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"Up!" Lt Frank shouted as he covered the other two Marines, firing aimed shots between the trees, knocking off a rider from his mount. "We are almost out of the forest!"

"Up!" Cooper yelled, and Frank turned and ran leaving Cooper and Koing to cover him. Cooper wearing night vision, sighted his weapon on another rider, and fired, sending both rider and his giant croc tumbling down. "Damn, they aren't giving up!"

Frank slams himself over a massive tree root and heaved his weapon up. "Up!" He yelled out. Thank god for their enhanced genes, if not a normal, untrained and enhanced human won't be able to carry over 45kg worth of equipment and run nonstop for over 30 minutes.

The UNM Marines when undergoing basic military training were injected with body-enhancing drugs, increasing their muscular strength, reflexes, and stamina. Some units, Frank heard even had bio skeletal replacements, further increasing their abilities.

"I see the end of the forest!" Koing shouted, as he vaulted over another tree root and landed at the edge of the forest, seeing the green mountainous slopes under his night vision.

"Dog Actual to Sierra, do you copy over?" Frank activated his comms. "Come in Sierra!"

"Sierra to Dog Actual. I see you over," Drake's voice came in slightly distorted but understandable via the comms.

"Under heavy pursuit! Requesting immediate support and extraction over!" Frank yelled into his comms as the trio dashed across the open ground and hit the rocky path, heading towards the location where they dropped their belaying kits.

"Dog Actual to Base, mission failed, repeat mission failed," Frank made a report back. "Target has some kind of barrier protection, missile strike has no effect, over!"

"Roger that Dog Actual, RTB immediately," Base responded.

"Damn, where's our support!" Frank cursed, as several balls of light lit up the mountain slopes, exposing their location. "Get behind cover!"

-----

"Come on," Drake whispered to himself as he laid prone on his poncho, his M7 DMR barrel and part of his scope poking out of the camo netting, over 600m away, watching his fellow Marines running to cover. He tracks his scope to the edge of the forest, just as several balls of light lit the area up like flares and dozens of croc cavalry bursting out from the trees, charging right at the exposed Marines.

"Many dragon cavalries!" Kont cried out in excitement as he laid next to Drake, using the bino to spot. "Eh, Six-two-three meters.. six-one-five... They are closing fast on your friends!"

"Right," Drake had earlier zeroed his rifle scope to 600m. He tracked the nearest croc-dragon thingy and gently stroke the trigger, feeling the slam of his rifle butt against his shoulder. A second later, the creature topples over, flinging its rider off its saddle.

"Good hit!" Kont cried, "Look 10 paces to your left!"

Following Kont amateur instructions, Drake still managed to snipe the targets he is calling out. Damn, I need to properly teach him how to spot properly. He focused his attention back to sniping.

-----

Frank ducked behind a large boulder and popped up to fire at the charging cavalry, sending them toppling with each hit. Cooper joined in firing at the enemy as reached Frank's spot, while Koing dropped to a kneeling position and fired.

The Empire cavalry unable to close with the three humans, broke and retreated back into the cover of the trees. Checking his ammo, Frank nodded towards the cliff side, "We need to climb back up, we can't go by the main path. I am sure they will be waiting for us there."

"We got incoming!" Koing warned as dozens of figures appeared from the treeline. "LT whatever you want to do, better do it fast!" He fired at the massing soldiers.

"Base to Dog Actual, stand by for missile strike in 10 seconds!" Frank's comm crackled. "Danger close over!"

"Down down down!" Frank shouted to his men. "Incoming! Danger close!" He braced himself against the rock, covered his ears and opened his mouth. The other two marines also ducked down and copied Frank's actions.

By opening their mouths, the pressure wave caused by the explosion will not rupture their eardrums as the air in the various body cavities moves with the pressure wave.

Shortly after a bright flash and a ground-shaking rumble knocked them down, the blast of the explosion set their ears ringing. "Go!" Frank got to his feet unsteadily, shaking his head to clear the ringing of his ears. He looked over the rocks and saw the edge of the forest swathed with flames and smoke.

-----

Lord Kean stood at the shattered gate of the camp, his left hand gripping the neck of the female he captured earlier, dangling from his side.

"What is taking so long? Have not the enemy been destroyed?" Kean impatiently questions his underling beside him.

"I will find out what is taking so long my Lord," His man bowed and disappeared into the night and returning in a short while. "My Lord, they have encountered more resistance than anticipated."

"Tsk, can't even do anything right," Kean grumbled and headed towards the Goldrose camp, dragging the female along.

"What's this?" Kean asked in anger as he reached the entrance, seeing three of his men sheltering behind a magic barrier. "What are you doing?"

"My Lord!" One of the men called out, "There magic is too strong! We can't advance!" The barrier suddenly burst into sparks and another Knight brought up his magic barrier to block the shower of magic spells raining on them. "We can't see where they are casting their spells from!"

"What?" Kean could hear the thunderous crack of the thundersticks and the sparking impact of the spells on the barrier. Sweat could be seen glittering from the burning tents on the caster's face as he focuses all his power in maintaining the spell. Two of his men lifeless bodies laid out on the ground, riddled with bloody holes.

Kean dropped the girl and strolled up the gate into the Goldrose camp, ignoring his men cries of caution. He weaved a spell in his hands, chanting rapidly as he focuses his magic into his palms. Sparks exploded around him as the enemy spells impacted his barrier, draining its power with each hit.

Tossing out his hands, several magic circles appeared, before merging together and completing the spell. A massive ball of fire grew into shape and Kean quickly fires it off into the camp, once he has done that, he lowers his body as low to the ground as humanly possible and dashes after the fireball.

Using the light of the exploding fireball, he saw several figures hiding behind stacks of bags. He charges in a zigzag manner, dodging their thundersticks' spells. He leaped over the bags, watching the eyes of the short-ear beasts turn round in surprise and lands behind them. A quick sweep of his hands and a couple of heads flew off, blood squirting out of their severed necks like water fountains.

The rest of the soldiers froze, staring wide-eyed in fear, watching Kean lick his bloodied fingers, before raising their thundersticks up to cast their spells. But Kean had disappeared, leaving the four soldiers in confusion, and screaming in terror as a soldier arced his back sharply, his chest plate bulging unnaturally and vomiting blood, legs dangling in the air.

Kean stood behind the twitching body, his right-hand half penetrated into the back of the soldier, gripping his heart. He frowns slightly at the body, looking at the black cloth-like armor of the soldier. His hand has the power to punch through plate mail, but he could only penetrate the back armor of the soldier and not out of it. "Interesting,"

"BACK!" Karl screamed, following his own words, putting as much distance as he could. This guy is way more dangerous than those green skins! He ripped a flashbang out from his front pouch and tossed it at the elf standing there, illuminated by the flames.

Kean dropped the body and out of reflex, snatched the tube-like object thrown at him from one of the retreating soldiers. He looks at it in admiration, its workmanship exquisite with perfectly cut circular holes that lined the tube walls when it blew up in his face.

"Urgghhh!" Kean screams in pain, covering his face with his hands. His eyes blinded and his ears deafened by the loud explosion, he stumbled around in a daze before feeling something punched him hard in the chest and the world seemed to disappear.

-----

Pike watched the sun rising over the treetops, turning the skies into a splash of purple orange. He turned and look at the smoky remains of the attack several hours before and headed towards the field hospital.

"Staff!" A medical personnel greeted Pike as he ducked his head into the medical tent.

"How are they?" Pike gestures the wounded in the tent. "What's the count?"

"This way please," The medic led Pike to the rear of the tent, out of hearing from the wounded. "14 wounded, they will heal over time but we got nine dead." He sighed and flips the page of the notepad he was reading from. "The Goldies got another 31 dead and 12 wounded, and the civees we rescued, another 52 dead from the attack."

"Fuck!" Pike cursed. "How about the enemy? We got a prisoner right?"

"Yes, he suffered two GSW, one to his collarbone, shattering it. And another to his left lung." The medic explained. "He's out of danger at the moment, both shots over penetrated his body. If he was wearing armor, he wouldn't even be alive to be captured."

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