Shadow Slave - Chapter 927
The Rhino flew forward, somehow navigating the twists and turns or the narrow mountain road without plummeting off its crumbling edge. There was nothing but darkness anead, with snow swirling as it melted in the powerful beams of light that shot from the roof of the heavy vehicle. For once, Luster seemed serious and completely concentrated, his fingers wrapped around the yoke so tight that they had turned white.
The convoy did its best to keep up. The civilian transports were sandwiched between the APC and the military vehicles, shaking precariously as they rolled forward at high speed.
Sergeant Gere and his soldiers were hastily loading the poisoned ammunition into the feeding mechanisms of the turrets, turning their barrels east and aiming spotlights at the sky.
The veil obscuring the horizon was getting closer and closer.
‘Damn, damn, damn…’
Sunny was standing behind Luster, perceiving the world through the eyes of his shadows. They were gliding far ahead, scouting the path in search of serious obstacles and possible shelter.
Shelter… there was none to be found.
And the devouring swarm was too fast to outrun.
Suddenly, his head jerked sideways. A dozen or so meters ahead, a swift silhouette lunged at the approaching Rhino from a deep crack in the cliff’s face. All Sunny had time to see was a powerful body, a glint of madness burning in a pair of frenzied eyes, and dozens of sharp claws that shimmered as if made of metal.
Before the attacking Nightmare Creature that had laid in ambush received a chance to collide with the APC, a black arrow pierced its neck, throwing the abomination back and nailing it to the stone slope. Standing on the roof of the Rhino, Saint drew the string of Morgan’s Warbow again as the pinned corpse flashed by.
Luster flinched, but kept the vehicle steady.
“…That was a close one, sir.”
Sunny had nothing to answer.
They had to move with as much speed as they could muster, but advancing in such a reckless manner brought its own risks. Not being able to discover ambushes in advance was one of them.
And even then, it would most likely not be enough.
By now, everyone could tell that the approaching haze was strange and unnatural. They would not be able to see the flying horrors with their own eyes for a few more minutes, but fear was already spreading through the convoy. Sunny did not really need to tell anyone to hurry.
But staying silent was too nerve-wracking, even for him.
In his mind was the image of the map of the mountains. Studying it, Sunny was feverishly trying to find a way to escape. He already knew the optimal route to take, but had a sinking feeling that it was already too late.
He did not know the speed of the approaching horde, but judging by how fast the distant sky was being devoured by it, their chances were slim.
…Up ahead, a stray Nightmare Creature appeared on the road. Before it could react, a massive shape lunged at it from the darkness. Abomination’s powerful jaws closed on the monster’s throat, and then, the Echo threw it into the abyssal darkness of the gorge with a powerful twist of its neck.
Then, the Ascended Monster dashed forward, followed by the smaller Echo. Soon, they reached a fork in the road and stopped, unsure of where to go.
…Sunny knew, however. His shadows had already explored both roads, confirming the information reflected on the map.
A few moments before the Rhino reached the fork, he leaned forward and spoke to Luster:
“Take the right path.”
The right path was the only acceptable choice if they wanted to have even the tiniest hope of getting out of the path of the flying swarm. There was one problem, however…
A few hundred meters ahead, it was blocked by the bodies of a pack of prowling Nightmare Creatures.
Soon, Luster saw them, too.
“…Captain! What… what do we do?”
Sunny gripped the back of the pilot’s seat and leaned forward.
“Just plow through them!”
What else could they do?
The wedge-shaped ram of the Rhino was already lowered. The abominations were Awakened, at best… tons of swiftly moving metal were bound to make short work of them, or if not, at least toss them off the road.
Luster gulped and followed the instruction, accelerating toward the fearsome Nightmare Creatures without even a hint of slowing down or trying to avoid a direct collision… not that it was possible to maneuver around the abominations on the narrow road, anyway.
Before the creatures had time to properly react…
The Rhino shuddered it slammed into the abominations, and its armored windshield was instantly splattered with a revolting mix of blood and mangled flesh. Without skipping a bit, Luster prevented the vehicle from lurching sideways with a small shift of the yoke and moved his gaze to the screen showing the feed from the external cameras. Until the wipers managed to clean the armored glass, looking through it was all but impossible.
Just like that, the pack of abominations was either torn apart or thrown off the road, clearing the way for the convoy.
Except for one.
Clinging to the ram of the Rhino, a bleeding beast hoisted its massive body up, a powerful limb rising to strike a devastating blow on the windshield.
…Before it could, however, the shadows nesting between spotlights on the APC’s front surged forward, forming into sharp spikes. They pierced the creature and then lost their solidity, turning into black tentacles.
A moment later, the abomination was torn apart from the inside and flung into the darkness below.
Sunny gritted his teeth and then flinched as one of the rearview cameras registered a flash of light coming from the turret of Gere’s military vehicle. Turning his attention to it, he saw that the soldiers had opened fire.
They were firing at the sky.
The devouring horde was still some distance away, but the first straggler had just appeared from the cold darkness and dove down toward the convoy. The creature was not too large, but looked even more terrifying and revolting up close.
A rain of bullets tore at its body, delivering the Bitter Cusp’s toxin. It should have been enough to kill the flying abomination, but the effect of the poison was not instantaneous. Either the soldiers had reacted too slowly, or the Nightmare Creature was too fast… no matter the reason, its mangled, convulsing body kept falling, approaching the windows of one of the civilian transports.
That was before another arrow flashed through the air, slicing the abomination in half. The severed parts struck the slope and then rolled down, soon disappearing under the wheels of the speeding vehicles with a repulsive crunch.
Sunny let out a shaky breath, relieved.
…The worst was only starting, though.
Because, after that first creature was killed, the turrets did not stop firing.