Pain has often proven to be my most excellent teacher. After all, the only real way one learns from a lesson is if it's a painful one. Experiences like this are what made us evolve, grow stronger. To be afraid, to participate in the chaos if a conflict is what separates all of us into the truly strong. My name is Vicioso, and I am the Goblin King, but like any legend, there was a humble beginning.
In the depths of slumber, I reminiscence of a time long past. Years ago, I lived a simple life. We goblins lived a simple existence. It was a claim after a turbulent storm across the land. For you see after the Grand War, they were a brief but very violent time called the Granius Period were amongst the blades, and olden blasters of the battlefield forged a man called Lord Granius who for the shortest of eras laid claim to a majority of Terra. He believed in survival of the fittest, and due to this, the humans put many scars on the monster community. Scars that took even the elementals years to correct. Years too late I might add. Even still, our scars may have been a blessing in disguise. We were essentially like one big family(in a good way) reflecting on it now. It was a hell of a lot better than it was now.
I wake up to the throbbing of my right... Stump. I've heard of phantom pain before, but it was a lot more annoying than what people said in the books. I look at it to see that a part of my period of shock I had put a part of my ripped cloak to cover the already cauterized wound. Still, it was a proverbial mess. Charred skin, cloth, and blood were mixed, so vehemently that is was hard to tell where it all ended and began. It was only a matter of time before it got severely infected, and I have little time for that. With my branch gone and my archive damaged in the fight, I can't call for outside help. I climb up a tall tree and see in the distance that Beterano was still alive and well, and I could see trails of smoke in the range from where we were based.
A cocktail of extreme emotion overtakes me as years of planning of opportunity was wasted in only a single day. Though this first time, tragedy had befallen our kind, nor this was the first time I got hurt in such a way. This was not the first time that I had been driven mad by the endless stream of conflict I have faced in my life. Again time seems to whisk me away to my youth. Even as a youngling, you could say that I was a dreamer. All my life I knew that the goblins were one of the lowliest of the sentient races, so I wanted to when I grew up to do everything in my power to bring the Goblins out of such a narrow, constrictive stigma. After all, why does superior The only thing to reel in my ambition from self-destruction was my dear friend Benevolente(Benevolent in Spanish). She always did know how to shoot my ego down, but she was still one of the kindest people I had ever known.
We often played well outside the realm as we had fun discovering the forest. Though we strictly avoided humans, hobgoblins, and dangerous monsters. I would live our humble life and dreams for the rest of our lives. But life had different plans. One day I remember we were scouring the woods for enough fruit to make our village famous tart. I don't know about what I was mumbling out loud to Benevolente. But I do remember a tentacle of darkness that had grasped her and a sharp voice saying.
"Tell us where your village is, or else your friend will be made an example of."
The human had spiky red hair shining purple eyes and punk rock-esque attire. I, unfortunately, agreed not wanting my dear friend to visit the other side. I led the man to my village as I quickly felt my brain tickled by the mana signatures of many.
I tried in vain to lead us on a different path, but the darkness human sensed through my deception picking up on my rage and lies. Eventually, we arrived at our village with the darkness user sadistically grabbed wrapped my body in shadow and squeezed hard. My screams rang all across the town, calling them to attention.
The man then screamed out.
"Hello, dear goblins. My name is Ink, Ceo of the new startup: Inky's monster artifact emporium! You see we here in spirit province a business can be a little hard. For such a venture, we would need to spend hundreds on equipment and supplies To find, capture, and especially fight some of the monsters in the deepest parts of the forest. But then we realize that you goblins crafty little devils you have a lay of the land and a lot of you. So now that the cast set me and my compatriots must kindly ask you to accept an offer you literally cannot refuse. You will spend every waking minute providing us with a monthly quota of our choosing. To mark our agreement, please accept the contract that my friend on my left from the Mystic province has."
One of our elders, a goblin named Grub, threw a rock at ink. He accepted the challenge with a smile by phasing through it and snapping his fingers. A burly woman in a stampede throttled grub and began beating on him, and with every agonizing punch, she asked him to surrender to the contract. Others tried to help but hey were thrown off quickly like a falling leaf. He refused still and then pointed a pistol a pregnant goblin firing at her leg. She kneels over in pain and in broken, he surrenders. My rage boiled over in one defiant cry, and suddenly I find that my mana overflowed in a roar that converges on a single blade of grass. My element had unlocked! Millions of years of evolution and would be used to bring us to salvation! My focus burns over it, and the grass answers my will transforming into tendril aimed straight for inks head! However a beam of light crushes it nothing, and I find my cocoon to tighten and slam my head to the ground — ink in a bit of a greedy but also immensely angry look.
"Something tells me your going to bring a lot to the table, aren't you little worker."
Five years that was how long I suffered that hell. The damn summoning contract was essentially a doorway to slavery. The mystic province as a whole and element was unpredictability given form. From it's almost unknown and wild power combined with the ravage of war birthed blessing and curse. One of the most controversial things that birthed from the province was the summoning contract. Once the deal was made between monster and human willingly, it didn't matter where we were in the world; we had the ability to be summoned at any time to the location of the summoner. The only way to cancel the contract is through the use of another Mystic user or the death of either the summoner or monster summoned. I at first questioned why these people would be so cruel to creatures that brought them no harm. But I realize that there was, in fact, a straightforward answer. After all, when you kill a bug or even your life stock, do you ever feel sorry?
Due to the latent potential that laid inside, I got forced under intense conditioning. There wasn't a day that went by where I wasn't exhausted. Even then, I counted more on my physical body instead of my element. My fellow brethren weren't getting treated much better. At least a dozen specialists were kept there at a time to control us safely. We were forced to treat them like kings as we risked life and limb to defeat large hellhounds, Lupi, and scorpianas. Given weapons that were old and worn away to deal with dangerous beasts. Over time I grew into a bit of a messiah to my people, which was again a curse. The pressures of such a title gave me the responsibility that often weighted on me like a freighter. Benevolente was my only pleasure and in many ways was my savior. Almost every semblance of free time we've spent together we would discuss the off chance of what would happen if we were to escape our bindings.
"I think I would want to go to the Nature province. After all, I'm literally in my element there. Plus it would be good for me and you.," I said wistfully.
"I guess. I want to see the world. I want to live in a world where if we ever had a life together, I want to make sure that we could live in peace."
"Yeah, maybe we will.. on the other side."
"Don't you dare talk like that, you idiot! The minute you say that is the minute you give hope. Not for the plan we have today."
She said all while shaking with emotion, and in haste, I apologize. For how could I of all people treat the dream of another so trivially. After so many burials. It had been so long that I lived in the here and now that I wanted no needed to focus at least one certainty. I honestly did want Benevolente to be my future.
After that, we engaged in another brutal and aimless quest. We were supposed to kill a small pack of deadly Ursa to harvest their hides that sell for a pretty unit. There were horrible creatures. They were Bear like creatures with hard bone like armor. A blow from them would be like getting hit by two speeders at once. It was a difficult battle and a bloody one. After the battle, I and only a handful of fighters were left alive, including Benevolte and me. After we had seemingly killed the last of them, we instantly engaged in our plan. A few of our brethren had already tried it themselves, but it was always a messy result, for we intended on killing ourselves.
The plan was to choke ourselves till our pulses laid flat and then revive each other. I was the first one. We embraced each other a final time not needing to say any more words, for action would speak far louder this day. She wrapped her hands around my throat and choked me. My eyes immediately bugged out and spun erratically. My mouth coughed and sputtered, but I dig into every fiber of courage left. My world faded until a pathway laid before me. A light shown as I knew instinctively I was gazing upon the other side. I was very tempted to move towards the grand light until a sudden force brings me back to life.
In seconds my eyes fluttered open with the feeling of freedom entering my lungs as in a brief moment of euphoric bliss I was free. For minutes I dynamically suck and cough air. Benevolente relieved out of her mind, cried overwhelmed by emotion.
But my joy quickly shattered when the love of my life gets hit in the head by a weakly Ursa! At first, shock took over but then insanity. I instantly slain the Ursa and desperately run towards the love of my life. Her beautiful face was bleeding profusely. In true mindless distress, I call upon another one of the virtues of the nature element — the sub-element of healing that unlocked a year ago. While I had no experience, I had a will and nothing to lose. Using my mana I a green glow appears on my hands. I only feel an area of pain and quickly fading life force and using most of my mana; I manage to bring my love to the bridge between life and death. Despite the desperate situation, I still couldn't go back to the village. It would serve the perfect cover of the birth of our new life. Along the way, I had procured a couple of medicinal herbs and much of my mana to pull Benevolente to the land of the living once more, but the damage to her brain was extensive. Her memory and cognitive functions were worsened, along with headaches. Still, I took care of her nonetheless with the only miracle being that we were even able to arrive in the nature province town of Blossom in 4 months. Along the way, I had witnessed a sight that would intertwine us for better or for worse. I gazed upon the legendary tree Yggdrasil. In sheer length, it was more mountain than a tree, and it's sheer force of mana left me basking it with awe and also in many ways envy. I knew that my struggle or resentment meant nothing to the tree. For its power and influence was so inflexible and massive that if we're ever to vanish, so would the province. It's very rooted gave life to blessed fruit and vegetables and harmony between monster and human. It symbolized me of everything that I wasn't: powerful, influential, eternal.
The province served as the home to many of Terra's most advanced medical supplies. I was hopeful that Benevolente could have her condition improved. I meet another friend for life named Lime, a doctor and fairy that was known for his kindness. His reputation was worthy of his title as he explained to me that there was almost no conventional cure for Benevolente condition and that it would worsen as time went on. I was too late. Too weak. I was lucky it would even get another two years with her. When I heard the news, I wanted to go mad. To curse Terra herself but instead, I utterly broke down. Instead, I made every single moment account, no matter how sad or desperate it was for the next four years. I worked at a market to earn every unit I could to make her life the most comfortable it could have possibly been. Also elsewhere on the news shortly after we had arrived, I found out that some specialists discovered what had done to the goblins, but the main men and women responsible lawyered up and at worst the goblins were under temporary protection. The bastards still got away scot-free. Even with years of prep, her death hit me harder than anything had before. The night after her funeral, I remembered one of the most questions in my life.
I looked into the starry night with each star representing the choices that led me to this. What cruel god made it so I an innocent would suffer. But in my head, I knew the answer all too well. For it was the same answer that I had discovered over a decade ago. I was too weak. I was too slow. Too late. That was the truth, and I knew it could not be changed. I finally learned the harsh reality this world had to offer. Power decides everything. Power purged the weak. Power is the only thing that brings exact everlasting change, and if I can't have it, then I will steal it. For only then would I genuinely release myself from the title of the weak? The next five years were a violent blur.
I acquired enough money to get personally trained by a famous mercenary in Terra. He may have been human, but like me, he didn't care about people. Every day for four years, I put my life on the line to become a living breathing weapon. My body got put through further training, and I gained the ability to use almost any weapon effectively and finally got more control over my mana. And after he had nothing more left to teach me, I ventured onto something that will eventually bring me to the moniker of the king.
Once again, I traveled to the holy tree Yggdrasil: my first opponent. The closer I get, the more influence I could physically feel from the tree as it's god-like aura swept through the environment like a heart. The air I breathed was sweeter, the food fresher, grass greener. The tree's aura was so massive and connected that I was merely a bug. A bug that in turn suck the blood of the mightest of giants and ascend even further beyond. Thus began my 8-month war with the tree. Even gaining even a small branch from the tree proven difficult. The sheer aura from the tree protected it against any form of piercing. It was also so mighty that I got instantly repelled back with every attempt. It even called various monsters to deal with me for aggravating its stance as "king" of the province. But despite all odds, I claimed my branch filled with untapped power. And in thanks to the tree that gave me so much as it did so many others, I named my new transformative fighting style: the Yggdrasil Inventory!
It was difficult the first couple of months, but in another two years, I was confident that I could handle the bastards responsible for making me the monster I am now. I take pleasure in hunting every one of them down. Each death is worse than the last until finally and deliciously I confront the man behind it all.
When Ink next opened up his eyes, he found that his hands were bound in mana resistant cuffs and gagged. He looked around to see me covered in my forest garb surrounded by nothing from the very forest that he turned into a prison. As he struggled and resisted, I just walked over and talked with the mongrel.
"How fitting isn't it? The slave owner has now become a completely powerless slave. I guess it's true what they say Terra does have a sense of humor. I know you probably don't remember my face, but I certainly remember yours. Do you need help remembering? I'll give you a hint I was that little goblin that you used all those years ago to capture the rest of my kind. You know now that I think about it we never truly exchanged names, right? No, you didn't know you called me and my brethren or the love of my life by many other names — Vermin, monster, meat sack and so much more. While we died day after day, we still had to make you fat off your greed as you lorded over us like kings. Well, no more."
"Yggdrasil Inventory: Abyssal Root, "I said while raising my branch.
Tendrils of woods wrapped around Ink's body and started slowly sinking him to the ground I could hear him scream through the gag, but it didn't stop me one bit.
"You said on the day that I would bring a lot to the table, and you were oh so very right. Because in a way, you were the one that showed me the true meaning of a king. And that is someone who rules through power, who serves his people and makes them greater, someone who sets to rule everything they survey. Someone who turns their enemies as nothing more than memories. So congratulations are in order Ink for you will be my very first memory in a long line to come."
He screams even to this day gave me comfort as his sins dragged him further down until he faded into the abyss. And the rest, as they say, is history I made sure the goblins transformed from taking punishment to taking power. I adopted the title of King and opposed a new composure to match. And when the war rolled around, I quickly adapted to the chaos. Finding the Ravager was beneficial and one of the most magnificent objects I had ever procured. Because what others saw as a weapon of death, I saw a symbol of change and hope. With its incredible power, I was able to tip the scales and bring the goblins to equal footing with most of the dangers that the Forbidden Realm unleashed.
And the dangers they were. From the opening of the hell beyond hell reports across Terra and eventually brought news of beasts, unlike this world. Legendary killers and monsters were driven mad returning to wreak havoc. But behind it, all was someone who was the ruler of this realm and the inhabitants in it. He was merely called the Forbidden One and we when we communicated we came to a mutual understanding. We both wanted a world in which only so few rules over all of Terra was nothing more than a memory. Next, we met was supposed to be me speaking of how I gained control of the Spirit province and assert myself as a catalyst for victory in the Forbidden War. And all of you know how that one went down. But I will not reflect on that right now. I had a current mission to attend.
Throughout my day, I had done pretty well all things considering. I had made a natural ointment for my stump and managed to use the forest to hide from any enemies. Though this slowed down my progress incredibly, do not confuse my confidence for my arrogance for I at least always had a backup plan that can move the Forbidden One to my favor. Multiple seeds that held a fragment of Yggdrasil's power, ready to become a new extension for my will. Plus detailed plans on the Ravager perfect for possible reverse engineering if need be. I just needed to get there alive.
I ventured my way towards the tent that carried my prized possession. However, my usual path had turned into a small graveyard plastered with corpses, human and goblin alike. Weapons littered themselves all over the landscape, each with their perspective on the battle. The stench was noxious as the elements had not been kind on the bodies. The sights even made me feel prickles of fear. As I walked across the path, even more, my anxiety grew and grew as I sensed a mana source approach. With only seconds left, I focus my mana towards my leg to jump back a couple of yards away from the oncoming threat. Where I once was quickly torn asunder and kept approaching as I immediately take a backflip and then flip to my right, avoiding a nasty set of teeth. For you see as some bizarre form of divine retribution or joke from Terra herself a giant rabid Lupi the size of a bus approaches in with mindless blood lust. When my feet land again I use the following momentum for diving only centimeters from the earth and slamming my palm on the ground to quickly tumble out of range.
I grab on to a corpse that I quickly scan to find a grenade and whip luckily. I set off the grenade and promptly throw the body towards the Lupi. However, the corpse gets immediately smacked by the beast's claws turning the corpse into a mess of intestines which quickly explodes. I grab the whip and me and Lupi engage in Terra's most dangerous game of tag. As I swung and traveled across the forest at the breakneck pace, I dared to look back. Ever still the Lupi was not losing its speed and instead pounced forcing me to jump above the trees and at the last second swing downward and roll again into the vicinity of a spear. I only have seconds to grab hold of a spear and time my next strike. The beast swipes it's paws downward right where I had moved, and I poured all my power into a thrust downward.
I thought I had a brief victory only to have the Lupi smack me again. I stood my ground and was about to jump back, but the Lupi takes my cape and uses it to fling my body towards the ground, repeatedly finishing its ferocious onslaught by flying me through a tree. The pain was blinding. Every edge of my body was aching in agony as I saw the Lupi inching closer in sadistic blood lust. Through my one unswollen eye, I gazed upon a sword within my range and also my incoming death and think over it. But a revelation more crushing than anything came forth. All this struggle, pain, and opportunity, and it all just end like this. A corpse defeated utterly with nothing to my name. Beaten and broken with not a single soul to notice or even react. I am dying alone with no one to bear witness or comfort. Honestly, after everything that's just happened maybe, I should lie back and take it. Perhaps I should let fate do its work. Why must I stick to this mortal coil suffering an endless hell that has been my life? Why shouldn't I join my love on the other side?
But before that, those last few words take notice. Fate: a small and ugly word I spent my entire life trying to rebel. A word I dreamed day and night of moving past. And in a way am I not rebelling? I rose myself and the goblins into something to never be looked down on. I fought with every fiber of my being and obtained power, unlike any goblin. Did I suffer through so much only to die like this? In some forest far from the people I've tried to support. No!! If anything I've learned in my journey, there is no certainty to life only that it ends. And I will not end it like this! Not after everything I've done. All I have accomplished. All that effort has to mean something. It has to! Whether it be fate or death itself as my enemy, so be it. I will fight until my very last breath!
In an instant, I grabbed the sword and slashed it across the Lupi's tendon. Blood erupted from its pulsing veins as it falls snarling. With its descent, I make my claim to not only the beast but to Terra and myself as well.
"If you think you can best me mongrel, then you better be in for the fight of your life. For I am Vicioso, the Goblin King, the prodigal son that has ventured through hell, and my greed will grab fate itself Terra itself with my very own hand if I must!"
With new found rage, the Lupi tired and hurt still ventured on. I answer in kind by jumping on his head, attempting to stab his eye, but he rolled away. However, it crumpled with it's wound bleeding profusely. In the sense of finality, it coiled up its power for one final pounce until I call upon a screen of leaves that obscure my body and in answer to his stride, I sprinted towards him. We charged each other summoning every ounce of will, and I can muster! In this instant, we were merely animals testing the will of our survival with this ending strike. Knowing this will be my final blow and accepting if this is my last!
I walk back to my camp in the victory. The remnants of my brutal and battered kind saw a spectacle to behold indeed. I walked through the scars of battle enveloped in a bloodstained pelt of Lupi fur and a crimson blood-stained blade. Even with every step causing further pain, I went on having only my healing, and I will keep me from falling. Finally, I make with my tent and send the schematics of the Ravager to my allies. I then look at the seeds practically bursting with power. With my will forged anew the seeds accept it and slowly but surely a new hand formed. Still, I stumble down onto the floor, breathing heavily and hurting myself even more.
With my mission over a thousand uncertainties enter my mind, all of which spelling my doom. I stare upon my new appendage with momentary awe and wonder imagining the further evolution that the Yggdrasil inventory can muster. But most important of all I believe is what Benevelonente would probably say in a time like this.
"Take one step at a time. You've already gotten this far. Take a step a day at a time, and you'll achieve great things, Vicioso."
With my uncertainties quieter, I got back up and walked towards my people. Knowing not what the future holds. Knowing that I could lead myself to ruin or salvation. Because if I can choose my fate, rebel against my shackles. Then I will decide the future that makes us grow healthy and prosperous. And if I can't achieve that despite all my power and if it's all for nothing. Then what else is there to live for after losing so much?