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 TL Note: Sorry mistranslation in CH. 22.

Old line: Enough about the old goblin leading the way, even I don't want to expose it to too much danger.

Should be: Enough about making the hesitating old goblin lead the way, even I want to ensure that we get there safely.

But to fit the sentence I put it in as: The hesitant, old goblin can just lead us. Getting there safely is important after all.

New Schedule: Three chapters for either series. Chapters will be posted alternately. GK this day, then TMPG next, etc...

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DUEL I

[Race] Goblin

[Level] 22

[Class] Duke; Horde Chiefs

[Possessed Skills] <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

[Divine Protection] Goddess of the Underworld (Altesia)

[Attributes] Darkness; Death

[Subordinate Beasts] Kobold (Lv9)

[Abnormal Status] <>

Our expedition to the north proceeded smoothly.

After a day and a half, we continued to move north of the lake, hunting beasts at our leisure as we progressed. During this time, we didn't encounter any strong beasts.

But along the way, I realized that I hadn't taken Reshia's pace into account.

Even with a guide, walking these parts of the forest is quite tough for a human, so her pace was quite slow.

If we were to continue like this, we would end up taking too much time, so I picked Reshia up, and carried her instead.

Immediately she complained, but I ignored her and sped up the army's pace.

"We'll march till noon," I declared.

The crying wind breezed throughout the desolate lands, singing a hymn for all to hear.

These winds might have been hailed by the power of magic, I thought. It could be here to show that the druids rule these lands, but even so, we marched on.

From here on, we need to exercise great caution.

Under the guidance of the old goblin, I threw Reshia away, and led the horde to proceed cautiously.

"So this is where the druids live?" I asked to the old goblin.

"Yes. Ahead is the area where the giant tree absorbing this land's nutrients is... The Great Heaven-Piercing Tree, the home of the druids."

According to the old goblin, the druids dug a cave at the roots of that giant tree, and they created their base there.

"So that's where they are," I muttered.

From a distance stood a great tree that reached the heavens, towering over everything around it. As we gradually neared it, the tree and its surroundings grew fuller. A green lush could be seen spread around the tree, while the roots sprouting up were hugging the nearby rocks. The new trees of the giant tree were being cultivated in that land. It was as if it was trying to create a new forest with nothing but its own kind as it caused an invasion of foliage that extended 30 meters around it.

And then out of that tiny forest within this giant forest came out a goblin.

It looked over to where we were, then it panicked, and it quickly came back in and called for its friends.

"Good. It did our job for us," I remarked.

Then in order to make them surrender, I ordered the army to be deployed. After all, there's no quicker way than scaring your foe.

Gi Go's army of 10 marched to the right, Gi Gi's army of beasts marched to the left, Gi Ga's army of 10 took the rear of the tree, while I took the front. Like this we surrounded the giant tree of this small forest.

I stood there quietly, waiting. Wondering to myself how the opposing goblins will come out, when the old goblin suddenly came over.

"O king, please here my request," he said.

"What?" I curtly replied, my eyes remaining fixed on the giant tree.

"Please let me be the one to demand their surrender."

"What?"

The old goblin assertively bowed his head toward me. A complete change from that old goblin that fervently contested going here.

"Why?" I asked.

"It's difficult to say, but the leader of druids is most likely my son," replied the old goblin, a hint of hesitation in his voice."

"You would demand their surrender? Even though it's your own blood and kin?"

I've never heard of a goblin having emotion as a father.

How could goblins have any emotion of fatherhood when they make their children hunt as soon as they are born? Such a thing shouldn't be possible.

For humans, they develop such emotions since they need to protect their own children after birth. But for goblins who need to hunt immediately even as a newborn, such emotions shouldn't exist. So why?

"...It can't be helped. Someone needs to go," replied the old goblin.

The old goblin did not falter from my displeased voice, instead it tenaciously faced me.

Something tugged at me. Something that caused me to find displeasure in the old goblin's proposal. But what that something was, I didn't know. So I only stared at it coldly as I gave my approval.

"Fine," I said.

I watched the old goblin's lonely back as I saw him off into the large tree by himself.

---Wrong! What is it that's troubling me!?

It was as if there was a black mist within my head, suppressing my thoughts.

Is it you? Altesia!?

[Skill] <> activated.

"You don't think the goblin will betray you? How cute," said a voice inside my head.

Shaking my head, I shrugged that voice off, and looked towards the departing old goblin.

"Follow your heart's lead!" I yelled, sweeping away Altesia's interference.

Then the old goblin bowed toward me, and it entered the giant tree alone.

◇◆◆

After a while, the old goblin came out with another goblin beside him.

"Oh? There's quite a bit, aren't there?" said the enemy goblin as it smiled defiantly.

But I know very well that contrary to that smiling façade of his, the goblin carries with him great confidence. With a robe wrapped around him, and a staff in one hand, he exuded great pressure. And this goblin... rather than a goblin, he's appearance is much closer to that of a human's.

With his red skin, he's most likely a goblin rare.

But this atmosphere that I can feel on my skin...

This goblin is strong; my body is telling me that.

"Are you the chief?" I asked.

The goblin that stood before me, his bold appearance made it clear that he would not bow his head.

But that's that.

I'll still advise him all the same.

"That's right. I am the chief of the druids," replied the goblin.

There's a distance of 20 steps between us. It's too bad, but that's not a distance I can close in an instant.

"Surrender, and offer yourself to me," I declared.

"Ku ku ku ku... You know it to be meaningless, and yet you bother anyway?" Replied the druids' chief as he laughed. "But fine... If you can defeat me, I'll give you everything."

A duel between two beings that call themselves king. Just like the history books. But with this the casualties will be few, and the gains will be great.

"If I win, you shall give me everything. But then if you win?"

When I said that, it was only for a moment, but the druid's chief stared at me blankly. Then quickly, he broke out into laughter, and then said,

"What a funny guy... You plan to die!?"

A smile like that of a beast appeared on my face. It was as if a delicious prey had just been thrust before me. Then with that vicious smile, I answered the druid's chief.,

"We can gamble precisely because there are two equal things sought."

Even I didn't know I would feel like this. Perhaps it's because this goblin's visage is so close to that of a human's.

"I see... Then in that case..."

As the druid chief was thinking, Reshia suddenly came out.

"Hello? Do you mind? I can't see a thing!"

Without a care in the world, Reshia's voice resounded throughout that tense atmosphere. And the goblin in front of me froze.

"... Oi, gramps, what is that thing?" asked the druid chief to the old goblin who was behind him.

"The king's treasure, a human female," replied the old goblin.

"A toy, in other words?"

"No, the king doesn't engage in such activities... Rather he seems to be quite fond of talking with her."

"Oh?"

A sharp light shot from the druid chief's eyes.

"I've decided. I want that girl!"

Reshia froze.

I gave her a sidelong glance, and clicked my tongue at the back of my head. Then I looked at her and sarcastically said,

"Congratulations, you've been personally requested. You must be jumping for joy."

"W-W-What are you talking about!?" asked Reshia, not following what's going on as she compared me and the druid chief.

"The reward for our duel. If I win, I'll have his horde. If I lose, I'll hand you over."

"W-W-W-What are you deciding by yourself!"

This girl has absolutely zero awareness of being my prisoner. Well I'm not treating her like one after all, so it's only expected I suppose.

"Don't worry, I'm not planning on losing. I have no intentions of handing you to anyone either," I said, trying to comfort her.

"Tch!?" replied Reshia, clearly still panicked.

Gripping Iron Second (Great Steel Sword), I stared at the foe before me, and calmed my burning heart.

He probably didn't hear Reshia's mumbling, I thought to myself.

Then steeling myself, I focused all of my strength to face the fitting opponent before me."

"Come!"

At the resound of my voice, the battle beneath that tense atmosphere began.

Author's Note:

It's a druid fight.

Who would've thought that the old goblin would have a family!?

The old goblin's ability to talk so well right from the start is because of its high intelligence.

But it is after all only a normal goblin, so it can't match up to the druids.

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