Chapter 26:

Chapter 26 Attempt To Seek Help

Hermit's Diary

Others nibbled at the grassroots that peeked out from beneath the dirt. A few goblins clung to the sticks, yanking the damp moss and squeezing it into their mouths to extract the precious liquid it held. With great effort, they tore off chunks of the moist moss and brought them back for the others to share. We sucked on the moss, extracting the precious moisture it held, and felt our parched throats quenching.

One less clever hatchling, named Squabble, scurried over to a corner and began digging in the moist dirt, yelping, "Look! Look! Dirt snacks!" he cried with a mouthful of mud, his face smeared brown. He scooped up another handful and offered it to his hungry companions.

Goober found a cluster of slimy slugs wriggling beneath a pile of leaves. With a disgusted expression, he picked up one and inspected it closely.

"Wiggly treats," he mumbled before tentatively nibbling on the squirming slug.

As we scour every nook and cranny. It didn't take long for one of us to discover a stash of half-rotten mushrooms, their caps covered in a slimy film. One goblin, his hunger blinding him to the dangers lurking in the decaying fungi, eagerly plucked a handful and shoved them into his mouth, his face contorting with initial delight.

"Mmm, food! Munchy munch!" he mumbled through a mouthful of mushrooms, his eyes widening in hopeful anticipation.

But as the foul taste and slimy texture assaulted his senses, his expression shifted from joy to sheer disgust. He gagged and retched, spewing out the half-chewed mushrooms like a fountain of misery.

"Blech! Nasty! Blech!" he sputtered, his face twisted in revulsion as he desperately tried to rid his mouth of the putrid aftertaste.

As the night deepened, a bone-chilling cold settled over us like a heavy shroud. We huddled together inside the tent on the cold, hard ground, our small bodies trembling from the cold, and our rapid breaths forming white vapor clouds in the frigid air.

Our desperate search for food had yielded little more than a few worms and a meager handful of moss. The gnawing hunger persisted in a relentless torment that seemed to grow stronger with every passing moment.

I glanced around at fellow hatchlings, their faces etched with pain and suffering. They pressed their limbs tightly against their shivering bodies, seeking any warmth they could find. But the cold was unrelenting, seeping into our very bones and chilling us to the core.

We abandoned our futile scavenging efforts and crowded around Kaka, hoping to draw some warmth from his larger frame. But to our dismay, Kaka's body was as cold as the surrounding night, offering no respite from the biting chill that threatened to consume us.

Our tiny fingers pinched and tugged at Kaka's hard skin in a desperate attempt to rouse him, but he remained unresponsive. His body lay still, almost lifeless, and his breaths were so shallow that they were barely noticeable.

Tears welled up in our eyes as we clung to him, our small voices filled with a mixture of sorrow and terror, "Kaka, wake up! Please, Kaka, wake up!" we whimpered, but our pleas fell on deaf ears, and Kaka remained unmoving.

With the biting cold and Kaka's once-warm body now as cold as stone, a heavy gloom descended upon us like a shroud. Our bellies grumbled with hunger, the relentless chill gnawed at our tiny forms, and we felt powerless in this cruel, unforgiving world.

One of the hatchlings, a scrawny goblin named Sniffle, couldn't hold back his tears any longer. His frail frame trembled as he wept softly, his pitiful sobs barely audible amidst the eerie stillness of the night.

Goober tried to comfort Sniffle. He placed a tiny hand on his fellow hatchling's shoulder and whispered soothingly, "It'll be alright, Sniffle. We'll find grub, and we'll warm up. Hang tight, little gob."

But his words did little to ease Sniffle's anguish, and the tears continued to flow from his watery eyes. The rest of us could only watch in sympathetic helplessness, our own spirits crushed by the unrelenting cold and pangs of hunger.

As we struggled to huddle together for warmth, it became painfully clear that our combined body heat was woefully insufficient. The relentless cold seeped through our skin, gnawing at our bones, and threatening to extinguish our fragile lives.

Unable to endure the frigid night any longer, I took desperate action. Digging into the ground with my bare hands, I created a shallow hole and nestled within it. With a trembling hand, I pulled a leaf I had found earlier over my shivering body and covered myself with dirt, leaving only a small gap for air.

Minutes passed, and the cold gradually began to lose its icy grip on my skin. The makeshift shelter provided a degree of respite, and I could feel warmth slowly returning to my tiny, shivering body. It was a meager shelter, but in those dire circumstances, it was a lifeline.

One by one, I heard the sounds of my fellow hatchlings following suit. They burrowed into the ground, seeking refuge from the cold that threatened to consume us all. The earth became our protector, shielding us from the frigid night and offering a glimmer of hope in the darkness.

Exhaustion overcame me, and my eyelids grew heavy. With the chill gradually fading and a semblance of warmth returning, I allowed myself to succumb to sleep. My tiny face pressed against the dirt, I drifted into a fitful slumber, hoping that the night's terrors would not claim us before dawn.

The tremors in the ground shook us awake from our fitful slumber. I reluctantly pried my eyes open, dirt still clinging to my face, and peered out from my earthen shelter. What I saw sent a shiver down my spine.

I watched in terrified silence as the goblin guard invaded our makeshift shelter, his brutish presence casting a dark shadow over us. He was a menacing figure, his eyes cold and heartless, and his actions filled with cruelty. The faint moonlight filtered through the makeshift roof, casting eerie shadows that danced around him.

The guard's footsteps sent tremors through the ground, rattling our fragile dirt shelters. My heart raced as I peered out from my hiding place, my eyes wide with fear. I witnessed the horrifying scene unfold before me.

The guard wasted no time in targeting Kaka, our frail protector who lay unconscious, battered, and bruised, a mere shell of his former self. With a merciless kick to Kaka's back, he rolled our defender over, revealing the extent of his injuries. Gripping Kaka's chest skin with his filthy, sharp-nailed fingers digging into Kaka's flesh, the guard hoisted him into the air with one hand. The guard used his free hand to mercilessly backhand the poor slave. Kaka hung limply, a pitiful sight, his body so weak that he remained unconscious even in the face of this brutal scene.

Kaka, barely conscious, endured the relentless assault. His battered body hung limply in the air, his skin pinched and torn by the goblin guard's cruel grip. Each backhanded blow to Kaka's face produced a whimper of pain, a pitiful testament to his weakness. After a few more brutal smacks across the face, Kaka stirred from his deep slumber. His efforts to defend himself were feeble, his only good arm struggling to rise and protect him before falling back, lifeless and limp.

Kaka's pitiful whimpers filled the air as he dangled helplessly from the goblin guard's cruel grip. His battered and bruised body, already weakened by hunger and the cold, was unable to offer any resistance.

The goblin guard sneered down at Kaka, relishing his dominance.

 "Well, well, if it isn't our worthless slave," he hissed, his fetid breath washing over Kaka's face. 

"Thought you could escape my watchful eye, did you?"

Kaka's voice was barely a feeble murmur as he weakly protested, "M-master goblin, please... I... I didn't... I didn't mean to... trouble you..."

The guard's grip tightened, causing Kaka to gasp in pain.

 "Save your pathetic excuses for someone who cares, slave! You cost me my dinner, and for that, you'll pay." he spat in Kaka's face, his voice dripping with scorn. 

With that, he began to mercilessly beat Kaka, his fists raining down on the defenseless goblin's body. Kaka's cries of pain filled the tent, and the rest of us hatchlings cowered in our dirt shelters, unable to look away from the horrifying scene unfolding before us.

The guard beat Kaka until he got bored and then he dropped him to the ground. Kaka landed with a painful thud like a sack of potatoes. He lay there, gasping for breath, discolored and beaten. But the guard was a generous goblin, before leaving he gave Kaka one last brutal kick to the gut and a vile spit.

As the goblin guard's footsteps faded into the distance, leaving us in eerie silence, Kaka lay on the cold ground, his destroyed body shivering with pain. He whimpered softly, his voice strained and weak.

"Hurts... so... much," Kaka mumbled between labored breaths. His eyes fluttered open, revealing a haunted look of suffering.

 "Little... gobs... where are you... are you... okay?"

We burst from our earthy shelters and huddled around him, our tiny forms offering what little comfort we could. One of us, a particularly brave hatchling, spoke up with a voice filled with worry, "Kaka, you're hurt... badly. What do we do now?"

Kaka, his voice barely a whisper, managed to utter a few words before fainting again. 

"Must... stay... hidden. Guards... dangerous. We wait... for a chance... to escape."

Tears welled up in our eyes as we saw our caretaker in such pain, but we nodded in agreement. 

In my desperate attempt to save Kaka, I summoned every ounce of courage I had left. With my heart pounding in my tiny chest, I mustered the strength to step outside the tent into the darkness. In the distance, the flickering glow of a bonfire illuminated the night, casting eerie shadows that danced like malevolent spirits.

Four adult goblins moved by the burning wood, and a glimmer of hope ignited within me. I scuttled toward them, driven by the belief that not all goblins could be heartless. Surely, among them, there had to be one who would help. Someone as kind and caring as Kaka.

It took my diminutive form a few agonizing minutes to reach the group. As I timidly emerged from the shadows into the harsh light of the bonfire, I wasted no time. My voice quivered with desperation as I implored, my words a chorus of sorrowful chirps and clicks that echoed through the still night.

"Master goblin! Please! I beg you, please! Help Kaka! He's not moving, he's cold, and barely breathing. Please help him, please," I pleaded with all the earnestness my tiny frame could muster.

Without hesitation, I scuttled toward the first guard's filthy feet, throwing myself headfirst into a plea for assistance. I licked and kissed his feet, my passionate submission accompanied by smooches and licks.

"Please! Smooch, smooch. Help Kaka! Lick, lick. Please, I beg! Smooch, lick," I beseeched, my voice trembling with desperation.

The guards exchanged glances, their faces twisted in amusement as if they had just heard the most uproarious joke in the world. The goblin whose feet I was licking reached down and seized me by the ears, suspending me in the air. His cackles filled the night like malevolent music.

"Look at this pathetic shit!" he yelled with a cruel grin. 

"How about a bet, fellas? A little game, if you will! How about we play 'Kick the Hatchling over the Fire'? Ghehehehe!"

The other adult goblins eagerly agreed, forming a ring around the bonfire. The rules of their sadistic game were simple: each would take a turn kicking me with their feet, and the first one to drop me into the fire would lose the bet. The loser's dinner would be shared among the victors, as the goblin who had initiated this cruel spectacle explained to his comrades.