The Children of Eris
The goblin hive David found consisted of a single massive cavern with lots of smaller tunnels funnelling deeper into the mountains. There were hundreds of small, hunchbacked goblins living there in absolute filth. They also had very poor equipment and were extremely inattentive.
There were only a handful of guards at the entrance, not paying any attention to the tunnel they were meant to be observing, making them even easier to kill.
They didn’t see Mania’s whip until it was far too late.
With a single swipe, she cut them in half, splattering their brown blood against the walls and alerting the rest of the hive.
“Abaddon, show me what you can do, but don’t go too crazy,” David said.
“As you say, Dark Lord!” Abaddon roared, running into the centre of the hive.
With every single step that Abaddon took, the walls of the cave shook and the goblins shrieked in response. As Abaddon charged into the heart of the hive, hundreds of goblins were trickling out of the smaller caves, armed only with wooden weapons and stone pickaxes.
Abaddon grinned beneath his helm, wound back his fist and punched into the centre of a group of goblins, sending them flying through the air and into the walls. They smashed hard against the rock and crumpled, lifeless and bloody, onto the ground.
Abaddon chuckled and said, “This won’t even count as a warmup at this rate.”
Ten goblins leapt at him at once, screeching and swinging madly, but their attacks bounced off his armour. Abaddon grabbed one goblin’s head in his fist and crushed it into paste, before spinning a kick into the others, knocking their heads from their bodies.
After seeing such a sight, the other goblins hesitated and observed him carefully.
“Come on now, don’t hold back on me,” Abaddon taunted, magical energy gathering around his hands.
A moment later, they were encased in fire and Abaddon pulled one of his arms back. “If you won’t come to me, then-!”
“Abaddon, stop!” David shouted.
In less than a second, Abaddon dispersed the fire magic around his gauntlets and turned to face his Emperor.
“You said yourself that you cannot properly control your fire magic, correct?” David asked, slowly stepping forwards with Mania at his side.
“Y-Yes, I did, Dark Lor-”
“Then why would you use it in a place I specifically ordered you not to?”
“F-Forgive me!” Abaddon dropped to one knee, an action which startled the goblins even more.
In their minds, a monster capable of wiping them out alone had just bowed to someone else without hesitation.
Now, they knew just how dire their situation really was.
“We’ll discuss this later,” David said with a wave of his hand. “Mania, take care of the ones on our left. Abaddon, kill one goblin a time on our right until they’re all dead. Try not to destroy their bodies; we need them for Mania’s Necromancy. I’ll handle the rest.”
“As you command, Master,” Mania replied with a smile, cracking her whip. “I’ll make sure I live up to your expectations.”
Abaddon shot a glare at Mania, but quickly composed himself and said, “I won’t disappoint you again, Dark Lord.”
“See to it that you don’t,” David said.
Mania cracked her whip at the goblins and sliced through twenty of them at once, severing them in half at the waistline. Then, she began swinging her whip all around her, cutting down more and more goblins. Abaddon, per David’s orders, slowly began picking off his goblins, punching each of them in the chest, destroying their hearts as efficiently as possible.
David waited until half of the goblins remained before he said, “Withdraw, you two. The rest are mine.”
His generals withdrew and David stared down a horde of a hundred goblins alone, his body shaking beneath his armour, making it rattle ever so quietly.
I thought I’d already resolved myself to do this, David thought as he began to sweat. Even though I saw how easily Mania and Abaddon killed the goblins, I’m scared to face them myself.
Even though Eris said that she’d given him great strength and power, David wouldn’t know if that was true until he was in a real fight. He’d broken the arms on the throne that Abaddon had made from him, but that didn’t necessarily mean he had enough strength to kill a goblin like his generals. If he wasn’t properly able to use his strength in battle, then there was a chance he could be overwhelmed and die.
If I use too much power, I could cause a cave-in, he thought. Well, now’s a good time to test what I’m capable off.
David bawled his hands into fists and ran at the goblins.
He threw a punch at them and a massive shockwave exploded from his knuckles, cutting through the centre of the horde, obliterating some and sending the others flying. The cave shook, bodies crumpled against the walls, and chucks of rocks fell from the ceiling, threatening to collapse it.
With one attack, he had killed fifty goblins and made the mountain shake.
David, confused, looked at what he had just done, then at his own fist, in disbelief.
What the hell?! He screamed in his head. That was me trying to throw a normal punch, like I would back in my old world. How the hell is it that powerful? I guess It’d be best for me to not fight until I can control my strength properly.
So, David switched to using magic.
Like Abaddon had before, David gathered magical energy around his hands, letting them be encased by it, and a black flame with red highlights formed in his palms.
David was taken aback at how quickly he had managed to do something he’d never done before but, in that moment, it had felt like the most natural thing to do in the world.
Muscle memory. Another gift from Eris, I assume, David thought.
David pushed his right palm towards the goblins, launching a continuous flame at them, burning the flesh from their bones in seconds.
In less than ten seconds, David had finished off the goblins.
For a moment, David felt his lips curl into a smile, but quickly stopped himself as soon as he did.
What the hell was that? He scrunched up his eyes and resisted the urge to vomit.
For just a moment, he had felt happy about what he’d done; then, he’d realised that doing so would be playing right into Eris’s hands.
“As expected of you, Master!” Mania cried. “You beautifully killed them and left their bones intact for me to use my Necromancy magic on as well.”
“Your praise is unnecessary,” David said. “Start summoning your undead whilst I speak with Abaddon.”
“At once, Master.”
Mania got to work and David turned to Abaddon whose head was hung in shame. “Let us talk in private.”
“…At once, your majesty,” Abaddon mumbled.
The two walked into a side tunnel and, once they were far enough away from Mania, David turned around and glared at Abaddon.
“You fool!” David yelled; Abaddon hastily dropped onto his knees. “You told me that you couldn’t use your magic properly and I warned you not to make any mistakes, didn’t I?”
“…Yes, your majesty.”
“What’s your excuse for this disgrace, Abaddon?”
“…I have none,” Abaddon whispered.
“You won’t even try to lie to me or say that it won’t happen again?”
“…I can’t say that, Dark Lord.”
“…Because I fear I’ll lose my head again.”
David wearily sighed and held his brow.
This is what I was afraid off.
With Abaddon’s great strength, David had intended to use him as one of his field generals when the time was right to wage war. However, if Abaddon’s excitement got the better of him in an important battle, then he’d be a liability more than an asset.
Hopefully it’s only Abaddon who’s like this.
“Abaddon, let me tell you this, right here and now,” David warned. “If you ever do something like this again without my explicit permission, I will tear off your head and mount it on the wall. Is that understood?”
“…As the Dark Lord commands,” Abaddon whispered.
“I swear it. I, Abaddon, General of the Demon Emperor, will not lose control and go wild without the Dark Lord’s explicit orders. If I break this pledge, may he take my head.”
“Good.” David stood back up and dismissed his armour. “Do something useful today at least. Conjure a portal and start summoning the Machai. Then, once you’ve done that, start cleaning this place up, make me an office and make bedrooms for all three generals.”
“At once, Dark Lord.”
Abaddon quickly left to attend to his new duties.
I guess Eris really doesn’t want to make this easy for me.