Uncharted Forest, Site of Battle with the Hero
The Orcs warily made their way out of the forest into a massive circular clearing. The previous traces of battle has mostly vanished and replaced by new growth sprouts.
The Orcs nosed around and trampled the area in search of something as a human stood in the middle of the clearing.
Ex naval security Spaceman Senior Aaron stood surrounded by the Orcs with his eyes closed. In his left hand, he held a golden trinket that was shaped like a wiggly worm.
He slowly rotated on the spot as if sensing something before he snapped his eyes open. "This way," he growled at the Orcs who obediently followed him.
They followed a small trail of destruction which the forest has already started to reclaim. Moss and other ferns grew on the barks of rotting and uprooted tree trunks.
The small trail led them before the stone slopes of a mountainous range and Aaron pointed up to the side of the mountain where a dark cave could be seen. "Up there!"
The Orcs argued and cursed among themselves before some of them clearly lost to some kind of choosing game, slung coils of woven vines and made their way up the steep slopes.
After some time, the climbers managed to reach the cave and dropped the rope vines down after securing them.
Aaron climbed deftly up the ropes with other Orcs following and entered the cave.
The original climbers grunt and growled as the cave was only barely five meters deep.
Aaron placed his palm with the trinket against the back wall of the cave and he smiled before ordering the Orcs. "Dig!"
Dirt and rocks flew as the Orcs threw themselves with a vengeance against the cave walls. As the sun dipped down, the Orcs had managed to deepen the cave by a few meters.
It took them two days before Aaron ordered them to stop, and he went down on his hands and knees, sweeping away the loose soil before exposing a withered slump.
He smiled and held the trinket close to his heart and whispered, "I have found it, Master!"
Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold
Liz silently admired the handiwork of the beast girl that just joined them the day before. The beast girl held a swinging crystal pendant and allowed it to spin around an aerial map taken by the dragons.
The pendant's spin slowly stabilized as it came to an area where demonic energies were detected before becoming unnaturally still as it pointed to a spot on the map.
The beast girl's eyes opened and she sighed as the amount of concentration and magic focus that was needed was very high, as evidenced by the fatigue look and sweat plastered all over the girl.
"There should be something bad here," Kaga said tiredly as she wiped the sweat off her face with a towel provided by Liz.
Captain Joseph nodded and turned to his aide and gave an order who scurried off immediately.
Joseph was impressed by the girl's divination abilities. When she came over in one of the flights, he was skeptic at her skills after seeing her so young and cute. She later asked the troops to pasted those talismans of hers all over the city and he realized that it works similarly as the cameras and monitoring systems of the hooman.
Kaga admitted that she borrowed the idea from the hoomans as it allowed her to cast a "net" over a vast area rather than having to perform a large scale area spell to encompass the city which required alot more magic power.
Using this net, she was able to detect traces of what she called "unclean" magic as the energies made her felt that way.
Once she has located any large traces, she will immediately inform one of the officers in the map room and they will send troops down to investigate.
In this way, they have found a couple of sites where traces of occult activities had taken place.
All these occult and demon cultists had baffled everyone, who was wondering what the objectives of these cultists were after.
Liz followed the soldiers down to the new location discovered by Kaga as she was in charge of providing magic support.
A couple of the Claymore Two soldiers followed her as they followed the troops through the streets and surrounded a non describsive looking two story building at a corner of a quiet street in the residential district.
The soldiers surrounded the small house where a small stone wall surrounded a small plot of herbs. They crouched low and waddled their way nearer to the house when suddenly the building made of wood and stone exploded and a towering monstrosity smashed its way out from the ruins of bricks and mortar.
Liz watched from a street away while other residents were evacuated back further and she frowned, wondering what was the purpose of the cultists.
The thunder sticks of the soldiers roared and slurpy yellow pus erupted from wounds on the giant worm like monster with tiny humanoid baby arms and legs that were clawing against the air. Liz was about to cast her magic when a loud whoosh roared out.
She saw a fiery smoke trail flying out from a soldier with a tube over his shoulder. It hit the giant worm with a crying baby face with a sick slap and the white meaty flesh exploded, painting the area with smelly pus.
The demonic monster toppled over with loud curses from the soldiers who some even vomited over the side from the smell of the blood pus. Liz caught a sniff of the smell and backed off, letting the soldiers handle the fallout of the demon while she waited with the other officers.
The soldiers escorting her grinned as they watched the monster blew up and started chatting excitedly among themselves over the cause and reasons why there were cultists here.
"Well, what did you guys find inside?" Liz finally went up to ask one of the soldiers with the three stripes on his sleeve, which she remembered is a rank called Sergeant.
"Nothing much, ma'am," The soldier replied while scratching his bared head before he put his helmet on again. "Most of the demon's body has destroyed the place and all its... blood has messed up the entire scene!"
"So now what?" Liz frowned as she wondered if they were wasting their time here.
"The site has been badly contaminated," The Sergeant sighed. "I doubt we will be able to find any information or clues here. It seemed that the demon worshippers are getting smarter as they had such a demon summoned here. It isn't deadly to anyone if they don't get too close but at the same time, it ensures that everything in the location gets destroyed."
As he finished, a pair of soldiers carrying a backpack with hoses came over. Both of them were dressed in a thick jacket and had fully covered face shields. "Well, we can only cleanse the place up with fire to destroy all traces of the unclean."
The Sergeant gave a command and the pair raised up a nozzle before flames burst out, washing over the decaying worm corpse, setting it burning.
Drake and Slow carefully watched the Orcs movement at the foot of the mountain as they hide among the leaves up on the trees. Drake had the whole event on video as the Orcs climbed up and down from the side of the mountain before they packed up and headed back to their camp.
"What is all that about?" Drake asked Slow as they slowly climbed down the tree once the Orcs had left the area.
"That is where the Hero was sealed!" Slow hissed. "I remembered the other platoon blew the cave up with the remains of the Hero inside!"
"Why are they here for his body than?" Drake frowned. "And how did they know it was there?"
"Duno but that hooman looks like he knew something," Slow shrugged.
"Yes..." Drake's eyes narrowed. "Maybe I should have taken the shot..."
Slow shrugged again, "We have chance again, no problem!"
"Alright, let's follow them and see what are they planning with the remains of the hero!"
Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold
Kaga felt tired, really tired as she finished another round of divination. She took a sip of overly sweetened tea and sighed happily as the sugar rushed up to her brain.
"Are you making any sense of this?" A voice asked her from behind.
She turned and saw the stern looking Joseph, who had a worried frown on his face. She shook her head and replied, "I don't know yet, I can tell that the cultists are laying low now and if this is a plot to overturn the city back to the Empire, it doesn't really make any sense."
"Why do you think that way?" Joseph prodded the beast girl whose feet barely touched the stone floor as she sat on the tall backed chair swinging her feet and sipping that damn sweet tea of hers.
"Firstly, why would the Empire work with cultists?" Kaga replied. "Everyone knows and hate the demon worshippers and cults. It will be to the Empire's disadvantage if they were found out."
"Go on," Joseph nodded encouragingly as he sat on the table facing Kaga.
Kaga took a sip of her tea and continued, "Next, even if the plotters have no idea who they were working with at the start, but word has gotten out that a cult is pulling strings, no one would dare to try anything."
Joseph nodded again, "Yes, we did have a few people came up with reports that their neighbors or certain people are suspected to be part of the cult. But almost all of them turned out to be a case of false reports after a detailed investigation. They just want to make use of us to kill off their enemies and competition."
Kaga dipped her head before saying, "Well, that's the nature of people... but I think why the cultists are up in arms is probably that we are disrupting the slave trade here!"
"The cults need bodies for their vile and unclean arts," Kaga shuddered as she felt a chill down her spine when talking about the demonic cults. "What easier way for them to have bodies is by getting slaves?"
Joseph frowned as he thought hard on the point made by Kaga. "That is true since the Empire allows the trading of slaves, as long you have the money, no one cares what happens to the slaves. So by us putting an end to the trade here in the south, the cults who normally posed as merchants and buyers openly are faced with a shortage of bodies for their dark arts!"
"That makes sense!" Joseph smacked his head. "Why didn't I thought of that? This is probably why there are so much cultist dens in the city!"
Kaga smiled, "But it is just a thought on my part, it might not be the truth of what is happening here and why are the cults willing to step out."
Joseph nodded, "Yes, but this point at least makes some sense to why they are getting desperate."
"Anyway, thank you for your help!" Joseph gave a rare smile. "Get some rest, you look very tired and you will need your strength in the coming days. We have a long fight to go!"
Kaga nodded before she hopped off the chair and went off to her bed, leaving Joseph alone in the map room with a few other support techs.
He spread his hands over the map and frowned, "If the damn cults have set up shop here, we are going to be in bad trouble with the Empire coming down on us soon."
"Damn it, I think we need more reinforcements if we are going to fight two fronts here!"