When I woke up, I found the straw bed was missing a goblin. But that’s to be expected. Prima was upholding her end of the deal, keeping an eye on my three daughters as they went on their first hunt. It’s not Diana I’m truly worried about. I’ve seen her dash into a tight space full of spikes and slit the throat of a huge fuckin’ wolf. I know she can handle it. Orchid and Lilac aren’t proven yet, not that I can say with great enthusiasm that I want those two going out and putting themselves in danger so soon, but I do accept that it is a part of this… Goblin Way.
While prima was out, and my mana felt mostly replenished, I decided to do a little organizing for her. I know my main goblin wife is proud of her status as the tribe’s Guardian, so I wanted to make her room a bit more appealing. Aside from finishing her bedroom, making it similar to Berry’s, I also flattened the wall on the South side of her cave. The purpose for doing so was simple; Prima has a fuck-ton of weapons. I don’t know how she got them, and considering these goblins don’t have a forge, it’s either by taking them from bodies, or having them gifted by the Great Protector. Both seemed quite feasible, but without her telling me, it’s only speculation.
I admit to having a secondary purpose, and that was to see if she had my knife. It was made of Vernir, which was some kind of alloy that got mixed with iron or steel. Vernir was highly sought after and difficult to obtain because it was the only known metal that didn’t lose durability when having the Runes of formulaic magic engraved onto it. Aside from weapons which had a divine blessing, such as a Holy Sword, if someone wanted a magic weapon, say… a spear that could freeze anything that it pierced, it had to be made from Vernir. Well, if it was going to survive more than a few activations of said magic.
My knife had a single enchantment on it, but it was meant to be a practical one. It dispelled everything it came in contact with. Blood, acid, rust, magically strengthened hides of creatures. I had planned ahead, thinking it would be really stupid if somehow when I was adventuring, I might fight a dragon or basilisk or god only knows, and couldn’t bring back proof to the guild because a regular shitty iron knife wasn’t up to the task.
So, making many stone hooks come out from the wall with land magic, I began sorting and hanging up all of the weapons just lying there in the pile. There wasn’t any kind of treasure to be found. No bizarre weapon lost to the ages with a seriously ominous name like The Throngler.
Which was good, because I didn’t want to wind up Throngled.
There was no sign of my knife, sadly. The only thing of mine that was here in Prima’s cave-hole, was my old Guild Card. I had half a thought to update it again, but before I could entertain the other half, Prima had returned.
And she was looking kind of pissed off at me.
“Why Ark not make Prima great weapon?”
“What are you talking about?”
Prima struggled with some words.
“Not know how say! Orchid have Fear-fang, Lilac have Crunch-maul! ”
And here I was worried about The Throngler.
“Ark not see hunt! Redboar drink from stream. Diana sneak behind, stab in shithole, run fast to big tree. Jump and climb tree quick. Lilac and Orchid wait behind bush. Redboar smash head in tree. Lilac jump out from bush, swing Fear-fang and rip back leg off like bite! Orchid jump out from bush, smash leg other side, hear big crunch far away. Then Orchid spin body and smash point end at front leg. Diana jump down on Redboar back and stab head many many times like black-bear.”
Prima’s hand covered and groped her whole face.
“Ark. When eight moons, go with Old One, Jewel, Doll on hunt. Not strong ones anymore. Time kill more than rabbit, fox, small beast. First time hunt Redboar. Prima stab many times with spear, only make mad. Jewel shoot many arrows, only make mad. Doll slash axe at body, only make mad. Old One watch, tell what do. Run away, leap to side, stab, shoot, chop. It take many many time! What Prima see today… Not goblin way.”
“What do you mean it’s not the goblin way? Is there a certain way to hunt? Isn’t the goal to kill things while being as safe as possible?”
“What Ark do big seed make strong ones? Why can strong ones hunt Redboar so soon?”
She… was she frustrated about this!?
“I didn’t do anything with my big seed, Prima. I just gave it to each of you like you wanted me to. As for why they can hunt so well, isn’t that because you showed Diana how? She’s a smart little goblin. She’s been teaching those two how to hunt since the day they were born. She also gave them the leg bones from one of the Black-claws that we all killed. She probably saw what the both of them could do with the weapons and came up with that way of hunting. I did tell her it was fine to use her head to think of the best way to fight while keeping her sisters safe.”
“No. She not know how strong weapons are. Diana spend long time make Orchid and Lilac hit body until learn. After, look at knife same as Prima look at spear. Never see human weapon like one Ark make.”
Prima looked towards the pile of weapons that should have been there. Then she turned her head to glance at the wall that was full of those same weapons, but now organized in a decorative but efficient way.
A second later, I was slugged right in the stomach by a grumpy goblin.
“Why Ark touch my things!?”
I had doubled over and fell to my knees. It hurt quite a bit, but I could still breathe fine. I’d been hit by Prima before, and I didn’t think of it like domestic violence. She’s just a hot tempered goblin. Plus, I did touch her things when she explicitly told me not to.
“I thought… you might…. like it. Show off all… your nice… weapons to any goblin that…. comes to visit. Remind them… that you are their… Guardian.”
She harrumphed. “Not have fat belly, not have great weapon!”
“Prima, I said I’d stay here until it was. That was our deal.” I reminded her.
“Go. Eat. Make more big seed and keep trying until keep deal!”
Come to think of it, she wasn’t carrying around a piece of fire-meat for me.
“Diana say tell Husband come eat in Berry cave-hole.”
“Ah… She did tell me that she’d invite me to a meal. Alright, permission to go eat?”
“Why need permission?”
“Didn’t I say I wouldn’t leave your cave-hole until your belly was fat?”
“Stupid Husband! Prima not want cave-hole smell like stinky fire meat! Go and come back!”
“Alright, I’ll be back soon.”
She shooed me out of her cave-hole, and my destination was to the residence of my sweet Berry and brave huntress, Diana. When I got there, there was a lot of meat jutting out of two of the big pots I made for Berry’s countertop. One was bloody, the other was not.
Berry, Lily, Diana, Lilac, and Orchid were all waiting for me to join them. There were two tusks on the ground, each next to Lily’s daughters.
“Husband! We hunt Redboar!” Diana had proudly exclaimed, handing me a thankfully-not-huge rear leg of partially burnt boar meat.
I would kill for salt and pepper right now. Well, the non-goblin kind of pepper. When I’m done taking care of Prima, I’ll go sample the other Pepper. And Crow. Those two have unfortunately not been shown nearly enough affection by me.
As I sat down and joined my two families, Diana, Orchid, and Lilac all took turns telling me about their hunt, even though I had heard it from Prima already. It’s a father’s duty to listen to his children express themselves. I don’t want to be considered the kind of daddy who would put a smartphone in their hands and let someone else raise my children.
The story went a bit different hearing it from them.
Berry and Lily were weak goblins as far as the goblin way of hunting entailed. But, their weakness was only in physical strength. These goblins had brains and knew how to use them. After all, if they didn’t, they’d starve. The girls had gone out to hunt with their mothers from like the fourth day or so after they were born, and their mothers could move again properly after giving birth to them. During that time, my daughters learned what could be considered a cowardly goblin’s way of hunting. Lily is a master of covering tracks, and Diana had been going on hunts with Prima, so it was easy for Diana to impart her knowledge of hunting to Orchid and Lilac.
Diana chose to hunt at the stream because she recognized the strategic advantage of the bushes we hid behind when we went to rescue Doll from the Black-claws before I used my wind magic to blast them into the stream.
Diana had drawn its attention by stabbing it in the asshole. Yeah. That’ll piss off any wild animal and have them see red. Maximum aggro from the start. I don’t know if Diana is the tank or just the puller. Orchid and Lilac came in from behind on either side of it after the Redboar slammed into the tree Diana leapt onto and climbed. Orchid had slashed at its back leg with the aim of severing it at what was essentially the thigh joint in one stroke as I had taught her. The Redboar, down to three legs and before it could even respond in anger to Orchid’s sneak attack, had become a victim to Lilac, who had smashed the bone-hammer full force into the hind femur on the boar’s other side, breaking the bone and crippling it completely. Diana did her thing, dropping on top of the boar and keeping it in a state of panic while she stabbed it in every orifice she could find to finish it off. Orchid spun her body backwards at this point, and with a pivot, had brought the full momentum her body could muster with swinging the spiked end of her bone-hammer, driving it deep into the Redboar’s front leg.
The miserable thing couldn’t even thrash about in its final moments. They massacred it completely.
Diana then gave me a look that was impossible to misunderstand.
It was simply: Where’s my amazing weapon?
At this point, the three of them understood that as strong as they were, they couldn’t move the large body of the Redboar. Orchid, who had observed what I did carefully to the dirt pillar, and what I explained about the saw part of the bone-saw weapon, had begun to dismantle limbs immediately for them to carry back. It was just their luck that Prima, who was conveniently hunting in a nearby area, had heard the noise the Redboar made crashing into the tree, and came to investigate. So, with a bit of available help from a physically stronger Prima, they had managed to bring it all back, though partially dismembered.
Lily’s daughters then presented me with the trophy of their hunt. The two front tusks of the Redboar.
“Daddy proud? We not get hurt!”
“Yeah! We kill Redboar easy after listen daddy!”
“I’m proud of all of you, but not because you killed it. I’m proud because you worked together well to kill it! I’m very proud of all three of you showing me how great the Bloodmaw Goblin Tribe can be when they work together!”
“Husband…” Diana looked at me, “Why Diana Artemis not get strong weapon?”
I laughed. “You mean the long knife Berry gave you, that killed a huge bear, seven large black-claws, and now a Redboar isn’t strong enough for you?”
Diana actually pouted at me for a moment.
“I suppose I can make something.” I said to appease her. “Do you have an idea of a weapon you would like?”
“I don’t care. I just want a strong weapon too!”
“Alright. Can you let me think about it for a little while? If I’m going to make you something, I want it to fit you.”
Deal? What did we trade that made this a deal? Heh. Like I can say no to my bloodthirsty little murder princess when she asks me for a weapon capable of brutally slaughtering wild game.
That was a joke. I’m not that far gone yet.
“Husband… Need know thing about…”
“Is this about the cave-hole Stella went with you to pick?”
“Prima already told me. If that’s what she wants, I have no say in the matter.”
“Husband not care?”
“If she doesn’t want it, when these girls get older, maybe they can share the room, after I make more strong ones with you and Lily to fill the empty ones they leave behind.”
“Husband want us share cave-hole?” Diana asked.
“That’s up to you. But you’re all free to go take a look at it together. I can make any changes you want, but it’s up to you to decide. There are three separate cave-holes for sleeping upstairs, and plenty of space. You could use it as a base or something.”
“What base mean?”
“Uh, a base is sort of like a big cave-hole where you can talk about hunting. Plan what you will hunt before you hunt it, and talk about how the hunt went after. It can also be a place where you can bring games and play them together.”
“Sound strange. We go look at later.” Diana said and her two sisterly underlings also nodded their agreement.
I have to say, I think I have the weakest appetite here. The rest of my lovely goblins have already put away all the meat they had brought for this little mixed-family after-hunt meal.
“Think smart go look at now?” Lily suggested. “Berry and Lily spend time with Husband make more strong ones right now.”
Diana stood up and both Lilac and Orchid were quick to abandon me to the predation of these two motherly goblins.
“Berry, ever hunt Redboar?” Lily suddenly asked Berry.
Berry shook her head to indicate she hadn't.
“Lily not either. Belly full of tasty Redboar meat, now make it full of more Husband big seed. Think have more strong ones, eat tasty meat for long time.”
Berry was cute until she showed those dangerously sharp teeth of hers as well.
“Yes. We eat good for long time.”
Both of them crawled towards me, and I knew I was the next thing on the menu.
Sorry, Prima… I might take a while before returning to your cave-hole!