"Goblins?" Aldrich had never seen goblins before and yet today he"s been kidnapped by them.
A commotion broke out far up ahead. It sounded like shouts and someone banging pots and pans together.
"Ho? This might be our chance," said the woman. "If only…"
A goblin Aldrich hadn"t noticed went sprinting by. He couldn"t see it clearly, it was more like a very short shadow from where he was standing.He must have been hiding between the cages.
"There we go. I figured there was one watching just in case." said the woman. "Right. Here"s the plan. You boost me up, I knock the roof off, and then I open the gate."
Aldrich wasn"t quite sure about that plan, but he didn"t have anything better to suggest.
"I"m lighter than you, hands together then and give me a boost," said the woman.
Aldrich looked at the wooden roof, it didn"t look that sturdy and wasn"t even fixed in place right. "Why would they leave it like that? Did they not notice?"
"Goblins are cunning but they can also be careless like that. Besides they knocked out most of their captives. Most wake up when it"s already too late. The roof is also far enough."
"Why didn"t they knock you out?" Aldrich wondered.
"Because, when our carriage was attacked I, of course, surrendered without a fight. Now we don"t have much time, come on."
Complying, Aldrich laced his fingers together and knelt down. The woman put one foot into Aldrich"s hands and looked at him. "On three and up."
Aldrich nodded his head.
"One, two, three!"
Aldrich lifted and shoved, pushing the woman up. Bits of what he assumed was roof material started to rain down on him as the woman worked above.
"Ha, got it. Up we go."
The woman lifted out of Aldrich"s hand. Stepping back, he looked up to see how it was going.
Wedged in the opening, the woman was already wiggling her way out. It was obvious she"d be out in a matter of seconds.
"Ah, thanks for that. Sorry to do this, but I don"t have any way to actually open that gate. Good luck and all that," said the woman.
Aldrich stared at the woman"s backside, uncomprehending.
It wasn"t until the woman had both feet on the edge of the cage that Aldrich realized he was being left behind.
Pure anger flooded him as he realized his mistake.
With a shout, Aldrich slammed his shoulder into the side of the cage, rocking it violently to one side. The increased strength attribute was well worth it.
Flailing her arms, the woman shrieked and fell backward. Breaking through the roof, she crashed to the ground back inside the cage.
Gasping for breath, the woman struggled to her hands and knees.
Aldrich took two steps, planted the third on the woman"s shoulders, then leapt up towards the hole.
Missing his target, he crashed through the top, lost his balance and flipped out the other side. Landing in the grass with a thump. He put more strength into it than necessary, newfound strength was harder to control than expected.
"Ha. That worked. Even if not as planned."
Getting up quickly—far quicker than what a normal man could after a fall like that, with his aching back and hips—Aldrich looked back into the cage.
"Wait, wait," the woman pleaded. Pressing herself to the bars, she smiled at Aldrich.
"I"m sorry, I didn"t mean that, it was only a joke. A bad joke on my part, but a joke. That"s all. Help me out here."
"Sure, sure. Good luck and all that." Aldrich replied sarcastically as walked off.
"No! No! You can"t leave me. I"ll scream if you leave and they"ll come here. You won"t get far enough." The woman threatened, desperate.
Aldrich fell silent and stopped retreating. This woman was at her wits end, she might do it.
"Look here, it doesn"t have to be like this. Just help me out of here and I"ll tell you where to go, I know how to get to the main road."
Her words were convincing, she had a point, he didn"t know where to go even if he escaped. But...
She already betrayed him once. There is no reason that she wouldn"t do it again. Aldrich schooled his expression.
"We have a deal. I help you out and you help me get to the main road, yes?"
Looking around the ground, Aldrich found a branch as wide and a bit longer than his arm. It looked dry and hard.
"We"ll use this to get you out of here, just let me break it, yes?"
The woman nodded eagerly. Picking it up, he wedged it between the bars and snapped it in half. Inspecting both breaks, he found one with definite potential to be used as a crude spear.
And stabbed through the gap between the bars.
The woman actually managed to dodge albeit clumsily and hit the other side of the cage with her head.
"No, no, don"t do it. Listen, listen I swear I won"t betray you. I can"t get taken by the goblins, my fate will be worse than death. We can work this out."
Aldrich thought that she would definitely scream but now he got a better understanding of the situation. She wanted to live and escape, her only hope for that was Aldrich.
Her threat was a bluff.
"You should have thought of all that before you betrayed me for no reason. You tried to use me. Fuck off."
"No! You can"t do this to me! Wait, don"t go! Look at me." The woman tore off her dress tunic, revealing her chest to Aldrich.
"I"m a woman, don"t I please you? I"ll be your woman, I swear. I"ll do anything for you. Take me with you—"
Aldrich thrust his wooden spear again, the woman shrieked and jumped in the cage erratically. Aldrich cursed under his breath. This bitch sure knew how to dodge.
The woman had already begun to scream when two hands from the cage behind reached out through the bars and shut her mouth, the other hand held her head in place.
Aldrich seeing his chance didn"t hesitate to thrust his spear through the woman"s exposed throat. A fountain of blood spurred out of her throat as her body started thrashing left and right.
Soon a foul smell emanated in the area. Only when her body went completely limp did the hands from the adjacent cage let go.
Aldrich looked at the body of the woman and didn"t feel sorry. There are things that he could not tolerate. When she threatened Aldrich"s life she might as well have forsaken hers.
Aldrich looked at the owner of the hands that helped him. He saw a short boy, likely no older than nine.
"Are you done gawking? Come here, closer." The boy spoke with a very adult voice.
"What"s with your voice?" Aldrich had to ask.
"My voice? Whats with my voice? Ah! I"m not a little human boy! Haven"t you seen a halfling before?"
"A halfling! Wow." Aldrich exclaimed.
"What"s with that reaction? This is your first time, seriously?!" The halfling protested.
"No no, I was just trying to crack a joke..." Aldrich hurriedly lied.
"Ah, whatever. Now listen, most of the goblins have gone to check on the commotion up front. Now there"s only one goblin left to guard the cart. He"s probably the one who has all the keys. See that torch back there? I can see him there."
"You can see him?" Aldrich saw the light of the torch but nothing else.
"Yea, I"m a halfling I can see better than humans in the dark."
"You said he"s guarding the cart?"
"Yes the cart that has most of the loot they stole from us."
"Alright, you want me to get the key and open your cage right? Fine."
"You must be quiet the young adventurer. Whats your name? I"m called Tarzin Tenberry."
"My name is Aldrich, and I"m not an adventurer. Not yet at least. Actually They took something of mine that I must get so I"m not only going to help you."
"You"re not? You look like you were born for the job. Well met Aldrich, well met, listen, regarding the loot cart there"s a blue heavy hemp bag with a distinctive mark of a grinning aatxe."
"Aatxe, a crimson bull. Very high class delicacy. The bag has some important paperwork, these brainless goblins wouldn"t pay it much attention. If you find it and bring it to me, I promise on my name as a Tenberry to compensate you handsomely."
"I can"t promise you anything but if I get the chance I will bring it to you."
Aldrich checked on his crude spear and thought it could take a bit more. He walked briskly on the west side of the caravan of cages while the goblin was on the east.
This gave Aldrich cover and allowed him faster movements as he was short on time. Finally Aldrich could see that he was almost at the end of the caravan, the closer he got to his target the slower he advanced.
From his cover behind the last cage cart he could see the side profile of the goblin clearly for the first time.
The creature had the hight of a seven year old, giving Aldrich quiet the shock. It had a flat face, slopped back forehead, broad nose, pointed ears and small but sharp fangs.
It had red eyes and it"s skin was sickly green. In one hand it held a javelin a head taller than itself and a chunk of raw meat in the other. It was chewing loudly and the blood and juices overflowed.
A tall torch was fastened to the ground besides the goblin. It wore nothing on its upper body. It had a rag on its lower body and tied a leather belt around its waist. The belt had a chain of keys dangling from it.
Aldrich had already decided on a plan that he hoped would succeed on the first try. He picked up a small stone and tapped with it on the bars of the cage.
The goblin stopped eating for a moment and looked around. Unsure. Aldrich tapped again. This got the attention of the goblin as it abandoned it meal and headed to the direction of the noise.
Aldrich reminded perfectly still and waited until the goblin was in the right spot before he thrust his spear and stabbed through the torso of the goblin.
Unfortunately the crude wooden spear was just that, a crude wooden spear and it broke before it could go deep enough. Fortunately the goblin"s own javelin was in better shape.
Aldrich reached for it as he suppressed the struggling goblin with his right foot, in the midst of that, the goblin used its free hand to throw dirt in Aldrich"s eyes but missed. He pried the javelin from it"s clutches and finished the job.
The javelin went through the open mouth of the goblin.
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