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The Colony, Academy of Science and Magic

Magister Thorn hummed to Pachelbel's Canon in D Major as he carefully scribbled down notes and observations onto his notepad as he played around with the 8k ultra high resolution image of the Hero's artifact they recovered. He was frankly amazed by the level of detail of the image, as every nick and scratch was shown up clearly and sharply and he doesn't even need to squint his eyes nor wear what the hoomans called corrective glasses ...

He sighed and closed his eyes as Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 played next, letting his mind wander with the music for a while before he resumed his work. He tapped a few keys on the computer that the hoomans provided to him, which was as alien as it could be to him at first, but over time, it proved to be more useful in recording, retrieving and analyzing information rapidly.

"Hmmm?" Thorn suddenly straightened up, "What is this?" The computer dumped several matching runes and symbols to what was found on the surface of the artifact. He had all his books and scrolls carefully scanned into the computer and stored into the system with the help of his students. And the computer started beeping as its databased found similar runes or iconology.

Thorn frowned as he studied the information poured out on the screen, feeling confused and shocked at the same time. "My heavens! What is this?!"

-----

Far Harbor, Civic Center

Fleet Master Dijon stood facing the floor to ceiling windows, looking outside from the second floor down to the harbor where open topped wagons were being pushed by men, ladened with supplies towards the ships docked along side the pier. He gave a rapped against the clear glass and frowned, his merchant mind spinning rapidly. "This glass, is it done by your craftsmen?"

"Yes," The Princess replied while sipping some hot beverage. "All made here, by own our hands."

He turned back to the view outside, hiding his expression from the Princess view, as he digested the information. So far, all he saw was wealth and incredible workmanship everywhere, unlike the reports that they were defeated by the Empire and were on the run, before managing to fight off the persisting forces due to terrain constraints.

All these displays of wealth do not tally which them being on the back footing, it shows more like they are prospering instead of slowly being defeated. He looked at his ships, fully decked out and ready to intimidate and awe the rebels here, to force them into accepting whatever unfavorable deals or contracts with him, but instead the tables appeared to have been turned.

Or was all this just a ploy? To show that they are strong but actually, they are weak? He turned and observed the Princess, who sat upright, her long legs tucked under her dress, sipping from a delicate cup and saucer, seemingly at ease without any traces of worries or fear in her manner and deposition.

Dijon rubbed his stubble on his chin, and turned his attention around to the lavishly decorated room, taking in all the details, from the food, drinks to the decor. He could calculate roughly how much gold and silver was spent just to prepare all these for him and his Captains who were sampling and enjoying the food. Dijon grinned suddenly, well, let's put my sense of unease to a test, I shall delay as long as I can, and freeload with my men here, let's see how long the Princess can keep this pretense up!

"Ha!" Dijon gave out a sudden bark of laughter, making the Princess raise her fine looking eyebrows up. "Tell me how you defeated the Empire at the mountains! I am sure it is a tale worthy to tell and songs to be made!"

The Princess appeared lost for a minute before she nodded, and racket made by the rest of the Captains quietened down as they turned their attention to the Princess's words, hearing of their journey, chased by the Empire troops, and hounded by blood thirsty goblins and monsters in the Uncharted Forest and the brave battle they had at the Pass.

She purposely left out some details in regards to the hoomans abilities, and instead retold them as allies who helped saved them from the claws of the Empire. The Captains cheered as they heard how they won and cried when told how the dead were mourned and shuddered as they heard of the undead walking again.

They sat raptured by the tale, their drinks, and food in their plates forgotten as they listened to the strong soprano voice, lost in the wonder and action of her words. And when the story ended, the men wept for the lost souls who fought bravely against the Hero and gave a prayer to the gods to look after their souls in the afterlife.

Sherene wiped a tear away from her eyes, as she finished the story. Some parts of the story were left out, only those that were more common knowledge where told. She found her tea had turned cold and stood up to pour herself another cup only to find the whole group of rowdy Captains bawling their eyes out, and blowing their noses on napkins and sea scarfs.

"Eh... are all of you well?" She asked timidly, worried if it was the refreshments or the 'air-con' that had made them sick.

"Your story is so sad!" One of them cried, sobbing into his sleeves. "Your men are so brave!"

"Yes! That Dante! I knew he was no good!" Another yelled, "To think he would hunt and kill girls for their life energy!"

Even Dijon was affected by the story, as to them, being men who grew up sailing the rough seas, they were mostly out in the oceans for many months, and they know about the dangers and perils of life and death as it comes easily and swiftly out in the sea. And the sailors were quite romantic by nature and also view brotherhood and loyalty strongly, and when knowing that brave men sacrifice themselves against a godly foe despite the overwhelming odds, made their blood boil.

But he frowned, wondering how did they defeat the Hero in the end, "So how did the Hero lose?"

"It took the combined magic of all our mages to cast a level 9 spell that finally overwhelmed his shields," Sherene simply made something up, thinking that Blake is gonna to have to make up to her for a whole lot of lies and half-truths she spoke today.

Dijon nodded but did not push the issue, and Sherene mentally gave a sigh of relief. The other Captains refilled their plates and drinks and started to ask her more about the story she just told, asking about details on certain parts, and she did her best to answer.

Dijon took a bite out of the triangularly shaped bread with fillings and nodded to himself as the taste was better than he expected, and watched the Princess trying her best to answer all the questions asked by his Captains. There were several loopholes in the story she gave, but now is not the time to expose it all, let's see how long they can play this game, he smiled as he tried a piece of fried po-ta-to. "Hmm... Delicious!"

-----

Far Harbor, Police Station

Kaga sat with her back straight as she nervously twisted the hem of her skirt before the fierce looking soldier across the table from her. "That's all I heard..."

"So, there is a faction among the freed slaves that want to steal a ship from the Isles?" Lt Joseph asked to confirm again.

Kaga nodded, "Yes, I heard them talking about it the other day, and I wanted to find someone to report it to, but no one seems to take me seriously..."

Lt Joseph sighed, looking at the shy way Kaga was behaving. She looked like some kid around twelve years old, despite being way older than that. Her fluffy looking ears drooped downwards as she fidgeted in her seat. "Relax, I am not interrogating you, nor am I gonna arrest you..."

"If you say so..." Her soft reply came back, as she didn't dare look up.

"Come on," Lt Joseph sighed and opened the door, "You are free to go, I will investigate on what you had reported."

"Thank you..." Kaga gave a bow and left the room, led by one of the policemen out of the station.

"Sir?" One of the police officers asked, "Do you think she is telling the truth?"

"Yes, I believe her words," Lt Joseph nodded, "Go dig up on what you can on the description she gave us, and do it quietly!"

"Yes, Sir!" The officer saluted and left, leaving Joseph alone in the room.

"Damn," Joseph frowned and thought to himself, if those ex slaves tried to take over one of the Isles ships, it is gonna look bad to us, and the Isles might break all trade deals and relationships with us, which we desperately need the goods they can offer to us!

He stood up and walked out of the room and called his Platoon Sergeant over. "Spread the word, see who can find Sergeant Tyrier of the Hundred and First, if they see him, get him to come here to find me, I got something to talk to him with."

His sergeant nodded and saluted before leaving to spread the word among the troops while Joseph put on his beret and headed towards the Civic Center were the Princess and the delegates from the Isles were at.

-----

The Colony, Academy of Science and Magic

Magister Thorn paced around his table as he waited for Dr. Sharon to arrive, while periodically glancing at the montior screen which the computer was still analyzing the artifact.

He clasped his hand worriedly and nervously, before noticing his own gestures and tucked them into his coat pockets, muttering, "Come on ... come on ... hurry please...."

Someone suddenly knocked on the door of his office, and he yelled, "Come in! come in!"

Dr. Sharon entered with a briefcase and stood over his desk, "What is it that is so urgent?" She stifled a yawn as she sat down on the lumpy chair in front of the desk.

"Look at this!" Thorn excitedly snatched up a piece of paper printed out with a jumble of text and pictures.

Dr. Sharon scanned through the paper and the notes scribbled on it and frowned, "Wait is this what I think it is?"

"Yes!" Thorn nodded, "The computer has found some matching text in the database and translated it out."

"Hummingbird on the Left?" Dr. Sharon rubbed her tired eyes as she re-read the notes. "What kind of name is that?"

"That's the best translation the computer gave!" Thorn said, "Also some of this I managed to find out." He started to click on some files on the computer and turned the screen to face Sharon. "Look!"

"Deity of war, sun and human sacrifice?" Dr. Sharon tiredness appeared to vanish as she read the scripts that Thorn had dug out in his research. "So this God that the Hero worshipped, isn't just the Sun god, but also of war and human sacrifice?"

"Yes!" Thorn said, "Remember what the little girl told us in the hospital? She said she saw how the Hero absorbed the female's life force he was in bed with!"

"So that was a form of sacrifice?" Dr. Sharon frowned. "But where did you get this from?"

"Now, that's where it gets more strange..." Thorn spoke in a low voice as he stared at Dr. Sharon in a very serious manner. "This data did not come from any of my books, scrolls or from my knowledge. Neither did it come from any other mages here."

"The inscriptions here that the computer translated as 'Hummingbird of the Left', came from an ancient language, and that is from you... hoomans..."

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