A sharp beam of white light cut through the thick fog and reveals the moorings of the pier before the LCVP. A whistle blew from one of the crew and the coxswain reversed the engines, slowing the approached of the barge.

The coxswain carefully steered away from the pier and instead aimed at the litter filled banks of the shore, letting the bottom of the barge to scrape across the rocks before he stopped the engines. He yelled at the crew at the bow who hit the release and the chains holding the forward ramp went loose, dropping the reinforced ramp down with a loud clang.

Instantly a long whistle blew from the holds and two columns of Marines charged out. They ran forward and spread out into a defensive line while vehicles rumbled and rolled off one by one onto the rocky shore.

Another LCVP grounded itself nearby and with the ramp down, Marines and vehicles quickly disembarked while teams of porters unloaded supplies once the beachhead was secured.

Captain James stood on the top deck of the LCVP 02 next to a makeshift .50 cal turret surrounded by sandbags. The sun was barely up, and the thick fog covered most of the landscape while the skies were covered in dark and gloomy clouds.

The city walls could be seen in the short distance, as they had beached just barely a kilometer away on the river banks. The nearby houses, fishing huts, and wharves laid abandoned and Marines could be seen clearing the houses out one by one.

"What is causing that?" James asked Magister Thorn as he joined him at the gunwale. James pointed to the dark clouds that glowed purple red from the rising sun rays.

"Hmmm..." Magister Thorn rubbed his chin as he narrowed his eyes at the unnatural phenomenon. "I am not too sure, but it looks like some kind of magic array..."

"I need to go into it to study it and its effects before I can be certain of what it is or even how to dispell it..." Magister Thorn nodded to himself. "I can't tell from here."

"Shit," James cursed. "Magister, you know that that is not an option for you. It's too dangerous there and we don't know how will the magic effect you either."

"I know, I know," Magister Thorn smiled at James. "I will be careful, and if you want to destroy whatever that is, I need to be inside."

"I get it..." James frowned. "I will assign you a platoon to keep watch over you."

"Thank you, Captain James," Magister Thorn replied. "I got Liz here to help me too, so it shouldn't be a problem for us!"

"Alright, be careful!" James repeated. "That storm is making our radios unable to work, so better be safe than sorry!"

Magister Thorn nodded and gestured to the girl next to him. "Come on, Liz, let's go see what is making that cloud!"

"I can find it drawing the land's magic," Liz said as she slung a large satchel of arcane components. "It's using the land's magic to sustain itself and even grow!"

"Wonderful deduction!" Magister Thorn grinned cheerfully. "You surely are the number one graduate from the School of Magic!"

Liz blushed, "But Magister, what kind of spell could so such a large scale effect that turns people crazy?"

Magister Thorn paused for a while before he said in a serious manner, "Vile magic... To cast something like this, a price of equal value must be paid in exchange..."

"You mean?" Liz's eyes widen. "Live sacrifices?"

"Yes..." replied Magister Thorn. "And not just one or two... for a spell this large, you probably need hundreds..."

"Sir?" A youngish Marine with the rank of a 2nd Lieutenant approached the two. "My platoon has been tasked to escort you two into the perimeter of the city. Whenever you are ready, Sir!"

"I think we are good to go!" Magister Thorn nodded and they followed the Marine towards a row of vehicles. Once they have climbed into the vehicles, the small convoy rolled out towards the city.

It took them barely ten minutes to cover the short distance before the walls of the city loomed up before them. Strangely enough, there wasn't a single soul in sight as the Marines exited their vehicles before the main gates of the city.

"Where're the local Imperial troops?" One of the Marines asked nervously as they watched their surroundings. "Thought they were supposed to be holding the gates and walls?"

"Stay sharp!" One of the sergeants commanded. "Keep your mouths shut and eyes opened!"

"Magister?" called out the Lieutenant. "What are your orders?"

Thorn frowned as he looked around the gate and city walls, seeing them empty and quiet. Flags and banners hung limp on their poles and there weren't any sounds typical of a city and not even any bird wyverns around either.

"We take a quick look if there is danger we run back," Thorn finally decided.

The Lieutenant nodded and called out one squad to check out the area, "Sarge Lens! Get your section to recce the gate!"

The sergeant nodded and gestured to his men and seven of them advanced up rapidly with their weapons at the ready. The rest of the platoon kept their guard up as they watched their own disappeared into the shadow of the gates.

Minutes slowly tickled away and just as the Lieutenant wanted to send in another section, thunderous gunfire echoed out from the gatehouse. "CONTACT!"

The Marines quickly readied themselves, even Magister Thorn and Liz held their staffs out in preparation to cast their spells.

Rifle fire lit up the gloomy gates as the section that entered the gates retreated in good order. In a perfect textbook retreat, half the section provided covering fire and the other half sprint back several meters before they stopped and kneel to provide fire for the rest.

Soon, the entire section of out of the gates and the sergeant gave a command, all of them turned and sprint towards the line of vehicles. Behind them, dozens and dozens of figures spilled out of the city gates screaming as they chased after the retreating Marines.

"GET CLEAR!" The Lieutenant yelled at the retreating Marines who quickly split off to the side after seeing his gestures. "Machine gunners! FIRE!"

Four Jeeps and two truck mounted .50 caliber machine guns opened up at the order. Bright fiery tracers tore through the mass of rushing crazies as they exited the gates. Liz dropped her staff in shock and covered her ears, half screaming as the thunderous roar of the .50 cal guns nearly burst her eardrums.

Magister Thorn seeing Liz in pain quickly shove a pair of earplugs into her hands, "I forgot to tell you to wear earplugs!"

After stuffing the earplugs in, Liz felt better, but there was a whining noise in her ears that made her unable to hear clearly. "My ears!"

Seeing Liz was fine, Magister Thorn turned his attention back to the gates, seeing the powerful hooman weapons making short work of the rushing horde. The crazed people sensing or fearing the might of those weapons faltered and soon there was barely any appearing from the gates, but the Marines could still hear their screams and cries coming from behind the walls.

"I think we found what remained of the Imperial garrison here..." The Lieutenant said as he placed a helm onto the bonnet of the Jeep where Magister Thorn was tending to Liz's ears. "Most of those bodies or whatever that remained were mostly in Imperial armor. So I am guessing they turned too."

Magister Thorn frowned at the bloodstained helmet before he turned and look at the skies above the city. "Hmmmm..."

"I need to send word back to Command about this," The Lieutenant had a worried look on his face. "If the other gates are opened and unguarded like this, I am afraid that these... people might escape into the countryside and it can cause a lot of problems to unsuspecting people!"

"I think those clouds restrict the movement of the turned people," Thorn suddenly said. "Look, the gates are opened but none of them have left, and the storm clouds only covered till the city walls."

"But to be safe," Thorn said. "Cover the city exits, these people might lose their reasoning but they still can feel fear. And our weapons make them fear us."

The Lieutenant nodded before he turned to his aide and started issuing orders. Liz asked curiously, "Magister, how do you know that?"

Thorn smiled and pointed to the clouds, "If the turned people could leave the city, why haven't we seen any along the way? And they hide in the city, out of the sun, under the cover of the clouds."

"But of course, its all guesswork for now," Thorn said. "I haven't experienced nor read such an event from happening."

"That is why this is so exciting!" Thorn grinned while Liz furrowed her eyebrows. "Oh... I mean, its a tragedy!"

"Magister!" The Lieutenant appeared and Thorn quickly turned his attention to the soldier to cover up the awkwardness. "I have sent a team back to report about our situation here. But for now, I do not think it's safe to enter the city. My men will dig in here to prevent any future breakouts from the city while we wait for instructions to come."

"Of course! Of course!" Magister Thorn replied. "I will take a look around the walls with my assistant here to see if we can find a way to do something about that ominous looking cloud."

"I understand, Sir," The officer nodded and before he left he added. "I will send some men to escort you while you look around. But do not approach the gate!"

"Come! Let's go take a look at this magic array up close!"


UNS Singapore, Captain Quarters

Commander Ford took a sip of locally brewed tea before he said to Captain Blake, "Sir, don't you think this is overkill?"

Blake snorted as he leaned forward from his chair, "I think we made a mistake in sending a small contingent out."

"I wanted to hurry up and end this senseless war with the Empire," Blake continued. "I was hoping that we can create a sort of agreement with that girl Titanna. If successful, we could have broker some peace treaty through her channels."

"But now?" Ford asked with a raised eyebrow. "You are sending in an invasion force?"

"Not invasion force..." Blake closed his eyes. "It's an extermination force."

"Is it too heavy handed?" Ford asked. "After all, its an entire city of people..."

"Ex people... If they can be saved, we save them..." Blake pointed out. "But at this point, I rather kill off an entire city than let our people die for nothing."

"We need to find a way to... deal with these Gods and Demons stuff..." Ford sighed. "Too bad we don't have a nuke on board... Wait... can a nuke kill a God?"

"Hell if I know! Damn cultists and Gods..." said Blake. "I am not that particularly religious on Earth and even after migrating to Himpra Prime. Now I am wishing we had a God that is totally on our side..."

"That what I was wishing for too," Ford grinned. "Wish we had our own God to look after us!"

"I am serious," Blake leaned forward. "I am wondering how can we pull a God to side with us."

"Well, we could ask around," Ford said. "We do have some religious humans and elves around here. There are even some temples, shrines and churches in the city you know?"

"Seriously... I don't," Blake gave an awkward grin. "I had never interfered with civil side of the city. Mostly, it's Sherene and the city council doing the work."

Ford shook his head. "Well, you should actually look more into the city planning, I know you are busy with other stuff, but keep yourself updated at least!"

"Hahaha, ok, my fault!" Blake replied. "Now, we need to see if we can find a God to help us, most preferably a God that isn't into sacrifices..."

A note from neo Koh

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LFG* lvl 9999 only pls ~ *Looking for God

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