The Laid Back Hero of Atlas – Chapter 8: March of the Heroes

Sorting through all of the debris we found the remains of the Sub Queen squashed like a bug under a shoe. Cutting off its head we stored it in the magic bag with some effort. I gathered the fallen soldiers tags, dog tags back on earth, before we piled into the van. On the way back to the wall the women commented on how easy that was.

“They won’t all be that easy.”, I said, “Some nests are underground making them nearly impossible to find before they get you.”

“I guess your right. Not many build a nest above ground like that. I wonder why they did that?”, Amber said.

“Most likely an underground body of water was in their way.”, I said, “That is usually the case in most areas where they build above ground.”

Simply agreeing that I knew about things they dropped the topic in favor of other female topics. Discussing future shopping trips, places to visit, and vacations I was glad the four were getting along enough not to kill each other. Flashing the headlights as we approached the gate the night watch let us in. Pulling through the gate we found the camp in disarray for some reason. Parking out of the way we went over to ask what was wrong.

“Was that you dicking around out there?!”, George said partially asleep.

“Yes, we blew the nest up.”, I said pulling the proof out, “We also killed the Sub Queen.”

Seeing the head of the Sub Queen he ordered the men to go back to bed. Turning to me he gave me the stink eye.

“You son of a bitch! Let us know before you go blowing shit up!”, he snapped.

“Shut the hell up old man! I wasn’t going to run back here to tell you. I figured you knew me well enough to know I caused the explosion.”, I said flipping him the bird.

“I am to fucking exhausted to deal with this shit…”, he said, “First I have to deal with those moron Heroes coming here, and now I have you blowing shit up.”

“Go to bed old- Wait what!”, I said in shock, “They are coming here?”

“Yeah the motherfucking king can’t stand for you taking all the glory.”, George said stumbling back to his tent, “He is making the bastards come here to assist us in fighting the nests.”

Holding back my laughter he looked back at me.

“I am thankful you took out that nest, don’t misunderstand. The damn thing was a danger to these men.”, he said with a smile, “We will discuss this in the morning, and after I have my damn coffee!”

Leaving him to sleep we decided to call it a night as well. Snuggling up with me in the van Hesta snuggled up tightly in my arms like a spoiled child. The other three snuggled in close as well around me all smiling peacefully. Sleeping in till around 9am we got up for breakfast finding the men giving us dirty smiles. Narrowing my eyes the men quickly went back to their normal lives. Heading to George’s command tent we walked inside to find him with the other Heroes.

“As you can see James has already taken out the nest nearest our wall.”, he said presenting the Sub Queen’s head, “I have already dispatched scouts as of yesterday to gather information about the other nests. Till they return I can only share information from three weeks ago.”

With a sigh they sat back in their seats thinking things over. Turning around to greet me George walked over, and asked that we take a walk. Understanding the meaning I agreed following him out of the tent with the women in tow. Putting some distance between the tent, and us he sighed with relief.

“The damn fools want to move out now. They want a slice of this pie, but I won’t move without updated information. Last we knew the nests were splitting off so we may have more to deal with.”, he said, “Officially I can’t thank you in front of them, but the men and I are extremely thankful you took the nest out. Had you not done so we may have had to leave today to do it.”

Handing him the tags I recovered he said he would make sure they got back to the families. Asking him what the current plan was he said that the first three scouts wouldn’t be back till this afternoon. Thanking him for the information I decided to take it easy since the kingdom’s Heroes were here. Lounging around in the van the women were being very clingy. Making sure to show each of them affection through kisses, hugs, and cuddling they seemed at peace. Things were going nice till one of the Heroes came over. Kicking the van we only heard one thing.

“SON OF A BITCH!! THAT THING FUCKING HURTS!!”, the male Hero Thomas said.

We held back our laughter at his stupidity as it would only cause issues. Taking a nice nap we woke up when we heard the gatekeeper announce the scout’s return. Running over to the command tent George wore a tense expression. Inviting us in he called the different company commanders in as well as the other Heroes. When we all were gathered he gave us the report.

“Things are a lot worse than the previous report.”, he said, “One of the nests has split, and is currently in the process of making several smaller nests. As it stands most are roughly twenty percent done so we were lucky we caught it so early.”

Looking at all the nest locations we now knew of only two of the five had cover for us to hide in. The other three were in the middle of grassland rendering us helpless till night. It appeared the company commanders were under the same impression.

“Why don’t we just rush them?”, Thomas suggested.

“Boy, do you have hot air for a brain?!”, George said, “Charging them would guarantee significant losses on our side. The amount of men needed to overrun just one in broad daylight would be around ten thousand. We’d be lucky if one thousand made it back.”

Grumbling about something as he sat back the other Heroes tried to cheer him up. Turning to me the company commanders asked what I thought.

“George, what equipment do you have for aerial recon?”, I asked.

“We have a few hot air balloons, three wyvern riders, and a couple of gliders, why?”, he asked.

Getting up I walked up to the map on the board. The map we were using happened to be a topographical map of the region which was a great help. Pointing to an existing dam around forty miles away I gave them my suggestion.

“So we know this area along here used to be under water, but thanks to this dam the water is currently being held back.”, I said pointing to locations on the map, “My plan is quite simple. If we can use the hot air balloons to carry a few bombs to the dam we can blow the wall up. The flood of water that will happen would wipe out four of the nest sites killing the Decay in the current.”

“What about any stragglers?”, the red-headed Heroine pointed out.

“They’d have to make a long trip back to the remaining site. Traveling that distance will make them exhausted, and easy to kill.”, I said, “We could put this plan into action if we leave early tomorrow before sunrise. Clearing the nesting areas before first light is top priority. If we are caught out in broad daylight we will be shot down by their acid spit.”

“That’s a great plan!”, the commander’s said, “That would provide us enough time to get supplies ready, and get our men in order. The next nest is near the forest so we could lie in wait for nightfall!”

The commanders were onboard as it limited the targets to just a single nest site. This meant they could have their forces in one spot, and have stealth on their side. All of this plus the fact that it was the safest option meant they were fully supportive. Sadly the Heroes weren’t so keen on that.

“Striking the enemy at night is cowardly!”, Thomas said.

“Shut the fuck up boy!”, George said, “It won’t be your neck on the line if the men die! If your going to pay to take care of their families should they die I will back your plan.”

“Ruby, back me up here.”, Thomas asked the red head.

“I am not backing your stupid idea. Even I can see a frontal assault is suicide under these conditions. We’d be outnumbered at least twelve to one in these locations with the men we could bring.”, Stella said, “James’ idea is the safest option out of any I can think of. I hate to say it, but I back his plan.”

The other Heroes agreed not because they liked me, but because they were trying to win favor with the troops. The commander’s weren’t buying their false convictions so they ignored the Heroes. Leaving to get their men ready the Heroes, George, and I remained in our spots.

“George, did the report happen to mention what type of troops we are up against?”, I asked.

“Standard types. It appeared the original nest had no Sub Queen so we have to wipe all of them out.”, he said.

“Okay, if you can manage it take a few cannons.”, I said, “Just in case.”

“Why?”, he asked, “Something bothering you?”

“During the raid last night we didn’t find any Behemoth class Decay.”, I said, “That means we have three roaming around somewhere if they were in fact from another nest.”

“I understand. If that is the case I will bring twelve cannons. I will also have my scouts locate the missing Behemoth class Decay. We don’t need one of those breaching the wall.”, he said with a pale expression.

Parting ways after ensuring we had explosive on site the women, and I return to the van. This time instead of a nap we went through our gear to prepare for our aerial trip this evening. Setting out clothing, armor, and food we decided to rest so we would be functional tonight. When 2am finally came around we got up, and got ready. Having a light meal before getting into a hot air balloon we fired up the burners. With four balloons with two bombs each ready to go we took to the sky slightly flying around three hundred feet. Thanks to wind magic blowers we kept a steady pace towards the dam.

As we quietly flew through the night sky the five of us took in the beautiful scenery. Looking to the heavens we saw the many stars that lit up the night sky showering us with their brilliant light. Looking at the three full moons in the sky the women leaned back into me with a peaceful sigh. Seeing a shooting star fly across the sky we all made wishes secretly. Looking over to the other balloons the disgusted faces of the crews was angering me. These were some of the men in the military that saw me as a traitor. With them three of the Heroes were staring at us. Paying them no mind we enjoyed the view up till sunrise.

Having put the nests behind us we were safe to bomb the dam. As we drew near something seemed off to me. Grabbing a pair of binoculars I searched the immediate area. Spotting a major issue I alerted the other balloons.

“We got company below!”, I said pointing to the trees.

From a distance the area wouldn’t look abnormal from the ground. From the air though we could clearly see the outline of a Behemoth class Decay resting in the trees. Pointing it out to them they thought it might be dead, but I wasn’t convinced. Suggesting that two watch it while the other two drop their bombs they reluctantly agreed to it. Getting into position we dropped our first four bombs on the damn causing massive damage, but not enough to break it.

Swinging back around I saw the other balloons quickly trying to head our way. In the tree the Beohemoth class Decay awoke thanks to the explosions. As it rose to its feet I told the other two to drop their bombs then gain altitude. It would take the Decay take a few minutes to stand so we had time to get out of range. Dropping their payloads all of us ascended just as the Decay stood up on its four legs. Looking like a giant rhinoceros with seven horns on its nose it started launching them at us from the ground.

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