Today must be a good day. I haven't seen the elemental since I woke up 2 hours ago! Maybe he finally left after I found out his weakness yesterday.
I looked at my hand. These thin fingers he couldn't pry off, he is so weak! We elves were hunters and great marksmen but we weren't known for our brute strength.
"I'm from a different world."
I remembered his words. At first, I had scoffed at them, thinking it one of his tricks. But now I thought maybe there was some truth to those words. But its implications were beyond my understanding. I had to take this information to the elders. But I couldn't do it just yet.
The elf village was not too far from here, maybe around 200km. When I had first encountered the elemental, it was not more than 30km from there. I had been leading him away from it all this while. It was more important to keep the elemental away from them than to relay the information, but hopefully, I could now make it back since the elemental had left-
I hesitated for only half a second before moving on. I knew very well whose voice that was.
"Sorry I overslept. Did you miss me?"
That damn elemental! How could he insinuate that I would look forward to his company!?
I pretended to keep my cool and moved on.
Suddenly the atmosphere changed a little. It got a little quieter and I could hear the rustling of leaves towards the front, a little to the left. It was a predator.
I turned towards the right to avoid it. Forests were sacred to us elves and if we had a choice in the matter, we would let nature run its course. We were great hunters but that didn't mean we hunted for fun. We only hunted when there was a need for balance or self-preservation. We would never kill for fun or food. All wood elves, without an exception, are vegetarians.
"Do we have a destination today?"
The elemental just wouldn't shut up. And what did he mean "we"!?
"It is a mystery to me how you people live without Google Maps."
There he goes again, spouting incomprehensibles.
"At least a compass right? I never realized that such a simple invention was so useful! It doesn't even use electricity. As long as you have a magnet and a way to freely suspend it, it'll work forever!"
He would often be like that. As if he was really from another world, he would talk about things that didn't exist here but people in his world took it for granted. The day I met him, he was talking about something called 'machines'. From what I could tell, they were enchanted items that ran on special mana that they called 'electricity'. And from what I understood from his rants, his world hadn't yet figured out how to convert their runes for enchantment into chants. Such a backward world. No wonder he was so weak.
There was another predator. I adjusted my path again to avoid it.
"Forests are still sort of okay, I guess. For normal people, they can leave marks on the trees to find their way back. But what about sailors? Now I can really sympathize how they would be doomed without it."
'Sailors'? I almost asked him what those were but I held myself back in the nick of time. His tricks were starting to get to my head. I had to ignore him the best I could! There was no way I would ever let myself fall for an elemental's tricks!
I wanted to remove the [Ring of Translation] just so I could stop listening to him. But I didn't. I had to keep listening to find out as much as possible and relay that to the elders. Elementals were our enemies. No, they were the enemies of the whole world! Who knows what information we could uncover from this. Maybe we could find something to stop them once and for all.
"Even for me. I can fly so I can keep track of landmarks really far away, but if I had a compass.. such a simple device it is.. I would be actually able to find my way back."
He meant going back to Domania. He had told me a little of how he had apparently been stranded there with no one to help him. It almost made me sad to - No, it serves him right!
I again maneuvered to avoid it. The direction I was going in wasn't exactly opposite of the elf village but it was still away from it so there was no problem.
(There are a lot of predators in this area.)
I hadn't been to this part of the forest before so I hadn't known but apparently, this area was dangerous.
"You wouldn't know where to find a magnet do you?"
I don't know what that is but even if I did, as if I would ever tell an elemental!
"It's alright though. Tools make things convenient but I think, in using them, we lose a part of ourselves."
Sometimes he said things so profound, I would forget everything else and focus on their meaning. Indeed since I had gotten the [Ring of Storage], life had gotten easy. I could carry around ten times more than what I could on my body with none of its weight. That made me self-reliant. I no longer needed to go out with the other elves in a team and I could go out much further. I had in fact been on one of my longer trips when the elemental found me. But I sometimes felt lonely because of it.
I shook my head. I had to keep my head straight. It was a ploy by the elemental to make me reminiscent of my people and take him there! I had to be careful of his words.
I did briefly wonder whether it was knowledge from the other world that made his rationality sound so wise.
Time passed like that, with the elemental blabbering and me not replying.
There were a lot of times predators came close but I always managed to go around them. Weirdly we ended up going in a straight line away from the elf village, even if not directly opposite so I could only count it as lucky.
Soon the sun was setting and the elemental left like he would every night. It was almost too quiet without him around but I relished in it.
(Something doesn't feel right.)
It was way too quiet. I put my guard up and took out my bow.
I turned around, aiming at the place the sound came from.
I shot the arrow right into its head.
Suddenly another goblin popped out from the same place. It saw the arrow in its buddy and locked eyes with me. I quickly knocked another arrow but before I could shoot, another goblin came out.
The cacophony of the forest returned as the goblin that saw me screeched.
“Woman! Capture! Woman!”
If there was one goblin, there were a dozen others after it and it had just let everyone know it had found a prey.
More goblins poured out from behind it as it started running at me.
“Woman!” “Capture!” “Fuck!” “Woman!” “Beauty!” “Woman!” “Woman!” “Capture!” “Beauty!” “Fuck!”
More goblins came from the other side screaming their desires on the top of their lungs. The [Ring of Translation] let me understand their crude speech but I really wished at this moment that it didn’t.
There was only one direction for me to run towards, so I ran. There was no way I could possibly take on so many goblins at once. There were dozens of them!
“Woman!” “Woman!” “Fuck!” “Capture!” “Woman!” “Fuck!” “Woman!”
Even without them constantly shouting as they ran behind me, I knew what they would do if they caught me.
I ran with all my might but I had been tired from traveling with the elemental the whole day. My legs ached but I couldn't afford to slow down here.
"What the hell did you do to get so many goblins chasing you?"
The elemental flew down from the sky and asked casually.
I swallowed my words. Was I about to ask for help from an elemental!?
I grit my teeth. There was no other way. It was like choosing between two evils. And without a doubt, elementals were a bigger evil. But at this moment, for me, he was the lesser one.
If I were to be caught by goblins, it was a fate worse than death. Goblins capture females from sentient species and break them till they can't even think anymore. They ravage them day and night and force them to reproduce till their life-force runs out. This was worse for elves since they had a stronger life-force than other sentient beings. Even today, the worst punishment in our tribe was to be bound and thrown to goblins. It was only reserved for the most heinous of criminals, though I had heard that no elf has been sentenced to it in several generations.
"You say something?"
The elemental asked me.
I looked back and the huge crowd of goblins was gaining on me. Their eyes were crazed with lust as they jumped over each other in an attempt to get to me first. My legs were starting to ache and I was running out of breath. I knew I couldn't go on for long.
"Save me!", I swallowed my pride and screamed.
Suddenly a strong gust of wind blew away the goblins. I fell over as I felt saved. I had seen what he could do when I met first met him and there was no way the goblins could-
"Tch. We need to run."
I looked up at him. He was looking back where the goblins were coming from. I looked back as well but the goblins had all been blown away so there was nothing there.
"The trees are blocking the wind, not letting me use my full strength and there are too many of them."
As he said that, goblins started to come into my view again from multiple directions.
"There is a cave nearby. There I can use more strength and the entrance will be narrow so we could hold them off easily."
He looked back at me in slight panic, his casual demeanor suddenly gone. He extended his hand towards me to pull me up. My heart was beating too fast and my legs were shaking either due to the exertion or because I was scared. Whichever it was, I couldn’t tell as I took his outstretched hand and started to run again.
I almost fell a bunch of times but he steadied me and the adrenaline kept me going. Whenever the goblins would get too close he would blow them back.
My head started pounding from the exertion as we finally reached the entrance to the cave.
My body shuddered as I felt the massive amounts of mana coming out from it. I had never been in one before but I had heard enough to recognize it in a single glance.
"Haaah.. haaah.. we can't… haah.. it's a dungeon.."
I collapsed on my knees. I couldn't run anymore. Dungeons needed fully prepared teams of balanced roles to go in. Going in there with the two of us was suicide.
"We don't really have a choice here. Do you want to be taken by the goblins?"
I didn't look at him. My head was hurting and I couldn't think. Elemental, goblins, dungeon, this was a nightmare and I wanted nothing more than to wake up from it.
Another strong gust of wind broke me out of my stupor as it blew away some of the goblins behind us. I looked back..
There were hobgoblins too… Hobgoblins were much stronger variants of the goblin species. Even a full party of elves wouldn't come out unscathed against these many goblins led by hobgoblins.
"I've got no choice."
I saw the elemental come closer but I couldn't move. He picked me up and just like when he had saved me the first time, he carried me in his arms away from the goblins and hobgoblins. But into the dungeon.
I couldn't think straight anymore so I resolved myself in his hands and blacked out.
Satoshi POV of the same day
"Ugh.. I overslept."
I'd been tired from the scouting last night so I ended up sleeping till a little later. It took me a bit of time, but I managed to find the elf. There was no way she would be able to go far away on foot for me to not be able to find her.
Before going down to her, I took out my map and figured out which direction I had to turn her to. Then I flew down.
I had figured out that the elf used sound to tell if there were predators around. So whenever I had to make her adjust the course, I used a very light sound barrier and then remotely rustled some leaves in the direction opposite of which I wanted to make her go in. At the same time, I kept the actual predators away so we could keep going with as few hindrances as possible.
With the elf woman's relentless stamina, we managed to make it near the goblin camp in a single day.
After the sun set, I left the elf to prepare for the show. I made a large sound barrier around the elf so she wouldn't notice the presence of the goblins until they were almost upon her. Then I killed some animals near her and blew a steady wind with the smell of blood towards the goblins to attract them to her.
I watched from above, as the goblins noisily surrounded the elf but she didn't realize a thing. Then I slowly lifted the barrier and let the show begin.
As she was running, I limited the air going to her lungs to make her tire faster. Then when I saw the time was right, I flew to her so she would see me as her only source of rescue.
Then I pretended that my power was too weak in the woods to be able to kill the goblins and if she could make it a little farther, we could be saved. Then whenever she was looking too tired I'd let her have more air, and kept her on the cusp of it as we reached the dungeon entrance. Meanwhile, I kept blowing the goblins back enough so she would see that I was trying my best but it wasn't enough and the danger would keep her on her toes and make her become ever so more reliant on me.
As I expected, she was against going in the dungeon so now I made the air around her really thin so she would start to get dizzy. When she looked like she had abandoned all hope, I picked her up and took her inside the dungeon. I had kept her awake for that so she'd remember I did that in order to save her life and then finally I lowered her air supply till she fainted.
Third person POV
Satoshi put the elf down and stretched.
"That couldn't have gone better."
Now that she had fainted, he no longer needed to keep up pretenses. He blew back the following goblins with a severe wind out of the dungeon and somewhere into the sky no one would remember. He carried the unconscious elf with his power alongside her and took her deeper into the dungeon.
The dungeon was dark inside and he couldn't see anything with his eyes, but his detection made up for that. There were a lot more goblins inside but he easily avoided them with his detection. He figured he was right in that the goblins outside had come from inside the dungeon.
He had been constantly using his ability since the morning and had been ignoring the headache that was forming in the back of his head. He wanted to quickly find some kind of safe area where he could relax and wait for the elf to wake up.
He used his detection but there were goblins all over the place even though they weren't concentrated in any one place as the ones outside.
He detected a path going underground. Immediately after the path ended, there were no living presences. He quickly made his way in that direction and killed the lone weak goblin defending the path and headed onwards. Unknown to Satoshi, that had been the boss monster of the first floor.
The path downwards was rough stairs but it didn't matter to Satoshi since he had a habit of flying. Right after the stairs ended, there was a small room that was lit up with torches on the wall. Satoshi carefully put the elf's body against a wall and sat himself down not too far. He then stopped using his ability, only keeping up the most basic detection.