Dantega:Volume 7 Chapter 5
Rain Von Ronheim is breathing heavily as she makes her way into an alleyway with Celestia Letrova and Elise Whittier.
Popping sounds and concussions go off every second and the constant barrage on their senses causes their ears to ring as debris falls atop their heads from the broken building above.
The three are in Tronoble, fighting against a legion of gun-wielding demons. This battle has been going on for a couple weeks and the fighting quite literally hasn’t stopped since the first shot was fired. With only 2,500 soldiers of WORLD squaring off against a squadron of over 10,000 demons, the forces from Hell have been trying to win this fight by sheer numbers alone. But for the most part the demons have only succeeded in getting slaughtered.
Allia and Celestia’s soldiers, who hail from the Dravic Branch of the La’Juutian military took to the new weapons of this war brilliantly. All it took was a month of training and they excelled to a level that caught Hell’s forces off guard.
Even with WORLD’s success, there are still heavy casualties on their side as well, more than half of their soldiers have fallen and are steadily running low on able bodied men to continue a full on attack on Tronoble.
This is why they are in the process of a final push to secure the most important city on the map for both sides.
They are not using a straightforward method to do it though, they are using a Rain Von Ronheim strategy and split into groups in order to work their way around the defenses leading to the last remaining demon stronghold and push their way in from a multitude of directions.
This has turned this battle into a horrifying close combat fight, one would go down an alleyway and find an enemy standing there just a few feet away, a gunshot would ensue, and the victor who won that alleyway would leave it behind and go onto the next in a desperate attempt to win just a block of the city. Soldiers would enter into a house to vie for position and meet a group of enemies trying to do the same.
It’s urban warfare in its truest form.
It’s this level of surprise that goes along with each step that makes the battle traumatizing, one wrong turn down a road or one room entered at the wrong time will result in a sudden death. This turned into a battle of reflexes and pure grit. In some cases, the two enemies are too close to lift their rifles in enough time, and since the majority of them don’t have handheld weapons, it usually results in a fist fight. They’d grab whatever was around, bricks, broken glass, anything they could get their hands on to inflict a fatal blow.
The battle is eerily similar to the fighting in a previous world war where soldiers got stranded after a failed operation smack dab in the middle of enemy territory. While waiting for reinforcements struggling to reach them, they fought tooth and nail, room by room and street by street until they were forced to surrender.
It got to the point where the two forces were so close to each other the entire battle, that a group from one side was sleeping at the bottom floor of a building whilst another group from the other army was sleeping upstairs without even knowing about it. Come morning time, all of them fought it out in the claustrophobic place that quickly turned into a bloodstained battlefield.
The fighting between WORLD and the army of Hell is no different. The enemy is just that close.
With the pressure mounting and massive losses accumulating, one would think that the demons would likely attempt to escape, however this particular battle, the entire war for that matter, is a take no prisoner fight to the death.
By enclosing the demons in their stronghold, they can assure that they kill them all off without the possibility of escape.
But doing that is easier said than done, there’s likely over a thousand demons left in and around the commander’s stronghold, which is the very large building once used as the city hall of Tronoble, and is well protected by soldiers stationed outside.
Just a couple blocks down the road outside of the alleyway where the three girls are, is that very stronghold. After two weeks of intense fighting the forces of WORLD have finally converged on their final destination.
If they can take this final building, they win.
“Almost there.” Rain said as she peeks her head around the corner to look at what lies ahead.
There’s a barricade of about 15 demons or so guarding themselves behind sandbags and barbed wire that stretches the length of the street leading to the stronghold.
Within a second, the area of wall just in front of her face is pelted with bullets, causing her to swing her head back into the safety of the alleyway.
“Take it easy Princess, we don’t want your pretty face to get blown off. Noah would be devastated.” Elise said with a smile and patted Rain’s shoulder.
“I can’t help it, even after being in this battlefield for this long I’m still not used to things getting shot at me like that... And how many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me Princess??”
Elise ignores Rain and turns to Celestia before saying, “She’s right, I can’t get used to this either. Is this really how people used to fight their wars? The world must have been a crazy place back in the day.”
Celestia sighs and says, “You guys are pathetic, Allia and I got used to this battlefield the moment those guys shot at us. Once a bullet whizzes past your face it makes you realize that our way of fighting is obsolete.”
“Says the girl who still carries her shield around.”
Celestia, who’s holding her shield in her right hand and a smaller rifle in the left, puffs when she says, “A shield blocks bullets, a hammer doesn’t.”
She gestures to Elise, who is also holding a gun but has her large pointed hammer tied to her back.
Elise smiles and pulls it from her sheath and swings it above her head when she replies, “I don’t buy what you're selling, you’re just like me and can’t fight without the weapon that saved your ass so many times. This thing’s gonna come in handy out here sooner or later, I just know it. There’s no way I’m leaving my hammer behind.”
“I highly doubt that.”
“Um...” Rain mutters, looking uncomfortable.
“What is it?”
“Shouldn’t we find another place to take cover? Since the demons know our location they might try to rush us.”
“Nyaah they wouldn’t do that.” Celestia answers, “They’re taking on fire from the other groups of WORLD as well so they won’t risk running out in the open.”
“Then what you’re saying is that we’re essentially at a stalemate? We can’t move out in the open to charge in either, it doesn’t matter how much cover fire we have, we’d be picked off.”
“Now now Princess, negativity gets us nowhere.” Elise says, “We have a secret weapon remember?”
Celestia pulls a little round ball out of a knapsack she keeps on her side and hands it to Elise.
“Alright!” Elise says as she stands to her feet and gets to the middle of the alleyway. “Let’s do this.”
“Is that it?” Rain asks.
To which Celestia answers, “It’s half of it. That ball is full of gunpowder and can be used as a barricade buster.”
Rain’s face lights up, that ball is very similar to the Eiyalazonian hand-bombs she used against the Trojan soldiers during her first battle with Ash and Zurvick’s old division. She knows how destructive these kinds of weapons are.
Elise tosses it up just outside the alleyway and into the line of fire, she then throws both hands on the grip of her hammer and swings at the gunpowder ball with all her might.
A high pitched ping noise like a baseball bat is heard and the ball goes flying in the direction of the soldiers. Within a split second the demons behind the sandbags pepper bullets at their position and Elise swiftly shifts her body back into the cover of the alley.
“See! I told you my hammer would come in handy!” Elise said while wearing a dumb smile and directing it at Celestia.
“That doesn’t even count! You could’ve have done that with anything!”
Rain jumps in between the two and shouts, “What in the world are you guys arguing about?? Hitting the ball over to their position isn’t going to do any damage if it wasn’t lit first!”
She’s right, gunpowder isn’t just going to blow up by itself, that hand bomb is nothing like Seiri’s, it needs a spark or flame of some sort to do explode.
“I thought I told you, we have a secret weapon.”
The unlighted bomb blew up and Rain could even feel the heat of the blast from around the corner of the building.
“Allia is in a secure position about a half mile away that allows her to key in on the predetermined route we’re taking to the enemy base. She’s there to lay down cover fire and get us out of whatever pinch we find ourselves in.” Celestia said as she fearlessly walks out into the open street.
She’s confident that the bomb did enough damage to destroy the defensive position set up by the demons. At worst she figures that if there are any survivors they’d be unable to fight. And once the smoke clears, she finds that to exactly be the case; the sandbag barricade is pretty much ripped to shreds and the demon manning the machine gun is slumped over the weapon with half its face missing.
A couple others lie dead on the ground and the few survivors are lying beside them groaning in pain.
“Let’s go, if we can make our way through a couple of these buildings along the street without being noticed, we’ll infiltrate their lines and have Allia take out the ones behind us as we make our way. We can clear a path for reinforcements once we reach our destination.”
Rain is amazed at how smoothly these Knights operate in the heat of battle, especially in a battle as crazy as this. It didn’t take any coordination between them and their comrade hiding a half mile away for the two of them to work together and destroy an enemy blockade.
Allia must have been watching them the entire time and once she saw that ball flying from their position, she had the presence of mind and the incredible accuracy to hit that small moving target from so far away.
“Wait a second.” Elise says, shaking her head and holding out her hand. “Couldn’t Allia have just shot them all down while we sat by and waited?”
“Nyahh, if she started picking them off, there would’ve been a good chance they’d abandon their position and try to go on the offensive. Despite the fact they know that there are bound to be others around that can shoot them, when the position that they think is safe actually isn’t, they run out of options and are forced to either flee or charge. In a battle like this where every street corner is crucial, I’m willing to guarantee that they wouldn’t have retreated. When we’re outnumbered, it’s best to keep the opposing force stationary.”
“Hmm, that makes sense.”
The three girls walk to the destroyed barricade and the two Knights don’t hesitate to shoot the three injured demons left alive after the blast. Their heads pretty much explode after being shot from point blank range and the two girls walk right on by them without a care in the world.
Once again Rain is surprised, to be able to do something like that without flinching, even though it’s an enemy, it really shows just how much they are used to killing. To them it was like swatting a fly when it gets too close, sure it’s just a fly, but it was still a living thing, but people simply don’t think anything of it when they kill it.
However, these demons aren’t flies, they were intelligent beings no different from a human in a sense. It was born, lived a life filled with many experiences, and eventually was killed like a worthless bug. Its life amounted to something as small as that.
What Rain has had a hard time dealing with since joining in this battle is their appearances; the majority of them really look no different from regular humans. Barring odd colored eyes, the occasional horn, pointed ears or sharp teeth, they really look like any other human you’d see on the street.
The three girls immediately cut to the right and enter a three story building that doubled as a house and a place of business. It looks as though it was likely a bakery, there are shelves and a glass counter that was once used to showcase the day’s breads and pastries: both of which are now completely gutted.
After the initial invasion on Tronoble by the soldiers of Hell, all shops like these were ransacked and all goods that could be used to benefit the soldiers were taken. A countless number of business owners were slaughtered as a result. And the demons didn’t let their bodies go to waste either, in the beginning of the battle, they used the bodies of the citizens as blockades on the larger roads as to not waste sandbags too early in the fight.
Whole streets were blocked off by hundreds of stacked bodies, forcing the soldiers of WORLD to make their way through the booby trapped houses in order to pass. But what the demons didn’t expect is that this particular squadron they’re fighting against were trained to such a level that they carry no emotion. Celestia had them set up refined gunpowder vases and used them as dynamite to blow the stack of bodies into the sky. Even though the streets were covered in blood and pieces of flesh, the WORLD’s Riflemen made their way past without much thought or remorse.
Even knowing that there’s probably nothing of worth left in the bakery, Celestia still finds it necessary to search for anything left behind. She’s always thinking ahead, and just about anything can come in handy in times like these. It wasn’t all that long ago that she used a flask and her shirt to help Allia defeat Captain Red Spektor; if she were to find alcohol, she could use it as a weapon or as a means to disinfect a light wound.
But she figures that finding something so convenient that hasn’t already been taken would be too lucky even for her, so instead she walks behind the glass case and looks inside. It’s obvious that there isn’t anything in there, but she’s not looking for bread, she grabs a small metal tray used to carry the baked goods atop the metal poles stretching across the showcase.
She holds it above her head and looks at her reflection, one can see that her mind is trying to think of how she can put this thing to good use.
“Make sure you pay attention Princess, these guys can pop up out of nowhere.” Elise said as she slowly opens a door to the outside and pokes her head out.
Seeing that the coast is clear, she relaxes and signals the others to exit first.
Celestia, with tray in hand, smiles as though she has just found a hidden treasure and starts walking towards the exit.
“Why do you keep calling me that anyways?” Rain asks as she follows Elise’s gesture.
“With your smarts, you’d think you’d have been able to figure that out by now.”
Rain figured that she has been calling her princess because of her relationship with Noah, but she hasn’t gotten to the point of even thinking that far ahead as a couple, so being called that just annoys her. It makes her seem like a pampered brat.
“Would you just tell me already? Jeez.”
As soon as Rain finished saying that, she hears the sound of footsteps come rushing towards her.
But before she could react, a demon comes running in through the door.
The demon didn’t know they were there, so both he and the three girls are caught completely off guard.
As mentioned earlier, this is a battle of reflexes, and as a Knight, Elise is well equipped in that regard.
She slams the wooden door shut and it crunches his neck in between the door and the wall, pinning him in place with his head in the room.
“Shoot him!” Elise shouts, her glare pointing at Rain because it’ll take a little time for Celestia to position herself to take the shot.
Rain hesitates at first, but lifts her rifle and points it right between the demon’s eyes. Staring at his face through the sights of her gun, she can see that just like the others, he looks exactly like a regular human. His face is a little pale and his eyes are an evil looking dark orange color, but he certainly looks like a young man not much older than she is.
He’s wearing the enemy uniform, a black and gray trench coat lined with red thread stitching, the buttons on his outfit carry the emblem of Hell, the pentagram.
Just seeing that symbol is enough for Rain to abandon all thoughts that makes her see the person before her as a human. That pentagram has caused her so much grief that just the sight of it makes her cringe.
Rain has taken enough time that the demon moves his one free hand to pull something out of a holster on his side. That simple motion is enough to throw the sense that her life is in danger straight into her mind, all forms of hesitation vanishes when her instincts take over.
She squeezes her trigger finger and...
The demon takes a bullet square in the middle of his face and his head explodes.
Contrary to popular belief, when a person is shot, blood doesn’t squirt out in a thick puddle like the movies, it actually comes out as a big puff of steam like vapor. That red cloud spreads quickly and spray-paints Elise and Rain with the warm liquid.
The demon’s lifeless body goes limp and Elise lets go of her grip on the door and he drops to the ground in a heavy thud.
“Guaahh, gross!” Elise said as she pulls a handkerchief out of her bag and wipes the blood off her face.
Standing there motionlessly is Rain, almost in a state of shock. That was the first demon she’s ever killed, and for whatever reason it has affected her in an odd way. She remembers all the times she has killed before, but she was under the influence of Satan’s evil, this is the first life she’s taken since she returned to being a normal girl.
Elise tosses the bloody handkerchief to Rain and even through her dazed state she is able to catch it, she uses it to wipe the blood as well and stays silent.
“Well I guess I can’t call you Princess anymore.” Elise said with a sigh as she pulls the dead demon into the bakery and begins emptying its pockets.
“Is it because I have my first kill?”
“No, stupid, it’s because of your outfit.”
“Yeah, you’re wearing a frilly dress in a bloody battle, it’s kind of ridiculous.”
Rain tilts her head and asks, “Seriously?”
“Yup, that damn dress hasn’t even been touched until just now. When it’s all covered in blood at least you kinda look like you belong here.”
Rain frowns and shouts, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!! I’ve been stressing over it for a while now, and it was for something as silly as that??”
“Hey look at this!” Elise shouted, completely ignoring Rain’s displeasure.
Celestia walks to their side and ganders over Elise’s shoulder to look.
“Uwaah, that’s the coolest looking one we’ve found so far!”
Clasped in the dead demon’s hand is the weapon he failed to pull out before he was shot in the face. It’s a handgun that’s bulky where the handle and trigger is but the barrel looks like a cigar attached to the bulk.
If one was from a time in the past, they’d instantly recognize is as a Luger.
“Does he have any extra ammo?” Celestia asks.
Elise reaches into a pouch at his side and pulls out five extra clips filled with 9mm bullets, she holds it up and smiles as though she had just found gold.
“This is great! It’s so much fun finding all the different goodies these guys carry!”
What she meant by ‘goodies’, are the weapons that they’ve found on the demons. Celestia has gathered enough weapons over the last two weeks to reverse engineer, that civilization as a whole will take a colossal jump towards the future if humanity manages to win the war. Things ranging from grenades, automatic rifles, even flamethrowers have been found among the bodies of the enemies they have been lucky enough to defeat.
However, not all of the demons are carrying high tech weapons from time-frames unknown to WORLD, the majority are equipped with exactly the same kind of rifles as them. So to Celestia, finding new weapons makes her feel similar to how one would feel after defeating a group of bad guys in a video game; after the pixels of their former bodies disappear into videogame heaven, an awesome new and stronger weapon is left behind that can be used to inflict even more damage to the bad guys, which in turn raises your EXP.
Every time Celestia finds a new weapon, something in her brain clicks and she becomes fascinated; usually, she has a couple Riflemen in her division with her to escort the goods back to base-camp, but since it’s just the three of them, she is forced to use it herself.
In this case, that turns out to help her; the pistol is lightweight and small, she can carry it in one hand and keep her shield in the other. So just like a videogame, she ditches the larger weapon impeding her mobility and takes the smaller one into her person and can sense her agility points rise exponentially.
“This thing’s perfect, I hope you don’t mind that I take this one do you?”
“I don’t.” Rain replied, only now getting the last bit of blood off her face. “We should get going, we can’t afford to have this guy’s backups find us dawdling here.”
Elise smiles and tosses the body out of the way before opening the door once more to look outside. “Now you’re really sounding less like a princess and more like a soldier. I gotta say, it’s turning me one super bad right now.”
“Save your perverted talk for that little girl. We need to get this over with, we’re almost to their stronghold.”
“Nyah she’s right, let’s go.”
Celestia is the first one through the door and as soon as she reaches the alleyway she takes a sharp turn to the right and cautiously runs along the walls. At any second, a squad of enemy soldiers can come around the corner, so she holds her shield in front of her chest and the Luger just above it, ready to pull the trigger at a moment’s notice.
The three girls take a quick dash across the street and enter yet another opening in the buildings and reach the side of the large structure being used as a stronghold by the enemy forces.
Here's the tricky part, it’s likely that Allia has been sniping any enemy soldiers encroaching on them as they made their way to this point, but as soon as they enter the building they are on their own.
Without cover fire, it’s going to be a close quarters fight possibly against hundreds of demons. The reason it’s not more is because just around the corner in front of a different part of the stronghold, the WORLD’s Riflemen are closing in, and the demons are doing everything they can to keep them at bay. But the allies still aren't close enough, judging by how far away the Riflemen are, it's obvious that the fire in coming from this side of the stronghold is doing absurdly well at holding them back from even reaching the other parts.
As the leading force, even though they only number three, it was originally planned for them to be the first ones to break through. Celestia figured that two Knights should be more than enough to damage the stronghold from the inside while the opposing force is distracted by the commotion outside, allowing the remainder of WORLD to force their way in and claim victory.
The problem is, the other members of WORLD are moving too slow. Celestia, Elise, and Rain simply cannot hold on for too long inside the building. There was already a huge risk involved in jumping right into such a disadvantage, any more odds stacked against them would likely be the death of them.
However, they also can't just camp here and wait for the others, this isn't the kind of battlefield where you have the leisure to stay in one position for too long.
Elise takes the butt end of her rifle and smashes in a window about head high to them; she clears the shards of broken glass and is ready to climb inside when something flies out of the window and zooms right past her face.
Elise dodges the metal object and it flies over the other two’s heads and hits the wall behind them with a solid clunk noise. It bounces a couple times and comes to rest right in between Rain’s legs.
“What’s this thing?” Rain asks as she watches the metal object that’s shaped almost like a torch spin along the ground like a top tipped on its side.
Celestia and Elise know exactly what that thing is.
The Model 24 Stielhandgranate.
They know that once that grenade stops spinning, it’s lights out for all three in such a crowded space; pinned against two buildings in a small alleyway, if that thing blows, their body parts will be painted on the walls.
“Get out of the way!!”
Elise grabs the grenade from under her legs and without looking, turns her whole body and throws it back towards the window.
In the sheer adrenaline rush, she still managed to throw it right through.
However, that grenade was on the ground long enough that it’ll likely explode any second.
Knowing that, Celestia takes her shield and covers a large part of the broken window.
Elise grabs Rain’s head and covers her as she takes her to the ground.
Celestia ducks her head as far as she can below the window while keeping the shield above her when...
The grenade explodes and sends debris and shrapnel flying through the gaps of Celestia’s shield and window. Elise and Rain are instantly covered in soot and are pelted by broken pieces of brick.
Once the ringing in their ears fade, Elise gets up from guarding Rain and shouts, “How did they know we were here!?”
“They must have caught us running across the street! Our surprise attack just blew up in our face! If we’ve been spotted before we could even do any damage, we’re as good as dead!”
“Then what are we supposed to do now??” Rain asks.
“Shit...” Celestia hisses, “We don’t have a choice. Rain, I want you to retreat back to the others.”
“What? Why just me?”
“Elise and I will continue as planned and engage with the enemy inside the stronghold.”
“We can’t afford to have you get hurt in there, before the enemy knew we were here, it was fine having you tag along because you’d be able to contribute in a surprise attack. But since they know we’re coming, you’re only gonna get in our way in an all-out attack.”
“Wait.” Elise says, getting their attention. “Isn’t it even more risky to let her go out on her own? I know the Riflemen are just around the corner, but so is the enemy. One wrong turn and she’s dead.”
Celestia sighs and is steadily becoming impatient, it’s only a matter of time before the demons make their move toward their position, arguing over this is only increasing their risk of dying.
“Take this.” she said as she pulls the metal tray she grabbed from the bakery out of a pouch on her side. She hands it to Rain and says, “Use this to look around the corners. If you use it right it’ll work like a mirror for you so you can see what’s ahead. If you see enemies, go the other way, if you see allies, make sure you run towards them with your gun held over your head or they’ll shoot you.”
“Now hurry the hell up and go!”
Rain takes off running and Celestia immediately turns back towards the window.
“Is this really wise?” Elise asks.
“It’s the only way, if we can get in and disturb this particular part of the stronghold, it will give the others an ample opportunity to get in, we just need to stay alive until then."
“Alright, no point in thinking about it any more!”
Elise jumps up and does a handstand atop the butt end of her hammer and uses the centrifugal force of that movement to catapult herself right through the broken window and into the building.
Celestia doesn’t hesitate and throws her shield inside, the shield sticks to the roof and with a simple flick of her wrist the wire connecting it retracts and she is flung inside as well.
The two Knights didn’t even flinch before throwing themselves right into enemy territory without so much as a clue to just how many combatants they’ll face.
Once inside, their instincts take over and with quick eyes, they position themselves to attack the first thing that moves.
Something is completely off.
Upon closer inspection, they can see that there are a multitude of different weapons positioned on latches that are pointing out of the windows and into the open. High powered machine guns, flamethrowers, and even a bazooka; this is definitely where that intense fire was coming from.
It was so intense that the Riflemen have been held back solely from this specific part of the building.
There’s no one in this room.
The two sit there in confusion, the gunfire from their allies had stopped as well because the sudden halt in fire from here. The people on the ground are likely just as confused as the two Knights are at this moment.
This is when they hear a slight rumbling of some rubble sliding across the ground. The two shift their attention towards the noise and see someone dressed completely in black from head to toe slowly make its way to its feet.
The two instantly guard themselves as they watch this person shakily get up.
On a normal occasion, they wouldn’t hesitate to shoot it back down to the ground but they are simply too surprised to lift a finger.
The reason why is this person’s appearance.
It is almost completely torn to shreds. Its left arm is dangling from a piece of flesh connecting it to its shoulder, its head and chest are riddled with bullet holes and its left leg is bent in at least three different directions.
Other than being shot a countless number of times, the grenade that Elise threw through the window likely did the rest of the damage.
But that's besides the point, whatever the reason, there’s no way that this thing should still be moving.
It hobbles towards a machine gun pointed out one of the windows and begins firing outside towards the incoming Riflemen. The instant that it pulls the trigger, return fire rips through the opening of the window and pelts it with dozens of bullets.
Yet the person in the window doesn’t flinch, it keeps on shooting as though the bullets were harmless.
“I-Is this really happening?” Celestia asks, completely in shock. “Is this really the only enemy in this entire building!?”
It’s now that whatever that thing clad in black is notices the presence of the two girls. It turns around, all the while taking bullets in its back and is unaffected by them when it ignores its mangled leg and jumps forward.
That simple movement was enough to easily cover the distance between it and the two Knights.
For whatever odd reason, the two girls feel true fear for the first time as soldiers.
Rain dashes across an opening of an alleyway and plants her back against a structure connected to one of the main roads. It’s obvious that a gruesome battle took place on this road because there are dozens, if not hundreds of dead bodies from both sides sprawled out all along the road.
Knowing that a battle took place earlier at this very spot, it’s likely that both sides of the battle moved on to a different location. She just needs to make sure she runs the right way to rendezvous with her allies.
It wouldn’t be smart to blindly dash towards the direction she thinks the Riflemen are in, so she takes Celestia’s advice and uses the metal tray to make sure. She wraps her arm around the corner and starts positioning it to see the reflection of whatever is down the road.
After a couple seconds, she finally spots something.
But what she catches in the tray’s reflection isn’t one of her allies, nor is it a uniformed soldier of Hell.
But whatever it is, she gets a feeling that it isn’t good.
It looks to be a person, and he or she is clad in a black robe that covers the top of his head and drags against the ground. It looks as though it is searching for something amongst the bodies and when it spots an injured man struggling to stay alive, it halts and leans down towards him.
The injured man is barely moving and is covered in blood, Rain can’t see the details through the reflection of the tray but can tell that his legs have been shot out so bad that there’s no way the injured man can move away.
The person clad in black raises its right arm and a purple light shines in the palm of its hand. This pale hand raised in the air is the only part of the person not covered by the black outfit.
Almost as though it was waiting for enough strength to form in its palm before striking, it viciously strikes the injured soldier’s chest and quickly retracts its arm back in a swift motion.
Flashing in the palm of the person in black’s hand is a blue orb. As soon as that orb exited the injured man’s body, his frame goes limp and is obviously dead.
The person in black then raises the hand holding the orb and the blue ball of light flies into the sky in a twirling motion.
(What the hell was that??) Rain thinks to herself, frozen stiff while watching through the reflection of the tray.
She tries to stay as silent as possible, knowing full well that whatever that person is, can and will kill her if it spots her.
She slowly retreats the tray back behind the cover of the wall but is brutally shocked when the smoke above her filled with debris breaks for a split second, and the sun shines off the tray in a bright light.
The light bounces off the tray and in a sheer form of misfortune, hits the person in black square on its face.
The demon turns towards her and she immediately moves her arm back. Silent and nervous, she hopes that the person didn’t notice her, and after a couple seconds without hearing any footsteps nearing, she thinks that just might have been the case.
Slowly, she maneuvers the tray back around the corner to see if it’s still there, and to her relief, the person clad in black is nowhere to be found. Only the broken bits of building, rubble, and dead bodies can be seen.
She takes a sigh of relief and follows it with a deep breath.
And that’s when she hears something heavy land right in front of her.
That something, is the person in black.
The monster in front of her somehow got on top of the building and jumped right over her head without her knowing.
But the physics of such a thing are lost on Rain, her instincts scream for her to run, especially when this person’s pale hand is preparing to strike her.
In the middle of the pale right hand is a purple light shining in the form of a pentagram, the horrid symbol that Rain knows all too well has once again shown itself to her, but this time it’s much more sinister, much more menacing.
She must get away from it.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Rain throws her body to the right and the person’s hand crashes into the wall behind.
If narrowly avoiding that strike wasn’t enough of an obstacle, the brick wall of the building she was leaning on is completely obliterated.
Brick and rubble crashes along the ground and hits Rain all over, the concussion of that attack was enough to send the entire corner of the building out onto the street and push Rain a few meters away.
With no time to properly recuperate, Rain looks up through blurry vision and sees a black mass walking up to her, holding out the hand shining in a purple light.
She knows she needs to get away, but even if her body wasn’t numb from the blast, there’d still be no way she could escape from this monster.
Whatever this person did to the soldier on the ground is only seconds away from happening to her.
By the hands of this unknown monster standing before her, Rain will die here on the street in the ruins of Tronoble.
Allia is in a very well hidden spot of a tattered building looking through her scope at the ensuing battle to take the stronghold of Hell’s army. This particular room she’s sniping from is pretty much completely covered in rubble, in fact, this couldn’t even be called a room, it’s just the top of a building that’s been utterly destroyed and a pile of brick and dust has taken its place.
Allia dug a 4 by 4 foot hole through this mess of stone and soot and reinforced it with some wooden beams she found scattered throughout the town; by doing this it keeps her covered and obscure. If the demons found out what general direction the sniper was positioned, they’d look towards the windows way before they spotted such a small opening in the rubble. And say they did, Allia is well protected by the rubble, she’s more or less surrounded herself in a stationary armored tank of sorts.
Luckily for her, it has yet to get to that point; the very few demons that shot anywhere near her aimed for the windows of the two higher buildings to the right and left of her. She also chose this spot solely because it isn’t the highest point; when people are fired upon from a hidden location, they automatically assume that the sniper is camped out as high as can be.
While the demons shot at the windows of those buildings, Allia picked them off before they could alert the others.
She’s systematically killing off full platoons at a time, and continues to do so even now.
Through her scope she sees a group of five enemy soldiers preparing to enter a building leading towards a group of allied soldiers of WORLD. If the two groups meet in the middle, one of them would be wiped out. She can’t risk losing any allies when they’re so close to pushing into the stronghold, so she adjusts her cross-hairs directly at the head of one of the demons.
However, she isn’t aiming at the leading demon poking his head inside the doorway to see if the coast is clear.
Instead, she chooses the one furthest back and pulls the trigger.
The demon’s head explodes and the others in front of him have yet to notice.
This is exactly why she’s shooting the ones in the back first, if she took out the leader, then the other four would hunker down behind some cover, making it harder and more time consuming to shoot them.
Without giving the other demons time to notice, she takes four more quick shots and hits her target perfectly every time. Within ten seconds, all 5 demons are dead, and the allied soldiers of WORLD safely make their way through the building and out the other side toward the stronghold.
“Alright.” Allia says to herself, “Now to see how Celestia and the others are doing.”
Slightly shifting her body to the left, her scope lands on the part of the stronghold that’s giving the Riflemen the most fits, there’s been steady fire coming from multiple windows, keeping WORLD from advancing. She has been firing a countless number of bullets into those windows, and is certain that she’s shot the shooter(s) dozens of times over.
The firing didn’t stop no matter how many people she thought she’s shot.
She didn’t stop sniping that building until she saw Celestia and Elise enter a window to the structure, and immediately afterwards the fire from the windows ceased, so she assumes that the two Knights are either engaging the target or they have already eliminated it.
“Well there’s nothing I can do for them now, I better keep an eye out for Rain.”
Again moving the cross-hairs of her scope, she catches sight of something that makes her heart skip a beat.
Rain literally flew into the street in a blast of brick and is slow to get up.
“Oh crap, Rain!”
And then, from behind the corner of the broken wall, a person clad in black walks toward her downed comrade. It leans down towards her, holding out its hand as if wanting to grab her.
Being the expert marksmen she is, Allia doesn’t hesitate to catch the person’s head in the middle of her cross-hairs and pulls the trigger.
Without much of a sound or recoil, she keeps her sight through her scope and watches the hood being worn by this mysterious person shred in multiple different directions in a plume of mist. The bullet hit right through its head and hit the dusty ground, sending another cloud of dust puffing into the air.
The person she figures to be a demon staggers and looks like it’ll fall lifelessly to the ground any moment.
This demon doesn’t fall, it stands astute and as if shaking it off, twitches his body in a disgusting way and again reaches towards Rain.
The silent bass noise rings in through the tunnel Allia is in as she sent another bullet screaming into the demon’s side.
The bullet again rips through the demon’s body and hits the ground below; the impact was so forceful that the entirety of the demon’s frame is covered in smoke as it fell to the floor on its side.
Rain is scared stiff, but it would seem she regained her senses and dashed off across the tattered street and ran into an adjacent alleyway, disappearing behind a house.
Allia takes a deep breath through her nose as she waits for the smoke to clear and hopefully reveal the dead demon. She’s sure it has to be dead, she can’t explain why it kept moving after a head shot, but her last shot should have almost cut it in half, there’s no way it would still be standing... Right?
The demon did not only stand to its feet, it started sprinting right towards her, its arms flailing in the wind behind it as each step it takes covers over ten meters. Obstacles like mountains of rubble, barricades, and bodies, are nothing to it. It simply takes a giant step and easily scales those hurdles like they aren’t even there.
Not only does this demon seem to know exactly where she is, but it’s closing in on her so fast that if she doesn’t act now, it will be right on top of her in a blink of an eye.
She fires another shot at the person in her scope that seemingly grows larger as it gets closer.
The bullet hits into the right side of its chest and its body does an awkward 360 degree turn before landing back on its feet and continuing to run as though it wasn't shot at all.
Allia is floored with shock, but all she can do is shoot again.
This time, she aims at one of its legs, if she could at least incapacitate it, she’d be able to send as many bullets as she wants into it.
With a frantic pull of the trigger, the bullet hits the demon’s right knee and blows its leg right off.
It stumbles for a slight moment and begins its nosedive into a pile of rubble, but before it falls it braces itself with its left hand and pushes off of it, sending its body into a leaping front-flip and lands on its left leg right on top of the mountain of rubble.
In a swift motion, it pushes its weight down and jumps ridiculously high and lands atop the building directly in front of Allia.
Allia’s voice cracked as she shouted that, she can’t comprehend this at all.
The demon kicks off its one good leg again and takes a colossal leap. This time, when it lands, it will be right on top of Allia.
She no longer needs to use her scope, the demon is so close that she can clearly see the defining features of this encroaching monster.
Half of its head is gone, there’s a hole the size of a melon in its stomach, and the right side of its chest has a hole cut so clean that she can see right through it and into the sky.
All of these shots should have been fatal, there’s no way that this thing should still be moving.
A unpleasant sweat is felt rolling down her temple as this moment of time seems to move in slow motion. Feeling as though her movements are sluggish, she aims at the only spot on this monster’s body she has yet to shoot, and once locked on target, she sees something bright shining through a gap in its black robe right where its heart should be.
A bright purple light in the shape of a pentagram is pulsating.
Allia doesn’t know what that is or why it’s there, but time won't wait for her to try to figure it out. With that light shining so bright, it has presented itself as the crystal clear target for her to shoot at.
With the demon literally right on top of her, she knows that if this shot doesn't kill it, she’s as good as dead.
One of them will die upon the pull of this trigger.
Allia shoots, and scores a direct hit.
The light in the pentagram instantly goes black and the menacing presence that is the person attacking her, turns hollow and loses any form of coordination as if flies forward.
Allia instinctively shuts her eyes as the person in black crashes into the pile of rubble she’s built the tunnel through just above her head.
(Did I get him??)
She's a hundred percent sure she got him, what she’s wondering is if that was enough to finally kill it. After seeing what that thing was capable of, she wants no part in venturing outside of her tunnel to investigate, but if by any chance that thing really is still alive, she’d be an easy kill while holed up in such a cramp space.
Allia pokes her head out of the hole and decides to quickly rush out; she gets to her feet, then turns and points her magnetic rifle at the demon pinned in the dirt and stone of the pile of rubble.
She glares at it for a couple seconds, and when it shows no sign of breathing and doesn’t move, she’s pretty sure that it’s dead.
She isn't the type of character to fall for the trap typically presented in cheap horror films where the heroin thinks she killed the monster, only to breathe a sigh of relief and have the monster come up and grab her from behind once she started walking away.
The Knight viciously fires two more shots into the downed demon, one in its stomach that blows a chunk out of it so big in almost decapitates it, and the other shot was fired into the demon’s left leg, and blew that right off too. Even if the demon could still move after the torso shot, it wouldn’t go very far with no legs.
It’s only now that Allia can breathe a true sigh of relief and feels relatively safe; the adrenaline jitters still flutter in her chest as she tries to calm herself down.
After regaining her composure, she climbs up the pile of rubble and looks down on whatever it was that attacked her and Rain, and to her surprise, she finds that what she thought was a demon, is actually a human man.
Even with half his face missing, and covered in very large bullet holes, enough of his black outfit is shredded to reveal all of the human features she’d find on anyone else. Except for the pentagram on his hand that now looks like a flesh wound caused by a branding iron, and the pentagram over his heart with a bullet hole square in the middle of it that has the same features.
There’s something wrong here, there’s no way a human could take that much damage and still move, in fact, there’s no way anything could move like that after such devastating attacks.
“Unless...” she says to herself, her shoulders jump as if realizing something the instant she put some thought into it. “Unless he was already dead to begin with!?”
Allia quickly turns back around towards the skyline of the ruined city of Tronoble, she’s certain that if this thing is here, there are most likely more.
And to her dismay, that turns out to exactly be the case.
The scene laid out in front of her frightens her to her core.
WORLD’s forces all collectively converge on the demon stronghold, but they aren’t met with any resistance. The reason why is because the very few demons who so desperately defended that large building are seen retreating towards the mountain range behind the city. It’s as though they fully planned on retreating from the beginning, it’s as though they were just holding out until something else had arrived.
“This can’t be...”
Standing ominously atop the roof of the now captured stronghold are hundreds of those monsters clad in black. More of their black silhouettes appear all along the rooftops, their numbers keep growing and growing until almost the entire skyline of Tronoble is painted black.
And it doesn’t stop there, running impossibly down the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains are even more of them, thousands of them make their way past the retreating demons.
Because of her vantage point, it’s likely that she’s the only one who can see all of this unfold; the soldiers on the streets are simply going about business as usual, likely thinking that the hard fought battle has finally been won.
And when Allia sees a red flare shot from one of the streets enter the smokey gray sky, followed by over a dozen more from many different parts of the city, she knows that the Riflemen are thinking just that.
Those flares are meant to be a signal to the 40,000 other soldiers Rain brought along that tells them they can enter the city and all of them can start heading north.
She looks behind her and the mass of La’Juutian solders parked outside of the city start to rush in.
As if on cue, the monsters clad in black make their way towards them and jump across the tops of all the buildings so swiftly it's as though they were one giant wave of the ocean flowing over the rocks on shore.
If the two forces meet, it’s obvious which one would be annihilated.
The monsters numbering in the thousands would catch the incoming soldiers of WORLD off guard and kill them all so quick it would barely be called a fight.
All Allia can do is watch in horror as the monsters make their way towards her once more, she doesn’t even have time to hide before they are just a building’s jump away.
There’s no way out of this one, no matter how good of a marksmen she is, no matter how strong of a warrior she is, she doesn’t stand a chance against thousands of beings that hold such incredible power. There’s nothing she can do this time, and the severe pain of hopelessness rips through her body like an avalanche.
It’ll be over any second now.
She again slams her eyes shut and is met with a sound that instantly makes her open them right back. A sound like flocking birds flying all around hits her senses and confuses her to the point where she has to see what is happening.
This is when she watches the thousands of monsters clad in black jump and run right over her head and along the buildings next to her.
At this very moment, the 40,000 soldiers of WORLD rush into the city and make their way to the stronghold; surely the people in black will attack them once the two forces meet.
But that never happens, as if the people below them weren't there, the monsters make their way along the buildings right on past them and move so quickly away that it only took a minute or so until they exit the entire city and rush off into the southbound horizon.
Why wasn’t she and the others attacked?
What could this possibly mean?
Allia’s thoughts are consumed with questions like these, she can’t even grab onto one and try to make sense of it. There’s simply too much to think about and it’s overwhelming her senses.
It takes her so much time to get them in order that by the time she does, the people in black have disappeared out in the distance. It’s only now that she snaps out of it and an answer presents itself.
But the problem is that this answer confuses her even more.
“This whole thing... This battle was just a diversion.” she says, her voice raspy with shock. “The demons never cared about this city, they just used it to buy time and distract us while they were preparing their trump card...”
Allia drops to her knees and lets the strap of her rifle slide off her shoulder and the gun hits the floor with a loud clunk.
Why would they ignore the allied army?
Why wouldn't they protect what's supposed to be the most important city on the map?
There can only be one reason.
If what she says is true, that’d mean that the army of Hell sacrificed thousands of its soldiers just to make the pathway quicker and easier for whatever those monsters are.
If what she says is true, that’d mean that whatever those monsters are, are far stronger and more valuable than a full army of demon soldiers armed to the teeth with high-tech weapons.
That’d mean that they fell right into a trap that allowed such powerful beings to slide right past them.
That’d mean that the offensive roles have been switched, and they’re now going to have to race those monsters to each of their final destinations.
Seeing how thousands of them made their way through Tronoble in only a few minutes, she knows who’s going to win that race.
“Those things... They’re not going to stop until they get to the Capital of La’Juune!”
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