Chapter 2:

Chapter 02 A Dark Cave

Hermit's Diary

I couldn't see much, but the tiny spark of hope that ignited within me spurred me to redouble my efforts, ignoring the foul-smelling sludge that clung to my skin. 

 Each strike against the confining walls sent shivers of pain through my arms and fingers, but I couldn't afford to stop. I pounded, clawed, nibbled, and scraped at the tight walls. The crack widened gradually, crumbling with tiny pieces allowing more light to filter in, and I pecked at it with every ounce of strength I could muster.

As I continued to claw at the wall of the putrid sphere, the crack widened, and more light filtered in. With renewed determination, I pushed myself harder, straining against the foul-smelling muck that held me captive. I was covered from head to toe in a vile mixture of feces and slime. The smell was overwhelming, and I retched as I tried to wipe the filth from my face.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity of struggle, the wall gave way with a loud, satisfying crack. I pushed my head out of the sphere, gasping for breath and covered in vile, slimy muck. My surroundings were dimly lit, and my vision was blurred from the ordeal, but I could make out the rough outlines of a dank and gloomy cave. The air was oppressively warm and steamy, causing me to break out in a sticky sweat, and the pungent scent of dampness and decay filled my nostrils. My surroundings came into focus, although dimly, as I squinted through the residue clinging to my face. 

What lay before me was a sight that sent shivers down my spine - a dank and gloomy cave, its walls glistening with moisture. The cave's only source of illumination came from the eerie, otherworldly glow of strange mushrooms that clung to the damp walls like feeble beacons in the oppressive darkness.

The air enveloping me was warm and suffused with steaminess, as though the very essence of the cave exhaled a breath of hot air. My body was slick with the remnants of the sphere's vile muck, and I shuddered in discomfort.

As I took a better look I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that I was standing inside an egg. I took another look around me, the sight before me was repulsive. Hundreds of cracked eggs were placed on a massive pile of feces. The eggs surrounding mine were cracked open, revealing the remnants of their previous occupants and the few intact eggs were moving as if something was about to burst out of them. It was as if I had been born in the midst of some grotesque hatchery. I did not count but it must been at least a hundred cracked eggs on this mountain of feces. 

As my senses further adjusted to the grim reality of this subterranean world, a disgusting sight unfolded before me. Flies, grotesquely oversized, buzzed through the humid air with an unsettling hum. They were almost as big as my head, their bloated bodies glistening with filth as they indulged in a repulsive feast, slurping from piles of feces that littered the cave floor.

The ground itself seemed to writhe and squirm with repulsive life, covered in a nightmarish carpet of maggots and wriggling larvae. The grotesque sight made my stomach churn.

I took a deep breath to rid my lungs of the putrid stench. The air was heavy with vapor, and the cave walls glistened with moisture. The air outside the egg was still reeking but it was much better than breathing filthy air coming out of my rotten egg. 

As I struggled to my feet, my body felt weak and unsteady, as if I had just emerged from a long slumber. The voices I had heard earlier were now more distinct, and I realized they were coming from further within the cave.

Summoning every ounce of strength, I pushed against the weakened eggshell wall with all my might. Suddenly, with a deafening splintering sound, the shell gave way. I was thrust out of my putrid egg, sliding down the pile of feces until I hit a hard surface of the ground.

I lay there in a puddle of excrement leaking from the pile of hatchery, gasping for breath, covered in filth, and feeling utterly disoriented. As my vision adjusted to the dim light, I realized I was in some kind of cavernous chamber. The walls were rough-hewn rock, and the air, while still unpleasant, was an improvement over the foul stench of the egg.

My body ached, and my limbs were heavy, but I managed to sit up and take in my surroundings. I was a weak hatchling that just came out of his egg.

As my senses slowly returned, I realized something else had changed. I felt different as if my very essence had undergone a transformation. 

My mind raced with questions, "What had happened? Where was I? And who was I now?"

 The name "Hermit" echoed in my thoughts, but it held no meaning, no connection to the person I used to be. The memories of my previous life were hazy, almost like a distant dream. All that remained clear was my new name, Hermit, and the knowledge that I was now something entirely different from what I once was.

My body felt unfamiliar. I looked down at myself and realized that I was not human anymore. I had transformed into a small creature with rough, green skin and big ears. It was a bizarre and disturbing sight. I had morphed into a small, grotesque creature, a goblin hatchling fresh out of its egg.

My skin, a sickly shade of mottled green, felt rough to the touch, covered in tiny, irregular bumps that resembled the texture of a reptile's skin. It glistened with a thin layer of slime, giving me an unsettling sheen as if I had just crawled out of the slimy ooze. 

My skin had the texture of a weathered tree bark, a sickly shade of green that seemed to blend with the dismal surroundings. It felt alien against my previous human flesh, each inch of my new form tingling with an otherworldly sensation.

The most striking feature, though, was my oversized ears. They protruded from the sides of my head, comically large in comparison to the rest of my diminutive body. These massive appendages twitched involuntarily, picking up faint echoes of sounds in the dank cave. Veins and wrinkles etched across their surface, evidence of my premature existence.

My limbs were spindly and feeble, barely able to support my own weight. Each finger ends in a tiny claw-like nail, suitable for gripping onto twigs or bits of debris in our dank and dismal world. My tiny, clawed fingers twitched with uncertainty, as if they too were adjusting to their newfound existence. My knees were knobbly, and my feet were equipped with webbed toes with soft pads, remnants of an evolutionary adaptation from a life lived in dark, watery crevices. My legs were short and wobbly, making each step I took an awkward, unsteady venture.

My eyes, disproportionately large compared to the rest of my minuscule body, were a piercing shade of yellow, each iris swirling with an interesting, unnatural pattern. My bulbous, watery eyes, filled with a strange mix of fear and curiosity, peered out from under heavy, wrinkled eyelids. They darted about, taking in the grim surroundings with an uncanny alertness.

My snout, short and stubby, twitched involuntarily in response to the putrid stench that saturated the air. My nose, a mere squat bump appendage on my snout, struggled to adapt to the overwhelming odor that hung heavy in the atmosphere. With each breath, my nostrils burned, the acrid scent overwhelming my sense of smell, as the foul stench of decay and filth enveloped every crevice of the cave.

My mouth was filled with small, puny jagged teeth that felt only good at munching and nibbling on the moss and decaying vegetation that littered our cavernous home. They were the tools of a scavenger, adapted to survive in a world where sustenance was scarce, and where even the most revolting morsels could mean the difference between life and death.

With each passing moment, my memories of my previous life grew fainter, replaced by a growing understanding of my current existence. I was no longer Shota but Hermit, a creature of this strange and primal world - a Goblin.

The cavern extended beyond the pile of eggs, and I cautiously gazed further down the cave. The ground was uneven and covered in a layer of grime, among the filth I noticed movement. After a better look, I saw a large number of similar tiny green creatures squirming among the filth and maggots, we were not bigger than hatched chicks. 

They paid me no mind, their grotesque activities consuming their attention. The cavern echoed with the unsettling sounds of goblins clicking and chirping, a discordant cacophony that added to the nightmarish ambiance. Some of these revolting creatures were ceaselessly gnawing on bits of rotting vegetation, their puny teeth tearing into the decaying matter with a sickening squelch.

"Click-clack-chirp... Munch-munch-chirp..."

The pungent aroma of rotting plants filled the air, thick and cloying. It mingled with the scent of dampness and decay, creating a miasma that assaulted the senses.

"Chirp-chirp-click... Crunch-chirp..."

These goblins were wholly engrossed in their gruesome feasts, oblivious to the horrors that surrounded them. 

Elsewhere, a group of goblins simply scuttled about aimlessly, their tiny feet leaving trails of filth and decay in their wake. They communicated with each other through a series of clicks and chirps.

Amidst this panorama, a few hatchlings reveled in a repulsive feast of maggots. The sound of their twisted enjoyment was a symphony of squelching, as the wriggling larvae squirmed and writhed in their mouths like slimy noodles. The goblins slurped and sucked at the writhing mass, their clicks and chirps turning into a raucous melody of delight as they relished in the grotesque banquet.

One hatchling chirped with excitement, "Click-chirp-click! These maggots are tasty!"

Another hatchling clicked in agreement, "Chirp-click-click! Yes, they wriggle just right!"

The third hatchling clicked with enthusiasm, "Click-chirp-chirp! More maggots, more fun!"

And then there was one goblin who clutched a helpless fly in his trembling hand, its wings twitching in futile resistance. The goblin's wicked grin spread across his twisted face as he brought the hapless insect closer to his lips.

Goblin clicked and chirped with anticipation, "Click-click-chirp-chirp..."

With a twisted grin, he nibbled on the fly's head, the sickening crunch of exoskeleton and flesh. The sickening crunch that followed made my stomach churn with nausea. He chewed on the fly's big, bulbous eyes, their gooey contents oozing out like a grotesque delicacy. Flies eye tissue popped with a sickening squelch, like overripe fruit being crushed. The goblin's eyes rolled back in pleasure as he savored the grotesque flavor, his tongue darting out to lap up the gooey remnants.

Goblin clicked and chirped with gluttony, "Chirp-click-cliiiick..."