ICSYL Scourge

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King Weavel

The Burger King
Original poster
Fantasy, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, parody.


There they saw it all, the gates to what was once called the city of Lydia. The broken statues, the collapsed bridges, and the crumbling pillars. Its unbelievable looking at it now to think this place was one of the happiest cities in the world. A place where people held weddings, parties, ceremonies, and more. The beautiful cherry blossom trees that bloomed in the spring being Lydia's specialty. That was then, this is now, its just another dead city in this devastated world.

Lydia's destruction was an anomaly. The story went that a lone dark beast eloped with his lover and their child trying to escape the war and not take part in it during the final year. A group of a few locals didn't take kindly to him and he returned home to find they had tortured his wife just on the basis of her race. He went on a rampage in response, killing the guilty, the innocent and those whom just turned a blind eye to her slaying. No survivors were found except a few lucky souls and his daughter. Lydia was abandoned from that day forward.

That is until today. The Arcadian Brigade's leading scientist, Professor Ruby and her team had developed a small device capable of restoring soil damaged by both the aura bombs and the dark beasts. This would be the first field test of it and if it worked, then maybe it could be possible to eventually restore the planet back to the way it was before.

Knowing the way the world was now though, it was unsafe to leave the professor and the others by themselves. The Arcadian Brigade deployed the 4th unit, with Carla leading it for now as the first in command was at a conference. This would be an easy task anyhow, as it just meant they had to protect the researchers and a few Lydian spectators from bandits. There was no way any of the higher ups in the Arcadian Brigade could have foreseen what a turn this simple operation could take.

"We are to protect the people and the researchers. After the test is complete we will then escort them back to the safety of Arcadia. Keep your wits about you and keep on guard for bandits or any creatures. Let everyone know if you spot something or someone. That is all." Carla took a commanding tone while briefing the 4th unit. She was a reasonable leader and wanted this to go off without a hitch. Shintaion was doing rather well now with most of the bandits eliminated but Carla knew better than to make assumptions like that.

She was glad to be on a mission like this though. Less violence,less having to be exposed to the horrors of this new world. Less witnessing the cruelty of these bandits, the ferocity of the monsters, and regrets of not being able to save every victim. This was something positive to really change the world back to the way it was. Yet even then it would be a ways off before it could become a world her sister would approve of. The fighting between the Order of Aegle and the Abscus Liberation Federation was just endless, the world could never unite and rebuild with such utter animosity.

Finally, the research team began to start work as the Professor Ruby's protegee; an awkward Earth Beast named Lowe utilized the strange device. It seemed to resemble something of a gun but instead released a purifying agent upon the dead soil upon firing. He combed all over the area and then called out, "It's empty now. I'm gonna see if I can accelerate the growth and see if we can get any results!!!" He then planted several seeds and then utilized his energy to attempt to cause the famous cherry blossom trees and a few crops to grow.

Lowe was a strange case indeed. He was about twenty-two and didn't look very intimidating at all for an Earth Beast. He was the typical gentle giant. This work under the professor was more of a hobby, what he did when not working with the rest of the 4th unit. He didn't care for fighting but did it out of necessity for his homeland and for Carla's sake. He was the only surviving friend she had. Lowe met her when he came along with his father to research the Dark Beasts. He lived underground with the Dark Beasts for a few years and became good friends with Carla during that time. He only left when the war broke out but promised Carla he'd see her again. He kept his word but never thought it'd be under these circumstances, with Joanna gone.

"Well then. Just be patient and it'll be show time! We're expecting some results here. I'm a professional here, I wouldn't waste your time making you watch this shit grow ever-so-slowly in a dump like this for nothing now would I?!" The Professor exclaimed, joking around a bit as she cleaned her glasses with a cloth.

Professor Ruby Vulcan was a troubled Fire Beast genius. Around thirty seven years of age, she was always seen in that fancy lab coat of hers. She just wanted to be humble school teacher. Her father would have none of that, made her study all about weapons, magic, energy and even aura until it was burned into her mind. It made her smarter but it created a rift between her and him. She hated using this knowledge for destruction but her father saw things differently. He wanted Ruby's help in making the aura bombs along with many other leading scientists but she refused knowing how foolish it was. Ruby's only regret was being unable to stop the development of the bombs.

When the bombs dropped the guilt ate her up inside. She was glad her last name was a secret only her husband knew. This whole project to restore the land was not out of the goodness of her heart as she'd have the people believe. She could not die in peace until she undid the damage as much as she possibly could. Knowing her children would grow up in such a hopeless environment and that she failed to stop the bleak future she was living in now. She could barley sleep at night and was quite paranoid at times, fearing someone would find out her secret and attempt to kill her or her family as retribution.

Time passed, the Lydians paid their respects to the make shift graveyard they had made after the massacre. The Brigade members spotted nothing hostile or out of the ordinary yet.

Then finally, to the amazement of the researchers and spectators, the crops and the cherry blossoms were beginning to sprout and then due to Lowe's intervention, matured rapidly and finally grew to perfect specimens. "Well there you have it! Well this concludes the field test! Carla, you and your unit can take us back to Arcadia now. We'll be back here one day, when Zigus can get this place secured.. Let's not dally any longer in this accursed place. I've got to get started on the plans for a purification airship!" The Professor stated sounding impatiently.

Carla nodded,"Lowe you and a few others can guard the civilians and take the rear. The rest of us will lead the way. We will proceed with haste but caution as well.." She displayed a reversed smile looking back at the restored soil. She moved forward at a brisk pace, making sure she was going fast but keeping close to her comrades.

They Brigade was on the move now. Little did they know they were entering the calm before the storm, it seemed peaceful and quiet but the powers that be were out in full force, lying in ambush for the 4th unit....
13 was busy scouting ahead when he got called back for the 4th to pull out. He hurries to report to Carla what he has found before they get to far ahead of them. Carla! Hey Carla! There was some evidence of bandits in the area south west of here don't know where they went but they were a few clicks south west of us! There were about 30 to 40 from what i could tell but I don't know if there were more! 13 says from a ridge and leaves before Carla can ask him more questions. He may of been made Second in command of the unit for the mission but he preferred to scout and be on the front lines to protecting civilians. They usually just got on his nerves when they tried to interact with them and they had no idea what he went through during the Dark Beast Wars, he was getting tired of every time he sat down one of the civies would come up to him and ask him about his part in the beast wars. Some would ask about the effects it had on him and others would ask him about his race because they so rarely joined the ABC's military. After the Dark Beast Wars they generally stayed out of the fighting because of the toll it had taken on their young during the war. But there was one civie he liked seeing as she was a Forbidden Thunder Beast too, but he had to focus on other things do to being in the wilderness but if they were back in Arcadia he might try to mate with her considering Females were so rare to find now because they mainly stayed in their villages for safety from bandits. *Why am I thinking about that now? Oh well. Off to do more scouting.* He thinks as the land scape rushes by as he jumps from rock to rock.
All the Abscus soldiers had moved out of the temporary tents. Edward’s skills were no longer of use. They had plans of ambush in their mind and no doubt that their dear old doctor was on their side. That part was where they were wrong, none of them had a big wallet and there for no pull for the creature of illusion. He gathered his blades set up along the wall and attached them to his arms. The thin edge reached from his wrist to the elbow. ”I best be looking out for my employer then.” He mumbled leaving his own tent.

As he looked back for a second, there was an eerie silence over the forest of Salair. It had been spotted with temporary camps on both sides of this world. There had been talk of how the forest is haunted and bad luck to anyone who would stumble upon the old hidden city of Salair. It just made Edward’s job all the easier. It gave them reason for the uneasy feeling every morning. His last victim was a young man named Aaron. His family back in Abscus had been taken in by the government on charges of conspiring with the enemy and was put in this unit as a means to be orphaned.

The scent of the most recent aura was quite profound in his quest to find their ambush. They had headed north east to catch them just outside the barren wasteland of the Lydia area. It had been a brush land before with a serene landscape and cherry blossoms in their grove. After the aural weapons were used the landscape had been scarred and thrown into disarray. Many of the seemingly flat areas at been thrown up into a tectonic hell. If anything it resembled a chimeric repetition of the grove that once was called sacred.

In mid thought the ambush had been spotted. Several of their footprints scattered into different directions. Dust was unsettled and shells had been ill-deposited. The Arcadia Brigade Commanders had been very unaccommodating to the Abscus military as they occupied most the territories near their headquarters. Yet, they were much more reasonable and predictable compared to the dangers that lurked in the east and Teros’ army. That terror was inset into the men that fought out here but not so much as the terror that Dr. Irodin could create.

He drifted over to a rock that didn’t have the best vantage point to stay hidden. He sat upon his throne and slowly transformed into his demonic form. He searched for a signal that was on the edge. There, it was Aaron, someone to take advantage of. The sound of the Commanders’ scout’s footsteps could not break his concentration. Soon enough he locked on, then he was ready to counter ambush.
Bartholomew Kuvo was close to the scouting group in a lateral sense, but he was still pretty far spatially, hovering over the ground a short ways to get a better view of the surrounding area. The wind beast's wings flapped ever so lazily, keeping him steadily moving forward while a light wind of his own conjuration kept him aloft. He had a good view from the air, that was certain, but he also felt a little antsy being exposed to view like this. He wouldn't have a lot of time to react if some human with a bow or a rifle pegged him, and the ground was far enough away that he'd probably break something too.

Some people would call him a worrywart, but he liked to think he was just cautious. You couldn't really take your safety for granted these days, especially not out here in the middle of what was basically nowhere. Besides, it wasn't as if he could afford to die either, not when he was still only in his 30's.

Suddenly, the second in command of the mission ran forward and said something about bandits. At that, Bart slowly descended, landing with barely a stirring of the dust underneath. If there were people nearby who wished to attack them, he'd need to be ready to protect the civilians on the ground. He wasn't one for killing, but at the same time, if the situation proved dire, he might have no choice but to help the Arcadians fight, and he didn't relish that one bit.

A tenseness was beginning to spring up in his stomach. His wings twitched, and he could barely stifle the urge to take off again. If there was going to be an attack, he thought to himself, could it happen sooner than later? The thought of waiting for a company of unknown size to engage the group at some unknown time did not appeal to his animal side, and his instincts were begging for him to run. But, he reminded himself, he was not an animal, nor was he out for himself anymore. If he ran again, he'd never forgive himself.
Sweat trickled down Ephire's back, as the sun's rays constantly showered him with heat. Ephire never responded well to direct sunlight, and he worried he would be fatigued before a fight even broke loose. In his condition, that could be disasterous. He reached down to his satchel and pulled out an energy supplement. They were simply a powder, wrapped in leaves. He didn't know what the ingredients were, but they worked. He stared at it a while before deciding to save it for a later date.

He had chosen to assist Lowe, and guard the civillians. He kept his eyes on Lowe the whole time, thinking thoughts that would put even the most wicked man to shame. Part of him wanted to murder every last beast in the land. He reminded himself, however, that would solve nothing, and the mission at hand is far more important than fantasies of revenge and prejudice. So he found himself a rock to sit in, that was relatively high in shade and protected from the suns heat. He would rest up before any battle commenced, for having a large amount of energy at his disposal was of immense importance.

While he waited for something to happen, he thought of his mother. She had the same condition as he, but hers was far more severe, and worsening everyday. She was bed ridden, since she had no energy to make even the slightest movement. He left her one of the nurses. He hated doing it, but there was no other way. This job, this career, it was all in her aid. She would get better, and it would be because of him. He grabbed his daggers and began sharpening them, filling in time.

Boredom soon set in, however, such as it does in the days of youth, and Ephire sought after something to do. So he made his way over to Lowe, and asked "What would you have me do?" He tried to remove any hostility or resentment from his voice as he spoke.
Alexandra was staying close to the others, she was bored to death wanting something to happen, she was a girl that liked fighting that's the way she distracted herself from thinking about her family that had abandoned her. Lately she was thinking about them a lot. In the past few months she was trying to find them without anyone knowing, she wanted to know why they left her and that's why she failed almost every mission she was ordered to do, that got her in a lot of trouble she was almost kicked out form Arcadia but they gave her a second chance. Carla stood up for her convincing the others to give her a second chance, Alexandra was very thankful for that and stopped looking for her family, but recently she started looking for them again.

Alexandra was looking around thinking if something interesting will happen, reaching her hand at her head moving the hair that was in front of her eyes. She was walking around thinking what to do, turning her head at Ephire she noticed that he wasn't feeling well, seeing that he stayed with Lowe she walked where Ephire was putting her arm around his waist, he was taller then her so she moved her head putting it on his shoulder looking right at his eyes saying with a calm voice to him "Are you okay?" she then paused looking at him with a concern look and said "Ill stay with you if you want" Alexandra then looked around feeling that something is wrong around here. Turning her head looking around the area, she was spying around with her eyes grabbing one of the knives that was grabbed on her hip moving her hand with the knife in it behind her back so that Ephire couldn't notice.

Noe chose to stay in the back of the group, playing protector for the civilians. Her job was to escort them safely through the desert into Arcadia. This made it less likely that she'd have to end up fighting anything, which meant a lower chance of something going wrong. The hot desert sun was beating down on her head, prompting her to wipe her hand across her forehead, sweeping some light blue hair to the side in the process. Her yellow eyes contrasted her hair all too well, and functioned as the only indication that she was a demon. Her clothing was composed of a skin-tight top of the navy blue variety. 4 small diamonds were arranged in the shape of a larger one around her belly button. Under that was a knee-high skirt, black in color.

She stared ahead at the scouting party, a brief show of uncertainty and possibly fear in her eyes. She chose to stay behind to avoid as much fighting as possible, but yet...If they were attacked, they'd be done for, especially with her lack of...No, it wasn't time to think like that. They wouldn't be attacked, and everyone would arrive safely. Then this stupid mission would be over, and she'd be a step closer to her goals. A violet energy radiated from her body, more of a warning than anything. It was just like a defense mechanism from prey, such as a butterfly's markings being used to scare off foes. She'd look scary, sure, but she still had to fight...

She couldn't fight, not well, anyway...She didn't have the courage to actually hold her own for as long as the others...Heck, that was the whole reason she was here, so she could fix a little "issue" she had. Then she'd be all better, and be strong like the rest...hopefully. With uncertain eyes and a trembling heart, she stood in wait of the start of the mission.
Renault walked among the civilians, making small talk, keeping a smile on his face. Unlike most of the other guards who were placed to protect the civilians, Renault made it a point to talk to them and make them feel at ease. He entertained them with stories of his monastery and occasionally would joke that the only serious threat was the sun, which was continuing to bombard them with wave after wave of stifling heat. Luckily Renault's standard garb consisted of light and loose clothing, including his robe, so he wasn't as afflicted as some who were dressed in heavier armors. This didn't stop him from sweating however, his forehead glistening in the sunlight as he moved among their caravan.

Looking around, Renault noticed Noe fidgeting and looking around nervously, her eyes restless as she bantered inside her head. Renault knew she was a demon, but that didn't do much to deter him, he had worked in healing the worst and scariest among them, so in terms of physical intimidation there was little that caught him off guard. Renault recognized the unease in the young woman, obviously not at home here in her present situation. At least she had had the sense to dress correctly for the region, even if it was a bit more provocative than Renault would've liked. Being part of a monastery for so long tends to have that effect on a person.

Walking up to her, he stayed by her side for a few moments without saying anything, just giving her time to deal with his presence. He had learned that walking up to people and suddenly talking while they were lost in their thoughts generally didn't lead to favorable results. Renault then spoke softly, his voice gentle and kind, "Child, I know that you must be scared of the threats that they are scouting for, but rest assured that, even if you can't fight, the rest of us will pick up the weight. I will even go as far as to assure that I myself will ensure that we will make it out of this oven that they call a desert." He didn't make any eye contact with her, just walked alongside her. It was obvious that his words were pointed to her, as there was no one else around, especially after her violet flare of energy emanated from her person.
Lowe answered Ephire casually, "Well I can watch over the research team by myself. The Professor can be mean in a fight too. So what I'd like you to do is handle the civilians with everyone else who isn't scouting. Protect them and guide them back to Arcadia. Just follow me and the research team as we'll be taking that same route unless Carla says otherwise."

He did not get involved in the conversation that soon began between Alexandra and Ephire but it made him smile. The members of the 4th unit had to look out for one another. Lowe didn't know enough about Ephire's condition to really know if he should be concerned. He truly had to work on getting to know more about the others in the unit and spend less time with the Professor. Lowe was far more worried about Carla and what the scouting party might find, it weighed him down. He would rather be up there with her. Yet he had his duties with the Professor holding him back here. He could feel her eyes upon him, perhaps about to scold him.

The Professor patted him on the back catching Lowe off guard, "Good job, Lowe, you're not a screw-up after all! I will put in the good word to Zigus. You'll get training as an airship pilot started soon enough! You're really starting to get it!" For once she showed a lot of respect towards Lowe instead of berating him over every-single mistake. She was not trying to be harsh on him but merely wanted him to be a worthy student. He responded back humbly but clearly surprised, "Thank so you so much Professor but please let's talk more about it later. I must focus on the situation at hand."

Becoming a pilot was one of Lowe's goals in life before the world fell apart. He dreamed of travelling the world in those days. Now there was few airships left to pilot and the skies were unsafe with the ALF and the OOA at war. In addition the ABC had only two airships in working shape and did not use them in many missions. Lowe couldn't let his mind wander about his dreams and ambitions right now.

"Yeah I understand where you're coming from there Lowe. I'll do the same. We know better than to get caught off guard! I'll just roast them!"
The Professor replied, grinning optimistically. She was prepared to fight despite how long ago it had been since her last battle.

Meanwhile back with the scouting party, Carla began to formulate a plan after 13 informed her of the bandits. Changing their route would be the easiest method. The path they were taking would lead to a road. If they strayed off that path for a little bit it would throw the bandits off.

Carla informed the scouting party of her plan, "We'll be taking a different route to Arcadia. They'll be waiting for us on the main road; we can't afford to fall into such a trap. They may realize we're taking another route but that's when we'll strike. Without the element of surprise, their plans will fail. I must inform the others. We need to make sure the civilians have a secure escape route to Arcadia."

Before she moved to inform the others, Carla inspected the foot prints and other signs of the so called bandits. "13, These foot prints all the same type of boots. There are some shells. We've got something worst and more organized on our hands than bandits. We're talking about a force from the ALF. Those OOA bastards wouldn't leave a trail like this, theirs would be different. I just can't believe they'd do this without some sort of declaration of war. I don't like this one bit. There might be something else they have in mind." She said out loud to the scouting party, speaking out of her experience fighting both factions.

Carla quickly walked back towards the escort party and told them of the situation. The new plan was that the scouting party would continue to lead the way and go off on the road. They would secure the path by distracting and defeating the ALF force. The others would escort the civilians back to Arcadia. Carla had no idea of what else would be in store for them. After all, if the ALF was here, their mortal enemies the OOA could not be too far behind.
Ephire agreed with his orders. Ephire did not mistake his own intentions however, and if there wasn't the risk of losing his job, and his mother's withering health, he'd run the bastard through where he stood. However, since they were working together, he decided to be civil. Division amongst allies isn't something Ephire wanted; especially not now, not while he was this close/

Ephire was genuinely startled by Alexandra's presence, and it snapped him back to reality. He was never sure how to act around her. He felt he knew her like the back of his hand, but she was still a mystery to him. He gasped and went slightly red. "Ah... yeah I'm fine. And if you want to stay with me, I'm not going to stop you. As for what I want... well, that's never stopped you before," Ephire said, grinning smugly with the last line.
Alexanda then moved, and Ephire sensed something was wrong. She was on edge, and her body language translated caution. He wasn't sure what to make of it.
"Maybe we should make our way to the civilians, Alex?" Ephire spoke with concern in his voice.
Alexandra heard what Carla has said, the plan has been changed and Alexandra was worried about that she felt that something was wrong like they were entering a trap, she quickly putted the knife that she got out earlier back on her hip and smiled at Ephire hearing what he said, looking at him she noticed that his face turned red she thought to herself was it because of her or was he feeling bad, she didn't know what it was from but she continued the conversation "You are right, that never stopped me before" Alexandra said smiling at him letting go of his waist she started walking in front of him winking at him turning her head around saying to him "Are you coming" she than turned her head around watching at the civic, walking at their direction.

Suddenly Alexandra got a sad look on her face, she was thinking of Ephire, she was worried of his condition knowing that he could even die, Ephire told her about his mother she had the same sickness as him but her condition is even worse than his. Alexandra knew that he was working for the ABC cuz of his mother, he wanted to help her get better but his sickness was getting worse, she noticed that every time he was fighting it wasn't good for him and he had to quit, but she couldn't tell it to him it will be to much.
Hearing Carla's orders 13 took off to scout the path Carla had chosen to take the group. He was very attentive and made sure to stay hidden. Then he heard something to the left of him while he was moving in a small ravine on top of a hill. *Who are they scouts?* 13 quickly took a peek and was surprised at what he saw. *What the hell? Why are ALF Commandos out here?* He couldn't move for what seemed like for ever as the ALF Commando scouts passed him by. He knew he had barely escaped notice if they hadn't engaged him. *Fwew. I thought they were gonna find me.* He thought about using his radio but knew if those had been ALF Commando scouts that they had more in the area and they could possibly have ABC radios to listen to his groups radio traffic. So he moved as quickly and stealthily as he could until he reached Carla and the civies.

Coming over a ridge he found Carla and the civies preparing to go the new route. He rushed over to Carla to tell her the news. Carla we have a problem. They're ALF Commandos and they have scouts around the area that you chose to take the civies. I think they're gonna try to ambush us and at least try to take the civies if they can. Oh and they're also moving the scouts out in units of 2. Anyway what are we gonna do now? And do you think they know what unit we are? He wanted to personally go over and kick the ALF's asses but he wasn't about to move with out Carla's orders.
Noe turned ever-so-slightly when Renault approached her, trying not to make eye contact with him. It was just...creepy.

"Are you some...some kind of pedophile or something?...How old are you, to call me a child?" She retorted venomously.

"And who do you think you're talking to, insinuating that I'm weak? I-I could be stronger than you, you jerk!"

Big words from a little girl...

For all the yelling she was doing, she did a poor job of actually convincing him, reduced to crossing her arms and storming off into the distance, her aura shooting up as her temper flared a bit, blowing some sand away as she stepped away.

"Who does he think he is, calling me weak...Grr....I should show him after all this.... What a self-righteous ass!"

"Having fun over there?...Little girl?~"

"Would you go... away?!" she yelled angrily.

She grabbed her head and started kicking some sand around, seeing how there was nothing important enough to punch.
There had been numerous names throughout history commonly associated with mass murder. Some even called it an art which Edward did not quite understand. Years of doing what he did to survive had convinced him otherwise. It was truly an art, a spectacle to become so well associated with your victim that you can crush their mind. There were also many levels to this depending on how weak that person’s mind was. He could do anything from causing a kid to wet the bed to controlling the mind of another for a short period of time. It required skill and a lot of time, two things which this demon had much about him.

In the recesses of this mind lurked numerous hidden fears. Aaron had much despaired over his parents but there were deeper threats he had not revealed. For instance he once sold out his squad for money to the opposing forces killing what little friends he had in that group. He was given a honorary medal upon return but still his parents were locked away from him. The digging up of his past caused a sweat to break out on the boy. His fellow comrades looked at him in concern. Echoes of ‘Are you alright?’ and ‘You don’t look so good.’ could be heard by the mind thief. What little they knew about the Doctor that had treated them only the night before.

Time continued to tick in the real world, the civilians and science team were headed toward this ambush. They had been charged with finding rogues in Lydia and stopping anyone from getting back to Arcadia. Another tether to pull strings at, the what if factor too great to pass up. Reliving the shoot out of his old squad it was truly terrifying. Aaron had done more than sweat, he went into panic. He dropped his weapon and began screaming. It was common, yet, successful possession. Dr. Irodin could now see what Aaron saw, could hear what he could, and, most importantly, feel what he could.

When the others went to try and cover his mouth he reached for his boot knife. He cut the throats of the two above him soon after going back for his weapon. It was almost complete, although, the mind was tougher than Edward had perceived. He was beginning to lose connection, but that was alright. Gently he let go of the mental tether that had linked them. In the distance he could hear the ravings of a lunatic as gunshots echoed over the landscape. Morphing back into his human form he felt it was time to head back to his primary hospital and laboratory in Arcadia.
Renault let her run off, a tad amused by her reaction. It was obvious she hardly trusted anyone around her, as his actions were only meant to soothe, not to insult. He found it amusing that him calling her child made him a pedophile. But given that he was almost double her age, he figured that she was, as well as most of the 20 somethings littered around their party, were children compared to him. How could they know anything given their small sample of life? How could they know what true despair, what true agony, what true loss felt like?

Renault felt himself spiraling into the questions that haunted him at night and shook his head. Now was not the time for that, he had work to do. He considered himself instrumental in keeping the civilians who couldn't fight safe, given that he was really the only one who was focused on defense rather than pure offense. Not that it was bad, just different. Multiple skill sets were necessary, and they were in need of his to ensure that some sneak didn't come and cut their throats while they were engaged. Renault took this business seriously, and tightened his grip on his staff. No silly little ambush was going to get through him, not in a million years.

It was around this time that Carla came back and informed them of a change in plans. Renault merely nodded in comprehension; it didn't make much difference what route they took. Until they reached their destination his objective was the same, regardless of the path taken. Renault prepared himself for what seemed like imminent conflict, knowing that he'd have to see men fight and die. All everyone was really were pawns in a game played by men and women much higher in station than they. They did only what they were told, so who was to call them evil? It was for that basis that he healed indiscriminately among the wounded.
Ephire looked at Alexandra and noticed she was visibly tense. She must have heard something, or felt something, but either way he wasn't taking a chance. He tensed up as well, always ready for the fight if need be. He tried to seem relaxed however. He knew everyone knew of his condition, but still didn't like to show weakness. He didn't want anyone to know his condition was worsening - especially not Alex - and he really wanted to at least pretend he was in top condition.

"Yeah I'm coming," he said in response. "I know how much you'd miss me if I didn't." He said, tongue firmly in cheek.
Alexandra smiled before Ephire could see that she was feeling bad about him, she putted a fake smile on her face looking at Ephire when he approached her. Alexandra laughed when he said that Alex will miss him, she then putted her hand on her mouth stopping her laugh and said with a blush on her cheek "You know me too well Ephire"

Reaching the civilians with Ephire she noticed that they were looking all dirty and desperate, they were worrid for their lives and they had a good reason, Alexandra feelt something earlier and she feelt it again, sudenlly she heard something from the near bushes she grabbed a knife with her right hand from her belt turning around looking at the bushes "Ephire be quiet" she whispered to him then she continued "I think someone is there" Alexandra looked at the civilians they were looking worried Alexandra didn't want anybody to get hurt but if she had to fight she didn't knew what will happen. Alexandra looked at Ephire and said to him quietly "What should we do".
Though the others did not apparently hear it, the wind carried a peculiar sound to Bart's ears, namely that of distant gunfire. He was alarmed, of course, but the noise could not have been that of someone shooting at the Arcadians. For whatever reason, a different conflict was taking place in these wastes, perhaps two different factions of some kind clashing with one another. All the same, it was definitely worth checking out, because it meant that there was somebody not too far away, and they were armed.

"I need to check something out," he mentioned to Carla. "I'll be back shortly." Without waiting for an affirmative, he shoved off the ground, kicking up a bit of dust in the process. He would have to apologize to somebody for getting dust in their eyes, no doubt, but for the moment, he focused on the ground ahead of him, following the gunshots that still cracked through the air.

What he saw was peculiar, and he wasn't quite sure how to explain it. A group of armed men were behind cover and under heavy fire from a single man, running back and forth and shouting something completely inaudible due to the nigh-endless stream of bullets he was firing out from his weapon. As Bart observed this, driving up a cloud of dust to hide his position, the man's weapon ran dry, and as he was reaching for a reload, the other men stepped out of cover and fired several rounds, dropping the hysterical gunman where he stood. Judging from the clothes that the now-deceased man was wearing, he was one of them, so why did he fire on them? Was it madness induced by the heat of the sun, or did he believe that his comrades had betrayed him in some way?

Regardless, Bart could do no more here, so he made his way back. Carla needed to know of these men, at least the ones still remaining, because they were close to the path that the crew would be taking to get back to Arcadia, and they were heavily armed. This could mean trouble for the civilians.
Ephire heard the noise coming from the bushes too. He looked towards Alexandra. "Alex. We don't know how many there are. There aren't many of us here to stand guard. I'm not doubting our skills, but maybe we should round up the civillians and move them to Lowe. The more men we have, the better our chances for survival. What do you say?"
Carla first saw Bart coming back, looking as if he had bad news to deliver. Bart told her of what he saw and how the path they were about to take would be a disaster. "That is a huge set back to our plans but nothing we can't change if we act now. Excellent scouting Bartholomew! Carla quickly dashed over to the escort group.

When she made her way there, the bushes near the civilian group began to stir once again. A robed figure emerged from it. A scout from the Order of Aegle emerged taking advantage of the situation to spy upon them. Carla was not able to catch the scout and did not want to risk shooting so close to the civilians.

Carla reacted warning the civilian group, "A scout from those bastards. The Order of Aegle will strike. We've no idea where they'll be coming from. I know Wind Beasts and demons make up a majority of their forces but if they had a scout on the ground they might have other ground forces that she wanted to escape towards. Either way, you all of you must be prepared to fight and defend the civilians. We'll rout the ALF forces as fast as possible so we can aide you. You will take the west route to Arcadia, as the east near the forest region is where we'll be fighting the ALF. Lowe will be in command of your party; you all will be together for maximum safety. That is all, we must make haste!" Carla moved back up with the scouting party quickly. The civilian escort party then took the new path proceeding with caution but with speed.

The scouting party ran into the site of where the ambush would have taken place, had it not been botched. Carla formed an energy rifle in her hands and fired off wide beam into the forest. It flushed out some of the survivors from Edward's assault. She then applied more energy to it to add a bayonet to it, just in case.

Carla thought to herself as she saw the soldiers scrambling," Why they are so terrified and disorganized...He must have had a part in this operation. Where is their leader?"

The remaining soldiers fear only increased as they saw Carla. They were all about to run off in separate directions to retreat but stopped as they heard their commander sounded an ALF horn.

There he was. A suave and strong human commander. Bald and in his forties, wearing heavy armor and wielding a large cannon on his back. He had an imposing look in his green eyes and anger burning in them as well. He took a thunderous tone, "Enough! The traitor has eluded me but I can no longer let our mission be a failure! We are the ALF, we are the pride of our nation, freedom fighters! WE FEAR NOTHING!"

He continued his speech, "You are brave men and women, warriors! Not sniveling little children whom believe in superstition and fantasy! Join me and we will grasp victory from the jaws of defeat! The Arcadians are too weak to control this continent, only we the ALF can restore and advance the world into a new age! Only we can keep the horrors of this world at bay with our strength and intelligence!!! I , Commander Bastian will turn the tide! Join me now as we make our last stand! For freedom. FOR ABSCUS!!!!!"

The survivors rallied around their commander, "FOR ABSCUS!" Bastian restored a good deal of their morale. Yet it was clearly a bluff. How could they win now? The operation was supposed to be a simple ambush, capture the ABC and civilians and use them as bargaining chips to force the Zigus to surrender without a true war. It was perfect until Edward ruined it all.

The ALF forces were now better organized and spread themselves out as Bastian commanded them. There were five elves, the majority of them being archers armed with regular bows and the other two being novice spell casters. Two human gunners were among them as well, wielding fire bullet pistols and spare light bullets. Lastly, they had two heavily armored soldiers wielding large broadswords ready to lead the charge with the covering fire from the others.

Carla ordered, "Bart, 13, take out the archers and the gunners first, their armor is weak at best. The rest we'll have to focus on together!" As she was about to aim at the archers, Bastian fired off a cannonball at her. She barley dodged in time, avoiding the small explosion it created.

Bastian called out to Carla, "Not bad for an experimental weapon, huh? Face it, you don't have the forces to win a true war with the ALF. I will let you throw the white flag and surrender if you do so now! What will it be, Dark Beast? Death or surrender? Think of your men! Even if you win, the ALF will bring down the hammer of justice upon your little army as retribution for such an act! We act only to prevent a full scale war with the ABC and to vanquish those worshipers of false gods! Why can you not share our vision??? Now answer me, Wretched Beast!"

"Victory." She shot a medium beam that squeezed past Bastian's face, causing him to flinch. It's true target was one of the archers. The archer failed to dodge in time and was shot straight through the head with it, killing her."It's sad, your troops will die for nothing here if we continue this. Your heroic speeches and boasts cannot change the fact you have failed miserably in your mission. Your forces will not find glory or freedom on this battlefield, only further tragedy and death awaits you here. Surrender to us or suffer the consequences of your pride and arrogance." She spoke loudly so everyone could hear her this time. She paid better attention though and kept on guard.

"...... UNFORGIVABLE! Dark Beast...You're mine!!!!! You will die first! NO MERCY towards the enemies of FREEDOM! I WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU! You must have been the one terrorizing my MEN! We have no need for cold blooded monsters like you!" Bastian lost his temper yelling at the top of his lungs.

Meanwhile, with the escort party, to the west.

Lowe caught sight of something in the, a fleet of at least twenty five wind beasts coming towards them from the west. "Wind Beasts...They don't look like friends of Bart's or Commander Nacim. I think we need to brace ourselves for a fight! We're not close enough to Arcadia yet!"

"Great, I can see the logo on their uniforms. These fanatic assholes are gonna lecture us on our sins and how we don't worship Gods who failed and let the world come to an end or maybe don't even exist. I'm too intelligent to buy into the bullshit they believe!" The Professor said loudly and angrily.

The first wind beast to land was their leader. She was clad in light weight emerald green armor well suited for flight. She appeared to be in her late thirties age wise. Her wings were in excellent shape and had black feathers. She had a smile on her face and commanded the respect of all the Wind Beasts following her. Her charisma was quite apparent.

"You may have heard of me but for those who have not. I am the Emerald Eagle, Sheena of the Order of Aegle! A humanitarian, a true leader of my people and an elite general in my own right! Arcadia Brigade Commanders, you are guilty of many sins! Lucia offers her love to, you must let her into your lives! We want hope, we want the old world back. If you all join us and take a stand against the ALF we can do it together!"

Her proposition continued as she tried to sell it, "Take my hand, we can be allies in the war and end it once and for all! But we need Shintaion and Lavion. And you must give up all technology. For it is the source of this blight upon our world! The Gods can heal the planet but we must unite as one world first with Lucia as our ruler! We must gain their favor by doing this and ending conflict as Lucia has taught us all. I have lost many a loved one and a friend to this war, please feel my plight! We must end all war in this world before we can rebuild!" Sheena showed some signs of sadness now, looking at a locket she kept around her neck as she waited for a response.

The Professor whispered to Lowe half joking, "Does she ever shut up? Please stop me from killing this stupid, arrogant-preachy bitch. I can't resist the urge much longer. The OOA WINS their conflicts with brute force ninety nine percent of the time, how can she say shit like fighting is bad? How can she hate war when she brags about her accomplishments? She's living in a fantasy world, the OOA and the ALF aren't gonna stop killing each other until one side is totally wiped out!"

Seemingly hearing the Professor Sheena asked, "Did you say something there? Please. We need an answer! We need to return our world back to the way it should be. To end all this suffering and the despair of this world." The Wind Beasts began to look impatient and suspicious.

"Nothing, I'm just thinking and talking to my protegee, our 1st in command isn't here so we need time to decide!"
The Professor bough the escort group more time and she didn't even have to lie, it was true.

Lowe was about to signal the members of the ABC into a huddle when a hasty wind beasts flew up and tried to grab a small human girl but was punched away by Lowe, whom quickly made stone encircle his right hand, creating a stone fist.

He cried out, "AHHHH, how dare you!!! Lucia says humans can never fully atone for their sins in technology!That is what she forgot to mention! I hunger!!!!! I want to make her go SPLAT and eat the juicy remains!" The wind beast was a former bandit and as such, as one of those who learned towards the fighting nature of the OOA instead of the religious like the majority among under Sheena's command.

This display shocked everyone, even Sheena was disgusted by it to an extent. But it was too late, it was already done and it soon instigated a fight as the civilians began to panic and as Ruby created a large fireball that burned the bloody thirsty Wind Beast's wings away, painfully scaring him and eventually killing him as the others watched. Lowe calmed the civilians but now it was too late to stop a battle here.

Raging the Professor shouted out to Sheena, "You inept little bitch, you can't even control your own men!Of course we don't trust you! I don't believe in gods, everything I achieved in life I did so all by myself! The gods didn't get me married, the gods didn't make my children and the gods certainly didn't do a damn thing to save this world!!!! You work with former bandits and people who want to eat children for goodness sake! I will not let my children be surrounded by killers!!!!! What sort of Gods would forgive anyone for committing such atrocities????! Answer me that you Mrs.High and Mighty Gods can solve all our problems!"

Sheena let out a heavy sigh. "This turn of events saddens me. It could have been avoided had both sides kept proper control. I don't want to kill but now we must. Now you will experience my power first hand!!! Hmph, a woman of science could never understand the way the world should be, your bombs manufactured the end of the last world!"

She laughed, "Now you will know why they call me the Emerald Eagle and why I am Elite! I will pass judgment on the Arcadian Brigade!!!! Let us take shelter in the heavens above now, take flight!" Sheena sped off into the sky before anyone could land an attack on her. The rest of her unit began to fly as well, but not quite as high up. The others remained in sight range.

"What the hell is she doing? I don't like this one bit! Come down and fight me! Quit hiding up there!!!" The Professor yelled to Sheena, wanting to fight her personally now since she Ruby's sore spot.

"Everyone, stay with me I'll protect you!!!!" Lowe said as he created some earth walls to create a make shift barrier around them to provide cover. He told the others, "We've no choice but to fight, the priority is the civilians and the research team member's lives!! They all are susceptible to arrows, they have little defense at all with that light weight armor! Aim for the wings!!! They are defenseless if they get grounded!"

With that the battle began. No chance to reason with them now, they just had to hope they could survive and maybe even get support from the others but the chances of that were looking quite slim.
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