It was most likely a trap .
That was the thought that kept going through his head .
Although goblins had low intelligence, it was hard to believe they were stupid enough to not post anyone to keep watch at the entrance .
Even mindless beasts, if they lived in packs, would make sure that some of them were guarding the entrance to their nests .
But there were no signs of any goblins keeping watch .
x201C;Lucky that there isn x2019;t anyone on watch . They must have been so scared they forgot to . x201D;
Loren started shutting out Sarfe .
If he didn x2019;t, he knew his mind wouldn x2019;t last until the quest was over .
But still, their conversation managed to reach his ears as static .
x201C;The trail of blood is still here so they must have gone this way . x201D;
x201C;In the end they x2019;re just goblins . They were so hurt they didn x2019;t even think about setting watch . x201D;
x201C;What x2019;s your take on this Loren?
Lapis asked Loren and looked up at him, quite interested in Loren x2019;s opinion . He was about to keep silent but then reconsidered, thinking that maybe talking to her will keep his mind off Sarfe and the others .
x201C;It x2019;s a trap for sure . No guards mean they x2019;re ready to ambush us . x201D;
x201C;Goblins have that kind of knowledge? x201D;
x201C;Not sure . I don x2019;t know much about goblins . But I do know that even monkeys set up watches . I don x2019;t think goblins would do less than monkeys . x201D;
x201C;The difference in intelligence between goblins and monkeys . That x2019;s kind of interesting . x201D;
Lapis put her hand on her chin started speculating with a serious look on her face . Loren looked at her and felt a different kind of disbelief than with Sarfe and the others .
Since she was a follower of the god of knowledge, Loren thought that her way of thinking couldn x2019;t be helped, but still, there was a time and place for that, and right now was definitely not the time and place .
x201C;Are you saying that you think goblins are more intelligent than monkeys? x201D;
x201C;Well, of course they are . x201D;
Although he thought of it as a problem, he diligently answered her because it helped keep his mind off his problems .
x201C;Of course, huh . I don x2019;t think so . Monkeys live in societies, they use tools, and they learn . How different can they be from humans? x201D;
Loren couldn x2019;t find anything to say and continued to chase after Sarfe and the others .
He didn x2019;t have a logical answer like she had just now .
He thought that goblins were smarter than monkeys because he felt that they were . He had no clear evidence .
But if he said that out loud, it would sound like he was saying that there isn x2019;t much of a difference between humans, monkeys, and goblins .
x201C;I guess it just means we shouldn x2019;t underestimate them? x201D;
Not being able to come up with a good argument, he concluded that Lapis may be right, and muttered under his breath .
Lapis heard him and nodded, looking straight at his face .
Meanwhile, Sarfe and the others were pulling further and further ahead .
Since the only source of light was Oxy x2019;s magic, Loren made sure not to lose sight of them .
He couldn x2019;t help but worry that they were being too careless going this fast .
Loren was about to make a point when Sarfe suddenly stopped .
x201C;An ambush? x201D;
x201C;Kind of sucks that they have bows . x201D;
Naron and Oxy started a carefree conversation .
Sarfe, who finally made up his mind, faced them and told them his decision .
x201C;I x2019;ll charge in first and block the arrows . You guys follow me up . x201D;
x201C;You x2019;ve got guts to run face first into an ambush with arrows ready for you . x201D;
Thought Loren, looking at Sarfe with pure amazement .
Even though the enemy were goblins, Loren thought that running into archers in this narrow cave with no space to dodge the arrows was suicide .
x201C;Do you need the magic ? x201D;
Sarfe nodded when Oxy asked him, and she closed her eyes and proceeded to cast the spell .
Loren found nothing to say, seeing that she was using one of her three spell usages on such a thoughtless charge . He felt Lapis tug at his sleeve .
x201C;You seem dissatisfied . x201D;
Not wanting to show his true thoughts, he averted his eyes and answered her, who asked him in a teasing manner .
x201C;Hmm, not sure . x201D;
x201C;If you were in charge, how would you handle this situation? x201D;
Loren wasn x2019;t sure why she wanted to know, but answered her, thinking of it as a change of pace .
x201C;I x2019;d pile raw wood in front of the cave and set in on fire . x201D;
Loren believed that it was the simplest yet most certain mean of attacking enemies within a sealed space such as a cave .
He wasn x2019;t sure how large the cave system was, but the smoke and heat would eventually fill up inside . After that, most creatures inside would be dead soon enough .
x201C;We x2019;d need oil for that . x201D;
It x2019;s not easy to burn raw wood .
To do what Loren was thinking of, they would either need lots of oil or dry wood .
x201C;I don x2019;t have a flint or any oil so I would give up and leave . x201D;
Loren answered Lapis, realizing how sad it was to not have any money to buy supplies .
x201C;I see . x201D;
Lapis looked convinced and didn x2019;t say anything more . Instead, Sarfe called him .
x201C;I x2019;m going to have you come with me . x201D;
x201C;Do I not get any protective spells? x201D;
x201C;You have a big sword, so just use that as a shield . x201D;
Oxy said loudly with a frown on her face and Naron nodded her head, agreeing with what she said .
x201C;Sorry, but we can x2019;t spare another spell for defense . Instead I x2019;ll make sure to cover you . x201D;
x201C;Alright then . Unfortunate for me, though . x201D;
What Loren had in his hand right now was the small sword one of the goblins used .
Trying to deflect arrows with it was going to be very unreliable, and using his great sword as a shield would hinder his movements because of its massive size and weight .
The thought that this wasn x2019;t the first time a helpless leader had given bad orders gave him a little bit of comfort . Loren gripped the sword tightly, and Sarfe took it that he was ready and shouted .
x201C;A trap!? x201D;
x201C;There x2019;s a smart one in there somewhere! x201D;
There was a small dent in the floor that could barely fit a foot, well camouflaged in the rough ground .
It was a simple trap, done by digging a small hole in the ground, but unfortunately Sarfe and Oxy didn x2019;t notice it and got caught on it .
x201C;Sarfe! Get up! x201D;
There was no way the goblins would ignore such a defenseless opponent .
Another barrage of arrows rained down .
Although Naron deflected some of them, the rest got through and lodged into Sarfe x2019;s right shoulder and left thigh, as well as in Naron x2019;s right flank .
x201C;Damn it! How dare you! x201D;
Oxy cursed and got ready to use a spell . Loren ignored her and scanned his eyes through the goblin ranks .
Around ten archers .
Many with small swords and clubs .
In the deepest part he saw one that was a whole size larger, holding a staff made from animal bones, and wearing a golden necklace with a strange light emitting from it .
x201C;Is that the head? x201D;
Based on the way it was dressed and its size, Loren guessed that it was .
Still held by her collar, Lapis muttered
x201C;Is that x2026;a goblin mage? x201D;
x201C;A high rank monster . This is bad . x201D;
For goblins that had a high reproduction rate and expanded quickly, it was possible for a special one to be born .
Or it could x2019;ve been born as a regular goblin, but through experience, change into something different .
Those individuals were called high rank monsters and were known to be a few times more dangerous than normal goblins . Packs led by the high rank often became more dangerous as well .
Goblin mages were rare even among the high ranks, as it meant that a goblin somehow gained magical knowledge, making it one of the most dangerous among them .
Going against them without any preparation meant only disasters were waiting .
Loren decided that they should retreat, but Sarfe and Naron, who were closest to the goblins, were under attack by arrows, and Oxy was already chanting a spell .
x201C;Damn it x2026; x201D;
Although he knew that giving a warning and helping the others was what he should do, he concluded that it was impossible to save all of them . He looked back at the path that they came from, but what he saw left him speechless .
x201C;We got flanked!? x201D;
He thought that it was a straight path to this area, but maybe because of the dim light or maybe because Loren didn x2019;t pay close enough attention, the path they came from was filled with goblins with a few larger ones behind it, all of them rushing towards the area where Loren and the others were in .
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