32 Assault on Berma part one
Chael and Nix hovered a few hundred feet in the air about half a mile from the West Gate. Ronnie and Mina had taken up a similar position at the East Gate. The Berma army had already been notified that they were planning on moving into the city, they would move in quickly to surround the castle once the gates were taken.
Chael noticed right away that the portcullis was up. "Why leave it up if you're trying to lock the city down?"
"It doesn't make sense unless they are hiding something close by." Nix activated his Sea-Beast Bracelet.
[Scan Surrounding Areas?]
[Scanning, Stand By...]
[No Sea-Beasts had been Located.]
[Eighty ineligible Wolfmen, already tamed.]
Nix cursed softly. "There are two more wolf-masks hiding close by, the forty we see is only half of what's waiting."
Chael slipped on his wolf mask, the night instantly lighting up. "I still only see the two beastmasters. Does this mean that the other gate is hiding reinforcements also?"
Nix nodded, "head to East gate and warn them. Change of plans, stick with Mina and follow her lead. I'm going to create a diversion here."
"Okay Nix, use your flare if you get in trouble."
He landed quickly and hid his beasts in the underbrush, it would take them a minute to cover the distance to the gate. Then he gained altitude and moved toward the gate. He knelt low over his black manta and patted it on the shoulder. He was perfect for night raids.
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He stopped when he was directly over the gate, roughly five hundred feet. His wolf-mask showed him the exact location of the two beastmasters that were in view. He pushed his manta in a steep dive and then pulled up only a few feet above them. He shot out four strands immediately, two around each beastmaster neck, then he kicked Shadow to climb fast. The smell of burnt flesh and a sizzling sound like bacon on a hot grill followed him up as the Manta shot skyward.
He released the strands at a thousand feet, smiling at the terror-filled screams as they two beastmasters fell to their deaths. Nix banked shadow and quickly spotted the other two beastmasters who had come out of hiding. The forty beasts guarding the gate disappeared as their masters slammed into the cobblestone with sickening splats.
The two remained beastmasters were both range fighters and immediately started shooting at Nix. He landed quickly and headed away from them on foot. Night shooting at two hundred yards proved too difficult, as he was able to duck behind a large boulder and bring his rifle up.
Nix smiled when he saw their wolfmen giving chase. "You f*cked up." He started shooting at the Beastmasters with his rifle.
[Command: Attack my Primary Target]
[Command: Attack my Secondary Target]
After assigning priorities, Nix started shooting at the incoming wolfmen. The first ones were still 30 yards away when his Vila ambushed the unsuspecting beastmasters. He fired into the front wolves, sending them down, the ones immediately behind stepped right on them without any thought.
"F*ck!" Three wolfmen leaped from twenty feet away, Nix sent two flame strands on them, chopping them down in mid-jump. The follow-up wave knocked him down and he felt sharp canines puncture deep into his shoulder.
[Ignition Burning Aura]
A second wolfman grabbed hold of his leg, a moment later the beast screamed in pain as its prey burst into flames. The pack of wolfmen surrounded him but stayed back, they possessed a beasts natural fear of fire. Then they suddenly vanished, along with the flames coming from Nix.
A naked Nix quickly redressed and headed toward the beastmaster corpses as he considered the event. "My aura ignited when my life was threatened, not only did it drive back the wolves but also healed me." He checked his stats, the Burning Aura was now grayed out. "One and done?"
He picked up all four beastmaster bracers and stowed his Vila away. He summoned Shadow and immediately the animal collapsed on the ground. A quick inspection showed that he had taken a few shots to the wings. Not life-threatening, but he was done flying for the evening.
Nix entered the city on foot and headed toward the castle. He was supposed to rendezvous with the main force on the castle roof. He had a flare that he was to fire off if he couldn't make it for whatever reason.
A stomach-turning smell told Nix that he was approaching a sewer grate, he slipped on his second wolf-mask and bent down to pry it open. "It's as good idea as any."
Chael quickly located Ronnie and Mina in the skies above the gate. After explaining what Nix had found, Mina decided to change plans.
"You and Ronnie will find cover at the top end of your range. Both of you focus on one beastmaster, you should be able to take him out."
Ronnie estimated the distance she'd need for night shooting. "Hundred and fifty meters for me, we'll find cover and leave the mantas ready."
"Kill the one and then mount up and retreat. They'll continue to chase as long as the two of you stay low to the ground."
Chael spotted a small ridge that would provide them cover. "We'll head there. What will you be doing?"
"I'll be staying in the air out of range, however, my beasts are already in hiding."
Mina stayed high in the air, waiting as her team moved to cover. As soon as they started shooting at one of the beastmasters, forty wolfmen charged at their position. She waited, stalling to see if any hidden beastmasters would come out.
Chael fired one last time, killing their target. Both him and Ronnie leaped for their mounts and quickly gained about twenty feet of altitude. The snapping jaws and heavy breathing of canines followed them.
As soon as the one beastmaster fell, the two that were in hiding summoned their beasts and sent them to guard the gate. Mina frowned when they didn't pursue. "Guess we'll see whose pets rule."
She sent her twenty Vilas at one of the newcomers, the other beastmasters animals were too far away to help in this fight. Her Vilas were on him before his beasts could react. A quick kill and the odds were even.
Ronnie noticed immediately when the wolfmen that had been chasing them turned around. "Chael!" She banked her manta and headed back toward the gate. She quickly overtook the wolfmen and opened up on their master.
The third beastmaster was torn apart just as the remaining wolfmen rejoined the fight. Several of Mina's beasts had minor wounds, but nothing serious. A wolfman versus vila fight only last a few minutes, Chael and Ronnie caught up and were able to kill the last beastmaster.
Mina landed long enough to collect all four bracers. A flash of light from the West gate drew her attention. She waited for a flare, but there wasn't one.
Chael had seen the flash also, "should I head back to the West gate?"
Mina shook her head. "He won't fail."
His enhanced wolf-mask actually made the sewers worse, since it granted night vision and enhanced his other senses. It wasn't his first time in a sewer, Nix had been forced to use them in the past to retreat and move closer to his targets. He had an unfailing sense of direction and immediately headed toward the castle.
He quickly discovered that the sewers were teeming with rats, small reptiles and other tiny predators. Rather than worry about them, he summoned his Vilas.
[Command: Guard Me]
His beasts immediately went out in all directions. Apparently, anything within fifty feet of him was considered a threat that needed to be eliminated. The sewage was ankle-deep and Nix quickly discovered there was no quiet way to walk through it. Instead, he decided to keep moving quickly and relied on the thick stone walls to mask any sounds he was making.
The passage he was moving down entered a large chamber about ten minutes later. There were five other passaged that emptied into it. Large stone steps headed upward on the far side.
"Of course... What would a sewer be without big-ass alligators?"
Nix stabled his Vila, he didn't want to risk them in a fight. The sewage water in the chamber had risen to waist high, the alligators would definitely hold an advantage.
[Scan Surrounding Areas?]
[Scanning, Stand By...]
[15 Sea-Beasts have been Located.]
[Type 1: Mutated Crocodile: 7]
[Type 2: Alligator: 8]
[Do you wish to train the available Sea-Beasts?]
"Yes, train Mutated Crocodiles."
Nix waited while the progress bar slowly moved across the screen. His twenty vila would normally have taken up all the slots, but his Sea-Beast Master skill had leveled up recently and he had gained five slots.
As soon as the training was finished, Nix set them to fight the others and started wading toward the stairs. At the top of the stairs was a small door. He glanced back and released the five crocs he had trained, they immediately stopped fighting.
The door wasn't locked, he stepped in and shut it behind him. He quickly undressed and donned his third set of gear. The stench of the pair he wore in the sewers was sure to attract unwanted attention. "Good thing I'm a tailor," he whispered softly to no one in particular.