The First Legendary Beast Master - C.204 Rae and Lotus

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The team leader wiped sleep from his eyes as he tried to get his armour straightened when Alice started yelling. This group was a mess, and they were very nearly literally a mess, if Alice and the others hadn't shown up to block the Ogres.

But there were more Ogres coming now that the first group was down, drawn by the sound of combat, and the smell of blood.

The rest of the unit was almost on site already, and the appearance of another military unit had this camp shaping up much more quickly than one irate Commander Rank Elite. Everyone had heard the new orders over the last day, even Karl's group, though they had kept the radios turned low so the news of other troop movements and combat orders didn't distract them.

Everyone who had left the base since yesterday had a Church Guard with them, so this team had been in the field for at least two days, which was unusual, as the camp was much more comfortable, and the patrol zone was limited.

The Captain leading this patrol actually looked relieved when he saw that the officer for the incoming group was a Lieutenant who was under censure, with the red stripes, but after a few seconds, he realized just who that Lieutenant was, and all the casual demeanour that he had been trying to put on vanished.

"Lieutenant, thank you for the timely interception of the Ogre threat. My men owe your team a debt." He began.

"You can save it. My team is still finishing the second group of Ogres that yours didn't see coming this morning. I'm not going to yell at you, but I will warn you that there is a Church Guard either waiting for you to return to camp, or already on his way out to meet you.

It would be wise to have all your protocols in order before they arrive because the High Priest is an old school battle priest, and his team doesn't believe in coddling Elites." The Lieutenant replied.

"Surely, they won't usurp leadership from the military officers?" The Captain asked, looking to Alice for confirmation, as she was the strongest one present.

Alice shook her head. "They already have. The Church has been asked by the Judge Advocate General's office to get this zone back in top form, and the High Priest they chose intends to do exactly that."

The Captain looked devastated at the news. Under the old system, before the Elites, soldiers were honoured as potential Martyrs because the life expectancy was terrible, and over half wouldn't make it back from a five-year term of service. But now, Elites like him had gotten comfortable doing the bare minimum and reaping glory and promotions along the way.

Karl finished the second group of Ogres, and Tessa pulled a glowing magical gem out from under one of the bodies.

"I found something interesting. Give me a moment to translate, it's in that Ogre or Orc gobbledygook nonsense." She explained.

Karl hadn't even realized there was something written on the crystal in her hand, but when she cast a light spell through it, the gem created a set of red letters against the green of Thor's scales, and the cleric slowly began to decipher the writing.

"It is a gem of wisdom. It helps mages refresh their mana more quickly, but it's worthless to the Ogres. They must have kept it because it's shiny." Tessa explained.

That actually made sense for the Ogres, but the gem should be good for clerics as well.

"You might as well hold on to that. At some point, we're going to need all the buffs and healing that you can give us.

But speaking of buffs and healing, where are Rae and Lotus? I know I saw them both fighting earlier, but they're gone again." Karl remarked casually, in case she was just standing in his blind spot.

"Who knows. They likely wandered off to find something fun in the forest. I swear that girl is half feral." Tessa sighed.

Karl checked on Rae in his mind, and found that she was about fifty metres from the group in a tree, where she and Lotus had found a particularly interesting flower that the cleric didn't find in any of her training materials.

As a nature cleric, she knew a lot about botany. More than most doctorate students in the subject. It was a gift from her goddess. But she still couldn't identify this flower, and it was bothering her. So she had brought Rae to go examine it and make notes while the others did 'people things', as Rae described them.

While the group leaders had a tense discussion, and Lotus spent her time engrossed in the details of a flower that Rae had every intention of snatching to put in her space later, the slacker team's worst fears came true.

The Church Guard assigned to them arrived with another group of soldiers on patrol. Not only that, but they had brought along a Church Guard supervisor for the soldiers accompanying Karl's group as well, which proved to be an amusing sight, as he already knew them all from the walk in.

"Elite Karl, where did you put the nature cleric? The others said that she ran away with your spider." The Guardsman asked curiously as he approached.

His smile said it wasn't an accusation, and he was an Ascended Rank Cleric as well, so there was a good chance that he knew her personally.

"Lotus is checking out flowers they found in the woods. There's something rare about it. They will come back eventually, or I will call them if there is a fight. They're always up for a fight." Karl replied with a smile.

"As long as you know where they are, and that there is someone covering for them, in case a monster tries to sneak up on them. It's policy not to let the nature clerics roam unattended." He replied.

Tessa snickered at the way he phrased it. The guidelines recommended that you did not have any group member alone and out of sight of the group, but the Nature Clerics had a bad habit of wandering away.

[Rae, the Church Guard says to keep the Spider Golems with you and Lotus, in case anything tries to sneak up on you.] Karl informed the wayward spider.

[Got it.]

The two Golems vanished as Rae summoned another pair, and the other groups of soldiers looked to see who had dismissed them. The number of unique Golems was still equal to the number of mages who might be using the spell, so none of them could understand where the last pair had come from.

[Hawk, what is our situation? Where are the nearest groups, and what is their strength? We've got plenty of patrols in this area, so we should get them organized.] Karl requested.

Hawk gave them a quick rundown, which Karl relayed to the unit leaders, and then Hawk added one more that he wanted for himself. There was a group of mole men that Hawk thought might taste like giant mice.

They weren't strong, but they were a priority target in Hawk's mind, and they were along the route that led to one of the Commander Rank Giants.

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