Chapter 32: What I Saw in the Forests That Day
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Lusha woke up and stretched her arms out. The bed was extremely comfortable. Much more so than one would think. It was actually the first time she had laid in a bed since she had first awakened. Their comfortability was much more designed for the human body… not that she could call herself human for much longer.

Lusha’s eyes trailed around the room- the usual first thing she had always done. She realized that the girl was still fast asleep. Of course, it had only been 5 hours for her. How she’d lament to fall asleep for that long. But without assistance, she cannot fully reach a deep state of slumber. 

She yawned. The morning birds were still chirping loudly and the sun had not emerged. It must’ve been only around 5 am or 6 am. She yawned and took a glance over the young sleeping girl. With her finger to her chin, she finally thought of an idea. The old Door teleportation trap. “[Spatial Magic] Finish Line”.

This was a technique famous among the older mages, but perhaps had long been forgotten. Only ancient books and magic records now detail any record of it. And perhaps even fewer show the methods to performing it.

She touched the four corners of the doorway. With that, a thin invisible membrane appeared around the door and disappeared. Upon thinking about it, she thought it better to also grasp the windows under her spell. Should there still be people attempting to come after the young girl, this would perhaps be the most capable temporary measure. 

Lusha scrubbed her eyes one more time before taking a shower and getting herself prepared for the morning. She checked her teeth in the mirror, and only after she found her smile satisfactory- as if she smiled enough anyways.

She left the room and inhaled sharply. Perhaps now would be a good time to turn in the completion of her quest. The city was still quiet. There seemed to be several lanterns placed upon the rooftops of buildings and string all over akin to a spider’s web. The Rivilin Lanterns dotted every inch of the streets.

She hadn’t been familiar with them using it in this sort of way. Perhaps in the past, people were just not as creative as this era. The stones were not yet activated, but she got the gist of what their purpose was. After her nice stroll, she decided to check back in on the young girl. Hopefully nothing bad had happened by now. If it did, she knew her lead though. She couldn’t just allow an important member of Team Infinite to be abducted. 

Upon her return to the inn. She had already realized something was off the moment she had reached the doorway. The spell had been active it seems. It must’ve been only at least one hour since she had left the inn. Lusha sighed. Of course, they weren’t going to leave her alone for too long. 

She opened the door, only to find that one could see Rinn still fast asleep on the other side.. Yet the entrance had been tripped. The technique was made to act in a similar manner to a finish line. Once someone crosses that exact point where the thin film of barrier space was set, they would inadvertently cross into the world that it was linked to. In this case, it was a barrier that entirely stopped all movement. This was done via overwhelming pressure placed on all angles of the barrier. Every single degree that one could think possible was perpendicular to the victim. This made sure that one could not even move more than one inch with any body part or in any direction. 

“Now...let’s see what’s going on.” She entered the barrier space only to be greeted by only one figure- a female figure. The Inn attendant from earlier. She remained completely paralyzed under the pressure, staring outwards. Lusha moved freely within the barrier, working her way to her side. There was a look of fear in her eyes. It must’ve been when she realized she had walked into such a trap.

“You…- what is it you’re doing here girl?”

Her eyes trailed to her side, where Lusha was standing. “I-..I just came here to deliver b-breakfast. It comes with the deal-” Lusha put her hands to her face and sighed. “Jeez… Then this didn’t work as intended.”

“B-but...there’s something else..”

“Oh?”

“I-tried to get in when I opened the door… and- and there were people at the window. When I rushed in, I didn't know what had occurred. I just ended up here.”

“Ohh?? So they already came here after-all. I suppose word travels fast huh.” The word of the general's death must have already reached many great ears. When she had picked the girl up from the country of Alzabania, it must have been between missions. Transferring her to her next client. 

Well, first and foremost… I’ll have to deal with certain people I suppose. She snapped her fingers. “Deactivate.” The space and time technique dissipated, and they found themselves right in the middle of the doorway to the room. 

Conveniently, the windows also deactivated at the same time and two men dropped from in between the windows. It seemed they were mid way into entering the room at the same time that the young lady was also entering. Thus, when the technique dropped, they simply dropped onto the floor. 

“Well well.. May I ask what are you two doing here?”

The two men looked completely confused. “You were ensnared within my technique. As if I’d leave someone as important as her simply unattended. Though I’m curious… you guys must have heard of the mission completion fairly quickly huh? That… or the death of Duke Eris must have reached your ears.”

One of the masked men shook his head and reached into his pocket. In one quick motion he launched a dagger at her. It was a fast and quick strike that probably would have caught any low ranked adventurer off guard. However, this wasn’t the case. She was not simply a low level adventurer. The dagger flew straight towards her eye with pinpoint accuracy, only to be caught in between her two fingers.

“Well… so that’s how you’re going to be?”

The men got up to close in the gap between them, only to end up completely and utterly overwhelmed. Before they could move was already behind the duo with the blade to one of their necks. The other one had already been rendered unconscious with a swift hit to the back of the head.

“So… what will you do in this situation… will you talk?”

The abductor simply placed his hand up slowly. “I-... had heard that Katz hasn’t been responsive. So it’s true. He must be dead, isn’t he?”

“There are fates much worse than death, young man. Do you understand?”

“Yes. I’ll tal-”

Before he could finish, the other assassin had already woken up, and swiftly discarded of him. Two small needles entered the side of his neck and pierced all the way through, getting stuck against the wall on the other side.

Blood began to fill his throat and he simply lurched over. There wasn’t even blood on either of the needles or spilling from his neck. It was much too fast- similar to running a blade through your flesh, and seeing no change until moments later.

Lusha clicked her tongue, clearly annoyed by the actions he had taken just now. “You know… I was going to let you both live. After teaching you a lesson of course. But...you’ve really managed to piss me off.”

The man had attempted to move again, but she simply utilized a manipulation magic technique, hardening her fingertips and nails. It only took a simple push to penetrate the man’s skull and disable him completely. He died the instant the nail had entered. 

“Oh well… There's always the first plan. I’ll just ask the group for answers.” She thought back to the people she had imprisoned in her [Safe Haven] technique. Thus, these two were in truth, utterly useless in terms of her endeavors. 

She turned around only to see the attendant completely mortified. She had never seen anything like this to begin with. And the things she had witnessed just now had torn into her being. “Ah…. get it. You’ve never been anywhere close to combat before…. So, I take it you don’t even know what to think of what you’ve seen..”

“My name is Lusha, a diamond rank adventurer of Team Infinite. Under the orders of the adventurer’s guild there are certain individualsI’m supposed to protect from rogue assassin units such as this…- Otherwise they’d kill the girl.”

She took out the scroll that detailed her mission and briefly held it out for the girl. “Please, don’t speak of this instance to anyone, as it does impede on my mission. If anyone were to know you were involved… they’d come to you for information..” Her glare was much more sinister now. “Should that happen, I cannot protect you like now.”

She didn’t even process anything that occurred. She simply stood like a deer caught in the path of impending doom. Lusha waved a hand in front of her face, but she remained frozen. “I swear...it's almost as if you're more inanimate than when you were in the pocket space…”

She calmly grabbed her hand and led her out of the room. “Come here… it’s okay. They’re all gone now, no one will come for you.” In a case like this, people like her tend to act completely irrational and become deviant. Even if it was detrimental to their wellbeing. The best course of option was to comfort her and simply guide her through the process in a calm manner. There were no shortages of people like her that she’d met before.

After calming the girl down, Lusha thought for a second. “If I were to leave for too long, there’s a good chance more figures will come for her. They will not fall for the same trick twice. Of course, more probably refused to enter after not knowing the nature of the technique… whether it only encompassed the entryways or the entire room. If I were to use it again, surely someone would eventually find out during my absence….” It was almost as if she was forgetting something- a huge factor that may help with all of her problems that far.

If she were to use invisibility, it would be efficient due to the creases that one left in their surroundings. One would easily be able to pinpoint that there was something on the bed. She could easily place her in a space and time void, but such techniques were usually of the restrictive and offensive nature. It would do more harm than good to someone as young as her.

“Wait… ah yes. I do believe he owes me a favor. Spatial Magic [Chain-Link]” A wall appeared in front of her. It was more accurately described as a wall of emptiness. There were no hinges, no frames, just simply a perfectly cut square space that led to a different place. She stepped through it and closed the wall.

This was probably the best course of action. Before she sets off to do her first course of action, she needs to secure the safety of her teammate. There was but one person she could think of that could do that effectively.

She sat in front of a huge clearing of trees. There were traces of a fireplace that was long put out, scattered barrels, carts, and caracasses. “Perfect, it’s been awhile since I’ve used that technique. I’m glad it worked out well enough.”

Teleportation techniques were ones that were rarely used in this world. To tear through the bounds of space and appear elsewhere had many dangers to it. This was usually associated with the possibility of appearing somewhere where another thing exists. If one appears in the direct coordinate of another, it could cause immense repercussions to their body, or the constitution of said object.

While she didn’t have any worry about it, that type of death takes quite a while to recover from. It was the kind where you keep recovering in the same state that got you killed in the first place. Only until she was finally moved or slowly fissioned out would she finally recover fully. She did not have that kind of time at the moment. 

“Now where… would-”

She realized it instantly. This forest… it was truly and utterly quiet. There was nothing but silence. She attempted to scour the terrain and search for any aura signatures, but it felt like even the birds and the worms deserted it. 

She cautiously walked through the forest. It was quite possible for enemies to hide their presence. But there was only one thing that is certain. It was impossible for the animals, the birds, and even the insects to be hidden. The Feoria forests stretched for at least a 14 mile radius. Yet, as she expanded her aura around the terrain, there was no movement at all. 

As she walked, she realized the marks of battle stained the entire forest. Claw markings against the trees, deer and animals completely devoured, and…. Many dead goblins. She was beginning to get a bigger picture of what was going on.

The only time she had seen a similar event was around 200 or so years back. There was a creature that rose up in the forests of Barai. She clicked her lips. “Ah… so that’s it.” Of course, the event that she had witnessed long ago was one that she had very little to do with. She merely interfered near the end. 

How many times throughout history has something like this likely happened? How many times has it come close to happening? She thought about it for a second and decided, if she were to continue she would go down the old rabbithole. The unoriginality of time and fate.

“If this is the case…. I need only.”  She clasped her hands together. “Illusion Magic [Life Mimicry]” Her energy soared through the skies and forests. This was unlike simply exerting aura however. In this case, it spread only in forms and clusters completely separate from each other. Thus, there were many gaps that one would not feel, or be suffocated by the pressure. 

Her aura took the forms of several animals. From butterflies, to birds, deer, and even that of goblins. This technique was simply to throw off the opponent and make them believe there are much more than one person in the works. To one who can pick up on energy, they’d simply feel multiple signatures suddenly appear everywhere around them. Should they pry deeper, they could even probably pick up on the shapes of said creatures instantly.

This technique was not that useful in most situations, but in this one… it was quite effective. One would think that in a completely empty forest, the sudden emergence of multiple entities and creatures would raise alarming warnings all around. Should the target be asleep at the time, they’d instantly wake up in alarm and raise their defenses. And with that…

A huge energy signature rose up from the heart of the forests. It seemed that her hypothesis was correct. The forest was not entirely empty. Instead, it was simply claimed. There was only one entity still alive in this forest. 

She flitted over to the signature she was sensing. She was expecting to find Grodd. But at the heart of the forest was someone she did not recognize. The sight left her in confusion. As opposed to Grodds size, the creature was almost 7 feet tall. The body composition had changed entirely form lean and almost childlike, to riddled with muscle and power. 

The creature that stood before donned two giant, poorly made cleavers. It seemed to be smelted together by a plethora of other swords and uneven material. The same went for the armor it wore. Two sharp teeth stuck up from the bottom of its jaws, rising all the way to his cheeks. It was clear this was the cause of all the calamity within the forest. 

Scars and wounds riddled its body, yet it seemed to not be disturbed by them. All in all, Lusha’s initial hypothesis was correct. This was just like the Goblin Lord many years back. She had observed the creature after it rose to power and controlled all of the goblins in the area. It slowly expanded territory and dominated everything in sight. 

Alas, of course, the outcome did not turn out too well, for its actions had disturbed that of Aias, and he single handedly began to wipe out all of the goblins in existence. It was only until Lusha stepped in after the fall of the Lord that Aias retreated back to his seclusion. “It seems history does repeat itself. To think that a goblin lord had been born in this place.” It was not quite yet a goblin lord however. The physique was still much too young. Would it be proper to call it more of a goblin prince?

There was a second where the wind simply blew by and the creature had lowered its energy tremendously. The wind simply blew by his long reddened ponytail. It eventually released all of its defenses and sheathed the blades in some weird large construct. The large thin containers he had hanging off both sides could hardly be called sheaths. 

“...Lusha Viscirillis.”

Lusha’s eyes almost bulged out of her head. She had already long gotten over the surprise of goblins speaking. However, the voice perplexed her. This indeed was Grodd. She had assumed that the Goblin Lord was simply born with the physiology that it had. She can now see that was entirely wrong. Goblins… when born under the right condition, could undergo an entirely different physiological change. This being… it was quite simple. It was a goblin born with a blessing. 

She didn’t quite know what it was yet, but the surprise elicited a grin on her face. “Hah… Grodd. So that really is you…”

Grodd nodded, scratching his head. “Who. Else…” His voice was a little bit deeper, but his speaking was much more proficient. “Come.” The goblin motioned a finger over to her, before turning away, making sure she could follow.

After walking a few minutes, they eventually reached a cave within the forests. It was clearly man made. Or in this case, goblin made. In this cave, were all the creatures of the forest, every one one of them deceased. He proudly showed off the pantry he had made. They were thoroughly dried out to expand their life expectancy. 

“So you’ve made yourself a Grotto…? All of this just to show me that?”

He shook his head. “Nough… this is.. For Lusha.”

“Huh? Say what?”

He tossed her a giant piece of meat. “Eat.” 

It seemed to be boar venison. Yet again, this goblin surprises her. “You mean to tell me… you did all of this- in hopes of paying me back? All I did was share some deer meat.” Lusha took a couple bites from the venison out of respect for the hard work that the goblin had done. Looking deeper into the grotto, there was much more than just animals in the area. She recognized various armors of different materials. 

From the bodies alone, she could spot out various humans, goblins, and even a single elven raced individual. Yet another race that she was surprised was also still around. Unfortunately, most of the diverse races that have gone extinguished, have quite the history with the man known as Aias.

“Look, Grodd.” The goblin’s ears twitched, even though he was very busy preparing more and more food for her. Seems the gratitude he felt for her saving his life during that encounter, was much more than anticipated. “I’m here because I need your help.”

At the mention of help, he turned around and now she had his full attention. He seemed entirely attentive and ready for any request “I need you to look after someone for me. A partner of mine at the moment is in need of great help. I cannot simply place restrictions on her and put her in a pocket as I’d usually have done. After you’ve-”

She realized the Goblin was not listening to anything she was saying. Instead, he had already begun preparing food, into a hide knapsack. Actually, he had been doing so since the moment she had said “I need you to look after someone for me.” Lusha felt embarrassed after the whole waste of words, as if the god or gods were watching her and simply judging everything about her.

“Alrighty… I guess you’re one for explanations. Come with me.” The goblin nodded and packed the knapsack over his shoulder. It seemed he was very much ready to join her in her quest. “Very well, I guess we can consider our debt repaid after this brief mission.”

“Spatial Magic [Chain-Link]” The ability opened back up in the middle of the room of the hotel. Much to his surprise, the young girl was still very much asleep. Grodd pointed at the little creature. 

“You protect. Her” It was strange… Grodd didn’t possess a nack for asking questions. All of his questions were posed in the form of sentences. This was another language barrier or conce[t that did not regularly exist to the Goblins. In their language, all questions are simply asked as demands. The answers to those demands are usually met with a contradictory demand from the other party.

Lusha, understanding at least that much, shook her head. “No. You protect her. You will remain in this room until after tomorrow if you are up to the task. I will be taking care of a different business in the meantime. 

“Under..stood.” Grodd nodded and slumped himself against the wall. His piercing red eyes remained completely trained on the young girl. “Why is she so important… she smells of weak… She smells of me 2 weeks ago...” Grodd breathed out of his nose aggressively. These witches… they were never easy to understand, no matter how much time has passed.

 

 

 

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I'll be posting the next chapter by 12. I'm extremely tired... been writing since 3am x....x I got absorbed into it. But now I cannot stop
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