Chapter 15 - *Spoiler : Title at End*
Awakening before dawn, Vahn began to put his plan into action. After putting a filter on the shop, he was able to find the item he was looking for.
'Small Explosive Charge' (10 OP)
A component used in the making of anti-personnel mines developed by Russian Scientist Neil Vankhov. The explosive yield is equivalent to 10MJ (10 sticks of dynamite).
Dissatisfied with the idea of simply kiting a few goblins out of the encampment, Vahn had come up with the idea of pestering them thoroughly over the course of the entire day. Once the goblins retreated further into the camp he would be able to attach the explosives to magically charged arrows and bombard the largest concentration of goblins. If he was lucky, he would even be able to deal large amounts of collateral and potentially injure or kill the Chief.
He slowly made his way towards the encampment and dug up several of the mines along the treeline. It was a very dangerous and harrowing experience given the sensitivity of the mines, but he managed to finish without triggering any of them.
After replanting them in a funnel-like fashion with only a few safe paths of retreat, Vahn ate breakfast. He didn't know if he would have any opportunities to eat while harassing the goblins, so he made sure to enjoy a full meal.
Starting a fire near his secondary campsite using firestones he managed to roast a rabbit he had hunted previously. Though his inventory kept items from spoiling, he enjoyed the process of cooking and eating as it was very ther.a.p.eutic to him.
Noting the sun had risen above the horizon Vahn checked the remaining quest time: 1D17H12M.
He now had less than two days remaining, but with luck, he would be able to finish the quest before the days' end. Though he assumed the goblin Chief was much stronger than normal goblins, he did not believe it would be able to tank ten sticks of dynamite to the face.
Returning to the treeline near the encampment, Vahn finished his final preparations by setting up several tripwires crisscrossing the areas around the landmines. Satisfied with his setup, he skulked just behind the trees closest to the clearing. Given the 130m distance between the encampment and the goblins speed, it would take them more than twenty seconds to close the gap towards his position. With his maximum firing rate, he was confident in being able to eliminate up to one goblin every second. Hopefully, they would send a large group to try and attack him which he would then be able to kite into the mine-infested woods while retreating.
Vahn spent several minutes observing the goblins as they went about their construction. He noticed that they had erected a large structure within the night, presumably to house the Chief and his cronies.
At present, the Chief couldn't be seen, but the presence of two of his henchmen indicated that he was within the building. Vahn contemplated trying to bombard it immediately but decided it would be beneficial to wait until he dwindled down the number of smaller goblins.
Before determining if the Chief was inside the larger hut, it would be a mistake to use the explosive arrows. The goblins had shown an ability to adapt to new situations, so they would likely spread their forces out after his initial attack with the explosives. He wanted them to try to fortify and group together, or at least wait until he had eyes on the Chief's location.
Drawing his bow to a full arc, Vahn held his breath trying to bring his focus to the limits. He took aim at one of the Chief's cronies as he began channeling energy into the arrow. Though he had practice hitting targets at 50m consistently, it was the first time he would be trying to hit a moving target at more than 130m. He was hoping the increased flight distance and penetrative power of the magic arrows would make up for the lack of skill...
After twenty seconds had passed Vahn loosed the arrow. It flew with a terrifying velocity as it drew a golden line through the air. Within moments the arrow smashed into the leg of the large goblin severing the limb from the thigh down. Though it hadn't hit the head as intended, Vahn was still satisfied with the result as the shout from the larger goblin drew the attention of the entire camp, including the Chief.
(A/N: I know it's been a while since the MC doesn't talk to anyone, so note that the following is a perspective shift!)
The goblin Chief exited his tent and began to look around at the chaos and disorder that had taken over his minions. A grim expression appeared on his face when he saw his chief executor laying on the ground howling at this loss of his leg. Angered at the incident, the goblin Chief looked towards nearby goblins and used a language unique to their species to inquire about what happened.
The small goblin looked in fear at its mighty leader and explained that a beam of light had come from the forest and cut off the leg of the executor. Seeing the dissatisfied and grim expression that appeared on the face of the Chief, he quickly bowed down and continued to affirm what he had seen.
The Chief looked between the groveling minion, his wailing executor, and finally, the forest where the bush demon had been attacking his tribe for the last six days. It seemed as though no matter how far they retreated from the forest, the demon was not satisfied. It continued to pursue them further and further and even incorporated a strange magic that caused the earth to erupt beneath his minions as they patrolled the forest.
Ever since the Chief had devoured a dying mage and stole his broken staff, he had been much stronger than his frail kin. He had begun to believe he was special and unique among his kind, and even forcefully took over the various small groups of goblins until he was able to build his village along the river. With time he had intended to destroy the nearby human settlements and expand his village into a Kingdom, and from there continue to spread until it grew into an Empire!
However, fate seemed to envy his prestige and glory. Soon after he had picked the area to begin laying the foundation of his plan one of his patrols had disappeared. The Chief had assumed they had met a bear or another more powerful creature and died due to carelessness. His brethren were weak, so a few losses were well within his expectations.
He could not imagine that this incident, which he had belittled at the time, would become the prelude to his approaching nightmares. In the days to follow, the bush demon had slowly encroached upon the outer perimeter he had established with great difficulty. It had begun to slowly eliminate each three goblin camp in the area.
As it never seemed to attack the larger groups, the Chief had ordered to increase the camp sizes to seven, with two always patrolling between the other camps. He also stationed sentries within the trees as none of his scouts had gotten sight of their invisible killer.
His order paid off almost immediately, a testament to his brilliant mind. Unfortunately, his minions were unable to prevent the unknown assailant from escaping. After the engagement, his scouts reported that the creature seemed to be covered in a strange fur similar to the shrubbery that dotted the forest. It was capable of moving quickly between the trees, and even when his men dealt reportedly fatal damage to the monster it seemed to recover almost instantly. By the time of its escape, the creature now known as 'the bush demon' had slain more than ten of his minions before disappearing into the forest like a ghost. His scouts tried to give pursuit, but the ground seemed to come alive beneath them and an additional five lives were lost in the process.
Though the Chief was displeased with the result, he was secretly terrified at the existence of such an irrational creature. He could not understand why the bush demon had been targeting his minions, even to the point he had to recall all of his sentries from the forest. He had even ordered for his minions to clear away all of the shrubbery and debris between the village and the treeline to discourage the bush demon from further antagonizing them. This order had seemed to work, as there had been several hours since the last attack of the bush demon. The Chief had foolishly begun to hope that this prolonged nightmare had come to a close.
As he stood there contemplating the events of the past week, the Chief weighed his options. He could send his minions into the forest and try to flush out the demon which would likely allow it to claim more lives with its devious magic. Other than that he also considered ordering his minions to begin trying to cross the river and escaping into the wilds further south. He knew there were several small villages in the direction, and he would be able to build a new kingdom in a land far away from this demon.
He looked towards the river and began to earnestly consider retreat. Even though the idea of fleeing was something that went against his pride as a superior being, his minions were still weak and he had to ensure their survival in order to build his kingdom.
As the Chief continued to hesitate, he became distracted by the continued wailing of his previous executor. In his fury, he turned towards the delirious fool and used the magic provided by his staff to incinerate the weakling.
He observed as his previous executor thrashed about in a futile attempt to extinguish the flames. Surrounding him, his minions looked towards the incident with fear and awe which further inflated his ego. With a gruesome smile on his face, he prepared to order his subjects to ford the river so they could seek paradise and security away from this cursed land.
The Chief raised his staff towards the sky and readied his command, only for a beam of golden light to fly in his direction. Using his quick reaction time, he managed to intercept the beam using his staff as a contemptuous smirk appeared on his face.
That was the last sound the Chief ever heard as a searing wave engulfed his body and darkness claimed him.
Title: A Single Decisive Arrow