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Getting off his Demigryph, Harry made his way over to the dead Manticore body. It was scar riddled as numerous blows marred its body, one of its legs was bent in an odd angle thanks to Martin sending a crippling blow to it and its balls were crushed into a red paste by the big man as well - it was after all what prevented the beast from trying to escape. There were stab wounds all over its hide as well as Riley littered it with thrusts from his spear, he could also small incision that cut at its weak points which had to be the work of Kate, and he could see its tail twitching on the floor thanks to Tia chopping it off with her axes.
"I must say," Ser Myles announced, "you have some very fine men and women! Though I can't say the same for mine," he uttered as he looked at the soldiers he brought who had the decency of looking ashamed with themselves.
"Well they are the best of the best," Harry answered as he looked at the giant creature's head which his men set before him.
"I must thank you, my lord for handling this beast for my house, we owe you a great debt that can never be repaid," the man declared loudly.
"Thank you Ser, but our job is still not done. This beast must have a lair somewhere around here, we need to destroy it and make sure no other creature decides to move in."
"How will we go about doing that, it has been already difficult bringing it out into the open. I am not sure I know how to track down its lair."
"No need to worry," Harry said, "I know the perfect spell for this situation."
Bring his wand out, Harry flicked it about as he muttered something under his breath, suddenly the very blood inside the creature's body begin to drain out and hang in the air. Finishing the spell, nothing was left of the corpse except for a dried up husk with bones hanging off decaying muscles.
Then the blood started pointing in a direction which had to be this thing's lair, "It seem like it is a success" Harry called out.
"W-what is that spell?" Ser Myles asked a bit aghast.
"A blood tracking spell," Harry answered as he hopped on to his mount. The spell he used was one he picked up from the Black family grimoire, his family magic was good and all, but it lent more to the physical. However the Black family dealt with Dark Magic; curses, hexes, jinxes, and so forth. Thanks to having that in his magic resume he had a lot more options in his spell repertoire and could broaden his options.
"Let's go," Harry ordered to everyone as they rode out and begin to follow the trail of blood in the air leading to the unknown.
Going up long winding paths, soon they had to leave the dirt road as the trail of blood lead deeper into the forest. Avoiding branches and leaves the best they could they soon reached the limit of Ser Myles Wizardland and came up to a cave entrance covered in vines and leaves that lead deeper underground. The blood trail stopped here, so that could mean only one thing.
"So this is where the beast had been hiding?" Ser Myles spoke up, rhetorically.
"I believe so," Harry answered as he hopped off the Demigryph back. Tying up the wingless griffin to a tree trunk, he decided it was best to leave it out here instead of leading it inside. Demigryph weren't underground creatures, they are more likely to trip on the treacherous rock formations and break a leg in the pitch darkness up head.
"Let's move in," Harry said as he cast a Lumos spell at the tip of his wand.
Following behind him, they entered the cave at once, someone begin to throw up Wizard light up in the air to light up the dark tunnel. The first thing that Harry noticed besides the pitch darkness was the smell, the place smelled like a pigs rutted here.
Harry immediately had to block his nose with a spell so that he could block off the god awful smell. Even then, he still felt disgusted, soon he got to the source of the smell as they walked deeper into the cave they laid eyes on numerous bones that were crushed and mawed.
Harry finally understood the pungent odor of blood and filth that filled the entire tunnel.
He saw countless creature's bones from regular animals, to magical beasts, and that of humans. Flies buzzed around in the air, creating a droning noise with how numerous they were. Tossing up a fire spell most of them dropped dead as they burnt to a crisp and the other finally buzed off.
Looking at the sickening display, it would seem that our little friend has been busy feasting himself every night.
"By magic itself," the knight swore. He could hear some vomiting noises coming from some of his soldiers, and even his men were disturbed. A Manticore's appetite was legendary after all as they could devour anything and leave nothing behind.
"Let's continue," Harry called out once everyone was finished looking over the gruesome sight.
Continuing deeper into the cave they went deeper and deeper underground until they finally came to a large cavern. Stalactites hang from the ceiling of a cave while stalagmites grow from the cave floor, creating a soft glow that light the place up. A small waterfall cascaded into a large pool of water, some green shrubs and mosses grew around the place living it up.
All in all it was a beautiful place, one you would have never imagined that it would be the home of such a vicious beast.
Harry was pretty sure that it was the manticore's home since he spotted some belonging set aside in a small pile to one end of the cavern. Most likely it was the world positions of the people that it devoured, set aside as trophies for it.
A regular animal would never do this, but for magical beasts it is very common. Wizards underestimate magical beasts intelligence, they could form complex thoughts like that of children and all the way up to adults, and for some rare species they are even wiser than men.
"Well, we came, and there is nothing more to see," Ser Myles noted. "The beast has been defeated! I shall have my men come here to clear out this place, and look through these belongs to send back to their relatives."
Just then Harry caught a terrifying silhouette slowly approached from the darkness! It seem to fade into the background as it prowled nearer to them.
"Watch out," Harry shouted as the shadow leaped at them.
He was already muttering a protective spell, but he was a bit too late to put his defensive shields up as dark silhouette tore into one of Ser Myles's men. With just one swipe of its massive wickedly clawed paws it shredded the poor soul into pieces then tore off a hunk of him and devoted it right in front of them.
Staring at the beast with blood dripping from its maw, he peered at a female Manticore. Harry swore at himself, he should have known the thing had a mate!
Then to add to the mix, another silhouette leaped out at them from the shadow to try to take down another soilder, but it ran into his barrier he set up and bounced off it landed a few feet in front of us.
Looking at the other surprised creature he wasn't surprised to see that it was another female manticore. He could tell that they were female sex since they had the body of a lioness, and the head of a woman.
"Form up," Harry shouted as he threw up a dark spell which blinded the creatures for a moment.
Quickly doing as told, his officers formed a perimeter around him as their wands took on the form of their respected weapons. Ser Myles's men, one of their own was dead and partially eaten right before their very eyes. If the she-manticores weren't surrounding them, he wouldn't have put it past them to run off like little children.
Then as if to compound their situation 3 adolescent Manticores of mixed genders always stepped up. The she-manticores didn't seem to like this at all as they roared at their teenage children who hardheadedly roared back and stuck around.
"Aim for the adolescent Manticores," he ordered his men. A group was as strong as their weakest link, and the she-Manticores would do everything in their powers to keep their children safe instead of tearing into their flank where Ser Myles's men held fast. That would tie them up for now, and make it easier to take them down.
Nodding their heads, they charged among the ranks of the creatures waylaying into them. Martin, Alex, and Tia held the she-Manticores back as Kate went in for the kill dancing around one insolent male Manticores who swiped at her with his paws. Quickly she tore into its Achilles Heel tendon causing it to collapse to the ground, one of the she-Manticores as she powered through Martin and rushed to the downed adolescent Manticores.
Riley on the other hand was handling the other two adolescent Manticores, as he spun his spear around like a deadly javelin and was finally able to stab through one the Manticore's and get to its brain.
Harry was also able to help as he tossed about curses, hexes, and jinxes. He could have waylaid into the beasts with them with his sword in hand, but he was much more help overseeing everything and tossing a dark spell whenever needed.
The other she-Manticore fell into rage as it saw what was most likely its child go down. It sent Tia flying out of the way as the woman crashed against the cavern's wall with a large boom.
It angrily went for Riley as its scorpion's tail snaked behind him and stabbed into his back. The wound wasn't too bad since with all the augmented spell they cast on themselves, they could handle a bit of damage, Tia was already getting up from the ground she slide down to, however what was an issue, was the poison injected into him.
Immediately the quick footed man was paralyzed in seconds as he fell on to the floor, the she-manticore went for him as it mouth gapped opened ready to chop down on him and exact its revenge.
However instead of munching down on human flesh it instead ate a giant ball of dark miasma which quickly ate at its jaw in a dark roiling wave. The dark ripple continued on its way until there was partially anything left of the creature's head, and it crashed to the in a wave of dust and smoke.
Harry was able to telekinetically bring lieutenant Riley over to him before he was crushed by the mass of giant flesh and deadly claws.
Tossing a very rare and powerful healing potion to Ser Myles, Harry commanded to him since he and his men were barely doing anything except for spectating, "Make him drink this before the poison gets to his heart!"
With that he turned his attention back to the battlefield, he was glad that Sirius taught him some pretty powerful dark magics, or else his lieutenant would have been a piece meal.
He could see that his officers were handling the rest of the Manticores, Tia went al berserk on one of the she-manticores as she tore it up with her axes. Everyone was giving her plenty of space as they dealt with the last few remaining Manticores.
Now that the last she-manticore was distracted by Tia, Kate was easily able to slice into her downed opponent.
Fianlly Tia was able to mutilate her opponent enough that it fell from too much blood loss.
And that more last Manticore, even Harry felt sort of bad for it as his men ganged up on it. It really stood no chance at all against such professional killers. Its wails could be heard all over the cavern as it was brutally savaged, then finally the cave resounded with the sound of the final mournful cry of the last manticore falling.
Letting out a long sigh of relief which he didn't even know he was holding back, Harry went over to his officer.
"How are you doing Riley?" he asked as he knelt before the man. His other men also came to see how their fellow was doing as they crowded around us.
"I am doing fine, my lord," he said as he tried to get up, but feeling had yet to get to his feet so he just collapsed back down.
Harry was glad he came loaded up, that was a very rare potion that could heal just about anything which goes for hundreds of Galleons. He had a lot more in his Lordship ring, just for rainy days like these went you got manticore poison in your veins.
"Take it easy," Harry said as he pushed him back down. "We will be back," he announced as he got up, "we will check around this place to see if we find anything else. You guys should be safe, I believe that was the last of the Manticores."
Nodding his head in appreciation, Ser Myles spoke up, "I will guard you man's life with my own, Lord Potter!"
Without a word, Harry walked deeper into the cavern, there was more here than what met the eye. Manticores are not like rabbits who produce that many children as they faced in the cavern nor do they have more than one mate really.
If so then where was the other males, they should have been on the front lines, females and adolescents rare if ever come out to fight.
"My lord," Kate called out as she came back from scouting the area as they slowly advanced, making sure to look out for trouble.
"Yes, what is it lieutenant Kate?" he asked, the woman noticed how he addressed her as lieutenant instead of centurion. He already decided to give her and Martian their new roles in his head.
"I found something," she answered, "come follow me."
Trailing after the blonde, his officers made sure to keep their eyes out, and not have a repeat of last time. Finally to a nest with four large eggs laid in the center.
He could already guess what was growing instead of it.
Looking around Harry saw no other creature here, so his theory of there being other Manticores had to be moot. If there were they would have fought tooth and claw to keep him out of her, just as the other ones they faced in the cavern did.
Staring at the eggs, he knew what would come out of it one day, a savage beasts that hungers for human flesh. Even though he knew it was a vicious and cruel creature he was about to extinguish, and prevent this cruel fate he found in the entrance of the cave, it still felt like he was about to kill a baby, which he guessed he was, human or otherwise.
But what had to be done, had to be done.
If there was one thing his ancestors in their portraits drilled into him endlessly; was that a Lord's duty to his people and family came first before anything else.
"Destroy them," Harry commanded.
Without a word of argument, his officers begin to crush the giant eggs the size of a cot each. The shells cracked open and thick green fluid begin to spill out as he could see the incomplete embryos of little Manticores.
He told himself he had no choice in the matter as he watched the others get crushed, and he was right. Some beasts are very difficult to handle, taming the Keythong are like a walk in the park in domesticating Manticores.
Their inner nature is just too vicious and cruel to fall under the taming hands of wizards.
The only other choice he had was to let them grow up, and run loose in the country side bring more death and misery.
After the gruesome task was complete, they all headed out without giving the place a second glance.
Once they came back to the cavern, Ser Myles asked, "Did you find anything else, my lord?"
"Nothing of importance," Harry answered as he didn't turn to look at the man in the eye. He could already see that Riley was up and about as the paralyzing effect treated by the potion. And he saw that the mauled soldier was wrapped in a pair of cloaks ready to be delivered back home.
"Why don't we leave this god awful place."
"I couldn't agree more," the knight nodded his head.
As they made their way back to Ser Myles, Harry's mind was came back to the unusual set up of the Manticore family they massacred. Those eggs once again put into question all he knew about the creatures, they just don't breed that fast.
One male no matter how horny he was like him couldn't produce children that fast.
Unless if there were more, but couldn't be, the nest was unguarded and the she-manticores and adolescent had to come out to fight.
Mulling it over, they came within view of the Rogers family home, and everything was finally answered for him.