Chapter 10:

How to fight a Goblin

No Hero: Chronicles of a Nameless Misfit

I got back to my room just before sunrise, Lua was still sleeping on the bed. She had a gentle smile on her face and grunted a little when I let go of her hand.

I decided to spend my day off holed up in my room, I had books to read and study. I needed every bit of knowledge that I could get to solve the problem I had in my hands. Locking myself was also a way to prevent me from jumping at Brad and Gray’s throats as soon as I saw them. I had to act as if the conversation I had with Lua last night never happened, then at the right time I would have struck back.

“Home sweet home” my room was empty and boring as always.

I opened my window to let the morning breeze in and started opening the first book: ‘Advanced Bestiary’. I flipped through the introduction pages and went straight to the first chapter...How to fight a Goblin.

I had a trail of bad luck following me. This book would have come in handy if I had ordered it before. Whatever, the past is set in stone. I hoped I could find more tips to defeat the little monsters more than just have quick feet and reactions.

As I already figured out during the fight, most of the Goblin species are sensitive to bright light since they mostly live in caves or only move during the night. Masks are part of a tribe tradition and every Goblin clan has a different shaped mask while the patterns are unique to everyone. The book then listed a few examples of different goblins. The ones we fought were called ‘Plain Goblins’. ‘Cave Goblins’ and ‘Mountain Goblins’ were a little shorter than the Plain ones. The color of their skin was more of dark green. Different tribes of the same species could sometimes work together but the different species would be united only under a Goblin King. The image drawn lacked impact and the King seemed more like an angry dog. Lastly, most of the Goblins weren’t intelligent and could be distracted in battle with simple tricks such as faints or decoys.

I jotted down notes and drawings in my notebook and kept reading. This volume went more in deep describing each monster and would definitely be helpful in the long run.

Next was ‘Sword Combat - Volume 2 & 3’. I followed every single instruction to the letter and practiced everything I had read in my room, using an imaginary target in front of me. I learned how to transform parries into counterattacks, how to connect more than two slashes in a single motion, and also how to redirect blades. Once I had the basic theory and images in my head I got back to training and stopped only once I was completely out of breath. I noticed that my stamina had improved, I could now swing my sword for more than an hour without getting tired. I repeated the process each time I could stand again on my feet.

When I looked out of the window for the first time the sun was already setting. My day off had already ended.

“I should have gone to the market” last time I passed by, a shop was selling recovery potion at a low price and I wanted to take some to prolong my training.

I left my room to relieve my stress at the public baths. While I was working as a part-time waiter I heard some Units talk about them. The river that flowed through Lyria had been redirected into a building and with the help of fire magic artifacts the town created an artificial hot spring. It was a popular destination for mercenaries and couples apparently.

The entry fee was 10 Karses and at first, I was a bit reluctant to waste money on hot water but my sore muscles chose for me and I entered the place. Customers could choose between a mixed bath and a gender-separated one. The line of men in front of the entrance to the mixed one ended right at the entrance. I preferred to be alone and went the other way. Luckily enough, the bath was empty. I dipped in the water with only my head coming out.

It was the opposite of that cold black pool back at Aurora’s place. The warmth melted all my muscles and I felt like a cracked egg on a pan. When my head began to feel dizzy I got out. 10 Karses well spent. I put my only clothes back on and left the bath. The line of men hadn’t moved an inch in the last couple of hours. Poor souls.

“Rei!” a voice called out for me on the street.

Chevy was carrying heavy bags of cooking ingredients helped by Lua. I decided to join them on the way back and took some of the bags. The demi-human waitress had a hood over her head and the goat tail popping out of her skirt was somehow gone. Lua stood silent looking at the ground as we walked.

“When will the engagement be?” Chevy asked looking me dead in the eye

“What?” both Lua and I were surprised by her words.

“Oh don’t play ignorant! I have seen plenty of lovebirds in my life as a waitress. I have an eye for it”

“There’s nothing between us...” Lua answered, her ears slightly red.

She noticed my gaze and lifted her hood too. Under a different light where we weren’t fighting, I became aware that Lua was really pretty, even Clare couldn’t stand a chance against her. If she wasn’t Nameless, a line of men would have formed to ask her out, just like the one at the public baths. I was pretty sure there were still some mercenaries that had a secret crush on her regardless.

“You would be the talk of the Full Moon, you’d make a great couple. Most would get jealous though” Chevy didn’t read the room at all and kept talking.

“I could see that” I was already imagining tables and stools flying over my head “Ouch”

Lua jabbed me in the side. Her face glitched for a second and a girl with hazel hair took her place. My head burst in pain. I had stayed too long in the hot spring.

“Huff, you really helped me out there” Chevy placed the bags on the table of the inn and wiped her forehead “Today is a hot day”

I placed my bags with hers and helped Lua do the same.

“There you are! Lua, Rei can you join me?” Roxy was talking with the Armor guy and called for us “Please come in the back, it’s a serious problem”

We got on the couches while Living Armor stood beside us.

“Can you go over your report one more time?” Roxy asked

“I was asked to scout the area around the forest of Corola village. The king’s trails led to nowhere and the rest of the place was quiet. I decided to check the camp you raided and found an underground passage in the main Hut that wasn’t destroyed by the fire. It seemed like the entrance of a dungeon and many Goblins of different species roamed around inside so I decided to report and let the Guild send a Unit. On the way out I found this” he had a broken end of staff in his hands, a red cracked crystal was placed on top of it.

“That’s Clara’s!” I recognized the catalyst “She told me she would have been away for a job”

“I recognized it too” Roxy was thinking “If her catalyst broke she might be in trouble. I’m sorry to call you on your day off but I would like to personally give you a job”

“I’ll let the others know” Lua tighten the grip on her staff

“Good, I will try to have a wagon ready for tonight” Roxy dismissed us and started filling in the parameters of the job to inform the Guild “Be careful if the King is down there just come back safe and we’ll send reinforcements”

If Living Armor saw different Goblins working together that only meant that the King had started to create its army. If we didn’t intervene soon, things would only get worse and Clara could be in danger.

Brad and Gray were in their room still trying to get out of the hangover from the previous night downing recovering potions. Knowing how expensive one of them was, they were probably swimming in money if they had the privilege to use them as hangover medicines. Thinking about how much they exploited Lua I found myself boiling from anger. Lua decided to do the talk in my stead as I hung outside the door.

“We have an important rescue mission and we have to leave as soon as possible”

“How bad is it?” Brad asked while downing another potion

“Really bad”

“Ok let’s move” he grabbed his Axe from the rack and threw the knives holsters to Gray who was still laying on his bed “Are you ready Rei? did you get some rest?”

“Yes, I’m as good as new, Captain” Brad patted my shoulders as he walked down.

The two of them had fresh mud on their boots. They probably trained in the backyard first thing in the morning. How strange would it be to spar while drunk?

“We had no carriages left, you will have to work with these” Roxy was waiting for us outside.

Two Feather Drakes were drinking from a big bowl. Reins were placed in their mouths and saddles were mounted on their backs.

“They’re quicker without a wagon anyway so it should get you there quicker”

“Do we have to ride them?” I asked. I didn’t have memories to tell if I ever rode a horse in my previous life but it wouldn’t have mattered either way.

“Gray and I can ride them, Lua can come with me and Rei can hop on the other” Brad easily mounted the Drake and helped Lua get on it. Before leaving she glanced at me telling me to calm down.

Gray didn’t help me on the Drake and galloped on the streets as soon as I sat on the saddle. I had to grab his waist in order to not fall.

“Watch your hands Keke”

We traveled, the sky over us got darker the more we distanced ourselves from Lyria. The stars were shining brightly leading the way. In a matter of hours, we were back to Corola Village. Bovurs and villagers alike were already sleeping and didn’t notice our coming. I tied the Feather Drake to a fence next to his friend and followed the Unit into the forest.

The sight wasn’t nostalgic at all. I didn’t want to see that place anymore after the fight with the King and yet there I was. Only the breaking of sticks and crunching of leaves echoed through the trees. A few small eyes of wild animals watched us before running away in the bushes.

“Get ready for battle” Brad ordered as we got to the hut.

The camp was the same as we left it. We entered the central dwelling for the first time. The smell of decomposing Bovurs permeated the place and made me gag. Pieces of meat and bones were scattered throughout the room and blood was spilled on the curtains. A primitive bed made of straws and branches was shoved to the side revealing a stone staircase leading underground.

“Lighting” Brad spoke and Lua’s staff turned on with a small white orb of light.

We descended into the unknown, Brad leading and I was last in line. This could be the best place to act unnoticed and silence the two in some way. I began browsing various scenarios. The white light was replaced by a natural one coming from lit torches on the structure walls.

I brushed my hand on the stone. It was smooth and processed. Goblins didn’t have that kind of need nor the skills to build something like this. If they found a cave they just filled it with random stuff to make housing. This was man-made.

On the floor, a broken golden rod shined. The other half of Clara’s staff. I picked it up before the other noticed and shoved it under my gilet. Brad kept walking and halted the Unit at a corner. Two Warriors were roaming on the other side, a Plain and a Mountain Goblin were patrolling together. Their movements were oddly slow.

“All yours Rookie”

After Brad gave me the all-clear I dashed into the hallway on the right and attracted the Goblin's attention. After letting out the same war cry they charged at me, weapon in hand. The walls were too close for me to slash a wide area so I opted for close-range stabs. I parried the first shortsword slash deflecting the blade on the pavement, at the same time I extended the tip of my sword towards the other Warrior which quickly blocked the stab using its hand-axe as a shield. I continued pouring strength into the stab and managed to push the Goblin to the wall, stunning it. I saw the reflection of the other Warrior behind my back on the blade and turned around blocking the attack and trapping the Goblin’s weapon in my cross-guard. Turned again bringing the Warrior with me and launched it too into the wall, over its ally. With both out of cover, I connected a quick stab and pierced through their bellies, right under the scrap armor. Still combative, the monster in front freed its shortsword and landed a shallow slash on my cheek before taking his last breath.

“All clear” the rest of the Unit followed.

“You got better in such a short time, grats” Brad wanted a High-five but I ignored him and kept walking “ok…”

Exploring the place we ended up fighting many Goblins that just raised in numbers at every fight. I became more and more familiar with these monster’s movements and I could now fight 3 alone without any problems. I had to adapt to the small hallways and sometimes got hit because of my blade bouncing off the stone. Lua healed us without rest in between battles.

“How many do you think there are?” I asked as we took a small break

“We have fought around fifty since we got here” Gray was counting the loot. He stole some knives from the bodies and added them to his collection.

“We’re managing pretty well for now. But we need to save energies in case the King is also down there”

The ceiling was too low for him to freely roam around and the hallways too cramped for his big build. It was almost impossible for the monster to be here but the Goblins still worked together to eliminate the intruders. Clara was nowhere to be found and I already got lost in this maze underground, which way did we come from? I tried to draw a map before, but for some reason, the way back was different from what I had jotted down. We didn’t bring any rations with us so if the Goblins didn’t kill us before that we would have starved to death.

“Let’s keep going” Brad got up “I have a feeling we’re almost there”

I would have liked to have such confidence. Lua could barely stand on her feet and I had to help her walk around. She had almost depleted her mana for the day. Without her spells death was one step closer.

After turning left and right for what felt like an hour we finally got to the first room. Signs of battle could be seen everywhere. Broken masks, bone weapons, and a bunch of Warrior’s corpses lying around. A man against a wall had his hand on his chest, a spear stuck out of his armor. Lua got closer trying to help but we were too late. A Brooch laid on the stone floor. Suddenly, grunting and clanging of swords came from the hallway in front of us. Around thirty Goblin Warriors entered and locked eyes on us.

“We can’t take them all together” Brad shouted, cutting in half the first Goblin that jumped at him “We have to split” he then pointed at the hallways on the side and ran with Gray to one of the two.

Lua and I went for the other one. The whole pack of Goblins started following us instead of splitting like we just did. Lua couldn’t run that fast and the Goblins were quickly catching onto us. A memory of me and a girl running from guards popped into my head.

“This is just to save both of us” I screamed as I put my arm around Lua’s chest and lifted her on my shoulder “Please bear with it”

I dashed full speed ahead of me widening the distance between the raging pack and us. Turnt right at the first intersection and saw a door on the side. I burst through and closed it behind me using the closest thing I could find to block it. I caught a glimpse of our pursuers through the cracks of the door. Some of the Goblins in front crashed into the wall pushed by the ones behind them and got killed by the size of the pack. In that short moment, the mass of monsters clashed and weapons stabbed their allies in the rush. The pack continued the chase past the door leaving a bunch of dead Warriors behind. Good thing they were stupid enough to kill themselves and help us lower their numbers.

“You can let me down now” I forgot Lua was still on my shoulder.

She lit up the room that was in complete darkness. We found out we were in a prison. Iron bars came down from the ceiling creating a line of cells. Skeletons and corpses of various monsters dwelled in each compartment. Goblins, Kobold, Orcs, the species dead there were countless. One thing they all had in common was a black collar around their neck. Checking one of Kobold's skeletons I could see a magic circle drawn on the leather.

“This is cruel” Lua couldn’t stand what she was seeing.

In the next cells, human skeletons and corpses of different mercenaries were tied to wooden beds. Even some of those had collars strapped on. Now that I thought about it, even the Warriors we had fought with had one of those hidden under the mask.

“Someone was experimenting on them” I concluded “Mind control seems to be the case”

That explained why the Goblins worked together but didn’t seem to care about each other. In one of the books I read, mind control was one of the few banned types of spells in the Kingdom. Since the magic circle had been drawn by hand, the person responsible for all of this couldn’t cast it. This made an eventual battle much easier.

Someone coughed from one of the cells. I ran towards the sound and found a lady chained to the wall, her clothes ripped and blood on her arms.

“Clara! Can you hear me?” I shouted as I broke the lock of the cell with my sword.

“Honey, is that you?” she slowly raised her head. She couldn’t speak properly.

“Oh Gods, what have they done to you?”

Lua rushed in and cast her last healing spell on Clara. We helped her down and Lua offered her cloak to cover her. She was trembling, we had arrived just in time.

“Roxy sent us to rescue you Unit, you’re safe for now” Lua explained the situation.

“T-They caught us off guard...M-my Unit, where are they?” she looked up in tears.

“You’re the first one we found still alive”

“Oh no” Clara was the only one without a collar on.

Someone had to be down here with us. Someone capable of bringing numerous monsters at their feet. We got out of that prison, Lua was carrying Clara with her. Being the only one able to fight, I became the Vanguard. The pack of Goblins that were chasing us was gone but I decided to keep my distance from the girls to avoid any unnecessary involvement.

Some Warriors were still roaming around away from the others. Using some rocks as decoys I engaged in battle cutting the neck of one of the three. Its head flew and the black collar on its neck snapped. I kicked the rest of the body against another Goblin to buy time and fight the closest Warrior. It was quicker than the ones I had fought previously but I still blocked the slashes of its sword. A spear flew over my head aimed at Clara and Lua, I deviated its course using my arm, the edge cut my flesh and my head spun. It was poisoned. The warrior behind had used the weapon of its dead comrade to create an opening. This wasn’t the right time to show me how good Goblin pack-tactics were. The seconds the monster bought its ally were enough to close distance and stab my abdomen. Snapping out of the dizziness I lowered my sword just enough to break the Goblins sword before it pierced too far into my body. I let out a mild scream and cursed the one who gave birth to that monster.

Out of anger, I arched my blade from above cutting the small green body vertically in half, and lost grip of my sword after it bounced on the ceiling. I could sense the remaining Warrior smile under its mask as he charged at me. It aimed a stab at my heart. Moving as fast as I could I grip the blade with my left hand before it hit my body. Blood dripped on the ground from the wound. Not letting go of this golden chance I pulled the weapon towards me forcefully closing distance with the Goblin and punched him as hard as I could on its mask. The might of it made it release the sword from its hands.

I flipped the weapon in my bloodied hands and stuck it in between its eyes, breaking the mask while doing so. The body twitched before falling on the other corpse. I didn’t have time to get the necklaces and went to recover my sword from the ground. I looked at Lua with a smile telling her not to worry and used some bandages I had on me to wrap my hand and waist.

“Still better than nothing” I could still go.

We had to get out of there somehow. I could worry about my wounds when everything ended.

We started walking again, our pace was getting slower. Goblins weren’t around anymore and no sign of other monsters or humans could be seen in the hallways. The light of the torches and the company of the two behind kept me from going insane in that maze.

Without even realizing it we found ourselves back in the room where we split. Fortunately for us, the pack was gone. Clara saw the corpse of the mercenary in the room and fell on her knees crying.

“I shouldn’t have come here” what she was feeling at that moment was the same as I felt the first time fighting a Warrior.

When you face death from so close you can’t get out unscathed. It leaves in you a constant reminder that you could die any moment soon and that fear blocks everything in your body. I was still ages away from getting used to it.

“I’m glad you’re okay Rookie” Brad came from the opposite hallway, green blood dripping from his axe.

“We got back alive somehow” he noticed my bandages. I felt like he was holding back from smirking.

“Keke, did you rescue Clara already?” Gray appeared behind Brad juggling his knives.

“Lua, get behind me” I shouted as I pointed the blade towards the two.

“Have you gone crazy in this place? We’re your comrades” Brad tried to get closer.

“What are you doing, Rei” Lua probably thought I was trying to get revenge for her “You can’t get yourself hurt more than you already are!”

“We never told them we had to rescue Clara” even if they saw her with us, the cloak and her conditions made her hardly recognizable.

Lua didn’t get what I was trying to say.

“Gods damn it Gray” Brad punched the man behind his head “Sometimes I ask myself if your parents dropped you when you were a kid”

“Sorry Captain Keke, he would have figured it out anyway. I just saved us time”

“Working with you is such a pain! I want Magnus back” Brad sighed and leaned on his axe “It pains me to say this Rookie, but your little adventure ends here. You made the Boss angry”

“What are you talking about? What did you do to Clara?” I was ready to fight.

The room was filled with a sweet aroma I had experienced already. My sword fell off my hands and my arms got heavy, my eyes started closing against my will.

“They just did what I asked them to do, Honey” I could hear Clara’s voice behind my back “They just had to bring you here somehow but it seems fate helped me out this time”

“Man, you’re one lively bastard” Brad scratched his chin “We planned to kill you and take Lua using the Goblin King but you somehow managed to drive him away...You surprised even the ‘Man-eater’”

“I told you already to not call me that”

My legs gave up, I managed to turn around while I was falling, only to see Clara with a dagger pointed at Lua’s neck. She was in her best shape and her clothes were back to new.

“An illusion, even the maze was part of it. This was all part of a trap” words didn’t come out of my mouth.

“I lost one of my creations thanks to you” Clara continued her speech “But my love for you is so much that I decided to forgive you Honey. Now that you’re under my control we will spend some time together” she licked her lips.

Brad lifted my arms and began dragging me on the floor following Clara. Gray had chained up Lua in the meantime. She had to be terrorized in this situation and I couldn’t do much to help her. At that moment all I could think of was the feeling of uselessness and grief that was building in my heart. My head hit a rock on the ground and I passed out.

Hey! Ecspo here. Hope you liked this chapter!

Since this is my first serious work and also my first work in English I would very much appreciate any tips, critiques, comments of any kind. Tell me if the chapters are too long, short, or whatever, it would mean a lot to me.