The Fresh-Faced Adventurer from Before
The world is inherently a cruel place.
When monsters rampage without conscience and sometimes with uncanny intelligence, your instincts tell you that mankind should be little more than a prey animal.
It isn’t the knights and adventurers who are typically the ones who lose out in this food chain, it’s women and children who have no means to protect themselves.
Things like ethics and morals are irrelevant to them. Rather the sound of screams and sensation of tearing into soft flesh… It’s obvious why monsters would prefer the easier victim.
That’s why that small monster watches the soft looking child, and waits for the moment he’s separated from the adults to strike.
The screaming and crying echoes. And is followed by the sound of meat being shredded. The little children who don’t hurry home will be cooked and eaten by nasty goblins.
Such a thing is common in that world.
The weak are meat and the strong devour. No matter how much law and authority humans claim, this is an unavoidable fact.
In this world, anything is at risk of being killed by monsters. Of course, that applies to the monsters as well.
“Fua~ …All right”
A small ravine outside the remote town. Having received a request to hunt down a goblin that stole a chicken from a nearby village, Kyle grasps his trembling hand and tries to subdue his shaking body.
Even though goblins are considered small fry monsters, they can multiply rapidly if left alone. Even though the Demonic White Sword had wiped out all the nests near the town, the goblins were beginning to reemerge. Had they come from further afield, or did a Queen survive?
“A goblin nest, huh.”
Though the binoculars, he saw the two goblins he was tracking enter into a large cave opening.
The monster that everyone calls the weakest. For him, they were a terrible root of terror that was implanted by his memories.
He can see it when he closes his eyes. He sees those companions who who he befriended on his first adventure tormented and mutilated by Goblins, and the Dragon that burst through the ground to dash all their hopes.
After experiencing that terror, Kyle seriously considered giving up adventuring for good.
At only 15 years old, that encounter with primal cruelty could have made him lose confidence in himself and his skills.
Even though the fear still remains, it can’t last forever.
And he longed for the back of that white haired swordsman who had appeared in his time of need.
Even if you call his reasoning stupid, Kyle is still a man. Besides helping to support the orphanage that raised him, he also joined the guild to feel true freedom and gain a reputation.
If his main reasoning was the former, people would call him wise and mature beyond his years. But since it’s the latter, it’s natural one would be called a fool.
After he had weighed his options, Kyle chose to continue his life as an adventurer to try and catch up to the woman he admired.
Even if isn’t yet as fearless like her. Even if his scrappy battles can’t yet compare to that ballet of the sword. It’s only the beginning of his journey.
Kyle reconfirms his equipment before he sets off.
An iron short sword that he sharpened especially for today.
An ugly yet practical buckler that fit him well.
A cheap metal helmet covering his head and boiled leather armour. Because he lacked funds, he fashioned arm bracers and shin protectors for himself from leather, tied tightly so that they don’t fall off in battle.
“All potions, ready!”
Pain relievers, poison antidotes and even a small magical energy recovery potion purchased with the last of his money.
“Even though I don’t think I’ll be using them, Adventuring gear good!”
Three bottles of water, a coil of rope and a survival knife.
“Alright, let’s go!”
He slapped his cheeks with his hand to try and get his spirits up.
When watching Kyle go through this little ritual, an adventurer who doesn’t know about his past would probably laugh.
But Kyle doesn’t care about that kind of thing. To him this isn’t just a simple goblin extermination, it’s about him defeating his own personal monsters.
He doesn’t intend to die, but no matter what happens in this cave he doesn’t plan to leave any regrets. Not again.
“《 Radiant ・ Globe 》”
At Kyle’s command, a small sphere of light appears in his hand and illuminates the surrounding cave.
“It might have saved some magical energy to have brought a torch, but I’ve got to keep a hand free…”
As magical energy draws from outside the physical realm, someone who seeks to learn it must come to terms with its power to bend the rules of the world on a psychological level.
When the oldest existence imagined the material from the immaterial, that was when the world was first created.
That is the way people reconcile the physical world with the magical. Over a long period of centuries, processes were developed in order to train people to manipulate knowledge and magical power in order to manipulate phenomena, and sorcery became a weapon of sorts.
“Still 《Flash》is such a simple spell, I really have a long way to go. That person didn’t even use magical chants to create those swords, did she?”
Because part of preparing your mind to use magic relies on a verbal suggestion, magic users will typically say their spells aloud when using them. But a true master can simply use the hand motions to cast like the Demonic White Sword did.
“Well, there’s no use pining about something I don’t have.”
Shake those thoughts away, focus on the Goblins. Since the goblins are so sensitive to light from living most of their lives in caves, Kyle lowers the intensity of his light magic to the level of a torch.
“No traps… yet.”
Goblins aren’t monsters to lay traps, but they’re generally the sliest about hiding them.
Leaning from his inexperience on his first adventure, Kyle had asked senior adventurers from the guild plenty of questions about various monsters and asked about goblins especially.
We only barely escaped with our lives when we took a crowd of goblins on, thinking they were no more than children, they said.
They made a sound to distract us to look the wrong way and then surrounded us, one of our party was killed, they said.
When I thought that there were only goblins, a massive ogre appeared, she said.
I got caught in a pincer movement because the goblins had tunnelled behind me, he said.
There are few adventurers who don’t know someone who had been cruelly murdered or mutilated by a goblin. And of course, Kyle himself isn’t one of them.
A monster with only a child’s physique and intelligence. Anyone who simply disregards them as such will inevitably become their prey.
Even though the request noted that the goblins had only recently been sighted and that their numbers were likely few, to take this quest lightly would be a grave insult to his late companions. Kyle makes his way through the cave paying incredible attention to detail, checking along the wall all the while for any secret burrows and scanning the floor to keep an eye out for traps.
The sound of the goblins chattering almost made him cry out, but he managed to stifle his voice by putting his hand over his mouth.
As he minimizes the light from the torch and listens to the language incomprehensible to human ears, he notes that there are only two speakers.
They’ll probably both already be armed.
Seeing a glimpse his previous despair when he blinked, his fear resurfaces and his breathing becomes ragged.
Doing his best to get a grip on his chattering teeth and shaking hands, he readies himself behind the backs of the two monsters.
(I’ll use Fireball and then… Wait, not yet.)
About to surprise attack from behind using magic, he stopped himself. It’s not yet time to use up some of his magic.
Even if this is supposed to just be a goblin’s nest, there’s no telling what else might be lurking in here. It’s best to be cautious and preserve energy.
It’s something he had learned the hard way. But, not stopping to dwell on it, Kyle picked up a small rock.
Throwing it lightly, it hit the wall and caused a loud echo to sound through the cavern.
The goblins walked towards the sound… Where Kyle had hidden in ambush.
He waits patiently whilst listening to the slow steps of the goblins, estimating how many more steps they are away from him.
Kyle touches a knee to the ground and waits for the goblin to round the corner. And at the moment the abominable child-like monster shows its face, he increased the luminosity of his light magic and thrust with the blade.
The short sword thrust straight through the throat of the first goblin.
“Gagu- gyu… go!!”
The feedback from the sword striking bone jolts through his sword arm.
He had intended to press forward from his first attack and slice off the head of the second goblin, but his blade had sliced up through the throat wrong and clattered into the bottom row of teeth.
Perhaps it’s fortunate that the blade was stopped by that bottom row of teeth. If his sword hand had followed the blade through the mouth, he might have received a grievous wound and a fatal infection.
“Of course, I can’t just do things like she does, can I?”
Trying to imitate the swordplay of the Demonic White Sword, he had attempted to aim directly for the vital spots with a single thrust, but he was frustrated in his efforts.
It is surprisingly difficult to attack the vital points of opponents in quick succession. No matter what you can achieve when practising, actually utilizing these skills in combat takes a lot of experience.
“As for magic, I’d rather not use it if I can help it. …For now, let’s just train with the sword. If I practice with it long enough, maybe someday I’ll be able to pull off those moves.”
Kyle was upbeat, but in reality, he was being naïve.
As he advanced through the cave, he repeated the same trick on any goblins he encountered.
However, the more you use it to cut down enemies the faster you will lose the keen of your blade, especially if you strike bone.
If you looked closely, you would see that the tip of the sword had already been worn down. The sheer amount of blood that had slid down the blade was already beginning to make the grip slippery.
“Gah!? Oh no!”
And by the time he noticed, it was already too late.
As he tried to ambush his 10th goblin, his sword missed his mark because of the fatigue in his arm, and when the blade struck the shoulder bone of the goblin the bloodied weapon slipped out of his grip.
The sword clanged on the ground loudly as it fell. The goblin with a deep laceration in his shoulder struck back angrily with a club.
Kyle threw a punch in his panic. Even though it’s a far cry from the blade of a sword, the goblin is at just the right height for a punch to be effective.
The two blows cross one another. The club glances off Kyle’s wooden bracer, and his fist directs squarely in the goblin’s face.
From that point on, it’s just a mess. Holding down the goblin by weighing it down with his foot, Kyle pounds it over and over again with his fist.
Kyle was overtaken by the adrenaline and didn’t notice the sensation of cracking bone and flayed flesh under his knuckles, so he kept punching for a while after the goblin had already died before he calmed down.
“Haa… Haaa… Whew. One way or another, it worked out…”
Picking up the sword that had slipped from him and examining it with his light, he noticed that a large fracture had developed in the weapon as a result of it hitting the ground at a bad angle.
It was a cheap iron sword he had picked up from the bargain barrel at the smithy. If anything, the fact that it had managed to get through ten goblins before almost breaking was impressive, but he still hadn’t reached the innermost part of the cave.
“A new weapon sure would be convenient, though.”
He thought of using the swords and spears of the goblins, but those weapons were all rusty and of awful quality.
It was as he was lamenting this that his eyes settled on the club dropped by the goblin he had just killed.
Taking it in his hand, he gives it a few practice swings. When it comes to delivering a single fatal blow, a bladed weapon will always win out over something that looked like it was fashioned from a tree.
However, the sense of security that comes with not having to worry about whether your weapon will break on this impact or the next can’t be overstated.
“But honestly, this really isn’t like the adventures I imagined.”
The sword is the weapon of the storybook hero, and a club the weapon of a miscellaneous henchman doomed to be cut down. Of course, he wanted to be the former.
But, even if it isn’t ideal, he’s not foolish enough to make a bad choice now.
Tapping his new weapon on his hand, Kyle advances further into the cave.
Goblin Slayer prequel?