The situation reached its apex as Fiorentina began to draw her sword. The polished steel caught the sun, and it seemed the blade hungered for blood as it shimmered in delight. Wood clunked as shouts filled the office, over which the hallow “ssshuuck” of my pistol being drawn was disgusted as I drew on the female knight; while almost tripping over the chair as it fell over.
Simon was attempting to get Fiorentina to back down. Miriam had already vacated her side along with Laurenz and stood on the opposite side of the room – staves in hand with their tips glowing faintly. I also placed myself as far away from the woman as possible, though I really didn’t want to shoot Simon. He really was trying hand to keep the hot-blooded woman from attacking as he blocked her path while tried to gain control of her sword arm.
“Enough, Dear! Enough!” Simon, while being an older man, barely managed to restrain her. “This is foolish! Please!” Fiorentina’s pretty face looked dangerously serene, but I could see the fire in her eyes as she looked at the guild officers as I inched towards them.
There must have been a lot of bad blood between the two parties because I’ve only ever seen such a hateful look when someone really fucking hated someone. Neither I nor Miriam and Laurenz made a move but we kept our weapons trained on them. Simon managed to wrestle Fiorentina back and take her sword away.
“Enough!” Simon barked finally and no trace of that amiable face was left. Only a snarling man. The change in his demeanor startled Fiorentina as she quickly became meek, backing off as she gulped. “Gods be damned, woman! I am trying to my hardest to treat you good, yet you keep on–”
Laurenz cleared his throat and I felt a pressure release that I hadn’t quite noticed had settled over the office. The glow of their staves’ points died away and a scent of ozone lingered in the air.
“I do believe this isn’t the place for… This,” He gestured towards whatever was happening between the two knights.
“I apologize for this, Laurenz,” Simon said. He moved the sword to his right, while he put his left hand firmly on Fiorentina’s sword arm. “As in regards to Ms.– Mr. Kian’s status, forgive the slip-up, but we can’t let you leave the settlement until our investigation is completed. However, you’re not a prisoner and you’re free to keep your equipment and move about the settlement until its complete. It’d only take a few days. It’s just an interview and paperwork”
Simon gave me his best smile, but it was too forced. He looked disappointed; whether in me not being their prisoner, or Fiorentina’s outburst, I couldn’t say.
As the atmosphere settled, the sharp and frantic ringing of a bell came from outside. Everyone’s eyes but mind snapped to the windows though no one spoke. Three rings per second for nearly twenty seconds, then a deeper – slower – bell rang out. They stiffened when they heard that and turned to each other. The adventurers down below began to shout.
“Dear, take your sword,” Simon handed the sword over to the woman. She took it without a word before she turned on her heel and nearly flew down the hall. “To all of you, I do hope you forgive the scene we made. Mr. Kian, can I ask if you’d help us defend the settlement?”
Laurenz nodded before he went over to his desk and began to pull a few items from it. Miriam went to hers and found several bottles and unbuttoned the lower half of her robe, revealing boiled leather armor over black pants and a thick belt with leather pouches. She slotted the potions in a few, and I saw Laurenz had a similar setup.
“I’ll help, but I want something in return,” I said. I wasn’t going to forgive that bitchy woman just because Simon seemed like a good person.
“I can pay you, but I can’t put off the investigation,” Simon bowed his head. “Forgive me, but I rather not bring more trouble than there is here already.” He gave an apologetic smile.
“Okay, I’ll take payment, but only in manastones,” I gave my demands. If I had to use bullets, I would have to use Cat-Points to replenish them. That meant I needed to at least break even on whatever they’re asking me to do.
“I can’t do that,” Simon shook his head slightly. “The Fourth Division doesn’t have Manastones on hand, but we have coppers and silvers. Gold is used for buying supplies from the traders that come, so I can’t pay you in gold.”
“I can pay in Manastones,” Laurenz spoke up as he and his wife finished gearing up. “What do you want?” The guild officers were tightening their belts, and adjusted their clothes before they stepped forward to leave.
“Depends how much ammo I use,” I shrugged. I’ve made enough deals with my friends to know I couldn’t just give a set price on an unknown job. Last time I’d done that, I was out 100$ in pizza because I said I’d buy food for everyone when we went out. I had only thought it’d be 4 of us, but Nah, little assholes decided they wanted to bring their girls without telling me. “I need manastones to replenish my stuff.”
“Is that how you got your equipment back?” Simon asked curiously. “My wife was quite mad when we found all the equipment we stripped of your dead had disappeared.” He looked to my pistol, and I blushed slightly. I was the only one who had a weapon out, and pointed at someone. I holstered it. The holster clicked one it gripped it.
“Yes, and no,” I said, unwilling to give the details. Laurenz looked at me like I had just enlightened him. Miriam shot me an amused smile before she turned to Laurenz, and she gestured towards me with her head. “Just know that if you want me to fight, I need manastones.”
“Then I believe we can work something out then if the Adventurer Guild is willing to assist,” Simonz looked to Miriam and Laurenz.
Laurenz nodded. “Definitely. If that thing on your hip is as good as we think it is, it’d be worth the hassle. Seeing as the emergency bell is being rung, we might also make some profit off this as well.”
As I followed the trio down the main road, it was empty aside from knights and adventurers running around. Most of them were organizing themselves into groups or rushing hauling the wounded up the hill towards what I could only assume was Doc’s house. Through it all, I picked out the threat. Everyone kept calling out “Goblins”.
“Gods be good,” Simon sighed. “I thought we’d dealt with them earlier.” He surprised me as he spoke.
I was focused on not falling behind. Laurenz and Miriam seemed at ease with the brisk pace. I wasn’t though, I may have had a good amount of muscle, but Simon was taller than me; his large strides put me in a jog.
“If we hadn’t wiped them out that night, then its worst than we feared,” Miriam commented as we stepped onto the ramparts.
Laurenz clicked his tongue. “I thought it was just a nomadic tribe, but it must be an army is they’re attacking here.”
And boy, was he right. The moment we stepped onto the raised earth walkway, I saw hundreds of green little monsters lurking in the tree line. For a moment, I remembered the assault on our position a few nights ago. The smell of blood filled my nostrils and I could hear the screams again. I remembered the wave of dark green and their glowing hungry eyes as they swarmed into the Osprey.
I wanted to run. I needed to run. Death was out there, and I knew it wouldn’t give me an easy death. They’d skin me as they raped me. I would be toyed with and then slowly ripped apart to be left to the crows.
It’s okay… Cyril’s voice whispered in my head. That was a fear spell. I’ll give you another freebie because that was some serious stuff, but be careful next time. If it happens again, just look away. Eye contact is needed for their goblin charm spells to work.
“What..?” I blurted as I felt myself regain control of my body. Something akin to a morning summer sun washed over me, and the fear was gone.
Not the first part. Cyril whispered again. That was your truama. I was talking about the latter half of the fear. The death part. You have quite the mental fortitude if that was the only thought you had. Look to your left.
I did so, and I found Miriam, Laurenz, and Simon were both stiff with fear. Their faces pale, and so was the rest of the people on the ramparts. I then remembered the key part of what Cyril said. “Eye contact”.
I jumped into action and covered Miriam’s eyes. It was helpful that we were nearly the same height; she was also the closest to me. Her body shuddered and she took in a deep breath of air. I felt her eyelids shut tightly before she threw herself at her husband, knocking him and Simon over together.
“F, Fear spell! Miriam shrieked. “Break eye contact! They have a Warlord with them!” Without another word, all three broken into different directions. They assisted the other knights as a burst of deep, primal laughter rose from the forest.
“Someone shut that fucking bell up!” Someone bellowed.
Everything fell apart for a few hectic seconds as people tried to regain their senses. I was the only one who had their shit together, but even then, I was terrified to look back over the parapets. I didn’t want to see those goblins again. I didn’t want to see those hungry red eyes as long as I lived.
I felt my OTAD vibrate and I brought it up. The glare on the screen was brutal and I had to spend a few seconds angling it to see.
[Warning: TRIAL “Warlord’s Vengence” has been activated. Please note that all Store functions will be offline during the trial. PawPawGang apologizes for the inconvenience. All inventory and card functions are available. An optional parameter has been unlocked.
Enemy Forces: Goblin Army – 3,000 grunts, 200 Officers, and 1 Warlord (Leader)
Trial Success Reward: 1 Lootbox
Success Parameters: Defend at least 21% of the Settlement, or kill 95% of Enemy Forces.
Optional Success Parameters: Kill Warlord
Optional Reward: 1 Epic Lootbox
Trial Failure Parameters: Lose 80% of the settlement or Kian’s Death.
NOTICE: Should enemy forces breach the settlement defenses, Parameters will change.
For all intents and purposes, all monsters killed will automatically have their manastones harvested and turned into Cat-Points.]
“A trial? Seriously?” I muttered, just plain baffled by the suddenness of it all. “Are you saying you fucking brought these people here?!” My fear had turned into confusion, and currently, it was converting into a fast-burning rage.
[System: No dipshit, you did. Now, cover your head before you lose it.]
This was the last thing I read before I heard a chorus of people screaming “Arrows inbound! Take cover!” I quickly turned and looked up. That turned out to be the biggest mistake I had ever made. A large mass of small black lines rose from the forest, reached their peak; then arched downward towards us. Like a mass of angered wasps, they whistled.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” My voice cracked and my eyes went wide as I stared down actual death sticks coming down at me.
“Me’ Lady!” A man cried out before a massive tower shield slammed itself into the palisades’ spiked tops. “I’ll protect you!”
A thick, meaty arm gripped the shield’s leather handle and pressed it into place. I followed the arm to its accompanying body and found a toothy shit-eating grin awaiting me on a burly bearded – human man’s face. That was when the shield shook as the arrows crashed into it, a few splinters flying down into my hair as a few arrowheads managed to break slightly through.
“Thanks…?” I gave him a helpless smile with a small shrug.
I wanted to respond to the “lady” part, but I honestly couldn’t find it in me encase he tossed me over the palisades. He responded with a wink and blew me a kiss. He stood up, and holy fuck was he tall. It was then that I noticed he didn’t belong to the Fourth Division. Instead, he wore what I would have considered a Knight Templar’s outfit.
However, when I looked at his er… Tabard? Instead of a red cross, it was a silhouette of a naked lady. Then I got a better look at his face.
“Bubba?” I blurted the question out. I did not, in fact, know his name. However, he looked like a stereotypical redneck. Even with the armor and mail he was wearing, I could tell this guy was ripped. He also looked like he belonged on an episode of Duck Dynasty – Ancestor’s edition. He even wore a brown cloth over his hair like a bandanna.
“How’d you know my name, Darlin’?” Bubba spoke with a southern draw and I slapped him for breaking my expectation for this fantasy world.
I would have too if an arrow hadn’t pieced straight through the shield and impaled itself two inches from my nether regions. I paled and looked up to Duck Knightery. He looked at the arrow then looked up at me, and I swear to god, I just knew he was going to say something flirty.
“Guess that killed the mood, huh?” Bubba gave me a cheeky grin before he looked up.
He lifted the shield as he stood. Arrows had embedded themselves within a two-block span of the border. Several people were dead, and even more, were injured from those attacks. People scrambled once they saw that the goblins weren’t going to waste more arrows on another volley, and quickly began to MEDEVAC the wounded up the road.
“C’mon, Me’ Lady,” Bubba sounded like he was trying to sound sexy, but the last part twisted on his tongue. It definitely wasn’t his normal way of speaking. “The Adventurers are manning the street barricades. The ramparts are for them pigs.”
With one thick finger, he pointed towards the Fourth Division knights – who seemed to have lost little if any of their own. Most of them had taken cover underneath the thick log shelters that were spaced out every 50ft or so. Laurenz and Miriam hadn’t taken any cover, and instead, were underneath an umbrella-like light that glowed semi-transparently over their heads.
“Kian!” Laurenz yelled as he made his way towards me. “Holy hells, you’re safe. Thanks for the save Bubba. You can go back to your party, and keep that line.” The big man winked once more at me and left without a word down the arrow riddled slope to the main road.
“You have a redneck Knight…” I muttered as I watched him go, the war cries of thousands of goblins on the other side. I turned and peeked over, drawing my pistol “Is that fear spell still activated?” I kept my head low. To my good fortunes, I didn’t get stricken with fear this time.
“Redneck?” Laurenz asked as he took the spot on my left, his wife joined him on his left.
“You don’t know what a red–?” I shook my head. “You know what, nevermind. What the hell—” Before I could speak, goblins cried out as they swarmed in numbers. Before I knew it, they slammed into the thick wooden poles with a loud crack.
“Fuck!” I heard someone scream, though, there were more screams all around me as I felt the ground jolt slightly.
I leveled the Glock 19 over the edge as I peeked. No arrows were coming my way, but they were still being fined from somewhere towards the center. As far as I could see though, the horde had a singular focus of trying to break through that door. I had no doubt that they could easily use their numbers to clamor over the wall.
I jinxed my self there.
Just as I had that thought, the green little shits began to climb each other over three different points; all of which were at the gate. I kept my finger on the trigger but didn’t fire. I had 3 15rd magazines, and there were just over 3,200 monsters no more than thirty feet below me. And that was just be sitting on a raised earth mound that I knew was the reason it was still standing.
“Holy shit! A Shaman!” Laurenz pointed out just as his wife threw a quick turning ball of flames at the first meat tower. “We need to take him out, but he’s out of range for me! Someone get the archers on him!”
The spell exploded in a haze of blood and bits of goblin, mainly over their comrades. It cleared a near 20ft area around where they’d been climbing. I turned my attention, as hard as it was, to where Laurenz pointed. Nearly two hundred feet off from me, I could see a Hobgoblin. It was similar in stature and built to the first one I killed but unlike the other one. This one was alive. And looked like a Native American Chieftain.
All the Fourth Division archers were busy just killing everything by the wall, or just randomly firing into the mod.
“Fuck!” Laurenz cursed before he turned and lobed a spell identical to the one his wife used. “I’m moving to the other side, Miriam, stay with Kian!”
“How come you can’t reach that Shaman?” I asked Miriam as I debated if I could make that shot with the pistol.
“Normal fireballs can reach out further than where that Shaman is,” Miriam said when she lobed another explosive ball into the crowd further from the gate. “But Basic spells are easy to dispell, and if it doesn’t, it won’t do much than annoy it.”
“Alright,” I made up my mind. “Let me try.” Miriam looked at me funny as I planted my hands inbetween two log spikes. I kept the G19 firmly between them, minimizing the chance of a Goblin being able to just easily snatch it. The sight was quickly lined up, and I aimed slightly low just to test my shot and fired. The pistol barked with a flash, and the spent casing went swirling forward over the wall. \
I almost missed it, but I saw little green goblin twitch before it fell. Its comrades panicked for a moment. They turned left and right, looking for the attacker for a few seconds before they returned back to their mob. I was off by several feet. I readjusted now that I had a reference point. And I began to pull the trigger methodically and equally spaced.
The spent casings slowly began leaving little smoke trails as they were ejected. The casings fluttered through air, and with each fired shot, something died. The Shaman looked confused as its minions dropped around it. Slowly, but surely, I was walking the shots on target. By the 9th round, I landed a headshot on the Shaman.
Its head rocked back momentarily before its body decided it no longer wished to carry him. He then crumbled and the goblins around the gate began to slowly reside. Their dog-like barking and guttural cries were drowned out as another Shaman worked its way towards the front to take command. Its head grew a third eye once it walked within my newly found shooting range.