Chapter 685 Scorpidra (1)
With the intention of covering more ground, the convoy members made the choice to spread out. Their eyes scanned the ground while they carried shovels and metal detectors in their hands.
The wind in this part of the desert was notorious for shifting sands, capable of burying objects in a matter of minutes. They knew that if more parts of the cargo were out there, the desert could have claimed them, hiding them beneath layers of sand.
"Keep your detectors on the highest sensitivity," one of the team leaders instructed, adjusting the settings on his own device. "And mark any spot where you get a powerful signal. We'll dig there."
The group of mercenaries systematically moved in a grid pattern, ensuring that they covered every inch of the area surrounding the crash site. At intermittent intervals, the sound of a beeping metal detector would fill the air, causing the individual holding it to kneel and begin digging.
"Did you find something?"
"No man, just other debris from the plane!"
"Fuck… We are going nowhere like this!"
Although their searches often yielded nothing more than plane wreckage, they persevered, fully aware that valuable cargo might be concealed just a few inches below the ground.
"Help me dig here!" a woman said.
"Here too," another said.
As their labor persisted, the once mild breeze gained strength, evolving into forceful gusts that playfully traversed the entire expanse. As the gusts of wind blew, they picked up the sand and created tiny vortexes that twirled in an upward direction.
As the sun lingered prominently overhead, its rays created captivating shadows that elegantly interacted with the twirling columns of sand, resulting in an atmosphere that seemed almost mystical.
As the wind played its whimsical tune, the swirling sand transformed into tiny dancers, their graceful movements weaving an intricate and dynamic tapestry against the breathtaking backdrop of the desert.
Although it may have only been a short period, it felt like hours as they covered a substantial portion of the area. Despite the lack of additional cargo findings, they eliminated certain options, thus narrowing down the potential burial sites for the cargo.
"We've done what we can for now," one of the mercenaries said, wiping sweat and sand from his brow. "Let's report back to the guild master and Kael."
A wave of agreement spread through the group as they nodded in unison. Given the circumstances, they tried to search the area. They realized it was time to come together, evaluate their progress, and strategically determine their future course of action.
With their spirits dampened by disappointment and their minds burdened by unanswered queries, they returned to Erik and Kael, ready to recount the findings they had unearthed.
The sight of them coming towards him caught Erik's attention, their faces showing a combination of frustration and concern etched with worry. "Boss, our team has thoroughly combed through every inch of the surrounding area. Aside from those wooden boxes we found in the wreckage, there doesn't seem to be anything else," a man reported, his voice tinged with disappointment.
"We even checked for signs that the wind might have buried some of the cargo under the sand, but no luck," a woman said, brushing a stray lock of hair from her face.
Erik, understanding the circumstances, nodded in acknowledgement. Prior to starting the search, he knew already that it wouldn't be a simple task, and he didn't have any strong feelings about not finding anything significant.
"Alright, it's possible that the cargo was scattered over a larger area during the crash, or someone else got to it before we did. Either way, we've done what we can here."
Amid preparing to address the upcoming course of action, Alina's voice broke the silence, resonating with a piercing and pressing tone. "Something's approaching!"
There was a noticeable shift in the atmosphere, transitioning from disappointment to a heightened sense of alertness. With a narrowing of his eyes, Erik barked out orders. "Everyone, back to your positions! Man, the artillery and ready your weapons!"
As the threat materialized, Erik's team, galvanized by the imminent danger, cast aside their weariness and sprang into action.
They moved, using the strategic layout of their vehicles in the White Desert. The vehicles were positioned in a staggered formation, with each one set at an angle to the others.
This strategic placement ensured that only one vehicle could be directly targeted or drawn into an attack at any time.
The team members clambered onto these armored vehicles with urgency, taking up positions behind the mounted weaponry.
They positioned themselves behind machine guns and missile launchers, each member having a clear line of sight for defense while also maintaining the safety of the other vehicles in the formation.
Rifles clicked and clacked as they were loaded, the metallic sound echoing in the vast desert.
Scopes emitted soft, mechanical whirs as they were adjusted, each click denoting a fine-tuned calibration.
The subtle feeling of mana being channeled through neural links filled the air, almost in harmony with the tense atmosphere.
The team was not only primed for combat but also ready for the possibility of a swift retreat, the readiness in their actions underscored by the symphony of preparedness resonating around them.
With binoculars pressed to his eyes, Erik stood on one of the vehicles, sweeping the expansive landscape. A surge of gratitude overwhelmed him as he thought about Alina. Her abilities had given them the precious seconds they needed to prepare.
Despite everything, what stood out the most to him was the fact that hiring her had proven to be a wise decision.
While he relied on the system to alert him to imminent threats, the others found her power, despite its lack of strength, to be valuable in terms of preventing any surprise attacks.
"Anything?" he asked, turning to Kael, also scanning the area.
"Nothing yet, but it's only a matter of time." Kael's eyes never left the scope of his rifle. He had a look of focus on his face, knowing that the approaching Thaid was bound to be strong.
"We have to thanks Alina after that," Erik said.
"Indeed, but nothing will make sure we may leave unscathed."
The merciless wind let out a bone-chilling howl, causing the mercenaries to shudder involuntarily. The desert seemed to be in a state of anticipation, as if it was holding its breath, eagerly waiting for whatever was approaching to make itself known.
Erik's hands tightened around the binoculars, ensuring a firm grasp. He was aware and had the understanding that the initial moments of contact were of utmost importance, as they would set the tone for the ensuing fight.
"Stay alert." Erik knew it was useless to remind that to his team, but he couldn't help himself. They were his precious comrades, after all. "The moment you see anything, you shoot at it. No hesitations."
[WARNING. HOSTILE DETECTED.]
From beneath one of the armored vehicles, a colossal figure emerged, causing the air to resonate with a thunderous whoosh and sand to erupt into the sky.
As it came out of the sand, the creature's massive form created a fleeting shadow that covered the area, wreaking havoc on the vehicle and its occupants, and crashing back to the ground with a seismic impact.
While bursting outward in a chaotic display, clouds filled with sand and debris disperse in all directions, obscuring the view with a hazy curtain. With the dust settling around them, the mercenaries were able to see the foe they were up against.
"It's a Scorpidra!"
The beast stood tall at three meters and stretching an astonishing six meters. The creature was a nightmarish amalgamation of a scorpion and some otherworldly beast.
The beast glistened under the relentless desert sun. It stood a formidable three meters tall and extended six meters. Its body, encased in a dark, chitinous exoskeleton, seemed impervious, absorbing light like a void. The armor's ebony sheen contrasted starkly against the bright white sand.
Clustered across its head were many black, beady eyes, each reflecting a minuscule, distorted image of the surrounding landscape. These eyes scanned the environment with an unsettling alertness, indicative of its predatory nature.
The creature's tail was a spectacle in itself—long and sinuous, ending in a venomous stinger that dripped with a deadly neurotoxin. The mere sight of it, with its lethal payload capable of felling a grown man in seconds, demanded the immediate attention of Erik's team.
Its legs, six, were sturdy and thick, supporting its bulky, heavily armored body with ease. Each leg ended in sharp, hooked claws, well-adapted for both combat and navigating the arid terrain of its desert habitat.
As a carnivore, this creature was an apex predator, preying on smaller desert inhabitants with ruthless efficiency. Its aggressive and territorial nature, coupled with its skills as an expert ambush predator, made it a fearsome adversary. Few dared challenge it, given its formidable defenses.
Its brain crystal power added to the already terrifying nature of the Scorpidra. The creature had the uncanny ability to manipulate the very terrain around it at a small degree.
Just a single thought had the ability to make the sand beneath their feet shift and rearrange itself, forming snares or obstacles to ensnare their prey.
With few natural predators to challenge its dominance, the creature stood as a testament to the unforgiving nature of its harsh desert environment.