Chapter 36

Goblins? This world had goblins?

This was new to me, but in a world with magic, talking fish, and evolutions, it seemed like goblins weren’t that surprising. Carolina immediately scooped up her daughter and the two started racing back to the household. They had only made it halfway back up the hill when I started to hear drums coming from the forest. Tanner was running past me toward the house. I squirted water at him as he passed, managing to get a strike right in his face. He stumbled slightly, looking to his side while sputtering.

“Puh… wha… oh, it’s you. I’m sorry, water spirit. I don’t have time to talk. It’s a goblin hunting party. Even I’m not strong enough to take one on singlehanded. My only chance is to hold up in the cottage and hope they don’t burn it down with us inside.” He declared, but then his face looked uncertain for a moment.

I shot another stream of water out toward the forest, and then at him. He dodged the stream of water this time, but his eyes brightened.

“You want to help take care of them?”

I still had many levels to go, and a goblin was a higher-level organism similar to a human. However, there was more to it than that. I wanted my fish to grow stronger too.  I had fed the previous humans I had captured to the fish, and while I didn’t see them level or evolve, there was a qualitative difference between the fish that ate the assassins and the ones that didn’t. It seemed like if I wanted my fish to grow stronger, and thus net me more experience, feeding them goblins might be the key. I made a bubble in affirmation.

“Alright, alright… can you attack anything outside of the pond?” He asked, his anxiousness growing as the drums grew louder, lights starting to show in the darkened forest.

I squirted out water. I had considered trying to pressurize the water jet to the point that it was a laser, but I hadn’t had much luck. I had taken for granted the passage of time before when I had steadily altered and evolved cells. Countless years had passed as I tried trial after trial. It could be decades before I evolved the necessary cells and tissues where I could create such a powerful attack from the confines of my pond.

“No… so you can only attack those that step in your pond.”

I made bubbles. I’d even considered creating waves to move my water to them. However, once the wave broke on the shore, I lost my control over it. The liquid medium from which I had my power needed to be intact. As soon as the water tension was broken, so did my respective control. Even if I tried to make a tendril of water reach out, it collapsed from gravity before it could gain any substantial length. Even then, a single swipe from a blade would be able to destroy my control over it.

“Then… my only choice is to lure them into the water, right?” Tanner was still thinking. “You can kill them once they step into the water?”

I made bubbles.

“Then, we need to take out as many of them as possible. Once you make your attack, they will keep a wide birth from the pond from then on.”

I bubbled in agreement. He glanced around one last time. By the sound and light, the goblins would be exiting the forest in a moment. He let out a curse and then jumped into the shore. As he did so, he pulled a bow off of his back and lowered into the water behind some reeds, making sure to keep the bow from getting wet. He then proceeded to wait.

He didn’t need to wait long, as a group of about twenty-five short green monstrosities emerged. They were exactly what one would imagine when thinking of goblins, from pointed ears to bald heads. Some of them drummed on skin drums with bones which left me determined not to ask where the skin or bones came from. Most of them had bone armor too, and that armor looked to belong to humans as often as animals.

Carolina and the child had already made it into the house. It was just Tanner, me, and twenty-five goblins. I started preparing cells, destroying some of the less useful ones and using Mitosis to amplify some of the ones that might be more useful for combat. As Tanner said, I’d only have one chance to attack, and if I could wipe out the majority of them, then it would all be on Tanner. The pair of us waited in silence as the group of goblins moved out.

The sun was starting to set, and visibility was slowly decreasing, but my senses didn’t necessarily depend on light. I was completely focused on them. If I had a breath, I’d be holding it. I was even holding my fish, making sure none of them broke the surface and created an unwarranted splash.

The goblins were speaking in a harsh language. I wanted to say I didn’t understand them, but Translation seemed to work whether I consciously used it or not.

“Human… go this way.”

“Smell, females…”

“Hehe… want females.”

“Boss get females first!”

“Yeah… yeah…”

My tissues tensed as I heard their words. Tanner had his eyes closed as if he were meditating. He seemed to be like a coiled spring, waiting for the right moment to strike. His fingers were lightly stroking an arrow shaft. It was probably good he couldn’t hear what they were saying, or he might not be able to focus.

Just as they were next to the pond, heading up toward the house, which despite Carolina having wisely turned all the lights out, still stood out like a sore thumb, Tanner’s eyes snapped open. He pulled the arrow and then nooked and fired all in one smooth motion.

The arrow whistled through the air and then struck the lead goblin in the head. I grimaced slightly because I knew that one wasn’t the boss. If he had been able to understand their speech, he would have known the fat one in the middle was the boss, and the best one to take out quickly to cause them to fall into disorder. As the goblin collapsed, the others let out shrieks of surprise. Some ducked for cover, while others immediately began charging in different directions.

The goblins weren’t bright since they didn’t even bother to determine which direction the arrow came from before attacking. This caused them to scatter from their formation, despite the screaming of their boss, who seemed just a tad smarter. Those goblins that did end up heading either toward the pond or the house were shot down. Tanner pulled arrow after arrow, and most of them struck, although it wasn’t always in the head.

“Attack! This way!” The boss goblin roared, gesturing toward the pond.

The goblins finally started to charge toward Tanner. He only had eight arrows, and with them, he had only killed five of the goblins. Another group of five raced forward, leaping into the pond. Tanner got up and stepped out onto the shore. He started running up the hill. I cursed as the other goblins started running around the pond. I had been wanting to get more in there, but only those five fell into it. Three of them were swimming across the pond to reach him, while the other two were making it back to the shore.

I attacked, grabbing them and yanking them down. I focused on the two who were about to escape first. After drowning them, the other three were only halfway across the pond, with no foot on the ground. It was easy to take them down too. As the last goblin died, I returned my focus to Tanner. He had entered the front door of his house, with fifteen goblins in hot pursuit. I cursed myself. I had wanted to help him out, but in the end, I barely helped.

The boss waited outside, gesturing with the scimitar in his hand that had to have been taken from a human at some point. Ten of the goblins charged into the house. I could hear Carolina’s scream. There was the sound of fighting. I cursed my situation. All I could do was sit there and watch. I felt useless.

The fighting continued for some time. Occasionally, I could hear something breaking or the sound of metal against metal. The goblin boss cursed, growing irritated. He picked up a torch and then tossed it through the window of the house. The others began to light the outside of the house on fire, running around the perimeter to set more and more fires. That was just malicious!

“There, they run!” One of the goblins running to the side of the house noticed a small huddled mass slowly moving away from the home.

I hadn’t even noticed them, but someone was trying to slink away in the commotion under a green blanket that matched closely with the landscape. In the waning light, they had managed to get a fair distance away, but as soon as the goblin let out a cry, the blanket was thrown back, revealing Carolina with Mara in hand. She picked up her daughter and started running. A perverted tinge formed in the goblin boss’s eyes and he gestured his blade, sending the last five goblins racing toward them.

The goblins were chasing the two girls, and there was nothing I could do.


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