Chapter 4: Ambush
As the group marched into the woods, Abium suddenly felt an eerie feeling!
It was a feeling of being watched by multiple malicious eyes!
Memories of previous life's goblin incident appeared in front of his eyes. He recalled when goblins encircled the group inside this forest and started to feel something was off about this whole incident.
'Are these goblins monitoring us? I never heard of them making planned night raid like this.' He furrowed his eyebrows.
'Did someone orchestrate this attack?' A thought appeared in his mind, but he quickly denied that thought.
He didn't sense anything out of the ordinary in the past due to his lack of any skills. But now he perceived many eyes watching them from time to time. Goblins!
'Unlike normal ones, these goblins appeared to be well-organized.' He thought.
Goblins were monsters with bright green skin, pointy ears, dull-witted, war-mongering, but were so skilled at ambushing and night raids. Their intellect might be less than humans, but they were always small and grotesque, mischievous, or outright malicious.
Sometimes there appears a hybrid among the goblins called Hobgoblin; its strength could even rival against tier 3 warriors. Hobgoblins were larger, stronger, smarter than normal goblins, and more menacing form of goblins. (Author's note: Hobgoblins also low intelligent monsters; they don't use tactics or skills during the fight.)
They were around 1 meter to 1.5 meters tall, and their skins were more robust than some stones and were difficult to kill.
When the last golden light dimmed, the darkness started to shroud the whole forest. Simultaneously, the escort group managed to found an open space in the woods and started clearing the surrounding vines and plants for camping.
'It's a perfect place for an ambush.' Abium sighed as he glanced at the place, which was shrouded by dense trees.
Once camping began, everyone rushed to do different works. Servants began to make food while soldiers started building tents and lighting campfires. The heat from the campfire seemed sucked into the frigid air before ever reaching their hands.
The soldiers added more wood and poked it with long sticks. It seemed to die a little as if unsure of it, unready to devour the new offerings. It licked at the new logs like a nervous kitten and sent feeble sparks to die in the air.
But after a time, it found its confidence and grew until the heat warmed them, orange flames celebrated with their wild flickering dance. It would have to last through the night. Someone would have to stay up and nurse it through the darkest hours, guard it, feed it.
Abium watched that fire dancing in the air and silently gripped his sword tighter in case anything happens out of the ordinary. In the past, due to some dumb luck, he managed to escape from these goblins. But this time, he might not be a lucky one like in the past.
With Abium's current strength, he could fight against three elite goblins at the same time and kill them without an issue.
But if he were up against a Hobgoblin, he would be in an awkward position because of Hobgoblin's tough skin and large body.
Also, Hobgoblin would outmatch him in agility and strength. Although he had rich experience in fighting and swordsmanship, his chance of winning against Hobgoblin was meager.
'Due to the Wisdom potion, my soul is already enchanted a little. With that, I could keep my mind calm during the battle and easily find the opponent's weakness.' He nodded thoughtfully.
Abium had two advantages against that monster if the fight happens. That was his mastery over the sword and intermediate sword aura.
With a solemn look on his face, Abium sat on the ground near to the servants' tent and quietly watched everyone's movement like a hawk.
Minutes turned hours as Abium noticed that everything went quiet, and most of the soldiers went to sleep except for some guard duty members. He looked up at the evening star, which was hung in the southern sky, and thought it must be around 11 pm.
There was absolute stillness, and no air stirred the grass or leaves. No clouds were drifted in the sea of dark sky above. Millions of stars were blinking and seemed to be waiting for the play to start.
No water dripped or flowed. Not a sound heard either close at hand or in the far off distance.
Even his breath seemed to die as soon as it left his mouth.
It was a weird sort of tranquility, and his senses became heightened.
He felt like the prey, even though there was no predator. It was as if the world encased in a cocoon, a bubble, and there was no way out.
Abium stood up without making any noise and walked inside the tent. He quickly took dry pieces of bread, which would be enough for a few days, including some water inside his leather bag. Then he clutched his iron sword and got ready for any sudden attacks from the goblins as he sat on the ground again.
But suddenly, a shrieking noise was heard from outside. Abium peeked outside while removing the tent cloth and saw tens of poisonous arrows flew from the woods with whooshing sounds and poured on a guard who stood on the watch.
"Argh!" A pitiful cry woke everyone up from their deep sleep!
Immediately, all soldiers and servants walked out from their tents and ran towards the pitiful soldier hurriedly. Soon, everyone's complexion went pale as they saw a lifeless body was laid on the ground. Multiple arrows were already pierced all over his body, and his face was filled with terror!
Instantly, all soldiers unsheathed their swords and glanced at the surrounding woods vigilantly.
Gegege! Gege! Gege!
Within a few seconds, a series of strange creepy noises came from those woods, and soon little green figures with ugly faces ran towards their tents in a group.
"GOBLINS! RUN!" A servant boy cried out in panic. Following his scream, other servants and soldiers started to become anxious. But before the situation could worsen, a middle-aged warrior with gray hair gripped his sword and directly cleaved the upcoming elite goblin in a flash.
He had hooded black eyes, a bulbous nose, and a round face. He wore a black colored shirt with a wolf symbol embroidered on it and black pants. He stood there like a real warrior when facing against ten upcoming goblins.
His action caused others to snap out from the fear. A smile crept on his face as he noticed the changes and then spoke coldly,
"Screaming won't help you, Harry. Pick up a sword and fight." He scolded the boy in a stern tone and welcomed a club attack from another goblin with his sword. At the same time, other experienced soldiers also unsheathed their swords from their scabbards and started to confront the goblins along with the gray-haired warrior.
Meanwhile, Abium blocked the upcoming poisonous arrow with his sword and slashed at the goblin that ran towards him.
But he didn't show his full skills and only went after the low tier goblins. Why would he want to create trouble for himself by exposing his skills before Johnathan making his move?
He waited patiently for Johnathan to come out from his tent! The household members' tents were laid a hundred meters away from their own. Even after this much ruckus, none of those household members seemed to have noticed it.
'Hehe, I’m going to steal these soldiers from the viscount. They and their family members will be the first citizens of my future territory. With these soldiers’ help, it will be much easier for me to win against these goblins. Well, I will do that after Johnathon's departure.' He looked at the household member's tents with cold eyes and nodded his head.
Moreover, he was also waiting for this goblin group leader, Hobgoblin, to reveal its presence.
'I have to put my life on the line during the upcoming fight against that Hobgoblin.'
He knew if somehow he got injured, that Hobgoblin would butcher him. Still, he decided to take a risk.
‘I will just trick the Hobgoblin to lower its guard and kill it swiftly.’ He smirked inwardly.
Within a minute, 100 goblins started to appear from the woods, followed by a tall, muscular Hobgoblin. Its red eyes stared at the humans and then let out a roaring sound.
It licked its tongue and then started dreaming about how to kill these humans.
If it could eat the heart of another 10 of those healthy humans, it would evolve into the next tier. Desire swelled up in that wicked being's heart and watched soldiers panicking screams.
Within a few seconds, Johnathan and some household members also came towards their area with a grim expression. When the soldiers and servants saw Johnathan's arrival, everyone's face brightened!
'Who's Johnathan? He is a third-tier warrior who can kill that Hobgoblin with a simple slash.' They thought proudly. If the soldiers, household members worked together, they would have more than a 70% chance of winning this battle. But the reality was cruel.
"Soldiers, don't panic! Stop the goblins from advancing towards our young master's carriage!" Johnathan didn't take his eyes off from the Hobgoblin and spoke coldly.
Confusion appeared on every soldier's face as they heard his orders. Soon, the next words came from Johnathan made those soldiers' expression to freeze.
"I will go and check if the young master is alright. If you are thinking of escaping from here, you will have gruesome death by my hands. Humph."
Everyone went pale at this cruel order, but all of them gripped their weapon and ready to confront the large group without any refusal.
'Why did Johnathan give us such an order?' A thought arose in everyone's mind.
A few seconds ago, Johnathan walked out of his tent and noticed a huge commotion near servants' tents. He immediately heard the report from one of the household members and became shocked.
A hybrid monster appeared!
That was the name everyone calls these Hobgoblins or goblin kings. He shrugged it off at first because he was not afraid of a single Hybrid, but soon, he was alarmed by the massive numbers of goblins.
'From where did these goblins come from?' He knew it was very abnormal, so without hesitation, he chose to escape. If Johnathan fights against these goblins, there might be able to win. But that might put the young master's life in danger.
'I can't put our young master's life at risk.' He thought to himself.
As he saw the anxious faces of some soldiers, he cleared his throat and said calmly.
"Don't worry. We will come back to your rescue once we check if the young master is alright." His cold eyes swept across all those soldiers who still didn't wake up from the stupor and shifted his gaze to Household members.
Soon, along with the household members, Johnathan disappeared towards the direction where the carriage stood.
Meanwhile, Abium coldly snorts as he looked at the coward Johnathan.
In the past, Abium hated Johnathan for abandoning them. Because of his simple words, these pitiful soldiers were mascaraed by these ugly creatures. But now, Abium saw there was no sympathy in Johnathan's eyes. Instead, his eyes stared at others like some pile of trash.
'Ha! He didn't even consider us as humans!'
Shaking his head, Abium shifted his gaze towards those experienced soldiers who were now overwhelmed by the numbers.
'Tsk, I need to reduce these numbers; otherwise, even half of them won't survive this battle.'
He muttered to himself and sprinted towards the gray-haired warrior who was now giving out orders.
When that grey-haired warrior noticed Abium's arrival, that warrior got anxious and spoke hurriedly.
"Abium, what are you doing here? Get away from here! You are no match against these monsters." Abium got startled a little when he heard the gray-haired warrior's worried tone and soon started to remember who this guy was and replied.
"Don't worry, Uncle Claude. I am way stronger than you think." He gave a mischievous smile and then made a skillful movement using his sword. A second later, his sword directly went like a blur and decapitated the elite goblin, which Claude was struggling against. Like a snake, the sword tip first directly went towards that goblin's neck and sliced it into two!
"H-How?!" Claude was shocked beyond words by Abium's sudden action. He could tell that a single attack had a hint of mystical sword power and became startled deeply.
He somehow felt that this kid now looked more like a veteran soldier like him!
Abium also noticed other experienced soldiers were stared at him with wide-opened eyes and soon understood why they looked at him like some kind of monster.
"Don't get distracted during the battle," Abium didn't have any time to explain, so he said those words and then sprinted towards the other three normal goblins. His sharp blade directly landed on one of that goblin's neck, and it directly decapitated its head like butter. But the sword didn't stop there, and it continued to move towards the other goblin's neck. Within two seconds, Abium killed three of those goblins and returned his gaze towards the soldiers who stood in a frozen state. The first one to wake up from that stupor was Claude.
"Ha! Kid, I felt like I am staring at a different person. Did some Goddess choose you as her champion?" Claude joked.
Although he was shocked, he didn’t lose his calm. Gods’ Champions were not strangers in the Easica world. Some orphan kids or poor kids would rarely gain some gods' mystic powers, and then they would do some miraculous things.
"Soldiers, now it's time to show this kid that we are not some baggage carriers." He shouted and moved towards the incoming goblin group.
"Hell yeah!" Other soldiers also energetically shouted in unison and dashed towards the goblins.
But, the damned servant boy Harry interrupted their excitement and shouted in panic-stricken eyes.
"NO! T-They escaped! There is no carriage over there."
"Harry, what are you blabbering about?" Claude turned around and glared at Harry.
"Sir Johnathan and the household members are gone. But why did they leave me?! I’m Young Master Robert’s servant!" He asked others in a mixture of confusion and panic.
A heartbeat later, panic and fear appeared on everyone's face. Even Claude began to show some hesitation.
"So what? Do you think panicking at this moment would solve the problem? Let's fight; then, we will discuss what to do next!" Abium glanced at those soldiers, and coldly spoke.
Everyone nodded their heads at Abium's comment, and Claude shouted out orders.
The next instant, all those soldiers surrounded those four servants in a triangle shape and protected them.
But Abium didn't enter that formation. Instead, he stealthily crept towards those goblins group that attacking that formation in large numbers.
A transparent basic sword aura emerged around his sword, and he slashed his sword towards nearby two goblins' neck. The sword made a sharp sound as it fell on the nape of both goblins.
Two heads rolled on the ground, and scarlet blood splattered all over his face and further covered his iron sword.
Next, he bounced towards a goblin that looked much stronger than other small goblins and thrust his sword at its heart. It was another elite goblin! When that elite goblin noticed a sword was coming towards its head, it tried to dodge that attack.
But Abium's mastery in sword skill overwhelmed the goblin's last futile attempt, and his sword pierced that elite goblin's heart instantly.
It screamed at the top of its lungs. But Abium didn't even glance at that falling figure and analyzed that goblin's strength with an understanding nod. After that, he silently withdrew his sword and thought the elite goblin's strength must be around a second-tier warrior's strength. If not for the basic sword aura, he knew his sword wouldn't kill this monster. He slashed his sword to remove the scarlet blood stains and once again moved. He ran towards another elite goblin that was now running towards him while carrying a club in its hand.
He smiled coldly and sprinted towards the elite goblin to attack. It got startled by his reckless move and stopped its feet with confusion on its face.
Without hesitation, his sword aura cut the club into two as he arrived near it and then slashed his sword towards the elite goblin's throat.
Another pitiful cry echoed. Abium's sword sliced through the elite goblin's neck without any resistance and directly killed it on the spot. Abium's lips curled upward and once again moved towards the other enemy.
Soon there were only seven elite goblins, and 70 goblins stood on the battlefield.
In just two minutes, Abium had killed a total of five elites and nearly fifteen normal goblins. Even though he reduced their numbers, there was no happiness in his heart.
Because he knew the real enemy was not these goblins whose strength was under tier 1 Warriors but that Hobgoblin.
Goblins only use their numbers to fight. And there would always be a leader who commands these goblins.
During the massive raids, Abium heard about the appearance of Goblin kings and Goblin shamans during major Goblin raids and felt that he was lucky enough to encounter this Hobgoblin.
While he was reducing the numbers, Hobgoblin also noticed Abium's plan. In the beginning, it didn't react. But after he killed so many of its kins, it got anxious and chose to confront him.
Abium also noticed the Hobgoblin's arrival and smiled brightly. At the same time, he glanced at the surroundings and let out a sigh of relief as he saw that only half of the goblins remained on the battlefield.
Although it would be a fierce battle for soldiers, they would be fine if they used some of the war tactics they learned in the military to fight.
'Worry about yourself, Abi. Here it comes.' Abium said to himself and watched the monster cautiously.
An angry growling sound was heard, and soon, a large figure around one and a half meter tall arrived a few feet away from him.
Hobgoblin continued to glare at Abium with its hateful red eyes. Then it bellowed and sped towards him while holding a massive club in its hand.
Abium had a long, thin, curved sword made of iron. He held the iron sword tighter and greeted that Hobgoblin's club. As his sword collides with that club, he felt a strong force crushed his arms. Without any delay, he ducked his head and evaded the club while retracting his sword. Then, he directly lunged at that Hobgoblin's abdomen while lowering his head and stabbed his sword faster.
But this time, a sunshine aura appeared around his sword, which gave a wound on its abdomen. Still, because of its tough skin, his sword wasn't sharp enough to pierce through its skin. Seeing this, Abium frowned. He slowly noticed his attack was giving shallow wounds to the opponent as the battle escalates. He also saw Hobgoblin began to swing its club once again towards his head. Without any other choice, he backed away along with his sword and evaded the club attack. Hobgoblin's eyes went bloodier as it saw this, and it swung its monstrous club madly.
Against those violent attacks, Abium was barely holding up. He only used his sword to defend himself from Hobgoblin's attack.
In a few moments, his breath grew heavier, and he felt exhausted a little. The Hobgoblin believed that he was out of breath and further pushed him harder with its club.
Abium didn't plan to stay closer, so he chose to back away from the Hobgoblin and then stared into its eyes coldly.
The forest was littered with suits, carnage, and bodies. Red, black, and khaki were the new colors of what was once a quiet, lush forest, which has now become the stage of blood and corpses.
With confidence and panic, the soldier's side desperately fights their enemies without knowing which party was stronger.
Some have succumbed due to fatigue and were no longer able to defend themselves, and were too tired to care.
Their only hope was the main fighting between Abium and Hobgoblin.