Full Moon Monsters
Chapter 3: The Beginning of Wisdom; the First Pages of a Hero pt.1
Deep in the Forest
Not long after a day had passed that Rouhan's group was gaining good experience with their hunting. In fact, Gramps had brought Rouhan over to tell him that he was getting stronger with every day. Though he stated it would take long for Rouhan to become a Hobgoblin, to which the young goblin asked. Gramps explained that once a goblin had become strong enough to reach level 100 in his strength, he would evolve or transform into a Hobgoblin; a goblin variant that was considered superior in their species. They would gain the height, hair, and humanoid variations and traits that humans would have. And if he kept it up, it was possible that he could reach the level of Ogre, and that would be something.
As they prepared to hunt that day, sitting in the forest, tightening their bandages and sharpening their obsidian knives. Seiji was working to fix up swords made from the medium bladed horns of the Blade Bunnies. He was also helping out Shino in making brass knuckle gloves using the sharp fur of the Blade Rabbit's neck at the moment. Kichi was just standing watch, looking around. Rouhan was currently working on a dagger blade made from the Blade Rabbit horn left off for himself, while he still kept his Uni-Rabbit horn sword in place. But at the moment, he finished something else.
"Hey, Kichi," Rouhan called out, catching the average Goblin's attention. "Here." And then threw something at Kichi, as he caught it.
He blinked, as he looked in his hands, a wooden shield with the scale plating of the Armored Raccoon's back hide sewn and nailed into it. His eyes went wide, as he asked, "Is this a shield?"
"Yeah, I figured you had the same problem I do: the left arm always exposed," Rouhan stated. "Problem solved. It should be perfect for a frontliner like you."
Kichi's response was a bright smile and him hopping up and down around in a joyous circle, tossing up the shield and catching it. shino smiled at his happiness, as Rouhan got back to work.
Mia, after gathering enough rocks, sat down next to Rouhan, as she smiled, "That was a nice thing you did there, Rouhan."
Rouhan glanced at her for a moment, and looked away for a moment, "Um… thanks." Mia arched an eyebrow at his behavior, while Rouhan thought, 'Okay, this has just gotten awkward. Why did Mom have to tell me that last night?'
The night earlier ago, Rouhan had snuck in to see his mother yet again, hoping to ask her of information. She still sat next to the girls, all naked as the others, but Rouhan noticed there were a few girls missing. When he asked her what had happened, she explained that they had passed; they had bred so much that they had lost strength and then finally succumbed to their weakened states and died. But her mother made him forget all that, as she asked him about his friends.
"Well, Kichi's kinda average but he's strong, charges in head first. He's a pretty brave goblin. Seiji's quick on his feet and likes to joke around, and he's pretty handy with two swords. Shino's just as tough as Kichi, though she has this kinda girlie feel to her whenever we run into those horn or blade rabbits," Rouhan mused. But then he looked away, feeling awkward as he started to speak about Mia, "Mia's… well…"
His mother soon looked surprised at her son's change of attitude when this girl, Mia, was about to be explained. But she seemed to be intrigued by this, as she asked, "Mia? Interesting. Tell me more about this Mia."
Rouhan wasn't sure why his mother was so interested by this, as he finally had the nerve to speak again, "Well, Mia's… she's fast, smart, and pretty good with sharpshooting. She's about as girlie as Shino is, but she always seems to stick with me like glue. Not that I don't mind."
"And?" his mother asked, smiling at seeing her son so embarrassed.
"W-Well, whenever she hugs me or sits near me… I get this weird feeling in my stomach," Rouhan confessed, as he scratched the back of his head. "And my skin gets all tight and clamy, though in a nervous way."
His mother giggled a little, as she smiled, "It sounds to me like you have a little crush on this Mia."
Rouhan blinked at that, as he asked, "A crush? What's that?"
"Well, by definition, aside from the usual verb meaning, it's described when you have a crush on someone it means you have developed a strong desire for another person." Rouhan's eyes widened with shock on that, even as his mother smiled, "Eventually, it may grow into true love. Though it might wear away, though I wouldn't jump to conclusions yet on it. the usual symptoms of it is that you'll get metaphorical butterflies in your stomach, meaning you'll get shy and blushful."
But then Rouhan began to panic, "But! That would mean…!" But he lowered his voice to make sure no one heard him. "But… that would mean… " He shook it off, "What am I thinking? I've only known this female goblin for almost a week."
His mother shrugged, "Well, you never know. But if you're truly into this person, you shouldn't let that stop you. There's still hope for the future. You've already developed a good friendship with her already." She blushed a little, as she confessed, "I think it's rather sweet you've found someone you love."
Rouhan grumbled at that memory, leaving Mia confused, "Rouhan? Are you okay?"
He snapped back to reality, as he cleared his throat, "Oh! Um, I'm okay, Mia."
"What were you think about," she asked in a confession.
Rouhan shook his head, looking the other way, "Nothing important. You don't wanna know."
But Mia smiled right at him, as she replied, "I want to. It's always interesting to know what's on your mind."
'Well, I can't tell her that I might be developing a crush on her, or falling in love with her,' he thought to himself, but then decided to cover up his thought with a previous one. "Well, I'm guess I'm just wondering… what we all will end up being once we evolve into Hobgoblins."
Mia thought about it for a moment, and wondered, "Not really sure." But then she looked to Rouhan, as she thought aloud, "Though, I think for you, you'll be tall and muscled, have hair on your head. You might be pretty handsome…" But then she stopped herself, as she blushed looking away, "I'm… gonna go for a walk. I'll be right back." And then she was off, rather in a hurry.
Rouhan blinked at that, but looked away, as he blushed, "Handsome, eh?"
Mia had made some good way, trying to distance herself from Rouhan and the others. She stopped as she leaned on a tree in the green, as she sighed, "Handsome? What is going on with me?" She clutched her claw fingernail hands over her heart, looking down at her feet, as her heart beat faster, "Why is my heart beating so fast? And that handsome comment, that doesn't make any sense…"
Suddenly, a rustling in the bushes caught her attention, as she stood up, and arched an eyebrow, "Rouhan?"
But suddenly, something shot out riding on a white steed. However, this steed had organic armor plating on its hooves, shoulders, rump and nose. But on the nose, three long sharp horns were in place. The figure appeared to be a human sized hunched back lizard man of sorts. Its skin was peach skin color, its hair was long and white, and it had a long tail and had two large arms while there were a smaller pair of arms under the primary pair. The being was dressed in dark brown and light brown robes and bandages. It rode past her, but then suddenly, she got snugged on by accident, pulling her along, as she screamed out.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH! ROUHAN, HEEEEEELP!"
Not far, Rouhan and the others heard that scream, as Rouhan got up, "Mia?" he heard the scream again, as he sprinted out, "MIAAA!"
The others chased after, and as they did, more rustling in the bushes were heard from behind.
Rouhan got a good head start, sprinting as fast as he could. But something happened, as he went wide eye: the same tingle feeling in his head went off, and he suddenly leapt upward, climbing the tree. He suddnely started to leap from branch to branch, gaining distance between himself and the horse. It was strange for him, it was almost as if all the uni-rabbits and blade rabbits he ate somehow gave him increased agility and speed. But it didn't matter, as he saw Mia being dragged by this horse and strange rider.
Finally, he leapt down, bringing out his Horn sword… and rammed it into the right rump. The Triple-Horned Horse cried out in pain, as it crashed on the ground, along with its rider and Mia. Rouhan ran over to Mia, as he carefully helped her up.
"Mia? You okay," he asked in concern for her.
Groggily and disoriented from the dragged ride, Mia placed a hand on Rou's shoulder, as she nodded, "I'll be okay."
He gently brought his face up to see her, and saw a few scratches here and there, but she was okay, "You look okay."
She smiled a little, as she commented, "I guess being with you's toughened me up more than you or I thought."
Rouhan blinked at that, and then smirked, "Yeah. I guess so."
At that moment, as the robed being was struggling to get back up, something charged right out of the bushes. They were large crustacean-like creatures, their bodies black and purple. They were protected by what appeared to be a tough exoskeleton or carapace, giving them a hunchback appearance, with tentacles that they shambled on, their left arm was humanoid and long, with three sharp claws acting as fingers and a thumb, while their right hand was a massive crab-like claw, and with glowing purple eyes. They appeared to be steeds of sorts, as they had riders on their backs.
The riders were tall bipeds that had a combination of avian and reptilian features. They wore elaborate but threadbare robes of what appeared to be lace, velvet, and brocade which seemed to make them look larger and more intimidating. Their heads were beaked like a vulture's, while sporting curved fangs. They had large bellies and long reptilian tails, as well as curved quills on their backs which they hid under shell-like back ornaments. Despite the frail appearance, they were powerful creatures, as they held heavy weaponry.
The crustaceans that followed… had in their claws, Kichi, Seiji, and even Shino, as they were held prisoners. Rouhan was about to attack, along with Mia who drew out her obsidian knife, as the reptile birdmen charged at them… but passed them as they surrounded the old man.
They began to prod and strike at him with their heavy staffs. And with each strike, electricity shocked the weak old creature. Before Rouhan could question on what was going on, one of them dressed in red, walked over to the two, as he whimpered, "Mmmhmmm… you were the ones who stopped the rogue Mystik? Very impressive… even for a goblin."
Rouhan blinked, "Huh?"
The red clad one nodded, "Mmmmm… yes." He then pointed to the Mystik that was being karted away by the others. "This one has been causing all sorts of trouble for us." He then smirked at Rouhan, "In return, we should celebrate your victory at our home."
Mia then spoke up, "If you want to thank us, then why did you kidnap our friends?"
"He didn't kidnap us," Shino spoke up. "While we were chasing after you, we got grabbed by these guys, as the red guy, or the Chamberlain as he calls himself told us that he and his Garatins were trying catch this guy."
"We just got dragged along for the trip," Seiji replied.
Rouhan looked at the harsh and twisted being, as his aura gave him a sort of… uncertainty with his words. He thought about it, as he stated, "I'm not entirely sure…"
"We'll have a great feast," the Chamberlain smirked, as this caught the others' attention, even Kichi as he drooled like crazy. "And I promise, they are all rare delectable that even goblins such as yourself have yet to have."
The rumbling of their stomachs made them give in much sooner, as Rouhan and Mia blushed in embarrassment, as he confessed, "Well, we haven't had anything yet. So I guess so."
"Excellent," the Chamberlain spoke as he brought Mia and Rouhan over to his Garatin steed. "We leave… immediately."
Not Long After
The goblin troupe followed with the Chamberlain and his men were making their way through the forest… until they got to an area baron and dry of the forest. The area was rocky, sandy and devoid of any life of the forest. It seemed to stretch around a mile in a full circle. And where they went… appeared to be some ruin temples of sorts made into a canyon in the area. As they went down, the Chamberlain explained to the others as they went down.
"Our people, the Szekis, first made their way here decades ago. At first we had a hard time, what with those savage beings, the Mystiks, always giving us trouble. Though with time and our great courage and strength, we were able to tame and domesticate them," the Chamberlain stated.
But Rouhan looked behind him, seeing the Mystik that had been caught, and was being dragged rather harshly. Once they were deep within the canyon, the temple features were vast and ancient. Wlaking towards their direction, strange little gray skinned and bald people made their way to them. They were a pale gray, and had dead eyes like zombies, and dressed in ragged brown robes. As the goblins were put down, they passed the goblins, showing that they were around their height, as they took the Mystik away.
But not before a Szekis, dressed in black armor, ruthlessly beat him, shouting, "YOU STUPID MYSTIK! You dare to think you can escape?! You think you can fight against us!? WORTHLESS, WEAK, HOLLOW BEAST!"
Seeing such treatment, Rouhan stepped up, stopping the general, as he stood between them both. "Hey, stop it," Rouhan stood there. "He's had enough."
The others were worried on this action, seeing such brutality from this general. It was evident the general was peeved, as he growled at Rouhan, "Who do you think you are from stopping his punishment, GOBLIN FILTH!?"
"General, calm yourself," the Chamberlain stopped him, as he motioned to the goblins, "These are the ones that caught and brought him back."
The General calmed a bit, but then huffed, "Very well then." He then looked to the little people, "Podlings! Go take this Mystik to the cells. We shall devise the proper punishment for him later." The general then walked over to the goblins, as he stood proudly, "In the meantime, there will be a feast to celebrate your victory! COME!" And then proceeded to lead them all.
But even as they eagerly went to the feast, Rouhan looked behind him to see the Mystik being taken away by the Podlings and the Garatin. There was something that just didn't seem right about all this.
The Dining Hall seemed as dark as the rest of the place, even as the Goblins sat with the Szekis. The Podlings all shuffled through, with vast serving plates as they brought the food over to the table. As they did, Rouhan the others looked at the food before them, didn't seem all that pleasant. It looked like it was all rotting and slimy; all in all, it didn't seem all that edible. But not to the Szekis, as they dug in, with the table manners of wild animals.
Rouhan and the others paled at this, as Rouhan scooted the food away, "I think I just lost my appetite." Everyone agreed with him on that, but Rouhan took notice of the way the Podlings were being treated.
One of the Szekis, dressed in white and gray robes, with a lens over his right eye, swatted one of them, as they fell to the floor, as he scolded, "Don't just shuffle around, you pathetic twit. Take the plates away and just get the desserts."
Rouhan looked at the treatment of the Podlings, and then looked to the Chamberlain, as he stated, "Um… I notice that your treatment of the Mystiks and the Podlings is somewhat… harsh."
The Chamberlain merely whimpered a shrug, "Mmmm. Not really. It's no different than the way the humans treat – what did they call them? Oh yes… horses."
Rouhan looked the other way, as he thought, "I guess so."
But then another figure, who seemed to be clad in black and gold, with a sceptar in his hand, their leader, looked to Rouhan and asked, "I must ask, Rouhan, was it? Are you the only ones of your kind?"
But then Kichi shook his head, "Nah, we're actually part of a much bigger clan than just the five of us. We live in a cave pretty far from here."
But Seiji elbowed him, as he whispered a scold, "Kichi…"
The Emperor scratched his chin in thought, "I see." He then gestured to his land, "Then why not all you come to live with us? There's plenty of room here, armor to clad yourself in, food to eat, plus this is far better surroundings than being in some dank and dark cave."
The goblins looked to one another, some wanting the idea to move some place bigger. But Rouhan… he looked back at the Szekis and then back at the Mystiks as well as the Podlings, seeing how the Szekis treated them so. He could tell alarm bells were sounding off in his head at this sight, and wasn't sure if it was such a plausible idea to do all that. The goblin caves were a sanctuary for the goblins themselves, not to mention that his mother was in the Treasure Trove. He already saw how the Szekis treated the Mystiks and Podlings, who knew how they would be treated if they became neighbors to Goblins. And he didn't even want to know how they treated humans either.
Rouhan politely smiled, as he gracefully gave his answer, "We appreciate your kind offer, Emperor…" the Szekis all smiled at this, but frowned, as Rouhan finished, "But… I'm afraid I don't have the say in this, or anyone else here. The Elders are the ones that make the decisions… for now. The Hobgoblins in our clan are all out hunting far, so if we were to leave…"
"I understand," the Emperor nodded, with the others doing so.
But Rouhan got up, as he asked, "Is there a bathroom nearby?"
"Down the hall, go down ways, until you find the tenth door. It shouldn't be that hard to spot," the Chamberlain stated.
Rouhan bowed, "Thank you." He then ran off down the hall.
Even though the Szekis had their understanding, the Emperor secretly sneered, as he took the decline personally with no one knowing the wiser.
Down the Hall
Rouhan walked down the hallway, getting a feel of the place, as he looked around. But as he did, there was just something that seemed out of place with the place and its occupants. However, before he went further, he felt a chill go down his spine. He slowly reached for his obsidian knife, as he whipped around… only to startle Mia in place.
He stopped, as he blinked, "Mia? What are you doing?"
"Wanted to make sure you found the bathroom," Mia answered. But then asked, "You don't look so easy. What's wrong?"
Rouhan looked around, scratching the back of his head, "It's just the more I look around this place, the more I think that the Szekis are lying about this place being their home."
"How so," Mia asked.
Rouhan pointed around, "This place looks more like a temple rather than a castle. And the designs are so bright and wise. While the Szekis are um… well…"
"The opposite of what they are, right," Mia asked.
Rouhan nodded, "That's why I think they're hiding something from us."
Rouhan jumped as he looked around, trying to find the source of the voice. Mia looked confused as she asked, "Rou, are you okay?"
"You didn't hear that? Someone said…"
Rouhan jumped again, as he looked to her, still looking around though, "There it is again."
Mia looked uneasy, as she started, "Rouhan, you're starting to scare…" but then Rouhan grabbed her wrist, as they both sped down the hallway, as she whined, "Rouhan, what's going on?!"
"Someone's calling me," Rouhan stated, sounding determined than crazy, as they sped down. "They're telling me where to go and how to get there without the Szekis knowing about it."
"What? How," Mia asked.
"I don't know, but somehow they're speaking in my head," Rouhan answered, still running and taking Mia with him. "They sound like they're in danger."
"How do you know," Mia asked.
Rouhan simply answered, "Just trust me on this."
Nothing else was said, as they two ran down the hallway and into the darkened place of the castle. However, shifting from behind the shadows, the Chamberlain whimpered in the shadows, knowing all too well the young goblins were up to something.
Next Chapter: The Beginning of Wisdom; the First Pages of a Hero pt.2