It was chaos, with the incessant mix of the high-pitched ringing and blaring horns. Beams of light were shooting everywhere haphazardly in an attempt to identify the intruders, but failing miserably. At the back of the huge compound, a blazing fire roared as it surely but slowly advanced in every direction possible, devouring everything in its path while spewing noxious black smoke tinged with yellow. For those nearer to the ground, they could smell the bile-inducing stench of human flesh and hair as it burned, choking the very men that they were trying their best to put the fire, either mundanely or magically.
In the center of the compound, the level of activity was equally heavy with men dressed in black padded suits running out from every possible building, wielding weapons of every kind. If one looked even more carefully from an aerial point of view, one could easily discern where the hotspots of activity were among the chaos. And within the hotspots, as if they were a hurricane sweeping up whatever that came within range of their limbs, five soldiers were individually waging a war of one against a hundred.
On the ground, a petit lady with muscles packed with power were going all out as she fought with a combination of her ice magic coupled with hand to hand combat. Every now and then, she would use her wind magic, imbued into her legs and released wide sweeping kicks that send deadly blades of air around her. That was Queen, the only female member of the team of soldiers wearing not a single emblem or mark that would allow their enemies to identify them. Her flaming red hair was tied up in a single braid, as she transitioned smoothly between magic and close combat, taking down any opponent that came within reach.
“Babe, let’s grab a drink after this? I need some beer after a full workout,” the tall man fighting alongside Queen shouted as his attacks shouted out relentlessly.
“You don’t have to shout, Rook! We’ve got the earpieces for a reason. And of course! We are going to Connor’s this time!” the feisty female soldier replied cheerfully.
Fighting side by side with her was Rook, a tall man with a muscular stature that seemed to have grown up eating only steaks. His height was head to head with the leader of the team, and a battle crazed grin was etched onto his face as the tall man fought with a combination of fiery kicks, courtesy of his Flame Demon Slayer magic, and the pair of large firearms in his hands. Each shot from the guns in his hands would punch a bloody hole through the unlucky target, with enough momentum to send the already dead target flying back into his own group like a bowling ball.
On the top of the roof of a building that was adjacent to the compound that Queen and Rook were fighting was the leader of the group. A lean and lithe man with shockingly silver hair, that weaved in and out of his enemies as he fought with a sword in hand. This was King, the leader of the team, and a swordsman capable of cutting his way out of any situation you could throw him in. With each slash, the man would take down more than a handful of the soldiers circling around him. Even those that were trying to attack him from the back were afraid to move forward. It was as though the man had eyes on his back, surely cutting anyone even if they tried to launch a surprise attack from behind.
A bullet flew towards him from the back, and when it seemed that the swordsman would finally miss defending against an attack, an ethereal sword appeared out of nowhere behind him, deflecting the bullet with the flat of the blade. Immediately King holstered the pistol in his right and extended it behind him, grabbing the hilt of the ethereal sword and began an even fiercer flurry of attacks.
“Queen, Rook. Appreciate it if you can keep the channel clean,” King spoke out in a stern voice but then as he continued, a mischievous smile appeared on his face despite the situation. “Let’s take care of Knight’s feelings.”
“Thank you and fuck you, King,” another voice responded through the communication devices that all of them wore. When he spoke, the special operative was rather short on breath. Lugging a rifle with a scope in his arms as he ran across the rooftops of the buildings, Knight had been tasked with the momentous task of taking down a group of mages that were engaging him in a battle of accuracy and firepower. Blast upon blast of magic energy in the form of various elements were bombarding him as he ran. A single slow step would put him in the blast zone of the spells while a mis-step would leave him with a painful long fall to the ground as he ran and leapt from roof to roof. Every now and then, the sniper would immediately turn around and fire off a shot from his long-barrel rifle, pegging the target with a 100% accuracy in a fluid flow of motion and then resuming his run.
It wasn’t an aimless route as his pursuers had thought it to be when Knight had coincidentally ran around the entire compound from the top. Aside from shooting them down whenever he had the chance, Knight would throw down a few remote control explosives after a fixed distance between.
“Knight, explosives? Bishop, airship?” the strangled voice of their General coming through the comms. Immediately, all of them perked up and kept the channel free from chatter.
“Three minutes,” Bishop’s dull voice returned, with Knight following up with, “Done.”
Almost immediately the wall of one of the buildings facing the compound was shattered as a huge purplish-black creature flew out of it. Large drops of black liquid dropped to the ground as it flew through the air, smoke sizzling from the ground where the black liquid fell. Another smaller figure appeared from the hole in the wall, and instantly charged towards the creature, leaping into the air and slamming the creature down into the ground with an overhead heel drop. When it impacted, web-like cracks raced outwards from the point of impact before the ground gave in and caved in under the weight.
The purplish-black creature twitched non-stop within the crater. Shane stood over the monster, his shield on his left arm as he looked down at it with disgust in his eyes. This wasn’t the first time he had encountered one of its kind, but this was also the most advanced and strongest one so far. Shane’s face was covered in multiple bruises and his uniform was torn in some places. His lower right arm carried burn marks as well. It was evident that it had been a tough fight against the brute. A difficulty that was increasing with each encounter, and worried the Special Operations General more and more.
“They are getting farther and farther in their research,” the Rune Knight spoke to himself before speaking into the communication devices again. “Rook, I need you over here.”
“Got it. Queen, cover up,” Rook replied over the air. With his affirmation, the position where he was originally at suddenly erupted with a tower of black flames that reached up into the skies, sending all of the guards and soldiers surrounding them flying away with their bodies on fire. Screams of various tones and pitch rang across the courtyard as those set alight threw themselves to the ground to put out the flames while those unlit were running and keeping away from those on fire. A cocoon of white ice stood out from within the black flames as it subsided, resilient even against flames capable of slaying gods.
“She’s adapting quickly to her Ice Demon Slayer magic, huh?” Shane commented when Rook jogged over to him, prompting the latter to turn around and take a look with a proud smile on his face when he turned back to look at Shane.
“She says she got the concept of manipulating the Slayer magic from her wind magic,” Rook replied, as he stood over the edge of the pit and looked into it. By now, the creature was no longer moving. Dark smoke and a horrible stench was leaving the ground below its body, caused by its black blood. Rook’s face scrunched up as he took a whiff before holding his palms out at the pit and setting the entire creature alight.
“It’s the blood. It’s corrosive and when it makes contact with air, it mixes with the oxygen to create a hallucinogen. Seal off the entire pit with your flames and make sure that’s completely burnt to a crisp.”
The humming of engines accompanied by whipping wind drowned out all else as an airship lowered into the compound, hovering one metre above ground. Inside the cockpit was the largest member of the Chess Team. He was known as Bishop, and the quietest out of them all. In battle, his size was a great asset as he fought like a berserker, especially when he goes all out with his earth magic. While he would have been a great help on ground, he was also the only one who was trained to pilot the airship hence leaving Shane with no choice but to have Bishop man the plane while they took care of things.
A door at the middle of the plane slid open. Queen was the first one to board while Rook stood by the side of the plane with Shane, vehemently guarding the aircraft from the remaining soldiers that tried to capture them. Shield in hand, Shane was firing his firearm furiously at the flying mages that were trying to bring down the plane. Fireballs, icicles and even lightning bolts were thrown at him but every single time the General would shake them off with his shield before firing back at them with his pistol. A louder shot rang through the air as Knight neared them, gliding down from the roofs with a pair of angular wings attached to his back.
Even in mid-flight, the man’s aim was impeccable, taking down the mages down one by one as their attention was fully upon the airship.
The moment he touched down, Knight dropped to one knee and began taking out the remaining mages in the air and soldiers on the ground. Every bullet spent was one enemy dropped. King was the last one to reach them, sprinting at full speed and tuck-and-rolling right in through the door. The rest immediately followed suit, with Rook first and then Knight. Shane was the last in sequence as he held up his shield against the few attacks left. As soon as the door was slammed shut, sealed with a hiss of air, Bishop piloted the airship vertically into the sky. Magical attacks slammed into the airship as the flying mages took one last shot at bringing down the airship but before they could prepare the second wave of attacks, a constant cannon-like boom erupted from the top of the airship, muzzle fire lighting up Knight’s face with each shot.
Within a few minutes, all of the mages were removed from the air. It was human lives, but the Chess Team had already moved beyond the moral quandaries that would plague most Rune Knights. It didn’t mean that they lacked empathy and did not value human lives. On the contrary, it was because they knew that whatever they were doing is for the greater good that they were able to perform their jobs so well. That and most of the opponents they had encountered were evil bastards waiting to lay their grimy hands on the world in the most terrible of ways and needed nothing less than a bullet to the brain.
“We are clear,” Bishop’s voice once again drifted through the communications once the airship had reached a certain altitude and came to a stop in mid-air. Shane opened the door again and stood by it as he looked downwards at the weapon research and manufacturing facility. It was one of the many branches of the same illegal facility that he had only destroyed a few months back upon receiving the Field Marshall’s orders Without looking back, Shane held up his thumb with the rest of his fingers clenched to the Chess Team and Rook somberly nodded in response to no one in particular before pressing down on the remote device that controlled the explosives Knight had planted earlier.
There was a lag of five seconds when Rook pressed down on the trigger, and then the detonation of the devices happened simultaneously. Massive pillars of flames leapt into the sky, sending a searing wave of hot air upwards. Shane ducked back into the plane and closed the door just in time, or he would have gotten some nasty burns from the heat wave. The airship shook as it struggled to cope with the turbulence and stay in the air. Knight had dropped down from the hatch as well, sealing it shut as he dropped. When the airship finally settled and the calm was back in place, the door was opened again and the General poked his head out.
Huge swaths of fire were consuming the entire facility at a rapid pace, with an explosion every now and then as the combustive chemicals made contact with the flames. A few hours was all it would take to raze everything that once existed within the illegal facility.
“Take us to the hill on the north overlooking the facility. We’ll only leave when it’s completely charred,” Shane instructed, rooted to the spot by the door as Bishop piloted the plane to where Shane had pointed out.
[2315 / 12500]
Last edited by Shane Stern on 30th March 2020, 8:29 pm; edited 4 times in total