A few days passed, and Lone had decided that it was time to go out and attack the goblins again. He was aware of the risks, but he couldn't ever consider leaving this place until he had cleared the island of the goblins. It wouldn't rest well on his conscious if he left the Elves to their doom.
Lone wasn't kind enough to think of bringing them with him and Sophie when they left to search for a mainland since he didn't trust them, but he wasn't a heartless bastard that would cruelly condemn them to death. Besides, the goblins, while a huge threat at large, in small groups, served as the perfect medium for Lone, and hopefully Sophie, to gain fighting experience, which was apparently necessary in this world.
"So... So we're going out again?" Sophie asked timidly as she slipped her boots on and tucked her survival trousers into them.
Lone nodded his head as he did a final once-over on their gear, weapons and supplies to make sure nothing was damaged or missing. "I know you're scared, but we have to do this. I've already told you all of the reasons, right?"
"Yeah... It's just... Do we really have to?" There was a tremble in the girl's voice.
Lone sighed very lightly and put on a difficult expression. He leaned down and gently stroked Sophie's hair. "You know that I don't mind letting you stay in the Summoning Room, right? We already tested it, so you can bring some lights in there and a few board games if you want to. I can manage alone if it's too much for you."
Sophie shook her head a bit roughly, accidentally dislodging Lone's hand from it. She sprung to her feet and cuddled a few of his tails. "I want to help! I... I don't want to be a burden..."
Lone smiled warmly. "You have never been a burden, Soph. How many times do I need to tell you that you're my stabilising anchor? That on its own is incredibly valuable. I'm pretty sure I've said that at least fifteen times in the past couple of days."
"I-I know! It's just... I'm so weak... and everything's so scary... What if I freeze up again? I don't want you to get hurt so badly because of me... Not again. What if you never wake up next time?" Sophie's words ended up upsetting her so much that she began to cry.
Lone knelt down so he was level with the girl and he wiped away her tears. "I can't just lie and say that it's not possible. You're a smart girl, despite how childish you are for all of your years."
Lone chuckled a bit once he saw Sophie's pouting in reaction to his words. "I'm trying my very best here to protect you at all times, Soph, so why don't you just try your best to protect me at all times as well? You don't need to focus on killing the monsters."
"I... I don't?" There was hope in Sophie's tone. She had no issue with killing the goblins, it was the pressure of failing to do that which caused her so much anxiety and so many issues.
"No." Lone shook his head and smiled affectionately. "We both know that you're not suited for that, so let's change your job. I just want you to be as quiet as possible, and when we get into a fight, teleport the bad guys away from me a bit. You don't need to go into the sky. It would be great if you could, but you don't have to. Can you do that for me?"
Sophie stopped her sniffling and had an excited look on her face. "I... I think I can do that! I-I'll be super sneaky!"
Lone patted the girl on the head a few more times and said, "Good. I'm counting on you, Soph."
"Mmm!" Sophie, now filled with excitement at the prospect of proving herself to Lone, bounced around joyfully.
Lone winced in pain as Sophie tugged at his tails. The silly little girl had forgotten to let go of his fluffy limbs as she had her little moment of happiness.
The pair wandered around very carefully near their beach. Lone definitely didn't want what happened two weeks ago to happen again, but if it did, he wanted it to be closer to their base so he didn't have to drag his exhausted body so far again.
It wasn't very long before they encountered a group of goblins. They numbered at least fifteen from what Lone could see.
Sophie looked at him with some worry in her lifeless eyes, however, she didn't lose her cool this time. Lone made some quick calculations and estimations in his mind. After watching the group of monsters for about twenty seconds, Lone came to a decision. He shook his head and spun his index finger around three times.
'Three! Okay, so we're gonna leave and find another group... I remembered!' Sophie was glad that she hadn't forgotten Lone's hand signals that he'd taught her.
Unfortunately, Lone didn't know any actual hand signals from Earth, so he had just decided to go with spinning his index finger for everything. The number of rotations indicated what his plan was. Simple, but perfect for a girl like Sophie who struggled to learn things via verbal lessons.
Lone was on edge and prepared himself for a slip up on his short friend's behalf, but much to his surprise, Sophie kept herself together well enough. She was still shaking like a leaf, but she was also actively keeping her eyes on her feet to make sure that she didn't create any loud noises during their retreat.
Once they had safely gotten away from that large group of goblins, Lone thought that it was a fitting time to boost his partner's confidence. "You did great, Soph. I'm very proud of you. Keep this up all day, and I'll be really impressed."
Sophie blushed from ear to ear and beamed a smile. "I'll try my best!"
The pair wandered around for a bit more until they finally stumbled across a group of seven goblins and a single boar. It seemed like the boar was tamed, and one of the goblins was holding what looked like a very crude staff of some sort, either a staff or a very long stick.
"That might be a mage, Soph, so be careful... I can't tell until we start fighting, but it might know some magic. That or it just drew the short straw when they were choosing their weapons," Lone said.
Sophie nodded her head cutely. She was far less afraid after their successful escape. It also helped that that there were far fewer goblins now than earlier or two weeks ago. "I can feel a lot more mana from that one. Are you gonna kill it first?"
Lone shook his head. "I think it would be best if we got rid of the other six and the boar first. I kinda want the mage - if he is a mage - to attack me with his magic."
"W-Why?" Sophie was both shocked and very concerned.
Lone smiled wryly. "I'm not looking forward to it, trust me, but I can't just pass up the chance to learn some new magic skills, now can I? You do remember that I can learn anything that isn't a unique skill so long as it's used on me, right?"
"I don't like that skill anymore." Sophie sulked. "Why should you have to let yourself get hurt to learn new stuff?"
Lone chuckled very softly. "No pain no gain."
The pair watched the goblins and boar for a couple of more minutes until Lone finally decided that it was the time to act.
Lone didn't want to deal with the less predictable boar at all. Trying to handle seven goblins would be stressful enough as it was, so he used Mental Destruction on the beast straight away. The massive pig toppled over as foam dribbled out of its mouth and blood seeped from its ears and eyes.
The goblins were very confused. They all looked towards the one holding the staff, but it shook its head and made several unintelligible noises.
Lone didn't waste this brief moment of confusion amongst the monsters. He brought his swordspear above his head and threw it like a javelin. It soared through the air before it punctured the chest of one the slightly bigger goblins.
Lone then spun his index finger twice. This was the signal for Sophie to teleport him next to the goblins. The girl took a deep breath and grabbed Lone's hand. She used her power and brought him and herself right next to the remaining six goblins.
As soon as they saw the two of them appear, they ignored Lone entirely and all glared at Sophie with lust in their eyes. Sophie could count herself as lucky that she couldn't physically see their expressions, or she might have been frozen still in fear.
Lone quickly pulled his swordspear free from the goblin that he had skewered a few seconds ago, and he swung the blade end of it towards the head of one of the monsters leering at Sophie.
He decapitated the creature without hesitation, however, the next goblin he attacked had broken itself out of its lust-driven stupor. It brought its rusty axe up to its torso and blocked Lone's attack. Two more of the remaining goblins helped it surround Lone while the one holding the staff waved it around a few times, making a few runes appear in the air that were all pointing towards Lone.
The final goblin charged right for Sophie. The girl fumbled about with her sword sheathes, but she did manage to draw her swords before the monster had reached her. The beast made a conscious effort to not hurt Sophie too badly as it brought its club down towards her head. Sophie sidestepped and almost tripped over a tree root, but she had dodged the blow successfully nonetheless. She then tried to slash the goblin with her blades, but she wasn't the only nimble one between the two of them.
The goblin laughed as it mocked Sophie's poor excuse for an attack. It swung its club once more. Sophie was still readjusting her stance from her failed attack, so she wasn't able to evade the blow in time.
She braced herself, but she still ended up getting hit with almost the full brunt of the club's force. Sophie collapsed onto the ground and let go of her swords as she clutched her side and cried out in pain.
The goblin licked its lips lecherously. It didn't even look back at its companions. Not that doing so would have saved it. One second, the monster was preparing to assault Sophie, the next, foam came frothing out of its mouth and blood escaped every other facial orifice it had. It fell over dead.
Lone breathed a sigh of relief. There was a tiny dagger lodged in his side, and a long cut had destroyed one of his eyes, but he'd been able to focus enough to use his second and final daily Mental Destruction attempt on the goblin harassing Sophie.
Now that the worry of her purity was gone, Lone returned his attention to the three goblins that had been riddling him with injuries.
Lone channelled his mana into his eye, and thankfully, his Basic Regeneration seemed to be able to restore it to full functionality.
Forcefully grabbing one of the goblins and killing it by using it as a meat shield against the other two, Lone tossed the corpse that he was holding away and faced the remaining pair of goblins.
He punched one in the face and cut the other one's leg off. They both screamed and scrambled to flee, but Lone wouldn't let them go now that they knew that Sophie was with him for sure. He threw his swordspear at the one that was running and he jumped on the one-legged one before snapping its neck.
The mage hadn't tried to flee yet, surprisingly. It had just focused entirely on its magic. Maybe it was too concentrated and hadn't noticed what was going on with its comrades, or perhaps it simply didn't care and was confident in the power of its spell. Regardless, both it and Lone would soon find out.
After he had collected his swordspear once more, Lone waited patiently as the goblin mage readied its skill.
Lone's body was fully healed by the time that the goblin was done. It snarled menacingly and launched the magic that it had so labourously prepared. It didn't know why the stupid Fox person hadn't just attacked it when it was vulnerable, but it thanked him internally.
A huge fireball the size of a cow whizzed through the air from the tip of the goblin's staff and slammed right into Lone's body. Sophie watched from the side and saw that Lone was being burnt in his entirety even as he tried his best to resist and endure the magic.
Sophie couldn't trust his Basic Regeneration to keep him alive, so she made an executive decision.
Sophie teleported behind Lone and grabbed one of his tails before teleporting him away. Her hand had ended up getting severely burnt in the process, but she could see through her Mana Sensing that Lone was still alive and he was actively healing himself, so such a trivial injury was worth suffering through to save the person most important to her.
The goblin mage was surprised beyond belief. It turned tail and tried to run. Sophie knew that she couldn't let it just run away, so she steeled herself and teleported right in front of the creature. Grabbing it with her healthy hand, she teleported three more times straight up and let go of the monster before safely teleporting back to Lone's side.
With a wet thud and the sound of numerous bones snapping, the goblin mage died a messy and brutal death.
Lone and Sophie had been completely victorious, minus their injuries, of course.
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