TL Note: New schedule to be posted later. TMPG to be posted later too.
Goblin names for those confused:
Gi Ga (Goblin Rare): The goblin that pissed its pants and became a goblin rare when the proag first started.
Gi Gu (Goblin Rare): The former leader of the parent organization of the village that the protagonist first took control of.
Gi Go (Goblin Rare): The leader of the horde that recently joined them.
CHAPTER 21: THE SCAR OF DEFEAT
[Class] Duke; Horde Chief
[Possessed Skills] <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
[Divine Protection] Goddess of the Underworld, Altesia
[Attributes] Darkness, Death
[Subordinate Beasts] Kobold (Lv9)
[Abnormal Status] <>
The thick scent of the shed blood permeated the air.
I had gone after the main unit, but it was already too late. By the time I had caught up, the hunt had already ended.
"The damages?" I asked, heaving, still out of breath after having sprinted so desperately.
"The beasts under our command have all been killed. From the main unit, three goblins have been killed," replied Gi Go with his head bowed deeply, a hint of apology in his voice.
"I read wrong," I said.
The gray wolf wasn't alone. It could have been a pair; I don't know for sure. Regardless, while I was fighting with one of the gray wolves at the back, another one attacked the goblins from the front.
That's why that gray wolf left me so easily.
Without putting itself in any more danger than necessary, it took what it needed, and left.
"Fuck!" I cussed to myself, gritting my teeth in frustration. Then exhaling, I asked, "Is there anyone injured?"
"Only shallow wounds, nothing serious," replied Gi Go.
"Then let us go. I wish to reach the settlement if even a moment a sooner," I declared.
In the end, the gray wolves never came back, and it became clear that we would eventually reach the settlement safely.
But at the same time, there's no doubting that I had lost.
And the bitter taste of that defeat remained within my chest.
I had lost... To a beast no less... A beast...
Anger seethed, and I gritted my teeth in its fervor.
This humiliation... I will definitely make you pay for this, you mutts!
---Ahh.... The red snake coiled around my right arm is itching...
I've been restless ever since the day I lost to that gray wolf. Even running without rest continuously is unable to exhaust this body. The word, fatigue, had completely vanished from my senses' lexicon. The only sensation left, the incessant itching of this red snake.
Before I knew it, the <> had been raging without my behest.
Like pyre in my brains, scorching its pith, magical energies violently flowed from my body as if it were being wrung out from the very nucleus of this flesh.
"Where are the enemies!?" begged my soul. My eyes ravenously darting as I watched over my horde.
"Enemy! Enemy! Enemy! Enemy! Give me an enemy!!" beckoned my soul.
"Something to kill! Something to cut! A foe! A threat! An enemy!!!" cried every fiber of my being. "Is there no one? Is there nothing!? Where are you!?"
Those craving, almost wishing thoughts stormed a gale at the back of my mind, driving me into lunacy when the village entered my eyes.
"To the village!" I shouted, ordering the horde to enter.
Then I rushed back to the rear end of the horde's line.
Come after me, you mutts!
I'll kill every single one of you bastards!!
That restless howl left from the pits of my stomach, echoing out loud as I glared viciously towards the path we had come from. Then from my back, a voice entered my ears, "King" it said. It was the old goblin.
A king? King... Right! I'm a king! A king! Me! Me! Me!!! A king!
I am a king!
By forcefully invocating the [Skill] <>, you are able to resist against the urges attacking you.
I want to swing my arm. I want to release this never ending gush of magical energy!
Destroy everything you see! Crush them! Break them! Kill them! Kill every single one of them! KILL! KILL! KILL--
At that bellowing roar gushing forth from the inner pits of my stomach, I struck Iron Second into the earth.
"Silence!" I commanded within my mind.
Gritting my teeth, I focused all of my strength, and activated the [Skill] <>. Then the old goblin spoke again, "King?" it asked.
"... Are you done evacuating?" I asked back, at the same time wondering whether my voice was shaking or not.
"Yes, without any problems," replied the old goblin.
"I see... I want to be alone for a moment. Don't let anyone near me."
The old goblin left, while I remained. I didn't move one bit from that spot until I had managed to calm down the <>.
Gi Go's horde of goblins that were injured were able to reach the settlement safely.
This settlement still has plenty of room left, but thinking that if I don't do something I'll end up remembering that loss again, I decided to go mark the boundaries between the different areas in the settlement.
At the center is an open space where the goblins are to have their meals. Some stones have been piled up in the center of that open space, serving as a fire place. Then north of that open space is the dwelling place of the prisoners. Then east of that is the king's, my house.
I then decided to let the goblins that have evolved into goblin rares live near me. While the other goblins are to be situated around the open square, following the fence.
I decided on this arrangement in order to make it easy to distinguish who is close to the king and who is not, as well as to make giving out orders quick and easy.
As for the non-combatant goblins, I gave them the area west of the goblin rares' dwelling.
The horde of goblins that Gi Go was leading, even after being reduced by the gray wolves, raised our numbers by 45.
Although that's for both combatants and non-combatants, having that many goblins added to our number would still definitely cause friction.
So in order to avoid that, I arranged them in this way.
After that a day passed since returning to the village.
There are now 92 goblins in total, but the goblins are too weak. I handed the thin ones over to Gi Gu, while I thought up of a countermeasure for the gray wolves.
We are, after all, only a day's distance away from a number of powerful beasts.
While they won't be able to destroy the village in one raid, they could certainly prove to be a hindrance in our hunts.
But really it's just that I can't stay put unless I do something.
For the meantime, I ordered my subordinates to spread their hunting grounds towards the west and the east.
From what I know there're at least two gray wolves. I need to think something up quick.
I walked while thinking, and before I knew it, I found myself in front of the shed where Reshia was being kept captive.
"Uu~u," cooed someone... or something.
Hmm? That voice sounds familiar.
Knitting my eyebrows, I looked for the source of that voice. And when I found it, I saw the kobold from before being fed by Reshia.
Suddenly, the kobold turned around, and then it wagged its fluttery tail vigorously.
Reshia threw it a bone, and the kobold chewed on that as if it were in heaven.
With it looking completely intoxicated like that, it's really no different from a dog.
The shed Reshia's using was originally meant for domestic animals, so it's easy to see what's going on from outside.
It's not even locked. Really, the only thing that's guaranteeing their safety is my word.
While thinking that, I noticed the kobold staring at me as it wagged its tail.
In the next instant, it ran towards me, and played at my feet.
But despite that, it didn't let go of its bone once. What a glutton.
[Skill] <> has activated. Oops, I guess stared too much.
[Possessed Skills] <> <> <>
[Divine Protection] None
[Master] Enslaved to a Goblin Duke
Am I supposed to laugh that all it can do is literally eat?
Looking at this guy is kind of exhausting. All that anger is slowly seeping away, sigh.
As I breathed out a deep sigh, a voice called out from inside the shed.
"Are you back?"
"Yeah, although we didn't come back unscathed."
Having calmed down to some degree, I entered the prisoners' shed.
"A bit cranky today, aren't you?" I asked.
To which the goblin in front of me responded with a smile as if deriding itself.
"I lost some of my subordinates... Even though I dared call myself king; it's unsightly."
In other words, you're depressed? Even though you're a monster?
Ever since I was acknowledged by the Goddess of Healing, Zenobia, and received her divine protection, I've been given a number of special privileges. The best education, exemption from taxes in different countries, preferential treatment should I enter a guild, and more.
One of the things I've been taught is the ability to see through lies. No matter who it is or what it is, as long as they possess intelligence, what they're thinking will definitely show in their eyes. This is knowledge I received from humanity's highest institute of education, the Ivory Tower!
And just as I've been taught, I gazed into the goblin's eyes, but... it's not wavering.
It's common sense in human society that monsters are nothing but brutal, egoistical, creatures. Feelings of camaraderie don't exist. They are slaves to their lusts, and would attack all humans as their instincts would dictate. And yet... what is this goblin!?
Ever since I've been caught by this goblin, this goblin's done nothing but topple all of my common sense, shocking me time and time again.
That time when the orcs attacked too. Even though it's obvious that goblins are far weaker than orcs, and yet... and yet it still purposely went to oppose them.
On top of that, it actually asked for its comrades to be healed first before it. For it to have that kind of nobility.
His visage when he proclaimed himself a king...
If only... If only he were human, then he would surely be remembered as a wise king for generations to come, forever preserved within the annals of history.
There's no doubting it. Feudal lords frantically scrambling amongst themselves for land while they ignore the people. The royal families that would ensnare even their own kin to protect their own position. The officials that know only to feather their own nest. The commoners who would betray even their closest friends for a little gold. And that unsightly mess of a church for what should be a guide to god!
Why? Why won't people be a little kinder?
I hated the capital's atmosphere, that's why I had hoped to work at a church somewhere near the borders.
For a moment, I held on to the hope that as long as the atmosphere's different, then even the people would act differently. As a follower of Zenobia, I would save those who have been abducted, but instead I was driven into the Forest of Darkness... And now, for some reason, there is a goblin in front of me who is calling itself the king of goblins.
The change in the environment was a bit much, so I was pessimistic at first. But lately I've started to get used to it.
On top of that, the goblin in front of me doesn't act like a goblin at all. A goblin's a goblin, but for some reason, this one stinks of being human... I can feel it, in its behavior, in its words... I can feel traces of complex emotions.
Even though I was taught that goblins are simple. Even though my experiences proved that to be true. Even though goblins were supposed to be monsters that could do nothing else but live their lives, slaves to their desires as filthy, gluttonous beasts.
These goblins took that common sense, and turned it upside down.
And in the short time I've stayed here... I couldn't help but find them to be more human than humans.
Yet despite that... I am human. If they were to fight against the humans, I wouldn't be able to stand with them.
So please, I prayed. Don't fight with the humans.
I am dreaming.
I know this because I know it to be so.
A dream wherein a sword-wielding maiden is facing against a monster.
The monster is towering; they are not equals. But the brave woman minded that not, and she opposed the crafty beast with her sword in hand.
The maiden had with her neither the craftiness to outwit, nor the strength to stall. The one thing she possessed was her courage.
Her brandished sword was proof of that, though her breath found itself tottering.
Aah, I thought. She's going to lose.
The ferocious, mighty beast pitted against a frail maiden; who would believe otherwise?
Yet the woman showed no signs of retreat, her steps, not faltering even once.
The maiden walked. And a howl that could swallow both heaven and earth erupted, yet she faltered not.
The earth split, she dodged the threat. Slipping through the monster's attack, she opposed the monster with only a sword in hand.
...And then she reached it.
The bosom of the monster wielding a flaming great sword.
In the instant that the flaming great sword fell, the monster's face met with mine.
It was me.
The monster stopped in its tracks.
And the maiden's sword pierced into my chest.
The flaming sword fell from my hands, and it pierced itself onto the maiden.
Then a voice spoke.
"This is destiny," it said. "Your destiny, that is."
Clicking my tongue, I woke up, jumping from my bed, drenched in cold sweat.
In the darkness of the night, the moon and the stars were brightly shining.
To think I'd actually have an extraordinary nightmare, enough to make me jump awake, shown to me.
Speaking of which... Whose voice was that?
"Ha ha ha..."
Interesting. So you're telling me I'm going to be killed, huh destiny?
As the two red moons shone brilliantly in the night sky, I stood up, letting the evening wind pass through me.
The wind passing through the forest from the lake was a delight to my sweat-drenched body. As I walked, with no direction in particular, I found myself unusually cautious of the rustling trees. I've probably just become too timid, I thought. But paying it no more mind, I continued to walk.
Before I knew it, I was once more, in front of Reshia's prison.
She's probably sleeping, I thought. I'll know though, since I can see even in the dead of the night with this pair of eyes. I suppose it can be quite convenient.
But as I went closer, what reflected on my eyes was Reshia, praying.
Praying towards the two crimson moons.
"Are you going to curse me now?" I jokingly asked.
Her eyes opened slightly, but the expression on her face immediately made me gasp.
"Bastard... who are you!?" I asked.
A resolved face. If it was only that, then it wouldn't matter. No, it wouldn't really be a good thing, but regardless, right now, I can't feel even the slightest hint of life from Reshia's expression.
Normally, her face would at least show some displeasure or anger or perhaps sorrow, but right now, there's nothing. A completely blank expression.
"Not the sharpest knife, I take it," replied Reshia, or at least that should've had been Reshia's voice, but for some reason, something was different. But exactly what was different I wasn't sure.
Her amethyst-colored eyes shot at me.
A mere gaze, nothing more, yet my body felt as if it had turned into ice.
My body is heavy, and my limbs wouldn't move.
This... this sensation is!?
Activating the [Skill] <>, I went against that pressure at full power.
But then in the middle of that, a cursed scream suddenly echoed at the back of my mind.
"Zenobiaaaaa!!" screamed the voice.
Altesia, the goddess of the underworld's scream, eroded whatever control over my body that I had.
"I implore thee, to that which must be, and to that which must not, bring unto him, peace."
The words Reshia recited kept the goddess of the underworld away.
Heaving, I fell to my knees.
Ignoring the sweat that has gathered on my forehead, Reshia seems to be -- No, we've gone this far, there's no other way but to accept it. The person before me right now is no other than the goddess of healing, Zenobia.
"You seem to be suffering," said the goddess.
"Thanks to you," I replied, putting on as much of a tough act as I could, but unfortunately, my body wouldn't move.
"Why do you rebel so much against destiny?" she asked.
"Let me throw that question back to you, why do you accept destiny?" I asked back.
I thought I heard her sigh, but as expected, I couldn't tell what she was thinking behind her voice.
"My elder sister revolted against her destiny to rebel. And again, just now, she opposed me as soon as she saw me... Don't you think it's foolish?" said the goddess.
"Then how about leaving us alone!? Me, and even Reshia!" I answered.
"...The source of your power, the will to rebel (insurgent will), is not infinite. In fact, it is already reaching its limits."
As the goddess said that, Reshia's glowing fingers touched my forehead.
And I felt heat move from my forehead to my chest.
"You won't be able to break free from the saint's charm," declared the goddess.
You wish to trample on my heart again!?
Who would have thought that being too busy to check my status would actually bite me back like this!?
The charm of the goddess I had neglected released a great power that pressed hard against me.
"Ku... Gu..." I groaned.
I tried to stand up, but I failed, and I fell to my back instead.
As if to obstruct the moon up in the sky, Zenobia who's been hiding Reshia's feelings, looked at me.
"It's not really my place to say this, but please take care of this child," said the goddess as she neared me, bringing herself over my chest.
"How much longer do you wish to toy with people's feelings!?" I yelled.
Reshia's glowing finger headed towards me once again. When her finger pierced into my chest, I felt something change within me.
"A gift from me. This should release the curse from... si-ster..." said the goddess as her voice slowly faded.
Reshia tottered a bit, then finally losing all strength, she fell on my chest.
"But you should take care. The more you use magic, the closer you will be to sister," whispered the goddess through Reshia, as she twisted about on top of me. "My sister is also known as the goddess of rebellion. The goddess who rebelled against my father, the goddess of revenge and rebellion. That's why... please... protect this... my beloved... daughter..."
After that, the only thing I could hear was Reshia breathing as she slept.
...Not long after, I noticed that my arms could move again, and the voice of the goddess of the underworld no longer echoed.
I stretched my hands toward the twin crimson moons.
You said that it was foolish of me to rebel against destiny.
And you also told me to protect Reshia.
But the destiny I saw... aren't you aware of it? The face of the sword-wielding maiden?
That maiden; she was crying. Reshia was crying.
If you're telling me to protect that.
Then just as I've thought, I don't have a choice but to rebel against you and your brethren.
I won't die, and I won't kill Reshia. If that is a revolt against the gods, if that is a rebellion against destiny, then so be it.
I shall gladly become a rebel.
The effect of the [Skill] <> has increased.
Because of the divine protection of the goddess of healing, Zenobia, the mental attacks of the goddess of the underworld, Altesia, will be suppressed.
Think the protagonist's mental irregularity is at its peak yet?
TL Note: In the kill kill kill part near the start of the chapter, the protagonist actually started turning into how the goblins speak in this novel.
The goblins, you see, normally speak in katakana with some hiragana here and there and some broken sentences, so since the protag started talking in katakana near the end of his intoxication, it kind of showed how he was actually devolving into a monster for real. Just something I thought some of you guys would be interested in knowing.
P.S. I really wanted to translate Reshia's glowing finger as shining finger xD.