[Olarion Forest: Mio 23, 3728]
Mason and Sage followed closely behind Lord Commander Verrona as she pushed a bush out of the way.
"Really? Iggith never had tentacle monsters that could talk," Verrona responded.
"That's because Iggith was a fucking loser, Sage replied.
"What does that make Mason?" Verrona said.
"Large amounts of raw potential!" Sage proudly replied.
"Well, let's hope that this 'potential' of yours can help you out. We have intruders to intercept," Verrona said.
"You know, when you told me you needed my help for something important, I expected something more...casual," Mason said.
As Verrona turned around, she crossed her arms and looked at Mason.
"Oh yeah? Like what?" Verrona replied.
"A strong, confident woman like you might need tentacle massages or mind-broken captives. But helping you hunt down intruders? Not what I thought," Mason replied.
"It doesn't matter if that's what you expected. It is my duty as the Lord Commander to manage our troops, including you," Verrona said.
"What about Thelsea?" Mason asked.
After turning around and walking once more, Verrona continued to smile.
"You seem to ignore the fact that Thelsea is a Demon Lord's secretary. As Lord Ogis and Broggon prepare for war, Thelsea will be busy helping Ogis. In the meantime, you are to assist with any issues regarding members of the Tenacious Enforcers. You will also continue your previous assignments, which are to visit Xorag's Underground Fortress and talk with Xisona," Verrona said.
As he caught up to her, Mason had a confused look on his face.
"War? I thought you guys were already at war with Adrios?" Mason asked.
"Not really. We have been trying to find ways to penetrate Holy Hifus. The arrival of Legendary Hero, however, has made us take precautions. The Wildlands are our first step toward officially entering the continent of Adrios. We'll also be sending a force to clear an entrance to the southern part of the Eliyen Empire," Verrona said.
"Holy Hifus? Are you referring to the continent of Hifus?" Sage asked.
"Yes. It will take some time to explain, but our ultimate goal is to take Hifus. If we control Hifus, we can use a powerful World Tier artifact," Verrona said.
"Then what's holding you back?" Mason asked.
"It's almost impossible to get inside the continent because it's surrounded by a large anti-demon barrier. Despite our best efforts, there is no way we can enter without getting seriously injured, and that's before the mythical beasts or Demi-Gods protecting it find us. On the bright side, most of our enemies can't enter it either. The only way you can get in is if you're really pure or if you're a deity of some sort. Thus, either we destroy the barrier or we find a way around it," Verrona said.
"Apparently Themy, Faylen and Onvyr weren't kidding when they said that they would protect it at any cost," Sage explained.
A small chuckle escaped Verrona's lips.
"I guess I can see why Mason calls you Tentacle Sage. Not many people know the Gods behind Hifus' protection," Verrona replied.
As Verrona looked into the sky, she noticed a column of smoke coming from the north.
"If we want to remain undetected, we'll have to stick to the trees. Follow my lead," Verrona said.
[Several minutes later at the Elven camp]
A group of Eliyen soldiers were arguing at a table near a campfire.
"We lost the elven women, which was bad enough, but to lose the recon team searching for them... things aren't looking too good, Vulas. At this point, we may have to prepare for the worst," Aila said.
"I don't feel too sorry for amateurs who went rogue," Vulas said.
"You asshole! They risked their lives just to save one of their own!" Aila complained.
"They chose transgression over order," Vulas responded.
A buff elf leaning against the table remarked on the situation.
"Just because you're a captain doesn't mean you have to be an ass," Folred said.
"You don't get to my position or rank without being an ass," Vulas said. "Ask any other A+ and they'll confirm this."
Mason and Verrona watched the Eliyen soldiers from the branches of a tree as they continued their conversation.
"Well, I'll be damned. Xorag's intel was accurate. Several elves remain unaccounted for, but I'm guessing they're on patrol or inside those tents," Verrona said.
"It's clear now that your intent is to have us as your support," Sage said.
In a flash, Verrona summoned a magic bow with a wave of her hand. It was an intricate purple bow with a matt finish.
"This is good practice for you since you have only been training based on hypothetical scenarios. To begin with, you'll need to scout the camp to see how many hostiles we will encounter. When we have a good idea of the composition of the troops, we can formulate the most efficient strategy. No matter what, your tentacles will help us catch any stragglers or prevent any real escape," Verrona said.
As Mason changed into his half-demon form, he glowed a slight red.
"I see why they made you the Lord Commander," Masxn said jokingly.
"Alternatively, we could summon a few tentacle monsters to distract them," Sage said.
"What about the elves in the tents?" Verrona asked.
"We could place tentacle monsters in each of the three tents while a larger one attacks the camp. Since tentacles are forbidden magic, they shouldn't know how to fight them effectively. I think that confusion period will give you enough time to hit your targets," Masxn said.
Verrona stared at the captain for a few seconds. As she let out a sigh, she gripped her bow tightly.
"These assholes murdered some of my men while on patrol. Do whatever you have to do," Verrona said.