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UNS Singapore, Command Bridge

Blake nodded at the two Marine guards and palmed open the armored blast doors leading into the Bridge and stopped the Marine from announcing his arrival. He quickly climbed up the steps and stood next to the tactical plot table, "What's the situation now?"

"Sir!" The officer of the watch greeted Blake, "Claymore One has reported that they are engaged with the Hero roughly 20 minutes ago and have just managed to disengaged in battle with him."

Blake's raised his eyebrows in surprise, "What happened? I thought the last transmission we had with them was to stay out of the way of the Hero?"

"Yes Sir," The officer replied, "But they found an informant of theirs being chased and attacked by the Hero. The Hero has attacked anyone in his way in the town to try to kill off the informant so far."

Blake tapped the table with his fingers before saying, "Get me all the info we have on the Hero so far."

"Yes, Sir!" The officer nodded and started to key into his tablet to bring up all the files they had on the Hero, before transferring the data over to Blake's tablet.

Blake sat down on his command chair and the Officer started the briefing, "Date and place of birth unknown, age unknown, previously known location was at the Capital of Bluewood."

"Powers appeared to be some blessing of the Sun God, giving him supernatural powers and strength," Blake listen on, "First seen, in the Year 71, but multiple sightings and appearances over a period of 150 years, till this Year 231. Rumors are either he obtained the divine fragment from the Sun God or he was blessed by the God himself."

"Unconfirmed reports that the power is passed on to another person or that the powers granted the user eternal life. Last known affiliation unknown, but suspected to be with the Empire of Bluewood." The officer finished the short brief, "That's all the information Intel has gathered from Empire defectors and the people of Goldrose. Also, almost everyone heard of the Hero as a bedtime story."

"So are we dealing with an urban myth, folktale or a real Hero...hero?" Blake pondered, which the officer gave a shrug, "Sir, it could just someone who found some godlike powers."

"Are we still able to contact Claymore One?" Blake asked.

"Yes sir," The officer replied, "We have them on standby. They are planning to leave the town now and will head towards the location of the freed slaves. They will push up the escort mission by one day."

"Contact them," Blake said, "Tell them to use extreme measures to ensure the safety of the team and their informant. The suspect hero is heavily armed and dangerous and if he is willing to kill in front of so much eyewitness despite being a 'Hero' their informant must have found out something that is potentially very valuable. Ensure all means to protect the safety of the informant."

"Yes Sir!"

-----

Falledge, Clubs and Royals Gentlemen's Club

Tyrier ignored the indignant cries of the footman as he barged his way in with Hitsu and Loke on tow, kicking the double rosewood doors open with his booted feet. "Stuff it!" He shoved past another footman who tried to block his entrance and stormed into the main hall of the Clubs and Royals.

The commotion attracted the attention of everyone and they stared at the black powder stained, disheveled man armed with a metal and wooden pole. His clothes with ripped and dirt-stained, with a hint of urine stench. Otoro looked with dismay when he recognized the face under all the smudge.

"Otoro!" Tyrier stormed up directly at his pudgy friend who looked at him with surprise in his face. "We need to talk now!"

"Sir!" The manager of the Clubs and Royals arrived, flanked with four large muscular men, "We request you leave this premises now!"

Otoro stared at the fierce glint in Tyrier's eyes and looked at the manager, "Wait, let me talk with him."

"But Sir! This man barged into the Club and is violating the laws!" The manager exclaimed, "He is disturbing all the guests here!"

"It's alright," Otoro waved away the manager's concerns, "I can vouch for his conduct."

Otoro then led Tyrier to a private corner, ignoring the indignant manager. "What is it? Are you alright?" On closer inspection, Otoro saw specks of dried blood on Tyrier's clothes and face. "What is going on?"

"I'm fine," Tyrier brushed off Otoro's concerns, "We need to move up the transportation of the freed slaves."

"What?" Otoro looked around to make sure no one is nearby to hear their conversation. "Why? Did the city guards found out? Is that why you are in this state?"

"You know the Hero?" Tyrier asked, "He's out in the streets murdering people, and he has targeted one of mine,"

"What? The Hero is killing people?" Otoro felt the news was unbelievable. "But he's the hero! How will he want to kill innocent people!"

"I don't care about that now," Tyrier said harshly, "Tell me where the freed people are, and I will move them out now, tonight! It's getting more dangerous here now!"

"Alright!" Otoro nodded and dug into his pockets searching for something before he gave an 'ah' and took out a small runestone. "Here, this will lead you to where the place where they are currently at. Just imbue some of your magic powers and it will show you the way."

Tyrier nodded and pocketed the runestone, "How about supplies, is it ready?"

"It should be, we had stored most of the traveling supplies at that place, but we wouldn't have all the wagons and land dragons to move everyone," Otoro said, "The rest was supposed to come on the day itself but..."

"It's alright," Tyrier said, placing his hand on Otoro's shoulder, "Thanks buddy, you watch yourself, especially with that Hero, he is not what he seems."

"I.. see," Otoro nodded, and gripped Tyrier's hand, "You be careful, see you when I see you!" With that, Tyrier turned and left, and with the other two scruffy looking adventurers, they left the Clubs and Royals with the manager and his goons escorting them.

Otoro stood at the same spot watching his friend disappear from his view and a strange glint in his eyes.

-----

Tyrier deftly climbed over the low wall, where they had left the rest and everyone gathered up in the empty courtyard. "How's the girl?"

"She's stable, gave her some tranq shot," Young replied, "She won't feel a thing nor wake up for the next six hours give or take."

"Good," Tyrier nodded, "We are moving out," He tossed a pebble-like object to Altied, "You're on point, put some magical energy into it and it will lead us to the freed slaves location. Hitsu help with the girl."

"Boss, HQ sent new instructions," Doth said, "We are to keep the girl alive and safe, she's our number one priority now, the secondary mission is the escort of the freed slaves."

"Got it," Tyrier gave a nod to everyone, "Check your gear and let's move!"

-----

Altied hugged the side of the building as he navigated down the street, heading towards the western gate of the town. He felt the runestone tugging his senses towards that direction. The streets were strangely deserted, the windows of the buildings were all shut up tightly, barely a sliver of lamp light leaking out.

In the far distance, cries and wails got be heard on and off, raising and falling as the maze-like streets echoed the sounds. Reaching an intersection, he paused and took a quick peek left and right, and Young behind him clapped his shoulders before he took over in a low run to the next block of buildings across the street.

Altied peeked out again and gave a thumbs up, signaling to the rest to move up, and they started to dash across the open street, alert for any hostiles. Hitsu carried the unconscious girl on his back, tied up with some rope into a support sling, carrying her like a backpack. They continued in this way until they reached the dark looming town walls.

Peeking out from a hidden corner of the street, Altied counted five guards, that appeared to be on high alert, as they stood watching nervously around them, the cries and wails in the distance unnerving them.

"Knock them out with non-lethal means," Tyrier whispered and the five of them excluding Hitsu who carried the girl and Young stayed in the shadows . The five Claymore One members quietly crawled their way across the open expanse between the walls and building they were hidden next to. They sneaked past the hundred meters or so of open area and crouched next to the walls, the firelight from the burning brazier effectively blinding the guards' night vision as they crowded around it nervously.

With barely a sound, the five of them approached as one, looming up behind each suspecting guard and with a quick chokehold, all five were dragged away and knocked out without causing any alarm from the patrolling guards on top of the walls. Their unconscious bodies were dumped in a dark shadow zone and Hitsu and young rapidly dashed across the open area and hugged against the gate.

The heavy bolt was pushed back and the small wooden side door built into the huge gates was slowly and carefully opened, to prevent any squeaky hinges from sounding. The group slipped through the opened door and closed it before disappearing into the night, headed towards the cover of the forest.

-----

Falledge, New Dragon Gate Inn

Dante strolled up the stairs smilingly, ignoring the questions from the innkeeper and his minions and knocked on the room door of where Liz and Evelyn were staying in. After a short while, a sleepy looking Evelyn opened the door, dressed in a simple frilly nightgown.

Dante smiled cheerfully and entered the room, brushing past the groggy huntress. "I need your help!"

"Huh? what?" Evelyn rubbed her sleepy eyes and flinched from the bright glow of light on Dante's finger, which lit up the dark room. The sleeping form of Liz got to be seen snuggled up in the bed covers, giving a soft snooze once a while.

"I need you to help me track a few people," Dante said, and he placed a flattened piece of lead on the table.

Evelyn headed towards the side table and poured some water onto the copper basin and splashed her face, before lighting up a table lamp and carrying it to the table where Dante was seated. She put the lamp down and picked up the piece of lead and sniffed it, and also coughed as the stench of urine was very strong to her magically enhanced sense of smell. "What is this?" She held the lead piece away from her and rubbed her nose.

"Are you fine?" Evelyn asked as she looked at the dust-stained clothes of Dante. She patted at his hair, dusting away some tiny pieces of stone. "Why are you in such a mess?"

"I am fine," Dante smiled and gestured the lead again, "How?"

"I should be able to track who that belongs to," Evelyn said, turning towards the lead piece on the table. Dante suddenly reached out and grabbed her and sat her onto his lap, grinning at her surprised and blushing face. "We can't" She whispered to Dante.

"Why not?" Dante smiled, "Liz is sleeping, as long as you don't make any loud noises... she wouldn't know!"

"But..." Evelyn wanted to protest but Dante kissed her deeply and all thoughts of protest disappeared as her mind went blank. "mmmmm...."

Both her and Dante clothes were soon removed and Evelyn mounted Dante on the chair, burying her head on his shoulders as they writhed against each other in pleasure and Evelyn collapsed on top of Dante, exhausted while he sat there with an amused glint in his eyes.

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