Within a torch lit chamber, the sound of metal pounding rock and soil, echoed throughout the underground and exiting to the network of tunnels.
After weeks of excavating, the diggers unearthed the ceiling of a structure that endured the test of time. It was an ancient cathedral that once seated at the center of a forgotten city.
Three men marched out on the main tunnel, heading straight to the entrance where a woman stood, examining a logbook.
"Lady Dafeih," The man who seemed to be in charge of the digging operation, gently presented an old book, "We found something!"
Dafeih averted her gaze from the record and studied the three men for a second before her sight landed on the book. She inserted the logbook inside the belt bag located on the side of her hip and snatched the old book. From the way she did it, the three men felt greed.
Just as their employer was about to exit, she glanced at them with a dangerous glint in her eye and coldly said, "Go on. Continue working. And bring me more interesting findings!"
"Yes!" The trio hurriedly left, heaving a sigh of relief. Previously, this was an abandoned excavation site without any hint of profitable artifact, but the lady was willing to gamble--paying a huge sum of gold for all the reluctant workers.
With the loads of drilling equipments coming in every week, they must at least provide results for the operation to continue. And those results should be more than just finding a lost city of the past ages. The lady was of course a scholar, but more pressed into being a business person.
Dafeih was momentary blinded by the sunlight as she exited. The entry was located on the ledge of a mountain and overlooking a vast forest where a pair of guards stood in an unsteady position.
"What's the matter?" Dafeih threw a scrutinizing glare at the nervous guards, "You two appear to have seen the ghosts of your dead grandmas."
"L-lady Dafei, we heard noises coming from the trees below!" One of the guards explained.
"Tsk. Just a random animal. Nothing you can't handle, I suppose." With a further inspection, Dafeih was dissatisfied. Instead of having these pussies as decorations on the entrance, she pointed at a nearby cart, loaded with a magical device. Its function was to inject mana into the air that purify poisonous gasses. "Deliver this into the lower levels. I can't have my most useful men dying."
The guards were relieved and instantly pushed the cart into the entrance, showing exaggerated effort.
With that being taken care off, Dafeih rotated on her heels with her shoulder-length, orange hair, swinging in pursuit. She held the old book into the light and blew the dusts on its cover.
"The Imperial City of Harg," As soon as she read the ancient letters carved on the cover, she realized a shocking discovery and quickly went down to the campsite located on the base of the mountain.
It was a ten minute walk. She took her time while studying every corner of the arrifact. When she neared a narrow bridge, she delicately placed the old book inside her bag and grasped the railings.
Dafeih was about to cross when she saw figures rushing from the opposite side of the bridge.
"Olis! It's afternoon already? Where's the food?" Seeing the familliar person leading the figures, Dafeih couldn't help but raise a brow in question of the weapons they carried.
"Lady Dafeih! Lizard creatures swarmed to our camp and killed everyone! We are the only ones' left!" Olis shouted before hastily crossing the bridge when screams erupted from their rear.
"Lizard creatures?" Dafeih repeated the words. She stepped back from the bridge with a wary stance as the group at the other side, went on a panic state. One man was pushed into the cliff by the desperate crowd and kept on screaming until a sudden thud.
"What in damnation are you doing?" Dafeih's blood boiled after witnessing a man who was working under her, just died because of the lack of discipline. Imagine the package she had to send to compensate the family of the dead man.
"Form an orderly line!"
Her angry voice did not have any effect as the crowd continued to push each other.
Olis finally crossed the bridge and brushed pass his employer. He resumed running up the mountain after a futile attempt to drag Dafeih who shook him off.
Like grasses being cut down, the crowd thinned and the screams slowly died out, giving way for hisses and screeches. Dafeih could now see the culprits behind the chaos. Humanoid figures with smoking green scales slashing their claws and baring their fangs to the remaining men who were trying to make a last stand.
The assault took a toll. Some of the Lizardmen laid motionless on the ground, amongst dead Gaians.
The last man who managed to crossed the bridge was grabbed by Dafeih, "Where's my cousin?"
"I didn't see her! Please! We must go now!" The man pleaded, sweat pouring down his wrinkled face.
"And go where?!" Dafeih hissed, releasing the man. She turned to the Lizardmen mauling the corpses and secretly chanted a conjuring spell.
When the Lizardmen were satisfied venting their violence, they strolled to the bridge and menacingly stared at the lone woman.
A huge Lizardman, standing almost nine feet tall, shove its way through. It took a bite on the leg it carried before speaking in a hissing voice, "Are you not terrified of usssss?"
At this moment, Dafeih had mixed emotions but disgust dominated her face. If something happened to her cousin, she will not forgive the world itself. A conjuring circle appeared on her fore and spat a mana sword. It stabbed itself on the rocky ground, easily penetrating the hard surface.
Just as she pulled out the mana sword, the Lizardmen revealed nervous expressions. They did not expect to meet a Gaian mage here.
The huge Lizardman rolled its eyes on the bridge then back at the ef-ganai(Gaian woman). They were at a huge disadvantage if they rushed to the bridge. The corner of its mouth curled up into a sadistic smile as it shook violently, coughing up sparks of filtered mana. It opened its mouth wide and a ball of fire slowly formed.