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    Cap & Chess Team: First Outing

    Shane Stern
    Shane Stern

    Player 
    Lineage : Unbreakable Hero
    Posts : 660
    Guild : Rune Knights
    Cosmic Coins : 30
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 384,260

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: All Might 2.0
    Second Magic: Warfare Requip
    Third Magic:

    Cap & Chess Team: First Outing Empty Cap & Chess Team: First Outing

    Post by Shane Stern on 2nd August 2019, 11:30 am

    Shane strode into the training room, still dressed in his uniform. The training room was cavernous, to accommodate the multitude of training equipment that would keep the Rune Knights on their toes and ready for whatever mission that came their way. The few Rune Knights that saw him entering the training area saluted him as he walked past purposefully, the Captain nodding back in return until he reached the centre of the room. Right in the middle of the training area was a boxing ring, and right now in the ring, a petit young lady was holding her own against her fellow Rune Knight, a male that stood at least one foot taller than her.

    The two of them were equally matched in the ferocity and swiftness of their strikes. The female Rune Knight was quick on her feet, and seemed to be able to roll out of any combo that the male soldier could pull off. What really got Shane’s attention was the way she did it. For her small stature, the girl packed a punch in her strikes, as she continued to break out of the combos through brute strength. The male wasn’t faring badly as well. He knew that the girl was used to fighting opponents larger and higher than herself and he was adjusting his moves as well.

    To the side were three other Rune Knights. The one nearest to Shane, had the same height and build as himself and had brighter blonde hair. His facial hair, a goatee, further distinguished the two of them. He was the loudest of them all, an excited grin on his face as he cheered the two fighters on. Beside him stood a shorter male, his face neutral as though the fight was nothing but entertainment. However, occasionally Shane would see a glimmer in his eyes when one of the two combatants would score an exceptional shot. The final one of the bystander trio, was a mountain of a man, his physique pointing towards a Vulkan more than a man. His face was a solemn one, and the veins on his arm bulging and flexing as he watched the battle.

    The fight finally ended, with both combatants withdrawing to their own corners to take a breather. The female Rune Knight wiped the sweat off her brow and flicked them to the ground, smirking as she looked at her opponent.

    “Come now, King. Is that all you got?” she taunted. Her opponent merely smirked, standing up straight as he dabbed off the sweat on his forehead with a towel he then tossed to the ground.

    “What? You tired now? This is just round 5, Queen,” he called back.

    “Whoop his ass, babe!” the loud, blonde one called out from the side, prompting the girl known as Queen to turn around. Her eyes blazed with a fire that hadn’t been present in the fight earlier as she approached the blonde Rune Knight.

    “Rook! Call me that again and I will –“

    “That’s enough, Chess Team,” Shane made himself heard over their argument, cutting off Queen’s threat and effectively getting all their eyes on him. “Clean yourselves up and gear up. We got a mission to run. See me in Decon in thirty minutes.”

    “Yes!!” the loud one known as Rook hooted, Shane raising an eyebrow at his exclamation before turning around to leave the training room.

    -----

    Fifteen minutes later, the entire Chess Team had been assembled in Decon. Decon, short for Decontamination Room, was the room where the Spec Ops members would be briefed or debriefed by their superior prior or after a mission. All five of them were in their combat uniforms, a tougher and more rugged version of their Rune Knight uniforms, built for the harsh outdoors and various other scenarios.

    King, the male Rune Knight who had fought in the ring earlier, sat at the seat closest to the front of the long table, followed by Queen, his boxing partner. Rook sat beside her, whistling a tune as he spaced out while staring at the ceiling with his hands behind his head. Then followed by Knight and Bishop. Knight was the smallest guy in the group, both in terms of height and physique, but Shane knew better than to belittle him. Out of all the Rune Knights he had, Knight had been the best shot, handling firearms with uncanny accuracy.

    Bishop, the largest of them all, took the last seat with the same intense expression on his face. His expression was unreadable, and every movement he made controlled and restrained. The man was unique, in that he was the only one from the Combat Corps. Despite his excellent field record, the man was unable to really connect with his assigned teams, especially when the Combat Corps highly emphasized on the ability to work in a team. He then transferred into the Special Operations division, where somehow he had found his place in the Chess Team.

    Each and every member of the Chess Team was a powerful force to reckon with on their own, but when combined, they had blazed through all the tests that Shane had put them through. The Rune Knight Captain opened the door to Decon, all five faces looking in his direction and he settled down on a seat opposite them. King, the leader of the five-man team, showed mild surprise as he had expected Shane to take a seat at the head of the table instead of opposite them. Shane gave his subordinates a glance over before leaning back into his chair.

    “A particular company that produces magical artifacts have been brought to our attention. Over the past few years, the number of workplace casualties have been dramatically high. The General and Field Marshal wants to know why. They are also suspected to be selling their products through illegal methods,” Shane said, watching for a change in his subordinates’ expressions, glad to see none. Despite their slack, they were still real professionals. “Our job is simple. We will infiltrate this place, get whatever information we need and hightail it out of there. No one is to know that this raid is linked to the Rune Knights.”

    Rook was the first to speak up, “So is this a black op?”

    “Yes. Any other questions?” Shane replied tersely before looking at the leader of the team. “King?”

    “Who’s going to be our handler for the op? Will we be getting any surveillance support?”

    “Nope. No handler, and no surveillance support. No risking of being intercepted through our long-distance comms. Oh and also, I will be leading the mission. King, you will be my second in command.”

    “You’re gonna take the codename Pawn?” Queen asked with a tone of incredulity. In the past training scenarios that they had went through, there had been a few where the team had been required to secure a hostage, and the rescued hostage had always been assigned as Pawn. That also applied to anyone else joining the team.

    “Again, nope. My codename’s Cap. Until I can think of something better,” Shane replied with a grin.

    “I can think of a few better ones. Deep Blue, Alpha King, Big Boss,” Rook began to speak as he counted off his fingers.

    “Shut up, Rook. We are moving out. Grab your gear. We are doing this by a HALO jump. I got us the airship,” the Rune Knight Captain said as he rapped his knuckles on the table, grabbing the rambling Rune Knight’s attention as well as the others.

    -----

    Six figures jumped off an airship, allowing gravity to do its job as they angled their bodies downwards, heads first. If anyone were to look up into the sky, they would only see six small specks in the night sky. It was rather cloudy tonight, with a hint of rain, but above all else, it provided the perfect cover for them. All six Rune Knights kept their bodies straight, arms pinned to their sides. The goggles over their eyes were counting down the altitude, the numbers dropping with astonishing speed until a voice spoke out in the communication devices that they each wore in their left ear. It was Queen’s voice.

    “Preparing the brakes in five, four, three, two, one!” the sole female of the group counted down as a gust of wind suddenly enveloped all six of them and began to slow their descent. They slowed down considerably and when they hit the ground, landing on their feet, it was as if it had been nothing more than a simple hop. The moment they had hit the ground, they assumed their team formation with practiced efficiency. The entire team had been trained with firearms, to compliment their use of magic, but with the need for absolute secrecy of this mission, they had had to forego using it.

    The factory of the magical artifacts company took up a large compound, with several buildings within the fenced and heavily guarded area. The layout was simple enough. In the middle of the square compound was the research facility where the labs and testing areas would be, the building being nothing but a squat, two-storey grey building. There was only entrances to the building, a row of windows halfway up the wall running along the sides of the building, while the second floor was completely windowless. Four other buildings, rectangle in shape with their longer side running the same width of the research facility, had two serving as the warehouse for completed goods and raw materials while the other two served as the production facilities.
    Guard towers were placed at every corner of the compound, with huge lacrima-powered spotlights slowly roving around the compound.

    “Single file, Cap heads, King tail,” Shane spoke softly into the throat mic adhered to his neck, allowing vibrations in the throat to be transmitted to the others so that they don’t have to speak above a whisper. Moving as a straight line, the team of six crouched and ran over to the nearest building, one of the warehouses. It was marked with a very large, stencilled “Warehouse 1R” on the front of the building, right above its entrances. Keeping their steps smooth and quiet, Shane led the way, until they reached the corner of the building. So far the security detail had been rather lacking, allowing them move unhindered.

    “We split up into two teams here. King, Knight and Bishop, sweep the warehouses and check if there’s anything suspicious. Queen and Rook stay with me, we will take the manufacturing facility. Once done, give a sitrep and we move towards the research facility,” Shane gave the order. Like wraiths, King, Knight and Bishop melted into the shadows and headed for the entrance of the warehouse. The remaining three moved out as well, taking care to evade the spotlights and the guards posted on the guard towers. From what they could see, there were four guards to a tower, and from what he could see, they were armed.

    The trio reached the manufacturing plant and stuck close to the wall as they inched their way towards the entrance. There were no guards posted there.

    “Queen, get up on the roof. Get a look from the windows above.”

    “Got you, Cap,” was the female’s only reply as she hovered upwards, making sure to keep to the wall.

    “Rook, weapons out.”

    While this would have normally got Rook whipping out his large calibre pistols, the same make as Shane’s own, he was forced to use nothing but a combat knife. He held in a reverse grip in his left hand, keeping his right hand free to use his magic. The man was adept in fire magic, using it like how Shane had seen dragon slayers. Was Rook a Fire Slayer?

    “I would be better off unarmed and going in with just magic, Cap,” the half-kidding voice of Rook reached Shane’s ears, and everyone else’s.

    “Keep quiet, Rook,” came King’s reply from wherever he was.
    The two men pulled open the double doors to the manufacturing facility slowly, hoping that the staff had kept it well-oiled. Few seconds passed as the double doors slowly separated, just enough for them to sneak in before closing it behind them. Without the need to communicate, Shane and Rook separated, each sticking to one side of the doors, giving the manufacturing facility a quick look over. Like the research facility, this place also had two stories, with the ground floor housing the entire production line, and a balcony that ran along the walls, connected across the production ground by walkways crisscrossing in various directions.

    “What do you see from up there, Queen?”

    “Nothing out of the ordinary, Cap. The usual machinery, conveyor belts, workers stations, and the QC zone. Wait, there’s something to the left, innermost corner. Something glistening there, but I’m not sure what those are. No, Rook, not my left. Your left.”

    “Make it clear next time,” Rook replied testily, as he made his way around the conveyor belts while Shane snaked between the machinery pumping out the raw materials. The two finally converged on the corner of the manufacturing facility that Queen had pointed out. Shane narrowed his eyes as he neared the place.

    “Those are… lacrimas,” Rook remarked with a tinge of hesitance in his voice. The area had actually been caged up, with a sign that said “Authorized Personnel Only” hung above the door. Rook tested the handle to the cage’s door and found it unlocked. The two of them ventured into the closed off area and began inspecting the crates full of lacrima. Shane walked over to one of the crates and picked up one of them to inspect. There was an eerie glow to the lacrima crystal, an ominous feeling that seemed to spread up his arm in the form of goose bumps.

    “Cap, do you feel weird holding them?”

    “I do, Rook. I do. I haven’t felt such a reaction from lacrimas before, even the powerful ones. These gives me the feeling of…” Shane trailed off, unable to describe it.

    “Dread?” Rook offered, spooked as well. There was a silence as the two of them continued inspecting the lacrima, but they could find no answers. And then their earpieces buzzed with sound.

    “Team, you won’t believe what we are seeing.” It was Knight speaking.

    “We need to group up. Now,” Bishop said, the usually quiet man suddenly speaking up.

    “Come to warehouse R1,” King added.

    Shane and Rook exchanged a glance at the urgency in their voices, and made to leave the cage. Before he left, Shane picked up three fist-sized lacrima and stored them within his storage dimension. He would bring them back for the guys back in the Engineering Corps to check it out. The two of them exited the manufacturing plant stealthily, failing to encounter any guards. Queen dropped lightly to the ground just as they exited the plant.

    When the three of them finally made it to Warehouse R1, they saw nothing at first. Knight saw them first.

    “Cap, move to your right. Till the wall. Then move forward. You will see stairs leading to the basement,” Knight’s directions came. Shane looked around him as he moved, trying to find out where the marksman was hidden. “I’m up by the ceiling, got a great view of the whole place.”

    “Gotcha,” was Shane’s reply as he led the way. Stacked crates filled the entirety of his vision on the left side as he kept to the wall, until they finally arrived at a stair leading down. The trio made sure to keep their footsteps light, so that their heavy combat boots wouldn’t create a din when stepping down on the metal stairs.

    “Over here,” Bishop whispered, his voice transmitted over the communications device and close enough to hear the actual whisper.

    “We hit the motherlode,” Rook whispered as he stared at the sight in front of him with wide eyes. King strode over to Shane, his face a mask of anger.

    “All of them are mages. Now all we need to know is what they are doing with them,” King spoke, his voice no longer a whisper. Shane kept quiet, looking over King’s shoulder. Directly opposite them were holding cells. Glass-lined walls allowing them to see the people contained within. Within each of those cells were the mages as King had said, each of them strapped to a chair being fed some kind of drug through a drip. The drug pulsed through their veins, lighting the veins up as they travelled through the mages’ bodies. The color was different for each of them. And they were all unconscious, heads bowed down on their chest.

    “It probably has something to do with this,” Shane replied a short while later, retrieving one of the lacrima from his storage dimension. He passed it to King, who almost dropped it.

    “This was in the warehouses?” the lieutenant asked. Shane nodded. “It’s giving me a tingly feeling, like it’s messing with my magic or something like that.”

    “Bishop, Queen, find a way to free them and get them out of here. Rook, set this entire place up to be blasted apart. This facility and the other four buildings. I want nothing left of this facility when we are done here. When you are done, regroup with us. Same goes to Bishop and Queen. King, Knight, two of you with me. We sweep the research facility. It will probably the most heavily guarded. Find civilians if any, get them out and then blow the shit out that place as well,” the Rune Knight Captain instructed as he moved towards the stairs, giving the glass containment cells another glance before ascending the stairs. Fortunately, the gravity of the situation was enough to keep Rook from cracking another joke. All five team members answered with a single word simultaneously.

    When the captain and lieutenant walked up the stairs, Knight was already down from his higher position, crouching on one of the crates like a gargoyle on a castle embattlement. He hopped down when he finally saw the two men, and quickly assumed a position behind Shane and beside King as they walked out of the warehouse.

    Shane
    King
    Queen
    Rook
    Knight
    Bishop

    [3039 words]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Cap & Chess Team: First Outing Z9G4aIt
    Shane Stern
    Shane Stern

    Player 
    Lineage : Unbreakable Hero
    Posts : 660
    Guild : Rune Knights
    Cosmic Coins : 30
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 384,260

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: All Might 2.0
    Second Magic: Warfare Requip
    Third Magic:

    Cap & Chess Team: First Outing Empty Re: Cap & Chess Team: First Outing

    Post by Shane Stern on 12th September 2019, 7:19 am

    The moment Shane stepped in front of the warehouse with two of his squad members behind him, all hell broke loose. Their communication devices activated at the same time, with simultaneous reports coming from Queen and Bishop as well as Rook. And they were all shouting about the same thing.

    “We got hostiles,” Bishop’s short shout arrived first, setting the gravity of the situation for them, followed by Rook and Queen’s reports. From what they had said, it seemed that they would have their hands full before they could actually execute what Shane had ordered. Not that the trio in front of the research facility didn’t have their hands full as well. The entire compound was lighted up, lights flaring up over the entire facility, as though it was daytime. Squinting but refusing to be caught off guard by the sudden chaos, Shane kept his eyes on the target in front of him even when King and Knight prepared themselves for battle.

    “Cap, enemies are around us. We are sitting ducks out here,” Knight remarked as black goo began to ooze out from his forearms, coagulating around his hands as they started to drip to the ground before they hardened. Instant blades of darkness from the master marksman. King was also in full combat state, taking on a battle stance. To anyone else it might have been a weird thing to do, preparing a close combat stance while the enemies were going to fight them from a distance, but Shane knew better than to doubt the leader of the Chess Team. He had seen the man’s abilities and he had no worries at all.

    “Stay close. We’re charging into the facility,” the Rune Knight Captain said as he charged forward, both arms pulled back. The veins on his arms would bulge as Shane collected the raw magical energy into his arms, enhancing his strength multiple fold before smashing both palms into the solid metal door with all of his strength. A resounding boom thundered throughout the entire place as he punched through the twin metal doors, crushing through an entire foot of steel as the doors were thrown off their rails and flew inwards. However, before the doors fell apart from the force, the built-in security measures that had been meant to protect against lesser strength managed to activate.

    Surges of electricity shot up through Shane’s arms and stunned him, his eyes wide from the assault that he ended up standing still for a second. But it wasn’t long. King tackled him from the back, the man having seen what stunned Shane, and the two of them flew forward into the research facility while Knight covered their backs. The most agile member of the squad also their best sniper was expertly taking down the enemies with his black blades that were continuously forming within his palms, living up to the sniper’s One Shot, One Kill creed with every single black knife that he released into the air.

    Occasionally Knight would throw up a shield of the same black material, deflecting any attacks that were too close to hitting him before resuming his onslaught. Five men tried to close in on him but he was equally skilled in close combat with his black blades. Producing longer variations of the blade, the man known as Knight would parry and dodge his opponents’ moves with ease from all directions while making sure that he took every opportunity that presented itself to him, skewering the guards that secured the facility before breaking off the stabbed weapon and proceeding to slash through the necks of others.

    “Knight, get back!” King shouted, while Shane shook off the last of the coursing electricity. The moment Knight stepped back through the open entrance, the doors that had been blown off by Shane’s attack floated in the air and zoomed towards the entrance, slamming itself into place as it assumed its original position. The repeated assault of ranged spells and weaponry slammed against the door, eliciting all manner of noises but none would penetrate the doors. The trio exchanged a glance with each other and then turned around to look behind them, their thin smiles faltering by the scene that greeted them.

    -----

    Queen and Bishop were quick to slam the doors to the transparent containment units, locking themselves in as they tried to figure a way out. While supposing to evacuate with the captured mages, the two were caught in a bad situation when the security guards decided to pour out of whatever hole they had been hiding in and began storming the storage facility. With no way out, the two Chess Team members could only lock down the containment units, keeping the guards out and hoping that the seemingly thick transparent walls were of any use.

    “Any ideas, Queen?” Bishop called from across the large room, his back against the door he had just locked down. Queen had likewise sprinted to the other door on the opposite side, kicking one of the guards that had managed to enter the room in the face and effectively pushing him out before she managed to get the door locked. Before Bishop had even asked that question, Queen was already using her magic. Other than wind, the female Spec Ops member was equally adept in using ice magic. With her hands against the wall of the containment unit, Queen allowed her magic to ripple outwards. The temperature began dropping at a rapid rate, while a layer of frost began to cover every surface.

    The transparent room was completely obscured from the outside and vice versa, affording them some secrecy. The mages that had been chained to their chairs were like zombies, failing to register the cold even as the temperature dropped. But Queen had no choice.

    “Bish, we need to dig our way out of here,” Queen suggested, letting out a cold wisp of breath into the dry air. Bishop nodded, and he stepped away from the locked door behind him. Believing that it would hold despite the continuous pounding on the other side, the large man began to walk towards the centre of the room, observing the room for any weak points. He finally found a seam in the floor, and raised his arm. His entire arm turned brown and bark-like, with layers continuously piling up on top of each other to increase the size of his fist. Four wooden spikes extended from his gigantic knuckles and then Bishop began smashing his fist into the seam.

    With each punch, the glass-like material that made up the containment unit began to crack at the seams, the web of cracks ever expanding. However, the thunderous boom of each punch against the floor masked a low-frequency hum that was now audible in the room. It was unheard to the two Spec Ops members but not the zombie-like mages with the weird liquid pumped into their bodies through tubes. As the hum continued droning on, a few of the mages began to shake in their seats. Their faces were an expression of utmost pain, and all five of them began to let out ground-shaking roars at the same time.

    Bishop stopped his incessant punching to turn around in surprise, while Queen let out a curse. The two of them were stunned by what was transpiring in front of their eyes. The bodies of the five mages began to convulse and swell, their bodies growing twice the original size without a sequence to the growth. One of them had his legs doubled in size, his pants ripping off in the process before the change took over his upper body. Another one, a female, attained mass at an equal proportion across her body. And still, the other unaffected mages remained oblivious to their surroundings.

    When they were finally done, five monsters stood up tall, every one of them as big as Bishop. They shared the same traits: dark purple skin and red eyes. With the same roar that had rocked the containment unit earlier, the five monsters paid no regard to the other mages in their chairs as they charged forward, crushing and trampling all those in their way.

    “Bishop! Block!” the female operative shouted, at the same time that her partner punched his fist into the ground again, causing an entire wall of trees to erupt from where he had struck. The five monsters collided into the trees, making short work out of it as they mindlessly punched their way through the trees just to get at their prey. Bishop had detached his arm from the growth of trees, backing a few steps away but keeping a position between the monsters and Queen. One of the tree trunks got punched through, the fist that made it coming through the hole before it was withdrawn.

    A purple-skinned large head looked through the hole but before it could growl at its target, Bishop shoved his equally large fist into the creature’s face with ruthless force. The quiet man was a veritable mountain in combat and he sure as hell wasn’t letting him true. To Bishop, despite the chaos, the situation was as clear as day. Screw the mindless mages sitting in their chairs, screw the purple giants and screw the security guards outside. If anything, the priority was to get himself and Queen safely out of the hellhole. And so, the man began creating large spiked gauntlets with his tree magic.

    -----

    Elsewhere, Rook was fighting for his life as well, occasionally throwing himself behind the large crates of materials that were organized in a grid-like pattern around the warehouse. The Fire Demon Slayer was busily evading all the bullets and elemental bolts thrown in his direction. The lack of any substantial firepower that could put him down was greatly appreciated but the multitude of it was inadvertently pushing Rook towards one corner of the warehouse, which he had no doubt was a trap. The materials in the warehouse, loaded upon the pallets that rose up higher than his superior height, provided him a security blanket of kind, with the guards unwilling to damage the materials.

    The Special Ops operative was pissed as he continued with his evasive plan, until the opportunity finally presented itself. Despite the heavy fire, the man tried to circle around his assaulters and managed to flank one of them. With a low growl, Rook launched himself at the security personnel holding a weird contraption in his hands, but most definitely a rifle of sorts. With a hand entirely enveloped in white flames, Rook pulled off a downward chop. The white flames melted the rifle as his hand swept down, slicing the weaponry in half before sending his left fist forward into the man’s face, slamming him back into one of the full pallets behind him and causing it to topple over.

    Multiple shouts of shock and panic from behind the pallet gave Rook the affirmation he needed, and with an agility that belied his bulk, the mage leapt off the ground with his hands stretched above him and caught hold of the walkway’s metal railings. Barely a grunt left his lips as he pulled himself up and vaulted over the railing, landing on the steel-mesh walkway with a clang. Four guards appeared on either side of the walkway that followed along the walls, their weapons raised. Energy beams were fired at the man from both sides, while the latter called upon his white flames to form a barrier around him. The energy beams were dispersed as they touched the barriers of the demon flames, but they still kept on coming.

    With a smirk, Rook charged forward with the barrier moving along with him, and before the two guards in front of him could react in time, the former’s hands had already thrust out from behind the flames, catching both of them by the throat. He lifted them up into the air and smashed their head against each other before releasing his grip and letting them fall to the ground noisily. The guards behind were still shooting relentlessly, trying to find a way through the barrier of flames. When Rook turned around, the shooting had finally stopped but this time there was a newcomer. The two security guards were cowering behind this new person.

    Person was stretching it as the newcomer didn’t looked human from the waist down. Rook gave his new opponent a look over. He was obviously a mage, but his magic had corrupted him beyond saving. From the head to the waist, it was that of a man but from below the belt, there was only an energy-like substance resembling a wisp. Two large canine teeth jutted out from his lower jaw, even with his mouth closed. Cursive runes adorned his entire upper body, as though carved into his very skin itself, which happened to be a shade of deep orange. Rook narrowed his eyes and saw the familiarity.

    “Are you like a djinn or something?” the blonde Rune Knight operative asked.

    A guttural voice resembling a growl responded to Rook’s question. “My name is Caccao, Cosmic Djinn Slayer. And you shall join the rest who have mocked me!”

    “Touchy fella, aren’tcha?” Rook said with a chuckle as he leapt off the walkway, his left grabbing the metal railing again before vaulting back onto the walkway, the blue bolt of cosmic energy that spanned the entire width of the walkway bellowing past him and smashing into the wall at the end of it. However, when he swung himself back in, his feet weren’t aimed at the walkway. Instead, Rook pushed himself further down the walkway and allowed his combat boots to slam right into the Djinn Slayer’s chest. Thankfully, the upper body was corporeal, as the new opponent was thrown back, barrelling over the two other security guards. One of the fell over the railing and landed on the ground below with a splat.

    Rook allowed his shield of flames to disperse but the man was just getting started. The moment the Djinn Slayer, Caccao as he had identified himself, tried to get himself straight up again, Rook threw his fist forward as though a punch. The white flames gathered around his shoulder surged forward and gained in size, eventually forming a large fist of white flames that charged in Caccao’s direction. An explosion ensued but Rook, despite his seemingly uncaring attitude, knew better than to assume that his spell had hit its target.

    -----

    The ground floor of the research facility was bare, save for a few consoles with monitors that watched the entire facility. It was the monitoring room and also the reception area of the research facility, and off to one side of the room, occupying the entire wall was a very large cargo elevator.

    In the middle of the consoles arranged in a half-ring formation, stood a man in a suit, his face very angry. Behind him stood two others, on the left a man heavily cloaked and hooded with the hilts of two weapons sticking up from behind his back. To the right, was the same purple-skinned giant that Queen and Bishop were currently facing, but this was different. Rocky extensions in the shape of blades covered the giant’s joints and down his spine. The drool flowing down the side of his mouth indicated a lack of intelligence.

    Shane’s gaze hardened, recognizing this monster. It was already the fourth time he had encountered them, and he finally had someone he could interrogate for more information.

    “Mercenaries? Who sent you? Spill now, and I could allow you a quick and painless death,” the man in the suit demanded, but before he could even speak further, Shane had brought up his handgun, the Night Hawk and levelled it at the man’s face. He began to speak but he addressed Knight instead.

    “Knight, break into their systems and get whatever information you can get. King and I will hold them off. Be fast,” the Captain snapped, orders kept clear and concise. The one known as Knight nodded and took a step forward, using his magic to teleport so that when his foot touched the ground, he was already across the room, standing at the elevator.

    “King! Take the cloaked one!” Shane shouted at the same time he pressed down on the trigger of his handgun. The bullet whooshed through the air and found its target in the right thigh of the man in the suit, punching a reasonable hole through his flesh. Bone had no doubt been shattered. The man in the suit dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes, his right leg no longer able to hold his weight. But before he had even dropped to the ground, Shane had already acted. The purple-skinned giant whipped his head back and roared as loudly as he could. The thunderous roar was transmitted to the other four operatives, catching them by surprise but they recovered quickly, knowing that it wasn’t the time to ask for answers.

    -----

    The roar from the large giant had reverberated into the elevator shaft as well, causing a mild tremor to overtake the cargo lift and for a second or two, the lights in the elevator blinked in and out of power. A ‘ding’ sounded, and Knight looked at the number shown on the display above the elevator’s doors. Level three. The control panel had been very helpful, displaying the purpose of each floor, allowing Knight to reach the research labs without much difficulty.

    “Right, five minutes. Let’s do this,” the sharpshooter said as activated his magic once more, black blades emerging from his hands as he stepped out of the elevator with caution. A quick glance to the left and right allowed him to charged forward, making haste. But the moment his left foot left the elevator, completely exiting it, something or someone smashed right through the roof of the elevator, landing in a half crouch. Knight threw himself forward in a roll before turning around in a half crouch as well, his hands held outwards towards the threat. Black blades had travelled along his forearm and extended past the base of his palm by a full length of one foot.

    Before the smoke could even clear, three arrows shot out from the elevator, catching Knight by surprise but it was nothing he couldn’t fend off. Ping ping ping, as Knight swatted the arrows out of mid-air only to find a fourth one flying right behind the third one. The Rune Knight swung his entire body to the side, smashing against the wall of the corridor but he had been a tad too slow. The arrow sliced through his bicep.

    From the smoke, a large silhouette began to appear and at first glance, Knight thought he had seen wrongly. He had seen a large man, too bulky for the mass to be his own, holding a bow. And on his head, a pair of antlers sticking out of his head. When the grey smoke finally cleared, blown away by the air conditioning of the facility, Knight realized that his initial impression had been correct. It was a humanoid hybrid between deer and man, but the expression on the creature’s face was anything but gentle.

    Swinging both arms in front of him, Knight send two rows of black blades at the newcomer, before rolling back and using his Requip magic to summon an ornate longbow. An equal number of arrows to his blades were shot out at crazy speeds, accurately deflecting each and everyone of the blades, the projectiles from both sides clashing all over the place as they lost momentum. Few more arrows rushed through the air for Knight’s head, but the latter had rolled backwards again, letting the arrows harmlessly pass him by. He had the accuracy and speed to deflect those arrows with his own if he chose to do so, but right now, engaging in a contest of archery skills in a narrow hallway wasn’t his priority.

    The moment the arrows flew past him, Knight was already back on his feet, keeping his body low while shooting out arrows behind every now and then to slow down his attacker. But he wasn’t able to move forward for long. The tell-tale twang of the bowstring, pulled and released six times within the span of three seconds had him throwing himself to the side, straight through the swinging doors of a particular lab. Agilely, the Rune Knights operative pressed his left palm into the ground, his right hand still holding to his long bow and righted himself, getting back into a half kneel while facing the door.

    A jet-black arrow had already appeared in his left hand, and he had nocked the arrow, eyeing the doors as the swinging slowly stopped. However, what caught his attention was the shadow cast against the doors. Whatever that had suddenly appeared behind was obviously growing in size, and for one second, Knight was really hoping he would not have to turn around to take a look. Taking a breath, even as the shadow kept growing, Knight swung to his back and aimed his arrow. What he saw was eye-popping but he refused to let out any sound. All he could do was shoot the arrow he had held in place, before a large tentacle-like appendage slammed into him and threw him through the doors.

    -----

    Half an hour later, the research facility was finally quiet once again. The six Rune Knights operatives, bloody and battered, Shane included, met up in the middle of the compound. All six of them bore battle scars, but knowing the healing capabilities of the mages back in the Rune Knights HQ, these would come to pass. Shane was dragging an injured man, the same man in the suit from earlier who was now unable to walk on his own. The Captain hadn’t even bothered to tie the man up, and threw the man bodily into the centre of their circle.

    “Rook, how’s the explosives?” Shane said as he looked towards the blonde Flame Slayer. With only a crooked smile, leaning to his left side with a hand over his left ribs, the constantly wise-cracking Rune Knight could only nod in response. His fight with the Djinn Slayer hadn’t gone exactly as simple as he had thought it would be, but he got the job the done. In fact, during his battle, when he had wrecked the warehouse, he had gotten a few samples of the liquid that they had seen pumped into the veins of the catatonic mages.

    “I got something else too. But let’s get back to HQ before I start the show and tell,” Rook joked half-heartedly.

    “Knight? The data?”

    “Even better. I got this too,” the sharpshooter replied tersely, likewise nursing an injury similar to Rook’s but his was on the right side. His breathing was also choppy, but he didn’t let that bother him. As he spoke, Knight held up a decapitated head in his right hand. It was entirely red and bald, with white eyes that resembled wispy smoke and an extremely wide mouth full of sharp teeth made for tearing into flesh. The shortest Rune Knight shook the head in his hand, and the lower jaw fell open, releasing a long tongue that almost touched the ground.

    “Bishop, Queen, no survivors I take it?”

    “None. They turned into something gruesome, and we captured one alive,” Queen replied on the two’s behalf. Her entire body was caked in blood, from wounds that had already been closed. Shane knew that Bishop had a slight mastery in healing magic, which he had probably used on Queen and himself. Add that to his own endurance and enhanced regeneration, the largest of the team looked like he had escaped unscathed from the battle.

    “Good. Time to get back. Link, get us out of this place,”
    Shane addressed the team before switching over to speak to Link, his trusted support. With a low hum, the same airship that had brought them over lowered to the ground. A large door opened at the back of the airship and the team slowly trudged into the vehicle, Shane the last to enter. Giving the compound one last look, Shane walked into the airship with the door closing behind him.

    “Blow it up, Rook.”

    No lesser than a second after he had spoken, the demolitions expert of the team activated all of the explosives that he had laid out around the entire facility. And they weren’t mere explosives. The Flame Slayer had concocted a unique blend of explosives that added his own slayer magic into the mixture, adding much more power into the volatility of the flames and their destructive capabilities. It took less than ten minutes for the white flames to engulf the facility entirely and raze everything to the ground.

    A column of flames had followed after the initial series of explosions, erupting from the researching facility, released by the explosives that Knight had placed on every underground floor. A gigantic shockwave shook the landscape around the compound, causing the trees around to bow outwards before springing back to their original positions. By the time all of the explosives had blown up, the land itself was no longer stable and caved in, creating a crater in the place where once the facility had been located.

    The airship looped around the entire site in a circle before heading back to the Rune Knights Headquarters after Shane had given the green light to do so.

    [4258 words]
    [Total WC: 7297 words]


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    Cap & Chess Team: First Outing Z9G4aIt

      Current date/time is 11th December 2019, 7:18 am