Chapter thirty-three: The Daemon explorers
Daytime in a Bird’s eye view of the forest. A problem was rearing its ugly head. The villagers stood outside their homes, armed to the teeth with pitchforks and sickles. However, as the ground shook, they gasped in horror, realizing that something was about to emerge from the thick forest.
“Here it comes!!” shouted a man.
“Daemon explorer!” shouted another man, holding a hoe. “The time has come!”
“Understood,” a voice answered. “Leave it to me.”
Soon, someone emerged from the large crowd: a young teenage girl, about the age of fifteen, She had short light brown hair, and she was wearing what looked like a black leather unitard with a Green loincloth, as well as Green shoulder plates and a steel mask around her mouth. In her hands, two Angular Katar, She also had a wakizashi strapped to her waist.
Her name...was Pidge.
“Everyone, stand back!” she called, and the villagers soon heeded her words. No sooner had she done so that a gigantic centipede emerged from the trees, barreling towards the village with a ferocious screech. The gigantic arthropod lunged forward, preparing to devour Pidge with its mighty pincers...but Pidge only glared, a glint appearing in her eye before she launches her Katar at the monster, which was soon torn to shreds as it hit it once, then hit it again as it came whirling back. Pidge raised her hand, catching her weapon by its strap just as the collapsed.
The young girl pointed proudly to the Daemon she’d kill as the remains integrated into the sun, leaving nothing behind.
As the leader turned to the woman, she smiled, ready to accept his congratulations on a job well done.
“Thank you!” He said.
“All in a day’s work,” she told him.
“Well, I’m off, now! Call again if there’s any trouble!”
Pidge stood outside of her hut, She wears a white shirt with green shoulders and a green waistband, and dark grey shorts. The jumper has pockets and a high floppy collar is secured with a grey neck brace.
“But, daemon explorer,” said one of the villagers, “what about your payment?”
“Thanks, I needed this!” Pidge was lucky. She desperately needed money. With that, she left the village.
“Yes, brother is going to be so impressed!” She said.
“Well, I’ll be off,” said Pidge as she walked away. “Farewell!”
“Thank you, daemon explorer!” called a little boy.
“We’ll call you again if we need you!” exclaimed his mother.
That night, Shiro was sleeping soundly when suddenly hear footsteps to his location, splintered onto sticks. Three unknown figures rushed through the field and charged toward him.
Startled, he sprang from his resting area, slicing away at the intruders with a surge of flame. The henchmen leaped through the attack, unscathed. They marched doggedly toward him, closing in.
The figures lunged, swiftly numbing his arms and legs with lightning-fast attacks on his pressure points. he collapsed to the ground, helpless.
At that moment, Sendak emerged from the shadows. Two figures hauled Shiro to his knees and dragged him before their leader.
Sendak leaned down so that his pale face was just inches from Shiro’s face. “After I take your Daemon away, you will be nothing!” he hissed. Sendak fixed his claw-like grip on Shiro, just as he had done before back in his Base. His grasp tightened on his head and neck and—
Shiro screamed. His eyes flew open. he sat bolt upright in his sleeping bag, sweat trickling down his face. A glance around the area revealed that everything was intact. Keith and Lance were asleep and Sendak and his henchmen were absent. Stats, who’d been sleeping nearby, rose on all fours and float over to lie down beside Shiro’s bag. He licked Shiro’s hand gently.
“It’s all right, Stats,” Shiro said, his breathing beginning to slow. “I just had a bad dream. What he didn’t tell Stats was that it was the third nightmare he’d had that week.
he lay down again and tried to get back to sleep, but the terror of the dream wouldn’t leave him. Feeling restless, he decides to leave the campsite.
But Keith awakens and catches sight of him leaving, designed to follow him to standing by the ledge of the mountain cliff.
“Shiro,” Keith said, confused, “should you be asleep!”
“Yeah.” He slumps back, settling into the ground until he is somewhat comfortable. “But a Nightmare.”
“Let me guess,” Keith said, “is super terrifying than making you not want to go to sleep!”
Shiro chuckled, smiling, “I’m sure nothing phases you!”
“Yeah doesn’t push me further,” Keith said, sitting next to him, Shiro keeps smiling as he shuts his eyes and the very feeling of being surrounded by several friends and the stars.
Stars sparkle in the sky, even though he doesn’t recognize any of these constellations, just show that he still be a long, long way from Earth. But that didn’t matter to him. All he knew now, this is his life now.
“This reminds me of the time, that I used to go stargazing!” Shiro says.
“Stargazing!” Keith said, confusingly.
“Yeah, back at the time... at the Garrison... with Adam”
Keith frowned, folding his arms. “I’m sure this Adam person, is okay doing something”
Shiro dropped his chin, sighing. As if drawn by magnetism, he reached out with his right hand, clasping Keith on his left shoulder. “Yeah! He would be!”
Thinking of nothing better, Shiro decided to return to the campsite.
“Hey, where are you going” Keith called after him. He ignored him and kept walking.
The following daytime, Shiro was unusually quiet.
Lance and Stats eyed Keith suspiciously, but he only shrugged. This time Shiro’s behavior wasn’t his fault or something.
The group was midway through their meal when an unexpected guest sauntered into their lives.
“Didn’t you heard the explorer that killed the centipede!” A villager said.
“Yeah, she talked down that Daemon, like it was child’s play,” The villager told him.
Overhearing them, Keith decided to waylay several villagers and interrogates them. “What?! The girl was an explorer?! When was this? When?! Answer me!”
“Another daemon!” A villager yelled, “We must hire the explorer again!”
“What?” Keith yelled.
“Keith, what are you doing”. Shiro interrupted, “pestering these poor villagers.
A while later. The gang and the villagers have a decent conversation.
“What?! What do you mean the girl gone?!”
Keith and company had arrived at the village that Pidge had just left after slaying the giant centipede. Needless to say, Keith was undecidedly miffed, but Shiro quickly calmed him down so as not to arouse any suspicion.
“Explorer,” Lance said, smoothly.
“So… Someone makes a living, explorer daemons?” Shiro said. Confused. “Then this must be the group that Ulaz has mentioned”.
“Yes, she came here and took some more money!” A villager told him.
Keith ignored him and spoke directly to the villager. “Can you tell us which way she went, we need to know any knowledge about her and the place she came from!”
“I don’t know,” the villager said. The idea seemed to appeal to him. “I wish I knew but I don’t know anything about the village that they live in”.
The next few days were difficult for Shiro. Ever since they’d heard about the Deamon explorers, he’d been keeping to himself. It wasn’t exactly something he set out to do on purpose—it just kind of worked out that way.
He told himself there was nothing wrong with it. It was perfectly fine to have some time alone. After all, it wasn’t like he was hiding from anything.
“And this explorer gathers cash?” Lance said.
“Uh-huh…she originally came the same province, where the quintessence Crystal was born”. Another villager said.
“Did you know this, Keith?” Shiro asked.
“No,” Keith replied. “By the time I learned of the crystal’s existence, it was already under Allura’s protection...I never even thought about where the crystal came from or even how it was created.”
“Stats?” Stats asked.
“...I can’t believe I’m about to say this,” Keith began, “but Lance, where is your friend now. I wanna ask her or him some questions.”
Meanwhile, in the middle of a valley, there was a large village, surrounded by a wall made from spiked logs.
“I’m home, everybody!” Pidge called out as she entered the gates, and soon, many people gathered around her.
“Welcome back, Pidge!” said a middle-aged woman.
“Another successful hunt, I take it?” asked an old man. “What was the quarry this time?”
“A giant centipede,” Pidge answered as she put down her bundle, revealing several severed legs and even some of the centipede’s exoskeleton, and the money that she brought home. “It’s not much, but I managed to bring home some parts. We can use these to make some new armor.”
Mew~! Pidge looked up as she heard that small mew, causing her to beam brightly as she turned and saw a yellow-colored lion cub with blue eyes, black ears, and paws, and her most distinguishing feature-a bushy tail.
“Hi, Kiaion!” Pidge exclaimed as the little cub jumped into her arms, purring affectionately as she nuzzled him. “I missed you, too. Were you a good kitty while I was gone?”
Mew! Kiaion meowed happily as Pidge kissed his forehead.
“Welcome home, Pidge!” A boy said as he runs to her, he was the age of seventeen, He had the same hair as Pidge had and had a bit of muscle on him. His face was dotted with a small scar on his face and he had an excited smile on his face too.
“Hi, Matt,” she said.
“The Chief wants to see you, Pidge!” Matt said as he took his sister by the hand and led her away.
“Oh,” Pidge said as she arrives In a big hut, where She was shocked when he greeted her with a stern frown.
“You’re getting ahead of yourself, as usual, Pidge. This is the fifth time you ask for money!” The Chief said, in a serious tone.
“What do you mean, I always ask people for money? Pidge said, flabbergasted. “So what’s the problem!”
“Ever since you arrived with your brother, you’ve excelled on being an explorer, but completely ignored the honesty side”. The Chief said.
“I haven’t ignored it, it just doesn’t come as easy to me,” Pidge said, More upbeat. “I meant I came here this for the money! And now you’re telling me I can have that”.
“No, I just believed you lack restraint!” The Chief said, “that’s why we’re taking you to our latest mission, tonight!”
“Tonight?” Pidge repeated.
“Yes, Tonight?” the chief said.
“I’ll be honored!” Pidge said. Jumps up, turning around her axis, in happiness and excitement. But realizing the elders are watching her, some of them with a dismayed expression, “I mean, thank you for giving me that chance!”
Smiling innocently, she slowly starts walking away, still eying the chief. Unable to contain her excitement any longer, she breaks into a run and leaves the grounds.
Sometime later, a young man was walking along the edge of the village and took a deep breath of the fresh air as a bright red leaf blew past him. It was the perfect day to do training.
He saw one of his favorite friends up ahead, and he couldn’t help the huge smile that took over his face.
“Hey! Kiaion” he asked. The cat is his regular cat self. Amid the pavilion among their house. The Boy and his Daemon moved through the pavilion, taking Three bowls and placed them on wooden stumps.
The stumps that ran the length of a child of 12 were laid already on the ground. That’s something that he was already interested in.
Nor was he particularly interested. In many ways, he was a hiccup. What he liked best was building and cooking, building the next house, or making an engine for training but he was the chief’s son. Strong and mighty. Yeah! that was the life for him.
Wrong! He was Easily the friendliest and kindest of all the village and a very good cook.
“Hey, Hunk,” a voice said, drawing his attention.
“Hey,” he said, stopped beside the tree stumps, and said, “Roy, how is your day.
“Oh, it’s fine!” Roy said, with his mouse daemon, Ratter. “But grandfather wants to speak to you!”
“Oh,” Hunk said, seems uncomfortable.
“Well, you can tell him I’m busy!” He then swings his sickle chain at the bowls and crushes all of them. The sound rang loudly through the hall.
“But he insisted!” Roy said.
Hunk heaved a sigh, annoyed. “All right, I guess it wouldn’t hurt!” Hunk planted his hands on his hips and gave the request some thought. The Chief has summoned him for something. Probably talking about his missions again.The daemon explorer village wasn’t the grandest or richest of all the land in Altea. But it was probably the largest, too though no one knew for certain. The building, which was grouped around irregular quadrangles, made of wood and stone, dated from the earliest days where humans explored the other side of Altea.
It had never been planned; it had grown piecemeal, with past and present overlapping at every spot, and the final effect was one of jumbled and squalid old history, about the quintessence Crystal.
Arriving at the chief’s hall after the talk with Pidge. Hunk arrived with uncertainty on his face.
“You wanted to see me, Dad, I mean chief” Hunk said.
“Yes, yes I do, son!” The Chief said. On the practice grounds at the daemon explores, Hunk carefully walked the Ba Gua circle, pivoting through the spiral movements used by explorers since the beginning of time.
He looked up to see the chief approaching. Judging from the serious expression on his face, he’d had to deal with some insubordination from a Daemon explorer.
“I see, is this about my methods” Hunk said. “I know they’re not exactly explorer material but I am trying!”
“No, it’s not that” the chief responded.
“Oh,” he said.
The chief studied him a moment, he looked tired and uncertain of himself.
“Hunk, are you . . . doing all right?” The chief said
“I’m fine.” Hunk said.
The chief was having a hard time believing him. he’d been uncharacteristically quiet, and he was growing concerned. “You know, it’s okay to be scared,” the chief said quietly.
“I know this job isn’t easy. But the important thing is to talk about our fears because if we don’t, they can throw us out of balance.”
Hunk stopped his movements along the circle and stared at him. he considered his words for a moment and was just about to speak when an informant arrived and interrupted them.
“Chief, the weapons are ready for the next mission,” he said, dressed in deamon explorer entire.
“Very good” the chief responded, “we need to bring the next mission for tonight!” Then turned around to Hunk and said. “Hunk, make ready too!”
“Huh? Me?” He said as couldn’t help feeling skeptical.
“Yes, I need everyone’s help with this!”
“Ok” Hunk said, then the Chief turned on his heel and strode away, leaving him alone with the words echoing in his ears. Hunk could not believe it. Could he be right for this? Or not.
Later that evening as the sun was starting to set, Keith and company had begun to make camp for the night. The quartet sat around the campfire with fish skewered on branches, being grilled with a pinch of rock salt that Keith had found. Shiro sat near the river, washing his hands in the water with Stats, who giggled at the cold feeling while Lance watched the fish cook. However, as for Keith, he sat against a nearby tree with a sour look on his face.
“Looks like the fish is ready,” Lance said. “Let’s eat, everyone.”
“Sounds good to me!” Shiro exclaimed. “I’m starving!”
“Stats” Stats added.
As everyone was about to dig in, Shiro noticed that Keith was not joining in the meal.
“Hey, Keith, didn’t you hear Lance?” asked Shiro. “Dinner’s ready. Come and eat before it gets cold.”
“I’m not hungry,” Keith muttered as he looked away.
“Not hungry?” Lance repeated.
“But...you’re almost always hungry!” Shiro pointed out.
“Well, tonight, I’m not, okay?!” Keith asked as he got up and walked away. “I wanna be alone, right now.”
“Oh, no, not again...” Shiro muttered before he got up and followed after him. “Keith, wait!”
“What’s gotten into him?” Lance asked.
“I think it might have to do with what happened today,” Shiro answered.
“Keith?” Shiro called as he looked around for the half-daemon. “Keith, where are you?”
As he parted the shrubs to get by, he found him, sitting on his haunches near the embankment of a stream with his back turned to her. He didn’t have to see his face, but he could tell that he was sad.
“...Hey,” Shiro said.
“...Hey,” Keith muttered, flatly.
“I can’t help noticing you’re a little sad,” Shiro said.
“I’m not sad,” Keith replied. “I’m just...a little upset, okay?”
“Same difference,” Shiro answered.
Keith didn’t answer him...but the way he hunched his shoulders told him that he was right on the money.
“I thought so,” Shiro said. “So was on your mind.”
“It’s about those villagers and anyone else who see me as a half-daemon, I know that I couldn’t let those things bother me but do,” Keith said.
“Oh,” Shiro muttered. “I see...I thought I was the only one that had problems too, aren’t you?”
Keith quietly nodded his head, prompting Shiro to turn around, then he sat down with her back up against his.
“...Shiro?” Keith asked. “What do you think about me?”
“...What do I think?” Shiro asked. “Well...lemme think. Well, for one thing, you can be brash... and, sometimes. You can come off as rude and a little obnoxious.”
“...So you’re saying I’m annoying?” Keith asked in irritation.
“Not necessarily,” Shiro said. “It’s true, you can be a little on the harsh side...but there are other things that nobody else knows. You’re brave, you’re confident...and you’re unbelievably strong.”
Keith raised an eyebrow at that before he glanced at him.
“You can be gentle, too,” Shiro went on. “Not to mention fiercely protective...you might be violent, but you only get that way when someone you care about is being threatened.” He then looked back at him. “So you see? You might have your bad traits, but you are someone I know I can trust...even if we started on the wrong foot, before.”
“...Wow...” Keith muttered. “Thanks, Shiro.”
“No problem,” Shiro replied. “So...what do you think about me?”
“What do I think about you? Keith repeated. “Uh...well...”
“Don’t worry, take your time,” Shiro said.
“Well, I won’t lie,” Keith replied. “I...I used to think that you and Allura and Takashi were... the same.”
“Oh?” Shiro inquired.
“Yeah...but after I started to get to know you,” Keith began, “I realized that you and Allura and Takashi were completely different. I stopped making the comparisons between you three.”
Shiro didn’t answer him...but he gently shifted his hand back and touched his pinky finger with his own, showing that he was still listening.
“Shiro...your energy is so gentle and calm,” Keith said, “and...when I’m with you...I feel calm and happy. I...I like having you with me.”
“...Really?” Shiro asked.
“...Yeah...” Keith said as he began to wrap his fingers around his. “Shiro...even if people say that you’re the Samurai’s altern...there’s no replacement for you.”
BA-BUMP!! Shiro gasped quietly as he put his hand to his chest...but then, he smiled as a light blush formed on his cheeks, and even though he couldn’t see it...the same went for Keith, too.
“Thanks, Keith,” Shiro said.
“Heh...sure thing...” Keith said.
That same night, not too far away from where Keith and company were camping out, Hunk, Pidge, Matt, the chief, and two other Explorer were seen marching along a path, heading to the location of their assignment.
Like his sister and Hunk, Matt was also wearing the same armor, except his shoulder plates were more of a bronze color and he was wearing a blue sash around his waist.
The Chief glanced over at Hunk and saw that he was biting his lip and his eyebrows scrunched up. He then reached over and put his hand on his shoulder, causing him to look up at him as he gave him a reassuring smile.
“It’ll be okay, Hunk,” he said. “I’ll be here with you.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Hunk began, “But know the difference between the bad ones and the good ones”, He then looked up at him. “Doesn’t it seem...just a little unfair?”
“What seems unfair?” asked his father.
“Why is it that daemons who look like humans are considered more dangerous than regular daemons?” asked Matt. “It just seems like we’re judging based on their looks. How can they be more dangerous than giant insects or things like that? And what about Kiaion, he’s a daemon and even if everyone had a deamon of own?”
“Kiaion is different from other daemons, Hunk,” The Chief said. “He’s served our family for generations. You know that.”
“Yeah, what’s the difference?” Hunk said.
“As usual, my son, you still have a lot to learn”, said the boy’s father. “A giant spider is no different from a regular spider. Like its smaller cousin, it only seeks to hunt prey and breed. Its magical abilities only make it a better hunter...but more human-like daemons, such as half-daemons...are best to annoy, they are part of the balance of the planet, but they are capable of doing far worse things, especially when they are consumed by hatred and greed. A regular bandit can do so much damage on his or her own...but give a bandit the powers of a daemon and he or she could demolish an entire village in the span of a few hours! That is why as explorers we must keep the balance in check to make sure that no daemon destroys the planet.” He then looked to his son. “No matter what, Hunk...NEVER let down your guard. If you see such daemons as spiders, slay them on sight.”
“Yes, Dad,” Hunk nodded.
“Good” ,the chief replied. “Now, look alive...we’re here.”
Soon, the group of daemon Explores spotted their destination: a huge castle that was shrouded by huge, ominous clouds.
“Is this the castle that was mentioned, Sir?” asked Matt.
“Yes,” he answered. “This castle belongs to the Albert Family. Apparently, this castle is being plagued by a daemon, which is why Lady Albert summoned us here.”
“I see,” Pidge nodded.
Soon, the small group of daemon explores entered the castle grounds and bowed before Lady Albert, who sat before her with a cup of sake in her hand. For some reason, though, her eyes had a rather sunken in look and her skin was a bit pale. It was here that he explained the situation to the daemon explores.
“A giant spider daemon has been appearing at the castle,” said Lady Albert. “Already, many people within the castle have been devoured. Can you put an end to this creature?”
“You have my word, My Lady,” said Hunk’s father as he kneeled before him, along with his son, Pidge, Matt, and two other demon slayers. “I have brought with me my most trusted warriors.”
“Hmm?” Lady Albert hummed as she looked at Hunk, Pidge, and Matt. “But all I see are two young men...and a mere Girl!”
“Oh, her. In the province, she is one of the top fighters. You can witness her skills tonight”. The Chief said.
Hunk’s heart was beating rapidly as he studied the area. The fear suddenly came back to him. He shivered and rubbed his arms vigorously as sweat came from his body.
“Heard that? Do your best, Hunk?” Pidge said, taunting him.
“Pidge, you know that’s not true!” Matt rebuked before he glanced at his friend. “Good luck, Hunk.”
“Father, you liar...” Hunk groaned.
“Look alive, Explores!” exclaimed one of the castle soldiers. “This is the hour which the daemon most often appears! We’re depending on you!!”
Soon after, it appeared: a humungous spider with the face and horns of an ogre. It had bushy eyebrows and piercing red eyes, as well as a mouth full of fangs. It roared as loud and furious as thunder as it descended from the dark clouds, ropes of saliva dripping from its gaping maw.
“Th-that’s the daemon?!” Hunk questioned.
“Don’t be scared, Hunk!” Pidge shouted. “Just think of it as a regular bug that needs to be squashed!”
“I don’t even like small spiders!!” Hunk shouted.
“The time has come!” shouted his father. “CHARGE!!”
The spider demon went on the offensive, spewing threads of thick silk from its jaws.
At the same moment, the explorers broke down on the daemon. Pidge and Matt leaped into the area, throwing poison powder at the daemon and rapidly blocking it’s sight it to trap it in place.
The other deputies worked quickly to subdue the Daemon, but as they soon run towards it while it’s spewing a web of strands at them.
“Surround it!” The Chief said as he blasted the Daemon with a jet of arrows with Pidge moves through the strands easily and cut them in midair before they could sick to her. But Hunk’s ankle is caught by a bundle of strands and he is lifted into the air.
“Hunk!” An explorer shouted as he cuts the strands with his ax. Resulting in Hunk to be released from the strands.
“Take a deep breath and go Hunk!” The explorer pats Hunk’s shoulder
Hunk nods. He can do this. He’s a Daemon explorer.
“Come on!” Another explorer shouted as he attacks the demon with a huge Morningstar, and flesh is pried out. The daemon collapses and Chief holds its neck down with his pike.
“All right! Got it!” The Chief shouted to Pidge. Summoning all her strength, Pidge swings her Katar, at the daemon, which sweeps from its head to its back, prying the flesh out. The Katar returns and Pidge catches it. The demon growls in pain, struggles, and collapses.
“Awesome, Sister!” Matt said.
“I do, what I do,” Pidge said as she felt a sudden swell of confidence. She is the best in the province, She slew the giant spider in one sweep!
But the job was not over yet, the explorers still have to crush its head.
“Okay, me too…!” Hunk said, runs over to help. However, he suddenly hears a sound causing him to slows down.
The sound was dark and he could barely hear. The only thing he could hear was the sound of his footsteps echoing against the stone. It didn’t seem right. It was so confusing, meant that the spider could have done this.
Before Hunk could make sense of what was happening, the explorers have already finished the job.
“It may’ve been huge, but it was such easy prey,” Pidge said, feeling proud of the work she did.
“Yes, It was too easy... This spider...I don’t like it...” the chief responded
“Oh come on, Chief, we finished the job, we should be celebrating!” Pidge said.
“Well, I suppose you’re right!” The Chief said. He then looked towards Hunk “Ah! Hunk, I saw your performance, you’re getting better each day!”
Hunk gave his father, the chief, a long, hard look. “No,” he said miserably. “I didn’t” he grabbed his tunic and walked outside into the field of the Castle.
The chief lowered his head, crushed. He was startled when he saw one of the explorers up beside him. “We need to be patient with him,” he said. “It will take time for him, you’ll see!”
“And besides, look at this specimen we caught, the scientist and builders are back at home are going to have a field day with this!”
“Well, I suppose you’re right!” The Chief said, he blinked as his friend stepped closer and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. Some part of him had been waiting to make a change within his son, but that part of him no longer mattered. It was gone, along with his son.
“Hey, what happened to the Lord!” Pidge said, pointing over where the lord and his servants were.
“Mm, they must have fled from the danger!?” The Chief said, “well it doesn’t matter, we could probably gather up the remains! And find the Lord, tell her that our mission is complete”
“I’ll go look for her!” Pidge said, volunteering herself. The Chief explorer drew in a deep breath, folded his arms across his chest, “don’t ask for money this time!”
Pidge dropped her defiant stance as the realization dawned on her as climbing up the entrance. “Don’t worry, I won’t not this time”.
A short while later, Pidge begrudgingly began her search. She searches all the rooms, only to find the castle becoming a maze. An endless supply of hallways.
Across the castle, the explorers were just finished dissecting the spider daemon, separated into parts.
“Well, that’s the last of it!” The Chief said. Then turn his attention around Matt, “you seem silent, something on your mind”.
“I’ve been just been thinking about this hunt!” Matt said.
“What do you mean!” Chief said, then he looks at the spider again, “I have to admit this spider was a weakling, but what else is there!”
At the sound of the chief’s voice, a massive metal wall slid down from the ceiling. It rose from the ground with a loud clang, sealing off the passage that led to the Castle. The Chief and Matt exchanged worried looks. They were trapped.
Hunk had no idea how long he’d wandered across the dirt and sand. It felt as if he’d walked to the ends of the earth. he had reached the end of the land, as the ground dropped off ahead of him in the middle of the road.
Hunk walked to the edge of the road near the ocean and looked into the frigid fields below. he felt a lot like the field-silent, alone, and at the wind blowing onto the grass. he sank to his knees and brushed the tears from his eyes. When he heard footsteps approaching, he didn’t bother to look up.
“Not now, dad. I just want to be left alone,” he said.
“But are you all right!?” It wasn’t His father’s voice. Startled, Hunk looked up quickly. A beautiful girl drifted in front of him. Dress in a blue flower dress Hunk breathed in astonishment.
The Chief had been in worse scrapes. The gleaming metal wall that closed off between him and the castle presented a little obstacle for an explorer, he ran toward the wall, focusing her thoughts, channeling her energy to send it crumbling to the ground, he struck out with enough force.
The wave of power shot from his body and rocketed toward the wall, slamming against the surface with a sound like a resounding gong. But then the unexpected happened. The wave rebounded, sending him staggering back. The wall stood untouched, not even a dent in its surface. Somehow, it had repelled his attack.
“Impossible!” He said. Matt gasped in disbelief and the chief’s eyes widened in shock. The explorers were equally astonished. They closed ranks around the chief, enclosing him in a protective circle.
Suddenly, an amplified voice cut through the silence. “I’m afraid you won’t be able to break that wall, Chief Herschel.
The voice belonged to Sendak. Matt spun around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. His question was answered, however, as the mecha-soldiers on either side of the room lit up, a spooky pale purple glow emanating from their robotic eyes. There was no question-Sendak was leading the charge against this army.
“This source was a setup!” Matt said. he thought back to the meeting with the Lord and how easily the spider Daemon was so defeated. “You lured us here!”
“Guilty as charged,” Sendak replied.
All at once, the mecha-soldiers leveled their guns with a pneumatic blast. The explores leaped into action, lashing out at the soldiers with the metal cables from their uniforms. The cables looped around two of the mecha suits. The police tightened the cables, trying to topple the battle suits or pull them apart.
The metal-plated robots struggled, their hydraulic arms caught in the cables and bound to their metal bodies. The struggle was short-lived, however. Electricity burst from the robots. The current crackled down the length of the metal cables, electrocuting the explorers on the other end. The two dropped to the ground, unconscious.
With a startled cry, Herschel and Matt joined the fight. The explorer chief slashed his arms through the soldiers, crossing their skulls to pieces.
Matt then takes out his sword, sprints towards and attacks, he raised the sharp sword and hurled it at the advancing mechanized suits.
But the sharp fragment only bounced off the platinum-plated body, doing little to slow their process.
Chief Herschel and his remaining strength turned his attention to the gun, lining the edges of the room. He grabbed the gun and put his hands on the trigger, launched the shrapnel blast at the robots, hoping to pierce their armor.
The mecha slowed momentarily under the hail of blast fragments, but their armor remained impervious to the attack. Within moments, they advanced as if nothing had happened. The robots’ heavy rubber treads walk over the debris, flattening it with the ease of a team of steamrollers.
When the two explorers wake up, they fell back to regroup, Sendak took advantage of the temporary retreat. In unison, the soldiers lurched to a stop and the pincers of their robotic gun ratcheted open. Each gun launched a two-pronged grappling hook at the end of a long cable. The hooks struck the two explorers and clamped shut around them. In a matter of seconds, the cables flared with electricity, shocking the explorers and knocking them unconscious.
Chief Herschel also found himself clenched in the cold iron grip of a grappling talon. But before the sizzling sparks of electricity could reach him, he used his skills to warp the metal gauntlets of her armor, transforming them into shiny blades with the wicked sharpness of swords.
The Chief sliced through the grappling hook’s cable, freeing himself just in time to escape electrocution. he snarled as he rounded on the soldiers closest to him, running directly into its path. They were about to collide, but at the last possible moment, Herschel kicked against the metal door, creating a tremor. The rumbling metal launched him high into the air.
The explorer chief landed on top of the oncoming mechanic soldiers, using his gauntlet blades to slash through the glass eyes of the machine’s metal dome. Then turned around to Sendak
“You’re next, you Galra”, Herschel said. he had just reared back to plunge his blades into Sendak’s head when another soldier’s grappling hook locked on to her from behind. The soldier wasted no time flooding the cable with the current.
The chief’s body shook as the shock coursed through him. he reeled and fell into the ground, tumbling with a thud.
From the corner of his eye, Matt saw the chief go down. He had been keeping the tanks at bay as best they could, but they barely managed to slow them down.
Matt pounded away with a barrage of arrow strikes, trying to keep them away in Bay. But the remaining soldiers still had plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
One of the armored soldiers leveled a claw and launched a spinning metal disk from between its pincers. As the disk flew toward Matt, it ejected electrified bola cords. The weighted cords whipped through the air, gaining momentum. Matt tried to evade them, but they slammed into his body. The electrified bands closed around him and emitted a high-voltage shock. He lost consciousness and crumpled to the ground.
With their opponents defeated, the mecha-soldiers ground to a halt.
Among the men stood a tall, imposing figure whose face was half-concealed behind a pair of purple goggles and a Hood. The lower part of his face was exposed.
Belted at his waist were two electrified kali sticks. He was Sendak’s new lieutenant.
Sendak nodded to the Lieutenant before he turned to survey the unconscious bodies of his enemies on the Castle grounds. “Well, I’d say that was a near-flawless test run,” he said, grinning.
He motioned to his men. “Load everyone into the transports. Deliver them to the base.”
“Of course,” he said. Looking at the fallen on the ground with a grin on his face, he had big plans, very big plans for the explorers and village.