Ash was slowly making his way through the forest. Since the forest seemed to be uninhabited, aside from animals, he had quite the hard time making his way through the overgrown hell, he was currently in. Evitagen, however, looked to be completely unfazed by the branch-filled hell, the elf was having trouble moving through.
It would seem like, being from a different dimension had its benefits, seeing as he was phasing through any obstacle in his way.
As soon as the two had left the premises of the church, they started to realize, that there was no path, on which to walk.
But, even though the forest was a pain to deal with, Ash had to admit, that the forest was quite the beautiful one. Blooming flowers, huge trees and the fragrant smell of sweet, ripe fruit could be smelled from all directions.
"Ah. Finally free" Ash said, unintentionally tearing up. He wiped his tears of joy away with the back of his hand, hoping that Evitagen wouldn't see it.
"Need a handkerchief?"
"Go to hell".
And so, the two of them walked on in silence for a while. Though, the silence came to be short-lived, when Ash let out a gasp of surprise. The two of them had reached a shrubbery, a little taller than themselves. They could hear something on the other side. Something sounding like a language, even if they couldn't decipher what was being said. The words uttered, were incomprehensible gibberish, spoken with hoarse, yet high-pitched voices.
Ash peaked through the shrubbery, and saw little green creatures, he had never seen before.
"Analyze" He whispered firmly.
⌈Name: ??? – Level 7⌋ ⟨Goblin Bruiser⟩
Magic Affinity: 3
Skills: Bash[Lvl 1], Sense Presence[Lvl 1]
The former slave was slightly relieved to see that the power level of the goblins, was lower than his own.
"Ash, why don't you try to fight them? They would make for excellent practice"
The masked man had taken a peak himself, and was now directly speaking to Ash. While they weren't noticed, when they were scouting the goblins, they were however, when Evitagen started talking out loud.
The now confused goblins, who clearly weren't used to visitors, started speaking their strange language. The largest one in the group, the one Ash had analyzed, pointed threateningly at Ash.
"Good luck, Ash, they seem to have noticed you! How did that happen?" Evitagen said, and retreated to a safer spot. Where, Ash did not care. His problem was currently the five goblins, staring at him with angry eyes.
Ash sighed and stepped forward, ready to face off with his five foes.
As soon as he stepped forward, the goblins grabbed their weapons, which consisted of clubs, pointy branches and a single knife, wielded by the larger goblin.
The large goblin pointed at Ash, while uttering a few words. Following that, three of the goblins, all wielding clubs, charged at Ash. Their small eyes watching his every move.
He understood that in order to gain the upper hand, he would have to do something, so he used the spell he hadn't tested yet on the leftmost of the three.
A mass of shadows emanated from his palm, forming a beam, which hit a tree a few metres to the left of the goblin to the right.
The goblins smiled, revealing a maw of jagged teeth, some of which appeared to be shards of glass and flint, used in order to replace its missing teeth. Not a pretty sight, to say the least.
The large goblin pointed at Ash and shouted something, followed by the three goblins charging at Ash, clubs lifted above their heads, ready to strike.
Fortunately, he had learned to defend himself, when he was a slave in the mansion, he used to work in. His master couldn't have him go getting himself killed, since elven weren't exactly cheap.
He grabbed an arm, belonging to the goblin he had targeted before. He pulled the upset goblin towards himself, using it as a meatshield, as the two other goblins tried to strike Ash. The two clubs landed on the goblins face, resulting in a shiver-inducing cracking sound.
The goblin in Ash's arms became limp, so he dropped it, knowing it was dead.
Now it was his turn to smile, but only for a short while, since the two goblins' bloodlust had only increased with the death of their comrade.
Ash kicked the left goblin in the abdomen, and blocked the right goblin's club with his own arm.
"Not looking too good, does it now, Ash?" Evitagen said. He was setting in a tree above the goblin camp.
"Since losing a customer isn't exactly good for business, I'll help you out"
Evitagen proceeded to jump all five meters from the branch, on which he was sitting. Normal people would break something from a three meter fall, but Evitagen was readily jumping five. As he was falling, he activated a spell.
A dark purple mass of shadows, emerged from under Evitagen's sleeve. It started changing its shape, and became a scythe-like blade, the size of Ash's arm.
"Witness the power of a level three Negative Spell".
As Evitagen landed, he immediately started charging towards the goblins, who were attacking Ash. At a flick of his wrist, he sliced off their heads simultaniously. It appeared to be extremely sharp.
While Ash was amazed at the awesome power, Evitagen possessed, he couldn't help but to be slightly concerned that he had been spending time with a being, that could've easily killed him, had it felt the urge to.
"Ash, you're not letting me, your business partner, do all the work for you, are you now?"
"I broke a few of my ribs, I can't fight like this" Ash lied. The truth was, that he wasn't comfortable with aiding the monster in front of him. Even if Evitagen was technically helping him, he couldn't help but feel that it was more of an intimidation technique.
Ash turned to look at the now terrified goblins. The large one was holding its knife in front of it, trying to keep the monster in front of it away. The small goblins however, were submitting to the god-like being. They were prostrating themselves, almost like humans would.
Evitagen walked up to the goblins, looked at them and said something in their language. Evitagen's demographic was obviously not just humans. Ash couldn't tell whether he was threatening them, or offering them the same thing, Ash had gotten from him. Power.
The goblins started nodding eagerly, as Evitagen kept talking. Then he finished off his speech, by saying "Create: Skeletal Grunt".
Following his words, the goblin leader's body became limp. It had apparently been killed by Evitagen's spell. But that didn't seem to be the only effect.
The goblin started moving again. But it wasn't the 'goblin', which was moving, but something beneath its skin. A tearing sound could be heard, as the goblin's body tore open, leaving bones exposed. The thing beneath the goblin's flesh was still moving. Suddenly, it's arm tore open, and revealed the thing inside it.
The goblin's skeleton. The skeleton was moving, without muscles or brain. It started taking off its skin, as if it was some kind of macabre jumpsuit.
Ash threw up, but strangely, disgust was not the only feeling he felt, looking at the scene. Curiosity. Was the creature controllable? Ash's question was answered, as soon as the living dead was finished with its macabre task.
"Give me your knife" Evitagen said.
The Skeletal Grunt followed the command immediately, handing over the rusty knife to Evitagen. He then proceeded to stab the Grunt in its eye socket, which it readily let him do.
Ash was horrified. While he had seen some horrible things at the church, they had never gone as far as to make their victims' skeleton's crawl outside their bodies.
"Dear compainion. Do you realize what would've happend, were it not for me?" Evitagen asked.
Ash knew, and it was scary to him. The fact that if it weren't for Evitagen, and his methods, Ash would've died. A mere three goblins were enough to match him in a fight, and that was not counting the large goblin, and the one that had stayed behind with it.
A mere three goblins. He bit his lip, cursing himself for being weak. How would he have killed Wilfred, if not for Evitagen?
"I would have died" Ash said, finally turning thoughts into words.
"Very true. Do you also know, that I am a busy man, who can't be with my dear, defenseless customer at all times? What will you do when another such situation arises?"
To be honest, Ash didn't know. Evitagen, as strange as he was, was also the only one Ash could share his secrets with.
"I don't know" He decided honesty was best under these circumstances.
He looked at the goblins worshiping Evitagen. How could he obtain power of such magnitude?
"Well Ash, in order to survive, you should go to the town of Elcrada. Its widely known for a specific tavern, known as 'The Adventurers Nest'".
"Elcrada, huh? How do I get there?"
It didn't take many seconds for Evitagen, who clearly wanted to flaunt his magical powers a bit more, to snap his fingers, which resulted in the creation of a map.
"I'll let you find Elcrada from here. Go find the tavern" Evitagen said, as he was handing the map to Ash.
Evitagen was right back to not answering Ash's questions.
"And wait- No. Don't you dare fucking disappear on me! What am I even supposed to do there? And which fucking direction am I supposed to follow?!"
Ash was too late. Evitagen was already merging with the shadows, leaving Ash and the terrified goblins behind.
The skeletal grunt held out it's hand. At first, Ash didn't know what it wanted, but realized that it had to be the map. As soon as he handed the map over, the grunt started to walk in the direction of what Ash hoped, would be his destination. Not taking the weather and such into consideration, it would be many days before Ash reached the town of Elcrada, and Ash with his damaged arm, was hoping not to encounter any more goblins.