The natural regeneration wasn't yet able to activate due to him being considered in combat via the system, so he had no way of healing his health before charging in. If he had a passive healing ability he could regenerate health in combat, there were also more active methods of healing, such as potions, healing spells and other healing items like food or bandages.
As Merlin laid behind cover, he heard light footsteps of the goblin echo throughout the cave. The goblin had gotten impatient and was trying to move into an angle where he could see Merlin. The footsteps started to get louder, leaving Merlin with little time to think of a plan.
Merlin threw his torch into the air, the sudden movement of the light source caused the goblin to let loose the arrow it had nocked in a panic. The arrow flew into the torch, splintering as it made contact, but also splitting the torch itself in half.
Taking this opportunity Merlin ran towards the direction the arrow had come from while the goblin was defenceless. He saw the glint of the goblin's eyes reflecting the torchlight, this helped Merlin trace the goblin's silhouette in the low light conditions.
Merlin pounced on the goblin's silhouette, slicing down with the gladius. Although he couldn't perfectly see where the goblin was, he knew his blade had connected due to the resistance he felt as the blade cleaved through what he assumed to be its shoulder.
The goblin let out a pained scream as the blade cleaved through it, but unfortunately that wasn't enough damage to kill it. Merlin followed up with a left hook, burying his shield in the goblin's face. He slammed his shield into the goblin a few more times, finishing it off.
Merlin wiped the goblin blood from his blade before sheathing it. He took the goblin's bow, slinging it over his shoulder, as well as the goblin's quiver, which contained three arrows. Merlin grabbed the goblin's body, dragging it with him as he stood back up and walked over to the torch that had been destroyed.
The flame on the torch had died down significantly, but was still burning using the rest of the torch as fuel. Unfortunately it couldn't be used anymore, but thankfully Merlin had learnt to always bring a spare.
Merlin threw the goblin's corpse on the fire and watched as the remaining torch embers roared into a massive flame using the goblin's rags as fuel. Merlin walked into the tunnel he entered the room from and grabbed two goblin corpses, dragging them back to the fire. Merlin repeated this until all six goblins were added to his makeshift bonfire.
The added fuel source strengthened the fire to the point it successfully lit up the entire room. Merlin could now see the two paths that branched out from the room. If he had gone down one path while unaware of the multiple paths, goblins from the other path could have flanked him from behind.
Plumes of black smoke erupted from the fire, releasing a putrid scent of burnt goblin. Merlin crouched behind a rock and equipped the goblin bow as smoke quickly filled up the cave, spreading down each tunnel. Merlin nocked an arrow and waited patiently.
Several minutes had passed, Merlin's natural regeneration kicked in, recovering six points of health.
The cave room was now half full of black smoke. Merlin made sure to stay crouched, as the lower he was to the floor, the easier it was to breathe. Suddenly the sound of quickened footsteps could be heard echoing down from one of the tunnels.
Merlin drew his bow back as the footsteps became louder, eventually three goblins ran out of the left tunnel into the open room. Merlin let the arrow loose, hitting the leftmost goblin in the chest. Merlin began drawing another arrow as the goblins stood there startled for a second, eventually the goblins noticed Merlin and began charging towards him.
Merlin nocked another arrow and let it loose, sending it towards the goblin at the front of the pack. The goblin successfully avoided the arrow by stepping to the side, it was now running in front of the previously wounded goblin. Merlin drew his last arrow as the goblin entered within three metres of him.
When Merlin let the arrow fly, the goblin quickly ducked, letting the arrow fly over its head. Unfortunately for the goblin running behind its leader, the arrow embedded itself in its throat, finishing it off. The temporary bow ran out of durability and split down the middle, Merlin threw it aside.
The goblin rushed forward, slashing at Merlin with its knife. Merlin parried the knife with his shield and thrust his gladius into the Goblin's chest, cleaving a hole through it. Merlin retracted the blade before stabbing it once more. The last goblin swung a cleaver down at Merlin's arm, Merlin let go of the gladius and jumped backwards, barely escaping the blade.
One of the most terrifying things in New Genesis was losing limbs. They grew back over time with natural regeneration, although it was slow. Or they could be brought back instantly using magical sources, such as healing magic or potions.
But even though they grew back, the loss of a limb was detrimental to a player, losing your legs ruined your mobility, losing your arms ruined your utility and in many cases your damage output. There was also negative effects that could happen if you took enough damage to major organs, such as your lungs getting pierced causing your stamina to drop.
Merlin threw his fist at the goblin, and chanted the skill, "Sucker-punch".
「Skill ⟪Sucker-punch⟫ Activated, your next unarmed attack has a 40% chance to trigger the stun effect for 3 seconds.」
As Merlin's fist connected with the goblin's face, he received a notification jingle that informed him the skill had failed. He followed up his previous attack with his signature left hook shield punch. Before the punch connected, Merlin chanted once more, "Heavy Strike".
「Skill ⟪Heavy Strike⟫ Activated, your next attack does an extra 5% damage, and has a 10% chance to trigger the stagger effect.」
Merlin wasn't sure if the skill would trigger on a shield, he never even used shields in his previous life, let alone tried fighting with them. But he did know that the skill did work with temporary weapons, and even makeshift weapons found in the environment.
It made sense that it would affect shields too, as most environmental weapons also just dealt standard bludgeoning damage, unless they were bladed or otherwise pointy. There was even someone who claimed he killed a boss with a candelabra by utilising damage boosting abilities with low restrictions, although nobody really cared enough to look into it.
As the shield connected, Merlin received a jingle indicating the skill had successfully activated, the goblin was slammed with the buffed shield, dealing a significant amount of damage for a shield attack. The goblin fell back, losing its grip on the cleaver. Merlin stepped towards the goblin and jabbed the shield at its face, as per usual he smashed the goblin with the shield repeatedly, finishing it off.
"Open inventory" As Merlin chanted the command, a window showing his inventory appeared. Merlin reached into the inventory and pulled out the remaining torch before waving the window away. Merlin walked over to the goblin he cleaved open and ripped his gladius from the goblin's corpse, wiping the blood on the goblin's rags, he also took the chance to grab the empty temporary goblin quiver from his back and throw it away as he had no use for it anymore.
Merlin walked over to the bonfire that started to die out, holding his unlit torch over the flame for a moment until it lit. Merlin crouched as he travelled to the tunnel entrance on the right to prevent his lungs from filling with smoke. He chose the right path as it was opposite to where the three goblins had come from.
As Merlin travelled through the tunnel, he noticed that the smoke began clearing away, but the walls and ceiling were stained black with soot. As he continued down the tunnel it opened up into yet another room, although it was small enough that his torch could light the room up. Meaning he didn't have to worry about an archer hiding in the shadows.
What he did have to worry about was the creatures in front of him. Sitting on a throne made of bones, decorated with what looked to be cow skulls, was a pot-bellied goblin wearing a crown that was created from what Merlin could only assume was a cow's vertebrae.
Standing beside that goblin was a smaller goblin wearing a cow's skull for a mask and carrying around a staff, this was a goblin shaman. There were two other goblins in the room, both were standard goblins carrying the crude spears Merlin saw at the entrance of the cave.
The goblin king stared at Merlin, it pointed its fat little fingers at him and let out a low growl, the two goblins on guard turned to Merlin, spears pointed at him as they approached.