Chapter 24:

Chapter 24 Kaka's Humble Shelter

Hermit's Diary

With Kaka's guidance, we helped him to tend his injured leg, our tiny hands working with surprising dexterity. Kaka's face contorted with pain as he straightened his broken leg, but he bore the agony without a single whimper. He knew that his survival and the safety of the remaining hatchlings depended on his ability to move. With sheer willpower, he worked swiftly to wrap his leg with vines around his injured limb using sticks as a split cast.

We watched in awe as Kaka deftly placed the sticks on either side of his leg, securing them with tightly wound vines. His goblin ingenuity shone through as he turned his broken limb into a functional walking stick. It was a result of years of tending to his own brutal injuries received from constant beating by the evil goblins.

Once the cast was securely in place, Kaka tested it gingerly, putting weight on the newly created support. A grimace of pain crossed his face, but he managed to stand upright, his stature restored to its former height. 

Kaka turned to us, his voice filled with gratitude, "Well done, little gobs. Now, we must make our way back to camp before dark time. Stick close, watch for danger, and remember what I've taught you about survival. Together, we can brave this unforgiving realm."

As we made our way through the treacherous tall grass, each step was fraught with danger, and our tiny goblin hearts raced with fear. The looming shadows and rustling leaves seemed to hide lurking threats, but we pressed on, guided by Kaka.

Our tiny feet scuttled along the soft ground, the occasional twigs and leaves crunching beneath us. Kaka, despite his injuries, set a brisk pace, and we followed closely, the memory of the horrific pig-wolf attack still fresh in our minds.

As we slinked behind Kaka, our feet dragging and bodies drooping in exhaustion, he spoke to us in a hushed tone, his goblin wisdom shining through.

"Listen up, little gobs," he rasped, his voice filled with pain, "We may be small, but we're tough as the gnarliest roots in the forest. See this arm?" He lifted what was left of his ripped-off mangled arm, "Lost it today, but it'll grow back soon. Goblins heal fast, you remember that. Never lose hope even when you lose a limb or two."

We nodded vigorously, our eyes wide with awe and respect for our brave mentor.

"But," Kaka continued, his tone somber, "our bodies need fuel to mend. We goblins, we heal fast, but we need food to fuel our recovery. We can munch on nearly anything, from the foulest dung to the bark of trees, and even the grass beneath our feet can fill our bellies. Remember, food is life. And for tiny gobs like you all, who are still growing, food will be in constant need."

The words hung in the air like a solemn chant, a reminder that survival meant embracing the most repugnant of sustenance. 

Despite his battered and broken body, Kaka pushed forward, his willpower serving as a beacon of hope for the remaining hatchlings. Each step was a struggle for him, his broken leg trembling under the strain of his weight, and his missing arm leaving him lopsided and unbalanced. His once meaty ears now hung in tattered shreds, mementos of the thorny bush that had ensnared him.

Kaka's body was a canvas of cuts and lacerations, his naked form smeared with the evidence of his torment. Blood trickled from his wounds, creating a gruesome trail behind him. Every breath he took seemed to carry a measure of pain, and his goblin face had been reduced to that of a pitiable and frail creature.

His broken leg, transformed into a makeshift crutch, bore his weight, but with each step, it was clear that the pain was excruciating. His one remaining arm trembled as he used it to support himself, his missing limb a stark reminder of the brutal battle with the pig wolf.

Despite his condition, he refused to let his hatchlings down. He knew that our survival depended on his leadership, and he was determined to see us safely back to the goblin camp. With each labored step, he pushed forward, his blurred vision scanning the surroundings for any signs of danger.

With every step, Kaka's body cried out in agony, and beads of sweat mixed with dirt and blood trickled down his contorted face. He looked like he was about to pass out at any moment. Yet, he didn't falter.

Each hatchling carried its own injuries and scars from the recent tragedy, but we pressed on, bolstered by the consuming fear that burned within us.

"Gob... my foot... hurts. So tired," one hatchling whimpered, clutching at a scraped knee.

"Me too! I hurt, but Kaka said to keep going," another hatchling yelped, clutching his arm in pain.

Kaka, his voice strained, urged us forward, "Almost... back... to camp. Stay... close... little gobs."

"Kaka strong," a hatchling muttered to himself as if to reassure the rest of us.

I nodded, my injuries throbbing.

 "Kaka said we must be strong, little gobs. We must keep going."

A hatchling with a bruised face sniffled, "But it's so scary, and we're so hurt. Big ouchies hurt so much."

I tried to sound brave, "We're goblins! We're tough, just like Kaka. We can do it."

The hatchling with the scraped back groaned, "My back feels like it's on fire! Ouwies! Ouchies!"

"My head's splitting open! Big ouchie hurts!" cried the one with the bleeding face.

Hours passed, and the tall grass grew darker as the sun dipped below the horizon. Our tiny goblin legs ached, and our bellies rumbled with hunger, but we pressed on. The distant sounds of the goblin camp became faintly audible, giving us hope.

The sun hung low and pale below the sky as we limped back to the gates of our goblin camp, our tiny legs weary, and our bellies empty, gnawing with the hunger of a thousand beasts. Kaka, with his last shred of strength, pleaded for our passage.

 "Master goblins, please! Open the way! Passage we beg!"

With a creak like the groaning of an ancient tree, the gates creaked open, revealing the same two guards who had earlier mocked us with their sinister laughter. The first guard, his grin stretching from ear to pointed ear, slapped his comrade on the back in triumph.

 "Ghegheghe! I've won the bet, you idiot, and your dinner is mine! Ghegheghe!"

 With sadistic pleasure, he turned his attention to Kaka, who cowered beneath their menacing gaze, his body battered and bruised, a mere shadow of his former goblin form.

"What's the matter, Kaka?" he taunted, his voice dripping with malice, "There's less of you and your hatchlings? Ghegehege! Did you feed them to monsters to get away? Ghegehe!"

 The loser of the bet, fueled by anger and humiliation, spat on Kaka, his scornful rage flaming. He brandished his spear menacingly, the deadly tip hovering dangerously close to Kaka's trembling head.

 "You shit! You miserable, stinking slave! My dinner's gone because of you! Damn, slave! I lost a bet because of you!" he roared, his face contorted with fury. 

Kaka, his voice quivering with fear and despair, offered a feeble explanation. 

"I am terribly sorry, Master Goblin, we were attacked by a pig-wolf. It slaughtered most of the hatchlings, poor, poor hatchlings. The sorrow, the horror... it was... yes, it was!"

But the loser of the bet raised his spear, its cruel point mere inches from Kaka's brow, his features twisted into a wicked snarl.

 "I care not for you or your stinking shit hatchlings! You've robbed me of my feast, and you will pay with blood! You trash!"

But the guard who had won the wager intervened, saving Kaka from the brink of death. He grasped the spear inches away from shattering Kaka's skull and continued to indulge in the perverse game.

"What are you doing, fool? Don't kill the stinking slave just yet! Let's make another bet! I say he keels over the night with these injuries! I bet my next morsel!" He chortled, his eyes glinting with greed.

The third guard joined in the wicked mirth, his laughter a sinister echo of the others.

 "Gheghe! You're right, remove the spear! I say he's got a few days left in him! I bet my dinner!"

The one who lost the bet growled, "The hell with these bets, I pass!"

With a brutal kick to the butt that sent Kaka sprawling, the guards signaled us to move along.

"Get lost you filth-eating scums! Before I eat your plump hatchlings for a snack! Get lost you shits!"

 Kaka, bloodied and battered, dragged himself away, each painful step a testament to his fading will. We followed him, our spirits crushed by the grim fate that awaited us in the heart of the goblin camp, a place where cruelty thrived, and compassion had no home.

As Kaka slouched and limped towards his shabby stick tent, we clung to him like desperate vines, our tiny forms offering little help in supporting his battered frame. Every step he took was a painful testament to his injuries and torment.

"Kaka, Kaka," we whimpered, our voices trembling with fear and sorrow, "You gotta keep holding on, Kaka! We need you! We're scared without you! Don't die! Who will feed us? Who will show us the way? Kaka! Please! Do not leave us!"

Kaka, his breath labored and ragged, managed a weak smile as he whispered, "Don't worry, little gobs. Kaka's still here. We'll... get through this."

Tears welled up in our tiny goblin eyes as we clung to Kaka, unwilling to let go. Our voices blended in a clamor of sorrow and desperation as we continued to encourage him, knowing that our frail words were all we had to offer in this dire moment.

"Please, Kaka, don't leave us," we pleaded, our words quivering with the intensity of our emotions, "We love you, Kaka! You're our family! You are our Mumma and Dada!"

Kaka's eyes, clouded with pain, met ours, and he whispered with all the strength he could muster, "I love you too, my little gobs. We'll make it through this darkness..."

The moment Kaka crossed the entry of his humble shelter, he collapsed onto the ground, his face burying itself in the dirt. His body, battered and broken, had reached its limits, and his strength gave out. 

Fortunately, Kaka had managed to fill his belly with precious morsels of food before our return, providing him with a little of the fuel necessary for his recovery. Our empty bellies rumbled with hunger, the growling sounds echoing loudly within the confines of the tent.

We gathered around him, our hearts heavy with concern and the gnawing emptiness in our bellies.

"Kaka, noooo!" we wailed in unison, our tiny voices quivering with fear and desperation.

 "Don't go, Kaka! Please, stay with us! We need you! Get up! You must get up! Do not fall asleep like the lost gobbies did! We need you!"