“In any case, let’s move from this place. If we stay, the next wave will come.”
At Lapis’ suggestion, Ritz looked at Jack’s condition.
Jack had suffered a blow to the head from the mock-goblin, and though Nim had treated it, he wasn’t in a good condition. He shook his head to clear his mind, but it seemed ineffective.
“Should I use Divine Arts?”
Lapis asked Jack, whose head was bandaged up and was chugging a potion, but he shook his head.
“Don’t need it. The potion is working. My head is still a bit dizzy though.”
“A blow to the head is quite dangerous, so I recommend seeing a doctor when we get back to the city.”
‘Thanks for the warning. If we’re able to get back safely, I’ll do as you say.”
“Can you move?”
Jack bit at Ritz, who seemed worried about him.
“Don’t be stupid. If you want me to move just give the order.”
“It’s not good to push yourself.”
When Nim, still looking discouraged, said that to Jack, who was trying to put up a bold front, he patted her on the shoulder, trying to reassure her.
“I just took a good one and went unconscious. Don’t worry about it. I can move properly.”
“I’m the one with the bigger problem. I’m out of magic spells. I can’t fight anymore.”
Quartz spoke up apologetically, but no one blamed him for it.
If Quartz hadn’t used his magic to kill one of the mock-goblins, the situation would’ve been way worse, and everyone thanked him for that, much less think of him as a burden.
“It couldn’t be helped. In any case, let’s hurry and move from here. More goblins might come, and if those black ones come again, I don’t think we could handle them.”
As soon as Ritz spoke up, Nim lent Jack her shoulder and helped him up. Then the group started to walk away from that place.
Loren, who had instantly slain the two mock-goblins that even silver adventurers had a hard time dealing with, and Lapis, who announced that she found out something about the ruins, led the group.
“What were they? Their skin and flesh were hard, but their bones were even harder. Were those a kind of high rank goblin?”
Loren looked at his great sword’s blade as he asked Lapis.
The blade was able to cut down the two mock-goblins, but Loren found some large nicks in the blade.
It wasn’t as sharp as most swords and was used more like a blunt weapon, but the edges were close to crumbling.
“They were similar to hobgoblins, but I’m sure that those were probably goblins that got larger.”
Lapis was walking forward with no hesitation at all.
It was as if she knew where she was going, and although cautious, she was leading the group confidently.
“If that was a hobgoblin, there was no way they would’ve survived such a blow from Loren and not die. That probably could’ve made an ogre’s head fly off, couldn’t it?”
“Never fought one before, so I have no idea. What were those black goblins?”
“Loren, have you noticed anything else?”
Since Lapis asked him a question instead of answering his question, Loren decided to tell her about what he noticed while he was fighting.
“The goblins were retrieving other goblins’ corpses. I don’t think they were going to preserve them as food. The goblins here are definitely strange.”
Lapis wasn’t walking that quickly.
They had no choice because of Jack and Quartz, but Loren was becoming slightly paranoid about more goblins appearing out of nowhere. He realized that he was thinking about goblins again, and tilted his head.
It was true that from the cave all the way to the ruins, the only monsters he had seen were goblins, but that didn’t mean that the next thing that came out would be goblins as well.
As Loren warned himself that biased thoughts will cloud his judgment and affect his reaction when the next problem occurred, Lapis seemed to have read his mind and told him.
“The only monsters in these ruins are goblins. Probably.”
Loren was confused that the monsters that appear in an Ancient Kingdom ruin would be limited to goblins.
It wasn’t that he wanted there to be a guardian of sorts like he had heard from stories, but the probability of it happening being completely zero wasn’t too satisfying, either.
“Loren, have you heard of pharmaceutics and alchemy?”
The question seemed unrelated to what they were talking about until now.
But if it was from Lapis, who was demon kind, Loren decided that she must have a reason for it and answered her question.
“I’ve heard of it. But I don’t know anyone who practices them.”
“Knowing about it is enough. Then do you know about the test subjects people who practice them use?”
For a second Loren was at a loss for words as he couldn’t understand what Lapis was talking about, but immediately realized what kind of answer Lapis was looking for.
“You mean mice? The ones they use to test new medicine and stuff”
“That’s correct. Then do you know why they use mice?”
Loren didn’t know the answer to this one.
He didn’t know anything about this kind of topic at all.
“Do you think a mercenary would know something like that?”
“It’s a useless piece of information, anyway. They use mice as test subjects because they have short sexual cycles, grow quickly, and produce many offspring at once. Do you know anything else that fits this description?”
“Yeah, I’ve got a clue.”
A creature that could mate with anything, grow up in no time, and increase in numbers rapidly.
Loren said the name of the creatures that he had encountered enough for a lifetime during this quest with disbelief.
“That’s exactly right. They’re easy to breed, economically stable, won’t hurt one’s conscience, and humanoid. Are there any other creatures that are more fit to use as test subjects? I don’t think so.”
Lapis explained with quite a bit of emphasis, but Loren wasn’t sure what she was trying to emphasize, and just asked her about a word that caught his ears.
“They’ll eat anything they’re given. Whether it be leftovers or corpses. Records from the Ancient Kingdom says that when they gave them trash from the city, the amount of trash decreased by 80%.”
“Well, I guess that’s pretty economically sound?”
“Plus, no matter how many goblins gathered together, they were nothing but dust to the Ancient Kingdom. It seems that while they were increasing their numbers, they selectively bred them at the same time, and made all sorts of different kinds of goblins.”
When Lapis said different kind of goblins, Loren thought of the black mock-goblin that he had faced earlier.
If that wasn’t a hobgoblin or any sort of high rank goblin, the kind of goblin that Lapis talked about seemed to be what the mock-goblin was.
“This is why there are quite a number of goblin farms inside Ancient Kingdom ruins, but this is something more terrible than that.”
Judging by the conversation, Loren guessed that they were in a farm that people in the Ancient Kingdom used for breeding test subjects, but before he could mention anything, Lapis denied his speculation.
Wondering what was terrible about this place, Loren waited for Lapis to continue.
“This isn’t an ordinary farm.”
As she said that, Lapis was about to reach the corner of the path.
From the shadow of the corner, two goblins suddenly jumped out.
Loren was about to raise his great sword, but Lapis grabbed their heads like she was picking flowers on the side of the road.
Though it looked like she didn’t put any strength in her arms, the goblins’ heads turned 180 degrees with their bodies still facing forward.
At the same time as Loren heard bones being broken, Lapis reached into her pocket, pulled out a handkerchief and a bottle filled with perfume, and sprayed the contents of the bottle onto the handkerchief.
She wiped her hands, which touched the goblins’ heads, and casually kicked in front of her two times.
Lapis then walked past the dead goblin corpses, which flew back a few meters, not even bothering to take notice of them.
Her movements seemed way too natural, and since it occurred past the corner, Loren, who was walking next to her, was the only one who saw it.
“You…You’re pretty strong, aren’t you?”
If she could pull something like that off, Loren wished she could’ve done it earlier.
But if the others saw that Lapis, who didn’t look like she was trained at all being skilled in close quarter combat, there was the danger of her losing their trust and losing her credibility.
Usually, priests couldn’t snap a goblin’s neck with their bare hands.
“Well, it’s me we’re talking about, so. Back to the subject. This isn’t an ordinary farm. It’s definitely a farm, but it seems that they were conducting experiments of physical modification and improvement, and evolution at the same time.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“To put it simply, they were enhancing the strength of goblins as regular goblins. The goblins that chased us. Don’t you think it’s strange that there were no high rank individuals in that horde?”
High ranked monsters were indeed rare, but it wouldn’t have been strange if there were at least one or two of them within that many number of goblins.
Lapis was saying that it was strange that they didn’t see any sort of high rank goblin at all.
“It’s probably because the goblins produced here are adjusted so they won’t evolve into high rank individuals. They were trying to improve only goblins, so it wouldn’t have any meaning if they became hobgoblins or goblin mages.”
In experiments, the same species of the test subject are always used.
That must have been why the researchers of the Ancient Kingdom adjusted the goblins, but Loren frowned at their bad tastes.
Loren guessed that one part of the adjustments that they made was making the goblins chase intruders until they caught up.
Then the goblins themselves would chase intruders away, so there was no need to put a separate protection system.
“They’re okay with them growing bigger, though?”
The mock-goblin that he had faced earlier was way larger than an ordinary goblin.
Loren still found it hard to convince himself that the mock-goblin was an ordinary goblin.
“Even though they’re big, they’re still goblins.”
“Do you think the goblins in here found the crack and entered the cave? Also, wasn’t there was a goblin mage over there?”
“The adjustments are probably limited to inside the ruins. It must have evolved because it ran outside of it.”
Lapis said it like he should’ve found that out easily, but to Loren, there was no way he could know, nor did he want to.
“Anyways, this is that kind of facility. I believe that it was dormant, but I’m not sure what restarted it. It could’ve been someone who did it manually, or whoever unsealed the ruins itself was the key that did it.”
“What about them not using women as seed beds or collecting corpses?”
“There’s no need for seed beds. There’s probably equipment that breeds them, and baby goblins should be produced there. The corpses are probably being reused to make new ones. This is quite an eco-friendly facility, reusing their trash.”
“If we leave it like this, wouldn’t it become a big problem?”
This is what Lapis had said earlier.
Loren tried to confirm, but her reply made him think maybe Lapis herself didn’t seem to think it was that big of a problem.
“That big black goblin is an improved goblin. It was made in this facility, but the problem lies within its actions.”
“Problem? What in the world would that be…”
“The goblins from this facility don’t need seed beds. But the goblin that attacked Nim tried to rip off her clothes.”
For a second Loren wasn’t sure what Lapis was trying to say, but immediately guessed what Lapis meant and his face became slightly pale.
“Have you realized? There’s no need to, but it assaults women. It means that it knows about assaulting women for reasons other than mating.”
Animals generally mate in order to reproduce.
This was the same for monsters, and although goblins quenched their sadism by assaulting women, the goal itself is to reproduce.
There was only one existence that Loren knew of that did it for enjoyment.
“In conclusion, there were traces of human inside those goblins. Probably the people from the party that was competing with Mister Ritz’s party.”
“Are you sure you can call that a goblin?”
“It definitely is a goblin. You don’t call a goblin born from a human mother a half goblin, right? Even if there are traces of human in it, a goblin is a goblin.”
Loren stopped trying to understand what she was talking about.
It was because he decided that knowing that these ruins were built to produce goblins was currently up and running, and that some of them had the intelligence of a human, was enough, and everything else was unnecessary information.
“The reason I said that it was going to be a big problem, is because this facility physically enhances and improves goblins, and the fact that the goblins produced in this facility are obtaining human intelligence and learning abilities.”
“It’ll produce an even stronger goblin from the experiences of the mock-goblins. After repeating that many times over…What do you think would happen if goblins became tougher than dragons, accumulated knowledge and experience, and gained abilities according to its strength? That’s why I said we need to make these ruins dormant again.”
Lapis spoke of a future that Loren didn’t want to think of, but she said it in such a relaxed manner, it seemed like she thought it was someone else’s problem.
Hey guys Kaoto here again.
So much information and stuff in this chapter 😦
Hopefully it makes sense to you guys…
I hope you guys enjoy 🙂
I’ll see you guys in the next chapter!