Chapter 6: Fighting in a Party is Harder than Expected
“You guys wanna go explore together?” I asked it without beating around the bush.
“Huh?” My fellow outcast all turned to me at the same time.
Veronica frowned. “If you wanted to go outside,” She pointed at the direction where Ronel and his group left. “then why didn’t you-” Then she bit off the end of the sentence, her frown deepening and her shoulders drooped. She didn’t say anything after that.
Brian and Jair looked at each other, conveying their thoughts to each other without talking.
Were they psychics? No. Just two guys that spent their time together all the time.
The weeb duo, people called them, as all they did all day was talk about videogames, anime and other similar stuff.
Why was I not the third weeb when we liked similar things? Because in school I usually focused on studying, god forbid my mother found out I wasn’t giving my 200%. There was no opportunity to try to get closer to them and before I knew it, they were the two biggest outcasts of our classroom, closing themselves off from the rest of the class.
“Yes.” The two of them finally responded resolutely.
“You guys are crazy…” Veronica muttered.
“I think he’s got a plan.” Jair, the fat, tall brown-skinned guy of the duo, said.
“No, I don’t.” I felt my face heat up. The guy was thinking too much of me. “I just…” I frowned. “I just don’t want to keep looking at others from behind as they do stuff—live their lives. I don’t want to be a bystander anymore. I’m tired of that-” I looked at them in the eye and said it. “Of that shit.” I cursed in front of other people.
Brian and Jair exchanged looks. Then nodded at me without saying anything else. They had accepted my reason to go outside and probably shared it.
The three of us turned to look at the only one that hadn’t agreed.
Veronica shrunk back as our gazes locked in on her.
“You say it because you have not seen those creatures…” She bit the insides of her lower lip. “They are vicious, nasty little demons.”
“What do you mean?” I tilted my head. “I killed three of them.”
She clicked her tongue and scoffed. “Yeah, you did.”
Brian and Jair also looked at me incredulously.
“Did Ronel not say it last night? I came here injured and had to heal myself.”
“Wasn’t that because you got away from some monsters?” Jair said.
“Not at all.” I shook my head. “I got injured fighting a goblin before getting here.”
“How?” Brian’s soft voice muttered. “Your skill is just like mine…” His brows furrowed behind his emoish bowl cut.
“By getting stabbed here.” I pointed at the torn and bloodied side of my clothes. “And bitten here.” Then at my similarly torn and bloodied pants. “It hurts a lot and its scary, but I can reverse any damage as long as it’s not too serious.”
“That’s really irresponsible,” Veronica said.
“But how else can I fight?” I shrugged. “I’m small and weak and I wasn’t blessed with a fighting skill by the gods- or well, by the system. I believe things are just going to get worse from here on, so we can’t afford to stay behind and do nothing. You guys should understand it, right?” I turned to Brian and Jair. “If this system works just like in a videogame we could potentially become strong like superheroes.”
“Yeah.” Jair nodded. “If we level up a lot we can become super strong.”
“Do you hear yourselves?” Veronica shook her head in exasperation. “This is real life, guys, not a-”
“The monsters aren’t real, then?” I cut her off, my voice rising as I spoke. “Or the floating screens, or that barrier in the sky, or the destroyed city or these god damn skills that are straight out of a videogame? Huh?”
“Ah- I just don’t know anymore…” Her gaze fell to the ground.
“But do you honestly believe you can wait until you do know?” I crossed my arms, my tone blunt. It was time to decide.
“No,” she shook her head. “You’re right. It’s just scary, you know. Thinking about going there and facing one of those monsters and not running away, but going after it.”
“You don’t need to worry too much. Look at me,” I opened my arms wide. “I’m just barely taller than you, but somehow I figured a way to kill four monsters on my own. I think we all can do much better than that.”
“Four?!” My new companions all said at the same time.
We didn’t set out immediately after deciding it. First I wanted us to know each other’s skill and whether or not the others could use theirs. I knew Brian’s and that he could use it.
Jair’s skill was called ‘Metallurgy’. So far he’d just managed to make metal turn into a liquid that was not hot and would solidify after a few seconds. It had a lot of potential.
Veronica’s skill was one that suited her really well—Sound manipulation. With it she could make her voice really loud. Like megaphone-loud. She was also learning to make her voice heard by only a person she chose. Her range was small and it could barely be heard by other people, but she’d just been practicing for a little while.
Brian’s skill was also not what I thought. His worked by touching a wound and wishing it to heal. A more efficient version of mine and also a lot faster from what I heard.
I obviously explained my skill to them as well, and then with us knowing each other’s capabilities, we set out to the wildlands of the Millennial district.
The first thing we encountered after fifteen minutes of walking was a group of people looting a pharmacy. They left a guy outside giving us mean looks as we passed by.
Those guys weren’t from one of the groups the other students formed. As it turned out, more than half of the people in the plaza ignored the adults’ words and formed groups of their own to look for resources. Smart people.
Our priority before trying to fight monsters was to find weapons. Veronica and Brian had thrown theirs away the previous day and I also did the same after killing the last goblin without noticing it. We soon found some reinforcing bars sticking out among the ruins, which Jair was nice enough to cut out with his skill. Then Brian suggested we tied some cloth to use as a handle and then we were ready to begin the hunt.
Ten minutes later we found three goblins looking around for shiny stuff.
My first thought was to run away, and I showed it when I stopped abruptly and began stepping back. The others also tensed up, ready to escape.
I wanted us to fight against a lone goblin or a pair if possible, but those three weren’t a bad option since they were unarmed. I also didn’t want to lose the opportunity and end up finding out the goblins began going around in groups of five or more.
“Okay, guys, let’s do this.” I tightened my grip on my bar.
“They’re three,” Jair said in a low and acute voice.
“And we are four.” I shrugged. “They have no weapons, so there is not much to think about. Just remember, if they bite you, you just hit their heads with your weapons as hard as you can. Always swing your weapon downwards to keep them low so they can only bite your legs. And most importantly,” I gave them a cynical smile. “Be prepared for pain.”
“Why did I come, why did I come…” Veronica chanted as we approached them.
The goblins saw us when we were about 20 meters away and began running towards us.
“Let’s go,” I said and began charging. “Stick close."
Fuck. I looked at Veronica and Brian as they passed me. They ran faster than me. And Jair, the big and fat guy, was keeping up with me just fine. There goes another chunk of my confidence.
Seeing that Jair and I weren’t keeping up, the two show-offs slowed down.
When we clashed with the goblins I put my weapon horizontally in front of me to stop their charge. Then the others swung their weapons and hit the goblins- no it was only Brian that swung his weapon and sent a goblin to the ground. Jair and Veronica froze as they looked at the snarling goblins trying to reach and bite them.
Then the two goblins still standing ducked below my weapon and went straight for our legs. One of them bit Brian and he fell back, screaming and stupidly dropping his weapon to try to get the goblin off him.
The other goblin was going for Veronica but then jumped towards Brian as it saw its companion latched onto his leg.
“Attack!” I shouted as I put myself between the goblin and Brian, earning a set of sharp teeth stuck in my arm. I did what I could to hit it, but I was in an awkward position and my hits weren’t working too well.
Jair came to me trying to pull the goblin with his hands. “Attack it with your weapon for fuck’s sake!” I roared.
“Eek!” Veronica fell on her butt. She was not holding her weapon anymore.
I wanted to cry.
Why were they so useless? The strategy wasn’t hard. They just had to fucking attack.
That was not supposed to be how fighting in a party went...
Finally, Jair brought himself to swing his weapon at the goblin on me. The hits weren’t at full force, but they were something.
Veronica went behind me to help Brian with his goblin.
Then what about the third one?
I looked past Jair and saw it struggling to stand up with Veronica’s weapon stuck in its stomach.
Good job! I cried inside.
Thanks to Jair’s attacks, I was able to push the goblin away. The bastard still took a small chunk of my arm, though.
Jair and I then pummeled the damn goblin to death.
|Goblins Slain [4/5]|
“Go help them.” I pushed Jair towards Brian and Veronica as I went after the other injured goblin as it tried to escape.
It had taken the bar out of its stomach and was leaving a trail of blood as it stumbled away.
I grabbed my weapon with both hands as I ran and with a great amount of satisfaction, hit the damn goblin on the back of its head. The muted crunch that had been so disgusting the first time now brought me unmeasurable joy as I saw the goblin fall on the ground. With two other hard hits, I cracked its skull open and finished it off. That last part was still as disgusting as ever.
|Quest: [Goblin Hunt II]|
“Yes!” I clenched my fist. Now I was just a few more ether points away from leveling up.
Oh shit. I almost forgot about the other guys. I moved towards them, but my help was not needed.
|Goblins Slain [1/20]|
They had already finished off the last goblin.
“Fuck yeah!” I yelled.