Chapter 5 – Survival
Abium's breath grew heavy as he cautiously stared at the Hobgoblin. Meanwhile, Hobgoblin gave a mocking grin and sprinted towards his direction at an unimaginable speed. Within a second, it almost arrived near to him.
It then clutched its club tightly and swung it harder towards his head.
Abium was startled by the Hobgoblin’s sudden attack!
Without hesitation, he ducked his head and evaded that attack and then tried to give a fatal attack to the Hobgoblin using an intermediate sword aura. But suddenly, out of nowhere, a normal goblin ran towards his direction while holding a rusty dagger in its hand. As he sensed the danger, he moved his sword towards the dagger in reflex and got slightly distracted. At the same time, he also lost his balance.
"F*ck!" He cursed out loud and quickly stumped his right foot on the ground harder.
The next instant, he made a backflip and landed on the ground while evaded that dagger.
While breathing out a sigh of relief, his face went serious as he slashed his sword towards that goblin's head. The next instant, the sword vertically sliced that normal goblin's neck into two, and a second later, both its body and head fell on the ground while leaving a thudding sound.
But Hobgoblin didn't wait for Abium to regain his balance, and it attacked him. Abium was already aware of its attack, so he used his sword to block Hobgoblin's large club once again. But the impact was so high that it threw him a few feet away from where he stood before. Along with a thud, his body fell.
"Damn!" He cursed out loud while shaking his head to recover from the dizziness and noticed that Hobgoblin had already arrived in front of him while looking at him with its proud face.
Abium knew winning against this monster using his weak body was nearly impossible. He also understood these goblins would enjoy making their opponents struggle and seek pleasure in others' misfortune.
'Hehe, I’m waiting for this good opportunity.'
His lips curled upward as he stared at that monster with cold eyes and patiently waited for the perfect opportunity. Like a snake waited for its prey to loosen its guard, he simply laid on the ground while panting heavily. When that Hobgoblin noticed Abium was still lying on the ground, it stopped moving the wooden club towards his direction and gave a sinister smile. It licked its lips and roared proudly at other goblins.
"GEGEGE!" "Gege." "Gegege."
Hearing Hobgoblin's roar, goblins shouted in joy and shifted their gaze towards Abium's figure, who now was laid on the ground with a pale face.
Soldiers and the other five servants also halted their actions when they noticed Abium was in danger and went pale. Some soldiers like Claude even tried to move towards his direction to shield him, but the remaining elite goblins blocked his path. Due to the sudden distraction, the formation also broke, making everyone lose their hope of survival. All of them understood the grave situation. If that Hobgoblin killed Abium now, then others also would undoubtedly die in the hands of the Hobgoblin later.
Even though they were shocked at this young servant boy's sudden transformation, they still moved to help him. Hobgoblin, too, had already ceased its attack and haughtily stood in front of him.
It was going to show off its might as how it would kill a fierce opponent to its minions!
When it saw Abium's pale face and his battered figure, it already loosened its guard. It stupidly thought already won the fight with a foolish grin on its face.
'I got you now!' Abruptly Abium seized the chance and bounced forth while aiming his sword precisely at the Hobgoblin's chest.
At the same moment, he sent his remaining mana into his sword and smiled brightly. The sword edge began to glow in yellow color, and it resembled more like sunshine!
The next instant, his sword pierced into the heart of the Hobgoblin!
Due to the sudden change, its eyes were filled with fright. It had never predicted to be stabbed here and got panicked!
An angry and panicking growl resounded inside that dense forest while the Hobgoblin began to back away with fearful eyes.
Although it tried to escape, Abium didn't give any chance for it to escape. Abium withdrew his sword from its chest skilfully and then slashed at the Hobgoblin's neck.
The next instant, both of its body and head fell on the ground!
At the last moment, Hobgoblin stared at Abium with a disbelieving expression and took its last breath.
This unexpected turn of the event made soldiers and goblins to halt their fight. Following that, cheers reverberated everywhere!
Meanwhile, those remaining goblins noticed their boss was already dead and quickly dispersed in all directions with panicked faces.
There was only one casualty on their side. It was the unlucky guy who got poured by poisonous arrows at the beginning. As for the others, there were no major wounds, but everyone was exhausted and tired.
Abium was also exhausted and felt a slight pain in his left arm.
'Damn! That powerful impact from that club surprised me!'
"Let's get out here before the wolves come after the blood scent," Claude said with seriousness. Following that, a few soldiers picked up the unlucky soldier's dead body and began to bury him a few hundred meters away from the battlefield.
After a few minutes, everyone gathered their stuff and moved to the nearby area under Claude's guidance with a solemn look on their face. Abium also followed them and soon arrived in an open space, which was only covered with weeds. He was impressed at Claude's earlier decision because he knew the blood would draw the attention of more monsters to the battle area.
As they began to heal their wounds using ointments and natural medicines, everyone heard wolves howling sounds from their behind. Next, one by one shifted their eyes towards Abium with a questionable gaze.
"Abi! When did you become so proficient in sword arts? I also noticed you used sword aura earlier, so could you explain to us what the hell is happening here?" Claude was the first one to speak, and soon, everyone nodded their heads along with him.
Who would believe this young kid was just pulled off such unimaginable feet even that coward Johnathan would not dare to think of?
Abium knew he had to say some excuse; otherwise, they won't trust him in the future. The only thing he could say was he was chosen by some goddess, but that would bring him more trouble in the future. Soon, everyone noticed his troubling expression, and quickly another soldier spoke while shaking his head.
"Claude! Don't scare him. Boy, if you didn't want to talk about that, then we won't ask you anything further." When he heard that reply, Abium let out a sigh of relief and nodded.
"So Uncle Claude, what are you guys planning to do from now on?" Abium asked in return. But soon, he was met with a puzzled expression from everyone. With a wry smile on his face, he let out a deep sigh while shaking his head and asked.
"Are you planning to go back to Roseglen city to inform about this incident, Uncle?"
Hearing his words, Claude began to spoke with a stern face.
"Hm? Isn't that what we must do? Listen, Abi; if something like this happened, we must inform the city garrison about this. I am planning to write a letter directly to our lord Viscount about this incident." Others nodded their heads in unison while hearing Claude's reply.
"Huh?!" Abium became stunned and almost burst into laughter.
'What should I say to these innocent peoples?' While suppressing his laughter, Abium stared at them amusingly and once again asked,
"Uncle Claude, what would Viscount do when he found out that Johnathan and his young son ran away from the battlefield?"
This question made everyone puzzled. Soon, a young soldier, who was around 25 years old, responded with a solemn tone.
"He would get angry and punish both of them for abandoning us." His reply caused others to nod in unison like a horde of sheep.
'How naive!' Abium looked at them with sympathy and sighed deeply.
'If it were in the past, I would also reply with the same mindset.' He began to shake his head and silently turned his gaze towards Claude.
"Viscount would never harm his younger son and may try to hide this incident from the masses." After a short deliberation, Claude said with a grim expression. Hearing his words, Abium smiled and nodded his head in appreciation and then spoke,
"Half right, Uncle! He cared more about his reputation, so what he afraid of most is about those high-rank nobles. If the spies from other household members heard this news, they would use it against him during his next title promotion." Abium stopped for a second and continued.
"Also, Robert will join the magic academy in a few days, so Viscount will use all methods to cover this up. Now, the question is, how can he hide this news from spreading to others?" As Abium finished his words, everyone went silent.
"Lord Viscount would personally give some money to bribe us and tell us to keep our mouth shut." The poor stupid boy Harry said with a foolish grin on his face, which made others burst into laughter.
"Harry, even at this moment, you are still thinking about how to get more money, huh?" Claude massaged his template and shifted his gaze towards Abium.
Claude doesn't know how, but this kid somehow became more matured, and he felt like he was talking to an experienced soldier. Soon, Claude thought of the worst possibility and soon widened his eyes.
"You mean Viscount will try to silence us?" He said with a shocking expression on his face. Finally, everyone soon realized their grave situation, but still, the servant boy Harry couldn't believe what he had heard and shouted with fury in his eyes.
"Abi! How can you say this to the master you are serving? Did you forget what will happen if they got wind of this news?" Abium couldn't remember this stupid guy's name and gave a sharp look. Master? He would never serve under such a person like Viscount Gauvain.
"I am not afraid of him. Do you think I would crawl under his feet if I meet him in the future? Dream on!" He gave that boy a cold glare that made that servant boy to shudder a little. Harry would always make fun of Abium in the last few years, but now he felt afraid to even look into Abium's eyes.
'I think something possessed this kid. Maybe a ghost?' He thought of telling what was in his mind to others but soon shook that idea.
Abium didn't care about what was in that kid's mind. He quickly observed these soldiers and noted they only practiced basic cultivation techniques and didn't seem to have any sword techniques.
These sword techniques were top secrets for the houses or organizations. In the past, due to Oliver's kindness, Abium learned a basic sword technique and rose to walk on the path of warrior using that. But for peoples like Uncle Claude and other soldiers, they won't get chances like Abium and would stay as low-tier warriors for the rest of their life.
After pondered for a second, he made up his mind and said while looking at everyone.
"Listen up, everyone; I have a proposal for all of you."
Everyone gave him a curious look, and finally, after a short pause, Claude spoke.
"Say it, kid."
Hearing Claude's words, Abium began to speak with a bright smile on his face,
"If you are willing to form a soul contract not to reveal any secrets and work for me in the future, I will tell you."
"Abi, do you think you are a Noble? Why would we want to form a soul contract to an orphan like you?" Harry became enraged.
"Shut up, kid." Claude glared at that servant boy and shifted his head to Abium. The soul contract was not a bad thing. During the important agreements, many people would form a soul contract for safety purposes. From the way this kid used swords in the fight, he knew it was an intermediate tier sword technique.
"Is that about sword technique?" He probed with a sharp look on his face. Abium nodded his head and stared back at him without even flinching.
Claude stared at Abium for a few seconds and replied with a nod.
"Okay, I am willing to make a soul contract." Claude's answer surprised everyone.
"Claude! Are you out of your mind? Why are you wasting your time and energy on him? You will die if you accidentally spill any information about him, you know that, right?" Another middle-aged man said with a solemn tone while Abium waited for their answers.
"My friend Edward, You saw that aura around his sword, didn't you?" Claude reply made all those experienced warriors to ponder. Yes! Everyone saw what happened. They saw the battle between a 15-year-old kid and a hybrid monster in front of their eyes!
If they told this news to someone, they knew no one would believe it, but the battle was real. Hobgoblin was not an opponent even Claude and other soldiers could even dream of fighting against. But this kid had killed that monster in front of them using tactics and sword aura.
"Ha! You are right. I don't like to be work under some kid, but I will work under you, Claude." That warrior named Edward said with some annoyance and agreed. Others soon followed him, and even servants agreed to work under him. The only one who stood there with a dumbfounded expression was the other servant boy Harry.
"I would rather go back to Lord Viscount's mansion than serve under an orphan who doesn't know anything about his origin."
A loud slapping sound echoed in the dense forest. Claude slapped him so hard that it caused Harry to fall on the ground. Harry quickly stood up while brushed off those clouds of dust and muttered while wiping those tears from his eyes.
"I will agree. But I will only hear orders from you, Uncle." Abium shook his head at this stubborn kid and let out a sigh of relief. He was now starting to remember about this kid, although he was always annoying. But he was not a bad kid. He knew if he didn't teach them anything, then these soldiers' lives would be very miserable in the future.
When Viscount hears about the ambush, Abium knew he would put a wanted list on their heads to ensure none of them would survive.
And if somehow Viscount learned that all the soldiers and servants were still alive, and then he would even dispatch army soldiers to kill them, using reasons like a spy of another kingdom.
Why was that Viscount Gauvain so cruel towards commoners? No one knew the answer. But these types of arrogant noble characters were seen commonly all over the continent. They simply didn't care about the commoners' lives, but still, they had to maintain a respectful image in front of them.
If a kingdom was going to war, then these nobles' only option to strengthen their army was to seek these commoners. As for the commoners, they would believe whatever the news was spreading inside their lord's domain.
Also, these types of incidents always occurred in many noble houses. Some Nobles would go to any length to eliminate these soldiers. They were afraid bad news like these would harm their reputation among the masses and noble circles.
Abium protected these people from those monsters, so he wouldn't let those selfish nobles kill their lives. He cleared his throat and spoke,
"Now repeat after me."
"In the name of Qrevna, Goddess of Judgment, I hereby promise that I will not reveal any secret about the cultivation techniques."
The soul contract was performing an oath in the name of Qrevna Goddess of Judgment, and if anyone breaks the promise, then the contracted people must bear the consequences. Although there were a few methods available to unbind that contract, Abium knew only mages, and some higher beings could do that.
He also didn't care much about these techniques spreading to others. In the future, he planned to give these techniques to the important peoples so they would survive the chaos era.
‘Hmm, I’m also planning to save a few peoples in this life. They will help me in some ways during the Chaos Era. I must save the naïve prince Huggin. Otherwise, the kingdom will be in more danger. I don’t know what happened in the past, but an incident in the Bare Keep town caused royalty to lose face. Huggin lost one of his arms in the Bare Keep town. Because of that, he lost his life during the Grand Nobles’ gathering when battling against Watson. As for Nicolaus Scott, Helena, Camilla, Kuran, Navarre, and Uncle Alfred, I will find a way and alter their futures.’ He thought.
While he was in deep thoughts, all of them vowed themselves in the name of Qrevna to not reveal anything about him and the techniques. Once the contract was over, there was a slight change in the surroundings. Unknown to everyone, some marks were placed into their very souls.
Once everybody completed the soul contract, Abium began to write down three advanced warrior cultivation techniques and one advanced sword technique.
It took him approximately two hours to flawlessly copy those techniques from his memory. Meanwhile, other soldiers and servants began to discuss what to do next. They now learned that going back to Roseglen city was not an option. All of the soldiers had another worry inside their minds. It was about their family.
"If Viscount found out that we are still alive, could he also kill our family members?" A timid warrior asked with an anxious face.
"Of course, if he found out, then he will kill everyone. From now on, all of your family would be under constant watch." Abium replied while passing a few scrolls towards Claude.
"W-What should we do now? Why can't we go back to the city and escape along with our family members?" The same warrior asked in anxiety.
"Do you think you could win against the garrison members? Can you win against the so-called hero of Roseglen City, Watson? Even If you somehow managed to defeat those garrison members, do you have the strength to face against Viscount?"
The whole group went dead silent. Battling against Viscount Gauvain? It would be like an ant trying to kill an elephant. Abium shook his head at their worrisome and answered.
"For now, all you have to do is simply hide somewhere and slowly improve your strength. When the right time arrives, I will tell you to act accordingly. Also, Uncle Claude, can you please bring Uncle Alfred along with you at that time?"
"You are not coming with us?" Claude asked in confusion. He suddenly felt that this kid had already planned everything.
"I think your strength would be enough to do that job, Uncle. Don't worry. You won't face the Hero vice-captain or the Viscount Gauvain."
"It seems like you already know what would happen, kid," Claude said half-jokingly.
"'Cough!' Haha, it's just a guess, Uncle."
Hearing Abium's excuse, Claude began to shake his head and asked as he thought of that stubborn butler.
"Hmm, so what should I do if your Uncle Alfred didn't agree to accompany us? You know about his stubborn character, right?"
This time almost everyone nodded in unison.
'Yeah, he won't agree to betray that Lawbarth family.' But Abium was not a heartless person to let his only important person die in that city.
"Tie him up and kidnap him from there," Abium said without even blinking as if that was a reasonable thing to do.
"What?! Kid, that-"
"Uncle Claude, I know it is not right, but that is our only option," Abium said with a stubborn tone. Hearing his words, everyone suddenly found this kid's character almost looked like that old man and simply shook their head.
Abium knew what they were thinking and spoke quickly to change the subject while pointing his finger at those scrolls in Claude's hand.
"Okay, now I will give you a simple explanation about these scrolls, so hear my words."
"I copied these three cultivation techniques based on elemental affinities. With these three advanced techniques, and it will help to improve your tier quickly."
"Where did you steal this, kid?"
"Oh god, is this an Advanced warrior technique?"
Everyone began to shout in a crazy state when he mentioned those techniques.
He quickly raised his hand to calm their voices and taught them the basics of these cultivation techniques.
"First is an Iron skin cultivation technique; this is a defense based cultivation technique, and it is more suitable for earth element affinity or metal elemental affinity users.
The next one is the Quickstep cultivation technique; this is a rare agility type technique. It is mostly practiced by wind elemental, Space elemental, and darkness elemental affinity users.
The final one is the Herculian strength cultivation technique, a full attack type, and can be practiced by all affinity users."
Once he finished the explanation of the cultivation technique, he soon took out another scroll and continued.
"Next is the sword technique. If you practice using this sword technique continuously, then everyone will able to reach intermediate level mastery within one year."
Hearing Abium's words, Claude couldn't be able to hide his excitement and laughed out loud.
"Haha, it really is an advanced level technique! Kid, tell me which goddess do you became champion of?" He now really felt some goddess had chosen this kid as her champion.
"Okay, Uncle, I will have to go on a separate way from you all. Please stay in Baron Bernard's territory and strengthened yourselves using these techniques," Abium spoke as if he didn't hear Claude's words and picked up his leather bag, which has a few days of rations stored in it.
"Are you leaving so soon? When will we meet again?" Claude asked in some sad tone. Meanwhile, the smile on others' faces also disappeared and looked at him with concern and worry.
Although they barely knew him, still in the last two hours, they felt somewhat affectionate.
"Don't worry. I will send you a letter when the time arrives. Till then, take care and don't expose your identity, especially you, Harry." He knew that kid would definitely give them trouble and sighed helplessly, and then he spoke.
"Worry about your safety, moron," Harry replied and walked away.
Abium let out another deep sigh and disappeared into the dark woods, leaving those soldiers and servants behind.
"Let's go. We have a long road ahead." Claude said and walked towards the eastern direction while others followed after him.