After I explained to the team of Hunters who I woke up in the middle of the night, all of them packed up their stuff and handed it to me so I can stuff it inside my inventory.
“Jionni, we need to move,” Lennon grabbed his sword and shield and stared at me with tired, but resolved eyes. “Kobolds differ from Goblins in how they act. They act more unified, and will deal with any threats to their current living situation.”
I nod gravely at the situation. Everybody here was having trouble moving due to how tired they are. Lennon was grasping his sword tight, but sometimes slacken his wrist, Kayla wobbles on the floor, Grurnuir has a hangover, the Elf twins are in the… post-coital aftermath of their actions, and Sogtharoch is blinking his eyes a little too often.
“I’ll take the front,” I readily took the lead to our other camp during our march into another campsite we had in this forest. “Who will take the backside?”
“I will,” Sogtharoch grabs his halberd and brings it to his shoulders. “Just focus on the front big guy, I’ll take the rear.”
“Alright, Grurnuir in the middle,” Lennon glared at the dwarf for a moment. “Next time, don’t get too smashed.”
“A-aye…” the dwarf grasped his head in an attempt to curb the pain.
“Alright, let’s move,” I complied with Lennon’s command and carefully led the team of Hunters towards another camp outside of Kobold territory. I keep a close eye on our surroundings, the darkness hindering my vision.
I equip my armor just to make me seem intimidating so the Kobolds that would otherwise attack us, would instead have second thoughts and back away, giving us time to get away from their territory.
We continue like that for hours; the moon shining above our heads a sign it was still far from dawn. A rustle of leaves grabs our attention, all of us looking in the direction where the sound originates from. Lennon readies his weapon while the others do so as well. Grurnuir still has a hangover, so he is still a liability during a fight.
Lennon taps my body, and I shift my gaze towards him. He glances at the shrubbery, then back at me. Realizing his intention, I crept slowly towards the bushes, keen on keeping silent. The bushes rustle more and it pauses. I stop as well, ready for anything to come at me and scream murder.
It rewards my caution with a Kobold jumping out of the bushes, an ever-present snarl on its face. It wields a dagger, not a serrated dirk like the other Kobold I killed earlier.
“Lennon!” I yell as the Kobold tries to stab me with its dagger. I let it land on my skin, the dagger shattering upon contact, prompting the Kobold to change its snarling expression to that of a shocking one. I waste no time grabbing its arm and snapping it like a twig. It yells in agony, and I shoved its head into a tree trunk, quickly ending its life.
50 EXP gained!
I look back towards the group of Hunters who were busy dealing with their fair share of Kobolds. Lennon and Kayla were dealing with three, the Elf twins dealing with 3 as well, Grurnuir dealing with 2, and Sogtharoch dealing with 4.
‘These Kobolds are smarter too,’ I ran towards the nearest Kobold. It looks towards my direction and freezes in place. Not wasting the chance, I grab its legs and use its body as a club to smack the other Kobold near it.
The sounds of colliding bodies and bones breaking enter my ear canals and I let go of the Kobold I was using as a makeshift bat, causing it to fly into another Kobold who was fighting Grurnuir.
150 EXP gained!
It looks like the Kobold died on impact, a promising development. Looking behind me, I see Lennon and Kayla dealing with the last Kobold that was harassing them. They look towards me and nod, and we charged towards the remaining Kobolds.
“Raggh!!! Come ‘ere all ye bloody mutts!” in his hangover rage, Grurnuir smashes his battle-ax into a Kobold and was bisected in half vertically, its insides spilling into the ground. “Ahh, needed that.”
I ignore his comment and focus on the Kobolds trying to kill the two Elves, who actually needed no help, seeing that they were instead decimating the Kobolds.
I shift my gaze towards Sogtharoch, who was in contrast to the Elves, struggling. It was no wonder though; he was fighting four of them all at the same time without getting any impactful damage on himself. He prompted on holding the Kobolds off and waited for help, which is an excellent decision on his part.
“Sogtharoch, to the right!” I yelled, and he took notice. Without hesitating, he dodges to the right and impales a Kobold in its gut, the sharp-end of the halberd penetrating through its entire body. Its eyes grow lifeless and its movements still.
“You came at the right time, eh big guy?” Sogtharoch slid the body of the dead Kobold hastily with a grin. I smash another Kobold to a pulp as it tried to block into the ground with a snort.
50 EXP gained!
“Naturally,” a sword shattered against my bare skin, and the Kobold that held it looked at me with fear in its eyes. I quickly kill it in response by grabbing its head and crushing it with my mean grip. I drop its corpse to the ground and scan the area, finding only one Kobold remains from the ambush.
50 EXP gained!
The last Kobold didn’t last long, however, as the Elf twins made quick work of the lone Kobold, its corpse dropping to the ground with a thud.
“Status report,” Lennon called out to us as he stabs a Kobold corpse that was lying on the ground in its head.
“No damage,” the Elf twins checked on each other, then nodded, coming into a brief embrace.
“Big headache…” Grurnuir spat as he clutched his head from the throbbing pain of his hangover.
“Bloody clothes, other than that, peachy,” Sogtharoch grimaced at the smell that emanated from his bloody clothes.
“Fine,” I dust off some shards of a blade that found their way into my fur, the pieces of metal glinting under the moonlight as it falls to the grass drenched in blood below.
“… Good, take some rest, we leave in five minutes…” Lennon leaned against a tree trunk with Kayla beside him, while the Elf twins did the same to another trunk; Grurnuir found a clean spot and laid down on it, and Sogtharoch followed Lennon’s and the Elves' example.
Me? I sat on another clear spot where there is no blood. I may not be as tired as they are – even though I was awake all night – but less energy consumed equals higher chances of survival.
We rested in there in silence for a good 5 minutes, and we continued on our way towards the other camp just outside Kobold territory.
We need a better plan if we want to safely exterminate the Kobold nest. They know we’re here, and it seems like they’re smarter and stronger than the Goblins, a major wrench in our plans.
“Hey, big guy,” I shift my gaze towards Sogtharoch who walks beside me. Judging from his grin, he has something planned up, and I don’t like it. “Don’t trust the dwarf.”
His grin changes into a frown before walking off like that conversation never happened. I blink once, then twice, and on the third time, I shake my head.
‘Don’t trust the dwarf? Like I trust any of you…’ I snicker at the thought. There was never any trust to begin with. This is just a job and a way for me to get a backer to prevent some nasty eggs from trying to ruin my life.
Me trying to build relations with these Hunters is just another form of creating a backer, so there would be less chance of the Hunter’s Association sending a kill team for my ass. That said, I still need to give them a reason that I’m not hostile, and partnering with me will benefit them as well.
‘The mines will do, and when I get some other floors, I can ramp up production,’ I imagine a mine full of Gorillas working their asses off to supply me some minerals so we don’t get killed. Granted, there may be a greedy Hunter or two, but I can just repel them with my army of Monkeys.
Sorry, I meant Monke.
Anyway, while I was busy in my thoughts, we arrive at our destination, the sun already peeking up from the horizon.
“… God damn it…” I hear Lennon curse from a few meters away, probably because of the light. No big deal. Now, I’ll have to keep my guard up against Sogtharoch. His friendliness is very suspicious…