“Are you sure this is the right cave?” The forest ranger asked Doug. Doug just nodded and stared at the cave nervously. “I’ve been here before. It’s only a few dozen feet deep. You said the monsters came out from deeper in the cave and attacked all of you? What did you call them again? Goblins?”

Doug was still nodding. “Yeah Jeff said they looked like goblins. There were two of them at the entrance to the cave. We killed those easily and then went inside. Next thing we know the plants started attacking us and rocks were falling from the ceiling. Just as we decided to leave, nearly a dozen goblins came out from deeper in the cave and attacked us. We killed them all but not before they killed Josh and Frank. Jeff was badly injured but I managed to get him back to town.”

The sheriff looked at the two half eaten goblin bodies that were still at the entrance to the cave. They weren’t the same goblins but clearly he couldn’t tell. “Looks like something came along and decided those two were a good meal. You try talking to these goblins?”

Doug shook his head. “Jeff said if they were goblins they were probably dangerous. Can’t imagine he was wrong.”

The sheriff nodded. “Yeah everything that has been appearing for the last couple days has been dangerous. Hell a tenth of the people in town are missing and a quarter of the rest are no longer even human. Wish the phones, radios, or TV were working. I’d give anything for news about what is going on in the rest of the nation. This morning I sent two deputies on horseback to head towards the nearest city and report back with news. They should be back tomorrow.”

The other men all looked relieved at what the sheriff was saying. “Well the way I see it, we should go inside and retrieve Frank and Josh’s bodies. I’d imagine you got all or at least most of those goblins. Still I want everyone to keep their eyes open.” All the men nodded in agreement.

I was tempted to keep the two bodies. I was sure I’d find a use for them later. Unfortunately I only had ten healthy goblins left. There was no way they would win against the group entering my dungeon. I dropped the two bodies back where they had been killed. I kept most of the equipment though.

The men cautiously ventured into the cave. “Don’t touch any of the plants. The vines will grab you and the mushrooms release some sort of drug.” Doug reminded them as he looked around the cave with his pistol extended in front of him.

The men carefully made their way to the bodies. Once they arrived the sheriff pulled out a camera and took a few pictures. Then he carefully looked around the room. “You said there were almost a dozen of these goblins that attacked you?” He asked Doug.

Doug looked a bit nervous. If a sheriff was asking me questions while standing over two dead bodies I would have been nervous also. “I didn’t count them, there were a bunch though. You’re investigating this as a murder aren’t you. You aren’t thinking I did this right? Once Jeff wakes up he will tell you the exact same thing I have.”

The sheriff chuckled. “I believe you Doug. Whatever killed Frank and Josh stabbed them to death. If you had killed them I’d expect to see bullet holes. Besides, the doc is pretty sure that Jeff is going to survive. So once he wakes up there will be two witnesses. I’m going to have to give the mayor a report though. That means I need as many details as possible.”

The forest ranger added his opinion. “Just looking around this place I can tell it’s different. I’ve never seen any of these plants. Also I can’t tell from this far away but I think those are tool marks on the entrance going deeper. This cave is obviously deeper than the last time I was here.”

“Well whatever it is the goblin bodies are gone. Plus it looks like the rifles and anything else of value was taken from the bodies. That means there are more of them. We need to get the bodies back to town but we can’t ignore something this close. Tomorrow morning we can come back with more men and clear out whatever has made this cave its home.” The sheriff said.

One of the men spoke up. “I think we should get samples of these plants. Maybe Professor Hanson can figure out something about them.” The sheriff nodded. “Good idea, just be careful.”

One of the men managed to cut a chunk off one of the strangle vines. A couple other men grabbed samples of a number of herbs and other plants I had growing. Those didn’t even try to attack them. It would have been suspicious if every plant in the room was dangerous.

Unsurprisingly the man trying to get a sample of the spore shroom got a larger sample than he was expecting. I wish I had a picture of his face covered in spores as he looked at the other men in shock and fear.

“Shit. Grab the bodies and let’s get out of this cave.” The sheriff said with a trace of panic in his voice. After they got outside one of the men helped the spore covered man wash the spores off. It was too late though and he looked more than a bit dazed.

“Okay let’s get back to town on the double. If those things are poisonous I want to get Alex to the doc as quickly as possible.” The sheriff said and all of the men with him quickly hurried into the forest.

Unfortunately after they were gone I couldn’t relax. The sheriff had made it clear that they would be back tomorrow. Likely with more men and weapons. Even if all my goblins were healthy by then, I doubted they could put up much of a fight.

I spent the rest of the evening rearranging my dungeon and setting up more traps. My goblins dug half a dozen dead ends, most of which were heavily trapped. When I finally let my goblins take a rest most of them just fell asleep instead of throwing one of their usual celebrations. It helped that there were only a couple uninjured goblins.

Now that night had fallen I used my mana to bolster the number of goblins working overnight. Hopefully by the time the sheriff returned I’d be prepared for him.

Time seemed to drag on as I watched my goblins digging. Unfortunately I had to wait until four in the morning before the day officially ended and I got my daily rewards. When the day finally ended I quickly looked at my reward messages.

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I nearly felt like celebrating when I saw that I had gained forty one points, bringing me up to a total of one hundred and forty six points. That was enough for a third tier purchase and four second tier purchases.

A note from AaronStorm

If you are enjoying reading this please make sure to rate, review, and/or leave a comment. Part of my reason for joining royal road is because I have multiple projects I've been working on. As I post more that will help me prioritize what I spend my time on. You can see a list of all my posted fictions below. Thank you.

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About the author


Bio: On a short hiatus right now. Found out that my grandmother has stage 4 cancer and doctors think it's likely she has less than a month. Going on a trip to visit her and other family members. I will be back from that trip at the end of the month and plan to start posting chapters again on October second or third.

I'm almost certainly addicted to reading. For decades I've read at least a dozen books a month. I'd say getting close to ten thousand over the course of my life. For the past few years I've been writing as a hobby. I created an account on royal road in order to get feedback on the projects I've started.

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