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Four more cockatrice appeared bobbing their heads like terran chickens as they walked out of the mist. The lead cockatrice had a spiny comb on its head, indicating that it was a male and the alpha of this pack of cockatrice. Their appearance stunned the UN troops and Mills whispered to the Major, "Sir, I think we should fall back into the building..."

"The doors and walls won't be able to hold them off for long!" Major Stephan whispered back. "But, good call!"

"All units..." Major Stephan hissed in a low voice. "Ready your grenades and flashbangs!"

"On my command... we throw everything at them and fall back into the building!" Major Stephan's orders were passed down rapidly down the line and the troops readied themselves.

The Isles' guardsmen edged back nervous as the cockatrices cocked their heads at the body of one of their own lying unmoving on the stone floor. The male alpha let out an angry screech as it smelt the scent of blood in the air. It started making aggressive chucking sounds as it stepped up the stone steps to investigate its brood.

"NOW!" Major Stephan yelled and every soldier with either a grenade or flashbang pulled off the pin in the explosive devices and lobbed that at the four creatures. Once the devices left their hands, everyone turned and made a mad dash towards the ornate double doors of House of Law.

Behind them, the frag grenades and flashbangs rippled exploded with a roll of thunderous cracks and booms. The cockatrices had looked down with curiosity at the strange dark objects when they blew up in their faces and the results were devastating for the cockatrices.

Shards of shrapnel designed to kill or wound the enemy flayed the faces of the cockatrices and if that was not deadly enough, over a dozen flash bangs had blown up in their faces too. One of the female cockatrices too close to a couple of grenades had its face shredded and it screamed in pain and shock as both its eyes popped and even its tongue was blown into bloody ribbons.

It rolled on the floor, blinded, deaf, confused and in agony as it could not understand what caused its pain and suffering. Another cockatrice had half its face blown away and the remaining cockatrice suffered lesser wounds. The brood of cockatrices started screeching and screaming as they rampage around the entrance, smashing up the stone steps and even breaking the remaining pillars.

The troops retreated inside the House of Law quickly moved any furniture from the side offices and waiting areas to barricade the main doors. Mills stood on the second floor and looked out the arrow slit like windows at the crazed creatures outside. "How the hell did they get these creatures in?"

"They must have smuggled them in somehow..." Major Stephan guessed. "There are particularly not enough ships to patrol the water of the Isles now with the loss of all five fleets..."

"And our ships are busy fleeting Army units from the mainland to here and back," Major Stephan continued.

"And all our remaining combat ships are at the Eastern Islands dealing with the second Cartel fleet..." Mills added. "But still... Five fucking giant chickens!"

"Chickens?" Major Stephan was not that familiar with the animal as there were no chickens in this world. What he knew of chickens came from the movies and dramas. "You breed such monsters for food in your world?"

"Hell no!" Mills shook his head and gestured to a nearby Oerkin Marine and explained, "Chickens are just like the size of Private Fingers's boots."

"Oh," Major Stephan eyed the large boots of the Oerkin Marine and shook his head. "We need to barricade ourselves in. Those things can easily break through the doors..."

"Any chance of dispelling the mist or something?" Mills asked as he gestured outside. "It is giving us a tactical disadvantage here."

"No, sir!" A stocky soldier in Army fatigues and wearing two silver bars on his shoulders replied. "Only way that mist is going away is by taking out the spell caster or the caster cancels the spell."

The Army magetech gave a shrug and said, "It's gonna be very hard to find where he or she is hiding out there."

"But the spell caster will be required to remain roughly fifty meters of the mist to maintain the spell..." The Army magetech gestured out to the mist. "If I had to guess where the caster is hiding, it would most likely be in one of the buildings opposite the plaza."

"Great..." Mills sighed as he said. "We just have to somehow kill those four outside... navigate our way through a magic mist with god knows what other surprises are hidden and find the enemy spellcaster from the row of buildings!"

"Did I miss anything else?" Mills asked in a sarcastic tone.

"You got it all right," Major Stephan grinned as he clapped Mills's shoulder before his expression sobered up. "Better tell your boys to make ready... Those damn cockatrices seemed to have found us!"

The wounded cockatrices had finally calmed down enough to direct their pain and angry towards the nearest suspect source which was the sweat and blood scent from the UN troops barricaded behind the doors. A half blinded cockatrice rushed across the broken stone steps and rammed against the wooden doors with any care for its wounds, its impact cracking the wood.

The sharpshooters manning the arrow slit like windows fired at the crazed cockatrice that was tearing its way through the splintered wooden doors. The noise quickly attracted the rest of the cockatrices including the blinded female. All four cockatrice threw themselves against the doors and walls in a mad rush to vent their pain on the tiny creatures.

"Fuck!" Mills stood at the rear of the guardsmen shield line and cursed when he saw a bloodied chicken head popping through the tall double doors. He mumbled to himself as he checked his rifle, "Note to self... Never design and build doors that are large enough for a monster to fit through!"

"Aim... FIRE!" Major Stephan's parade square worthy voice cut through the din and a thunderous volley of gunfire that was greatly magnified by the cathedral like structure answered him. The monstrous chicken head disappeared from the broken door as hundreds of bullets peppered it, its fate unknown.

Suddenly the door splintered apart and the few flimsy furniture used to barricade the doors was knocked away as two cockatrices tumbled in, spilling blood all over the floor. They barely shook themselves up to their feet before dying under the endless onslaught of two companies of Marines and soldiers.

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" Major Stephan yelled while waving his hand. "Watch your ammo!'

The shots died down and the two bullet holes ridden cockatrices remained on the ground twitching in their death spasms. The troops cheered as they saw both creatures dead and their morale rose. Just as they were celebrating the kills, another cockatrice burst through the door and those closest to the creature dove for cover as it smashed through the pillars of the courthouse.

The alpha cockatrice did not only stop in the open, it cunning used the pillars as cover, darting from one pillar to another as it dodged the gunfire thrown its way. The flanked troops scampered back as it came pecking at them, like a chicken pecking seeds from the ground.

The narrow indoors hampered the giant cockatrice's movement but also boxed the UN troops in. The alpha cockatrice registering the tight confines it was in, did what its instincts told it and that was to move upwards. It smashed its body through the wooden floor of the second storey and the UN troops on that level retreated in panic.

The cockatrice fell down back to the ground floor as it was unable to make its way through the second storey due to its size. It swiped its scale covered tail like whip and its tail smashed apart a stone pillar causing a section of the second storey to collapse down on the nearby troops causing confusion and panic.

Mills was knocked off his feet by the sudden collapse of part of the building. A wooden beam had landed on him, knocking the air out of his lungs. As he laid half buried under the rubble, the mangled head of the alpha cockatrice suddenly appeared before his eyes. The cruel beck dripping blood looming up over him and Mills cursed.

He tried to reach for his sidearm but was unable to due to the wooden beam trapping his right side. He stared at the massive beck rising up and he turned away with his eyes squeezed tight unable to stare at death when there was a loud continuous roar of a machine gun.

Mills opened one eye warily and saw the cockatrice had disappeared from his view. Hands suddenly appeared and helped move the heavy beam away from his body and he was dragged to safety. "Sir, are you ok?"

"What happened?" Mills asked as a medic fussed over him. "I thought I was a goner!"

"PAC man saved your ass, Sir!" A Marine crouching next to him replied with a grin. "He tore that thing like paper!"

"What?" Mills pushed himself over to see and just in time he caught the hulking box shape of a Powered Armour Cybernetics giving the cockatrice and right hook against its face.

The alpha cockatrice smashed back against the side of the House of Law with a mighty tumble. The building shook from the impact and before the cockatrice could rise, Dijon rammed the muzzle of his integrated machine gun in his right arm into the screeching beck of the cockatrice. The alpha cockatrice automatic clamped down with its beck, trying to bite Dijon's mechanical arm away.

The 6.5 mm machine gun rattled and the throat of the alpha cockatrice bulged out, the thickness of the hide of the cockatrice was able to resist the armour piercing 6.5 mm rounds but its soft insides were unable to. Dijon's claw hands squeezed tight and with a wet tearing pop, he ripped the tongue of the cockatrice out in a shower of blood and gore.

The dead alpha cockatrice flopped down with a wet smack and bled out all over the place. Dijon turned around and the blood of the cockatrice seemed to blend in with his crimson red hull. Dijon's body tracked left and right like a gun turret as he took in the surroundings before asking in a monotonous voice, "Am... I late?"

-----

The mopping up of the courthouse did not take long. With the support of Dijon, Marines and Army soldiers advance through the mist. The Army's magetechs detected a large magic signature emitting out from one of the buildings before the plaza. Dijon lumbered forward and his shoulder mounted 88 mm revolver cannon roared.

The building's facade exploded and the second 88 mm shell further blew another massive chunk of the building out. The magetech gave a thumbs up when the magic signature was suddenly cut off from his detect magic spell and the mist started fading away. With the mist disappearing, five large animal drawn wagons were exposed on one side of the street.

A group of masked men were milling around the wagons and when they noticed the mist disappearing and the appearance of the UN troops. They scattered and ran off while the UN troops open fire at them.

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" Major Stephan roared at the troops. "Do not pursuit!"

"Clear these buildings!" He ordered the troops. "The rest hold this position!"

"Thank you for your help," Major Stephan addressed the war machine standing like a statue at the street. "You help saved a lot of lives."

"There is... no... need for... any gratitude..." Dijon mumbled softly in his electronic voice. "I live... to bring... death to my enemies..."

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