Goblin Slayer! Volume 8 is the eighth novel of the Goblin Slayer series.
He does not let anyone roll the dice.
Sword Maiden requests Goblin Slayer and his party to escort her to the royal capital as rumor has it that packs of wolf-mounted goblins inhabit the route there. However, there are whispers of an ill omen within the capital; then, whether by fate or by chance, the party arrives at a massive, eerie abyss known as the Dungeon of the Dead...
- Chapter 1: The Prime of Youth, Now Ashes
- Chapter 2: Beard-Cutter Goes to the Southern Sea
- Chapter 3: The Slayer of Goblins Goes to the Capital
- Interlude: Of the Hoyden Who Wanted to Go on an Adventure
- Chapter 4: City Adventure
- Interlude: Of How There Is No Use Crying over Spilled Milk
- Chapter 5: Master Scene: Behind-the-Scenes Actors
- Interlude: Of Wondering Whose Master Scene It Had Been
- Chapter 6: The Princess’s Ordeal
- Chapter 7: The Pulse of Demonbirth
- Interlude: Of How Cosmic Horror Is Not the Enemy of Swords and Sorcery
- Chapter 8: The Heart of the Maelstrom
- Chapter 9: Goblin Hand, Sign of Destruction
- Interlude: Of How It’s Better Than Dragon Slaying, Probably
- Chapter 10: O My Prayers, Have You Reached Heaven?
A young Sword Maiden and her party battle two greater demons in a dungeon whom are attacking the party with powerful ice magic. Sword Maiden casts protection to shield the party, but it will only hold out against the attacks for so long. She, along with her mentor, Bugman Monk, turn the tide of the battle with a Silence miracle so powerful that it even renders the demons unable to cast magic. Without their magic, they become easy pickings for the party's warriors and wizard. Coming out victorious, they refer to and update their map, with Sword Maiden breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn't goblins they met.
In the middle of a raging storm, Goblin Slayer's party battle a large sea serpent aligned with Chaos. After Dwarf Shaman casts a Water Walk spell on the sea serpent, it suffocates and is unable to retreat back into the water. With the monster's entire body exposed, High Elf Archer finishes it off by firing an arrow through its eye.
Upon returning to the Adventurer's Guild, Goblin Slayer expresses disappointment at how the "sea goblins" the quest referred to were not actually goblins. The party split the reward from the gillmen, consisting of pearls, corals, a tortoiseshell, several shells and a white helix. After arriving at the farmhouse, Goblin Slayer, who had taken a shell, gave it to Cow Girl as a gift. They expected a normal day to follow that night, but that would not be the case.
During a routine patrol around the farm, Goblin Slayer came across a young employee of the guild who requested his presence. Sword Maiden, who was waiting at the guild, informs him of tattooed goblin riders appearing on a highway near the Capital. This prompts Goblin Slayer's party and Sword Maiden take a carriage toward the Capital. When the group camped for the night, Sword Maiden experiences a flashback of her ordeal with goblins, but is consoled by Goblin Slayer. When the two sense the presence of goblins, Priestess wakes up the rest of the party and the adventurers kill all of the goblins before dawn. When Goblin Slayer and Lizard Priest cut open the goblins, they are perplexed by how their stomachs were full despite the fact that they were a wandering tribe travelling without provisions.
After several days, the group lines up outside the gates of the capital. A group of royal knights have them present identification and proceed to interrogate them, but immediately let them through upon noticing Sword Maiden. Once the paperwork was finished, the group enters the bustling capital.
Inside her room, a girl expresses frustration over how her brother is able to travel while she is forced to stay inside and not become an adventurer like he was. Her servant tries to tell her bad things came with adventuring, but the girl remains convinced that she deserved to go outside and see things for herself instead of having people decide things for her. When her brother returns home, she gives him a warm greeting so that he will never suspect she will sneak out.
As the group toured the capital, they arrive at a temple of the Supreme God and are offered hospitality. Priestess asks Goblin Slayer for permission to go somewhere, and he allows her to go under the supervision of High Elf Archer. With the party split into groups of three and two, the men end up at The Golden Knight tavern, a bustling restaurant filled with adventurers. Goblin Slayer notes how they have not been focused on goblin slaying lately, and admits their adventure at sea and bodyguard duty were fun, much to Lizard Priest's and Dwarf Shaman's surprise. However, he adds that the shadow of goblins was close by on both occasions, and figures such adventures weren't his duty as Goblin Slayer. In response, Dwarf Shaman tells him about how nobody has found a perfect way to smith a sword, and that it was fine to live without knowing how. Lizard Priest tells Goblin Slayer that even beasts of the field cannot live exactly the way they want, and the same goes for people; to worry and to feel lost were perfectly reasonable. Remembering the time Burglar kicked him into an icy lake, Goblin Slayer recalls that if he hadn't kicked to stay afloat, he wouldn't have been here now. With that, Goblin Slayer admits that the two of them are right.
In a graveyard, Priestess kneels in front of Wizard's tombstone and apologizes for taking so long. She tells that she'll keep hunting goblins even with the skittish behavior she was scolded for, and that she met her younger brother. When High Elf Archer asks if all her former party members are gone, Priestess reveals that one of them was alive, but adds that she does not have enough courage to go see her. To lighten the mood, High Elf Archer takes her to a public bathing facility, and the two bathe together. When High Elf Archer goes for a short break, a girl who looked similar to Priestess comes up to her; after learning that Priestess was an adventurer, the girl inquires into her class, rank and equipment. Before the girl leaves, Priestess advises her to prepare if she was going to become and adventurer, which the girl takes into consideration. When High Elf Archer and Priestess go to get changed, the latter discovers that her equipment, vestments and chainmail were missing. After reporting to a nearby employee, they learn that someone had stolen Priestess' possessions. The loss of her mail, the first thing Goblin Slayer praised her for, makes Priestess break into tears.
When the group learns of the theft, Sword Maiden suggests Goblin Slayer to comfort Priestess, before handing him a book about the Dark Gods and their symbols. He declines, and elaborates by stating all things become lost, like the knife his father promised to give him when he grew up. Before leaving, Sword Maiden promises to bring up the theft in her council with the king. Goblin Slayer found no entry in the book that featured the symbol on the piece of goblin skin. He figures that the thief was like a goblin, and concludes that one must be prepared at all times.
The princess realizes how important the chain mail was to Priestess, and begins to feel guilt for stealing what belonged to her. She goes to sleep in the stables of The Golden Knight, but the thought of Priestess' crying face haunted her mind through the night.
During the king's council, two events are brought up: an ill star fell unexpectedly on the board and flaming rock from the heavens had fallen at the holy mount, the tallest and most dangerous mountain in the kingdom. A Gold-ranked padfoot informs the king that he sensed something at the foot of the mountain, and the group unanimously agrees to send Hero to deal with it. When Sword Maiden arrives, she tells the king of the theft of her friend's chain mail before changing the subject to destroying the goblins; the king promises to look into both matters and asks for the status of the adventurer training centers. Handing him a report, a female merchant informs that such facilities are nearing completion, but as expected, people are having difficulty accepting the notion of embarking on a course of study after becoming an adventurer. She suggests that they provide meals to the training adventurers, which would be funded by having the training centers deal with rats and roaches from the sewers, which the king approves. Suddenly, an attendant to the king's younger sister bursts into the chamber and tells him that his sister was kidnapped.
Earlier at dawn, the princess paid a merchant, the older cousin of one of her servants a gemstone to take her North. They arrived at the north gate, and when a soldier asked for identification, they were granted entry when the princess presented her rank tag hung around her neck and stated she was investigating the disturbance at the holy mount. Not long after, they are attacked by a horde of goblin riders and are forced to abandon their cargo and flee. However, the princess loses her footing trying to get from the wagon onto the merchant's horse, and is quickly surrounded by the goblin riders. The merchant would come to regret letting the girl on his cart upon arriving at the capital, as his cousin was waiting at the gate in shock.
As the king's political reputation would be soiled if the army was alerted of a goblin kidnapping, the council agrees to have a trustworthy adventurer deal with the matter. Based on the location where the merchant was attacked, Sword Maiden tells the council that the goblin nest was located inside the Dungeon of the Dead. Since she was one of the six adventurers who braved the dungeon, the council began pushing her to deal with the goblins, completely oblivious to her feelings. Just then, the female merchant (who was Noble Fencer) arrives with Goblin Slayer and his party, who have agreed to go.
Hero and her party arrived to meet the king shortly after the council ended. The king informs them of the stone of fire that fell from the sky onto the holy mountain, and Hero correctly guesses they've been assigned to investigate it. As Hero's party discuss the details of the quest with two advisers, the king reminisces his earlier days as an adventurer. He shrugs off the thought after acknowledging he was the king, and hopes Goblin Slayer's party will take care of his sister.
Since the party was dealing with goblin riders, the adventurers decide to take horses Noble Fencer prepared, with Dwarf Shaman planning to use a spell to make up for speed. High Elf Archer asks Priestess if she was okay with rescuing the princess; though she felt slight resentment toward the princess for taking her chain mail, Priestess recognizes that she didn't deserve anything the goblins might do to her.
Once the party arrived at the stable, Sword Maiden handed Goblin Slayer several sheets of paper mapping what she remembered about the dungeon down to the fourth level. She explains that the fourth level is the heart of the dungeon, a whirlpool of magical energy and miasma, and they would not return if they went below that level. Sword Maiden then gives them a rope called the Blue Ribbon, which would allow them to give deeper into the dungeon. When the adventurers leave on their horses, Noble Fencer asks Sword Maiden if she ever wished to go adventuring again. Sword Maiden replies that she no longer had the courage to face terrible things, and that she was a weak woman. In response, Noble Fencer admits that facing fears wasn't always necessary, but other times doing so was her only option. Before the two went back to the castle, Sword Maiden wished to herself that all the goblins would disappear.
On their way to the dungeon, the party finds the remains of a wagon, scraps of Priestess' clothing along with her sounding staff on the road. Based from the observation that there weren't any corpses, the adventurers conclude that goblins took her to be sacrificed. A group of goblin riders ambush them, but the adventurers manage to fend them off. With the horses fatigued from Tail Wind, the party is forced to continue the chase on foot.
Near the top of the mountain was a fortress city that was currently nothing more than a ghost town occupied by goblins. With insufficient amounts of oil to set it ablaze, the party opts to sneak into the dungeon. The adventurers climb and travel atop the fortress walls, before dropping down beyond the city and entering the dungeon.
The party begins looking for an elevator when they are forced to fight a horde of goblins charging toward them. To deal with the increasing number of goblins, Goblin Slayer has the party break open a doorway and take cover behind him, before opening a Gate Scroll connected to that sucked the goblins into the void. He reveals that he set the location to the sky, which was populated by wind sprites.
With the party covered in darkness, Priestess tries to start a fire but fails. Lizard Priest figures that their current location was a territory of darkness, so he uses his heat vision to guide them to the elevator.
At the holy mount, Hero's party discover that a lump of darkness had latched itself onto the meteorite, becoming a shade and attempting to expand itself. Sage prevented the lump from spreading, Sword Saint handled defense and Hero was in charge of attacking. With a single swing of her sword, Hero produces an explosion of sun that destroys the lump.
Inside the burial chamber in the dungeon, the goblins laugh at the beaten and dirtied princess, who was weeping at the thought of what the goblins would do to her. After the elaborately dressed goblin leader gives an order to his subordinates, the faces of the princess' family flash through her mind. All she wanted was to go home, but she recognized she never would without a miracle.
In the elevator, Goblin Slayer speculates that the goblins have a spell caster with them, and that they would be their leader. When High Elf Archer smells something odd coming from below, Goblin Slayer initially opts for a potion, but Priestess volunteers to use a miracle to do away with the odor. With Lizard Priest on the front row and High Elf Archer the one firing projectiles, Dwarf Shaman is directed to create a source of light.
Upon arriving at the fourth floor, Priestess begins their ambush by using Purify to eliminate the odorous miasma surrounding the area. Once Dwarf Shaman creates a light source, Priestess spots an elaborately dressed goblin pulling the princess by the hair; after seeing the goblin's staff and tattoos, she receives a handout and identifies the goblin as a priest. High Elf Archer fires an arrow at the goblin priest, but he had cast Protection before the arrow could land. Much to the priest's frustration however, his subordinates fall one by one to the adventurers, which drives him to kick the princess in retaliation. Wondering why the goblin priest's Protection didn't vanish, Priestess learns that the princess was a living sacrifice. Goblin Slayer then learns that the blood of the goblins and deceased adventurers in the dungeon was flowing into the altar to fuel the deities of evil. The remaining five goblins charge toward her only to be intercepted, and Priestess uses Purify to turn the blood being sacrificed into pure water. The goblin priest's Protection spell vanishes, and he is forced to use the princess as a human shield. Goblin Slayer merely sweeps the goblin's legs from under him, and smashes his skull with a club.
After finding her mail, Priestess went to comfort the princess, who repeatedly apologized. Looking at the pattern carved in the floor, Lizard Priest guesses that this location was meant to resurrect a dark god. The barely alive goblin priest reaches for his relic, thinking the gods wouldn't fail to save him after everything he did. As the thought was not one out of faith, a large and grotesque arm erupts from his back, which Priestess identifies as a greater demon's hand. A blast of immense sharpness occurs, and Priestess screams from the resulting pain.
With the arm invoking a harsh blizzard, Dwarf Shaman's Spirit Wall creates a wall from the snow to shield the party. Before the party resolves to retreat, the greater demon's arm suddenly jumps and punches through the wall, directly hitting High Elf Archer. As the arm was different than all his previous opponents, Goblin Slayer thinks hard about what to do next, eventually resolving that in his pocket, he had a hand.
Having only feasted on a goblin's flesh, the arm decides to use the adventurers as nourishment. It charges at Priestess after being hit by a sling, but slips to the side after Goblin Slayer throws a bottle of gasoline below it. With the monster unable to maintain balance, Goblin Slayer loops a grappling hook around the hand and pulls it toward the elevator, even after being thrown against the wall. Priestess reaches the elevator at the far side of the room, and uses the Blue Ribbon to open its keyboard. After Lizard Priest prevents the hand from summoning another snowstorm, Goblin Slayer slides the hand toward the elevator. Priestess opens the doors to let it slip inside and fall, and casts Protection to prevent it from grabbing her. When the greater demon's hand immediately starts leaping and punching the barrier, the elevator chamber rises up from below and crushes the hand between it and Protection.
The party arrives at back at the first floor, but have to face off against goblins alerted by their battle with the greater demon's hand. Before the goblins reach them however, a miracle from Sword Maiden blows them away. Standing on the walls of the fortress city, she announces that the goblins weren't the enemy, but Non-Prayers who sought to summon Demons of Chaos into the world. As a group of warrior-priests under Sword Maiden's command kill the rest of the goblins, Goblin Slayer reveals that he had alerted her, but everything else was at her discretion. Priestess notices that Sword Maiden was barely managing to hold herself up, and that she was looking directly at Goblin Slayer. Noticing her hand was in Goblin Slayer's, she reluctantly pulls it away and resolves to be a source of strength to him.
A nobleman of the nation and a cultist of the God of Wisdom eat together at a luxurious parlor. They discuss using breeding the thing on the meteorite with the greater demon summoned with the princess, and suggest that the result could disguise itself as the princess and be under their influence. As a contingency plan, they would spread a rumor of the princess being violated to tarnish the king's glory and so that no one would marry her. Hero would then be won over with a bit of fawning, or sent on a suicide mission if she wasn't. After one of them mentions the absence of rumors of an interloper, a ferryboat bursts through the wall of the parlor, revealing the Knight of Diamonds. Thinking he was a simple deviant, the nobleman demands the knight to remove his helmet, which the latter obliges by raising his visor. Upon seeing his face, the nobleman calls his personal guard for help and the cultist summons fiends and ghouls. The Knight of Diamonds declares their fate sealed before killing the two men.
Much to High Elf Archer's dismay, Goblin Slayer had only accepted a reward for goblin slaying despite rescuing The Princess. Guild Girl tells Priestess that the princess has converted to a devout belief in the Earth Mother after meeting a cleric, and that she allegedly said she wanted to grow up like her. The news makes Priestess shed tears of happiness.
While walking home, Goblin Slayer decided that after completing the quest, nothing had changed; he had gone to the location, killed the goblins, rescued the captive and went home, and he recognized that as his duty. He finds himself thinking could not believe in the gods like other people he knew, but he was impressed by them for that same reason. As Cow Girl welcomes him home, Goblin Slayer muses that going on adventures and killing goblins was who he was, and that nothing has changed. Autumn was nearly past, and winter was approaching.