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The Level 3 Goblin Fighter stood over the crying Goblin child and awkwardly scratched his cheek.

 

What now?

 

He had not meant to make the Goblin child cry. He had only wanted the child to know that this sword belonged to him and no one else.

 

And now all of the Goblin children were looking at him and then back in the direction of the Bitterbow Tribe camp. Like they were ready to run back. Like they were unsure if the Level 3 Goblin Fighter was a danger to them.

 

The Goblin Fighter blew out his cheeks and sighed. The Goblin children watched him. The one was still crying. These were Goblin children. Some only as large as a foot while others were nearly two thirds the Goblin Fighter's own height. The Goblin Fighter was small. But they were smaller still. Why had they followed him out here on his patrol? Didn't they know how dangerous it was for them to be out this far? There were monsters out here. The Level 3 Goblin Fighter had never seen a monster out here yet. But the Chieftain said there were monsters out here. And the Chieftain would never lie to his tribe. Therefore, there must be monsters out here. Somewhere.

 

So why were these children following him? The Goblin Fighter just could not comprehend why they would follow him out into this dangerous and monster infested area. Was it the sword? The crying child had pointed to the sword. Did she want it? Did they all want the sword? He wouldn't let them have it. It was his. He had earned it.

 

But most of the Goblins were not looking at the sword. Most of them... were looking up at him. At his face. A few of them even had a strange expression on their green angular faces. The longer the Goblin Fighter stared at the staring children. The more he felt like he knew that look.

 

It was because that was the same look the Goblins of the Bitterbow Tribe gave their Chieftain. A few of the Goblin children were looking up at the Fighter in unabashed awe.

 

Because he had a sword? Because the Chieftain had given it to him?

 

The Goblin Fighter felt his chest doing weird things again. These children... liked him. Admired him even.

 

He looked down at the crying child and bent over. The child was too busy rubbing her weeping eyes that she didn't notice the Goblin Fighter's face getting close. That was one of the many problems with crying. It made you defenseless. It lowered your guard. Goblins should never lowered their guard.

 

A Goblin with a lowered guard was a dead Goblin.

 

That and tears did no good for anybody. Tears were a waste of time and water. Time that could be used doing your job to keep the tribe safe and running. Water that could save a Goblin's life someday. And besides. It only made the other Goblins uncomfortable and less efficient in their tasks when they noticed another Goblin crying. It was a weakness. So no Goblin cried. It was better for the tribe if nobody cried. Only children cried because they didn't know better.

 

The Goblin Fighter felt more than a little uncomfortable having been the cause of this child's tears. So the Goblin Fighter raised a claw and gently brushed away a tear.

 

The child froze and her crying eyes found the Goblin Fighter's sad eyes. Because this is what happened in the tribe when a Goblin cried. Other Goblins would become sad.

 

The Goblin Fighter dropped his claw and reached down. When he brought his claw back up to his face he held a small white flower. He held the flower out to the Goblin child and she stopped crying. The Goblin Fighter grinned down at the child as she took the white flower.

 

The Goblin Fighter had seen female Goblins pick flowers before. They liked them for some reason. Not every female Goblin liked flowers. The Fighter remembered watching a Goblin Forager proposing to a female Goblin Fighter. The female Fighter had stomped on the flowers the Forager had offered to her. Female Goblins were scary and some were mean.

 

But this was a child. And children were easily pleased with simple things. The Goblin child took the white flower and sniffed at it. She smiled and wiped at her eyes before placing the flower behind one pointed green ear. Then she beamed up at the Goblin Fighter.

 

There were no words exchanged. No sorry given. At least not verbally. Most Goblins could not speak. The few that could only knew a few words. But the Chieftain knew the most out of all of them. When he was in a good mood, he would try to teach the tribe a new word. The Goblin Fighter knew some words. He just couldn't say them. It wasn't easy. You had to do unnatural things with your tongue to even pronounce a word correctly. It was much easier to just grunt, hiss, growl, shriek, yell, or hum.

 

The Level 3 Goblin Fighter raised his sword and smiled with sharp Goblin teeth at the children. They made cooing noises and appreciative stares. It made the Goblin Fighter feel... feel... good. It made him feel warm inside. He wanted them to keep looking at him like that. He wanted the rest of the tribe to look at him like that. Most of all, he wanted his Chieftain to look at him like that.

 

He looked down at the child with the flower behind her ear and her cheeks were bright red. The Goblin Fighter continued to smile and look around.

 

These Goblins liked him. Children. But still Goblins. He was liked. And he didn't even have a name like Glub. It was an incredible feeling.

 

The Goblin Fighter took a step back and stepped into form.

 

The children watched with bright and eager eyes.

 

The Level 3 Goblin Fighter steadied his balance and began to go through a short series of exercises he had come up with on his own.

 

The children took it all in and a couple began to copy his movements. The child with the flower grabbed a small stick and copied the way the Fighter was holding his sword. She didn't get it quite right and the Goblin Fighter broke form and laughed.

 

The child's cheeks were puffed up and red. She threw down the stick and folded her tiny arms over her chest.

 

The Goblin Fighter kept laughing and the children started laughing too. Before the child with the flower could tear up again, the Goblin Fighter picked up the stick and placed it in the child's claws.

 

She looked up at him with a glare and stuck out her tongue.

 

The Goblin Fighter snorted and adjusted her form. It was so bad. It was almost like she didn't have the Fighter class. Or any similar class. And yet she was still trying to copy a Level 3 Goblin Fighter.

 

Admirable. And if the Goblin Fighter knew the words. He would have called her adorable. But that was not a word for Goblins.

 

The Level 3 Goblin Fighter resumed showing off to the children for quite some time. Long enough for something to happen.

 

The Goblin Fighter's ear twitched. The children did not notice nor did they hear what he heard. Suddenly he looked at the Goblin children and saw death. Tiny green bodies laying all around him.

 

That's what would happen if he didn't act now. So the Goblin Fighter roared at the children. He roared and pointed back towards camp with his sword.

 

This startled the children. Scared them. They turned and started running. All but the child with the flower behind her ear. She paused and took one last look at the Goblin Fighter.

 

He roared at her and raised a fist along with his sword.

 

She just stared at him and then finally she ran after the rest of the children.

 

With the Goblin children gone, the Level 3 Goblin Fighter took position and held his sword towards the commotion he was hearing.

 

Through the trees and bushes another Goblin ducked into view. A familiar Goblin. It was the Goblin Scout Glub. He was being chased by something.

 

The Level 3 Goblin Fighter yelled at Glub and pointed behind himself. Glub was no Fighter. He was only a Scout. The Goblin Fighter would protect Glub from whatever monster the Scout had angered. Because Glub was important, he had a name.

 

The Goblin Fighter did not hesitate. When the Goblin sized dog crashed through the fauna of the woods, the Goblin Fighter swung his sword. Fast Cut. The sword sped up in it's arc toward the dog. Weathered steel sliced through fur and carved through the flesh in the dog's torso.

 

That's what it does!

 

The dog recoiled and growled at the Goblin Fighter. Glub ran around and hid behind the Goblin Fighter. And the Goblin Fighter stepped forward.

 

The dog barked and lunged. The Goblin Fighter cut at the dog once more, this time aiming for the dog's head. Fast Cut! The steel shortsword sped up just like it had the first time and the Goblin Fighter watched with satisfaction as the sword sliced an ear off.

 

The dog jumped back and yipped and howled before running at the Goblin Fighter.

 

The Goblin Fighter was ready. Flash Cut! The Goblin Fighter made a horizontal slash with his shortsword but the Skill did not work this time. And the dog was faster than the Goblin Fighter's swing.

 

The dog rushed underneath the arcing steel and tackled the Goblin Fighter to the ground.

 

Behind them, Glub shrieked.

 

The dog snarled and snapped it's jaws at the downed Goblin Fighter. It was trying to eat the Goblin's face!

 

The Goblin Fighter dropped his sword and caught the dog's face with his claws. Claws dug into the dog's neck as the Level 3 Goblin Fighter tried to throw the dog off of him.

 

That was when the Goblin Fighter's sword skewered the dog from the side. The dog jolted, yelped, and weakened it's assault. The Goblin Fighter was able to throw the wounded dog off with ease and stared at his sword that was still buried in the dying dog. Then he looked at Glub who was standing over the Goblin Fighter with a claw reaching out to help him up.

 

The Goblin Fighter scowled and knocked Glub's claw away. He stood on his own and pulled the sword from the dog. This was his sword. His. Not Glub's. This was his!

 

Mine! The Goblin Fighter glared at a sheepish Glub.

 

The two stood there for a while. Watching the dog bleed to death. They wondered if the Chieftain would reward them for bringing a dog back to camp. It was a pretty big dog. However more than likely it was not big enough for a feast. Both Goblins sighed.

 

The Level 3 Goblin Fighter wondered why his Skill had not worked for a third time. Did Active Skills have a limited use? Their Chieftain had not mentioned that detail. Then again. There were less than five Goblins in the tribe who had Active Skills that the Goblin Fighter knew of.

 

And then that was when the Level 3 Goblin Fighter lowered his guard at the wrong moment.

 


 

Glub felt jittery. It had been so easy to slay with that sword. Glub had done it. He had killed his first monster.

 

Level Up!

 

Scout Level 3

 

New Skill!

 

Active Skill- Obscure Presence

 

If Glub had been any other Goblin he would have been a dead Goblin. Without Swift Movement, the dog would have caught up with him many times during this mad chase through the trees. First he had outran the Knights flanking his wagon. Glub had dashed between one's shiny and armored legs. Another Knight had raised a bow and nearly struck Glub in the leg, the arrow having only grazed Glub's green skin.

 

Glub had ducked behind a tree and ran as fast as he could. All the while that monstrous dog had followed him.

 

He should have been dead. Both him and the dog. Especially when they had ran through the Eater Plants.

 

It had been a lucky chance running into this other Goblin. This.. Sword Goblin. He was the Goblin who had received the Farmer's sword from the Chieftain before Glub was named. That was so cool. Sword Goblin had a sword. Glub wanted a sword. Every Goblin probably wanted a sword. Who wouldn't want a sword. But Glub had received a gift of his own. He had been named for finding the farm. So that meant both of them were special. Glub and Sword Goblin.

 

And Sword Goblin was so cool. That Skill. It had to have been an active Skill. Which meant that Sword Goblin was at least Level 3. This Sword Goblin was even more important than Glub!

 

Glub did not have a sword, nor was he Level 3. But he had a name. And Sword Goblin did not. Glub frowned. So who was more important to the tribe?

 

Glub had nearly wet himself when the dog had nearly taken a bite out of Sword Goblin's face. Glub had not thought. He had just moved. He grabbed the discarded sword and stabbed it into the dog. And it had been so easy.

 

Now he was Level 3. A Level 3 Scout. And he received his first Active Skill!

 

Obscure Presence.

 

Nothing appeared to happen when Glub tried to activate the Skill. Glub did not turn invisible and the Sword Goblin could still see Glub.

 

So what had the Skill changed?

 

That was when Glub noticed the movement in the trees and both Goblin's ears twitched at the footsteps a second too late.

 

Then blood was everywhere.

 


 

He didn't even need to use a Skill.

 

King rushed into the scene with his sword drawn. He stepped into form and beheaded the Goblin. An arc of blood wept across the surrounding greenery as King completed his form. The Goblin's head slipped from it's green shoulders and hit the ground with a soft and wet thump.

 

King scanned the area with his eyes and frowned. There appeared to be no other Goblins nearby. He had been excited to dive head first into an entire tribe of the monsters with only his sword. But King could only see the headless Goblin and the Mercenary's dog. He was too late to save the dog. The poor thing was laying on it's side, dead from several stab and claw made wounds. It looked painful. Getting stabbed to death. King briefly wondered what it felt like to be stabbed. Was it as painful as everyone had described? Was it as beautiful and poetic as described in fiction King had read in the library?

 

The headless Goblin corpse fell forwards and King regarded the thing. Goblin. This had been a Goblin. It was rather small wasn't it? King estimated it was barely three feet tall. Were all Goblins this small? That did not make sense to King. Goblins were supposed to be fierce monsters. Evil green creatures of spite, envy, and trickery. They stole and raided from the innocent. The grown Goblins, the Hobgoblins were mean brutes who liked to pray on young maidens and wage war on the nearby towns and villages.

 

Goblins were stupid and near mindless predators that ate everything they could get their tiny claws on. They had even nearly wiped out the entire world at one point according to volume three of the Great Histories. But how? They were so...

 

So small.

 

King sheathed his sword a little to forcefully and glared around at the trees, at the dead dog, and the Goblin corpse.

 

"Weak," he whispered to the trees. "Weak," he said to the dead dog. "Weak!" He shouted at the Goblin corpse. "This is a Goblin? It is pathetic and small. Nothing like the stories I've been told. It's own sword looks much to big for it's own claws. And these are the things Adventurers seek?"

 

King dropped down onto one knee and picked up the severed Goblin's head. He turned it over so that he was looking at more than the back of the the creature's bald head. Turning it in his hands, King found himself staring into a pair of silver? He tilted the head and the color almost changed into... gold maybe? The eyes were so foreign that King couldn't help but shiver. He looked at the green pointed ears and looked at it's narrow nose. He hooked a thumb into the Goblin's mouth and pressed it open. King looked into several rows of sharp and jagged teeth. Perfect for eating man flesh.

 

King rose to stand on his feet and lifted the severed green head up into the air. Blood dripped from where the Goblin's head would have naturally rested on a neck.

 

"A Goblin’s head," King said. "These are the things low tier Adventurers seek. Easy money from an easy outing. I didn't even need to use a Skill to fell the monster. The only thing tricky about this Goblin was lowering my stance closer to the ground. I almost missed my cut completely. Tricky little monster."

 

He pulled and poked at a pointed green ear. "How strange. Are Elf ears like this? Fascinating." King crept a finger into the ear and felt around. After a couple seconds, King's finger came out covered in ear wax and a few bugs that were trying to bite into King's finger. "Simply fascinating," he said whilst studying his finger for a moment before wiping it clean in the grass.

 

"It's not like I'll be needing this. They say Alchemists love Goblin heads. So much to make with. Ears, eyes, brains and all. But I have no need for money. I'm actually quite sick of it to be honest with you," King said to the severed Goblin head. "Going without has been very eye opening." King let go and dropped the head onto the ground. "Weak as the Goblin may have been. It was still a new experience. Now I have met, chased, and slain a Goblin. I have traveled with friendly Merchants and Wrunstead Knights. I wonder what more I should find on this grand adventure of mine?"

 

"Now then." King's head swiveled, blue eyes searching. "Which direction shall I find my destiny? Catching Destiny."

 

King's bright blue eyes grew brighter. When they dimmed seconds later, King nodded to himself and started to whistle a lullaby. He turned away from where he had come from and continued to walk further away from the road and the Merchants and the Knights.

 

The man's great adventure would continue once more.

 


 

Glub did not dare to move. Not even after the Human had walked deeper into the woods and out of sight. Not even after Glub could no longer hear the Human. Glub was content to wait for minutes. Watching that spot where he had last seen the Human before disappearing.

 

Glub waited, standing right in front of a tree. Practically in plain sight. He hadn't moved, not once. Not after the Human had first appeared and beheaded the Sword Goblin.

 

It had happened so fast. Like a blur. One moment there had been peace. For just a moment. They could let their guards down. But it was a moment far too soon. Because the Human... the monster had appeared from out of nowhere and Sword Goblin was dead.

 

Sword Goblin was dead. Just like that.

 

Glub was sure he was next. That the monster was going to kill him next. He was so sure. But it never happened. The monster had ignored Glub. That's when Glub figured it out.

 

Obscure Presence. His new Skill had just saved his life.

 

The now Level 3 Goblin Scout looked at the headless Level 3 Goblin Fighter and finally stopped holding onto his bladder.

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