Skies over Uncharted Forest

"Alright! Everyone listen up!" First Lieutenant Joesph spoke over the intercom linking to both Valkyries' passenger holds. "We will be dropped into the Uncharted Forest in support of the distress call from the Hundred and First. Our objective is to find and support their mission which is to escort a large group of freed slaves back to Hell's Gate."

"Intel has it that they are doing a fighting withdrawal with Empire forces and also the Hero and his party," Joesph announced, which the Marines started mumbling among themselves when they heard the Hero was involved.

"I know most of you had heard of the Hero's exploits, but this time the Hero is with the Empire side," Joesph added, "Our mission is to prevent the freed people from being captured or killed by the enemy, simple as that. There is no point thinking of why the Hero is helping the Empire or who is attacking. Just know one simple thing, that is to ensure the safety of the civilians!"

"Sir, yes sir!" The Marines cried out.

"Good!" Joseph grinned at the hotblooded Marines, "We will be dropping in at the nearest emergency rendezvous point and work our way towards their last known location. Following that, Eagle Company, Platoon 2, 3 and 4 will be dropping in at intervals with extra supplies depending on the local situation."

"Alright, ETA is 49 minutes to the LZ (landing zone), grab some shut-eye while you can, its gonna be a long walk home!"


Uncharted Forest, 467 km from Sawtooth Mouth Pass

"Come on!" Young whispered to the faltering slave, reaching out and helping haul the weaken slave into a hollow in the tree. "Stay quiet," He passed out his last bottle of water and carefully climbed his way over the tree root.

"Boss," Young lowered himself down onto the ground, "We are running out of food and water, the survivors are all spent both physically and mentally." The food and water scavenged from the dead empire soldiers were mostly spent and the original supplies and wagons were mostly abandoned when they were attacked suddenly, while others were lost along the frantic escape.

Tyrier looked up from Doth's cold body and gently covered his face with a dirty cloth and sighed, "I know, we managed to keep ahead of the Hero so far, I think with our wards up, we should be able to hide from him for a while."

"We should be roughly two to three hours away from the rendezvous point," Altied said, as he kept the compass stone back into his pocket. Regular compass does not work properly in the Uncharted forest, requiring instead the use of a 'compass stone', a magic rune imprinted with a host location and it will point to the correct direction when magic is used on it.

"Young, gather some people that still have energy, see if you can find some water source to refill our water," Tyrier ordered, "Loke, take a few men with you too, go see if you can forage some food up."

Loke nodded, looking depressed as they couldn't even find any traces of Hitsu at the aftermath of the battlefield. He turned silently and Young followed behind, patting his shoulder as both of them went to gather volunteers.

Tyrier gave out a long breath and continued his task of wrapping Doth's body up securely. During his training, they were taught never to leave a man behind, and he wasn't going to left Doth's body behind. Finally finishing, what remained was a shrouded body wrapped in cloth and secured tightly with vines collected from the forest.

He looked up to see the two bound captives staring wide-eyed at him. The younger girl mage was glaring at him, if glaring could kill, those eyes will be stabbing him to death. She gave a muffled mmm! from her gagged mouth and struggled against the bounds that prevented her hands and legs from moving. Even her fingers were tied up to prevent her from drawing runes or magic seals.

The other female archer or huntress was similarily bounded and gagged. But she just sat there calmly and watching everything that was happening calmly and to Tyrier, he felt that she was just waiting for the Hero to come anytime. Her belief in the Hero was very strong, that she felt it was just a matter of time only.

Tyrier and Tavel had drawn a magic seal around the two girls, in case there was some magical tracking that the Hero can use to track them. So far, fighting the Hero has cost them two members of Claymore One. Doth had suffered serious internal injuries, that even healing spells, potions nor even the super magical technology of the hooman's could even save him, while Hitsu was MIA (missing in action) fighting the girl mage, but looking at the end results of the devastated battlefield, there was a very high chance Hitsu was dead, blown to pieces.

Capturing two of the Hero's party members in exchange for two deaths in the team, Tyrier clenched his fists angrily, wishing that he rather have two of his men back then having such an exchange. Now he plans to use the two girls as a hostage against the Hero. hoping to use them to force the Hero off their backs.

He gave a last pat on improvised bodybag and left, unwilling to spend another minute more in front of the people who cause the deaths of his men.


Uncharted Forest, Rendevous Point Red

The tilt rotors of Valkyrie One whined loudly as the craft hovered slightly off the riverbed, the rotor wash sending sprays of ice cold water into the air as the tail ramp splashed open. "Go kick butt, dumb Ma-nees!"

"It's kick ass!" The Marines hollered back at the goblin who rolled his eyes dramatically behind his aviator glasses. "Move move move!"

The men of 2nd Battalion, Eagle Company, Platoon 1, leaped down the ramp and fanned out, forming a security cordon as the goblin rolled the crates of supplies off the bird. A mightly splashed and a digital camo coated four-legged creature landed. It looked like a crab with only four legs and two stubby arms ending with a four finger claws and a tiny round head mounted at the area while a crab will have its 'head'.

Once all the Marines and supplied were offloaded, Greg yelled into the intercom, "Chief! Dumb Ma-nees all gone! Closing door!" And he slapped the big red button for the rear hatch closure. "Oooo big red buttons! Greg like much much! Hehehehehehehe!"

The spider tank swirled its head left and right, as it absorbed information of its surroundings as it noted the departure of the Valkyries. Its body was four meters long and two meters wide, standing at a meter tall. Armor plating made from the spider ants' shells covered all parts of its body, while wolf leather protected the joints areas. "Come here Asagi!" Private Onetooth aka Slow called out to the spider golem nicknamed Asagi due to the initials painted on the side of the golem, ASASG-01 which represented, Armored Support Autonomous Spider Golem.

The spider tank, hearing its name, turned around on its legs and came trotting over and stood before Slow who patted it and it stood on the side awaiting other instructions. The ASASGs were newly created by the pair working in Ordnance. A motherboard was installed with a 512 tetra byte silicon chip with millions of lines of code as a sort of pseudo-AI was fused together with a mana stone as its brain, its veins were lines of magic formations and its heart was powered by refined Dragonite ore, while its muscles were made of stone.

It worked autonomously but were coded to follow instructions of ranking Marines and its partner, which Slow drew the straw. He was at first confused and frightened by it but soon found it to be a faithful partner, and at times like a puppy wind wolf. The two hoomans who made it told him to think of it like a dog or puppy, as it was just 'born' and is still learning, just as he was learning about being a Marine.

Slow whistled to the rest of his platoon and they started to carry the crates of supplies over and stack them onto the back of the spider tank, who obediently lowered its joints to allow the Marines easier access to its back.

"Alright! Let's move out!" Lt Joesph ordered, once the men were ready, there were two of spiders tanks and two All Terrain Rovers, built specially for use in the forest. The men spread out as they headed into the forest with the Rovers follow in a slow pace behind while the spider tanks strolled causally along.


Slow rolled up the long antenna of the radio set carefully to prevent it from tangling with the trees as the radio set was mounted on the side of Asagi. "Good girl, stay," He patted the side of the spider tank who seemed to enjoy it and tied the antenna up, once done, he grabbed the hang bars on the rear and stood on a ladder step. "Alright, let's go!"

The spider tank hearing his command, started to crab its way forward, easily climbing over tree roots, while Slow hang on tightly to the slightly rough ride. They have been traveling for almost an hour, trying to raise the Hundred and First on the radio, but there was no response, so they could only continue pushing forward, hoping to get in touch with the missing team.

Suddenly, echoes of gunfire rolled their way over to Slow's ears, and the forest burst into a frenzy of activity as bird wyverns called out angrily from the sudden loud thunders.


Uncharted Forest, 467 km from Sawtooth Mountain Pass

"Go!" Tyrier yelled as the Hero suddenly appeared without any warning. His glowing body carrying his great sword slashed through anything in his ways, be it trees or the slaves, cutting them down without any distinction.

"Stop him! Buy time for the rest to run!" Tyrier yelled as he dragged the two bounded girls out. "Young and Altied, take point!"

Young nodded and help lifted the body bag up onto Altied's shoulder and they took off with the rest of the panicking slaves. Altied tossed out the last remaining few magazines before he left and Tyrier grabbed them, shoving them into his empty magazine pouches.

"Stop!" Tyrier yelled at the Hero as he dropped the two girls and ripped off their gags, "Or they die." He drew his Glock and aimed at the two sputtering girls.

"My Hero! Kill him!" The girl mage screamed and spat, "Evil man!"

The Hero stopped his attacks and stood half surrounded by the remaining members of Claymore One, their guns aimed at him, waiting for his responses.

Dante looked at the two girls laid bound on the feet of the ragged looking mercenary. "Where is the girl?"

"What girl?" Tyrier feigned ignorance, knowing full well who he was referring to, "Ani't both of them here?" He gave a kick at the loud-mouthed girl mage, making her curse his whole line of family to his neighbors.

"No, you know full well who I am referring to," Dante smiled charmingly, the glow of power around his body, lessened. "Leave the girl behind and you and your men and those slaves can walk away." He gestured to the rest of Claymore One.

"Don't know what you are talking about," Tyrier gave a shrug, "But if you don't retreat, your friends here will get it."

"Alright have it your way then," Dante tilted his head and the glow of his body grew brighter and he readied his greatsword, taking a step forward towards Tyrier.

"If that's the way you want to play it," Tyrier looked down at the two girls, "Sorry no offense," And he casually pointed at the girl mage and fired.


A note from neo Koh

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