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A note from MDW

Checking my notes, I forgot to add two things to a skill he earned last chapter (Bold and underlined)

Skill Guild Master's Authority level 1 awakened.

While inside a guild field, allows the guild master to forcefully change the title or job of a creature. Automatic success for guild card holders, resisted by Magic otherwise. For purpose of beating resistance, raise own magic score by <level> x 20%.

Also makes the guild master's words more persuasive for card holders. Grants a positive correction on social interactions.

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He had almost conquered the town gate. Almost because he could feel the presence of guards locked inside the gatehouse and both the portcullis and gate stood closed. And then he just sat there, leaning against the crenelation of the wall and resting. A few archers stood a respectable distance but none of them had the courage to attack the troll. A real shame, because right now he was waiting for the ten-minute cooldown without any HP regen to wear off. Grendel made his mind to just ditch his monster pride and run away. Even his ultimate was cooling down.

But the humans had no way to know that. After losing both guild master and wizard the two highest leveled combatants, they were looking at ways to abandon the town. If it were not for the hundreds of bloodthirst orcs waiting outside and blocking the two roads leading out of town, the humans would be trying their luck on the road. Right now in the wilderness, the chance of encountering a deadly B-rank monster was way lower than the hundred percent they were facing inside the otherwise safe town.

A few minutes before the timer on his HP regen blocked debuff wore off Grendel decided to get going. He had ten times the HP pool of a mid-level warrior and his defenses were nothing to scoff at. If he played it safe, the cooldown would wear off before he got any critical injury and then he would play by ear. The troll jumped down into the gate square, an empty lot of land used to maneuver and park carts and carriages should the need arise. There was none there right now.

The few humans that were in the streets and alleys leading to the square ran away. Grendel also ran down the largest street looking for something. He eventually caught a human villager. He had no weapon and only crude clothing. It was the beginning of autumn and it was still warm.

"You, human. Can you talk?" It was not a rhetorical question. Of course, the human had the ability to speak, but he was asking if he was able to control his fears enough to produce coherent words.

The answer was no. The human had a shameful fear response, regressing the control of his muscles to that of a newborn. Grendel released his hostage in disgust and went to look for another.

He decided to look for someone with combat potential. Those would have faced life or death situations and would probably have better self-control. He looked around and saw a young man in leather armor. He had black hair and was rather handsome if it was a woman evaluating his appearance rather than a seven-hundred-pound male monster. He pounced at the guy {91 vs 7} and was able to easily catch him. The boy decided to stand his ground and {58} slashed at Grendel. He made a shallow cut at his arm before {89} being disarmed by a slap to the wrist.

"You, boy. Talk to me!"

"Die, monster!" The boy kicked and thrashed. Grendel fought his spirit amusing. Maybe the boy reminded him of his former self.

"Not gonna happen, kid. I want to talk, not fight."

"Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuck! First those orcs, now this troll. I remember you, monster! You killed my friend!"

"Yeah, I'm sorry about that. But I killed quite a handful of humans, can you please describe that friend of yours that I allegedly killed?"

"You killed Marcy and Helen! Guild Master told us they were killed by you!" The boy shouted so loud that spit flew on Grendel's face.

"Marcy? Redhead, big boobs, a femme fatale air around her?" Helen told him about Marcy during the few days they stood together at the forest. And he got to see the girl in person during the rescue operation.

"Yes, that one!"

"Sorry. I didn't kill her, and I have reasons to believe the Guild Master lied to you to cover up his failure. The guy tried to murder me three times and failed all of them. The girls are alive. They skipped town when the orcs attacked the east gate." The source for Grendel's info was the same failure of a guild master, but he had reason to believe he wasn't lying. It would be more spiteful to tell them he had sacrificed the girl for whatever nefarious reason he had than just tell him a couple of fifteen-year-old girls escaped prison and fled during a siege he was unable to lift.

"They are alive!" A ray of hope shone in the boy's eyes. Rather ironic considering he was unarmed and pinned in the arms of a murderous monster. The reason was obvious.

"You recognized me, it means you were one of the kids camping that day, right? Three of them fled, Marcy, you and the brown-haired boy. What are your names?" During this talk, Grendel was wary of his surroundings. He was feeling the presence of several humans approaching hidden in the shadow of alleys and over the roofs.

"I'm Cloude, and the guy should be Julius."

"Good. Cloude, do you want to live to see Marcy again?"

"Yes. Right after I kill you and avenge the Guild Master."

"And how exactly are you going to kill me? I know your friends are circling around me but if they attack me I'm going to do bad stuff to them. You can't run, you can't defeat me, but you can talk to me. What of the three do you choose?"

"We won't let you touch the town women! We know of your plan to make an army of hybrids to take over humanity!" The boy had bravery, Grendel thought. Even without being able to get free of his grapple, the kid was still struggling. Something clicked inside the troll. Something tug at his rapidly diminishing humanity. He could see a bit of himself in the boy. Sympathy. He decided to let the boy live. Even if he would later come to bite him in the ass with a flaming sword. At least he would be worth way more Exp than now, Grendel rationalized.

"Fine. If I promise to only attack if attacked back and to never lay a finger on any women inside this town whatever the reason, will you cooperate? We can solve this situation without any further bloodshed. I will even lead the orcs away peacefully."

It was a funny situation if you consider that both sides were trying to buy time. Grendel wanted to wait for his HP regen cooldown and Cloude wanted to stall for the signal of the ambush party. But unfortunately for the humans, they hesitated. Seeing a reasoning and well-articulated specimen of a monster species know for their stupidity made them pause to think. And he was making a peace offering. A truce. Could it be a trick? One of the humans watching in the sidelines decided to bet his life.

"Hello there, big fella. I mean no harm, I wear no armor and bear no weapon," the middle-aged man wearing a gardener apron stepped out into the road and walked slowly with his arms raised up.

"Hey, how are you. I'm Grendel the Troll and I don't want to fight."

"My name is Alvus, an apothecary by trade. I also don't want to fight, Grendel the Troll. Can I approach? If I may be so bold, could you trade the boy for me?"

Grendel glanced at his arm where Cloude had slashed him and the would be closed. He didn't bother with his status window as the floating image would obstruct his vision. "No. It is fine either way, I don't need a hostage. If we are talking peace, having someone under threat of death would sour the negotiation. What do you say?" And he released Cloude.

The boy looked at his sword with hatred in his heart. But the veteran apothecary read his intentions. "Cloude, leave your sword there and back off. Don't ruin this unique chance."

"No. It is fine. Get your blade, boy. Attack me or go away, I don't care. I won't even fight back if you want to spar here. But it is time for the grownups to talk. Get out of the way." Considering he had around fifteen or sixteen years old when he died on Earth and he was living in this world for less than a month, calling himself a grownup was a straight-out lie. But nobody would argue with the ten feet tall monster. Twelve if you count the horns.

Cloude picked his sword and left without turning his back to Grendel. Or averting his eyes. He barely blinked until he was behind Alvus. And even then he stood there in a fighting stance, grasping the longsword with both hands.

"Well, can I approach, Grendel?"

"Yes, but I'd like to sit somewhere and drink something. My throat is parched. I heard the adventurer's guild serve some good booze, can we go there?"

"Of course. I'll lead you there, follow me." The man turned his back and started to walk. Grendel followed closely. The crowd was making way for them, but curiosity was winning over their fear. They walked for a few minutes followed by some guards and adventurers that were ready to strike at any sign of hostility. "Here we are. Can you get inside?" Alvus ushered the monster inside the local branch of the organization dedicated to killing monsters.

"Hey, receptionist, bring some booze here." It was one of the curiosities Grendel had about this world game-like System. Would alcohol intoxication and poison be grouped together?

The receptionist was too scared to move. Alvus decided to give her a jump-start. "Just bring some mead for me and the troll over there. We don't want to make our guest angry, do we?"

"Know what, Alvus, forget the booze. Can you take me to the job crystal? It is something I am curious about. You know, jobs and stuff. The monsters don't have jobs. Can we go there now?" Alvus stuttered for a while. The job crystal was something precious for the humans, as it allowed them to change jobs. One would have to be registered at the guild and touch the crystal to be able to change jobs. "I won't destroy or even scratch the crystal, I promise. But if you don't cooperate..."

The threat had an immediate effect. Alvus pointed at a door to the despair of the two receptionists inside the building. "The crystal should be in there."

Grendel went in the direction of the door and one of the women blocked the door with her body. "You won't go in there."

"Are you a woman?"

"Of course I am. Are you that dumb? You can even speak, it is impossible."

"You see, that is quite the conundrum we have here then. I will go inside but I promised that nice fella there that I wouldn't touch any women inside this town. I don't want to be the one to break the truce or to hurt you. Could you please move?"

The job crystal was the lifeline of the guild. Its real name was 'Guild Crystal' and it did much more than just change people's jobs. Each guild crystal was crafted and attuned to a single guild master and it coordinated every single aspect of the guild. From deploying a magical field around itself, empowering the tools used to register adventurers and track requests, to keeping records of all inhabitants of a town. A few veteran receptionists knew the true importance of the orb and the woman facing Grendel was one of them.

"No. The only way to get inside is to kill me."

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About the author

MDW

Bio: The author would like to reinforce for the umpteenth time that the characters' opinions are their own, may be intentionally wrong, do not reflect my (MDW's) personal viewpoints neither are included in this work to further any political agenda (I don't even live in the same hemisphere or country as you, whichever those are. I'm writing from the Earth-Sun L3 point for all I care). My works serve no purpose other than to tell stories with conflicting viewpoints. Use of the reader's critical sense is highly advised.

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