Is It Wrong To Be A Fake Paladin? Of Course It Is. Is It Wrong To Murder Goblins? No, Of Course It Isn't.

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"God fucking dammit!"

The familiar splatter of warm blood splashed on me, staining my clothes a deep wet crimson. The little monsters in my grip tried to writhe free, screeching and babbling and crying of all things before I silenced by bashing its head into a chunky red paste, courtesy of the rocky cave wall.

I waited for another attack but it never came. Finally able to take a minute to myself, I tried to take stock of what the actual fuck just happened.

I was laying on my bed, reading a book. I had today off because Hestia forced me to take it so I was just gonna spend it on some me time and relax after reaching Level 3. A bright light consumed me and now I was in some sort of fucking cave system which was pitch fucking black so I was just fighting by instinct. I had my back to the wall and my clothes were a mess but it was whatever. Right now, I had to-

[So!]

Oh fuck no.

[A, uhhhh. Tiny bit of a hiccup. You're not really supposed to be here?]

"No fucking shit," I growled out, feeling my hands twitch, "Send me fucking back!"

[Look, we're trying! We didn't even want you to come here in the first place! But some god, not the ones you know, got really pissy and decided to flip the table!]

"What the fuck does that even mean?"

[Don't worry about that. Let's just make some things clear so you don't go around and cause issues by mistake, alright?]

"Motherfucker, what fucking issues!? You're the reason I'm here in the first fucking place!"

[No, this time we're completely blameless! If it weren't for us, you would probably be dead!]

"Cunt, you brought me to Orario! If you didn't do that in the first place, I wouldn't be here."

[...Moving on.]

Fucker.

[First things first, don't worry about your Familia. We'll try and drop you off at the time and place where you disappeared. So from their point of view, nothing happened!]

I tried not to believe the promises of the System but well. I didn't really have a choice and if I had to be honest, the System, while a fucking piece of shit, has never actually outright lied or misled me. So I'll just roll with it now.

I also tried not to show how relieved I was, but well. My shoulders sagged against the cave wall and I exhaled a breath I didn't even know I was holding.

[Second, we can confirm that you're the only person here from your world and Familia. Which is lucky because if more Adventurers were taken, everything would be thrown out of whack!]

[Thirdly, your Objective no longer exists due to the fact that uhhhh, you don't really have one anymore. So just kick up your feet, wait for us to sort out the stuff and then you can go back home!]

"So that's it? Just wait and sit around doing fuck all while you clean up your mess?"

[Hey, you should be thankful, John! Some of the gods wanted to kill you and we talked them out of it! You're lucky you're not goblin food right now!]

"Suck my cock," I snarled out at the bright blue box in front of me and in response, I got a sad emoji which I didn't believe for a second. A sigh escaped from my lips and I watched as the blue screen blinked out of existence and was replaced by another one.

[Also, we should tell you that some...changes have been made. Now before you get mad, understand that these changes are only temporary until you go back home! But we had to do this or otherwise you would've been killed on the spot! That or you're forced to just sit in an endlessly black void until we manage to send you back home.]

"What? What fucking changes?" I asked the System but as if to mock me, the cobalt box of blue blinked out of existence and it didn't respond back at me. I let out a sigh, running my bloody hand through my hair as I was left alone with my thoughts.

On one hand, I didn't have to do anything to go back home. I just had to wait which is...easy, I guess? Didn't know how long it would take but I can't really do anything about that now.

The biggest weight off of my shoulders was my Familia. As long as they were unharmed and weren't stressing themselves about me, I was good. The biggest worry were these supposed changes. I didn't know what they were nor was I told so I better figure them out sooner rather than later.

"Earthly Renewal," I casted on myself, just to get an idea on where the fuck I stood.

Miracle failed. Need to recite the chant.

I blinked at what I saw. I blinked again at my HUD.

HP: 20

Miracle Slots: 4/5

Fucking excuse me? Fucking what?

"Miracles?"

Luckily, my hurried command brought up a menu. A menu I had never seen before.

[Earthly Renewal.]

[Chant: Blessed Be The Earth, Blessed Be Her Children. Oh Earth Queen, Oh Grand Healer, Hear The Prayer Of Your Champion And Beloved. Let Me Become The Arbiter Of Your Will And Close These Wounds Of Your Wounded Children And Cleanse Their Blood.]

[Effect: Heal up one person at a certain range. The healing amount is 25 + CHA Bonus + Class Level. This can cure any non-magical toxins or poisons.]

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[Erdgeist.]

[Chant: Blessed Be The Earth, Blessed Be Her Champion And Chosen One. Oh Earth Queen, Oh My Lady, Heed My Command. Let Me Become My Savagery, My Rage. Let Your Warm Embrace Fuel My Strikes And Smote Down My Enemies. Let The Caverns Of Yore Rumble With My Passing, Let The Mountains Quake With My Voice. Let The World Shake With Our Fury.]

[Effect: Empower yourself massively with powerful divine earthly energies. This Miracle uses up all of your remaining Miracle Slots and is increased in power for each Slot Used.]

[Material: One Diamond.]

.

[Earthbind.]

[Chant: Blessed Be The Earth, Deep Is Her Ire. Oh Earth Queen, Oh Mother Of All, Hear The Prayer Of Your Champion And Beloved. Let Me Become The Arbiter Of Your Will and Ensnare My Foes In Bindings Of Earth And Mud.]

[Effect: Choose one creature within 100 feet. That creature will be bound in strips of living earth and mud. They must have the strength to break out of it or they will be trapped. Effectiveness increases with your CHA Bonus.]

[Concentration: This Miracle requires you to concentrate. If you are distracted, asleep or otherwise incapacitated, this spell will end.]

.

[Mould Earth.]

[Chant: Blessed Be The Earth, Strong Is Her Command. Oh Earth Queen, Oh Lady Of The Deep, Hear The Prayer Of Your Champion And Beloved. Invest In Me Your Authority And Command Over The Gnomes And Their Homes, So I May Shape Them Into My Will.]

[Effect: You may mould dirt, sand or mud around you in a five feet area. You can not mould or move solid stone or stone structures though you can shift them slightly. You can imprint images, colours, drawings or any combination of the three onto dirt or stone. This lasts for 1 hour.]

.

[Stoneskin.]

[Chant: Blessed Be The Earth, For No Blade Or Bow Can Pierce Her Skin. Oh Earth Queen, Oh She Who Rules Over All, Hear The Prayer Of Your Champion And Beloved. Grant Me The Merest Measure Of Your Resilience So That I May Turn Aside Those Who Wish To Harm Your Devoted Servant.]

[Effect: Turn your skin into solid stone but with no impairment to your movement. This can also be used on a willing creature. Effectiveness increases with your CHA Bonus.]

[Material: Iron Dust.]

[Concentration: This Miracle requires you to concentrate. If you are distracted or asleep, this spell will end.]

What the fuck is this.

I was so distracted by what I saw that I almost didn't realise the soft orange glow right in front of me and the sounds of heavy metal boots on rocky stone. Footsteps that were coming right towards me.

"If you're friendly, say something I can understand," I spoke out and whoever was walking stopped for a moment, "If you're a monster or one of these little green cunts, I'm smashing your skull in and leaving you for dead."

Nothing was said for a moment and I prepared to lash out but eventually, I was comforted by the most robotic, stilted and cold voice I've ever probably heard.

"I'm not a goblin," A deep, almost gruff voice spoke out, that of a man for sure. I took another look at the creatures I killed and, well. Not the goblins I'm used to but I can see it. Stepping around from the corner, I was met with a walking suit of armour. Grungy and dirty, the fresh coat of red blood on it was probably only the most recent applying rather than anything new. His helmet hid his face completely, two broken horns on the side of his helm that seemed aged and worn. He wore chain, leather and half-plates protecting his chest and vital areas that kinda reminded me of Bell's own armour; valuing freedom of movement rather than outright protection unlike the armour I usually wore.

"Who are you?" He asked me calmly and though I couldn't see his face, I gathered he was looking at the corpses around me, dismembered and broken.

I opened my mouth.

[Oh! Before we forget! People in this world don't use names! They use titles instead!]

Huh?

[For now, simply call yourself Earth Paladin! It fits well enough. If you don't do this though, you'll be killed!]

Oh fuck me running.

"I'm...Earth Paladin?" I couldn't help but sound confused as I said it but the guy in front of me accepted it with a stilted nod. He walked into the room, holding a short, wide sword in his free hand that dripped with blood. Getting a closer look at him, I can see the buckler tied to his arm that was holding the torch and how chipped it seemed. It almost felt nostalgic looking at it.

"Goblin Slayer."

Holy fuck, people really do use titles as their names. Where the fuck am I?

"Did you do this?" He asked me and there was so little emotion in his voice, I had a hard time wondering if he was being sarcastic, accusing me or honestly curious. There was no inflection, no real accent. Just stilted words.

"Yeah, these little bastards jumped me without my gear," I nodded down at the dead monsters on the floor which ran red with their blood and the putrid smell of guts filling the air. The guy, Goblin Slayer, didn't seem to mind though, which already told me quite a lot.

"Are you injured?" He asked me and I was a bit thrown off by the question but I quickly shook my head.

"I have a healing sp-miracle. I used that, so I'm fine," I explained to Goblin Slayer who took my words with another silent nod though he was still pinning me down with his helmet.

"They poison their weapons with feces, urine and poisonous plants. You should drink an antidote," He went to sheath his sword but I stopped with a shake of my head.

"Thanks but that same spell works on mundane poisons and toxins. Unless these little twats used a magical poison?" I said it more of a joke but the guy seemed to take it seriously as he tilted his head in thought.

"They would if they could get their hands on it," He said simply, "But it is unlikely this nest would have it."

God, I fucking hope so.

"Seven," The armoured man spoke out, catching me by surprise, "You killed seven goblins. With your bare hands?"

"I prefer a mace but when needs must," I shrugged at him and he gave a noncommittal grunt at my words.

"The exit is that way," He pointed his torch down where he came from for me and I risked walking towards him and out of the alcove that I was transported in, "It's safe and it is a straight path."

Huh. For some reason, I feel surprised at the help. Maybe it was because I threatened to bash his skull in and all he's done is offer help, as awkward as it was.

"And down there?" I nodded at the path that led further down. With the new light source, I could see that the cave was supported by old wooden supports, covered in dust and grime. It was wide enough that two people could walk side by side but not much more.

"More goblins," The first flicker of emotion entered in his tone. Faint, but it was there and it was not a nice one, "Must be 10 left, maybe more. They have a shaman with them."

"Shaman?"

"A goblin who can cast magic. Usually around 2, 3 times a day and with offensive spells," He told me and the word shaman stood out. There were variations of goblins in the Dungeon but never one that can cast magic. And I don't believe these bastards drop any magic stones either.

"Well," I exhaled through my nose, feeling a bit awkward. He wasn't asking for my help, not really. He was just telling me what's what and he showed me the way out. To me, it didn't seem like he was expecting any help.

So fuck it.

"Look, I'll be real with you...Goblin Slayer, was it?" I asked him and he gave a nod to my question, "Do you want any help? These little bastards tried to gut me already and I'm no stranger to killing monsters."

Goblin Slayer didn't say anything at first and I gathered he was looking beyond me, peering into the blood-splattered where I was and then he turned his attention back towards the dark path. Whatever it was that he was thinking, I had no idea. His body language was hidden by his armour and I couldn't even see his face beyond the horned helm.

"You said you already casted a miracle. How many times can you cast a day?"

God, it's per day? Why does this all feel so familiar?

"Total?" I asked, trying to wrap my head around this whole thing and Goblin Slayer inclined his head towards me, "Five, so I have four left."

"Is that so?"

It was awful trying to gauge his reaction and I had no idea if ten casts was good or not. His words weren't really dismissive and he looked down at the dark path before he suddenly stopped and twisted his head to look at me once again.

"Five?"

"Yeah."

A moment passed between us as he looked at me but he simply gave another silent nod. I have a feeling he's going to be doing that a lot and he unhooked something on his belt, handing it to me.

"Here. It is not a mace but clubs are useful," He gave me a thick wooden stick and I could tell with a glance it was covered in grime, dirt and dried blood. It wasn't nearly as big as I'm used to but in such small places, it would work well enough.

"You picked this off a dead goblin, didn't you?" I asked with a smirk and he almost made me chuckle with another silent nod of his, "Smart, I'll admit. So I take it, you're accepting my offer?"

"I am. Follow me."

It wasn't a command despite it sounding like one and I did just that. The two of us walked side by side and I kept my eyes peeled for anything strange and my ears open for any noises besides the sounds of our own heavy footsteps. The cave, which I gathered was an old abandoned mineshaft, was quiet for now though.

Despite that though, he started walking towards the exit he showed me instead of deeper into the cave. I didn't say anything at first, willing to wait and see what he wanted to do. Eventually, we came out of the cave and I got my first taste of fresh air and sunlight.

"Watch your step," He told me flatly before we walked out and I barely managed to stop myself from tripping over a piece of rope, hidden by the grass. A quick glance around us and I saw some wooden supports, old and rotting covering the entrance.

"An old mineshaft?" I wondered aloud and Goblin Slayer nodded. I looked to the left of the entrance and I frowned at what I saw.

"What are these totems? I kept seeing these on our way here," I asked Goblin Slayer, nodding towards said totem. It wasn't impressive, considering it was made out of dried brittle animal bones, some rotten wood and tied with rotting sinew.

"Shaman totems. It's how I knew one was here," He told me flatly but the knowledge impressed me nonetheless. He looked towards me, fully putting his attention on me.

"Your miracles. What are they?"

"Well," I said slowly, looking around myself for the moment and keeping an eye on the entrance, "I know five, but two aren't going to be any help here. I need materials for those and I have none on hand."

"What are they?" He asked me again and I shrugged.

"One requires a diamond and the other requires iron dust," I told him plainly, "The miracles I can cast are the healing one, Earthly Renewal, Earthbind and Mould Earth. The other two are Stoneskin, which requires iron powder and the last one is...well, it's not worth thinking about right now."

Seriously, a fucking diamond? Where the fuck am I going to get one of those? Iron powder or shavings, sure enough, that's fine. But a goddamn diamond? Fuck me running.

And now I have to use materials for my spells? This shit is getting more and more fucking convoluted by the minute.

"I do not recognize the first miracle but I know the others," Goblin Slayer said and inwardly, I breathed a sigh of relief. My spears may have been taken away from me which sucks major cock but I'll take what I can get. Goblin Slayer didn't say anything but I could tell he was thinking hard.

"I am going to smoke out the goblins," He eventually said, "There might be a hob with them, so go and hide and use Earthbind on it when you see it. If not, use it on the Shaman."

"Hob?"

"Hobgoblin," He explained to me, "Bigger and stronger than most goblins. Most humans as well. They act as guards for the nests and shamans."

"Right. You don't want me fighting?" I asked him and he shook his head, surprising me.

"You have no armour. If you want to fight, I can give you a sling."

I was about to say something but before I could…

[If you accept this offer, you will be violating a Tenet Of The Earth Queen; "Only In The Beating Heart Of War Can The Devout Prove Themselves. To Spurn That Is To Spurn The Mother Of All."]

Fuck. That explains why Telluric Spears were taken from me then. I let out a frustrated huff and shook my head.

"Can't," I tried not to spit out the words but failed a bit, "My goddess only allows me to fight in close quarters. Everything else is a big no-no."

"I see," Goblin Slayer said, staring at me for a moment, "Then will you not break those teachings if you use your miracles in this way?"

I took a moment to think over what Goblin Slayer said and eventually, I shook my head.

"Only in the beating heart of war can the devout prove themselves. To spurn that is to spurn the mother of all," I repeated the tenant, more to myself than Goblin Slayer and I gave a shrug.

"Pretty open to interpretation but the way I see it, I'm not fighting. I'm giving support to you," I told Goblin Slayer with a slight smirk playing on my lips, "And who knows? Maybe I'll do something really stupid yet."

"I see," Goblin Slayer nodded again and he reached for his hip. Reaching into a small sack, he pulled out a curious tool that looked like a makeshift grenade.

"What the hell is that?"

"Pine sap and sulfur," He explained to me blandly and whatever I was going to say died in my throat, "It produces a heavy smoke and it's poisonous. Don't' breathe it in."

"Well, I wasn't planning on it," I told him with a wry tone and I couldn't help smirking at the strange guy in front of me, "I'll admit, I'm impressed. That's way smarter than what I would've done."

"I see," He just said again, making me chuckle a bit. This guy was fucking strange but he knows his stuff.

"Get ready. I will throw it in. Will you fight after using Earthbind?"

"Yes," I said with no hesitation, "Yeah, you're right. I have no armour and only this club as a weapon. It would be really stupid to fight in melee but well, it doesn't sit right with me that I'll be leaving you to fight alone."

"I'm supposed to be a paladin for a war goddess, after all. Can't let something as silly as no armour stop me from fighting," I said ruefully with a slight smirk but whether Goblin Slayer saw the mocking humour, I have no idea. The helmet really didn't help.

"I see. Then get ready."

"Don't have to tell me twice," I said as he struck the strange hand-held stink bomb with a flint. The spark lit a small flame on top of the fuse and he threw it down the mineshaft and retreated back with the woods, hiding behind two trees, far away.

My breathing was calm. The beating of my heart was steady. Goblin Slayer, from what I could see, was just as calm as I was. Soon enough, a thick smoke started to flow out of the entrance and I heard some wretched noises coming from it.

The first goblin that came running out died as soon as it tripped on the rope by the entrance. Coming from beneath the grass, a spike trap was sprung and impaled the naked little bastard on it, going through his skull and ending its miserable life. Some others started barking something as they coughed and sputtered and I counted about six right now, not including the dead one. They were wearing no armour and the weapons they had were bones, crude wooden clubs and spears and rusted metal pickaxes.

I looked at Goblin Slayer but he merely shook his head. So I waited.

And then I saw what must've been the hob. He wasn't kidding that it was bigger and stronger than most goblins and humans. The lumbering beast that walked out of the mineshaft reminded me more of the orcs of the Dungeon than the goblins I was looking at. It must've been seven feet tall, a pouch of fat and muscle on its protruding stomach. Its arms were like tree trunks and its massive hands were big enough to wrap around a child's head. Held in its hands seemed to be a makeshift club for it, made out of a tree with a crude stone head on it.

And riding on its shoulders, screaming, shouting and pointing was a goblin. It had some sort of cloth over its face though and it was holding a weird wooden staff, capped with a human skull and dangling with little chicken skulls.

That must've been the hob and shaman. I looked at Goblin Slayer again and mouthed 'hob' at him as a sort of question.

He gave a nod and I saw his hands tighten on his sword.

"Blessed Be The Earth, Deep Is Her Ire. Oh Earth Queen, Oh Mother Of All, Hear The Prayer Of Your Champion And Beloved," I started to whisper under my breath and I felt a sort of warmth energy rush into my feet and through my body. It was a strong, almost certain type of feeling that carried me forth.

"Let Me Become The Arbiter Of Your Will and Ensnare My Foes In Bindings Of Earth And Mud," My mouth was on autopilot as I spoke, a slight fervour entering my words that I didn't realise had slipped in. I kept my gaze on the hob as it sniffed the air like a dog, its ugly wart-ridden face making my stomach churn with disgust.

"Earthbind."

Miracle Slots: 3/5

It struck quickly, more than I expected. Without any time to react, the earth and stone around the hobgoblin sprung out, strips of magically moved earth and stone. It wrapped its wrists first, making it let out a surprised grunt before two more strips of mud and stone wrapped around its ankles, forcing it still. It let out a mighty roar trying to rip free but it was cut short, courtesy of Goblin Slayer throwing his sword straight at the fucking thing.

He had good aim because the short blade stabbed through the eye socket and the hob's noises and rage was cut short. It fell to its knees, throwing the screaming shaman onto the floor in an ungraceful gesture. It fell flat on its face, allowing the sword to pierce all the way through its skull and out the other side. With that thing dead, I dismissed the bindings of earth with a thought.

"Two," Goblin Slayer said next to me as we rushed the goblins, their frantic and scared state allowing the strange warrior to unsheath a dagger and stabbing through its neck, spilling blood everywhere on the dirt floor. My club went wide as I bashed a goblin's skull in, the force of it making a dent on its unarmoured head and one of its strange, thickly slitted eyes popping out of its skull.

The goblin shaman stood up, frothing at the mouth and started to chant something, an orange flame licking at the tip of its finger. It was rewarded by a thrown dagger to the chest and it fell to the ground, its staff clattering along with it.

"Four," Goblin Slayer spoke out as he picked up a pickaxe and shoved the rusty tip of a pickaxe through the lower jaw of a wayward goblin, messily ripping it apart and the goblin dropped, bleeding and guttering out blood from its deathly wound.

One goblin went to stab me with its spear and it managed to slip past my guard as I kicked another goblin across with my foot, its neck twisting and breaking at an unnatural angle as it flew across the dirt.

HP: 11

Status: Poisoned. (-1 HP per every five seconds. Lasts for 45 seconds.)

Well now. That just ain't right.

The goblin smirked terribly at me, its jagged bright yellow teeth flashed up at me as it met my eye, twisting the spear that had managed to stab me. I looked it in the eye and grabbed a hold of the wooden spear and broke it in my grasp. Its eyes went wide as it dropped the broken spear and tried to run from me. It didn't get far as I tripped it up and it fell face-first into the dirt floor. I lifted up my foot to stomp on its skull and then-

I stopped. I stopped because it clasped its hands and started babbling at me. Needless to say, I was a bit confused by whatever the fuck it was doing.

"Goblin Slayer. Is it me or is the goblin begging for its life?" I asked the warrior as he approached at my side, holding a bloodied pickaxe in his grip. The rest of the goblins were dead on the floor and this was the last one alive.

"It is," Goblin Slayer told me calmly. He only stopped when I put my hand on his shoulder and he turned to look at me. The goblin started smiling which was really fucking ugly, might I add.

"Before we do anything," I said slowly to Goblin Slayer, "What would've happened if I begged for my life? To this goblin?"

"It would've laughed at you and torture you to death," He told me coldly and I believe the goblin didn't know what we were saying because it was still smiling and begging with tears in its wretched yellow goat-like eyes.

"Goblins are cowards. They will fight only when they are sure of victory but they will beg for mercy if they are cornered."

Right. I know the type.

"Goblin Slayer, what would you do if I said I have to spare a surrendering foe?" I asked him calmly, not letting the lie show for the moment. I wanted to see what he would say or do if I confronted him about this.

"I will slay it if you can't," He told me and there was a backbone of steel in his words. He really wasn't going to let this thing live, no matter what.

"Good," I said with a pleased nod and in an instant, I lifted up my foot and stomped on the pleading goblin's skull, breaking it open like an overripe fruit and bits of shattered skull and squashed grey matter floating like flotsam in a pool of blood.

"Just so you know, I was lying about that whole sparing bullshit," I admitted with no shame to Goblin Slayer who stared at me, "I just wanted to see if you would spare a goblin who was begging for its life."

"Many have tried," It was hard to tell if it was a boast or a fact. Probably a bit of both, honestly.

"It is a common mistake many new adventurers make," Goblin Slayer said to me, going around and stabbing each and every fallen goblin that didn't have its head crushed or some sort of serious injury that portrayed it as dead.

"They see a lone goblin and it starts begging. They get uncomfortable with the idea of killing something that isn't a threat. They think that this goblin will change its ways and become good."

"It is a trick. The goblin will learn from its encounter," He told me as he stood over the hobgoblin and slipped a knife into the back of its skull, no doubt stabbing the brain or severing the spine, "It will become a wanderer. Find a new nest. Tell the other goblins what it knows. Goblins are stupid but they are not fools."

"Has there ever been a good goblin?" I asked Goblin Slayer, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. I stood over the shaman, the knife in its chest protruding out and its eyes staring blankly at nothing.

"Maybe. It could be possible," He carried on, his voice slightly softer for a moment before he messily tore the head of the hobgoblin from its body, wrenching his knife back and forth through its spine. He held the head high and took his sword from its eye socket, throwing the head away and wiping the blood off of the blade.

"But the only good goblin is one that never comes out of its stinking hole," His voice didn't raise in pitch but the hate dripped from every word he spoke.

I didn't feel the need to judge him. From what I've seen, there's nothing redeemable about these creatures and well. When they found me in their cave, their first instinct was to try and gut me like a pig, laughing all the while. So yeah, no empathy to be found there.

Wordlessly, I lifted up my foot. It sprung to life, leaping up at me with its claws out and hoping to kill me. It really didn't get far as my foot fell and I squashed its head into a puddle of blood and viscera.

Bastard really thought I wouldn't notice.

"I'll need to heal myself. I took some pretty bad hits back there," I told Goblin Slayer who nodded at me. I started casting Earthly Renewal with a bit of haste as the poison was slowly killing me. It wouldn't deplete all of my HP but it would come close.

HP: 20

Miracle Slots: 2/5

Earthly Renewal had been changed. It was originally an AoE heal but now it was a single target. That fucking blows but hey, I'll take a normal ass heal any time of the day.

"Two casts left," I told Goblin Slayer just as a reminder as we got done double-tapping the goblin corpses, "I would like to keep one to see if I can't close up the entrance but if we're in trouble, I'll use the rest up."

"There should be none left but after the smoke has cleared out, we will check the rest of the mineshaft," He told me and I conceded with a nod. I took the time to look over the goblins in more detail, specifically the hobgoblin. The bastard was big, bigger than me. Not just in height, but in weight as well. If I was told this was some sort of orc or troll, it wouldn't shock me.

"So, I just want to get this straight. This thing is some sort of evolved goblin?" I kicked the hobgoblin's cooling corpse as if to emphasise my point. Goblin Slayer tilted his head, taking the time to look over the shitty weapons he had gathered and picking out the ones he wanted.

"How did they get like this? Looking at the rest of the goblins, they're all skins and bones. How did this one get so big?"

"It was a wanderer most likely, same as the shaman," He told me but that didn't really answer my question. He didn't say anything for a moment and I wondered if he was just going to end the conversation right there and then but his helmet shifted up to meet me.

"Someone I once knew told me that people in cold places grow bigger and those that live and eat alone also grow bigger," Goblin Slayer told me slowly, as if recalling a distant memory and I could see where he was getting at. It wasn't cold here but as for food, I have no idea.

"Then this fat fuck must've eaten a lot," I kicked the hob's stomach and I could feel the muscle underneath it, "Good throw, by the way. I could've killed this thing by myself but without any gear, it would've been rough."

Goblin Slayer looked at me, quiet for a moment and then he spoke, his dull and flat tone slightly different in a curious way.

"How would you have done it?"

"Depending on the situation, I would've bound it with Earthbind or tripped it up with Mould Earth. Either way, I would've gone for the head and cracked it open."

To demonstrate my point, I went to the decapitated head of the hobgoblin and picked it up with both of my hands. With some slight pressure, the whole head burst open like a can of red chunky paint, bathing my drenched clothes and my face in blood and grey matter. I let the demolished skull fall to the ground with a sickening splat and shrugged to Goblin Slayer who said nothing at the brutal display.

"I'm a lot stronger than I look," I told him blandly, "A lot stronger. It's why I was able to kill the goblins with my hands like I was able to when we met."

"I see," Goblin Slayer eventually said and stood up, looking towards the mineshaft entrance. The smoke by now had eventually all but gone as far as I could tell and he motioned me to follow him.

On our way down, we didn't encounter any goblins but Goblin Slayer did show me a few interesting things I missed on the first time around. He showed me that the goblins had mined out small, missable holes to hide in and ambush anyone. He pointed out that the totems in the old mine were meant to distract people who entered, so they didn't take a closer look at their surroundings.

I'll admit, I would've been a victim of that. Not that I would've died but a victim all the same. With their poisoned weapons, shaman and hob along with these holes, I get the feeling that any new group of fresh-faced adventurers would've been fucked. I told Goblin Slayer as such to get his opinion and he agreed with me. He told me that it was a common mistake they made and they would've entered the mine with only a torch and some weapons.

I get a distinct feeling that these things happen a lot. I had actually asked Goblin Slayer what his plan was to deal with this nest of goblins if I hadn't been around.

He was going to collapse the entire mineshaft with a few explosives. Not just the entrance but the entire thing. I actually laughed a bit at that because it was so surreal and so overkill, I couldn't help but respect it.

If the man wanted goblins dead, he would find a way. I can respect that sort of single-mindedness.

Eventually, the deeper we got, a sort of putrid stench started to fill the air. It made my eyes water due to how fucking odorous it was and I could barely hold back gagging as it stuck to the back of my throat and my nose. It was a steaming hot stink, like something had been left to fester in a dark corner for years.

It also smelled like a wretched pile of age old shit. Which is funny because that's precisely what it was.

"They have a shitting room?" I asked, almost heaving as I covered my mouth in utter disgust. I would have laughed if I was told about it but standing right in front of it, only made it slightly less funny.

"This is where they put all of their waste," Goblin Slayer said, his voice still flat and toneless. He waved the torch around and even the fucking walls were caked in dirty brown shit and stale old piss.

"Breathe through your nose. You'll get used to it."

"That's probably the scariest fucking thing you've said to me since we met," I said dryly but I did as he said, trying to think of anything other than the stench and waste around me, "So why are we here? Do goblins hide in piles of their own shit?"

"Yes," I wasn't even fucking surprised at this point, I'll be honest, "But none of them will be here. Look over there."

Frowning, I watched as Goblin Slayer started walking through the piles of shit in the room. I followed along for a bit but when we got towards the end, I felt my heart leap into my throat.

A woman was tied up to a pole, just at the other end. The urge to move was overpowering and I took a single step forward before I stopped myself. I looked at her, not saying a word as I took in the fucking gruesome scene before me. Her head was down, hiding her face and her feet were tied to the bottom of the pole. Her long, messy brown shit-covered hair hid her face and she wore some stained sack to cover her body.

I didn't say anything. My face was a stone as hot, burning oil went through my veins, anger and rage flashing through my mind. I looked towards Goblin Slayer who was keeping his gaze on me.

"I should've made those little cunts suffer more," I spat out with a low growl, my clenched hands trembling and my words became shaky, "I should've ripped off their necks and shit down their throats. This, this is fucking vile."

The woman in front of us was already dead. Her skin was alabaster white. The sack covering her body seemed too clean for someone who was forced to be in this shit-squalid room. She didn't even make any noise when we were talking and she was still as a corpse. A slight dripping of blood could be seen dripping from her face. If she was alive, they wouldn't need to wrap up her feet to make sure she stays upright.

"This is a trap, isn't it?" I asked Goblin Slayer who gave a nod, "You come in here, you see the girl. You, you rush ahead to rescue her and then I guess something happens when you cut her free."

"There," Goblin Slayer lifted his torched up to the ceiling and I watched him point at something I didn't notice when I first came in. It was a net of some kind, filled with pots, pans and rocks. I couldn't see it but I wagered it was wired to the corpse right in front of us.

"Goblins know Adventurers will rush to save innocent people. So they set them up as traps, if they can," Goblin Slayer explained to me and I would've been slightly impressed if I wasn't so fucking angry and disgusted to my core. At first, I didn't really care about the goblins beyond the fact that they tried to kill me but this, this was...this was awful.

"You free her, that drops and then you're in this room, cornered by shit, piss and the hob and the shaman. You're completely cornered," I said more to myself than Goblin Slayer, "And I haven't seen any torches around either, so I presume goblins can see in the dark."

"They can."

"I hate to admit it," I said with a low voice, "But I probably would've fallen for this, hook line and sinker. That's dastardly clever by these little cunts."

"It is a common mistake many new Adventurers make."

"But I'm not new, is the thing. I've killed a lot of monsters and where I'm from, I'm considered an elite," I said with a sigh, running my hand through my hair, "But I guess the type of monsters I've had to deal with are vastly different."

"Whatever," I shook my head, getting rid of my funk, "I'll just have to learn. For now, I'm not leaving her here like this. She deserves a proper burial."

Goblin Slayer didn't say anything as I walked towards the dead girl. I felt my heart pang with guilt, regret and just plain sadness at the sorry sight in front of me. I went to untie her before I stopped. I stopped because I had noticed something off.

"Goblin Slayer, she isn't decomposing," I said to him, not willing to turn my head back to look at him, "How long do you think she's been dead for?"

"Goblins do not kill any women they have right away. They use them to breed."

I stopped. My mind was blank for a moment as I processed the words over and over in my head. Without any hesitation, I knelt in the shit and piss covered floor and I felt it soak into my leggings but I ignored that for now. I lifted up her face and I was met with a dead expression, covered in claw marks and scabbed wounds. One of her eyes was ripped out of its socket, dripping with stale thick blood and pus.

"Fifteen. Sixteen, at most," I spoke slowly to myself and I didn't know if Goblin Slayer heard me. If he did, he didn't say anything. Frightening to boil over, I kept my emotions tightly sealed as I undid her dirty sack and looked at her bare body.

I needed to see. I needed to see what exactly they had done to her.

I looked and the image was burned into my brain. I've seen dead bodies before. It was nothing new. In the Dungeon, back in my old world. Rarely, it was even my fault as to why they had died.

I looked. A quiet moment passed and slowly, I let the sack cover her and a slow, trembling breath escaped my lips.

"The goblin that was begging me for its life. Would it have raped her?"

"They all would've."

That was enough for me. That was far, far more than enough for me. I undid her ropes and the net above us was released, crashing down with a mighty noise in the empty mineshaft. I let her corpse lean on me and I wrapped my hand under and around her legs and my other hand held her back.

"Can you perform burial rites?" Goblin Slayer asked me out of nowhere. I was about to say no, but that choice was taken away from me.

[As a Paladin Of The Earth Queen, you are able to perform burial rites to prevent corpses from transforming into undead and ensuring that each soul gets the afterlife it deserves, whether that is heaven, hell or something else entirely.]

[To perform your burial rites, recite these words and place your hand on the corpse's body; Oh Earth Queen, Oh Mother Of All. In Your Boundless Compassion And Unending Cruelty, Let This Soul Return Into Your Arms, Where It May Rest Or Perish As You See Fit.]

[This is not a required part of your duties, however. It is entirely up to you to perform burial rites and you will suffer no penalty nor will you ever receive a reward for doing so.]

Well. Would you look at that.

"I can," I told Goblin Slayer and it wasn't hard to hide my surprise considering everything else I was feeling at the moment.

"But is that going to be alright? Not entirely sure if it's appropriate for someone of a different faith to perform them. Or I assume so, anyway."

It was a bit of a lie but hey, If I was going to roleplay as a paladin, I might as well see what's what.

"Her village doesn't have a priest," Was Goblin Slayer's answer and I couldn't hold back my grimace. If I'm also reading this shit right, performing burial rites will also stop corpses coming back as undead. If that's a thing here then, I might not have a choice.

"...If her family is alright with it then, sure," I eventually said to Goblin Slayer, "I suppose I'll have to do the goblins as well."

"They'll come back as undead otherwise," He told me, confirming my fears. Still holding the poor girl, Goblin Slayer and I walked out of that fetid space and he guided me somewhere else. Again, it was an oval room but it was a bit weirder than the others. More crudely made and in the middle of it was a throne made out of bones and wood. It was a gruesome display of monstrous vanity.

That wasn't the most interesting thing though.

The most interesting thing was behind the throne, hiding up against the wall.

"Goblin babies?" I muttered, looking at the little shits. They were ugly things, but also weirdly cute. Like pugs, almost and they were crying and trembling before us. There were 13 of them. I looked down at the woman in my arms, my thoughts racing.

"Are they all from her?" I asked Goblin Slayer bluntly and he gave a nod, keeping his gaze on the baby goblins in front of us.

"Goblins breed quickly and grow up quickly. If they had any more women, they would've numbered somewhere between fifty to sixty before long."

Fuck.

"If you're expecting me to kick up a fuss or beg you to let them live," I said slowly to Goblin Slayer, "Then I hate to disappoint but I'm not in any mood for that. If you don't kill these fucking abominations, I will."

They had eaten some parts of this girl in my arms. Some of the marks left were far, far too small to be normal goblins.

There might be this whole nature vs nurture argument to be made but I honestly couldn't care less. If goblins reproduce through rape and there is no such thing as a half-goblin, they're an invasive species, parasites that will defile and kill innocent people.

"Your club. It will be easier."

I handed the club to him and watched him get to work. The squeals and little snarls were haunting but the young girl in my arms was worse by far. Some tried to run but I stopped them myself.

What a fucking day.

"We're all done here then?" I asked Goblin Slayer. He nodded and handed me back the club, still wet with blood.

Thank god my 'goddess' didn't get pissy at me for this. I have no idea how Hestia would react though.

"Is her village nearby?" I asked Goblin Slayer as we walked outside of the mine. I had done burial rites on all of the goblins and I hoped that the wording of the burial rite meant the little shits were suffering in whatever afterlife was waiting for them.

"It is. I will lead you to it."

"Thank you," I said gratefully to Goblin Slayer. I followed him, trying to figure out what to say or do when I had to tell someone that their young daughter was taken away from them. And not cleanly.

It just made me angry. It pissed me off. If I was going to be transported here, sure whatever. But they could've at least fucking dropped me off when I could've saved this kid. Not carry around her fucking corpse and bringing it to a grieving family.

I felt no remorse for letting Goblin Slayer kill the goblins, all of them. I wished I had just made them suffer more, honestly.

"Thank you."

Goblin Slayer's voice came out of nowhere as we walked through the forest, drawing my attention. He almost seemed uncertain with how he spoke unlike before.

"You made this much easier. And I didn't say thank you yet," He explained to me bluntly, making my lips twitch a bit. Social skill was not this guy's forte but he didn't seem all that bad.

"It's fine, really. And I'll say thanks as well," I told him back and he turned his helmet to look at me and I could feel the confusion, however slight.

"For teaching me and answering my questions. I'm strong, there's not denying that but if we're talking about experience and knowledge, you outweigh me by far."

Which isn't all that shocking considering I come from a different world with a different set of rules on how monsters work and magic and all kinds of shit. But hey, I'm man enough to admit when someone is better than me.

"I see," Goblin Slayer said, making me smile a bit, "After this, what will you do?"

"Not a fucking clue," I admitted to Goblin Slayer, "I have no real idea where I even am, location wise. If there was a town or something where I can find out what's what, I'll be better off."

"There is. I will be going back there to turn in this quest to the Guild."

"You alright with me tagging along then?" I asked him outright rather than just pussyfooting around the subject.

"It is fine. It will take us half a day to travel on foot."

"Right then," I gave a sigh, looking down at the dead young girl in my arms, "Let's get this girl back to her family then. It's the least we can do now."

Goblin Slayer said nothing but the fact that he walked all the way back with me told me enough.

Yeah. He ain't so bad.

.


.

Night had fallen and we were camping on the roadside. Goblin Slayer and I were sitting by the campfire, some skinned and gutted rabbits roasting on said campfire, courtesy of Goblin Slayer's survival skills.

I had to perform burial rites for the girl. I was asked to by the girl's family. I had used Mould Earth to make a grave for her. None of them had heard about the Earth Queen before but I don't think they cared too much. They just wanted peace for their poor daughter.

It was a sobering reminder when I saw some people hugging their families, crying out their hearts in pure and utter relief. The Dungeon, which was usually under control by hundreds and hundreds of Adventurers of varying strength, wasn't a thing here. There is no central location where monsters spawned, there was no easy solution or mapped out areas. Here, things worked out differently. Monsters came into this world differently.

And now I was trapped here, playing holy man because of some stupid fucking god or whatever.

What a fun vacation this is turning out to be.

Goblin Slayer and I walked in silence for the most part and while I needled him for information, he was a woefully terrible conversationalist. It was grunts, one-word answers, motions of his head or him summing up something in a very bare-bones way.

I eventually decided to save the most important stuff for tonight and settled on trying to get my thoughts in order rather than force the issue.

"Do you want to take the first watch or should I?" I asked Goblin Slayer as we sat around the campfire and I would spin the rabbits around just to get a nice even sear on both of them.

I didn't need to eat and I fully expected him to offer my shitty rations or tell me to hunt my own food but he just went and got them while I set up the campfire so I couldn't really say no.

"I'll do it. Spellcasters need to rest."

"Fair enough but I'm more than just my miracles, you know," I shrugged at him but he simply shook his head and I decided to take the offer without any argument. Maybe while I was sleeping, I would just be transported back home and I can forget everything about today.

"Is five a lot by the way?" I asked Goblin Slayer, who gave me a look with his helmet, "Humour me. I'm not from around here."

"It is. I have not met a paladin before that can cast five miracles."

"Do you know many paladins?"

"No."

I almost laughed, I'll be honest. Almost.

I wasn't worried about causing trouble or being in danger. I just didn't want people to get the idea that I'm hanging around permanently and looking to me to help fix things.

"So you mentioned something about an Adventurer's Guild and ranks while on the road. Mind telling me what yours is?" I asked him as the meat and fat on the skinned rabbit sizzled and blackened above the licking flames.

"Silver," Goblin Slayer told me with no pride or emotion in his robotically dull tone. Confusion must've shown on my face as he carried on.

"Silver is the 3rd highest rank. The lowest is Porcelain out of ten."

"3rd highest? Got that solely from killing goblins?" I asked him, intensely curious and he gave a slow nod.

"It is something the Guild decided," He said to me as if that explained anything. Which it did, slightly. It told me that this Guild might not care so much as the type of monster that Adventurers killed just as long as they do a good job. Though I could be wrong about that, it made sense from what I've seen at least.

"If I signed up as an Adventurer, do you think they would accept me?" I asked him.

"Yes, they would," He said in his unwaveringly dull voice, "The only rule is you must be 15 years of age or older."

"15 huh?" I muttered, not really feeling surprised. Bell was 14, for fuck sake so it's not like I wasn't used to that fact.

"Has anyone ever heard about my goddess? The Earth Queen?" I eventually decided to bite the bullet and ask outright but Goblin Slayer didn't say anything at first.

"I have not," He eventually answered, "But I do not care about the gods."

"Not a religious man huh? I can respect that," I said it somewhat as a joke but Goblin Slayer didn't see it that way apparently.

"The gods do nothing about goblins. They aren't worth thinking about."

What a single-track mind.

Goblin Slayer didn't say anything after that and I was alright just sitting in silence for a moment, wondering what my next move is going to be.

"Do you want to be an Adventurer?" Goblin Slayer asked me out of the blue which surprised me. It was the first time he asked me something that wasn't related to my abilities.

"Want," I rolled the word around my mouth for a bit, letting it settle on my tongue. I craned my head upwards to the twin moons of this world, one small and pale, the other large and green.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't really know," I told him slowly, "I'll admit to being a bit...aimless at the moment. It used to be that I had a clear cut goal but that's been taken away from me by outside factors. And the only real thing I'm good for is fighting and killing monsters. I don't have anything beyond that."

It wasn't surprising when Goblin Slayer stayed silent. It was surprising when I saw his body shift, just a tiny bit. No more than a second but his coiled body which seemed ready to spring at a moment's notice softened. Just for a second but I noticed it.

"I need to make money which I don't think is a bad reason to take up a job as Adventurer, I guess," I said with a light shrug, "But I could just do some heavy labour for that if I really wanted to."

I was forced to become an Adventurer last time. I didn't really have a choice in the matter. That wasn't to say I regretted it necessarily but it wasn't my choice to make. It was already made for me.

This time was different though. And I really didn't know what else to do.

"I'll figure it out when we get there," I decided, putting the matter on hold for now, "It might be that I just leave without making a fuss."

"I see," Goblin Slayer said once again and I wondered if he really did or he was just saying that to just say it.

Either way, I had no idea what to do next. I guess being an Adventurer would make sense but I don't want to make any connections while I'm here. I'm basically on a timer until the System plops me back in Orario.

But for now. I need to find out some things.

"Do you mind if I go and take a piss real quick?" I asked Goblin Slayer bluntly, "I held it in while we were walking but I'm fit to burst right now."

"Do not go too far. Goblins will take the advantage if they spot you," Was his reply and I'll admit, I found it almost endearing how everything eventually came back to Goblins with this man.

"Thanks," I flashed him a thankful smirk and I got up from my spot, moving off to the side. Not far away enough that I left his vision but far away enough that he couldn't hear me. Right now, the two of us were camping by a well-worn dirt road, keeping the forest to our left. I decided to just go to the other side of the road because I didn't trust taking a piss in a forest I didn't know.

I unwrapped my breeches and took out the trouser snake as I whispered to myself.

"Stats."

Name: Earth Paladin.

Class: Paladin (Level 1).

Variant: Mother Of All.

HP: 20

Miracle Slots: 1/5

Abilities:

Strength: 10 (+0)

Dexterity: 10 (+0)

Constitution: 10 (+0)

Intelligence: 10 (+0)

Wisdom: 10 (+0)

Charisma: 10 (+0)

Ability Points: 27

Okay. What the fuck is any of this. Why the fuck does this shit look so fucking familiar to Dungeons and Dragons? God fucking dammit.

But this was good to know. Some part of my status from my Falna must be enhancing me, even if it was toned down. I was too strong otherwise to just have a measly ten in my abilities.

"Class."

[Class: Paladin.]

[Paladins are men and women who are devoted to one god and one god alone. They are the holy knights, the devout crusaders and blessed few who can combine the might of their god-given blessings and their innate talent for standing on the front lines with blade and shield. Paladins are a rare few because the line they walk is a fine one. The blessings of their gods are gifts but they are given with a stipulation; that the Paladin will uphold their values, tenets and justice above all else. If a Paladin ever wavers, then their miracles are stripped from them and must either accept they are not suited or go under penance to redeem themselves.]

[Variant: Mother Of All.]

[You are a worshipper of The Mother Of All, an old, primordial earth goddess of this world. Almost forgotten to time, the clergy of this goddess is virtually extinct and barely anyone remembers it besides the old races of the world. The Earth Queen, The Lady Of The Deep, The Mother Of All, She Who Shakes The World are her titles and once, she had many more.]

[The Mother Of All is a brutal but fair goddess. Her domains include the earth, home, war, fertility, darkness and beasts. Her tenets espouse that one must take it upon themselves to take control of their lives for only then can they truly learn. Rather than matters of justice and law, The Lady Of The Deep cares more for how her followers follow their own code and their personal interpretations of her words. Responsibility for one's own actions, personal honour and the protection of one's own family are the dogma of the Earth Queen.]

[However, The Mother Of All is no god of chaos and holds a fierce love for her children, followers or not. She will not suffer those who simply use her teachings to lord over the weak and call it "the natural order" nor will she suffer the weak or cowardly to use her beliefs as a crutch to make them seem more than what they are.]

[To gain a more concrete understanding of the Earth Queen's tenets and teachings, use the Tenets Command.]

Christ on a fucking bike. I feel sick to my stomach.

Couldn't they just have made me a fighter? I would've been pissed but then I wouldn't have to deal with this shit.

"Tenets," I whispered under my breath, hoping to gain an understanding of what the fuck I was dealing with.

[The Tenets Of The Mother Of All, The Earth Queen.]

I. Destroy, Decimate And Scorn Those Who Would Harm You Or Those Under You.

II. Betrayal Is The Gravest Of Sins.

III. Tell No Falsehoods Knowingly.

IV. Only In The Beating Heart Of War Can The Devout Prove Themselves. To Spurn That Is To Spurn The Mother Of All.

V. Leave No Debt Unpaid.

VI. Leave No Challenge Unanswered.

VII. Do Not Suffer The Creatures And Acolytes Of Chaos To Live.

VIII. Treat Every Home As If It Were Your Own.

IX. Life Is A Challenging Road. To Offer A Helping Hand Is Simply Natural. To Walk It For Someone Else Is Simply Foolish.

X. Never Waver. Never Surrender.

Page:

1/183

Well. Okay. So these are the rules I have to play with? Truthfully, they aren't too bad and the System gave me a warning in case I was about to break one so it isn't crippling. A lot of it just seemed in line with what I was told about this Earth Queen.

I clicked on an arrow and went onto page 2. Luckily, it wasn't more tenets but simply the beginning of a very long story about the Earth Queen, who she was, her values and so on.

I didn't have any time to read all of it but I would have to eventually. Especially if I'm going to be roleplaying as a paladin for a goddess that values battle and honour.

That still made me feel bad. Sick, almost. When I was called upon to say burial rites for that little girl, I had to force the words out.

I wasn't a religious man. I wasn't the one that was supposed to say those lines. But no one else could do it so I had to step up.

It wasn't even that I had anything against paladins. Honestly, I didn't hate the idea of being one. I liked paladins. I just kinda wished that I had a choice in any of this. But I didn't, so fuck me I guess.

Now, let's sort out these abilities.

I played around with them for a bit but I'm almost sure that this whole thing was based off of DnD. There was just that niggling feeling at the back of my mind and when I allocated the points.

Abilities:

Strength: 20 (+5)

Dexterity: 10 (+0)

Constitution: 19 (+4)

Intelligence: 10 (+0)

Wisdom: 10 (+0)

Charisma: 18 (+4)

Ability Points: 0

[Ability Points Allocated. Lock in choice?]

[Yes.]

[No.]

I clicked yes and I watched with mild interest as some things changed before my eyes.

Name: Earth Paladin.

Class: Paladin (Level 1).

Variant: Mother Of All.

HP: 40

Miracle Slots: 1/5

Divine Sense: 5/5

Lay On Hands: 5

Okay. Motherfucker. Okay. You're just going to do that now? Instead of say, back with the goblins?

Fucking System. It must've been waiting for me to allocate my points before it did anything else. If I remember correctly, Divine Sense let me sense my surroundings for any divine or unholy beings while Lay On Hands was a pool that I could draw from to heal people or cure poisons and diseases.

Best thing about it, it didn't require a chant. I just had to touch someone and heal them.

Yeah. Yeah, it's all coming back to me now. This shit, it's fucking DnD! The ability modifiers, the scores, everything. I remember playing this shit ages ago.

That's why I focused on my strength, constitution and charisma. The other stats weren't bad, just middling and I'd rather be able to just do what I do best. My miracles are based on my charisma and who knows, maybe I'll be so fucking suave, the ladies will just swoon over me.

God, wouldn't that be funny?

I also couldn't go above twenty which was a shame but hey, I am just level 1. Again. Fuck, that hurts to say.

Now the problem was, I didn't know if Lay On Hands or Divine Sense were common to this world or even exist. I'll have to figure it out and see what I can find.

With all of that done, I decided I had taken long enough and went back to Goblin Slayer and our campfire. He had taken the rabbits off of the flame and he was, somehow, eating it under his helm. I didn't say anything but I chuckled at the sight.

"You're going to sleep in that armour, aren't you?" I took the burnt rabbit and dug in, mostly for the show of eating rather than actually being hungry.

"I will. Goblins might attack," He told me, making me smirk slightly, "If you loosen the straps, it breathes easier."

"Yeah, I'd figured," I said with a slow shake of my head, "Is it really going to be alright, by the way? Walking into town like this?"

I gestured to my blood-splattered clothes and the dried shit and piss on my knees. The smell either wasn't exactly great, if I was being honest but I was used to it by now. Goblin Slayer shook his head at me as he finished off the rest of his rabbit and threw away the stick.

"It will be fine. The smell will hide us from any goblins out on patrol."

"Do goblins often go out on patrols?"

"If the horde is big enough."

This guy. Seriously.

.


.

Going into the Adventurer's Guild was a weirdly familiar feeling, I'll admit. It was a wide-open building, filled with people of all kinds and races; small midgets that were probably a different race, humans, elves, dwarves and some people with distinct animal features that reminded me of the people back in Orario.

Not one was quite alike, whether it be in race, equipment or how they carried themselves. The Guild was vibrant with conversation, laughter and some yelling here and there. Rather than the Guild back home, this place was definitely more of a place where Adventurers came to meet and work. Going by some of the smell in the air, above the stench of oiled weapons and tobacco smoke, I also smelled cooked food as well.

A quick glance showed me a series of tables, some long and rectangular while others were short and round, with food and drink on them being brought by a waitress with animal-like paws and ears.

Name's the same but they're quite different, that's for sure.

I didn't miss how we drew some glances from, well. Quite a lot of people actually. More than I would've thought. It seemed to be split between me and Goblin Slayer, their noses crinkling slightly in disgust which I didn't blame them for. We, quite literally, smelled like blood and shit. I was surprised we weren't thrown out.

Whether Goblin Slayer took notice of the stares or not or if he even cared, I couldn't tell as he walked towards the receptionists. There were about two sitting behind a long desk, handing and stamping what I assumed were quests. Some Adventurers bought potions from over the desk and I took stock of the faces and their tags.

From what Goblin Slayer told me, there were ten ranks to an Adventurer and I wanted to get a read on any of the stronger ones to see how I would measure up if something were to happen.

Truth was, I had no fucking clue but I was bored and I've done nothing but walk for like 12 hours total.

The woman behind the desk smiled as she gave two tired-looking Adventurers, a young kid wearing some leather armour, holding a sword and shield and a young woman holding some sort of sword-staff thing? A cleric or a mage, I guess? They moved past us and I didn't miss how they glanced at Goblin Slayer, quickly getting out of his way and then muttering behind us.

And I also didn't miss how the smile on the receptionist wasn't really cold or fake. It was a genuine one, surprisingly enough and it lit up when she saw Goblin Slayer. She was a young woman with darkish blond hair which was made into a long ponytail plait which was thrown over her shoulder. Her uniform, while not really sexy or salacious in any way, hugged her curvy form well enough that it was actually quite nice on her.

"Goblin Slayer, you're back!" She greeted him with a bright smile which caused me no end of shock and her bright yellow flickered towards me, her smile taking on a surprised expression before it was quickly replaced by her smile.

"Oh, excuse me, that was awfully rude," She said, her cheeks flushing red slightly, making me smile a bit, "Are you with Goblin Slayer?"

"Something like that," I said with a shrug, "I'm called Earth Paladin. Goblin Slayer and I kinda stumbled onto each other in a mineshaft filled with goblins."

"Oh, do you mean that quest?" The woman asked and Goblin Slayer gave a slow nod.

"He was in the old mines and had already killed some goblins with his bare hands," Goblin Slayer's word drew some attention, despite my best wishes and I rubbed my eyes tiredly.

"He makes it sound much more impressive than it actually was," I told the wide-eyed woman, trying to do some damage control, "Truth was, me being there was a complete accident. Goblin Slayer offered to help me get out and I offered to help kill goblins with him, which he took. That's about it."

Goblin Slayer, thankfully, didn't mention some of my other feats like tearing off limbs or kicking off heads which would've made my life a bit more difficult. The woman's surprise bled away and she gave me a thankful smile.

"I see. Then are you an Adventurer, Earth Paladin?"

"I mean," I waved my hand in a bit of a dismissive gesture, "The technical answer is no. But I've killed a lot of monsters in my time and being a paladin of a war goddess has its benefits."

"Is that going to cause issues? I'm not here to make a fuss about a reward or whatever," I said to the woman who shook her head at me, a thankful smile on her full lips.

"No, not at all. If Goblin Slayer wants to split the reward, he's well within his rights," She told me brightly but I wondered if the opposite was true as well. I wouldn't really care if Goblin Slayer did take the full reward, considering he probably wasn't expecting me.

"I would like to split it," Goblin Slayer spoke out and I couldn't help frowning a bit.

"You don't need to do that, you know. I didn't help you because I was hoping to get paid."

"It is only fair. You made the quest much easier," He told me flatly and while there was no appreciation in his tone, there didn't really need to be for me to pick up on it.

I can't really say no either. I have no fucking money and I needed something so I wasn't sleeping on the streets again. I shrugged and the guild woman accepted it easily enough with a nod and a smile.

"That's fine but I'll need your report, Goblin Slayer," The guild woman told Goblin Slayer, still with a warm smile on her youthful face.

"Have there been any new quests?" Goblin Slayer asked out of the blue, kinda throwing me off. The woman just smiled at him though and gave a slight nod.

"Yes, Goblin Slayer. About three new quests about goblins have been posted," She said, making me blink. I looked over to the board and with squinting eyes, I noticed that the few quests on there were about goblins, rats or bugs. At least from what I could see from here. This wouldn't be an issue if the guild woman didn't put out three more sheets in front of Goblin Slayer.

"But!" She suddenly said, her smile gaining a bit of an edge as she slammed her finger down on each of the papers, "These are low priority and Porcelain ranked. I'll only give you these ones after you take some time to rest from your other two quests."

"Other two?" I asked, curious.

"There was another nest that was about to raid a village. I had taken care of that one before we met," Goblin Slayer told me bluntly and uncaringly. It made me frown a bit when he didn't expand on it but I decided to take the plunge.

"Out of curiosity, these two quests. What rank are they?"

"Uhm, this one was…" The woman started going through some papers for a bit before finding what she was looking for.

"This one you helped with is Obsidian rank. The one Goblin Slayer took on by himself was Ruby rank."

"You didn't tell me about that one," I pointed out to Goblin Slayer.

"Did I need to?" He said flatly and I gave a slight huff. It was a good point, I suppose.

"No, I guess not," I shook my head, looking between the woman and Goblin Slayer, "So what happens now?"

"Well, usually Goblin Slayer would give his report but that can wait until tomorrow," She flashed a smile at Goblin Slayer who gave a small nod, "Just wait a minute and I'll have both of your rewards ready."

Time to see how the currency in this place works. I'm not expecting a lot but something to buy a room for tonight and get a bath would be nice enough for me.

The guild woman got up from her chair and walked into the back, leaving the two of us alone for the lack of a better word. I took the time to read over the quests she had laid out in front of us, looking them over.

"Chickens stolen? Killed a dog?" I muttered out loud to myself as I read them. It was all about how goblins had been causing trouble, mischief almost in a certain darkly humorous way. If I was told that these same creatures evolved into hobs or shamans or they kept women as breeding slaves and torture dolls, I probably would've just laughed at it.

"Most likely a wanderer or a small group trying to feed itself," Goblin Slayer answered my unspoken question as I shot him a look, "They won't do anything for now."

"For now," I repeated the word slowly, "Meaning it won't stay like that forever?"

"Not if they are left alone," Goblin Slayer told me stoically, "One of them might become a shaman. Or they might get lucky and kidnap a woman to populate their numbers. It's happened before."

"Leave no stone unturned right?" I said to Goblin Slayer who simply tilted his head at what I said. I noticed that people were still fucking staring at us. I guess it was because I was covered in blood and goblin shit as was Goblin Slayer himself but I felt like there was something more to that.

"Here we are!" The guild woman came back before I could ask something else of Goblin Slayer. She had a large, scruffy-looking pouch in her hand and some scales. Quickly and deftly, she poured some coins into two separate pouches and weighed them until they were nice and even. With a bright smile, she passed us our coin and I measured the weight of it in my hand. It was hefty but I saw from her dealing them out, it was mostly coppers and a few silver coins.

"That amounts to about ten gold for the both of you," The guild woman said to us, helpfully explaining it for me. The somewhat awkward look on her face told me that this amount of gold or coin wasn't really equal to the risk we took.

Copper, Silver and Gold. Not valis, that's for sure. And ten gold coins isn't much, I presume. I'll have to visit a store or something and compare the prices to find out what I can get with this.

"I suppose that's that then," I said with a shrug, holding onto the pouch and looking at Goblin Slayer, "It was good working with you, Goblin Slayer. Thanks for not collapsing the whole mineshaft while I was in it."

"W-What?" The guild employee said with a slight fluster, making me smirk. I don't think Goblin Slayer saw the joke or maybe he did and simply didn't find it funny as he gave me another slow nod of acknowledgement.

"Yes, likewise. Thanks for your help," Goblin Slayer said to me and with no warning, just walked away from me, the conversation ended. Some people might take offence but after being with the guy for a little over 12 hours, I just found it funny in a way.

"What a striking conversationalist," I said dryly to the girl behind the desk, earning me a slight giggle, "Thanks for your help by the way, Miss…?"

"Ah, my name is Guild Girl-"

Fuck me running.

"-And thank you for helping Goblin Slayer, Earth Paladin," She graced me with a warm smile, her golden-brown eyes lighting up, "He's been away for longer and on harder quests, but taking on those two at the same time…"

"I can't claim to know how hard a Ruby ranked quest is but Goblin Slayer knows his stuff," I told Guild Girl easily enough, "He showed me some traps that the goblins had set up and I'm man enough to admit that I would've fallen for all of them."

I heard some snickering behind my back which made me a little curious, so I glanced behind me to see some guys looking at me, giving me a derisive, taunting smirk. I just shook my head, not really caring.

It wasn't a challenge. I think. I hope so.

I wasn't the only one to notice as Guild Girl gave a surprisingly potent glare to the group before turning back to me, all smiles and sunshine, a thoughtful look in her eyes as she did so.

"Actually, Earth Paladin? Do you mind staying awhile and making a report on Goblin Slayer's quest?"

I blinked at the sudden request, a bit taken aside by her words, "Sure, I don't mind but is the fact that I'm not an Adventurer going to complicate the facts?"

"Not at all. In fact, concerning how Goblin Slayer usually handles his reports…" She trailed off with a soft somewhat awkward chuckle and I can guess at what she was getting at, "Plus, Goblin Slayer himself has already vouched for the fact that you helped him."

"True enough. Sure, I don't mind then. Don't really have any urgent business to attend to anyway."

"Perfect! If you'll follow me please," She said to me brightly, rising from her chair. She walked out from behind the desk and guided me upstairs to the second floor. I looked around as we did, getting the stock of the place. It was bigger than I initially thought and it was a workplace, tavern and hangout all in one. A veritable slew of characters gathered here to make money and make their names.

Not too unlike my Guild.

Guild Girl showed me to a fairly wide room, a bit high end as well with two wide comfy looking sofas, bookcases lining the wall and velvety red drapes. There was a desk behind a large paned window overlooking the street but she instead decided to sit down on the sofa opposite of the one I chose.

She had some papers in her hands and she placed them down on the table between, along with a quill and some ink, "Before we begin, could you tell me why you were in the mineshaft in the first place? The villagers didn't tell us someone was already helping them."

"Because there wasn't," I said bluntly, scratching the back of my head as I tried to figure out what to say and how to say it. I didn't really care about being seen as weird but I can't actually lie because of the tenets I'm bound under. I had to pick my words carefully here.

"So, I just want to preface this by saying that my goddess abhors lying and falsehoods. If I want to keep being a paladin, I can't actually lie to you," I explained to her and I could see she was getting a little confused so I decided to just bite the bullet and say the truth.

"I don't actually know how I got there."

I waited for the System to yell at me or whatever but I got nothing. And it wasn't technically a lie. The System didn't bring me here, not on purpose and I don't actually know how I got here beyond a vague 'a god did it' or some shit.

"Oh my. Amnesia?" Guild Girl helpfully supplied for me but of course, I had to be careful.

"I wouldn't say that though there was a shaman. I remember who I am, my goddess and my past but I have no idea where I am or any idea why I ended up in a random goblin-infested hellhole without any of my equipment."

Guild Girl hummed at my words and I couldn't quite tell whether she believed me because it was a pretty outlandish story. I don't even have any evidence that I was actually a paladin.

"Well, I think you're telling the truth," Those words alone almost made me let out a guffaw of disbelief, "If you were doing something weird or evil in the mineshaft or, gods forbid, trying to take command with the goblins, Goblin Slayer would've said or done something."

Huh, that's not a bad point.

"That reminds me, who exactly is your god?"

"The Earth Queen," I told her, earning a confused look, "She's not a common goddess, I'll be upfront. The worship of her has basically all but died out. Races like dwarves and elves probably know more about her than humans do."

At least that's what I was told. Guild Girl gave a satisfied nod at my answer and she started writing something down on the paper and gave me a smile.

"Now, please tell me everything that happened."

And I did just that. I mentioned the hob, the shaman, the number of goblins, how Goblin Slayer and I killed them and so on. There wasn't really anything to hide from her, so I didn't.

I could see her eyes go sad as I talked about the girl. The one that didn't make it. I didn't go into detail but she told me that was the main reason why the quest was ranked Obsidian.

"Thank you for your help, Earth Paladin," She said gratefully to me, smiling as she went over the report quickly, "If you don't mind me asking, what will you be doing now?"

"That's the question, isn't it?" I groaned out, leaning back on the sofa and staring at the ceiling, "I'm practically broke with only ten gold coins to my name which is probably gonna only get me a room at some inn for a couple of nights, maybe less."

I waited for Guild Girl to say something about my statement about coin and its uses but going by the slight pitying look she gave me, I wasn't actually far off.

Holy shit, I really am dirt poor.

"Well, if you would like," Guild Girl started slowly, giving me a welcoming smile, "We at the Guild can offer temporary accommodations for new Adventurers at a slight debt of 15 gold pieces a month. If you join up, you can use your gold to buy some equipment and work as an Adventurer."

Well. That's not bad. Not bad at all.

"But why the offer?" I asked bluntly, making Guild Girl adopt a professional demeanour that really wasn't working on me, going by how she couldn't quite look me in the eye, "Not that I don't appreciate it, mind you but why tell me any of this?"

She blinked at me when I said that and her cheeks flushed red a little bit as she spoke, "Well, truthfully, it doesn't seem right for you to risk your life for Goblin Slayer and then just throw you away. And with your skillset, I think you're really suited to be an Adventurer. Paladins are quite uncommon, rare even."

I am, just not from here. Still though, she had a point. There wasn't really any other choice for me to do anything else. There was no point worrying about money when I had the perfect job for me right here.

But not yet. I still wanted to know something.

"You said that three new quests about goblins had been posted today," I said out of the blue and Guild Girl seemed a bit thrown off by my words, frowning slightly.

"How many are up on the board downstairs? And how long have they been there?"

Her frown turned solemn and her hands were placed on top of her skirt as she sighed softly, "About another three or so. They were posted after Goblin Slayer had left and they've been there for about a couple of days now."

"That's fucked," I said bluntly and Guild Girl's eyes bulged wide at my words, her mouth hanging slightly, "Those little fucking monsters need to be stamped out as soon as possible and you're telling me no one but one dude is taking care of it?"

"L-Language, Earth Paladin," Guild Girl stumbled slightly over her words but she soon exhaled softly, her shoulders sagging a little bit.

"It's not just Goblin Slayer but quests about goblins are often left for new Adventurers. Many older, more experienced Adventurers don't take goblins seriously. They usually have a very low reward with incredibly high risk, as you yourself have probably seen, and those that do survive usually never want to deal with them again, moving onto bigger and more lucrative quests."

"And also because the average villager has no idea what they're talking about, the actual information of the quest isn't reliable in the least," I said aloud and Guild Girl gave me a surprised look but nodded quietly as I peered into her brownish eyes.

"This Obsidian quest that I helped Goblin Slayer with. You told me it was because of the girl that was kidnapped that it wasn't a Porcelain one. Knowing what you know now, could tell me what the rank of the quest would be?"

Guild Girl bit her bottom lip for a second, "I'm not the one to put the ranking on the quests but if I had to guess...Steel or Sapphire, possibly?"

"This is a shot in the dark but neither Goblin Slayer nor I will be compensated for that, will we?"

"The reward itself comes from the quest giver, not the Guild itself. If we asked for compensation on all inaccurate quests, then…"

"Then no one would post them and nothing would get done," I finished for her and she gave me another nod, shooting me a curious look but I ignored it for now.

I get it, I really do. Adventurers risk their lives fighting monsters to make ends meet and get famous. There's nothing really wrong with that and I just know, there are probably a couple of Adventurers traumatized from fighting goblins in their early days. Just like Bell and the minotaur.

It happens. People get stronger, wiser and want to move on to bigger and better things. There isn't really anything inherently wrong with wanting the recognition and coin that comes with being a higher rank Adventurer.

Still though, that wasn't the issue. If Adventurers didn't want to take on goblin quests due to low reward, high risk and trauma, I would accept that. That's fair.

"Does Goblin Slayer work solo?" I asked out of the blue but Guild Girl confirmed my question with a sigh and a slow nod.

"He does, yes. Adventurers can work solo or in a party as they want but most work in a party to cover their own blindspots. No one Adventurer can do everything, after all but Goblin Slayer is known for working by himself."

Oh good, I can work solo. That'll actually be really helpful.

"Thank you, by the way," I said with a genuine smile to Guild Girl and she had a bashful look on her face for some reason, "For answering my questions and helping me out. It really means a lot to me."

It did. She didn't have to go so far for me but she seemed to want to help me and how could I just spit on her kindness after all she's told me.

True, I might not be here for long. I might go back home tomorrow for all I know. But I'm supposed to be some sort of paladin, right? So I might as well see if I can't do some good before I go poof.

Killing goblins and helping Goblin Slayer seems like a good place to start. I have no idea if he'll want to team up again or if we'll ever get the chance but truthfully, I found myself drawn to the weird guy.

Maybe because, in a very dark, in a very sad way, he reminded me of myself. That ever-hungry need, that ceaseless desire and that pure single-minded pursuit of a goal. I still haven't given up on going back home. I probably never will and after I go back to Orario, it'll be straight back into the Dungeon for me.

Like nothing's changed.

So what does it matter? A paladin has to do their duty, even a fake one so I might as well do mine.

Oh, if only Hestia could see me now.

"So you'll register then?" She asked me with a smile that only grew when I gave a nod, "Great then! Follow me back to the desk and I'll have you registered. It shouldn't take long at all. I'll also show you the rooms while we're at it."

We left the room and went downstairs where I quickly wrote up the sheet Guild Girl gave me and in return, I received my porcelain tag. I debated taking some quests now but after a not so stern warning from Guild Girl, she wasn't really happy with me not going out without at least some equipment.

Not that I can't blame her. I knew I would be alright without armour but she didn't and honestly, I just wanted some protection and a weapon that wasn't a half-rotten wooden club.

With a few directions from Guild Girl, she told me about a blacksmith that was popular with the Adventurers here and I found it with no real issues. It felt kinda weird to not be in Orario for once, honestly.

I opened the door to the smell of polished steel and wrought iron. The air was almost humid with the heat but the smithy's open windows got aired out the heat from the forge in the back or I assumed so at any right.

"Hrm? What do you want?" A rough voice grunted out as I walked inside the blacksmith and I looked at the source of the voice. It was a stout, old-looking man with a bald head and a white bushy moustache. He only wore a blacksmith apron and some shorts so his bulging arms, no doubt built from a hard life of blacksmithing, could be seen in full display.

"I was told this is where I can get some equipment?" I asked the old guy who seemed too short to be human but just a tad too tall to be a dwarf, "Name's Earth Paladin. Rookie Adventurer."

"Is that so? Yeah, I got what ya need," He said in a low grumble, sitting up properly as I walked towards him. He peered at me, looking me over as I did the same.

"Yer stinkin' of blood and shit," He told me, which made me smirk a tiny bit, "Have ya been rolling in a goblin's den or somethin'?"

"It's a long story and the answer is yes," I told him bluntly and he huffed, still looking at me sharply, "So, I have about ten gold coins. Can that get me some cheap equipment?"

"Show me," It was more of an order than a request so I put down the sack of coins and let him stifle through it, rubbing the coins and biting down on them before being satisfied with his check.

"There's some leather armour on the wall there, along with a sword and shield. Nothing grand or good but it'll do yer for now," He pointed at said wall, just to my left. It was filled with hanging weapons, shields and some stands of armour, as he said.

"Instead of a sword, do you have any war hammers?" The question seemed to draw his curiosity for a bit, "I'll take a mace, if it's cheaper."

"Oh? You know how to use those sorts of weapons?" I think it was a rhetorical question but I answered with a nod of my head anyway.

"Swords are nice and useful but cutting through bone and flesh will just wear on the blade eventually," I told him and his one eye narrowed a bit, "A war hammer or a mace will last me a lot longer and I'm far more used to the feeling of some weight in my hands rather than something light like a short sword."

"True enough," He grunted out and stood up from his chair, walking to the wall behind him. He took something off of the wall and trudged back to me, planting the weapon on the desk.

It was a war hammer, a one-handed one. A wooden handle, wrapped in leather to prevent slipping and an angry-looking blunt head on the front while on the back was a slightly hooked prong. Nothing fancy but it looked well made at least.

Taking the hammer in one hand, I gave a few practice swings and it was a nice, familiar feeling in my hand as I swung the heavy object and twisting it in my grip to flow between pointed and blunt.

"Like you said, not great or good but it'll do for now. Thanks," I gave a grateful nod to the blacksmith as I went to the leather armour on the stand and I picked out a small buckler, like Goblin Slayer had. I noticed that the small shield was good enough to block any attacks from goblins while still letting him hold a torch. I didn't really fancy trudging around in the dark, honestly and there were only so many risks I could take.

"Got any kind of helmet I could hear?" I asked the blacksmith who cocked a brow up at my request. After the buckler, war hammer and leather armour, I was at a very low two gold coins so it wouldn't shock me if he told me I couldn't afford one.

"Depends. Do ya care about people knowing yer face?"

"I honestly couldn't give less of a shit," I told him bluntly, shaking my head, "I would just prefer not to get brained by a goblin slinging a rock at me or shooting an arrow through my eye."

I wasn't sure but I think he was smirking under his bushy white moustache. He reached for underneath his desk and pulled out a plate helm that completely covered my face. There were no markings, no distinct features. The only thing that could be seen would be my eyes from the small visor.

"Good enough for me. How much?"

"Just a gold," He told me thankfully, leaving me with one coin left. I had to make it count for something and I thought about it.

Potions would help. With a limited amount of casts, I can't really rely on my magic anymore for an easy heal. But I have no idea how much potions cost nor do I know if I'll even get anything good.

And more important than that…

"Do you know where I can get a map?" I asked the blacksmith as I put on the helmet, strapping it in. It was a bit of a tight fit but it was good enough and it moved with my head, "I'm not really around from here so I don't know where villages, towns or what have you."

"This is the Frontier, laddie. New villages pop up every day just as some are burned down," He grunted at me but he shook his head, "Go to the general store, just on the other side of the street. They'll have what ya need. And if ya have the coin, there are always coaches willing to drive ya."

"Thanks, old man," I liked to believe he saw my eyes crinkle slightly as I smirked under my helm as he glared at me, "Honestly, I would like to buy some more stuff but this coin is basically all I have. If I don't get killed by some goblins, I'll be back."

"Goblin hunting, huh? Yer not gonna go after anything else?" He asked me, a bit curious. I think he gathered that I was probably more experienced than my nametag implied.

"Normally, I probably would but well...I am a paladin, after all. If I'm going to do some good, it's getting rid of those little bastards," I said with a shrug, earning me a slight huff from the stout blacksmith.

"Well, it ain't my place to tell ya yer business. What did ya say was yer name again?"

"Earth Paladin. Paladin of the Earth Queen."

I don't really know if calling myself a devotee or a worshipper of the Earth Queen was a lie or not. I've read some of the...bible, I guess? The Earth Queen's bible, that is. And nothing I read screamed out to me that I didn't agree with or interpret in a weird way.

For instance, the Earth Queen had a passage about doing good in the world and it had a bleak view of it; that the good one might do will not matter in the long run and that, eventually, everything will go back to dust regardless of the effort put in.

A bit too nihilistic for my taste but by the end of it, I realised it wasn't supposed to be nihilistic but rather blunt and honest. I knew that because the bible talked about how people simply bemoaned and preached about the inevitable were useless and, I quote here; "Simply the pebbles upon which mountains of the world are built upon."

It didn't say much after that but I saw it as a sort of reassuring message. That it really doesn't matter if your efforts matter years from now. One could argue that Goblin Slayer and I saving that village from a goblin raid might not matter in ten years because something else could destroy it or it will simply be a fluke of fate like a bad harvest that does it in. Or that when I go back to Orario, my efforts will not have mattered in the least. Because I swapped worlds, again, I shouldn't bother putting in the effort of killing goblins.

I would argue that wasn't really something to care about. People were in grave danger and we helped them live another day and bring peace to a grieving family. If I was told that didn't matter by someone, I would probably break their fucking jaw before kicking them in the face.

The Earth Queen was a weird goddess, if she even existed. But I can't entirely say I was against what she taught her followers.

It was the little things. The long road. Maybe they won't matter until years later, maybe they won't matter at all. But they mattered now and for me, that was reason enough.

"Ain't never heard of a goddess like that before. Wouldn't happen to mean the Earth Mother, would ya?"

"I've never heard of a goddess like that before, though the names are a bit similar," I shrugged at the blacksmith, earning a hot glare.

"Anyway, thank you for your help. With any luck, I'll be back."

"Probably gonna need all the luck ye need," He dismissed me with a grumpy huff, making me smirk under my helm. I left the blacksmith's store with my new equipment in tow and I couldn't help but feel a bit off.

Leather armour wasn't something I really wore. Full plate was my bread and butter but like fuck I could even remotely afford any of that right now. The helmet was good and the reason I gave was the truth, mostly. I couldn't use my skills and my Traits are probably locked away so any armour I can get will be a big help.

But I kinda didn't want people to know my face, as strange as that sounded. I didn't want to be famous at all and I would prefer to avoid that as best as possible.

What better way to avoid that than to have a completely dull and bland helmet hiding my face?

I made my way to the general store and made some quick purchases. Mainly a map and some iron powder which was cheaper than I expected. Both of them cost silver instead of gold which helped me quite a bit. I used my last coppers on some torches which I could light up with a flint and steel.

Now I was broke once again. God, I hate being poor.

I didn't go back to the Guild straight away. I wandered around the place, getting the lay of the land and so on. During that, I played around with the System to try and see where I stood with it.

Inventory still worked, same old same old. Which is actually really helpful considering I don't have anything to hold my gear right now. I put the map and torches in it when I was out of sight and I looked at my Stats again to see if anything had changed.

Of course, something happened without me knowing.

Name: Earth Paladin.

Class: Paladin (Level 1).

Variant: Mother Of All.

HP: 40

Miracle Slots: 5/5

Divine Sense: 5/5

Lay On Hands: 5

Adventurer Rank: Porcelain.

ExP: 0/300

I had fucking ExP now. Like, actual ExP. It must've happened when I joined up as an Adventurer, along with that rank.

I wondered if the System was having a bit of a tizzy fit right now. It probably didn't account for any of this, which was sorta funny to think about.

And there was something else as well.

[Shoddy War Hammer.]

[A war hammer of lowish quality but not terrible. Perfect for a new Porcelain ranked Adventurer!]

[Proficiency: +9.]

Proficiency. Needless to say, that was new. I tried a lot of commands but nothing worked.

I decided to investigate later. Chances are, I'm gonna have some time to myself during my quests so I can investigate more thoroughly then. Right now though, I really needed some money.

When I went back into the Guild, no one gave me a second look. Strangely enough, wearing armour, holding a weapon and shield made me stand in way more than the last time I was here.

I was tempted to go up and ask about those three quests Guild Girl showed to Goblin Slayer but the man himself said they were low priority so I'll take his word for it. Right now though, the quests on the board were probably better.

I walked towards it, keeping my palm on the pommel of my war hammer hanging on my waist. I looked through the posted quests first before taking the goblin ones, just to see what else there was.

Most of it was shit jobs, I'll be honest. Sewer cleaning by way of giant rats, basic heavy labour, helping clean the local temples or gathering herbs in some forests around here. Things like that and of course, goblin hunting. Granted, there were a few hunting missions for wolves or other beasts that I could take but most of the quests here were above my rank right now.

"Hey, did you see that weirdo from earlier?" I overheard some voices next to me and I shifted my head slightly, so I could see who was talking from the corner of my eye. Thank god for this helmet hiding my face.

"Goblin Slayer? What about him?" It was the group from earlier that was laughing at me. They were a group of men, all middle-aged and with faces that reminded me of some thugs back in Orario. They'd probably seen their fair share of combat, no doubt about it, but they probably made them think they could take on anything with a sword and shield in hand.

"Well, he's a weirdo as well but I'm talking about the other guy he brought with him."

Wait, why the fuck am I a weirdo now? What the hell did I do?

"What about 'em?"

"Ain't it a bit strange that someone would go into a goblin den without being an Adventurer? That son of bitch was covered head to toe in blood."

"Probably another goblin fanatic. Explains why Goblin Slayer dragged him back here. You heard him, stupid bastard was outwitted by goblins! Maybe the two of them could just parrot 'goblins' back at each."

That made them laugh but I brushed it off, drawing my attention back to the quest board and picking out a quest. Going by the weird glances I got, I was taking too long anyway and I was burning daylight.

So I was right. Some Adventurers really didn't care about goblins or the harm they could do. That was fine and all but to talk shit behind someone's back simply because they're killing goblins is a scummy move. Oh, Goblin Slayer was touched in the head, no doubt about it. You don't become someone like him without suffering some dark stuff.

I have no idea what goblins did to him, but I didn't need to know. How he treated them was evidence enough of the pitch-black loathing he had for the small bastards.

I reached up for the goblin quest and tore it off-

[Quest: Goblin Extermination!]

Oh fuck me running.

[A poor village is being harassed by goblins! Go out and slay them so the villagers may rest easy at night!]

[Rewards: 5 ExP.]

Okay. Okay, I see how you work. Curious, I reached up for the second and third goblin hunting quest.

[Quest: Goblin Extermination (2)!]

[A poor village is being harassed by goblins! Go out and slay them so the villagers may rest easy at night!]

[Rewards: 15 ExP.]

.

[Quest: Goblin Extermination (3)!]

[A poor village is being harassed by goblins! Go out and slay them so the villagers may rest easy at night!]

[Rewards: 50 ExP.]

They were all porcelain ranked and they had the rewards of about nine to ten coins, totalling about thirty gold coins when lumped together.

So why was the ExP reward so vast? What made them so different?

I looked through the descriptions written on the quests and they were somewhat similar; the villagers had reported being harassed by goblins, their crops stolen or demolished and their livestock either gutted or taken away in the middle of the night.

The third one with the largest ExP reward was different in the fact that they mentioned a woman had been kidnapped. Images of that young girl flashed through my mind and I resisted the urge to clench my hand into fists.

Right then. Time to see if I could take on multiple quests.

I walked towards the receptionist's desk, quests in hand and up to Guild Girl who gave me a smile as she stamped another quest for the Adventurer.

"Happy adventuring!" She called out brightly with a smile as the group left with excited grins and a swagger that made me realise they're just rookies with a head full of dreams.

Technically I'm just a rookie as well, but you know. Certain advantages.

"Hello sir. How can I help you?" She asked me politely, staring up at me. Giving a polite nod, I placed the three quests down in front of her, making her blink.

"I'll like to take these three, please."

"Ummm...all three?" She asked me hesitantly and I gave a nod, "By yourself?"

"I prefer working alone," Shrugging and I wondered if she knew who I was. It didn't seem like it to me at least.

"Could I see your tag for a moment, sir?" She asked me and I inwardly sighed. I should've just taken the third one and been done with it. Still, I did as she asked and took off my dog tags and passed them to her. She read them over, frowning for a single second before they bulged wide open and her cheeks flushed red.

"E-Earth Paladin? Is that you?"

"Really? You couldn't recognize me after you went through the trouble of recruiting me?"

"W-Well, that's just because you're wearing that helmet," She shook her head, turning her attention back to the quests.

"Don't you think you should be resting in your room? Do you really think going on any quests right now is a good idea?"

Ah, so that was the issue.

"Trust me, Guild Girl. If I wasn't sure, we wouldn't be having this conversation. And the sooner I get the lay of the land, the better. What better way to do that than do some quests and kill some of these little bastards along the way?"

Also, I really need to figure out this whole quest business by myself and how it plays with the System. I need to complete at least one.

"Well, how about partying up? A paladin with miracles like yours can find a party easily."

"Yeah, probably but I like working alone," I explained to Guild Girl who just frowned harder at me. I resisted the urge to sigh and talk down to the young woman as I got ready.

"Look, Guild Girl. I appreciate your concern but you don't become a paladin of a war goddess like me without knowing your limits," I told her and I waited to become a non-paladin right now.

And nothing happened, thank god.

From a certain view, it was technically true? The line of thinking I'm going along with is that the Earth Queen wasn't just randomly chosen for me. It was a deliberate choice on someone's part to give it to me. Otherwise, the System would've made me pick a class or so I would like to think.

And I proved myself ten times over in Orario and the Dungeon.

She gave me a sour look but she eventually gave in with a slight sigh and a forced smile. She started writing up the quests for me, one by one.

[Quests accepted! Check your Quest Log!]

I have a fucking quest log?

"There you go! Don't forget to visit our tavern for provisions, alright?" She told me and I smiled a bit under my helmet.

"Already taken care of, Guild Girl. And don't worry, Goblin Slayer imparted some of his sagely wisdom to me. I'm not going into this blind."

That seemed to make her relax a little. I bid Guild Girl goodbye as I left the Adventurer's Guild on my first set of quests.

Now. Let's see if I can't finish all of this within a week.

.

.


This went through like five different versions, all with widely different fucking directions.

So, this was something I was always gonna kinda write when I realised Danmachi x Goblin Slayer mobile was a thing. They had a crossover event that made me interested and I was going to write a quick one-shot omake for it but as I was doing so, I was getting really bored with it, mostly because I found some things kinda hard to believe.

Like a Level 2 Adventurer almost getting gobbed or a Level 3 Adventurer getting wounded from goblins.

See, this is why crossovers are usually sub-par, especially if the power difference is way too large.

"But Anco, you've written crossovers before! You wrote one just now!"

Yeah, I know. Because crossovers are fun, if you do them right and as a big fan of Goblin Slayer, I'm always up to write some of it. I actually wanted to read some Goblin Slayer fics or crossovers but I couldn't find anything actually good. With that burning need, I decided to write this up.

I really need to stop procrastinating from Crawling by the way. Have no fear, I have written a good 7, 8k words by now but I keep getting distracted. Hopefully, I can post the new chapter this month.

Moving on, for this, I kinda wanted to shake things up with the System. Honestly, while I was writing this, I was very tempted to actually scrap all of it and make it an OC story.

See, I've played quite a bit of DnD in the past, 5th Edition specifically, so I got a sort of feel on how stuff works. I did try to play the older editions but I couldn't find a group but hey ho, that's life. I tried some things but it eventually struck me.

Why not just make John, or Earth Paladin, a Paladin? He was originally a cleric but I thought paladin would suit him better. At that point, I got to thinking of how a Paladin would be in Goblin Slayer, the gods in it and so on and I thought it might honestly be interesting. It would be like writing a DnD story in a weird way.

You know, this makes it the second story that I did an OC x Goblin Slayer fic. First was Dracul and now it was John.

God, that feels like it's cringe. But then again, writing fanfic is also cringe so I guess I'm fucked either way. Double cringe, as it were.

Still though, I was thinking real hard about it and I was again close to rewriting the whole thing but I decided against that. I had written over like 10k words by that point and I liked what I wrote so far. Who knows, maybe I'll do that one day. Perks of being a fanfic writer, no one can tell me what to or what to not write.

Well, you guys can but if I didn't like it, I would probably ignore it. And I guess this website as well but I write everything on Google Docs so if I get nuked, I would move somewhere else if I had to. Archive, maybe? That site is full of shitty fics but so is this one, so it wouldn't be anything new.

Anyway, I'm getting off track.

So before people can tell me, I am aware of the fact that Goblin Slayer's naming conventions are not actually how it is in-universe. So Guild Girl's name isn't actually Guild Girl, she has an actual name. My favourite theory is that because of Goblin Slayer's stunted mental state, he puts descriptions of people and replaces their names with titles and that bleeds in through the writing.

But I decided to make it a sorta official thing because of two reasons:

Goblin Slayer's unique naming conventions actually help make the characters memorable, as strange as that sounds. Say I gave Goblin Slayer the name of something like Andrew or Joseph. If I used that in the fic, I am 100% sure none of you guys would have a fucking clue who that was. But if I just typed "Goblin Slayer", boom. You instantly know who that is.

Second reason is, it's unique. It gives identity to the world and the people in it. If I took that away, I'm taking away a small but vital part of why Goblin Slayer is so fun in its own little unique ways. Just because something is more "realistic" doesn't make it better. Goblin Slayer does realism very well in that it doesn't make it the be all and end all.

Why is it that no Adventurer wants to wear a helmet despite how vital they are? Simple, because they want to be famous and sell their face as it were.

Why is it that goblins are constantly overlooked despite how dangerous they are? Because of a variety of reasons but there was one passage in the Light Novel that I liked a bit. It was Heavy Warrior talking about goblins and he said there were three types of Adventurers where goblins were concerned; Those that took the quests and took the lumps, as it were, those who died and those who never did anything of the sort. It's my, headcanon at least, that those who took the lumps never spoke up about how dangerous goblins were because they are the 'weakest' monster and that admitting you were having trouble with goblins is fucking embarrassing.

But even if Goblin Slayer is darkly realistic, it doesn't really paint everything brutally dark and I also enjoy how it goes out of its way to show that Goblin Slayer, while doing good work that needs to be done, is ultimately a person in desperate need of help and will either learn how to let go or die because of his obsession.

I enjoy those sorts of stories a lot. Where everything has a point, a good one at that.

Now what's the point of this one? Simple. While I do enjoy Goblin Slayer, I don't really like writing stuff without some sort of point, even if I never finish them. I kinda realised, in the process of writing this, that John and Goblin Slayer were strangely similar in some ways and I got excited from writing about that. I was actually tempted to write this during Year One, the prologue, but I decided against it.

Also, these types of fics let me really let loose with writing raw, bloody combat scenes. Probably my favourite type to write, honestly.

Right, that's all I can think of. I'll see you guys next time, maybe back in Crawling.