112 Hidden Battle
An hour later, all of the defenders had moved back up the Gap and were nearly to the previous defence point. They had all been methodically moving back while defending against the beasts, but after an hour of fighting, the teams needed a rest.
Zoey was still with them, handling any beasts that came her way with relative ease. She would occasionally send her blade out to assist any of the teams that got flanked too hard, making sure that none of the teams got overwhelmed by the beasts. She figured that if one team went down it would be that much harder for the rest of them, so might as well help them out.
Once they got close to the defence point behind them though, the eager teams that had been waiting there rushed into the fray with enthusiastic battlecries. Those that had been in the fight for a while now were able to fall back and take a breather.
Zoey moved back as well and secured a spot on a higher ledge on the canyon wall where she could watch the action. She had collected plenty of essence stones already, and didn't need any more of the lower rank stones. From where she was she could see the front line of the fighting. There were a lot more teams now, so there was no need to retreat any further. Instead the teams would switch places with each other to stay fresh while they fought.
This defence point was also where the celebrity teams all had stopped, and their shiny armor could now could be seen a the front fighting the beasts. Despite their showboating and bravado, they seemed to be doing well enough in the fight.
Like everything else, the defenders were handling this beast wave with a rather casual attitude. Everyone not fighting at the moment was lounging around in the canyon, waiting for their turn to go back up front and fight another round.
It only took another hour or so before the wave of beasts started to thin out, and shortly after, the canyon was no longer echoing with their howls and snarls. Once it was confirmed that the beast wave was over, most of the teams started heading back to Brumau to get their scores tallied while the scavengers swarmed in to take care of the leftovers.
Zoey found herself scanning the scavengers for signs of the boy she had met on the way here, but she was not able to spot him. She was still wondering about him and who he was. That strange feeling she had felt when she looked into his eyes was still on her mind. Was he still ok?
Actually, there was a way she could see if he was alright or not. She had another canister of the surveillance drones she had released back in the city. If she set them loose here, finding the boy should be simple.
She wasted no time releasing the drones into the rainy night while she stayed at her spot and waited while they spread out over the area, scanning for the boy. Most of the defenders were gone now, leaving behind only the scavengers going through the corpses of the beasts in the darkness.
It was only a short while before her interface chirped at her, signalling that a person matching the description of the boy had been located. She opened the interface to see what her drones had found.
The visual feed of the drone she linked to showed a view so dark that she could not see a thing. Zoey quickly adjusted the sensor of the drone remotely to take in more light. When the visual feed stabilized and she was finally able to see where it was, Zoey was dumbstruck by the scene she witnessed.
The boy was lying on the ground somewhere in a dark cave, and around him were hundreds upon hundreds of dead beasts. Thankfully the boy seemed to be ok, he was breathing at least, and there appeared to be no wounds on him. The insane number of beast corpses around him though, were another story.
It was clear from what Zoey could see that they had all been killed by blunt force. No slash marks or holes were visible, only crushed bone and smashed heads. Had the boy done all this?? How was that possible?
Zoey's mind whirled, trying to figure out what could possibly have happened in this cave. However, she just did not have enough information to come to a conclusion. One thing was for certain though, this boy was not ordinary.
As Zoey wondered if she should go and see fo the boy was ok, he finally opened his eyes. As Zoey watched him through her interface, he slowly sat up and looked around, then sat there for a while, his empty eyes looking at nothing in particular. After a while he got up, collected two essence stones and a horn from the dead beasts around him before departing from the cave with slow, apathetic steps.
Zoey's drone followed the boy through a narrow rocky gap where the boy could barely squeeze through, then up, through a small tunnel, and finally back out into the main canyon. The boy had emerged a little further up the canyon from where Zoey was, and headed back towards town as soon as he emerged.
The small, hidden opening he had come out of was not deliberately concealed, but if you did not already know it was there, finding it would be nearly impossible. Zoey was a little puzzled about this whole situation. Why did the boy go down there on his own? Why did he not notify someone that there was a breach there? If the beasts made it through that opening during a wave, it could be very dangerous for the defenders.
There was also still the question of how he had dispatched all those beasts. Zoey could not get the questions she had about the boy out of her mind, so she tasked some of the drones to keep an eye on him and recalled the rest. She also felt like heading back to town and getting some rest. Plus she had to get the project started to locate the corrupted creatures, and that would take her a few hours to complete.
So she headed back to Brumau, mulling over the strange day she had while she walked.