All of us gathered by the eastern gate leading towards the quest area. As usual, more civilians looked at me like I was some kind of ticking time bomb ready to explode within the vicinity and, my response?
I ignored them, my heavy footsteps audible along the road I and the Hunter party took.
For your information, the guards headed back to the estate since their job was done, not before they passed a general glare in my direction for any future mishaps.
Before we left, however, the Hunter party made a quick equipment check just to be sure that there were no missing items or paraphernalia. Once that was all done and over, we headed out into the wilderness, away from the suffocating place that is the city.
For me, that is…
‘Come to think of it, I haven’t asked the name of the city yet, have I?’ I thought as I stared at the Hunter party in front of me. They took the lead, with Sogtharoch who stayed behind with me to probably keep an eye out for anything I may do that will threaten the lives of his party members.
Which, in my opinion, is a smart thing to do. I’m a new, albeit temporary addition to their team, and trust hasn’t exactly been building with them as far as I know.
‘The only thing that led them to accept this strange quest was because of Sogtharoch, and the pressure from the lord,’ I mused in my head.
Looking at Sogtharoch once more, I notice he isn’t all there in the head. No, that’s probably the wrong thing to connect with him… He’s too friendly for a guy whose friends I almost killed back in the dungeon. There is no reason for him to be friendly, and then there was the quest…
I mean, there is exactly zero merit in teaming up with me to cull the monster number in the forest, except for the fact that they are here to keep a close eye on me. They could just do it without me after all.
‘What was the reason they accepted?’ I continued on that thought line as we paced through the maintained dirt path, the sounds of birds and various other animals and insects heard all around.
“Yo, you there big guy?” Sogtharoch tapped my shoulder and brought me out of my thoughts.
“Yeah, why?” I asked in response, my eyebrows raised in question.
“Just checkin’. You seemed a little off there for a second, see?” he grinned back as we continued. I shook my head, the face of the smiling demon (I now know their races’ official names) entering my mind. “Who knows, you might be plannin’ somethin’ evil in that monster head of yours.”
“… You do know I’m one of the most civil monsters you have seen, right?” I asked with a deadpan.
“Touche, big guy,” he smirked back with a toothy smile.
The silence came back over the two of us, the cacophony of noises coming from his teammates overtaking the quietness of the area.
Every time I look at Sogtharoch, a feeling rises inside me that he isn’t all that he seems. Something like hiding behind a mask, not fully exposing his true nature to even his team members.
It may be false, but that’s what I feel about the air around him since he somehow resembles the part of me hiding my emotions back in my old life.
‘Come to think of it, he says he sympathizes with me…’ I thought back to our meeting back in the Hunter’s Association building. Somehow, all of it came back to Sogtharoch himself. He brought the tense atmosphere back to calm, he nudged his leader who knew they could’ve refused because of bad blood, to accept the quest, and lastly, the dwarf who was all but hate and fury incarnate against me became docile all of a sudden. Grurnuir looked like he was ready to kill me back in the lobby with those hate-filled eyes.
I may be just reading a little too deep into this since I am paranoid about my current situation, but I can’t help but think something is going on here with this team.
“Oi!” a shout and a tap brought me back out of my mind again. I looked at the demon who did so with a frown on his face. “We’re already here and you’ve been out of it for a few minutes. You sure you all right?”
It took me a moment to stabilize my mind at the sudden release of information dumped at me after I scanned my surroundings. It was the flower field, the corpse of the human I killed gone but the bloodstains remained.
“Forgive me, I’ve been lost in my thoughts for quite a while now,” I replied with my naturally stoic face. “It won’t affect my fighting if you’re worried about that aspect of mine.”
“I see,” this time, it was Lennon who voiced out his thoughts. All of us had our gazes stuck on him the moment he did so. “Anyway, now that we’re here, shall we go over the quest details?”
He explained the entirety of the plan. From the information, he got from the Hunter’s Association building, there were approximately 5 monster nests we had to destroy; 2 Goblins, 2 Kobolds, and 1 Orc.
The Goblin nests had approximately 250 and more population within their nests, each. Kobolds have less than that number, and the Orcs have lesser.
From what I gather of this plan of his, for the Goblins, we have to resort to culling their numbers a bit, before going all out and exterminating their nest in an instant. Once the Goblins realize their number unexpectedly dwindle by a significant amount, they would panic, and that was the perfect time to strike. Repeat that with the other Goblin nest.
Kobolds, however, are more difficult than goblins. They live in caves with a lot of tunnels instead of Goblin-made settlements, making it harder to completely exterminate their nest. The plan is to block the cave’s known tunnels heading to an exit, and once that is done, we go in and kill them all, with no mercy. Repeat that with the other Kobold nest.
Lastly, the orcs, and this is harder than the rest. In their system, Orc nests are classified as C-rank threats, and even with cunning and wit, it will still require great strength to do them in. This is where I come in. We’ve already established that I am physically stronger than orcs, so I am to be the tank for when we charge in after we decrease their number for a bit.
With the plans made, we set off for the nearest Goblin nest. We also estimated that it would take more than a week to finish this quest, so it looks like I’ll be away from the dungeon for a while…
I’m not going to set a flag right here, so I emptied my mind and focused on the quest.