Disclaimer: I own neither Red Dead Redemption or Goblin Slayer
That new character is pretty fun, huh?
Yeah but those guns come with pros and cons. I guess He just likes to complicate things.
Still, let's play more with him!
Yeah, there's plenty to challenge him with! But we'll have to drag his attention with goblins for his full party.
Easy, but that can be the starter. What else can we add to make it interesting?
It's been… I barely know by now how long it's been.
Things have changed around the guild. I guess it's because of Elf and her party pretty much joining our little group. I wasn't so sure about them the first time around, but they've all grown on me. We look like a real party now.
Lenny's been more frequent at the guild, though he's still working part time at the farm. Already got him and those kids to obsidian rank. I know he'll grow to be a fine adventurer.
Finally got to Copper rank. Not sure when I'll be at Silver. People keep saying that I'd be there by now if I did more higher ranked quests rather than spend time on goblins.
Maybe I really have turned into Goblin Slayer.
But I'm patient. No rush to get to Silver. Already go on some anyways with some of the guild as is.
"Man, how can you do this for so long? I ain't gettin' no bites."
Arthur chuckled as he stowed away his journal, sparing Spearman a glance. He and the silver-ranked adventurer decided to go on a fishing trip together with Heavy Swordsman, as he had apparently never tried.
"It's called patience. You could do with learning a bit." Heavy Swordsman grunted in response.
"Easy for you to say! You've caught like three already!" Spearman snarked back irritably.
"You're too anxious. Fish can feel it in your line," Arthur smirked at him sideways. "If you don't relax a bit, you're just gonna keep scarin' 'em."
"Yeah, yeah…" Spearman grumbled as he tried to relax, though was clearly a bit jittery still from standing in one spot.
"Have a drink, will ya? We brought a barrel out for a reason." Arthur motioned back to the ale barrel shortly behind them.
"Oh yeah, good idea. Might be just what I need!" Spearman grinned, setting his rod on the ground. Arthur and Heavy Swordsman spared a glance back before looking at each other, both rolling their eyes in amusement as they silently continued to fish.
"So, Gunslinger! Looks like that new crew of silver ranks have settled into your party pretty comfortably!" Spearman called out as he poured himself a drink. "Pretty quirky lookin' group too!"
"Sure. I guess we thought we weren't lookin' odd enough on our own as is. Though now we stand out more than ever." Arthur laughed with a shrug.
"I was surprised they remained at the guild. Weren't they on a mission from the representative races?" Heavy Swordsman asked.
"Yeah, but they said that until they get another call, they pretty much can do what they want." Arthur answered. "Guess they thought it was better to stay at our humble abode rather than sittin' around somewhere else."
"Well, the war is starting to wind down. That Hero girl really is blazing a path toward the Demon King." Heavy Swordsman reeled in his line, setting his pole down as he put on new bait. "She must be a real monster."
"Some young girl, too. Guess she got all the luck." Arthur chuckled. Though there was a grim shadow over his face. "Must be hard, bein' so young and havin' the fate of the world on your shoulders."
"I heard she handles it pretty well. One of those carefree types." Spearman walked back over, sipping from a mug of ale. "Don't worry too much about it! She's probably taking the whole thing real easy!"
"Yes, we're well aware of the type." Arthur laughed with Heavy Swordsman, earning a huff from Spearman.
"I'm surprised you didn't bring your friend, Ranch Hand, with us." Heavy Swordsman commented as he cast his line out. "Not a fan of fishing?"
"I woulda, but he seemed pretty interested in some job he and those greenhorns were plannin' to take." said Arthur as he watched his line bob. "Might got somethin'..."
"Gotta admit, he surprised me. I thought he was swell when we were all drinkin' together, but I didn't think he'd take to something like adventuring." Spearman dragged a log stump between the three, taking a seat as he sipped on his lager. "I might have to take him out on one with those greenhorns of his!"
"Might do 'em some good. I'm sure they could use the money-got it!" Arthur snapped his pole up, quickly reeling in. It bent over as if the opposing weight might snap it in half. "Looks like a big one!"
"Pull it in, Gunslinger! You've got it!" Heavy Swordsman grinned as he relaxed his reel, he and Spearman standing in attention.
"Damn, that thing looks like it's barely holding! What the hell you got?!" Spearman leaned over his shoulder in wonder.
"Guess we'll… find out right… now!" Arthur gave a heavy tug. "Come on, you big sucker… got ya!" Arthur gave one last big jerk of his pole, drawing up a gigantic catfish, half his height and at least twenty pounds.
"Haha! We're eating good tonight!" Heavy Swordsman helped Arhur pull the big fish to shore. "Good catch!"
"Thanks! This should give us some damn good filets." Arthur laughed in triumph, tossing the fish onto the shore.
"Hell yeah! Catfish is tasty as hell, too!" Spearman laughed, grinning ear to ear. "We'll have to have Padfoot Waitress cook these up!"
"She'll have a field day with it, I'm sure." Heavy Swordsman nodded, slapping Arthur on the shoulder. "She seems to like you the most, so we'll let you convince her."
"It really depends on what kinda mood she's in," Arthur laughed, wrapping a rope around the tail of his catch. "Come on. Let's get goin'. Unless you two think you can do better than this."
"I don't know, seein' you catch that kinda got me excited to try!" Spearman grinned but shrugged. "Then again, my luck is pretty bad when it comes to fishing. I'm up to get out of here."
"Same." With that, the three packed up their things and slung their catches alongside their horses, heading back to the guild.
"Hey, Gunslinger! You ever get Goblin Slayer on one of these little trips?" Spearman asked, the three trotting along through the dirt road. The river wasn't far from the village, and would be a relatively short ride.
"A while back, once. It was a particularly goblin free day and there weren't much else to do on the board. Took him the same place we was at." Arthur answered, scratching his beard.
"I can see why you'd have little chance to do it again. Hardly a day where there isn't a goblin quest, even during quieter times." Heavy Swordsman supplied.
"Sure ain't. Even if and when that Hero girl wins the war, we'll still be workin' like usual." Arthur shrugged.
"Well maybe consider taking a quest with one of us, again! It's not like Goblin Slayer needs you to babysit him. Especially now that you guys got a big group like that helping you now!" Spearman offered, eliciting a laugh from Arthur.
"Maybe. Might have to take you up on that soon. But maybe after another couple jobs, first."
"I'm starting to think you like killing goblins. You got a little grudge against them?" Heavy Swordsman cocked a brow in wonder.
"I wouldn't say a grudge, but…I can't say that knowin' one less of those little bastards are runnin' around because of me feels bad." Arthur admitted, eliciting a laugh from his companions.
"Yeah, we've all seen what they're capable of. We all find a little satisfaction where we can in this line of work." Spearman grinned, sticking his chin up. "Of course, for me it's just making sure I look good when I put in work."
"Of course it is."
The rest of the ride home was relatively quiet, time passed with more idle chatter or comfortable silence. It wasn't long before the three pulled into town, the three hitching their horses up along the side of the guild.
"Well, since I caught us the biggest fish, why don't you two take 'em in and bring 'em to Padfoot Waitress for me?" Arthur asked, drawing his fish off the side of his horse's saddle.
"Alright, you don't gotta rub it in our faces that much you jerk!" Spearman snickered, nudging him with his elbow. They turned to Heavy Swordsman, expecting him to answer with his own remark. But found his attention elsewhere. "Hey, big guy! You find a maid to look at?"
"There's some young girl standing outside the guild, staring at it." Heavy Swordsman announced, his voice even.
"Huh? You really were lookin' at a maid?" Spearman poked his head around Heavy Swordsman's shoulders to take a look, his brow cocking. "Huh. I figured you'd be into older gals."
"It's not like that. It's…" Arthur wondered what got him quiet, walking around the two to take a look for himself. And immediately he could see why.
The young woman that stood outside the guild was instantly familiar to Arthur. Guilt and regret bubbled in his gut, realizing quickly that it was Fighter standing there. One of the girls who had survived Priestess's first quest. One who had been traumatized by the loss of her friend and the close call she nearly had with the goblins herself. No one had heard from the rest of that party since, but here she was. Staring at the guild like it were a dungeon housing terrifying beasts.
Arthur thinned his lips into a line, sparing Heavy Swordsman a glance. "You two go on ahead. I'll see about this."
"Sure." Heavy Swordsman took Arthur's fish over his shoulder, waving for Spearman to follow. "Come on."
"Huh? What's going on? Who is that?" Spearman whispered.
Arthur let out a deep sigh, adjusting the hat on his head and walking forward. His spurs seemed to pull her attention, causing Fighter to look his way and immediately pale.
"Hey there. It's uh… it's been a while." Arthur greeted awkwardly, unsure exactly how to approach the conversation.
"Y-Yes, it has been. Hello…" Fighter stiffly bowed, and it was clear as day that she didn't want to be here. So that had to beg the obvious question:
"So… what brings you to the guild? You got some sorta quest to put in?" Arthur asked, hands gripping his belt as he watched her.
"No, I was… I've been considering…" Fighter's hands twisted together as her trepidation reared its face. Arthur clenched his jaw, afraid that would be her reason.
"Well, do yourself a favor and don't." Fighter stiffened, her frown deepening as she met his eyes.
"Look. You're already shakin' like a leaf. You ain't ready to try again." Arthur didn't want to sound as harsh as he had the first time around, but had to get his point across. "And there ain't nothin' wrong with that. What you went through…" Arthur massaged his chin, not wanting to twist the knife.
"B-But I… I promised him…" Fighter mumbled, eyes trailing to the guild. "We were going to be adventurers together… We were going to be heroes to our town."
"Whatever you promised him… it ain't worth losin' your life for." Arthur shook his head, taking his hat off and putting it over his heart. "I'm sorry I didn't do more back then for you kids. So please… don't go dyin' tryin' to do somethin' you ain't ready for."
Fighter bit her bottom lip, her hands gripping into the fabric of her tunic. It was clear how scared she was, how conflicted she felt. But She clearly wanted to try again. And if Arthur didn't do something, she might go off without his knowledge and try in a fit of courage. But that courage wouldn't last long.
He finally breathed out, coming up with the best solution he could. "I'll tell you what, kid. Go home and think about it. And then, think about it some more." Fighter looked at him, getting ready to retort but he quickly continued. "And if you do, and you really believe you're ready… come back and find me. I promise that I will help you get back on your feet and start some quests the right way."
"You will?" She said, looking mildly surprised by his offer.
"Yes. But only if you take some time and give it some real thought, kid. Don't rush somethin' like this. You could freeze up and that'd be it for you." Arthur shook his head, looking up at the guild. "What we do ain't easy work. And the last thing you want is to hesitate when it matters."
Fighter looked clearly conflicted, eyes drawing back to the guild. But as she wrung her hands until they were both white, she relented with a nod. "Alright. I'll… I'll take your advice this time, Gunslinger."
"Good." Arthur nodded, putting his hat back on his head. "Now… get on home and do some real thinkin'. If and whenever you're ready, and only when you're ready, I'll help you out."
"Okay…" Fighter nodded again, lowering her head as she walked away, a dark cloud hanging overhead. Arthur sighed, unsure what he could say or do that might brighten her up.
It's for the best. I ain't gonna let her run in like that kid did. Arthur sighed, pulling out a rolled up cigarette and lighting a match on his shoe. With a puff of smoke, Arthur turned back to the guild, walking inside. It was getting close to night time, and most of the adventurers were gathered in the dining hall. The first thing he caught sight of was Goblin Slayer at the head of one of the tables, specifically one with their newest friends and Priestess seated at.
He could already sense the potential job. It wasn't often when Goblin Slayer would be so outspoken to the others. Arthur walked over to join them, letting the cigarette hang from his lips.
"We got some work?" He called out as he approached, drawing the gaze of the party.
"Yes. There are goblins that need slaying." Was the expected answer he got from his partner.
"As usual. Didn't expect you to ask the rest like this, though." Arthur said, nodding to the others. "Somethin' special about this one?"
"I was just giving them the option to go."
"It's hardly an 'option', Mr. Goblin Slayer." Priestess side, standing from her seat. "If we said no, you would just go with only Mr. Gunslinger!"
"You make it sound like we can't handle a job on our own." Arthur teased the young blonde, putting his cigarette out on his boot.
"Y-You know I'm not saying that, geez!" She complained, flustered as Arthur chuckled quietly.
"You two would obviously go by yourselves if we said no, right?" HEA asked.
"Of course. Though if you got him layin' this out for you like this, then you know he secretly wants y'all to come along." Arthur laughed, gently nudging Goblin Slayer's arm. The stoic adventurer remained silent, neither confirming nor denying his words.
"It seems beard-cutter has warmed up to us after all! Well, I suppose I can help out, knowing that." Dwarf Shaman laughed, looking at Lizard Priest. "What about you?"
"Indeed. To know that we've made quite the impression on Goblin Slayer is quite warming." the Lizardman answered, his sharp toothed mouth quirking into a smile. "I suppose it cannot be helped. Having more spellcasters to aid you will be of clear benefit."
"We've gotten our travel expenses together, so I think we're safe to go on our end." Dwarf Shaman nodded his affirmation.
"And I will do as I like and accompany you." Priestess smiled at the two.
"Well, it's like Priestess said, leaving it to you two wasn't much of an option for us anyway." HEA shrugged, standing up and pointing at Goblin Slayer. "I'll do it. But only if we go on an adventure after this job! A real adventure!"
Arthur cocked a brow, shrugging. "I said before I wasn't against it. That seem fair to you?" He asked, turning to Goblin Slayer.
"Sure." Was his simple response.
"Good! Oh, and I have a few conditions for the help!" Arthur raised a brow at that, hands resting on his belt. "Like no waterboarding the goblins!"
"And no using poison on them!" Priestess cut in, seeing her chance.
"Or attacking them with fire! People have limits to what they wanna see something suffer through, you know?" HEA pointed out, shaking her head.
"... No poison either?" Goblin Slayer sounded legitimately disappointed, but that didn't discourage the girls.
"... Fine, then." Goblin Slayer relented, earning a smile from the girls.
"He agreed surprisingly easy!" They whispered to the other with a small giggle. But then there was the other obstacle...
"You all can tell him that, but you better not expect me to have to follow your little demands." Arthur scoffed, causing the girls to blink.
"Yes, that means you too! We know you love using his methods for killing goblins! Heck, you even expanded on a few of them!" HEA pointed out, crossing her arms.
"Of course I do. It's efficient." Arthur huffed, scratching his beard. "Y'all can whine and complain about it bein' 'brutal', but that don't change the fact that it makes for quick work."
"Come on, Mr. Gunslinger…" Priestess put her hands together, putting on the biggest puppy eyed look she could muster. "Just this once?"
"We're not saying all the time, but we'd like a break from it! Can't we get that?" Arthur scoffed, looking away from the girls as HEA joined her, trying to look innocent. Unfortunately for him, he was a sucker for their pleas, especially with his soft spot for Priestess.
With a sigh, he rubbed his chin and slowly nodded. "Just this once…"
"Yes!" They cheered.
"But if things start to go south, I'll use whatever I damn well please to get us outta it. We understand that?" Arthur quickly corrected, causing the girls to somewhat deflate.
"Ack, fine. We'll give you a little leeway. But only for emergencies!" HEA reasserted, earning a nod from Arthur.
"I can live with that." Arthur conceded.
"Great! Then what are we waiting for?" HEA said, turning to Goblin Slayer with a thumbs up. "Let's go!"
"There it is."
Arthur drew his hat up when he heard Lizard Priest announce their arrival. He climbed toward the front of the carriage to peek out, eyes flaring in surprise. He had seen several of the bigger towns and cities since his arrival in this world, but Water Town was not one of them. And Arthur couldn't help but wonder how no one had suggested he do so.
It somewhat reminded him of Saint Denis, but without the dark cloud of modern civilization and industry's cloud hanging overhead. The buildings were structured and designed with greater care than anything lying in the frontier, white stone walls and aqua green rooftops were how the buildings were designed as opposed to the bland gray brick and wood buildings that littered small towns. On top of that, it sat upon a high rock base at the center of a crystal blue lake. Stone bridges linked to the edge of town were the only visible entries available.
A town sittin' on the water. I'll be damned. Arthur had heard there were some towns in Italy like that, but nothing he'd ever seen in his life. And even with that in mind, this town looked far more impressive from what he could see.
It was still at least 15 to 20 minutes until they would reach one of the bridges leading in, so Arthur took the chance to draw out his journal and doodle the town from their current position. He was a quick drawer and his memory was good, so even while they moved it wasn't hard for him to get the basic layout drawn up and fill in the details as they went.
"What're you doing, Gunslinger?" He heard HEA over his shoulder, though Arthur didn't bother to look up.
"Just muckin' up somethin' real quick. Nothin' important." He responded half heartedly, etching in what little details he could make out from the distance they were at. Should I include the water? Guess it wouldn't look the same if-
"What the heck-that's really good!" Arthur nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard HEA over his shoulder, quickly snapping his journal closed.
"Ain't anyone told you not to poke into people's privacy?" Arthur huffed, causing HEA to puff her cheeks out.
"What's the big deal? That was a good drawing! You should be proud and show people!" She pestered him, trying to reach the journal while he held it away from her.
"You can draw, Mr. Gunslinger?" Priestess suddenly took an interest now, poking her head into the conversation.
"Not really, I just scribble things in!" Arthur denied, unwilling to admit to the fact that he'd be embarrassed to show them. "Nothin' fancy!"
"What's wrong, tough guy? Too proud to admit you can draw?" HEA seemed to look right through him, a sly grin on her lips.
"Shut up." Arthur grumbled, stuffing the journal away as he began to wish he had come by his own horse. Unfortunately the quest would supposedly take place within the town, leaving little reason to bring the horses when they could cart over.
"I think it's really neat that you can draw, Mr. Gunslinger! I hope you'll share your art with me sometime!" Of course, Priestess was more earnest in her compliment, somewhat diffusing Arthur's irritation.
"I'll think about it… but really it ain't nothin' worth braggin' over." Arthur deflected, tugging at his fleece collar. "That aside, any of you been here before?"
"I have! It's a pretty thriving city with a lot of shops to browse along the channels!" HEA started, grinning in mild excitement. "It's a really beautiful town worth exploring around. Due to its infrastructure, it's a great place for trade and wares."
"Guess you gotta justify all them fancy buildin's with somethin'." Arthur chuckled, peering back out at the town. It wasn't too long until they reached Water Town, the ragtag group being dropped off at one of the gates and making their way through on foot.
The old cowboy took some time to absorb the town. It was as beautiful within as it was from the outside. Despite the big city feel of it, it was still a town untouched by industry on the level of Saint Denis. There was no looming smell of tar and smoke polluting the air and its inhabitants. Instead it was the smell of rain and baked goods, a much more comfortable atmosphere surrounding them. This was as good as civilization could get for Arthur.
"What's good to eat here?" Priestess asked as they strolled down the walkways toward the center of town.
"Around here, I'd suspect something like fried liver stewed in wine! Or perhaps the fresh fish likely caught daily from the lake!" Dwarf Shaman guessed.
"The bread is supposedly good. The wheat is very coarse, making for great batter." Oddly enough it was Goblin Slayer who pointed this out.
"Impressive, sir Goblin Slayer. You seem quite knowledgeable on the subject." Lizard Priest hummed.
"Someone I know told me about it when I informed them I was coming here."
"That's about right. Didn't take you for a bread connoisseur." Arthur chuckled.
"Oh, was this your friend from the farm?" Priestess asked in interest.
The idle chatter died down from there as they reached the center of Water Town. Arthur felt awe overcome him as they reached their destination. He had seen a few fancy churches in his day, but there was nothing quite like the majesty in front of him. Just the center platform leading to the cathedral was beautiful, the lake water surrounding the platform on all sides with tall marble pillars standing high around the ring. This was just a small step toward the church itself, a beautful structure of white marble and blue roofing. It stood above the rest of the city on an isolated rock, acting as a beacon of the god of this world for all to see.
"The Temple of Law… this is my first time seeing it for myself." Priestess murmured next to Arthur, likely even more impressed than he was if the shine in her eyes was any indicator. She looked up at Arthur with a glowing smile. "Isn't it amazing, Mr. Gunslinger!"
"Sure. A little flashy, but… certainly somethin' to look at." Arthur smirked, tapping the buckle of his belt with his thumb. "Never seen somethin' like this before."
"It's okay to admit if you like it, Mr. Gunslinger!" Priestess scolded childishly, earning a laugh from Arthur before she turned to Goblin Slayer. "Don't you think it's amazing too?"
"Is it?" Goblin Slayer of course was much harder to impress, the armored adventurer more distractedly looking around the lakeside instead of at their destination.
"Geez…" Priestess puffed her cheeks out in frustration, looking away.
"You knew that was probably gonna be the response." Arthur teased, rubbing the top of her head.
"So the person who requested us is in the temple?" HEA asked, looking at Goblin Slayer.
"Yes. They said we could meet them in there." He answered, walking ahead with Arthur trailing at his side now.
"Is the client a priest of the Supreme God?" Priestess inquired, mildly surprised.
"No. It's the Archbishop to the Supreme God."
"Eh?!" Priestess nearly dropped her chanting staff, quickly catching it again and steadying her hands. "Th-The Archbishop?!"
The others didn't seem so amazed, though all were not followers of the same religion. Not wanting to be left behind, the rest of the party trailed after Arthur and Goblin Slayer. It took Priestess a moment to gather her thoughts before catching up, her excitement evident as she trembled with anticipation.
The Sword Maiden.
The group moved through the cathedral in relative silence, Priestess the only one antsy as they moved. Arthur spared a look back at her, brow raised. "Now don't get your legs all tangled in your robe. Everything alright?"
"Y-Yes, of course! I-It's just that we're meeting Sword Maiden! How could I not be excited?!" Priestess exclaimed as quietly as she could as if she were in a library and might be hushed.
Arthur vaguely recalled hearing the name a few times in his travels, but had no real interest in the religion. "She that important to your religion?"
"Of course, but not just to the religion! She oversees the laws all across the western side of the Frontier! She's beloved by the Supreme God and was part of the party ten years ago that defeated the previous Demon Lord!" The fever and admiration in Priestess' voice was none too small. "She's one of the few selected to become a Gold Rank, the second highest possible rank of adventurer after Platinum! She's not just a legend told in tales to children, she's a living, breathing hero of the world who came from the people, starting from nothing!"
"You certainly paint a pretty enough picture. Just remember that stories are just that; stories. Sometimes the real thing ain't near as clean as…" As they entered the altar hall, Arthur's voice trailed off as someone came into view. Priestess looked forward and found her throat tightening as she soon understood his silence.
"Oh?" Just ahead of them stood a tall woman with silver blonde hair with their back to the adventurers. It flowed down to her hips like glossy thread, the woman wearing a thin white robe and a long matching white veil that hid the features of her back. She slowly turned to them, revealing a woman who could take a man's breath away at a glance. Her thin white robes did little to hide her curvy body, allowing a proper view of her supple legs and snow white skin. She held a sort of sword-staff in her hand with tipping scales on each end of the gold pommel. She had beautiful pink lips that shined with gloss.
Though, much to Arthur's bewilderment, it was her silver eyes that drew the most appeal to her. They shimmered like a full lit moon, watching with a curious but enchanting gaze.
"My my, we have visitors." Her voice was almost as bewitching as her appearance, sounding both gentle and motherly. "Welcome."
"We're here to slay goblins." Arthur was drawn out of his stupor by Goblin Slayer's monotone voice, almost chuckling at how little he was affected by the woman's presence.
"Mr. Goblin Slayer!" Priestess quickly became exasperated, jogging after him as he walked forward. "Please excuse him! Thank you for seeing us, it's truly an honor!"
"You'll have to forgive my partner for his blunt behavior." Arthur chuckled, walking up alongside Priestess and tipping his hat. "Since you called him, I'm sure you know his title. It's pretty much all he thinks about."
Despite the friendly and curt tone Arthur approached with, he found that Sword Maiden's eyes were now boring into him. Not out of malice or anger, but her eyes betrayed some sort of… familiarity. Arthur found himself somewhat nervous under her eyes, not sure what he had done to elicit such a gaze.
"Is.. everything alright ma'am?"
"... yes. Forgive me, you… simply remind me of an old friend." She slowly smiled, though that only furthered Arthur's confusion. Despite that, she turned to the others this time. "Welcome, adventurers. It's a pleasure to see a brave warrior and a cute priestess come before me. And the rest of you?"
"We are members of this party. We were not summoned, but wish to give what aid we can offer." Lizard Priest answered for the others, putting the tips of his fingers together as he bowed his head in greeting.
"Welcome, adventurers. I accept your offered help from the bottom of my heart." She said, placing a hand on her chest and returning the bow.
"So, where are the goblins?" Goblin Slayer was quick to shift the conversation back to their goal, eliciting the girls to give him an exasperated look.
"Don't mind him. He's always like that." Arthur scoffed, shaking his head. "Anyway, if you're about ready to tell us about the job, so are we."
"Of course. Please, have a seat." Sword Maiden motioned.
Arthur furrowed his brow, looking around. "Right here?" He asked, looking at the stone floor.
"Yes. That way we might all sit on even ground." Sword Maiden stepped down from the altar and took a seat on the stone floor. The adventurers looked at one another before shrugging, forming a circle around Sword Maiden with Goblin Slayer sitting opposite of her.
Arthur didn't want to say it, but he felt a little silly sitting on the ground of such a grand hall. But who was he to argue with the head of the entire cathedral when she was the first to take a seat?
"It all started a month ago. We sent a young acolyte girl on an errand late at night and her corpse was found in an alleyway the next morning. The report detailed that her body was cut up, likely while she was alive."
"Poor thing…" Arthur sighed, scratching his beard.
"Still alive?" Goblin Slayer repeated, sounding mildly surprised. "So it happened right there?"
"Was any part of her eaten? Or was she only killed-" Arthur tapped his arm with his knuckle.
"Have a little decency." Arthur mumbled, not failing to notice that Sword Maiden showed a small bit of discomfort at the topic.
"No kidding. Get some tact." HEA sighed. Goblin Slayer looked between them before nodding.
"It was a truly terrible incident." Sword Maiden frowned at the thought, her eyes trailing to the floor. "I increased the security around the town and the guards' patrols, but these incidents continued to happen. Casualties seemingly perpetrated by thieves or slashers… violent acts against women… and even some children were kidnapped."
"Some bad business, alright…" Arthur sighed, feeling a pang of anger at the mention of children.
"Indeed. One night though, an adventurer encountered a young woman being attacked. He attacked the figure in the shadow and saved the girl. The small body that lay there, cut down, was quickly identified as a goblin." Sword Maiden finished.
"Goblins, huh? I imagine that there's quite a few if they're in a city like this." Dwarf Shaman guessed.
"But how did they enter the town?" Priestess asked, confused. "I doubt they could get through the gates."
"Goblins dwell underground, yes? They likely found a way in through the channels."
"Still, it seems like a lot of casualties for them to have just wandered in." HEA pointed out.
"Considering they live underground, they likely have made a home below. This place was built on an old settlement, and likely has old ruins that they've occupied." Lizard Priest pointed out.
"In a city like this, goblins would remain underground. It would be the safest place for them to be as well as move around unnoticed." Goblin Slayer agreed.
"You would know the best way a goblin thinks." HEA scoffed, smirking as she hugged her knees.
"Of course. If I didn't know how they think, then I wouldn't be able to fight them."
"We concluded that they operate underground as well. We originally gave a quest to a group of adventurers who took it, but…"
"They haven't come back?" Priestess asked. Sword Maiden's grim shake of the head was all the confirmation they needed.
"After that, getting another group of adventurers to aid us became difficult. But then… I heard the bards sing songs of the one they called Goblin Slayer." Sword Maiden's gaze trailed from Goblin Slayer to Arthur, smiling. "And his partner, the Gunslinger."
"Songs?" Arthur and Goblin Slayer asked at the same time.
"Oh, you both didn't know?" HEA said, leaning forward. "There's songs about you both! Though it was a little disappointing after we finally met."
"Well at least I got songs about me." Arthur shot back, causing HEA to flinch.
"Disappointing or not, it's not my problem." Goblin Slayer dismissed.
"You musn't say that, sir Goblin Slayer. Bards and their songs are how tales of your feats survive." Lizard Priest argued.
"Is that a good thing?"
"Of course it is! Think about it. The more people that hear your songs, the more people will ask for your help to slay goblins!" Dwarf Shaman pointed out.
"Hadn't thought about it that way. Guess those songs are pretty important." Arthur admitted, scratching his neck. "If I was you, buddy, I'd want people to hear more of 'em."
"Hm." Goblin Slayer hummed, seemingly accepting the idea before shifting his gaze to Sword Maiden.
"Please, kind sirs…" Sword Maiden bowed her head, a hand over her chest. "I ask that you might save this town from the goblin threat."
"I don't know if I can save the town. But we'll kill the goblins."
"Mr. Goblin Slayer! You need to try and say that better!" Priestess argued.
"But it's the truth."
"Even if it is, it's-"
Arthur put a hand on Priestess' shoulder. "Just let it be."
Priestess opened her mouth to complain but withered as she understood his point. That it was pointless.
"Sir Goblin Slayer. How will we be handling this?" Lizard Priest asked.
"We'll head underground and wipe them out. We'll have to be thorough so that one doesn't escape." Goblin Slayer answered, earning a resounding nod from the others.
"Remember our deal, you two!" HEA narrowed her eyes at Arthur and Goblin Slayer.
"Yes, yes. No need to remind us. But remember that emergencies don't count." Arthur retorted.
"Our approach aside, there was one thing that came to mind," Lizard Priest turned to Sword Maiden curiously. "Why not send the city guard or this city's troops into the underground to slay them? I do not know everything about this town, but surely this is something within their jurisdiction?"
"Well…" Sword Maiden sound hesitant to say, but Goblin Slayer knew:
"The military wouldn't dispatch because they see the threat of goblins as too small, correct?"
Sword Maiden gave a frustrated nod, eyes narrowing as she barely hid her frustration.
"Well, you can't blame them completely. Right now they're dealing with the Demon Lord's armies. Goblins likely seem like a small matter in comparison." Dwarf Shaman shrugged, finger tapping his knee. "That leaves goblins to adventurers like us."
"Still, the issues of politics and money seem quite troublesome for humans." Lizard Priest said in sympathy.
"I don't care about that. How can we get down there?" Goblin Slayer asked. Sword Maiden stood from her seat, walking over to the altar and grabbed a piece of parchment, walking back over and laying it out in front of them. "This is a map of the channels. I believe the best spot for you to enter would be from the back of the temple, here." She indicated to a large spot at the top of the map, likely representing the church.
"Is this accurate?"
"Admittedly it is an old sketch from when the channels were first built, but the water flow indicates that it should be correct. Even if there's erosion or damage, it shouldn't be severe." Sword Maiden explained.
"Understood." Goblin Slayer handed the map to Lizard Priest. "You can navigate."
"As you wish."
"Let's go. We don't have time to waste." Goblin Slayer turned around, already set on heading in.
"Well, I guess no time like the present." HEA agreed, she and the others quickly following after him. Arthur and Priestess lingered for a moment, turning to Shield Maiden.
"Please excuse us." The young blonde bowed her head before turning to leave.
"Wait, young one. I wish to ask you something:" Priestess turned around, seeing a vulnerability in Sword Maiden's eyes as she frowned. "Are you not afraid?"
"I… I am. But with this party…" Priestess smiled. "I think it'll all turn out okay!" She explained, turning to leave. She looked at Arthur expectantly, but he shook his head.
"Go on ahead. I'll be right there." Arthur said. Priestess blinked in wonder but nodded in understanding, running ahead of the group.
"Was there something you wished to ask?" Sword Maiden inquired, Arthur turning back to her.
"What did you mean I 'reminded' you of a friend?" he asked, hands resting on his belt.
"... I thought you might be curious. Tell me, what are the weapons you carry called?" She asked, causing Arthur to raise a brow.
"They're… they're called guns." Arthur drew his revolver, showing her.
"Guns. I see. But they aren't flint loaded from the barrel, correct?" Sword Maiden walked closer to him, inspecting the revolver with a smile. "My, this brings me back. I haven't seen a gun like this in some years."
"Like this?" Arthur's brow hardened, realizing what she meant. "So… you seen these kind before."
"I have. It was a prominent member of my previous party, in fact. He was called the Shootist." Sword Maiden smiled wistfully, dragging her gaze up to meet Arthur's. "But… that was not his true name."
Arthur's eyes flared, slowly lowering his revolver as he processed what she said.
"So tell me, sir Gunslinger. Is that not your true name either?" She asked, stunning him to silence.
"How… do you…"
"Hey, Gunslinger!" Arthur hesitated to draw his gaze away from Sword Maiden, the silver eyed woman's eyes locking with his as she smiled. "Gunslinger! Hurry up, or Orcbolg is going to leave you behind!"
"I'm… I'm comin'..." Arthur slowly stepped away, lips tightening.
"Upon your return from your mission… I will tell you whatever you wish to know, sir Gunslinger." Sword Maiden said, understanding his hesitation to leave.
Arthur clenched his jaw but slowly nodded in acceptance. "I'd appreciate it." He said, turning around and finally heading down the hall to meet the others. HEA and Priestess were waiting for him as the others were still going on ahead. "Let's go."
"Everything alright? What'd you want to ask the Sword Maiden?" Priestess asked curiously, worried by his grave expression.
"Don't tell me you fell in love on the spot and confessed?" HEA tried to tease, nudging him in the side with her elbow.
"No, it's just… it's nothin'." Arthur shook his head. "Just somethin' that bugged me." Arthur went silent after that. The girls looked at one another in confusion and worry, but decided to leave it for after the mission.
To be continued…
Phew, I'm back at work baby! And finally getting an ACTUAL chapter done for the story XD sorry about the long wait everyone, but it's been… well, you all know what kind of year it was. For all of us. And I can honestly say it took a lot of motivation out of me and a good number of other people I know. But I'm slowly getting back into the groove of things and hopefully can keep a good pace going.
Sorry if this chapter wasn't as long as some of you would like, but I wanted to get something out and I think it would take a little more than 1 chapter to get the sewer stuff done anyways. Setting this up was the easiest way and now we can move onto the little added stuff.
That, and I can finally hint at a plot point I've been wanting to work in for a while! We'll see where that, and one of the things at the beginning of the chapter, lead to in the future :)
Anyways, that's it for this chapter. If you guys want to support, please leave a follow, a favorite and a review if you'd be so kind! And if you'd like to help the cause of getting a comic page done for the story, check out my patron, which can be found in the link attached to my twt account MN0Luffy! Either way, I hope you all enjoyed!