Why was it so difficult all of a sudden?
The words rang in Jake’s ears as he ducked under the armour-crushing swing of the enemy juggernaut. He then leapt from his position, attacking the opening left behind with his flaming fists. However, the fire dwindled as soon as it hit the fur until it ceased to exist.
‘Pincer formation!’ Jake ordered, allowing the two mages behind him to take his place, distracting the unharmed target.
Jake retreated, dodging another blow in the process. He flicked his fingers to light his hands ablaze once more. The more he thought, the fewer options he found. Though squadron W had the numbers advantage for once, they couldn’t peg back their latest challenge.
Again, why was it so difficult now?
The juggernaut turned around to face the pincer attack. A water elemental shot a stream of water at the furry chest before another fire elemental flung a small projectile at the eyes, but the beast deflected both attacks. However, his attentions were well and truly focused on the pair.
Jake went in again, using the formation to distract the enemy, aiming his punch at the pressure points by the spleen, then the pelvis, then the groin and then the backside of the knee in swift succession. The juggernaut didn’t react to the first three locations but the fourth led to his collapse. The water elemental took the chance, sending a burst of water right through the eye, rendering the foe harmless as blood and broken bone oozed out of the socket.
We killed one of th-
Not a moment later, another juggernaut, taller, bulkier and furless compared to the first, barged into the space in front of Jake, knocking him aside. It grabbed the water elemental and hurled the woman into the dust before stomping on her, creating a heart-lurching crunching sound that merged with the ongoing shouts and screams. The juggernaut then lunged forwards, biting the woman’s neck with its tusked teeth, dealing the death blow before turning to the fire elemental.
‘Get out of the way!’ Jake commanded.
But the man just stood there, unmoving and shivering, as the juggernaut made its way to him. Jake burst from his spot. He shoved the man out of harm’s way but a strong right hook collided into the side of his chest plate, shattering the stone in an instant and knocking him into the floor.
Now the enemy’s sights were on Jake. Blood dripped from the tusks that protruded out of the, (now that Jake thought about it), woman’s mouth. The only damage to the foe were mere scratch marks on the vest she wore and Jake didn’t expect to add to that. Not when his winded and wounded body prevented him from moving up on time.
I’m sorry Brim… he regretted. He closed one eye, half-waiting for the final strike on him.
All of a sudden, a gigantic fireball smothered the enemy. Jake shielded his eyes from the splash damage. When he found it safe to look up again, he saw the enemy writhing in agony as the fire burnt through every portion of her body until she collapsed into a flaming corpse.
‘I’m so sorry,’ the fire elemental Jake pushed said, grabbing hold of him, getting him back to his feet.
He took the opportunity to look around and realised that the only reason he lived was because each and every mage, from both AAA and squadron W, were occupied with each other. Neither side let up. For every Eurasian team the enemy juggernauts crushed, a team of Eurasians felled a juggernaut. However, with the chaos of people killing, dying and being flung across the desert, he found the relative peace— as he was dragged towards safety — relieving.
‘I shouldn’t have frozen like that,’ the fire elemental continued to apologise.
‘It’s ok,’ Jake accepted. He clutched his sides to find blood oozing out of the wounds.
Another body crashed in front of the pair, this time Eurasian, the person’s armour already broken and pale skin exposed. Despite the condition, he got up, charging back into action. But the man carrying Jake froze once more.
Guess war isn’t for everyone, he thought, recalling his first battle and how just as scared he was until Brim came and told him to shut up and concentrate.
‘Snap out of it! We don’t have the luxury to gawk! Get me back to the utility group then return to action as soon as possible. I’ll ask a messenger to send more reinforcements from the artillery group if possible.’
‘Huh? Oh, sir, but that’s impossible…’
‘What?’ Jake asked, but when the man didn’t respond, he barked, ‘Why is it impossible?’
‘The tinoos. They’re…’ the man froze again.
Jake looked up. His eyes widened. The tinoos changed their formation again. This time to a crescent. The words rang in his mind once more. Why was it so difficult all of a sudden?
He blinked twice, but the shape didn’t change. It only meant one thing:
The utility group was under attack.