Now that they were safely in the store the group spread out and began searching the shelves for food and supplies. At first glance the grocery store seemed stocked and full of food, but upon closer inspection the place had already been looted. There was still food left behind, but a lot of it was missing or had gone bad. “Seems like the goblins have already looted this place.” Estellese said.
“I don't think it was the goblins.” Zanath said. “They don't seem to be so... clean and gentle. Nothing in here is broken or messy. I would assume that if it was the goblins the place would be trashed.” He pointed out. “Maybe we are not alone in here?” He mentioned.
“It's a possibility, but we are the only Alpha testers as far as I know. So who else would be here?” Mendores pointed out.
“Hey guys!” Kadin called out. He walked out from the pharmacy section and held up a small bottle filled with a light red liquid. “I found two of these in the pharmacy. They look like potions, me and Mendores should use them.” He said.
Estellese poked her head out of one of the isles to see what Kadin wanted. “We don't know what those are... They look like potions but who knows what they do?” She pointed out.
“Well, what better time then now to test them.” Kadin replied simply as he pulled the cork out of the one he was holding and drank the whole thing. He waited a moment, and slowly he felt his body starting to go numb, to the point where he could no longer stand and was forced to lay down. “Whoa, looked like a healing potion. But now everything's gone numb. I can't move.” He mused, seeming more intrigued then worried.
“You idiot.” Estellese sighed. “Why would you drink it if you had no idea what it was? I mean, come on, wasn't your earlier stunt when we first logged in bad enough?”
“It looked like a healing potion.” Kadin pointed out.
“So what? Just because it looks like a healing potion doesn't mean you should assume it is one and drink it.” Estellese countered.
“All the things in the store look like food, and you are going to eat this food. But nobody knows if this stuff actually is food.” Kadin pointed out.
“I... that doesn't count! All these things are food from the real world, why would people make these things look like real world food if they weren't?” Estellese protested.
“Also, the pain in my back and shoulder are going away. I don't know if that's from the numbness or not though.” Kadin added.
“Doesn't make you any less of an idiot for drinking some random potion you found lying around.” Estellese replied. “I'm going back to searching the store.” She said before turning and heading off into the store to resume searching for food.
Kadin just remained on the ground, watching everyone walk past as they grabbed things off the shelves. Everyone had picked up mostly non-perishable foods, mainly canned foods and cereal, but everyone also picked up a few things for themselves too. Mendores had a hand basket full of fruit and vegetables as well as some painkillers and antibiotics, Estellese had a pack of chicken in her basket, and Zanath passed by carrying three baskets. One basket was filled with cereal, canned food, and other non-perishables like everyone else. One was filled with water bottles. And one was filled to the brim with tons of small candies.
Kadin chuckled lightly as Zanath passed by. “I never would have expected you to be someone who liked candy so much.” He mused.
“I don't.” Zanath replied simply as he stopped walking to speak to Kadin. “It's to make the food last longer. And to fight hunger when we run out.” He said simply. He noticed that Kadin was giving him a very confused look, so he sighed lightly and explained it in more detail. “While we are traveling, if we limit our food intake to one meal a day it will last longer. But we will no doubt get hungry. When we get hungry, we can just eat one or two little pieces of candy to settle the hunger for a short while, to help us hold out until we get our daily meal. Tricking our brains into thinking we are eating so we don't feel hungry for a little. Plus candy is small and easy to carry so we can take a lot of it.”
Kadin seemed shocked for a moment as he thought about it. “Smart...” He murmured. He was actually rather glad everyone in the group seemed to be intelligent, it drastically increased their chances of survival.
“Yes, thank you.” Zanath replied shortly, and when Kadin didn't say anything else right away he turned and left to resume shopping.
Kadin just watched everyone as they shopped, he couldn't do much when he couldn't move. But, little by little the numbness was starting to go away. It was about five minutes after he first drank the potion that the numbness went away and he was able to sit up. Surprisingly, he was no longer in pain and he was able to move his right arm without it hurting anymore.
Mendores noticed Kadin sitting up, he walked over to Kadin and crouched down beside him to talk. “Numbness going away?” He asked. “How are you feeling?”
“Yeah, it's going away. And I am feeling fine, surprisingly my arm and back don't hurt anymore. I think it really was a healing potion.” Kadin answered as he moved his right arm around a little to show that it was no longer broken.
Mendores nodded and smiled a bit. “Good. And that makes sense when you think about it. I would assume a healing potion would just drastically speed up your body's natural healing, how else would they work? And if that's what they do, that drastic increase in natural healing probably will mess with the rest of your body, making it numb.” He said. He stood up and held out a hand to help Kadin get up.
Kadin nodded a little. “I guess that makes sense. We just need to remember that when we find more potions we can't just stock up on a million potions and chug them in the middle of a fight to be immortal, like you can in some games. With the numbness effect we won't be able to use them unless we are somewhere safe.” He thought out loud. But then took Mendores' hand and pulled himself up onto his feet. He then grabbed the second potion off the shelf and handed it to Mendores. “You are the most wounded person here. This one is yours.”
“I'm fine. We should give it to Estellese, her hands are burnt.” Mendores replied.
Kadin simply shook his head and pressed the potion into Mendores' hand. “You are the most wounded, for the sake of all of us, you need it more. Have a seat and heal up. I'm going to grab some supplies for myself” He stated before he walked off into the store to get a basket.
Mendores nodded and drank the potion, then sat down on a nearby bench and leaned back against the wall behind it to rest and wait for the numbness to subside.
Kadin went to get himself some food, like everyone else he grabbed as much non-perishable food as he could fit in his basket, but he also grabbed a steak for tonight and stopped to grab several bottles of vitamins. He knew they were not going to have a good diet from here on out, so he hoped the vitamins would help them stay healthy.
It wasn't long before everyone met up at the pharmacy, Mendores was just recovering from the five minutes of numbness, his wounds were all healed and he felt ready to fight again. “Alright, are we all ready?” He asked as he looked over the rest of the group, when he got a few nods of agreement and a few people saying “Yes” he nodded and spoke again. “Alright, head to checkout, put everything in bags that will be easy to carry, and lets get going to the hardware store to get some weapons.” He said.
“Triple bag everything.” Zanath spoke up. “Just in case one bag rips.” He added as the group walked to checkout to bag their loot. Once they had everything in easier to carry bags they left the store and went back out into the streets.
Mendores lead the way and spoke up for the group. “We will need to be careful. We probably can't run as fast carrying all this and we are definitely not as agile with it all. One person should not be carrying bags so they can hold their weapon instead.” He said. He noticed Estellese struggling a little to carry her bags, with her burnt hands it really hurt to carry things. “Estell, since your hands are burnt why don't you give us your stuff and be the one carrying a weapon.” He said.
Estellese nodded a little and handed her bags to Mendores and Kadin, then grabbed her makeshift club. “Thank you.” She said. “Anyone know where the hardware store is? I didn't live in Oline city, and didn't visit it often.” She said.
“I used to work at a business here, just follow me.” Mendores answered. He placed the dented and worn metal helmet he had taken from the goblin leader on his head and lead the way down the streets. With the other three following along close behind him. Although it was not long at all before they ran into the next road block. Everyone was tired, the sun was starting to rise as the third day began and they had not gotten any rest. But, with the sun rising and a new day beginning the monsters in the city were beginning to wake and were starting to come out again.
The roar of the dragon could be heard in the distance, making the four Alpha testers duck into an alleyway to hide as the dragon flew past. Just a few minutes after the roar echoed through the streets the goblins began sleepily stumbling out of the alleyways and homes. Yawning and stretching as they looked around. They had a whole city to loot now that the dragon lead them here, there was so many shiny things. Many of the goblins now carried bags and packs of shiny things they had collected overnight. Mostly random junk such as tin foil, plastic jewelry, mirror shards, jewelry, metals, and whatever else was shiny.
At first it was just a couple goblins wandering out into the streets, and the four Alphas picked up the pace to get away faster. Trying their best to stick to the shadows and move silently, to not draw attention to themselves. But as the morning went on, and as the dragon continued roaring like a rooster in the morning, more and more goblins were coming out. What started as four or five goblins wandering the streets every here and there quickly became twenty or thirty, which quickly became large crowds all over the place. It was like a massive infestation! There was hundreds of them, everywhere.
As the crowds began building up the Alphas ran found themselves unable to continue, there was a massive crows of goblins blocking their path and more were coming out, they would be surrounded in seconds and they knew if they didn't get out of the streets the goblins would see them. They turned and rushed into a nearby house, shutting and locking the doors behind them. They were so close to the hardware store, Kadin cussed quietly as he peeked out of the second floor window and watched the goblins swarming the streets. “What do we do now? They are searching the houses, it's just a matter of time before we are found.” He asked.
“There's no way we are making it to the hardware store like this.” Mendores said bluntly. “The city is just too dangerous, we need to get out. There's too many monsters here.”
“But we need the resources the city has.” Estellese countered. “We have pretty much nothing, the city has everything we need to survive.”
“Yes, we need the resources the city has to survive, but think about it. Are those resources worth dying over?” Mendores replied. “We are pretty much a couple rats in a room full of hundreds of cats. Yes, there is cheese in the room, but we sure as heck don't want to be here right now. If we are going to survive, we need to avoid fighting unwinnable battles like this one”
“For once I agree with Mendores.” Kadin spoke up. “Some times the best tactic in combat is to flee and live to fight another day. There's no way we can take out these goblins. Each of us cam probably take out two or three of them, and there's around fifty just in the street right outside the house. Never mind the fifty or so further up the street, and the hundred or so I can see at the intersection in the distance. There is no possible way we can take them all on, we have a better chance of surviving if we get out of here.”
“But if we can't survive here, where we have everything we need to survive, how will we survive someplace else where we have no resources?” Estellese countered. “Zanath, you're the smart one, you agree with me, right?” She asked but then when there was no answer she looked around. “Zanath? Where did he go?”
Mendores shrugged. “He wandered off shortly after we came in here. I am pretty sure he is still somewhere in the house.” He replied as he peeked his head out of the room.
Almost as if on cue Zanath walked into the room carrying a couple backpacks, some duffel bags, a pillowcase, some rope, and a few other odds and ends. “Alright while you guys were doing, whatever it is you were doing, I searched the house and grabbed all the valuables I could find.” He said as he put everything down. “There was two backpacks and three duffel bags in the closets. We should be able to put our food in these so we don't need to carry around grocery bags. I raided the kitchen and grabbed the kitchen knives, but we should keep the makeshift clubs because these are just steak knives, they will work as weapons but are short and flimsy, they may break or we may need something that hits a bit harder at some point.” He stated.
“Wow, well you have been busy.” Estellese replied in surprise. “Thanks. So you think we should stay here and try to survive in the city?”
“No. We have better chances outside the city.” Zanath replied. “The other cities, if there is any, or the outside world if there is not hopefully won't be so mobbed. Grab a bag and a knife or two everyone.” He said.
“Oh... Fine you guys win.” Estellese sighed.
Kadin looked over the rest of the items Zanath had gathered. “What's the other stuff for?” He asked as he and the rest of the group each grabbed a bag and began filling it with the stuff they took from the grocery store. Mendores and Kadin got the backpacks, while Estellese took one of the duffel bags. Kadin took two knives, Estellese and Mendores both took one.
“The rest of the stuff is things I wanted for myself.” Zanath said simply. “Drank one water bottle and dumped out two others, filled them with gasoline from a container in the shed. Don't worry I packed plenty of water, losing two won't matter much. Then I also grabbed a hammer, screwdriver, nails, a lighter, and a few magazines.” He said simply as he packed everything except the candy into the two remaining duffel bags. Once he was packed he grabbed the pillow case and cut four tiny holes into it, then threaded the rope through the four holes to make straps and tied the rope together. With that done he filled the pillowcase with the candy and strapped it onto his back like a backpack, then strapped the two duffel bags over his shoulders and grabbed the rest of the knives.
“Ready to go?” Mendores asked everyone once his friends were all packed up. “With all the goblins in the street, and the giant spiders who are probably still lurking around somewhere... Getting out is going to be hard. But we are already close to the eastern edge of the city, it's not too far.” He said. To which everyone nodded. “Good, stick together, cover eachother's backs. And do not stay to fight unless we have to. Our supplies will slow us down, but make sure to keep moving.” He instructed.
Once he had gotten a nod or an “Okay” from everyone he lead the way back to the front door and placed his hand on the handle. “On the count of three, I open the door and we all run out. We run east.” He said, then pointed to his left to indicate which way was east since Kadin and Estellese were giving him a confused look. He kept his knife in his belt and held the makeshift club in his hand. Estellese readied her knife, Kadin held one knife in each hand, and Zanath held one knife in one hand and the club in his other hand.
“Alright. Three. Two. One.” Mendores started, then he suddenly shouted “Go!” and threw the door open, rushing out of the house with his three new friends following along behind him. The four of them sprinted down the street, catching the attention of the groups of goblins who turned and began running after the humans. But even with their extra baggage the humans were able to run fast enough to stay just a little ahead of the goblins. But the goblins were right behind them, if they stopped for even a moment the crowds of goblins would catch them.
But by the time they reached the end of the street the plan was already going wrong, not that they had expected any better. They had a crowd of goblins behind them and an even bigger crowd infront of them now. “Turn left, into the next house. Run through and out the back door, get through their yard to get to the next street over!” Mendores called out as the group took a sharp left turn and ran to the nearest house. Mendores sprinted ahead of the group to get to the door first, giving it a solid and powerful kick. With a lout smash the door was busted open and everyone was able to rush into the house.
Once they were all inside the house Kadin grabbed a nearby coffee table and shoved it infront of the door to slow the goblins down, then rejoined the others as they made a mad dash for the back door. But as they passed through the living room and into the kitchen they quickly found that there was already two goblins inside the house.
“Don't stop, plow through them and keep running! And don't get hit!” Mendores called out. Leading the charge at the two confused goblins. The first one grabbed a nearby chair and swung it for Mendores' head, but Mendores ducked under the swing and followed up with a quick but powerful uppercut to the goblin's jaw, knocking the goblin to the floor as he just ran right past and out the back door. Estellese was right behind him and followed the path he cleared to get out with him.
The second goblin was blocking Zanath and Kadin's paths though, and they could hear the swarms of goblins rushing in the front door of the house already. That coffee table hadn't stopped them for more then a second. Seeing that Zanath was a little slowed down by all of his bags Kadin ran ahead to take on the goblin himself, partially to help his friend and partially to get revenge on the goblins for making a fool of him earlier. Being more cautious of the goblin's inhuman strength and his own lack of combat skill he rushed at the goblin and stabbed one of his knives for its throat, but the goblin simply grabbed his wrist and stopped Kadin's attack. The goblin's other hand moved to grab Kadin's other arm, expecting him to try and stab with the other knife, but Kadin didn't do that. He instead kneed the goblin in the crotch. As the goblin shouted in pain and hunched over then Kadin stabbed it in the throat with his other knife and shoved the goblin out of the way, the whole fight taking just two seconds to end. With the goblin shoved aside Zanath ran past and Kadin ran right out of the house with him, just a few seconds behind the others.
They rushed through the back yard and onto the next street over, this street wasn't any better, it too was filled with goblins but the intersection ahead was clear. Mendores spoke up “The city limits are just ahead, about two blocks away there will be a highway we can get onto that leads out of the city, it goes alongside a lake.” He explained as they rushed down the street.
“I don't know how much longer I can keep running.” Kadin panted.
“We're all exhausted. Just keep running.” Estellese replied. The group raced down the street, they had a semi-clear path. There was a few groups of goblins ahead of them but they were small groups of ten or twenty, small enough to run around and get past before most of the goblins noticed them. But after running about one block they ran into another mob of goblins blocking the path forwards, forcing them to take a sharp left turn down another street, followed by a right turn a little further down the street to go around the mob. But, this didn't work either. There was another mob of goblins down this street, and the mob chasing them was getting dangerously close.
“Through the house again!” Mendores called out, intending to repeat the trick they used last time. They took a sharp right turn and ran for the nearby house, and again Mendores delivered a powerful sprinting kick to the door. But this door did not budge. Mendores was sent stumbling back, “This one's made of a much stronger wood! I can't break it.” he called out as he turned around to see the massive crowd of hundreds of goblins quickly closing in on them.
“Stay alive! I'll open the door.” Zanath called out as he grabbed one of his duffel bags and threw it through one of the house windows, smashing the window open. Then in a flash he dove into the house through the window, skillfully slipping right through the hole he made without touching the glass. It would take everyone else a while to climb in without cutting themselves open on the glass, and they didn't have the time for that.
The three who were left outside spread out in the yard not far from the door, clutching their weapons cautiously as they watched the horde of goblins rush at them. “Cover each others' backs and wait for Zanath.” Mendores called out. It was all he could say before the swarm of goblins was on top of them. “And be careful!” He called out.
In an instant they were almost surrounded and had goblins rushing in from every direction except from behind them. Mendores was in the front so he was the first one to be targeted and three goblins rushed at him. As the first goblin charged him he swung the makeshift club at the goblin's head, making the goblin jump back to dodge the blow. As he swung a second goblin lunged at him from the side, but he dropped his club and grabbed the goblin's shoulders to push the goblin back and off himself. But while he was pushing away the second goblin the third one lunged in and threw a punch for Mendores' back.
Estellese was quick to intercept the goblin that was attacking Mendores. Stabbing her knife into its arm to stop the goblin's punch and then kicking it to the ground. But as she kicked that goblin yet another goblin came rushing at her from the side. She was quick to slide her duffel bag off her shoulder though and swung the bag that was full of cans at the goblin, bashing it in the head and knocking it over before it could get within arms reach of her.
Kadin wasn't faring much better, another three ran after him. As the first goblin charged at him and dove in to tackle him. Kadin quickly sidestepped the goblin and kicked it in the head when it missed and hit the ground. But as he went to move away from the goblin, it grabbed one of his legs just as the second goblin was rushing in to punch him. Thinking fast Kadin dodged the punch by falling onto his back and quickly stabbed the arm that was grabbing him to force it to let go. The second goblin moved in to kick Kadin after it's punch missed but Kadin flipped back onto his feet to evade the kick and jumped backwards just in time to get distance on the two standing goblins.
Mendores backed away from the two goblins he was fighting, and looked up to see ten more of them catching up and joining the fight. But Zanath finally got around to the door and got it unlocked and open. “Get in!” Zanath shouted.
“Door's open! Go!” Mendores shouted as he began running back for the house. He stayed behind to make sure both Kadin and Estellese were able to safely run inside before he too ran into the house, slamming the door shut behind him. “That won't hold them for long, go, go!” He called out as he ran for the back door, taking the lead again. His three friends followed along behind him and mere seconds later they could hear the front door being smashed open by the goblins.
They got out through the back door and sprinted through the back yard, getting back on the streets. The four of them sprinted down the street, dodging the groups of goblins they passed on the way. It was just a short dash down another two streets before they made it to the highway that lead the way out of the city. “Right there, there's the highway! We are just about at the city limits.” Mendores called out as he lead the way onto the highway and began running down the pavement. But... It was then that they came across an odd sight...
“Wait... What?” Mendores questioned. The highway went a few more feet, to the city limits, then it just stopped. The pavement came to an end, and there was a big, open field of grass ahead. “That's not supposed to be there...” He murmured. It looked as if someone had just copy and pasted Oline city in the middle of a big open field and didn't bother finishing the roads that went outside of the city limits.
“What do we do now?” Zanath questioned.
“Just keep running, they will have to give up and stop chasing us eventually. Run out into the field!” Mendores called out. He knew it was a terrible idea to run out into an open field like that, but there was no going back now. There was too many goblins behind them to turn around and go back now. They could only hope the goblins would give up the chase eventually.
Next chapter: Discovering the Emory Forest.ns 220.127.116.11da2