Advertisement
Remove

Chapter 01

 

Waking with a start, I frantically began pawing at my face. I was relieved to find it in one piece. The last thing I remembered was Kyle Richards shoving me off the abandoned shopping mall rooftop.

 

“I thought he wanted to be friends, but in the end, he had done something like that...” I groaned incredulously.

 

Other people at university had said he was bad news, but I was so desperate for a friend that I didn’t believe them.

 

Pushing myself up into a sitting position, I was surprised to feel dirt and grass beneath my fingers instead of asphalt.

 

“What is this?” I wondered aloud, now taking a moment to take in my surroundings.

 

I appeared to be in a forest, but the closest forest I knew of had been hours away by car.

 

“Where am I?” I shakily began getting to my feet only to realise that my clothes were missing as well!

 

Someone had stolen my clothes while I was passed out! Did they dump me in the forest too?! Or maybe this was all part of some elaborate joke?! That had to be it! There's no way my friend Kyle would suddenly push me off a roof like that...

 

Beginning to panic, I started running in the direction I hoped would lead to civilisation. Surprisingly, even after running for more than a couple of minutes, I didn’t overheat like I usually do. Was the wind blowing on my bare skin that effective?! Also, what happened to my asthma? Without my inhalers, I should have been at least wheezing a little by now.

 

The terrified scream of a woman from somewhere nearby caught me off guard. Thinking that someone had seen me sprinting through the forest buck naked, I dove into some nearby bushes. Feeling the wind on my bare arse, I could immediately tell that this bush was not nearly big enough to hide my shame.

 

“*** ***! ***! *** *** ***!” A woman cried out from somewhere close by in a language I didn’t understand.

 

I quickly covered my crotch with my hands and looked around my immediate surroundings from the cover of the bushes and didn’t manage to see any sign of the woman that cried out earlier.

 

A few moments later, I realised that perhaps there was someone else in a similar situation to myself. Maybe this woman had caught the perpetrator in the act?!

 

Although I had always been ashamed of my bad looks, and the thought of being seen naked was mortifying, it only served to fuel my anger.

 

Shoving myself up and onto my feet, I charged towards the sounds of the struggle.

 

Crashing through the treeline, I found a large naked man with dark skin and huge muscles assaulting a young woman. He was holding a knife against her throat.

 

“HEY!” I shouted angrily, raising my hands from my crotch and balling them into pudgy fists.

 

The man suddenly stopped what he was doing and turned around. Initially angry, his expression quickly became fearful. Something was seriously wrong with his face! It looked like someone had cut off his nose!

 

Despite holding a large knife, the noseless man quickly stumbled off of the woman and began backing away with his hands raised. “No hurt! Yours! I leave!” He then turned and ran off into the trees.

 

Still revolted by the man’s face, I was confident that his distinctive features would make it easy for the police to catch him.

 

“***** ******”, the young woman stammered in a language I don’t understand, her distressed shoulder-length blonde hair obscuring most of her face. Perhaps she was a backpacker or tourist that man kidnapped.

 

Suddenly quite embarrassed again, I cupped my hands over my shame and tried my best not to look at her. My mother raised me to be respectful, damn it!

 

However, hearing the sound of a knife being drawn quickly caused my chivalry to evaporate. Glancing towards her, I was surprised to see that she had a sword drawn and pointed in my direction. Now noticing her strange clothing, I could only assume she was a Larper or maybe a Cosplayer.

 

Raising one hand and doing my best to not look at her exposed chest while still keeping an eye on that sword, I slowly backed away. “I-I d-don’t mean you any harm!” I stuttered nervously, “Someone stole my clothes and dumped me out here in the woods! I swear!”

 

When the young woman made no attempts to follow after me, I breathed a deep sigh of relief, “That could have gone really ba-”

 

“******* *******” The young woman shouted forcefully.

 

I immediately felt an immense pressure inside my head, and words suddenly appeared in front of my eyes,

 

[Warning: Bond has been forcefully attempted. Accept? (Y/N)]

 

“The hell is this?!” I groaned.

 

More words suddenly appeared under the first.

 

[(Bond) takes many forms. It is a connection between two or more individuals that bestows benefits upon one or more participants. The most common benefit shared by participants is the (Symbiotic Communication) effect.].

 

“******* *******!” The young woman repeated again, this time more forcefully.

 

The same original message appeared again in response,

 

[Warning: Bond has been forcefully attempted. Accept? (Y/N)].

 

“Did someone install a computer chip in my head or something?” I groaned weakly, fumbling at my temples, trying to find a scar or incision.

 

“******* *******!!” The young woman repeated again anxiously, gripping her sword tighter with a determined look on her face.

 

Was she planning on stabbing me if I refused?! Wait...was she just trying to communicate? Is that what this is all about? Although I thought I was behaving non threateningly, she was probably more frightened than I was. If whoever did this to me also did it to her, wouldn't it make sense for her to be so on edge?

 

“******* *******” The young woman repeated again, a determined and dangerously desperate look in her eyes.

 

“ACCEPT!” I shouted, unwilling to run around the forest with two armed psychos after me.

 

[Bond accepted: Applying Enslaved Status and Effects]

 

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 1): You are able to understand all spoken languages of your master.]

 

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 2): Your master understands all your spoken languages.].

 

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 3): Disobeying direct commands of your master will require a contest of (Will). Failure will result in pain being administered until the command is obeyed or the command is rescinded.]

 

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 4): While following direct commands of your master, bonuses are applied according to your master’s level.]

 

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 5): Your master’s brand has been applied to your body and soul.]

 

“Wait...what?!” I demanded, feverishly reading through the wall of text, “This can’t be real?!”

 

“I...can’t believe it actually worked...” The young woman muttered in disbelief.

 

“What is this?! Why did you do this to me?!” I demanded, ”Didn’t I save you from that guy?!”

 

The young woman was taken aback for a moment, but her expression quickly changed from shock to delight, “HAHA! It works, I can understand it now!”

 

“It?” I mumbled numbly, seriously reconsidering if the man from earlier had not perhaps been justified in assaulting this psycho. Turning around to leave, I wanted to get as far away from this crazy woman as fast as possible.

 

“Hey!” The young woman snapped suddenly, “Where do you think you are going, Ogre?!”

 

I stiffened immediately. OGRE?! Because of my pasty skin and large but heavy build, this was the hurtful nickname I had been saddled with since primary school. Snapping off a nearby tree branch to serve as an improvised weapon, I rounded on the woman and glared angrily at her. I had no intention of striking her, but there was no way in hell I would just let her stab me either.

 

“What did you call me?!” I demanded angrily.

 

The young woman took a couple of steps backwards and nearly fell over into a nearby bush. “Ah, an Ogre?” She replied worriedly.

 

Misjudging my own strength, the tree branch snapped in my hand.

 

“That is what you are, right?” She continued hurriedly, “An Ogre, that’s what the status screen says.”

 

“Status screen?” I snorted incredulously. “What are...” The words caught in my throat as large blue panels obscured my vision.

[Tim - Ogre Runt: 1 ] [HP: 45/45 ] [MP: 0/0 ]

[Emelia’s Slave*] [Class: ??? ] [Exp: 0/- ]

[Strength: 15* ]

[Agility: 8 ]

[Toughness: 20* ]

[Intelligence: 10 ]

[Willpower: 15 ]

[Presence: 3 ]

 

[(Racial Ability: Thick Hide {Rank 0}): You have an abnormally thick hide that will shrug off minor damage. {Toughness} increases the level of damage resistance.]

[(Racial Ability: Brute Strength {Rank 0}): You deal more damage with {Primitive} and {Heavy} weapons. {Strength} increases the amount of bonus damage.]

[(Racial Ability: Iron Gut {Rank 0}): Consuming food accelerates {Healing}. {Toughness} increases the rate of digestion.]

 

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 1): You are able to understand all spoken languages of your master.]

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 2): Your master understands all of your spoken languages.].

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 3): Disobeying direct commands of your master will require a contest of (Willpower). Degree of failure will result in pain being administered until the command is obeyed or the command is rescinded.]

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 4): While following direct commands of your master, bonuses are applied according to your master’s level.]

[(Enslaved Status Effect: 5): Your master’s brand has been applied to your body and soul. Resistance is futile.]

 

“What the hell?...” I groaned in despair. Although I didn’t want to believe it, this all seemed eerily familiar to those light novels and anime I had read in my spare time.

 

A chill ran down my spine as I realised that the man from earlier was probably a bloodthirsty monster, and I had confronted it stark naked! Without even a weapon to defend myself with, what would I have done if it hadn’t run away?!

 

The tree branch slipped through my numb fingers and by my legs buckled beneath me. Falling hard to the ground, I desperately clutched at my head and began rocking back and forth. “This can’t be happening!” I demanded, “I wanna go home!” Tears were stinging at the corners of my eyes.

 

“Emelia!” Another woman cried out from somewhere nearby, “Emelia!”

 

“I am over here!” The young woman, apparently Emilia, called out in reply.

 

Less than a minute later, two people dressed in cosplay outfits entered the clearing with weapons drawn.

 

The first was a woman in steel armour and wielding a two-handed sword. The second was a slightly older woman than Emilia in an open sleeveless robe cinched at her waist and wearing some sort of leather armour.

 

“OI! Did that monster do this!” The woman with the two-handed sword demanded, edging closer to me and raising her sword to strike.

“Wait!” The second woman cried and grabbed the first woman’s arm, “It has her mark, see?” She said with a scolding tone and pointed towards my head.

 

“Clarice! Nadine!” Emelia cried in relief, “When we got separated, I thought I was a goner for sure!” She sheathed her sword and began retying her shirt and affixing her leather breastplate.

 

The first woman snorted irritably, “I told you not to go running after that Goblin! But you went and did it anyway, didn’t you!?”

 

Emelia flushed with embarrassment, “W-well, I am a monster tamer after all! Without a monster, I can’t really do much!”

 

“HRMPH!” The first woman snorted angrily, “That’s still no excuse!”

 

“Ah, but didn’t it all work out rather well, Clarice?” Emelia replied hesitantly, “I did manage to tame an Ogre after all.”

 

The first woman, Clarice, was taken aback for a moment, “An Ogre?!” She cried incredulously, “I thought it was just a pale Orc!”

 

The second woman moved closer to me to take a better look, “Oh!” She exclaimed in surprise, “Emelia is right! This is an Ogre, albeit a small one.”

 

“The stats say it’s an Ogre Runt,” Emelia explained, “That’s like the lowest evolution tier of Ogres, right?”

 

The second woman nodded, “But why is it curled up like that?” She asked curiously.

 

“Ah...” Emelia bashfully rubbed the back of her head, “I think it was having an identity crisis or something. It didn’t seem to like it when I called it an Ogre.”

 

“Really?!” The two other women exclaimed in surprise.

 

Clarice suddenly lowered her sword, “Hey! Emelia! Does it have a name?” She demanded eagerly.

 

Emelia was quiet for a moment before replying, “IT DOES!” She exclaimed excitedly, “I didn’t just tame an Ogre! I tamed a specially named Ogre!” She declared triumphantly.

 

I couldn’t help but flinch every time they said the word. The decade of social isolation and humiliation associated with the word was too much.

 

“Ah, Emelia, Clarice, perhaps you should stop using that word?” The second woman suggested softly, “It doesn’t seem to like it.”

 

Clarice snorted in contempt, “The monster is already tamed. Why does it matter what we say?” She demanded.

 

The second woman gently cleared her throat, “Ahem. It matters because Emelia was already insanely lucky to tame it in the first place. Toying with its emotions is not only cruel but also incredibly unwise. Given her low level, it is quite possible that it could break free if given sufficient motivation.”

 

Emelia paled, and Clarice took a step back.

 

“Eh, that’s not true, right? Nadine is just joking, yeah?” Clarice asked Emelia.

 

Emelia gulped hard and shifted uncomfortably, “I think the trainer at the Guild did say something about that,” she admitted nervously.

 

Clarice backed further away and raised her sword again, “Maybe we should just kill it for the Exp?” She suggested shakily.

 

The second woman, Nadine, unexpectedly stepped between myself and Clarice, “That would be incredibly foolish and shortsighted,” she stated sternly.

 

“Why’s that!” Clarice demanded rudely, “You said it yourself. The thing could turn on us at any moment!”

 

Nadine sighed and shook her head, “I meant that it might break free if you deliberately antagonize it! The same is true of any monster Emelia would be able to tame. Only the most powerful monster tamers can eliminate the possibility of the monster breaking free entirely.”

 

“So we should kill it!” Clarice repeated, moving closer.

 

What was with this woman and wanting to kill me? What the hell had I done to her?!

 

“No!” Nadine stated coldly, “We should not!” She glared frigidly at Clarice as she began speaking again, “Realistically, the best we could have hoped for Emelia to capture is a wounded Goblin. Goblins have very limited combat ability and stunted evolution potential. So even assuming that the Goblin manages to survive a single outing in the Labyrinth, it would not be worth funnelling a single mana core towards its development.” Nadine suddenly shifted her focus from Clarice to me instead, “Now this monster, on the other hand, has high combat potential and a multitude of powerful evolutionary paths available. Quite frankly, it would not be unrealistic to assume that it is already considerably stronger on its own than we are as a group. Imagine how easy it would be to farm experience, magic cores and magic items with this powerhouse leading the charge!” She declared zealously.

 

“We should do it!” Emelia agreed eagerly, “So long as we are all in the same party as my monster, we can just leech Exp shamelessly!”

 

“Eh! You too, Emelia?!” Clarice demanded.

 

“Of course!” Emelia rubbed her hands together in a shameless display of greed, “This is why I chose the monster tamer class after all! Hard work is for suckers!” She laughed childishly.

 

“Don’t work hard, work smart!” Nadine agreed and laughed along with her.

 

Clarice slumped her shoulders in defeat and let out a deep sigh, “Why did I even agree to make a party with you two?” She muttered in exasperation.

 

I had heard everything, of course, but frankly, I wasn’t paying much attention. My existential crisis made that sort of thing difficult. Near as I could tell, I was either in a hospital bed hallucinating a fever dream nightmare, or I actually died and was being punished for some reason. Neither option seemed particularly appealing, yet I had no evidence to dismiss them as possibilities.

 

“It has a name, right? So what do we call it?” Clarice demanded brusquely.

 

“Oh, let me check my status again,” Emelia replied eagerly, her eyes moving side to side as she read something no one else could see. “Ah, here it is, wait, what?! Tim?!” Emelia snorted in surprise, “Eh! Isn’t that strange?!” Emelia demanded, “Why did the Labyrinth name an Ogre Tim?! That’s not monstery at all!”

 

“Tim?!” Clarice snickered incredulously, apparently just as surprised as Emelia.

 

Nadine simply stroked her chin thoughtfully before nodding, “I suppose that makes a sort of sense, given its behaviour,” she said.

 

Emelia and Clarice stared incredulously at Nadine and waited for her explanation.

 

‘Well, It is behaving rather strangely, isn’t it?” Nadine pointed out, “Perhaps the Labyrinth made a mistake? Maybe it tried to spawn two different monsters and crossed them over somehow? It has happened before. Remember the stories about those chimeric creatures deeper down?”

 

Emelia and Clarice nodded.

 

“If Tim is a mixed-up monster, that could explain the weird behaviour from earlier,” Emelia muttered.

 

“Weird behaviour?” Nadine asked curiously.

 

Emelia stiffened slightly, and her cheeks flushed with embarrassment, “Ah, well, after I lost track of the Goblin-”

 

“Of course,” Clarice interjected with a derisive snort.

 

“-I was ambushed by an Orc with a knife!” Emelia growled, glowering at Clarice, “I think it's the boss monster for the floor! Ah, but anyway, Tim shows up out of nowhere, roars at the Orc and makes it run off! So I am thinking that this og-erm, Tim, is going to kill me or have its way with me, but then it growls at me and starts backing off while covering its tackle.”

 

“No way...” Clarice grunts incredulously.

 

“Yeh-huh,” Emelia protested, "It just kept growling and backing off, so I figured, what the heck? And cast my monster taming ability on it. The status prompt said that it was too strong or something, so it had almost no chance of working. But I was panicking, y’know? I thought maybe it was just waiting for me to let my guard down or something, so I used the monster taming ability again, and again and then suddenly, it worked! But then it tried to walk away, and when I called it a..Y’know, it got REALLY mad and started coming at me with that branch,” she pointed at the abandoned branch beside me. “Come to think of it, it seemed to get really upset after accidentally viewing its own status window...”

 

Nadine was quiet for a while before nodding her head, “I think perhaps the Labyrinth crossed over one of its lower floor merchants or quest givers with an Ogre. It would explain the body dysmorphia it is experiencing and the strange name.”

 

“Aww,” Emelia seemed disappointed, “So it isn’t a specially named monster?” She asked dejectedly.

 

“Well, it still might be,” Nadine offered sympathetically, “What are its stats and racial abilities? Can you share the status window so I can take a look?” She asked.

 

Emelia nodded and waved her hands around in the air for a moment, “Done, you should be able to see his stats now.”

 

Nadine nodded, and then her eyes began panning back and forth, “Oh my!” She exclaimed suddenly.

 

‘What?” Emelia and Clarice demanded anxiously.

 

Nadie gulped and took a breath to steady herself, “It’s Intelligence stat is way higher than normal,” she declared excitedly.

 

Emilia stared blankly for a moment and had a confused expression, “But it is only ten though?”

 

Clarice balked and nearly lost her footing, “W-what?!” She stammered worriedly.

 

“Ten is incredibly high for most dungeon monsters,” Nadine pointed out dryly, “Look at your own status screen Emelia, compare it to your own Intelligence stat,” she insisted.

 

Emelia seemed to do as she was told and a few moments later, she blushed profusely, “Oh...” She murmured.

 

Nadine nodded and smiled, “Most human adults are around nine or ten intelligence. The more evolved Goblins can have about seven and Orc chieftains cap out at around six or so. Ogres, barring the one exceptional late-tier mutation, do not have an intelligence higher than three and could be outsmarted by toddlers! To have an Intelligence stat of ten is just ludicrous!”

 

Emelia had an awed expression and was looking at me in a new light.

 

Clarice was less convinced, “So it has human-level Intelligence, big deal. How is that better than extra strength, agility or toughness?” she demanded.

 

Nadine’s right eye twitched, “Because it can understand EVERYTHING we are saying,” she pointed out irritably, “With a monster like this on our side, we can devise and execute elaborate plans and ambushes! It is also that much harder for it to fall for those same actions undertaken by other monsters. To call a mutated Intelligence stat like this top tier would be a disservice!”

 

“Ehhhh,” Clarice still seemed unconvinced.

 

“Consider this then,” Nadine offered, “Tell me, what is your Strength, Toughness and HP.”

 

Clarice was quiet for a moment before cagily replying, “Twelve, eleven and twenty-two...why?”

 

Nadine grinned, “It is stronger than you, much tougher than you, has almost twice your hp, racial bonuses to dealing damage, reducing the amount of damage it takes from potential injuries AND has roughly the same level of intelligence as you!” She declared viciously, “Now factor in its additional racial ability to allow for fast recovery. How confident are you in keeping up with such a powerhouse? Let alone fighting it.”

 

“Tch!” Clarice chose not to answer.

 

“So it is really that strong then?” Emelia asked eagerly.

 

Nadine nodded, “Definitely,” her expression grew a little concerned, “But we need to be careful.”

 

“Careful?” Emelia asked, somewhat confused.

 

“It’s as smart as a human, remember. It understands everything we say, everything we have been talking about. We can’t just treat it like any other monster, we need to be careful. If we treat it well, then I am sure Tim will be a great benefit to us, But I am also somewhat concerned about Tim’s body dysmorphia. It might need some training to overcome some mental blocks before we can use it to fight for us. Remember what it was like when you tried attacking your first Vrabbit?” Nadine asked with concern.

 

“So what should we do?” Emelia moved closer and leaned down to take a closer look at me like I was a puppy in a pet store.

 

“We need to talk with it,” Nadine replied matter of factly, “But not here. If that Orc is still around it could be real trouble. We should bring Tim back to basecamp and rent a room.”

 

“Alright,” Emelia agreed eagerly.

 

“Whatever,” Clarice conceded.

 

Nadine knelt down beside me and softly cleared her throat to get my attention, “Ah, Tim is it? We are going to head back to basecamp now. I am sure that you are confused, but it will be safer if we go there first before answering any questions you may have, alright?”

 

I knew that naked and alone, it would probably only be a matter of time before that Orc came back and killed me, so I had to go with them for the time being. Maybe I would be able to find out what the hell was going on? “Okay,” I agreed quietly and awkwardly got to my feet while trying to keep my groin covered.

 

Clarice took another step back and lowered her sword, “Bloody hell...” She exclaimed.

 

I cringed and tried to make myself look shorter. My freakish height had always been a sore point of mine. Considering Clarice was the tallest of the three women at around five and three-quarters feet tall and still didn’t reach my shoulder, it only made me feel more awkward and out of place.

 

“Oh,” Nadine removed her backpack, unstrapped the bedroll from the top and offered it to me, “You must be, erm, cold,” she whispered apologetically.

 

I nodded and fumbled to wrap the bedroll around my waist like a towel. Once I had my crotch covered, I rewrapped the quilted fabric more tightly like a sarong. Although it constricted my movement somewhat, there wasn’t much that could be done about it.

 

I didn’t say anything while following them through the forest. I was too on edge to really think of anything to say and honestly afraid that the noise would attract danger.

 

After a surprisingly short walk, we suddenly left the forest behind and entered a large open plain. There were other groups of people walking around in the distance. Some of them even appeared to be fighting things that were hidden in the grass. All of them were dressed in similar outfits to the three women and openly carrying medieval weapons.

 

I received no small amount of attention myself as other groups deliberately approached for a closer look. It made me feel like even more of a freak and I had to cover my ears and stare down at the ground to try and ignore them.

 

Before I realised it, we had arrived in what looked like a small town. Thankfully there were fewer people about, presumably because they were all out in the forest and the plains.

 

The group suddenly stopped in front of a large building with a sign featuring a vicious looking rabbit with a mouth full of sharp teeth.

 

“You two wait out here while I make sure we can get a room,” Nadine suggested and went inside.

 

“Whatever,” Clarice kicked at the dirt road irritably and hooked her thumbs through her sword belt.

 

Less than a minute later, Nadine returned and motioned for them to follow her inside.

 

The inside of the building looked and smelled like the tavern at the ren-fair I had visited once. There were, of course, far fewer smartphones and drunk university students...Well, there were no smartphones anyway.

 

Nadine led them to the stairs, but Clarice hung back, “I’m gonna go find a group to hunt some Vrabbits, so at least today isn’t a complete loss. I’ll catch you guys later this evening.” She said, leaving the inn and headed back the way they had come from.

 

“Alright!” Emelia called out loudly and waved after her light-heartedly.

 

“Vrabbits?” I mumbled. Does she perhaps have a speech impediment?

 

Nadine smiled and nodded while leading them down the hall at the top of the stairs, “Vrabbits are the most common monster on this floor of the Labyrinth. Unlike normal rabbits, they have sharp teeth and like to drink blood like a vampire.”

 

My insides squirmed as I recalled our otherwise quiet walk through the open plains outside of the small town. There were such vicious little rodents hiding in the grass? What would have happened if I was attacked? I don’t even have anything to defend myself with!

 

Perhaps noticing my sudden distress, Nadine smiled reassuringly, “Ah, it’s alright. Your racial ability would stop such a weak monster from being able to deal any damage to you,” she stated confidently.

 

After stopping at the door halfway down the hall, Nadine withdrew a key from her pocket, unlocked the door and motioned for them to follow her.

 

The room beyond was somewhat small for me, my head was close to grazing the slanted ceiling near the window. Sitting down on the bed, I anxiously wondered if I would be able to get any real clothes. After all, I didn’t have my wallet or anything besides the padded fabric wrapped around my waist, and that wasn’t even mine.

 

Nadine politely cleared her throat to get my attention, “You must be confused and have all manner of questions for us," she prompted, “We will answer them if we can. Just please understand that if we can't answer something, it is probably because we ourselves don’t know the answer. Okay?” Nadine smiled warmly and brushed her hand over my shoulder before retreating a short distance and sitting on a chair that had been by the window.

 

Emelia nodded enthusiastically and took a seat on the floor.

 

Scrunching my brow, it only took half a second to realize which answer I needed most, “Where am I?”

 

Nadine nodded understandingly, “We are currently on the first floor of the Hurst Labyrinth. Specifically the basecamp of the first floor, a safe zone where monsters are unable to enter barring extenuating circumstances.”

 

The answer only raised more questions, “This Labyrinth, which country is it in?” I asked, desperately trying to get some sort of grip on the situation.

 

“The entrance to the Hurst Labyrinth is located within the city of Hurst, so named for the Labyrinth and the wealth it brings. The country is the kingdom of Asrus, so named after the royal family. Is this what you wanted to know? Or did you intend something else?”

 

I just groaned and shook my head, “What is this status-” I was interrupted by the wall of text blocking my vision and I jumped backwards on the bed with a start.

 

Nadine nodded sympathetically, “I am sure it must seem quite alarming. I would suggest this simple trick to avoid further distress. Instead of saying status,” she very deliberately blinked immediately after saying the word herself, “Try saying stat screen or information pane. Most people should know what you are talking about and it will not inconvenience you by summoning your information. If you do say it accidentally, status, you can simply blink to dismiss it again like so,” Nadine blinked again by means of demonstration.

 

“S-status,” I stammered, gritting my teeth as the wall of information suddenly appeared in front of me. Squeezing my eyes shut for a good few seconds, I slowly opened them and was relieved to find that my vision had returned back to normal.

 

“You were asking what the stat screen is,” Nadine continued after waiting to make sure I was listening again. “At its most fundamental level, the stat screen has all of your personal development and characteristics regarding class progression and racial abilities. It also shows you various positive and negative conditions, such as poisoning or the beneficial effects of a spell. For you Tim, the most important parts to pay attention to will be your statistics, such as Strength and Toughness, as well as your health points or HP, and your Mana Points, or MP.”

 

I can’t help but ask, “Why?”

 

Nadine smiles sympathetically, “Your maximum MP value is an indicator of your progress towards evolution. You can increase your maximum MP by consuming magic stones from monsters. Strength determines how much damage you can deal in combat and Toughness reduces the damage you take while also improving your endurance and increasing your HP. Also, If your HP reaches zero, you fall unconscious. If it reaches a negative value equal to your Toughness stat, you die. So to have a toughness as high as yours is incredible.”

 

I felt like someone just dumped ice water over my back and shivered. I could tell that she wasn’t lying to me, not knowingly anyway. So being told that these abstract numbers literally dictated whether I lived or died was terrifying.

 

“Ah, I think I may have been a little too heavy-handed,” Nadine said remorsefully.

 

“It’s okay, I got this,” Emelia chimed in, “Hey, so Tim, you’re probably freaking out right?” She didn’t wait for an answer and just ploughed ahead, “Compared to the rest of us, your HP and toughness are huge! You really don’t have to worry about it so much. Besides, I bet your racial mutations increase your Toughness as well, so you're basically a tank even without the class!” Emelia exclaimed excitedly.

 

Nadine placed a steady hand on Emelia’s shoulder and gave her a mildly exasperated look before turning her attention back to me again. “Emelia is mostly correct, although I am sure that some of what she said lacks the context for you to understand properly,” she stated apologetically, “Your racial advantages does indeed make your survival far more likely than our own in the Labyrinth. That is part of what we wanted to talk to you about.”

 

I couldn’t help but shake my head. Recalling what they had spoken about earlier, it was clear that they wanted me to fight for them. “I can’t do it! I have never even hurt a fly!” I protested before they could even ask.

 

“Huh?!” Emelia exclaimed incredulously.

 

Nadine, on the other hand, was much more composed, “It’s alright, we will teach you,” she replied in a tone that made it clear she understood what I meant and disregarded it. “As Emelia’s tamed monster, we could force you to fight. However, I think it would be much better for all of us if we could instead come to an agreement without resorting to such crude methods.”

 

Basically, she was telling me I could fight for them and get a few perks, or fight for them as a slave. The choice was obvious, but it was still ultimately no choice at all. The status screen said it all, I was already their slave. “Fine, I’ll do it,” I groaned, burying my face in my hands and fighting back tears.

 

“It’s not as bad as all that,” Nadine said reassuringly, “It is difficult for most people when they first start out. But it is also something everyone just gets used to it over time. Besides, I meant what I said, is there anything, in particular, you want in exchange for fighting on our behalf? Assuming that food, shelter and clothing are already a given, of course.”

 

I just sat there for a while and couldn’t really think of anything. If this really was another world, I sort of knew what I should ask for, but I wasn't sure they would accept it. “Money of my own to buy things with?” I asked dubiously, expecting an immediate rejection.

 

Emelia frowned and crossed her arms, but Nadine just smiled.

 

“Although I am sure Clarice will object at first,” Nadine admitted with a wry smile, “I have no doubt that once we have addressed your mental block regarding violence, you will more than adequately offset your share in coin. Coin is actually a good choice from our end as well, given that you would share in our own motivation for pressing deeper into the Labyrinth.”

 

Emelia seemed mollified and had an understanding expression on her face, “Hey that’s right! It basically makes Tim one of us!”

 

Nadine nodded, “If somewhat stronger and tougher, indeed. With Tim at our side, our survivability just got a whole lot higher.”

After their little chat, Nadine and Emelia took me back outside and to another building. Walking inside, it appeared to be a tailors shop. There were piles of neatly folded clothes of varying colours and styles, many of which I only vaguely recognised from television and movies.

 

Rather than looking at the clothes on display, Nadine approached the woman behind the counter directly.

 

“Good afternoon customer!” The middle-aged woman greeted them warmly.

 

“I want a niffleweed tunic, pair of pants and underwear as well as a bristleboar hide belt and apron for my companion,” Nadine politely demanded while pointing at me.

 

“Of course,” the woman agreed and a few moments later, a neat pile of clothes appeared on the counter. “That will be one silver and five copper coins please.”

 

Nadine removed the small pile of coins from a leather pouch at her belt and deposited them on the counter before taking the pile of clothes. She handed me the pile of clothes with a somewhat sympathetic look on her face, “We don’t have enough spare coin at the moment to buy you armour, but your racial ability and natural toughness are already far better than anything we could buy on this level of Labyrinth anyway.”

 

There wasn’t really anything I could do about it, so I just accepted the clothes and nodded. Better to have the leather apron than not. If it was made of boarhide, I figured it had to give at least some protection.

 

The next store we entered had walls rammed full of all sorts of medieval weapons, although I honestly didn’t recognize many beyond the staples of modern cinema, such as the longsword, various bows and crossbows.

 

Nadine proved me wrong a few moments later when she retrieved a thick knobbled tree branch from a nearby barrel. It was obviously intended to be a crude cudgel or club. Similar to a larger thicker baseball bat, I was under no delusions as to why she chose it. A club was easy to use, required little skill and was very likely incredibly cheap.

 

Placing the club on the counter, Nadine smiled and addressed the shopkeep “Just this please.”

 

The shopkeep smiled and nodded, “One copper, please.”

 

I didn’t feel great about guessing correctly. A part of me had hoped that perhaps the club would have special properties or something. But since the club only cost one copper coin, I now doubted such a thing was possible.

 

Depositing the copper coin on the counter, Nadine withdrew the club and handed it to me with another apologetic smile. “I am sorry, but until we earn more coin, this ironwood club is the best weapon I can justifiably afford. Until we have a bit of a cushion, I don’t want to risk you breaking something we can’t replace,” she explained.

 

I sighed and nodded. I could understand where she was coming from. I wouldn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on someone with dubious combat ability like myself either.

 

After leaving the weapon shop, we returned to the inn and Emelia and Nadine left me alone to change into my new clothes.

 

Surprisingly, they were a good fit! Arguably the best fitting clothes I had ever worn in my entire life. Even the underwear, a pair of linen boxers with a drawstring cord to hold them in place, fit as if the tailor had made them just for me. Although the tunic was quite large and baggy, it seemed more like a style preference than a fitting issue, so I let it slide. Honestly, it just felt so much better to be wearing underwear again. Particularly with the prospect of sharp-fanged rodents hiding in the grass.

 

Tying the boarhide apron over my front, I actually felt somewhat reassured by how tough it felt. If I could get boots and gloves made of the same material, I would feel a whole lot better about setting foot in the open plains again. With that thought in mind, I opened the door and rejoined Emelia and Nadine.

 

“You’re looking much better already,” Nadine remarked cheerfully.

 

“He sort of looks like a blacksmith,” Emelia giggled.

 

I did my best to smile. “Uh, but I don’t have anything to wear on my feet? And wouldn't gloves be a good idea if I am hunting rabbits with so many teeth?” I asked hopefully.

 

Nadine sighed and shook her head, “I’m sorry, but we just don’t have the coin for it at the moment. I can promise that we will make it a priority, but you honestly won’t need them fighting Vrabbits. Your racial ability to reduce damage taken is a little overpowered against such weak enemies. You more than likely will not even take any damage fighting them at all. Even if they bite your fingers and toes, their teeth shouldn’t be able to break your thick hide.”

 

I nodded, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed and more than a little worried. So far as I was aware, most of what she was saying was pure guesswork.

 

“I am not expecting much, but we should try and find Clarice so we can work on your ability to fight monsters,” Nadine suggested.

 

Emelia early agreed, “Yeah, let’s do that! Everyone was so jealous when they saw my monster earlier!”

Nadine frowned slightly, “Emelia, try not to antagonise anyone. We don’t want any trouble and Clarice causes enough problems as it is.”

 

“I know, I know,” Emelia smirked and waved her hand dismissively.

 

Hearing the brief exchange between the two of them, I had a bad feeling. But I didn’t really have much of a choice but to follow them. Until I had sufficient savings of my own and a better understanding of what was going on, I was dependent on them for my survival.

 

Leaving the small town again, we began wandering around the plains.

 

“You don’t have to worry about encountering Vrabbits just yet,” Nadine said reassuringly, “They are mostly drawn to the smell of blood and with so many adventurers active at the moment, they will be drawn towards them instead.”

 

I sighed in relief, feeling a little better. However, a short while afterwards, I became quite anxious again as I realised something. If they are drawn to blood, wouldn’t that mean after fighting even just one Vrabbit, you would then be attacked by greater numbers of them over time?

Emelia suddenly began waving and calling out loudly, “Claaarice! Hey! We're here to help!”

 

Looking in the direction Emelia was waving, I quickly recognised Clarice by her armour. However, her chest and arms were spattered with fresh and drying blood, giving her the appearance of a b-grade horror movie villain.

 

Without even turning to face us, Clarice waved one arm to show she had heard Emelia while swinging her sword with the other. There was a hair-raising shriek and a fresh spatter of blood on Clarice’s armour.

 

Nadine and Emelia already both had their smaller swords drawn and were cautiously making their way towards Clarice. Not wanting to be left alone with the vicious rodents around, I quickly followed after them.

 

“I...didn’t...think...you...were...coming...out...today?” Clarice panted, evidently more tired than she first appeared. There were a dozen bloody rabbit bodies scattered in the grass around her though, so perhaps that was to be expected.

 

Nadine nodded, “Tim is proving more cooperative than I expected. But weren’t you going to join one of the other groups? Fighting Vrabbits on your own is dangerous, even for a Swordsman like you.”

 

Clarice nodded and growled slightly in annoyance, “It’s that bitch Jacky again. Apparently, no one wants to group up with me after that stunt she pulled last time. How was I to know she would do something crazy like that?!”

 

Emelia, who was watching the grass around them, sighed and shook her head, “She is messed up in the head alright. What kind of psycho dumps a bucket of blood on someone for bait?!”

 

“I hear Thomas retired after that incident, not that I blame him,” Nadine winced and shook her head, “Just because a Bard doesn’t have much combat potential at these low levels, it doesn’t mean you should treat them like they are expendable.”

 

I listened to their conversation with mounting dread and horror. From what I could tell, this Jacky person was bad news. My opinion of these three women rose dramatically in comparison as I realised things could be far worse.

 

Feeling a tug on my finger, I looked down and nearly fell over in shock. There was a large rabbit clamped down and hanging off of my index finger. I could feel it clenching and relaxing its jaws as it tried to bite down harder.

 

Emelia wheeled about on the spot, as if she had eyes on the back of her head, “Hey look! Tim caught one already!” She cried happily and pointed to the blood craving rodent gnawing on my finger.

 

I honestly felt like if I could jettison my hand to be free of the Vrabbit, I would. It was obviously trying to harm me, but I just can’t work up the nerve to do anything about it. I was just too frightened.

 

“Tim, what are you waiting for?!” Emelia demanded, “Kill it!

 

[Your master has commanded you to kill {Vrabbit: 2 (x1) }]

 

Emelia’s command reverberated through my mind, and I felt a sharp twinge of pain in my head. Dropping the club Nadine had given me, I clutch at my head and groan in pain. While it was no more intense than a light headache, the pain seemed to be growing with each passing moment. Unlike the status window and previous information panels, this one did not disappear no matter how many times I blinked.


*Crunch*

[You have completed your master’s command.]

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 2 } +0 Exp]

 

Looking down at my hand in horror, I could see the mangled remains of the rodent in my tightly clenched fist. The sight truly made me feel sick.

“Eh, that was a rank two Vrabbit?” Emelia commented happily, “Even with three people to split it with I still got so much exp!”

 

“The magic stone is probably reasonably valuable too,” Nadine added, “The hide also seems to be fully intact. The Guild will very likely pay a nice price for it.”

 

Clarice looked like she was about to say something, but her attention suddenly shifted to the grass nearby, and she raised her sword instead.

 

Emelia noticed as well, “Tim, kill the Vrabbits!” She ordered eagerly, pointing to the section of grass.

 

[Your master has given you a standing order to kill {Vrabbit: - (x-) }]

 

Bracing myself for the pain, I was surprised when it didn’t come. Had it simply been a coincidence?

 

“Tim, what are you doing?!” Emelia asked angrily, “Go over there and kill the Vrabbits!

 

[Your master has given you a standing order to kill {Vrabbit: - (x-) } in the designated location.]

 

Just like before, the pain began welling up inside my head. Releasing the carcass of the Vrabbit I had already mangled, I felt an immediate wave of relief as I picked up my club and slowly made my way over towards where Emelia had pointed. Is this what it meant to be enslaved? So long as I do what I am told I won’t feel that pain?

 

Moving closer to the tall grass, three sharp-toothed rabbits leapt out at me and bit down on my left arm as I tried to shield my body.

 

I hesitated, horrified by the thought of these monsters chewing on my flesh and I wanted to run away. Before I could even take a single step, the pain flashed inside of my head and only abated when I began thinking of how to kill the Vrabbits.

 

They were too close for me to swing the club at them effectively and I had no other weapons. Feeling the flash of pain again as I briefly considered swatting them away and running, I felt like I had no other choice. Dropping the club, I tentatively reached for one of the Vrabbits and tried pinching its neck to remove it in a similar method to remove a leech.

 

*Crunch*

 

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]

 

The rodent fell limp almost immediately and fell off my arm.

 

I stared at the crumpled body of the Vrabbit on the ground. Were these monsters really that weak? Still feeling conflicted and more than a little squeamish, I pinched the second Vrabbit in the same way as the first.

 

*Crunch*

 

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]

 

Knowing that the only way to stop the pain was to kill all of them, I took a deep breath, hardened my heart and pinched the neck of the last Vrabbit.

 

*Crunch*

 

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]

 

Looking down at the dead bodies of the Vrabbits, I felt a little broken inside. If I hadn’t been forced to, I probably wouldn't have been able to fight back at all. I had always been a coward. In spite of my size and how poorly I was treated, I just didn’t want to hurt people.

 

“Easy exp!” Emelia declared triumphantly.

 

“Emelia...” Nadine let out an exasperated sigh, “We were going to ease Tim into it, remember? Can’t you see how upset Tim is?”

 

“Pfft,” Clarice snorted, “Why bother? Clearly, the commands are working fine.”

 

“And what about when they stop working?” Nadine demanded, “What do you think will happen when the broken mess of its mind no longer fears pain and enjoys killing? You hate Jacky, but you seem hellbent on making a monster just like her!” She pointed out viciously.

 

“I...Fuck!” Clarice cursed and took a wild swing at the grass in frustration.

 

“We should just call it a day,” Nadine suggested, “The magic stone from the level 2 Vrabbit should cover a night at the inn anyway.”

 

“Fine...” Emelia agreed reluctantly.

 

“Whatever,” Clarice snorted.

 

Nadine sighed, “Alright, let’s stow the Vrabbits into a couple of sacks and head back,” she withdrew a pair of sacks from her backpack and handed one to each of them.

 

As Emelia and Clarice went about the business of stowing the Vrabbit corpses into the sacks, the air was quickly filled with the strong smell of licorice.

 

Nadine picked up the discarded club and held it out for me to take with an apologetic expression, “I am sorry. Things didn't go as I had planned. Once we return to the inn, we can talk about what happened. I am sure you must have questions.”

 

I accepted the club more out of reflex than anything else. My thoughts were a mess, and I felt like I was going to be sick. I could only manage a faint nod in response to Nadine’s offer. While I really wanted someone to talk to, Nadine was one of the people holding me captive. I had no guarantees that this was anything more than an act to gain my trust. I could still remember just how Nadine greedily explained her motives for sparing my life.

 

I felt like I was imprisoned inside my own body. Even my own mind could not be trusted. What if they forced me to kill someone? I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought.

 

Since I had no choice, I followed them back into the small town. Perhaps it was the strong smell of licorice, but we weren’t attacked by Vrabbits on the return trip despite the blood staining the fabric of the sacks.

 

Upon reentering the small town, Emelia and Clarice began heading off towards a large building in the middle of the town. Nadine motioned for me to follow and entered the inn we visited earlier.

 

“Two meals please,” Nadine requested politely and deposited two copper coins on the bar.

 

The innkeeper nodded and swept the coins off the bar and into his pocket before briefly disappearing into the back room. When he returned, he deposited two wooden bowls of stew on the counter. A curiously quiet man, the middle-aged innkeeper had not spoken a word throughout the entire transaction. He simply nodded and did as Nadine asked. It was strange, but honestly, I didn’t really care.

 

Following Nadine up to the room, I sat down on the bed and dropped the club onto the floor. The thought had briefly entered my mind to knock Nadine unconscious with it and run away. But honestly, I felt like overpowering Nadine would be more difficult than it seemed. Furthermore, even if I managed it, any number of the weapon-wielding young men and women around the town would cut me down without a second glance.

 

“You should try eating the stew,” Nadine suggested softly, offering me one of the wooden bowls, “A warm meal should help take the edge off and help you unwind.”

 

Even though I didn’t feel hungry, I accepted the offered bowl of stew out of reflex. Composed of a thin gravy, a myriad of vegetables I could not identify, and small chunks of browned meat, the stew actually appeared rather appetising. Of course, that was my initial thoughts. Raising the bowl to my lips, I stopped as I realised where the meat in the stew must have come from.

 

It was almost certainly Vrabbit meat. There was no way a rural community such as this would throw away a possible food source like that. I had overheard stories from other students in secondary school about hunting rabbits with their relatives out in the country during holidays. Apparently, their relatives made a point of not just getting them to kill the rabbits themselves but also to skin and gut them too.

 

None of those students had seemed particularly traumatised by the activities at the time, and none of them gave off the vibe of a bloodthirsty killer either. Come to think of it, I had never really considered where the meat I bought from the supermarket came from either. Objectively, I knew that abattoirs existed and employed men and women to kill animals. Then there were butchers who carved and dissected meat for a living as well. Surely all these people were not deranged psychos, right? They were just people doing a necessary service so someone like me could enjoy a more balanced diet.

 

Taking another look at the bowl of stew, I sighed and began gulping it down. Even though I didn’t feel hungry a moment ago, the moment the stew began sliding down my throat, I suddenly felt ravenous. Before I realised it, I had already finished off the stew and even licked clean the bowl. I very nearly took a bite of the bowl itself before managing to regain control of myself.

 

“Ah, it appears you were indeed quite hungry,” Nadine observed with a smile, “I thought that might be the case. Here,” she offered me the second bowl of stew in exchange for the empty bowl I was holding.

 

I gratefully accepted the second bowl of stew and immediately gulped it all down. After licking the bowl clean, I sheepishly handed it back to Nadine. Ugh, why was I being such a glutton?

 

“Thank you for the meal,” I mumbled self consciously.

 

“You’re welcome,” Nadine smiles warmly, set both the bowls aside on the small nightstand and took a seat on the chair. “I want to apologise for what happened earlier. Please understand that Emelia, Clarice and myself are all quite new to all of this as well. I don’t think Emelia intended to force you into fighting as she did, not at first anyway. I think she just got excited after seeing the exp reward from the rank two Vrabbit,” she grimaced and shook her head, “Tim, I want to reassure you that I will be having a lengthy talk with Emelia about using her class abilities more appropriately, okay?”

 

I felt a sudden wave of relief and nodded. Truthfully, after giving it some thought, I felt like I could get used to hunting and killing Vrabbits. There didn’t seem to be any danger, so I only had to overcome my squeamishness. So long as I don’t have to skin or butcher them, I think I should be able to do it.

 

“Do you have any questions for me? I will answer if I can,” Nadine offered kindly.

 

I nodded but honestly couldn’t think of what to ask.

 

“Hrm, you are probably a bit overwhelmed and can’t decide what to ask right?” Nadine observed understandingly, “That’s alright. I will try and explain some things that at least I think you will need to know if we are going to work together, alright?”

 

“Okay,” I agreed thankfully. At least listening to Nadine would give me to think about what I needed to ask later.

 

Nadine spent the next few hours explaining all manner of things about this world to me, specifically regarding the Labyrinth. Apparently, the reasons Nadine believed Emelia became overexcited was because the three of them could only manage to safely hunt a couple of dozen Vrabbits each day before needing to retreat back to the small town to recover. Half of that number was usually accomplished by Clarice on her own since she was the most formidable combatant amongst them. But seeing how effortlessly I killed the first Vrabbit, Emelia became excited.

 

There were apparently two primary reasons why Emelia had become so excited. An adventurer’s progression in strength was described as being accumulated through both wealth and slaying monsters.

 

The accumulation of wealth was pretty straightforward to understand, or at least I thought so. More money means access to better equipment. It was Exp that I had trouble getting a grip on. Apparently, adventurers would gain this Exp when they or one of their minions, either a summoned or tamed monster like himself, killed a wild monster. Accumulating enough Exp would make the adventurers stronger. Nadine had said it would become more obvious after witnessing them ‘level up’.

 

Apparently, most adventurers started their prospective careers by registering with the adventurer’s Guild. The adventurer’s Guild was sort of a catch-all organisation in regards to the Labyrinths. They provided training to prospective adventurers, bought and sold equipment as well as other items including the magic stones from monsters. The Guild also served as an intermediary between powerful governments and adventuring groups. They even issued requests for specific tasks in the Labyrinth, like retrieving specific resources or culling particular monsters.

 

The adventurer’s Guild have small towns like these, footholds, on each layer of known Labyrinths. Special artifacts are used to establish these safe zones and drive away wild monsters. However, it seems like the Labyrinths don’t let the footholds off that easily and periodically send armies of monsters to attack them. Part of the contract with the adventurer’s Guild required members to defend a foothold on their level of the Labyrinth if it came under attack. There were certain exemptions such as mitigating circumstances from injury or the like, but basically, any adventurer found to have abandoned a foothold would be blacklisted from the Guild.

 

Interestingly, you did not have to be registered with the Guild to enter the Labyrinths. Although there was apparently an entrance fee that varied depending on whether you were a member of the adventurer’s Guild or the associated merchants Guild, mercenary Guild or just unaffiliated. Being blacklisted cut you off from all of the adventurer’s Guild services, discounts and protections. It did not seem like a particularly big deal until Nadine made a point of explaining one specific service offered by the Guild.

 

The way-stones. Each Labyrinth had hundreds of floors, each larger than the last. Each floor of the Labyrinths had two portals scattered randomly somewhere on the floor. The footholds were always established at the return portal, making it easy to leave so long as you didn’t become lost. The location of descent portals was often available from the Guild for a small fee as well. However, the portals that allow movement between floors in the Labyrinth changed their exit point to their designated floor every few minutes. Even though you can see through the portal before entering, there was a strong possibility of immediately encountering danger.

 

This was why way-stones were so important. So long as you had a Guild way-stone on your person, you would arrive at a Guild foothold on the prospective floor of the Labyrinth. Way-stones could also be used to send distress signals to the Guild and had a function similar to a compass that allowed you to find your way back to the foothold if you were to become lost.

 

Nadine had shown me her way-stone while explaining how important they were. It honestly didn’t seem like much to me. It was just a small round stone with a single arrow carved into the top face of it. Apparently, if I had mana, I would be able to inject it into the stone, and the arrow would glow to varying degrees of brightness when directed towards the centre of the foothold. Nadine said they would have to requisition one for me when they were ready to move deeper into the Labyrinth. But they weren’t free and I still didn’t have any real equipment yet, so it probably wouldn't be for a while.

 

Most of the other things Nadine told me were rather uninteresting in comparison. I had already sort of guessed most of it. This world was more or less at the feudal level of technology but also had weird unexpected magical conveniences similar to modern-day inventions but powered by the magic stones retrieved from monsters.

 

Settling into sleep, even though the bed was somewhat uncomfortable, I was genuinely surprised at how well I was adapting to these sudden changes. I mean, I am an actual literal monster and now living in a world I certainly would never have dreamt of. Maybe I was just in shock, and this would all catch up to me tomorrow?

 

*****

 

Nadine locked the door to Tim’s room. Even though she knew Tim’s strength was more than sufficient to burst through the wall if he wanted to, it wasn’t actually to lock Tim in so much as keep others out. Nadine needed time for her enchantment to do its work and couldn’t afford for Tim to be put into a state of wariness again. Recasting her enchantment had been draining enough after the previous disaster.

 

Letting out a deep sigh, Nadine opened the door to the room on the opposite side of the hallway and quietly entered. Emelia and Clarice had already been waiting for her, chatting idly while cleaning their armour and weapons.

 

“So?” Emelia asked eagerly, “Did it work?”

 

Nadine nodded, “Tim seems to be taking everything in stride now. So long as I have enough mana, I don’t think Tim will have any problems doing what we want.”

 

Despite her earlier arrogance, Clarice now had a hungry and almost predatory look in her eyes, “Good. I can’t wait to get some better equipment and level up so we can leave this floor.”

 

Emelia nodded in agreement, “Can you even imagine being stuck on this floor for six months while we grind to level five?!” She exclaimed incredulously.

 

Nadine’s eyebrow twitched in annoyance and she yanked the blanket from off the bed and threw it at the door. Only once she was satisfied that her words wouldn’t carry into the hallways did she begin to speak, “Could you at least try and remember where we are?!” Nadine hissed, “Half the adventurers in the foothold will know by now that we have an Ogre on our team. I would greatly prefer it that the other half don’t find out until tomorrow at the earliest!”

 

Emelia gingerly scratched at the back of her head, “Ah, you're right, sorry. I just got a little excited, forgive me, okay?”

 

“Hrmph,” Nadine huffed irritably, “Fine. Just be more careful.”

Their initial team-up had been arranged by the Guild. Since they were both, strictly speaking, support classes, it was strongly encouraged for them to never fight monsters alone due to their relatively poor combat abilities.

 

As a first-level Enchanter, Nadine didn’t have any of the powerful charms or status effects yet. It would be at least another four levels until she had the opportunity to learn Sleep. Even then, she probably wouldn’t have the mana to just cast it willy nilly either. When Nadine’s affinity for the Enchanter class had been determined, she understood that it meant she would always need to adventure as part of a team. Emelia on the other hand...She didn’t seem to understand much of anything.

 

Reckless, impetuous and often quite forgetful, Emelia had caused no small amount of problems for Nadine up to this point. Their first outing into the Vrabbit meadow had very nearly been a disaster when Emelia tripped on a rock and shattered the lure they had bought from the Guild, covering herself in the blood inside the vial. They had no choice but to retreat back to the foothold after a small horde of Vrabbits began swarming towards them. The only upside to that encounter was when they had met Clarice while buying a fresh lure.

 

However, even Clarice was almost more work than she was worth. Stubborn and irritable, she had the gift of rubbing people just the wrong way. If Nadine hadn’t been so desperate for a team member with actual combat ability, she honestly wouldn't have had anything to do with Clarice at all. Just associating with Clarice made it harder to have future relationships with the other adventurers on this floor of the Labyrinth and their associated charters.

 

Before the miracle of discovering Tim, Nadine’s plan had been to grind to level five, save up a few silver and move to a different Labyrinth. Clarice’s notoriety was honestly that bad. It was not an understatement to assume that no one would willingly team up with her more than once. That is unless they were as desperate as Nadine.

 

But now that they had Tim, that changed everything. Nadine now had no plans on ending her partnership with either of her teammates, since both of them had now become essential. Emelia and Tim were a package deal, so there was no way around that. Clarice knew she had nowhere else to go and frankly, Nadine knew that just because they had Tim did not make them invincible. It would be a great deal more reassuring to have another willing body between herself and the monsters.

 

“Um, but...Nadine? How have you been convincing the monster to help us anyway?” Emelia asked with a confused expression on her face.

 

“Talking mostly,” Nadine admitted. She had been raised by the church and had learned from the clergy that one of the simplest ways to calm people down was to talk things out and listen to them.

 

“I’ll bet your Enchanter spells had nothing to do with it,” Clarice grunted with a grin.

 

Nadine forced herself to smile, “As I am sure you know, Clarice, my Soothe spell can only do so much. Forgive me for being crass. To use it on an Ogre is like pissing in the wind!”

 

Clarice didn’t back down, “But you did, didn’t you?” She needled.

 

Nadine’s eye twitched as she struggled to remain civil, “Of course I did! It’s an Ogre. An aberrant Ogre even! With you two seemingly going out of your way to upset it, what choice did I have?!”

 

“Sheesh, you're a bit high strung,” Clarice grinned, having gotten a rise out of her was seemingly what she had wanted, “You need to chill out and relax.”

 

Nadine snatched a straw-filled pillow off the bed and proceeded to mercilessly beat Clarice over the head with it.

 

*****

 

I felt much better today, a good night sleep really seemed to have done the trick. While I was not looking forward to breaking fluffy murder-rabbit necks, I felt I could at least tolerate it. Since the door was locked, I spent a couple of hours watching other early risers go through their morning routines. I am still used to waking up to get ready for my part-time job before going to university, so I suppose this is likely to become part of my new routine.

 

After another couple of hours of waiting, Nadine unlocked the door and brought me two bowls of warm stew for breakfast, “How are you feeling this morning?” She asked brightly, depositing the two bowls on the table and motioning for me to eat up, "Do you think you can manage to help us out today?"

 

“I think so,” I agreed, “I mean, you just want me to put down those vampire rabbits, right?”

 

Nadine’s eyes twinkled a little with excitement, “Yes, it would be a big help.”

 

I nodded. Her reaction was about what I had expected. It was why they were keeping me around, after all. I decided to test the waters a little to reassure myself of their motives. “I might need a minute to regain my nerve, is that alright?”

 

Without batting an eye, Nadine nodded with an empathetic expression, “It will most likely take some getting used to. Only a deranged person would be able to look forward to such a thing and enjoy it. If you need a moment to collect yourself, just let me know, and I will make sure you get it.”

 

Despite her near-constant reassurances and support up to this point, I actually had not expected Nadine to go so far. Still, it could be an act as well, but at this point, I doubted it. “Alright,” I agreed and began slurping down the bowls of stew. Somewhat aware of the price for my room and the two meals, I resolved myself to at least kill enough of the Vrabbits to pay my own way.

 

After I finished both bowls of stew, Nadine collected the bowls and motioned for me to retrieve my club and follow her downstairs.

 

Clarice and Emelia were already waiting for us by the front door to the inn.

 

“You don’t think it’s a little weird that you are the one taking care of the monster and not Emelia?” Clarice asked with a baiting tone.

 

Not realising the question was not directed at her, Emelia shrugged, “It’s fine though, isn’t it? Besides giving orders, isn’t Nadine’s class better for this sort of thing?”

 

That somewhat got my attention as I realised that I did not know what class Nadine had. I had already learned that Emelia was obviously a Monster Tamer. Similarly, I had overheard the group mention that Clarice’s class was a Swordsman. Why did they think that Nadine’s class would be better suited? Did she have some sort of powerful spell that could kill me in one blow, like in the movies? That was a terrifying thought!

 

Nadine just glowered at Clarice for a brief moment before heading off towards the gate out of town.

 

“No fun,” Clarice grumbled quietly and began following after her.

 

Half expecting Emelia to give me a command, I quickly followed as well. There was no way I wanted to experience that pain inside my head again.

 

When we arrived at the open gate, Nadine seemed to already have a place in mind and led us quite far away from town. Apparently, since the Vrabbits would be drawn to the smell of blood, it was quite safe to walk through the plain as long as other adventurers were already hunting. That was the theory of course.

 

Nadine led us around to the plains on the rearmost side of town before pulling out a small glass vial from a special wooden box inside her backpack. “I think this area should be good for hunting today. What do you guys think?” Nadine asked in a way that made it clear she had already made up her mind.

 

“Fine, whatever,” Clarice grumbled and drew her sword.

 

“Looks good!” Emelia agreed enthusiastically.

 

Nadine looked at me expectantly.

 

“Ah, it’s fine, I guess,” I add quickly. I don’t really know much about what would make a good hunting spot, but from what I can tell, being so close to town would probably limit the Vrabbits angle of approach. Or that’s what I thought anyway.

 

“Alright then,” Nadine found a small rock and dribbled some of the blood onto it before recorking the vial and stowing it away in the special small wooden box alongside another vial with strange yellow liquid inside it. Carefully placing the stone on the ground, making sure not to get any of the blood on herself, Nadine backed away and looked at me expectantly, “Are you sure you are okay with doing this?” She asked, giving me one last chance to back out.

 

I sighed and nodded. I wasn’t looking forward to this, but I was prepared to start pulling my own considerable weight. Knowing how useless the club had been yesterday, I slipped it through my belt and moved forward so I was standing over the blood marked stone.

 

“You can do this mister Tim!” Emelia cheered, her words providing a surprising level of reassurance.

 

“Pfft, we’ll see,” Clarice grumbled as she limbered up with a few practice swings.

 

It took less than a minute for the long grass nearby to begin rustling, really making me wonder just how close it must have been to get here so quickly. Perhaps they had tunnels all over the plains? Now that was a scary thought.


“Tim!” Nadine’s voice snapped me out of it.

Distracted by considering a warren that spanned the plain around the town filled with carnivorous rabbits, I didn’t notice the Vrabbit biting down on my foot. “Sorry,” I apologised and reached down to grab the voracious little bugger worrying at my big toe.

*Crunch*

 

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]

Only intending to get a hold of it so I could cleanly snap its neck, I was surprised that the minor tightening of my grip as I straightened my back was enough to kill it. The Vrabbit looked much the same as it had in life, just still...and floppy... starting to feel a little weird, I looked at Nadine, “What do you want me to do with it?” I asked awkwardly, trying my best not to give away how weirded out I was.

 

“Just throw it over here. We will store it in one of the special sacks,” Nadine answered, “You’re doing good, just let me know when you need a break, alright? There are always more monsters out and about early in the morning, so don’t hesitate to ask.”

 

I nodded, tossed the dead Vrabbit over to them and returned my attention to the grass ahead of me. There were already a number of Vrabbits moving through the grass a short distance away. “She isn’t kidding,'' I muttered and waited for them to show themselves.

 

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp], [You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp], [You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]...

 

With each Vrabbit I killed, I really began to wonder just why I had been so against this in the first place. I didn’t enjoy it. I really found it rather annoying and boring at the same time. I was keeping count originally, but I had lost count at around forty. Most Vrabbits would be too preoccupied gnawing at my skin to react and were dispatched quickly, but every so often, there was a troublemaker.

 

The troublemakers were what broke the monotony, clambering over my body as a squirrel would. It was borderline maddening! Thankfully, thus far, none of them had managed to work their way inside of my pants or tunic!

 

“Alright, I take it back...” Clarice admitted grudgingly, “Tim is definitely not a waste of space.”

 

“I have at least twenty Vrabbits in my sack, and a couple are rank two’s as well. How about you two!” Emelia asked excitedly.

 

Clarice lifted her sack in her left hand and gave it an experimental shake, “Not sure,” she admitted, “Maybe twenty-five? It’s gonna be interesting finding out the final number at the bounty office,” she chuckled greedily.

 

“I think the count is around seventy-five. The increased Exp from the rank two’s makes it hard to be sure,” Nadine chimed in happily.

 

“How did you figure that out?” Emelia asked in surprise.

 

Nadine gave her a pitying look, “Basic mathematics. I already knew how much Exp I had this morning before we started, and I have seen how much I receive per Vrabbit Tim kills, so it is easy to figure out a rough number of how many have been killed so far.”

 

Emelia blinked in surprise, “Woah, really? Gah, I wish I had thought of that!” She moaned, “I could probably figure out how long it will take to level up!”

 

Nadine nodded with a smirk, “It’s okay though, our Exp should be close to the same since we have been partners from the start, remember?”

“Oh yeah!” Emelia cried, immediately bouncing back from her brief disappointment.

 

A sudden flash of golden light got everyone’s attention, including mine, even though I still had a pair of Vrabbits ripping at the legs of my pants. Clarice was surrounded by a golden corona with a malevolent smile on her face.

 

“Awww yeah! Suck it bitches! I JUST LEVELLED UP!!!” She cried, dropping the sack and pumping her sword arm up in the sky.

 

“Awww, lucky!” Emelia pouted.

Nadine patted Emelia’s shoulder, “That’s alright, we will catch up in no time,” she consoled her.

 

Was that what it looked like when someone ‘levelled up’? I mean, besides the obvious gloating. It was certainly eye-catching. Wouldn’t that be a liability in the Labyrinth, though? I wondered while swatting at the Vrabbit that had just now attempted to crawl up and into my pants,

 

“I think I am ready for a break now,” I called out, feeling a little mentally fatigued by the monotony.

 

*Crunch*, *Crunch*.

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp], [You have slain {Vrabbit: 2 } +0 Exp]

 

“Alright, bring over the stone and we can store it in the sack,” Nadine called back appreciatively.

As I brought over the dead Vrabbits and bloodied stone, Emelia seemed to be distracted by a new problem, wrinkling her brow in concentration, “Wait, I just realised...”

“Hrm?” Nadine gave her a curious look.

“How awesome I am?!” Clarice demanded arrogantly.

 

“No,” Emelia replied dismissively, “I mean of course!” She corrected as Clarice glared at her. “What I meant was, who is going to remove all the mana stones?”

 

Nadine and Clarice looked somewhat shocked for a moment before numbly looking down at the bulging sacks.

 

“Ah...” Clarice smacked her lips apprehensively.

 

“Right...” Nadine nodded with equal reluctance. After a short while, Nadine sighed and shrugged, “I suppose we could just agree to pay the Guild processing charge,” she suggested glumly.

 

Clarice nodded, “I suppose it might be a bit much to make the og-I mean, to make Tim, do it, huh..."

 

“What if we caught another monster?” Emelia suggested.

 

Nadine and Clarice both immediately shook their heads.

”We have been over this before,” Clarice complained, “You aren’t high enough level yet! Tim was a pure fluke! No way you can manage something like that again.”

 

Nadine gave Emelia an apologetic smile as she opened the sack and allowed me to deposit the stone and Vrabbits inside. “I am sorry, but Clarice is right, Emelia. A wounded Goblin would be the most you could probably manage without levelling up, and we would have to go into the forest to try and find one of those.”

 

Emelia seemed undeterred, if somewhat distracted, “So if I found a wounded Goblin, you reckon I could have a shot at taming it?” She asked slyly.

 

I turned to look in the same direction as Emelia and was not quite sure what I was seeing.

 

“Emelia-” Nadine sighed in exasperation.

What appeared to be a small child dressed in badly damaged adventurers armour was sprinting across the plain from the nearby forest. The disturbed grass behind them made it obvious that there were more than a few Vrabbits on their trail

“Yes or no?” Emelia interrupted insistently.

 

“I mean if we happened to find one...” Nadine’s voice trailed off as she noticed what Emelia and I were staring at.

 

Tim! Bring me that Goblin!” Emelia declared eagerly.

 

[Your master has given you a command.]

 

I barely had time to register what she had said before the first tingling whisper of pain made itself known inside my head. Desperate to avoid feeling that pain again, I wasn’t really thinking about what I was doing. Before I realised what was happening, I was already running across the open field, giving chase to what I now realized was a Goblin.

 

*Crunch* [You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]

 

I nearly slipped as an unfortunate Vrabbit was caught underfoot, and the accompanying message obstructed my sight.

 

The Goblin’s pace had begun flagging. However, apparently noticing me sprinting towards it, the Goblin gained fresh vigour and began pumping its arms and legs hard to get away. “NO KILL! NO KILL! NO DIE!” It shrieked in terror.

 

I could feel the pain building the moment I considered slowing down, so I continued chasing the Goblin. There were more Vrabbits joining the chase with every passing second, the grass rustling in such a way that it made me afraid that tiny raptors would drag me down at any moment.

 

The Goblin seemed to have noticed as well, “NO BITE, NO BITE!” It howled pitiably, narrowly avoiding a Vrabbit that was waiting in ambush ahead of it.

 

Having very nearly caught up to the Goblin now, It felt like I was stepping on Vrabbits more often than the ground, and I was barely able to see past all the kill notifications appearing in front of me.

 

Before I realised it, I had caught up to the Goblin to the point that I might be able to grab it. However, with the Vrabbit death notifications as an ever-present reminder of my brute strength, I hesitated at the thought of carelessly snatching the spindly looking Goblin. The sudden flash of pain was expected, although it was somewhat weaker than I anticipated. Was it perhaps taking into account the reasoning for my hesitation? I really hoped so.

 

Emelia had only ordered me to bring her the Goblin. So theoretically, I could accidentally kill it and bring it to her. Unfortunately, I understood her intention to bring it back alive and couldn’t rule out the possibility that Emelia wouldn't punish me for failure. Her happy flighty nature did not mean she had moral qualms over such things, Emelia was obviously fine with the concept of slavery, so why not corporal punishment as well?

 

With that incentive in mind, and the pain in my head growing worse, I quickly came up with a plan that would hopefully work.

 

However, just as I was planning on tricking the Goblin into thinking I was going to rescue it from the Vrabbits, the Goblin tripped, and I now had to save it for real.

 

“AAAAAH!” The Goblin shrieked, tripping and falling into the grass, already set upon by four Vrabbits that had materialised seemingly from nowhere.

 

Skidding to a halt, I grabbed the back of the wildly thrashing Goblin’s armour and effortlessly lifted it into the air. A Vrabbit was still savagely biting at the Goblin’s calf and didn’t let go until I crushed its ribcage.

 

Seeing the Goblin up close, I could now understand what was driving the Vrabbits into a frenzy. The Goblin already had a number of cuts littered over its body, but most prominent was the deep gash on the right side of its face. It was a miracle the Goblin had managed to keep its footing as long as it had, given that it was half-blind and had to be in a considerable degree of pain.

 

Feeling the pain in my mind increasing again and keenly aware of the Vrabbits gnawing at my feet and legs, I began running back towards Emelia. There were two problems though, as far as I could tell. Firstly, the Goblin was not nearly as exhausted as I had thought it would be, thrashing and stabbing at my arm with what looked like a small dirty shiv. Wanting to keep that weapon as far from my eyes as possible, I was forced to hold the Goblin at arms-length. Second, a small horde of carnivorous rabbits were following the scent of the Goblins fresh blood and was therefore right behind me.

 

Slowing up just enough that the Vrabbits wouldn't have an easy time latching into my legs, I tried to think of what I should do. With no idea just how badly injured the Goblin was, I couldn’t rule out the possibility of it keeling over dead at any moment. So I couldn’t just stop and try stomping all the Vrabbits to death, more of them would just keep coming. However, I also doubted that Nadine, Clarice and Emelia would appreciate being swarmed by the Vrabbits either. Thankfully, my meandering jog was enough to keep the pain at bay, for now.

 

Contrary to my expectation, Nadine was waving at me to get my attention and appeared to be motioning for me to come back.

 

Feeling the pain in my head slowly building, I quickly shifted back into an awkward run while trying to keep the Goblin and its shiv away from my face. Thankfully, it seemed to have realised that I meant it no immediate harm and reduced its attempts to shank my face considerably in response.

 

“TIM!” Emelia shouted suddenly, now that I was perhaps a few dozen feet from the group, “STOP!


[Your master has given you a command.]

The sudden pain nearly caused me to topple down into the grass, and there was no doubt in my mind that if I had been holding the Goblin, it would have been crushed by my suddenly clenched fist. Stopping as quickly as I could, I slipped and only barely managed to fall backwards on my ass through some divine miracle of physics momentary inattention.

 

[You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp], [You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp], [You have slain {Vrabbit: 1 } +0 Exp]...

 

The sudden bombardment of notifications made it clear that there had been no shortage of Vrabbits literally right behind me as I fell. Even now, they were swarming over my legs and clambering up my chest, gnawing and biting as they tried to reach the terrified Goblin now firmly wrapped around my raised arm as if it were a tree.

 

The Goblin had now redirected its shiv towards the Vrabbits, which was small consolation as I desperately swatted them off my body and did my best to protect my face. I had no plans on testing whether my eyes were as tough as my skin.

 

Just as I was thinking of how important it was to protect my eyes, I felt something shatter against my face, and my sense of smell was mercilessly obliterated by licorice. Forced to now close my eyes for fear that they would burn from the intensity of the smell, I now had to rely on my sense of touch alone to ward off the Vrabbits! This would be fine if my thickened skin didn’t also reduce its sensitivity!

 

“Tim! Don’t worry, we are coming to help!” Nadine called out, her voice growing closer by the second. “Did you really have to hit him in the face?!”

 

“Don’t blame me! You just said to hit him with it!” Clarice argued bitterly, apparently the one responsible for pelting my face with whatever was responsible for permanently destroying my sense of smell.

 

“I said to aim for his chest!’ Nadine growled somewhere nearby.

 

“I did! I swear!” Clarice insisted defensively, “I mustn’t have accounted for my level up, is all...”

 

Cracking my eyes open just a little, I immediately regretted it. The fumes irritated my eyes to the point that I thought they must be burning! Had Clarice thrown some sort of high proof alcohol at my face?! With how dry my face felt, it was the only possible explanation I could think of. Clarice must have pelted my face with some sort of diabolical licorice schnapps!!!

 

By the time I could stand to open my eyes, the Vrabbit swarm was no more, having died or fled.

 

“Ahem!” Nadine gave Emelia an angry expectant look.

 

Emelia cowered somewhat, “Ah, sorry Tim,” she apologized, “I got a little excited. You can stop stopping now,” Emelia said sheepishly.

 

Until she said those words, I had not realised just how tense I was. Almost every muscle in my body suddenly relaxed all at once.

 

“At least we got some good Exp out of it,” Clarice commented a little breathlessly, stuffing another Vrabbit into her sack. “Heck, even looks like we might get Emelia that Goblin she was after too!” She said sarcastically, most likely in regards to the Goblins pitiable condition.

 

“Oh! I almost forgot! Thanks, Clarice!” Emelia burbled, shifting her attention to the petrified Goblin clinging to my still upraised arm.

 

“Strange that it is wearing armour though,” Nadine commented curiously, “To be wounded already as well. Did another adventurer or party already attack it?”

 

“Who cares?!” Emelia insisted, “This Goblin is mine now! Just let me concentrate for a second to use my ability...”

 

“Hrm...Emelia, I think you should probably wait a moment. If another party already attacked this Goblin, it could cause problems if they find out you tamed it,” Nadine warned worriedly.

 

“Pffft so what?!” Clarice scoffed, “You know the rules of the Guild. If they couldn’t manage to kill it, it's fair game!”

 

From what I understood of Clarice’s temperament, Emelia taming this Goblin was definitely a very bad idea.

 

“Oh no,” Feeling the Goblin suddenly stiffen against my arm, I couldn’t help but groan.

 

“No hurt! No, eat! I serve!” The Goblin squeaked shrilly, still frightened out of its wits.

 

Feeling a warm liquid running down my arm, I sincerely hoped it was Goblin blood.

 

“Woah!” Emelia exclaimed excitedly.

 

“What?” Clarice asked snidely, “You get another named monster?” She snorted.

 

Emelia didn’t miss a beat, “Yup.”

 

Clarice stiffened and abandoned the Vrabbit she was reaching for, instead slowly looking towards Emelia with a shocked and incredulous expression, “That’s a bad joke, Emelia.”

 

Nadine paled and shifted her attention to the Goblin.

 

“It’s true!” Emelia insisted, “It already has a name and everything!”

 

There it is! From what I learned from Nadine, I couldn’t imagine avaricious adventurers being happy about losing what had to be a fairly sizable payday.

 

Clarice had begun to sweat a little, saying nothing and now gathering the dead Vrabbits with renewed vigour.

 

Nadine did likewise, “Maybe if we discard its equipment?” She muttered quietly.

 

Seemingly unperturbed by what was going on around her, Emelia was beaming as she took a closer look at her new Goblin, “Why is your name Toofy?” Emelia asked curiously.

 

The Goblin, Toofy, gave a wide grin, its normally pinched face now slit by a large crescent smile of sharp yellow teeth, “Toofy is Toofy, cuz Toofy has all her teef!” The Goblin declared proudly.

 

Emelia had a serious expression on her face as she considered this for a moment before nodding sagely, ”That makes sense,” she agreed, apparently convinced. “Oh,” Emelia seemed to realise something, “You can put Toofy down now, Tim.”

 

More than happy to oblige, I lowered my arm and was glad to find that it had indeed been blood running down my arm from the bite wound in Toofy’s calf, praise small miracles. Unfortunately, even though I let go of Toofy, Toofy did not let go of me.

 

“Ah! No grass! No biters!” Toofy whimpered in her shrill voice, desperately clinging to my arm for dear life. To be fair, if I was Toofy, I probably would too. The thought of being chased down and eaten by carnivorous rabbits a quarter my size was frickin terrifying!

 

“We should probably leg it,” Clarice suggested nervously, “Pretty sure we’ve got most of them anyway.”

 

Nadine nodded, “That would be best,” she agreed, withdrawing another sack from her backpack. “Uh, Toofy, how about you ride inside this sack, so the grass biters don’t find you,” Nadine suggested while handing me the sack.

 

Toofy blinked and tilted her head to one side like a dog, “Sack safe? No grass biters?” She asked suspiciously.

 

Nadine nodded, “The sack is magic!” She insisted, “Only dead grass biters can go in the sack.”

 

Toofy required no further convincing and eagerly hopped into the sack, “Hehe! No grass biters get Toofy!” She cackled quietly from inside the sack.

 

Giving me an apologetic look, Nadine quickly motioned for the group to head back towards the town gate. “With any luck, we can get back to the Guild and settle up these Vrabbits before any trouble starts," she muttered.

 

“Hrmph, bloody doubt it,” Clarice moaned ruefully, “Emelia spent all our luck already and then some, we’re screwed.”

 

Noticing the angry group of adventurers heading in our direction from the forest, I was inclined to agree.



Advertisement
A note from Blind_Watcher

HUUUUUGE Thanks to Scoonting for pointing out the colossal number of errors.


Support "Ogre Tyrant"

Fiction
Index
Next
Chapter
About the author

Blind_Watcher

  • Australia

Bio: Just a mostly blind guy writing a couple of stories. Really grateful to everyone who makes the suggested edits! :)

Achievements
Comments(51)
Log in to comment
Log In

newyevon2 ago

Don't like the mind control mc stuff

MTB ago

You MC is quite fast content with being an enslaved monster used to kill. One sentence he find it abhorrend, but a few sentences below it's fine. Same with being a slave.

wise dragon ago

oh man that tamer is awfull, reminds me of slavery, which it is

Skoonting ago

This chapter was way too long, and had no need to be either. You already have perfectly good cut-off points when Tim for example goes to sleep. Other than that, I did enjoy the chapter, though the part with Nadine talking to Tim was a bit too info-dumpy. Also plenty of mistakes.

Edit suggestions:

in my head or something?!” I groaned weakly

I didn’t just tame an ogre! I Ttamed a specially named

“Why’s that!?” Clarice demanded rudely

Maybe it tried to spawn two different monsters and crossed them over somehow?

Emelia protested, "it just kept growling and

Emelia nodded and waved her hands

basecamp and rent a room.”.

This here is by far the most numerous of all the errors, to the point where I can't be bothered pointing them all out in the comment. It's not grammatically accurate to have a punctuation after dialogue like this, since you already have a punctuation after 'room'. I would CTRL+F and replace .". or ?". or !". and remove the puncutation after the quotation mark. There's literally more than 100+ instances of it.

manner of questions for us," she prompted

Your racial advantages does indeed make your survival

I didn’t know what I should ask for, let alone what they would accept. The answer was obvious of course

Does he not know what to ask for, or is it obvious? Can't have both

it appeared to be a tailor's shop

Nadine Ppolitely demanded while pointing at me.

wrong a few moments later when she retrieved a thick knobbled

The shopkeep smiled and nodded, “One copper, please,..

Placing the club on the counter, Nadine smiled and addressed the shopkeep “Just this please,..

With that thought in mind, OpenedI opened the door and rejoined Emelia and Nadine.

had sufficient savings of my own and have a better

vicious rodents around, iI quickly followed

I amwas just too frightened.

I probably wouldn't have been able to fight back at all.

I followed them back into the small

edge off and help you unwind,..

hunting rabbits with their relatives out in

“Thank you for the meal,” I mumbled self consciously.

Nadine smilessmiled warmly, setsset both the bowls aside on the small nightstand and takestook a seat on the chair

listening to Nadine would give me time to think about what

AdventurerAn adventurer’s progression in strength was

labyrinths don’t let the footholds off that easily and periodically send armies of monsters to attack the footholds

Repetition of "footholds" so close sounds awkward

adventurer’s guild or the associated merchant's guild, mercenary guild or just unaffiliated.

making it easy to leave so long as you don’didn't become lost

and the arrow would glow to carrying degrees of brightness

This sentence doesn't make any sense, unless I am misunderstanding something.

so we can leave this floor. ”.

Ah, you're right, sorry. I just

Clarice didn’t back down, “But you did, didn’t you?” Clariceshe needled.

To avoid repetition.

of your way to upset it, Wwhat choice did

to chill out and relax,.”.

looking forward to breaking fluffy murder-rabbit necks

“I think so,” I agreed,

This answer Tim gives is not an answer to the question Nadine asked. She asked him how he was feeling, and he answers "I think so".

for us by the front door to the Iinn.

so don’t hesitate to ask..”.

Her happy flighty nature did mean she had moral qualms over such things, Emelia was obviously fine with the concept of slavery, so why not corporal punishment as well?

First part of the sentence doesn't match with the rest of the sentence.

divine miracle of physic's momentary inattention.

gave Emelia an angry expectant look,.

regards to the goblin's pitiable condition

“Who cares?!” Emelia insisted, “This goblin is mine now! Just let me concentrate for a second to use my ability...”.

“You can put Toofy down now, Tim,.”.

“We should probably leg it,” Clarice suggested nervously, “Pretty sure we’ve got most of them anyway,.”.

before any trouble starts," she muttered

Dude ago

How the hell do people from a seemingly "medieval" fantasy world know about body dysphoria? They pretty much sound like modern earth people 90% of the time too...

Is it the "translator" thing doing overtime or what?

Snidely ago

Edit suggestions:

give me timeto think about what I needed

Thanks for a fun story

Shark Bait ago

Edit suggestions:

At least listening to Nadine would give me to think about what I needed to ask later. ...would give me TIME to think...

Thanks for the Chapter!

Takusaka ago

Thank you for the chapter!!

Edit suggestions:

Emelia eagerly agreed, “Yeah, let’s do that!

even for a Swordswoman like you.”

Clarice’s class was a Swordswoman.

“I said to aim for his chest!"

TyrTheFallen ago

This chapter was uselessly long and if he remains with the 3 stupid women it will get boring fast there is so much people can stand before you want to pop their heads like a grape.

The Spectator ago

Yeah screw this. Romantic lead introduced from the start along with slavery. Wow my eyes need some bleach

Log in to comment
Log In