The fight was over and the forest protectors came out victorious. They dissolved their giant form and assumed their original shapes as the vines slowly formed into beasts.
Piles of excessive bones were scattered on the ground as the forest protectors were organizing them and storing them in their abdomen.
Back when they left the abandoned camp, Lunus had ordered them to store these bones inside their body as spare parts. This was a countermeasure for cases that their bones got damaged since Lunus couldn’t fix broken bones even if he could easily regenerate his vines.
He never thought that he must use all of them in a fight against that goblin Gugaga. He got this idea during the fight, “If my enemy is bigger and stronger, why don’t I change into an even bigger and stronger shape?” Then Lunus ordered his men to gather while having the bulls’ leader buy him some time.
As he thought, it was possible to tie the bones together and assume a giant shape; however, since he couldn’t control bodies that contained a strong will, he must be the only one who controlled the giant body while his men coiled around him and worked as his armor.
It was a monstrous task as he must manage a big structure all by himself. His vines must grow all along the giant’s limbs and become its muscles and tendons which drove him to use [Growth acceleration] to its fullest power.
And the moment when he dissolved the giant structure, there was a long length of his excessive vines needed to be cut before he could return to his deer shape.
And it was also due to his [Growth acceleration] ability that they could endure Gugaga’s barrage attacks since the other forest protectors couldn’t use this ability efficiently.
For Lunus, a big chunk of severed vines like that could be healed in only a matter of seconds, but for other forest protectors, they might take dozens of minutes to regrow that amount.
Still, Lunus believed that their victory was also due to their luck for he couldn’t control the vine giant that efficiently. The structure was too gigantic and only he alone could manage it. So it was tough to move the heavy body at will.
It was true that he could make the giant walk and swing its arms, but its speed would dramatically drop in exchange for its monstrous attack power. And it could be a fatal flaw that Gugaga could easily dodge every swing which Lunus threw at him.
During the battle, Lunus was afraid that it would be a long fight to see whether Gugaga would be tired first or Lunus would be out of his mana first. And he believed that the advantage must shifted toward Gugaga as his mana consumption was just too great when he quicken the regeneration process of the vines.
But we are lucky that that green wart has a muscle brain…, he thought.
Yes, since Lunus had used the vines’ roots to pierce Gugaga’s skin once, there was no reason for the big goblin to risk its life to climb the giant’s leg full of needles like that. In Lunus’ viewpoint, it was a suicide act.
But at that time, Gugaga was possessed by rage and thirst to fight, so he had already forgotten the pain he had received.
“Still, that one’s muscles are so tough. If we didn’t go this far, it must be hard to kill it. Even the bull’s horns didn’t seem to penetrate its flesh,” he pondered.
Even though Lunus could use his roots to pierce the goblin’s skin with ease, he couldn’t reach deeper than its tough muscle strengthened by [Steel muscle]. It was something similar to his [Steel fibers] that strengthened his vines, but when comparing the hardness, the roots of his vines were obviously weaker.
Now that Lunus had learned the limit of his abilities, he felt that he must find a way to strengthen his body and his men to deal with any unexpected event in the future.
He thought about this and that while inspecting his men who were busy sorting the bones by size and shape for an efficient transportation.
“Hm? Aren’t there fewer rabbits and squirrels?,” he asked.
“Master, they died,” the bulls’ leader stepped out and reported.
During the charge, a number of small forest protectors had been killed by having their skull smashed. Since they had a thinner skull and also helped in close combat, it couldn’t help that a few of them couldn’t make their way back.
The green flame in Lunus’ hollow eyes grew smaller as he rethought about his act. Due to him calling them back to their lives, some of them even had to die twice.
Was this really worth pulling them back from death? Wasn’t the duty to protect this forest falls on him, a member of the white stag herd? So why did he let something like this happen?
His gaze laid on his men. And then he noticed the horns of the bulls’ leader that one of them got broken because of Gugaga’s monstrous force.
“That, I’m sorry about your horn.”
The bull tilted its head in confusion.
“This? No worry, master. I’m glad to help. Also feel good to kick the green warts.”
“Really? Are you really happy to kill those guys? Isn’t it because I ordered you to do it?”
“No,master. Kick their ass - me happy. Because green warts are bad.”
It seemed like they also had a grudge on the goblins from the depth of their soul as they also feel happy for the green warts’ annihilation.
Hearing that, Lunus’ heart felt lighter as he knew that at least his men felt the same way with his ideal thought.
Still, as he thought, this might also be the effect from his half-baked skill that created them with no memory attached. He couldn’t be sure that they were glad in following him until their memories had fully recovered.
“Let’s end this and return to my lord Oscar’s side together.”
During this battle, Lunus had improved his combat abilities by leaped and bound. He even gained his trustable followers. With this, it would be safer for his lord if he were to be by his side.
Also, if he couldn’t bring memories back to his men, then the only possible way was to ask his lord for help. Since his lord had done something similar to him and succeed, it was highly possible that he could do it again.
With this, he had decided to bring these men back to meet his lord and rethink about the future acts together.
“Master! Master! I found these!,” a rabbit jumped back and forth as he stared at Lunus.
Lunus didn’t only give order for his men to sort the bones as he also ordered the small ones to inspect the surroundings for any useful things. Then it meant that this rabbit had found something useful.
“Please wait a moment, I have to report lord Oscar about our success. I’m sure that he must be angry that I left him behind without leaving him a word and not answering his call from the [Mind link]”
In reality, the [Mind link] that Oscar had formed with Lunus since the beginning was still connected, but Lunus had decided to not answering his lord until he could deal with the green warts or he was strong enough to protect his lord.
And now he was ready to receive his punishment.
“My lord, this is me, Lunus,” he said via his [Mind link].
After contacting his lord and describing his circumstances, Lunus followed after the rabbit as he led him deep into the camping site of the goblins.
“Something good, master?,” the rabbit-shaped forest protector asked, curious about his master having a better mood.
“It seems like my lord also grew up quite a bit when I was not around. He is also worried about me. A good boy isn’t he?”
The rabbit turned around as he tilted his head while hopping backward and looking up at Lunus.
“My lord? Master of master? Whos is he? Who is he?”
He hopped zigzag while asking his master to show just how much he wanted to know.
“Hmm, lord Oscar is a forest god. He is also a good child that I want to protect.”
“Forest god? Really? Really? Do they truly exist?”
“They do, of course. You would realize when you see him. He is so majestic, like the manifestation of a forest itself. Even the trees adore him so much.”
Green flames shone and flickered in Lunus eyes as he talked about his lord. Every word he spoke was full of admiration.
“He looks awesome! Is he the one who gave you power, master? Is he?”
“That is right. His power is a lot more impressive than mine.”
“Wow! I want to see him. I want to! Will he rule this forest? Will he?”
Lunus stopped walking and was lost in his thought. Seeing that, the rabbit also stopped.
“That’s right, there was nothing to guarantee that he would stay here for long. Since the beasts were mostly slaughtered by those green warts and they were still not entirely eliminated. It would be good if he chose to help us, but…”
He looked at the rabbit with a serious expression. It wasn’t like he could express it through his boneless face, but one could tell from the air he was emitting.
“...But considering lord Oscar in his current state, I don’t think he could exert his full potential now that he still couldn’t grasp the limit of his power. Right now, it was our duty to protect this forest and our lord with all cost.”
Hearing that, the leaves on the rabbit’s meatless skull that were arranged like rabbit ears twitch as he could feel the power from his master’s words. This short speech had made him eager to fulfill his job as a forest protector until the end of this second life.
“Yes, master. I will do my best. I will!”
“That’s right, we will do whatever we can.”
Lunus lifted his front leg and gently patted the rabbit with his hoof. After that, the rabbit touched its head with its paw and hopped around happily.
Somehow, talking to this rabbit was more satisfying than Lunus had originally thought. It was like his old day when he taught his energetic juniors about the duties of a member of the white stag herd in which he had ruled.
“Leaving our small talk aside, what exactly is the thing that you want to show me?”
“Ah! It’s here, master. It’s here.”
The rabbit hopped a dozen steps away and stopped in front of an iron cage covered by a ragged cloth.
With his curiosity, Lunus gently lifted the dirty cloth up to see whatever was imprisoned inside.
Inside the dark shadow casted by the covering, ragged cloth, two small figures with humanoid shape sat there clinging to each other. They wore only light and tattered clothes that was obviously ripped apart by the goblins and could barely covered their feminine parts.
In their eyes, fear and nervousness could be seen as they looked like a livestock waiting for their queue to be slaughtered. Their lips were dry and their body was full of bruises, indicating just what kind of hell they had gone through.
Then Lunus’ hollow eyes suddenly met theirs as both parties became frozen in shock.
““Eiiiiii!!!,”” they cried out loud.
“Humans?,” Lunus exclaimed.