Gab's group walked through the dark cave passages. It didn't take long before they encountered a group of people in a narrow tunnel who also wanted to cross it. As the two groups faced each other, everyone pulled out their weapons, prepared for a conflict.
Sweat ran down the backs of everyone's necks. The tunnel was only wide enough for two people side by side. If a fight were to ensue here, then everyone would end up as victims since there was little room to dodge.
With weapons out, the two groups watched each other in silence. The opposing group seemed to consist of 20 men. The opposing group seemed to consist of 20 men. Gab's group consisted of only three, but one forgets how sinister the three looked. Luke was a warrior wrapped in bones. Evie was a girl whose body looked like it was made almost entirely of muscle in times of excitement. Gab, on the other hand, was just a pale boy, not too thin, with glowing red eyes that could see even in the dark.
At the same time, the group of three held weapons made of bone. Their weapons were still good, but they were losing their sharpness. Evie now held a large shield and a broadsword that would have been meant for two hands. Attached to Gab's hip were two normal axes, while in his current hand he held a bone shield with razor-sharp bone points sticking out from the edge. The bones were in a spiral order while also being intertwined with each other. In his free hand, he held another bone ax.
"We come in peace," replied a deep voice behind the group. "Gab nodded and replied, "So do we. I hope cooperation is possible." "We would like to cooperate but prefer to be on the other side of the cave," the voice called back. "Gladly on your side," Gab called back. It took less than thirty minutes for Gab's group of three to sit around a campfire with three of the other group.
The three who were waiting for them looked to be around 20 years old. The leader of them had a few scars on his face and seemed to be blind in one eye. Interestingly, he carried a staff and a dagger in his pants. "Seems like a mage," Gab whispered to Evie, who nodded in agreement.
Behind him stood silently a woman who also held a staff adorned with crystals. She, on the other hand, looked much younger with blonde hair and blue eyes. She also seemed to hide most of her face under a hood. The man, who was also standing behind the leader, seemed to be as musculus as a minotaur. He, on the other hand, just stood silent. His eyes were most of the time closed as if he was concentrating on something. Sometimes, however, he glanced at Evie, which seemed to distract Gab too much.
"If I may ask, how well are you armed, and what is your plan," Gab asked the leader. "Well, we're just trying to survive and get out as quickly as possible," he replied.
"An understandable goal," Luke commented with a raised thumb.
"Each of us has at least one weapon. Ten of us possess a sword and shield. Another five possess a crossbow, and furthermore, we have another five archers. But we also have two mages," the chief continued.
"Better than nothing. We're actually trying to clear the whole hallway of mutants and cooperate with other human groups whenever possible," Gab replied.
"We'd love to help you guys with that. I think together we should be stronger," the girl behind her boss interjected.
The group talked among themselves and told a bit in which areas they specialized to win the trust of the others. Of course, mistrust among each other was rampant in places like this. But sometimes, you have to put your distrust aside to have a chance to survive. Sure, the two groups can manage on their own, but only because they haven't encountered mutant groups the size of, say, 200. The other three leaders acquired their skills within the dungeon, just like Gab's group. In their case, their mana core was awakened as a reward for clearing a place that had a high death toll.
After talking together for a few hours, they came to the question of which group should lead. In Gab's favor, the other three respected the emblem of the Royal, and Gab was given the task of leading the group.
Of course, Evie and Luke would have gotten this position much easier than Gab, but they had no interest in leading.
Gab planned the following strategy. The archers were to be at the rear. In front of them should be those with crossbows. In front of them should be those with crossbows. In front of them should be those with crossbows. In front of them should be the close combat soldiers. With this strategy, they should kill at least 40 mutants before they even come into contact with them. After that, the group should split into smaller groups of five and fight in teams. For this, everyone needed a sword and shield, but Gab would take care of that.
Furthermore, Gab asked Luke to make weapons for the remaining troop members with the next bone portions so that the group is better equipped.
Luke sighed at Gab's request but agreed that using the bones in such a way would yield better results compared to the minimal gains if he used it on himself.
"Well, let's get going," Gab called, and the troops followed him. "I can't estimate the damage output of the three mages yet, but I hope it's on Luke's level," Gab thought.
The group walked silently with loaded crossbows or swords and shields in their hands. Meanwhile, the loud dripping of water, as well as the marching of the group, resounded loudly. Only after reaching the entrance of a new cave, they saw a group of 50 mutants feeding on some corpses.
Gab raised his hand, and the men got into position and took aim. By now, the group of 26 men was standing about 100 meters away from the action. Only after Gab swung his hand down did the group shoot their arrows, and one could see the toppling of 15 mutants. Gab raised his hand, and the group automatically reloaded and fired their next batch of arrows. Another 12 mutants toppled over. In the meantime, the mutants were running towards the group, and another load of shots was fired. Only then did Gab give the order to the fastest melee fighters to divide the mutant group, which still consisted of about 25 mutants, into smaller groups.
Evie and Luke ran ahead, and you could see Luke jumping into the mutant crowd. While those from the other group looked with horror at Luke, Gab ignored it and ran after the two with the remaining 10 melee fighters. As expected, Luke pierced all the mutants with his bones, and it took less than 5 minutes for all the mutants to die.
While Gab and Evie ended up absorbing the blood as well as the flesh of the mutants, Luke took care of absorbing the bones and manipulating them into useful shapes. This alone cost him a lot of energy, but in the end, he managed to do 15 sets of shields and swords/axes. Enough for the time being.
Before the group could rest, however, a loud crash resounded through the cave and the dull sound of something falling from the ceiling was heard. Dust and sand were thrown into the air, and no one could guess what was in front of them.
Suddenly this monster screeched loudly, and the ground slowly began to shake. At the same time, the distant screeching of mutants was heard from all the corridors leading into the cave.
4 entrances were leading into the cave.
"Shit, reload right now. The three of us will take care of the monster. You guys take care of shooting as many mutants as you can," Luke shouted.