Chapter 40:

Chapter 40 The Book With a Dragon and The Knight

Hermit's Diary

The pitiful slave clung to the wooden pole, his teeth biting into the wooden pole as his body contorted in pain. The guards felt especially generous today and continued their heartless mockery, reveling in the sheer brutality of their actions.

One guard, fueled by a sadistic impulse, approached the suffering goblin with a twisted grin. He brandished a jagged shard of wood in his hand, and with a cruel chuckle, he drove the makeshift weapon into the exposed flesh of the goblin's back, producing a fresh wave of agonized screams. The other guards joined in, each taking turns inflicting their own brand of torment upon the defenseless creature.

The sadistic guard reached for a makeshift whip, fashioned from thorny vines and crude twine. With a malevolent gleam in his eyes, he cracked the whip, the thorns lashing against the exposed flesh of the slave goblin. Each cruel strike spurred agonized screams from the tortured creature, the pain intensifying with every lash.

As the merciless whipping continued, the three guards callously placed bets on how many lashes the slave could endure before succumbing to the relentless assault. The goblin slave, his last bits of strength waning, tried to endure the sadistic punishment. However, after just ten lashes, his back was a gruesome canvas of cuts and strips of skin, hanging grotesquely, exposing his meager muscle tissue. 

The tight grip of the slave's teeth on the wood finally gave way, and he crumpled to the ground, his broken form lying lifeless in the bloody mud. The victor of the cruel bet scampered gleefully, laughing at the grotesque spectacle of agony. The two guards who had lost expressed their frustration by mercilessly kicking the slave's lifeless body several times. With bitter grumbles, they walked away, leaving the pitiful creature abandoned in the gruesome aftermath of their sadistic fun.

We, the tiny hatchlings, watched in horror, our small green goblin bodies trembling in fright. The guards' cruelty, though a grim norm in goblin breeding farms, unfolded before our eyes like a nightmarish horror show. 

Kaka, sensing our fear, gently grabbed us and pulled us deeper into his tent, away from the opening. His urgent whisper cut through the air, "Little gobbies! Get away from the opening! If the cruel guards see you, they will come and start brutally beating you. You must hide from the guards, and run as fast as you can. Never argue or ask questions. Never look them in the eyes - always look down at your tiny puffy feet. If they start beating you, curl up into a tiny ball, tuck in your meaty ears, and endure the pain until they get bored. Never defy their orders, or you will end up like that poor goblin slave just now."

I looked up at Kaka with tears in my eyes and with a sorrowful voice I asked him, "But Kaka! Why must we suffer so? Why they must do us so?"

Kaka, his eyes heavy with the scars of countless beatings, met my tearful gaze with a grunt. His gnarled goblin hands gently squeezed my tiny shoulders as he spoke in a raspy tone, "Little gobby, suffering be the shadow that follows every step in this wretched den. We're but morsels, playthings for those cruel guards, dancing in their wicked games. We are hatched by evil goblins for a single purpose, to be used and abused. They are heartless nasties, our lives might be precious to us but not to them. To them, we are nothing but a tool to use. The world beyond this camp be vast and cruel, and our existence is naught but a scuffle for survival."

He paused, eyes flickering to the tent's opening, as if wary of eavesdropping guards.

 "Suffering teaches us strength and survival. As slave goblins, our might ain't in muscles, but in enduring the unendurable. Someday, if fate grins on us, we might slip away, and find a better place. Until then, we endure. We endure for that slim chance, that flicker of hope that there be more to life than torment. Do not lose hope, little gobbies. There has to be a place for us, goblin slaves, to live in peace and harmony."

His words, carrying the weight of goblin resilience, lingered in the air. Kaka's calloused hand wiped away my tears, his eyes reflecting the shared pain etched into our goblin essence.

Kaka continued with a warning, "Listen to me now, little gobbies. Do not entertain the thought of sneaking outside, even for a fleeting moment. The guards, fueled by growing aggression, will not hesitate to crush you underfoot if they catch even a glimpse of your tiny forms."

We asked, "But Kaka! What about food? We will starve until bones are left of us. We need to eat and drink."

 Kaka's face tightened with a mixture of concern and resolve as he responded to our plea for sustenance.

 "I know, little ones. The hunger gnaws at our bellies, and thirst scratches at our throats. But venturing outside recklessly is a risk we cannot afford to take. Instead, we must be cunning. In the dead of night, when the moon casts its feeble glow, we'll sneak out cautiously and gather what little sustenance we can find."

His eyes bore the weight of the responsibility he felt for us, the hatchlings under his care.

 "There are patches of grass near the camp where the guards might not see us. We'll search for roots, worms, and whatever we can scavenge without drawing attention. It won't be much, but it might be enough to keep hunger's grip at bay, at least for a little while."

As we nodded in reluctant understanding, Kaka's gaze turned stern.

 "Remember, move silently, stay low, and be quick. The guards' cruelty knows no bounds, and our survival depends on our ability to outwit them. Now, I still need to teach you a lot of things. But first I will need to teach you the tongue of the adventurer! Knowing what they are talking about will help you in many ways."

We, the tiny hatchlings, were like eager sponges soaking up knowledge during our maturing stage. We absorbed information at an astonishing pace, hungry for the wisdom that could be our key to navigating the perilous world we inhabited.

Rustling through his pile of junk and trinkets, Kaka retrieved a worn-out book adorned with pretty pictures. Excitement burned in our tiny eyes as he displayed the image of an armored figure triumphantly slaying a big red lizard with wings. Despite the filth that smeared the book's pages, the captivating illustrations fueled our curiosity.

With a dramatic flair, he said, "This is a creation of humans, a book filled with their strange words and tales. I'll teach you what I know about the words humans speak."

Placing the book on the ground, Kaka opened it with care, revealing a world of strange symbols and intricate letters. With patience, he began to read the tale written in that book, simultaneously teaching us the pronunciation of each letter. 

The words flowed from his mouth, and to our eager ears, the human language sounded like a mesmerizing melody. It stood in stark contrast to our goblin language, primarily composed of wild gestures, facial contortions, and high-pitched clicks and chirps - an eccentric bird-like tongue that seemed almost alien in comparison. 

As Kaka delved deeper into the intricacies of the human language, we sat huddled together, absorbing every uttered syllable like parched earth; soaking up rain. The tales within the book unfolded before our eyes, weaving stories of heroes, mythical creatures, and distant lands. Kaka's patient guidance, combined with the enchanting rhythm of the human words, transformed the tent into a sanctuary of knowledge, a brief respite from the harsh reality outside.

As the lessons continued, we practiced mimicking the strange sounds of the human language. Our goblin tongues struggled with the unfamiliar articulations, producing a comical racket that echoed within the confines of the tent. Yet, we persisted. We stumbled over unfamiliar words, and Kaka patiently corrected our pronunciation, instilling in us the significance of this newfound knowledge. We were driven by the belief that this newfound knowledge held the key to our survival.

With each passing hour, we honed our linguistic skills, speaking in hushed tones and practicing the strange sounds that composed the human language.

Kaka, with a twinkle in his eye, shared stories of brave adventurers who defied the odds and conquered formidable foes. These tales became our refuge, transporting us momentarily from the harsh reality of our existence. The armored figures and mythical creatures depicted in the book fueled our imagination, igniting a spark of hope that transcended the filth and despair of the goblin breeding farm.

As the hours passed, Kaka's frail body began to succumb to exhaustion. Despite his unwavering dedication to our education, he eventually slumped onto the ground, weariness etched into every line on his face. With a gentle but firm tone, he delivered short instructions to us before drifting into a well-deserved slumber.

 "Little gobbies, this will be all for today. Kaka is very tired and weak. Need rest. Little gobbies, try to rest as well; save your strength for later."

In the dimness of the goblin tent, the remnants of daylight streaming through the filthy fabric, we nodded solemnly in understanding. Kaka's frail form lay sprawled on the ground, his chest rising and falling with the rhythm of peaceful sleep.

 Huddled together, we tiny goblin hatchlings respected Kaka's wishes. The tent echoed with the soft sounds of goblin snores as we nestled into our makeshift nests of meaty ears, the remnants of our survival instincts seeking comfort in the company of our fellow hatchlings. In the stillness of the moment, the harsh echoes of the guards' cruelty seemed distant, replaced by the rhythmic sounds of exhausted slumber, as we, like our mentor, succumbed to the temporary solace that sleep could offer in the tormenting world of the goblin breeding farm.