“A pack of twenty to the north…”
Tianna’s 《Enemy Search》 found a new pack.
“There are more goblins than usual today.”
Tianna shook her head.
“They’re not goblins, their magic energy is too high…”
“Too high? How high?”
“Hum, three times higher than normal goblins, and one in particular is about five times higher.”
“…That’s not good.”
“Do you know what they are?”
“Yes, they’re probably hobgoblins… And an ogre.”
Nick answered Tianna’s question with a nervous expression.
“In the season when the miasma becomes thicker, a goblin evolves into a hobgoblin, which is the boss of this place. But if no one kills that hobgoblin, it evolves further into an ogre. Intermediate adventures can deal with it, but it’s tough for everyone below that.
“So what should we do Nick? Retreat?”
Nick didn’t answer Sem’s question right away.
“Is there a problem?”
“When an ogre is around, it absorbs other packs into its own, so the common etiquette is for the party that found the ogre to return to the guild right away, so they can put together a group to take it down.
“All the more reason to retreat…”
“But I want to avoid that.”
Nick answered Sem’s question with despair in his voice.
“We don’t have money. Ten or twenty goblin ears aren’t enough to pay for everyone’ lodging.”
The other three let out a foolish voice.
They were all so excited to explore a labyrinth, that they forgot about their financial situations.
“Ogres have huge bodies that are resistant to magic… I think it would be difficult to take it down with my magic alone, but I can hold it back.”
“I see… So it’s up to the vanguard.”
“I can use support magic. I will cast 《 sturdy》 to raise defense and 《 mighty》 to raise physical strength. That’s all I can do really, since I can’t fight the ogre directly…”
Sem mumbled dejectedly, and Nick looked at Karan.
“Karan, have you ever fought an ogre?”
“Not an ogre, but I fought a thing stronger than an ogre more or less by myself.”
Nick never conquered the Jar Of The Hermit Snake.
That labyrinth was incompatible with Nick’s old party, so they gave up on it, or were smart enough to realize their incompatibility with it, depending on how you look at it. The pot snake has higher defense than an ogre, so if she fought it alone, strength should not be an issue.
But there were other problems.
“Karan, we need your attack power… I can’t do it, it has to be you. What do you say?”
“I’ll do it.”
“We’re going to leave the vanguard to you, are you really alright with that??”
Nick, or rather, everyone, noticed it.
Leaving the vanguard to Karan would put her in a position similar to when she was abandoned.
“Still, Karan silently nodded.”
“…Alright, let’s do it.”
It wasn’t much of a strategy.
Sem would strengthen Karan and Nick in the vanguard, Tianna would shoot her 《Icicle dance》 and take down the hobgoblins, and Karan would finish the ogre while Nick kept it in check. That was all.
“…Alright, there they are.”
The four of them used the trees to hide while moving, and eventually found the ogre and the hobgoblins. Unlike goblins, hobgoblins and ogres had red skin. Hobgoblins were a little shorter than human adults, while the ogre was much bigger, about two heads taller. It was using a tree trunk about as wide as a human torso as a make-shift club. Its size was certainly intimidating.
But they were there, and there was no turning back.
“Here it goes… 《Sturdy》, 《Mighty》.”
A dim light came out of Sem’s palms, and it surrounded Karan and Nick.
“Be careful, it only lasts about thirty minutes.”
Nick and Karan nodded, and Tianna started focusing her magic energy.
“Here it goes… Are you ready?”
Tianna looked at Karan, not Nick, but she didn’t answer, she just held her dragon bone sword tightly.
“Are you scared Karan?”
“…! Y-You think I’m scared…!?”
“Well, I am.”
“D-Don’t lie. You fought monsters like that before haven’t you?”
“Yes, I’m not scared of the hobgoblins or the ogre, because I know very well that they’re my enemies.”
“What’s scary is thinking about whether or not you can trust the people with you. Am I wrong?”
Karan loosened her grip a little bit.
“I know you’re not like the ones that betrayed me, but…”
“We’ve only known each other for a few days, it’s only natural. So doubt me Karan.”
“You too Tianna and Sem. You need to see for yourselves if I’m worthy of being your partner.”
“See for ourselves? You know, this really isn’t the place to be talking about this…”
“She’s right Nick.”
Nick paid no heed to Tianna and Sem’s words.
“You can fire whenever you’re ready Tianna.”
“…Geez, don’t blame me if it doesn’t go well! 《Icicle Dance》!!!”
And then, several dozens of icicles shot out from Tianna’s staff, and the Goblin Forest boss fight began.