"We good?" Grovmar asked after walking outside of the cabin.

Krumvell felt something in his back pop as he slid on the rucksack with cookware inside of it. "Yeah. Shouldn't we 'borrow' some food from the orcs though?"

"No. We still got some left over. 'Sides, don't want them hunting us down because we stole a few lamb chops. It'll only be a couple days 'til we're back in Layric Town anyways."

Groshlar scoffed as he stood next to the other goblins, rubbing his crotch and feeling a throbbing sensation in his skull. "Should steal one of their fuckin' crossbows…"

"You can buy another one back home," Grovmar said, raising his voice. "Stop complaining."

"Fine. Let's head to the river."

The three goblins all descended down the hill towards the pond near the entrance to the village. The waterfall was still releasing water into the pond, the thunderous sounds pleasing and capable of putting anyone to sleep. Some of the orcs were lighting the torches to illuminate the village now that the sun had set. The goblins could tell that the village was more crowded than usual since some of the Crimson Blade orcs decided to stay overnight after seeing the fight between the two chieftains. Perhaps the rest of the tribe would integrate itself into the Black Seed tribe. Perhaps they would disregard the one-on-one battle entirely to find another way to remain independent. Grovmar didn't know. And at this point, he didn't care much either. Once the trio reached the bottom of the village, they all sat down in front of the pond, dipping their feet into the water as they waited for Bunng to come back.

"He's been gone a while," Krumvell murmured.

"He'll be fine," said Grov. "If he can face off against an ogre, I'm sure this Borlack person you two met shouldn't be any trouble. And he's got the Ghoul Hunter with him."

"Yeah, well, if the werebear who tried to kill us all was working for Borlack, then perhaps—"

"He'll be fine, Krum. Stop worrying."

Before Krum could say anything else, someone slapped him in the back of his head and said, "Aye, lad! Stop inna worryin' shite!"

The three goblins heard a set of footsteps and spotted two more goblins stepping next to them, one clad in a sleeveless shirt with stripes, the other shirtless and only wearing torn dark blue trousers. Krumvell noticed their accents immediately and sighed.

"Do either of you need anything?" Krum asked.

"Need ya t'make 'em frowns flip!" said Skelch.

"Aye! Wotsa reason ta be sorrow inni nice evenin' like dis?" Felch asked.

Krumvell shrugged. "Ain't none of your business."

"Who be ye two slabs? Hehe, big thick matey 'ere!" Skelch said as he observed the Grollear brothers.

"I'm Grovmar. This is my brother, Groshlar."

Skelch laughed before he prodded Felch with his spear. "Ya wanna thick one?"

"Nah, gimme smaller one! Thick one lookit c'n break me!"

"We ain't here for fuckin'," Grovmar snarled.

"Not now, anyways," Groshlar said, smirking.

Felch and Skelch chuckled before Felch said, "Jus' messin', mate!"

"We ain't no fuckin' if'n you no want no fuckin'!"

Krumvell played back what Skelch said, counting the number of negatives he said in the same sentence on his fingers.

"Cannae 'elp but doin' dreamin' while 'wake, y'see! Admirin' bodies 'n' such!"

"Gee, sounds familiar," Grovmar said, before both he and Krumvell turned and stared at Groshlar.

Groshlar looked at his brother and friend before scoffing and waving a hand. "Please. Don't act like y'all don't do it too. S'a free country."

"Indeed it be! Much freer'n where we got sprung!" Skelch replied.

"Really?" Krum asked. "Where'd you two grow up?"

"Nowheres nice," Skelch and Felch answered simultaneously.

"Born en villy fulla famine," said Felch.

"Lotsa goblins kill goblins."

"Lotsa goblins sell goblins."

"Lotsa goblins ate goblins," they said simultaneously.

"One day, orcs storm village. Kill most of us. Us be spared, though."

"'Cummin' in Kossy, serve our king!' they spouted."

"So we did."

"We got food."

"Got water."

"Got clothes."

"Got our cocks sucked," they said in unison again, before laughing.

Skelch scratched in his ears, picking out some wax and flicking it into the pond. "Then, err…King Chornny Torg started actin' crazy."

"Killin' orcs."

"Rapin' orcs."

"Rapin' an' killin' orcs."

"Killin', then rapin' orcs," Skelch said, shuddering.

"I'm guessing that's why you two left Kosslivo and came here," Krumvell concluded.

"Fuck straight it is!" Skelch and Felch said simultaneously.

"Huh…I see what you're getting at."

"Way we be seein'? After alla shite we been through? Felch started.

"We gotta good life'n these woods wit' these orcs!"

Felch walked over to Krumvell and laughed as he put two fingers against the goblin's mouth, stretching his lips apart.

"Smile, mate! Smile!"

"Might be worse 'morrow!"

The goblin duo walked away from Krumvell and the Grollear brothers, chortling amongst themselves as they headed their way back up towards the main village. As they disappeared from the trio's line of sight, the remaining goblins kept sitting by the pond, mulling over what Felch and Skelch said while waiting to see when Bunng would finally return. Grovmar let out a series of long breaths, still remembering all that he and his friends had experienced in just a single week. He tried to let the goblins' words sink in, looking more on the bright side of the dilemma as opposed to being pessimistic. His negative thoughts began to die down once he heard booming footsteps in the distance and saw the Ghoul Hunter walking down a path in the village with Bunng and a shirtless man beside him. All three of them ended up at the base of the village and stopped beside the pond so they could greet the three goblins..

"Hey, you're back!" exclaimed Krumvell.

"Course I am," Bunng said, monotone and carrying a gray sack with him.

"Why wouldn't he be?" asked Borlack, with a wide smile on his face. "He just came by to ask a few questions is all. Nothing sinister, I assure you!"

"Really?" Krumvell asked. "So, err…what'd you find?"

"Sack full of coins."

Bunng tossed the sack beside the other goblins. Grovmar raised an eyebrow as he picked up the sack and loosened the string keeping it sealed up.

"Whatcha mean yo—SHIT IS THIS PLATINUM?!"

"And silver. Some gold sprinkled in there too," Borlack informed them.

"How did you come across this?!" Grovmar questioned.

"You have this much money in your group and you and your cubs are all living in tents?" Krumvell asked.

Borlack smiled. "My means of acquiring currency is irrelevant. What matters is that you four goblins have enough coins to last you through next year."

Groshlar looked at the shirtless man's pudgy frame and sniffed. "How many times did you have to fuck him?"

"I didn't," Bunng growled.

"You did something, Bunng. Nobody just hands out coins for free."

"I'm telling you—"

"He did nothing. Sometimes inaction is the best action," Borlack said.

Bunng folded his arms and swore under his breath. He didn't say anything further as the goblins kept looking at each other and the hefty sum of coins Bunng had received. The Ghoul Hunter exhaled and bashed his club at a small boulder in frustration.

"I spend all my time hunting ghouls but the goblins get rewarded for their service?"

"These goblins were almost killed today! And they helped Dozvolok solve his son's murder. You're being awfully selfish, Ghoul Hunter," Borlack explained.

"Yeah, yeah," the forest troll grumbled. "Sorry."

"Don't worry about it," Bunng said softly.

The forest troll sighed as he looked at the goblins and cleared his throat. "So, guess you four are leaving now?"

"Not much else to do here," Grovmar explained.

"You don't wanna stay for the festivities? The rest of the Crimson Blade tribe is heading over tonight. We're all gonna have a wonderful celebration now that the tribes are whole again!"

"We just wanna go back home. Kinda miss sleeping on cots instead of the floor," Krumvell murmured.

"Whatever you say. Was nice meeting you guys!"

The Ghoul Hunter turned and stomped back up the village's steps meticulously, while Borlack grinned and rubbed Bunng's shiny scalp.

"My cubs and I will be leaving soon too. Seems like my work here is done too. I'm sure there are other communities in this world in need of my services."

So long as you're not coming to Layric Town anytime soon, Bunng said to himself.

"Perhaps we shall meet again in the future! I'm always available whenever someone needs a helping hand."

"So are we," Grovmar challenged.

"People end up dying when we try to help out though, so," Krumvell added.

"Guess we have that in common," Borlack concluded, with a toothy smile.

Not wasting anymore time, Bunng quickly slid out from beneath Borlack's grasp and stood beside his friends, practically dragging them up onto their feet.

"Great, fantastic, wonderful—let's go," Bunng snapped.

"Right no—"

"Yes, let's get the hell outta this village."

Bunng's friends all got up from the ground with their sacks full of supplies and nourishment and started walking away from the Black Seed tribe's village. Borlack chuckled to himself as he waved at them, wondering if their paths would cross sooner than later.


"How much longer?"

Grovmar coughed as he plodded through the woods, his feet practically sinking into the soft earth. He wiped more sweat off his face as he listened to the various insects chirping and hopping around in the grass. He looked up into the canopy and grimaced, having trouble seeing through the woods now that the sun had fully set.

"We should be back by tomorrow night. Maybe the day after."

Krumvell groaned with exasperation as he slouched. "Fuck. Another two days of melting and drowning in sweat."

"Just bang your head against a tree. We'll carry you when you pass out."

"No! You're gonna try to bury me again!"

"That is not a fallacy."

"A-what-now?"

Grovmar smirked. "Nothin'."

As the four goblins kept walking, Bunng spat onto the ground and ran a few fingers around his scars. "We should rest now. Build a fire—we'll resume our journey in the morning."

"Fuck that!" Groshlar shouted. "It's gonna be hotter when the sun's up; we'll be exhausted!"

"We'll be fine with the canopy for cover. There might be ghouls out here; we're better off staying in one spot and resting instead of making too much noise and alerting them."

"Won't they smell us?" Krumvell asked.

"Relax. I'll just shit myself again; the stench will drive 'em off," Groshlar joked.

"Perfect."

Lethargic, Grovmar stopped walking and shut his eyes. He spotted some logs and kindling nearby and nodded.

"Sure, yeah. We'll stop here. Get some of the kindling—"

Someone murmured in the distance. The group saw a flash of orange light near a clearing in the woods that was accompanied with faint crackling sounds. Grovmar's ears twitched as he slowly approached the noise, hearing someone grunt as a huge body ruffled around grass and leaves. The goblin let his nostrils expand as he took in the scent of burning wood and musk. Grovmar turned and held a finger up to his lips as the other three goblins followed from behind. Krum, Bunng, and Grov all took out their daggers while Groshlar took his knife that Vullosh handed him that morning. As they cautiously made their way through the woods and crept up towards the creature making noises, Grovmar spotted a tall, bulky figure wearing a red cloak. He sniffed the air again and loosened his grip on the dagger.

"Cornox?" Grov asked.

The green-skinned orc grunted as he looked over his left shoulder.

"Huh. Didn't expect to see you again."

"Likewise. Shouldn't you be conjuring up spirits, wagging your skull-stick at people?"

Vullosh didn't answer. He grumbled with his mouth shut and stared at the bonfire he built. The goblins all approached Vullosh, surrounding him and setting some of their supplies and sacks on the ground.

"Company is not a necessity."

"Oh, we're not accompanying you! We're just, uh…we'rrrrrreeee resting in the same area as you!" said Krumvell.

"That is also not necessary."

"Your name ain't in the ground; we can sit here if we damn well wanna," Grosh barked.

Vullosh scoffed and stroked his white beard. "Fine."

All the goblins sat down around the orc's campfire as he started to pull a skillet and metal stove out of his sack, setting the stove over the flames. Only a few seconds later, he pulled out a few slabs of venison that had been slathered with salt and were still preserved. He set the skillet down onto the stove and removed some butter from one of his sacks as well.

"Gonne assume you all wanna join me for dinner."

"Since you offered," Krum said, smiling.

Vullosh took out one of his knives and cut a slice of butter off before throwing it into the pan and waiting for it to sizzle. The orc lowered his hood and growled as he took a few other ingredients from his packs.

"Bit surprised you aren't celebrating in the village," Bunng said, before asking, "You hated crowds that much?"

"I left the Black Seed tribe," Vullosh responded.

"Yeah, we can see that."

"I mean permanently."

"…Did we miss something? What exactly—"

"It doesn't matter. I was…I'm very tired, goblins."

Vullosh let out hot breath as he took out a spatula with one hand and tossed slabs of venison into the skillet with the other.

"Got tired of being stuck in a loop. Better off on my own."

"Hmph. Guess you believe what Irklorz said about the chieftain," Grovmar said.

"I talked to Karinik himself," Vullosh said, before flipping over one of the pieces of venison. "He told me enough."

"What about you, Bunng? I thought you said Borlack was gonna give you more information about this whole ordeal?" Krumvell asked.

"I talked to Borlack," Bunng said, before glaring at Vullosh. "He told me enough."

Krumvell rubbed his forehead and let out a huff. "I see."

"So, um…well." Grovmar said, scratching his scalp. "What now?"

Vullosh shrugged. "Food should be done shortly."

Grovmar sighed and rubbed his eyes. "All right."


About half an hour later, the four goblins and orc were all eating the food Vullosh prepared. Krumvell was stirring minced garlic cloves around in a can filled with green beans, his fingers already covered in meat grease from the venison he just devoured. Groshlar was licking his lips as he dumped sliced white mushrooms onto his venison steak. Bunng drooled as he bit down into deer flesh, allowing the meat grease to dribble down his lips as he consumed the soft flesh. Grovmar drank from a bottle of rum that Vullosh offered him, burping afterwards before he started chewing on venison that was cooked halfway through.

"Mmf," Krumvell said, scooping multiple spoonfuls of green beans and garlic into his mouth. "This ain't the feast I was expecting, but good enough."

"It's a smorgasbord," said Vullosh, before dumping a can of beans down his gullet. "It's common to go days without eating."

"We're goblins, mate," said Groshlar, swallowing hard. "Do you know how many times my brother and I had to dig through trash so we wouldn't starve?"

Vullosh scoffed as he picked up a jar filled with yellowish-auburn fluids and drank from it for nearly ten seconds before he set the jar down. He coughed and licked his lips before speaking again.

"Soiled food is better than no food, dont'cha think? And I get the feeling that you goblins are okay with consuming your own feces when push comes to shove."

"Really?" Grovmar said, before he pointed at Vullosh's jar. "So that's not your own piss you're drinking?"

"It's orc beer," the shaman growled, before tossing the jar over to Grovmar. "Try it."

Grovmar sniffed the jar's contents before he shrugged and drank. He immediately spat the fluids back out and wiped his mouth, prompting Krumvell to laugh.

"Orc piss, like I said!" Krumvell shouted.

"It's not piss!"

Grovmar coughed and shook his head. "It ain't beer."

"Do you goblins even know what orc piss tastes like?" the shaman asked.

"I just found out."

"THAT'S—" Vullosh grumbled noisily and gritted his teeth. "Fine, it's orc piss. I'll offer you goblins actual orc beer in the future."

"You do that."

Krumvell wiggled his ears as he downed another spoonful of green beans and garlic. "The future?"

"What, you gonna go off and start teaching magic lessons? Gonna become a brewer and share your famous piss drinks with the rest of the world?" Groshlar asked.

"I don't have anything left with the Black Seed tribe. S'not like anyone liked me there anyway. Spent several years of my life killing my own brethren. And even after all that shit, it turns out more orcs are killing each other. You'd think…you'd think we would've learned something by now."

"Yes, well," Grovmar consumed more of his meal and spoke while chewing. "It's the same shit with us. Everyone just sees us as filthy goblins. Don't do nothin' useful for the world. S'why we started this shit in the first place."

"Started what?"

"Doing contracts," Grov said, swallowing. "Helping people. Trying to make the world less shitty."

"That so?" Vullosh chuckled. "Couple piles of shit are trying to clean up all the shit in the world."

"Same as you really. We just got tired of the cycle, y'know? Got tired of wakin' up in trash all the time, eating scraps, being poor."

"Hmm. So what about this situation with the Black Seed and Crimson Blade tribes? What would you call that?"

"Complicated," said Krumvell.

"Bullshit," said Groshlar.

"Frustrating," Grovmar replied.

"Ambiguous," Bunng replied.

Everyone looked at the yellow goblin as he ate more food and shrugged.

"Odd word choice," said Vullosh.

"One chieftain does something bad. Allegedly. Someone else does something bad. Orcs died. Orcs forgave each other. Everything is back to normal. Everyone thinks they're right, but they're wrong. People think they're wrong, but they're right…in their own twisted way. I think…"

Bunng tapped his fingers on the ground a few times before he laughed sardonically. "I wonder how this world would function if everyone picked one side. You know, we're the good guys, and we fight the bad guys. We stop the bad guys—problem solved. Two months ago? Four of us ran into a cannibal—boom. Bad guy. We stopped him. Problem solved. But this shit here? Heh. The chieftain did something terrible because he thought it was right. Irklorz did something terrible because he thought it was right. Those orcs he killed—we didn't even know 'em. Dellarko sounds like he was as stubborn as Groshlar."

"'Preciate it," Grosh said, spitting out food as he talked.

"What about Nerrilyl? What about Lornokvak? They all did bad shit in their past—maybe it was their time to pay. Chieftain Karinik did bad shit in his past—he lost his son as punishment. I've been…wondering, y'know."

"Wondering what?" Grovmar asked.

"Should we care? Everything that's happened, maybe it's best this ended the way it did. …It just…I-I dunno."

"Maybe we shouldn't care. Maybe we should just be glad we figured out what happened. And the chieftain found out how to unite both tribes. That's a…that's a good thing, right?" said Krumvell.

"Sure," Bunng said. "But what happens when we die? We got people killed we shouldn't have. People just not gonna care, just go about their day once we're gone?"

Vullosh finished the rest of the beer from his jar and belched. "Since we've been sitting here talkin', I'd say about…" The orc held up a couple of fingers and murmured to himself. "Eleven people have died. Give or take fifty considering the Dwarven Trio war goin' on right now. Should we stop what we're doin' to say prayers?"

Bunng exhaled as he covered his eyes and shook his head. "Nah. Course not. Just musing…s'all it is. Musing."

Groshlar could see that all the goblins were still in a deep train of thought as they contemplated the rest of their lives and what could possibly happen in the future. Vullosh was still eating his food, working his way through another chunk of venison that had been fried and seasoned with chopped green onions. As the group mulled over the past few days' events, Groshlar leaned over and passed gas, letting everyone listen to the vicious sputtering sounds exploding from his rump. Bunng scooted away from Groshlar and snarled, Krumvell giggled to himself, and Grovmar rolled his eyes. Vullosh didn't seem to have any reaction; he kept eating his venison and crunching on the onions.

"Yes, Grosh, of course you ruin the moment," Bunng snarled.

"Yes, Bunng. I fucked up the natural balance of things. Did I have to fart? No. Did it disturb your peace? Yeah. Does it offend you? I'm sure it does. Was it wrong of me to fart? Someone would say I was bein' rude and inappropriate. S'far as I'm fuckin' concerned, I was doin' something natural and healthy. Point is, I passed gas. Fuckin' deal with it and move on instead of going on and on about whether or not it was right of me or wrong of me to do it."

All the goblins stopped talking for a while after listening to Groshlar's words. Vullosh looked at the burly goblin and stuffed the rest of his venison and onions into his mouth before he talked with his mouth full.

"The stout one here gets it."

"Figured you would see my point," Groshlar said, winking at the orc.

Bunng remained silent for the remainder of the meal. He kept listening to everyone talking amongst one another as he consumed his food, still trying to ignore his confrontation with Borlack.


Everyone fell asleep not long after they finished their meals. The five creatures were all grunting or snoring in their sleep, occasionally rolling around or twitching whenever an insect skittered around their bodies. All except for Bunng. He was sweating profusely and whimpering, unable to control the thoughts swarming around in his mind. Suddenly, he woke up, gasping and panting, surrounded almost entirely in pitch-blackness. Hot fluids had gathered around his groin; Bunng grabbed the crotch region of his shorts, desperately hoping it was sweat or ejaculate. But when he brought his hand up to his face and sniffed, he knew it was anything but that. Bunng whimpered as he grabbed his head and shut his eyes, struggling to breathe. He kept hearing deep laughs in his head and saw mangled corpses when he shut his eyes. Wanting to stay silent, Bunng bit his hand as he stood up and quietly walked away, lumbering through the woods until he found himself standing beside a tree. While leaning against the sturdy tree bark, Bunng shut his eyes and started sobbing. He tried muffling his voice as much as possible, not wanting to wake up the others. He didn't know what was wrong; he didn't know why it kept happening at night. But every now and again, he'd see the ogre. And he was hoping that a giant werebear wouldn't show up too. Bunng gasped when he heard someone stepping through the grass. His spine chilled when he felt someone breathing against the back of his neck and smelled putrid breath.

He was about to start screaming when thin arms wrapped around his gut. He felt someone's scraggy chin resting on his nape and began to settle down. Krumvell tightened his grip around Bunng, feeling his body shaking. The yellow goblin fell down to his knees and continued to sob as the visions faded, and he relished in Krumvell's tender embrace. Meanwhile, Bunng wasn't the only person who woke up in the middle of the night. Grovmar couldn't stay asleep either. He wearily opened his dry eyes and grumbled, rising up to his feet and sticking his hands in his pockets. He could make out faint silhouettes of his companions and the sturdy orc shaman who was sleeping while sitting up. He walked away from them all, softly stepping through the grass until he found a clearing. Grovmar sat down in the section of the woods illuminated by the stars and half-moon and looked up into the sky. He smiled as he raised a grimy hand, splaying his fingers as he pretended to push or pluck some of the stars out of the sky. When he heard heavy footsteps in the distance, he turned and spotted Vullosh approaching him.

"Can't sleep?" Vullosh asked.

"Was gonna ask you the same."

"Mm. Don't sleep like I used to. Was taught that sleeping makes it easy for the enemy to kill you."

"That isn't morbid at all."

Vullosh shrugged. "It is what it is."

The shaman sat down beside Grovmar, watching as he kept reaching up with his hand and wiggled his fingers.

"The hell you doing?"

"Trying to catch one. Was something I used to do when I was younger."

"You can't catch stars."

"Tch. My father said the same shit. Kept telling me I gotta become one. Said that chasing after shit that ain't yours won't get me anywhere."

"Your father isn't wrong. Sounds like you should be more like him."

"My father is a fuckin' twat. I still struggle to wonder if he ever loved me or my brother. He always told us to make more of our lives, to be the greatest goblins we could ever be. But we didn't do it the way he wanted. So he started abusing us. Started treating us like shit. …Started calling us filthbreeds."

"I thought that word has no meaning?"

"It means 'nothing.' My father got so bored of calling us faggots that he decided to go beyond that. I know a lotta people don't like that word, but at least it means something."

"Hmph. That why you're doing all of this? Just to prove your father wrong?"

"No." Grovmar paused and shut his eyes. "Well…yes, but it…it's more than that."

"How so?"

"When my brother and friends started doing these contracts, I just wanted money so we wouldn't be homeless. We have money. But now I want to stand out amongst my kind, set a good example for us goblins. I want to be a…what-what's a right term—um…not hero, but—"

"You wanna be recognized for all the good you do, but you don't want anyone to shun you for pilfering a slice of apple pie."

"More or less. I don't want what other people have; I just want more in general. And I don't know if I should feel that way."

"You sound a lot like the Dozvolok before he became a chieftain."

"That's what worries me," Grovmar said, lowering his voice. "My father and Chieftain Karinik aren't far off. He was so desperate to get what he wanted that he drove away his sons. And, um…there are many times where I feel like my brother and my friends are just getting in the way. There's been a few times where I've thought about leaving them all. But then Krum will say something silly, or Bunng will tell me like it is, or Grosh will bark that I'm just whining and should be grateful, and then I feel better. It's almost as if everything I want to do has to have some kind of consequence behind it that I don't think I'm prepared to handle."

"So change your priorities and what you want in life."

Grovmar huffed as he looked up at the bearded orc. "Well, what do you want in life?"

"I just wanna stop killing orcs. I wanna wake up not hating everything around me."

"Why are we still talking then? I'm a filthy goblin. You're a sadistic orc. Ain't that right?" Grov teased.

"This 'sadistic orc' understood that he's not better or worse than anyone else. And this 'filthy goblin' sitting beside me and his friends all chose to save me when his own chieftain wouldn't."

"Right…well. Um…"

"I want to die knowing I didn't waste my life devoted to senseless killing."

"I want to die knowing I didn't waste my life period."

Vullosh looked down at Grovmar and smirked. "Guess we got that in common at least."

The goblin and orc sat together in silence for another few minutes, staring up at the sky and examining the various stars burning in the solar system.


"You ready?" Grovmar asked.

The four goblins and orc shaman stood at the outskirts of Layric Town, staring at the town's silhouette half a mile away. Cornox Vullosh took a long breath before he stroked part of his white beard and growled.

"They allow orcs in your town?" he asked.

"Plenty!" said Krumvell.

"They Kosslivan orcs?"

"Ehhhhhh, you don't need to mention that part."

"Thought so."

Groshlar scoffed. "Don't make a lick a difference. Town's fine with us stayin' there; shouldn't have an issue with you coming in."

"I suppose not. Could open up a sorcerer's shop. Maybe even start some class where I teach the residents how to perform magic."

"Sounds great! Maybe you could even use your special skills to destroy the sun so it won't be so damn hot in the summer!" Krumvell suggested.

"Yes," Vullosh stated, before the eyes in the skull on his staff glowed light blue. "Or I could just say glacisha."

As Vullosh held out his hand, he aimed the palm upwards as the four goblins witnessed what they thought was a miniature blizzard materializing right above the orc's hand. After a series of water droplets and tiny crystals spun around similar to a tornado, there was a bright flash, and something soared up into the air. When it came back down, Vullosh caught it and grinned.

"…You are shitting me," Grovmar said.

"That's a block of ice!" Groshlar shouted.

"WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU TELL US YOU COULD PERFORM ICE MAGIC?!" Krumvell screeched.

"You did not ask."

"We should not have to ask you to inform us of details we previously did not know about!"

"Okay. Well. I know ice magic. I also once tortured an orc by peeling off his foreskin with a blade and pouring acid on his penis. Did you also need to know that?"

"YES, I DID! NEVER TALK OF THAT AGAIN!"

Vullosh sniffed as he tossed the ice block over to Krumvell. He caught the hunk of ice and let out a long breath as he pressed it against his head, relishing in the freezing temperature.

"Finally," he sighed.

"So not only did we get paid, and not only did we solve someone's murder, but now we won't burn to death. Seems like a win for us!" Groshlar proclaimed.

"It don't exactly feel like it," Bunng murmured, before shouting when Groshlar punched him in his shoulder.

"Stop with that shit. World ain't gonna be perfect. Don't be sulking. Just be glad we didn't get locked up in a cage again."

Krumvell lowered his block of ice and started rubbing it against his bare stomach and chest, not caring that it was already melting. "Maybe this didn't go the way we wanted, but hey…all still alive, ain't we? Two foes reunited their tribes. And we made a new friend!"

"I am not your friend," Vullosh growled.

"We made a new acquaintance!"

"Good 'nuff for me," Grosh added. "That good enough for you, Bunng?"

Bunng exhaled. "It'll have to be."

"What about you, brother? Got a problem with that?"

Grovmar shook his head. "Could've gone worse, s'far as I'm concerned."

"Great! Now let's head home. Vullosh, do more of those ice magic thingies. Wanna see if you can freeze a whole mattress for us," Groshlar asked.

Vullosh grumbled as he followed Krumvell and Groshlar, while Grovmar and Bunng stayed behind and talked quietly.

"Hey…Grov?"

"Hmm?"

"That shit with Ogrell…that was the worst of it, yeah? Just a one-time thing?"

"I guess?"

"I mean…is this gonna get easier or harder for us?"

"I'm still alive. So is Krum. So's Grosh. So are you."

You forgot Thurrgar, Bunng said in his mind.

"Yeah. Heh, yeah, you're right."

"Damn straight I'm right. C'mon, let's head home."

Bunng forced himself to smile as he walked alongside Grovmar. The two of them regrouped with Vullosh, Krum, and Grosh as they all moved closer to the entrance of Layric Town. But as they got closer, Grovmar kept telling himself in the back of his mind that everything would only get more dangerous and complicated from this point forward. He turned and looked at his friends and the burly orc accompanying them.

Grovmar smiled and continued to walk, his apprehensions steadily washing away.