblin blood from the blade as he could, it wasn't perfect, but it'd do in a pinch.
Merlin picked up the rusted sword from the goblin shield bearer's corpse. it didn't seem to be any better than his gladius, the rust had blunted it and ruined it's durability.
Merlin walked over and picked up his gladius sword, it was slick with goblin blood, attempting to wipe the blood off did little to improve it's quality. In a last ditch effort, Merlin ran the rusted blade alongside the gladius, successfully scraping off layers of goblin blood.
After a couple moments, the gladius was back in working condition. Merlin had also healed what little health he had lost.
"Alright, I'm ready, what's next?" Merlin asked. This time he didn't get a response from Gaia, instead the piercing howl of wolves echoed throughout the field.
In the distance were three large wolves with pure white coats, slowly approaching Merlin's general location.
"Wave two, wolves. Right." Merlin psyched himself up, the creatures weren't close enough for him to see their level, but he could naturally assume they'd be at least one higher than the goblins, especially if there were less enemies this time around.
Merlin walked over and ripped the buckler from the shield bearer goblin's corpse, it was smaller than his own shield, but it could come in handy.
Much like goblins, wolves were extremely dangerous in a pack, yet unlike goblins, wolves could hold their own if separated from the pack.
Eventually the wolves came into range, their detection range was much higher than both the slimes and goblins, as expected of a creature with keen instincts.
The wolves split up, slowly moving to surround Merlin. This move was deadly, not only because he was being attacked by three powerful creatures in his blind spots, but because pack creatures like wolves received a damage bonus when working in a group due to the passive ability called pack tactics.