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Falledge, Adventurer's Guild

Hitsu tilted back his head as he downed a pint of local beer, and gave a satisfied sigh. He smacked his lips and licked the foam around his mouth and called for another refill. Leaning against the bar counter in the Adventurer's Guild, he watched the comings and goings in the area with one eye.

Suddenly the door swung open and a party of four stood haloed by the afternoon sun at the doorway. Hitsu squinted his eyes as he tried to take in their features, and only when they entered did he clearly see how they looked like.

The youngster standing in the front looked to be in his early twenties or maybe younger. A mop of golden curly hair covered his head. His perfectly chiseled face was handsome enough to make the females in the guild to swoon and the smile he flashed made even the vilest tempered character in the guild blush and acknowledge back. The silverish ornate armor had a motif of a crying dragon with a sword through it, and on his back hung a massive pommel of a greatsword.

His companions followed behind him was a slim, sharped eye make with gold rings in his ears and a rapier hooked to his belt, and a petite girl in oversized mage robes and hat, with one hand clutching a knobbed staff and the other holding onto the dark blue cloak of the youngster. The final companion was a huntress in leather with a short sword sheathed to her hip and an unstrung bow over her back with a quiver full of arrows in red fletching.

A few luggage floated behind them as they headed towards the Guild's counter. Hitsu leaned back against the bar and watched the party walk pass, taking a drink of his beer as he observed them. He felt that the youngster looked fairly familiar but just could not place his face.

-----

Walking up to the counter where a blushing female Guild administrator sat, Dante gave his winsome smile at the young girl, who nearly swooned at his feet, and making Liz go purple with jealousy. "Hi, there! We just came into town and want to cash this in!"

Stab dug around the floating luggage and removed a coarse bloodied bag and he set it carefully onto a stone slab at the side for turning in bounties. "147 goblin right ears and 1 troll right ear."

The Guild admin girl looked startled and quickly called for the bounty handler to check the bloodied bag. And not long the handler with a bloodied apron nodded and confirmed the tally, "147 goblins and 1 troll."

"C-can I have your guild card?" The admin girl asked Dante who nodded cheerfully and removed his guild card worn like a necklace and handed it over to the girl. As the admin girl checked his credentials, she nearly dropped his card in shock, "H-h-hero?"

She looked up and ask in a timid voice, "Y-you are the H-Hero Dante?"

"Of course he is, you dumb big boobed bitch!" Liz snapped, her patience stretched to the limit. "Hurry up with the cash out! You are wasting our precious time!"

"A-ah... yes, I am s-sorry!" The girl cried and quickly started to process the payment and records, tears forming at her eyes. "H-here is your p-payment of 6 gold and 47 silver..." She handed over a small tray with the coins placed on it with her head lowered.

"Thank you!" Dante grinned and gave a wink to the apologizing admin girl and left, with Liz hissing and glaring at the admin girl while Evelyn tried to calm her down.

"Come on, let's find an inn to rest!" Stab grinned as he hefted the bag of coins they just made. "This should be more than enough for us to stay for a week here."

----

At the side, Hitsu narrowed his eyes as he watched the antics of the party. In fact, the whole Guild went quiet when they heard the admin girl called the youngster 'Hero Dante'. As they left, the whole Guild burst out in speculation and discussion about the Hero.

"Damn, we have some annoying players in the field now..." Hitsu cursed under his breath. He now knew why that youngster looked so familiar, as he saw that face years ago, as he destroyed a Goldrose stronghold singlehandedly. "Damn, fake bearer of justice!"

He dropped a silver for his drinks and quickly looked around and found Billy, the girl who dressed up as a boy on the other side of the Guild. "Billy, I need your help!"

"Huh? What news do you want this time?" The tomboy asked. "You want to know who just came into town?" She grinned slyly.

"I know who just came to town, the Hero Dante and his party," Hitsu said, and Billy's face fell, losing her chance to make some easy money. "I need you to follow them discretely, find out where they are staying and what are their plans coming here. Can you do that?"

Billy snapped her head up with a money gleam in her eyes, nodded and put out an upturned palm and smiled happily at Hitsu who grumbled and dug out a silver and dropped on her palm. She continued to smile while holding her palm up still and Hitsu rolled his eyes and dropped another two silvers coins on her hand before she kept the money, "Considered it done!" and she ran out of the Guild after the hero's party.

"Damn money grubber..."

-----

Coast off Goblin Sea

Lance Corporal Fowl jerked his Magelock up when he heard a crunch of sand on his right. His buddy quickly took up position on the side and readied his weapon. LCP Fowl gave a quick glance at his buddy who nodded and he approached the sand dune where they heard the sound coming from.

His company has been on a search and destroy patrol for the past two days, encountering several small holdouts of goblins along the coast. If it wasn't for the goblins, the beach was actually very scenic, and he actually enjoyed the times where there was a lull in the action.

The beach has numerous sand dunes, made by the constant strong sea wind which pile the sand up into little sand hills, dotting the entire coast. He kept his eye at the top of the dune and making sure his footing was solid before rapidly charging up the shifting sand in a single breathe.

As he crested the sand dune, he saw a large group of goblins sheltering within the dune. The goblins looked up in surprise at his sudden appearance and soon turn to horror and fear. They leaped up and shrieked loudly, and the whole group suddenly started to panic.

A half-naked goblin wearing some kind of grotesque looking headgear flung a crude throwing ax at Fowl, who yelped and threw himself to the side. He struggled to bring his Magelock at the crazed eyed goblin and fired, hitting the goblin in its left cheek, blowing out a large chunk of flesh and bone out, together with a large part of the grotesque headgear.

Laying on his side, he kicked his legs and shifted himself to a better sitting position, and quickly worked his bolt action, jerking out the smoking empty cartridge and rechambering in a new round and fired into another goblin charging up the slope of the sand dune.

The shot knocked the screaming goblin off his feet and sent it tumbling down on to the middle of riled up goblins. Fowl kicked madly backward while working his action and fired at the mass of goblins trying to reach him by climbing up the sand dune.

Suddenly several loud gunfires erupted next to Fowl, making his ears ring painfully and he saw the rest of his section had climbed up the dune and were firing into the mass of goblins. The goblins screamed in terror and suddenly as one they dropped their weapons and laid flat on the sand, shaking in terror.

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" Fowl's Section leader yelled over the loud thundering guns. "Goddamnit! I said CEASE FIRE!" He slapped the rifles next to him upwards as he roared at his men.

Fowl pushed himself up and dusted as much sand off as he can, grimacing as sand had gotten into his boots and underwear. He looked at the cluster of goblins prostrating before them in terror, their half-naked bodies shaking visibly. "Are we taking prisoners?"

"Damn, I don't know!"

-----

Goblin Coast Staging Area, Prisoner Camp

Commander Ford and Captain Blake stood watching a long line of naked and cuffed goblins getting processed at the field next to several large newly erected tents for the goblin prisoners. The surrendered goblins were given a hose down and cleaned up properly before they were transported here to be held.

"You think its a good idea to do this?" Ford raised his eyebrow at Blake, "That's extra mouths to feed and seriously what do you want them to do?"

"You asked around the Orcs to see who can speak goblish or whatever they call it?" Blake ignored Ford's question.

Ford sighed and nodded, "Yea, I passed the word out, Pike should be getting word back to us soon."

Blake continued to watch the wide-eyed goblins who were observing their surroundings in wonder. "I read the report from Dr. Sharon on the goblins. They actually have a very high level of intelligence, higher even when compared to higher primates."

"So they are a bunch of super smart monkeys," Ford sneered, "A bunch of bloodthirsty man-eating green monkeys, and you are keeping them."

"Remember what Thorn said about goblins?" Blake ignored Ford's sarcasm. "That they are good at replicating items?"

"Yea, they are good at eating and raping over other races genes too," Ford continued showing his displeasure.

Blake shook his head, "You are not seeing the big picture. Thorn said that goblins are good at reverse engineering and are capable of replicating what they learn, albeit in a cruder form."

"So you want them to be your Santa little green elves?" Ford asked. "Teach them advanced production methods and let them learn how to build advanced stuff? That's suicidal!"

"For them to run a production line, yes," Blake admitted, "But of course there will be limits to what we want them to learn and be able to make. It's just that I haven't thought of how to recruit them over properly."

"Recruit them?" Ford was almost livid, "You know you are inviting trouble in the long run? The risks of having those things passing on their knowledge to their own kind and have it used against us are almost 100% guaranteed."

"That's why I am still cracking my head over it," Blake gave a sheepish smile, "Chill."

"The risk factors are too high," Ford continued to push his point, "You will probably get an uprising if the people knew you are recruiting the goblins into the ranks. Not to mention, we do not know if the goblins might grab someone and cook them for dinner or even betrayal."

"The Orcs at least are more honorable compared to a goblin," Ford stared at Blake, "We have no way of knowing how a goblin will act or even what they are thinking of!"

"So its a no from you?" Blake asked, to which Ford nodded in reply. "Hmmm, I was thinking of having the goblins work in prison camps, it will help our manpower issues greatly if they proved to be handy enough."

"I understand our production needs," Ford said, "But some risks we just couldn't take and the aftermath is something we cannot bear either. You need to consider more about this!"

"I need to think about this more," Blake rubbed his day-old stubble forming on his chin, "In the meantime, make them useful, get them to do some work and earn their keep."

Ford nodded, his eyes cold as he stared at the goblins wandering around in the enclosed area.

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