UNS Singapore, Command Bridge

Captain Blake sat with one arm propped against his chin as he watched the live streaming videos displayed on multiple monitors. Commander Ford frowned and glanced at Blake who appeared to be dazing at his seat.

"Captain, don't you think we need like at least some of the other officers at least down at Far Harbour to be part of the welcoming committee?" Ford probed the Captain.

"Nah, didn't you heard what Lt Tavor has briefed us?" Blake lazily replied, "Those locals that did not interact with us before assumes that we are demons, and those that work with us have sold their souls to be granted great power."

"I don't think us being there will help diplomacy much!" Blake waved Ford's concerns away, "Besides, Sherene has a charming effect on other people, she will do well convincing the people from the Isles!"

"If you say so..." Ford sighed, "What about the Empire now?"

"Well, last we heard was that the Rock guy was supposed to be here, but Intel lost track of him and instead, the Hero came and made a huge mess..." Blake frowned, "I guess either that the Rock has gone to another front, or is gathering his strength before he comes down on us, seeing how we defeated Duke Sturm and the Hero."

"It should 'rock' the Empire back for a while, giving us some breathing space," Blake grinned. "Get it? The Rock get rocked back on his heels~"

"Please, Captain..." Ford shook his head, "Are you sure you are okay? Lately, you seemed to be... I don't know? Cheekier?" He did not know what word to use to describe Blake's actions.

"Hahaha," Blake grinned, "Well, I guess something has left my shoulders, and I feel... great!"

"Do you need a checkup? I will page Dr. Sharon and Magister Thorn for a full medical both physical and magical right now..." Ford narrowed his eyes, "You are not acting yourself, Captain..."

"Hahahaa, relax!" Blake laughed at Ford's expression, "Truth be told..." Blake lowered his voice so only Ford could hear him in the crowded Command Bridge. "Me and the Princess, we... erm... I asked her out... and she agreed."

"HAHAHAHAHA," Ford burst out laughing, "OH MY GOD!" What are you, a twelve year old?" Ford hugged his sides as he laughed at the red faced Blake who grinned sheepishly back. "Hahahaha, I can't stop laughing!"

The crew turned and stared at the normally serious Commander and wondered what the Captain said to make the Commander laugh till he couldn't control himself. "Shhhhh!" Blake glared red faced at Ford, "Come on! Is it that funny?"

"Hahaha yes," Ford coughed and grinned, "Oh yes, I mean, everyone knows you guys are together you know?"

"Huh, what?" Blake scratched his head, "Everyone does?"

"Of course! Everyone can see the way the two of you look at each other, and how the Princess blushes when she makes eye contact with you..." Ford grinned wickedly, "And the list goes on, I can continue if you want..."

"Stop!" Blake raised his hands in surrender, "I gave up! You guys are like bored housewives!"

Ford kept his evil grin, "Seriously, I mean its good that you guys are official now, I mean, you shoulda seen the bets on you and her getting together! It is getting slightly a bit out of hand..."

"What? People are betting on us being together?" Blake jaw dropped in surprise. "Serious?"

"Oh yes. Which week of the month, who kissed who first..." Ford ticked off his fingers, "Well... I guess I can go collect my winnings! HAHAhahaha!"

"What?" Blake stared at Ford who winked back, "You..."

"Hahaha, don't worry I give you a good treat with the winning bet!" Ford laughed. "Anyway good job on netting the Princess!"


Goblin Coast, Far Harbour

Princess Sherene tucked away her sunglasses carefully into a small pouch and her aide kept it away for her. She smiled at the tall muscular sailor with that large brim hat with a golden feather swaying in the sea breeze. "Please follow me, come and have some refreshments and shade."

Lt Joseph yelled a command, and the two rows of Marines snapped to attention and a second command had them forming up, facing each other, creating a way for the Princess and their guests to walk between them.

"Fleet Master, if you may?" Sherene gestured for the Islander to take the lead, while she stayed next to him, escorting him towards a row of buildings built just for this event.


Fleet Master Dijon schooled his face into a pleasant expression, despite having feelings of unease at this place. He looked around his surroundings, noting the neat rows of men were their soldiers from the metal and wooden polearms with what appeared to be a short sword as the spearhead. He wondered why would they have such a strange looking weapon, that looks like a spear yet seems more complicated to make than a simple spear.

The naval commander in him took note of the pier, and his unease grew. Five of his ships had docked, including his flagship, Fury and selected crews had already disembarked fully armed and were gathered just behind him. He noticed that despite the five ships docked, and some more is docked parallel to the pier, it could easily accommodate his entire fleet while still having space for more ships.

He hid his frown, wondering why would the rebels built such a massive pier for what reason. Are they planning a fleet large enough to be utilized by this harbor? And what are those walled up areas dotting the beach further away?

Dijon decided to ask, and he lifted his burly arms and pointed to the distant shore, "Princess, what are those?"

"Oh? Those are warehouses and stores yet to be built or halfway constructed," The Princess answered with a small smile. "And those will be workshops and services to be provided to the ships once they have completed construction."

Dijon raised his eyebrows, looking at the small slender Princess, surprised at her words, "You mean all that is to be built?" He gestured the blocks of walled off areas, which were almost the size of a small town.

"Yes!" Sherene nodded happily, proud of her people's work, unaware of what Dijon was feeling. "We hope to have this area as a trading port in the future, and of course, we do hope you could be our trading partners!"

"Oh," Dijon kept his thoughts hidden, thinking that how were they able to afford all these construction work and how are they going to handle the wrath of the Empire? "Who built these?"

Sherene smiled sweetly and said, "It's all done by our earth elementalist!" She recited the script given to her by Blake, "She is a very valuable help to us in construction! All these were done by her! If not how do you think we managed to built so fast?" Sherene giggled, "People might mistake us for worshipping demons! Hehe!"

"I-I see," Dijon had the grace to appear embarrassed. "If talking about trade, what do you want to trade for?"

They had walked to the end of the pier and Dijon noted the ground was the same grey white stone material. Everything looked neat and tidy, with groups of people behind what appeared to be the town guards of sorts with roped barricades. "Let's talk inside," Sherene gracefully gestured Dijon into a building, that was made out of the same material but more ornate in design.

Several long steps led up to a facade with large round pillars and a large double door which guards dressed in all black with shiny leather belts and boots, wearing a strange looking cap opened the doors.

A soft velvet carpet covered the main hallway and ball of warm light lit the interior. Dijon looked up in surprise at the light chandelier, wondering what kind of magic is that. Another flight of stairs led them up and into one of the doors, a large room with comfortable looking chairs and a large table was arranged out in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Large windows were closed and bordered one side of the walls, which allowed natural light to brighten the room, yet the room remained cool.

A side table filled with refreshments and covered trays sat on the side, which the Princess gestured for Dijon to partake with his Captains. "Food and refreshments will be provided for the rest of your men. Also, supplies for your ships, please inform my port master here. He will arrange with your men to supply your ships."

Dijon nodded and spoke to one of his retainers who nodded and left the room, leaving to arrange for supplies for his ships. The rest of the Captains left their men behind and only followed by a couple of their own retainers or aides. settled themselves down on to the chairs.


Kaga tiptoed from the middle of the crowd as she tried her best to get a view of the front. One of the nearby beastmen who had a body of a bear helpfully made some space for her, allowing her to squeeze her way to the front of the barricade.

She saw the colorfully looking sailors disembarking from the ships and the crowd cheered, as the sailors waved at them. Suddenly, she spotted a figure, she recognized. It was the same man that saved her and gave her that piece of a yummy treat!

Kaga waved and shouted, trying to get his attention, but the crowd was too loud and they were too far away. She tried her best to catch his attention but he passed by her without seeing her. Thinking fast, she ducked down under the barrier of rope, and dart out, followed by a cry of surprise from the 'po-lease man' in black uniform. "Hey!"

Arms reach out to grab her, stopping her from approaching the group. She barely made a few steps before she was caught. "You! Stop! In the name of the law!"

She yelped as she was brought down to the rough ground, "Noo! I need to talk to that man! That one in the funny hat!"

"Nice try, girl!" The guards holding her down, shook their heads, "Come on, girl, this isn't a place for you to be at." Despite the initial rough tackle, the guards held and spoke to her gently after seeing she was just a small cute fluffy thing, which made her tail stand up in anger.

"NO! I'm serious!" She tried to wriggle her way out but was held on too firmly by the two guards who shrugged and carried her away to the side. "Wait!!"

"Hold it!" A voice suddenly spoke out, and the two guards froze, while Kaga eyes widened in surprise.



"Metal ores? Grain? Skilled shipwrights?" Dijon took a sip from a crystal like goblet, holding the thin glass carefully with his coarse fingers, and savoring the sweet and tarty drink with a hint of alcohol, something called a fruit punch, which he wondered what does the punch meant.

"Yes, in return we can offer you pure alcohol, high-grade steel, copper or other metals." Sherene sat gracefully, on the sofa, nibbling away at a piece of chocolate brownie.

"Hmmm," Dijon frowned as he placed the goblet down, and picked up a bar of steel from the table, feeling the heft of it. "I will need to have the quality of this verified."

"But shipwrights?" Dijon raised his eyebrows, "We don't deal with slaves."

"No, we just want to hire them," Sherene replied. "We will pay for their food and lodging."

"You want to build more ships? Dijon asked.

"Yes, you do know that the goblin raiders are just out there right?" Sherene replied. "We do need some ships to patrol the straits and also for fishing and if possible direct trade with you."

"Interesting," Dijon smiled, "Does that means that you are not afraid of the Empire coming for you, Princess?"

"The Empire..." Sherene looked slightly downcast but she quickly covered it up with a smile, "They did try, three times in fact..."

"Three times?" Dijon frowned as he only heard about two attacks.

"Didn't you heard that they sent the Hero, Dante after us?" Sherene replied.

"And?" Dijon leaned forward, curious for the answer and news of the Sun Hero.

"Just say that the world has one lesser hypocrite who thinks he represents justice."

A note from neo Koh

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