Chapter 6 : Day 51 to Day 60
When I woke up, four goblins had turned into hobgoblins and the number of hobgoblins is now twelve.
Moreover, there is a quality Mage from the four, and another of them has aptitude to work as a Cleric.
The large wounds received until now have all been cured by me, so having another one with a healing ability is something I'm grateful for.
I also can't rule out the possibility that some of the wounded would die before I reached them if there are a lot of wounded patients at once.
That's why, I have established a medical unit named "Prière" under the new Hobgoblin Cleric Gobuji-kun as its captain.
[T/N : Prière is "prayer" in french.]
Although he's currently the only member of his unit, I hope that other individuals with similar skills will soon be joining him.
Incidentally, you might think that there should be more than twelve hobgoblins. I have not counted wrong however.
Counting off, Gobumi-chan, Gobue-chan, Hobusato-san, and their 5 underling goblins, and four additional goblins that joined, which all total to 12 hobgoblins. It's simple addition.
But Hobusei-san was not mentioned, because when she woke up she had undergone her next rank up already. According to her, it has been years since her first rank up.
Hobusei-san ranked up and became a Lord base species called the Half Spell Lord.
The reason Hobusei-san wasn't counted this time is because of that.
Concerning Half Spell Lords; it seems that for hobgoblins who practice magic becoming Ogres is not a popular route, although the probability is lower, mage-type monsters are races that advance on routes that specialize in using magic.
It's really like Hobusei-san who is good at using magic.
Turning into a race that best leverages her strong points is a good thing, too.
It's just that the specialization comes at the cost of lower physical abilities than other lord types, but magic is in the first place a technique to one-sidedly torment the enemy from a distance.
Since it's mostly a close-combat averse race that specialize in using magic, it's not particularly a problem.
A Half Spell Lord's appearance is like that of a human with two small horns. I haven't seen any besides Hobusei-san but there might be differences between individuals, from her appearance, one could guess that Hobusei-san who became a Half Spell Lord was in the latter half of her early twenties; rather than calling her cute, she was like Alchemist-san, an intellectual cool-type beauty who seems like she would look good in a suit.
Bluish-white skin that radiates life, green, somewhat tsurime eyes that show intelligence, in the middle of her forehead a sapphire-looking round gem 3 cm in diameter between a pair of horns, long, ash grey hair that extends down to her waist, and black tattoos on her forearms with patterns similar to mine yet subtly different, these were her characteristics.
[T/N : Tsurime - Eyes that slant upwards, ending in a corner, usually seen on willful, proud, or intelligent characters in visual media.]
Measured by eye, her height is 180 cm.
Speaking of the person herself, the tattoos on her arms were something that had originally not been there, and apparently she herself doesn't know how they got there. It's just that she felt power gathering to the brim near them, so they didn't give off a bad feeling.
When I asked whether she had something like Gobukichi-kun's [Demigod's Divine Protection], she denied it. Apparently she didn't hold such a blessing.
Hrm, this is an enigma. Well, I expect that this will be explained in due time.
Then Gobujii additionally told us that the "Half" in front of the race's name was because it had inferior overall specs compared to the true species—Spell Lord in this case.
Well, I already thought that much from the beginning because it was "Half".
People who don't quite understand what "Half" means, it's okay to consider things like Ogres and Hobgoblins like that, I think. Knowing that much already means being one step ahead.
It looks like the next time she ranks up she will officially become a Spell Lord, too.
Afterwards, to confirm the extent of improvement to her abilities when she became a Half Spell Lord, we had a magic stage performance by the stream outside, yep, it was amazing. No, incredible.
Among the magic that Hobusei-san could use, there was one that is classified as a second-grade fire-type magic called "Firestorm of Disaster (Char'dei Dirou)".
I think I was being cryptic by suddenly saying gibberish like "second-grade", so I'll add one thing.
It seems [God] had defined all ten ranks of magic, from the lowest ranking "first grade", to the highest ranking "tenth grade" according to difficulty of invocation, destructive power, spell release level limit, and so on.
Like the way abilities are often something like [Demigod of Something], in this world, beings that stand one domain above us are real. The world is practically dotted with several places where one can meet Gods—the "Holy Places".
Well, let's put aside Gods and such and get back to the story.
After learning that it is only one step above the most basic spells, you might think it's weak, but you would be gravely mistaken.
Even by being able to handle the lowest first-grade magic, it's easy to kill several people at the same time.
Just by launching a single fireball of the first-grade fire system magic "Flame Calamity (Char Rou)", several people can easily be incinerated.
By the way, the lightning system magic that hit me directly in the face before was a third-grade spell. If that's true it contains enough power to blow away an Ogre-class monster entirely.
In my case I didn't become like that because the power was sharply lowered by my abilities, but it still hurt...
If you can handle a fifth-grade magic, even burning an entire city block is probably possible.
Going that far, you'd certainly be a monster that can "match a thousand", Redhead even seemed to know of some people that could do the same or worse than that, although only through hearsay.
...I wonder what kind of ability I could get if I ate one.
It's fun to imagine the possibilities, since the High Wizard that I previously killed and ate could only at his best use third-grade magic.
Though there's no knowing when such an opportunity will occur, imagining the possibilities is fun.
Going back from what I heard of "Firestorm of Disaster (Char'dei Dirou)", Hobusei-san once upon a time used it and it produced fireballs with a diameter of ten centimeters, the magic then launched these fireballs five times in a row causing wide area destruction.
It's just that for Hobusei-san to cast it, she needed considerable concentration and a long chant time, furthermore, for several days after she'd used it she couldn't use magic, those were the risks inherent in using it.
When thinking of the great risk inherent in using it, this destructive power could only be used as a last resort.
Now that she had ranked up, it had changed into magic that could not be compared to that of the old days.
The time needed to activate "Firestorm of Disaster (Char'dei Dirou)", not only has it been reduced to one-fifth the cast time compared to before, but also the diameter of one fireball is now 35 cm, and the total number of shots fired have turned into twenty.
Furthermore, she no longer even gets a feeling of fatigue after activating it, with her current supply of inner mana, it seems she won't receive any backlash even if she were to fire it twenty times in a row.
Additionally, she could now use even more powerful spells than before.
You could expect no less from a race-specific magician.
By the way, every shot was aimed at the sky. This is because if she were to shoot at the ground, dealing with the damaged terrain would be a bother.
Even so, since she is still only a Half Spell Lord, it got me wondering on how great the magic of a full Spell Lord would be.
No matter how hard I try at gathering information about this world, the information I get is too incomplete, not knowing the limits of power is quite scary.
To congratulate them for their rank up, I did the same as I always do and gave each of the four hobgoblins two magic items.
Hobusei-san got an item from Velvet's inheritance, a robe made from silver and gold thread combined with a red holy shroud that showed several special effects like [Auto-Amplification] and [Physical Magic Damage Resistance] among others.
Another present I gave her was a magic staff named "Arannote's Staff", made from ancient wood studded with a red magic gem that used to be in possession of the adventurer with the [Job-High Wizard] who was killed in Velvet's dungeon before.
I also handed over a bracelet-type magic item that had the ability to store magic staves and gadgets that were usually in the way, just like the one I had given to Gobukichi-kun.
Due to the weapons reshuffling this time, the equipment that Hobusei-san was using until now, a staff and a grey robe, were given to two of the mage disciples that were formerly under my command but had now been transferred to Hobusei-san's corps.
Now then, I've been grumbling nowadays since I found out the reason of their growth lately.
Yeah, somehow the goblins from the same generation as me seem to generally have an unimaginably high growth rate—or experience point absorption ability. That had been demonstrated by hobgoblins being born en masse before going out of the forest.
I've been told by Gobujii before, but normally, goblins needed years to become hobgoblins.
The reason for things becoming like this was undoubtedly me.
And so I tried thinking a bit, perhaps due to their living environment one month or so after birth, their growth rate was not going to change in the future.
See, because Goblins as a species have a high growth rate, I speculate that the growth of their abilities are also higher than other species. I wonder if I could call it a growth period extension?
In the month since they were born, these goblins have killed and eaten tons of creatures ordinary goblins would avoid like the plague, undergoing a harsh training regimen repeatedly, which has caused their growth rate to greatly change.
Assuming that the growth rate of an ordinary goblin is 1, the goblins that continue to strictly train, kill and eat until their bellies are full is 10, this is what it feels like.
Definitely there's no way to confirm it, however I suspected that there's a very high probability that it is so.
I can't find any reason to deny this hypothesis either.
Also, it is very likely that there was assistance from my [Pack Leadership].
I already mentioned the effectiveness of this ability in raising my subordinates' abilities, but in order to fulfill the conditions for utilizing the ability, I had to come up with concepts for each corps, picking out individuals that I judge to be the most suitable considering their character and ability and assigning them there.
What I'm trying to say is that, shouldn't it become easier to get more and more powerful than normal because of the expectation from usually using the effects of [Pack Leadership] for that purpose?
Well, having an increase in strong companions is something that should be welcomed, let's stop this talk here because I haven't gotten any clear proof that this is so yet.
It is however vital that I thoroughly investigate the effects of say ranking up into an ogre in the future.
Among other things I have to figure out an ogre's lifespan.
If ogres are as short lived as say goblins, of course it would be depressing.
Oh yeah, of the 17 elves we have in captivity, one woman from the seven and three men from the ten have yielded to their desires.
Although I already had Gobumi-chan and the rest, I was curious about what Elven biology was like, so I put myself in charge as her first partner.
For now I'll say that I intended to be as careful as I can to not hurt my partner. But I couldn't deny the feeling that I made her faint.
Well, yeah, it was awesome. Though I'm not saying anything. Not even that it's because beautiful girls are assertive.
After that, it was the other goblins turn.
This group mainly consisted of goblins from my own generation.
Rather, I strongly ordered them.
The orders were mostly for the sake of the older goblin males... To have them make her feel good when she's their partner.
But I won't allow many-to-one. It has to be one-to-one.
I might have thought that she was reluctant because she was a haughty elf, but in reaction to enduring being stimulated with drugs, she was delightedly gasping.
I thought "If she seemed happy about it then it's okay, right?" Well since it can't be helped, I gave up.
Because I gave them detailed instructions to treat the girls with care, and because the girls assigned rooms were better than the subordinate goblins, they shouldn't end up tattered and then die like what happened before.
Having given that much warning, particularly to Gobujii who was a repeat offender, it should be fine because I took action first and thus had the initiative.
After that, let's talk about the [■ ■ ■ of Kins] that I got when I woke up.
Yeah, I really didn't understand how this could be used. In fact, it's not even clear right now what effects it had.
I couldn't even make a conjecture because the first few letters were blocked.
I wanted to say "Somebody teach me!"
Because it says "Kin", I thought that maybe something or other was messing with me, but...
If it's an ability I learned by myself, usually I could understand the way to use it, but this ability is probably something that I earned because of the rules of this world, so yeah, I don't get it.
I'm giving up on trying to figure it out for now.
* * *
Since it had been a while, this evening I went hunting together with Gobukichi-kun in previously unmapped areas, where we found a group of twelve armed men.
By their vigilance of their surroundings, and their speedy—although slow compared to us—advance towards the area where I think the Village of the Elves is, I concluded that they were something like the human army's reconnaissance corps.
Motivated by curiosity, we decided to follow them.
An ogre taller than two and a half meters should be pretty conspicuous, in fact I usually can't help but stand out strikingly, however in this case this is not a problem.
Since the fourth day after we were born, we were told to get our own food by hunting.
From that day on we have followed my plan which is, rather than charging straight at our prey we stay hidden, reading its breath whereafter we strike its blind spot accurately as if we were assassins.
Because of this, Gobukichi-kun and I have polished our skill at hiding ourselves until it couldn't be compared to the usual level of skill others have.
The gigantic figure of an Ogre merged with the surroundings, it's an ability that makes the target unable to perceive you for over ten minutes.
In addition to this, since I possessed the ability [Hiding] which further boosted my skill at hiding, I could easily support Gobukichi-kun too, so there shouldn't be any problems.
And then after tailing them for a short while. It seems that we had reached the target point, where the humans began to assume a formation shaped like the letter "U".
As they finished moving into formation, each of the humans took one of their two crossbows in hand, erased their presence and hid themselves.
In case you didn't know of their presence in advance, they'd be pretty difficult to spot even if you got very close to them.
Their hiding skill is very advanced.
Well, though it's at an inferior level compared to us who live in the wild.
Having arranged their stance up to this point, there was a high chance of silencing their targets without being discovered using a surprise attack with their crossbows.
Since they each had two crossbows, they could fire them in succession whereafter they would enter close combat.
That's what I would've done anyway.
Wanting to know what they were doing there, I secretly extended a superfine thread that was almost invisible even if you were to look at it closely, and listened in on their hushed conversations.
From that I learned their mission here was to kidnap the beloved daughter of the "Elven Round Table Conference's Chairman".
Apparently the Elves had adopted an institution where the representatives of several clans meet together for decision-making.
Naturally, they were preparing to kill the daughter's guards, or so I deduced from the conversation.
From the conversation I also established that somehow the Elves had a traitor among them.
Though I don't intend to do anything special with this information, I had no doubt that this was a very useful piece of intel.
Well, the existence of those who think "No one wants to be ruined, and betraying my companions to save my own~" isn't all that unusual.
Many had left battered after getting influenced by personal interests, and I didn't have anything to do with it in the first place, so I couldn't care less.
I'll squeeze as much profit from this as I possibly can if I get the chance.
Afterwards, after about two hours of watching how things would work out, an armed group of nothing but pretty female and male elves came along. Gobukichi-kun got tired of waiting long ago, so I had him hunting close by. If anything were to occur I'd notify him with my thread.
The elf sitting on a sedan chair being carried by a number of elves was certainly the elven maiden-san who was going to be kidnapped.
From her looks she seemed to be between her late teen to early twenties, and frankly speaking she was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen.
That is, what one would call an incomparably beautiful woman.
While staring at her mesmerized for a while, I caught sight of a small change in the hidden humans.
I thought something was going to happen, so I called Gobukichi-kun via thread. At the same time the twelve humans moved simultaneously and accurately killed an elf each with their crossbows.
It didn't end there, they threw away the crossbows they just fired, took their other crossbows, and fired once more. The arrows that were fired once more caused twelve elves to die.
In the confusion following the surprise attack, the eight remaining elves who took up their bows to retaliate were silenced by the drawn blades of the humans who had quickly rushed over.
The whole thing was over in only ten seconds. They worked at lightning speed; I have to say that they are quite skilled.
The elf-maiden was the only survivor and the men approached her afterwards.
Despite her struggling, they forced a cloth against her mouth and she suddenly went limp.
From what I could gather at this distance it appeared that she had lost consciousness.
The humans who were able to finish their mission unhurt carried the listless Elven Maiden-san and ran back the way they came.
They withdrew without hesitation.
I decided to await them along the former path they used. This is of course if they use the same path as they used earlier.
Their distance is getting close enough to me, I think the time is right, so I got up from the ground and shot threads from my fingertips.
I activated [Earth Control] just in case, and I erected earthen walls to three sides other than the front to completely prevent the 12 humans from escaping.
In the sudden turn of events, the expressions of the humans who went into a state of panic was funny.
As a result, everyone was captured in one go.
Using the flexibility of the thread created by the ability of the Argiope's [Golden Thread Creation] they remained in their place, since it was exhausting because the golden thread was heavier than it appeared, its vulnerability to fire which was the previous thread's weak point was also covered up, it's also impossible to cut quickly because of its resistances.
They looked like bagworms as they wriggled around which was hilarious.
But during this state everyone was determined to use the poison in the back of their teeth that they have prepared, to prevent them from confessing anything they might also bite off their tongue. As soon as it happened, I cured everyone to prevent them from dying and I gagged them with my thread since it was troublesome to apply medical treatment.
In order for them not to undo their bindings I dislocated their joints, and when I had finished tying up their wrists and thumbs firmly, Gobukichi finally arrived.
I gave the work of carrying all the 12 humans to Gobukichi-kun who arrived late.
Though his burden looks quite heavy, Gobukichi-kun was carrying them like it was nothing.
.....And including the equipment, it's definitely more than 1 ton right? I wondered whilst tilting my head a little, but he looked completely unfazed so I didn't say anything.
Elven Maiden-san's escorts just now were killed in action-the heads were hollowed out from the shot they received by a crossbow, the neck separated from the corpses.
The assassins had good skills, so the elves vital points were accurately destroyed and there was nothing I could do since I don't have any resurrection skills, so I took all their equipment and their hearts, whereafter I properly buried them because it would be cruel if monsters were to eat and ravage their corpses.
Ability [Luck] learned.
Ability [Doom] learned.
Guess I'll have to activate Luck (good luck) ability for now, gotta be cautious I don't accidentally activate the Doom (bad luck) ability.
Lastly, I clapped my hands together "Namu".
I offered a prayer to them.
Hm? What will I do to the captured humans you say?
Well, after interrogating them I'd have them earn more experience by contributing to us.
Afterwards, I used them as a lecturing material on how to torture. Since they're all males, they don't look good compared to the looks of the male elves.
Yeah, tonight will be problematic.
That was what I thought, but before that, an event happened. We encountered some goblins on the way home.
These weren't unfamiliar faces. They were a group of the older goblins, six goblins who were once our superior members. Nowadays, even the goblin underlings who had carried Redhead and the others far outstrip them in true strength, these goblins had become known as those guys who couldn't keep up with training.
I already mentioned before that the goblins of my generation were stronger than the older ones, but I'll add that because the underling servant goblins were comparatively younger, they had shown some likelihood of growing reasonably through training, though the fact that they had outstripped these guys was an inside story. Oh well, that's fine for now.
I wanted to ask what they were doing in this kind of place, but since the older goblins seemed to be in some hurry I just observed them while staring at them in silence. It could have been resignation, but one of them raised his hand and talked.
The reason: they could no longer follow me.
Not being able to sleep with women against their will was hard enough, they could no longer stand the rigors of daily training. Even so, they endured, thinking that some opportunity would come up, but when the female Elf prisoners were taken, they could not take it any longer.
In their situation, sleeping with the female Elves was impossible; even if they held out their hand, they were limited to the males. The males were pretty boys so they didn't feel bad, but of course they could not reach the females' first-rate bodies in a lifetime, the goblins were helplessly tantalized by this situation.
Even to the extent of being half-dead. In an environment where they had some first-rate meals right in front of their eyes, but only those other than themselves can eat, what could they expect to do.
So, they moved out.
In other words, they seem to want to leave the group.
After saying that much, they went silent and trembled.
Maybe they thought that they would be killed.
Ah so it has finally come to this, I told myself, although it was a talk that I didn't want to hear.
Well, at the current stage, it is not really necessary to stop those who don't comply at this state, if they told me that they want to go out, "I see" was the kind of thing I probably would've said.
If it were Gobukichi-kun I would stop him to the point of pulling, It's him after all. Something like that.
I adhere to the rules, but I haven't considered what to do to guys who were like "we don't like it, so we're leaving", right now. Since they were not that many yet, leaving would be okay.
Just that I have to make-up some kind of violation that would make them leave.
Besides, my goal right now was not to increase our numbers, but rather to raise our individual abilities. Rather than increasing the number of burdens, I thought that in our state that is competent to an extent, it might be better to consider adding children from now on.
So, it was not my intent to leave behind these already frustrated guys right now. Even if they had no talent, I wanted to extend my hand to those willing to work hard.
Nonetheless, to prevent gossip from leaking out, I should apply a bit of tactics. No, I didn't think of killing them. Though I should add "at least at this stage" at the end. I won't kill them.
The weapons carried by these trembling older goblins who were looking at me with a tense expression were only [Normal] class items that I gathered and distributed, if you want to call it by rank, then it would be first-grade from the bottom.
With them they had [Normal] class weapons and armor, and several [Rare] class weapons were thrown in with them were taken out, the armaments were then handed out without a word.
They were certain, that they would be killed if they made a move.
It was the right choice.
Getting back to what I was saying, it is good that the goblins were armed, but the best weapons quickly dwindled in number, their chances to survive and thrive with their current abilities are uncertain with the quality of weapons they currently have .
Oh well, I decided that I will show them my feelings of mercy with a parting gift. So, I presented them with six knives taken from my item box.
This knife is one of the relics left from the Elf Guard-san who died earlier. Using my appraisal the blue knife appears to be made of the magic metal (Mithril), which is too precious for Goblins to have.
The knife does not contain any special abilities, but its sharpness is beyond compare to the standard steel short sword that they are currently equipped with. Would you believe me if I told you that Mithril can easily cut the blade of a steel sword without getting a scratch on it?
The Mithril Knife that only the elves have the ability to manufacture, is so (Rare) that a low level adventurer could not obtain one.
Just to show the sharpness of the blade, I cut my fingertip and several drops of blood trickled out, I then handed the blade back to a goblin who sheathed it. The wound quickly vanished without leaving a trace because of [Rapid Recovery].
The older goblins just stood there with a dumbfounded look. Then Gobukichi-kun and I, smiling wryly, left them there without looking back, and took our leave.
Perhaps, destiny will allow us to meet again.
Well, even with the Mithril knife they still have a high chance of being killed by a group of adventures or mercenaries before that. With the market value being so high, a treasure like that usually invites trouble.
I wish them luck for the future ahead.
Lastly, I simply said "This important point is a place where I shed my blood".
* * *
From the group of 12 people that were caught, I got the information that the full force will advance within 20 days. Because the forest is full of powerful monsters like Three-Horned Horses and Hind Bears, mobilization of large numbers of people on specific routes was deemed impossible.
Naturally, I heard the routes as well.
Normally one would think they wouldn't leak such important information since they are professionals, ha, broke their limbs and then stopped the bleeding, sliced their flesh and bone and then healed it, cut open their stomach and then healed it, eating them mercilessly in front of their comrades, I repeatedly listen to the ones that were telling everything.
We are called villains, there's no mistake about it, but if you look at history you would find things like this happen many times, so I was not concerned, don't take me wrong but most of the techniques I was using were ones that were perfected by our predecessors in the first place.
Oh, and I'm an ogre now. I'm not human, so this isn't a problem. That's how it is.
After I heard all the things I needed to hear, I ate their extremely delicious meat. Oh and I
also got magic items, armaments and a lot of experience points.
Ability [Job-Secret Force] learned.
Ability [Job-Monster Tamer] learned.
Ability [Job-Vorpal Punisher] learned.
Ability [Job-Hermit] learned.
Ability [Read State] learned.
Ability [Bribe] learned.
Ability [Unlock] learned.
Ability [Release Trap] learned.
Ability [Sense Trap] learned.
Ability [Sense Enemy] learned.
Ability [Improved Assassination Rate] learned.
Ability [Hidden Weapon Mastery] learned.
Ability [Humanbane] learned.
Ability [Vorpal Strike] learned.
Ability [Aura Slash] learned.
Ability [Back Attack] learned.
Ability [Needleshot] learned.
Ability [Throw] learned.
Ability [Severe Pain Resistance] learned.
Ability [Charm Resistance] learned.
Ability [Assassination Resistance] learned.
Oh the abilities.
Yeah, only [Triple Stab] was a direct physical attack ability, I'm thankful for the addition of [Vorpal Strike] and [Aura Slash].
There's also [Unlock] and [Release Trap], I am satisfied with so many useful abilities.
Elven Maiden-san slept soundly for a day thanks to the sleeping drug, she finally woke up in the afternoon.
She jumped in surprise when she woke up since I was looking at her beautiful sleeping face, then made a bunch of noises like "What have you done to my private escorts?!" "What are you going to do to me?!" "No way, my chastity...", so I made some imitation tea—with the help of Alchemist-san—out of medicinal grass, which settled her for now.
The tea's sedative effect kicked in immediately.
Afterwards, I told her what happened plainly.
The escorts were all dead, I took their hearts and equipment as payment for giving them a respectable burial. I—Gobukichi-kun was excluded since he wasn't there at the time—was watching the situation from the preparation phase, I attacked the humans before killing and eating them, that's all.
I told her everything without holding back.
Oh by the way, I never said anything about the elven prisoners of war. Since it is unrelated. There might be a problem if I told her, but I didn't because it doesn't relate to her case.
Well, speaking of Elven Maiden-san's reaction, was, naturally, it was that of rage.
I was punched in the head and got hit a few more times, but to be honest, it was not a big deal. It was like getting hit by a small child. Repeated punches you say? That imagery is actually quite close.
Though I thought 'Did Elf Maiden-san behave like that because there was a guy with reasonable position?', but it's not like I don't understand her feelings, so I let her freely hit me for a while, then I countered with a flick of my finger—My hits are no joke. Even though it's just a poke I had to go easy on her and hold back—to her forehead.
Her swelling head moved back so she won't die, but it still must have been painful, she held onto the spot and scornfully stared at me with teary eyes, I don't really know.
"The dispute between elves and humans doesn't matter to us, but I was going to help, so stop hating and complaining so much", I declared. Then I incidentally told her that there seemed to be a traitor in their ranks.
Then she became silent, after a while she erupted into tears while crying in earnest, I tried to comfort her. Gah, the sight of a beauty in tears is foul play.
After that, I wanted to escort Elven Maiden-san to her village, but we continued talking more than expected, time passed so she needed somewhere to stay for the night.
Tonight I made a hammock for her to sleep in.
Well, tomorrow we will go to the Village of the Elves.
Wonder how it will go.
Oh, and Gobujii, weren't you looking at me with expectant eyes saying "Did you catch Maiden-san?" What a bother.
It's not like she's an enemy, for me to be hypocritical and spend two hours talking with her......
Oh, I began asking about the male and female elves I caught. But there was no interest because they were the ones who meddled first, it's an implicit rule of the elves, so I just went with it.
The line of goblins was a surreal scene, it went on and on.
For the time being, I'm not going to say anything since they were following the rules.
* * *
Waking up as usual, I felt a presence overlooking me while sighing by my side. To ascertain who it was, I feigned sleep for a while.
According to [Presence Sensor], apparently it was the Elven Maiden-san. For now, I want to say "What are you doing?"
Later, Gobumi-chan, Redhead, Blacksmith-san, Sisters-san, Alchemist-san all had me surrounded and were examining me closely as well, again I wondered what they were doing.
Since it is impossible to play possum forever, perhaps because of the looks from Gobumi-chan and the others I felt an eerie feeling, and because I felt this chill down my spine I opened my eyes.
Then Elven Maiden-san went into a panic, her movements were so funny that I laughed in spite of myself. I was hit by Elven Maiden-san.
After that I finished my breakfast, then practiced against Gobukichi-kun for the same reason, since an Ogre could easily kill a Hobgoblin, because of this Gobukichi-kun and I did not participate in the mixed training much.
The current training, I told the Hobgoblin in charge of training that we were going to go escort Elven Maiden-san to her village, and we then departed from the cave.
After a while of hunting Argiope for suitable materials, and walking for about three hours we finally arrived.
We were suddenly surrounded, the numbers that appeared in sight were 25, but according to [Presence Sensor] the true number was 48.
Although they seem to be aiming at the vital parts of both me and Gobukichi-kun with bows, and arrows solely made of Mithril, this is not a big problem though.
To the extent that I could kill all of them if I overlap my abilities, and to begin with, the bodies of me and Gobukichi-kun, complete with our armor if hit by an arrow even at a short distance we can endure it.
The life force of an Ogre should not be underestimated.
Frankly, receiving a direct hit to an unprotected head would be somewhat dangerous, but I am confident that it could be avoided even if it happened at point blank range.
However, it is only troublesome to fight for one reason, Elven Maiden-san is here this time.
By reflex Gobukichi-kun was about to slaughter the elves surrounding him, he was able to equip the axe and shield immediately without carrying them around because they are stored into the bracelet magic item. By the way the magic bracelet can hold 12 types of items and it is possible to stack 20 of the same type of item-I had to stop him with a hand signal, Elven Maiden-san was able to talk down the surrounding elves almost instantly.
While surrounded by an escort of guards called Watchdogs that monitored us, we moved forward into the Village of the Elves.
The Village of the Elves, how do I say it, they live among giant trees. I have an understanding of the structure.
It is built around one enormous tree that you cannot see at the beginning, traffic is handled by the other trees having scaffolds complete with stairs, residences, and suspension bridges along it.
The living area is primarily in the trees and not on the ground.
It's unlikely that everyone are living in trees, since I can see things like stables on the ground.
It felt strange to be looked down at or should I say curiosity, although we were being exposed to these looks we continued forward up some stairs and across a bridge to arrive at our destination at last.
There were different mansion like residences of different sizes. Seemingly the house of Elven Maiden-san appears to be here.
Going into a mansion, I met the father of Elven Maiden-san face-to-face.
He had a splendid mustache, I should also say he looked like a Dandy- looking old man with a fine toned body for an elf. If I were a man of the same type I would be jealous.
Since I tried to sit on a seat as I was offered, but since it creaked disagreeably, I had to politely decline. Tea was served to drink, and as it got time to refill we moved onto business talk.
To summarize the contents of our agreement, since Elven Maiden-san received help I was to receive a reasonable compensation, he said.
Even though this is not a charity, I do not exactly know how much Elven Maiden-san is worth as this is my first time doing this. So, I told him to give me a reward that is worth the life of Elven Maiden-san. Does it really matter if it comes out to a paltry amount of money? Actually, now that you mention it since he has the amount that we decided on. I implied I wanted more.
He may hate me, but if it is really that cheap, then Father Elf should be calm about this,
depending on what type of personality he has, this will indicate if it was cheap.
His response with light feelings told me I was correct.
To be honest the result was unexpected, but an [Ancient] Class [Artifact] ended up in my possession.
The magic weapon was shaped like a bow, according to where it had been appraised it was named [Failnaught].
I was told that it does not really require arrows, when the bow is fully drawn the arrow is half materialized by a mysterious power, therefore it will not run out of arrows.
An arrow that is shot will be a [Certain Hit] at the point that was aimed at, unless the space was protected by a shield as the name "Certain Hit" implies. Though it has other abilities, it's a pain to explain so I leave it at that.
This bow, it seems to be a family heirloom considering Elven Maiden-san's reaction to it, should be impossible to exchange for a beloved daughter. He must really be a doting parent. Whoa! I'm not saying anything.
So I am glad for this, just to see that warm gaze.
So we got a family heirloom as expected, I was about to say "Okay, good bye" but I felt a little bit awkward about it, so I decided to present some information that I have.
Also, I don't hate Father Elf's character.
Oh, come to think of it of how far humans will go for things like this, is there a strategy in this too? I hear that when you leak out a little of the details on the target, that the rewards will keep coming.
More awards were presented, 30 chain mail shirts made of Mithril, 30 Mithril short swords, 20 Mithril (Ingot), and a few magic items that will be convenient for living.
Reluctantly, I was saved by one person who knows the importance of this information.
While absentmindedly watching Father Elf who was writing down information and intelligence about traps that I knew, I took out ten each of the knives made from water, earth, and wind spirit stones by Blacksmith-san and put them on the desk.
Also while I was at it, three shovel-type [Unique] class magic items with abilities suitable for Elves who excelled at handling spirits.
It's not that I didn't expect to more or less sell favor for later, but I thought that it would make up for the shortage caused by the loss of the elite Elves.
The business safely concluded, I exchanged a solid handshake with Father Elf while smiling amicably.
Only, when I was asked "Do you know the whereabouts of those elites?", I had no choice but to smile and say "I don't know".
As we headed home, Father Elf gave me a souvenir saying "This is the Elf-made alcohol known as secret medicine. Please take it". There were three casks of booze.
Yep, this was thanks to Luck wasn't it?
Booze was a great pleasure of mine.
Father Elf just said "If it's you then this is just cheap support.", I'll pay him back.
Night. Since we finally got our long-awaited booze, I drank with everyone.
"Elven alcohol tastes so good————!!" I screamed involuntarily.
Yeah, I'll have you treat me again.
* * *
Informing everyone of the goblins that left the other day, I told the others that if there are those that want to leave, they can leave, so just tell me, I will give them a parting gift, this was my policy, but in the end there wasn't anyone.
Well, fine then, today I quickly finished doing minor changes to the rankings caused by the goblins who left, then went out hunting.
When I returned from the hunt, I worked on producing several items that I had previously thought to make.
* * *
In the morning, I continued tinkering with the communication equipment (Self-made) that I started working on yesterday and now it's finally completed.
I don't think I know how it works, but a simple production summary is as follows.
The Mithril ingot that I got from Father Elf as a reward for sharing the information was absorbed by my [Self-Evolution] ability, which is one of the abilities of Airgeatlámh.
→ A part from the taken material is pressed out from the tip of my finger creating a cuff.
→ Several drops of blood are shed from my fingertip.
→ The decoration created out of them resembles a jewel, I then fit it into the blue metal cuff.
→ With that the communication equipment is complete.
In short, it's a means of telepathic communication utilizing [Self Replication].
From what Redhead has told us, this world doesn't widely employ the use of communication equipment, since this is the case I expect that the ability to quickly share information will be extremely effective.
At any rate, however, it has taken more time than I thought to enchant the cuffs.
I provided everyone with a cuff, the ones that I had gone through a multitude of struggles to make.
The cuff is impossible to remove unless you cut the flesh around it, I have carefully designed it so that once the cuff is worn it fuses with the flesh, however I don't have to worry, as [Regeneration],[Lesser Strength],[Lesser Dexterity] and the like are activated if you try to remove it, as I explained.
Since I had grown tired from all the adjustments to the hearing and trying to make it comfortable for each individual, I went to sleep.
I awoke in the evening, and went for a good hunt before heading back to bed.
I went without sleep, since Gobumi-chan and the others came in and I had another hot night.
* * *
I want a pet. Since I have the occupation [Job-Monster Tamer], I should put it to practical use.
Thinking that way, the four of us gobs went out together, for the first time in a while, to capture some.
My first target is a pack of Black Wolves. Because if it's a wolf, it's likely to make for a companion that is as good as a dog if I tame it, probably.
Because the Black Wolf is a monster, despite its appearance, it has lots of power. If I train it properly, I can use it as a mount for long distance travel.
But reality isn't that simple. I couldn't find a Black Wolf.
I didn't have a problem with that since I captured five Three-Horned Horses and three Hind Bears today though.
Not to mention Gobumi-chan, Gobue-chan's activeness today gave me a surprise.
Though Gobukichi-kun and I tried hard, because we ended up killing a few by mistake due to how hard we hit, it was good that Gobumi-chan, who had been given [Failnaught], was able to shoot in between the gaps in the scales.
This is certainly because of the ability held by this magic item. You can say, I had to admire the surging waves of shots that it could fire.
But, Gobue-chan who used her pickaxe singlehandedly could overwhelm the Three-Horned Horses to this degree by herself, was above my expectations.
The pickaxe was something that she got from Velvet's hoard, a [Rare] class item that simply held the ability of [Difficult to Destroy].
Yeah, the mining technique that she had cultivated as her hobby would be demonstrated here.
The superior speed and power of just one swing wasn't normal.
The gigantic figure of the Triple-Horned Horse that took a direct hit to the head, smashing its horn at the root and causing the head to rotate a half-turn at its starting point and fall from its body, was truly unbelievable.
She may be overshadowed by Gobumi-chan and Gobukichi-kun, but I truly felt that Gobue-chan belongs in the fourth place of the goblins of our generation.
Levels are important in this world, but with this one concentrated swing, it made me realized the the importance of the techniques that utilize the entire body, hips and legs.
I turned the three-horned horse that was trashed by Gobue-chan into a "familiar" with [Monster Tamer], somehow it rewrites a part of the brain. At most I can set two owners, and apparently the owners can talk with their pet with telepathy. What's this, isn't this too convenient? I set the three-horned horse's owner to Gobue-chan and it turned into her personal mount.
Still hobgoblins, Gobumi-chan and Hobusato-san received Three-Horned Horses like Gobue-chan, while Gobukichi-kun and I, followed by Hobusei-san, got one Hind Bear each as a «Familiar».
There was one Three-Horned Horse left over, so I decided to leave it to the vice captain of Gobukichi-kun's troops, who was also a hobgoblin.
The reins and saddle magic items possessed by the twelve members of the reconnaissance group could not be used on Hind Bears, but since those could be used on Triple-Horned Horses, I gave it to them in advance.
And then in the evening, elves, three men and two women, had just fallen.
And so the same deeds were repeated again.
Yeah, it has been quite a significant day.
* * *
I went out to look for Black Wolves again for the second day in a row. However, today I'm alone.
Gobukichi-kun and the others are in the middle of training to learn how to ride the «Familiars» from yesterday. I learned it easily because of the experience in my past life and also because of my ability [Horse Riding].
Being able to communicate was a great help too.
Gobukichi-kun and the others' problems in getting used to riding were reduced because of the reins and saddle I made out of thread and leather to make riding easier.
But still, an armed Ogre riding on a Hind Bear is an awesome sight in many ways. I wonder what it would be like if the Hind Bear were also armed.
Today I caught a sign of Black Wolves on my [Presence Sensor], in the end, I successfully caught 8 Black Wolves and 1 Black Wolf Leader.
Although the Black Wolves' running speed, endurance, and body strength were excellent, they still couldn't measure up to Hind Bears. Even I didn't think that something with such a large body could run between the trees.
Having judged that they couldn't get away, the wolves stopped running. Though initially they bared their fangs rebelliously, after I glared at them with my ability, they wagged their tails like friendly dogs, and so I healed them a bit.
Afterwards, I toyed with the brains of the Black Wolves the same way as the former «Familiars», and then I returned to the den.
This time I gave the eight Black Wolves to the goblins belonging to the light armored troops «Red Surge» led by Hobusato-san.
They struggled similarly to Gobukichi-kun and the others to learn how to ride, I'll do my best on finding a way for it not to happen in the future.
As for myself, I did many things with the Hind Bear named Kumajirou to deepen our relationship.
By the way, the Black Wolf Leader named Kurosaburou had become my beloved wolf.
I was healed by their cuteness.
Their previous ferocity could not be seen at all as they were being stroked comfortably by Redhead, Alchemist-san, and the others.
Oh yeah, after this I should add some «Familiars» to act as bodyguards for Blacksmith-san and the others.
Then, the remaining two Elf females and two males gave in. The ones who had resisted to the end were the previous two Elf escorts.
I tried to be gentle like I always did, but I might have gotten a little rough.
* * *
I rode on top of Kumajirou together with Redhead, to our side, walking along with us, was Kurosaburou. Together we made an unlikely party as we strolled through the uncharted parts of the forest.
Lately Redhead has had improved her combat skills, however, to her regret she hasn't killed anything so she hasn't gotten any experience.
Basically, her level hasn't changed.
Although her physical abilities have indeed risen from the daily training, it's a trivial difference compared to the increase in ability from raising your level.
Incidentally, Redhead's level is 18. Her level increased by ten during the hind bear hunt which is good, but frankly speaking she's still beyond useless.
Her current physical ability is below that of any of the common goblins.
Such being the case, Redhead could no longer win against the surrounding goblins who daily went out to hunt and by the mysterious power of the world had their levels rise.
The reason we went out hunting this time was for her to improve.
Redhead wasn't equipped with anything special. There's a high chance that an inexperienced person would mistake the performance of their equipment for their own ability, thus she wasn't equipped with any magical items.
Her weapon of choice is a steel kukri knife and she kept three ring daggers for backup.
For defense she has a Round Shield reinforced with shell, the same item provided to the general goblin infantry which are [Normal] class items.
She was wearing her everyday wear made by the sisters out of hind bear fur and my thread, as well as a breastplate and a grey cloak.
Her forearms were protected by steel gauntlets, her legs were protected by steel cuisses, steel kneepads, steel greaves and steel sabatons. All this equipment together looks very heavy, so I enchanted it to make it lightweight and the end result is that it's actually quite light.
Thus Redhead's movements were still nimble.
Her first prey was an Armored Tanuki.
She was struggling a little bit against the defense of its back shell, but because of the [Job-Warrior]'s ability to do battle corrections, or perhaps from the results of her training, or maybe both, in any case, Redhead succeeded in dismantling the Armored Tanuki.
The meat was given to Kurosaburou to eat.
The next prey were three night vipers. Even though she flinched from the piercing gaze, she calmly assessed their movements and was able to guard against their attack with her round shield, and she succeeded in decapitated them.
Their meat was given to Kumajirou to eat.
Three kobolds were next. I quickly captured two with thread, creating a situation where she'll be able to fight one-on-one. Perhaps they determined there'd be no use in escaping and set their sights on Redhead, challenging her to a fight fair and square.
The kobold was a monster that had superior physical strength, but the combat skills developed by training with goblins every day covered the difference in physical ability.
Dodging the kobold's slashes, sometimes parrying their attacks, Redhead managed without having serious injuries and finally decapitated it.
After a short break, I released one of the caught Kobolds after confirming Redhead's stamina recovered to some extent. Not to set him free, but to have it fight Redhead.
Although she had a few injuries at the time, Redhead once again cut the kobold's body into pieces.
From the last kobold, I asked for the location of the kobold village before I had them fight.
As a result, I learned of its location.
While thinking whether or not I'll go to the village if given the opportunity to, Redhead who had more or less naturally recovered her physical strength said "Next Please" so I released the next opponent.
Then the final kobold put up a better fight than the last two, but in the end Redhead sliced off its neck with the sharpest slash of the day and killed it.
After curing Redhead's injuries and fatigue, I let Kumajirou and Kurosaburou each eat a kobold whole.
As for the remaining kobold, when I was about to start munching on it Redhead told me that she'd like to try eating it too, so I grilled it and ate together with her.
But nevertheless, I was impressed by Redhead's adaptability. She ate monster meat without any hesitation.
Well, I'm not sure I could call the action she did "eating". I'm sure no matter if it was raw or metal, almost anything would be gulped down.
Yeah. Redhead is very courageous, it's a good thing because it's something you should be if you're coming with me in the future.
Ability [Mountaineering] learned.
As I was thinking "Okay then, our next prey is...", Redhead tugged on the edge of my coat.
"What's wrong?" I asked as I looked down on her, those blue sapphire eyes were now a dull red.
What's more the once circular black pupil was now a rectangular shape resembling that of a monster's.
But they still seemed to differ somewhat from a monster's eyes.
Rather than calling them ominous, those somewhat strange eyes gave off a chilling feel.
Somehow, she obtained a new [Job]. Maybe because she ate the kobold, or maybe because she trained with the goblins.
Well, putting that aside. I tried to listen to her story.
Redhead obtained a [Job], called [Noire Soldier].
After greatly increasing their affinity to monsters, those with the [Job-Warrior] had a constant chance of obtaining this rare job by clearing the condition of "eating a monster they killed themselves".
As usual, I thought was I the main cause of this, huh? I really didn't feel anything like regret, so I thought nothing of it.
Having gained a new [Job], Redhead's combat abilities rapidly rose.
Although there is the outrageous risk that a [Noire Soldier]'s body would rapidly deteriorate and would soon die if they don't consume monster meat or blood at fixed intervals, let's just say for now that they need a regular intake of monster parts, but the growth rate of their combat abilities is amazing.
No matter how you look at it, she now had physical abilities equal to or better than that of a hobgoblin.
Her combat power couldn't be compared to how she was earlier.
Considering that earlier her ability was equal or worse than the usual goblin, she really has made rapid improvement.
Redhead who kept saying "Awesome, Awesome!" while she deflected the Red Deer's two horns, kicked its body so it flew up in the air and then cut its thick neck covered by strong muscles with the kukris blade, was somehow cute.
The horns were collected, the meat was shared cordially.
Ability [Wild Horn Dance] learned.
Ability [Red Crystal's Tone] learned.
After that we hunted various things.
When evening came, I took a short stopover together with Redhead.
I confirmed that Redhead's new job [Noire Soldier] increased her abilities in a big way when she took in a part of me.
Since it was so, by taking in stronger monsters, she would become stronger herself.
Anyway, as for what she took in, it was something private.
During today's hunt, Redhead's level rose to 34 and it was rapidly rising.
* * *
I felt something with [Presence Sensor]. Even though it was 2 hours after midnight, I wanted to say, I was still too energetic.
Recently, I've been able to perceive a considerably wide area. I have it activated at all times prior to sleeping and because it awakens me times like this, it's very annoying.
That's the reason why I'd made it so only those picked up by [Sense Enemy] will trigger it. However, the number of picked up targets this time was excessively large even though it's in the middle of the night.
For one moment I thought the humans had come to attack, but I soon concluded that that is highly unlikely.
At night, the dark forest is monster territory.
If the humans were to attack now, they would be facing too much disadvantage.
Then, I immediately confirmed what it was.
The species name that was displayed in the tactical intelligence I constructed using my two abilities [Mental Map] and [Presence Sensor] was Kobold. I thought it was revenge already, but... that might be wrong.
There were 53 Kobolds indicated by red dots on my Mental Map. There were also 38 blue dots that appeared to be chasing them. Then, from the furthest edge, there was a rather large gray dot. Since individuals of the same species were indicated by the same color, then that means there must be three species.
What the blue and grey dots were was for now unknown. However, what I could tell was that when the red dots made contact with the blue dots, the reds were disappearing.
Apparently the kobolds were under attack by something.
Stuff like this happens all the time which is why I can ignore it.
But the problem was that the kobolds who were losing in numbers where heading straight for this cave.
I'd rather not have anything to do with this troublesome thing. However, since they kept coming closer, I decided to wake up everyone in order to prepare for the intrusion.
I could kill kobolds easily at any time. So, the threat I recognized was the blue and gray dots.
After a short while, the greatly reduced group of kobolds dived with a frantic expression, they'd been reduced to 36 members. Among the kobolds, there were not only males, but also females, elderly and children.
At the end of the line of armed male kobolds were the blue dots. They were white bleached skeletons armed with swords, shields and armor. The kobolds were desperately trying to hinder the skeletons' advance.
I was at loss for words for a while.
When I was inside Returners' dungeon, I didn't see a single skeleton. So this is the first time I've seen the real thing. However, no matter how I look at it, aren't these skeletons the magical creatures guarding Velvet's Dungeon?
Why are they here? ...Ah, one Kobold got killed. It seems that I have very little time to think.
Thus, I sent down orders using the cuffs as a communication device and persistently attacked the skeleton group with bolts from the crossbows as a preemptive strike.
To start with, even getting a hit in on them is incredibly difficult. But even if they got hit head on, the bolt would simply snap. That's how tough they were.
In all likelihood, there was some kind of ability at play here.
Judging that the crossbow attacks were ineffective, I stopped the attack from the long-range force. «Tirard» had the logistical support corps, «Patri» lead the escaping Kobolds to jail, and had Gobuji-kun in the middle of the Kobold group to administer simple medical treatments.
If they stayed here, they will only be a hindrance. Also, I wanted them under watch.
Having understood that long range attacks were ineffective, this time I ordered the main combat corps «Revolution» and light armed corps «Red Surge» to engage. The black wolves also helped.
However, cutting through bone with a sword is hard. It was a tough fight in the beginning.
But all that changed when Hobusato-san, with a wisdom born from experience, broke the bone with a scabbard. The skeletons were resistant to slashing attacks but are largely vulnerable to blunt force attacks.
I immediately relayed that information. Then, as if the tough fight until now was just a bad dream, we brought down the skeletons in no time as if we awoke from it.
But most importantly, now that we knew their weakness, the main problem was solved.
Gobukichi-kun equipped with his huge battle axe and tower shield was almost like a moving wall.
While bellowing resoundingly, the sight of that huge figure going through the skeletons and turning them into dust was refreshing.
Gobue-chan was equipped with a pickaxe as usual. But it's not an exaggeration to say that she has already a certain kill swing; by swinging downwards from a higher elevation which resulted to crushing the skull in one hit all down the way to their sacrum without the momentum stopping. It was a terrible blow. The skeletons were simply being dug out.
[T/N: Sacrum - Triangular bone at the base of the spine, between the hip bones.]
Gobumi-chan's [Certain Hit] skill with her arrow at the skull was not very effective as expected. But, she was able to ignore that; not only the amount of rapid-fired arrows were in numbers that hit their mark, but also the change of the arrowhead resulted in increase of penetrating power.
The skeletons did not have a way to defend against her rapid-fire that was like a raging wave.
Hobusei-san burned and scattered the skeletons around using her fire magic. Of course, she did not choose to use her wide-area destructive magic because there were allies at the vicinity. But due to her ranking up, her magic effectiveness had increased; her encounter with the skeletons wasn't much of a handicap.
As for me, it goes without saying.
Unlike the Kobolds, we had many ways to deal with the opposition. We did not expect just to lose against these skeletons.
Also, because of the aggressive charge of Hind Bear and Three-Horned Horse from the «Familiars», we had too much war potential to be worried about losing.
I thought that I might not get a turn this time. But it seemed that thing didn't go that way since the number of Skeletons were not decreasing.
Despite the clattering Skeletons inside the cave were destroyed until they were nothing but a white heap of bones, more and more came from the cave entrance; there were no end to them.
Thinking about their origins, I remembered what Returner told us.
There were things superior to Skeletons called Greater Skeletons, which had the ability to produce Skeletons.
In addition, by absorbing the mana that was surrounding the darkness, the number it could produce seems to be near infinite. As what you would expect from Velvet-sama. That was something to boast about.
"Ah, so that's how," I came to an understanding, "I should immediately go and crush it."
However, I was discouraged by the amount of EXP that could be gained by killing the skeletons here.
"This is a good time for a level up!" I thought.
For that reason, I informed everyone about it. Though it was suddenly held past midnight, the festival for earning EXP begins!
Because the gray dot would be the Greater Skeleton that spawned Skeletons was still outside and didn't move, I had little worries.
At the beginning we were thinking, "Did anyone get killed by a skeleton?" but after a short while, everyone seemed to have gotten used to fighting them so they got by with almost no injuries.
There was a possibility that something unexpected could happen because of fatigue, so I fixed that by having them attack in shifts.
The long-range and logistical support corps can also hit and break them with blunt objects relatively easily while my bear buddy made sure no skeletons got away.
I munched on a pile of white bones while watching. Redhead came to take a break in the middle of fighting and also munched.
Blacksmith-san, the Sisters, and Alchemist-san went up in an uproar. I wondered if the bones are some kind of material? So I consulted it to them.
It can be used as an ingredient. Not only it is a high quality material but also pretty rare. That is I saved some of them and stored them in another location. You can also gain a good amount of gold from selling them. I have many expectations for the future if ever I can find someone to be a good source of funds.
As what you would expect from a Peddler.
When it comes to trade they are reliable.
Ability [Slash Resistance] learned.
Ability [Pierce Resistance] learned.
Ability [Vulnerable to Sunlight] learned.
Ability [Vulnerable to Blunt Strikes] learned.
Ability [Null Critical Hit] learned.
Ability [Tireless] learned.
Ability [Synostosis] learned.
Ability [Joint Magic] learned.
Ability [Equipment Materialization] learned.
Ability [Evil Miasma of Life] learned.
Ability [Negative Energy] learned.
Ability [Null Abnormal State] learned.
Ability [Null Cold Damage] learned.
Ability [Null Electric Damage] learned.
Ability [Acid Damage Resistance] learned.
Ability [Vulnerable to Light Damage] learned.
Ability [Vulnerable to Holy Damage] learned.
Ability [Vulnerable to Fire Damage learned.
Ability [Anaerobic] learned.
Since I ate a lot of them, I have secured quite a lot of abilities. Though there are many useless ones, it won't be a problem since I won't be activating them.
It's probably been around 4 hours since we started gaining experience. It's about time dawn will break. And because everyone has already acquired a good amount of experience and leveled greatly, I guess it's time to end this festival.
More like, I wanna sleep.
Yeah I'm convinced; I'm definitely putting an end to this festival. I began charging towards the exit tearing the hordes of skeletons asunder with my silver arm and red spear, until I was finally outside.
Right then a black long sword was swung towards my head. However, I saw it coming so I parried it by swinging the red spear and thrust my silver hand's fingers forward.
The black long sword wielding skeleton—a "Greater Skeleton"—was twice as large as the others and wielded an imposingly grand sword. My silver arm smashed through its large chest bringing this festival to an end.
The skull made a nasty grinding and rattling sound when I ate it. Of course, I shall still devour every last bone.
As expected of a higher species, you can gain experience from breaking them. The taste wasn't bad when I tried eating the skeleton's bone.
Also, it had obviously never occurred to me that bones could feel this appetizing.
What is this, high-grade bone? It had a nice consistency. Yeah, tasty.
Ability [Summon Lesser Undead] learned.
Ability [Greater Equipment Materialization] learned.
Ability [Mana Drain] learned.
Ability [Lesser Damage Reduction] learned.
Ability [Lesser Magic Damage Reduction] learned.
Well, at first I thought, "How dare these kobolds bring us trouble," but now I see them as dogs that brought us good fortune.
Anyway, while looking at the cleric Gobuji-kun who was frantically healing the seriously injured kobolds, I finished the treatments for the rest of the kobolds and gave them all some sleeping drugs afterwards.
Since it would be troublesome if they went violent while we were asleep.
As for us, we had become worn out because of the festival so we went down to sleep.
And then evening came.
I woke up the drugged kobolds who were sleeping and asked their so called leader—"the foot soldier kobold equipped with a short spear"—and some of his associates about their situation.
As a result of that, I was able to establish the following:
They were a clan of Kobolds who lived in a cave just like us (though a little airheaded. They didn't do any expanding).
→ They had been living by hunting in the forest and the mountain. But everything changed when they killed an orc and obtained an iron pick.
→ Recently, the female kobolds worked on expanding their home by digging holes while the males were out hunting for food.
→ Thus they were able to improve their living space. They were happy about it, and they were able to expand, too.
→ Then, the incident related to Velvet's Dungeon happened.
→ Not understanding what that space was at first. But since they decided that the male kobolds would investigate tomorrow morning, so for now they went to work filling up the hole, but it was already night, and a large mob of skeletons appeared.
→ And they were forced to flee without getting what they wanted.
→ Fatigue, a concept not known to a skeleton, soon overtook the kobolds and were mercilessly killed. Whether they were a warrior or not, old or young, male or female, none of them were spared.
→ So... where do they all decided to go? Right. There was this cave owned by a renowned Ogre. One way or the other, it may work out if they all went there, right?
→ But they could still be killed.
→ So their leader declared "Either way... we'll all be finished at this rate... So let's make a gamble"
→ You know the rest.
....What the heck?
Uhh, hmm... nevermind... as long as everything's okay in the end.
Once their story had ended, I fiddled with my horn as I tried to sort the details in my head while the Warrior and Footman Kobolds, who fought the skeletons, made a single line kneeling before me.
Footman Kobolds were the ones who ranked up first, the Kobold lifestyle is fundamentally that of a warrior or a Samurai. I, who have so far only killed and eaten several Kobolds, have finally understood this.
"Yeah, we even eat our own kind lots of times. The strong inevitably feed on the weak. Fuelled by the ambition of one day becoming "Lord", we killed and ate each other."
That's right, "Lord".
I am usually called "Chief" by normal Kobolds, but the Footmen Kobolds call me "Lord".
A life saved is a life worth selling in return was what they seem to believe. That's all there is to it.
But if someone betrayed me, their lord, his blade would be gladly ordered to execute them
That was what he declared.
Well, understandably nobody would buy his word just like that. But it feels like the earnestness in those eyes would eradicate any remaining doubt. Eyes that are earnest aren't to be taken lightly.
And so, I decided to prepare something just in case.
I opened my item box, picked the magic items before I ate all ten of it without leaving anything behind.
Ability [Enslave] learned.
The item I ate was called "Collar of Slavery" which belonged to the adventurers that died in "Velvet's Dungeon"
It was so obvious to explain its function. Evidently, it was just something guards could put to good use.
An incredibly useful ability which I'm still wondering why I never stumbled onto it before.
The reason was plain and simple: I tried eating one as an experiment before and it was because it was awful and unpalatable.
I didn't feel any texture from it: The surface was sticky and its contents awfully hard, the more I chewed, the more I was overcome by a feeling of nausea.
The taste was also bitter, sour and spicy, should I say the exquisite taste from that triple trouble was indescribable?
It's been a long time since I've eaten something this horrible. I usually keep these for convenience instead. But I actually came this far with that.
That's what you call "a moment of need"—you put up with what you eat because you need to.
There you have it, the ability [Enslave]. An anti-treason ability, but this ability won't show any effect just by possessing it. To solve this, I should probably start manufacturing cuff-type communication devices.
Eh? What about the Kobolds you ask? I'll think about it in the morning. But for now, they can use the cells to sleep in.
The Kobolds are being surprisingly obedient. I feel like I shouldn't be too hard on them.
What a dilemma... Do I kill them or do I let them join our ranks?