The sight that greeted us at the front of the caravan was different than what I had expected. Instead of a pack of wolves or a troll, there was just a little boy. He was crying, and before I could even take in anything Kantrilla was over with him comforting him. I caught the eye of the caravan leader Mike, who came over. He was a big man- over six feet tall and rather round. In fact, many things about him were round. Along with his dark skin, he had dark hair that was also round- more or less an afro. “This child has spoken of monsters in the area. From what we heard so far, there were many small ones with green skin, and one ‘really big’ with brown skin. His parents were with him…”
“Goblins?” Halette asked. Mike shook his head, but Halette looked to Socks, “Follow the boy’s trail to find the goblins!” Socks barked, and ran off into the woods. Halette looked at Mike, “Don’t worry, we can still guard the caravan…”
“Actually,” Mike said, “I was hoping to have you track down the creatures and the boy’s parents. We can afford to wait. I can pay extra-”
“We can talk about that later,” Halette cut him off. “Llyr, Kantrilla, you should come with me. Alhorn and Kasner, can you guys stay with the caravan?”
Alhorn nodded, and Kasner made a tiny arc of electricity between his fingers and grinned. There were regular guards as well, but the difference between caravan guards and seasoned adventurers could be significant. After all, in many cases there weren’t attacks for an entire journey, whereas adventurers fought monsters every day.
“This is Dylan,” Kantrilla said as we approached. “We’re gonna help you find your parents, okay Dylan?” He sniffed and nodded. “We need to hurry… can Llyr pick you up so we can go faster?”
Dylan nodded. “…okay.”
Dylan was only around fifty pounds- maybe less- so it was easy to pick him up. At least I could still feel big around kids.
Halette was already moving, and I jogged after her with Kantrilla. It turned out to be very easy to track down a giant wolf- though I could also hear Socks ahead of us for a while, but she was getting further. However, it was only a few minutes before I heard howling. “She’s found something!” Halette said, “We’re not too far behind.” As we ran along, the sounds of snarling and growling and combat became apparent. “I see a man and a woman… up in the trees! I also see Socks… and an ogre.”
Ogres were more or less on the same level of danger as a minotaur- they were about the same size, and big and strong. Their bodies were more humanoid, however, without the horns or legs of a bull. They were also from dungeons, along with goblins. Though they could exist outside of dungeons, originally all goblins and the like came from dungeons, as far as it was known.
After another few seconds I could see the ogre, and the goblins. I set down Dylan, “You wait here with Kantrilla, okay?” Halette already had arrows flying for the goblins, and Kantrilla cast a barrier on me as I ran forward.
The goblins were equipped with standard weapons, but the ogre with the dark brown skin was swinging around a tree. Fortunately it was one smaller than the tree the parents were in, but it was still a formidable weapon nonetheless. It was big enough that it was hard to miss… as it demonstrated as it sent Socks rolling. Fortunately, trees weren’t optimally shaped to cause the most damage. I was willing to bet Socks was bruised from the impact, but nothing looked broken… at least, the way she leaped on the nearest goblin didn’t indicate any significant damage.
Besides the ogre, I saw about a dozen goblins… or perhaps ten. Eight. Well, it was clear that Halette and Socks were killing the goblins quickly at any rate. Unfortunately, the ogre had lost interest in Socks for the moment and was moving towards the tree with the parents in it. I pulled out my adamantine dagger and threw it. The ogre saw the attack coming and blocked it with its arm. The dagger still stuck into its arm deeply, but not its neck like I had planned. I tried to pull the dagger back, but the muscles in the ogre’s arm clamped down on the dagger. Either because the Ogre didn’t see me as a threat or because it had some sense of vindictiveness, it didn’t stop its march towards the couple in the tree. I could see the man had a spear with him, but it wasn’t long enough to easily reach the ogre. A few pieces of equipment near the base of the tree said it had been enough to fend off some goblins, however.
I stabbed a goblin in the way with my spear… a little too hard. It got impaled on a tree, but unfortunately that meant my spear was stuck. I couldn’t afford to stop to pull it out, instead charging towards the ogre. I saw it raise its own tree to swing at the couple. Fortunately, the trees themselves got in the way… but I heard many branches snapping and falling. The ogre pulled back for a better swing and with nothing in his way he had a free target. However, I reached him at that point. I had left a mace and a couple other things back in the wagon and slightly regretted it, but I couldn’t do much at this point. I grabbed the ogre’s leg, with just one arm not being quite enough to go around it. At the same time, the ogre swung his club tree, but I pulled. An ogre that size must have been almost half a ton. That was like two or three sumo wrestlers. Not that I was thinking about that at that point. I just pulled with all my Strength, including activating Rage. While it was true that the ogre might have weighed as much as two sumo wrestlers, I was actually as strong as two of them. Or, well, two of the strongest people on Earth. 500 Strength was about where the limit of humans was on Earth, and with Rage… I was over 1000. I didn’t have the proper form to lift the ogre, but I could sure send it toppling over. The tree it held went with it. Before it could try to get up, I twisted my grip on its leg and broke or dislocated it- the crunchy poppy sound wasn’t clear, and its other leg kicked out and hit me in the chest. Fortunately my armor distributed the blow so I was just thrown back- though without the Barrier from Kantrilla maybe my armor wouldn’t have done so well.
I was back on my feet before the ogre was able to get onto its side, and I charged towards the dagger that was still in its arm. I grabbed and yanked it out, then jumped back as it swiped at me. The ogre stood up… or tried to stand up, but one leg didn’t work so it crashed back down, leaving me an opening to throw my dagger into its throat. It got stuck in the muscle there as well… but it only took a few seconds before the ogre toppled over and started turning into the white mist of experience. I turned around to see Socks crunching the head of the last goblin. The goblin also began to fade. I supposed it was good that Dylan wouldn’t have to look at the bodies… though the whole experience would still have been quite frightening. It was a Lucky thing we were there at the time… and I definitely understood why Kantrilla was fine with Luck bringing danger to her. I didn’t want to think about what would have happened without us.