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Sawtooth Mountain Holding Camp

Kaga Whitetail yawned and stretched her body out in a very cat like manner on the simple bed she was lying on. It was just a simple metal frame with a piece of cloth stretched over it, the idea was ingenious to Kaga. In fact, ever since they arrived at this place, she was amazed and constantly surprised by many things.

After the fiasco with the Hero, Kaga and the rest of the slaves, escorted by the strangely dressed barbarians which she later found out that they were mostly from the Kingdom of Goldrose, which the Empire had labeled them as rebels, traveled a couple of days before encountering a caravan of dragon wagons which was hired by the rebels to transport the tired slaves to safety.

The caravan foreman, named Norman, seemed to have come from the same employer who bought and freed them. He appeared to be afraid of something as he kept twitching in fear throughout the journey until they reached an impressive stone castle built into the very surface of the mountains where he adamantly refused to enter, staying outside the castle and leaving as soon as the slaves were dropped off and even refusing an escort through the Uncharted Forest.

They rested half a day before setting off again, this time riding strange mechanical contraptions that appeared to run on magic without the use of any dragons! The speed which it traveled boggled Kaga's mind as the scenery outside the glass windows appeared to vanish as rapidly as it appeared!

They were then told to exit the magic wagons and a small army of white coated and similarly white costumed healers fussed over them before they taken to a place for a shower and fresh clothing were given after which they were fed. Once that was all settled, they were separated into males and females and were given a large tent which was shared by four persons each.

Kaga remembered the healers were saying something about diseases and virus and 'ma-nu-tree-tion' among the survivors, and they were needed to be 'qurr-ren-teen'?

She slipped on a pair of slippers that she was told were actually made out of slime parts. The sole came from the body of black slime, found in the swamps up north, the slime was gutted and its guts removed before the body was machine pressed into a shape of a sole and sun dried. A simple soft woven strap made of grass was secured to the sole.

The slippers felt soft and comforting to her feet as she exited the tent, and headed towards the canteen for food. She noted some of the womenfolk were washing their clothes at the washing areas where water gushed out from taps which she only has seen at either nobles, royalty or the filthy rich mansions.

Finding her way into the cook tents, she smelt the strong aroma of herbs, spices, and meat! Kaga grabbed a tray from the side and joined the queue where a cook was giving out food. As her turn came, she gave her most charming smile at the young man, who blushed and handed her a slightly larger portion. Today's menu was scrambled eggs with ham and two slices of white bread and slices of a red sweet and tart fruit that they called 'toe-ma-to'!

Finding an empty seat, she sat down and wolfed down the food. Ever since she came here, she felt she was gaining the weight she lost over the past few months. The food was just too good and exotic, like that 'bur-girl' she had the other day, two toasted bread buns with a juicy chunk of meat with cheese and more of that red tart fruit! It tasted heavenly and Kaga was looking forward to what is for lunch today.

As she was finishing her meal, she overheard a group of people who came together with her to this camp, discussing about what are they going to do next. "This all seems just too good to be true!" One of them was heard saying his voice low.

"But they fought and protected us from the Empire!" Another was saying also in a low voice, but Kaga hearing was sharp enough to hear their conversation.

"Yes, but look here! They are keeping us like prisoners!" The earlier male spoke, his eyes glancing over to a couple of guards at the end of the tent. "We are like slaves still to these people!"

Kaga's ears twitched as she held in her anger, her food forgotten. Did they know how much they sacrificed to save them?

"I heard that they will be asking us who wants to stay and who wants to leave to go to the Isles," Another person whispered, "I overheard some of the strangely dressed healers talking."

"Are you sure?" Another asked, "Could they be selling us off instead?"

"I just find all this all too good to be true!" The original speaker insisted. Kaga discretely observed the speaker, who had a sunken yellowish face and dark silvery hair and a thin body frame, most likely from being starved over a long period of time.

He glanced furtively around and gestured his group closer and whisper even softer, making Kaga strain her fluffy ears as she leaned closer to listen while pretending to eat her breakfast. "We should make a run for it!"

"But how? The camp is surrounded by those strange wire fences and there... guards!" Someone hissed. "You want to overpower the guards?"

"Shhh... lower your volume!" The yellow faced elf sharply whispered. "You want everyone to know?"

"No way," Another person said, "I'm out of this. this is way too much for me!" A few others also disagree and they picked up their trays and left.

"Cowards!" The yellow faced elf spat, "Ignore them, they can be slaves for all their lives!"

"But where can we go?" Those that remained asked.

"Simple! We know they are going to ship us off," The elf gave a nasty grin, "We just steal that ship!"

-----

UNS Singapore, Main Conference Room

"So what do we know of the Isles?" Captain Blake asked everyone gathered in the room.

"Virtually nothing, except information from some merchants who dealt with them in the past," Lueftuant Tavor of Fleet Intel, replied. "What we have is only second-hand information, which can't be verified."

"But we do know is that they are the strong naval force in this area, on par with the Goblins at least," He said next, "Also what we know is that they have a very strong presence in the finance world. Most likely controlling at least 50% or more of the trade within its sphere of influence."

"It should be comparable with old Earth Britain, an island nation, which its navy as its strongest military power and relying mainly on trade." Tavor pointed to the map highlighting the area where the Isles were reported to be located. "The map given to us by Goldrose is over a hundred years old and un-updated, so this is to be taken as a gauge."

"UAV recon flights had already spotted a large sailing fleet heading our way," Tavor switched the view on the screen to display a top down view of over ten ships with white sails in an inverted 'V' formation.

"Those looks like similar our old sailing frigates to brigs," Chief Matts spoke up as he looked at the image. "Just no cannons."

Tavor nodded, "Yes, from the images we managed to identify their main ship to ship weapons are mostly ballistas or catapults. Crew strength in the smaller brig like ships are calculated at around 200, while the larger frigates types are at around 350. Also, we found that they appeared to lost one ship after the storm the night before."

"At their rate of speed, they will arrive in another day or two." Tavor finished his report and sat down.

"Thank you," Blake said, "Alright, Far Harbor has informed me that the pier is ready to welcome our guests, so we be sending some representatives down. We will also isolate the visitors to only the area around Far Harbor, I don't want them to know our capabilities. All construction work and equipment will be pulled out and the workers will be given a holiday."

"I want security to be on full alert too," Blake added, "And also if possible, Princess, I will leave the negotiation of trade deals under your care."

Princess Sherene shyly nodded and blushed, keeping her eyes down on the note pad in front of her. Blake grinned and turned to Dr. Sharon. "How are the newcomers?"

"We have settled them down, and done a full medical and health check," Dr. Sharn replied, "So far, blood works on virus and diseases came back negative. But I still like to keep them in quarantine for a couple days more just to be sure."

"Got it," Blake nodded, "Major? How are you men doing?"

"Morale is actually pretty high, despite the memorial service the day before." Major Frank replied, "In fact, the men of Eagle Company are calling themselves Godslayer and are recovering well."

Blake gave a weak smile remembering the tears of families as they watched the coffins enter the ground. "Princess, how is the civilian population doing?"

Sherene jerked as if she just woke up, "A-ah, so far, repairs are still ongoing," she replied in a fluster, her face turning red. "City Hall has run a few public broadcasts on the radio explaining the situation, and we managed to appease the population, and with compensation given to the families that were affected, and with the amount of support given by the government, so far there weren't many complaints."

"A-also, I like to propose something," Sherene looked up at Blake, "It's almost summer and soon it will be harvest time, I like to propose we have a summer harvest festival for the people."

"A summer festival?" Blake turned and glanced at Ford who shrugged, "Is there any cultural background to it?"

Sherene nodded, "Traditionally during mid summer, after the time of harvest, everyone gathers to give thanks to the God of Harvest for providing food to the people. And I think we need something like this, it will help boost the morale of the citizens."

"Well, I think it is a good idea," Ford spoke up, "We did miss out on celebrating Christmas, New Year and other festivals."

"Yeah," The rest at the meeting room nodded and voiced their approval to the idea of having festivals and holidays. "Holidays!"

"Alright, alright, relax people!" Blake nodded and gestured for everyone to calm down, "Plan the date, budget and manpower needed. City Hall will handle all forms of festivals and holidays, ok?"

Sherene nodded eagerly and gave a small smile at Blake who gave a cough and turned to the look at the rest, "Now in regards to the Hero incident, we will need an SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) in dealing with entities like these. We can't keep firing the main gun unless it is a situation that threatens the whole of the colony, the main gun isn't a weapon for atmospheric usage. It is over powered in fact!"

"But Captain, 20 mm cannons and rockets barely deal any damage to the Hero," Major Frank pointed out, "We can't fight something like that on par."

"I know, so either we upgrade our weapons or we have someone where similar powers," Blake replied. "All black powder weapons will be turned in and returned to the factories to be modified for the new smokeless propellant ammunition. That will improve our firepower sufficiently at least."

"And so far the only force I know, managed to fight with the Hero almost on par is Claymore One using black powder weapons." Blake continued, "Therefore, I want you, Major, to scout for more talent among the Marines to join the ranks of the Hundred and First. We need more than one team of Claymores."

"Sometimes if guns don't work, we need to use magic, and if it doesn't work either... we use both guns and magic!"

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Blaah... cholesterol levels too high ... need more meds =(


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