Chapter 28
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In the aftermath Rain’s ears were filled with nothing but high pitched ringing. His jaw and throat ached.

He was stunned enough by his own roar that it took him a moment to realise that the Spider-goblin was drunkenly moving toward him holding up Cairn’s axe over her head. Blood ran from her nose and ears but she was still mobile. He struggled to move his body properly, everything felt sluggish and unresponsive. He held up his arms pitifully and the axe came down. By chance she stumbled forward as she swung and the head of the axe flew over the top of his feeble defence leaving Rain to catch the haft on his arms. Crazed eyes looked back at him, Lazia’s mouth opened in a silent scream of rage revealing strange spider like mandibles amongst fine white needle like teeth. Rain grabbed the axe and hauled down on it at the same time as he pushed upward. He smashed his forehead into Lazia’s face, breaking her nose with a burst of blood. She let go of the axe.

This seemed to knock her free of her mindless rage and fear momentarily crossed her gaze. Then however she seemed to commit herself to her chosen path, her jaw clenching in hard-hearted determination. Her hands snapped out multiple seals and glowing markings washed across her entire body. Violet fire bloomed above her abdomen once more, but this time it did not stop coalescing and the ball of fire continued to grow, three foot, five foot, seven foot across, the heat from the vast ball of fire was enough to scorch the grass.

Rain shielded his eyes from the growing brightness then, finally recovering some basic rationality, he began to step away, wary of the Spider's intent. The Spider matched him and came on. Rain turned tail and fled as solar flares of violet fire began to jump from the fifteen foot wide fireball. It radiated so much heat he could feel it sear his back. The Spider chased after him, fingers swiftly dancing and forming ever more seals. 

Rain gripped the axe from where he had been hugging it to his chest out of sight and suddenly, without warning, twisted mid bound, his arm whipping around as he swung his all into it. The axe flung from his paw like a bolt from a crossbow and tore through the air. But Lazia was ready. A solid violet disc conjuring into place in front of her chest to block the thrown axe. Unfortunately for her, Rain wasn't aiming at her body. The axe came down on one of her legs and snapped it like a twig. Rain caught sight of a moment of open dismay on the Spider's face before she came down hard. She crashed to the ground top half first and her abdomen rose up, fireball in tow, peaked, then came plummeting down to earth like a meteor. 

𝐁𝐎𝐎𝐌!

 

Rain desperately flung himself away, but he was still picked up and thrown by the blast like a child's toy to be sent bouncing and rolling across the grass.

He came to a halt in a heap. 

Several minutes passed with him unmoving. Then with a groan he slowly lifted his head.

All that was left of Lazia was a crater in the ground.

“Crazy suicidal Goblin… Now I can't eat you…”

With difficulty, he sat up. Every part of him ached. Bruises and cuts felt like they'd been uniformly patterned over his body. 

“Ow- m- e-rs”

Rain looked around to see Opal twisting a finger in her ear. 

“I can’t hear you, hold on.” 

Rain cracked his jaw and poked at his own ears. The ringing sound dropped off a little

“I said, Ow my ears. I think you scared the snot out of every Gobbo in the damned cavern. First that, whatever that roar was, and then kabooming spidey.”

“She was going to blow herself up no matter what I did, she was a, uh, witch. Goblin witches don’t seem to like me very much.”

“And the roar? I thought the cavern was going to come down for a moment there.”

Rain shrugged. “I’m not sure, I didn't know I was capable of such a thing.”

Opal tapped at her chin. “Maybe it has something to do with growing. A bigger body, outsized strength, and, well, a bigger roar?”

“It was a little more than just a ‘bigger roar’. I straight up killed a Minotaur with my voice alone. I think if the witch had been on top of me as well she wouldn't have survived either.”

“I’ll try think up some way to use that, but right now I’m going to make you hate me.”

Rain tilted his head to the side and blinked. “Why’s that?”

“What do you think the entire tribe is doing right now now that you’ve thoroughly spooked them all with all that noise and ground trembling? Yep, that’s right. They’re all fleeing toward the exits.”

Rain groaned and rubbed a paw over his face. “Meaning that they will be trying to figure out how to get past the obstacles we made and will sooner or later succeed....”

Opal simply stood there and with her hands behind her back and rocking on her heels excitably. “Can’t let food escape.” She grinned. “Coming?”

Rain pressed his lips together in a line but rolled to his feet. 

The Goblin led him into the jungle and they made their way back to the main entrance of the cavern. It quickly became clear that as predicted the entire remaining population of the tribe was trying to escape at once. A crowd was fighting at the entrance, unable to keep order long enough to figure out how to move the stone disc and simply throwing themselves at it and shouting their frustration. A pile of them had built up, standing on each other to haul on the wooden pegs that ran along the part of the wheel. Unfortunately for them they had not noticed the stone wedge Rain had placed below so their efforts were wasted and in fact made it impossible for the few Goblins who had noticed the problem to remove it leaving them helpless.

There were a number of Human-goblins mixed in the crowd of regular Goblins as well as three Diredog-goblins. As the pair watched cohesion started to break down. The Human-goblins lost their temper and started laying into the regular Goblins with swords and clubs, the Diredog-goblins seeing this quickly joined in. This seemed to push the terrified regular Goblins beyond all reason and weapons were unslung and used with abandon. They swarmed the surprised half Goblins and through sheer dint of numbers overwhelmed them, though not without heavy losses.

“This would have happened sooner or later. This whole tribe was a tinder trap waiting to ignite and go up in flames,” said Opal.

“Mrmm, the ones in charge of all this had no idea what they were sitting on.” 

A dozen regular Goblins survived, many of them injured, so when Rain pushed aside the foliage and stepped into their midst it was not a terribly difficult fight. However a couple did still manage to escape into the jungle. Opal drew her cutlass and stalked after them.

Rain went on to the exit he had blocked with a tree but found no Goblins near and the tree untouched. When he came to the next exit however he found a pair of Lamia frantically trying to remove stones from the hole they had filled. Unfortunately for them they were inside the partially cleared hole and had no way to escape so that when Rain dropped on them they could do nothing but scream.

He climbed out of the hole a little more bloody than before and moved on to the last escape tunnel. Unsurprisingly it was still blocked as the Cavebear-goblin he had dragged into it was massive and impossible to move. More surprising however was a second injured Cavebear-Goblin surrounded by the remains of maybe two dozen regular Goblins which had been smashed and sliced under foot and claw in what had clearly been a desperate fight. The Cavebear-goblin hadn't escaped unscathed, the Goblins may have been weak but that hadn't prevented them from exacting a heavy toll. There were only bloody pits where the Cavebear-goblins eyes had once been. Rain could only guess what had led to the fight but judging by the footprints around the hole the new Cavebear-goblin had tried and failed to remove the body blocking it prior to the fight.

It snuffed the air as Rain neared, ears twitching, trying to locate him. He didn't give it a chance and leapt on its back and bit down, then again, and then again. The Cavebear died with barely a whimper and Rain had to take a moment to realize he had started eating it, he reluctantly managed to pull his jaws away. His stomach growled painfully in protest. He was starting to lose himself to instinct, biting so many monsters without actually eating them was sending his monstrous animal hunger into overdrive, having an effect on him he wasn’t sure he could control, making him act irrationally.

Rain slipped off the Cavebear’s back to the ground with a sigh. He looked back at the body and frowned, then after a moment shook his head. 

“One last place to check.” He rubbed the back of his paw past his lips, drool coming with it. “Gods, I feel hungry enough to eat a tribe, or three.” 

He reappeared back in the central clearing in which he had fought Cairn and Lazia. First he checked the Goblin tents but as he had assumed they were currently unoccupied. Then he came to the crude wooden buildings in the center, apart from the main one they seemed to contain only basic supplies, not of immediate concern.

The last building of the clearing lay at the opposite end. A long crude wooden building much larger than the others. Rain made his way over to it. He diverted toward one end as a flash of movement caught his attention. He rounded the end and blinked in surprise. A naked person stood there, her hands chained above her head to a tall wooden post. 

She had the body and face of an Elf, partly, her legs were like that of some kind of bipedal sheep species, with black cloven hooves and soft and puffy white cloud like sheep fluff. The sheep like legs began about six inches down her leg from her hip, transitioning from pale skin to fluff with a particularly large puff of fluff like the tops of stockings. A small square of cloud like fluff sat above her mons and another large burst of cloud like fluff at the top of her sternum between her breasts. Her arms were encased in a sheath of white from nearly the top of her biceps to her wrists each end capped with a puff of white. It gave the impression she was wearing close fitting white sleeves with a cloud of fluff at each end. 

Voluminous hair framed her head, her thick white locks framing her face. She was short for an Elf at five foot six inches. A pair of blue eyes looked back at him from a worried but resolute Elfin face. 

“You- what are you? Monster? Leveler?”

Rain looked down at his blood soaked body. “Take a wild guess.”

The Elf-sheep paled. “O-oh. I suppose you aren't here to rescue me then.”

“No. I’m here to kill everything in this cavern.”

“Hold on a moment, you can’t be serious! I’m not part of this tribe! I only just got here!”

Rain tilted his head to his side. “You aren't one of the breeding stock they use to make half Goblins?”

She blushed. “No, I am most certainly not! I was caught by that wretched witch spider thing only this morning. I have nothing to do with this, so you can’t kill me! I’m not part of whatever grudge you have against the Goblins!”

“Whoever said I have a grudge?”

“Then why are you doing this?”

Rain showed his teeth. “Because I want to eat you all.” He took a step closer.

The Elf-sheeps eyes rounded. “What kind of- W-wait. Look, you’re clearly sapient and intelligent, let’s just talk this out for a sec.”

“Hmm, I’m listening.”

“You don’t need to kill me, I’m just a low leveler, a scrub, level fourteen, I’ve barely begun, totally not worth it.”

“Mm, I’d bet you’d taste pretty good though.”

“Wha- No! Listen, there's something in that barn you need me for.”

“And what would that be?”

“I’ll show you. Just unchain me.”

Rain narrowed his eyes. “You want me to let you go free? For nothing? Do you think I’m a fool?”

She raised her chin. “I’m serious, take me inside, you will need my help, it’s not something you will want to deal with on your own.”

Rain stepped forward abruptly and slammed a paw onto the post above her head causing it to shudder. He was significantly taller than the Elf-sheep and he towered over her. He snarled as he spoke. “I need nothing from you but your body. You do not get to tell me what I will or will not do.”

“I’m not afraid of you! You great brute!” She gave him such a look of confident defiance that he was momentarily taken aback. 

“I know what I’m about. Your intimidation does not work on me, I’ve faced down worse than you.”

Rain gave her a curious look. “You seem to genuinely believe that, but…”

He stepped back and his gaze ran down her body to where her knees were turned inward and trembling like leaves in the wind. A line of fluid ran from her crotch to splatter on the ground. 

The Elf-sheep followed his gaze and seemed to realize that she was openly wetting herself. 

“Oh! Oh! I- That’s not me! I’m not doing this!” She blushed furiously as liquid continued to loudly hit the ground.

“You pretty clearly are…”

“No! This is my sheep half! I- Gods, it must be some kind of inherited physical fear of whatever species you are, I swear I’m not wetting myself, it’s my body reacting on its own! I- I’m not afraid of you!”

Rain snorted, then let out a small laugh, then a larger one. “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.”

“It's true! I swear! It happens sometimes, it’s like ancestral memory, like tribal monsters!”

Rain paused. “Do you have any idea what species of monster I am?”

The Elf-sheep blinked. “Uh, no?”

“...Neither do I. I do know that my kind scared the shit out of a lot of monsters and levelers a long long time ago though… Maybe there is something to what you are saying.”

“Wait, how do you not know what kind of monster you are?”

“Because I am the only one of my kind. I’ve never met or heard of another like me.”

“...Well, okay, but you still definitely need me.”

Rain pondered her words. He wasn't impressed with this Elf-sheep’s promises, but he had to admit he found her half-fear half-bravery intriguing.

“I don’t think so, but I’d like to see where you’re going with this.”

He grabbed the chain that rose above her hands and yanked it down, the iron pin that it was attached to came free from the wooden post with a shower of splinters and broken wood. The Elf-sheep began to sink down as her legs gave out, but with a yelp she managed to awkwardly crab walk by the puddle she’d made. 

She looked up at him from a crouching position.

“This has never happened before. I disassociate myself from my legs!”

“You can’t do that. They're still your legs.”

“Yes I can! I declare my legs persona non grata!”

Rain opened his mouth then closed it again unsure what to say to that. Instead he pulled up on the chain, pulling her arms into the air and lifting her up to standing. Her legs wobbled dangerously but she managed to keep upright. After a moment Rain let her stand unaided, he still kept the chain hanging in his paw however.

“Show me what you want to show me. It had better be good or you’ll find yourself becoming intimately familiar with my teeth.”

The Elf-sheep visibly gulped and began shakily walking toward the entrance. Rain noted as she turned that above the huge fluffy ball that was her tail she had several welts across her back as though she had been whipped, the reason for being tied up outside made clear.

They passed beneath the entrance and into the shadowy interior of the breeding pens.

 

 

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