Chapter 258 Survival of the Fittest
Erich immediately hogtied the sage once he had stunned the man, before throwing him over his shoulder. The fugitive could not even scream at Erich because he had bound the man\'s mouth with rope. This was a measure done to ensure that the prisoner did not attempt suicide by bitting off his tongue.
After all, Erich had gone to great lengths to secure this prisoner, and the last thing he wanted was for the bastard to end his own life before he could be properly interrogated. Thus, Erich carried the man off, as he ascended the mountain to get back to his comrades who were providing overwatch for him.
Naturally, they did not expect to get into a battle with armed hostiles, but one could never be too careful when you were in a strange and foreign world. Once Erich had climbed back to his comrades, they noticed something peculiar. A storm had begun to rage, and it was quite a nasty one.
This sudden change in weather had seemingly come out of nowhere, almost as if the heavens were punishing them for their act of malice. And although their power armor was resistant against even the most extreme elements, the Sage was not actually wearing anything other than primitive furs, knowing that if they continued to march back to their shuttle in this current weather, the sage might expire. Erich sighed heavily before conceding that they needed to find shelter.
"Mirage Mala, search for an area to wait out the storm. I will watch our prisoner!"
Mirage sighed heavily while nodding her head. She then began to wander off in another direction, while Mala did the same. This left Erich alone with his hostage, who he stared at through his power armor\'s visor, while monitoring the man\'s vital signs.
The man was still in good health, but if he remained in the freezing rain for too long, then he was at risk of his body\'s temperature dropping. Thus, Erich shook his head and scoffed before revealing his thoughts on the absurdity of this whole situation.
"You know it didn\'t have to be this way.... If you bastards had just left me well enough alone, you\'d still be sitting in your bastions of power. With all of your devoted followers worshipping the very ground you walk upon."
The sage merely glared at Erich with hatred in his eyes. Despite the truth behind Erich\'s words, the sage would never be able to admit to himself that Erich was right. After all, Erich was the enemy of his order prophesied eons ago, to lead to their destruction in his rise to power, before setting the galaxy ablaze in a thousand years of conquest, one that would permanently destabilize the balance of power that had so hardly been fought for throughout the years.
Mala was an expert tracker and scout, in addition to being a warrior. The orcs had come from primitive origins, and kept with them their cultural traditions that led to them being able to trailblaze in any world no matter what state it was in. Feral world like this was actually quite enjoyable to the Orcish beauty, who did not even use the advanced sensors in her helmet to search for shelter.
She was, after all, in a competition with Mirage, even if her rival did not realize this. There were so many women surrounding Erich, and Mala felt rather insecure about this. Though polygamy was common among her species, especially among the most fearsome of her people\'s male warriors. There was always a hierarchy among the brides.
But there was no such hierarchy among Erich\'s many women. And because of this, Mala did not know exactly what place she held in his heart and mind. Thus, she wanted to prove herself as a valuable asset, as she used all of her wilderness survival knowledge to find the perfect shelter to wait out the storm in.
And sure enough, the woman found it. It had taken no more than ten minutes for the green-skinned beauty to find a cave. One that was structurally sound. There was only one problem. There was some kind of beast inside of it. A beast that was clearly a predator like her self.
When the beast caught Mala\'s scent, it emerged from its home, to reveal that it was a colossal creature, almost like a blend between a sabertooth cat and a bear. If the mighty beast stood on its hind legs, it could easily be three meters tall, and weigh as much as a metric ton.
Yet despite the fearsome creature\'s overwhelming size and strength, Mala did not seem dismayed or intimidated in the slightest. Instead, she gripped hold of her power hammer firmly within her hands and charged at the monster with a fearsome roar.
Meanwhile Mirage was in another section of the mountains, where she came across some particularly troublesome flying reptiles. This world was strange in so far that it was made up of a single supercontinent, with a mixture of megafauna. Some of these, for example, were colossal mammalians like the one Mala encountered, while others were packs of giant flying lizards with a two meter wingspan.
Mirage had accidentally stumbled into a massive cave, where these winged reptiles were resting. The moment she entered the area, they began to swarm her and attack, almost like they were a swing of bees. Using their teeth and claws in a desperate attempt to rip her to shreds.
Of course, her power armor was made from some of the most durable materials in the known galaxy, and because of this, they could not even scratch the paint job. Leaving her with only one option: to blast her way out. Of course, a sniper rifle was not exactly ideal to the close quarters of as cave. Thus, she was forced to withdraw her sidearm and shoot each of these flying reptiles one at a time until the entire swarm had perished from her fury.
Ultimately, nearly thirty minutes passed before Erich received communications from his two comrades. Both of which reported cave like structures that were solid in foundation and were recently "vacated."
Erich did not even want to know what kind of mess the two women had encountered, but ultimately, after hearing their harrowing tales and the location of the two shelters, he decided to go with the one Mala had found. Specifically, because it was closer to their shuttle, and because a more fearsome beast had lived inside of it. Meaning that other predators in the area were more likely to avoid it.
With this, Erich picked up his captive and carried him off to the location that Mala had marked on the map, which the AI in their helmets had made as they passively explored the world. The trio nove-lb/In
would rendezvous at the cave, where their next task was to keep their prisoner alive. After all, he had been exposed to the elements for a long time, and it would take more than just a heat pack to keep the man\'s body temperature up.