"Fire again! Aim for the eyes!"
A volley of projectiles made from a variety of materials flew through the air, impacting the monstrous creature ahead of us, forcing it to close it's eyes in fear of losing them.
Unfortunately for us, we were hoping to blind it, not make it merely flinch. The large, 30 meter scaled creature, a magma drake, roared in frustration. Our team had succeeded in drawing it from it's lair, but have been unable to do any serious damage to it.
This was the perfect time to deal with it, when it was weakened after it's hibernation, but before it could do damage to our lands.
But our company wasn't making much headway. Either we were lacking in firepower, or our composition wasn't right, or maybe my strategy wasn't good enough.
"Damn, it's not enough. First and second parties! Concentrate on it's right flank!"
Sixteen figures rushed up the left flank, spread out into individual formations and coordinated their assault on the oversized lizard. Most of them enduring the heat given off of the sizzling scales while trying to cut through them with sword and spear while their attached mages rained support fire on the enemy or enchanted friendlies as needed.
The party leaders and their assistants coordinated their troops together, but their labour was far from being rewarded.
The magma drake hardly noticed their valiant efforts, and treated them as little more then flies. Rather than deal with the troops embedded in it's flank that was difficult for it's bulbous body to reach, it instead prioritized it's efforts on the command group and the accompanying support units.
In other words, where I was standing.
The magma drake drew in a breath, tipping off it's next action.
"Mage units! Put up a barrier front and centre!"
I yelled at the defensive mages attached to my command unit. Without any hesitation, a trio wearing flowing robes tightened their formation in front of the command unit and erected a magical barrier large enough to encompass themselves and the command and attached support units.
Right as the translucent barrier was deployed, the magma drake spat out fire from it's mouth, engulfing us all in light and heat.
However, that was simply it. To us, protected by our prided mages, felt it to be nothing more simply bright and a bit warm.
A dozen or so seconds later, the flames dissipated, leaving behind a path of scorched earth surrounding a perfectly circular oasis.
As it was no longer needed, the barrier went down and the mages that built and maintained it took a deep breath. Despite that, they didn't relax. They were well disciplined and were ready to follow any order I gave for the glory of our nation, for the glory of our leader.
Seeing that it's ace didn't do anything, the magma drake roared at us and instead charged.
"Fall back! I'll stop it!"
The mages' barrier was optimized for stopping ranged attacks, and was a poor match for a large foe trying to crash right through it.
Stepping in front of my command unit, I hold my prided shield between my comrades and the steaming lizard. Without any hesitation I brace my trusty wall with my entire body.
Understanding my intent, the others give me space. I feel magic flowing over and through my body as the mages cast support enhancements without me needing to tell them.
The very thought warmed my heart. I was thankful for being given such excellent subordinates. I was only my disappointment I was unable to utilize them properly.
I dug my feet into the dirt as I readied to stop the oversized fried newt's charge when I heard it.
"Glasgow, seven steps left"
I did exactly was I was instructed.
I knew that voice, as did everyone here. And just like them, I knew. There was no room for argument, for it was the voice of our goddess.
Just in case, I re-braced myself as the sound of the magma drake neared.
Out of nowhere, I saw a flash of blue and white go past my right side, followed by a hellish screach and a torrential rumble that threatened to bring me to my knees for more than one reason.
When I opened my eyes, I realized that I was staring at the eye of the magma drake. But it wasn't looking at me. Instead, it was focused on something above, and what I saw in it's eyes wasn't anger like before, but fear.
A shadow flitted from above to the other side of it's head.
The magma drake let out another screech and desperately tried to raise it's body, to withdraw, yet it was pinned in place.
The rapidly cooling lizard's cries grew weak, and the light faded from it's eyes.
When I realized what was happening, I dropped my shield and quickly rushed over around the giant newt's head. While I made the short distance, I could clearly see a giant lance made of ice bisecting the creature's left foreleg. As I finished making the turn, the sight of a small figure completely enveloped by robes blacker than the abyss standing at the magma drake's neck. There was a soft sucking sound coming from the cloaked figure.
Every part of the person's body was completely covered, as if warding off the warm light of the sun.
Rather, that was exactly what was going on, for our goddess was a creature of the night. Yet despite that, she didn't abhor the day, and instead made effective use of it as well as the night.
I came to a stop, and came to my knee, lowering my head.
Despite that, I was still taller than her. She was small. To a human, she might've been considered a child, but to us, she was greater than any being in the world. So great, I felt allowing my head to be above hers was almost unpardonable, but due to the difference in our statures, trying to lower my head any further could instead be viewed as contempt. Thus, I pushed back my feelings on the matter once again as I waited.
"Ah, sorry for taking first blood"
I looked up the best I could without raising my head. Under that thick hood, I could barely make out her white skin and a single streak of blood that dripped from the corner of her thin, upwards curved lips. I felt blessed for the chance to see her from so close.
"The first blood to the last drop, the entirety of kill belongs to you, as do our lives!"
It almost felt like blasphemy to refuse her apology.
"It's as the commander says"
Before I knew it, the rest of my command unit was behind me, bowing to our master. I almost felt ashamed that I didn't notice, but our goddess came first, way above and beyond our comrades.
"Well, if you feel that way. Just make sure to not waste any of it"
We all acknowledged, raising our heads and looking straight at our goddess.
With a small wave, she rose up into the air to meet up with her aides who were waiting in the sky before they went off to wherever they were originally headed.