My last memory from my past life was walking into a sewer hole after my middle school graduation ceremony.
There was a feeling of falling into a never ending darkness, but the reality of death never came.
When I finally gained consciousness, I saw a mountain of skulls before me. Panicked, I looked around but the reality didn’t seem to sink in. No, almost like I didn’t have any emotions. I checked my body, hands and legs, and saw only bones. I had become a skeleton soldier like right out of a fantasy novel.
I reached out to touch the screen floating before my eyes.
Type: Skeleton/ Undead
✧ Unique Skills
[Resurrection Lv 1] [Night Vision Lv 1]
‘I had wanted to come to such a world, but why did I have to be a level 1 Skeleton soldier? Why!?’
For me, who had dreamed of worlds found in light novels or fantasy games, this situation was terrible. Regardless, my new life as a nameless skeleton soldier began.
‘Still, at least there is a level and ability system. If I work hard and practice my skills, shouldn’t it be possible to improve?’ It was at this time, while trying to motivate myself, that the skulls around me began to move.
Bones and skulls began rising randomly, attempting to find their rightful place and form a skeleton.
I tried to say, but only managed to make the sound of jaws chomping down.
Meanwhile, dozens of skeletons had been assembled and they began walking down the mountain of bones.
‘What’s going on, are we going for a walk?’
The appearance of the skeletons varied greatly: first the skulls were different, some were tall, others short. Then some had a missing arm, pieces of rotten flesh still attached, a dagger in one hand and one was even equipped with with a sword and shield.
From afar, I heard someone shout.
“Gilian, I told you we should have brought a priest over!”
“Don’t you know how hard it is to find a priest these days?”
“Oh never mind, the skeletons are already here, please hold them off a while, I hope this magic will be effective against them.”
‘Are they adventurers or just a group of bandits?’
The walls of the corridor in which the skeletons walked were of dark marble, giving an eerie feeling. The path had been largely unused and looked like an underground graveyard with a thick layer of dust and many spiderwebs. Along the way we had to avoid several pits where the old floors had crumbled.
“Block your ears!”
“Fire Elemental heed my call! Rafflema strike!”
A large fireball flew in the air and hit the leading skeletons, resulting in an explosion sending all of them flying. I was hit by several debris and bone shrapnels until finally the shockwave also blew me away into a pit.
‘Oh no, it’s just like the sewer hole I had died in my previous life!’
I fell into a dark pit, unable to see anything.
Before losing consciousness a message appeared.
[You have learned Falling resistance Lv1]
‘Am I going to die like this again? No wait, wasn’t there a resurrection skill?’
My sight darkened, as if the power had gone off. When I finally opened my eyes again I was in a wreckage of skeleton soldiers, hundreds of broken bones all around me.
‘Am I the only one who has resurrected?’
I had been conscious for a while now, but no other skeletons showed any sign of reviving.
I just stayed in the same spot with a blank look
‘Should I do something, go and explore this world?’
I looked around and noticed that some equipment from the dead skeletons were still intact. Scavenging around I acquired a small dagger, shield and broken helmet. Energized from having worn some equipment, I suddenly felt like a player in a fantasy game.
‘So where to next?’
I was in h high spirits, I thought of raising my level, wearing the best equipment and becoming a great warrior. But then it sunk in, a lowly level 1 skeleton soldier can never become a hero.
Walking for a long time in the dark I realized I was in a complex underground tunnel system with many branching caves. The only sign of life were the occasional rats, but they could spot me from far and would scare easily.
‘I have to kill something to determine whether my level can actually go up. Still, could a level 1 skeleton soldier even catch a monster, maybe not?
After about an hour of wandering around I had a good grasp of my environment and the structure of nearby caves. There seemed to be no big, terrifying monsters just the occasional rats and liquid like slimes in the area. In RPG’s, the slime is often a beginner monster with high physical damage resistance and since my only offense was the small dagger I scavenged previously, I decided to give up on hunting slimes for now. My only option was going after those rats but the problem was that they were too fast.
‘If I catch them using a trap would my experience still go up?’
It seemed like creating traps and attracting the rats to it might be my only option. The cave had very little in the way of vegetation, but there was some moss in hard to reach places, previously I had witnessed them eating some on several occasions. I went around the cave gathering moss and carefully picked out a cave which was a dead end. After spreading the moss around inconspicuously, I sat down against the wall motionless, appearing like any other dead skeleton, waiting for my chance. One hour, two hours, on a few occasions the rats would come to the entrance attracted by the smell of the moss, but they were hesitant to enter knowing it was a dead end.
‘Are the rats too cautious…?’
These rats were bigger than mice, but smaller than puppies. They wouldn’t be hard to kill if they came within reach of my dagger, but therein lay the difficulty. Exercising patience, I remained motionless playing the part of the dead skeleton.
‘Finally it’s coming’
But there was a problem, four of them were approaching at the same time. Perhaps emboldened by their safety in numbers, they approached the moss cautiously. I stealthily readied my hand holding the dagger.
‘Wait, I don’t have muscles so how can I move?’
Just as the rats were nearing, my mind was filled with unnecessary thoughts. Still approaching carefully, the lead rat came before me and began to sniff me, maybe I smelled
of moss or perhaps they were just ensuring their safety. I planned to catch as many as possible so I stayed motionless like a dead skeleton.
The rats talked among themselves, confirming it was safe, the other three also rushed towards the moss.
The moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. I stabbed the closest rat with my dagger and threw the shield in my left hand to pin down the other three. Although I had been quick, the rats’ reaction speed was beyond my expectation. I had caught one but the other three had nimbly sidestepped my shield.
[+11 experience points]
[Acquired knowledge of Tomb Rodents]
The two messages appeared instantly before my eyes and I could see the status of the remaining three rats in the corner.
Type: Tomb Rodent
✧ Unique Skills
‘What! Are those rats really a higher level than I am?’
I hadn’t leveled up by killing just the one and wasn’t sure how many I needed, but for now the problem at hand was how to catch the last three in front of me. The rats watched my movements carefully, smelling around looking for a way out. While I stood in this choke point they couldn’t escape, but if I advanced to attack them they could run along the sides. However, I had discovered my greatest ability as a skeleton soldier, unlimited stamina. I had been walking around for hours and realized that I didn’t feel thirsty, hungry or tired. So, in situations like the current Mexican standoff, I had an absolute advantage over any living creature.
Several hours later, the tomb rats’ physical strength was waning. Perhaps it was because they were originally hungry, and along with the ongoing tense situation, their body’s energy was quickly drained. I, on the other hand, was always in optimal condition. I didn’t need to move, didn’t tire and didn’t even need to use the bathroom.
A few hours more and the tomb rats’ stamina had finally hit rock bottom. They bared their teeth, poised for their final outburst of strength. It seemed they had decided to try for a last hurrah rather than dying of exhaustion. But, over the last few hours I had been moving my body ever so slightly to one side, purposely creating this opportunity for them. I worried that in a life and death situation they would rush at me in panic, but if they saw an opening I could better control the situation.
‘Finally the moment I had been waiting for.’
The biggest of the three lurched forward and the other two followed closely behind. I was delighted to see that they took the bait and all aimed for the small gap I had created.
I simply stabbed forward in an underhand movement, the dagger skimming above the floor almost as if I were brooming. The rats were running too quickly in single file and all three skewered themselves on my dagger.
A message appeared before my eyes.
[+11 experience points]
[+22 experience points]
[+44 experience points]
[Level increased 1 ➢ 4]
[Acquired ｟Title: Rat Trapper｠]
‘Huh…? The experience? Is it different because I killed three at the same time?’
The first time I hunted a rat I only gained 11 experience points, but when I killed three I gained 77, that’s more than twice as much as what I expected!
‘Is it because catching them at the same time gives more experience? Check status!’
Type: Skeleton/ Undead
✧ Unique Skills
[Resurrection Lv 1] [Night Vision Lv 1] [Falling resistance Lv1]
I wanted to continue to catch more rats to gain experience, but it seemed none would approach because they could smell the stench of blood. I cleaned my dagger on a dead rat’s fur and took the moss with me, searching for another dead end cave to repeat the process.
This time I waited for a much longer period of time, but still no rats approached. When even the moss I had carried over was beginning to dry, a huge creature, unlike any previous tomb rats, appeared.
‘What! It looks like a big boar, but… what did it eat to get so big?’
The big creature was actually a tomb rat, but it was rank G. It was a named monster shining in gold ‘Tyrant of the Tombs’. Could it be like the unique monsters found in RPG’s? Still, compared to the current me, a level 8 monster was far too strong.
Name Tyrant of the Tombs
Type: Tomb Rodent
✧ Unique Skills
[Dash] [Gluttony] [Berserk]
Every instinct was telling me that if we were to fight, I’d certainly get one shotted. I leaned back against the wall and tried to stay still while it was eating. However, after it finished eating the moss it turned to me with interest. It approached and started sniffing and tussling my body every which way. It even became interested in the dagger in my hand and tried to take it away.
‘No way, I can’t lose this dagger’
Without a dagger it would be very difficult to hunt. Just as I began to apply some power in my arms to resist, the Tyrant rat noticed and immediately tore off my entire arm.
A roar never before made by a rat was heard in the narrow cave. He spat out my arm holding the dagger to the side and took a step back, preparing to dash towards me.
‘Shit! I should have just given up on the dagger!’