Read Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo Online

Authors: John Nest,You The Reader

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Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo (3 page)

BOOK: Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo
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* * * * * * 

THUD
Smoke landed in front of the main castle doors. He entered briskly and found a villager cleaning one of the castle windows.
"Excuse me," said Smoke with a brash voice, "who's in charge?"
The villager stopped wiping the glass and smiled at him. "Why, that would be you, lord Smoke...and lady Sierra, of course." he replied and gave him a respectful bow.
Smoke smiled back and spoke in a calmer tone, "No, what I meant was, who did Sierra leave in charge when she left?"
"Oh, that would be Sir Thyrsus. I believe he is currently in the war room." answered the villager politely.
"Thank you." said Smoke and gave the villager a small bow before running up to the war room.
The door busted open and a worried Smoke stepped inside. He noticed a large map with several small boxes and figures placed on top of it laid out on the massive rectangular table.
"Thyrsus! Where are you?" shouted Smoke as he searched for his core member left in charge of Verbrannt. He looked around the war room and found Vijaya sitting on Thyrsus' lap as they were hastily breaking away from what looked like a passionate kiss. He instantly turned around and coughed loudly, "Ahem. Sorry to intrude on you two like this." said Smoke loudly.
It took a few seconds for Thyrsus and Vijaya to fix themselves up before they answered him. “Ah, Smoke, we didn’t see you there.” said Thyrsus in an awkward voice.
Embarrassed of what he witnessed, Smoke looked down and stared at the map. Then, he remembered why he came rushing in the first place.
"How could you let Sierra leave with such a small strike force?" Smoke asked Thyrsus strongly, "And why wasn't I notified?"
Thyrsus scratched his head and averted his eyes. Vijaya put her hand on his shoulder and responded for him, "We tried to get in touch with you a hundred times, but you never answered any of our calls." She paused and took a deep breath. "Also, didn't you want only to be the figurehead of the Vigilantez, and have Sierra act as the real guild leader?"
Smoke opened his mouth but couldn't give her a proper response. He knew that she was absolutely right—he did receive numerous calls from them, but he never answered. He needed that time alone to sort out his feelings and heal his self-esteem.
He nodded in agreement. He then turned to Thyrsus and said, "Tell me Sierra's plan."
"Of course." replied Thyrsus quickly. He promptly pointed to the small boxes placed on the map. "Each of these boxes represents a team of the Vigilantez..."
Thyrsus described the plan Sierra proposed and that was then refined by Adder, Ledur and himself. It took almost an hour for him to finish his explanation, as Smoke was coming up with questions about every phase of the plan.
"...In conclusion, we mostly agreed to this because of the Acolytes." said Thyrsus proudly.
"Hm." said Smoke as he scratched his chin, "And they left three days ago?"
"Yeah. They should be arriving at their destination anytime now." answered Vijaya.
"Alright. Thyrsus, give me the coordinates of where they plan to set up this trap." said Smoke hurriedly.
Thyrsus scrambled to find a piece of paper, and laid it down in front of Smoke. Immediately afterwards, a notification window popped up.

 

MAP LOCATION: Braucht Hilfe Forest
  Coordinates: Latitude: 34°54'35.95" N, Longitude: 109°48'24.45" W
  Note: One thousand eight hundred kilometers away from current location.

"Thank you, Thyrsus." said Smoke, "It should take me about twelve hours to get there if I glide at my top speed."
He then hurriedly headed out of the room. As he reached the doorway, he turned around and awkwardly said, "Sorry again for interrupting you guys earlier."
                                         
 

* * * * * * 

Hidden among tree branches in the forest near Braucht Hilfe, Ichaival waited silently for the Brandals to arrive. Suddenly, a girl his age with short black hair and tanned skin moved to the branch next to him.
"Sympa, what are you doing here?" asked Ichaival in a hushed voice.
"Sorry, I know you told me to wait over at the next tree, but I got bored." replied Sympa with a coy smile.
"You need to get back to your tree." ordered Ichaival and turned his back to her.
Sympa pouted. "Alright, but before I go, I just wanted to thank you again for the composite bows. Our damage has greatly increased. Of course, the one I’m holding right now isn't as big as yours, but it's perfect for me at the moment."
"Don't worry about it. Now go." Ichaival said more sternly.
"I hope I didn't cause any trouble between you and Sharanga." said Sympa innocently.
"It's fine, Sharanga is just…. Just go already, please." said Ichaival as he feared that Brandals would come running into the forest anytime.
"But, uhm...if she were to throw one of her traps at me—for some reason—how would I get out of it?" asked Sympa in a flirtatious manner.
"Why would Sharanga throw her trap at you? And there's no escape if she uses her five-trap system. Not unless someone else is there who knows how to deactivate it." Ichaival shuddered as memories of him being getting caught in the traps came to him, "You know..."
Ichaival wasn't able to finish because he heard Ledur's voice over the commanders' channel. "The Brandals are entering the forest! I counted twenty-five Captains and I have some good news." Ledur paused for a few seconds, which made Ichaival wonder what favorable event did Cuezaltzin create for them. "It appears their losses also included their mounts, as there are only a little more than a thousand black ctenosaurs. I repeat, most of the bandits are riding in tandem. I'm heading into the forest now. Ichaival, it's your turn."
After Ichaival heard Ledur's detailed report he turned his attention to the forest entrance. Thousands of mounted Brandals came into view. They were riding on black ctenosaurs, giant iguana-like mounts with a length of two and a half meters. The intimidating scene of charging bandits was sure to make a commoner freeze with fear. However, the Vigilantez were composed of individuals who were trained to face such daunting forces.
After the last of the bandits entered the forest, Ichaival released a well-camouflaged green flare in the air, which sailed across the treetops and blended in with the leaves. Only the individuals who were straining their necks looking up had any chance of detecting it. This was the signal for Gate and Illusion teams to take action.
Unfortunately, a mounted Sharanga was still out in the open, as the Illusion team was divided on opposite sides and were still getting themselves into position. Even though Laernea and Gandiva were assigned to watch over the western side of the forest, she still felt the need to be there and help direct the Bowed Fishermen. As soon as the last Fisherman was settled in, Sharanga immediately headed to the eastern side, but not before six throwing knives stabbed her in the back and damaged her for a total of 4,200 points. The Brandals had spotted her.
Posthaste, the Brandals in the lead gave chase. The sight of injured Shranga angered Ichaival and made him release his arrows too soon. Shortly afterwards, all members of the Strafe team followed his lead and attacked the Brandals with a torrent of arrows. The bandits tried to block the arrows with their arms, but there were too many of them. Out of desperation, those who shared mounts hid behind the ones in front of them and used their comrades as meat shields. A constant volley of more than a hundred arrows assaulted the bandits.
However, Ichaival's premature strike made the Brandals in the rear turn back and try to escape out of the forest. This mistake gave away the position of Jinggu's Gate team.
Tasked with closing off the bandits' escape route, the Armored Farmers under Jinggu were still scrambling into position when fifty mounted Brandals led by a Captain charged right through them. Taken by surprise, the Armored Farmers weren't able to hold their formation, and five of them were trampled by the black ctenosaurs. Jinggu hastily retaliated by firing a volley of his poison bolts and dismounted four of the bandits, whereas some of the Farmers who came to their senses clung onto the bandits who rode at the back of their mounts, and pulled them to the ground.
A total of twenty Brandals were instantly stabbed by sharp tridents (enhanced versions of Farmers’ pitchforks, made by Verbrannt’s Blacksmiths) and perished while calling out to their comrades for help. The Brandal Captain and thirty remaining ctenosaur riders escaped out of the forest without even taking a look at them.
A few seconds later, Adder and his Balance team arrived at Jinggu's location. Adder quickly told five of the Centaurs, "Take the injured to Weise. Be careful to stay out of sight, and return here once they're healed."
Each of the five Centaurs hurriedly put an injured Farmer on their backs. They carried them carefully towards the Life team that was behind them.
As Adder scanned through Jinggu's team, he saw the OrkElf give him a nod. They called out to their teams and prepared themselves for an incoming wave of bandits.
With Jinggu's northern Gate secured and Weise's Bulwark and Life teams in position behind them, the Brandals in front of them were desperately trying to break through their makeshift gate. However, multiple Heal Balls were hitting the Armored Farmers, steadily replenishing their lives.
As these bandits were farther away from Ichaival's Strafe team, they were out of range of their arrow attacks, which made the seven Captains leading them complacent. Without delay, they signaled their men to escape to the sides of the wall of Farmers. However, as black ctenosaurs moved to the sides, water arrows were fired at the Brandals from the direction of their flanks. The Bowed Fishermen of Sharanga's Illusion team assaulted them with a volley of arrows.
Jinggu and the Centaur Rangers followed suit and used their own ranged attacks from behind the Armored Farmers. The force of Jinggu's bolts knocked down his targets from their mounts, while the Centaurs' arrows kept on withering their life bars.
Adder and the Condortlian Warriors squeezed their way through the Gate and charged into the throng of Brandals. With their bastard swords in hand, they fought bravely. Heal Balls came flying straight after Adder and his men, as they were now the ones most targeted by the bandits.
Members of Weise's defensive Bulwark, tasked with protecting the Acolytes, held their ground and were always on the guard for potential bandits who could break through the Gate. Once in awhile, two to three black ctenosaurs would smash through, but the Armored Farmers on the outer edge of the upside down "U" formation would immediately go after them.
After a few minutes, the gray Maneator confirmed that everything was going according to plan. He left the side of his Bulwark and joined Adder and the Condortlian Warriors on the front lines. As a Maneator, he had the Scourge of the Beast III ability, which allowed him to deal 50% more damage to beast-type monsters. Equipped with a flamdius and Gora shield, he started to slash the legs of the black ctenosaurs, forcefully dismounting the Brandals who were riding on them.                                                                       
 

* * * * * * 

The main part of the Brandal’s army , made up of 70% of it, had seventeen Brandal Captains in charge. They were continuously assailed by the arrows of Ichaival's Strafe team, which brought down the life bars of the ordinary bandits to 90%. Although their life bars were still high, some of them either had Poisoned or Bleeding status. The Brandal Captains also observed that their comrades in the rear had difficulty breaking through the wall of Armored Farmers.
Then, one of the Captains yelled, "Charge through the front!" But they were met with Sharur's southern Gate team, blocking their path and steadily closing in on them.
"Stop! They have the same formation in that direction." said one of the Captains.
"To the sides!" yelled another, but before they could make their move, Rasant's Bulwark of sixty Iron Knights and twenty Acolytes emerged out of the trees. Rasant led his team right through the middle of more than one thousand seven hundred Brandals.
"Kill them!" shouted the Brandal Captain in front of Rasant's Bulwark, and the bandits immediately directed their black ctenosaurs towards the orange Maneator.
WHUPPSSH CRACK WHUPPSSH CRACK WHUPPSSH CRACK WHUPPSSH CRACK
Sounds of Rasant's barbed whips echoed through the air as the orange Maneator went after the ctenosaurs’ legs. His whips turned into a blur as he stood in front of his team of Iron Knights. The charging ctenosaurs were falling down one after another as the scales on their limbs couldn’t withstand the force of Rasant’s attacks.
The Brandal Captains felt insulted, as whips were their signature weapons. All seventeen of them threw knives at Rasant and inflicted a total of 30,400 points of damage to the Maneator. Some of the knives embedded themselves into his body, which made the orange Maneator momentarily stop. Still with his barbed whips in hand, he removed the knives, and Heal Balls hit him from behind and restored his life bar to full capacity.
The enraged Captains ordered their subordinates to leap over the injured men and go after the Acolytes hiding behind the Iron Knights. Some of them started to move to the sides of the battlefield in order to flank the Bulwark, but were met with arrows coming from that direction.
Amidst the commotion, Ledur was busy organising his Mutilate team. It took him three minutes to assign each of the four-man groups to a specific target. Finally, he gave the signal for his Tikbalang brethren to jump down and mutilate the bandits defending the Brandal Captains.
THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD
The forest echoed with the sound of hooves stomping the ground as all ninety-six Tikbalangs simultaneously leapt down from the trees. The bandits surrounding the Captains were dismounted from their black ctenosaurs, while the mounts themselves were kicked hard in their bottoms and forced to run away. The bandits who tumbled to the ground were pummelled by the Tikbalangs’ hooves.
As Strafe’s onslaught of arrows never stopped, it took a few seconds for the Captains to detect that they were getting surrounded by the Tikbalangs. All of them reflexively took out their whips and swung them at the Tikbalangs who had their backs turned to them, but the Tikbalangs’ mane made out of sharp black spines blocked most of their attacks. As the Captains were focused on lashing and scourging them with whips, they failed to notice the pairs of werewolves that were coming after each of them.
Sierra's Slaughter team blitzed their way through the crowd of Brandals and squeezed through the gaps the Tikbalangs made for them. One of the werewolves in the pair ran in front of the targeted Captain and captured his attention, while the other one swiftly approached from behind and sunk his claws into the bandit's back.
The Brandal Captains who were farther in took notice of this in time and stopped attacking the Tikbalangs. Seven of them tried to escape to the sides and brought along four hundred of their bandits with them. Together, they braved the water arrows coming from that direction. Four of the Captains took to the east, while three headed to the western part of the forest.
                                           
 

BOOK: Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo
4.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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