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After telling Deirdre about my ability and getting some rest that day that we faced that monster-shaped mountain of money, we continued exploring.
Currently, we have been exploring for 2 more weeks and we have about 50% or so of the forest explored.
We are in a goblin burrow, eliminating the little pests, as they are one of the native creatures Lilian asked me to eliminate.
It's not the first burrow we've found, and I'm guessing it won't be the last…
Apparently, the forest is full of them, so the word pest describes the goblins perfectly.
Something that has helped us enormously in combat is that, since we have bought enough night vision potions from Ozy to use them freely in this type of situation, we don't need torches, despite being inside a dark cave.
Suddenly, while we are relaxing after a series of fights, we start to hear some very loud footsteps in the cave.
And, soon after, an armor holding a torch appears before our vision.
Unlike the previous one, this one seems to be made entirely of gray steel and leather. Its helmet has a plume of red cloth coming out of the back of it. And, through the bars that would function as a visor for the helmet, a reddish light seems to come out.
Normally, the strength of the monsters is much greater when they have red eyes.
So, if the first one we faced of this type had whitish energy and this one has red energy inside, that means that this one is a much stronger monster in comparison...
But then why is his armor made of steel and leather?
As we quickly get to our feet and prepare for combat by unsheathing our weapons, I think it's very strange that I haven't seen this enemy with my radar, since I had just checked it a few moments ago.
Puzzled, I activate my radar ability before diving for the enemy to check for more hidden enemies.
As soon as I do so, I see increasingly puzzled that the armor does not come up as an enemy on my radar.
I try to use my identification skill on the monster, but strangely, it doesn't work either.
"Deirdre, there's something weird about this monster. Be careful and let me approach it first," I say in a low, tense voice.
The monster is several meters away, and it seems it didn't see us yet. Since, although it is coming towards us, it hasn't started running and keeps walking with the same resonant gait.
All thanks to night vision potions.
But this is very strange. It is the first time in my life that the identification skill has not shown me at least the name of what I want to identify.
I don't know what this means, but clearly, we are dealing with something special.
I can't let Deirdre get close before I check the enemy's strength.
"It is surely weird, master. It's got a torch after all... Are you sure it's a monster?" asks Deirdre without lowering her voice in the slightest, with a relaxed attitude that irritates me a little.
Since we're in a goblin den, and we can easily deal with the little monsters, Deirdre's confidence has grown out of all proportion.
So even though she remains on guard, I can tell she's not taking the threat in front of us as seriously as it deserves.
But it's not her fault... She doesn't yet know how quickly a companion can lose their life in a moment of carelessness...
"It must be part of a bluff to get us to let our guard down. Believe me when I tell you there's something weird about that thing," I say in a low voice, hurriedly and increasingly tense. "Azur and I are going to prepare some mana bombs. When they hit, Azur and I will attack with everything we've got. You stay back until I can check the enemy's strength."
"No, I'm being serious, master. I think we should try to talk first, it seems to me that you are overreacting," she says. And, ignoring the murderous look I give her while Azur and I try to form 2 mana bombs as fast as we can, she shouts at the armor, "HEY! You, over there. Are you a person? Right?"
"Yes," replies the armor with a deep, masculine voice coming through the slits of his helmet. At the same time, he stops where he is.
Hearing the armored fellow's response, Deirdre looks at me with a look full of smugness.
Annoyed, but glad that she was right, I begin to dissolve the mana bomb while Azur at my side follows my lead.
However, the tension does not leave my posture.
"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" I ask, trying to stamp my voice with as much authority as I can.
"Hunting," he says tersely ignoring my question about his name.
"Hunting? Y... What are you hunting?" asks Deirdre, sheathing her weapons and approaching the stranger with a smile.
Damn, I couldn't stop her before she approached the guy, and now she's already almost in his attack range.
She probably just wants to show me how wrong I was, but that's no reason to put herself at risk like that.
The stranger has a short sword on his belt, and a small shield in one of his arms. Enough to attack Deirdre when she gets a little closer.
And I'm too far away to get to her in time... I can't say anything either, as the stranger may react aggressively.
Shit!!! I have to think of something fast!!!!
But the memory of what happened with Joseph starts to pop up in my mind, blocking my ideas.
"Goblins" tersely replies the stranger again without moving.
"Mmm, I see..." says Deirdre, looking at him with a smile and moving another little closer.
They are less than a meter away... I guess if the stranger wanted to attack her, he would have already done so.
Relaxing a bit, I sheathe my sword and approach, with Azur at my side, towards Deirdre and the stranger.
The guy doesn't seem to be hostile, but I mustn't trust him... I've already lost someone because of that.
We continue to explore with the goblin hunter, and Deirdre and I soon discover that our companion is clearly an expert in the field.
Since he has joined us, we have seen him kill goblins with fire, poison, and even by drowning them...
We have no difficulty in dealing with them.
After all, they are only goblins; but it is evident that the fellow is a specialist, when we see the various methods he has for eliminating them.
What I don't understand is the confidence that Deirdre seems to have in him, despite being a complete stranger...
Hmt, I don't know why she's so interested in him…
I mean, it's not like he's very talkative... He hasn't even told us his name!
Anyway, when we leave the goblin burrow, we'll go our separate ways and we don't have to see this strange guy again.
"I think I hear something... Is it... Is that a drum?" says Deirdre as we walk down a particularly narrow corridor of the cavern the goblins use as a burrow.
Hmm, looks like some have managed to raise the alarm, I think absentmindedly when I hear the drum roll...
"Shit! Let's find a place to set up. If they attack us in this corridor, we won't have room to fight," I say and runoff in the opposite direction to where the drumming sounds are coming from, which seem to be getting closer by the minute.
"That's why you shouldn't use torches when exploring the enemy territory,'' I say looking annoyed at our companion, when we enter a wide room with a single entrance where we can barricade ourselves.
We had cleared the room before, so we can be sure we wouldn't find anything unusual.
"Don't be like that, master. I suppose he'll have his reasons for doing so. Won't you?" says Deirdre, looking at him questioningly.
"Night vision potions can be counterproductive since, if you're up against someone who uses some sort of light magic as a weapon, they could easily dazzle you. Besides, torches are cheaper. I'd rather spend the money on other things that make it easier for me to kill more goblins, like these traps," he says as he crouches down to place some traps at the entrance to the room.
"But now they know we're here!" I say with growing irritation.
He's kind of right about the light thing though... I hadn't thought about how uncomfortable I am until now, looking into the torchlight, because I've always been unconsciously averting my gaze.
But I think it's a minimal risk compared to the danger that can be generated by the torch going out during a risky moment. Plus, it greatly limits movement, since you have to hold it with one hand.
"Whatever, eventually we were going to kill them... It is better that they come willingly to their death," says the adventurer, unsheathing his sword and preparing to receive them.
Those are the longest sentences we've heard from him since he joined our group.
And I don't know if this guy irritates me more when he doesn't talk or when he does talk.
But Deirdre looks at him with admiration... As if everything he says is genius.
In the end, the elite goblin forces were only 5 trolls, 2 ogres, and a large group of hog-goblins.
Nothing that could pose any risk to Deirdre or me.
The stranger had a bit more trouble than we did, but he always managed somehow to win.
In addition, and much to my regret, the goblin-killing specialist's traps were a great help. Since, when they were finally able to enter the room, the enemies arrived considerably weakened.