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Lt Frank leaped off the cab of the half-track as it braked and armed personnel deployed off the rear of the tailgate. He nods to Staff Pike who waves him over to a camouflaged tent, turns to Cpl James. "Get the men organized."

Lt Frank entering the tent saw support staff operating comms and updating the situational map on the middle of the tent. A Goldie in an ornate silver armor with their trademark golden robes stood looking at the tactical map with great interest.

"Welcome, Sir!" Pike gave a salute and inviting Frank towards the table. "This is the Goldrose commander, Sir Rathia." He introduces the officers to each other.

"My pleasure to meet you," Lt Frank gave a Goldrose salute, fist to horizontal to his chest. The goldie commander smiles and saluted back. "I brought 43 men with me and whatever ammo we can spare." He said to Pike in English.

Pike nods, and indicates onto the map, speaking in Common for the benefit of Rathia. "We managed to hold the gate into the Pass," He points to the map, "The missile strike had destroyed the enemy spellcasters and a large portion of their cavalry."

"This 'me-sell' you hoomans possessed, what spell level is it??" Rathia curiously asked. Pike used English for the word missile as they don't have a similar word except for arrow in Common.

"Spell level?" Both Frank and Pike looked at each other confused. "What do you mean?"

Rathia looked at them in surprise, "You don't know what is spells levels, but yet possessed such powerful spells and magic?" He thought the two hoomans were joking with him but seeing their clueless expressions, "You really have no idea?"

"Alright, spells are classed into roughly 10 levels. Starting from level 0, are street tricks, that almost everyone can do and required almost no magic power." Rathia demonstrates, snapping his fingers and a shower of sparks bursts out.

"Damn. am I glad I forced everyone to watch that potter movie and that ring movie," Pike kept his face expressionless while Frank jerks back in surprise.

Rathia frowns at Frank's reaction, before continuing, "Level 1 spells onwards reflects the strength, casting time, and magic used. The more magic and casting time used to prepare a spell, the higher the rank of the spell will become." He roughly explains the idea of spell levels.

"So the 'mages' you have, what are the level spells they used?" Pike asked as he digested the information.

"Mostly level 2 to 3," Rathia said. "Combat magic is normally limited to around that level, for it takes time to prepare and focus. Unless you have plenty of time to prepare, like the Empire's battlemages. Those were level 4 to 5 fireballs."

"Your thundersticks artifacts are as powerful as a level 5 spell or even higher!" Rathia drones on, "And that spells that killed the two dragons, they should be as powerful as level 8 or even 9!"

"I-I see," Frank nods, slightly amused to think that modern weapons as magic, but in a way, technology is magic to some. "How many casualties?"

"3 dead from our side from the fireballs, 1 from an unlucky crossbow bolt in the face. 5 others suffering from second to third-degree burns. The Medics should be prepping them for transportation back for treatment." Pike said. "The Goldrose side took the worst of the blunt."

"We lost over 80 men, with another 200 badly wounded, most of which will not make it past the night." Rathia sighed as he gave the sad news, "However, we rescued over two hundred of our people, and the Empire had paid a dear price for that."

"I have isolated the rescued people," Pike said, "Most of them require medical treatment and are badly malnutrition."

"We should allow them to be reunited with their families!" Rathia insisted. "I do not understand why you want to hold them."

'It's for their own safety and for our healers to treatment first." Pike explains, calming Rathia down.

"Have we located their camp?" Frank asked, "UAV couldn't spot it?"

"The path is too open, it is hard for our scouts to follow them back," Rathia said. "Your magical all-seeing artifact should be able to follow them."

"No, due to the weird composition of the tree leaves here, the thick canopy blocks line of sight, infra, and electronic signals," Pike explains using English to Frank, while Rathia listens on in confusion at the strange words.

"Than we need boots on the ground," Frank said. "Direct laser the target and guide in a missile strike with laser communications. Let's nip the problem in the bud."

"Yes Sir, I will form a strike team."

-------------------------------

Blake sat in his office, massage his forehead, as he tried to make sense of what the princess has done. She sat like a timid mouse on the chair opposite his table, not daring to look at him in the eye.

"So you meant to say, you want me to rule over your people?" He clarified again for the fourth time with her.

She nods, wondering what is wrong with this hooman, doesn't everyone wants to be king? Why is he acting like its a troublesome thing?

"Oh my god, my head hurts," Blake groans, while Sherene tilts her head at him in confusion. It's already hard enough to get the base up and running, and now this hot potato landed in his hands.

"Alright, I will look after your people, but you are to lead them." Blake decided, "I will not be your King or Emperor or whatever you have for a leader. We work together and not you under me."

Work together? Under you? Sherene eye widens, she blushed and looks away in embarrassment. "Y-yes my liege," she muttered.

"Wait, NO!" Blake groans again, "I meant, you govern your people! And I did not mean sleep with me or what!" What a mess!

"Anyway, for now, I will have workers construct living spaces for your people." Blake sighs at the misunderstanding of the languages. "Please prepare your people for departure to the Colony."

"Y-yes my liege." Sherene stood up and gave a bow.

"N-no, you don't have to bow or call me my liege." Blake's headache getting worst. "Just call me Blake. or Captain if you want to be formal."

"Yes, my Captain Blake." The princess gave a half bow before retreating out of his office.

"What mess have I gotten into," Blake moans his fate.

"Sir?" Ford knocks at the open hatch. "Permission to enter?"

"Come in," Blake waves him in. "Any new updates?"

"Yes Sir, Lt Frank had just submitted plans for a night infiltration team, they plan to paint the enemy camp with a laser and direct call in a missile strike."

"Will the forest canopy allow the missile to lock on?" Blake leans back in his chair, gesturing Ford to the seat vacated by the elven princess earlier.

"They plan to use either a wired network or direct laser communication to guide the missile in." Ford replies, "Accuracy will be within a hundred meters plus-minus."

"Approved, but make sure that if it goes south, they are to abort the mission," Blake ordered, "No unnecessary risks are allowed."

"Yes Sir," Ford made a note in his tablet. "Good and bad news, which first?"

"Bad, I guess?" Blake sighs. What got be worst than an emo princess who can turn me into a blabbing idiot?

"Small arms ammunition and medical supplies are in critical levels, we have to ration usage of them." Ford reads off the details from his tablet.

"Noted, what else?" Blake asked.

"Good news, we found what you told the survey teams to look for." Ford flips his tablet over and displays a map. "A series of cave openings were discovered here and here." He points to the southern cliff hills. "Salt like crystals were found inside the walls of the cave. Sample testing shows a high concentration of potassium nitrate."

"That's good news," Blake thought, "And the designs of a black powder cartridge?"

"The Marine armorer said that black powder is highly corrosive, and if used in our weapons, they will foul and break down with no means of proper repairs." Ford checked his notes, before showing a drawn wireframe diagram of a rifle that looks similar to civilian hunters used.

"He came up with this bolt action design, the metal parts must be treated with anticorrosive coating and the rest is mostly wood," Ford explains.

"Bolt action? Will it effective against a giant wolf?" Blake asked, "They almost literally can stop our current weapons."

"Yes, it should be even more effective due to the black power loads' low muzzle velocity. We have to increase the caliber of the bullets, giving more mass to it. Our current ammo could not penetrate but got still deal enough internal damage, so a .50 caliber round even with lower muzzle velocity can deal enough punch to inflict internal injuries."

"But we need a someone who has a chemistry background to help come out with the formula for the primers and improve the black powder, hopefully into smokeless." Ford continued. "For now we are thinking of using electric triggers for firing the black powder loads."

"When can we see a prototype?" Blake asked.

"Once we start having people to mine the saltpeter, we can start to produce and test the black powder loads." Ford said, grinning, "Well, you are now the King of Elves, you can get your new elves to start working in the mines."

"Oh right! I haven't pay back for you for that shit you did yesterday night!"

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