Chapter 4 : Day 31 to Day 40
The heavy rain from yesterday continued, so we spent the day inside the cave.
The day went as usual. After the morning practice was over, I equipped the black wolf armor that I made yesterday and the halberd, which I still haven't tried using in a real battle, before facing a fully equipped Gobukichi-kun in a somewhat serious practice battle.
My new armor consisted of flexible black leather pants and a long black leather coat. On my left hand I was equipped with a solid iron-wrought gauntlet, and on my right hand I used the carapace reinforced, and in lots of different ways improved, round shield. I didn't have anything covering my head, and on my feet I had a pair of sturdy looking boots that the older goblins brought back from the adventurers.
Since my skin was also black, this equipment made me almost invisible during the night.
Gobukichi-kun's equipment was replaced with various items we got during the orc raid.
His main weapon was a [Crescent Axe] that burned from having a [Flame Blade] made by embedding a battle axe, that I discovered, with fire spirit stones, his buckler was a black iron tower shield made from a carapace-reinforced round shield, which had high defensive strength because of how heavy it was, that was strengthened through magic.
His armor was based on what the Orc Leader was using. Using my thread to bind it together, it was now reinforced by pieces of carapace and black wolf leather, which raised the defensive power and mobility.
Looking almost like a moving fortress, his armor coupled with his body that was amplified by his vanguard specialization, resulted in combat ability that was not something to joke about.
Truly, Gobukichi-kun had become strong.
I can sense it during his normal training as well, but facing him fully armed truly makes me understand how much he has improved.
Basically, I, who had strengthened myself by having a variety of abilities, confusing my opponents through the use of various techniques, and winning using methods of striking my opponents from behind, was bad in a situation like this where I had to fight head-to-head without an ability against a genuinely strong opponent like Gobukichi-kun.
He's still an opponent I can win against with my abilities, but having my halberd with the force of my whole body behind it being almost perfectly blocked by his tower shield is, as expected, still kind of shocking. Each and every one of his blows is also extremely heavy, but above all his dexterous handling of his axe is worthy of admiration.
It seems like he knew from experience how to swing an axe sharper, faster, and heavier.
Well, the weapons he has used from the first hunt till now have always been similar, from cudgel → axe → axe which was probably the reason.
In our goblin village the one who handles axes the best is without question Gobukichi-kun.
Also, his burning [Crescent Axe] was more trouble than I thought it would be. I've got the ability [Fire Resistance], so I didn't get injured by his [Crescent Axe]'s [Flame Blades]. However, resistance is resistance and hot things are hot. Because of the blazing flame my vision was impaired and when the handle of my halberd got searingly hot from the long exposure to his flame, I excused myself.
Continuing like this, we spent quite a long time staging mock battles.
I spent some time manufacturing clothes, picked up the mined "spirit stones", ate the food the sisters prepared then went to sleep.
And then when everyone had gone to sleep, that event happened.
Eight bodies were moving towards the place where the five human women were sleeping, and my [Presence Sensor] ability caught that movement.
When I looked at what woke me up, I saw the retreating figures of goblins who were exchanging words in whispers between one another, speaking enthusiastically about assaulting the women.
The moment I saw that, I gripped the halberd that I kept near my bedside in one-hand and chased after them. I made sure to do this stealthily in order to get firm proof that they intended to assault the womens sleeping place. Conclusive proof that they couldn't refute was extremely important.
After they have done it they can't excuse themselves by saying that I made an error.
Once I was sure, I swung my halberd at the closest goblin and moved down his neck region.
His head flew, charmed by gravity it fell to the ground and begun to tumble, which I then trampled over and crushed flat in one breath. After squashing the head, my boots became soiled, but at that moment, I didn't care.
I made sure to cauterize the goblin's severed throat as I decapitated him; it helped save myself from the annoyance of cleaning up afterwards.
The smell of burning flesh sparked my battle instincts.
I dare say I was laughing while I was doing this.
The sudden cold-blooded murder instantly caused the atmosphere to turn serious.
Everyone's gaze that were locked to me were having this dumbfounded and confused state, ignoring their situation, I began to apprehend the rest of the goblins using my thread. Looking at the captured goblins, I realized they were all subordinates of the former hobgoblin leader.
Then, I determined first of all that the former hobgoblin leader who attacked Redhead rolling in front of my eyes with a bulging crotch was first to bring it up.
I tried hearing his story before deciding whether I'd allow him his life, it seems like he was unable to suppress his sexual desires. When I asked why he didn't just let it out on a female of his own kind, it seems having known a human woman's body once, a female goblin's body can no longer satisfy him. The pleasure was different by an order of magnitude.
"Don't you understand that!?", was his argument. I hit him once then stopped the discussion halfway because the girls who were assaulted had part of their clothes torn. I've heard enough of what I wanted to hear.
I handed over some fine cardigans crafted from the threads I made yesterday to the shivering girls who were hugging their own bodies.
Because leaving them with torn clothes could make them a temptation for the other goblins.
As I finished handing out the clothes, while rubbing her back I called out to and attempted to calm Redhead who was clinging to me and crying. I kept patiently calling out to her, who seems to be slowly calming down, although she was still bawling. Once Gobukichi-kun, Gobumi-chan, and Gobue-chan hurried over, I gave them the order to put the goblins I bound with thread in the practice hall near the entrance. Also to wake everyone who is still asleep.
I left the corpse and splattered head on the floor.
After making the order, Redhead seemed to have calmed down once I gave her some time; although, she still wouldn't let go of my clothes. Somehow, she would not open her hands regardless of my intention, which was confusing. She was still faintly trembling, so it was unreasonable to try to get an answer. Although I actually thought that I had better not be burdened with having to look after her mental health from now on; but it can't be helped so I took her with me. The other four girls, although trembling, either because they hated to be separated from me, who rescued them as I promised, or because they thought they wanted to see things with their own eyes, or possibly some other reason, followed along at a distance.
Having made sure no one was asleep and that they had gathered in the hall next to the entrance, I pointed at the arrested goblins with the tip of my halberd. I explained that "What the likes of these guys did was this and that~~, what I said was etc. etc.~~", made them understand, then I began the torture.
For starters, I cut off a bit of the tips of their fingers with a bowie knife. Cauterizing the wound with a flame so they didn't bleed to death and using a healing spell to restore both their vitality and body strength. I proceeded bit by bit, taking the utmost care that they wouldn't die.
Their screams were noisy so I stuffed a gag of thread in their mouths. That was also to prevent them from biting their tongues. Well, you wouldn't die quickly even if you bit your tongue to begin with so doing it was probably pointless.
Yep, I was putting everyone off.
Physically and mentally, they were drawing away.
Nevertheless, doing this to prove to the girls that the promise I made was not empty should be easily understandable. In the first place, there was clearly no need to say that there were a number of followers who do not abide by my, the current leader's, words but instead followed the orders of the previous one.
Leaving behind things like this would certainly cause problems later on, so for the sake of the future I do this to nip potential trouble in the bud.
If in the end it's "because I did not do this I was stabbed in the back and died", that would be silly.
The six goblins were dealt with using various unique, colorful methods, and in the end, only one was left.
The last goblin—the former hobgoblin leader begged for his life with his eyes, but even though I was so lovingly turning him into a sandbag this fool could not understand a thing, I could not see any value in his existence.
Within the group he held a position that was commensurate with his strength, but as I thought, it can't be helped that fools will always be fools.
I don't get those guys that could not even abide by the bare minimum number of rules that I established, so simple that even idiots could understand.
The fact that things ended up this way was because of this guy's intentions, you reap what you sow.
Still, even I wouldn't kill his followers just because I didn't like them. Not unless I have a pretext for killing my opponent, like this guy. From the start, cases where it is fine if there were two powers within an organization are exceedingly rare.
Because of that, without hesitation, again and again I burned his arm, tormented him with water, trapped him under a heavy stone while whipping him, keeping him barely alive as I continuously tortured him.
* * *
The time when the former leader finally died was the moment sunlight reached the entrance of the cave.
Clearly, I went kinda nuts and overdid it a bit.
Because his vitality was stronger than a goblin's, he simply didn't die easily. I did, however, continue to heal him as well which contributed to his prolonged torture.
When I returned to my senses, I looked at my surroundings. Everyone was terrified.
Pleasantly smiling I laughed. "Have I made myself clear enough?", I asked the gathered goblins who all nodded their heads with astonishing vigour. Feeling satisfied with that answer, I disbanded the meeting and ordered everyone to sleep till noon. If everyone managed to sleep it would be nice, considering they'd been forced to watch my torture all morning they must be tired, but somehow I doubted anyone would fall asleep today.
So almost everyone except those who had fainted didn't go to sleep like me.
Thus I ordered everyone to sleep. I also told them that today's training was cancelled.
After creating a water ball with my abilities to wash away the blood from my hands and face,
I had noticed that Redhead, who had watched me work more than anyone, was shivering uncontrollably with vacant eyes.
In order to snap her back to her senses, I created another water ball and threw it at her.
Then I picked her up and carried her like a child to their bedroom. I disregarded it when she began to shiver even more. When I safely dropped her off, I returned to the spacious area again, and because the other four still couldn't move themselves I repeated this four times.
After confirming that the other goblins had returned to the bedroom, I also went to sleep.
I woke up sometime in the middle of the afternoon.
As a replacement for lunch I ate the hearts and stomachs of the goblins I killed, whereafter I buried the rest of their bodies with my [Earth Control] ability.
Around this time the other goblins woke up, and because I had said we would skip practice today, I and the three other goblins went hunting.
I left the Goblin Elders, together with five of the goblin minions, to protect the human girls. Earlier, I asked, "You know what'll happen if they are assaulted, right?". It was when they nodded vigorously that I decided the girls were probably safest with them.
Well, the girls were within a walled off area I had made with my thread, and with the short-sword wielding Redhead there, at the very least, they should be able to buy some time if there was trouble.
In addition, when we subjugated the orcs at the mining camp, we found an emergency horn. I gave them to the girls in case an incident were to occur. If they blow it, we should be able to quickly return and save them.
With that taken care of, we four left with peace of mind. The first thing we encountered on our hunt was a Three-Horned Horse. At a glance it was covered with solid looking scales, and it was twice as large as a normal horse. It was such a big horse that with our current bodies we had to look up to see it. It was a creature that had evolved far above that of a hobgoblin. And there were two of them. They were probably a couple; perhaps one was pregnant.
However, we don't know that for certain, and in order for us to survive we need food, so we performed our usual surprise attack.
Our first attack went by the book. Gobumi-chan and Gobue-chan shot poisoned arrows with their crossbows. One of Gobumi-chan's arrow went right through one of the horses eyes, while Gobue-chan's arrow was slightly off and bounced off the other horse's stiff scales.
"Those scales are tough! Even though the power of the crossbows could easily pierce through a standard plate mail, it easily repelled it!!" I reflexively screamed out loud.
Moreover, I had placed poison on the arrowheads, a wonderfully strong poison, and yet the Three-Horned Horse didn't instantly die, rather it began to act aggressively because of the intense pain. I had never seen such fierce vitality before!
While we were busy being surprised, the horse that wasn't hit noticed us. It turned in our direction, pointing its three horns at us, and entrusting itself to its rage, it charged in an attempt to impale us. Well, with my thread and thunder combo I somehow managed to stop it, my thread was so thinly spread that the thought that it would just brush off the thread, annoyed, made my innards go cold.
Just how much horsepower did that thing have?
There was no question that its physical strength couldn't even be compared to that of a hobgoblin.
While Gobumi-chan and Gobue-chan's sniping kept the riotous horse pinned, Gobukichi and I recklessly attacked it with my halberd and his burning axe. At first our attacks were simply repelled however after repeatedly attacking we found a way to chip off the scales. After that, the rest was quick.
My halberd and his [Crescent Axe] made the scales fly; once our blades reached the thick flesh below it we were successful at severing the head from its body.
The other one was weakened by my poison, and because we had already figured out how to kill it, this was an easier kill.
It was quite heavy work, however, we didn't receive any major injuries; it was truly a significant hunt. We carried all the raw materials back, however since it was our first time hunting this prey, we decided to eat all of it ourselves.
Since it's big, all the goblins, except Gobukichi-kun, were set to diligently remove the scales in order to get the meat. Gobukichi-kun was once again stationed to watch the surroundings. We needed the right goblin in the right place. And thus I ate six horns, two hearts and a fair share of the rest of the meat which was generously split four ways. After that I also ate the shells, since I thought I might get something from doing that.Ability [Scale Armour Charge] learned.
Ability [Scaled Horse's Neigh] learned.
Ability [Rapid Recovery] learned.
Ability [Improved Leg Power] learned.
Ability [Improved Charging Power] learned.
Ability [Triple Stab] learned.
After eating I had obtained six abilities. This was the proof that the three horned horse truly was strong. Because usually as a hobgoblin I had to eat four bodies to gain an ability.
Also, this was the first time since I reincarnated that I obtained a physical attacking skill, which was big. I thought [Triple Stab] would stab three times in a row, when I tested invoking the skill against a tree holding my estoc, the result was that three holes were made in the tree. Yes, I actually only stabbed with my estoc once. Yet I made three holes. In addition to that they were arranged in straight line from top to bottom. After spending such a long time in this world the fact that I didn't get how it worked now didn't surprise me. However, I came to wonder if this from upper to lower attack ignored physical defense. I tried to think about it. However, the answer to this question will have to wait for another time.
After that we walked around for a while, hunting the usual things, bringing them back and finally going to bed. After I fell asleep, Redhead snuck into my bed, so we slept together.
I'll say it to make it clear, but we didn't do anything erotic.
I reaffirmed that a person's warmth was still a good thing.
* * *
When I woke up, I tried to move but my body felt heavy and I felt trapped. I was lying with my arms spread wide, and for some reason I couldn't feel them. I decided to figure out what was happening, so I looked to the left and right. When I looked to my right, Gobumi-chan lay on one arm and when looking to my left, I found Redhead sleeping on the other.
Yeah this is the so called 'arm-pillow'. That dull sensation came from two heads disturbing the blood flow in each of my arms.
Why did it turned out this way?
Truthfully I wanted to move my arms that had numb quickly, but I couldn't bring myself to wake those two, who were sleeping soundly and happily. What I'd like to ask is, when did Gobumi-chan enter my bed? When Redhead snuck into my bed I was half asleep, yet I remember her slipping into the bed so I can understand her being there.
Could it be that she possessed such a powerful [Hiding] ability that my [Presence Sensor] ability could not sense her? No, there's no way.
Most likely, if the one being detected has no bloodlust or hostility towards the wielder of [Presence Sensor], then the signal is weak, and because I was sleeping I missed that weak signal.
I was thinking, "For the time being I'd like to do something about this situation..." when Hobusei-san happened to pass by. Hobusei-san was the name of the hobgoblin mage, okay? The mage's name. You probably understand, but I thought it important so its worth repeating.
I pleaded for her help with my eyes. She held back a chuckle, picked up my favorite book from my toolbox, [Introduction to Magic — Basic Sorcery vol 2 of 3], and then went away gracefully.
Crap. She'd better return that.
After that, Gobukichi-kun came over for morning practice carrying the [Crescent Axe].
I pleaded with my eyes just like with Hobusei-san. He was troubled for a little while, but ended up pressing his hands together in prayer and left. I bitterly watched his cheerful smile as he did so.
O~i, we're friends aren't we? Please help, will you?
After Gobukichi-kun, a yawning Gobue-chan followed. Recently she'd gotten into gathering beautiful gem-like "Spirit Stones". She seemed to have formed a spirit stone mining group together with other goblin girls. Considering her habits, it's probably the leisure time before morning practice right now.
I imploringly pleaded with my eyes. Because she smiled wryly as if to say "It can't be helped" I thought "Is she going to go away too?", but just then she saw something and broke into cold sweat. While I was thinking "Huh?" she hastily went away.
Help me...my arms are gradually...
My plea for help didn't reach anyone, and I was left like that.
There were some guys who sporadically came over to observe my predicament, but none of them offered me any help.
Then approximately one hour after I woke up, the two finally opened their eyes. As one would expect it was starting to turn dangerous for my arms, so the reason they woke up was probably because I was trying to save my arms by doing some stealthy and very slight movements.
Frankly speaking, having your arms used as as pillows the entire time you're sleeping is severe, especially when it's both of your arms. For some time, I couldn't even feel them.
Once I ate the breakfast the sisters prepared for me, I began the morning training.
Everyone worked to a degree that was scary.
Eh? When I looked slightly doubtful, Gobukichi told me that since the higher posts suddenly got thinner with the death of the former leader, the goblins understood that the only way to grab it, is to, like me, become strong, and the only way to become strong is to earnestly overcome your own limits. Putting together what the training goblins said, that's what we ended up with.
Yes, that's right. I didn't say it before, but since the goblins number had increased considerably, recently, I had begun to take the role as supervisor of the training program.
Gobukichi took charge of those with high offensive and defensive strength.Their role was to engage the enemy from the front. This role, in turn, made him the commander of our main group of the armed corps. We called it "Revolution".
I still haven't introduced the last hobgoblin, who is called Hobusato-san. She gathered the goblins who specialized in a high offensive "hit and run" fighting style, and turned them into a lightly armed combat corps that specialized in mobility, which we called "Red Surge".
Gobumi gathered the ones who were bad at close range combat, and became the commander of a fighting unit armed with short bows and crossbows, named "Tirard".
Gobue collected those who I judged lacked the required combat ability to belong to any of the above groups, training them to have enough defensive power to defend themselves, having them focus on cooking and fixing broken equipment, and thus made a logistical corp which we called "Patri".
Hobusei-san was the only one with the exception of me who could use magic, so there is no option but to have her do individual practice; and thus, she became the commander of the magic-wielding unit, "Magician".
By the way, if the different squads are added together, they number 59 goblins.
39 from our generation + 28 from the former - 8 of which were killed during my torture.
For some reason no one wanted to be my sparring partner, even though I would be using a wooden sword.
Well, I can easily win even with a handicap anyway.
But if I were fighting 1 on 1 against Gobukichi, Gobumi or Hobusei, it would be close. If I used my abilities I could win a fight alone against everyone together, but that would be in opposition to the original purpose of the practice, to increase the basic strength of the participants.
After that it was time for the afternoon hunt. This time everyone had things to do so I went alone.
Gobukichi-kun was asked by the goblins under his leadership to continue practice with him during the afternoon, Gobumi-chan was still teaching the goblins who couldn't remember things like ranks, the Continental Alphabet, and the simple rules I cooked up, and Gobue-chan was inside, accompanied by the members of her "Spirit Stone" mining group.
After departing, I first saw a Demon Spider.
I killed it the usual way, and tore off its carapace. A Demon Spider's carapace is useful because you can increase its toughness using [Shell Defense] on top of being light and strong.
I was actually using one right now.
After putting the carapace in my backpack, I ate the spider's remains whole.
Since Demon Spiders aren't edible spiders, the taste wasn't very good.
Because I felt good about acquiring a new ability, I turned a blind eye to the bad taste.
Next, I found another triple horned horse. This time, unlike the last, there was only one.
It was the perfect opponent to try my [End] magic on, so I started making the preparations to cast my magic.
Regarding magic, typically there are three components that must be connected.
The first is the chanting of the [Spell] to influence the workings of the world.
Second, [Internal Mana Control] to refine a necessary amount of magical power inside the body.
And then thirdly, [External Mana Operation] to control the formation of the magic itself using magical power outside the body—that is, magical power filling the air.
Also, because the third part [External Mana Operation] is several times more difficult than the other two parts, It is typical to use casting aid devices such as magic staves during the preparation.
I already had the abilities of a staff so having a staff makes no difference when handling magic for me.
I prepared a black lance I created with magic, then I threw it.
My aim with the black lance was true and the lance hit the triple horned horse right in its fat neck, where it cleanly gouged a hole 20 centimeters in diameter.
The body that had its flesh torn off with a tearing sound stood still for a moment, until its strength left it and it suddenly collapsed on the spot. The impact from the scene was so powerful that I involuntarily shuddered. Yeah, this magic truly possesses a ridiculous amount of power.
You see, since I became a subspecies the incantations for basic magic has become embedded in my memory, I think I already mentioned that; but until now I didn't know how powerful this lance was. Ever since I used magic on a green slime, I have been convinced of the effectiveness of magic; but the fact that you can kill an opponent in one hit, even a horned horse, shows just how terrifying it can be.
I understood that the power of the magic was useable from trying it on green slimes among other things. But the fact that as long as I don't miss it's an instant death attack on three horned horse class monsters is kinda scary, isn't it?
Still, [End] style magic is incredible, to put it mildly. And this is (probably) only entry level magic, at that. Well, the power in this magic is so high that it should probably only be used as a last resort, or I might end up hurting myself, I thought whilst dismantling the horse.
I sliced off all of the horse's three horns; tore off the scales; bled it; and then ate. I did leave one leg for the others though.Ability [Scale Armour Formation] learned.
Ability [Strong-Supple Frame] learned.
The ability to grow scales on my body; It is extremely powerful, however, because I'll look kind of gross, I decided to refrain from using it. Well, as a test I used it once, and instantly black scales were growing closely packed on my arm...
This isn't something you show others.
For an instant I felt like I had turned into a lizardman. Although this could be good in it's own way. It's fine as long as you can get used to it, but as expected, the appearance of the arm I tried the skill on is slightly hard to swallow.
I began to move around searching for a prey in order to fix my mood.
This time I found a Green Slime. I fried it till it became crispy then popped it in my mouth.Ability [Metamorphosis] learned.
I am able to turn my arms so they function as whips. You see, when you talk about green slimes it's just a lump made up of mucus. So I don't think bones really matter when changing their body shape, once you know this it's easy to understand.
And then this ability. Even though I have bones I can, using this ability, move my body in the same way the slime does. I can even turn my body into a puddle-like form copying the shape of a slime, and to test this I enveloped a horned rabbit in my body, using [Self Body-Fluid Control] I changed my body fluids into acid, and the horned rabbit was in this way turned into nourishment.
Besides, even if I lose a limb to an attack, if I turn it into slime form before receiving the attack, if I take the part that got blown away into my body, it seems I won't even recieve an injury. There might be some limits, although I think it's an extreme method to use. This ability is almost like cheating. It's not like I feel bad when I obtain a useful ability. But I should be careful of which people I show this ability to.
The day was about to set, and I was satisfied with my spoils, and was about to return when I found, or should I say encountered, him.
A huge looking rock covered with red hair, is what the Red Bear looked like with his large frame.
From doing a quick estimation, it was more than 4 meters long. You could tell that the Red Bear is bad news with just a look from a distance, an existence not to be messed with, everyone could see that it was a born warrior.
I doubt my halberd could easily slice through its red metal-like fur and even if I were to pierce it, it's a sure bet that the thick flesh below the fur would easily stop the rest of the strike's momentum.
One normally flees. Running away from the first moment. The only sane choice when facing such a being.
But before I realized it I already went into hiding while observing it, and started to devise a plan on how to kill the Red Bear.
No, even though I haven't fought a dangerous opponent of this degree since my reincarnation, I have already fought and killed far more dangerous guys before it. And each time, I killed and ate them.
This is probably the reason why I really wanted to fight this guy.
I want to get its ability and devour it, one could say my instincts were whispering this to me.
Well, with such feelings, I prepared to use everything I possessed to kill the Red Bear.
And so, the fierce battle begins.
* * *
I fought so desperately with the Red Bear that when it was finally over, I noticed that the sun was already rising.
My body was seriously injured from when Red Bear tore at me with his fangs and claws. Moving around and looking for a safe place to rest would be an impossible feat. Moreover, my left arm was cleanly cut off below my elbow.
When I defended myself from one of the Red Bears sharp claws, it got cut off and was sent flying, the cut off arm was then eaten by the bear in the middle of the fight.
Because my left arm was lost beyond hope of salvaging I could only make a temporary fix by stemming the bleeding with my thread. In order to heal the wound properly countless systematic Recovery Skills would be needed. Fortunately Sustainable Regeneration has already activated, so the possibility that I bleed to death is unlikely.
There was a large amount of blood streaming from my body, why wasn't it fatal? You might think this, but the blood that came out was already replenished by my ability. Contrary to appearances, the blood remaining in my body was sufficient.
Well, let's talk about that later.
I can't help but say the damage to my equipment is greater. Both of my estocs broke to their handles and became useless, my bowie knife's edge crumbled into pieces, having a nicked edge, it was barely safe from breaking off the handle.
My primary halberd also had a terribly chipped edge, the long handle was distorted greatly from warding off the Red Bear's constant attacks.
It hasn't been destroyed, but it clearly needs repairing.
The protective gear which should have still looked new before the battle looks like a shadow of itself, its state is now a jacket and tattered shorts.
At first glance all you can see is a beaten dog. No, a defeated goblin.
I was in a horrible state.
But, I survived. I survived.
I did well not dying, truly.
[Rapid Recovery] and Recovery Skills, if there were no duplicate recovery abilities, I must have easily died more than 50 times in my current condition as a Hobgoblin.
If there were no Enhanced Defense abilities [Shell Defense] [Physical Damage Reduction] [Steel Hide] [Scale Armour Charge] [Strong-Supple Frame] there were no Enhanced Defense abilities that were the same etcetera, it isn't likely to have ended to the degree of damage of only losing one arm and there'd be lacerations to my entire body surely. Rather, even at my full strength, a graze from one of its strikes would send me flying. That's how much of a foul play the Red Bear's strike is.
I mean, that was really a cheat.
Even so, I still didn't lose.
Starting from [Snake Venom Administration] [Electro Master] [Hydro Hand] [Spider Thread Creation] and various abilities, using simple combination attacks with various abilities as an effective way to whittle down its health.
Actually I'd rather use [End] type magic to quickly deal the killing blow; the problem is that right now my spellcasting is so slow that it's practically useless in the middle of close range combat. Because the opening I'd give would be too big, I'd instantly die if I tried.
Moreover in the first place, when I tried to hit it with a sneak attack with a lance he dodged it, so chances are that if I even managed to get one off, it would just be a waste of time.
The beasts instincts were fearsome. Well, because I lost my left arm in the initial surprise attack, it was probably satisfied with that attack.
I was also lucky that my attacks with my halberd were extremely potent when buffed by my strengthening skills like [Improved Slashing Power], [Improved Piercing Power], [Improved Charging Power], [Improved Leg Power] and [Pump-Up] etc.
By the way, after using [Triple Stab] I confirmed it. It really turns out physical defense was ignored. However, there seems to be a requirement where the attacks pierce to the same depth as the middle attack.
Furthermore, the size of the hole naturally depends on the weapon used to make it: A hole left by a halberd is going to be larger than one left by an estoc due to the strength of the blow.
The ability that helped me the most was surprisingly [Vampiric Exploitation] that I got from the Seven-Colored Bat.
This blood sucking action can ignore the target's defensive strength only up to a certain extent, and the blood that was sucked can also be be used as my own blood immediately, but it is thanks to this ability that I could replace the blood lost by the bear's attack that went through my defenses, which had been raised as much as possible, from the bear itself.
In short, I was able to replenish my own blood using the enemy's, and I deal an amount of damage proportional to the amount I took from it.
Because I currently can change a part of my body just like a slime, if I turned my finger into something like a straw and pierced the Red Bear with it, by sucking the blood through it I needn't worry much about blood replenishment.
Yep, if I had lacked any one of the abilities I have now, things may not have turned out the way it did.
Ah, that's right, [Stench]. I guess I was helped by that, too. The very moment the Red Bear was about to bite my body I used [Stench] causing it to retreat, holding its nose in anguish. Well well, you truly never know what will turn out to be useful in the future.
Looking back at the fierce fight, for a while after the twilight, I turned my eyes in the direction of what was once the Red Bear.
In the middle of the trees flattened in the aftermath of a violent fight, was a great Red Bear that had ceased breathing. Its whole body was covered in injuries like me, but carved on its chest was a large mark as proof of my concentrated attacks.
My scarred figure looking down on it can be seen reflected on its empty eyes that had lost their light, and a bowie knife stuck deeply between its eyebrows, this was for some reason making me feel sad. I'll say this over and over again, the Red Bear was truly strong.
Using my [Predict] I could see its attack trajectory as a red line, but even so, the attack was so fast there were times that I couldn't dodge in time, its unique powers such as its explosion-like roar and its glare which was a technique that was inhibiting my movements were intermingled in the attack.
Furthermore, this thing is a bear, and yet it blew fire like a flamethrower out of its mouth. "Really, what kind of bear is this?"
Since I had [Fire Resistance] and [Hydro Hand] I didn't receive much damage from the flames, but this and that are two different things.
Seriously, it was strong. A large part of me winning was due to luck.
But since I won, I have the responsibility to live on for the defeated.
I picked up the Red Bear's hand that had rolled near its battered and whipped body, and I ate it in order to regain my strength.Ability [Peerless Heavy Strike] learned.
Ability [Intimidation of the Strong] learned.
When I finished eating the right arm, all my exhaustion suddenly caught up to me and I felt my consciousness begin to fade.
During the fierce fighting I'd lost a lot of stamina, the body decided that the best way to survive was to cut off my consciousness and preserve my physical strength. Even now my [Rapid Recovery] and Regeneration are still restoring my body, so I'm confident that I wouldn't die even if I fall unconscious. It's my own body, so that much I can understand.
However, it's obvious that I'm too defenseless if I faint as I am now. There is a high chance of getting eaten by other monsters during the time I was unconscious, so to remain alive I mustered what's left of my strength and sent out my thread to make a wall around me and the Red Bear out of the trees that are scattered around as a result of being mowed down during our fight.
It was an impromptu shelter.
In addition to having the trees as camouflage, because I doused my thread in poison as I was sending it out, even if for example someone were to come and attack, surely the poison should do them in. If, for some reason, all this wasn't enough, then that would be the end of me after all, I thought with resignation.
—As I used up the last of my strength to build the defenses, my consciousness—You have exceeded the minimum required level.
Special requirements «Kingslayer», «Tyrant's Swagger», «¦¦God¦¦» cleared, [Rank Up] to [Ogre:Rare Variant] now possible.Will you [Rank Up]?
—With the last of my willpower I chose «YES» right before I lost consciousness.
* * *
I woke up due to a strange urge. The lighting was dim, but I didn't mind that very much.
I was stirred by a strange hunger that was unlike any I'd ever felt before, so I reached for the corpse of the nearby Red Bear. After removing the bowie knife that I had lodged deeply in the bear's forehead, I used raw strength to tear its head off. When I brutally ripped off the skin, flesh, and cervical vertebrae, the sound could be heard from afar.
I hadn't fully regained consciousness yet, so I was munching on the Red Bear's head that was in my hand.Ability [Lord of the Mountain's Piercing Roar] learned
Ability [Intimidating Glare] learned
Ability [All Elemental Resistance] learned
After I tore the hair off the head, crushed the cranium and slurped the brain for a few seconds, I judged that the bear's pelt was needed, so I took the bowie knife that had somehow seemed smaller and carefully peeled it off.
I got the feeling that the Red Bear became smaller since I fainted, but my head wasn't working right, so I couldn't find a reason to why I felt that way.
It just felt right peeling the skin off the bear, I did it for no other reason.
Any other thoughts didn't enter my mind.
My left hand from the elbow down was gone, however, this much could be fixed by my abilities so there was no problem.
Using my [Metamorphosis] ability, I was able to make slender fingers for my arm, which was gone from the elbow down, and pick up the pelt.
Though having difficulty using a small knife with my prosthetic fingers, I was able to finish flaying the pelt from the bear. After that, I started eating the flesh of the now naked bear.
As if suffering from intense starvation, I single-mindedly devoured its flesh and blood until nothing remained.Ability [Lord of the Mountain's Stout Hide] learned.
Ability [Lord of the Mountain's Strong, Supple muscle] learned.
Ability [Consecutive Raging Strikes] learned.
Ability [Tyranny of the Beast King] learned.
Ability [Demigod of Fire's Divine Protection] learned.
Ability [Complete Fire Resistance] learned.
Even chewing and tearing brought out its flavor, truly the best meat I have ever had, I drank the thick blood that almost tasted like wine, I could feel the Red Bear's vitality as soon as I swallowed a mouthful of its innards, I devoured its crunchy bones and exhausted its bone marrow just like the minerals of a cave, at that point my mind has finally been cleared and started working.
I then looked at my body.
My body remained black, and although there were large quantities of blood covering it, I noticed some unfamiliar red lines that seemed to have some religious significance—-wonder if I should call it a tattoo?—-all over my body. And the size of my body is a full human arm length taller than that of an adult male, my belly has also turned into a 6-pack abs, it's easy to realize that I am not a Hobgoblin anymore but a different species entirely.
And my hair, I am sure it wasn't this long. Although my hair grew when I turned into a Hobgoblin, it couldn't even reach up to my shoulders, comparing it to now, it feels like my hair has already reached below my shoulder blades. Aside from growing longer, it has also turned gray.
Lastly, two sharp horns had grown out from my forehead. When I touched them, they felt extremely hard. If I charged like a bull, I'm sure there'd be a "buzuri" sound when I stab the target.
While I was checking out my new body in various ways, I remembered the message I recieved before I lost consciousness.
Yeah, it seems I have turned into a Great Ogre.
Not a subspecies at that, oddly enough I evolved into a rare type.
Well, if you kill this much then you'll get enough to rank up, it can't be helped if I turned into a rare species. I convinced myself that it wasn't a bad thing at all.
In the same manner as when I became a Hobgoblin from a Goblin, when I turned into a rare Ogre, all of my abilities have been enhanced and my body is filled with a temporary feeling of omnipotence. However, I decided to leave the verifying of the enhancements for another time.
I think it's about time for me to head back. The others are probably worried since I haven't returned yet.
As I picked up the halberd that might be reusable if repaired, I noticed something when I was about to leave. My clothes were so tattered up to the point where it didn't cover the parts that need to be hidden. As a side effect of when my body grew, the clothes that I was wearing got torn to shreds.
Basically, I am currently naked.
My member was swinging and hanging out between my legs; it was so amazing I had to gaze at it for a while. When I got worried as to what I should do, I solved the problem by taking the Red Bear's pelt, which I had already skinned off, and strapped it around my waist to cover it.
I see, that's why I skinned the Red Bear's pelt, because I had a premonition that such a situation would occur, I thought while using a wind-blade to cut the tree and threads that I'd been using as a shield causing a "zuban" sound to occur.
Because my power had increased, even if I held back, it turned into a one-hit kill.
Judging by the position of the Sun, I'm guessing it's around two o'clock now.
I had slept for a pretty long time, I should hurry back to the base.
On the way back I found my backpack and field bag lying around, after that I recovered as many Estocs and Bowie Knives as I could; at least those that can still be repaired.
The Three-Horned Horse leg that I placed in my backpack was already stolen, it can't be helped if the materials that remained such as the shell of the demon spider are damaged, I gave up.
The backpack is still useful even though it was already worn out.
Because I'd gotten bigger, and by abusing some of my abilities, I arrived at the mining base in the blink of an eye, where they were noticeably wary of me.
And since I had a large body and, with the use of my abilities, I have invaded the mining base very quickly, they're all wary to an extent that I could only find admirable.
Yeah, if an unknown ogre suddenly appeared, this is what'd happen, I thought with a wry smile.
Also they're more afraid of me than they used to be.
Ah, since I'd turned into an Ogre I probably have a face filled with evil, I'm sure of it. I'm confident that it would be something like this:
Goblin → Ugly
Hobgoblin → Human-like
Ogre → Some kind of Berserker? My current state.
Something like this, I'm sure.
By the way, there's no concrete proof, but I'm probably around two meters tall right now.
So in comparison to the shorter goblins that were surrounding me, there was a huge difference in perspective.
I'm completely looking down at them. "They'd be in my blind spot if they got too close; I'd completely lose sight of them."
Soon after, Gobumi-chan came out from the back and realized that it was me. Just like that, the rest of the goblin's wariness vanished.
Gobumi-chan who identified me in an instant, had her facial expression turned into that of anger. And with all her might, kicked me in the shin.
It didn't hurt at all, though I acted like I was in pain. However the one who truly felt pain was Gobumi-chan, so I casually healed her with my healing skills to ease her discomfort.
As soon as her pain subsided, Gobumi-chan made me do seiza.
[T/N: Seiza means an upright kneeling position that is traditionally used in Japan in meditation and as part of the preparation in martial arts.]
She was really worried, saying things like "What were you doing?", "How did you turn into an Ogre?". I was being nagged. Since I lost my left hand, I couldn't refute her nagging. Besides, I can't talk back when I could notice her tearing up a little. I was about to say sorry for making you worry, but then Gobukichi and Redhead arrived after hearing the commotion.
Of course, they were surprised. So surprised they couldn't even stop their mouths from hanging open.
Well, of course they would if they were worried because I didn't return the first day, and then came back as an Ogre the next.
To offer a tentative explanation of the events, once the key members such as Gobue-chan, Hobusei-san, Hobusato-san, and Gobujii had been gathered, I started explaining.
I chased the other goblins out saying that I will tell them later.
Eh..., when I thought I should return soon after hunting I found a 'Red Bear'. To test my strength, and partially because of instinct, I attacked it.
After that, the fighting that started in the evening continued through the night, it only concluded when the sun came up yesterday morning.
After that I couldn't move because I had taken heavy damage, so I erected a barrier using my thread and slept in an attempt to recover my strength.
Then, a while ago when I opened my eyes I had become an ogre. A rare variant at that, too.
My equipment had become worn out, but I had the Red Bear's pelt as a trophy, so it wasn't much of a loss.
Well, I was just thankful to be alive.
After telling them that much, I noticed Hobusei-san, Hobusato-san and also Gobujii show a stupid look with their jaws hanging as if dislocated.
What is it Gobujii? Eh? Did I kill the Red Bear? I told you already didn't I, while saying that I patted the fur wrapped around my waist to draw their attention to it.
Hmm? What is it Hobusei-san? Hm hm, so there's a considerably strong, almost peerless bear-type monster called "Hind Bear" living in these forests, but it's generally grey in color and can go up to three meters long.
Additionally, among those bears there are individuals that belong to a subspecies whose fur was red in color. That subspecies is unable to wield magic like a mage, but they have high intelligence and the ability to breathe fire, and they are also on a separate level compared to common Hind Bears in things like physical strength and sense of smell.
So in short, because that thing was the strongest among Hind Bears, it was the strongest in the entire area.
Therefore that Hind Bear subspecies was called the "Lord of the Mountain". It has enough strength to easily kill and eat an ogre, right?
I see. Somehow I doubt such a monster would be spotted twice, given its rarity in this wide world.
"Ouch, Stop attacking my head Hobusato-san." Though it really doesn't hurt. "Eh? You want to take a better look at the fur? It can't be helped." As I showed it to her, she said it was definitely the real thing.
Well, I even turned into an ogre after fighting it, and of the abilities I got, there was even one named [Lord of the Mountain's Strong, Supple Muscle], so there's no doubt.
Also, she said I who became an Ogre in such a short amount of time stopped being 'abnormal' and became an 'impossible existence'. Although I retorted that this was unavoidable, she replied saying such a thing can't be said so easily without knowing.
So we talked about various things for an hour before ending the meeting.
No, as expected the current situation is not good since I'm as exposed as a newborn. So I want to get some new clothes quickly. I feel ashamed; as expected, one can't remain calm in such an embarrassing state.
Afterwards, I took sneak peeks around the place.
I decided to go to my workshop, but soon realized Gobumi-chan and Redhead had followed me. "What are you, my parents?", I felt like telling them, but I refrained.
I let them do as they please since there was no harm done, I went and greeted the rest of the women for now. I wanted to check if anything had happened since my absence.
They were really afraid. They were all screaming at me from the sudden meeting. I got tired quickly since the other goblins started gathering to check the commotion and I had to drive them away.
The girl's reaction made me want to cry, I told them what happened and even used my flames and threads, finally they realized who I am. I could still notice them shivering from fear, but I was glad that they finally each showed a relieved smile towards the end.
I felt like saying "Good job!" since they all looked so cute.
"Ouch!". I felt a little bit of pain from both my arms as the two girls behind me pinched me. Though I refrained from hardening my skin, since I thought of it as a punishment game for making them worry about me, afterwards we talked about various things.
I've asked Blacksmith-san to do some maintenance on the halberd that was damaged badly. I got scolded again for a while, "You've really done well making it so tattered".
After the scolding, it seems like she's using a spirit stone on weapons like I did with my old knife, I was told to check it later. "And if it's okay with you I would like to try and create a new weapon for you", I nodded immediately as soon as she asked me this.
I find it cute seeing her getting happy, albeit briefly, smiling with beet red cheeks.
It made me involuntarily pat her head. So as not to hurt her I tried my best to control my strength.
Still, I think it was nice seeing her look like a cute child getting tickled. As expected, a woman's smile is the best.
For some reason the two pinched me even harder.
I got fired up when I was told they would be making bear stew, so I went Hind Bear hunting for the [Cook] sisters. "If you want bear stew, you will need to get this and this and that." And so I ordered the goblin minions to go and gather them.
Lately I've been working these guys so much, their level should be around 100, perhaps some of them could become hobgoblins soon.
As expected, it's hard for the two to do all the work, I wanted to at least help them cut some of the ingredients, so I appointed three female goblins of my generation from the Patri group to assist the girls.
Though I took the consideration that it's still dangerous for them to be with the males, these girls are incredibly tough.
Anyone; friends, acquaintances, relatives or even lovers that are killed or kidnapped by the goblins will see them as enemies, yet you can see the difference when you look at these two, the mental strength and the adaptability they possessed are remarkable even though such a short time has passed since their kidnapping.
Really, these two are amazing. Even if it is a miscalculation on my part, I'm still glad.
"You girls would really make good wives. Will it be okay if I made you two my wives?" I told them this as a joke.
As I was looking forward to tonight's dinner, I told them that I'm not gonna stay any longer.
When they faced me blushing, showing their blissful smile, I found it really cute .
As soon as I left, I was struck in the back of the head by the two with wooden swords.
Though it didn't hurt, it was still unreasonable.
Alchemist-san was concocting a potion as usual, there's some kind of poisonous gas mixed inside. Though it's not the type of poison that could painfully kill you, it will quickly enter your body and paralyze you.
I gave her a bitter smile and softly whispered to her the ways in which to use the poison.
Whatever, this is for self-protection and the likes.
Because she understood that just like how there are all kinds of humans, someone like me exists among the goblins that tried to assault them, she didn't feel anything like wanting to mix in poison into the food, however she still made them because it's scary to not be the least bit prepared, that's how it was.
If asked "Don't you hate them enough to want to kill them?", then sure, there are goblins she hates to the point of wanting to kill, but she's become able to trust me ever since the matter that night. Besides, I think she managed to trust even the likes of Gobukichi-kun lately.
At the same time, she told me I show too much strength as an ogre. I am of the impression that my body is beyond weird. My red tattoos were also a little frightening.
"I can't help it though", I said as I extended both my hands and stretched out my prosthetic fingers toward her and jokingly picked her up, then I sensed icy glares coming from the two behind me.
So strong were their glares, I thought, "Oh crap, I'm going to get killed".
That being the case, I did the same to the two to appease them. Then, I did the same thing to Blacksmith-san and the sisters too.
My body aside, I felt emotionally tired because I had to be careful not to break everyone's fragile bodies.
After that, I finally arrived at my workshop, my clothes feeling itchy.
The Red Bear pelt that I considered making into new armor could not be processed yet, so I decided to leave it for now. In the meantime, I made shorts out of the Armored Tanuki hide that I had already tanned beforehand.
I don't really feel cold being an ogre, and since I thought that making a pair of trousers in my size would use up too much hide, so to save on materials I made shorts instead.
At the same time, I think that armor made out of Red Bear hide, like any other hide, will be enough protection. However, it's from the Red Bear and I endured great pains to obtain it after all. I think that rather than making hide armor, it is better to make hard leather armor that has higher defense.
I nimbly finished making the shorts and put them on immediately.
With this I can protect my dignity as a person. That was what I felt.
After that, I went on to making the Red Bear hide harder by boiling it.
Tomorrow I will work hard at making equipment to go hunting with, I thought. Although I have a different motive as well, since I'm now too big for the weapons we have at the moment.
* * *
Out of the usual five goblin minions, three became hobgoblins.
I gave them a congratulatory gift.
Since they just turned into hobgoblins recently, I told them to go get used to their bodies.
I called off morning practice today because my training partner almost died.
Woah, that was close. Even if I held back my strength to the utmost minimum, a light punch would send a goblin to their death. More like, they would die unless treated immediately.
Gobukichi-kun, armed to the teeth, was pretty much trashed. His armor couldn't stop the force as it creaked. Even his tower shield made of black iron had a fist-shaped dent.
Therefore, I stopped the sparring session.
I arranged the next session to be a one on one mock battle, where the winner of which could give one order as a penalty to the loser.
In the afternoon, I continued crafting the armor that I started yesterday.
I saw Gobukichi-kun, who was about to go out hunting with an extremely worried expression. I thought it would be dangerous for him to go out alone and thus paired up with him. This morning, the goblin minions became partners to the individual hobgoblins, and played more of a supporting role.
Gobumi-chan and Hobusato-san are both females with similar fighting styles, and they started to get along with each other so they led four goblin subordinates and went out to hunt.
Hobusei-san was sitting beside me while I was crafting my armor. I told her to return the book after she was finished but was ignored.
Gobue-chan went mining spirit stones again today. As soon as she found a spot with a lot of spirit stones, she became very motivated. Her mining speed went up.
Redhead started training with wooden swords together with the goblins that were left behind. Her seriousness in training roused the competitive attitude of the other goblins since they didn't want to lose, this brought the older goblins closer to the goblins of my generation.
Really, she is such a tough girl.
While taking a break from crafting my armor, I decided to visit the girls. I first went to Blacksmith-sans to check on the knives she crafted from spirit stones, I was happy at how interesting the abilities they had were. I also taught the sisters how to make some simple dishes. I then brainstormed together with Alchemist-san for new potions ideas.
It's been so long since I've taken it slow.
* * *
Two minions who were still goblins yesterday ranked up to Hobgoblins.
While thinking "It's the second day in a row, huh?", I gave them a congratulatory gift.
The morning training ended without a hitch, and I ate the lunch the sisters prepared for me, Gobue-chan, who should have been in the mines, came to me flustered.
She was embracing something small and brown with a bright red jewel on its forehead, sharp cuts could be seen all over its body. It was covered in blood, just like me some time ago. I could tell from its erratic breathing that it would most likely die any moment.
Calling it "Carbuncle" (tentative name) for the time being, since Gobue-chan told me to help it with one of my Recovery Skills, and so I treated it with [Heal].
It would have been beyond saving if I was ten minutes late, I felt relieved when I was somehow in time as I've managed to heal the injury.
However even healing doesn't return lost blood. Carbuncle fell asleep after I forcefully made it drink a potion Alchemist-san made, a "Hematopoietic Potion" (Prototype) made from blending various herbs that helped with blood formation. Luckily for it I was sated after the meal so I didn't feel like eating it. Besides, Gobue-chan asked me to help it so that's what I did.
[T/N: Hematopoietic means blood producing.]
A few minutes later, the 30-cm tall Carbuncle opened its eyes and explained its situation.
It thanked us.
"Thank you very much", it said.
According to the story it told us when I asked why it was covered in injuries, the Carbuncle's name was Returner, and the reason it was covered in wounds was because of some human adventurers.
The red gem, splendidly mounted on its forehead, looked like a super high-class item, if sold, it would probably be worth a hundred million gold coins—I think one gold coin is ten yen—, that seemed to be the adventurers' objective.
When I thought it had it hard, this time it went down on its knees and requested/begged us to do something against the humans.
This is what I put together after hearing the story:
- It seems that "Returner" is an artificial carbuncle created a long time ago by the legendary magician Velvet who was well-known throughout the continent. It is the manager of [Velvet's Hidden Treasury] — A structure recognized in this world as a dungeon — that Gobue-chan and the others broke through when they were digging for Spirit Stones.
- Though its superficial wounds that I healed seemed to have stabilized, but the fact was that its "core"—though Returner was a non-living artificial Carbuncle without a set lifespan it seems that it would die if the core was broken — was deeply damaged when the humans attacked. The healing seemed to prolong the time until it disappears.
- Within the innermost part of the Treasury, there lay [Legendary] Class gems and elixirs that topped the list of magic items that Velvet had painstakingly collected over his lifetime. If the treasure chamber was savagely broken into by those greed-stricken nitwits and its treasures were taken away, there was no way Returner could tolerate all that.
- Returner wanted to solve this problem by its own, but its fighting strength was lacking and because its core was damaged, its time was limited.
In the dungeon were magical creatures: the "skeleton soldier", the tougher "skeleton warrior" and the advanced level skeleton, "greater skeleton", and against the party composition of the adventurers they were worse than useless.
That's why it came to us who seemed slightly strong, to drive the adventurers out and on top of that, to bury the other entrances.
- If we could help eliminate the problem, it is willing to hand over the contents of the treasure chamber to us as thanks. Velvet hated humans, so it might as well hand over the treasure to us ogre and goblins.
After thinking on it for a while, I couldn't think of any downsides.
I called Gobukichi-kun, Gobumi-chan, Gobue-chan, and then both Hobusei-san and Hobusato-san to get properly armed. After that I asked Blacksmith-san to bring me the knife made from spirit stones. I thought having a weapon is much better than being unarmed.
Because the Spirit Stone Knife was flashy in appearance, it seems like it would be useful as a deterrent.
As I began instructing my goblin underlings; Blacksmith-san, Redhead, the two sisters, and Alchemist-san looked at me, their faces full of unease.
That is because they heard the request to kill humans. They would feel some unease, even though they are strangers.
However, because Returner asked for it we will drive them out of the dungeon through and through, we will strike first against the adventurers and win without killing.
First we will try to persuade them, if that doesn't work, then and only then will we resort to the use of force. I said that since to protect ourselves we have to use deadly force, I'm afraid it will end with us having to kill them.
"If it's for self-defense then it can't be helped, otherwise we'll get killed, right?" I said.
When I told them that talking is important, and showed them my smile, they more or less gave me their consent.
With the preparations complete, Gobue-chan lead us to the hole connecting to the dungeon that Returner managed.
In the end, this is what happened.
We killed all six adventurers, men and women, who had entered the dungeon and tried to kill Returner.
Well, I did try persuasion first.
Initially, to prevent them from being too anxious because of our superior numbers, I had Gobukichi-kun and the others hide and went to persuade them by myself. This was an act I did in good faith.
But the moment they saw me they said something flag-like "This dungeon not only has just Greater Skeletons, they also have Ogre subspecies here. This piece of shit has lots of weaknesses. Even though it's a troublesome opponent, he's no match for us. Let's just kill it quickly. If we let it go we're not gonna find anything like it ever again", while beginning to attack me full of killing intent.
I was not an Ogre subspecies, but a rare variant. In the first place, they didn't want to hear what I was saying, not even a little. That's robbers for you, I thought.
Well, things like intruding on people's houses (dungeons), recklessly killing its inhabitants (monsters)—although it wasn't me—while recklessly abandoning and pillaging the treasure inside...This is, by no mistake, a murder-robbery case isn't it!! Moreover, they're not even aware of their crime; these people are beyond saving!!
Meanwhile, upon using [Appraisal], it seems that the robbers' equipment were all high-class items endowed with magic or a craft similar to that, even by appearance the party exuded an aura of considerable strength.
However, I felt nothing like the despair I felt when I went against the Red Bear, because by being an Ogre [Rare Variant] I had increased my base specs, and because repeated use of my abilities was now possible, I felt that defending against the robbers' attack was a simple matter.
I mean, I could judge that just by looking at their first blow.
Their attack was totally clumsy. Their aim is also relatively dull, not only were they unable to handle their weapons efficiently, there were hardly any unpredictable and complex feints to mislead the enemy mixed into their offense.
Their slashing attacks were quick, and their weapons were of a superior quality, so if a usual ogre were to be hit he'd be slaughtered leaving only pieces, however, in my opinion their combat techniques were not on par with their body's specification, the impression I had of their attack was that it was crude.
Whether it's because of body strengthening from their levels, or buffs from their [Job], they are certainly strong, but conversely, it could possibly be inhibiting their efforts to raise their potential. Without thinking where they swing their swords in front of themselves, raising the levels of usable techniques and so on, never noticing that relying on those techniques they are probably obstructing themselves.
So far they had probably been gaining levels by killing their opponents relying on brute force, thus they had naturally started to spend less effort when fighting.
I don't mean to find faults in others affairs, but their current methods was excessively lethal for themselves.
If they had spent more effort, they would probably have been able to fight me on equal ground.
That's how high their base spec was, yet.
Having neglected their training they were not real opponents for me.
There was a margin of error allowed for me because they were weaker, and so all their attacks were easily defended against by my parrying. While this was happening I continued my attempt to persuade them.
Usually when robbers are trying to murder you, you don't manage to convince them.
As I was talking to them, while still being attacked, from the deep part of the dungeon a young looking [Magician] came out and cast a [Lightning]-based magic which was followed with a bam as soon as it struck.
I didn't collapse, but all the same I stumbled a step or two forward from the shock. The resulting damage was only to the degree that I felt quite sore.
Even though it looked like a small attack based on it's size, I would've died from it if it weren't for All-Elemental Resistance and Lightning Resistance, the power of it was so strong your head would evaporate without a trace.
Ah, as expected. Since you've done this much, it can not be helped. My patience was already reaching its limits.
I sent a signal to Gobukichi-kun and the others who were hiding to commence their attack.
Apologizing to Returner in my mind, I cut off the retreat path of the adventurers by destroying a part of a mysterious opal corridor that made me want to remark "What is this, a royal palace?"
And in order to attract their attention, I attacked from the front.
Yeah, although I originally thought the ability of the Spirit Stone Knife was only amusing, it actually turned out to be amazing.
While the blade itself has absolutely no sharpness, since the materials used were Water Spirit Stones, water was being ejected from the blade with each slash. When I swung that thing a little seriously, the water coming out at high speed became a water blade, it cut the adventurer's armor in half along with its contents while making a loud sound.
"Awesome ! Awesome!" was what Gobumi-chan said following with a question about whether or not she could cut them in two with it, but I replied with a no because if there wasn't any force behind it the water didn't cut the opponent, it would only wet them.
It seems like it was useless without suitable swinging speed, although it was still cool.
After killing all of the adventurers, we stripped the bodies and ate them. I took the upper portion while Gobukichi-kun and the others got to share the lower bodies.Ability [Job-Assassin] learned.
Ability [Job-Crusader] learned.
Ability [Job-Guardian] learned.
Ability [Job-High Wizard] learned.
Ability [Job-Bishop] learned.
Ability [Job-Enchanter] learned.
Ability [Parallel Thinking] learned.
Ability [Horseriding] learned.
Ability [Anti-magic] learned.
Ability [Shortened Incantation] learned.
Ability [Chivalry] learned.
Ability [Intuition] learned.
Ability [Conceal Presence] learned.
Ability [Demigod of Mercy's Divine Protection] learned.
Ability [Demigod of War's Divine Protection] learned.
As expected even among humans being an adventurer means you need to be on a considerably high level.
Since they had a lot of high-quality equipment, a fairly useful magic item was found. I ate it immediately of course.Ability [Conceal Self-Status] learned.
Ability [Item Box] learned.
What I ate were two different magic items; "Hermit's Ring" and "Backpack Storage (Large) x6"
I stored the rest of the adventurers' gear in my item box-when I tried to retrieve an item, a ponsound could be heard and the item appeared.
The transfer item-like feature has given me a sense of nostalgia.
The ability allows me to store up to 1200 different items and the same-named items can be stacked up to 99 times each which is just cheating. Then Returner guided us to the entrance of the dungeon.
In the deepest part of the cave, we found a hidden entrance which we collapsed, now there's no other entrance here except the one Gobue-chan made. After we have collapsed that passage, there will be no way to enter this dungeon.
Carbuncle guided us into the treasury, where we all saw it.
There were various valuable treasures; the previous adventurer's equipment that we got our hands on looked dull compared to the vast number of powerful magic items here. Amidst this treasury crammed full of items, in the innermost part, was a mummy with a strange left arm shining in silver, enshrined in a throne.
Returner called this mummy its master. This probably means that it was Velvet.
Returner's time was about to run out and before that he wanted to tell us something.
A wide variety of spirit stones could be gathered from the mines of our current home, it was the influence of this dungeon. Usually depending on the type of Spirit Stone it could found in a location that corresponds to their attribute —— places with good ventilation have Wind Spirit Stones, Fire Spirit Stones are found near hot places like volcanoes, Spirit Stones of different attributes aren't usually found in one place.
However, because this dungeon was a place built by Velvet who excelled at handling spirits, somehow spirits who do not belong can remain here even now, and it's possible to mine a wide variety of spirit stones because of the dungeon's influence.
As soon as he finished talking, as if having reached its end Returner showed a faint smile as he faded.
Clink, And only the jewel was left behind.
After I picked it up I ate it .Ability [Golden Rule] learned.
For now, we gave a silent prayer dedicated to Returner.
And so I took all the riches in the treasury. Really, the item box skill is amazing.
I could afford to cram everything from the treasury, and I still had surplus space left. Yeah, it's all thanks to the adventurer party from a while ago.
Thinking that, only the mummified Velvet with the strange-looking left hand remained in the lonely temple and treasure chamber, as I thought, I couldn't bring myself to leave him as he is, so after recovering the gem-encrusted throne, I cremated the mummy.
Raising my face, I clapped my hands in prayer and said "namu", and as the rumbling fire died out, only the strange-looking artificial hand, shining in silver, was left in its place.
"What is this?", I thought as I used [Appraisal].
Silver Artificial Arm - Airgeatlámh
Legendary ClassAbilitiy Effects
- Elemental Echo
By taking in other kinds of metal, it is possible to change the shape according to the wearer's intent, this ability improves with each use. Destruction of this item is fundamentally impossible.
Hm, is Velvet saying "I don't need this any more, so I'm giving it to you" to me who had lost my left arm? I thought this as I picked it up at the elbow and brought it closer to my missing left arm. Somehow I was able to attach it.
My impressions: It was incredibly painful.
Well, somehow when I brought it close, the arm's armor expanded and its metallic tentacles extended from its center and covered my left arm up to the shoulder. Then the tentacles did something that felt like it was eating my flesh, the pain was so intense that I almost blacked out.
Then after I had recovered from my screaming, my left arm had become Airgeatlámh up to the shoulder. The silver arm that was the size of a human's when I picked it up should have been far too small for me who was an ogre, but somehow it had transformed into the same size as my right arm in both length and girth; it suited me well.
This might be the effects of [Self-Evolution].
There was no discomfort even when clenching and opening all five fingers. It didn't feel weird at all.
Moreover, I could tell when I touched things with it, and when I tried hitting a wall I felt no pain at all. Even though I could accept having no sense of pain because it was a prosthetic arm, I wondered how it was able to transmit the sense of touch.
I was incapable of understanding it, and since I had no idea how abilities work in the first place, I wasn't going to think too deeply about it for now.
Then, the movement limitations of the elbow joint seemed to have outrageously wide range of motion, and here and there were all sorts of gimmicks. The wrist and fingers could be rotated like a drill, and I could move the elbow and the shoulder at angles impossible for the skeletal structure of an Ogre.
And then I confirmed that I could properly use my abilities through the silver arm. I was able to spin thread from the sharp pointed fingertips without a problem.
Yep, I had obtained an awfully good thing.
Even though I could somehow manage with the slime finger, but as expected, having a solid basis made dealing with problems easier.
After that, we returned to base and had a party. Since it's the conclusion of a great battle, and among the things we got from the adventurer party —this is important—there were bottles of booze. If we're not going to have one now then when are we going to have one?
This is also for sending off the souls of Returner and Velvet.
In Velvet's case, maybe it didn't matter because he died a long time ago, our worrying about it is because of the current atmosphere.
I explained the details gently and thoroughly to Redhead, Blacksmith-san and the others trying to get their consent.
Even though I persisted in trying to persuade them, towards the greedy humans it was useless.
But, yeah, booze is delicious!!
* * *
After ending morning practice, I went to Blacksmith-san to have the items we obtained yesterday appraised, classified and sorted.
As expected of the legendary magician, almost every inheritance of Velvet are outrageous.
I was still unable to identify many things, On the other hand, Blacksmith-san, being a member of the travelling merchants and having dealt with various equipment as a profession of [Blacksmith], has a high [Appraisal] ability. She easily assessed more information than I ever could have and then explained to me her findings and their meaning.
Although there seems to be many parts that still can't be identified, but, it was really helpful.
I then spent the rest of the day sorting through all the items.
* * *
After concluding the morning practice, and after thinking about what to do with the large amount of items we've obtained, but because I judged that to fully equip them would only lead to complacency, I decided to only give magical items to the ten hobgoblins-weapon and armor, and also stuff like magical rings to be versatile-and gave each goblin a max of two items.
And the equipment those hobgoblins previously used were passed down to those of a lower rank. In the end, the worst equipped member was using shell reinforced shield, leather armour and a short sword.
Since they have been practicing daily the group of goblins had reached an unfathomable high level, additionally both the quality and quantity of the equipment had increased, even if they don't do a surprise attack with poisoned arrows and attacked enemies from the front, fighting against mid-level adventurers would still have a high chance of winning against, according to Gobujii.
Well, I don't know if it's because of their competition for strength, but if the slightly lower rank goblins attack in a swarm then the adventurers would probably lose.
In my eyes, this group is without question currently the strongest army corps.
In the afternoon I went out with all hobgoblins which numbered 10 in total, along with Redhead since she desperately wanted to join us, in order to hunt the previously mentioned Hind Bears.
By the way, my current main weapon is something I found in Velvet's Treasure Room, a vermillion longspear named [Starving Impaler of A Thousand Thorn (Kazikli Bey)].
[T/N: It's the same spear he is holding on the Alphapolis Banner. The one that looks something used by a Ritual Monk.
Kazikli Bey is Vlad the Impaler's Turkish nickname, the Vampire Dracula was based on him.]
My armor is a long coat-type hard leather armor made from the Red Bear's hide and the shells of Demon Spiders, and I am also wearing a pair of flexible red leather pants.
Usually on my flesh and blood right arm I have a black metal bracelet however, I'd quickly changed it to this sturdy hand protector that manifests its ability according to the intent of the wearer to increase physical strength -among other things- named [Fury of the Haughty King (Beowulf)].
The spear and the bracelet and the silver arm; all three are [Legendary] Class [Artifact]s.
Yes, it might be late to start now, but I'll briefly explain about [Artifact]s.
[Artifact] is a word that inevitably appears when discussing items gotten from the few dungeons around the world termed [Ancient Dungeons] that are extremely dangerous yet unique places.
From what I can tell from viewing the item data of [Artifact]s, there's an obvious difference in performance when compared to current magic items.
Even for disposable potions, their effects can be more than two to three times as potent.
An [Artifact] Class health potion heals 60 hit points, while the commonly made version of health potions restore 25 hit points.
Something along those lines.
Blacksmith-san told me that it's a system that distinguishes superior quality items based on criterions on what type of item class it is.
Next I'll talk about [Legendary] class items among other things.
This is something that shows an items rank.
Items are categorized accordingly into 7 ranks, starting from the weakest it's [Inferior], [Normal], [Rare], [Unique], [Ancient], [Legendary] and [Phantasmal]
For example, the long sword with a nick in its blade that I got from the kobold, and the shell encased gigantic club that Gobukichi used before, are both the lowest class of items, Inferior, whilst the magic staff that Kobold Mage used, using this system would be ranked as a [Normal] Class.
The weapons that the adventurers we killed in Velvet's dungeon used were mostly [Unique] Class, with a few [Ancient] Class weapons mixed in.
In short, even for a high level adventurer party, getting ancient, legendary or [Phantasmal] Class items is quite rare.
If I say that a small country's treasury probably doesn't have items above [Unique] Class, does that make it easier to imagine how rare the higher class items are?
Or perhaps I should say, to begin with, [Ancient] Class magic items are mostly all at least [Artifact] level.
That's why people are so desperate to dive into these old ruins.
I digress, but apparently when ancient dungeons are surrounded by castle walls, labyrinth towns can pop up around them, and so on. It sounds fun, so I might try diving into one of these sometime.
The fact that my red spear, bracelet and silver arm are all [Legendary] Class items is proof of how powerful Velvet was when he was alive.
Because the act of finding even one legendary item is enough to shake countries, I cannot help but think that he was truly someone worth respecting.
As to obtaining the highest class of [Phantasmal] Class items, it's unimaginable so I let the matter drop.
I have far too little information on that subject, so I don't really know.
Getting back to the original topic, the Hind Bear hunt was completed without a hitch..
The Hind Bears are certainly strong, however now that we were equipped with magic weapons and were capable of group tactics, so the Hind Bears are certainly formidable enemies
but not something that will stop us.
The bracelet, red spear and silver arms abilities were beyond cheating, without even having to use my abilities, to stand in the front exchanging blows and killing were mainly the reasons, but my presence this time is in the end supposed to be nothing more than support.
That's why I equipped Gobukichi-kun, Gobumi-chan and the rest with high quality magical items, and to exercise the strength of the hobgoblins is the main reason for today's hunt.
This time the main purpose of the hunt is to raise the level of the participants.
Yeah, bear stew is incredibly tasty!
By the way, because of the recent problems, I want to drink more booze so much that I can't stand it.
Booze...I want some Booze...
* * *
It rained today.
In order to determine everyone's new rank, we decided to hold a round-robin tournament.
It's best to fill the holes left by the previous hobgoblin leader.
While not many will rise in rank, I thought everyone's motivation would increase by doing this.
But victory and defeat is obvious among hobgoblins and goblins, and it doesn't even need to be said for me who's an ogre, goblins decided their ranks amongst goblins, and hobgoblins who have decided their rank amongst hobgoblins didn't change.
There were people who rose and fell in rank this time, it was a fluctuation between happiness and sadness.
Yeah, the overall level has also risen, perhaps it'd be good to embark to a city with Redhead soon. I'll think about it later.
When going outside, it might also be interesting to form a mercenary group. In the area where we're active in now, since there aren't anymore monsters which can't be killed by me, my level doesn't rise very easily either.
Once you've killed the Lord of the Mountain, this is an inevitable outcome.
Yeah, it seems I should go outside sooner or later.
While thinking deeply on many things, I fell soundly asleep...