Hey there everybody Noswald here, sorry that i took to long to make the new chapter. I had tests to focus on. I'll try to make it a weekly update like a how shounen jump releases new chapters so without further adieu it's time for...
When the rays of sunlight woke me up, I half considered to immediately get back to the agency but figured I should at least look around home to see if anything happened while I was gone the day before.
I placed yesterday's spoils next to my bed and darted out of the shack. Checking around the tents and houses eager to find something different.
Turns out nothing much has changed, given how I was only gone a day I suppose it won't have. The ruins were still filled with us ragged bunch of automatons, some with masks as faces like me, some had no faces but big hats and long collar coats proves as a good solution to that and some like Columbine had fully functioning faces.
Few of us were out moving around and many were just laying still their will nonexistent. You see after about a month of exile, the strongest among us Maron had rallied us to fight back and reclaim the fortress.
Most of us stormed the fortress, cutting down every human we could find. At first we thought we could take it.
But the problems soon followed. The humans outnumbered us meaning it wasn't a fair fight to begin with and our strongest leader wasn't even a mid-boss. So we were defeated pretty badly, casualties were high which included Maron.
The backlash of defeat was so severe that many automatons had lost their will, will was what moved our inorganic bodies letting us move as long as we want at whatever pace, controlling our appendages in ways that no organic being can do without practice and etc.
Without it, these automatons were nothing but statues that took up needless space and a real shame too considering they are all stronger than me.
In the ruins we numbered only 30 take away the unwilled ones and we're left with 14 able automatons. We'll probably be doomed if the humans decided to hire adventures to wipe us out.
The usual activities going around here are fortifying the ruins mostly with mud bricks and doing maintenance on ourselves. It's very boring and part of the reason I decided to became a minion for hire.
As I walked towards the ruin's former gardens I spotted a peculiar sight, something shiny appeared to be stuck to the side of a tree. It was too small for me to make out from a far so I went closer towards.
When nearly a hair's length of the mysterious objects, a rope snagged on my foot and I immediately known whose handiwork this was.
"Oh no." I said
The mistake lead to a chain reaction of ropes setting off that ended up with a bucket falling on my head. And if the darkness of the bucket wasn't bad enough, multiple stones came raining down on me the countless impact reverberating inside the bucket until I feel down on my bum.
"I can't believe you feel for that one." A voice called from above.
I took off the bucket with significant force, it held on to my head pretty tightly before coming off.
My first sight was spotting an automaton with a hunched appearance sitting on a tree branch. His head which was had swirling eyes and a sharp tooth grin was position at his chest. His hands pointy and metallic hung on very long arms. His top hat was covered in patches of different fabrics just like his one piece costume.
"You should have seen yourself, bucket head."
"Haha very funny Giggles."
Don't let the name fool you, Giggles was the former trap master of the fortress and the best at it too although many of his creations were considered cruel and unusual.
Back at the fortress he had a whole toolbox to make his deathtraps, treasure chests that launched spikes when it opens, buzz saws that suddenly came out of the stairs you name it.
But during the exile his tools were left behind, now resorting to use simple snares and pitfalls on anyone unsuspecting enough even his own kind.
"Aww don't be like that Toma, you know this is what I live for." He said while slowly descending the tree
"Yeah yeah, I just wish you saved it on someone other than me." I said, dusting myself off.
"Ohh our little brother is suddenly above falling into my traps. I guess your head's gotten big after joining the MMCA huh?"
"What, that's not it. I….."
"Haha gotcha, over reacting to sarcasm is also a trap in itself."
He ruffled my hat with his pointy hands.
"So how was your first mission? How was the trap in that place? Was there a spinning wheel of death?"
"It was okay, no, no spinning wheel of death actually no traps at all."
Giggles had the look of bewilderment on his face before exploding.
"…WHAT KIND OF THIRD RATE BOSS MONSTER DOESN'T SET TRAPS IN THEIR TERRITORY!?"
I moved back a bit from Giggle's screaming face
"That would be Lord Kalrus the orc warlock, not all boss monsters needs traps Giggles"
"Really though, that's just unacceptable traps are the staple of any boss territory. Everyone knows this" He shouted to the sky.
No I'm pretty sure only you think that, but I think I should keep that one to myself than tell him. After all I don't want to add more fuel for the fire that is his ranting.
"Why don't you offer to your services to Lord Kalrus then?" I asked
A moment ago he was shouting to the heavens with his arms up held up high but the moment I said that he slowly returned to a calm state (as calm as Giggles normally gets anyway)
"No, I don't want to set traps in for other boss monsters."
His face turned towards our old home. Giggles may be an eccentric trap making automaton but above all he's still loyal to our previous master. Maybe just maybe he feels that if he made traps for other bosses it would no different than betraying our old master.
"Those IMBECILES aren't worthy of my genius." He boldly stated.
Or maybe not
"Well I'm gonna go back to work, so I'll see later Giggles." I said slowly backing away.
"Alright, don't go dying on the rest of us you hear."
I nodded in compliance and took out the wool sack full of teleportation stones. I tossed all of them into the air while shouting "open". The stones stopped in midair, arranging themselves into a ring before glowing brightly forming the portal.
I walked through and arrived at the public portal room, the crow goblin was seated at a desk on my left. The behind me, the stones flown through the portal before it closed and placed themselves in a box on the desk.
The crow goblin saw me and held out his hand. "I'll need the bag back"
After handing him the bag, I checked out the job board in the main area. The board was very wide, it has to be to hold the ridiculous amount off jobs offered. It was very crowded at the moment but I managed to squeeze myself in.
Each job request from a boss monster followed a specific format
A boss's name, the boss's territory, the task that will be performed by the minion, the duration of the job, the number of needed minions that magically change after a minions has registered for the job at the receptionist and the risk & reward level of the job.
"Not what should I pick today?"
A request from a vampire king that needs minions to defeat legendary heroes of legend? Nope that's way out of my league.
What about this? Grand Garuda that needs minions to help raze a town….which requires the minions to be able to fly… ok fine what else is there.
Fire Dragons needs to protection while hatching egg? Easy enough if the territory wasn't inside of a volcano that could easily set me on fire the moment I literally set foot there.
I looked down and sighed. "Come on there's gotta be something for me."
So I left it all to luck, covered my eyes and pointed my finger at random directions.
"Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" On the last pick my finger seemed to have pressed against something meaty.
"Hey!" a female voice shouted.
Floating above me and apparently sticking a new request to the board was one of the succubus receptionists. My finger was pressing against her orange buttocks
"Ahh I'm sorry." Was what came out of my mouth before her high heels dug deep themselves deep into my head.
The succubus pouted before flying out of the crowd. I examined the new job that was posted.
Boss Name: Bluten, Forest guardian
Territory: Staub Forest
Task: Defense against adventurers
Duration: 3 Days
Minions Needed: 0/500
R&R level: Silver
Special note: Requires monster with immunity to plant based poisons.
This sounds promising, the risk may be a bit higher than Lord Kalrus's job but the number of minions that can apply are a whopping 500. If we work together, we could easily annihilate the adventurers if they were anything like yesterday's bunch.
Besides an automaton like me is unaffected by poisons so that might give me an edge against whoever I'm facing.
"Looks like I found my job."
I hurried over to the reception counter and applied for it. After registering my information, the succubus directed me to the designated portal station.
Apparently I was the first to get to the station as it was only me and the gate guardian a goblin it skull themed tattoos on him. There was still time before the portal opened so I sat down in a corner of the room.
I did a quick check on my equipment, daggers sharp and accounted for, gloves still on hand, hat still dangling downward.
Then other minions started to slowly flood the area, among them was a certain cap-wearing-flail-touting slime who was making his way to me.
"Woah, what are the chances hey Suraim."
"Hey Toma, Actually I saw you taking this job so I followed you, it'd be a lot safer with someone you trust you know?"
"I guess…. hey are you sure you'd be fine on the job? I mean do slimes get poisoned?"
"Not in a way you'd expect, us slimes definition of poisoned is absorbing the poison into our bodies for a while and using it in our attacks."
"That sounds neat,"
"Plus my cousin says that if a slime stays in a poisonous place long enough, they'll start producing the poison in them for good."
"Is it true?"
"Well he is a poisonous purple slime now, so you tell me."
As I marveled in the unique adaptive trait that slimes have, the number of minions started increasing as the count down to the portal opening drew closer.
The minions in the room were monster that had some form of tolerance to poison, A few other slimes besides Suraim, large winged snakes wearing bangles and necklaces , an armored skeleton grouped with some blade wielding zombies, bug type monster that weren't familiar to me and golems of the rock variety was all I should make out in the large crowd.
Our numbers didn't reach 500, it was more like around 450 but still a formidable force.
Couple of minutes later we stepped through the portal into a greenish purple forest with a myriad of tall tree surrounding us. The forest was also thick with pollen which I assumed spreads the poison, said polled was also spewed out by strange bulb plants.
Our Boss, Bluten the so-called guardian of this forest stood before us. For one thing he was large mass of green and brown fur, large muscled legs and forearms like a gorilla with the fur parting where his hands and feet are. His face almost deer-like but somehow flat hanged between his thick protruding horns.
We all gathered around him, those who could fly were positioned above avoiding being packed tightly together. Suraim and I managed to secure a spot in the front as we were one of the smaller minions on this mission.
"Minions!" he yelled "My forest is being besieged by an army of adventurers, they cannot venture into my forest due to my poison so they have decided to burn my trees to snuff me out."
From afar we could hear loud booming sounds and small red flares coming from the west.
"They must be coming from there then." One of the other minions whispered in the back.
"We'll crush them."
"If the spells don't crush us first"
Bluten continued his speech "Now my treants and mandragoras are currently engaged in battle but they will not be enough, you will be providing assistant to them and kill any adventurers that are able to enter my territory. Those of you who survive the next 3 days will receive…."
The boss drew out a strange emblem in the air with his hand, the emblems lines glowed purple and promptly dissipated.
"…. My mark, no get out there and destroy those adventurers!"
At the end of the speech the other minions erupted into a savage howl, it was strange mixture of sounds but all of it signified the minion's enthusiasm of going into battle and earning a new power. It almost makes you forget that most of us are gonna die.
All of us went blindly charging to the direction of flames, along the way I saw huge walking trees going into the same direction and the poison spewing bulb plants Mandragoras also seemed to be running with us.
I had to help carry Suraim during the run since he'd be there by god knows when on his regular pace. His body keep bobbing whenever I had to make a jump, sometimes it got bad enough that his iron cap slammed right in my face.
The minions ahead of me suddenly stopped, we must be at the edge of already. I peered out from a between a large rock golem's legs and saw our opponents.
Few meter from us on the grassy plain stood the adventurer's army, their forces had half as much troops than the number of minions that had applied from the job.
We were also backed up the boss's personal minions with that we numbered the adventurers 3 to 1. But even with the superiors numbers I had an uneasy feeling about this. No, I can't back away from this now.
Warriors were placed at the front with mages and archers at the back to let loose their attacks at a safe and secure distant. Reserve adventures held their place in the back ready to replace their comrades if any of them fell.
On our side the treants stood in front, their "arms" were as thick and muscled as the bosses. They and some of the bigger and studier minions like the rock golems led the charge with incredible force.
An adventurer on horseback positioned in the center of the mages and archers look on at the battlefield, his blade pointed upwards before it slowly pointed down to us.
"Fire" he shouted
Dozens of fireballs and arrows came out flying our way. Normally that much projectiles would eradicate us off the field. But our front forces took care of that.
Their large bodies ignores the scorching fire balls and arrows that came their way as much as they could. The other monster and I took advantage of this and ran behind them, using them as shields to take the full blunt of the assault.
Many of the treants fell from the continuous fireballs and arrows, luckily the fall didn't affect the other monsters as much.
Our front liners had gotten to the warriors of the army and proceeded to pummel them to dust. Most of the warriors were preoccupied with the large minions that they failed to notice the others slipping through the gaps and attacking their blind spot.
I threw slime between 2 treants, he landed right behind a broad sword wielding warrior that was parrying a treant's strikes. He shot out his flail enhanced slime punch, it struck and broke the warriors arm, no longer able to wield his blade the treant's fist came down his body with a loud thud.
A trio winged serpents were able to burn a warrior's eyes with their acidic spit, robbed of her sense the warrior women flung her sword wildly and by somehow managing to bisect one of the serpents. This proved troublesome for them so I helped out by slashing the tendons on her legs. She feel to the ground screaming followed by the serpent plunging its fangs into that neck of hers
The serpents said thanks and flew to the victim. I moved on to my next victim a huge mace wielder in a full suite of armor, He was holding his own against a golem and a zombie it's time to tip that scale.
His attention was already spread thinly to combat 2 monsters… good, I hopped towards the warriors and jumped on his shoulders. I could tell he felt me hanging on his body but couldn't as his hammer and arm was grabbed by the golem.
I lifted up his helmet a bit before slitting his throat with my dagger. I pushed the helmet down and saw the adventurer try in vain to close the bleeding but his armored chest piece and helmet were in the way. Finally he dropped to his knees and died in a pool of his own blood.
I was going to throw up my hands in triumph if not for the arrows that had buried themselves into my back. Didn't kill me but the force of arrows caused me to drop down. I looked around and a lot of minions were either getting killed by the arrows and fireballs that kept raining down or the remnants of warriors that weeded us out.
Suraim was still okay though, that hat of his is wicked lucky. Beside him one of the golems finally gived and collapses on the ground after a couple of fire balls had blown off its face.
When I noticed the pollen started to occupy the air around me did I see the mandragoras jumping down from the branches of the treants. These bulb plants with teeny legs scurried to all corners of the battlefield
These mandragoras started spreading the poison that the adventurers thought they were a safe distance from They were wrong.
Pretty soon the all of them were covering their face with one hand stopping their attacks, giving us a chance to launch some attacks of our own.
Coincidentally one of the treants was standing right in front of me, it was going for a now terrified group of archers. I stood back up and ran towards the treant, climbed up the top of its branches and waited for the right moment.
That moment came as soon as the treant was chasing after the group of archers, one of the archers was desperate to save his own skin that he tripped 2 of his cohorts whom got the opportunity to be tossed into the air by the treant and then die from the fall back down.
The betrayer thought he was in the clear and turn his back to run. Little did he know, I had just leaped from the branches and was slowly falling in his direction with my blades held tight by my hands
The daggers ran deep into his shoulders, he screamed and used his arms to pull me off.
In doing so he had exposed his nose and mouth to the pollen. As soon as I touched the ground, his face turned a sickly pale color and he slouched to the ground. Intense pain every timed he coughed.
I drew closer his movements were no longer at effective to stop me, I pulled out my dagger from his bleeding shoulder and proceed to do every form of harm one could do with a dagger to the ill adventurer.
After I was done Suraim came towards me arrows both intact and half broken were sticking from his cap too, from a far he could be mistaken for a porcupine
"Can you believe how intense this is?" Suraim said "Adventurers and monster are falling left and right like dominos."
"Yeah, fighting rooms is a far cry from this chaos." I pointed to Suraim's arrown filled cap. "Doesn't that bother you bit?"
"Huh? Oh yeah the hat's ruined but I'm still in one piece."
I guess it takes more than being pierced multiple times to kill a slime, better keep that in mind.
The other minions also seem to be making most of the situation, they picked off more adventurers than they us without paying much for it. Could we actually annihilate the adventurer's in one day?
Out of nowhere, Bluten's voice suddenly rung in my head. "My minions quickly return to the forest, your little skirmish has been successful now hurry I rather not lose more of my forces."
Apparently I wasn't the only one who get the message, the rest of the minions had begun to slowly move back to the dense forest some touting corpses of adventurers and monsters alike.
"What gives?" Suraim asked me
"I dunno but orders are orders, come one help me carry this one guy." I pulled one of the archer's leg while Suraim 'enveloped' the other.
We all made it back into the forest except for the mandragoras who were still spreading poison pollen out on the battlefield and looks like they planted themselves deep in the ground.
I thought the reserves of the adventurer's army would charge at us, instead they were keeping a long distance from us. The mages were casting fire spells towards the forest like before but when it hit the trees this time it was lacking in force.
"What's with those weak fire spells and why aren't they attacking?"
"Maybe their tired and want to collect their dead first?" Suraim answered.
"Nah, they aren't doing that either" the amount of corpses was too much to take back, though the adventurers didn't go to pick up their friends. "So what are they up too?"
I struggled for the reason when our boss had contacted us again.
"Good work, now that the range of poison has expanded they won't come any closer any time soon."
That was the answer to begin with the adventurers were letting off fire spells at the forest because they had to stay away from the poison. With the surrounding area producing poison too, they'd have to back up even more and their spells wouldn't hit the trees as powerful as just now due to the distance.
"Do not lax yourselves the situation is only temporary, their mages will try to burn my mandragoras and they will succeed."
He was right, left over mages and new ones started casting fire spells to turn the mandragoas to ash and in turn stopping the production of poison pollen. Still , there were numerous mandragoras on the field and more were popping out of the forest replacing any of the fallen.
"My mandragoras are finite, so their poison fog will only last 2 days at best. Disrupt the adventurer's destruction by whatever means and those of you that require sleep rest now, there will be no sleep for anyone tonight not even the adventurers. ." Was the last message from the boss.
Looking on our side, it occurred to me that we've suffered some significate loses. Only a few treants and golems were left standing, a lot were blown to bits from taking the blunt of the assault.
The smaller monsters weren't any better, our numbers still exceeded the adventurers but most were badly wounded or on the verge of kicking the bucket. It was only when I examined myself that I found chips, cuts and crack all over me and some pieces of my clothes was hanging literally by a thread.
"This could be a problem later." I said lightly tugging my leg to assess the damage.
We all started looting our respective corpse for me and Suraim anyway, everyone else managed to snag more than one adventurer and I gotta say I'm feeling a bit jealous.
Our dead archer had a bow but no arrows, a bag of coins containing the copper and silver kinds, leather shin guards, leather arm guards, a short sword and fur boots.
"Man there's nothing for me to use here." Suraim complained
"What can you use besides hats and flails?" I asked.
Suraim pondered? A bit before coming up with.. "Caltrops?"
"You mean those little spiky things used in traps?"
"That's the one."
"I could use it like this." Suraim extended a rope sized part of himself and smacked our corpse like a whip. "Imagine, it could cut real nasty it I had caltrops sticking out.
I only took the coins and leather guards off the corpses, cutting the leather guards to my size and tied these to my limbs. Hopefully these can keep me from breaking mid battle.
The other monster had fruitful looting of their own, the zombies found some nice swords and shields, the golem I had helped earlier took the giant mace from before. A bug monster took some rings and put those on its horn, I'm guessing that all it can use since like slimes bug monsters have a limited fashion choice.
Not all of us were looting though, a couple of the carnivorous monsters like the flying serpents were eating the corpses out of hunger.
From then on, the minions splited into 2 groups. Those who would harass the adventurers by throwing corpse parts and stuff at them, these were the treants, golems and zombies.
The second group were those that went deeper into the forest to rest up.
Suraim and I ended up with the first group, of course we didn't evenhave enough strength to throw a watermelon 10 feet across. So we were in charge of preparing the "ammo".
"Squishy thing." The golem called Suraim. "Me need more throw things."
"Comin right up." Suraim wiggled his way to me and the mountain of corpses. "Toma."
"Yeah I got it."
I held up an axe up high, I found it laying around the corpses must have been someone's loot, for it to be left behind I'm guessing they probably didn't want it. Heck I didn't want it, I could lift it but it was heavy and that wouldn't do me good in a fight.
And right now it was the only thing sharp enough to prepare ammo. I swung the axe down hard on a corpses' leg, chopping it off from the torso cleanly.
"Here" I stuck the leg to Suraim who then passed it to the golem.
While I continued to severe limbs and appendages from our fallen foes, after all these things are supposed to last us at least till sunset. It was a little gross, sometimes it would take 3 chops to get a piece off.
"It's all for the mark." Was the mantra that drove me to continue.
Some of the adventurers would get super pissed about this and come running towards us like maniacs. Those that were lucky enough to pass the pollen field without getting sick had the wonderful opportunity of being squashed to death by the treants and subsequently being added to the ammo pile.
Before I knew it, the sun was setting soon. When the adventurers started to move back and set up camp, we stopped hurling body parts too.
"Minions, gather at the edge of the forest." Our boss ordered us telepathically "it's time for the next phase of the plan."