Fresh Growth – Chapter 6

The wild itself coursed through me as I sprinted madly at the collapsing behemoth. I shut my eyes and dived and felt myself skid across the ground to meet the goblin, pushing him halfway up the hell and rolling to a halt just as the machine collapsed, inches from me.

Kalandrios giggled at my exploit. It was nice to know someone was having fun.

I pushed myself up into a standing position, ignoring as much as I could the fatigue I was getting from tonight’s events. Across from me, the goblin dusted himself off and turned to thank his saviour when he saw me. His eyes narrowed and he had a dagger out before I could blink.

What a warm reception.

“I just saved your life, goblin. I’d think twice about advancing on a druid after your race did this to Ashenvale.”

A flicker of confusion ran across his face at my statement.

“Ya… Ya mean it wasn’t elves that did this?”

Now it was my turn to be confused.

“Why in the name of nature would we do this? You were making the bomb!”

“You can bet your trees on that, but workers aren’t allowed to set them off!”

He sheathed the dagger grudgingly.

“Please explain. Because this thing went off, somehow.”

We scrambled up the edge of the basin and onto the edge of what was now a lake of lava. The heat didn’t offer respite, but we both sat down.

“Y’see, after the first bomb, the Warchief decided only he should get to decide when to use anything like that again. The first thing we made for this bomb was a detonator. Last we heard it was somewhere in Bilgewater Harbour.”

I found this hard to comprehend.

“But – you mean that was the only way the bomb could go off?”

“Uh-huh.”

I got to my feet, trying to think.

“The bomb wouldn’t go off here intentionally, then.”

“Well, no duh, but who in Bilgewater’d do this?”

I made up my mind there and then.

“That’s what I’m going to find out.”

I whistled and beat the ground three times, letting Beltheron know of my location, and began leap-frogging across the platforms not yet submerged by lava.

“H-hey! Ya can’t just go into Bilgewater Harbour unannounced! They’ll slit your throat before ya can say ‘I come in peace!'”

The goblin’s voice bore into me. I was being rash again.

“How else am I expected to avert unnecessary retaliation?” The nervous noises behind me indicated that I was being followed.

“Let me come with ya! I can get you in safe or something, and I’m a sittin’ duck here!”

“Fine. But we need to make a stop along the way.”

“Whatever. Just as long as I get outta here. Name’s Zipzil.”

“Oriet.”

A few minutes into the ash-covered highlands, we were joined by Beltheron, who commenced growling at Zipzil until I managed to get close enough to him to calm him down. Cool it. He’s necessary. For now.

After that, Beltheron did little except shoot warning glances at the goblin every so often. Kalandrios, meanwhile, was very inquisitive about our guest, having never encountered a goblin before. More than once I had to keep him from grabbing at the goblin as we walked for fear that Beltheron would try and attack.

Eventually we passed into territory still on fire, and I began to hear the yells of those fighting the fire and those fleeing it.

“We’re nearing Raynewood Tower. Keep an eye out.”

No sooner had I said that than an arrow shot straight past me, missing Zipzil by an inch.

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