I charged forward, smashing into two unfortunate bandits. It didn’t take long for the enemy party to catch on as the rest of the men were able to nimbly evade my charge. They surrounded me like wolves, their daggers and swords in their hands ready to slice me up. My skin may be hard, but their swords could fit into the sliver of my joints and break my somewhat fragile ligaments if the blow had weight to it.

I let out an intimidating roar to try and get them to hesitate. It didn’t work but it was worth a try. I swung my arms furiously at the bandit who tried to creep behind me. Backstabbing was what cowards did, even if it was effective. He danced around my blows, causing me to leave large divots in the ground. Arrows pelted my back but the bandits knew to stay away. If they tried to backstab me, I’d swivel around and crush the side of their ribs.

I glanced over and saw Darryl slicing a bandit to pieces with a small dagger that was hidden in his boot. He was fast, creating many small cuts into his foe, draining the bandit of his blood.

I turned my head back towards the coward who had cleared some space between me and him. I charged at him as fast as I possibly could. He tried sidestepping me but he was too slow. I slammed into him like an Ox, his body crumpled onto the ground.

I felt a searing pain in my upper back. I had trouble remembering the last time I had felt pain. I let out a scream and forced my body to turn around. It was the giant thug. His club laid on the floor in multiple pieces but it had done the job. He had managed to lodge one of his spikes between the two hard shells that protected my shoulder.

I tried to lift my right arm but the only response was a surge of pain that shot through my body. Thankfully my other arm wasn’t injured so I threw a hard punch at the large man. He ducked as my left hook grazed his arm. I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to hit these people. They didn’t move like normal people in battle; they gracefully flowed through it like they already knew what you were going to do. Even the large one.

I was tired of missing so I reached down and grabbed a rock that fit comfortably in my palm. I hurled the rock at the large bandit. His eyes grew wide and a shocked expression showed on his face but there was nothing he could do. It only took seconds before his skull was split open by the flying projectile.

As the large man’s body slumped to the floor, I glanced over to see two dead bandits and Darryl desperately fighting off two of the bandits. He tried fending them off but he was taking more and more cuts from the thugs.

I moved forward but it was too late. One of the bandits plunged his dagger into Dyrral’s torso. As the bandits prepared to slice Darryl into tiny pieces, I threw my left hand into one of the bandit’s face, causing his skull to explode. Red chunks and blood sprayed everywhere. The other bandit was stunned. He cowered before me. I picked him up by his head and tossed aside like he was nothing.

“Watch your back golem. You’re as good as dead. It’s just a matter of time before someone kills you.” said the bandit leader menacingly.

I turned around and watched the bandit leader and his one remaining member flee. They had underestimated us and knew they’d risk their lives if they stayed.

Darryl sat on the floor. Blood slowly oozed out of his wound, leaving a small puddle of blood around him. It didn’t look good. I wasn’t sure if he’d make it. I didn’t know much about healing. It really wasn’t something I had ever needed to know so I never spent the time to learn the skill. I had gotten him into this mess. I was the reason he laid on the floor in pain.

I scavenged the floor, looking for anything to stop the bleeding. I knew if I didn’t he’d die soon or at least sooner than I could get him to a healer. I wasn’t well versed in human biology but I had watched a few humans die so I knew they died quickly. I picked up some moss that was growing on a nearby tree and gently placed it over Darryl’s wound.

It took me a few tries but eventually, I was able to loosen and take off Darryl’s belt. I strapped it around the moss to keep the spongy green plant around the wound. I lifted Darryl up, cradling him in my left arm. And then I ran.

Trees on either side of the path turned into a blur as I sprinted as fast as I possibly could. I knew I would regret exerting this much energy. My mana core didn’t recharge quickly so I knew I’d be low on energy for the next few days.

The sun began to rise, and the dark ominous forest didn’t look so ominous anymore. Darryl had gone into a fever. Delusions had taken over his mind. But his incoherent babbling indicated he was alive so I kept moving.

As the tree became less dense, I figured I must be close. Logging occurred by civilization and was always an indicator of how close you were to the next city or town. For me and my tribe, it was a way of knowing where to avoid the sentient races.

Soon the city was in my sight. Only the highest buildings hung over the large stone wall surrounding the city. At this point, people lined the streets. There were people pedaling suspect ointments and charms as well as merchants gearing themselves with new boots and food for wherever they were headed. Donkeys pulled carts of various goods in and out of the city gates, only stopped occasionally by the guards to be checked.

A note from Editor

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