Chapter Fifty-three – In which Ark learns that goblins can be compassionate, and that everyone loves swinging.
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There exists a hierarchy among the goblins. Now, I don’t know the exact specifics, but being strong is a quintessential part of it. With the proven slaying of seven Black-claws, who are as I understand it the mortal enemies of the goblin tribe in this territory which is ruled by the Great Protection, my daughter Diana had shot up through the ranks practically overnight. It’s not like it was unexpected. Diana’s that capable. What wasn’t expected at all, was that their Husband and breeding slave by merit of assisting Diana had also acquired credit for the same seven kills on the Black-claws.

What does that mean? It means that I outperformed Prima, Doll, and Jewel combined, even though I didn’t actually land a single killing blow.

Now, Prima wasn’t angry at me, or at Diana for the timely rescue, but up until this moment, she has just about always been the apex of the goblin tribe’s hunters. So, it’s not unreasonable that she had felt a small bit of insecurity with this situation, and it’s also not unreasonable that I ended up on the floor of her cave, stripped of underwear as she had her way with my body, all the while making sure I knew the matter of the Black-claws was all a fluke, and that she wasn’t at all beneath me in terms of hunting.

I never doubted her skill as a hunter to begin with, but if reasserting her sense of rank and authority in the tribe over me was something she needed to do, I was going to let her do exactly that. I’m just a docile househusband, and she’s the breadwinner. I’m not about to try and change a single thing about our roles. But try as she might to extract my seed over and over, she wasn’t going to wind up with a fat belly this time either.

It was pillow talk time afterwards.

“Berry talk Husband?”

“Yeah.”

“Ark… You Husband. Not leave goblin tribe.”

“Prima, if I was going to run, I would have taken the opportunity to escape with Stella when you and Jewel were stuck up in that tree and I had been given my focus stone by the old one.”

“Human woman, Stella…”

I shook my head.

“That you’re willing to accept her here in goblin-home for now is good enough. I think the problem with Stella will be accepting what has happened to her body. That will take time.”

“Prima talk all goblins. Say Husband care all goblins. Stella change goblin, agree not kill. Let Stella join Bloodmaw Goblin Tribe. Agree not let Stella share Husband cave-hole. Vera only goblin. Little stupid next Husband. Learn stone magic, can bring hunt. Let Stella pick cave-hole. Stella hunter, give time learn goblin way.”

I’m not sure if I was being made to be Vera’s eternal babysitter or if she had been promoted to my live-in mistress. I wasn’t complaining. I happened to like Vera’s company, so I didn’t really see it as a problem either way. But Stella was being forced into moving out of the breeding room and into a vacant cave-hole where she would be treated as a goblin hunter, and given time to adjust to her new… situation.

This must have been a difficult decision for them all to make, but it ended with her being accepted by the tribe, and given the circumstance, I don’t think her options were going to be better than the ones presented to her.

I reached up and caressed Prima’s cheek, thanking her for being considerate.

Looking around Prima’s cave-hole, now that the fun stuff was basically over, I could see signs of a part of the wall being chipped away. Prima sure is a prideful goblin, isn’t she?

“Prima, tell me when you want me to make you a cave-hole for your strong ones. I’m sure there is a better use for your time.”

Prima glared at me.

“Prima not need Husband dig wall.”

“I know you can do it by yourself. But you can also rely on me a little if you want. Maybe I can’t make your belly fat on demand as you want, but I can at least make a nice cave-hole for you and the strong ones when they are ready to come. You told Diana a hunter has their own cave-hole, and who do you think she got to make one for her?”

Prima laid down on top of me, balling up her fist and slamming the flat of it down on my chest.

But not too hard. I didn’t feel any real anger coming from her, only… anxiety. I’m starting to think the person who wanted to have my little goblin babies more than anyone else, was my main wife.

“Want strong ones come…!”

I held my goblin wife and rubbed her back softly. I think perhaps only I was allowed to see this momentary weakness of hers. She usually has a strong front up most of the time, but in the privacy of her cave, she’s a woman the same as the rest. She wants a family of her own, not just a sister with a disability born to a different litter from the same mother. I’m also sure the seed I gave her was probably some of my best. All the goblins who gave birth to my daughters so far were considered the weakest among the tribe. I’m sure someone as strong as Prima had little need for a rush job. Our daughter or daughters were probably just enjoying marinating in alpha-goblin juices and would be plenty strong when they were ready to pop.

There was no telling this to an impatient goblin mother-to-be though. I might be a stupid Husband, but I’m not crazy. Instead, I simply enjoyed the emotional moment with Prima. Yes, a nice peaceful life is probably best for me. As interesting a world as this one is, I’m firmly rooted in the idea of family values from the life I lived before this one. I only became an adventurer in the first place due to feeling confined and going nowhere in my second life.

By the time I left Prima’s cave-hole, she had reluctantly agreed to let me help dig out the wall. She made it clear again that she didn’t need my help, but she would allow some suggestions.

She’s completely tsundere. I think I understand why anime protagonists put up with that kind of personality defect. The pussy is so on point, it just outweighs the obvious problems that come with it.

I used my newly acquired privilege that allowed me to go outside unsupervised, stumbling across my three eldest daughters doing more bone-fighting.

Fighting is good, but having fun together is better.

Upon sighting me, the three of them ran over to me and practically bowled me over. Diana squatted on my chest baring her teeth at me, while my two younger hunter-recruits pinned each of my legs down by sitting on them. I had been captured completely.

“Oh no, I’ve been defeated! …or have I?”

I reached out my arms and began to tickle Diana’s sides, at which point she giggled and then tried to swat and pin my right arm down.

“Why Husband come outside?” Diana asked me.

“Just wanted some fresh air. Are you teaching your sisters how to hunt?”

“Orchid and Lilac not ready hunt Black-claws. Make ready first hunt rabbit.”

“Oh, sounds tasty.”

“Husband want eat rabbit when have Black-claw meat?”

“Ah, I wanted to ask you about that. Would it be possible to give one with all the bones, skin, and meat to Ivory, Truffle, and Button?”

“Diana tell Vera. Have five Black-claw. Share one Berry, share one Lily and sisters.”

“I’m very proud of you for doing that. I also slept well in your bed. Thank you for keeping me warm.”

“Diana not only goblin keep Husband warm. Berry too.”

“Is that so? I feel so loved right now.”

While lying on the ground captured by my cuties, Doll made an appearance.

“Husband new exercise?”

“Nope, I’ve been hunted by these three really powerful goblins, as you can see.”

Doll giggled.

“Diana, I have an idea that might be a lot of fun for you and your sisters, would you let me up and help me find something?”

Diana and the girls let me go, and Doll offered a hand, helping me back to my feet. I could see a rag wrapped around her other arm.

“Is that… from the Black-claws?”

“Yes. Black-claw slash arm. Have scar. Berry fix.”

“I see. I’m glad that you weren’t hurt worse than that. Want to help me with making a fun outside game for the strong ones?”

“Not busy. What Husband need?”

“I need some wood, and some rope.”

“How many rope?” Diana asked.

“One second.”

I had the topaz stone with me, so I raised up the dirt frame of a swing set, compacting it while also anchoring it firmly into the ground just to the side of goblin-home’s entrance.

“I need six pieces of rope that will go around the top and hang just above the ground.”

“Lilac, Orchid. Hunt rope for Husband! Make us game when find!” She ordered and the three of them dropped their bones on the ground and dashed inside the cave right behind her. While they were off doing that, Doll asked me what kind of wood I needed.

“I need about three pieces, about this long, flat on one side.” I made a visual measurement for her with my hands.

“Doll get for Husband.”

Doll also went into the cave. Were there storage cave-holes I didn’t know about? I still haven’t explored the entrance fully, so I don't know. A few moments later Doll returned with three cut logs about the size I requested, and I now had three pieces of wood that were far from the flatness I desired. I guess they were pre-cut to be thrown into the fire pit. What to do?

I used the topaz stone to make a stone file from the dirt, and began to file down the wood on the flattest side with it so that it would be a bit smoother and not give any goblin booty a surprise splinter. Aside from that mostly minor inconvenience, the pieces of wood felt sturdy enough to support the weight of even an adult goblin, so I next made a sharp stone spike and began rotating like a drill between my hands to make a hole into the side ends of the wood. It took a while for one wooden seat to be done, and the girls had returned with the rope I needed right on time. I squatted down and had Diana climb up onto my back and stand on my shoulders so she could throw the rope over the top of the swingset and I could begin securing the rope with knots into the wood. One It was level enough to say the job was done, I picked up Diana and put her on the wooden seat, moving behind her to give her a push, telling her to hold on tightly to the ropes.

There is no child in any world who doesn’t enjoy being pushed on a swing.

Doll, who had been looking on the entire time, helped drill holes with the stone spike I made into the second piece of wood. When that piece was done and smoothed afterwards, Orchid went up on my shoulders next to throw the ropes around the top for the second one, and then Lilac for the third. Soon I was busy pushing all three of my eldest daughters on the first proper swing set of the goblin tribe.

As long as it was something basic like this, I could make it without too much difficulty.

Diana was the leader type, but Orchid and Lilac were quite competitive even though they were younger. It didn’t take too long for Orchid to think of standing up, and, well, goblin-see goblin-do.

Toy had exited the cave and quickly ran over to me, nearly getting bowled over by Diana, failing to know about playground safety in the first place. The first rule of the playground is to not stand in front of the path of a swinging goblin.

“GYAHA! Husband! What this!?”

“Oh, Toy! This is something called a swing set.”

“What… do?”

“Exactly what you are seeing. You’re supposed to sit on the wood, not stand, and just… swing back and forth. It’s meant for strong ones… to keep them entertained.”

She cautiously inspected the simple frame and then sat down where she wouldn’t accidentally get in the way again.

“Big-think try make game, but not think what make. Come find Husband, see this…”

“Well, if you’re thinking of a game, why not start with the kinds of games goblins play?”

Strike. How strong ones learn move fast, think fast, hunt better.”

Ah, that hand-slap game or hand-claw game… I saw Berry playing it with Diana quite a few times.

“Maybe think of something along those lines? Maybe a game where you have to grab something quickly while something else moves at a certain speed. It would teach good reaction time as well as coordination between the hands and eyes.”

“Why think even try make, Husband make first, better faster?”

Toy looked depressed.

“I have an idea. How about I make you a proper workshop?”

“What workshop?”

“A place with tools for making things. I’ll show you the things I know and you can decide if it’s worth making them. Also, if you learn how some things are made, you might discover how to make other things from that. Take the games I made earlier that you had fun playing; checkers and chess. They both use the same board, and one set of pieces is different to the other, in this case, a mark on each piece. There is just a small change to the pieces and a small change to the rules on how to play it.”

Toy sat there thinking. While she did I held up the two tools I used.

“Right now, only Vera and I use magic. But with this tool, you can take pieces of wood and flatten them like my stone pieces. With the other you can make a hole or carve a marking into them. With the stone pieces, they can break easily, but with wood, they will last longer. If you need wood, you can trade with Doll. You can even make better arrows for Jewel with these tools, and she might trade food for them, so you don’t have to hunt all the time. As more strong ones become born, we’re going to need more space in the cave, and they will also want things to put in their cave holes. Many will become hunters, and others may want to be makers. Both can help each other.”

“Doll, what think Husband say?”

“Doll want checkers game. Cut wood give Toy make.”

“Wood and big piece meat?”

“Toy also play checkers with me.”

“Deal.”

Toy got up from the dirt and told me to come by her cave-hole soon. She wanted work done on her cave-hole, being interested in the workshop I promised..”

I felt a body suddenly impact and latch onto my back.

It was Diana who had leapt from the swing..

“Husband!”

“What is it, my great huntress?”

“Push us!!!”

I sighed contentedly.

The joys of being a daddy.

One day… one day…

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