50. New Bastards
The impact from the shotgun shells blasted Sten away from the aircraft. Kwang Hwi squeezed the trigger until the magazine was empty.
Sten crashed into the ground and tumbled violently from the landing. An unfortunate tree was caught in his path, and it snapped in half, scattering dust throughout the air.
“How dare you, mortal!”
Sten quickly drove his greatsword into the earth and stopped himself from sliding further. After regaining his footing, he drew out his greatsword, which had cut deep as the earth failed to hide its inner flesh.
On the other side, the executives frantically confirmed Kwang Hwi’s safety.
– Boss, you good?!
– That bastard went after the commander! Get his ass first!
The Dragonflies encircled Sten.
– Smoke ‘em!
With only a moment’s rest, the autocannons began to spit fire again. The high-caliber bullets tore up Sten’s vicinity without mercy. The harmless trees standing by the side had their branches split into two, and then to dust. Clumps of soil were forcibly dug up and tossed into the air.
Sten braced himself to leap out of the way, but he quickly changed his mind and raised his sword forward. He had decided to stand his ground.
The magic runes etched into his bones let off a disheartening glow. In the blink of an eye, a dark force field barrier emerged out of thin air, protecting Sten from all directions. A shell landed a second too late and collided with his defense field.
Fortunately for Sten, the magical force field successfully withstood the shell’s firepower.
– He’s got a protective shield.
“Focus all firepower till it breaks.”
Multiple autocannon rounds poured down onto the force field from all angles. The impact of each round started accumulating at an exponential rate. Soon, Sten was forced to back off. The autocannon’s destructive power was stronger than he had imagined.
The seemingly sturdy barrier was reaching its limit under the relentless assault. This became more evident as the dark force field started to lose its opacity. What was initially impossible to see through was now becoming brighter.
Darkness was now a slightly darker grey.
As the color brightened, the cracks in the force field started spreading like a spider’s web. While Sten was at the receiving end of a one-sided beating, a few of the choppers landed near the museum.
It was now time for the soldiers to shine. Heavily armed troops disembarked the aircraft and aimed their guns at the nearby Skeletons. The next second, all hell broke loose as the sounds of guns and soldiers’ yells shook the air.
The Chinook that was on stand-by in the rear also flew forward. The heavy lifter was carrying a Light Tactical Vehicle by a wire. The helicopter carefully lowered its altitude until the tires of the LTV met the earth.
After confirming a successful landing, the Chinook disabled the wire and took to the skies. Kwang Hwi Faction’s soldiers rushed toward the vehicle—one to the driver’s seat, the other to the machine gun seat.
“Skeletons approaching from NW!”
Following the driver’s call, the gunner, heavy machine gun in hand, squeezed the trigger with all his might.
The Skeletons also responded to melee warfare. They ditched their bows and pulled out their swords while nearing Kwang Hwi’s troops. At the same time, the Skeletons gathered together into a small group. Their target: the Light Tactical Vehicle.
However, even though they had high aspirations, to Skeletons, who were nothing but bones, a .50 cal round was overkill. The small force of calcium was eviscerated long before they could even reach the vehicle. Limbs, rib cages, and even skulls were shattered and turned into bone powder. The yellow earth was now turning white.
Meanwhile, the Chinook hadn’t left the scene after delivering the Light Tactical Vehicle. Rather, it was still circling the area.
“Opening rear door!”
Gusts of nose-piercing gunpowder smell escaped the rear compartment as the door opened. A soldier, cringing slightly from the gunpowder smell, grabbed hold of the minigun installed at the end of the rear compartment. Once he double-checked the safety rope secured around him, the soldier scanned the scene below.
Thanks to the Chinook operator adjusting its position, they were now in the perfect spot to engage the Skeletons. Without further ado, the gunner pressed down on both levers. The main body’s axle in the center supported the minigun as the six barrels initiated their rotation. Gas and the searing flame became one and blasted down fire and fury.
The Skeletons aiming their arrows at the Chinook were, simply put, wiped out. The sight reminded one of a skiff breaking into pieces after crashing into a reef. In a similar manner, bone fragments were sprawled about everywhere.
Hot shell casings poured out of the ejection port and hit the floor with a clang. It was a torrential downpour of brass, one might say.
The might of a minigun capable of spitting 4000 rounds per minute was there for everyone to see. While the Skeletons disintegrated on this side, Sten’s magical force field welcomed its own disintegration.
Just as the force field shattered like glass, Sten dove to his side to avoid the hail of bullets. The bullets drew a line on the soil, grazing Sten as it whizzed by.
Once Sten’s protection was out of the picture, another chopper quickly turned its nose to join the fray. The chopper leaned slightly to the side and pointed its autocannon towards the bone leader.
Seeing the muzzle pointed at him, Sten quickly raised his greatsword to defend. His weapon was bombarded by the autocannon fire, and a sharp metal sound rang out as faint sparks flew off of the sword.
Sten’s fleshless skull formed what seemed to be a frown. His most trusted ally, his sword in which he prided in being the sturdiest one of them all, was beginning to crack. Of course, this heartbreaking shock was only in Sten’s mind.
The Kwang Hwi Faction’s pilots were experiencing a different type of disbelief: a mere metal blade was able to withstand so much.
The minigun, the annihilator of Skeletons, also turned its barrel towards Sten. Even the choppers taking a brief pause after unloading troops were headed here.
Then came an unrelenting barrage of 7.62mm and 25mm rounds. Sten rushed to change his position after realizing the true gravity of the situation he was in now. But it was too late. No matter how much he moved, he couldn’t last more than 3 seconds in a single position.
There was no way that airborne choppers would miss Sten. The trees and statues he used as cover all melted away against the absolute dominance of modern weaponry.
Sten came to another realization: they had gravely underestimated the humans of this world.
Once again, it was another realization that came too late.
“I… I must warn Lord Bannis…!”
A 25mm autocannon round demolished his head before Sten could finish his words. He had done his best to shield his skull, but his arms were already in pieces. His pride, the greatsword, was also riddled with holes.
Like splashing blood, white bone pieces scattered apart into the air. Next, tiny fragments rained down onto the ground. The persistent skeletal body failed to stand any longer and turned to white dust, mixing into the mud.
[You have defeated ‘Skeleton Knight Sten.’]
[You have obtained 200,000 MP.]
[You have defeated a member of the ‘Bannis’ family.]
[You have defeated a figure of renown in their former world. An additional 300,000 MP will be rewarded.]
After witnessing the final moments of Sten, Kwang Hwi turned his head. Under the gazebo attached to the Mirror Pond stood a bizarre-looking creature with three eyes. At the moment, the creature had both his arms forward towards the pond.
Although Kwang Hwi had never seen him before, he instinctively knew this creature.
Words failed to explain the dreadful discomfort overwhelming Kwang Hwi. For someone who always managed to maintain his cool no matter how dire the circumstances, this was quite baffling.
Armata, on the other hand, aggressively embraced Kwang Hwi’s gaze.
‘How dare you, puny human!’
What Armata was feeling was different. It was rage. The bottled-up hostility against the man who constantly managed to get in his way was now erupting, inciting him to finish him once and for all. Armata retracted his left arm from his stance.
Despite his desires to crush the humans with all his might, much of his strength was required to maintain the portal. In the end, Armata just waved his left hand around in the air. A complex magic circle was formed out of nowhere.
It was not the end, though. Dark crystals emerged from Armata’s body, reaching dozens in numbers.
“Maximize creation speed.”
Next, the magic circle glowed brightly.
“Stone Golem, feature settings, Destruction Beam.”
The magic circle reacted to Armata’s words and vibrated each time he opened his mouth. Towards the end, it shook violently, as if it was going to explode.
The dark crystals floating in the air soon expanded. At the same time, pieces of rock and stone from the vicinity flew towards the crystals and attached themselves. What was once a small fragment moments ago was now taking a familiar form.
It was something that the Kwang Hwi Faction had dealt with countless times. A Mud Golem, but not quite at the same time. Instead of mud, these ones were made of stone. The eyes of these new Stone Golems gave out bright red glows as they stared at the humans.
Kwang Hwi’s soldiers quickly dove to the sides. A red beam pierced the air and drew a line where the soldiers once were.
The beam left ashes and embers in its wake. The Stone Golems shot their Destruction Beams toward the skies. Realizing the danger, the choppers were quick to engage in evasive maneuvers. Fortunately, the beams were slow enough to be dodged.
While the Stone Golems were busy attacking the skies, Kwang Hwi’s soldiers refused to sit still and let their enemies dictate the pace of the battle.
“Over here. I can see them well.”
The soldier reached for the launcher on his back and brought it forward.
[Also known as ‘Allah’s Magic Wand’, the RPG-7 is an anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Due to it being relatively cheap and easy to use, it is popular in many countries across the world, including its manufacturer, Russia. While it may be lacking in armor-penetration, it is more than capable of incapacitating vehicles by attacking weak points, such as a vehicle’s tracks and gun barrel.]
Invented in Russia but cherished and loved by the terrorists, no anti-tank rocket launcher was superior to the RPG-7 when it came to cost-effectiveness.
The soldier carrying the warhead quickly proceeded to assemble the warhead and the booster. Thanks to countless hours of practice, the assembling did not take long. The warhead was now one with the booster, and they were carefully inserted into the launcher. The soldier didn’t forget to fully twist them in with a quick snap of the wrist.
After helping the gunner load the launcher, the spotter tapped his helmet. He was clear to engage.
The gunner eyed a Stone Golem shooting out laser beams. The distance between them wasn’t that far. He had practiced hitting targets at the maximum range; this was nothing compared to that. He was confident in landing a clear shot.
A deep breath. And then a gentle squeeze.
The propellant charge within the booster blasted the warhead out of the launcher. The shockwave shook the grass around the gunner, and gas from the launcher’s rear dissipated in the atmosphere.
After the warhead traveled a few meters, the stabilizing fins at the front were deployed to give it drag. And then the final bastion of the warhead, the fuse safety, was disengaged.
The RPG warhead landed squarely on the Stone Golem’s dome, and the impact shook the surrounding. The superman-like red beam ceased pouring from its eyes. Although the force wasn’t enough to penetrate tank armor, for Stone Golems made entirely out of stone, it was menacing.
Thus began a crude symphony of rockets and blasts echoing from multiple points across the area. A symphony played by RPG warheads. They soared through the air, eager to baptize the Stone Golems with unholy fire.
The explosions continued without any pause in sight. The Stone Golems were being reduced to sharp stone shrapnels, which ricocheted off across the impact zone. The formation of mighty Stone Golems was breaking apart, and their fierce attacks were forcibly halted.
Leaving the RPG operators, the remaining Kwang Hwi’s forces stopped dodging. They were now busy joining the counter-attack. In the sky, the choppers transitioned from their evasive maneuvers to aiming their autocannons toward the enemy. The machine gunners of the Light Tactical Vehicles followed suit and turned their muzzles as well.
In an instant, the tables had turned. The concentrated assault was proving a bit too much for the Golems. Under the carnage of high caliber rounds and shells, they began to shake even more violently.
Bullet holes now decorated the rough surface of the Stone Golems. As the number of holes increased, their movements became slower. Kwang Hwi was not someone who would stand by and watch from the side. He took out his beloved M32A1 Grenade Launcher and joined in on the fun.
The grenade round formed a gradual curve as it flew. Another explosion occurred in the backside of the first Stone Golem to be hit with the RPG, which now had half of a face. Perhaps it had reached its limit. The Stone Golem crumbled helplessly.
Like falling dominoes, the Stone Golems began kneeling down one by one. The troops engaged the enemy even more aggressively once they witnessed their fall.
‘Now it’s that fucker’s turn.’
Kwang Hwi’s sharp gaze traveled past the Golems and caught sight of Armata. As long as the Golems were out of the way, Armata was nothing.
Unlike Kwang Hwi, who was closing in on his objective, Armata was anxiously biting his lip.
‘Come on, any minute now!’
He had also realized that death was an actual possibility here. But stopping the summoning was no longer an option either. Moreover, he couldn’t afford to create more minions since most of his strength was used in maintaining the portal.
Bannis, the one Skeleton leader served, needed to come out faster to obliterate the humans. As Armata prayed in his heart, the blazing flame suddenly started to grow smaller.
A dull thud rang in the vicinity, pounding the hearts of everyone. An enormous bone structure was emerging from the water. At the same time, the shrinking black flame finally burst out of control.
The few remaining Skeletons turned toward the Mirror Pond and bowed their heads. Although the barrage of rounds rained on their bodies, they did not even budge an inch.
“Wh-what in God’s name is…”
For a brief moment, the fighting stopped, as the newcomer was too big of a shock for the humans. Rising out of the pond was a gigantic creature. A creature made entirely of bones.
The humans were not unfamiliar with the sight. The bone creature had been a part of myths, novels, and movies, after all. Kwang Hwi regained his wits and opened his mouth.
“A Yong of the West. It’s a Dragon.”
A dimension-traveling Bone Dragon, Bannis opened his jaws and let out an earth-shaking roar.
— Ω —