War Act I: Factory of Heroes Chapter 16: Chapter 14: Attrition


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"W'at are ya doin' kitten?" A young lady asks a child.

"Mamah, w'at this at—tri—on wa—ar..." Trying to read out of the book.

The young lady bend over to look. "Attrition Warfare, not something ya should do but I'll explain it to ya."

She sat down beside her putting an arm over.

"It's a battle which whoever doesn't have anythin' left to fight with, loses." Looking over her gently.

"Ya mean, whoever runs out of bullets. Right!" She happily exclaimed.

"Yes, but humanity frowns in such... activity. We win wars without even letting the enemy fire a single round, that's the basic principle humanity follows." She strokes her hair. "That's why ya children we're born, even alone ya can kill thousands."

"Really Mah?" Hugging her tightly.

She hugs her back. "Okay now, wash ya hands and tell ya brothers and sisters to pray before y'all ate."

Ark Acedia - Tristitia: Classroom G3 - 71

1037AE 07M20D 1700H

. . .

Proving Grounds: Forgotten City, Black Gate

1821Y 04M09D 0800H

The Guardian, free from burden rush towards them swords in hand. The group anticipated the attack. "Get ready!" Mat bracing for impact but... it strode right pass them.

No, the aggro... Like time stopped to where Mat stands. He already know where it is going, there is only one thing behind them. Smirf spaced out as the towering statue showed it's intent.

"RUN!" Mat's voice woke her up like a jolt of electricity just brought her back to life. "Sol, hold on to Lucii." Jump up the wagon, she did not even look back, just drove like there is no tomorrow. The guardian swung at the wagon, but miss them by a few seconds losing its balance; it got up and continued the chase.

Mat threw away his armaments and ran towards the statue. "Boss, they are going to run in circles. Don't chase, go counter." Menan shouting out loud making sure everyone heard. Shit, shit, shit...

Baby already steps ahead of the group, jump the wagon then started firing arrows at the statue. Shiro appeared on its shoulder; drew his katanas but he barely made a mark on it.

Menan signaled Acki they went both went for a foot and swung at it, making the Guardian fall on its knees. Mat rush in; recalled his hammer, lift it over his head then brought it down the Guardian's feet keeping it in place. The statue knocked him away with the broken sword. As it was about to run again, Acki held on to its feet; Menan runs over its body trying to find a weak spot. The guardian shook them off, then continued to hunt down its target.

"Hermana, here it comes again." Baby watching as it strode off towards them. Smirf glance over the side mirror when it suddenly disappeared. A dark shadow loomed over them. Smirf steered hard to the left, trying to get away. The sword statue drops beside them, creating a ripple on the ground; sending the wagon airborne.

Swung its sword at them, Baby immediately tried to deflect the strike but it still sent them flying away. So'liel grab Luci and Smirf then jump off.

The Guardian threw the broken blade at So'liel. Shiro immediately tried to cut it in half, but only manage to give So'liel a brief moment to get away before he got carried away by the force.

Not a moment spared the statue swung its sword towards them. Acki got in time and blocking it with his sword. "Run," So'liel understood and drag the two away.

Ca'li flips the wagon, a bloodied BabyGirl came out underneath; called them out. "Get Hermana onboard." The Guardian grabs Acki then threw him away, looked around for its target.

"Render," Menan charge through. "Great Sword... Triple Slash" aiming at the foot they have been targeting all this time. The hell did... He missed the Guardian jump back leaving him open. It's sword already on the way to him. "Render, Reinf..." blocking it with his buckler. The impact buried him deep within the ground then the rubble covered him as it withdrew the sword.

"Menan!" Baby shouted, the guardian turned its sights on them. "Go, I'll handle this." So'liel left on cue.

Baby rush towards the guardian aimed straight away at its foot. "Espada, Rebanse Triple." It tried to stop them but they gracefully dodge, then hit their mark severely damaging it. One more, one more... She used her whip to pivot her back towards the target. " Espada..." The Guardian swipe the whips line, flinging her away like an insect.

"Wake up, slow that thing down... Give me a minute." Shiro heard Mat and burst out of the debris laughing ominously. "Azaleah..."

Mat!? Looking at him from So'liel's shoulder. "No, you can't it's..." Mat brush off her concerns. "To hell with it, we fuck today!"

Tsk, Azaleah looked at Smirf. "I will never forgive you Cat." Mat started running towards the guardian red lightning crackling all over. "Disabling Safety Protocols, Initiating Overdrive Sequence..." Luci opened her eyes, hearing Azaleah and Mat shout out the commands.

"Warlord... Juggernaut!"

"Warlord... Juggernaut!"

He raced towards the statue, his dark red aura mix with blood, melds with the black armor. The Guardian sense the imminent threat and turned back.

Overdrive!? Who, No... Luci getting back her senses.

The thrust its sword towards him, driving its blade on the sides of his ribs; breaking armor and bone. He grabs the sword as it passes through him; his arms tear apart as he tried, each time, it snaps back in a split second. The moment comes to a full halt, then became a tug of war between the two of them.

He'll... I need to do something. Luci took her grimoire from her waist, hesitated. "Smirf..." Saw her already awake in tears as she stared helplessly onto her hero. "Stop the wagon, Smirf I need your..." Smirf looked at her pleading. "Do it, please... Just do it." She opened her grimoire then uttered. "Art du sang," Blood red tears gently flowed on the sides of her eyes, streaming down her cheek, staining the furs of her robes, garnishing her black ensemble crimson.

Blood art!? So, the witch finally shows her true colors. Hoh ho hoh. Azaleah flickering as she hovers about, trying hard to stabilize herself.

She tilted her head back, strands of her hair turned red. "Bear with me for a while, love." Smirf nodded hands clasp. "Drain de vie" small bright red particles started to converge over the pages of the grimoire.

"Life drain!? No wait, Witch..." Azaleah fell to the ground, her light flickering. I need to... Mat! Extending her arm towards him.

The wagon's engine stalled. Smirf collapse, So'liel drag herself, imagery fading showing her mechanical body as she covered Smirf.

The guardian freed a hand and tried to grab Mat but Shiro appeared; drew his katana then slice off the statue's hand, laughing ominously as he did. Swayed it's arm abruptly flinging Shiro off.

Luci closed her grimoire splatting the converge plasma hanging over its pages, making it drip down her hands. As a single drop hangs on front of her. "Orbe de sang," the droplet made a thin red line towards the Guardian, then exploded at its weapon hand shattering a part of it. Luci collapse afterward but remained conscious, tried to drag herself towards Smirf.

The guardian tried to pull its sword again but could not he bashed Mat with the other arm but still...

"Menan!" Acki strikes the shattered part of the guardian's arm embedding his sword halfway through the crack. Menan running the length of the statues back. "Render... Shield Charge." He descended on the other end of the sword cutting off the Guardian's arm. Mat pulled it off, then swung it on to the statue. Shattering the Guardian in half, he then fell to his knees and collapse.

"MAT!" Azaleah shouted from the ground. Sudden terror runs through Luci's spine as she looked back behind her wide-eyed at Azaleah, flickering on the ground. Did I... Oh, no... She was...

Baby rush through over Mat, "Azaleah, what is this? Looking at him remembering the time with the Warbeast but this is different. He is neither alive or dead... He feels empty. Menan and Acki rush over.

"If he is not respawning, therefore he is alive. Right!?" Menan kneeling on the sides. "Get him a regen patch." Acki rushing towards the wagon. Azaleah hovering over. "He is still alive, Baby take over."

Baby teary-eyed nodded. "Luci, search the premises. Menan, find out how to open that door. Acki brings the group over the wagon we need to take care of them."

The crowd woke up from their stillness, then started shouting; banging their shields and armaments, throwing over to the group supplies, provisions, and equipment.

Smirf woke up look over to her sides, saw Shiro and Mat on the ground still. She immediately stood up and crawled over. "What happened?" Tears fell like rain drop. "Their still alive, Cat. You can stop the drama" Azaleah sitting beside him.

Luci strode towards the one thing on the desolate place that is bugging her. The skeleton beside the gate. She saw that in her first weeks in the city, it never changes. She took its bag search everything on the skeleton.

I see, so that's your secret

Menan came running back to Baby. "Guess, we need everyone to stand on the gates platform to open it." Luci passes by giving Baby a thumbs up then sat by Mat. "Menan, search the guardian for anything valuable. Acki takes Sol and collects the items our comrades are throwing, then were moving out." Baby grab some equipment to make an improvised stretcher.

Shiro got up laughing as he does so, taps Smirf on the back. "Yes, ah gotta move." She runs towards the wagon and drove towards the crowd taking everything they give shoving it inside.

. . .

They pack everything up. The crowd still chanting in the background. They stood in front of the Black Gate as it slowly opened showing only light. They wave goodbye as they step towards it.

"Oh, Acki can ya unhinge that part over there?" Smirf looking over to what looks like a partial door on the Gate. Everyone looks at her. "Mat wants it." Smiled as she said it. Everyone raised their shoulder and unhinge the door.

"Anything else?" Menan ask. "Nah, we're good."

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