SKY – Chapter 5
“Is this okay Captain?” The young mage said to Veindelio. “Can we hope to defeat the fleet while the bulk of the fighting force is focused on defending the civilian population?”
An older mage asked, “Captain, with all due respect, this is a critical mission that we cannot afford to fail, can you not override the local leaders orders with a capital decree?”
“We got both lucky and unlucky at the same time with this,” Veindelio replied as he and several mages walked to the outer walls. “Cruntiq is the only one who could lead this town’s soldiers. A capital decree would disrupt the dynamic to the point where defeat would be certain… But, we’re lucky in the sense that Cruntiq is strong and that likely goes for his men as well. That’s part of the reason why we got assigned here after all.”
“How strong can he be though?” the young mage asked. “Does he have elite training or is he a prodigy of magic that the academy missed?”
“Sota, you’ll find that there are plenty of people who are strong that don’t heavily utilize magic. This will be apparent as you gain more experience, but not all the monsters of our kingdom are mages,” Veindelio replied. “The first king of legend was not a mage, but a swordsman.”
“I do know of Cruntiq. I heard about him from the lieutenant general. He is considered a hero granted the ‘Grand Honors’. Supposedly he and his unit of six held off a Mastig attack force alone for three hours during the battle of Tyrants Cove. Also, he was an army commander during the last offensive initiative,” said one of the more senior mages.
“Correct, his recognitions are just below the highest rank of ‘Supreme’. He is not someone who I can easily deal with, much less override,” Veindelio said after a pause and in a low tone of voice. “But it’s good. We can expect good things from this town’s militia under his command.”
“Shouldn’t we be worried about the mission though? Our original goal was not to bunker down and try and defeat a fleet on our own,” another mage mentioned.
Veindelio promptly responded, “It doesn’t matter anymore, that was a risk of this mission and one we no longer have to concern ourselves with. Focus on surviving. Even if we fail here we can still contribute for the next step.”
The young mage, Sota, gave a concerned look to Veindelio, but quickly shifted her focus to the upcoming battle. “Captain, where do you want us to be stationed?”
“Relay this to the others. Everyone is to take up a two-layered formation along the defense walls in close proximity to the barrier generators. Find a local unit and stick with them. Provide them support and offensive backing when possible,” he ordered.
“Yes sir.” The mages said before dispersing.
Sota, by this point was fairly comfortable with the structure of the town. She knew where the key areas to defend were as well as where the Mastigs focused their attacks on in the past.
Her graduation was several months ago. She was brimming with excitement mixed with uncertainty at the thought of her first real battle. Supervisors back at the academy always accompanied them on field trainings, and for a brief moment, she felt lost and uncomfortable in this independence.
The areas that would see the majority of the violence were key to hold. Scouting for where she was needed most, she noticed a group of three seated along the outer wall. By appearances, they couldn’t have been much different in age from her. Two of them she saw earlier in the day. They looked like they were in decent shape and were keeping collected despite the dire circumstances.
One of them had a tech bow. She saw it used by hunters during the two months.
Not the most efficient weapon, but I know the range and power it can have when the user is skilled. I hope this guy knows what he’s doing…
The other one she had made eye contact with earlier. She remembered his faint, magenta tinted pupils. It was an uncommon trait in the central territories.
He was holding a sword about as long as he was tall.
He’s not that big nor does he look that muscular. How does he intend to fight with that thing? One swing of that weapon will leave him wide open. They’re so young too… Okay, we’re around the same age. I should help them. This’ll probably be the easiest group for me to join anyways…
“On the outer wall again huh? Just like what we were doing two months ago” Maltii remarked.
“Except this time we’ll actually be fighting off a massive Mastig force instead of just keeping watch,” Hleis said jokingly.
“Hah, we should’ve seen this coming! All that talk amongst the merchants that a while ago about destroyed outskirt trade outposts like ours, I never thought it would actually happen to us.” Vayling said with a furled eyebrows and a smile.
“What are you smiling about idiot?” Maltii teased.
Vayling laughed, “Well if we don’t make it through, all the worries on my mind go away! No more having to worry about taking over the hunting duties of my family. No more having to worry about finding a wife! Haha! Hleis is probably feeling so relieved right now! I bet he can’t wait to jump off the land to finally see what’s down there in the sky!”
Hleis replied, “Ha! We’re not dead yet, Vay. Let’s not say that stuff. You still have your parents and little sister to worry about.”
“I’m kidding man! But they do say that the best soldiers are the ones who think they’re already dead!” Vayling replied enthusiastically.
“Who the hell says that?” Maltii asked.
A figure approached. It was the mage that he saw earlier, the girl with the fancy styled hair and glisteningly polished armor.
“Hi. Need help with something?” Hleis said to her as she approached.
“Hello… I’m a battle mage from the capital. I’m here to support your group in this battle.”
“You mages are going to be fighting alongside us in our units?” Maltii asked in disbelief. “After staying out of sight the entire time you all have been here?”
“Those were the orders of the captain and leadership back in the capital. We’re now in a critical situation where for all of us to make it out of this we’ll need to cooperate,” she replied.
“Fine with me. What do you think?” Hleis said to her.
“Hmm, ok then. Always wanted to see what you guys are capable of to earn that kind of reputation,” Vayling said with a shrug.
“Any reason you decided to join us in particular?” Hleis asked.
She responded, “Well, one, we’re all around the same age, it’ll be easier for us to work together than for me to join a team of older veterans, I doubt they’d want to cooperate with me at all. Two, no matter who I join, we would have no idea what each other is capable of, so I figured why not you guys. Three, I recognized you from earlier. We saw each other outside the town hall remember?”
“I do remember,” Hleis replied. “Well, I guess we should introduce ourselves. I’m Hleis, a swordsman. He’s Vayling a marksman, and she’s Maltii, a shield tech coordinator.”
“My name is Sota, graduate of the Center-Storm class of 2477. I specialize in mid range blast magic and close range enhancement and support.”
“What kind of enhancements and support?” Hleis asked Sota.
“I can enhance endurance as well as grant limited flight abilities to myself and others, so long as I have stamina and you stay within my range,” she said while levitating herself in demonstration. “My main strengths are my explosive blasts that I can project from a distance that cover moderately sized areas with concentrated force.”
“That’ll be useful,” Maltii interjected. “Vayling can snipe from extremely long distances, but he won’t be able to get every single one. Hleis is strong and can fight them off from melee range, but it’ll be best to thin them out first before they get to us.”
“I’m noticing your sword Hleis, are you able to use that thing effectively?” Sota asked.
“He’s faster than he looks,” Vayling said with a teasing look at Hleis. “Wait till you see him, you’ll have the same reaction that everyone has when they see how fast he swings that thing!”
“Interesting…” Sota noted. “Okay, I’ll take your word for it, soldiers in the capital don’t use weapons that size for Mastigs.”
“People here don’t usually either,” Maltii said. “Hleis is just unique in that he can swing a larger weapon at the same speed other swordsmen swing a regular sized sword.”
“I’m sure there are tons of people in the kingdom who can do what I do. Don’t set any weird expectations here.” Hleis said.
“Well, either way, I can’t wait to see how you guys fight. You seem pretty composed so I’m guessing you all have quite a bit of experience?” Sota asked.
“We’ve been around for a couple Mastig attacks before, but I get the feeling this one’s a little different. We’ll have to see how it goes, but yeah, we’ve all fought Mastigs before,” Maltii replied.
“Have you eaten yet? If not, we have some rations, you should probably get your energy now before the fight starts in a couple hours.” Hleis said pointing over at an open box of supplies.
“Thanks, well, let’s get ready to do this.”