The troop of Cyclops crashed forward, ripping the trees up by their roots. Thick thorny vines snaked under their feet, sliding up their feet and knocking them off balance.
Decklan flashed forward, arriving at the Cyclops’ neck in a second. He slashed twice, once on the jugular, once on the eye, and then took a spike as long as his forearm from his ring and drove it into the Cyclops heart.
The thing staggered, shocked and weakened by its lifeblood pouring away. Thorn picked up its feebly struggling body and threw it at two other approaching cyclops, knocking them to the ground. Terra and another member of his squad leapt forward, making several deep cuts into the fallen duo, and then retreated. Thorn then picked up those bodies and threw them around, knocking even more to the ground.
With a roar, another wave of cyclops arrived, ripping away the ever dwindling trees that hid Decklan’s squad.
Again and again they struck, and more and more cyclopses fell, but there were still a huge number of them. Their high level meant dealing a killing blow was difficult, even with them distracted by Thorn. Blood pumped out of their wounds, but still they staggered to their feet, their single eye burning with hatred.
But Decklan just tightened his grip on the knife given to him by the Ghosthound and rushed forward. That dagger was hot, and seemed to be hungry for flesh. Decklan planned to feed it. After all, nothing was ever accomplished by complaining about a problem. You had to stand straight and face it.
Or in this case, kill it.
Paolo, the individual who obtained the class Brawler, current leader of Squad I, cracked his knuckles. After removing the bone equipment made by Sam to signify his position from his ring and putting it on, Paolo turned and grinned over his shoulder at the rest of the squad.
“Let’s show ‘em why we are the best.”
Kayle, the individual who obtained the class Ranger, current leader of Squad II, snorted. Kayle turned to his squad and said. “Everyone be ready to provide relief when they crack under the pressure.”
“Belay that order Squad II,” Paolo commented. “I out rank your squad leader, and therefore you need to obey me.”
They were moving towards the hastily assemble wall past the quarry, moving at a quick speed. Squads III through VI were assigned to support them, and only a short distance away. Some mid 20s ranked squads were trooping over after that, but they had taken longer to assemble. For something like 10 minutes, Squads I through VI were required to hold the quarry, with Squads I and II at the front.
“Ignore that belay, Squad II,” Kayle said haughtily, drawing his long knives. “Squad I has gone senile with fear. It seems it falls to us to lead the charge.”
To their surprise, they were beaten to their location by the enemy. Already a dozen or so skeletal horses had streamed through the shattered gates, rushing towards them.
Paolo snapped the clasp on his bone gauntlets into place. “Squad I, how do we treat insubordinate, inferior squads?”
“Just like enemies!” Then men shouted, breaking into a jog.
“And what do we do to enemies?”
“Kill em good!”
Kayle rolled his eyes, his squad beginning to sprint, weapons drawn. “Squad II, what do we do to enemies?”
“Kill them first!”
Paolo glowered. “Squad I?”
“Kill em’ better!”
Kayle spat on the ground. “Squad II?”
“Kill them now!”
Their lines met the charge of the skeletal horses. Paolo’s fist smashed into the leading horse, shattering its skull to powder. Kayle moved like quicksilver in the night, cutting his horse at the knees, where it collapsed weakly, with another long knife buried in its skull.
Regina frowned down at Constance, long, violet lines spreading from his heart to cover his body. Kraig, Kal, and Vivian had them too, but they were nowhere near as bad as Constance’s.
“What’s happening to them?” Daniel asked nervously. He had liked the fact that Lyra had just dropped off these strangely afflicted individuals and left.
“I…. don’t quite know. But I don’t believe it is medical. “Regina commented, frowning. It was just the two of them in the room with the people from Turtle Town.
And, of course, Nul, when he chose to show himself.
“The neighboring village has fallen to a tribulation. Soon, it shall become a dungeon. And its people… will become the monsters that populate it, if they do not shed their bond with that village.”
Vivian blinked. “We will…. Become monsters….?”
Nul nodded. “The changes have already begun. You are switching from the Traveler system to the monster system. That is the pain you feel. But you can be saved, if you agree to switch to this village.”
“Fine, do what you have to!” Grunted Kal, holding his abdomen. Nul moved forward with a small smile, and offered his hand to Kal.
“Take my hand, and forsake your previous village. You will lose your class, and all stats gained therein, but you will retain your life.”
Kal took that hand. His smile deepening, Nul pressed his hand against Kal’s chest. Before, Kal was in pain, but it was bearable. Now Kal began to scream.
Within a few seconds, Kal was foaming at the mouth. Then his eye rolled up into the back of his head, and he collapsed. Nul pulled and a strange… something of energy was ripped out of Kal’s body, which shuddered, then stilled.
Nul ate whatever it was he pulled from Kal, then turned to Vivian and Kraig, still with a bland smile in place on his face.. “Take my hand, and I shall save you.”
Dozer advance, using his large club to batter and crack the shells of the flood of beetles that rushed towards the village. His squad was barely holding together, but they couldn’t switch out; the usual legion style tactics didn’t work on these enemies. Their shells were too tough, they just shrugged off most attacks.
Magic was reasonably effective, and the mage corps was providing much needed support, ripping through lines of beetles. But they charged forward endlessly, their powerful mandibles clicking dangerously.
These were the spawn of the Tier II raid boss boss, and they were just as tough as their level of 28 would indicate. At the back, Dozer had even seen some Lvl 30s, directing the beetles.
With Donny’s squad out to reinforce Decklan, and squads I through VI blocking the skeletal horses from the North…
There was only Dozer to hold this front.
A beetle rushed close to the man next to Dozer, biting into his knee. The man fell with a cry, and Dozer roared, opening himself to an attack, but performing a huge overhand blow that smashed down on the beetle, cracking its shell and squashing its body into the ground. One of the support squads ran forward and dragged the man back, pulling him to the healers, but that left Dozer even more exposed.
Two more beetles jumped forward, aiming for his exposed side. Dozer let go of the club with one arm, reaching and grabbing the jaw of the first beetle to leap, brutally snapping off its lower jaw.
The second he ignored, and at the last moment an arrow slid forward, through the space under his arm, and hit the attacking beetle through the head.
This didn’t kill it, but it caused the beetle to falter in confusion, and Dozer brought his huge club to bare, smashing the beetles to pieces. His squad surged forward with him, sharing Dozer’s fury that one of their own had been wounded. They crashed forward, smashing a dozen beetles with their wild blows.
Dozer felt light taps on his shoulders, but ignored it.
“Dozer baby, you should really be more careful.” Annie rebuked, standing on his shoulders and smoothly firing arrows into the crowd of beetles, buying time for Dozer’s squad to fall back and regroup. “Making a girl work so hard, even while she’s wearing a skirt.”
Almost instinctually, Dozer glanced up while drinking a stamina a potion. And sure enough, he could see right up his woman’s skirt to her lacy red panties.
She lightly hopped off him and patted Dozer’s back, winking. “Make sure you come back alive.”
Then she sauntered off, a definite swing to her hips, heading to reinforce another area..
Feeling a heat unrelated to the battle rising within him, Dozer unwillingly turned back to the beetles.