Black Cat Chapter 14: Goblin Subjugation

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 Goblins and kobolds have a specific place to establish a colony.


 They must be close to a source of drinking water and be sheltered from the wind and rain.



 There are several caves in the mountains near the village of Atsuka that meet these requirements.


 The location of these caves is well known to the villagers, and those who enter the mountains to gather firewood or medicinal herbs are discouraged from carelessly approaching them.


 The one we are heading to now is one of these caves.



 It has been a week since the ban on my self-practice of Body Enhancement magic was lifted, and today, about fifteen of the village’s men, most of whom are large in stature, are taking part in a monster subjugation led by Mr. Zeol.


 The target is small, fecund monsters such as goblins and kobolds.


 In addition, if there are any ferocious monsters that are not usually seen in the nearby mountains, they will be killed as well.



 As winter approaches, food will naturally become scarce in the mountains.


 The season for fruits and nuts is over, and in midwinter, the ground is covered with snow on some days.



 If they had the wisdom to grow, harvest, and preserve crops from spring to fall like the people in the village, they could survive the harsh winter, but the goblins do not have that kind of wisdom.


 If there is a shortage of food in the mountains, they are more likely to come down to the village and scavenge for food.



 In fantasy stories, goblins often use human females as a nursery for their young, but this is not the case in this world.


 Men and women are equally recognized as prey and food for goblins.



 A large male wolfkin, oxkin, or other large-bodied adult males may be able to fight a goblin or kobold with his bare hands and drive it off, but only in a one-on-one fight.


 A pack of three or four goblins would not be able to deal with them, and children would be no match for them even in a one-on-one fight.



 Houses in Atsuka village are not densely built like those in Tokyo’s residential areas.


 For example, if one house were to be attacked by a goblin horde, it is conceivable that other houses would not notice.



 In fact, in the past, a house on the edge of the village was attacked and the entire family fell prey to goblins.


 In order to prevent such a situation from occurring, the goblin and kobold colonies near the village should be attacked. 



 This morning, we gathered in front of the village chief’s house and came out, but before we left, there was a dispute over my accompanying the group.


 The adults in the village were concerned that it might be dangerous, and Miguel began to insist that he go with us.



“I’m not taking Nyango to join the battle but to send him to the village in case something happens. He’s quick and he’s used to hiking in the mountains because he usually gathers medicinal herbs. Besides, hey Nyango, show them how you run.” (Zeol)



 For the villagers, who looked skeptical after hearing Mr. Zeol’s explanation, he meant for me to show them how I run with Body Enhancement.


 The adults who had gathered there had their eyes widened as I ran with about 30% of my full strength with Body Enhancement and 40-50% faster than I had run at full speed without Body Enhancement.



“How about that, with his speed, he can get out of any chaotic battlefield. Of course, we will make all possible preparations before launching our attack, but we must not neglect to take countermeasures in case something happens. That’s why I’m taking Nyango with me.” (Zeol)



 After seeing my run, there was no objection from the adults, but Miguel’s dissatisfaction did not abate.


 He had been pouting a lot about why he was favoring only me and that he wants to be the only one taught Body Enhancement magic, but when confronted by his lack of power at this point, he had no choice but to shut up.



 I heard that monster subjugation before winter has been done for a long time, but there have been injuries and sometimes even deaths, but since Mr. Zeol came to the village, there have been no deaths, only the occasional injured person.


 It would probably be safe to take Miguel with us, but Mr. Zeol just shake his head, saying that we were not going to play and that he could not add to their worries.



 The equipment of the adults participating in the fight is a leather body, hand and leg armor, and their weapons are spears and hatchets.


 When fighting goblins, they basically use spears to defeat them without letting them get too close, but if they do get too close, they use hatchets.



 When asked why they use hatchets instead of swords, he replied that all the participants are accustomed to using hatchets for chopping wood and that the blades are thick enough that they are not likely to break or bend.


 Besides, the hatchet itself is heavy enough to inflict bone-crushing damage even if it does not cut.



 Incidentally, I only have a small knife that fits my body, and at a glance, I have zero fighting ability, but I can make weapons with void magic.


 To this day, I have been practicing so that I can make a spear and a dagger in an instant, but most likely, Mr. Zeol will not allow me to participate in the battle.



 After two hours of walking since we left the village, Mr. Zeol signaled for us to follow him.


 Apparently, we had come near a cave where a colony of goblins and other creatures were thought to be.



“From this point onward, you must refrain from idle chatter, and be conscious of making as little noise as possible.” (Zeol)



 The adults in the village, who had been walking around looking at things with a playful mood up to this point, tightened their expressions.


 They had come prepared, but they were still in quite the danger, and if they let the goblins escape, the village, their families, and their friends would be in danger.



 As we approached, hiding in tree trunks and bushes, we saw about five goblins in front of the cave.


 Three of them appeared to be still younglings.



“They’re younglings born in the spring. …Don’t show them mercy. Carve in your head—if you don’t kill them, they will kill you.” (Zeol)



 Mr. Zeol took two deep breaths and held the spear he was holding over his shoulder.



“Nuu!” (Zeol)



 The spear was thrown, leaving a silvery glow as it pierced the chest of one goblin.


 Mr. Zeol quickly received the next spear and threw it, which also skewered the goblin without missing its target.



“Let’s go!” (Zeol)



 Mr. Zeol jumped out from behind a tree, pulled out a wide long sword hanging from his waist, and cut down the goblin younglings who had been stunned by the death of its parents.


 The goblins were killed so quickly that they did not even have time to scream.



“Okay, surround it! Don’t let a single one escape!” (Zeol)


“Yeah!” (Villagers)



 The adults of the village, spears at the ready, surrounded the cave in a semicircle, blocking the entrance.


 One of them stopped a goblin that had jumped out upon hearing a noise by striking it in the torso with a spear, while those around him struck it in the neck and other vital areas.



 The village men, who normally work in the fields or on dairy farms, seem to be accustomed to this kind of formation and coordination, having participated in many subjugations.


 This kind of formation and coordination must have been led by Mr. Zeol.



 The six goblins that jumped out quickly bled to their deaths, but it seems that there are still more inside the cave, and warning groans echoed through the air.



“All right, let’s smoke them out!” (Zeol)



 Mr. Zeol instructed, and the men of the village set fire to the bundles of straw they had carried and threw them into the cave.



“In the name of the Goddess Fatima, let the wind soar!” (Villager)



 Those who could use wind magic sent the wind toward the interior of the cave.



“Be prepared for them to pop out at any time.” (Zeol)



 The straw bundles burn and the cave fills with smoke.


 Soon, a coughing sound is heard, and one by one, goblins crawl out of the cave and fall prey to the spears.



 When the number of goblins killed exceeded 20, they stopped crawling out of the cave.


 Still, the men of the village surrounding the entrance to the cave kept themselves alert.



“Good, leave six men on guard, and the rest of you start dismantling.” (Zeol)



 At Mr. Zeol’s instruction, all but the six men who remained on guard began dismantling the goblins, and the first thing they did was to dig a hole and burn wood.


 The smell of blood flowed around them while they were killing the goblins, but it became even thicker when they started dismantling them.



 To prevent other monsters from being attracted by the smell, we would burn the wood to let them know that there were people using the fire.


 Except for a few, monsters also seem to be afraid of fire, and the smell of smoke is said to be the basis for repelling monsters.



“Nyango, do you want to try it?” (Horsekin)


“Are you sure? Then, please tell me.” (Nyango)



 The horsekin who approached me was, I believe, the father of Dalles, Miguel’s lackey.


 I think he was just trying not to get his hands dirty, rather than being kind and teaching me.



“Nyango, don’t you have a knife?” (Horsekin)


“I already have one. It’s a knife made with void magic, so you wouldn’t be able to see it.” (Nyango)



 The father of Dalles was surprised his mouth was half open when I showed him a little cut on the goblin’s skin with the knife I made with magic.


 In addition, the upper half of my body is covered with solidified air that is flexible and durable like rubber, leaving only a hole for my face.



 It’s like a pair of disposable gloves and a surgical suit.


 The main reason for dismantling goblins is the magic stone, and since the magic stone is right near the heart, it naturally bleeds a lot, but there is no need to worry about it staining my fur, my pride and joy.



 With the help of Dalles’ father, I proceeded to dismantle the goblin.


 I cut open the bottom ribs horizontally and inserted my arm into the ribs to retrieve the magic stone.



“A little small lump right next to the heart, pull that out… and cut it open.” (Horsekin)


“Oh, it’s the magic stone…” (Nyango)



 The goblin’s magic stone, which is smaller than a chicken egg, has a murky dark green color.


 Also, the color of the magic stone is different for each monster. Kobolds have a dark brown color.



 I ask him to let me dismantle another goblin for practice.


 The adults are happy to give it to me because they don’t have to get their hands dirty.



 I try to get a chance to remove the heart, but the knife I made with void magic attracts too much attention, so it seems difficult this time.


 After washing the magic stone at a nearby watering hole, I washed the blood off my arms and released the air armor covering my body, and my proud fur is back to normal.



 While we were dismantling the goblins they had defeated, Mr. Zeol and the others had finished cleaning up the inside of the cave.


 The goblins from which the magic stone had been extracted were burned along with fallen trees in a pit dug by those who could use earth magic.



 Although not completely reduced to ashes, they were burned until the monsters and beasts stopped looking at them, and then buried in soil mixed with bitter wormwood powder.


 This was done to prevent other monsters from feeding on the goblins that had been killed.



 The subjugation was completed by sprinkling the area around and inside the cave with a generous amount of bitter wormwood powder.


 We descended the mountain and returned to the village just as the setting sun was hiding behind the mountain ridge. 




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