Olivia and I met back up with the goblins. There were more than I had originally thought. We ended up in a cave room about twice the size of the one I had met the cave troll in. The room was filled to the brim with goblins. Even more goblins were in the hallways.
The vast majority of them didn’t look like fighters. Some of them didn’t even look fit enough to walk. There were women, children, and the elderly. The males were few and far between, but each one had a sword in their hand and were positioned at the exits. Despite that, they didn’t look like warriors, and their hands were shaking as they looked off into the darkness for any movement.
“We need to move.” The elderly goblin spoke up. “We’ve gathered as many as we can.”
That was to say that there were those that were being abandoned or left behind. Some of the women began weeping. It was clear that their husbands were part of those who hadn’t come back, and now more than likely never would.
I pulled out the map and started going through it. “Go… this way.”
I pointed down a certain hallway. The elderly man relayed my orders instantly, and the group of goblins immediately began moving. They were already terrified and on edge. Their desire to get moving was palpable. When Olivia tried to move along with the goblins, I grabbed her sleeve and pulled her back, moving the other direction.
“What’s the idea, Nya?” She complained but still followed along anyway.
The elderly goblin noticed us and looked over with a confused look. “Are you not coming?”
“We will join you soon. We’re going to buy you some more time to escape.”
He shook his head. “Too… dangerous.”
“My life is already tied to yours,” I explained. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t feel I had to. Don’t worry, we’ll come back quickly.”
The elderly goblin’s expression turned extremely gentle. I could see the concern in his eyes. It was an expression one might never have thought a goblin could give, but it was clear that these goblins were gentle creatures. Olivia had a complicated look on her face as the pair of us left.
“The elves… they must not know the goblins are peaceful,” Olivia suggested.
She was raised by the elves. Seeing that elf corpse had clearly startled her. I hadn’t told the goblins about the identity of their pursuers. I didn’t intend to. However, for Olivia, it was quite a shock.
“That’s possible,” I responded, not planning on disagreeing with her.
“I mean, nya, the goblins are causing that curse. There is no way that they wouldn’t think the goblins are up to no good! It had to be an accident when they drove them underground. The goblins were just more slippery than they expected!”
“D-David…” Her suddenly using my name instead of just calling me the devil caused me to turn back. “I don’t want to fight my family.”
She looked slightly frightened, and she had drawn her hand away from mine. I finally sighed and put my hand on her shoulder.
“I don’t have the strength to hold an entire contingent of elves by myself. I certainly would lose if I fought that will-user again. He was nearly as good as Bala. We’re not going to engage them in battle?”
“Nya?” She looked up, “Then, what are we going to do?”
“We’re going to do what you do best. Collapse tunnels!”
“Nya! It was an accident! I said it was an accident!”
“Well, this time it won’t be!” I pulled out the map. “I know where all of the corridors head. I sent them down a direction. If we just collapse two corridors, it will be impossible for them to catch us. It would take days to reach us, and that’s only if they knew which direction the goblins were heading. They’ll likely lose us completely.”
Olivia looked uncertain for a moment. “I don’t know. The goblins were split up before, and still, they were able to chase and harrow them. They must have some way of tracking the goblins.”
This was Olivia’s magical expertise coming into play. She was foolish about many things, but I had come to realize that I shouldn’t underestimate her just because of my familiarity with Baba.
“I agree,” I said, patting her shoulder and then turning away.
“Eh?” She chased after me down the long, dark tunnel. “What do you mean by that?”
“They were using magic to trace the goblins,” I responded. “Rather brilliantly too. All they needed to do was keep a goblin held, and then they could trace its connection to the artifact. That’s how they’ve been able to track them so successfully. They know exactly where the artifact is at all times.”
Olivia’s face turned white. “R-really? Then… even if we collapse those tunnels, they can still find and harass the goblins! Assuredly, they’ve kept a few prisoners!”
“They have…” I nodded again. “In fact, since the goblins are connected to the device, they were using the device to cast a web across the entire country. They have been imprisoning goblins in spots spread out to increase the damage. That’s why it’s so wide-spread, instead of just where the goblins have passed. They made the web bigger.”
“Wh-why would the elves do that? Aren’t they destroying their own home?”
I stopped and smirked. “So, you believe me?”
Her face turned red and she looked away. “Nya! I wouldn’t say that… exactly…”
Her voice didn’t have a lot of confidence though. I shrugged and then pointed down a tunnel. There was a three-way divide right there.
She glanced at the target and then sighed, dropping her arms. She started casting her spell, and a minute later, a familiar beam came out, causing it to collapse. I had been a little worried in the beginning, but she seemed to be very good at controlling the collapses when she was doing it on purpose.
“Impressive,” I spoke out loud as the dust cleared.
“Hehe… isn’t that because I’m an incredible mage.”
“Are you sure you shouldn’t have gone to the dwarves? You’re really good at Earth Magic.”
“You!” She wore a pouty expression. “I’m not using earth magic! I destabilizing the earth. It’s different! We’re not that deep. There is still a lot of plants and roots in the earth. I can get a good feel for faults or cracks where I can collapse the land. That’s all!”
I didn’t really feel sorry. One of my sisters was with the dwarves too. Although, I did remember in a lot of fantasy that elves and dwarves didn’t get along very well. They were so uncomfortable with each other that they actually live on opposite sides of the continent. The human realm completely separated the two other realms. It didn’t seem that bad though. She was only a little insulted that I compared her to a dwarf. They were Earth, while she was Natural energy.
We continued on. After briefly consulting my map, the pair of us were back on the road, heading for the second collapse. The second one was more out of the way than the first, so I reasoned that we weren’t as caught for time on this one. I slowed the pace so that she could relax a bit. It was clear that the spell she was casting took a lot out of her. She was breathing hard now, and the walk was more strenuous than it was before she used up her mana.
“Are you going to be okay?” I asked, glancing at her with a concerned look.
She blushed again. “I’m fine, nya!”
She glanced back up at me through her eyelashes. “You didn’t answer the question though.”
“Why would the elves do that?”
“Political reasons, possibly. Can you say with certainty that all of the princes see eye to eye?” I asked, glancing back at her.
“I see…” she didn’t meet my eye. “That still leaves us with the obvious problem. Even if we delay them, they can follow us wherever we take them. That might not even be necessary. By taking them away, you’re only widening the net. As long as they have those captives, the elvish nation will suffer.”
“You don’t need to worry about that.” I sighed.
“Why? Are you going to hunt them and save all the goblins across the whole country? I suppose, since you gave your blood, you could track them somehow… but it would be dangerous… and it might even be called trea-treas…”
“Treason?” I asked, causing her to bite her bottom lip in a cute way.
“How can you be so calm! There are many people who would wipe the goblins out in a second if they knew that it would kill you. Half the princes would love to kill you. They don’t respect your father like their father does!”
“Olivia, you’re missing one major detail here.”
“Nya! What detail? What do you mean?”
“What does my blood do?”
“Hah? Ah! Th-that! I heard about it from Saria’s Aunt! I absolutely won’t let you bleed on me! Wait! Is that how you made my sisters lose their minds? You really are a devil! I knew it!”
I held up my hand. “No, I mean, to the curse. Remember when I bled on the plants and the doors?”
“Eh? Yeah? The curse was repelled! So, what?”
“The artifact is a devil-controlled artifact controlled by blood.”
“What about it?” She demanded, and then she gasped. “You bled on it!”
I nodded, rolling my eyes. “So, what do you think happened?”
“Y-you…” Her eyes narrowed. “You didn’t join them at all! You didn’t even risk your life! Rather, you shut down the curse!”
I nodded. “When my devil blood touched it, it was akin to hitting the reset button. The connection to all of the goblins was severed.
“Then… they won’t be able to track the device anymore!” She responded excitedly, but she still gave me a dirty look. “When the goblins find out you tricked them, they’ll be furious!”
“I saved their lives,” I responded. “As for the device, it was reset, not destroyed. The device itself will still send out a protective barrier. It actually absorbs a small amount of lifeforce from those bonded to it in order to maintain the formation. Not a lot, maybe a year or two of life. That entire tribe had been donating lifeforce to it though. It should have enough lifeforce to run for years. The range will be limited, but I suspect it’ll be enough to keep their tribe safe.”
“Wh-what about the nightmares?” She asked uncertainly.
After being connected to it, they should be inoculated. I mean, it shouldn’t give them nightmares anymore. Besides, worst case, they just bleed on it again, forming a tight-knit group. Once we meet up with them again, I’ll just explain to them how it works, and they can be a bit more selective with who they pick to connect to it.”
“You… really did think of everything, didn’t you?”
I shook my head.
“How is that possible? I’m just doing what I can when I can.” I stopped and pointed at another intersection. “This is the other one you must collapse.”
Olivia shot me a complicated look and then started to cast her spell. This one collapsed just as simple as the last one. With that, there was no way for the elves to follow without leaving and reentering somewhere else. By the time they figured out where, the goblins would be long gone.
Olivia suddenly lost her footing. I barely managed to catch her and help her to a sitting position.
She blushed again as she looked up at me. “Nya… sorry… just tired.”
She had cast that powerful spell four times within only a few hours. It made sense that it took a lot out of her. I pulled out the map of the underground. I then pulled out the map of the entire country. I tried to overlay them the best I could. As I did this on the floor, Olivia glanced over with curiosity.
“What are you doing?” She asked.
“Trying to figure out where to take the goblins. Preferably a place that is hidden away. Maybe some land formations that will not just hide them, but make their area difficult to access to invaders. Perhaps somewhere where the curse can build up, but the death won’t show any signs.”
“I know a spot,” Olivia said hesitantly as I searched. “Here.”
She pointed her finger down on the map. It was a spot just outside of the elvish territory. It was in the impassible mountain range, but much lower and closer to the human territory than where the goblins had started from. Squinting closely, I saw a small valley surrounded by mountains. It would normally be impossible to reach, but one of the tunnels seemed to go to it.
“Lost Valley.” I read the words on the page.
“I’ve seen it while flying. No one can get to it except by air.”
“You can fly?” I said in disbelief.
“No! Nya…” She laughed for the first time since coming down here. “The air Knights. I rode one of their Drake mounts. It was really scary, but I did see that valley. It left an impression.”
“If it can be seen…”
She shook her head. “That’s why it leaves an impression, the valley is always covered in mist. It’s quite possible, but it makes landing near impossible. There is one set back. There are a lot of high -level monsters in the valley. They wanted to use the place to train blind landing, but they decided it was too dangerous.”
“However, with the artifact, the monsters will give the goblins a wide berth.” I finished, shaking my head. “That’s good. We can go with that then.”
Olivia’s ears perked up and she smiled. “Nya? See! I know lots of things.”
“Yes, yes… sister is pretty!” I patted her on the head.
She smiled, even more, her snaggleteeth showing cutely. She had even closed her eyes as I patted her head and she purred. A moment later, her eyes snapped open and a surprised look formed on her face. I grabbed her and then stood up.
“Nya! What are you doing?”
“We need to catch up with the goblins and direct them there or this was all for nothing,” I explained.
“Ah… I’m good, I’m good! I can walk!”
“Nonsense, you’re tired. I’ll bring you for a bit. If we delay now, we could lose them.”
I didn’t know why she was so flustered. I had picked her up in my arms and carried her in a princess-style. At first, she really seemed to hate it, but I insisted and began taking her in the direction the goblins had gone. She slowly stopped fighting and then grew to a sullen silence. A few hours later, I had finally caught up to the goblins. At that point, she had gotten comfortable and even fallen asleep in my arms.
She really was like a cat. She’d laze around if you gave her the chance and sleep all day. By the time we stopped, the goblins had also gone as far as they could manage. I gently woke the sleeping girl up. She moved around, fighting my attempt to bring her to consciousness. I’d normally let her sleep, but there were wounded and if there was any chance her magic could keep some of these people from dying, she’d have to lose a little sleep.
“B-brother…” She murmured, twisting in a very catlike way that exposed her belly. “Don’t pet me there… or I’ll go crazy.”
I hadn’t even touched her. Rather, I had used my foot. Actually, she didn’t seem awake in the slightest. She had to be in a dream right now. What dream was she having about her brother? I had a deep frown on my face. I had previously been disinterested in the girl, but the reality was that she was very beautiful. She had a soft, thin body that looked extremely flexible. I definitely hadn’t enjoyed a woman with a tail before, and even in my old life I never had a limber girl who could bend every which way.
She wasn’t really my sister. In fact, it was god approved, right? I was supposed to enslave her and make her mine. It would really be easy. All I had to do was cut my finger and bleed on her a bit. Once she was controlled by my aphrodisiac, she would slip in my bed easily. I lifted my hand and reached towards her. Just as my hand reached her face, I sighed and stopped myself.
“What are you doing?” Olivia asked, waking up.
I had already moved away from her and plopped down next to her. I had the knife in my hand, but I had a piece of wood as well. I was carving it. This was a skill I had from my previous world. Whittling. It was something I did when I needed to distract myself. In truth, this would be the first night I hadn’t slept with a woman in a while.
“The goblins… they need healing.” I said. “Can you do something?”
“Ah? Nya!” she sat up, hearing some of the cries and moans, and then immediately got to her feet. “Why didn’t you wake me earlier?”
“I tried. You wouldn’t wake up.” I responded. “Must have been having a good dream.”
“Hmph! What does that matter! I was just dreaming that…” She thought about it a second and then her entire face turned red. “N-never mind that! I’ll go heal them immediately!”
She left to go help the goblins. I occasionally glanced over at her. When she healed someone, she bent over them, showing her butt. Complete with her tail wagging back and forth, it made her entire butt sway as if it was an open invitation. I let out another sigh and kept whittling. I whittled the night away as the sage I was.