Relax. They're not going to kill us. They're going to TRY and kill us. And that is a very different thing.
~Steve Voake, The Dreamwalker's Child
Sora frowned as (Name) told him about the voice she just heard in her head. Like him, she didn’t understand what it was saying, but she thought it might be in English. Thinking back on the voice he heard and comparing it to the vocal exercises Shizu would sometimes do within earshot, Sora would wager that she was right.
Not that it really helped them, as both of them were terrible at English. The only thing Sora could remember about English class was the phrase ‘This is a pen’, and the words ‘fuck’ (not that they learned that in class), ‘fight, and ‘boss’. Asking (Name) what she remembered from their high school English classes, she sheepishly told him she only remembered the words ‘hello’, ‘heal’, and ‘money’.
That… probably said something about their personalities.
Since the voice wouldn’t communicate with them, Sora told you that there was nothing either of you could do about it at the moment. He suggested forgetting it and going back to sleep as ‘there isn’t anything else to do anyway’. Knowing that he had a point, you settled back down and tried to sleep.
It didn’t seem like very long before you thought you heard something moving around outside. Feeling uneasy, you turned from facing the fire to resting on your back so that you could look over at the only other person there with you. Sora’s alert pose didn’t put you at ease. He held a finger to his lips as you moved to get up. Quietly, you got to your feet to stand near Sora. The noise continued and Sora gripped one of the knives from the kitchen.
Straining your hearing, you thought you could hear what sounded like garbled voices. Then, with a chill up your spine, you heard scraping against the walls, as though something were climb—
Both you and Sora flinched as a loud bang came from the front door in the common room. As though that were a signal, hard, rapid pounding started at not only the door but also the shuttered windows. You screamed, afraid that tonight was the night you died, because the two of you were clearly outnumbered by a hostile party. You flinched into Sora as banging started on the lone kitchen window’s shutters.
“Fucking goblins,” Sora cursed, grabbing your hand and hauling you out of the kitchen and into a small corner near the fire place.
You noticed one of the kitchen knives in his hand and you wondered what good that blunted blade could do. Huddling against the wall, you held your arms to your chest, afraid of the impending violence and scared for both yourself and Sora. Your friend stood in front of you, ready to defend you with Quirk and body.
(to the death?)
Clenching your eyes shut, you hoped that the goblins were foolish or clumsy enough to break the small sacs sticking to the window sills on the inside. Opening the doors wide enough would break the ones on the floor. Each one was filled with spores that paralyzed the breathing system, and that was coupled with the disease that Sora contracted earlier. There had only been so much biological material in that one goblin, but the defenses you made out of him would have to be enough to level the playing field for Sora.
If not… you didn’t want to think about the fate lying in wait for the two of you.
Not all goblins had [Danger Sense], but the tribe still had seven who did. The chieftain was one, and [Danger Sense] was warning them about the building on top of the hill. Looking at the doors and windows, even the ones on the second floor, something prickled at their senses, warning them to stay away.
The chieftain of the Hidden Cave tribe disdainfully eyed the inn. He felt his [Danger Sense] telling him to leave, but the winter had been harder on his tribe than usual. Their food stores were starting to get unhealthily low. Without the two humans to bolster their food supply, he was going to have to start killing and eating his own tribe. Even with the humans, it would probably come to that anyway, but with the humans it could be put off for a little longer.
Glaring at the goblins on one side of him and then to those on the other, Strongbelly waved his tribe forward. No matter what [Danger Sense] told him, this hunt would happen.
The humans would die and be their food.
The hammering on the doors and shutters went on, quickly becoming more violent.
One of the shutters gave way first, cracking as one half broke half-off. It was pried open, allowing a green-skinned, skinny goblin in ragged cloth and furs to tumble inside. You felt a vicious sense of satisfaction as the sac on the windowsill was smashed against their torso. A slight puff of yellow spores was visible as Sora took a half-step forward before stopping himself with a glance back at you. In the scant seconds it took to lock eyes with each other, the goblin had rushed to unlock the door.
A squawk and the slamming open of the doors diverted your attention back to the inn’s only entrance. The sacs on the floor burst open, filling the air with more yellow spores. The goblin just outside froze in place, allowing both you and Sora to get a good look at him as he glared suspiciously at the yellow stuff in the air.
The goblin in question was large, easily bigger than the one you had harvested. Dingy furs hung over him and ragged cloth seemed to be the norm for the goblins. Large canine teeth protruded from his bottom lips, and what appeared to be either boils or warts were scattered along one side of his face. The green skin did nothing to improve his looks. All in all, you rated him as a solid ugly bastard.
Another gust of winter wind seemed to dispel the spores in your and Sora’s direction. Breathing in, you felt your Quirk grab onto the spores and air-borne virus to deconstruct and contain for flushing. Sora shook his head, his new immunity allowing him to brush the effects of the spores off. Of course, he was now immune to the sickness which had tried to settle in him previously.
The big goblin at the door grinned unpleasantly, a jagged-toothed smile that spread wide across his face.
He stepped forward, not knowing he had already fallen into your trap.
The big ugly goblin was posturing as he swaggered into the inn.
Sora glared at him as he mentally measured the large goblin, trying to get an approximation of his strength. It was bigger than Daiki, but size wasn’t everything. Sora knew that Daiki would have been able to outlast this big goblin if he had been here, but stamina wasn’t Sora’s forte or even his Quirk. No, Sora’s Quirk would be able to protect (Name), at least for a while and as long as he was conscious, so staying conscious was Sora’s priority, just above boss lady’s safety, but only because he needed to be conscious for his Quirk to remain active.
More goblins slid into the building behind the big one, and Sora could see a few more waiting outside. The banging from upstairs had stopped, so most of them were probably out front. Of course, there was the possibility that a few had entered from the rooms upstairs, but from the looks of things, they would be the smaller goblins instead of big ones. That was something in their favor, if only a little thing.
Sora resisted the urge to flex his fingers on the handle of the knife as the first goblin that entered the inn began coughing. The big goblin was greedily eying (Name) over Sora’s shoulder, no doubt identifying her as a female. Remembering how goblins were portrayed as raping, pillaging scum in manga and games, Sora bristled. He didn’t want for this to have to come to boss lady getting skin contact, because that would mean he had failed to stop them. She would be able to defeat them all just by getting her hands on the big one, but Sora didn’t want her to have to go through being manhandled and possibly stripped.
The big goblin was in the middle of saying something he didn’t understand when the first goblin began wheezing loudly. Clearly annoyed, the boss goblin—because what else would he be—yelled something that led to the wheezing goblin being struck over the over the head by another goblin.
A goblin on the other side of the lineup coughed, earning a cold glare from his boss. The goblin in question shrunk in on himself (herself?) and covered his mouth with his spindly hands to prevent more noise from coming from him.
A sudden sound of rushing feet came from upstairs and Sora watched as three goblins came rushing down the stairs, only for the one at the end to trip and fall, causing all three to tumble down the rest of the way. Everyone watched as the small heap of goblins writhed. One shakily got up, wheezing and frantically pointing at their chest. One more goblin coughed, and suddenly the rest were panicking, pushing and shoving to get out the door and escape into the night. They clearly recognized the symptoms on display.
The boss goblin bellowed at his followers, but only four stopped running to stay. After a moment when no more returned, the big goblin turned a dark glare on Sora and (Name). Sora took a ready fighting stance.
He hoped the big one would start suffocating soon.
You wanted to breathe a sigh of relief now that it was only five against one, but one of those five was rather big. Big usually meant strong, right? But then strength wasn’t everything. Skill could bring someone down, and your boys weren’t just street fighters. They actually took lessons on martial arts, though they all studied different ones. Would Sora be okay?
Fretting and wishing you had made the paralytic spores stronger, you watched as the big goblin confidently approached Sora. Your friend stepped away from you, taking three steps forward. The big goblin was easily at least a head taller than Sora and two, maybe three times as heavy, but your friend didn’t back down. If you made it out of this, for his sake, next time you would be more ruthless when it came to making spores, poisons or whatever. With Sora’s safety on the line, perhaps even his life, you shouldn’t pull your punches.
Your hands stifled a scream as Sora ran forward, blunt kitchen knife in hand, and launched himself at the big goblin. The big goblin in turn tried to hammer your friend from the air, thick arm swinging a large club so fast you almost couldn’t see the movement. Sora’s shield flared into life, hexagonal blue shapes taking the blow meant for him. His opponent’s eyes widened in shock before Sora plunged the knife into one of them.
As the boss goblin roared, you had to break your gaze from the fight because two goblins had skirted around the central area in order to menacingly advance on you. Teeth gritting, you tensed your shaky legs as your flexed your sweaty palms. You wished you had retained enough biological material from that first goblin so that you could utilize it as paralytic liquid you could fling from your palms. As it was, you had to rely on the thin hope that you would be able to grab on to the goblins to use your Quirk on them. You doubted that you were going to get through this unhurt.
Sora cried your name as he wrenched the knife free from the goblin’s messy eye socket, his Quirk averting the goblin’s frantic attempts to grab him. Pushing off with a kick, Sora rolled back between you and the advancing goblins. His next movements were rapid and had force behind them as he kicked the goblins away. Pressing up against the wall, you briefly recalled that Sora and Katsu both had requested strong leg muscles. Katsu was someone who fought with his legs, Sora fought with both hands and feet, and Daiki preferred his fists. You shook your head, reprimanding yourself and telling yourself to focus on the present.
Just in time too, as the big goblin bellowed and charged at you both. Sora held his ground but was still knocked back closer to you as his Quirk flared brightly. You gasped as the shield disappeared, allowing the big goblin to stumble forward. Sora swore and stumbled back.
Only his Quirk kept the other goblins from stabbing him on both sides.
You wailed into your hands, trying to shut out the world.
You want to go home!
Sora ground his teeth as he heard her cry out. A goblin on his right sneezed messily and Sora chose to take that to mean that the disease was settling into it. If he didn’t have to worry about her, then Sora would be more certain of his chances of winning here. As it was, this was a waiting game, and he hoped the spores would hit hard soon. As she explained it, this modified version would start slow before hitting the lungs and heart hard. From there, the disease would take its course, liquefying flesh over a period of time—this is not the time!
His Quirk—he was pushing it to the maximum range and reaction it could have without him being boosted—flared again as the big goblin lurched forward, face ugly and twisted by rage. He felt his Quirk flaring again in order to protect her. From behind him, he heard a goblin screech and suddenly the air was filled with yellow spores.
Sora jumped upwards and kicked the big goblin’s head with all the force he could muster. He winced as his foot made contact with the hard head, but he achieved what he wanted as the bastard toppled over. Landing, Sora coughed hard as the yellow spores were thick in the air. Jerking his body to turn slightly, he looked behind and saw that the smaller goblins were writhing on the floor.
Meanwhile, she was teary-eyed as she breathed hard into her palms. Yellow spores settled on her eyelashes and dusted her from head to toe. A clump of rags on the floor told him that she had definitely used up one of the goblins. That was bad, as a reshaping that fast took a lot out of her. Then, just as he feared, she started sinking down against the wall, eyes beginning to close.
He stumbled over to her and grabbed her hand.
He broke into a coughing fit and bowed from the force of it. Her hand twitched in his and suddenly it was easier to breathe. He lifted his gaze and worriedly called her name.
He could only watch helplessly as her eyes slid closed, not knowing when they would open again.
Sora’s knuckles ached as he punched the floor. He cursed again as the spores in the air swirled at the action. The choking and gurgles from the goblins lying prone on the floor did nothing but agitate them. Picking up the knife he’d dropped, Sora spun on his feet and threw himself at the big goblin, swearing as he plunged the blunt knife into its neck. Green blood spurted freely as cold winter wind blew into the inn. The flames flickered as Sora slowly turned, malevolently eyeing the other goblins.
Two of them were too busy trying to breath, but the third saw the look on his face and tried to raise its arm, silently pleading for mercy. His blood boiled as he glanced at her again, slumped against the wall.
If not for them...!
Sora slaughtered the goblins, stabbing again and again, giving vent to his helpless rage. There was nothing he could do for her except destroy the ones who forced her into a corner. Later, his frustration was not helped when he realized that he’d made a mess and would have to clean it up.
First, after expending most of his violence, Sora laid her by the stove in the kitchen and put more wood on the fire. Grimly, he knew he was in for a long night.
Maybe even long days before she’d wake again.
Sora carelessly tossed out the first goblin into the cold winter night. He’d drag them further away later, but right now he just wanted them out of the inn so he could close the doors and make an effort to get their blood off of him. Cursing under his breath, he continued hauling out the dead goblins.
The big one he had to chop into pieces.
It was still pitch dark out when Sora finally threw out the last body part of the big goblin. The doors weren’t in too bad a shape, which was the only bit of luck Sora had had so far, so he was able to close and lock them. He groaned as the smell from the drying goblin blood on him let him know that he was in desperate need of a shower.
Sadly, there was no available shower. Instead, he had to make do with the water he had set to warm up near the fireplace in the common area. The water wasn’t very warm at all, but he was able to wash his face and hands clean of the goblin blood. The gunk in his hair was another story, and he quietly cursed up a storm as he tried to save his hair. Eventually he decided the job was done well enough for the moment, and he turned his attention to his clothing. His jeans were splotched with blood, and his coat was nearly a lost cause. Thankfully, his shirt, while sweaty, was not soaked with goblin blood. Sighing, Sora set to the task of washing his clothes.
By the time he set his jacket on a chair to dry, he was aching and exhausted. He still had his jeans to salvage but he decided he didn’t particularly care at the moment. Abandoning the bucket filled with filthy water, Sora staggered into the kitchen and settled himself on the floor behind her. She was on her back, and Sora copied her position. His eyes slid closed and he hoped that sleep would take him easily.
It did, but then—
[Fighter Class Obtained!]
[Fighter Level 1!]
[Skill – Lesser Strength Obtained!]
[Slaughterer Class Obtained!]
[Slaughterer Level 1!]
[Skill – Lesser Endurance Obtained!]
[Tactician Class Obtained!]
[Tactician Level 1!]
[Skill – Lesser—]
[Level Ups Cancelled]
Sora held himself frozen for a moment in the half-risen position he had jolted into in anger, but the voice did not come back. Sighing, he laid back down and wearily let his eyes close.
This time, the voice did not interrupt his fall to sleep.
For a couple days now, smoke had been rising from the abandoned village which was once hit with a deadly plague. It had been noted immediately, but the Watch Captain had held back on sending anyone. That proved to be a wise course of action as a pair of patrolling guardsmen saw a goblin tribe they had planned to attack was infected with the plague.
On their initial approach to the cave where the goblins lived, two goblins had run out of the entrance, apparently in panic. Given that the eyesight of Drakes and Gnolls surpassed Human eyesight, they were far enough away and upwind enough that they were in no danger. They watched as three other goblins staggered out into the snow, and the Drake guardsman’s eyes widened as he recognized the symptoms they were displaying.
His partner did as well, and without a word they turned and ran back to Liscor.
Whoever had been at the abandoned village was likely dead by now, and besides which, with the goblins displaying symptoms of the plague, both the Watch and the citizens of Liscor were forbidden from heading in that direction. Furthermore, anyone coming from that direction was to be killed at a distance.
There would be no taking chances in bringing the plague to the city. If it were a choice between one person, or even a group of persons against the health of the city—well, there was no question which was more important.
Tough times don't last, tough people do, remember?