Disclaimer: I own neither Goblin Slayer or the Red Dead Redemption series.
Warning: This first chapter contains spoilers from Red Dead Redemption 2, proceed with caution.
Pitch black. That was all Arthur Morgan could see. Surrounding him from all sides, an endless abyss of darkness. He could barely remember what happened. He recalled his last plea with Dutch to see Micah Bell for the sniveling rat he was. He remembered sending John off to his family, telling him to be a man for him. All these memories flooded through his mind, causing him to hyperventilate. Because they all lead to the same conclusion.
I'm dead, ain't I?
Arthur touched his chest with both hands, feeling himself carefully. He rapidly blinked, looking down at his body as he realized something: he no longer felt like his chest was filled with blood. In fact, he didn't feel any pain at all, despite his still rapid breathing. He also realized that he could see his own body, fully clothed strange enough, like it was illuminated even in this dark abyss. He shifted his gaze back up, head swiveling side to side.
"Is this Hell..?" He muttered, taking a careful step forward. While no ground was visible, he still found footing. He looked back up, but was again greeted with darkness.
Silence. His voice didn't even echo. It was unsettling, to say the least. Though he doubted Hell was meant to be pleasant, anyway.
"This… ain't exactly what I was expectin' from Hell, but…"
"That's because it's not, Mr. Morgan."
Arthur spun around, hand reflexively going for his holster. Of course, despite being clothed, Arthur found his guns were missing. But his attention was directed at the lone voice to answer him. A man who wasn't there before was now seated behind a maple brown desk. He was dressed in an all black suit with a long pipe hat on top of his head. He had a brown handlebar mustache sitting above his lips, and his eyes were focused on some paper he was jotting down on his desk.
"What the hell..?" Arthur muttered, taking cautious steps toward the man. A single light seemed to be beaming down on the stranger like a stagelight at a theatre.
"As I just said, that's not where you are," The man chuckled, a small smirk rising at the edge of his lips. "Come, sit. We have much to discuss."
Arthur looked around again, unsure of what to do. Seeing that there was literally nothing around to do otherwise, he cautiously obeyed, walking up to the single chair sitting in front of the man's desk.
"I uh… I can't say this is what I was expectin' from the afterlife," Arthur humorlessly chuckled, feeling no small sense of fear as he seated himself. "Is this the judgement before I go or somethin'?"
"Oh, no no no, good sir. This is more of a… special case area," The man answered, tapping the tip of his quill in a bottle of ink. "People who the big man upstairs has deemed worthy of… redemption."
Arthur didn't know what to say to that. His eyes drifted down to the empty void below his feet. "I uh… I don't know if God has made a good choice in that regard. I mean, I mighta tried to do somethin' in the end to… to make my exit a bit more dignified, but… I wasn't expectin' it to get me through those pearly gates."
"And they haven't. But, that doesn't mean they haven't give you a second chance," The stranger said with an amused chuckle, setting down his quill and linking his fingers together, giving Morgan a smile that somewhat unsettled him. "No, God has special plans for you. Plans that, if you play your cards right, might get you a ticket to the penthouse. As well as a chance to perhaps live differently than you did."
Arthur narrowed his eyes in disbelief, trying to find the right words to answer back with.
"I… I don't understand…"
"It's not for you to understand. At least not entirely just yet," The stranger explained, leaning back in the leather chair he rested in. "Just know that you'll be able to put those skills to use for something far less unpleasant than before."
"My… skills?" Arthur repeated, his confusion only rising. "T-That… That don't make much sense. I'm a killer and a thief. Ain't much good that can come of those kinda skills... "
"It all depends on what those skills are aimed at, even ones such as yours," The stranger said, wagging his index finger at the veteran cowboy. "Much more good can come from those skills being used pointed in the right direction."
The stranger stood from his seat, crossing his arms behind his back as he strode slowly around the table. "Or… if you feel that new perspective you got at the end of your life was only temporary… You could just continue to use those skills in what ways you've known. Killing people. Robbing the innocent. Of course it means damning your soul again, but it will be your life to choose once given the chance."
Arthur stared at the stranger in disbelief. "Ain't you supposed to be workin' for the big man? Why bother tellin' me that kinda thing if the point's to… give me a chance at Heaven?"
"Oh, I might work for God, Mr. Morgan, but my perspective is a bit more bleak than his," The stranger explained, stopping just a few feet away from Arthur and leaning on the desk. "I'm a big fan of your work, to be honest. All of it. So part of me has to wonder… has that old gunslinging, murdering thief really changed? Or was sitting on my doorstep just making him sentimental?"
Arthur felt his body fill with dread. Whoever this man was, despite his mannerisms, terrified him. He wasn't saying much, but just having him so close was making Arthur's skin crawl.
"Who the hell are you? What the hell are you?"
"I've been called many things, Mr. Morgan. But right now, I'm just the ferryman to your new life," the stranger smiled again, only serving to make Arthur uncomfortable enough to swallow his spit. "But enough about me. Let's get you moving on, shall we?"
Arthur felt his body relax once the stranger removed himself from the table and returned to his side again. "O-Okay then… so what exactly am I gonna be doin'? Reborn as some kid back home again?"
"Oh no, nothing like that. Your role in your world is over. It's time for you to take a journey to another," The stranger explained, picking up another piece of paper and beginning to write again. "Though we will be giving you a few years back. Perhaps around your early twenties, hm? Would that be preferable?"
"Another… another world?" Arthur asked, releasing a small chortle in disbelief, ignoring the last sentence. "The hell you mean?"
"Well, you see Mr. Morgan, there are indeed more worlds than the one you know," The stranger continued, turning a smile up at the cowboy as he continued to write. "Places much like those out of the fairy tales that you used to read with John Marston, I believe. Places full of wonders beyond your imagination."
Arthur looked down in thought, trying to understand what was going on. "So… basically, you're tossin' me into a story book about knights and princesses? Is that what you're tellin' me?"
The stranger laughed, amusement evident in his expression. "Something like that I suppose. But as you've discovered about life, not all stories are so glamorous as they seem. Some are quite dark and full of terrors. Terrors you've yet to know or experience. After all, while you've seen what evil men can put forth, you've yet to see what… true evil can be," The stranger licked his thumb, picking up another page and beginning to write again.
"Now what exactly do you mean by that?" Arthur asked, eyes furrowed.
"Ah, now what fun would it be to tell you everything? That's for you to find out. You have much to see and learn about this new world," The stranger chuckled, standing from his seat again. "But worry not. Despite the medieval status of the world, we won't send you there with nothing."
The stranger walked to the left side of the table, tapping the top of it. Without warning, a drawer suddenly pulled out of the table, causing Arthur to stand up with a eyes widened, now seeing a collection of guns sitting inside a large panel. Guns that he had collected before his death.
"You're… gonna give me all my guns?"
"Not all of them. About four will do. But I thought that we might as well give you something familiar to choose from. Go on, take a look," The stranger offered, waving a hand over the guns in presentation. "You can take two handguns and two long guns. About what you would typically carry on foot, right?"
"Yeah… I guess…" Arthur muttered, his hands tracing over the familiar weapons. "But uh… if this place is all knights and dragons or whatever it is, what good will my guns be without ammo?"
"You let me worry about that. Once you've made your choices, I'll give them a little tweak to help you out," The stranger said vaguely. Arthur looked up at him again, wanting to argue. But then again, he doubted that his current host was one who would be so threatened by him. Hell, Arthur was afraid of him in a way.
With that in mind, he returned to his guns. One that caught his attention was Calloway's Schofield revolver. It had been one of his favorite 'trophy' guns after taking it from the drunken gunslinger's body. Its design and strength were nothing to laugh at. He even liked the latin words across the barrel, CANIS CANEM EDIT, which Hosea translated for him as 'Dog Eat Dog'.
With that in mind, Arthur tucked it away to his main holster.
He then looked at his own custom designed cattleman revolver. Looking at it now, Arthur felt a bit silly. He went all out with it, having the barrel threaded and lengthened, the metal shifted to nickel plating and a beautiful carving in the metal. He even had pearl grips installed. A bit flashier than what he was used to using, but Arthur went on a bit of a splurge for this gun. He was dying when he got it customized, after all. He didn't see any use in holding back.
He tucked that one away to his off-hand holster.
He spared a look at his shotguns. They were all fine weapons and useful for close range. Packed a lot of firepower that he could use at close quarters. He grabbed the lever action, fond of its style and the most familiar gun among his shotguns. He slung it over his shoulder, accepting it as his third gun.
He moved to rifles. The Lancaster repeater was tempting. Good at close to medium ranges with 14 rounds. But Arthur was good with his revolvers at even medium range, and often used them in the longer winded fights over the repeater due to the flexibility. So, wanting the maximum range possible, Arthur picked up the Rolling Block rifle. Extremely long barrel, long scope but great stopping power. He'd put down some big game with this bad boy in one shot.
"Well… guess I've made my choices," Arthur announced, slinging it on his shoulder. "Now what?"
"Place them on the table. Each one on its own paper," The stranger instructed, the four sheets that he'd been writing on laid out for Arthur to see. Strange pentagrams were inked across the pages, causing Arthur to hesitate for a moment. "Go on, they won't bite. They're to help, remember?"
"Yeah… okay," Arthur sighed, drawing his handguns and setting them on the papers. Next, he unslung his two shoulder guns and did the same.
"Very good. Now to give them each a tweak," The stranger grabbed a stamp at the end of his desk, pressing it against the edge of each paper. Arthur took a step back as the ink began to illuminate, consuming the guns in a faint green light. After another second, it passed, and the guns now had a small pentagram engraved on the handles.
"What… did you do?" Arthur asked, slowly reaching forward and grabbing his cattleman revolver.
"I solved your ammo problem. Don't worry, you'll figure it out as you go," The stranger chuckled, patting him on the shoulder. "In fact, each gun, as you start to grow and know this new world, will have something a bit special to them. You'll discover those special tricks overtime. So tell me, Mr. Morgan. How are you processing?"
Arthur looked at his gun before looking at the stranger, shaking his head. "Barely. I can't believe where I'm at, who you work for or what's happenin'... I just… I don't know. Guess I didn't know what to expect when I died, but this, all this, was… certainly not it."
"I understand. Many others in your place have had the same reaction. Can't say I blame you," The stranger said, clapping his hands together. "But see it as an opportunity. One not unlike the one you gave to John Marston before departing from him. A chance to live how you see fit with a completely fresh start."
"Y-Yeah… I suppose…" was Arthur's best response, the cowboy tugging on the brim of his hat. "So… anything I should know about this place I'm goin' to?"
"Quite a lot, in fact. But… none of it I'll be telling you," the stranger bluntly put, causing Arthur to look up at him in confusion. "Consider it a part of your trials to come. Learning, adapting, and overcoming what obstacles you'll face. A baptism by fire if you will."
"That don't sound very pleasant…" Arthur mumbled, rubbing a hand against the close shaven hairs on his chin.
"Things might start a bit shaky for you, but I've no doubt you'll step up to the challenge," the stranger said. "One bit of advice though: when you meet someone, don't tell them you're from another world. They'll likely think you're mad."
"Yeah, that sounds about right. I know if some feller walked up to me sayin' that, I'd think the same," Arthur admitted, picking up the rest of his guns and putting them away. "So… what now?"
"Now… Now you go off. Enjoy your second life, Mr. but two things before you go," the stranger placed his index and middle finger against Arthur's temple. "The first being that people don't actually use names for others in this world. Just their titles."
"Titles? Why the hell would they do that?"
"I don't rightly know. But I figured it was only right to tell you to keep that confusion from slowing you down. If I were you, I'd go by… Gunslinger."
"If you say so…" Arthur muttered, unsure of the title. He never considered himself a real gunslinger in any sense. Even if he was good in a gunfight.
"Good. Now, lastly, and this one's important," the stranger's smile faded, replaced with a grave expression.
"Do be careful of goblins. Despite what people might say in that world, they're not so simple a creature as you might expect."
Arthur raised a brow, about to question his meaning. That became difficult when he felt body go limp, suddenly overwhelmed by sleep.
"What the hell…"
Arthur's eyes peeled open slowly, only to find he was still in darkness. The air felt different though. Musty, in fact. The ground beneath him was no longer nothing, but instead rough earth. The cowboy let out a groan as he rolled onto his side. He pushed off the ground slowly, rising to his feet as he felt around him. He moved several meters from where he had been laid out, his hand finding a rock wall.
A cave then? Arthur reached into his jacket, hoping to find the contents he usually had stashed away in his breast pocket. With some relief, he found a box of matches inside. He quickly struck a match against his boot, giving himself the smallest amount of light to see. Though it wasn't much. Thankfully, just a few feet away, an unlit torch sat in a stand.
"Well that's convenient," He muttered, quickly pulling the torch out and lighting it up. It gave him much more field of vision, Arthur taking a moment to spare a look at his surroundings. It wasn't much though, forward and back both looking as deep and dark as the other.
"Shit… where the hell did he put me?" Arthur grunted, unsure which way to go. He tried to listen for the wind or the sound of rushing water. But he didn't pick up anything. He grit his teeth, hating that he had to pick a way. Getting fed up with standing there, he released a breath and moved forward. He would really like a compass right about now. No that it could tell him which was out, anyway. Arthur moved close along the wall, torch in his left hand while his right rested on his gun.
He could still barely believe that he was alive. He recalled the stranger's words vividly and knew that they were more than just some dream he imagined in his death throes. He felt very much alive right now, even with no illusion as to where he was. It was all so surreal.
I mighta tried to do some good in the end, but… did I really deserve a second chance?
That thought never left his mind. To him, it should have been an obvious answer: of course not. A lifetime of crimes shouldn't have been erased by a few good deeds. Though from the way the stranger talked, it technically hadn't. It only gave him another chance to make up for it.
But what does that mean? How the hell can I do that with what I know?
A pebble kicked in the darkness. Arthur came to a halt and raised the torch. He tilted his head sideways, trying to listen.
"Hello? Is someone there?"
It was faint, but he could hear it. The lightest patter of feet echoing further in the cave. It sounded like a small animal from the size of it, but what worried Arthur was that he could hear multiple feet approach. He instinctively pulled Calloway's revolver from its holster, cocking the hammer back. He took a step back, raising the gun and aiming forward. As the steps started to close in, Arthur's eyes widened in disbelief. Small pale green figures came out of the darkness. They were short, barely big as little Jack was if not smaller. They had long pointed ears and noses. Despite their small size, Arthur saw their poorly made weapons, spears and small knives in hand.
"What the hell are you ugly bastards..?" Arthur muttered, eyes narrowing as he saw them approach. They stopped some two meters away from him, seemingly watching him. Their breathing was ragged, coming out as low growls. Arthur didn't know if they spoke, but he easily recognized the looks in their eyes. He'd seen it in a few feral predators he'd hunted before. They were hungry.
And they were looking at him.
Arthur saw one take a step closer, its spear raised. His body reacted on instinct, responding by pulling the trigger of the gun in his hand. Black powder smoke filled the cave as it echoed with the first shot. He watched as the little monster's head blew up in a brilliant spout of blood. The others immediately backed away, the eruption of Arthur's gun loud and terrifying to their ears.
"Go on… get back, now. Get back!" Arthur ordered, pointing his gun at the remaining monsters, hand tightening around the grip as he cocked the hammer back. Whatever they were, they died from getting shot at least. But Arthur's problem was that there were multiple. And despite his first kill and their hesitant, confused looks, they weren't scattering like rats as he hoped.
They ain't done tryin'. Not yet.
Arthur was trusting his gut on this one. He needed to kill another or so to get his point across. If he could get them to scurry away, he would be satisfied and head in the opposite direction.
But then he heard it. The smallest flick of a bow. A moment later, his left shoulder was pierced by an arrow. A small one that didn't dig too deep, but one painful enough to cause him to drop his torch.
"ARGH!" Arthur cried out in pain, regretting his moment of hesitation after killing the first. These things weren't completely discouraged from pursuing him. He should have killed another.
Fighting through the pain, Arthur gripped his revolver and raised it, seeing that the monsters were now rushing at him. Another bullet flew forward, causing a monster to fly back from the force, dead. Arthur couldn't stop there though, realizing that he still needed to grab his torch. He unloaded another round into the pursuing pack, killing two thankfully with one shot. He grit his teeth as he stretched his left arm forward, grabbing the torch.
But then he noticed it. One of the creatures had snuck around his right through the darkness. He didn't have enough time to stop it, crying out in agony as he felt a knife dig into his thigh. Arthur fell back, dropping the torch again. But before the little monster could try to stab him again, Arthur raised the barrel of his gun and blew a giant hole in its skull. The body flew back against the cave walls, its blood spattering behind it.
Arthur groaned, gripping the knife in his leg and pulling it out with a cry. He didn't have much time to nurse his wound, though. As he tried to pull up to his feet, a couple more of the little monsters were upon him. The adrenaline in his blood seemed to slow time down for him, aiming precisely at each of their heads and giving them a bullet each. Their bodies flew back, heads blasted from their necks.
"You little… bastards…" Arthur coughed, suddenly beginning to feel woozy. He felt the blood on his right calf, seeing a thin film on the tips of his fingers. Shit. I hope that ain't what I think.
Despite his fears, Arthur didn't have time to think on it. He raised his gun again and aimed at another monster. Much to his fear, his gun didn't fire. Out. Shit!
Whatever the stranger did to his guns, it didn't put ammo back in them. Arthur reached for his belt, grabbing the cattleman revolver in his left hand and raising it painfully to shoot. While one of the monsters edged closer, he saw one in the back at the edge of the faint light from his torch pulling back an arrow. He decided that it was the greater threat, quickly putting a bullet through its gut. As the other one edged closer, he reached for his belt again, this time pulling the hunting knife from its sheath.
The little monster was able to jump on his chest, pushing him back on the ground. Arthur grit his teeth as he stabbed the knife right through its stomach, the monster letting out a pathetic cry before he tossed it off. Arthur heaved for breath, lying flat on his back after that other close call. His head was getting light, and he could guess from what.
Shit. I guess all that 'second chance' business was a crock of shit, huh?
He could hear more of the monsters approaching, their small feet smacking against the rough ground.
This was Hell all along, wasn't it?
Arthur pushed off the ground, slowly forcing his arm to raise up and aim at an approaching monster.
Well, it's not like I hadn't done plenty of lyin' in my life. This is probably exactly what I get.
The monster leaped in the air, knife in hand, ready to stab into his chest.
Well, guess I can die fightin'. Again.
Arthur blew the monster's head off, its body flying past him as he rolled out of the way. He raised the gun again, preparing to shoot at the next monster creeping close.
But, as fortune would have it, he didn't need to shoot. Because a knife flew directly between the monster's eyes. Arthur hesitated, stunned by the sudden intrusion.
Arthur snapped his head back, the voice making him aware of someone else's presence. The monsters had stopped as well, the torch's light slowly bringing the new figure into sight. When Arthur had pictured 'knights' during the stranger's talk, he hadn't imagined this grave set of armor before him. A man strode toward them, looking no taller than Arthur and probably going up to his nose. He wore a steel helmet on top of his head that made it impossible to see his face. He wore a steel chestplate with fur lining the collar, steel shoulders and sections of steel along leather pants and shirt.
"What the hell..?"
Arthur watched as he raised his sword again, startling back as he reflexively pointed his gun. The man's sword had another target though, a monster that had dared to dash at him. He easily cleaved the creature in half, causing Arthur to stare in shock.
"Jesus…" Arthur looked at the remaining monsters, seeing that they were now recoiling back. He used the moment to push himself up, gritting his teeth as his leg wound throbbed with pain.
"Take this." Arthur snapped his head to the armored man, looking to see him holding out a small bottle.
"Uh… thanks… but what's-"
"Your leg wound. Goblins dip their knives in poison."
"O-Oh, shit!" Arthur didn't wait another moment, inhaling the antidote quickly and letting out a grunt of disgust. "Thanks, partner."
"You were lucky. Any later would have been fatal," he said in answer. His voice was deep and his voice apathetic. Still, Arthur felt no less grateful for his help. "The exit's that way. Go."
Arthur looked past the armored man. Of course it's that way. He thought, thinking of his dumb luck to have gone toward the monsters instead of away.
"Thanks. Let's get goin' then," Arthur said, pulling the bandana from his neck and tying it around his cut leg before pulling the arrow out with a pained grunt.
"You go. I'll finish these off."
"What?" Arthur said, looking back at the armored man in confusion before looking at where the goblins had attacked from. They had clearly retreated further in, having left their dead to the worms. "Look pal, they've already run away. You shouldn't risk goin' too deep 'case they set a trap."
"They likely have. I'll make sure to spring it." He answered shortly, beginning to stomp forward again.
Arthur stared at his back in disbelief, watching as the man picked up the torch Arthur dropped earlier and started to use it as his guide. "Don't be a goddamn fool! Those little monsters ain't worth the time!"
"They are. For I am Goblin Slayer," He said back, causing Arthur to narrow his eyes. "And I don't leave any goblins alive."
Arthur recalled something about people's names being their 'titles'. He also remembered the vague warning about goblins as well. Still, Arthur could only hesitate, looking back at the exit as he was tempted to leave.
"Goddamn it!" He cursed, limping after Goblin Slayer. He made sure to pick up his dropped revolver and hat, placing them both firmly in place.
"You're coming?" Goblin Slayer asked, his voice void of concern but with a small bit of curiosity.
"Yeah, I'm comin'," Arthur drawled,holding up his cattleman revolver at the ready. "You helped me out, so… I suppose I should return the favor, at least."
That wasn't the whole reason, of course, but it was true enough. This was the first person (or at least he hoped was a person) that Arthur had come into contact with. He didn't have anyone else to help him get answers. Sticking with Goblin Slayer was probably his best bet.
Goblin Slayer's helmet tilted ever so slightly to look at Arthur, the cowboy looking back into the black of the helmet where he thought eyes might be. Arthur couldn't read the guy at all, but the small nod that his helmet did at least told him that he was fine with him coming.
"Keep an eye out for an ambush. They'll be waiting."
"Got it. You sound like the expert, so I'll follow your lead," Arthur said, keeping his eyes peeled for any movement. At the moment, the cave was still narrow, so he doubted they could get the jump on them just yet.
He didn't speak again as they moved forward, not wanting to distract Goblin Slayer from his task. He simply pulled out Calloway's revolver, clicking his tongue.
Solve my ammo problem my ass… he thought bitterly, knowing he had no ammo on him to refill it with. Still, he opened the gun to pop out the useless casings. Except when the bullet shells should have popped out, they only ejected half way, the chamber beginning to illuminate blue.
Arthur stopped, eyes furrowing in confusion as the chamber suddenly started to spin on its own. One by one, the bullets sunk back into their chambers. Arthur could feel the weight of unused bullets inside the gun again, flipping it closed and holding the custom Schofield up to inspect.
"What the hell was that..?"
"We're drawing closer. Don't lag too far," Goblin slayer called out, bringing Arthur's attention back up to him.
"Y-Yeah… comin'..." Arthur looked back down at his gun again, but kept it in hand as he caught up to the armored man. He was hoping he guessed right about the gun, but was wary enough to carry both in case he was wrong.
"What are those?" Goblin Slayer asked the moment Arthur was close.
"Well uh...know what a gun is?" Arthur asked, hoping to avoid a full explanation.
"Figures. Well uh… think of it as a… slingshot or a crossbow or somethin'. Except much faster, more powerful and much louder," Arthur suggested, causing his companion to hesitate and look back at him, the smallest tilt of his helmet conveying his wonder. "You'll see. They're strong and'll put 'em down quick."
"I saw. You killed a few. So was that the loud explosion I heard?"
"That's right. They'll pop your ears in a cave like this. I'm just used to the noise myself," Arthur explained.
"I see. The noise probably alerted the rest of their brood. They'll likely have a full party waiting for us."
"Ain't that just dandy…" Arthur huffed, keeping the revolvers in hand. "Keep that light up. The better I can see, the more I'll be able to kill."
"Understood. How much do you know about goblins?"
"Pretty much nothin'. Why?"
"If you see one with a staff, that's a shaman. He'll be able to cast magic and will likely stay behind the rest of his grunts," Goblin Slayer explained, his helmet turning to look back at Arthur. "If you get a clear shot, take it. They're top priority."
"Okay then… look for one with a staff. Got it," Arthur agreed, trying to pick up his advice quick. "Anything else?"
"They may have a hobgoblin or two among them. Much larger than the ones you've seen so far. Stronger and taller than the average man. Kill them first, too."
Guy sure knows his stuff. Guess when that's your 'name', it makes sense.
The two walked some ways before Goblin Slayer held out an arm, stopping them short. "Just ahead. The path begins to open up."
Arthur narrowed his eyes forward, seeing that the walls started to widen. He held up his guns and cocked the hammers back. "Got it. I'll keep an eye out."
Goblin Slayer kept his sword in hand, striding forward with the torch in his shield hand. Arthur kept one gun trained forward and the other ready next to it, hoping to check the corners the moment they entered the larger space.
As soon as they stepped further in, Arthur peeked around the corner. Goblin Slayer immediately grabbed his shirt, hauling him forward.
Arthur rolled against the ground after being thrown, looking up to realize a large club had smashed the ground they once stood on. "Jesus!" He cursed, the hobgoblin becoming visible thanks to the torch. It was indeed much larger than the other goblins, almost as tall as a bear and as muscular as one.
Arthur sat up, preparing to shoot the much larger monster in the face.
Arthur snapped his head back, seeing four of the smaller goblins drawing arrows back. "Shit-" Arthur quickly threw his back against the ground, aiming at the four despite the upside view.
That little ammo trick better have worked!
Taking aim, Arthur fired each gun twice each, thankful to hear that Calloway's revolver had truly reloaded after he had opened it up. The goblin archers barely had time to fire, each one eating a bullet straight in the gut, folding over and quickly dying.
Arthur rolled onto his stomach, trying to get a better view of the cave. He looked back at the hobgoblin, thankful to see Goblin Slayer cutting at it with his sword. Despite the monster's size, the armored man was able to chop off its arm without issue, making it release the log of a club it carried.
"Goddamn…" Arthur muttered, watching his companion hack away at the beast. But a small crackle from the end of the cave drew his attention, Arthur looking forward to see a light spark in the darkness. He couldn't make out the figure, but he understood.
Without wasting a moment, Arthur got to one knee, pulling back the hammers of his guns and unloading three shots out. The death cries of the goblin shaman reassured him, watching as whatever magic it was casting fade away with its life. Arthur didn't relax, shifting his aim to two barely visible figures.
An arrow whizzed past his face, but the veteran gunslinger kept his head cool. He pulled both triggers, but found that only one gun fired. Arthur couldn't help but feel like a fool. He might have reloaded Calloway's revolver, but his own had already used two shots in the previous fight. He could hear one cry out in pain but could see the shadow of one adjusting. Arthur made to quickly pop open one of his guns, but stopped when he saw a knife sail through the air, digging right into the remaining goblin.
Arthur looked back at Goblin Slayer. Blood trickled down his blade, the hobgoblin's decapitated head sitting by his metal boots.
"Thanks…" Arthur muttered out in grattitude, pushing off his good leg to stand up as he scanned the cave. "That all of 'em?"
"No. Some scurried back further in once you killed the shaman. Good aim," Goblin Slayer said, Arthur raising a brow at the subtle compliment. "I'm going to finish off the rest."
"Sure," Arthur nodded, pulling both gun's loading chambers open. Like before, the bullets in the Schofield popped out halfway as the chamber spun. The cattleman revolver just spun on its own, glowing with the same blue light until it stopped.
Guess I can't say he lied now…
Arthur closed the guns up, following after Goblin Slayer with a short limp. The wound was fresh but not enough to slow him down too much. Like his companion had said, there were several goblins left, all crowded around a small throne of bones. Arthur narrowed his eyes at the throne, seeing a collection of human bones among it. "Jesus…"
"I'll finish them. Kill any runners," Goblin Slayer said, stalking toward the remaining goblins with blade in hand.
Arthur watched with morbid interest, holstering his offhand gun but keeping his right hand armed in case one escaped. The last of the goblins pointed short spears at Goblin Slayer, each one trembling in fear for their lives.
Their judgement was swift. Goblin Slayer swung his blade forward, cleaving one of the creatures in half at the waist. One attempted to lunge forward with its spear, only to have it deflected by Goblin Slayer's small shield. He cut that one's head off at the neck. The remaining two recoiled, backs hitting the throne as they backpedaled. Goblin Slayer ended them in one swift horizontal swing. The last one dropped its spear and attempted to flea, hoping its small feet could help it dodge Arthur. The cowboy pointed his pistol, but Goblin Slayer didn't let him kill it. Instead, he tossed a hidden knife from his belt, piercing through the goblin's skull. Arthur watched it stagger before falling to the ground, dead.
"Well… that was somethin'," Arthur muttered, rubbing the scruff on his chin. "I guess we're done, then?"
"Almost," Goblin Slayer said, kicking the bone throne aside. He peeked in a hole hidden in the back. "Hm. They hadn't reproduced yet. Good."
"What were you lookin' for?" Arthur asked curiously.
"Goblin infants. They're sometimes hidden away in places like that," Goblin Slayer explained, flicking the blood off his blade before sheathing it. "None here, though."
"You'd… kill a bunch of their babies?" Arthur asked, eyes furrowing in disbelief.
"Of course. If you have an infestation, you kill it at the source. Adult or infant," Goblin Slayer answered easily enough. "If you don't, they'll carry their grudges into adulthood. They'll learn from the mistakes of their parents. Adapt to future situations. Goblins are not smart, but not completely foolish."
Arthur stood there in silence, watching as Goblin Slayer stepped past him. He took a moment to think about it before nodding. "Well… you know better than I do on the matter. You're probably right to kill 'em all, then."
"Leaving goblins unchecked, even as infants, could mean the destruction of entire villages," Goblin Slayer continued, sparing a small look back at Arthur. "If you ever invade another nest, don't hesitate. Kill them all."
"Alright, I'll keep that in mind," Arthur nodded, seeing the logic in his words. Guy treats 'em like a bunch of pests. Not that they gave me much reason to think different.
"What are you?"
"'Scuse me?" Arthur asked, looking back at Goblin Slayer.
"Did you take a job to eliminate the goblins? Or did wander into one of their traps?" Goblin Slayer asked, causing Arthur to scratch the hairs on his chin.
"I uh… I can't rightly say. I just… woke up here in this cave, I guess."
Guess it ain't a lie, in a way.
"I see. You're lucky, then. You woke up before they could tear you apart," Goblin Slayer said, turning back forward and accepting his word.
"Yeah. Lucky me…" Arthur trailed off. "So… Goblin Slayer, was it?"
Usin' titles for names. Ridiculous. But, not wanting to be rude. Arthur gave his 'name'.
"You can… call me Gunslinger."
To be continued…
Well, that was a big surprise. I never would have thought, after the rough start I had with the series, that I would be writing a crossover with Goblin Slayer. And with Red Dead Redemption 2 of all things. But, after beating the game, I just had to write a story based on its main character, Arthur Morgan, who has stolen my heart as one of gaming's greatest protagonists.
The reason I went with Goblin Slayer in the end is actually because of the Light Novel, which is fairly unusual for me since I don't normally read light novels. But unlike a lot of the ones I've attempted to read, Goblin Slayer actually reads almost like an actual book. It gives a surprising amount of detail and thought to the characters and their perspectives on a situation, and I started to like it quite a bit. I'll likely watch the anime all the way through once it's finished as well.
So yeah, this story came to me in a random bout of inspiration to have a cowboy tossed into an isekai situation. So did the idea of giving him guns that reload themselves, though not infinite in the sense that he can fire without initiating the reload action.
I'm thinking of giving each gun (the revolvers will have the same skill) each their own unique skill. Something like the revolvers having one piercer round each that allows it to go through virtually anything before having to recharge for ten minutes or longer.
His sniper rifle getting one tracker shot that doesn't miss its target before recharging for a long while.
And maybe an ability that gives his shotgun something similar to dragons breath for a whole clip.
I'm not sure. Those are just some ideas. Let me know what you guys think. I may even do a poll on whether or not he should even be given skills to his guns or if they should stay the way they are.
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed. Please give me some feedback on this story as I'm truly curious as to what people think. This won't be a story with a super heavy focus like my main two, but if reception is well and I get deeper into GS, I'll give it an update when I can. Be sure to leave a review, a follow and a favorite if you'd be so kind. Thanks!