« Kian † Willow »
P ∇ V
The last marine stood on my right, in the small enclave that offered him protection against the horde. While the goblins had been focusing on me, as I perched onto the Osprey’s instrument console mid-reload; the Hobgoblin either knew he was there or mysteriously saw his attack coming. That I could have lived with, but it was the short rusty sword that been so effortlessly thrusted into the marine’s lower stomach that terrified me. The attack narrowly missed the plate’s protection and disappeared into the man.
Instead of appearing out the other side, the back of his carrier bulged out. When the heavy material of the carrier ran out of the little amount of slack it had, the man rose up a few inches. It was as if only those two existed in the dark world that smelled of blood, filth, and gunpowder. The screams of the hungry horde that was so desperate to kill us died away, and in its place, a menacing cackle left the goblin’s sinister smile. The goblin jerked the sword side to side and the man’s eyes bulged, but he didn’t scream.
Blood poured out like a pool that had just sprung a leak, along with the man’s organs. The wet plops as it spilled onto the floor and half onto the steps made my body run cold. Once the hobgoblin had its brief few seconds of sick fun, it pulled the sword out. The marine dropped to the creature’s feet and instantly crumbled. His hands slipped off the rifle’s handguard and the hobgoblin only threw it out the cockpit. My vision became a tunnel as the monster’s focus was turned to me.
Two large human-like eyes that burned red in the darkness, illuminated by the moonlight that poured through the window at my back, became upturned half-moons.
“Girl.” Its voice came out deep and raspy, almost a growl. “You’re going to be my prize for tonight.” And then it smiled, with a different kind of sick look. He was undressing me with his eyes. I had seen plenty of men look at me like that. On a normal day, I would have happily mentioned I was a boy, but the words never came. Instead, my hands raced to open the magazine pouch.
It seemed at that moment, the goblin also noticed I had a pistol in my hand. It must have known what it was because it lunged forward, grabbing the slide just as I slapped the magazine in. The goblin gripped the weapon before I could rack the slide.
My hands shook as I raced to finish reloading. The vague self-defense training my brother nearly beat into me began to play as I kicked at the goblins hard and muscled chest. My boot softly thudded, yet it only seemed to excite the monster more. It began to laugh and an idea finally slipped into my head. Instead of pushing forward here, I jerked my arms forward and I felt the click rather than heard it. The lock had been disengaged.
The goblin’s laughter died as it looked to its hand, also feeling the click. Its hand wasn’t over the chamber but on the front of the barrel. I took that moment to attack and drove the heel of my boot into its crotch. I didn’t know if the goblin had anything below, but it certainly didn’t wear anything above. Its ripped chest green was bare to the world, and as it turned out, so was its nether regions. I felt something hard, even through the hard rubber sole. I was all too aware of what I had just struck as the Hobgoblin roared in pain. His hand loosened and the slide rammed into battery on its own.
The pistol’s bark was accompanied by several blossoms of fire and unspent gunpowder. One bullet struck its chest, off right. Another one grazed its left shoulder muscle. The last one punched through the roof of the Osprey and attacked the sky. The goblin roared and thrusted the short crimson sword at me. I tried to dodge and threw myself to my right into the pilot seat… The sword still found me but unlike the marine, the sword struck me center-chest.
The force stole the air from my lungs and pummeled me into the seat. Thankfully, I hadn’t landed back to the seat. I could feel my back try to pivot on the joystick and the window against my head. I could feel my ribs bending in past the point I thought no ribs should have ever gone. I was sure a few broke. Yet, it made a mistake. Probably in its rage and desire to strike me down, but it didn’t grab my pistol again.
I recovered before it could realize its costly mistake and blindly pointed the pistol toward its chest and fired off another four rounds that bite into its center chest as well. An eye for an eye. However, unlike what I thought would have happened, the hobgoblin reared back slightly in pain. Then it came forward, faster than I thought possible and grabbed both my wrists.
The goblin pointed the pistol away as the first shot went off and dug itself just above where I thought its heart should have been. The monster roared at me as it brought its face closer. I could smell rotten eat, iron, and something else foul. Its teeth were human, except it had four massive canines – like an orangutan. However, it didn’t try and kill me. After its quick bout of painful fury, it smiled even deeper now. Its eyes gleamed with primal sadism that made my heart skip with deep instinctual fear.
“I’m going to enjoy raping you as I rip your limbs off!” His voice seemed almost loving, in a sick, and terrifying whisper.
I let out a high pitch scream, something that I meant as a war cry, but I wasn’t known for my manly voice. I threw another kick to the goblin’s erect penis. I struck with enough adrenaline-fueled strength that it bent, skimmed off and planted itself right into its sack. The moment I had made full contact, I watched all the Hobgoblin’s facial muscles contract with such monstrous strength, his eyes almost popped out. From the look at it, the attack must have done more damage than I thought I would have been able to inflict.
I felt the sword ease up on me along with his death grip on my wrist. I aimed higher, planted my boot into his gut and sent its stumbling backward. I fired again, but he dodged and came up again to try and snag the weapon. I kicked him square in the face. It didn’t harm him, not from what I saw, but with my back against the proverbial wall – and a joystick on my back – I managed to steer him into the console beside me.
“I’m going to kill you!” He roared as he grabbed his face. A dial had done me a favor and injured his eye. He clung to his left eye, blood seeping from between his green figures. His other eye looked less lustful and more blood-lustful. “I’m going to rip off your head and fuck your throat, little human!” It roared as it stood up. I hadn’t gotten a good view of the goblin before. Now I did.
He stood close to my brother’s height, with more muscles than him. He could have been considered a handsome man, if not for the blood-covered face and snarling monkey teeth. In full light of the moon… Was his massive… I didn’t bother to finish my assessment. I already knew, alive or dead, that thing was not gonna go in me, not without a lot of blood.
I brought the pistol up and in one smooth motion, pulled the trigger.
Round after round jumped from the barrel, crossed the short distance between me and the enraged monster. The destination was the massive erect “limb.” The first shot hit him high to the right, shy of an inch. The next round traveled down his barrel, shredding it as it cut through it. The next round was high left and afterward… I managed to drop the rest of the magazine into the shredded limb tree that was his groin.
He didn’t roar but fell over backward silent as his nether region had been turned into a heap of ribbons by half a magazine of 9mm. His face was contorted in a silent scream, one that no longer registered my existence. I dropped the magazine and loaded another one, which turned out to be my second to last one. The empty magazine dropped into my lap, almost as warm as the beast’s blood that was now splattered across the cockpit.
I didn’t know what my expression was as I racked the slide back. All I knew was that if I was going to die, it would be in a pile of green bodies, un-raped. It didn’t occur to me that others could have been out there as well, but at this moment, it was me and him. The sick and twisted green monster that had enough force to do what he will. On the ground because of my last equalizer, the XM17. Its barrel still smoking from the last barrage I had unleashed upon the nightmare.
Despite the pain, the hob heard the loud click of the slide and turned to me. Its face pale and its one good eye wide. And for the first time during the short fight, it reflected fear as I unleashed another barrage. The bullets tore through its nose, eye, and forehead.
Even after his head fell limp, only jerking slightly with when a bullet made its home inside it, I didn’t stop. Not even when the slide locked back, and the chamber smoked.
A harsh silence fell, only disturbed by a faint click.
« Simon † Erhn »
P ∇ V
The pungent scent of death hung on the wind, accompanied by something that smelled like spent mana and sewer waste. Hundreds of dead goblins littered the ridge. Only a fraction of that scampered off to the east, the wrath of the Gods in their hearts.
I surveyed the carnage, longsword in hand. It glimmered in the wake of the full moon; untouched by the filth of blood. It was not that I lacked the courage to face the monsters on the field of battle, but the adventurers attacked with such enthusiasm, none of the knights had a chance. I doubted most of the adventurers had ever worked together; they were B-Ranked teams. While they were just civilians, I had to admit; they were too effective at killing.
I was sure the others Knights would see them in a new light, or at least, show more respect to them; but that did not matter right now. At most, the adventurers had killed less than a hundred goblins. I had a sinking feeling that they were not the reason they retreated. I turned around to the tune of my armor as it rustled and looked to the large dark maw of a metal contraption. This… Thing… Was the center of this carnage.
It was only a week ago that I had stepped foot on this very ridge. Me and my wife, to settle our problems. It was beautiful then. The birds sang as the sun shone, and the wind danced across the grass. Now…
Under the full moon, as if a spell had been cast over the ridge, the grass had been dyed red. Bodies were piled: two, three, and sometimes five high. Instead of the salty wind, there was only the smell of iron. The scent that drifted from the new addition on the ridge… gave off an even stranger smell. Death, blood, and… something similar to magic, but nothing of the sort. There were no signs of magic being used.
As the adventurers were returning, I walked across the bloody field. The crush of grass was accompanied with a wet “splat”. If anything, this was a massacre. Where the goblins willingly ran towards death and killed it. I passed a blood-splattered rock outcrop. Several dead goblins were torn apart by it. I wondered if it had been a melee weapon, or maybe- My thoughts froze when I saw the front of the rocks. It was pulverized, scarred, and pock-marked. I looked to the other rocks behind me. They were the same. I looked further back to the trees. They were the same.
I turned in horror to the epicenter of the battle.
“What’s wrong?” A lovely young woman, older than my wife, but younger than me, stopped beside me. She was dressed in a deep blue robe that went down to her ankles. While the breastplate was the only visible piece of armor, I knew full well the rest was covered under the robe.
“Mrs. Weichselbraun.” I bowed my head politely, despite the circumstances. She only waved it off and I sheathed my sword. I pointed to the mangled goblin bodies beside the rock. “I’m afraid I do not know what kind of weapon, aside from magic, could do such damage.” Before she could reply, I walked gestured to the rock face. “The rock is also badly damaged. I was here not but a week ago. I know that the rocks were not like this at that time.”
More adventurers walked up, led by Mr. Weichselbraun. He was slightly taller than his wife, but still shorter than I. He wore thin seeing glasses and held a clipboard in his hand. He and his wife were the Guild branch leader and vice leader respectively. While I made a point to treat others with respect, I took great care to treat these two with far more respect. I greeted him as I greeted his wife. I knew he would have been curious to our conversation, and I repeated my findings to him.
His thoughts reflected mine. “I’m going to investigate the structure, would you like to come?” I asked.
“Yes, but here.” Mr. Weichselbraun pulled a spear from the hand of an adventurer next to him. He then held it out to me. “Confined space, use this.”
I took the spear and bowed my head with courtesy.
I lead the way up the hill, flanked by adventurers while the other knights walked around the bodies; bored.
In a few minutes, we quickly reached a strange structure and stood about a hundred feet from it. It was long and wide, tipped with a large metal barrel with small longer metal planks. The main body was grey while the smaller parts looked black. Strange symbols were painted onto the metal, symbols I could not translate. I circled the structure, careful for any living goblins. To my surprise, everything was dead. To an even greater surprise, there were other humans behind it, seven of them.
A few were slumped over, pinned with several arrows to their heads and arms. The majority of them seemed to have been overrun by goblins; stabbed and beaten until they were bloodied. But they were still human. They wore strangely colored uniforms that had a blocky pattern. They also had cloth breastplates with pouches attached to them. They also clung to metal staves and in between the bodies, hundreds of small bronze… containers? It looked like it and they were sprawled across the ground around them.
No one spoke, though I was sure we all had our own thoughts. I wanted to investigate the scene further, but something called to me. Like an itch. “Go to it.” The feeling pulled me to the main structure. Without a word, I pulled away from the dead humans, and treaded carefully towards the large opening. There were nearly thirty feet of empty clean grass. Nothing stood between it and us. It wasn’t until we got within ten feet of the opening did we find more humans. Each one was surrounded by nearly thirty dead goblins.
“A final stand.” I muttered. I felt pride for them. It was apparent that these humans were strong warriors. From the wounds on the goblins, they fought like lions. I would honor them later for their courage. I looked around. There were at least three of the men, each dressed in the same attire as the others below. Each held their ground in front of the opening. The middle man defended the opening, where a strange metal object was attached to the floor. I couldn’t tell what the floor was made of as it was coated in bodies and blood, but it wasn’t something of this world.
The walls were grey and inorganic. I peered inside and found it was dark until the end where the moonlight shone through a doorway and a few windows. In the moonlight, I could see a large pile of dead goblins and a single human. I kept the spear at the ready and a few of the adventurers moved forward. They cleared the goblin bodies by tossing them aside but treated the human warriors with the dignity befitting their sacrifices. Once they were moved, it became clear that it was a metal ramp and I moved forward, making sure that my steps held.
Slowly, I proceeded through the dark hall. I waved the spear into around the dark floor. The head scratched against it a few times. My steps thudded hollowly against the floor as I stopped on the edge of the moonlight, the tip of the spear shimmered in the dark. I could hear the steps of the others behind me. Their steps as hollow as mine. The floor was not solid.
My eyes scanned the doorway, saw no obvious movement and then I scanned the pile. None of them were mangled, but most of them had small puncture-like wounds to their heads and chests. I moved into the light, and I heard a small gasp… Ahead of me.
My eyes flung up to the doorway. The shadows moved frantically and I saw the shimmer of metal, something clatter through the doorway, and cursed. It was something small and elongated. It was a… Silver device that held one of the brass items I saw littered around outside. Then I heard the fearful curses of a… Girl? My heart skipped when I heard the despair, the loss of hope as she began to frantically move.
“Mis-” Then the figure jumped at me. For a moment, I saw the flash of a slightly tanned, blood-splattered face of a girl leap from the shadow of the doorway. I almost brought the spear up to fight back, but I forced myself to let it slip from my grasp. It clattered onto the floor as my hands grabbed the frantic girl as she fought against me.
“You’re not going to take me! I won’t let you have your way!” She roared like a fiery lion. Nothing but darkness filled my vision as I caught her. She struck at me, but her attacks had very little strength.
“Shit!” I could hear the adventurers preparing to attack, but I wasn’t in a position to warn them that it wasn’t a goblin. I could only hope that they could hear what I heard and I forced myself forward into the light. My movements were limited in a full suit of armor, but I tried to be as delicate as I could with the girl. I could hear the anguish in her voice as she clawed at me, struck at my helm, and kicked at my groin. Each weak, but backed with the hopeless fight that any cornered lion could put up.
Then she managed to get ahold of the edges of my cheek guard and began to claw at my face. It was then I saw the twisted face of someone pushed past the edge as I reeled back against the side of the structure. Her pretty face was splattered with blood, crazed empty eyes, and a twisted snarl on her thin lips. Between those lips, perfect white teeth… Ah..
“She must be a princess.” Was the only thought I had as the shaft of a spear entered the corner of my vision. It struck the left side of her head and released me as she fell. She collapsed onto the floor, ontop the pile of dead bodies.
“Holy shit!” A female adventurer stood on my left, wide eyes. “What the fuck was that?!” She looked at me, not believing what just happened.
“Take her outside.” I breathed. I noticed that I was breathing heavily. I was getting too old for this knightly work. The girl only looked at me then down to her before she slowly nodded.
I could hear the commotion of the adventurers as they all tried to figure out what just happened. The adventurer dragged the girl out by hooking her arms under hers. She yelled at the rest to back out as she did. “Make fucking way, you stupid pricks!” She bellowed. Silence returned to the structure as I looked into the doorway. Curious, I stepped through the doorway and found a strange room. While there was plenty of interesting things to look at, the first thing that caught my attention was the man on my left.
His organs were sprawled across the floor. I looked forward and saw the bloody rusted shortsword. I looked to my right and found a rather disfigured Hobgoblin. I stiffened at the sight. “Dear gods…” Had she fought this on her own and survived?! I looked back to the center, but there was only blood splatters. “Was that why she-” My thought was caught off as a voice interrupted my thoughts.
“What happened?” It was Mr. Weichselbraun. I could not dignify her reasons with words and simply pointed to the Hobgoblin that laid mangled by the doorway. The Branch leader stepped forward and peered around the corner, only to gasp and jump back in shock. I nodded as he looked at me wide-eyed.