Several thin tendrils of smoke rose from my pistol’s open breech. 3 shamans were dead, along with several of their minions. With the shamans, or rather, the mob’s officer’s dead, they devolved into a wither mass of stupid. Two massive piles of dead goblins rested against either side of the gate house. Leaderless, the goblins had given up on the suicidal yet effective hive-mind approach to defeating the settlement’s defense. Had it gone on longer, we would have been overrunned by now. Now the goblins slowly began to recede from the wall, none willing to take the initiative. A massive reshuffling effort was barely visible in the forest. No doubt that the head monster was quickly trying to reestablish its command.
I pulled away from the palisades’ parapets. I let out a long sigh as I did so, quickly replacing my spent magazine. Laurenz and Miram were right behind me as well as Simonz and his wife. All of them stared at me with a mixture of awe and curiosity; except Florentina. She looked… Greedily at me… And not in the sexual way. No. It took a moment, but I recognized it finally. The look of someone greedy for power.
“What kind of weapon is that?” Miriam was the first to speak up.
“It’s my own magic,” I said.
Which was true, more or less in the context of how I received this particular weapon. Sir Simon was about to speak up when the ramparts began to bustle with anxious knights.
“What are they doing?” A knight close to us asked the man beside him.
“It looks like they’re making a path?” The man replied.
“For what?” The knight asked.
“How would I know?” The man scuffed, his voice was thick with fear. “Go ask them.”
The answer came a moment later as the loud ‘twangs’ of hundreds of bows snapping. Arrows broke the forest’s top and arched up before it skimmed past the sun itself. For a heartbeat, the arrows remained suspended at their apex. Then, they turned downward before they came whistling down upon the town. There wasn’t enough time for any of us to evade as the air behind them shimmered before a whip crack filled the air – followed by the smell of ozone.
“Magi—!” Someone cried out.
But their shouts were cut off as a golden bubble covered the couple and I. Arrowed thunked against the shimmering hexagon ladden spellwork like vengeful ghosts. I was stunned by the suddenness of it. Around me, the arrows buried themselves into the knights and adventurers. Unlike before, where the arrows had just clattered against the plate armor, the arrows bite into the armor of the unsuspecting warriors. They pierced through helmets, shoulder plates, and even through the thin wooden shingles of the gate house. Aside from the thunks of the arrows shattering against the golden bubble, all else was muted. Even so – many of them dropped like sacks of flour, or they withered in pain on the dirt where others tripped over them in their confusion.
I shall grant you this single miracle, Kian, Avery’s voice whispered in my ear. I turned around and only saw the dumbfounded faces of Laurenz, Miram, Simon, and Florentina – not the playful insane goddess from before. I spent some of my magic to protect you, and to help you. I’ve given you some small wireless earphones.
“Why?” I asked.
“W-What?” Miram asked as she turned to me, her eyes full of fear.
“No you,” I shook my head and turned away just as her eyes went wide. “Why did you help me?”
Because, Avery answered. The playfulness had been replaced with a soft but deathly whisper. A goblin god has intervened in this fight… It appears my original plan to have you grow on your own will have to be adjusted. That whip crack from earlier was the work of a God, or rather, one of their devout followers. If they intervene again, I will help, but only enough to offset whatever it is they’re planning. You should kill them faster….
Avery’ voice faded away with a small sigh. As if she fell asleep and the golden bubble shattered. It broke into tens of shards pieces that floated outward. They twisted for a moment before they faded away, and the screams of pain filled the air. Another wave of arrows rose from the forest, just like before and sure enough, another whip crack filled the air. Now that I knew what was happening, I was sure I saw a little bit of black dance across each arrow before they spent towards us.
As soon as it happened, a small golden light danced across each of them; similar to how the black one did. The arrows shattered and the air became tense as if two monolithic forces began to fight for dominance. It was like a pressure had settled in my chest. The feeling slipped away as soon as it came and it was replaced with the feeling of summer. Warm. Encouraging… Loving. It was enough to elicit a tear from me, and even Miriam and Laurenz. The arrows shattered mid-air and rained their fragments over the goblins below.
“Tick tok…” Avery whispered again. “I rather they not know I’m here sooner than I want them to, soo~ Finish it quickly~”
“We have to move!” I said to Miriam and Laurenz, who also had shedded a few tears. They obviously wanted to ask what was going on, though it appeared they’d come to a silent agreement not to do so right now.
“What do we need to do?” Laurenz asked.
I thought about that for a moment. I mulled over what to tell them and decided to just tell them what I needed.
“We need to kill the goblin leader,” I announced. “We also need to make sure that most of the town stays intact.”
“Why do we need to do that?” Florentina huffed as if the mere concept of attempting to defend the town at this point was below her.
“Forget it,” Simon said. He shot his wife a meaningful glare that made her take a step back. For once since I’ve met him, Sir Simon had the look of a warrior instead of a timid husband. “If anything, I’ll direct the knights as best as I can while–”
“Orge!” Someone yelled. “They have a fucking orge!”
“It has something,” Another yelled. “What the — Incoming!”
Before any of us could even go to see what the hell he was talking about,
“Notice: Enemy Leader identified,” A voice that sounded more mature than Avery’s popped into my ear. It was the earpiece. “Warlord identified as B Class Orge. Proceed with–”
And before the voice could warn me, a massive boulder passed 20 feet overhead before it crashed into a second story building behind me. Leaving a trail of destruction, it passed through to the buildings beyond. I turned back from the town and looked in horror towards the battlefield. Another boulder flew out, this time it flew lower and smashed into the gate.
“The gate has been breached!” Nearly every knight cried. On the other hand, the adventurers were too busy with the sudden boulder crashing through their ranks. Without another word, or even some bravado I’d expect a knight to display, the palisades were abandoned without a second thought.
“Get your asses back up there!” Florentina barked, but none of them paid her any mind. They simply brushed past her like scared dogs.Her face was red as Simon looked at her. There was a hint of amusement in his eyes. He didn’t say anything and instead, turned to me.
“Let’s go help the adventurers,” Simon said.
. . . . .
20 minutes later, we were being pushed back by a thick sea of goblins. I’d emptied one last magazine into the mob of murderous midgets, but there wasn’t time to reload. The goblins pushed on us without any regard to their own personal safety. Something I now knew was more of a magic than a state of mind with these beasts. It became apparent when I had managed to kill one of the first shaman through the wreckage of the front gate. The goblins reverted back to their timid and scared selves. They were easily picked off. Since then, a few well armored Hobgoblins protected the next shaman through.
I managed to pick up the shortsword of a goblin Simon had killed after my magazine ran dry. I hacked away at the nasty critters as we slowly lost ground. Laurenz and Miram had been sent back to prepare an ambush at the first mountain path. It wasn’t anything major, but it was one of the few choke points within the village.
Two goblins snuck under Simon as he managed to slice into three other monsters. The two immediately leapt at me. I missed both of them in panic, and they knocked me over. I didn’t scream as fear bit into me. I managed to rip off one before it could get a good grip. The second one brought up a dagger and aimed it for my neck. I let out a strangled yelp as a longsword skewered its head. A massive tower shield was planted between me and the mob. Bubba appeared while he flicked his sword, sending the now dead goblin flying back into the sea of green while another woman – who looked a little too much like Bubba – curb stomped the other.
She then came over and helped me up.
“Now look at you darlin’,” She spoke like some southern house momma. “Gett’her up, we got goblins to kil and I ain’t keen on letting pretty girls die on my watch.”
She wore the same clothes as Bubba… And then the battle continued. Regardless of the strange redneck knights, the goblins cared none of the fantasy breaking that was going on here. They simply wanted to kill us. Which they weren’t very good at. We’d lost… I didn’t know. There weren’t a lot of adventurers with us to begin with, but I was well aware our group had lost a few. An exact amount was asking too much however. I didn’t know where the rest I’d seen back at the guild were and I desperately wanted them now.
“Humans!” A deep inhuman voice roared over the sounds of war. The goblins were quick to back off us as the ground shook. “Give us your women, and we will let you die quickly!”
We weren’t near the gate anymore. We’d been pushed down the winding main road and lost view of it. That was how we didn’t see the Warlord’s approach. It was a humanoid monster that resembled nothing of the green smeagol looking midgets it commanded. Instead, it resembled that of a japanese Oni. Big and green, with massive muscles and a terribly scary face. Two ivory horns protruded from its temples where it curved slightly back to fit the contour of its skull. Its eyes were also green with shimmering red eyes and elvish ears.
It carried a massive wooden club that looked more like a filed down tree trunk.
And it looked directly at me, and grinned. It also had no pants on…