With studies from the academy piling on, and a cave needing deeper mines for gemstones and silver – all to pay for my time at said academy – it can be difficult to find the time to enjoy myself. Sure, someone could sleep less to do more more, but I certainly won’t budge on my sleep schedule; a goblin needs eight hours a night, and there’s nothing that can stop me from getting them. Besides, being well-rested does wonders for the mind when studying.

So where else might I come to find a little relaxation in the tumult? I might skip over some academy work if I was really desperate, but what would be the point of doing that if I’m paying to learn? There’d be no sense in it at all!

For some time now, too, I’ve been trying to just watch some silly little projections from my hand-held orb, but it isn’t bringing me much gain. I find myself completely absorbed in them, scrolling and scrolling and scrolling – my brain might as well melt out my pointed ears with how mindless it all becomes. And the time-sink! Hours slip away with nothing to show for it but a better sense of my lethargy. No, I needed something different. Something to keep my wits sharpened and in use, while still being enjoyable to experience… there’d be no point if it was all work and no play.

“Perhaps I can do some writing?” I thought to myself. I love writing fiction, honestly, but this too wouldn’t do. Essay after essay makes jumping back into writing difficult, and the same goes for reading my own books after cramming textbooks and scrolls. But then I had another thought. Why not play a game? One that I’ve played before, one that I have wonderful memories of playing with friends; without a moment spent waiting, I started playing Halo 3 again.

Fighting a war as a lone supersoldier against a cult of aliens, blasting through battle after battle, and doing it all on the hardest difficulty brings together challenges with a sense of fun. Whenever my studies start to dull, and I find myself losing focus, I now simply play for a short while, maybe twenty minutes, to give myself a different pace. Then it’s back to my studies, refreshed and a bit happier than before. It’s all in the small things, I suppose, and it’s the small things I’ll keep looking for.

“The Goblin Cave” weaves vivid imagery and prose with reflections and commentary on the world around us. Written by Ethan Reisler, “The Goblin Cave” looks at society, reality and culture from a far away land not unlike our own.

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