Book 2, Chapter 32

Reputation(2)

At that time, the broodmother was wiggling its heavy body across the forest. It possessed great strength, knocking down every tree in its path as it left a visible trail through the woods. Once the last tree fell with ado, the goblin camp came into clear view.

The camp took up the entirety of a hill, surrounded by a fence of branches that acted as a crude enclosure. It was littered with many crudely-built huts, and what made it strange was that there was a cave leading underground in it. Most goblins had grown used to living in caves— only the richest and most powerful of them had the luxury of staying in huts.

There were many goblins scurrying in and out of that cave. This wasn’t just a camp with two hundred, it was a full-blown tribe with more than a thousand residents!

The attack began without much hesitation. The countless goblins screamed, brandishing all kinds of weapons as they rushed out of their camp. They went up against nine huge worker drones that were about a metre and a half long, with great offensive abilities alongside paralytic poison and razor-sharp blades. The workers killed a goblin with every movement they made, but alas the goblins won out in numbers. One of the workers was a split-second too slow to react, downed by a couple of goblins in an ambush. After that, ten more rushed over to it and buried it alive. The broodmother could feel its life being drained away in its consciousness.

A low-pitched rumble sounded in the forest, as three ferocious raptors charged towards the goblins. This time, it was a bloodbath. These were attack drones, specialised for combat unlike the workers who were meant to gather food. Their bladed front limbs could effortlessly cut a goblin apart, and coupled with their enhanced strength they could effortlessly dismember a few goblins in a strike. The raptors also possessed another deadly trait— their abnormally large mouths. Their mouths were capable of ripping the strongest goblin into pieces without breaking a sweat.

The raptors had strong bodies, and were also very agile. The most these goblins could do was leave some superficial cuts, not doing much damage at all. Some of their attacks just missed with the sheer speed of the raptors.

With the raptors added into the fray, the goblin tribe suffered many casualties. What made things worse was the silhouette of the broodmother outside their camp. It was the last straw, shattering any confidence they had left, even though they had lost just over two hundred soldiers so far.

The goblins began to disperse in all directions, running into the forest where the sluggish broodmother could not catch up. All it could do was send out orders to the raptors and workers, having them split up and give chase. While goblins were weak at fighting, they were fast little creatures. With the limited number of raptors and worker drones, and having maintained a safe distance from the broodmother, they only suffered a hundred more casualties. This hunt had drawn to a close.

The broodmother continued its journey into the camp, paying no mind to all the food on the floor. It felt a very alluring presence from this goblin camp, an indescribable wave of spiritual power beckoning to it.

The fences guarding the camp may as well have been withered twigs. The broodmother passed over them with ease, making its way to the centre of the camp to stop at a stone which looked like an altar. This two-metre altar was the source of that inexplicable attraction— to the goblins, it would be considered a magnificent structure.

There was a stone statue erected on the altar, a depiction of a fully-armoured gnome carrying a gigantic axe with both its hands. It was carved intricately, seeming very lifelike completely unlike the normal crude and messy sculptures of the goblins. It cut an imposing figure, exuding a faint aura of death. Goblins could not possible produce such an exquisite piece of art, but here it was.

Ancestral worship! This statue was an idol of a goblin ancestor that this tribe worshipped, and also the thing that greatly attracted the broodmother. Nobody would have thought that goblins would practise such a thing.

The cracks and erosion on the statue suggested that it had suffered the wrath of nature for a long time, and was at least a few hundred years old. The goblins had worshipped it for that entire length of time, which was the reason it had manifested god-like powers. And those god-like powers were exactly what called out to the broodmother.

The broodmother propped itself up, opening its large mouth as wide as it could before it swallowed the statue with one big gulp. It didn’t just stop there, however. It instead used the pincers on its mouth to cut the altar apart, the stone crumbling as though it was freshly baked bread. It then lazily picked up the fragments swallowing them as well. Even if it wasn’t as much as with the statue, this altar possessed some faint divine power as well. It would not let anything go to waste.

Even as the broodmother quickly began digesting the statue, a sudden, blazing pain struck its body. This was the result of the divine powers being decomposed and absorbed.

“Broodmother, are you alright?” Richard’s voice came immediately in its consciousness. He had felt its pain, and was voicing his concern.

“I’m fine, Master. I found an altar for ancestral worship at the goblin camp. It was just what I was looking for— a source of extraordinary energy. It can vastly improve my abilities, so I ate the whole altar. I just need some time, digesting such great power is challenging and painful.”

“An altar for ancestral worship? You can absorb divine power?” Richard was extremely surprised.

“Is this power divine? I don’t feel like it is as vast and esoteric as true divine power. I’m completely unable to absorb Miss Flowsand’s powers at all.”

Richard let out a laugh, “Flowsand possesses the power of the Eternal Dragon, and even powerful gods cannot match up to its powers. There may be greater powers in the countless planes, but we know nothing as of now. Anyway, what powers did you gain from the altar?” 

“I haven’t fully absorbed its powers yet. For now, it just gives me more energy capacity,” the broodmother replied. Richard could also feel the energy bar of the broodmother expand in his mind, increasing steadily until it was a little more than a third larger than before. This meant that, if fed adequately, the broodmother could now maintain upto twelve raptors.

He also felt a hazy spot of light deep within the broodmother’s body, but he couldn’t discern what it was.

Once it had consumed the altar, the broodmother started on the rest of its meal. Its energy slowly increased.

……

At a riverside, about ten kilometres away from the barony’s capital, was a scenic little town. This was Sir Kocat’s territory, known for its optimal location and plenty of local specialties. The mackerel from the river was fresh and delicious, a favourite amongst the dinner tables of nobility. With the wealth of his lands, Kocat had even managed to build a small castle.

The exterior was classical, with high walls and narrow windows. The interior, however, was extremely beautiful and extravagant. The rooms were also decorated tastefully, with style and comfort in mind. This was a palace, not meant for battle.

The upper section of the castle also broke off from tradition. A semi-circular balcony was suspended over the top, allowing the owner to admire the scenery in his spare time. This was well in line with the knight’s style. He loved using gold and politics to deal with his enemies, not violence.

However, in the hall he loved the most, Sir Kocat was currently as angry as a lion. He paced back and forth relentlessly, but that did little to quell the rage in his heart. He swung out with his hand, sending an intricate vase flying to the wall where it shattered to pieces. The butler was startled upon hearing the broken vase, starting to tremble in fear without the courage to knock and ask if everything was alright. He tiptoed away, distancing himself from the door so he wouldn’t hear something he wasn’t supposed to.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA