The first stop after visiting the breeding room was to Truffle’s room, where I found her and Button fast asleep, while Ivory was sitting in Truffle’s room, quietly carving some pattern into a bone with a sharp knife.
“Husband! Awake now!”
“Yeah, I ended up using a bit too much magic helping out Diana and the others. Has everything been well with those two?”
“Truffle miss Husband. Button same as Truffle.”
“And how are you doing?”
“Waste time make pretty bones.”
“Would you be interested in a trade?”
“I want a bone bracelet. With any kind of bone I can fit the topaz stone into.”
“Easy make. Stone fit eye-hole fish head.”
“Alright, I’ll trust you to make it however you want. As for what to trade… what would you like?”
“Husband kill many Black-claws. Want few bones and skin.”
“Uh… I wasn’t aware they were brought here?”
“Yes. Vera busy, use Husband stone magic. Make big water square cold.”
Did she see the value of cold storage from the ice cube squares I showed her?
“If I have any right to one, I’ll give you the whole thing.”
“Why whole Black-claw?”
“What am I going to do with the frozen body of a dead Black-claw wolf? You’re the one making things with bones and have a plan for what to do with it.”
“Ivory not only goblin want bones. Only know how make things with bones.”
“Ivory, it’s a Husband’s job to provide for his family wherever he can. I can’t do much else around here besides waste big seed, and maybe if you have a whole Black-claw, bones and skin and meat and all, you can make some nice things for Truffle, or Button… or even the strong ones you are carrying.”
Ivory stopped carving the bone she was holding and put it and the knife down.
“Husband… not… want waste big seed Ivory?”
“Why in the world would you think that I wouldn’t?”
“Only time Husband waste big seed Ivory, Truffle push Ivory next Husband.”
“Isn’t it because you’d rather do those kinds of things with Truffle instead of me?”
“Like do thing Truffle. But fun do Husband. Most fun do Husband and Truffle..”
“I… thought you didn’t really care for me, actually. That you thought I was getting between what you have with Truffle, and just wanted my big seed for strong ones...”
“Husband stupid. Truffle head full mushroom, nose full color-spin-think powder. Ivory not care Truffle, only be lazy, sleep, eat mushrooms until not able move. Goblins need eat meat, Truffle only want eat mushroom. Ivory not here, Truffle change mushroom.”
Somehow, in broken gob no less, that made absolutely perfect sense.
“Why Husband think make bones? See Ivory hunt?”
“Come to think of it, I haven’t. Do either you or Truffle hunt animals for meat?”
“Ivory take bones. Make special bones, trade meat. Truffle only hunt mushrooms.”
“See, you are more of a Husband to Truffle than I am.”
“Maybe. Ivory not have seed-stick or big seed give Truffle.”
“Well, I’m happy to supply that whenever you want”
Ivory threw a bone at me.
“Stupid. Want seed-stick! Give me!”
It didn’t take much for Ivory to take what she wanted from me. It was good to clear up this misunderstanding on my part. I wasn’t quite sure how I misunderstood in the first place, but it really was a co-dependent relationship they had.
Ivory shot up to her feet and dragged me into her half of the room, where I was promptly molested by a pent-up goblin who knows exactly what to do with a boner. Two doses of wasted seed later, and wishing I had some more of the red drink Berry gave me when I woke up today, Ivory told me to come back later if I wanted to see them both, since my mushroom-wife and daughter were prone to sleeping whenever and wherever they felt like it. Also, it was too soon for Truffle to take my seed-stick again, but there was someone who might be, and it was someone I had been neglecting.
My next stop after visiting Ivory, was to go find Lily.
When I approached her cave-hole, I found both of my cute little flowers fighting. They weren’t beating each other up… exactly. They were sword-fighting with bones. Bone-fighting? I guess it was goblin hunter training time for both of them.
Happiness was quick to find me. The only two goblins in this whole damn cave that didn’t call me Husband!
“Hello my big strong ones! Are you playing a game?”
“Diana show how hunt!”
“Yeah! We good hunters!”
“Is that so? That’s good to hear. I’m proud of you two.”
“Daddy hunt Black-claws!”
“Yeah, Daddy strong!”
Oh boy. Seems like this has somehow got blown out of proportion.
“Diana say we learn magic, get stronger!”
“Daddy, teach us magic!”
“Yeah! Make big wind go woosh!”
“Make dirt go boom!”
I had promised to do so, though it would be at a later date. Maybe in a day or two. If my daughters have an aptitude for it, there’s no reason not to encourage them to learn. The problem is going to be the acquisition of focus orbs or gemstones of enough quality to channel force magic. I don’t quite think they will end up using magic formulas, since they seem a bit… hyperactive.
“Daddy visit cave-hole give big seed Lily?” Orchid asked me precociously.
“I came to see you two, actually. I wanted to visit earlier, but because I used too much magic, I ended up sleeping for two days.”
“We know. Diana lucky! Get to sleep next daddy whole time!”
“We want sleep next daddy, too!”
Hmm, maybe I should spend the night here, then? It’s not good to be an absentee parent. Things must have been tough for Lily while I was just sleeping my life away. I think perhaps I should make sure that her needs are taken care of as well, if there’s any of that Black-claw meat to spare.
“Can daddy play with you?”
Apparently, there were a couple extra bones to use. All of them leg bones no less, from one of the Black-claws according to my daughters. Lilac had brought me one, and the three of us mock-battled. The two of them liked to gang up on me, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. Teamwork is the dreamwork, after all!
“Why so loud!?”
I heard a yell come from the bedroom and both of my huntresses-in-training hid behind me. Lily came out of the room looking like she’d seen better days.
“Sorry for being too loud. I was getting my butt kicked by these two strong goblins, you see…”
Lily ran straight at me and jumped right into my arms, promptly biting down on my shoulder, licking it immediately after.
I slipped an arm under her butt to support her and petted her head lovingly.
“I missed you too, Lily.”
“Daddy! Make strong ones Lily!”
“Yeah, play outside, make sister!”
My little girls know way too much for their own good.
“Yes, Husband.” Lily said to me when she finally removed her teeth from my shoulder. “We make more strong ones now. And more strong ones after.”
Looks like I’m about to get really lucky.
“Sorry for leaving you alone for so long. I didn’t intend to be asleep for two days.”
“Husband kill many Black-claws. Lily understand. Diana say that Husband give whole Black-claw kill to us. Never eat Black-claw meat before. Lily, Orchid, Lilac only eat and shit for two days. Berry share blue water. Head feel like hit with bone.”
I am really going to have to praise that girl for looking out for her sisters. I also see now without a doubt it’s Diana spreading these rumors that I did anything other than dig out some holes and blast a few wolves away with some wind magic. I guess my daughter has her own perception of her daddy, even if she won’t call me it.
I had taken Lily into the bedroom, and was treated to a goblin who was quite eager to please and be pleased. Such was life in the goblin tribe’s cave. I’d do my best to give my cute little daughter duo a baby sister, but I got the feeling it wasn’t quite time for another to be made. At the very least, Lily would probably be a little more chipper when they came back and got noisy again after being thoroughly plowed.
After mollifying her desire to engage in procreation while sitting on my lap, as she loved to do, Lily said much the same thing as Berry had. Vera had been keeping an eye on Stella while she… goblinized. Lily was also fine with the idea of Stella joining the tribe. There was a bigger concern amongst the goblins about her staying in my room, though! No one seemed to care about Vera being there, though. I guess the tribe mostly accepted that my relationship with Vera was similar to Ivory’s with Truffle.
It worked out for the most part with Vera, but I can only wait to see how it does with Stella.
“Lily know Husband have do many things. Happy be lazy with full belly, eat last of Black-claw later with strong ones. Come cave-hole anytime, even if not waste seed.”
I left her room after a nice cuddle and found myself walking towards the front of the cave. I peeked in Jewel’s room and by chance saw that she was in. She happened to have my quartz focus in hand, and was staring at it.
“I’m a little late, but I came to make you a nice chest to put things in.”
“Husband say give back stone at tree, so take shiny stone when Great Protector tell rest.”
“That’s fine. I only need the topaz you’ve lent me for using land magic.”
“Husband… shiny stone matter when using magic?”
“For weak magicians like me it does. Once you reach the fifth circle, not so much. That stone lets me use all of my magic easier. With the topaz… I’m pretty much limited to land magic. Jewel… what happened with the Black-claws at the stream?”
“Easy kill. Husband send big-wind at Black-claws. Fly into stream. Not move easy, not able jump. Goblins kill fast. Husband and Diana kill seven. Jewel kill three. Prima, Doll, kill two.”
“I didn’t kill a single one.”
“Share kill still kill. Husband Diana hunt kill seven Black-claws.”
Ah, this is why Diana gave one freely to her little sisters. She had six more in reserve, and if what I heard about Vera freezing a few of them in water is true…
“You managed to get all the wolf bodies? Some of them were buried!”
“Diana knew where find all Black-claw kill under tree. Prima and Diana go Great Protector show Black-claws...”
I understood. The Great Protector had been told about what happened with Beast-talker and the Black-claws, probably wanting to see where and how they attacked.
“...Great Protector bring all Black-claw back to goblin-home before go. Also… leave human behind. Tell Prima why. Berry drag Husband Diana cave-hole. Vera… care human alone while Husband sleep.”
Most of the pieces had now been put together.
“Any clue as to why the Black-claws attacked Beast-talker?”
“No. Beast-talker tell goblins once Black-claws live past big rock. No goblin go past big rock, find where Black-claw live. Not know how many Black-claw left. For now, all goblins not hunt near big rock.”
With the last of my questions answered, I got to work on making a nice trunk inside Jewel’s bedroom. It had a false bottom and removable slats of stone for quartering the space inside if she wanted. I made the outside really ornate and even carved a picture of a paw with sharp claws extended on the lid. Only the highest quality goods for Jewel.
I left without getting milked by Jewel, though I probably could have had a good time with her if I wanted. My next stop would be to see Prima, and then figure out what the new normal was going to be around here from the boss of this place…