Chapter 3: Don’t play with fire, please!
Running frantically through bushes and grass, at least now I know exactly what I need.
It doesn’t take long to find a Red berry bush but, before I pick them, I make sure they are the right ones.
Red berry: has medicinal properties.
I take a handful and begin to feel better immediately.
Now everything starts to make sense, at first I was intoxicated by something unknown. Im quite sure because as soon as I regained consciousness I already had a 5% percent poison resistance. Then, I got intoxicated with a large black berry, this time the effect was very light and just gave me a little upset stomach and dehydration. Finally, in my rush to drink something, I drank contaminated water which caused me a mild illness. The latter would explain why I began to feel intense pain and my previous symptoms worsened. All these things don’t seem like much, but together it was disastrous.
This means that I must boil the water before drinking it, or at least get a large amount of medicinal berries so that I can recover as soon as I finish drinking.
It would be unrealistic to believe i’d gain disease resistance without a huge amount of medicine, plus I still don’t know how to refine medicine using berries, and I just eat them. Risk and effort are both high, when i could simply boil water and make it safe.
I walk back to the clearing, lie down on my little incomplete bed and close my eyes a little calmer.
I wake up the next day with a pleasant surprise:
Health points 5/10
I’m slowly recovering my health points, which cheers me up a lot.
I head to the lakeside to wash my face while mentally preparing for my today’s goal: I must make fire.
Now that I have the analysis skill, which seems to be an upgraded version of observation, I can better comprehend my environment. Among the stones that I have found there are three that caught my attention.
Small fire stone: light fire attribute
Flint: can be used to start a fire
Obsidian: it’s very sharp
I collect the stones, then prepare branches and grass to use as tinder.
First I dig a shallow hole in a circular shape, then I place several round stones around it to protect the fire from the wind, and finally I prepare the pile itself with dry wood and tinder.
“It’s time to light some fire!”
I put the fire stone in the center, place branches and dry leaves on top. Nothing happens.
After hitting it hard against another stone, nothing.
Struck the fire stone with the flint, nothing.
This is clearly more complicated than I expected. Just like every single time I encounter a challenge, instead of wasting energy unnecessarily, I take a moment to rethink the situation.
It shouldn’t be impossible to set fire with the resources I have available, problem is that both my skill and knowledge are insufficient.
Reflecting on what resources I have and how I could better use them, i come to a simple answer: while the fire stone seems to be the most useful and fastest way, it’s also the most complex since it doesn’t seem to respond to any of my actions.
Flint, on the other hand, is more sraightforward. Every time I hit it, a small spark is released. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to start the fire directly. Maybe if I manage to light a small bunch of tinder I could get the fire i’ve been longin for.
I get to work, this time striking the flint against a solid stone, trying to get all the sparks to fall on a clump of dry grass.
I strike it again and again relentlessly, little sparks shoot out from time to time. It’s exhausting, but I feel like I’m so close to succeed that I can’t help but get excited.
Finally a small spark falls on the grass. I drop the flint quickly and blow air hard. It’s a failure, the only thing I managed to do was extinguish what little life the spark had, very quickly.
With no other plans i continued striking the flint, over and over and over again, taking small breaks every now and then.
Patience pays down as a small spark falls on the grass, this time I let it do its job by itself. Rather than rapidly dying out, it seems to be igniting.
A small thread of smoke starts rising up, I reach over and begin to blow out a soft and steady amount of air very carefully, while covering the sides with both hands to prevent a gust of wind from destroying my hopes.
I clung to this little spark with everything I have.
A humble flame begins to grow little by little, I put the little bunch of tinder with affection in the wood pile i prepared beforehand as It slowly gains strength, until it becomes a vigorous flame as I blow more air into it.
“I did it!”
I start jumping and spinning around the fire. A primitive feeling of self-realization invades me. My body and heart can feel the warmth of the campfire as I welcome it with open arms.
More and more sticks are added and I keep some nearby, to prevent my treasure from extinguishing.
This... this is what has cost me so much effort, so much energy, so much pain. But It was worth it, every minute invested was truly worth it.
The rest of the day i rest in front of the fire. I’m hungry and thirsty, but i cant care less, it won’t be a problem if it’s just one day. I’m more tired than anything else.
While I’m sitting I take the opportunity to finish my bed of leaves. I prepare some sticks, arrange them on top of the thicker sticks that are located crosswise below.
Okay, now it’s my size. I could do a lot of things but I decided to just take it easy for the rest of the day.
Although I slept much better, I woke up several times during the night to stoke the fire, if i have to go through all the effort again the next day, it’d be troublesome to say the least.
Even though I gathered a large reserve of wood, it was consumed much faster than I had originally expected. I may need to start considering chopping some wood since im running out of firewood.
I grab my trusty spiked stick and head for the lake, now that I have a fire going my possibilities are much wider.
Since I know the general direction where im headed I take the opportunity and follow a different path.
Exploring a little is not bad. This time I did not find anything interesting, it is good to familiarize myself with the environment in case I get lost one of these days.
I quickly take off my clothes and start to wade into the water. Since I’m still convalescent, there’s not much I can do, though I saw lots of fish near the shore.
They are not small in size, actually some are huge, it makes my mouth water. At this moment im so tired of berries I could eat a whole fish in one go.
I just have to get hip deep and wait patiently for them to get close. I don’t have any bait so it may take a while, but I’m confident I can catch something, i wouldn’t mind even if it’s one of the little ones.
After a very long while, I couldn’t catch any.
Lots of fish are coming, but as soon as I try to harpoon them with the pointed stick I just can’t land a hit.
As always, I questioned what went wrong. I have a proper tool, there are fish, so my failure is due to my either lack of skill or knowledge.
I haven’t received any notifications, so i guess my skill has not improved yet, though I am beginning to understand better how to use the pointed stick. well, obviously the pointed tip needs to face the fish, the thing is that anything underwater appears to be in a different position than it actually is.
Anyhow, there must be some better way to do this. I stop what i’m doing to look at my surroundings.
From where I am, I have a different perspective of the shape of the lake. Because it’s so big, it must be quite deep in the center, as it has no merit and, on the contrary, can be dangerous, I decide not to try swimming. The shape of the shore is irregular. Thinking about this, it can be advantageous. Maybe if I can frighten the fish towards the shore or attract them in some way, I’ll be able to catch them more easily. If only i had some bait things would be a lot easier.
I get carried away by these thoughts when all of a sudden I feel something tapping on my leg, a fish brushed past my leg without the slightest care.
It’s close, it’s my chance, it’s pretty big so it should be easier to hit than the smaller ones.
Preparing to strike, I take a deep breath and strike the water with all my might.
“I have it!”
I pick it up in the air and get to dry land as fast as I can, careful not to fall. Excited, I run to my camp with what little energy I have left and gently deposit the fish on a pile of leaves.
The only way I can cook this fish is with the rod i found earlier, because it’s thinner than sticks, but it’s too thin to sharpen with my sharp stone.
This reminds me of the black stone I got: a dark, angular rock that has some degree of transparency. Its shape is irregular and therefore it would be useless to try to use it as it is.
I take it in my hands and hit it diagonally with another rock in an attempt to break it. Surprisingly it was easier to do than I had expected.
It was divided into three pieces, one of which is kind of rectangular in shape, starting thick and getting thinner until it ends in a jagged but sharp edge.
Instead of using analysis I decide to use observation, it takes less time and is faster.
Sharp Obsidian 2/2
I have to be careful, it seems quite fragile. It will surely come in handy though. I proceed to sharpen the rod, its quite easy to use, the sharpness is incredible and cutting with it doesn’t seem to reduce it’s durability.
With the utensils I have at hand, I prepare the fish and put it to roast at a safe distance from the fire.
It’s better to take some time to prepare beforehand instead of rushing things and ruining it by mistake. It’s quite large, but luckily the pole is relatively long and sturdy.
While the fish is being prepared I try to think of a way to get clean water. With my current means filtering it is impossible, drinking it and then detoxing is impractical, leaving me only the possibility of boiling it.
Lost in my thoughts, a pleasant smell begins to rise from the campfire. The soft crackling of the fire feels nostalgic somehow.
This issue of not having memories is curious to say the least. I have a lot of knowledge that I don’t know where I acquired and this forces me to blindly trust my instincts. Somehow I feel connected to nature. Despite understanding that I come from civilization, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t even conjure up images from my past.
I don’t really feel bad for having lost my memories, I can’t feel sorry for memories that I don’t have. The only thing that worries me is not knowing what kind of person I am. Perhaps I was a criminal or a con man. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, maybe I was a bad person and that’s why it doesn’t bother me that I lost my memory.
I shook my head to chase away the dark thoughts that flood my mind. I reach out for my fish skewer.
It looks ready, it smells ready, it’s time to eat.
I enjoy my food in the dead of night. It’s the first time I eat until satisfied, there were even some leftovers. This happiness that invades me, heals my heart completely. All the pain and suffering that I have been through so far is gone and I can only think of the good things that will come later.
I lie on my bed of leaves, which is getting more comfortable every day. Partly because I have been improving it and partly because I am no longer sick.
The following days passed without much news, just repetitive tasks that gradually forge a daily routine.
Get up with the sun, go to the lake for a quick wash, collect anything that might come in handy.
Little by little my refuge has been taking shape, now I have a roof over my head. Two crossed branches at each end and many sticks resting on them, all covered with leaves.
It’s a kind of primitive tent. Quite fragile but represents a noticeable change in my lifestyle.
My health is perfect, my skills have improved and I have a ton of resources at my disposal.
Today I set myself the task of boiling water. I got the hard bark from a tree, it’s quite thick and firm, time to test my wits.
Since bark is flammable, obviously putting it directly on the fire is a bad idea, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a wasted effort.
I fill it with water and place it a few steps from the fire and remove some stones that I left heating inside the fire all morning. To grab the stones I use two branches as a clamp and one by one I drop them into the bark.
This sound is accompanied by a large amount of steam every time a stone falls into the water. I also dropped a piece of burning coal, after all it won’t change the taste of the water much and can help neutralize any negative effects that are present in it.
It doesn’t take long for me to start seeing results, water is heating up pretty fast. Success was so resounding that it even amazes me. Things have been so difficult so far that I can’t help but get excited when things go well at first try.
I have water, food, shelter, it’s time to prepare to explore a little further. The longest I can leave the campfire unattended is about four hours, and only if I prepare it very well. Every night I have to wake up about two to three times just to add firewood to the campfire.
This means that I must either find some method to transport the fire or avoid venturing too far. Although at first it will not be a problem, since I’ll be exploring progressively, so i have some more time to think about it.
As days went by I recovered my health points completely, improved my skills somewhat and got a lot of resources. Rocks, sharpened stones, lumber, i even fashioned an obsidian knife. That’s not all, i also crafted a primitive fishing harpoon. It’s made of a stick, after dividing the tip into four parts, I separated them with two small cross-shaped sticks and tied them using plant fiber. Last i sharpened it’s four tips, my new obsidian knife came especially handy for this task.
It’s really practical for fishing, it has a long reach and wide attack range, which allows me to fish much more comfortably, I fail less, thus my fishing ability improves faster. Right now it should be around 5% which is not much, but not bad either.
I’ve thought a lot about how this skill thing works and I’ve come to several conclusions:
First, the percentage shown is progress. This means that with the first use I acquire the skill, but it does not improve until it reaches 100%
Second, there are skills that have more than one level, while others only have one level but allow me to unlock new skills. The latter is the case of observation, which allowed me to obtain the ability of analysis.
Third, I’m not entirely sure, but I think skills don’t affect the chance of success, at least not noticeably. I realized that my observation skill works without fail whenever I focus on looking closely at something. but, my ability to create tools doesn’t seem to affect the number of successes or failures I get.
Fourth, the skills I gain affect the quality of the result. Now I can look at the trees and know exactly how much resistance they have. About tool crafting skill whenever I made sticks they used to have a maximum of 10 durability and, while I haven’t changed the way I make them, I now get sticks with a minimum durability of 10. also when sharpening them, I fail the same number of times, but since they have more durability they no longer break, instead they just lose some resistance.
Lastly, I think skills get closer to leveling up every time I take an action, but it doesn’t always show up in percentage. I only get notified when it improves by at least 1%. So far I’ve never received more than 1% progress after performing an action, except with poison resistance.
If my theory is correct, I was intoxicated for quite a while which continuously activated my poison resistance skill. I really hope I wasn’t dumb enough to consume poisoned food five times without stopping until I lost my memory.
With this in mind I feel ready for the next step. I’m going to explore the forest. Since the entire lake seems to be surrounded by trees, I first walk in the opposite direction.
I hit the trail with energy and optimism, stopping briefly to pick a few berries along the way, the red ones too precious to leave behind. When I see an unknown type of plant I make sure to analyze it. As I have little time I don’t take any breaks.
Without new discoveries I return to my camp, the campfire burns softly giving off a little smoke.
After stoking the fire I drop the berries I just picked into my berry stash. It’s quite practical because every day I change the leaves that cover its interior, which allows me to keep the berries clean and in good condition for at least a few days.
With some spare time I start hitting young trees with sticks. It may seem like a useless action, but I get three benefits from doing it. Improve my fighting skill with blunt weapons, break the sticks into an appropiate size to keep as firewood and finally:
Young Tree: 128/350
I’ll eventually chop it down so I can use it to build a better quality shelter. With some patience I’ll be able to build a sizeable cabin.
Everyday I have to spend more time looking for firewood and that is becoming a problem. I’m hoping that after felling the tree I can get a decent amount of branches as well. Hopefully they’ll dry out a bit before I have to use them for firewood. I’d hate to be forced into burning logs as it will result in delaying my plan on building.
There’s something that has been bothering me all this time, the small fire stone.
As much as I analyze it, and even after all the experiments I’ve done with it, I have not been able to learn how to use it. I know it must be useful, maybe even allow me to travel and start a fire immediately.
Just remembering how hard it was to start a fire the first time makes my hands hurt.
Still, so far I haven’t made much progress.
As expected, nights are usually less productive than days. I just sit by the campfire grilling fish, sharpening sticks or thinking. If the sky is clear i can even fell some trees before going to bed.
Something interesting that I discovered is that when a stick burns it loses durability. Which means that the more durable a branch or stick is, the longer it will stay burning. It makes sense that a log burns much longer whole, than if broken into small pieces. But that also means that the small pieces will burn brighter and faster.
For this reason it’s useful to split the branches before burning them, that way I can control the rate at which the wood is consumed. When cooking I use many small branches and at night I use the thickest ones for longer intervals.
I wonder what would happen if I was to throw the fire stone directly into the campfire. It may burn for a long time, but there is also the possibility that it will stoke the fire beyond what I can control, maybe even explode.
Next morning i set off to the lake in order to conduct an experiment, I light a new fire with a burning stick in my hand, walk quite a distance and throw the stone directly into the flames. Then, I run for cover behind a tree.
After half a minute nothing happens, so I get out of my cover to use my observation skill.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work on the campfire directly, intense brightness prevents me from looking at it directly for long enough for my skill to activate.
I slowly approach the fire and hear a crackling sound. It seems to be reacting to the stone!
Sound starts to get louder and turns into a roar as the flames rise to a massive height.
Heat becomes unbearable and the branches of the campfire crackle loudly, from time to time sparks go everywhere.
If the forest catches fire, I’ll lose everything I’ve worked so hard to get.
I must do something!
I don’t have containers to fetch water and the only thing that comes to mind is to splash water from the shore.
I quickly dismiss the idea as the flames begin to subside, until finally extinguishing completely.
Approaching the campfire i realize the small stone seems to have been completely consumed. This may prove useful to me, i just need some more time to think about it.
At least i got to learn something new.
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