The men cautiously entered my dungeon. Despite the warnings of the sheriff one of the men managed to brush against a strangle vine. Surprisingly it managed to wrap around his throat. Just as I was wondering if I’d get my first non-goblin kill with a strangle vine, one of the other men pulled out a knife and cut his buddy free.
I would have been a bit angry but I couldn’t help but be distracted by the professor. She had been going crazy trying to examine the nearby plants. The men had been stopping her though. When they got distracted she darted free of the group. Pretty soon she was taking samples of everything.
The men calmed down and then realized that the professor was examining another strangle vine. She reached out carefully with a small pair of shears and clipped a section off. Putting it in a sample jar she considered the vine curiously. “Odd, I expected it to react somehow.” She suddenly reached out and grabbed the vine. Instead of coiling around her arm it hung limply from the ceiling.
One of the men approached. “Maybe there are fake ones mixed in with the ones that grab you?” He said and then reached out and grabbed the vine. It instantly wrapped around his arm. With a yelp he pulled out a knife and cut himself free. Professor Hanson looked even more confused now.
“Professor, let's keep on moving. We can come back after we finish checking out the entire cave and make sure it’s no longer dangerous.” The sheriff said in a firm voice.
The professor nodded in a distracted manner and started putting sample jars in one of her cases. It took nearly a minute for her to put everything away before she formed up with the men again. The men hesitated for a moment as they came to the corridor to get to the second room. They had been arranged so that four or five men had clear firing angles as they crossed the room. Only two men could fit shoulder to shoulder in the corridor.
It didn’t help that at this point they had noticed that the walls were glowing green. The professor was fascinated. “Before we leave I’m going to have to get samples of those walls. I wonder why they glow, some type of bioluminescence maybe.” Somehow she got free and tried to take a sample of the wall. “That’s odd. Whatever substance these walls are made of is extremely tough.”
“Let’s keep moving. You can get a sample later, professor.” The sheriff said and then the sheriff and one of his deputies took the lead. The passageway turned a bit before it ended at the second room. Inside the second room four of my goblins were waiting with spears.
As the sheriff and deputy turned the corner the goblins threw their spears and then drew hatchets and charged. I sighed as three of the spears missed the men. In fact the only spear that hit was turned completely sideways when it hit the deputy in the chest. I doubted he would even have a bruise.
The deputy and sheriff opened fire. By the time the deputy killed his first goblin the sheriff had finished off the other three. I couldn’t help but frown at the results. My closest goblin was still a few feet away from the men. I knew that the four goblins wouldn’t win that fight, but I had been hoping they would at least inflict a few casualties.
The men spread out and examined the makeshift shelters of the goblins. “I’m counting just over a dozen sleeping areas sir.” One of the deputies said. The sheriff nodded. “If Doug and his men killed a dozen yesterday, and we killed four today, then that’s probably all of them.”
Professor Hanson was kneeling down next to one of the goblins examining it. She had pulled out a notepad and her pen was flying across it. “Amazing, they definitely aren’t human. Besides for the green skin they are around a third the size of a human. They also have well developed incisors and canines. It looks like they are omnivores, but probably eat more meat than humans do.”
“It’s time to move on professor. There are more corridors that go deeper into the cave.” Sheriff Joe said in a slightly annoyed voice.
The professor basically ignored him as she continued to examine the bodies. “They also seem to have primitive tools and clothing. Despite their size they are definitely more intelligent than any other wildlife I’ve seen. Obviously even more than…”
“Ahem. Professor, we can come back later. After we clear the cave I’ll leave a couple men behind and you can spend all day here.” The sheriff said in an annoyed voice.
“Can’t you and your men continue on without me? It’s not like anything will get past you.” The professor replied.
“There are three passages out of here. For now I’m going to keep everyone together. That means that there would be two passages that we haven’t cleared and something could come from.” The sheriff explained.
Professor Hanson sighed in frustration and stuffed her notebook back into her backpack. “Fine let’s get this over with.” She said and joined the rest of the men.
I smiled as the sheriff picked the right hand corridor. It was one of the trapped dead ends. The corridor wasn’t that long but it took a couple turns. The sheriff and deputy finally made the last turn and looked disappointed that it was a dead end.
“Dead end men. Guess we are heading back.” The sheriff said and turned around. Meanwhile his deputy walked closer to the dead end. “Huh there is something back here.” The deputy was right. I had planned this moment. One of the goblins had left some junk at every dead end. I was sure that someone wouldn’t resist the temptation to move closer and take a look.
Suddenly the floor broke under the deputy and he fell into a pit. Meanwhile a couple rock falls set into the ceiling dropped rocks on the rest of the party. I frowned once I realized that the rock falls hadn’t inflicted any serious injuries. So far the rock fall traps weren’t living up to their potential.
The one set above the pit trap had more luck though. When the deputy landed in the pit he managed to spear one of his legs on a spike. Then the rocks fell on top of him. It managed to knock him onto another spike. Neither of the wounds were instantly fatal. However the deputy was unconscious and would certainly bleed out soon.
Some of the men yelled and started to move forward but the sheriff stopped them. “Woah slow down. It’s not going to help anyone if you set off another trap.” He yelled. Then he slowly worked his way forward carefully checking the ground in front of him before every step. I noticed that one of the rocks must have glanced off the side of his head because he had blood dripping onto his uniform. He’d probably need a couple stitches but it didn’t look like it was going to slow him down.
It was a good thirty seconds before the men reached the edge of the pit. A few seconds later they checked the deputy and realized that he was dead. Even if they had rushed they wouldn’t have been able to keep the deputy from bleeding out.
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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.