Chapter 1:

Signs of Souls Seperating

Me and The Hero Parted Ways

"Blaargh!" I finally splurged out all my stomach bile just a few steps away from the Hugoblin whose neck I just snapped. I had been doing well to endure up to this point.

I had to quickly take down the ground forces with hand-to-hand combat after Parker had immobilized them with an electricity spell. I had no choice but to discard the sword I found as I would’ve been electrocuted in the crossfire otherwise. The enchantment protection did not include my weapon.

We were so close to the Croaked Witch's embryo that we could not risk carrying any of our sacred weaponry as the beast would detect it. We had no choice but to raid this den with only basic armor and weaponry.

"Oh God! It stinks here! This might be the only reason why I'm willing to side with you on the whole bury the bodies thing because I don't think I could hold it together if we burnt them." Parker chimed in with a muffled voice as he covered his mouth and nose with his empty hand.

His other hand was preoccupied with channeling all his energy to his trusted staff to keep the barrier stable. We didn't want any of these little hellspawns escaping.

"Goblin bodies decompose fast to begin with…. so this was bound to happen… with a human ingredient mixed in. Doesn't help that they have been coating themselves with the witch’s' afterbirth to amplify their magic." I added while coughing.

"Syal stay focused!" Parker shouted as he spotted the archers at the summit of the trees charging their hexed bows with their sights set on me.

As they released their grip, their hex appeared on my forehead marking me for death with their arrows following suit too fast for the eyes to follow. They were cutting through the wind with their speed deafening us as they broke the sound barrier effortlessly.

"Duck!" Parker screamed as he removed his arm from his mouth, flicking his index and middle fingers upwards.

The earth had followed his command creating a thick dirt wall to shield me from this rain of death. The only reason this wall protected me in time was because the sub-spells Parker imbued within the barrier caused attacks by the enemy to become gradually slower overtime.

The fact that the arrow was still able to break the sound barrier despite this meant that his stamina was wearing thin.

I quickly launched myself off the ground into a sprint as I bit into my thumb enough for it to spew blood. I used this blood to erase the hex from my forehead.

Realizing I was in their line of sight once more, the Hugoblins once more readied their aim. I refused to give them the chance this time, however.

Before they could release their arrows, I held up my other arm in their direction, opening the scaled, green reptilian eye that was etched deep into my palm.

"Obey the gaze of a God once slain!"

As I recited, the pupil of the eye dilated causing a blinding green hue to be emitted from the eye.

This caused a reaction in the trees. The goblins caught in the crosshairs of this hue had their bodies metamorphosed into vile abominations of pus and scales with greenish blood pouring out of their eyes.

This only came off as a side effect as the horror came from the actions of the goblins. They had begun violently attacking their allies by assaulting them with arrows, bashing their skulls in with whatever they could find with some even mounting the other to tear the flesh off their faces with their fangs.

The unity found in the trees devolved into a bloodbath with the remainder of the enemy forces tearing each other apart.

“That seems to have done it. Oq and Rail should have made it into the den by now and cornered the ones hiding inside. I think you can release the barrier no-” my words were cut short by the sound of a large body crashing into the ground.

“Parker!” I had turned around only to realize he had collapsed to the ground with foam running from his mouth. He was having a seizure.

“He’s overdosing, fuck! Magic enhancing or not, I fucking new turning a blind eye to his afterbirth use was a bad idea! The fact that the barrier prevented the fumes the Hugs were emitting from escaping must’ve accelerated the reaction somehow. Shit! Shit! What should I do?!” I said in a frantic voice after realizing what had taken place.

You’d be in that state of mind if it was your drug addict of a party medic in this state. I had begun trying to clear his airway but I was in too much of a panic to do it properly.

One of the Hugoblins that had survived the bloodbath had started making its way towards us. Its remaining left arm had been badly mangled with bones sticking out from the areas of torn skin and exposed muscle. A piece of its head was also missing with bits of mushed out brain being exposed as well. Despite the nerve damage affecting its ability to properly walk, it still slowly made its way towards us dragging its heavily stabbed feet across the dirt.

I heard its approach but I was too busy attempting to save my friend’s life. When I had no choice but to fully acknowledge its presence, it was standing directly above me.

After stretching out its severely damaged hand, the beast said brazenly:

“Anything to severe the fallen king.”

This was followed by a downpour of white light extending from the Hobgoblin's arm.

As the light made contact with us, I had realized that Parker had begun calming down. I had also felt my own panic coming to a close.

“A mood stabilizing enchantment? This one must be their healer! But why-” I had turned to face the beast in my distress.

Its eyes resembled the one in my palm and its skin was still riddled with pus and scales. It was still under the effect of the spell.

“No way. It could do that?”

Up until that point, I had only used Domon’s eye to drive weaker minded enemies into mass hysteria, so I had never imagined its hypnosis could be used for something like this.

The beast took a seat beside us and had started tending to Parker’s wounds. It must’ve been responding to my concern for him. Despite its horrific injuries and the putrid scent of the witch afterbirth its body was emitting, it felt strangely human to me in that moment.

The moment was only bittered by the fact that this thing and its tribe only came to possess the human gene in the first place was most likely because they had been capturing girls from the nearby village to create a breeding form. These poor women would come to give birth to hybrids with humanoid physique, higher intelligence, higher life expectancy and higher base affinity for magic among other things.

Namely Hugoblins. A vile existence cursed by its own origins.

As I watched it nurse Parker, a loud crash could be heard coming from underground and that caused me to turn my attention towards the dugout opening in the center of the forest we resided in.

“As I thought. Oq and Rail finally cornered them!”

I rose to my feet once more dusting the dirt off my bloodstained orange doublet fitting with now damaged armor plates around my torso. My sights were set on the passage entrance.

Huglobin innards greeted me at the opening as they trailed all the way down to the passage.

One of the beast corpses was leaned up against the dirt walls. It sat there ripped in half from the waist with a look of terror and fear forever etched into its frame.

This one’s features led me to believe it had developed into something resembling a teenage boy. In some instances, it could have easily been passed off as a deformed youth that had painted himself green if it were spotted in certain crowds.

I spat in its pathetic face for good measure. I was just that repulsed by its existence. Perhaps, I also wanted to prove something to myself as well.

A bit further down the passage, I eventually found my answer.

“C’mon, just give it to us sis. I might not look it, but back when I was a young bud, I used to watch lots of lil’ ones just like yours. They fell asleep way faster in my hands than those orphan keepers, I’m telling you!”

“N-No! I-I just can’t! See….. I lost it all because of these things! My Pa, Ma, my two brothers and my grandma, they’re all gone! S-So in a sense, this is the only family I have left! Please, I’m begging you, try to understand!”

“Oh come on! You can’t possibly believe that can you? I mean just look at it!”

At the end of the passage, in the center of the hideout, there were only three women amongst a sea of green corpses . Two of which, covered from head to toe in blood and stood towering before a much smaller figure delicately caressing a small piece of life protectively close to her bosom.

One of the standing women had bent herself slightly to stretch out her hand, gesturing to the young lady in the tattered rags with shattered chains still dangling by her wrists and ankle. This standing woman, Oq, wanted her to hand over the baby.

The other woman that stood a bit shorter by Oq’s side, Railana, did not add a word to the conversation. Her face, however, with red striped markings resting by the edges of its fairly brown-skinned frame, indicated impatience. Her bloodshot red eyes had a slight twitch to them as they stared at the young lady sitting.

“What’s…going on here?” I slowly interjected pretending to be oblivious even though I had gotten a rough idea from the bit of the conversation I overheard.

“Oh hey Syal! My mind just ran on you and Parker seeing as we thought you too would’ve been done by now. Good job holding them off while we handled business down here. Hey Rail, turns out we were the ones slacking off down here!”

The twitch in Rail’s eyes became even more evident.

“See how unfair you're making this for us Miss? Even though we went through all that trouble to rescue you. We actually got other business to take care of but it isn’t our style to leave any stone unturned, you know?”

“Then go tend to it then and stop tormenting us you heathen! KYAA!” she screamed by the end while shielding herself from what she perceived as an incoming assault.

“Woah! Let’s all calm down here for a sec!”

I quickly jumped in to grab Rail by the shoulder as she was about to charge at this woman in response to her defensive barking.

She shrugged off my hand and stepped away while hissing. Oquive just laughed as she observed us.

“You see what we're working with here,Syal? We’ve been at it with her for sometime now and she refuses to see things from our point of view. Rail had even left us at one point to scan the rest of the cave for remaining forces.”

“Yeah, I bet you have. But at the same time…” I couldn’t complete my rebuttal as my eyes started trailing off towards the life in the young girl’s arms.

The infant, still asleep and oblivious towards its predicament, had gotten through to my forcibly thick skin. It could’ve possibly been because it had just been born, but it noticeably had not a single physical Hugloblin characteristic. Besides being green.

“Are you really sure I’m the one being inconsiderate?” The young lady had begun barking once more as I postponed my rebuttal.

“I’m sure you all are well aware of my situation...” she said as she lifted her rags to show her stomach.

Right beneath her bellybutton, there was a peculiar symbol that seemed to be engraved into her skin permanently by a sharpened blade of some sort. It was another hex.

My side eye had caught Rail being really disturbed at the sight with her instinctively reaching for the scar by her neck in response. Her face now reflected insane amounts of distress as she quickly walked away from the scene. I had begun cringing as well.

Whereas the one placed on my forehead earlier bore the shadow’s symbol of death, a hanged man, this symbol was a bit more unrecognizable to us. It was plainly a triangle within a circle pointing downwards.

“And if you aren’t, let me enlighten you.” she continued on with her voice cracking faintly.

“When these things first……h-had their way with me, they branded me with this marking that the other girls made sure to explain to me before they outlived their usefulness. With this, they have permanently marked me as their territory! Meaning... If I were to be well enough to try for-”

“That’s enough. We understand.” I interjected as she broke down into tears in the middle of her explanation.

Just as I said so, Oquive had rushed to her side to console her.

“I’m so sorry.” she whispered in the gentlest tone her voice could allow for as she hugged her.

By this point, I was already on the verge of tears myself. “Just how fucking twisted...” I myself whispered as I gripped my fist tight enough for my nails to tear through my skin.

“Syalmm, go see how Bailana is holding up. Seeing that horrific scar must’ve reopened old wounds for her as well.”

“Y-Yeah. Got it.” I agreed with her suggestion because I was thinking of doing that before she brought it up. I probably also just wanted to kind of separate myself from this heavy situation if even just for a moment.

Just as I was a few steps away from the passage, I heard it:

“Thank you for confirming with me that you’ve devolved into an abomination yourself.”

This was followed by a loud snapping sound. Oquive had snapped/wrung the girl’s neck as she hugged her.

“Why would you...” the shock had taken the wind out of my lungs and the strength out of my legs as I just fell to my knees in utter defeat.

The sound of loud cries from the before silent newborn had spoken in my place. It illuminated the dimly lit cavern with sound.

“There, there.” Oquive had snatched it from the tight grip of its lifeless mother and was gently ushering it as she walked towards the source of light in the cavern.

“Not to worry lil' guy, I get it. I know how hard it is to say goodbye to your mom way sooner than scheduled. So, in order to make up for this...”

“Oquive! Stop! Please!”

Looking back at it, she must’ve used the will of the fairies on me at some point to weaken me so I wouldn’t hinder her at that moment.

“I sent her on ahead of you so you wouldn’t get lonely as you waited.” she closed off as she dropped the newborn into the fire basket at one of the corners of the cavern.