The four goblins waited impatiently as they stood inside of the small building, watching as a balding human being wearing glasses scribbled various notes inside of his oversized notebook. Grovmar cleared his throat as he looked around the building, surprised that the place didn't belong to some kind of historian. The building only had two windows—both of which were hidden by teak shutters—and there was dust all over the tables and some of the wooden chairs. No one accompanied the old man except for a powerhouse of a minotaur carrying an axe whose horns nearly touched the ceiling. Krumvell looked at the bipedal, bull-like creature, staring at his big nostrils and his rigid muscles that were bulging from his chest down to his legs. The minotaur looked down at Krumvell and snorted so hard the red-bearded goblin nearly felt the hot air against his face. He backed away from the bovine; it was best if he didn't antagonize him.
"So," the old man said, "you rescued five children? Not a dozen?"
"As the survivors told you, Ogrell Syn'Gorrsh ate the rest," Bunng informed the man.
"Mm-hmm. I don't suppose you have concrete evidence of this?"
"No, dumbass. All the 'evidence' came out the ogre's ass and plopped on the ground or in his pants," Groshlar rudely commented.
"It's still evidence."
Grovmar rolled his eyes. "The authorities spoke to the survivors. You saw them yourself. We saved nine people—seven of whom were humans. Five of them were kids! And on top of that, we almost got killed ourselves! We deserve to be compensated."
"Yes, I suppose so. Look, we are all very grateful for your efforts—"
"No, no, no, no—skip all that," Krumvell interrupted. "Don't patronize us."
The old man raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, I know what that word means. I don't care what you think about us. I don't care if you think we somehow are behind the whole thing. We saved almost a dozen innocent people. We killed a monstrous excuse of a person who committed cannibalism and ate the flesh of other sentient races simply because he wanted to. Some of the people we saved were the missing kids on one of the contracts on the board outside. The reward was ten thousand platinum coins. So give us money. There's nothing else that needs to be said."
The old man sniffed. "The contract specified. It said a dozen children. That means twelve. You can count, right?"
Krumvell held up all the fingers on his left hand. "How many fingers is this? Last I checked, it's five. That's five kids who aren't dead because of us!"
Krumvell gritted his teeth and clenched his hand into a fist. "Now how many fingers am I holding up? This is how many kids would be alive if we sat on our asses and did nothing!"
"Five does not equal twelve. Five is a lower number than twelve. Five isn't even half of twelve. Last time I checked, seven is a bigger number. That's the number of parents who no longer have any children."
The old man sniffed as he looked back down into his book and resumed scribbling notes. "So as far as I can tell, I see no reason why any of you should be rewarded."
"Are you fucking kidding me?!" Krumvell snarled.
The minotaur looked back down at Krumvell and snorted. "Do not raise your voice at Mr. Tolrik."
Groshlar walked up to Mr. Tolrik's table and snarled audibly. "Give us. Our fucking. Money."
Mr. Tolrik shook his head. "I've recorded all I need to know. Now shoo. You're starting to stink up my office."
Groshlar gritted his teeth and murmured to himself. The other three goblins could see that the minotaur was already reaching for his weapon and looked around the room for some kind of weapon to use. Grovmar subtly backed away towards one of the tables that had a heavy book on it while Bunng looked at the minotaur's crotch.
"Did you not hear me? I said—"
He was on the table in under a second. Groshlar slammed the book and pen on the floor, and then roared viciously as he jumped up and threw himself on top of Mr. Tolrik, grabbing his throat and choking him while the minotaur raised his axe. Before he could strike, Bunng punched the minotaur in his groin, and then Grovmar tossed the book at the bovine's head. It bounced off his skull, causing the beast to shout and drop his axe. He bent down to pick it up.
"TOUCH IT AND I'LL SNAP HIS NECK!" Groshlar bellowed.
The minotaur stopped and backed away. Meanwhile, Groshlar panted heavily in the old man's face, watching as he whimpered and shuddered.
"L-look, look, there's no need—"
"SHUT UP! You're gonna sit on your wrinkly ass and listen to me! And if you interrupt me once, I'm gonna rip out your tongue! You understand?!"
Mr. Tolrik nodded. "Yes—ACK! YES!"
"Good! Now then…this entire week has been nothing but bullshit after bullshit for us! I nearly got swallowed by a dragon with horrendous breath, my brother almost got killed by an idiotic man, we almost got devoured by wyverns, both of my friends accidentally killed someone, we had to follow a gaseous ogre around who intentionally shat himself, got drugged, got kidnapped, got imprisoned inside of a cave, got fed human flesh, and to top all that off, when we finally got outside the cave, I got shot with a fuckin' arrow!"
Groshlar took several deep breaths before he exhaled and started to calm down. "I'm not gonna sit here and say I haven't done anything wrong—"
"Well, no shit. You killed an innocent man because he used us for target practice," Grovmar pointed out.
"I killed an idiotic man!"
"You killed an innocent idiotic man, simply because you were acting impulsive."
"I was being protective of you!"
"You were acting impulsively protective. My point still stands."
"SHUT UP! I don't see you bitching about how Bunng accidentally killed a scientist, or how Krumvell accidentally fed a poisonous mushroom to a baker!"
Bunng held up a finger. "Okay, those weren't on purpose. Soooooooo kinda doesn't count."
Groshlar huffed and faced Mr. Tolrik again. "See, there ya go. We're all directly—or indirectly, Bunng and Krumvell—responsible for killing three people. And I don't give a flying fuck."
Groshlar paused for a long moment, letting some of the anger release from his body. He finally let go of Mr. Tolrik's throat and hopped off his body, sitting down on the table and huffing.
"I'm not a saint. None of us are. Frankly, I don't want to be saint. I shouldn't have to be a saint just to do all the shit I want. Sure, yeah, I'm a faggot, and so is my brother, and so are my two friends. And sure, maybe we don't care about hygiene, and we commit lewd acts in public, and steal money and food when we need to. And y'know what? That's just fuckin' fine. Because there are people out there who are horrid monsters. People who kidnap innocents so they can rape them for weeks, and then leave their mutilated corpses on display. People who murder their entire families because they're sociopaths who got fed up with living with others. People who start wars and watch as thousands of men, women, and children are butchered and nations are torn apart because the soldiers they control are too blind to stop and ask their superiors why they're fighting. People…people like Ogrell Syn'Gorrsh, who kidnapped several innocents—children included—and either ate them, forced them to eat each other, or forced them all to starve to death."
Groshlar took a long breath and shook his head. "At the end of the day, people need to realize that this world is filled with people like me and my brother and my friends. But the world also has people like Ogrell Syn'Gorrsh in it. And as far as I know? I don't deserve any of your fuckin' judgment! Because if you had to choose between someone like me, or someone like Ogrell Syn'Gorrsh, I bet your ass that every single man, woman, and child would get down on the floor and kiss my feet, and praise me as if I were a saint!"
Having finished his long speech, Groshlar took another deep breath and ran a hand through his hair.
"So. Bottom line? You're gonna fuckin' pay us. Right now."
The four goblins all walked outside of the building carrying a hefty bag full of platinum coins. Bunng chuckled as he looked inside of his bag and grinned widely.
"Oh gods, sixteen hundred platinum coins! I don't think we've ever gotten this much before!"
Groshlar scoffed. "He should've paid us the full ten thousand."
"Well, we did kill three people. And we only rescued five children, not twelve," Grovmar commented.
"Yeah, Grosh, stop bitching for once and just be happy we finally got paid!" Krumvell said.
Groshlar huffed. "Fine, fine. …I mean we could use all these coins to head to a new town."
Grovmar looked around in Layric Town and spotted one of the inns. "Yes. That is something we could do."
Grovmar smirked as he looked at the inn and gestured towards it. He also gestured towards the town's brothel, which catered to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. The other three goblins grinned as well as they shook their heavy bags.
Flies. That was always the first sound that woke him up. No matter where he went or where he and the other goblins slept, it always seemed to be the flies that woke him up. Grovmar's eyes gradually opened up, and he slowly moaned as he moved his arms and legs. When he wiped some of the sleep from his eyes and slowly got up, he realized that he was sleeping on the floor of one of the inn's bedrooms. Even better, there were at least four other creatures—a minotaur, two humans, and an orc—all lying on the floor, unconscious and naked. The goblin moaned as he gradually stood up. He slowly opened his large mouth and yawned, showing off his nasty yellow teeth and his slobbery tongue inside. Grovmar grunted after stretching and set his arms at his side, moments before he looked to his left and spotted Groshlar standing near a wall and holding his penis. It wasn't until he heard a noisy splashing sound that he realized Groshlar was urinating on the floor. Groshlar exhaled after finishing, before he reached backwards and slapped his right buttock so hard it jiggled slightly. Then he looked over his shoulder and grinned.
"You likin' the view?"
"Fuck off," Grovmar snarled, rubbing his eyes again.
"Hey. Least we ain't in the trash."
Grovmar nodded and smirked. He dragged his tired feet against the floor, wincing and panting, his anus sore after the events from last night. Somehow, Grovmar found his brown wool shirt and blue trousers and put them back on. He exhaled after getting dressed, shortly before he looked around the bedroom and could see Bunng and Krumvell already putting on their clothes. Bunng grunted as he looked at his hands and could see that they felt dried and crusty. He smacked his lips a few times and grimaced.
Krumvell finished putting on his stained white shirt and blue shorts before he walked over to Bunng.
"What is it mate?"
"Which…which one of us licked the orc's asshole?"
Krumvell chuckled as he backed away and plugged his nose. "Definitely you, Bunng!"
Bunng groaned as he shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Hey, you begged for it. I got the two humans! Guess they didn't mind taking me at the same time."
While Bunng and Krumvell were both recalling last night's erotic episodes, Grovmar panicked when he felt around his pants, unsure of where his bag of coins were.
"Oh shit…shit. Guys! WHERE'S OUR MONEY?!"
"Under the bed," Bunng said, before yawning. "That much I do remember."
Panicking, Grovmar swiftly threw himself beneath two of the beds and pulled out four money bags. He exhaled with relief.
"Oh thank fuck…"
"Yeah. Figured one of these guys would try to steal some, so I hid 'em."
"How much we got left?" Groshlar asked.
Grovmar opened his money bag and started counting some of the coins. "Uhhhh…I dunno? Fifty, sixty…"
"Should be two hundred. We all agreed to split it, 'member?" Krumvell said.
"So that's…eight hundred coins left?"
"Erm…" Krumvell scratched the back of his head. "Seven hundred and fifty. Think it's only fair that I leave some coins so the staff here can, y'know, clean up."
The other three goblins looked around the room and grimaced a few times. Four naked males were on the floor, all of whom were stinking of dried sweat and semen. Blotches of dried-up pre-ejaculate and regular ejaculate were staining the bed sheets, and the floor. Groshlar just finished peeing all over the floor, and judging from the stench and the flies, someone must've defecated in the corner of the room at some point. Grovmar looked up at the ceiling and his eyes widened with disgust. There was a blotch of semen up there too. He immediately turned to look at Groshlar and stammered, while Groshlar meekly scratched his nape.
"That's the ceiling."
"I know what the fuck it is."
The four goblins, now fully awake and clothed, exited the inn and started to wander around the streets of Layric Town again. All of them started to look inside the sacks full of money, checking once again to make sure the coins were indeed real. Once all of them finished examining all of the coins, they resumed exploring Layric Town once again. All of the goblins passed by the wooden board full of contracts again, and Grovmar stopped for a moment as he turned and looked at it.
"So, where now?" Krumvell asked.
Bunng shrugged. "Dunno. We could try heading to Erelorn. Got enough coins to get there, maybe even find a place to stay for a few—"
"Hey, guys? Hold up a second," Grovmar stated.
The three goblins all stopped walking and turned around to look at Grovmar. They regrouped with him as he kept staring at the board full of all the contracts.
"What's up?" Bunng asked.
"There's more contracts up here."
"Yes, we can see that," Groshlar said, rolling his eyes. "So what?"
As Grovmar turned around, he took another deep breath before looking over at the other three goblins. "Let's take another one."
Groshlar gritted his teeth, while Krumvell and Bunng looked at him with wide eyes.
"Just—listen…listen to me. I know what you're thinking. But I feel like we have to do this."
Grovmar huffed and shook his head. "This whole time I've been trying to lead this group, and what the hell has it gotten us? We meander around until we find a town, fuck, shit, eat, sleep, and then we do it all over again. When was the last time we stayed anywhere for longer than a week? When was the last time we actually tried living somewhere?"
"But we have all this money now. We can find a place to live now," Bunng pointed out.
"For how long? Maybe until autumn. Then what? We meander around again, with winter approaching? We can't keep doing this! We can't just wander around hoping for good shit to happen to us! We can't keep getting 'lucky,' because that'll only take us so far!"
"So how will taking these contracts change anything?" Groshlar asked.
"We didn't steal this money. We earned it. It's ours. We saved people…people who respect us now. We got a monster who dared to call himself a 'person' killed, and now he won't harm anyone else ever again. Don't you see? If we take more contracts like the fake one Ogrell put up, this'll make our lives better, more stable. We'll finally be able to find some decent place to live. People won't look at us like we're a bunch of trash-eating cretins. And we'll earn lots more money in the process! This…this is the best option for us."
Groshlar snorted. "Sure, right. Or maybe you just care about the money."
Grovmar glared at his brother. "Don't you wanna cross the bridge, Groshlar? Don't all of you wanna cross it? We already killed the monster; the bridge is wide open for us. And sure…I can guarantee all of you, once we cross that bridge, there's gonna be another monster. And another after that. And another after that. But won't it be worth it? Isn't it worth facing another monster so we can see the rest of this world, outside of Glordale?"
"To be fair, Thurrgar died fighting this 'monster' you speak of," Bunng pointed out.
"Thurrgar died because he was a fucking idiot!" Grovmar snarled. "What happened to us when we encountered Ogrell? Sure, we all nearly died. Sure, you got sick, Bunng, and you're probably gonna walk with a limp for another month. And Groshlar almost died protecting me. But my point still stands. In the end, we got paid, we rescued innocent people, and that's one less 'monster' terrorizing villagers."
Grovmar exhaled as he rubbed his forehead. "Look. I won't force any of you to do this. I want it to be unanimous; we all have to agree on something here. If you all want to keep traveling from place to place and never finding a home to settle in, that's fine. If you wanna try to live off the coins we have now, that's fine. But if you wanna take these contracts—"
"I wanna do this," Krumvell suddenly said.
Everyone looked at the green goblin with surprise. "Wait, seriously? I thought you wanted to build a house in the country? Why the sudden change?" Grovmar asked.
Krumvell blinked. "I mean it's…it's not that difficult to figure out. Everyone wants to be a farmer, or a gardener, or an artist or author. Everyone just wants to have a normal, simple life. Those…those children we rescued, what was the most complex thing they had to worry about? How to read and write? How to plant crops? How you need to make sure you don't drink too much water at night so you don't piss yourself in your sleep?"
Krumvell shook his head and shuddered. "That old man, Mr. Tolrik. He said there were twelve kids. We only saved five. So…so seven kids whose primary concern was to figure out how to pronounce 'meticulous' properly are all dead. And given Ogrell, he probably made them suffer. He just…"
Krumvell paused and looked away for a moment. He gritted his teeth and felt his eyes watering, to a point where he couldn't keep his tears held in. The goblin sniffled as he looked back at his friends with two tears running down his face.
"I'm tired of this," he sobbed. "I'm…I'm tired of everything being complicated. I'm tired of this world being complicated. But now I see…I see that other people…they don't even have the chance to live a normal, carefree life because of people like Ogrell, people who take satisfaction in destroying lives that never interfered with their own. And I…I can't just sit on my ass letting this world turn to shit any longer."
Krumvell sniffled and wiped his eyes. "So if I have to make my life complicated, so other people with simple lives can continue living simple lives, then fuck it."
Krumvell nodded. "Let's do it."
Grovmar smiled as he stared at Krumvell, shortly before he turned and looked at Bunng and Groshlar. "What about you two?"
Bunng snorted. "You three didn't see all the shit I saw when I was following Ogrell. You didn't hear when Ogrell smashed a girl's head in, and then started gouging out her eyeball. And you also didn't see a priest nailed to a wall who had been forced to eat human flesh thinking he'd be able to go free if he followed Ogrell's orders. And it's…you wanna know what I was thinking about when I saw all these people getting murdered and tortured?"
"What?" Krumvell asked.
"'I can't believe our biggest problem before now was that we didn't want to sleep in the trash.'"
Bunng shrugged. "Groshlar made it very clear that there are other people out there who are far, far worse than we are. And after what I've seen and heard in the cave, now I know there are people out there in much more pain and turmoil than us. So I'm with Krumvell. Maybe this'll make our lives more complicated, but screw it. It'll be worth it in the end."
As Krumvell, Bunng, and Grovmar all smiled at each other, Groshlar stared at the group and exhaled noisily, waiting until the three of them paid more attention to him.
"You gonna fight us on this one?" Grovmar asked.
Groshlar shook his head. "No. I agree actually. We should do more of these contracts."
Grovmar chuckled as he walked over to Groshlar. "Are you sure you didn't hit your head inside Ogrell's cave at some point?"
"Piss off. Yeah, sure, I wanna help you three do these contracts. I also wanna kill people."
Everyone's smiles dropped. "U-um…what?" Krumvell asked.
"You three all heard me. I want to kill people. Hmph…you all heard my little rant in that old twat's building. You should understand. I couldn't stop thinking of all the ways to eradicate that fat fuck Ogrell. My only regret is that I wasn't the one to take Ogrell's life. Some wyverns did. But that doesn't change anything…like you said, Grov, there's more monsters over the bridge. And you know what? I'll gladly cross it, just so I can run into more assholes like Ogrell and personally cut their throats open."
"Well…all right then," Krumvell said, feeling both uncomfortable and disturbed.
"But why? Since when do you care about other people who aren't us?" Bunng asked.
"First of all, one of the reasons why I wanna do this? So I can tell twats like Mr. Tolrik to fuck off. Repeatedly. So I can walk up to their faces and say, 'yeah, I'm a cock-sucking self-serving faggot who swears all the time and doesn't even try to bathe. But this faggot is the one who took down a murderous sociopath, and a manipulative cunt who used innocent people to commit horrific crimes, and a disgusting beast who kidnaps people and turns them into slaves and rapes them.' And they're all gonna look at me, and none of 'em are gonna say a goddamn word. And when I tell 'em to bend over and kiss my ass, they're gonna do it."
"So what's the other reason?" Krumvell asked.
Groshlar turned and faced the green goblin. "You're wrong, Krum. No matter what you do, you ain't gonna change the world. World's shitty. Always has been. Always will be. Four puny-ass goblins can't do anything to change the overall outcome of how this world operates. And you know that."
Groshlar paused and let out hot breath, shortly before he sucked on his teeth. "But, y'know, maybe if…maybe if I seek out and kill people like Ogrell, then perhaps this world will be less shitty. It's always gonna be shitty. Always. But there's no reason why it can't be tolerably shitty to a point where everyone knows they're sleeping in shit, and they're happy nonetheless."
Krumvell chuckled and smirked at Groshlar. "So you wanna turn the whole world into Glordale, basically?"
The muscular goblin shrugged. "Hey. I didn't see someone getting raped or murdered every other day in every town we've come across since we've been here. Rather nice country to live in. You just gotta get used to the stench."
Groshlar finally finished talking and sniffed, while Grovmar looked at the other goblins surrounding him and smiled now that they finally came to a decision that everyone agreed on. Grovmar turned around and looked at the sheets of yellow paper on the board once everyone finished giving their speeches,
"Okay, well, which contract do you all wanna take on next?"
Krumvell shrugged. "I say pick one randomly."
Grovmar reached up and took one of the contracts off the board. "Okay…hmm. 'Name: Marison Keynard. Race: Human. Job: Need help finding lost sheep. Location: Blue house near the cemetery in Layric Town. Payment: 5 bronze coins.'"
"You're shitting me right?" Bunng asked.
Grovmar tore the page in half and tossed it aside. "Ehhhhh, that one doesn't count."
The younger Grollear brother reached up and grabbed a second contract, this one written in red ink.
"Ooh, that one looks nice!" Krumvell said.
Grovmar read the message aloud. "'Name: Tuvvyn Torrskul. Race: Imp. Job: Need dead bodies delivered to satisfy necrophilia tendencies' aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnd I'm putting this back up."
Grovmar quickly hung up the contract with disgust while Groshlar scratched his head.
"What? So some imp wants to talk to the dead. So what?"
"He said 'necrophilia,' not 'necromancy,'" Bunng pointed out.
"Is there a difference?"
"A fairly big one, yes!"
Sighing, Grovmar gestured for Krumvell to come over. "Here, help me get up to the contract on the top."
Krumvell walked up to the board and crouched down, while Grovmar stood on his shoulders. Grunting and shutting his eyes, Krumvell raised his body so Grovmar would be high enough to snatch the contract from the board. Once he grabbed it, he jumped off Krumvell's shoulders and read it.
"'Name: Svollard Henrrnyk. Race: Stilio. Job: Must find and 'deal with' five cold-hearted mercenaries in Tovvol. Location: Small decrepit abandoned dungeon north of Layric Town. Payment: 500 gold coins. Will provide more details, weapons, and transport to Tovvol.'"
"Huh…that's an odd contract," Krumvell said.
"Yeah, that's clear across the country! It'll take us a week to get there!" Bunng said.
"Maybe this stilio has a dragon. Who knows? It said he'll provide transport and weapons. Could be legit. Plus, Grosh, it says 'deal with.' I'm sure we can all figure out what that means," Grovmar explained.
"Good," Groshlar said. "So these mercenaries must've killed this lizard's family or something."
"I don't know," Krumvell said, scratching his head. "Helping people solve problems is one thing. This sounds like we have to kill someone."
"They're mercenaries. They work for money and nothing else; they don't care if innocents get caught in the crossfire. I'm not gonna lose any sleep if this Svollard fellow wants us to kill them," Groshlar responded.
"Let-let's worry about all of that later," Grovmar explained. "If anything seems off, we'll call off the contract and do something else."
"After we go to Tovvol?" Groshlar asked.
"After we go to Tovvol and spend a night there. 'Sides, if we back out and Svollard is pissed about it, we'll give him some of our coins as compensation. For now? Someone is offering to take us to Tovvol for free. You know what that means, right?" Grovmar asked.
"Lots of different cuisines to feast on, most of 'em probably fish-based?" Krumvell asked.
"Lots of new races to run into, new places to explore, new weapons and items to buy?" Bunng asked.
"Bah, fuck all that! Tovvol's built by the sea! Lots of hairy, chubby, muscular, smelly pirates and sailors who are just dying to have their cocks drained!" Groshlar exclaimed, while grinning widely.
Grovmar chuckled. "Exactly. I fail to see any downsides to this."
"Well then. No point in standing here gabbing about it. Let's get going!" Bunng shouted excitedly.
The four goblins started to head north of Layric Town, hoping that they'd be able to find Svollard's location within a short amount of time and head to Tovvol as soon as possible. As the goblins walked through the small town, Krumvell scratched his head with bewilderment.
"Sooooo about that whole meaning of the necrophilia thing?" he asked.
"Krum. It's best if you go your entire life never hearing that word again," Grovmar answered.
"That bad, huh?"
Krumvell scratched his head again. "Huh. Ah well then."
While the bearded goblin was still confused over the word, as far as he was concerned, it didn't matter much now. So he shrugged and kept on walking alongside the others. Grovmar turned and noticed the pile of trash that he, his brother, and his friends were sleeping in not too long ago. Maybe he was imagining things, but the pile seemed smaller now, and there were no goblins sifting through it for food. After gazing at the garbage for a moment, he turned and stared at his brother and friends for a while. Groshlar turned and looked at Grovmar, raising his eyebrow when he noticed his brother's smile.
Grovmar looked at his brother and two friends, amazed that all three of them were still alive and fully intact, short of a few wounds. He looked away from them and chuckled.