A few days ago I saw the first episode of Goblin Slayer in my recommended videos link. Not knowing anything about the show, I watched it. After finishing it I immediately started writing this fanfic…I just felt it HAD to be done. The cover art was done at zerochan dot net/2411078
I hope everyone enjoys my attempt at concluding the tale of the Female Fighter…
The cart pulled into the village along the main road, the heads of everyone waiting hung low in sorrow. The women wrapped in body-obscuring cloaks had been abducted several days earlier by goblins; despite knowing what was done to those taken they had approached the guild for help. Beyond all hope, the women had been returned, though there was one more among them.
A Female Fighter who had set out no more than a day earlier on the mission to retrieve the women…only to share their fate in the end. The other companions who knew her, a Warrior and a Wizard, had perished in the rescue and without them none knew what village the girl hailed from. She had not spoken a word since her rescue. As a result, the village had agreed to take her in for her part in saving those they could, it was the least they could do.
The young village Apothecary was at the front, aware of what awaited him. He had prepared his full stock in order to tend to their injuries, ensuring he had many women volunteers knowing most if not all would abhor the touch of a man after their ordeal. To his horror, he found that none of them reacted to anything. He tended their physical wounds, yet the trauma of their time within the caves had left its mark on their minds and souls. One by one he completed his duties and the families of the women took them home to the scattered farms, houses and further townships to recuperate…if such a thing was possible.
The sun started to set before the last had been tended, as he started to pack up, only then did the Apothecary realize there was one woman remaining in the cart, the Female Fighter. The crowd had dispersed and his volunteers gone home for the night, there was no one waiting for her. Washing his hands with a clean rag, he approached the girl.
Her bruises had been covered with a salve, with any luck they would be healed within a few days. She'd had a long black ponytail when she was brought in, but throughout the day it had been let down in order to make treating her easier. It revealed just how long her hair actually was, falling down past her shoulders.
"Hello," he started awkwardly. "Did…did anyone offer to host your stay while recovering?"
She did not respond, her eyes just stared forward blankly like the others. A fire burned in the young Apothecary, he'd spent his whole life studying the human body and what ails it, yet no medicine known could heal a sick mind. Seeing a girl hardly a year younger than he in such a state after a single horrific day…he could not let it stand.
"My home is small," he muttered sheepishly. "Yet it has room enough, if there is no one else…I could at least offer food and respite."
Again no response, it was as if she could not see or hear him.
"Very well, I must warn you I have never had guests before; I apologize if I am an unfit host." His attempt at humor had no effect.
With the utmost care, he reached out to offer his hand, she did not acknowledge it. Swallowing loudly he risked softly gripping her arm, trying to lead her out of the cart. In her unresponsive state, she went where he led, not resisting, yet not taking any initiative beyond that. With slow, careful steps, he led her through the village as the gloam set in.
The Apothecary's cottage was a humble place set aside for his master who had passed of illness and age the previous winter. He had studied the ways of herbs and potions since he could walk and had been permitted to stay as the new village Apothecary.
Pushing open the door, he led the Female Fighter inside, guiding her to the lone bed which resided in the hut. His master had never married and thus far the Apothecary had followed in those footsteps.
I'll have to lay out some hay for myself tonight in the corner.
He went to work finishing some stew made from carrots and potatoes he had planned for the evening; fortunately there was enough for two. He would constantly glance aside to make sure she was fine, not once did the Fighter move from his bed. The silence was starting to grate on him, but the Apothecary let it continue, she'd been through so much and who knew how long it would take before she would speak…if ever again.
Once finished, he placed the small wooden bowl and spoon beside her, subtly pushing it closer so there was no confusion that it was meant for her. She did not move to take it.
"Please," the young man offered again. "You have to eat."
"The Priestess and Goblin Slayer that rescued you told us about your team," he started hesitantly, worried he was making the wrong decision. "You were an adventurer; your party went through so much to return our friends and loved ones to us. That you had to suffer the same as them was…"
Her vision cleared somewhat as he mentioned the Priestess, for the first time that day her pupils focused on him ever so slightly.
"I will feed you if you will not eat…" he laid a hand on her shoulder as gently as he could muster. "But please, don't let this destroy you. If you do, then those monsters won and they should NEVER have that satisfaction."
She continued to stare at him yet made no move for the food. In the end he was forced to feed her, ready her for bed and ensure she lay down. Finally, once he was certain she was comfortable he left for the patch of hay and spare blankets he had made for himself in the corner beside the kitchen.
She must have completely withdrawn herself to escape the horrors of what happened. Master often spoke of the mind being its own worst prison. The trouble is each cell is different per person…what must I do to get her to venture out again?
The Apothecary slowly drifted off, failing to notice that until the late hours, the Female Fighter's eyes had not yet closed. Truly, she did not finally fall into an uneasy sleep from sheer exhaustion until after midnight. Despite the locked and barred abode of the hut, she had not felt safe for even a single moment since her leg had been caught by the colossal hobgoblin…
The Next Day…
"Slow steps, that's it," the Apothecary assured her as they walked around the village. He was told she'd been a melee fighter and was quite strong for her age before the mission. In order to keep her in some modicum of shape she needed to work her muscles. He felt a stroll around the village was a good first step.
He surmised she must have been raised in a similar village as she appeared to know the basic layout as she walked alongside him. The Fighter had become somewhat responsive to a small degree, having heard his call to wake in the morning and was even gripping his arm for support. Many villagers waved as he passed by, not recognizing the girl brought in who had been covered in a cloak the day before.
He led her to the nearby farms, well aware that a new litter of pups was recently born. Perhaps being surrounded with new life could rekindle her own; he did not see how it could hurt. At first he feared he had been wrong, as soon as they entered the pens they were swarmed by eight of the smallest black-furred puppies imaginable. The Fighter shirked back as they pounced, but quickly softened at the feeling of their tongues on her toes. After several minutes she was even willing to sit among the pups, letting them climb over her lap.
"Heyo bro!" A young girl called out rushing over. She was the Apothecary's sister. When he left home to study medicine she had remained on the farm to run it after their parents passed. "I heard you were stopping by, what's the occasion?"
The Apothecary raised a finger for silence, motioning towards the Female Fighter in the pen. She wasn't smiling, yet had picked up one of the hounds and was gently caressing its back. A vast improvement from the last day.
"Hoho, trying to show off to a lady friend," her grin stretched ear to ear until she caught sight of the blank, empty expression still locked upon her face. Only then did she realize. "Oh, oh wow was she one of…I am so sorry."
"It's okay," he assured her, thankful the conversation couldn't be heard from so far away. "She didn't have anyone else so…I've been caring for her."
"This is the most active I've seen her," he admitted, which considering the glazed over look in her eyes and zombie-like demeanor was not saying much. "I just wish there was more I could do."
"You need some help," she offered. "I have plenty of stable hands to help out for the coming days and you still need to work to keep everyone healthy. I can stop on by and add a feminine touch to your accommodations."
"You really are the best big sister," he hugged her gently in thanks.
"I can do you one better, you have a bunch of expensive and valuable stuff in your hut right?"
"I suppose so, to those who know medicine."
"Well then, for the good of the village I will gift you one of these fine hounds. Their father was a beast, just look at those paws. Every single one is destined to grow to be a phenomenal guard dog."
"I…owe you," was all he could bear to say, the kindness of his sister had no limit it seemed. "I wonder which one would be best."
"I think that decision has already been made for you," she pointed towards the kennel.
The Female Fighter was still sitting on the ground, stroking the same puppy that had leapt upon her when they first arrived. Despite the fact that the others were hopping all over and licking her seeking attention, her gaze remained affixed solely on the one in her arms.
The Apothecary had been thankful beyond words for his sister's assistance. Truth be told, he had worried what would happen when it came time for the Fighter to bathe or perform other functions for which a man would be most inappropriate to help with. She refused to let the pup go since they returned to the hut until his boundless energy became too much to contain and it leapt free to awkwardly stumble around his new home.
His sister washed her and the pup while he prepared dinner for three with leftovers from the previous evening. He was still stirring the pot when they finished.
"It will be another few minutes, if you are okay waiting you can take your seats and…"
Only then did the Apothecary realize how his sister and the Fighter were dressed. It seemed she had given the former adventurer one of her old dresses. Being from a small village it was nothing special, a simple dull green coloration going down to her ankles and sleeves not quite reaching the elbows. Regardless, it was the first outfit he had seen her in other than the simple ragged beige tunic and pants she had been provided her first day.
"See, I told you you'd like it," his sister assured her as they sat down, the puppy wagging its tail expectantly from the floor. "And he likes it too."
His sister sat near the Fighter, he took a space across the table. For the first half of the meal it appeared that history would repeat itself as she didn't seem to have the will to reach for the spoon, requiring his sister to do it for her. All that changed, however when the pup starting whimpering.
He and his sister had been so focused on the Fighter that they had not provided any scraps for him and the young hound made sure to let them know his disappointment while his sister was refilling her bowl. Before the Apothecary had a chance to rise, the Fighter gingerly picked up the dish and lowered it to the ground. Her new friend dove at it almost before she let go, eagerly licking up the remains within. He almost thought he was seeing things.
The girl who had seen so much allowed the vestiges of a smirk to grace her lips though it was swiftly gone. She looked up, catching his gaze of wonder and bewilderment that he had finally caught a glimpse of her smile. She immediately turned her head away and did not raise it again the rest of the meal.
"Take good care of her!" His sister called out as she left for the evening with a wave. "You're doing a good thing, never forget that."
As it came time for bed, the Apothecary was amazed to discover she had already changed before he returned and was in the process of wrapping herself in the warm blankets. The small pup had curled into her arms and was snug beneath, only the tip of his snout poking through. He could not see it from his angle, but for the first time since the cave she drifted off into an untroubled sleep.
Weeks gone by…
Time seemed to move slowly for the Apothecary and Fighter. He took her out of the house when he could, but with the outbreak of a fever among the village children he had to continue his work. As long as he kept the flow of medicine going there was no risk of death. His sister would take the girl and pup for her daily strolls but apparently she still never spoke no matter how much she tried to make conversation.
Despite her silence, she was slowly but surely emerging from her stupor. No longer did he need to perform daily activities for her. She would wake, wash herself, eat her own meals and even care for the small hound that was quickly growing. His older sister had not exaggerated, at first the small thing could almost fit in his hand, yet now was the size of the wolves that occasionally wandered the forests. He feared to think how big he would get. The pup was seldom not seen by her side, even though he'd officially been brought in to protect his hut, it was clear who he cared for most.
The Female Fighter became more recognizable in the village, both from patients visiting the Apothecary for herbs and salves and when walking by his side or his sister's for the daily exercise. This led to waves and smile being directed towards, he hoped it would help. One day, when his sister was unavailable, he had asked if she wanted to relax at the village tavern for the evening. To his delight, she replied with a single nod though refused to leave without the dress...and a hooded cloak.
With the hound trotting happily behind, they pushed open the doors. The room was filled to capacity; simple folk who had way too much to drink had taken to the tables and were dancing merrily as the music played. Drinking contests featured the burliest of men and those attempting to prove their manhood to the young maidens going head to head, oft times ending with a good head-butt or arm wrestling contest. Their presence was scarcely noticed as the two reached the bar.
"One usual and…water," he ordered. In her state even if she had requested it he would not have recommended alcohol until she was significantly improved.
The bartender replied with a nod quickly followed by a pair of full mugs. The Female Fighter sipped on hers carefully, turning in the stool to watch the dancers behind them. They were far from graceful, yet she seemed entranced by their drunken movements. Had she been a fan of such activities back in her own village?
"Do you want to join them?" He asked, having to shout somewhat to be heard over the surrounding commotions.
The Fighter nodded, carefully holding her mug so as not to spill it, she took to her feet and without any encouragement wandered over to the tables, settling down among another group of women to watch.
"She shure is a looker eh?"
The Apothecary sighed, he could tell by the voice who it was. Taking a deep breath to calm himself he turned around.
"What do you want?"
It was a local drunkard, spent more on drink than the necessities of life. Most tended to ignore him as he delighted in riling up others then taking advantage of the chaos to claim false crimes against him for coin.
"A fhew minutes alone with that piecsh of meat," he replied tactlessly, leaning an arm over the Apothecary's shoulder as if they were friends. His breath reeked. "Ghot any advice, I hear she's been spenting all her tyme with you."
"She was one of the women assaulted by the goblins last month," he snapped. "Show some respect for what they went through!"
"I shure don't rememberber her before…"
"She was one of the adventurers who took up the contract." The Female Fighter was unaware of his slurred remarks. "The den was…worse than expected."
"So she got a bhit of something she needed," he continued heedless of the turned heads and disgusted looks of the patrons nearby. "I'm shurrre she'd love to sample it again from a rugged stallion such as myshe…"
He never finished the sentence, in a single frustrated outburst the Apothecary wound up and delivered a punch straight into the drunkard's nose. The portly man stumbled and fell back into the bar before sliding to the floor. The room grew silent as all stopped to witness what had transpired. The Apothecary was known as one of the gentlest souls of the village, for him to have struck first like that must have been warranted.
"B-bastard," he stumbled to his feet, hands holding his nose as blood seeped between the fingers. His slur was oddly gone; no doubt a ruse to excuse any of his words or actions. "Y-you owe me for this! Did you see what he did?"
"I know what I heard beforehand," the bartender remarked. "Quite frankly you got off easy. Drop what money you have for I know it's not enough to pay your tab and get out. I don't want you in my establishment no more."
"But he broke my nose!"
"Then stop by my hut tomorrow," the Apothecary remarked, rubbing his sore hand. He was no fighter and the punch had hurt him almost as much as the drunk. "I have a salve for that and bandages."
"This will not stand! I demand recompense for…"
The drunkard immediately silenced as he turned, only then realizing the bartender had dipped under the counter and produced a fully loaded crossbow pointed squarely between his eyes.
Not another word was exchanged; a clatter of coins signaled his departure as he rushed out the doors, everyone parted to allow him to pass as if touching him could spread a foul disease.
"Well?" The bartender shouted once the man disappeared out the doors and he returned the crossbow to its place. "I thought this was a party!?"
In response mugs were raised across the bar with a cheer and the music resumed as if nothing had happened at all. The only difference was the Female Fighter was now locked squarely on the young Apothecary's face. He had to feign not noticing and look away to hide his blush as her wide dark eyes focused on only him fully for the first time.
It was quite dark when the Apothecary had started to feel weary. Amazingly, the Fighter had been watching and tapping her feet to the songs and seemed content to do so all night. Thankfully, once she saw the bags under his eyes she acquiesced and returned with him.
"I can get some soup before bed," he yawned upon returning to the house. Even the pup went ahead and curled up at the foot of her bed. "If you want some I can warm…"
The Apothecary froze, head turning towards the Female Fighter currently fluffing her pillow in preparation for sleep.
"What did you say?"
"No…thank you," she whispered again, barely audible. "Thank you."
The hut was silent, neither one certain how to continue from the unexpected breakthrough. At long last the Apothecary decided to take the lead.
"You have…a pretty voice," he cleared his throat trying to hide the crack in it at the joy of finally having heard her out loud. "It is healthy to get practice; otherwise it'll get harder the longer you go without…"
"There were so many of them."
"Goblins, I thought I could handle them after…after Warrior…."
For the first time since entering the village, Apothecary spotted tears welling in her eyes. Quickly, he grabbed a handkerchief from above the fireplace that had belonged to his mother and offered it to her. She took it and dabbed, barely paying attention as she continued.
"It all happened so fast, Wizard…Warrior. I grew up with him, we…we just wanted to be heroes together. They swarmed all over him…there was nothing I could do. I just started swinging at everything that moved."
"Y-you don't have to talk about it if…"
"I DO!" She half screamed. "It's been swirling in my head, what I could have done different, was there anything I could have done? We were so unprepared…I have to talk about it or I'll go mad! I…you have been so kind for so long."
"Okay," he agreed with a fearful uncertain whisper. "You can trust me; anything you say will never leave this room." The Apothecary took a hesitant seat on the bed, wrapping the blanket around her for a sense of security as he prepared to listen. It was sure to be a long night.
The Female Fighter started her tale, how she and the young Warrior had grown up together. He learned the way of the sword while her father taught her all of martial arts he could before passing away. She had hoped to one day do the same with others so his craft would not be forgotten. They joined the guild and on their very first outing taken a goblin hunting quest. After partnering with a young Wizard and Priestess, they set off to find a group of women taken from the village to the caves.
The Apothecary would never know how he found the fortitude to withstand her story as she explained the attack from behind. Wizard taken down so quickly with a poisoned dagger, Warrior swarmed, beaten to death and then worse. She had tried to defend the Priestess and dying Wizard, even succeeded in killing a handful of goblins.
And then she had met the hobgoblin, many times larger than the weaker ones, it had been so strong…her skills were nothing against it. Her last thought had been to beg the others to run as the little ones took advantage of her beaten state, shredding her clothes and pinning her body to the floor. And then she reached the gruesome details of her experience, despite her trembling hands, she spared no details right up to the moment Priestess had returned with the silver-ranked adventurer Goblin Slayer to rescue her and the other women of the village.
The Apothecary gripped her hands tightly as she recounted everything, trusting him with her tale. She went on and on, only wrapping up as it seemed midnight had long since passed; sunrise would not be far off.
"I," he started, having to clear his throat and swallow loudly to find his voice. "Don't know what to say, no one should have to…experience what you and the others did."
"We thought they were nothing, pests," she muttered again. He was both overjoyed to hear her speaking so freely at last yet terrified of what she may reveal next. "If it weren't for the Goblin Slayer, none of us would have made it out of that cave alive. My first thought when they pulled us out was whether it would have been better to have been alongside Warrior and Wizard after what they did…I am so disgusting…"
"No!" The Apothecary proclaimed, gripping her hand tighter. "NEVER think that, I have seen people with burns across their body that will never heal, amputees who think that the loss a limb is the end of their life. They were ALL wrong! There is always a way through, if you can find it…let me help you find yours! My hut may not be much, but it can be a home to you, as long as you require it to be one."
It was the Female Fighter's turn to blush at his impassioned proclamation, only then seeming to notice he was still gripping her hands. With an awkward moment between them, they withdrew their hands simultaneously.
"I…can get some sage from the garden," he started at last. "It can help soothe the throat; I hope you continue to give it practice every day."
She nodded as he stood up, quickly bustling outside to where he grew the herbs and other ingredients required for his work. As soon as he was sure he was far enough that she couldn't hear him he quickly doubled over, vomiting all he had drank and eaten into the grass and brush. He could hold his composure no longer.
Those damned monsters, what they did…so much was done to that poor girl and the others! The fact she is able to recover even as much as she has is a testimony to her strength. I swear as long as I can, I will ensure she is safe here.
The Apothecary collected the sage he needed, returning to the hut only after making sure there was no evidence of his weak constitution. In his rush he did not notice heavy breathing from the far off bushes, a shape darting away into the night having overheard much of the poor girl's tale.
Several Days Later…
"Good morning brother of mine!" His sister threw open the door as soon as the sun was up. She was surprised to see they were already busying themselves in the back, her plan to jolt them awake thwarted. She had not been able to visit for several days and hoped all had been well.
"Good morning," he called back. The young man was currently in the process of stirring a steaming pot and looked almost like a witch of legends brewing her magic potions. The Fighter was leaning over the contents with curiosity. He had been teaching her the different names of the plants in the area and how each one worked with the other for the desired effect.
"Trying to bore her to death while you have a captive audience?" She joked, still under the impression that she was mute and would not complain if he happened to go on too long as he was known to do. She could not help but notice she was already arrayed in the simple gown that had been provided at her first visit.
"It is very interesting," the Fighter assured their now-shocked guest. "Bruises would heal much faster with this salve applied twice daily."
The sister's eyes shot wide, a slowly widening look of jubilation as she glanced to her nodding brother.
"Well this is cause for a celebration!" She squealed with excitement. "I can bake something and bring it by tonight! Do you like cakes?"
The Pup could tell what she was saying as he started scurrying about with joy in the confined space of the hut as much as he could. The Fighter nodded sheepishly.
They spent the remainder of the day making the hut as presentable as it could be for that night. His sister said she knew a few friends who would love to attend and left after noon to bake and invite them, leaving The Fighter and Apothecary to finish up. It was only when the sun started to set that he began to grow worried, she had made it seem she would have arrived much sooner.
"I'll give her a bit more time," he let the Fighter know as she was playing with Pup. "Then maybe we can…"
A strong knock at the door broke his train of thought. It certainly did not sound like his sister, she almost never knocked to begin with. Opening up slowly he recognized the Town Crier who was winded and looked quite unnerved.
"A warning to all within the village bounds," he gasped between breaths. "Goblins have been sighted within the borders. All women and children are urged to stay indoors while men are to join the watch to find and drive them out!"
That explains why she didn't come. He sighed in relief she hadn't tried coming out herself despite the closed-doors order.
The Apothecary's face paled, quickly glancing around he realized to his horror that the Fighter heard every word. She had started trembling, eyes wide as tears formed in her eyes. She almost looked like the past weeks had been undone in a moment. Ignoring the Town Crier, he rushed to her side, gripping her shoulders securely.
"Don't be afraid," he assured her, wiping away the tears before they could fall as she glanced past him. "Pup will be here, I will make sure those things don't harm you EVER again. You are so strong; don't let this pull you back into that dark place again!"
Fighter did not seem to be hearing him as her whole body continued to shake. He made sure to wrap her in a blanket before claiming a nearby pitchfork used for tending to his garden.
"Protect her from EVERYTHING!" He commanded the Pup who sat up straight, letting out a single intimidating bark of understanding. With a final concerned glance back, the Apothecary rushed out the door, slamming it behind him with a loud click of the lock.
He and the Town Crier rushed down the path towards the center of the village where the goblins had been spotted. It took longer than expected as his cottage had been constructed around fertile soil a good distance from where most lived. Apparently one of the creatures had rushed through the square so fast the witnesses could barely be certain of what it was were it not for the green skin and tribal attire. They only saw one wielding a spear as it escaped into the woods. The collected mob was gathered together, torches and assorted weaponry prepared to defend their homes. They wouldn't let the goblins take anyone…not again.
"The tracks lead this way!" Shouted the head of the defenders. "Follow me and don't let them sneak around you!" The Goblin Slayer had been kind enough to leave them with words of wisdom when facing goblins before departing.
A roar of approval rose on the wind as the villagers followed his command, following the single trail of footprints past their borders. The Apothecary could not help but stop to look over the tracks, letting his neighbors and patients rush past in a surge of adrenaline to find the monsters. It looked too big to be a goblin who were the size of human children, this one's foot was nearly as big as his own.
Only one? He mused; remembering the raiding party he had heard attack the village the previous month. Not only that, but the Female Fighter's tale had assured him that goblins rarely traveled alone out of their individual weakness. Only as a hoard or in their caves could they threaten an armed force of men. Goblins were often underestimated due to their relative ease to deal with in low numbers while on an open field.
As he contemplated the conundrum, he leaned forward, noticing a puddle congealing within the footprint. Hesitantly he poked at it with a nearby twig, bringing the substance to his nose. It was a deep green and reeked of paste and woad.
Why would goblins be using woad? For medicinal purposes it is quite useful, but few know that fact and goblins are supposedly no smarter than children. The only other practical use for woad is as a…
The Apothecary snapped his head behind him as the answer struck him, the mob had rushed into the woods already and he was alone in the square. This one was a decoy; the true focus must be elsewhere. The only thing beyond the center of town in the opposite direction was the granary which had guards or beyond that was…
My hut! Picking himself up he sprinted back in the direction of his home, cursing his choice to ever leave. It was a fair distance away even at a sprint, he prayed he was either wrong…or that he'd make it in time.
The Female Fighter was curled up on the bed, wrapped in a blanket only peering out every few moments to make sure the windows and door were still closed. It was like she was back in the cave all over again, goblins were in the village and she was worthless against them. If they had even one hobgoblin with them…
Pup started growling low as a shadow passed under the door, then another. It wasn't long before she heard the doorknob jingling; something was fiddling with the door from the other side. The click of the lock disengaging sent a wave of ice through her body.
Pup leapt at the sound, racing towards the door as it swung open. He realized too late that a thick net had been draped over it. The growing hound tumbled into it, becoming tangled in the mesh and rolled over and over. The net wrapped him up despite his snarls and claws, he could not move and was stuck wiggling uselessly in the front garden. With her only defender incapacitated, four shapes slipped inside the now-open door, closing it behind them while ignoring her canine companion.
Her heart seemed to stop; they were tall, much taller than the standard goblins that had overwhelmed her in the cave. Yet they were not quite as tall as a hobgoblin, perhaps some middle species? She could make out their green skin and strange tribal wear, two of them had spears and all were dressed only in bare loincloths and tattered cloaks. Her eyes lost focus as she felt her mind flutter; it took every ounce of courage she had rediscovered over the past weeks to remain conscious. Even more so once she realized what they were doing.
The four goblins were laughing.
The first to enter approached her bed, the other three hanging back. With a truly sinister grin of oddly white teeth, it reached out, gripping her elbow forcefully.
"NO!" She cried, pulling back as hard as she could out of instinct and fear. She was shocked as the sudden realization reached her. Her pull had broken the goblins hold on her wrist with ease, freeing her from its clutches in an instant.
They are…so much weaker than the hobgoblin…
The goblin growled with frustration, advancing again to seize her arm, dropping the spear to use both hands.
Her father's training kicked in full force, with the incredible flexibility she had prided herself on, she brought her leg up, cracking the assailant in the side of the head aiming for the temple. The Female Fighter hit him so hard the headdress flew from their head as he smashed into the wall, allowing her to see his face, her eyes finally focusing on the shapes.
The one she had dropped had dirty blonde hair slick with sweat, his face was still a light shade of pink despite the rest of him being green. They were not goblins…they were men. Four men, their bodies slathered in green dye for which the woad plant was known for cosmetically stood in the Apothecary's home. The first was down on the ground and did not move again, the remaining three hesitated at the unexpected resistance.
"I thought you said she was a walking vegetable and an easy mark!" One muttered to the others.
"Sh-she was! I heard everything; the goblins did a number on her. She could barely even talk about them!"
The confidence she had felt after being accepted in the guild flared in her heart. As they argued over what to do and who was at fault, she rushed forward, grabbing the spear of the nearest fake-goblin and preventing its use. With a jump in the air, she landed a colossal blow to the side of his head, snapping it sharply to the side unnaturally and breaking his neck. He fell backwards, the remaining two barely moving out of the way in time.
"You bitch!" The third man roared, drawing a short sword at his hip. "The entire village is off on their wild goblin chase; we'll still have our fun and be gone long before they get back. So you might as well strip and get ready, cause like it or not we're going to show you a better world of a time than those goblins ever…"
The door behind them flew open; they had no time to react as a snarling mass of teeth and fur slammed into one of the remaining attackers. Pup's claws tore the sword from his grip as his jaws latched around the throat, cutting off the man's high-pitched scream before he was forced to the ground.
"Damned mutt!" The last one raised his blade overhead.
The weapon hung there, frozen as he suddenly lost all feeling in his limbs, the useless sword sliding from his twitching hands to clatter on the floor. Glancing down he saw the four prongs of a pitchfork jutting from his chest slick with blood. The Apothecary pushed harder, twisting somewhat to force the man to his knees. The cowl hiding his identity fell away, revealing the Drunkard from the previous night.
He just stared at the Fighter girl as the pitchfork was ripped from his chest. Finally giving up, he breathed his last before slumping to the ground dead. His final companion had already been dealt with, Pup having snapped his neck with a single powerful motion after securing his fangs deep within. He left the body alone to snuggle up to the Female Fighter, clearly jubilant to see her safe and up and about at the same time.
The Apothecary did a quick check of the four men, each of them were lowlifes and undesirables of the town yet he never imagined they would attempt such evil. All four of them were dead, in the end they had paid for their crimes.
"Wh-what happened here?" A neighbor's wife who had seen the Apothecary running so manically back to his home that she had followed asked from the still-open entryway.
"Can you get the others?" He asked politely, trying to recompose himself as adrenaline flooded his veins. "There were no goblins, just evil men who dyed their skin." He motioned to the bodies around them. "We will need to deal with the corpses quickly before it draws scavengers."
"O-of course!" She stuttered at the sight of the blood, rushing off to find anyone who had left with the mob.
The Apothecary allowed himself to relax, finally turning back to the Female Fighter. She had sat down back upon the bed, Pup's head laying on her lap looking up at her. Her eyes were hidden behind black bangs.
"If…you need a moment to…" he started as he approached. Before he could finish, a hand lashed out, gripping his arm and pulling him onto the bed.
The young Apothecary's eyes shot out of his head as she embraced him strongly, her previous strength having returned. She was crying, truly crying so hard he could feel the tears on his shoulder running down his back that had been restrained for so long. Without hesitation he returned the hug, squeezing tight to give her all the time she needed.
The Female Fighter wept, yet unbeknownst to the young man, she had a smile on her lips the whole time. It was a smile of triumph at having used the strength and skills that her father passed to her for the first time since the attack. She continued to sob, the Apothecary never rushing or attempting to stop her until the villagers arrived to help clear out and bury the bodies.
It would still take time, but at long last she felt safe again in that hut…with him.
"We should continue on," Goblin Slayer assured his companion. "There have been no Goblins in these parts for a long time. We have no business here."
"It's along the way," Priestess dismissed his words. "The others will meet up with us ahead; besides, the Apothecary in this town has a good reputation for fair prices. We can restock our stores before heading to the next job."
The armored warrior nodded, understanding her points. Neither one knew at the time which village they had entered. In short order, they came upon the hut of the local Apothecary. They could hear a deep guttural bark and growl utter from within, a great dire-hound warning all who came near.
"Come in!" He called in response to their knocks. "Down Pup…DOWN!"
Upon entering the door, they spotted the menacing beast in the back, indeed it was a black hound of great size. Even sitting, its head nearly came up to the Apothecary's chest though seemed to currently be content sitting per its master's commands yet eyed them suspiciously the entire time.
Despite being the source of medicine for only a small village, the hut was busy. The young man appeared to be operating it alone running this way and that. Distillers and other machines to perfect the ingredients required for his salves, poultices and other concoctions were working overtime. There was a single bed in the back corner that was almost too large to fit along with basic necessities doubling it as an apothecary hut and home. He was sweating from the heat of the room despite the opened windows.
"Sorry," he spoke while continuing to work, not even turning to check who had entered. "There has been something going around sickening the livestock, I've been working to cultivate as much of the treatment as possible. As long as we can keep it in check it should pass, how can I help you today?"
"Just passing through," the Priestess explained. We were hoping to purchase some healing potions, antidotes and other supplies for the road."
"Of course, I got a few minor ones premade. Do you have coin? I accept all denominations from Gold to…"
Only then did the overworked man get a chance to turn around, immediately recognizing the two whom he had so briefly spoken with years before. He dropped everything to rush around the front desk.
"But for you, everything is half off!" He surprised them as he wrapped the Goblin Slayer and Priestess in a great hug, causing them to shirk back in confusion. "If I didn't need income to survive I'd give you access to my whole stock!"
The Apothecary looked to them each with a look of shock before understanding with how much they traveled it was unlikely they would remember every face of the simple folk they came across. Restoring his composure, he took a step back.
"You may not remember, but you two helped this village years ago. You rescued a group of our women who were abducted by Goblins to their caves though it came at heavy cost."
Priestess' eyes shot open, finally realizing which village she now stood within. Glancing over, it was obvious the Goblin Slayer also remembered the first mission in which they had met.
"Please, buy what you need but I BEG of you to stay for dinner! My wife will be home from the dojo soon, there is more than enough for two more! My sister may even attend!"
"Your town has a dojo?" Goblin Slayer asked as if quite impressed. "I did not imagine with how small it is."
"She started it herself right before we got married," he clarified. "She teaches the people and their children to defend themselves and I patch them up afterwards. We even get a few from neighboring villages. You would not believe how many traveling thugs and bandits realized their folly too late of picking our village to harass."
A sharp whistle the Apothecary recognized cut through the air outside, eyes wide he motioned them towards the door.
"That will be her!"
The three left the hut, Pup close behind looking over the fields they had just come from. What they saw caused Priestess' eyes to water with joy, had Goblin Slayer revealed his face, perhaps a hint of an emotion he had long forgotten could have been seen.
A familiar woman with a long black ponytail was making her way to the hut, the years having barely touched her appearance. A small child no older than three was keeping pace alongside her. On her back was a basket carrying an infant with a head of black hair matching her own. The Female Fighter was clothed in a robe with pants that allowed for easier movement and were perfect for martial art practice; they were scuffed, clearly from her daily exercises and spars with a growing number of students. What stood out most to them was the absolutely glowing smile of joy present on her face, the complete opposite of her expression when they had last seen her.
It is commonplace for adventurers to fail and never be heard from again, this is the world in which we live. Yet not all such tales need end in sorrow, for life is long and the world filled with beauty if it can only be found…
Just a one-shot I felt HAD to be written after watching the first episode of Goblin Slayer, this will be the only fanfic I have planned from Goblin Slayer. I hope everyone enjoyed this attempt at providing closure to a minor character who I felt did not deserve the ending provided. As always, Read and Review…but most of all Enjoy! :D