For the brief moment both goblins had stopped moving, and one had leaned down to inspect the body, revealing its neck to Merlin who was staring down at it from above. Merlin corrected his aim before letting loose both of the arrows that were nocked. One arrow flew where he was aiming, embedding itself in the goblin's neck, the other arrow flew off course, hitting the other goblin in the shoulder. After letting loose the arrows, the bow Merlin was using snapped in half.
Although New Genesis was a game that constantly spouted about freedoms, it was still a game. Some aspects of the world had to be gamified to fit within the game's balance, and one of these balances was temporary equipment.
When you killed something in New Genesis, the corpse didn't magically disappear immediately like other games. Meaning there was a moment in time where the corpse was still present in the world as a physical object, along with all of the equipment on its body, this equipment was called temporary equipment.
Temporary equipment was as the name implies, temporary. They either had limited durability or a time limit, and unlike their item drop counterparts, couldn't be stored away in your inventory. Another major factor of temporary items was that they had a fraction of the stats of their item drop counterparts, and typically lacked any of the special abilities that the item would have had.
When an item dropped, it was highlighted in some way by the system. How a drop was highlighted depended on the item in question, but the consistent part was that it stood out in the environment and informed players that it was an item at first glance.
Merlin dropped the bow and unsheathed his sword, before dropping off of the branch onto one of the goblins. As Merlin fell, the goblin who got shot in the shoulder looked up, only to see the glint of a sword as it pierced its eye. As Merlin continued to fall, the sword was pushed further into the goblin, practically cleaving it half as his entire body weight and the gravity behind his fall was put into the force of the blade.
「Goblins remaining: 1」
Merlin pulled the sword out, but it was completely slick with goblin blood, making it functionally useless. The other goblin who was holding its throat in desperation noticed Merlin. It unsheathed its dagger and thrust it towards Merlin.
Merlin threw his sword aside for the moment as it would slow him down. Barely managing to twist his body away from the dagger, in one swift motion he pulled the last arrow from his quiver and stabbed it into the goblin's throat.
The wooden shaft of the arrow shattered, leaving splinters in Merlin's sword hand. Unfortunately the shaft shattered before the arrow head could be wedged deep within the goblin's throat, Merlin hadn't dealt enough damage to kill it with that one strike.
The goblin thrust its dagger once more, successfully wedging the dagger into Merlin's side. All Merlin could feel was a painful piercing sensation in his side, it wasn't pleasant but Merlin couldn't say it was excruciating either, although he was used to it at this point.
A damage notification appeared in Merlin's vision.
「7 damage received.」
Seven damage was significant, especially at level zero. It would have left a regular level zero player on three health, however Merlin had an extra ten health due to the additional point in vitality from his title, "The Tutorial's Champion".
The goblin ripped the dagger out of Merlin, a rush of pain flowed up his side once more. Merlin didn't give it the chance to stab him again, sending a wide swing at the goblin's head with his shield, knocking the goblin back a few steps. Merlin didn't have a sword on hand, and his free hand was currently full of splinters, so his only option was to beat the goblin to death with his shield.
Not giving the goblin a chance to recover, Merlin rushed forward at the goblin. The goblin attempted to swing its dagger at Merlin, hoping it would connect, but Merlin blocked the dagger with his shield, slapping it out of the goblin's hands. Merlin swung his arm towards the goblin once more, effectively slapping it with the flat of his shield, knocking it to the ground.
Shields weren't weapons, so they typically only did standard bludgeoning damage, rather than have additional damage given to it through item stats like actual weapons did. Although there were exceptions to this, and there were even methods of raising the damage dealt by shields. But it was overall not worth the effort as they didn't come anywhere close to the damage of a regular weapon. Merlin stood above the goblin, forcibly smashing his shield against the goblin's face, only to retract his shield and repeat once more.
「Goblins remaining: 0」
「You have completed the quest, "Training Montage III", talk to General Perakeles to receive your rewards.」
After a couple strikes, the goblin's face had been forcibly rearranged. Merlin used the rag the goblin wore as clothing to wipe the slick black blood from the rim of his shield, as he stood back up, he noticed that another window had appeared.
「You've been granted the title, "The Best Defence. (Beginner)"」
Merlin laughed when he saw the popup, this was one of the most common titles, often regarded as one of the most useless titles in the game. Merlin checked the title's stats.
[The Best Defence. (Beginner)]
It takes hits, but sometimes it hits back.
• Shield Damage: +3%
Upgrade Requirements: Shield Kills (0/20)
Merlin waved the window away and walked back to his sword, it was laying on the ground, dirt and loose foliage was now stuck to the goblin blood. Merlin tried wiping the blood off, but he knew there wasn't any hope in that happening, so he threw it in his inventory to deal with later.
Now paying attention to his surroundings, Merlin noticed that a couple glimmering items were scattered around the forest floor. Merlin walked over and collected up the items, there were two copper pieces and a dagger.
Merlin pocketed the currency before checking the stats of the dagger.
[Gnarled Goblin Dagger. (Common)]
• Damage: +5
It was pretty decent for an early game drop, it would serve well as a back up weapon for now. Unfortunately daggers were considered finesse weapons, so their damage was amplified by the dexterity stat, rather than the strength stat used for most weapons, such as Merlin's gladius sword.
Merlin sheathed his dagger, as it was the only functional weapon he currently had, before walking back towards the campsite while picking splinters out of his hand. Upon reaching the edge of the clearing, he saw the player still laying there on the ground, and the other player who abandoned him earlier was slowly approaching. It seemed he had more courage than what Merlin gave him credit for.
Merlin walked through the treeline into the clearing, making his way over to the two players. By the time Merlin reached the pair, the wounded player had been assisted off the ground and was now standing with support from the coward. Both of the players locked their sights in Merlin as he approached.
"Nasty little creatures, aren't they?" Merlin spoke up, picking out the last splinter from his hand. Merlin wasn't sure whether he wanted to taunt them or destroy them yet. He didn't take kindly to being followed or hunted, they brought back bad memories from the previous timeline. "I saw a couple more goblins a little bit up the river if you're here for the goblin extermination quest, good luck!"
Merlin walked past, he didn't want to start drama this early on in the game as it could create too many variables, but if they forced his hand, he wouldn't hesitate to destroy them without mercy. The two watched as Merlin walked past the treeline, disappearing within the forest.
A little while later Merlin had escaped the forest and made it back to the clearing full of wild hares. As he observed his surroundings, he noticed that there were more individuals hunting hares now compared to when he first entered the forest.
Merlin sat himself down on the grass and pulled his sword out of his inventory. He spent the next couple minutes scraping the hardened muck from his gladius with his new dagger, bringing his sword into working condition once more.
Merlin walked through the field, killing every wild hare he came across. The hares didn't drop their meat or pelts every time however, so he had to spend a little over half an hour killing hares to get enough for the quests. If he had some kind of animal harvesting skill it would be a lot easier to get what he needed, but for now he just had to grind it out.
As Merlin was getting ready to walk back to the village, he heard an excited squeal coming from one of the people who had been farming hares before Merlin started. As Merlin looked towards where the squeal originated from, he noticed a girl jumping up and down with excitement, two large fluffy rabbit ears were sitting on her head, flopping around as she jumped. She received the first race soul in the game, a wild hare soul.