Breaker of Skulls (LitRPG)

by

HereBeTreasure

Chapter 44 – “Liver Treasure for Human! Delicious Liver!” 

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Marcello pointed towards the ritual bonfire in the distance, which was still roaring through the fog.

“What are you goblins doing there?” he asked the captured goblin shaman. He nudged his head back at the bonfire. “What’s the ritual’s connection with the blood moon? Who are your masters?”

The knight rapid fired questions that he needed answers to, mysteries that the system alluded to through the quest details.

“We serve Old Ones!” the goblin shouted. “Humans prey for Old Ones, hehehehee!”

The green bugger’s laugh was high pitched and disjointed like an imp’s, and Marcello would be lying if he said that he was unfazed by it.

“Old Ones rise during blood moon, hehehee!”

“What are the old ones?” Marcello asked, nudging the goblin shaman with his plated boot. “Werewolves?”

The goblin shaman hooted with laughter. “Werewolves nothing compared to Old Ones. Old Ones feast on humans! You die soon.”

“Is that so?” Marcello said brusquely.

Ding!

A notification popped up.

Optional objective: Speak to the goblin shamans [1/1]

You have spoken to one of the goblin shamans occupying the shamanic ritual site. He has spoken of the Old Ones, a mysterious and ancient presence in the forest that is said to feast upon humans. You should uncover more about this by exploring further.

Objectives have been updated.

Optional objective added.

Optional objective: Uncover the identity of the goblins’ masters, otherwise known as the Old Ones.

Main objective added.

Main objective: Discover the nature of what the Old Ones are planning for the forest.

Now Marcello might’ve found all of this rather intriguing were he playing a video game back on earth, but the ramifications of this information were significantly different here than in a video game. He could die here from any encounter, especially from an encounter with a strong unknown enemy presence, and so this information was not taken lightly or just as curiosity.

His heart was panicking slightly at the moment, as the implications of the quest objectives boded poorly for the survival of humanity in the forest. His first thought was that the enemies were werewolves, but now the goblin shaman had told them that even werewolves were nothing compared to the true enemy?

While the other humans in the forest were busy fussing over some scraps of experience points, something far more sinister was unfolding. Something that could threaten the lives of every single human initiate in the forest. Marcello had a sinking feeling that he could be the only person to be privy to this knowledge.

Part of him wanted to just run back out of the fog and alert the other humans about their collective impending plight, but from his current interactions with other humans thus far, he didn’t think that they would be very welcoming to the news, and there was a possibility that they wouldn’t even let him speak in the first place.

If that was the case, then he decided to press on by himself.

Marcello glanced down at the goblin shaman. The shaman was sniveling and slightly drooling from the side of its mouth, its hand still wrapped tightly around its dart blower.

Well, maybe not entirely by himself. He had an idea.

The knight kicked away the dart blower, and then sat himself on top of the goblin shaman, pressing his full weight on top of the goblin so that it could not escape while he did his work. The goblin groaned painfully, but it was not about to die from the pressure.

He took out some leftover wood that he had from making totems earlier, saving the high quality wood from the terrestrial plane for later use.

With his rusty hatchet taken out, which had now transformed into a smaller sculptor’s knife to better suit his intended purpose, he began to work on a smaller board of wood.

Marcello began to carve two holes through the wooden board, and then segmented the board into three pieces with two vertical cuts directly through the holes. He would later attach these back with mana.

It took about half an hour to finish the piece, and there was no notification about any creation being produced. Marcello had expected this, as the piece was not yet complete until it was completely glued back together with mana.

He got up from the goblin’s body, and the goblin shaman scrambled to escape. But Marcello was too fast, tackling the goblin shaman before hastily fitting the first two wooden pieces on the goblin’s thin, bony wrists. The first two pieces were welded together with mana, and then the third piece was fitted around the goblin shaman’s other wrist.

Finally, it was done. Marcello stepped back and used identify on his work.

[Wooden Shackle Cuffs]

A wooden board fashioned into permanent shackles. The size is adequate to fit a child’s wrists inside. Or a goblin’s, if the need rises. It is wonder how these shackles were attached, as there are no noticeable seams in the wood.

When visiting new locale, it was best to find someone local to guide you around, to grab the most authentic bites and avoid tourist traps.

Well, this wasn’t exactly earth anymore, so that bit of wisdom needed to be edited a little to fit the new landscape.

When visiting a new biome, it was best to capture and enslave a nearby goblin or other vicious little bugger, to find hidden secrets and avoid literal death traps.

There, a lot better.

“You DIE!!” the goblin shaman yelled. “Human is liver-eater! Human is dog-fucker!”

Marcello simply smiled as he took the abuse on the chin. The latter insult was quite universal across races, so it seemed, but the former insult seemed a bit off putting from a human perspective. What was wrong with eating liver?

He would feel a bit worse about this morally if the green bugger didn’t try to poison him to death or sling death threats and other profanities at him on a consistent basis.

With that done, and the goblin shaman hobbling around in its bone headdress out of balance while still hurling profanities with every step, Marcello decided to proceed onwards with his new goblin shaman slave to lead to the way.

“Oh yeah, let me warn you ahead of time. If you try to do something silly like escape again, I’m going to shackle your feet and pull you along like I’m hauling a stone up a mountain, got it?” Marcello said with a warm, sadistic smile.

“Now show me where you guys hide your treasure. If you’re a good doggie for me I might even let you live.”

The goblin’s ears twitched with interest at the sound of those words.

“Live?”

It seemed that he had caught its attention.

“Yeah. Just show me the place where you hide all your treasures, and I’ll let you go, alright?”

In reality, Marcello had zero intention of letting this goblin live. His graces were already stretched thin to their very limits when it came to humans, and he was not about to extend the same mercy to this little bastard.

The goblin didn’t have to know that though. Marcello had a wide smile on his face, hidden under his helmet, as he decided to exploit this goblin shaman for everything that it was worth. A shaman probably knew a whole lot more about the secret hiding spots in its village than a regular goblin, too. Judging on the way that the goblin escorts treated the shamans, they were probably high up on the totem pole. VIPs in the goblin world, so to speak.

“Okay, heheheee!”

Well, that was a fast way to get in the shaman’s good graces. The goblin shaman began to waddle as fast as it could towards the ritual site, with Marcello right behind it following.

The dense fog was only getting worse around this area, and the air was humid and heavy, possibly from the churning ocean waters nearby that gave rise to humid sea fog.

They were approaching the shamanic ritual site, and the smatterings of shattered animal bones and other tribal eccentricities laymessily around a large roaring bonfire surrounded by rocks.

Beside the bonfire were several small goblin sized tents, which were presumably used to shelter the shamans and their escorts while they performed the rituals over multiple days. The ritual isle appeared to be eerily quiet and devoid of wildlife, in a way that gave Marcello a bit of anxiety.

That nervousness was quickly lost as his goblin shaman guide tripped over a branch and fell in its face, then struggled to get up. Marcello laughed at its misfortune, finding amusement in the clumsiness of the goblin that could at least assuage some of his fears about the unknown that he was venturing into.

“Treasure, here!” the goblin shaman said excitedly, bringing Marcello to a particular tent.

The shaman darted into the tent, then reemerged with a smelly half rotten organ in its mouth. Its smell was abhorrent, and Marcello scrunched his nose and recoiled in disgust.

It dropped the piece of rancid organ meat onto the ground in front of Marcello, then nudged it forward with a foot.

“Liver treasure for human! Delicious liver!”

Marcello nearly sliced the goblin’s neck off at the exact moment. He had to stay his sword hand, telling himself that it wasn’t worth it. But seriously, what exactly was it with goblins and thinking that humans ate livers so much?

“No,” Marcello said, kicking the rancid liver to the side. “I don’t want livers. Show me stuff like treasure chests, secrets about your masters and the forest, diagrams, gold, rubies, crystals, scrolls, stuff like that.”

“Okay heheheee!” the goblin shaman replied enthusiastically. It seemed to have finally gotten the message.

It led him to another tent, and opened up the tent with its head, showing Marcello a bronze treasure chest. Not too shabby.

“Treasure chest!” the shaman said excitedly. “Now free Grute!”

“Not so fast there, buddy,” Marcello answered. “You have to show me all the treasures first, and then I will consider freeing you. Okay buddy?”

The shaman seemed a bit peeved, but it understood.

Marcello quickly restrained the goblin shaman so that it could not run, and then went to check out the treasure chest. The last chest that he had opened was a silver chest, and had granted him the Scroll of Conjuring Ghosts, a corrupted uncommon scroll. It was a bit niche in its use, but otherwise not half bad.

This was just a bronze chest, but treasure was treasure, and Marcello wasn’t complaining.

He flipped open the lid and checked out the contents. It was a glowing orb of some kind of light blue matter that he couldn’t really make heads or tails of. He used identify.

[Ice Affinity Spirit Essence] – An uncommon absorbable essence that allows one to better utilize ice affinity mana.

Marcello scratched his head, a bit stumped about what to do with this particular new item that he just obtained. He could just absorb it for himself, as there didn’t seem to be any particular limit on the different types of affinities someone could have. If there was, he probably would have gotten some kind of notification about it when he first started using wood affinity mana.

Or, he could keep it and sell it later on to someone who needed ice affinity essence more than he did.

Either way, he decided to just deposit it into his inventory and keep it for later, to keep his options open. Maybe one of these days he would become some kind of ice mage that desperately needed ice affinity spirit essence. Who knows.

Overall, kind of a disappointing haul from the bronze treasure chest, but it was to be expected as it was just bronze after all. Marcello was right about to leave the tent and continue treasure spelunking with his goblin shaman slave, when he suddenly stopped in his tracks.

Look at it again.

His inner voice had just spoken to him, triggered in part by his own passing thought about the matter. He looked back at the treasure chest again.

It was just a normal looking chest, made of wood and with a glowing bronze aura around it. It was the same typical fare found in any role playing game ever made. Nothing particularly remarkable about it.

But Marcello had to stop looking at it from such a normal perspective. He had glossed over such an important detail, that he had to hold back the urge to slap his knee for not thinking about it before.

Treasure chests were made of wood.

Marcello knelt down, this time examining the bronze chest a bit closer. He placed his hand on the chest, extending his mana into the chest itself, feeling the wood.

Somewhere, deep within the wood of the bronze treasure chest, there was a familiar rhythmic sound. It was a heartbeat.

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A note from HereBeTreasure

Hi, if you'd like to read ahead check out the patreon

Right now there is a 1 day desync between the releases here and SH/WN (royalroad received chapters 1 day before schedule) because I really don't want the story to fall off trending, wiping out like 200 hours of labor... that's the reason, thanks for understanding XD 


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HereBeTreasure

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