Kingdom of Almaföld,
Stadt der Anfänge
"You're the adventurers that the guild hired?" a baffled man-at-arms questioned. Decked out in full plate armor, the man raised the visor to his sallet and eyeballed the Taianese soldiers. Though they themselves were a motley collection, their advanced equipment and high-speed-low-drag armor was as uniform as it got. "I know your masters were holy horrors, but I have a hard time believing that," the mustachioed man admitted. The city he protected had new, clean stone walls much like a castle, but standing from where they were on the battlements, they could all see that it was just another place like any other. The buildings were rustic, with cobbled streets running in between them, all straight out of their fantasy shows or games. If one didn't know better, they had stepped right into one themselves.
"It is not your job to believe," Sif began, her voice laced with a threatening boredom. "It is to obey," she reminded him.
"Yes, well," the man-at-arms coughed, taking his eyes off the squad before closing his visor again. "As you could already see from flying in on that contraption of yours, a good portion of the city has already been claimed by the unholy presence that is the undead," the man began to explain. "Fortunately, the squalor took the brunt of the blight. We've blocked off roads, and the people have been evacuated. Or at least enough of them anyways," he offhandedly remarked. "Whatever it is, it clearly has originated from the cemetery beside the slums. None of us can get close, but I trust you shall." Turning to lead them into the gatehouse, he soon pointed down the stairwell. "The last set of stairs to this gatehouse have been destroyed, preventing their spread up to us. Once you leap down, we will only be able to support you from within direct fire range of our arrows and handgonne's, though expect the latter to hit you as often as the enemy."
"Do any of you have any questions?" Sif asked them all.
"Why are you guys treating this as such a big deal?!" Viz loudly complained. "I'm a top-tier priestess, and we have an Angel with us!" she pointed at Rikka. "Let's just hop down there and start smiting already! We can't let even one of those filthy undead get away! Right Miss Angel?" the body-suit clad woman elbowed Rikka.
On the other hand, if it was close it would be easier to get in and out of but would mean missing most of the horde. Depending on how the unholy magic that made all this exist, taking out the head would make the rest fall. If that wasn't the case, no matter the distance they would have to travel the entire town yard by yard.
"I'm no necromancer but would theoretically taking the head off the snake stop the horde entirely?" Her violet eyes fell first on the man-at-arms and then onto Sif as if she'd know any more than anyone.
"You forgot to tell us what causes a Zombie outbreak. What are we supposed to look for in the graveyard?" Wu asked, moving to the edge of the gatehouse and peaking over.
It was doubtful the zombies' could bite through the material of their suits, but even so it would be annoying to have to fight through so many just to reach their destination. It ALSO seemed annoying that they weren't using the shuttle to go right to their destination. There was no shortage of things to be frustrated at, but Wu would focus on the current lack of plan. Zombies were dumb, and it should be easy to distract them with a loud noise. Without asking the others she would pull her Type 8 weapon pod off the back of her suit, letting it open up and latch on to her arm. The soldier firing off a plasma-glob into the distance.
...A few moments later, someone's possibly-zombie-infested house would crack open in a blue-white ball of flame accompanied by the sharp 'CRACK' of mass being vaporized by superheated plasma.
Kingdom of Almaföld,
Stadt der Anfänge
Viktor Saltpeterson eyeballed the collection of women from behind his sallet with suspicion. These Taianese were strange interlopers, and were ignorant of the world, but if they could be used...
"Yes and no," the man-at-arms began to explain. "The undead spontaneously arise wherever people's remains are scattered should holy rights not be rigorously administered in the name of the holy kingdom and the savior, be they body, bones or ash. However!" His steely gaze fixated on Kikyo, finger arrogantly pointed up into the air. "Should they be summoned through even more unnatural means, the weakest of their number will crumble if what draws them here is purged from this realm." Turning his attention to Wu next, he couldn't help but raise an eyebrow, this non-human woman perhaps the strangest of them all, judging by the concealing garment she wore. At the least, the presence of an Angel was reassuring.
"Something as simple as a bite untreated by holy rites can fell the ailing devout, the heresy spreading through their veins," the armored man explained to Wu. "In this same thread of thought, this unholy heresy may also spread through unblessed food and water as well, but worse yet? A foul necromancer or litch may cast their summons. Either way, find the source, and cleanse it," he commanded her. Watching the strange woman, her proportions obscured by her garments, he couldn't help but note that the device she now handled something strange yet vaguely familiar. "How queer. Is that the rumored arquebus wea - " The ensuing plasma explosion and tiny mushroom cloud in the distance quickly dissuaded Viktor of the notion that she was holding a newfangled arquebus. This was something much worse. Much worse than some witch or wizard throwing fireballs. "Nevermind," he regained his composure. As the fire quickly began to spread through the medieval buildings though, a ray of light shown through the clouds and fell on the man as it dawned on him. "Such a simple solution. Holy fire...of course!" the man realized. "CLEAAAAANSE THE HERESY!!!"
"CLEANSE THE HERESY!" Viz quickly joined the man, her arms thrust up into the air in triumph. However, that was not meant to be. Almost as quickly as the flames began to spread, they wilted, sputtered and died out. "What?! That fire's being heretical! It's supposed to burn out the slums like they always do!" the body-suited priestess accusingly pointed towards the distant smoke.
Sif however, continued to watch, unamused as she always was.
"So what's the plan? Go in... Guns firing and swords swinging? Or try to stay quiet and work our way to the root of the issue?" She asked as she tried to watch what undead she could see to get an idea of just what they were capable of. If they could run or if they were a shambling horde, how intelligent they were, even their strength if they had any. She knew her armor would stop most any bite, but the concern would be if they were overrun by a horde. She turned back to the man that had been talking to them and spoke.
"Do you have an idea on the number of undead currently roaming?"
"I think we going to have to shoot our way through the horide because there must be enough to warrant a team of soldiers beige called in." he suggests with a helpful smile which is rather unsettling against the fire covering his head as his horns grow back to their natural size after beige released from underneath the tight helmet. Once the Crown of excessive flames subsided he went back to observing the crowd of undead before him with interest, his nose wrinkled at the smell of dead and rotting flesh, for a devil his senses seemed to be extremely opposed to the more off putting nature of death.
"Maybe you should take the lead? it seems like your area of expertise" he heaved out over spluttering coughs gained from the pungent stench of decay. Quickly swiping a hand before the undead to cast out a line fire with his magic.
Kingdom of Almaföld,
Stadt der Anfänge
"They are numerous, their numbers unending," Viktor replied confidently. Hearing this, Sif looked up and to the side like she was trying to remember something.
"Recon drones indicate that they easily number over nine thousand, however, even though this is a small city, they may need more than that," the snowy haired woman explained to them. Even as she said this though, their helmets - or their helmet collars in the cases where they took them off - began projecting a top-down image of the city. It wasn't pretty. Given that it was divided by a river, an entire half of it was overrun, with the bridges being the key, vital choke points to hold back the hordes. "Perhaps their bulk is hiding in buildings or sewers, and emerge for combat," Sif's bored voice pondered. "Either way, Sakamoto wishes to carry out additional assessments, and as a result, I will be staying here with Mister Saltpeterson," she added, her face devoid of emotion. "I suggest proceeding to points of interest, such as the plasma crater site that didn't burn like it should have - " she briefly glanced at Wu, " - or the heart of this problem itself, most likely the gravey - "
Sif's shields flared as fragments of wood flew about, sparks flying as an arrowhead embedded in the stone. Turning towards the source - the arrowslit in the wall - Wu saw it head on. Sparks flew as the second arrow passed through the narrow passage, its metal tip grinding against stone like a flint as it bounced off the hard surface. And right into her face. Air crackling, the projectile shattered against the shield, its metal tip deflecting and embedding itself deep in the stone wall behind her.
"Cover, now!" Sif suddenly shouted, shoving a screaming Viz against the wall and out of the shooting ports. But just like that, the shooting had stopped, their HUDs already showing the rough trajectory of the shots. The Graveyard. "Hm. I see," she dryly remarked, the moment now frantic yet calm all at once. "Take Viz, and get to the bottom of this." Hefting the priestess, the Tigress shoved her into the rest of the group, sending them tumbling down the destroyed staircase and landing in a pile. With it entirely ripped out, there was no way back up.
"WHAAAHAAAAAAA!" Viz cried out, arms flailing. From up above, Sif simply stared at them like a grumpy cat.
"They must have magic arrows...", It seemed like an obvious assertion, there was magic about and making a shot through one of those arrow slits was nearly impossible. "Even so they can't get through our suits. We should head to the graveyard and finish this." She would straighten out the cloth poncho she was using to keep herself covered up, before turning in the direction of the graveyard to start off, choosing to stay in the center of the road rather than trying to hide among the smaller pathways between structures.
"By the heavens that was RUDE." She shouted back up toward the top and dusted herself off for a moment. As Wu started off, Rikka drew her sword and made sure her shield was ready to be of use. The magically launched arrow had been a bit of a shock with the power behind it, but she was sure she could have taken more than a few of those. She rolled her shoulder and walked closer to Wu. Blue eyes scanned thier surroundings as she spoke.
"To the spot of the explosion? Or should we go straight to the graveyard?" She asked.
Guardhouse at Base of the Wall
In the horrid confusion of the fall, the squad had twisted and tangled themselves into a fine mess as Viz cried out, making her displeasure clear.
"AAAAAAAAAAAHHH! It's all your fault you dirty devil!" the blue haired woman looked down at the face buried in her lap. Grabbing Dante by the horns, the body-suit clad woman quickly wrapped her thighs around the young man's head. "You were waiting for this moment to reveal yourself and take off your helmet, weren't you! Waiting for - uh - something!" she started to loose steam, her grip around the young man weakening as her resolve faded to uncertainty. Hearing their Jongwu squadmate speak up, she quickly replied, "The graveyard can wait - it's gotta be something nefarious!" Looking at the barred window, she pointed a finger at the faint column of smoke that continued to rise. "Angel! You know something is amiss! The whole slum didn't burst into flames like it should have and cleansed the place! He must have done something!" Viz's grip tightened again. Now down at ground level, the motley group of recruits could hear faint moans and groans in the distance. Perhaps a hundred or so meters down the street outside the guardhouse, they could see the shambling forms of the undead.
"Ah, there they are! We should go get them, right now!" Viz then realized she still had Dante in her thighs. "After we deal with him - Angel! Purify him and send him back to the netherworld!"
"Hey, you think you could go a little tighter, this isn't doing it for me" he wheezes up at her with his head still trapped in the metallic legs, a rough laugh followed his words before turning into a throaty cough as his airways got pressed down on further, at least he would either be killed by an angel or choked to death before the shambling horde of undead he genuinely had nothing to do with for once tore them all apart piece by piece.
"I'm not even that bad, you're the one committing impure acts upon me" He complained as he tried to wrench himself free so he had a fighting chance.
Her eyes shifted off him and to Viz now instead as she wondered indeed just why the place hadn't caught fire more than it had. Something out there had to be stopping it, and it was their duty to find out just what that was. But the others were slow to get up and get moving, and Rikka frankly wanted to get this done now so she could get to take down Dante. She wouldn't talk to him, wouldn't even spare a glance, and instead just strode out into the streets. She wouldn't light herself up so much just yet, but the ethereal wings and large sword and shield would do a good job of attracting attention as she began to swing at the zombies to take them out.
Of course the first thing she noticed was the lack of footsteps behind her. She could hear Rikka, walking and she could hear Dante and Viz... well... they certainly weren't walking. This was supposed to be a unit, and that should involve everyone sticking together. Her motion would pause, and she would turn around to observe the rest of her party. That was when the second realization hit her...
Everyone besides herself and Rikka was an idiot.
"GET UP." She shouted at them, wondering if everyone had to survive this mission.
That was when the third realization hit her. How did they know to shoot the arrow at that part of the tower? Were they being watched from the town? Did someone signal them from the inside? Was it the plasma-bolt that triggered them to try shooting at her? Maybe there was some reason the arrow came to her after she fired. That seemed to make sense. She did seem immune to arrows, and there was one easy way to test her theory.
Wu would pull her weapon pod out once again, this time firing a plasma bolt into the nearest slum-shack.
She saw the Angel begin to work her way through the nearest undead. Something clicked in her mind again: someone had to wrangle everyone together. Someone had to make sure that everything ended up right. Violet eyes met each person before settling on Rikka and her current aggro. "Alright, let's get to this Graveyard."
The catgirl broke into a dead sprint, one hand holding her pod weapon, the other unsheathing her Axe tool she had on the last drop. Memories of Topia flashed in her mind. These undead bore resemblance to the ones who had charged the evacuation teams all those years ago. Kikyo fired a bolt of plasma like a mortar, aimed towards the back end of the horde, before charging in with the axe and going for the ones next to Rikka.
"Grabbing attention is one thing, but don't abandon your sis- squadmates." A slight blush appeared on Kikyo's face but was somewhat masked by her otherwise adrenaline-fueled expression.
"Viz, For the love of..." The now fully attentive Shàngděng Bīng grabbed Viz under her arm and gave a sharp tug- giving her the choice of either having her arm wrenched from the socket, or releasing Dante from the death grip she had on him with her thighs- not that he seemed to mind too horribly much. Priorities, Dai supposed, "Let go of him, Viz. You smothering him to death isn't helpful in any sense of the word- especially when we have an entire horde shambling over here. So up and at 'em, Viz!" She ordered the blue-haired priestess, "Give Rikka all the support she needs- covering fire- Watch her back! If any of you takes so much as a nic' through your suits you notify me immediately- I can't fix you if I don't know." In truth, she had a real-time monitor of the entire squad's physical health- but forcing the squad to keep her updated would help with unit cohesion.
Royama kept to the back of the group so she could keep an eye on everyone- but she wasn't going to stand around and do nothing while the rest of the squad fought a battle right out of a movie. She used her position to begin planning the best route to the graveyard- quickest and least dangerous, emphasis on least dangerous. She furrowed her brow- The Doctor was relying entirely upon the analytical skills and quick thinking she had relied upon when she worked solely as a physician rather than battlefield analytics- "Focus fire around Rikka- guide her in the direction we need to go. Keep them off of her." She reiterated- If anyone could cleave through a horde of zombies like a hot knife through butter it was the literal Angel." -It was like using the wrong tool for the job- but managing to do the job regardless.
Outside the Guardhouse
"Impure?!" Viz scoffed at the young Yazata man. "Ignorant filth! My smooth, silky thighs are holy and worthy of worship within the Church of Freedom!" the blue haired woman shot back at Dante. "Take this!" she suddenly squeezed, a faint glow emanating from the bodysuited woman's body. Immediately, his skin felt like it had a horrible sun-burn, but just as quickly as it came, it left as Viz began to wail, her legs childishly kicking as Royama pulled her away. "But! But the devil! He'll shove his spear into our angel and impale her if we don't stop him now!" she cried out, miserably failing to follow the good doctor's orders and help against the zombies. Zombies that had turned their attention to Rikka as she made to smite them with her holy blade, sending their souls back to heaven, one after another. Zombies that closed in towards the angelic warrior the stench of their their rank, rotting flesh growing stronger. Zombies that moaned their and groaned, sharp, broken, jagged teeth showing with eagerness as they began lining up to wait their turn.
The moment Wu's plasma round struck however, the undead horde's attention turned towards the brilliant flash and mushrooming cloud that rose. Moans and groans grew into a roaring clamor as a second went off, only for Kikyo to dive into the fray beside Rikka. For the briefest of moments, the wannabe catgirl locked eyes with one of the shambling undead as she brought her axe up to swing. But just as quickly as their eyes locked, the zombie recoiled back, arms held up to defend itself with a moan before turning to shamble away. Though both Wu and Kikyo had destroyed many of the undead, the hovels that made up the slums were catching on fire and rapidly spreading. And just as quickly, the horde of undead rapidly shambled towards the hot light, throwing themselves into the flames and starting to smothering them with their own bodies.
Just as the flames were being tended to, Royama's HUD pulled up a real-time map of the city, complete with live feed images of themselves and the horde. As well as a trio of red blips rapidly closing in. Before she could warn the others, their suits pinged their users first, but they were not Taianese. Lights flashed brilliantly bright as shields took the brunt of the blow, both Kikyo and Wu sent sprawling across the floor as wood splintered and deflected arrowheads pierced into cobblestone instead of flesh. Rikka found herself looking up at the sky as well. Where she had been standing moments before, was a spear-sized arrow and a deep scar in her breastplate where it had hit, failing to penetrate and knocking the Angel aside instead.
Worse still, was what this meant about the arrows themselves, as well as the divine messenger's now-damaged armor.
Between the drones flying about, and her suit's own sensors, she had plenty of information on where the arrows were sent from. Her suit would show her where to aim, so that her plasma-rounds would arc right back down onto whomever fired the arrows. While laying on her back she took aim, and released a series of shots, the sizzle-crack of her weapon filling the street as she sent a dozen explosives back to whomever sent the three arrows at them.
As she got back up, Wu would leave behind a pile of spent Gas Cartridge-Power Cells, quickly chewing through the extra ammunition she brought along with her.
"Killing the zombies is a waste of our time, their jaws can't pierce our suits. You should just focus on the ones that are in our way," Wu said, approaching Rikka and adding, "And you should stay behind someone with shields."
"Can you tell where that arrow was fired from? Something your armor can figure out?" Her voice was low and even like the first day they had met as she asked and put her sword away and instead pulled out her spear now. As she tried to take a calming breath the spiked metal halo that floated just above her head began to shine and her six wings went from ethereal to a more solid form. She finally looked at Wu and waited on her answer.
Once he realised he was in the clear he lept to his feet, rifle in hand to support rikka, he wasn't conventially smart by any measure but everyone knows an arrow that big isn't good news, he skidded to halt beside the angel who towered above him and shot a concerned look up to her. " hey I know you don't like devils but we've got bigger fish to fry right now, you want to push through this group with me?" he asked pensively, ready to pour all his mana into enhancing his strength and bulldoze through the undead at a moments notice, if not he could always fly over them.
A Nightmarish Street
Almost as though to answer Rikka, the oddest member of their group began letting lose several arching globs of brilliantly bright plasma. Eyes fixed to the targeting data, Wu let one after another loose as fast as the weapon would allow her to cycle, but moments after the almost artillery-like arc of the first shot brought it out of sight, a shaft of shining blue-white leaped up and collided with the Jongwu's shots. She quickly darted to the side as air crackled and flashed, a meter long shaft of light colliding with the cobble-stone where she stood at moments before. Already watching her rounds fly, Wu barely dodged in time, the stone melted where the spear-like length of energy had embedded itself, shield strength already cut down by a third from the glancing blow.
At the same time, Royama watched the scene unfold, the drone-made real-time map still up on her helmet's display. Like a shining tear-drop of light, the good doctor had watched the live footage of Wu's plasma round arc down towards the large, decrepit church in the middle of the graveyard, only to burst mid-air as a once unseen dome became opaque. The doctor could tell that Viz was yelling, saying something along the lines of how she can't punch zombies with her holy fist because they were gross, but something kept her eyes fixed to the display as the front doors opened. A zombie with a magnificently carved longbow of immaculately polished bone as tall as itself stepped out, a red feather still in its moldy hat, and drawing back just the string, loosed the shafts of light that were now threatening to impale Wu! A flash of red feathers darted past the drone, and for the briefest moment, Royama and the zombie archer locked eyes.
Right before the doctor watched an arrow leap straight up and into the drone.
Meanwhile, Kikyo found herself sent sprawling across the floor as her shields were depleted by half, the horde closing in fast as she got back up. Despite her hacks and chops at the nearest zombies, she soon found herself being shoved, slapped, and otherwise abused by the undead mob. Once she decapitated one, another simply threw the felled head back at her, and in a failed attempt to swipe the improvised projectile aside with her axe, felt its jaws clamp down around her armored fingers as the head refused to stop biting. Awkwardly lopping off the arm of yet another with the head holding onto her axe hand, it simply picked up the amputated arm as another kicked her in the shin, only to begin smacking the wannabe catgirl over the head with the bought opportunity.
Dante fared even worse than her however. He could somehow feel several of their undead gazes settle on him as he fell in at Rikka's side, but before he could do much else, watched as several in the front take their right hand, touch themselves on the head, the heart, and then their two shoulders before clasping their hands together in prayer. And then promptly burst into flame. Rikka watched as the howling, screeching, nightmarish things burst into a frantic sprint, chasing after Dante with what she - an angel - could only describe as the intent of cleansing him with fire. As the horde closed in on her holy self, yet falling short of actually touching her, their rotten moans and grunts grew louder. Wildly gesticulating with their arms, angrily waving them about, some even jabbed their fingers in the direction of Rikka's black-body suited companions as they fought for their lives.
She didn't really aim, just gestured away from Rikka and the rest of the squad as just mentally willed the rifle to rip and tear. Her violet eyes seemed to go narrow and she grit her teeth at the same time. Her faux cat ears came fully erect as she seemed to snap into a rage induced fury. She tightened her hand around the grip of the Type 8 as if the pull the trigger but her mind was already coiled around the catch. They were dead, but not all of them she'd thing were armored. She just needed breathing room. The little bit in her mind that read to her what type of laser barrage she sent out was an odd word she didn't exactly know.
"I need a location now." She said after the spell went off and she snatched her spear up again. Her halo seemed a little dimmer atop her head now, though her wings were still just as large and impressive. She began to stride through the undead and swung her spear to destroy what ones she could as flames began to course down the length of the weapon to ignite anything it touched. She had a two-fold plan for letting the magic trickle into the weapon, one to beat back the annoyance that was the undead, and the second to store power into the weapon for when she knew where to throw it.
"How do they have energy-shields?" Wu wondered out loud, clearly unhappy with this development and just waiting for someone else in this group to fill her in on why brainless meat-sacks on a planet had energy shielding and could apparently set themselves on fire, run, ignore injury, etc.
It also looked like one of their number was already firing... Kikyo was spraying the group with laser-energy. There didn't seem to be much of a point in warning those without helmets to close their eyes at this point. Wu would settle in where she was, still on her back where she landed from the last it, now aiming her Type 8 at the Zombie's knees and firing as fast as she could manage.
Using what strength he had he threw himself to his feet and stumbled around until he caught his balance. He took a second to try and regain his thoughts "there goes working together then" he sneered to no one in particular, in that small amount of time apparently all he came up with was the idea of a snide comment.
Knowing he had to do something about the incoming fire hazard, he reached out as he cast a small amount of magic into a new enhance strength spell and grabbed after one of the non flaming zombies, so as to throw them into the burning corpses that hounded him and keep them away from himself. If it worked he might be able to make it out of the whole mess alive and in one piece.
She didn't entirely neglect the squad, however- "The archer is hiding in a church- there's an invisible dome protecting it. If we're going to direct our attacks anywhere with any sort of effect, I suggest we start making our way towards it. Although I have lost eyes on it for the time being- drone was shot down." She relayed to the rest of the squad- even as she continued to head towards the crowd of zombies, making no effort to fire into them, "Pull back and re-group on me. We need to head through them as a solid unit. Throwing shit at a wall only does so much"
Royama's attempt at grabbing the horde's attention was simply not as effective as one would have hoped, which was par for the course considering how things were these days. Like any other crowd, only the ones nearest to the doctor paid her any attention, but even then, their reactions were rather lackluster. A couple shambling towards the downed Kikyo stopped and paused, the long-dead man turning to look back at the brunette only for the corpse of a woman by its side to scoff and yank him away. Just right in time for the both of them to get blasted to smithereens as the wannabe catgirl's maser randomly sprayed the crowd kicking and stomping her. Meanwhile, the well deceased form of a small child with brown hair pointed a finger at and then lunged at Royama, only to be stopped by another zombie with brown hair, its decaying hand covering up the little one's eyes. Shaking its head in disapproval, the dead parent ushered its rotten child over towards Wu instead. Firing frantically into the crowd now, the doctor watched as her furred squad-mate simply took the zombies apart, her laser easily piercing through whole rows of them and literally tearing them to pieces as flesh flash-vaporized.
The wave of cleansing light swept across them all, the crowd of undead vanishing into dust as Rikka cast her divine magic. Though Dante felt his skin burn like he had been out in the sun for far too long, the undead fared far worse as they simply vanished into dust. However, the young devil of a man and his pursuers were already too far away to be vanquished so easily. He managed to quickly pick up one of the many lingering passers-by and throw it back at his pursuers, knocking them over. Frantically getting some distance between himself and the flames, he soon heard it. Clacking against the cobblestones as wheels turned, the vehicle rounded the corner and loomed closer. Bearing many more of the undead, it rolled closer and closer, only to come to a stop as the undead horses drawing it neighed at his presence. The zombies on board moved about, and a moment later, a jet of water from the wagon-borne contraption sprayed down the burning undead as the crew pumped away. With the flames put out, the rotting crew of the crude fire engine looked at each other, then Dante. Right before hosing him down with the stream of hand pumped water as well.
"BWAHAHAHAHAHA!" Viz loudly laughed, clutching her stomach and pointing a finger at him. Her back turned to the vast crowd that Rikka had vanquished, the priestess failed to witness a legion of souls rise from the ashes, their many forms wildly gesticulating, soundlessly pleading in frustration and bafflement at the squad of mortals before rising up into the great beyond. "Even the zombies think you're a dirty man-slut!" she quickly added, completely oblivious to the scene behind her. "WHAAAAAAAAA!!!!"
The fire-brigade zombies sprayed her with water too.
Unseen by the squad's eyes, the undead longbowman brought a skeletal palm slapping right into its face and slumped its shoulders in what could only be a sigh. He then walked back to the old church and knocked on the door.
With her sword out now she waded into the undead as the flaming blade carved into the creatures with little care. They were undead, bane to the living and creatures that demanded to be destroyed, and she would oblige to the best of her abilities.
She doubted it.
She half-giggled at the drenched Viz, it was almost comedic how oblivious she was a times. "Alright, let's keep tracking towards this graveyard. We can't be too far if we keep getting hit with these damn arrows."
"We are wasting our effort fighting these ones. We should have pushed through to the church already," Wu stated, watching the loud and mostly-useless parts of the squad getting hosed down with water. She would wait until the pressured water had knocked over its targets, drenching them fully before taking aim at the fire-wagon and zapping it a few times with her weapon pod in an attempt to tear through the pump mechanism. "Do we actually need the priestess for anything? We could leave her behind."
Wu didn't seem to mind being overheard.
Now fully protected from zombies or zombie propelled waterms he was able to think and after a few moments turned back to the group ready to address his assumed commander royama with a bewildered sigh. "Hey boss, I don't think these are regular zombies, they seem to. . . Smart?" He rubbed the bridge of his nose through the metallic helmet, unable to understand where he was going with this "I'm not sure they're actually a threat right noway, I mean they just soaked me and that thot instead of attacking us, and they extinguished the flaming zombies"
As he finished he retreated over to the larger group of kikyo and royama through a crowd of zombies with his arms raised, hoping to test his theory, even if the attacked the suit would hopefully keep him safe.
As Wu fired, the laser pulses rapidly made short work of the brass tank and pump mechanism, melting clean through the medieval fire engine as water burst forth in explosive gouts of steam. However, Rikka's spear pierced the machine and exploded in a fiery display, bits and pieces of the wagon, fire engine, undead horse and crew all pattering against their suits as it rained down. By now though, the nearest undead were mere dribs and drabs a good stone's throw away, and on top of that, Viz was having none of it.
"You can't leave me behind! If you get killed, who's gonna resurrect you? The killy-angel's not a healy angel!" the blue haired priestess pointed out, the grain of intelligence she showed them shining like a gem. However, as Dante spoke, she scowled. "What kind of dumb devil are you? Of course zombies are smart! They're only dumb if the necromancer or whatever is a weak ass noob or something like that." With her interest in him quickly waning however, she pointed her finger at Wu. "Anyways, you take that back! I can do more than just heal and resurrect! Watch!" Running over to one of the slum's buildings, Viz began banging away at the door until it opened, a zombie standing in its doorway. "Hey, zombie person, which way to the graveyard?" Staring at her for a moment, the ramshackle corpse pointed down the street with a rotted hand before closing the door on the priestess. "See? What did I tell you? I can ask for directions!" Viz proudly puffed out her already sizable chest. "Let's go!" she began leading the way.
The re-deaded zombies didn't seem to trouble Wu. Blowing one apart was no more mentally taxing than shooting glass bottles or paper targets even if they did leave behind clothing along with rotting meat. The important thing is that the rotting meat wasn't on HER.
"Rikka! C'mon! Priority is the graveyard. Plenty of undead for you to purge on the way there." Royama shouted after Rikka, a hint of amusement in her voice.
"I will destroy the barrier and whatever was shooting us with pleasure. That fool of a person thought to attack me, he will pay." She growled out and stomped off in a huff toward the graveyard. She didn't seem to have enjoyed getting put on her ass as she ignored the others and stalked off. Any undead that came within striking range were cut down without mercy as she scooped up her spear along the way and returned it to her back.
Not So Empty Street
"You would too!" Viz childishly yelled back at Wu, shaking her fist for emphasis. "You've been getting shot left and right, and your armor's magical barrier is gonna go down sooner or later. Meanwhile, here I am, perfectly fine, see!" She proudly thrust out her chest to the dismay of the few remaining undead. With the vast majority of the crowd dealt with, those that remained gave up their attempts to accost the group and began shambling away. However, others had approached and looked on. At least until the priestess had done what she had just done. Repelled by her actions, they began to turn and leave as well. "And I'd totally deal with that barrier, but I gotta touch it first! Duuuuuh!" she added, pretty sure that this strange Wu person was stupid too. At the good doctor's words though, Viz vigorously nodded her head. "That's right, I get to be in the middle since I'm the most important!" Quickly forgetting that she was supposed to be in the middle of the group with that revelation, she ran out ahead of them. "Come on angel-butt! Let's purify the unholy!'
Running off in the general direction of the graveyard, the few zombies that milled about were less than a threat, and were easily dispatched if they bothered. One former bar-maid swept the floor outside a run down tavern, while a pair of withered carpenters attempted to roof one of the slum's hovel with a pace fitting a snail. Meanwhile, a cart pulled by a rotten horse hauled cobblestones, the pair of decaying men and a bleached skeleton slowly working to re-pave the neglected street. "Stupid undead - the street's not even straight anymore! They must have built into it so it's all zig-zaggy now! That's gotta be completely against royal decree on building stuff or something!" she loudly complained.
"Am I seeing this right? These guys just look... normal. Yes they're dead but... it seems like it's just another day to them." She had ignored the Priestess, she usually did, but her eyes actually set on both her and the angel for the moment. "Hold off on the whole 'Rip and Tear' for the moment. Let's see where being passive gets us. Plus, I think we're getting close I think."
It was at this point that she was feeling sorry for wasting the ones she had killed again. She kept it swallowed for now, but those with the knowledge of mentality and the human condition probably noticed anyway.
"They need to be destroyed regardless of whether or not they decide to make you a cup of tea and share a bit of sugar." She told Kikyo
"Just another day? They must be preparing for some nefarious scheme, maybe fortifying this portion of the city, or expanding the graveyard even!" Viz exclaimed, briefly stopping in front of the remains of a young woman in faded pink un-potting and planting some new flowers. Quickly kicking over the watering pail, Viz continued onwards towards the graveyard as the zombie watched on in what could only be described as shocked disbelief. "Halo Head is right!" the priestess backed Rikka, the zombies the angel cleaved in half grasping their heads in frustration or shaking their fists as the squad ran by. "Just look at how horrible these slums are! They're an absolute maze - they have to be up to something!" Rounding the corner, Viz quickly skidded to a stop, her face wrought with confusion and horror. "N-no. This can't be true. This IS IMPOSSIBLE!" she screamed, grasping her head in horror.
Before them was the town square, the graveyard in question clearly in view behind it, its church set atop a small hill. However, in this town square stood two imposing figures. The first, clearly a former man of note, stood proudly despite the rot, his once colorful, brass studded jacket of velvet worn and decayed to the point that the overlapping plates underneath shown through. Despite this zombie's appearance though, the sword in his hand gleamed bright as though it were forged yesterday, the point resting on the ground as he stood waiting. To his side however, was the still hulking and muscular remains of a barbarian warrior wielding a massive two-handed axe. Unlike the first however, his weapon showed its age, while his chain mail still glowed, the golden inscriptions clearly shining bright on each and every single individual ring. As the two undead silently stood, their eyes nothing but black pits of decay, a figure emerged from the church on the hilltop, a red feathered cap atop his rotted skull, and a massive, ornately carved bow of pale bone.
The Archer that had been shooting them.
"NOOOOO! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONES!" Viz cried out, wailing in despair as tears began to stream down her face. "WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO? WHAT ARE WE GONNA DOOOOOO?!" the priestess began throwing herself at everyone, grabbing hold of any bit she could and shaking them about as she panicked.
Then she remembered something Viz had said earlier.
Wu would take a firm grip of Viz's shoulder, "You just have to touch the barrier to remove it right?" She asked, of course the plan was already formed in her head. As the first hand squeezed tightly to get good grip, her other hand put away her weapon pod and grabbed Viz's by the thigh, lifting her up like a battering ram.
"The barrier is the only thing keeping us from just blasting them. I'm going to smash it down with Viz."
She gave them a moment before she started her slow walk toward them in an effort to see just what they would do. Would they both challenge her? Or just one at a time? She cared not if the others joined her or not this was what she did, fight the undead and destroy the main forces that opposed life.
"Do you speak or has death made you silent. I want to know what is going on here."
Her hands were wide and open, the muzzle of her weapon point away enough that only her squad could see she was priming a plasma bolt in case things went wrong. Her violet eyes seemed to look through them for the moment and then to each eye socket individually.
"I do not want to kill you, nor do I wish to sully the dead. I come from two dead worlds, one now a tomb. Death is a friend of mine."
A Stand Off- Sorta
Royama squinted her eyes at Kikyo, taking note that clearly the girl had a penchant for theatrics, but if got everyone's attention and perhaps got a few questions answered- then who was she to question Kikyo's methods? However strange and amusing the doctor might find them, "Having a few questions answered would certainly be nice- especially if we could, say, avoid another fight." She mused out loud, her eyes flicking over each of her squadmates before they finally landed on Rikka, "For the most part it seems more like we've been the interlopers- the aggressors from the very start of this mission. Perhaps we can finish things up with a more peaceful resolution than how we started." More hopeful than really having the faith that that was how this 'quest' of theirs was going to end the doctor let out a soft hum as she took a standing place beside Kikyo, "Then again, if not, we do have a literal angel and enough energy weaponry to turn this town into a proper pile of ash." She muttered under her breath just loud enough that only Kikyo- or anyone with sufficiently advanced hearing- would be able to hear her.
He placed a hand on rikka's shoulder warningly, readying to try and pull her back if she attempted to attack the three ahead of them before they could get a word in, all his magic abilities ready to be pushed into a massive blasphemy spell that would leave her reeling if needed. For now he just patted her shoulder reassuringly as he waited for anything to happen.
"WAAAAAAAHHH!" Grabbed by a leg and her utility belt as she was held like a battering ram, the blue haired priestess could only flail about and scream. "WhatareyoudoingareyoucrazyyyyyHEY!" Viz cried out, flailing her arms about and smacking Wu about. However, she sensed something strange about the mysterious and aloof soldier as she did so. "Hey wait, there's something wrong with her!" she realized, the hand that had smacked the Jongwu now groping about. "There's this big, squishy thing hidden under her poncho! It's not natural!" Viz concluded loudly, her attention now diverted into investigating this abnormality.
Though the undead's attention was was initially fixated on Rikka as the duo squared her up, their gaze began to drift over to Wu and Viz as the two struggled. Though most of their flesh was stripped from their faces, their eye sockets nothing more than a pair of black pits, there was just enough flesh left around their eyes to make it clear that they were squinting at the two with suspicion. The undead man-at-arms rubbed its chin and seemed to whisper to its deceased barbarian companion, who in response, made a cupping motion in the air with one of its near-skeletal hands in response. Kikyo soon managed to draw their attention, however, they gave it to her reluctantly as they eventually peeled their eyeless gaze from the struggling duo and laid it on her.
"AH, HANKS. NOHHODY HRY HALKING HITH HUS," the leading undead tried to talk to the wannabe catgirl. Despite trying to say whatever it was though, it then rubbed the back of its head in what could only be embarrassment as the barbarian corpse coughed. Not having any lips left made talking difficult. "ER. HHY HYU HERE?" it gestured towards the squad.
She screwed up her face slightly at the last word. She forced it to fall away as she continued. "Am I correct in that regard?"
She turned her head across her right shoulder and doubled up her comms. "Put Viz down, there isn't a fight here. At least there isn't anymore." Her violet eyes locked onto Wu with as if waiting on her to follow an order. "All of you, stand down."
"These are undead, abominations to the living. They need to be cut down and destroyed, who cares if they can talk?" The angel hissed out through gritted teeth. She had to control herself from launching her own attack, but she would wait for now. Should an answer come up, or should they move in a way she didn't like, there would be no stopping the angel at that time.
A Stand-Off- But mostly only for Rikka
"Can you actually hear yourself talk, Rikka? These 'undead' are clearly at least sapient enough to be having this conversation with us without resorting to violence. The only people that have really been violent in the course of our visit- as I've said- have been us. So maybe put your toy away for a couple of minutes so we can get to the bottom of this with the people that probably have at least some sort of clue of what's going on. Worst case scenario this is some sort of trap and you just smite them to death- or whatever. You're not losing anything here, you just have to be calm and patient for a couple of minutes while we sort this out. Like normal, sane people." Royama fought the urge to roll her eyes, and quite victoriously (for the time being), "Where here to figure out why the lot of you are- y'know, undead or whatever. You don't happen to have an answer to that, do you?"
Wu and Viz caught her attention just as Viz was being thrown through the air like a sort of annoying lawn dart, "Wu! Don't throw the priestess! Viz! Don't do anything stupid!" The Doctor wasn't sure who to be more worried about; Rikka with her divine sense of 'justice' or Viz just being herself.
"Ignore the flying woman, please! She's, uh, a little stupid!"
"OH EAH, HOMEHING HOKE HUS HUP," the undead leader replied to Kikyo and Royama. "HOLLING HIN HOWUR HAVES HIH HOW HINGS HAR," it then gestured to the decrepit slums around them. Often, people would say individuals of note would roll in their graves with the current situation, but here on this world, it looked to be literal. However, before it could reply with anything more, its gaze went back to their other squad members. Tossed like a sack of potatoes by the stronger-than-average Wu, the blue haired priestess flew with the grace of someone failing their arms and legs while screaming in panic. Which wasn't much. And perhaps worse still, in that brief moment where rushing time froze, it was clear to them all that she was going to fall short and face plant right into the city square's cobblestones. Within a heartbeat, Viz was screaming even louder than before, her arms and legs flailing wildly as her eyes rolled with sheer horror.
"WUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Its decaying jaws held wide, an unspeakable cry came from the undead leader as decaying flesh slowly began to sizzle and burn. Seeing that she was going to smash face first into the ground, the corpse had dashed forward to catch the top-heavy priestess. But now, it cried out in pain as her holiness began to sear away its rotting skin. Quickly turning, it tossed Viz to the deceased barbarian, who quickly grabbed the woman and began screaming itself. Passing her back and forward between the two of them like a hot potato, the two undead continued to scream as the hapless priestess flailed about helplessly.
"If you two don't want her to hit the floor, maybe just toss her back?" a womanly voice asked from above. Hearing this, both the deceased barbarian and soldier grabbed Viz by the arms and legs, holding her upright long enough for her expression of horror to somehow deepen before heaving her towards the squad. Flipping end over end and spiraling out of control as she flailed in panic, the priestess collided lengthwise across Dante and Rikka as a surprised, "Oh my!~" could be heard. Floored, the young Yazatan man could feel the unpleasant tingling sensation of a sunburn coming on, while Rikka felt like she was under the rays of a revitalizing sun. But more importantly, with the dazed Viz spread atop of them, they were looking up. Right at a woman sitting atop a flying broom. Though a beauty herself, they could feel there was something wrong with her. After all, the clothing didn't match the wearer. It was aged, like something left in storage for far too long. "Well. With all that violence out of your bodies, I hope you are all willing to talk?" the woman asked.
Off at the graveyard, the front doors of the old church lay open, the undead archer watching them from afar.
Rikka glared at Royama still as she pointed her sword to the undead before them.
"Oh yes, we were the first. I suppose we were also the ones who attacked the tower and blew us out of it?" The angel spat back at the woman and was about to say more before she looked up to the newcomer on the broom.
"Are you the one that raised these dead?" She asked, her tone stern and eyes narrowed still.