The Laid Back Hero of Atlas – Chapter 14: Operation Failure

Two days after the elven advanced party had left, and the beastmen were already out hunting we made our move. Taking our men we made our way to the mountains according to plan. Bring the men to the base of the mountain I sent the remaining elves into the forest to back up the beastmen. Disappearing almost like magic they dashed through the trees effortlessly.

“Damn tree fairies!”, George said, “Makes me jealous that they can move like that at twice my age.”

“They may be twice your age, but most aren’t as mature as you.”, I reminded him.

“Oh yeah, that’s right.”, he said.

Taking the perilous path we ascended into the mountains. Navigating the narrow pathways all of us were on edge about the road possibly giving way. The highest point on this path was around ten thousand feet so we had a lot of climbing to do. Stopping at three thousand feet for the night we started pitching camp earlier than usual. Not understanding my logic the men laughed it off till it became almost sunset. Having barely finished the tent pitching in time we started a few fires for the night before having a hardy meal.

Leaving early the next morning we made it to four thousand feet by noon. Coming to a flat area we stumbled into Lagas, and his men. As George, and I approached we noticed several of his men were severely injured. Confused as to how this happened we asked him what happened.

“An ambush!?”, George said in shock, “How the hell did they know you were coming?”

“I don’t know. We ascended five hundred feet above us only to run into four dozen of them.”, Lagas said, “The attack was laid out perfectly, and we barely made it out with just a few injuries.”

“Hmm…”, I said, “They may be more advanced we thought.”

“What do you mean?”, George said.

“Think about it. How did they know where we would be, and when we would be coming?”, I asked, “Not to mention they let them go relatively unharmed. When have you known Decay to act that way?”

Both men thought about it, and neither knew of a time when that had happened. Looking at me there was only one conclusion we could draw.

“A spy.”, they said.

“Yes, and we have a big problem.”, I said, “If they were intelligent enough to catch you off guard what do you think they will do to Darvain, and company?”

“Shit!”, George said, “Those meat heads would be easy prey once their blood lust kicks in.”

“My thoughts exactly.”, I said, “Can both of you handle getting the men back to the base of the mountain? I have an alternative plan if I can get the beastmen back in one piece.”

“Don’t worry about us.”, Lagas said, “Now that we know to expect them we can be ready to fight them.”

Nodding I told the eight women to stay here. Amber, and Almina knew that they would only slow me down. Giving me permission after leaving me with a kiss they told me to get a move on. Running to the edge of the cliff I jumped off immediately sliding down the steep cliff face. Dodging boulders I leapt from rock to rock avoiding setting off a landslide. Reaching the mountain base in thirty minutes I took off into the forest. Having no means to track the group down I figured listening for the sounds of a fight would suffice.

Running around for a good two hours I was about to move off to another section of the forest when I heard shouting. Running in the direction of the sound it became apparent that a large group of Decay had ambushed them. As I drew nearer I heard Jarvis, and Darius shouting out orders to the men. Through it all I could barely make out the sound of Dola calling out for her family. Drawing my cutlass I broke through the tree line into the fight. Leaping over the injured brother’s, and Dola I unleashed a powerful into the oncoming Behemoth class Decay. Not expecting me it took the slash without time to guard. Slicing it in half I back stepped up to Darius, and Jarvis.

“How are we looking?”, I said beating back a few Decay.

“Better now that your here.”, Darius said with a grin, “I was starting to think we were the only one’s that would see any action.”

“Lagas ran into a Decay ambush in the mountains.”, I said launching another enemy into the air.

“He what!?”, Darvain said in shock.

“It appears we have a spy in our group.”, I said, “They almost completely killed his group had they not fled as fast as they did. Thankfully they only suffered minor injuries.”

“So what’s the plan then?”, Jarvis asked.

“We are regrouping at the base of the mountain. We need to get your men back to meeting point.”, I said.

“Half of the men already chased after the fleeing enemies.”, the fifth brother said.

“Damn! We need to get them back now! If the Decay set another ambush they will get overrun in this environment.”, I said.

Snapping out of their blood lust for a moment they realized this fact as well. Shouting for the men to fall back it was already to late. Several men went flying past us into the trees. Looking ahead of us the advanced party of beastmen were already fleeing the area. Bursting through the trees a giant Decay standing thirty feet tall came charging into the clearing. Looking exactly like a Minotaur I knew we were in deep shit.

“FALL BACK!! IT’S A TITAN CLASS!!!”, I shout, “FALL BACK NOW!!”

Looking back at Darius I found him completely frozen. A Titan Class Decay was something you generally need at least ten thousand men, mostly archer, to stand a chance of beating. Smacking him across the face I brought him back to reality.

“Get it together! Your children, and men need your leadership!”, I said, “Leave the Titan Class to me, and get everyone out of here.”

“Are you insane! Even a Dragon can’t fight one of those alone!”, Darvain said.

“None of you are in any condition to fight!”, I pointed out, “If we spend anymore time arguing more of the men will die.”

Not standing around to wait any longer I switched my class to Martial Arts Master, and leapt into battle. The job change wouldn’t increase my strength, but it would certainly boost my fighting techniques. Swinging its giant fist at my I dove over its fist, and went into a horizontal spin. Ripping its left hand off like butter the Decay became very angry. Stomping its foot into the earth the ground split causing a small crater one hundred in diameter to appear.

“Son of a bitch your strong!”, I said launching myself off a uprooted tree.

Drawing my Winchester rifle I fired off three rounds. Two of them bounced right off of him, but the final one hit him right in the left eye. The sudden loss of its eye, and the pain that followed was overwhelming for it. Swatting at me while in midair I was unable to dodge. Hitting the ground with a thud I slid across the grass I fired off three more shots before reloading armor-piercing rounds. Running at him I looked back to find Darius took my orders, and was leading his men in retreat. Seeing his prey flee the Titan let out an ear-piercing howl bringing several hundred Decay into the clearing.

“Shit!”, I said running around firing off several bullets and hacking several Decay to ribbons, “I am going to be really sore after this…”

The retreating men looked back after the Titan howled in fear. Seeing the number of Decay that poured out of the forest they realized how lucky they were. Darius watched as I did the best I could to stem the flow of the Decay, but he knew I was fighting a losing battle. At best he thought I may last thirty minutes. A Titan class, and several hundred Decay would be too much for even an experienced Hero let alone someone like me. Feeling torn up like he did when his father rode off for his last fight he felt like he was betraying a friend.

“Papa! Mister James needs help!!”, Dola said looking up at her father.

To her there wasn’t anything that her father couldn’t do. Hoping that he would come to my aid she pleaded with her father. When he tried to push her in the same direction as the men were going she refused.

“Momma said that a wife always stays by her husband! I am not going to leave him behind!”, she said stomping her feet.

Turning around hearing his sister the youngest son looked at his father. He knew deep in his heart leaving a single man to die so everyone else could live was wrong. Seeing how happy the eight women I had around me were he dreaded the moment when he would watch they fall to their knees learning I had been left behind. Building his courage up he looked his father in the eyes.

“Father, we should stand by him to the end!”, he said, “I won’t sacrifice his life for mine, or anyone else’s!”

Seeing his brother act brave for once Darvain ordered the men to halt.

“I will die fighting with honor!”, the fifth son said, “Just like grandfather did when he tried to take back this land!”

His friends rallied behind him saying they would follow him to the end. Picking up on the sudden change in the atmosphere his other brothers also rose up. Telling their father that they couldn’t live with the shame of me dying in their place they wanted to fight.

“Are you suicidal!”, Darius said, “We don’t have the manpower to fight them!”

“The elves should be joining us shortly!”, Darvain said, “If we hold out till their arrival we can win this fight.”

“If they got ambushed as well we won’t have back up!”, Darius said pleading with his sons.

Placing his hand on his brother’s shoulder Jarvis looked at Darius.

“They are your children, and our father’s grandchildren. They won’t change their mind no matter how much we complain.”, he said, “They are right you know. Our father would never retreat when a friend was in need. Dola’s future husband is out there fighting for us. Father would be right next to him ankle-deep in bodies till the bitter end. We have a duty to do the same.”

The men started crying out for a fight. Showing their teeth with happy grins they begged the King to let them fight. With a sigh Darius knew he was beat.

“Jarvis, you keep Dola safe no matter the cost.”, Darius said, “The rest of you men are with me! We will show those bastards what a real fight looks like!”

The beastmen let out a powerful battle cry as they charged the battlefield. Looking back to see them charging into the field again I shook my head in disbelief.

“You muscle brain idiots!”, I said with a grin, “There are few people I would rather fight beside than you lot.”

Deciding that it was time to use my ace I called upon my God of War Blessing.

“Oh Mighty God of War I call upon you for aid. Help my strength win out, and may my enemies blood bring you the glory of this conflict!”, I shouted, “Give the power to crush all who stand before me, and may your wrath strike fear into the hearts of these cowards!”

My body started glowing bright red as heavy steel looking armor covered my body. Flames poured out from every joint in the armor as a large battle axe appeared in my hands. Seeing the change the men stopped in shock.

“Father, that armor!”, Darvain said, “I thought humans couldn’t use a God’s blessing outside the six!”

“Evidently they can!”, he said with a big grin, “Everyone our victory is assured!! Slaughter all the bastards!!”

Another battle cry rang out from their ranks as they plunged head first into the Decay. Slicing the Decay like cutting a soft stick of butter I causally walked through the enemy. Seeing this as a challenge the Titan class Decay trampled its own allies charging me. Running at it with all the strength I could muster I launched myself into the air a few feet from it. Throwing my axe it spun through the air firmly lodging itself in its shoulder. Falling back from the blow it looked at me terrified. Landing on it I yanked my axe out before blowing away the several Decay that tried to jump me. Sending their corpses through the air like confetti the axe changed into a war hammer.

Slamming it into the center of its chest the ground collapsed causing the earth to create waves from the center of the blow. Launching myself with the momentum I swung it the war hammer down with every ounce of strength I had. Just before impact it returned to its axe form. Splitting the Titan’s head in half a normal Decay would simply die after that. As this was a Titan class it was still very much alive. Rising to its feet in a frenzy I rushed forwards changing the axe to a War Scythe. With one swing I severed its right foot, and hooked its knee with the War Scythe.

“This is it you prick!”, I said going into a vertical spin, “Arcing Slash!!”

A black blade emerged from the Scythe cleaning cutting the Titan completely in half vertically. Falling to each side the surround Decay stopped moving.

“You bastards are dead!!”, I said with twisted smile.

Launching several more blades in every direction the Decay started dying in the hundreds. Dashing around the field I cut every single Decay in sight down without hesitation. When it was all said, and done I was completely covered in blood. Panting from exhaustion looked at Darvain, and Darius.

“I am at my limit. Sorry, but I have to leave the rest to you…”, I said before passing out.

Quickly running over to me Dola thought I was injured somewhere. Calming her down Darius told her I had simply passed out from pushing myself to hard.

“He wanted to show off for his future wife.”, Darvain teased.

Turning bright red Dola hid her face all cutesy like. Seeing her like that the men forgot about their injuries, and commented on how cute she was. Laughing as he wiped the blood off his face Darius told his son’s to carry me since I was unconscious. Nodding they carried me without issue. Walking alongside them Dola kept a close eye on me making sure I was alright. Seeing her act like an actual wife Darius smiled.

“You know, she will want him now.”, Jarvis said with a grin, “Now you will need to take her more seriously on the matter.”

“You don’t think I know that!”, he said with a cramped expression, “After that display do you think any beastman will want to fight him for her? If we asked any of the men they would rather commit suicide than fight him.”

Laughing he looked around at every man who heard it. All of them were of the same mindset, and opted to let her make her own choice. As it currently was to marry me no one was going to argue that. Meeting up with the elves thirty minutes later Darius explained the situation. Upon hearing what I did the elves turned pale.

“A human did that!!”, they said, “I know Lagas said he was strong, but to that extent!! That man is unreasonably powerful!!”

With both groups together they made their way back to the meeting point. Around two days later I woke up from my slumber in my van.

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