Johann, still busy with his chicken soup, only turned his head back to the Silver Wolf mage when the ... "man" addressed the team leader. Johann wasn't sure if the other could even be considered a man, but that wasn't really important, the mage offering some of his own rations to the silver-haired Rune Mage, the kind gesture raising a corner of his mouth into a small smirk. "Chicken Soup"
, the VP sought to explain as he swerved the contents of the container in his hand within the same, "It's nothing compared to the Company's kitchen, but it'll do ... for the time being"
. Of course, the man wouldn't turn down something that would serve to complete this "meal", though. "I'll take you up on that, Inkormine"
, Johann responded quickly, with a warm smile that would quickly transition into concern.
The approach the Silver Wolf mage took would make the God of Ishgar pensive for a few moments. Perhaps he hadn't paid the young Dragon Slayer from Fairy Tail enough mind, considering her apparent condition of considerable distress. Thought under these circumstances, it really was no surprise that it turned out to be too much. In the end, the most he could do now was try lad the group through the night, and, in the end, this hellish mission. Alive and, preferably, unharmed. He'd been entrusted with this responsibility by the leadership of the Alliance, after all, and countless lives depended on it. Failure was simply not an option, especially not on his part. He'd just have to trust that Arcadia, and all the other members of this team, would be up to the task. Still, the man couldn't suppress the odd, lingering thought of doubt. He'd just have to wait and see for now. The night was still young, and things would look different after a while of rest with the prospect of finding a clue that would lead them to something tangible waiting for them over the horizon. That was the least all of them could do for now ... hope."Tsak Ordahic, huh ..."
, the man repeated the name that had been given to the area in his head, his eyes on the flickering flame of the improvised firepit before him, "... what a cruel joke"
, closing them before focussing on his surroundings, remaining still for a while. One conclusion, however, would stick with him, convinced that if there was a hell out there, somewhere ... it would look exactly like this place.
Hours later, the echos of movement around the edges of his magical sensory still fresh, the man wouldn't even get a chance to alert his teammates, it seemed, as promptly the Lamia had risen from what he presumed was a rather light sleep, shouting out, the creatures already starting to converge upon the campsite. In the split second of thought, of inner contemplation the man would get before his body reacted as well, he wondered about the flawless coordination between the creatures, the impeccable timing as they seemed to descend upon the group at the same exact moment. Were they communicating? If so, how? A thought for another time, Johann's eyes opening just in time to be blinded by a bright flash of light, its effects amplified by the pitch-black darkness all around. A not unwelcome circumstance as the area around was well-lit suddenly and without warning to the creatures, robbing them of the night's cover that might otherwise provide them with an advantage, an opportunity not to be squandered.
Within moments, the members of the scouting party were all on their feet and on the highest alert, facing the monsters around them. Between the blinding light in the sky and the now omnipresent commotion, a command or anything of the sort was not necessary, as, without delay, everyone began engaging their foes straight away, the hum and radiant aura of magic, the snarls and barks and the creaking and splintering of wood echoing through the forest. "What's taking you so long, old man? Are you gonna let them fight all by themselves? Time to get going!"
, the excited voice of the prepared Seal echoed through his mind. Of course, the Nephilim couldn't wait to throw himself into combat. Johann wouldn't grant him this pleasure, not in this environment. He couldn't risk losing control to the Lord of War, not now, at least, and so, moved to cover another angle of their perimeter, raising his fists into a stance as he readied for combat. "I got this"
, he sent his response to the Second Seal, Johann almost feeling the sly grin as Mars responded with an amused voice. "As you wish, o great God of Ishgar"
. The silver-haired Rune Mage wouldn't respond to the taunt.
Not like this was an appropriate situation for discussion with the Second Seal, anyway. Enemies were upon him in no time, a pair of rather nimble, horribly mutated creatures dashing straight towards the Vice President of the West Fiore Trading Company, sprinting forward, mouths agape and presenting rows of sharp, almost dagger-like teeth, their rotting forms focussed only on a single goal: To sink them into their target. Despite their rather quick pace, however, they were still no match for the specialized VP, once creature getting close and cocking its head with anticipation, ready to bite into Johann's flesh. The God of Ishgar, however, had turned, stretching a leg back wide before spinning his form around explosively, arching a kick at the creature that impacted with a resounding crack as it struck the Raptor's throat. The force of the blow was enough to lift the creature off the ground and catapult it away, its form forcefully crashing into a tree before sinking down, now unmoving and most likely dead, his own momentum lifting Johann up for a second as well. Even though the man would only be without the balance that the ground would provide, this was where the swiftness of the other Plague Raptor came into play, catching the man off guard, open maw threatening to crash down on his arm just as he regained his footing, a dodge, at this point, impossible. A sharp, burning pain blurred the man's senses for a moment as the monstrosity's teeth dug into his flesh, blood tainting the white sleeve of the jacket in seconds. Johann, the man's expression warped by pain and burning hatred for the miscreant he was facing, attempted to pull back, free his extremity, but the creature's grip was too strong, even for the VP. It seemed that this powerful bite was the Raptor's specialty, and now Johann, for his lack of attention, had to suffer the consequences. "Guess ... if you won't ... let go ..."
, the man panted as both of them tried to pull the other off their feet, locked in a struggle of power, "... then I'll just have to make you!"
Johann raised his free hand, slamming his open palm into the side of the Raptor's head before building up magic within. Arcs of light-blue electricity would briefly run down his arm before reaching his hand, at once transferring all built-up magical energy into the foe. Rampant lightning started dancing around the two interlocked opponents, darting around as it took hold on anything it could, flashes of blue light flaring up for a few moments before, at once, vanishing. The monster, meanwhile, had borne the brunt of the attack, the side of its head almost completely charred, promptly releasing the grip it had maintained on the VP and slumping to the ground, strands of extremely foul, sickness-inducing smoke rising from its now obviously dead body. Johann took a step back, only now getting a chance to focus on the overwhelmingly agonizing pain in his left triceps, a feeling as if someone had generously doused his wounds in acid pulsing throughout his entire left side. Whatever that Plague Monster was made of, the likelihood that this bite had infected him with whatever that thing was carrying was, without a doubt, immense. A glance down at the wounded limb was enough to be sure that this wouldn't be usable in battle, not in this state, not looking like it had been put into through a shredder.
The Vice President of the West Fiore Trading Company hated that he had to do this, but there would be no other option. Not in his current condition. If the plague would take root in his system he could kiss his life goodbye in any case, if the monsters wouldn't overpower him first. He needed to be of use in combat to fight alongside them. Now was not the moment to let his teammates down, not with stakes as high as these, not when they needed him most. He took a deep breath, his narrowed eyes flashing with determination"Mars"
, the man addressed the Seal contained in this vessel, a writhing within followed by an intrigued, yet still smug "Hmm?"
forming the response the Nephilim offered. Of course, the Lord of War knew what request the God of Ishgar would make, but he wouldn't let that spoil his fun. The other had been so insistent that he would take this fight on himself, so determined in his ways only to return to the Nephilim, wincing in pain like an injured puppy. It was quite amusing to the Second Seal. "I need your help"
, a cackling echo straightway reverberating through the man's mind. "Oh? Is that so? I wouldn't have guessed, old man. Very well, but ... only if you ask nicely, tssehe. What's the magic word?"
. "This is serious, Mars. I don't have time for your immature games. We need-"
. "No, you need my help. They seem to be perfectly capable of holding their own. As far as I can tell, it's only you asking for assistance. So?"
Mars wasn't winding the man up for no reason, of course. Between the pain that slowly found its way through the VPs left side, numbing his senses more with each passing moment, and the Lord of War's comments and unwillingness to interfere, Johann felt increasingly frustrated, anger rising within him. Coincidentally, the very same emotion would empower the Second Seal. In a sense, Mars was simply adding more fuel to the fire that drove him. "Fine. Please. Mars, please grant me your power"
. The situation the silver-haired Vice President of the West Fiore Trading Company found himself in had become direr. As the battle around him moved, he found himself face to face with an enormous creature, a horrible stench of rot and decay surroundings its boney form, two glowing eyes alight with magic staring down from the skull of some unfortunate, now grossly mutated animal. "That wasn't so hard after all, was it now?"
. The monster unleashed a bone-shaking roar before, massive claws ready to strike, it started its sprint towards Joh, who hoped that Mars' magic would reach him sooner rather than later. Luckily, if anything, Mars was reliable, the runes on the God of Ishgar's body flaring up with a magical light of crimson color as Mars began exerting a more direct control over the vessel the two souls shared, the white vanishing from Joh's left eye, replaced by an onyx hue as dark as the night that surrounded them, the red pupil flaring up with carmine glow. A vicious, almost sadistic grin spread across the man's face before he spoke, this time with a distorted, deep voice."Time to have some fun"
The bone in his right arm cracked as it shifted back into place, the deep, still bleeding gashes in the limb closing in a moment, leaving behind only perfect, seemingly untouched skin. "Much better"
. The creature, however, had had ample time to reach the intruder, drawing its malformed, clawed hand back for a wide swing before unleashing a strike at the Second Seal. Mars remained unfazed by the display of raw power, raising the now healed arm, the claw impacting the blink of an eye later ... without any effect. The attack was simply deflected off as if the surface it had struck had been hardened steel, though the Lord of War left his opponent no time for shock or surprise. Within a moment, Mars had moved, his open palm stretched out towards the creature, though stopping an inch before its body. The runes flashed briefly in a dull grey, a wave of kinetic force ripping apart the monstrosity in the same instance, giving the creature not even so much as a chance to fight back. The destroyed plague monster was scattered into all directions, the effect of the Second Seal's magic taking hold immediately, the bits and pieces that had been part of it dissolving into dust before finally fading away into nothing, leaving not a trace of the Vine beast's existence behind."And this thing got you all scared? It didn't even scratch us!"
. A heavy explosion flared up some distance to the side before fading away again, setting the forest alight with a cascade of orange and red briefly. "I think you forget that you're the being sent by a divine and I'm the human in this situation" "Technically, there should be no difference. You are me and I am you" "Technically is good ..."
Johann glanced about, trying to get an overview of the situation. He would spot Arcadia, who had undergone quite a drastic transformation and was in the process of absolutely demolishing their attackers left and right, tearing through them like they were nothing. Perhaps he had worried too soon? Perhaps she was, despite her mental state, still more than capable of dealing with any challenge this cursed land would throw at the scouting party? Only time would tell. As things stood, they still hadn't overcome the onslaught of opponents that seemed to pour out from every corner of this dark, desolate forest. Where were all of these creatures coming from? It seemed like sooner rather than later they would have the undivided attention of the entire undead population in the area, a circumstance that excited Mars, and, naturally, worried the God of Ishgar. He had to make sure they'd make it out alive. All of them.
Now that the thought crossed his mind, however ... despite scanning the area with ever-attentive and enhanced visual capabilities, he couldn't spot his mentee anywhere. A few moments ago she had gleefully used a flamethrower on one of the mutated monstrosities, but now she was nowhere to be seen. Instead, a row of massive, moving trees seemed to surround them, more and more monsters appearing as dark shapes in the treelines. Could it be that they not just acted in a coordinated manner, could it be that the presence of these plague creatures attracted the others? Or was it simply the admittedly not exactly subtle lights and noises that would attract the attention of any monster in a large radius? The actual cause didn't matter now, the fact remained, they were surrounded and had to fight their way out if they ever wanted to return home. Mars was beaming with excitement. "Let's go and kill the big ones next!"
. Johann had a hard time suppressing a sigh. "Do as you please, Lord of War"
. "Guess I'll stop playing around then, tssehehe"
The instant he had ended his sentence, Mars' form blurred, vanishing where it stood and reappearing before one of the massive tree monsters, extending his open palm towards the creature as he had with the Vine Charger. "Force"
, the command echoed from his mouth, a wave of magic washing over the creature and, despite its size, practically instantly disintegrating it, scattering it into dust. Immediately, the focus shifted to the next tree monster. Oddly enough, this one seemed like it had already been damaged by flame or something similar, its side charred and still smoldering, Mars grinning as an idea entertaining idea formed in his mind. Why not finish the thing off with fire, see how flame would affect it? Perhaps, he thought, he could find out if heat and flame were especially effective against these. They seemed to be trees, after all. Or maybe they just looked like it. The Second Seal couldn't care less either way. In a leisurely, almost bored fashion, he raised his right arm, runes lighting up with deeply red hues on his hands as he fired a beam of flame at the target, the magic promptly exploding into a smoldering inferno as it struck the tree. It seemed no more or less effective than any other type of element, but it was of no matter anyway. The thing was quickly engulfed entirely by the raging fire, roaring in defiance, though in vain. First, one arm would break off and crash onto the ground, flames still dancing atop the charred wood, then the other, before finally, the thing collapsed, the fire beginning to slowly but surely claim the entire creature for itself.
As Mars was still basking in the glory of his triumph, not far away from the fighting scouting party other creatures began to take note of the quite obvious commotion in the distance. The ground began shaking as a gigantic creature, fueled by hunger and the desire to devour all that would stand in its path, began making its way towards the center of the flashes of loud noise and bright light. Similarly, two screeches would echo through the night sky as two pairs of wings carried no less monstrous creatures to their target. The most dangerous beings that Tsak Ordahic had to offer, unbeknownst to Johann and Mars, had already set their sights on the group, and would undoubtedly make their grand appearance in only a few moments ...
2,94210y Thread Word Count Total:
20,244 / 22,000OOC Note - IMPORTANT:
Since I reckon that this will be the last round of posting, just spawn whatever enemies you feel like fighting (including bosses). That said, I spawned 2 Plague Wyverns and 1 Bone Drake which should hopefully suffice. Have fun~