They had been walking on the new path for a few minutes, Krissu's vial the only source of light available. All of a sudden, Elise dove down behind a cliff, right when Krissu thought she saw some other light in front of them. "Whaat?" she hissed. Peeking out behind the jutting rock made her understand Elise's action though.
It looked like a spawn of Goblin Miners had made a sort of makeshift camp in the middle of the hall. Aha. There were at least five or six of them. Krissu wasn't sure of their level, but since Elise and herself weren't exactly low leveled, they might have a chance against them. Then again, why fight when you can use your perfectly sound Stealth skill and...
“Ok, we have to fight these guys,” Elise suddenly whispered into Krissu's ear. “If anything happens, teleport, don’t wait. I’ll most likely be right behind you, ok?”
"What? No, we can easily sneak past them!" Krissu hissed back, but Elise had already recklessly leaped from behind the rock and was rushing towards the goblins. Krissu facepalmed from irritation and followed, putting the vial of light away. But in her own way. She felt her Stealth skill activate like a fleeting shudder all over her body and kept to the shadows rather than running into the shining from the goblin campfire.
Elise lounged towards the closest goblin, shield held high. Valkyrie was the word that came to Krissu's mind. A strong, fighting woman with no fear. As the other woman's shield ruthlessly crushed the goblin beneath her shield, effectively lowering its health bar to a yellow state. The rest of the goblin miners turned around, leaving whatever strange things they were doing near the campfire and got ready to attack the intruder... hang on, what was that?
As Elise took on the opponents, Krissu ran forth to a cliff closer to the campfire but still covered in shadows and protected by her Stealth skill. Her trained eye had spotted small piles of herbs there, half chopped up and put in a crude bowl. Were they making soup? She almost snickered, but guessed that it only made the game more interesting to add such a realistic thing as monsters preparing dinner. Now, the question was if they did eat Dustskin Velvet or if it was too bitter for their taste...
But Elise was probably right. They couldn't just sneak up to the herbs and begin rummaging around without first disposing of the enemies. She would have to fight and help her party member now. Stepping out from the shadows, another shudder told Krissu that she wasn't hidden by her Stealth anymore. She drew her broadsword from its sheath on her back and a goblin miner who had been growling at the fighting Elise now spun around to face her instead. Krissu might not be the most well versed fighter. But she could hold her own. She could.
The goblin rushed forward, a mining pick raised. Krissu approximated its trajectory as it was swung and met the attack with her sword. If this had been real life, her arms would probably have broken from the impact, but her Aincrad body could withstand it. She pushed back the goblin, making him stumble, and loaded up a sword art. [Lance of Will] came towards the goblin but wasn't accurate enough - it missed and Krissu found herself struck by the miner's pick in her leg. She groaned as she stepped back from her enemy, but luckily pain wasn't felt as much here as in the real world. With a [Crude Swing] she now took the goblin by surprise and cut its arm off. The miner's pick dropped and the frustrated monster threw itself at Krissu in a wild rage. But Krissu blocked it with her large sword and pushed the goblin back again, before she impaled it with a better aimed [Lance of Will] and saw it explode in a thousand pieces of glimmering data.
Krissu panted and looked down at the minor wound on her leg. It oozed slightly of red data. She then looked up at Elise to see how she fared. Hopefully better than this little alchemist.