Tyrier ducked his head into his cloak to checked his tablet when radio communications suddenly cut off with Trism. By doing so, the glow of the tablet's backlight could not be seen in the dark alleyways.

He lowered the brightness and switch the backlight to red instead and he gave out a relieved sigh as he saw the blinking dot indicating the tracker was still working.

"One to all, Origin must have turned off audio. But the tracker is still going strong. Two on me!" Tyrier said. He velcroed the tablet onto his upper left arm and followed the signal, watching the display showing the distance shortening. "One to Three, hold overwatch position."

"Two, roger."
"Three, roger."

Still, they had to navigate their way through the unfamiliar maze of streets of the old city district while avoiding being seen by anyone. A couple of times, they met a dead end and had to backtrack their steps and guessing which street to take.

As the meter distance dropped to ten meters, they heard Trism's voice over the squad channel again. Tyrier raised a clenched fist and the team halted and automatically covered all sectors with their weapons.

Tyrier listened to Trism speak to someone and he double checked the tracker. "This way..."

His team stood as one and they followed Tyrier's lead and soon found themselves in the middle of the road. Tyrier frowned as the tracker clearly showed they were directly on it, the meter distance was showing zero meters.

"They must be underground!" Tyrier exclaimed.

"What the hell," Hitsu turned around on the spot and eyed the buildings surrounding them. "He could be in any of these buildings!"

"Damn..." Wolf whispered as he too looked around their surroundings. "How the hell are we going to find which is the correct building?"

"Well... spread out and keep your eyes open," Tyrier said as he held his earpiece closer. "I think he's about done and will be coming out soon!"

"We just watch where Lieutenant Trism comes out from and that is how we find the way in!" Tyrier explained. "Now all spread out and watch every area!"

The men nodded and spread out, making sure to be able to keep an alert eye around their surroundings. "He's coming out now!" Tyrier hissed and the men quickly kept out of sight while craning their heads left and right to see where will he appear from.

Shortly after, Wolf whispered into his mike. "Wolf, to all, I got movement on the east side."

He saw three figures walking out from the side gate and clearly, the man in the middle was hooded. Leaning back into the shadows, he held his breath as the trio walked past him, for fear that they might detect him.

After they disappeared around the corner, he counted several seconds more before he let out his held breath. "Wolf to all, Origin is being escorted towards the west street."

"One, roger, hold your position and observe."

"Roger!" Wolf replied. He leaned out from his spot and eyed the side gate. It was a simple wrought iron gate set against a high wall. The building inside the wall looked to be some kind of three storey townhouse that had seen better days.

"Claymore One, Origin, what is your status, over?"

"Three, Origin, we have you in sight. Marines escort on their way to you in five mikes."

"Origin, what about the tracker? Is it working?"

"One, Origin, signal strength five by five and the fish has taken the bait," Tyrier replied as he checked the interface. "We have identified the building you were in."

Wolf suddenly had the scrape of leather against the rough cobbled street and he quickly ducked back into the shadows. Under the dim glow of the street lamps, he saw two shadowy figures appear, walking briskly and one of them unlocked the gate before they disappeared into the compound and locking up behind them.

"Wolf, to all, two Serrias has returned to the nest," Wolf reported.

"Raider to Claymore One, what's your sit rep?" The voice of Mills came over the channel.

"One, Raider, we have located the nest, has Origin linked u with you?" Tyrier asked as his team met up with Wolf.

"Raider, affirmative," Mills replied. "We are inbound to your location in five mikes."

"One, roger," Tyrier turned his attention to the gate. "They came out and returned to that building?"

Wolf nodded, "I saw two men bringing the Lieutenant out and after a while, they returned."

Tyrier eyed the wall which was easily over two meters high and even suspected there might be some kind of arcane alarm spells all over the walls.

"How did the men enter?" Tyrier asked again.

"Seemed like they just used a key to open the lock before locking it again," Wolf said. "It's too dark, but I don't see them do anything special to open the gate."

"Loke and Hitsu, check the perimeter for any signs of magical readings," Tyrier ordered. "We wait for the Marines to surround the area before we decide what's next."

Several minutes later, Mills appeared with Trism in tow and they hurdled down by the shadowed side of a building opposite the suspected hideout of the Stalkers Guild. Dark cloaked figures could be seen moving up the street and taking up blocking positions at all the intersections and exits of the compound.

"Alright, my boys are in position," Mills reported after a while. "How are we doing this?"

"Wait, I got some of my guys to recce the perimeter to see if there's any magical tripwires or traps," Tyrier said.

"So I went in and out from that gate?" Trism asked as he used a multi purpose binoculars to scan the compound, switching from night vision to infra and back. "Looks pretty quiet."

"Boss," Hitsu and Loke appeared like ghosts next to them, startling Mills and Trism. "Found some magical traces along the walls but both the main gate and side gate seemed to be un-warded."

"Hmmm..." Tyrier frowned. "Think its a trap?"

"Not sure," Hitsu replied. "But looking at the quality of the gates, I doubt they need any magical alarms to warn them if someone comes breaking down the gates."

"Can we pick the lock at the side gate?" Mills asked. "Pick the lock n slip in without them knowing?"

"We don't know how they trapped that place..." Tyrier said. "We don't even know how many people are inside..."

At this moment, the side gate suddenly swung open and two figures appeared out. Everyone was surprised and stared at the duo who locked the gate and started to leave. "Grab them!" Mills hissed urgently.

Instantly, Hitsu and Loke, leaped forward from out of the shadows as the duo came closest to them. They snagged both the men without any noise made and dragged them away into an alley out of sight from the compound.

The two men stopped struggling when they felt the kiss of cold steel against their throat and stared wide eyed at their assilants. Mills quickly searched the bodies of the two and placed the items he found on the floor. He grinned and held up a large key and said, "Got it!"

"Take the other to the rear," Trism said from the shadows. "We question them one by one."

Loke nodded and with the help of Wolf, they dragged the terrified man away. Trism waited till they are out of hearing before he started questioning their captive. "Tell me, how many people are inside the compound?"

The captive shook his head nervously, and Hitsu impatiently jabbed his sword harder against the captive's throat. "Think carefully before you speak!"

"I only have a few coins!" The captive said. "Take it! Don't kill me!"

"I am asking how many people are inside that building!" Trism asked again as he came out from the shadows.

The captive's eyes widened in recognization but it quickly passed as he shook his head. "I don't what you are asking about! I don't have much money!"

"Well, clearly you recognized me," Trism smiled and held the key up. "Are there any traps behind the gate?"

"What?" The captive gave a nervous swallow. "I don't know anything!"

"Cut his ear off," Trism said. "Since he can't understand my questions, there is no point in keep a ear, right?"

Tyrier nodded to Hitsu who balled up a corner of his cloak and jammed it into the surprised man and gagging him. With a quick and sharp action, Tyrier drew his sword and slice off the left ear of the captive in a single slash.

The captive squirmed in Mills and Hitsu's hold and screamed into the gag, Hitsu jammed his hand against the gag to prevent the captive from spitting the gag out. After a while, the captive slumped down weakly as tears flowed down his face.

"I will ask the next question and you better answer truthfully," Trism said. "A wrong answer and you will lose the other ear. Is it clear?"

The captive nodded weakly in Mills and Hitsu's hold. "Release him," Trism ordered and both soldiers let the captive go.

The captive held onto his bleeding wound, feeling the missing ear and hissing in pain. He glared at Trism with hateful eyes and Hitsu jammed his leg into the back of the captive's knee, forcing him down on his knees.

Trism squatted down next to the person and said, "Tell me what I want to know, and you can leave this place in one piece."

The captive suddenly gave a growl and reached out to grab Trism who backed off just in time. Tyrier's sword flashed and the Haven produced Type 1 sword bayonet that was sharpened till almost a monocular edge sliced off the wrist of the captive's left hand effortlessly.

He stared at the gushing slump of his hand in shock and he suddenly gagged as a second slash sliced half his throat open. The man slumped back on his heels before toppling over in an expanding pool of blood.

"Damn," Trism sighed as he sat on the floor watching the captive bleed out. "Didn't expect that!"

"Oh well," He stood up and patted himself clean. "Lucky for us, we still got another person to question."

Tyrier flicked his sword and cleaned it against the dead's man clothes. "

The second captive was just a youngster, and his eyes widened in fear as he looked at the dismembered body of his comrade in his own pool of blood. "Relax, I am not gonna play any games with you," Trism smiled. "Just answer my questions truthfully and you won't end up like your friend there!"

"Wha- what do you want to know?" The second person trembled as he asked. "I tell you all I know!"

Tyrier snapped his fingers sharply at the person, "Any traps behind the gate? How many people inside?"

"There... are no traps behind the gate!" The youngster replied quickly. "But there is are two guards watching the gate!"

"Good, go on," Trism smiled happily as he milked all the information he could from the boy.


Tyrier bent down and wiped his sword clean off the dark sticky blood against the dead's clothing while Mills gave a sigh. "The things we do for a better tomorrow..."

Tyrier gave a raised eyebrow at Mills's words, "Well if killing gives us a better tomorrow, I'm all for killing everything and anything in my path."

"At least, now we know what we are facing in there," Trism said as he joined the two Sergeants. "Well, at least some parts of it should be true. I don't expect that boy to know much, especially from a death guild."

"Clean up this place and infilrate the Stalker's Guild," Trism ordered. "We have already wasted enough time here dealing with these..."

Mills shook his head and stepped over the blood puddle and walked out from the alleyway where the rest of Claymore One dragged two bodies deeper into the alley.

A note from neo Koh

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neo Koh


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