139 Rising Tide - Headed by a Snake
The moon hung high in the sky, calming the waters below. The blue glow of dawn had yet to warm the horizon. Barza Keith, the Lone Shadowdark, grasped the rope with his wet hands. If he hadn't developed his grip strength, he'd have died in the hills of the Mosswood Wilds. He climbed in silence, using only the strength of his arms.
Garret pulled Lone up onto the deck of the scout ship. He kept his voice low, "You good?"
"Yeah," Lone nodded.
He unbound his two wolf-hammers from his chest. Their squad needed to clear everyone that could raise an alarm on the top level... which meant that Lone's couldn't use his weapons' Flame On technique.
He'd have to silence his targets traditionally.
Lone crept to the wall beside Garret, "What've we got?"
"Two bodies," the bald man whispered, no mirth in his voice.
"I call right."
The two nodded to each other.
Lone dashed out of the shadows, crossing the distance with a leap. He smashed one of his wolf-hammers into the man's temple, the dull crunch of a fractured skull collapsing the man.
One strike. The action was smooth, just as he'd practiced. The pirate lay on the deck, his body still twitching. Lone scanned his surroundings while also watching the downed man.
The man's temple was dented inward. After a few more moments, he laid still.
Lone was a weapon.
It was not the time nor the place to mull over what he'd done. He grabbed the pirate and dragged him back to cover, away from possibly prying eyes.
Shortly after, Garret dragged a second man around the corner. His target had died in agony, his face swollen, and his neck shredded to the spine. Both Garret and his target were soaked in blood.
He, too, was a weapon.
On this battlefield, there was no mercy. There was no chance to surrender. Every pirate on the scout ship was an enemy... Any other considerations could possibly jeopardize the mission.
But still, Garret trembled, his eyes unfocused.
"Hey. Snap out of it," Lone whispered.
Garret did not respond.
Lone shoved the man, who glared back angrily.
"What?" Garret growled back in a hushed tone.
"We're not done," Lone peeked over the corner.
"Y-yeah. He just... I just..." Garret gulped, "I knew this man."
Lone came close and pressed his forehead to that of the dark-skinned man, "Shut up. Don't think. Right now, it's them or us."
He didn't know what exactly was bothering Garret, but now wasn't the time to care. There were still dozens of pirates on the ship that needed to be killed.
Without waiting for an answer, Lone left Garret behind, stepping into the shadowy darkness. Keeping low, keeping quiet, he descended the stairs to below-decks, leading 3 other Sea Wolves. Carefully activating the mana in his weapons, the dim red glow guided their journey.
The sailors slept peacefully, unaware of the predators that stalked them in the night. Lone unsheathed a sharpened dark iron dagger.
It would be best if they never woke.
Lone was a weapon.
The end of the horizon glowed a ghost of fiery orange. Dawn was fast approaching.
The forward scout team had returned successfully, reporting only Elementary and Bronze-Rank resistance. If there were any Iron-Ranks, they were killed in their sleep.
High-Captain Lang Hai had collected the crew in a semi-circle. Most of the Marines would participate in the sea-to-land assault, along with a number of combat medics. A few Marines and the rest of the sailors would remain on the ships.
"Lieutenant Eilean will be piloting the Elizabeth Dare onto the beach. Our initial assault will be on the docks, in order to prevent too many ships from trying to escape," the boy-Captain smirked.
"We're outnumbered at least 1 to 3. And then two of our ships on standby with their skeleton crews-- I ain't gonna do the math for you all, 'cuz if you went to school, you'd probably be smart enough not to end up here. All of you cunts better pull your weight, you hear me?"
The Sea Wolves resounded-- "Yes, Cap'n!" "Aye, Cap'n!" "We hear you!!" "Yessir!"
"Any questions, Sea Wolves?" Hai glared.
Eilean raised her hand, a cheeky red-lipped smile beside the dark cloth over her face, "Cap'n! Are we allowed to die?"
The blue-haired boy scoffed, "Good question, Lieutenant. The answer: F*ck no, none of you have my permission to die, unless I kill you, myself."
A low chuckle from the Sea Wolves rose up from the crowd. Tycon found himself smiling. With a few simple sentences, the crowd's anxiety visibly dissipated.
"Well, that's your gods-damned safety briefing. Now... BLOOD AND THUNDER!!"
The crowd raised their weapons and their voices, "VICTORY AT SEA!!"
First Lieutenant Eilean stood at the bow of the ship, raising both of her arms out. A Sea Wolf with a heavy shield stood at her side, ready to protect her from danger. With the Sea Witch's magic, the Elizabeth Dare rapidly cut through the water, rapidly approaching the beaches.
Pirates from the nearby camp were yelling-- likely scrambling to get their weapons and armor. Sea Wolves shouted "Blood and thunder!!" as they dove off the ship carrying spears, nets, and cutlasses.
More than a few jumped off with bulging, transformed musculature. Tycon expected that Lang Hai's full transformation would be far more developed.
Tycon stood by Eilean as the ship's hull hit the sands.
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"Want tae kiss fer good luck, yer laerdship?" the blind Sea Witch puckered her lips.
"And how do you know I'm joining the battle, young lady?" Tycon teased.
"Coz ye want to show off in front've me crew. Men're all the same, tryin' tae impress a bonnie lass like meself!"
The man with the shield moved forward to intercept a crossbow bolt, "It's not safe up here, ma'am."
Eilean began floating in the air, surrounded by a sphere of water mana, "OH, FER F*CK'S SAKE!! F*CK OFF, YE F*CKING WANK-STAIN CUNTS!! F*CKING HELLS!! F*CK!!"
As the woman yelled, dozens of mana-formed spears of ocean water lifted out of the drink. With each wave of her hand, the spears launched towards the pirates running on the beach, as fast as ballista bolts. As inaccurate as each shot was, the crossbow-wielding pirates seemed intent on keeping behind cover.
With each barrage of water spears, the pirates' boulders and barricades began crumbling away. As for Eilean... she didn't seem to be running out of seawater.
Tycon took a deep breath of the sea-misted air. He estimated that the entire Sea Wolf crew, including the terrifying Sea Witch, Eilean, were to be treated a rank higher than the System had rated... as long as they were near water, anyroad.
"I'll be going, Eilean." Tycon smiled, "Blood and thunder."
"Vict'ry at sea," she said, blowing a kiss. "Do be car'ful, mate. Ye dunnae wot they've got in that camp."
"It's probably fine," Tycon shrugged. He pulled the dark hood over his head and hopped off the ship's bow.