The whole Palace rocked and rumbled as the Sultan's suite suddenly exploded. Coughing and shaking his head to get rid of the ringing in his ears, Tyrier stood up from the hallway outside of the suite now turned into a rubble of broken concrete.
The rest of his men collected themselves and looked into the wrecked room, "What the fark was that?"
"Shit... I don't think that will stop it!" Tyrier quickly answered. "We need to get out of here now!"
"What is inside that room?" Hitsu asked as he hefted up his machine gun.
"Another farking artifact of the Gods!" Tyrier cursed.
The floor suddenly shook and sounds of something stirring within the rubble of the wrecked room could be heard. "Eh... That doesn't sound so good..." Altied said.
"BACK!" Tyrier ordered and everyone turned heel and ran away down the hallway when it appeared that the whole Palace started to shake madly.
He turned back looked at the room and caught a glimpse of a dark shadow spilling foth from the rubble and he yelled, "RUN!"
"Three to One, what the hell is happening up there?" Tyrier's comms came alive.
"One, Code Black! Repeat, Code Black!" Tyrier yelled into his comms as he followed his men, racing down the hallway before he skidded to a halt. "FARK!"
"What?" The rest stopped and looked at Tyrier.
"The damn HVTs!" Tyrier cursed. "Wolf with me, the rest link up with the others on the ground floor!"
"Ahh..." Wolf swallowed nervously as he followed his commander back. The ominous feeling and the dense amount of magical energy gathering in the area was enough to make his hair stand on its ends. He forced the primal fear of the unknown forming in the pit of his tummy down and quickly ran behind Tyrier.
They came back to the room where they left the two tied up and hooded prisoners and each grabbed one using a fireman carry and ran out of the room when cracks started to form on the floors and walls.
"Shit! I don't know what that farker summoned in, but it's farking destroying everything here!" Tyrier cursed as he ran while carrying the prisoner over his shoulders. "Faster!"
They came to the stairs and found many other slaves and even Orcs in confusion and terror from the shaking of the Palace. Ignoring the slaves and Orcs who likewise ignored them and only thought of their own safety, they met up with the rest on the ground floor.
A sudden loud crack and sounds of breaking concrete could be heard while the whole Palace underwent another massive earthquake. "Get out!" Young yelled as he helped up some fallen slaves, shoving them towards the main doors of the Palace.
Spilling out of the Palace with a small crowd of slaves and Orcs, the men of Claymore One turned back and look stunned at the spectacle happening behind them inside the Palace.
A massive wiggling shadow could be seen against the night sky. It seemed to swallow away the light from the flames of the burning city and the illumination spells in the skies. Its head was a vast triangular shape and it seemed to stretch its body before coiling around the remains of the crumbling Palace.
"What in the thirteen hells is that thing?" Everyone stared in horror at the creature that appeared towering over the Palace.
"Is that the Great Serpent they spoke of?" Loke said to no one in particular. "Fark... that thing must be like a hundred meters long!"
"Fall back!" Tyrier ordered and ran down the stairs. His words seemed to break the hold on the rest including the slaves and the Orcs and they scrambled down the grand stairs of the Palace entrance, screaming in terror at the horrors they just witness.
The coiling Serpent either sensing the running people or the screams, turned its gaze at the crowd before widening its jaws and hissing. It flowed over the dome shaped roof of the Palace and slithered after the fleeing slaves and Orcs, hissing in hunger.
Moor the Oerkin and the rest of his crew had stood or sat dumbstruck by the monstrous form appearing within the Palace. He rubbed his beady eyes, thinking that he might have snort one too many black powder mixtures till he was seeing things.
"I- Is that the K- Keeper of Souls?" A younger Oerkin asked at the side as he too stared in fear at the source of all their childhood fear from tales told by their Mothers and Shamans that the Keeper of Souls will come if they were naughty.
"Impossible!" Moor cried out. "The Keeper was banished long ago! Our Ancestors made it so! And our shamans took its powers for our own!"
"B- But... That's the Great Devourer?" The young Oerkin trembled in fear. "The stories! The drawings! It's the same!!!"
"NO!" Moor cried out loudly, breaking the silence and everyone turned and looked at him, wide eyed. "We must kill that... abomination of a God!"
"LOAD THE POW POWS!" He roared, shocking the surrounding Oerkins into action. He sat back on the cannon mount and pedaled fiercely, turning the whole gun mount to face the Palace where the shadowy Serpent was hunting among the ruins for a tasty morsel of souls.
Once the whole gun mount was facing the Serpent, he held on the pistol grips of Pow Pow Guns and squeezed the trigger, roaring out loudly together with the barks of the cannon to dispell away all the fear and terror in his heart.
"Aissssssh, yisssss....." The Serpent hissed happily as it swallowed whole a warm screaming body down its throat. "Hmmmmm... niassse and young, twenty the mosst! How... delicatee tassting!"
It ahhhed and looked down on the bright glows of souls that dotted all over the area before its mightly visage. That fat oath taker of his might be useless in many ways, but at least, in the end, he made himself useful.
It hissed happily as it thought of the creature willing to give up his soul in exchange for power and oh yes, power it gave. With that creature's help, it managed to manifest into this realm and after that, it feasted on the oh so delicious soul of that creature.
Now, all it needs is more souls to keep its manifestation permanent and there seemed to be more than enough souls here for it to do just that! How delightful! Thought the Great Devourer.
Just as it leaned down to snatch up another tasty morsel, streaks of red hammered against its body, making it wobble on its perch of the Palace. It hissed angrily, wondering who and what dared to interrupt its meal.
It tracked the source of the red hot darts from a spot on the thin flimsy walls these creatures all loved to build and hissed out its displeasure. The red hot darts barely dealt any damage to its body, but it was angered that these low forms dared to even strike at its god body.
It slithered its way over the dwellings the low live forms loved to make and reared up before the tiny contraception that was spitting fire at its body. It hissed and widened its jaws and snapped down.
Moor roared wildly as he fired shell after shell at the rapidly approaching Serpent. More than half his shots missed which blew up large chunks of masonry from the buildings as he tried to track the erratic movement of the Serpent.
The Serpent suddenly reared up before he even noticed and he stared at the wide mouth and flickering split tongue. He saw the scales of the pitch black Serpent were giving off smoke like some kind of aura. He continued to hold down the triggers, sending more hot tracers slamming into the body of the Serpent till his weapons suddenly stopped firing.
He turned to call out to his crew and found himself alone at the walls. His crew must had ran away some time ago and he looked back at the Serpent that was gazing at him hungrily. Drawing out his revolvers, he took a dual gunslinger stance and roared out while firing at the sudden gaping mouth.
"Run!" Tyrier sucked in a deep breath as he ran through the streets. Everyone ignored the Claymore One soldiers as their attention was focused at the calamity that appeared before them. They easily slipped through the Inner City gates as the guards were in a state of confusion.
Anyone questioning them was pointed towards the large Serpent looming over the city and all questions were immediately forgotten as they stared at the monster. They easily made their way to Outer City gates where it was thronged with a massive crowd of people wanting to escape the city.
They quickly covered their weapons and gear under their cloaks and removed the hoods of their prisoners and acted as merchants guards, blending into the crowd and slowly made their way out of the city together with a flood of other merchants and slaves.
Once safely out of the city, they wandered away from the crowd who were watching the disaster happening within the city and headed towards the flashing infrared beacon in the far distance.
Blue Thunder landed next to Rastraz's prone form and he whimpered in fear almost immediately. "Boss! Don't make me go over the city again, okay?" He begged his crew chief as he cuddled up into a ball next to Rastraz trembling form.
"What the hell is wrong with you two?" Stamford climbed down from Blue Thunder's trembling body. "I never seen you so afraid of anything before! Maybe that railgun firing but this is so unlike you!"
Blue Thunder only gave a whimper and buried his head under his wing, squeezing closer to Rastraz who seemed to allow it as she too huddled closer to Blue Thunder.
"Rastraz! What is wrong?" Stamford frowned worriedly. "Are you two alright?"
"City... bad... very bad magic!" Rastraz hissed in fear under her wing. "Don't want to go near!"
"What?" Stamford frowned. "Shit, Claymore One is still in there. What the hell we do now?"
"Sarge!" Dek their radioman called out, "Claymore One just reported in!"
"What's their situation?" Stamford came next to Dek who was fiddling with the radio equipment.
"They requesting extraction, seven plus additional two cargo," Dek replied.
"Tell him same rendevous point, no changes," Stamford replied. "and ask them what the hell is happening in the city that my two fucking dragons are so scared that they are practically useless now!"
Hours later, a flashlight flashed in a series of codes before Stamford replied with his own flashlight. Several shadows emerged into the camp and Tyrier dumped his cargo down on to the ground without any ceremony before sitting down.
Stamford offered Tyrier a corked bottle and Tyrier popped it before taking a deep swill of the drink. He gasped out and said. "Damn, you got juice?"
Stamford grinned proudly, "What can I say? Airforce!"
"Damn flyboys, getting all the good shit while we eat dirt!" Tyrier sighed. "Anything to eat?"
"We got some stew that went cold from waiting for your arrival, if you want, we can warm it up for you guys," Stamford replied.
"Nah, it will do just fine," Tyrier grinned. "We are not so pampered like you flyboys!"
"Hahahaha," Stamford laughed good naturally while gesturing to his crew to bring the stew over. "So, business, what the hell happened in that city?"
Tyrier's expression changed, "It's another damn artifact of the Gods..."
"Those damn deserters had gotten their hands on an artifact and seemed to have made some unnatural pact with the God!" Tyrier explained. "We got to the fat bastard too late, and he summoned some kind of giant Serpent that is terrorizing the whole damn city!"
"Shit, a giant snake?" Stamford cursed and jerked his thumb towards the two sniveling dragons, "My two dragons aren't willing to even go anywhere near the city."
Tyrier looked up from his mess tin and said in a serious tone, "Don't worry, I am not suicidal either!"