Today, the sky is filled with grey clouds, its haze gives the world a grim reminder of what’s about to come. Yet here we are in the outskirts of the forest, traversing the dense vegetation surroundings; searching for any valuable forages and most importantly, goblins.
Instructor Kalish got us what he deemed to be an easy monster extermination quest from an adventurer guild he’s part in called《Adventurers Creed》, requesting to investigate the outskirt and exterminate any monsters, specifically goblins. They were spotted and even stole livestock from nearby villages.
On our way on horseback, I asked him about his adventurer’s life. He happily talks about the ups and downs of his career. At first, I thought of him as a brutish man who’s a damn sadist with the way he trains. Making me run nine fucking miles, knowing I almost died the day before. But listening to him talking passionately about his adventure on fighting orcs with random strangers or the ridiculous drama that almost disbanded his past adventurer party; I can’t help but like this man.
His rant is numerous and his claims are so unbelievable, a dreamer in denial would think he’s dreaming. I suppose he is still a brutish man first and foremost. However, I was able to find some useful information about the adventurer’s world from his rant. In the Veinard kingdom, there are three major adventurer guilds. Each containing its own policies and specialty.
The《Adventurers Creed》guild — the largest and most diverse adventurer guild. Giving them a diverse amount of quest or task variety. The barrier of entry is nonexistent and each adventurer is free to choose whatever quest they want, albeit according to their ranking. Sadly, he never went into detail about the ranking system, but he mentioned that he’s ranked C. Well, whatever that is.
The《Maxim’s Fang》guild — similar to《Adventurers Creed》guild, however, they don’t offer quest or tasks; instead, they offer contracts. The guild was built in order for nobles and rich merchants to have a source of reputable and trusted adventurers that are willing to serve under them for a long term. The contract’s duration is quite long, the shortest is around a year. They also do background checks in order to let you in their group. They check your criminal records and even all your skills. Something which is despised by the majority of adventurers since it restricts their freedom. Judging by how Instructor Kalish always badmouths the 《Maxim’s Fang》adventurers in the middle of his rants, it seems that they are not in a good relationship with his guild.
The《Dyron Temperament》guild — based on the founding father of the guild, Dyron. An extraordinary adventurer with unparalleled achievement. His achievement and glory are all thanks to his mastery in the art of Aegis magic, even when he’s just a commoner. After he retired, he founded the guild in the hope of passing down his glory and creating a place for adventurers like him. They have the highest barrier of entry compared to other guilds, to join them one must be a magician with at least proficiency in advanced magic, limiting their human resources. However, thanks to that, they tailor each adventurer’s mission to fit their capabilities. This limits their freedom further but in return are more well-off compared to their rival guilds.
If I do get kicked out of the family, starting an adventurer career as a combat magician by first joining the《Adventurers Creed》guild and then transfer to《Dyron Temperament》guild after reaching advanced magic proficiency sounds like a good idea. But then again, it will all depend on whether I can actually handle violence and gore, something I’m about to experience soon.
I’ve studied this world’s history on a surface level, and it looks grim. Wars are common and fight with monsters or other beings are rampant. Orders are bought and held upon but violence is still rampant. I was quite lucky to be transmigrated to a peaceful noble family, even if I don’t have any chance for inheritance.
Huh, quite ironic when I think about it. Yesterday, I’m confident in killing monsters, paving my way through in becoming a combat magician. Now, I’m chickening out about actually doing the deed.
Will I be able to kill monsters?
Will I be able to make a poor soul bleed off and die?
Will I be able to make it through the fight in one piece?
Will I be able to put aside my morals and be a cold-blooded person?
Will I feel love once more?
「 Renald, focus. 」
My wandering thoughts vanish instantly, yet anxiety and doubt still linger, as I become more vigilant towards the surroundings.
Towering trees covering the already gloomy sky. Lush bushes can be found around here, hindering vision across distance, only allowing me to see around a quarter of a soccer field.
Chirping birds and the sound of tree branches swaying was the only thing to be heard throughout the forest. Man-made sound is nonexistent. Well, other than the sound of our careful footsteps in this uneven terrain of course.
If what Instructor Kalish deduced from the villagers’ report was right, that means we should be around goblins’ territory right now.
He’s in front of me, leading the way to navigating this forest. On his shoulder is a halberd that is dear to him. A halberd he said is capable and killed many ferocious monsters. It was enchanted by a Magician to increase its effectiveness in slashing and piercing thick monster hide; Though it cost him a fortune.
While on my hands is a two-handed sword gifted by my mother before the departure of this trip. A steel sword with a silver coating. On its sharp and shiny blade, magic runes are engraved using manaritium ore which stores mana energy that I have no way of understanding. Its symbols and patterns are unlike anything I’ve learned so far. The magic runes increase the blemish and pain on a monster. Making them more worn out and the damage I inflicted on them will wreak havoc on their flesh.
Aside from the sword, she gave me a gambeson armor and a sling backpack filled with a variety of potions increasing vitality, mana reserves, and — interestingly — awareness. To think my mother would give such prized items to me. At this point, I don’t know when I will ever fully repay my debts to her.
「 Psst… Renald come over here. 」
Instructor Kalish signals his hand to come to him as he covers himself in the nearby bushes. By peeking his head over the top of the bushes, he’s looking at something. I go to him and did the same.
「 How many goblins do you see? 」
「 I can see four goblins, sir. Some equipped with clubs, others with spiked bats. 」
Seeing those bloodied spikes on that bat already causes me to feel nauseating a bit.
「 You missed one between those two bushes. Can’t blame you though, the shadow hides that bastard really well. But make sure to be more observant next time. You don’t want anybody to do a sneak attack at ya. 」
「 Yes sir. 」
「 This is the real deal boy. Remember your training and you’ll be fine. But never underestimate your opponents, even if they are these puny goblins. I’ll start with attacking the hidden one and then make my way to the other two. I want you to deal with the other two goblins. Understand? 」
「 Understood sir. I will deal with the other two goblins. 」
「 Start the attack with a spell on my mark. 」
「 Yes sir. 」
He then moves away from the bush we were hiding from, moving much slower and more mindful than before. I notice my hands holding the sword are now trembling. I try to calm down by taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly. Calm down Ryo, you got this, get your shit together. It will be fine, just remember your training and everything will go smoothly.
I wait and wait. Grasping for his cues as my eyes are split between the goblins out in the open and the one hiding.
A muffled dying voice could be heard. The goblins must have heard it too. Shit, did he screw up? The goblins that were relaxed pick up their weapons, eyes on the two bushes, walking slowly towards it. I realize he didn’t clearly mention what’s his mark. Perhaps, that was it.
I dismiss my cover and immediately chant a spell,
『 Pulso! 』
All goblins go flying for a few meters except the furthest one. I dash to the nearest knocked one, laying on the ground. I hold my sword up, changing my hand grip, pointing the sword downwards. I can see the goblin’s expression; disbelief, shock — fear. Those emotions hit me, as I thrust my sword downwards to the goblin stomach.
The goblin squirms, His hands on the blade. I felt a bit resistant to it. Blood starts flowing, painting the grass red. His face is full of agony. Tears creeping on his deformed eyes. Now, his eyes are lifeless, and his bloodied hand falls from my sword. I feel something vaguely creeping up to my very soul.
Fuck, no amount of training can prepare me for this…
「 Grrruaa! 」
In a flash, I look to where the growl comes from. A goblin rushes towards me. He swings his spiked bat to my right. In the nick of time, I barely parry it. I swing my sword with brute force. The goblin gets pushed, losing his balance. I put all of my energy and swing the sword again. Damn it, the goblin was able to dodge it.
The goblin somehow comes to my right side. It swings its bat and hits my stomach.
Fuck! It hurts so much! What’s more, this is with gambeson armor. This fucking piece of shit goblin, I’ll return the favor a hundred times much worse! I need to retreat a bit first.
「 Come here you deformed maggot! 」
The goblin stupidly comes at me as I expected. About time this goblin suffers. Fiery red magic runes hover in my left hand, as I push it and shout,
『 URRO! 』
A small but continuous straight stream of fire appears out of my rune. The fire reminds me of flames coming from a flamethrower. That fucker is now on fire. Heh, that’s what you get!
I stop my spell; its drastic mana usage almost depletes my mana reserve.
「 AAHHHHHHHHH!!! 」
Screams of agony fill my eardrum, ruining the mood as I start to shiver. That goblin is running around aimlessly as it tries to wave off the flames on his body. It drops to the ground, wriggling.
Now it’s black as charcoal, and the smell of burnt flesh lingers around in this place. The smell of it is sickening and disgusting.
「 Bbblllaaarrghh!! 」
I vomit, leaning downwards. What’s left from breakfast can be seen in the bile. It is at this moment I feel something vaguely creeping up to my very soul again. But that thought is pushed to the back of my mind.
I look around and see Instructor Kalish decapitating a goblin as he swings his halberd horizontally. Its head landed five meters beside me. Its facial expression as if he wants to transmit his suffering towards me, oozing death. My bowel moves as I cover my mouth with my hand, desperately holding the need to throw up again.
Man, isn’t that way too brutal? But looks like we are done. I lay myself to the ground as a sense of dread creeps up to me.
I still can’t believe that, out of anger, I actually willingly burn somebody alive. Yeah, it’s just a goblin, but surely there are other ways to kill it humanely. That spell is truly powerful and inhumane.
I raise my hand to the sky, still seeing it trembling. I’m already like this when I take out what people say as one of the easiest monsters. Will I actually be able to live in this world filled with violence?
I never thought becoming a combat magician is this hard. Can I really become a combat magician? Is this as far as I can go? Due to my weakness, I’m destined to not feel any real love again? No… No, no! I can’t let this minor setback make me give up.
I can and I will become a combat magician. This is nothing compared to being alone — devoid of love. If this is what it takes then so be it.
「 Looks like you’re not in a good shape huh kid. 」
Instructor Kalish comes to my view, looking down at me.
「 Yes sir… I… I just can’t really take in all the gore and blood sir. 」
「 Relax, I’ve suffered the same fate when I first killed my monster. I threw up and cried a bit, heck I didn’t even manage to fully kill it. Anyway, we should go back soon. You’re in no condition to fight. 」
He says as he averts his eyes. His finger scratching his blushing cheek. I never thought he would make that expression.
「 But sir, how about the quest? We still haven’t really gotten a clue on what makes those goblins steal livestock. 」
「 I already knew there’s gotta be a goblin nest around. Goblins usually steal livestock when there’s a lot of mouths to feed. Encountering goblins with better gear already proves this.
「 I’ll just report the guild about my findings and hopefully they will give me a decent reward. More importantly, who cares about the quest when you’re like that. 」
「 Thank you, sir. And… Sorry for dragging you down sir. 」
「 Oh goddess, just relax. Do you want to go now or relax for a bit more? 」
「 I’ll relax a bit more, sir. 」
「 Okay then, you may rest. 」
He then went off, presumably looting the goblin corpses. I remember him mentioning beforehand that the guild will need him to show the right ear of every monster he exterminated as proof. That way the guilds can confirm and give him the quest reward.
Feeling so mentally and emotionally exhausted, my eyelid becomes heavy as I try to resist it futilely.