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Grendel turned to the apothecary. "Alvus, I'm sorry I won't be able to keep my promise. I guess we will have to fight each other to the last creature standing. All because of this stubborn woman. I believe there are fine people in this town that deserve better in life. It saddens me they will have to meet their end at the claws of some weird troll." That was mostly an act on Grendel's part. Being inside civilization, even though it was dark ages civilization and the rats and roaches outnumbered humans a hundred to one had an effect on him. He really had no intention of slaughtering every human in the town. It would be a bother of a chore and he wanted to track his beloved the sooner. Fun fact, the farmers hated rats, but they hated rabbits more than rats.

"Fuck, Alisha. Get out of the monster's way already, woman! I don't want to die because some stupid woman was too stubborn to move!" Some strong and brutish adventurer entered the building and moved to push the woman out of the way.

"Stop it, Rowdy. We must protect the guild crystal with our lives! It must not fall in the hands of the monsters at any cost."

"Speak for yourself!" Rowdy was indeed worthy of his callsign. He bull rushed Alisha and both fell down on the floorboards away from the door.

Grendel gave him a thumbs up, "Way to go, Rowdy my man! You just saved the town!" And he smashed the door, squeezing his bulky body through the frame to get inside. The job-changing room was rather small, it had less than fifty square feet. On a raised pedestal in the middle, there was a blueish orb made of crystal. Grendel picked it up and the orb shone with a faint light.

Do you want to register this crystal as your own, guild master?

Yes No

The guild crystals were attuned to a single guild master as long as they lived. It was a very expensive tool to make and barring hostile action, it could survive for thousands of years. Once a guild master dies, the attuned crystal goes dormant waiting for another person with the guild master job or the right qualifications to take over. What nobody expected was a creature that could steal jobs would come around and take a bite out of a guild master. Even so, it had only a ten percent chance of success. But it happened.

Grendel chose 'Yes' at the options window in front of him.

Guild Crystal powering up. Guild field radius set to the default of 168 feet. Please set the desired radius. MP Reserves low. Charging up.

Every person that had a guild card in that radius of two hundred feet felt their cards buzzing. As it was a very important item and was usually held closely against one's skin out of superstition, every adult human felt it. It signaled the restart of the guild activities. The guild crystal sustained itself by taking a minute amount of magic from the cardholders inside the field.

The reason Grendel was so keen on obtaining his guild crystal was only one. It was a necessary step to activate his fifth unique skill, one whose name was still garbled.

*@$%! / #%& Management unlock steps:

1. Unlock the Human Consumption skill. โœ“

2. Change jobs using a guild crystal. โœ“

3. $ยจ%&*@@#$%##@#$$%ยจ&ยจ&ยจ%$$##@.

 

The third option would only be revealed once he fulfilled the second. He focused on the crystal and tried to change his job. Nothing happened. He heard movement behind him but ignored them. He tried and tried and nothing happened.

MP reserves depleted below emergency levels. Depowering guild field.

The crystal deactivated for lack of MP. "What a bothersome thing," he thought. He looked at the skills he got from the guildmaster job. He was running too low on SP but he leveled 'Guild Field Control', 'Ambient Magic Absorption', 'Guild Management' and both self-empowerment abilities to level 4. There went the 45 SP he earned during the rooftop fight. He poured some MP into the crystal and it activated again. Then he reduced the field size to the minimum he could, thirty-three feet. It would also cut the MP consumption by eighty percent. He felt the guild field empowering him. Maybe the critical state of the magic reserves of the crystal was exactly that. Guild Master had the field set at maximum to get these buffs during their fight. It was still running at a deficit. He bought the fifth level of field control and magic absorption and set the field to six feet of radius. It was enough to cover only himself and coupled with his own MP regen and the passive absorption would stabilize the consumption.

He tried to change his job again, but nothing happened. Checking the info boxes for the skills, he understood he needed to be a cardholder to use the crystal. He shrugged, wrapped the crystal carefully in a wolf pelt and stashed it away in one of his slightly singed bags. His clothes were all torn and burned too. Maybe he could get new clothes from the humans.

Going outside, he saw several people around, they seemed to be arguing about something but his movement made them silent. "I hope you were not talking about stabbing my back. Nevermind. Hey, receptionist. Alisha, I think. I want a fresh guild card. Get one for me."

"Why would I do that for you?"

"I will give you one piece of advice. You should really put your spite way below your own survival instincts. Because right now I would have you killed if I was not a ma-monster of my word. Scram and fetch that card. Also bring one of those crystal slabs here."

Alisha was really going to say something very spiteful. Grendel wondered what would make the people of this world so stubborn. They seemed to have no feelings of hope. They would resign themselves to dying too easily. It is as if they had nothing to believe on. The troll had no idea how close he was to the real truth.

But Rowdy thought different. He clocked the woman's head. "Go get the stuff he wants, woman. We will keep our lives, our booze, and our gold!"

She resigned herself. She knew very well what Rowdy was capable of, and the only people that could put him in check were either dead or gone from town. Alisha went inside and returned with a guild card and a crystal slab.

"Here you go. Do you want me to register you? I would need a drop of your blood if you allow me."

Grendel thought that her sudden helpful demeanor was very strange. "Just place the tools on that counter and get away. I don't trust you, woman." Alisha did as he ordered. Rowdy grabbed her waist and pushed her behind him. But when she moved away from the counter, her own card got less than six feet from Grendel and buzzed. The woman lost all color in her face. She was the only one that knew very well what all that buzzing meant. The guild field was being turned on and off by a monster's will.

The troll bit his own finger, smeared a drop of his blood and placed the card between his palm and the crystal slab. Then he chanted "Guild Operation: Registration" and everyone around heard. One receptionist that was behind the bar counter fainted.

"You have doomed humanity! Kill that beast!" Alisha shouted. The woman was in a frenzied state. She drew a dagger that was holsted on the back of Rowdy's belt and rushed to stab the troll. There was nothing between them.

Rowdy tried to hold her, {9} but failed. He was really startled by the sharp shout right by his ear and lost his bearings for a moment. Alisha rushed in and {79} stabbed Grendel on his side, below the ribcage. It was a splendid blow, one that would surely kill any human from internal bleeding and ruptured bowels. Her card buzzed again.

He noticed the blow but ignored it. The registration process finished and Alisha had stabbed him {29, 75, 100} several times more. One of them was even a critical, managing to hit the troll's kidneys.

"Oi, get this woman off of me. If she stabs me one more time I'm going to have to kill her."

"Just knock her out, you have my permission to do that." Shouted Rowdy. He had no authority to make such a call. The man was a drunk adventurer that only filled requests to have the coin to pay for his booze. He was a D-rank adventurer, however, a seasoned veteran. And besides the receptionists, he was the place's ranker. But Grendel was really annoyed. He threw a backhand slap in Alisha's way and {82} bashed the woman straight into the wall. The boards creaked but they did not break. Alisha collapsed unconscious and bleeding on the floor.

"Hey, apothecary. Hurry up and treat the woman. I don't want her death weighing on me."

"I have a healing potion." Rowdy rushed in to treat her, going past Grendel. He allowed the man to treat the receptionist. He ripped open her dress' back and sprinkled the potion over the purple area where she hit the wall. The swelling reduced instantly and her breathing normalized.

"Hey, Rowdy. Fist bump me. You the man. Cool-headed, in control of the situation." He stretched his fist in the man's direction. Rowdy was not the brightest one. "It is a greeting from where I come from. You make a fist and bump mine. C'mon, it is a sign of trust between men."

Rowdy cast his hesitation away and did as the troll said. Both were smiling. Both had the yellowest teeth. Both were butt-ugly. Were not for that, a picture of that touching moment would be enough to make people friends with monsters. And that was exactly what happened to Rowdy.

"Whoa! I got a 'Friend of Monsters' title! It reduces hostility from monsters I have not attacked." The man shouted. Titles were very rare things. Most of them granted very good things. The number of titles the troll held was a testimony to how unusual he was.

"Good for you! It is actually the second person with that title I know of. But it seems I have overstayed my welcome. Rowdy, I need to get some stuff from the guild vault. I am going to go on the road, I need some currency."

"Are you going to take our gold?"

"Of course not. I'm going to take monster currency. C'mon, trust me."

"This way!" The idiot led the monster to the vaults. Grendel searched around and found what he wanted. The stashes of monster cores. He needed to eat those to power up his most important skill. He grabbed all the cores he could carry and left with a whole crate of them. He munched the ones that he couldn't carry on the spot.

684 monster core points added.

Cores were small (usually the size of a person's pinky finger up to a golfball's) crystallizations of magic that dwelled deep inside monsters, usually in the brain or around the heart. It would have different values depending on the rank of the monster that it came from. The core was what allowed a monster to use magic and in some cases the reason the monster would be able to live and function. Giant rocs with a wingspan of over a hundred feet would not even be able to stand up much less fly if they weren't powered by their cores. Monsters had zero MP and depended on their cores to convert stamina to magical power to enable their skills and spells. It was also the lack of MP that made it impossible for monsters to hold jobs.

Grendel left the guild building carrying his loot. By now the fear had almost completely disappeared from the hearts of the people. There was a B-rank monster inside the town for more than an hour and nobody had died. They crowded the place to see Grendel as if he was a circus attraction. However, the concept of a circus was completely alien to the people of this world. Their entertainment options were as meager as their meals during winter.

And then it happened. It was bound to happen. A few girls, no more than six or eight winters old ran past the line of adults and crossed the path of the troll. "Can we give this to you, Mr. Troll? It is our thank you gift for saving us from the orcs." They had a flower wreath. The weaving was crude, but it was what could be expected from those girls.

Grendel kneeled and set the heavy crate of cores aside. "It would be my pleasure." And lowered his head.

The girls were about to place the garland on his neck when someone shouted.

"Stop those girls! They will all become monster brides!" And chaos descended on the otherwise peaceful crowd. Some heavily armored guards rushed in and attempted to stab the girls with their spears. Their equipment was a level or two above the ones used by the wall garrison, and it meant only one thing. Those were the guards of the ruling noble, Baron Mirfield.

Once more Grendel put his own arm in the way of harm. The other time was when he protected Helen from Guild Master's envenomed arrow in the forest.

"Run. Go to uncle Alvus and the adventurers. You will be safe there!" Grendel shouted at the girls. They screamed and ran away from the guards. Alvus and Rowdy were following Grendel from a distance and rushed in with Cloude and the other adventurers to protect the girls.

Grendel flared his nostrils and puffed his chest. With his other hand, he grabbed the spear that was still crossing his left forearm and lifted the spear and the guardsman holding it. With a sudden jerk, he swung the spear and yanked it out of three of the four limbs touching the weapon. He twisted the spear around as proof of his mastery with the weapon while the hole in his forearm closed.

"Kill the monster!" The same voice shouted again.

"That's the Baron. Run away," one of the civilians nearest from where the guards came from shouted. The people started to panic.

"Protect the civilians. Everyone evacuate the area!" Grendel shouted. His skill Guild Master's Authority influenced slightly the adventurers. They were moved to act.

The guards crashed against Grendel. So long none of them used fire or acid, he would eschew defense in favor of dealing with them quickly. In a spear fight, he had all the advantage. He was faster, he was tougher, stronger and had more reach due to his longer arms, even when compared to normal human proportions. And he could kick with his feet claws and gore with his horns. Every appendage of this monster was meant for killing things. He didn't even bother to swap the spear of the guard for his own and better Horn Spear.

It didn't take long before the wall of guards were reduced enough to give him line of sight to the baron. He would not lose this opportunity.

"Emperor's Might, Power Javelin." {90 +20} He threw the spear with so much power that it hit the Baron in the stomach and just flew past the man, leaving a hole wide enough to put one's arm through the body of the former noble. The spear broke two walls of the house on the other side of the street before it lodged itself deep in the third wooden wall.

All the thirty soldiers and knights of the Baron followed their master to the grave.

Grendel has gained 6 + 6 levels ([3]Racial 44 > 50, [4] Magic Swordsman 37 >43). 90 SP earned.

Grendel threw his arms down and sighed. "Idiots," he complained to no one.

He returned to where he dropped the crate and picked it up. He looked around and the looks of curiosity were replaced with fear. Even in the eyes of the girls that were so kind to gift him the flowers. The plants were trampled during the fight. Even so, he picked up the bloody thing, a few petals still attached to the buds, and hung it on his neck.

With a low head, the monster walked down the street in the direction of the gate he had come from.

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Skill Growth:

Skill Negotiation level 4.

Skill Complaining level 4.

Skill Spear Mastery level 6.

Technique {Quick Jab} learned: Releases fast and precise piercing strikes. +20 accuracy, half damage. Does not lose readyness stance.

 

 

Grendel's Status:
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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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