Day 30:

With the down pour today we got the second; Rainy-day Ranking Round Robin.

This time it was split into two sections; one of Hobgoblins and the other one purely for the Goblins. The highlights of the first section was the match between Gobukichi vs Hobuken, which determined the 2nd and 3rd seats, and the match up of Gobue vs Hobusato.

As no weapons or magic were allowed the battle between the two pure physical type brutes was incredible. In the end it came down to a slug fest before Hobuken collapsed.

More from exhaustion than damage.

Gobumi took the fourth ranked spot and Hobusei ended in sixth place, since magic was banned.

We eagerly watched the spirited cat fight between the last two Hobgoblins but in the end it was called a draw. Hobusato I usually see carrying a sword but it seems her physical abilities aren’t lacking as she gave Gobue quite the run for her money, her attacks are very fluid.

After he finished re-organising the top Goburou oversaw the re-shuffle of our group.

You could tell everyone was earnestly training as there was quite the movement both up and down of both the Goblins of my generation and the old one.

This time I ended up in the bottom slot.

I did ok in the beginning but there was a wall I couldn’t overcome. I wonder if my lack of achievements in the Orc war and the level of prey I hunt, I’ve stagnated at Armoured Tanuki, has anything to do with it.

It probably does.

The oldest Goblins and Gobujii contently enjoyed the tournament.

When the final matches concluded and the new rankings had been set we split up. Some of those unsatisfied with their positions followed the axe touting Gobukichi who wanted to continue training, others followed Gobue. Lately she has taken up a passion for mining, pick in hand she led them deeper into the mine.

Their already bearing fruit. All ore and spirit stones are taken straight to the human girl’s area, by trusted personnel only but as Goburou spent most of his time in there then nobody would have dared try anything.

The last group, myself included, sat around Gobumi as she taught us things like the rankings and what they meant, the rules that Goburou had decided upon and some parts of the continental alphabet.

If you ask why I decided to join this group. It’s because my knowledge of this world is too limited. I haven’t even left the forest, not that I know how big it is anyways.

During the lesson Hobusei joined us, thank you gods. Hobusato was training with Gobukichi and Hobuken was around somewhere. She didn’t ask many question but you could tell at a glance she was absorbing it all like a sponge. By the way, Gobumi has the perfect disposition for being a teacher. Not to strict and helps us reach the answer ourselves with a little gentle guidance.

Seems among the human girls there is a [Tailor], [Blacksmith], [Alchemist] and [Farmer].

Day 31:

This morning we were treated to quite the display.

Goburou and Gobukichi had decided upon a full contact spar and we all gathered in the large cave near the entrance. It’s affectionately known as the Large Practice Hall.

Most of the time you can find several Goblins using it long after morning trainings finished.

We took positions around the wall and waited for them to arrive. It didn’t take long for the light armoured Colonel to appear clutching his new halberd and a small sturdy shield. Closely followed by a heavily armoured Gobukichi. Donning plate armour and carrying a solid tower shield he’s become even more tank like.

Even his favourite axe has been upgraded, it’s one of the first weapons from our new smithy. It’s augmented by a fire spirit stone set into the head.

He was proudly boasting about it yesterday.

We were silent as they stepped into the arena, the atmosphere between them was charged with competitive spirit more than outright bloodlust, but at the first clash of their exchange we erupted into frantic cheers.

Goburou was using a full range of techniques and abilities I’d never seen before but the straight forward powerhouse Gobukichi dealt with them spectacularly.

His blows were fast and heavy.

He blocked blades of wind, stone bullets and balls of water with his shield. Cut through blasts of fire with his own flaming axe and even used its burning head to parry the entangling thread webs shot at him.

He shook off the electricity that zapped him and even avoided that piercing glare but even his mighty blows did very little against Goburou’s armour. They both weren’t holding back.

It was becoming a war of attrition. Both grinning like true battle junkies.

So caught up in it all were we that when Goburou called time we couldn’t believe it but it seems the new fire axe is a double edged sword as Gobukichis palms were scorched from holding the searing handle and even Goburou looked to be in some discomfort from holding his own superheated metal weapons.

Every parry, every block you could see the shield and halberd glowing steadily redder.

He called that the end of the first round and they used the break to rehydrate, heal and assess any damage. Like that the day progressed with several rounds interspersed with longer breaks during which there were more lessons and training for those spectating. Even found time to grab a Horned Rabbit during the interval.

In the end Goburou won through skilful use of his abilities but Gobukichi held out to the last.

Even though I was just watching I was mentally drained and the high tension of the match physically exhausted me. Sleep came easy that night.

It didn’t last for long however as for the second time in my life I awoke with the ugly green face of a Goblin staring down at me.

Still half asleep I followed a procession of Goblins out of the sleeping quarters, others were rousing those still sleeping. I zombie walked to the Practice hall, I was going to complain that they were still going at it when I saw what was there. Seven figures were bound and gagged, kneeling before Goburou. A tiny redheaded figure was cowering behind him clinging to his leg.

A little behind them the other four human girls were huddled together, looking a little dishevelled and fearful. He started to explain in a cold calm manner why we had been brought here and what had happened.

Still being groggy I missed most of it.

That quickly passed when the first muffled shriek reached me. He had started their punishment or should I say he had started their torture. He picked one and made the others watch as he severed and reattached fingers, toes and ears. Cauterizing wounds and healing them as he went.

When he finished with one he picked another and repeated the horrific process all the way down the line. Those around me were recoiling in shock, some physically backing away.

I wanted to hurl but I couldn’t look away, some strange fear was compelling me to watch.

The worst came when he reached the other end of the line. There the shaking figure of Hobuken cowered. His eyes were pleading for his life but the only response he got was a sigh of disappointment.

His treatment, as the clear instigator, was far more cruel and usual.

For him Goburou had reserved the special privilege of having his abilities used on. He gently touched the Hobgoblins forearm. Before long the acrid smell of charred flesh assaulted us as the ex-leader let out silent screams. Fire wasn’t the only tool used.

He sealed his head in a globe of water and drowned him slowly; propped him in a kneeling position and set a large rock on his thighs to crush his legs and on the exposed back lashed him with whips of wind.

Death didn’t come as he was repeatedly healed only to allow more suffering.

I could feel my mind about to break but I still couldn’t turn away.

Day 32:

“Have I made myself clear?”

I don’t know how long the farce continued but he ended it simply with that one statement. We were too scared to even answer properly. I found my head nodding excessively before I knew it.

A few of us, the lucky ones, had fainted early on.

We were dismissed and ordered to sleep, the sun was just coming up, but after seeing all that how could I. When I closed my eyes I could still see their bodies writhing. Slowly I staggered back down the tunnel. He passed me a couple of times princess carrying the terrified human girls back to their rooms.

There were whiffs of urine but I honestly wasn’t sure by that stage if it was from them or my own sodden rags.

I got back to the blanket I had left hours ago, I returned a different person and wrapped it tightly around me. Just sitting there huddled in the darkness. I must have blacked out because when I came to I was face down and drooling. The images were still fresh in my mind.

Some of the others were up and active, although still very skittish, but most were still asleep

Back on earth they’d prescribe some heavy meds for this kind of trauma. Remembering there was an alchemist in the community I took a trip to the Production room.

In front of the entrance to the kitchen/smithy/apothecary were several of the oldest Goblins and a couple of the squad captains. They blocked my path. I tried to get by but they gave me looks that begged for me not to cause trouble and repeat last night’s event.

The area in the back, the passage way leading to the girls sleeping area was closed off by a woven thread screen, I guess there still asleep as well.

I left quietly.

The sombre mood in the cave meant no one had the motivation for training and we passed the day just milling about.
Goburou and the other three returned in the evening laden with the results of a good hunt but the food tasted off and I had trouble keeping it down.

Watching some of the others tucking into fresh meat, the blood splattering over their mouths, I realised this is the way we’ve always been. To survive you have to eat, to eat you have to hunt, to hunt you have to be strong and to be strong you have to be resolved.

Its kill or be killed.

I can’t keeping sticking to the principles of my old life as a human, I’m not human any more. I’m a Goblin.

It didn’t completely cure me but that notion did help the food stay down a little easier.

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