Fleet Master Dijon took a swig of ice cold foamy root beer and munched on a large triangular piece of bread which the locals called a 'pit-za'. The taste sweet and sour with the salty gooey cheese and slices of meat sausage tastes heavenly, as Dijon finished the third slice of the round bread that was cut into six slices.

"Fleet Master and Captains, the magical wards are in place." The Fury's ship mage bowed to the gathered men and settled down at a corner of the reception hall, where Dijon had requested from the Princess for their personal use.

"Good, now no one can listen or scry into our meetings, so let's start!" Dijon wiped his greasy hands onto a table cloth and gestured for his Captains to report their findings. "It's over two days since we landed, what do we know of these... rebels?"

"Master Dijon," The Captain of the Man 'O' War, Boar, spoke, "My men tested the weapons the rebels were offering and so far, they are quite impressed. Especially with the repeating crossbows! Its range might be shorter and power weaker than our steel crossbows, but the rate of fire of it is crazy! One man can fire off more bolts than a file of five men armed with steel crossbows in a turn of a glass!"

"I strongly advise we purchase some repeating crossbows back and hand them over to Weapon Guilds for them to learn and discover how they work!" The Captain of the Boar added, "It will greatly increase our fighting strength if we can have the men equipped with such weapons!"

The rest of the Captains nodded and voiced their approval, for they too have seen and played with the repeating crossbows. Dijon nodded, "Do it, see what the Princess wants to trade for those crossbows. Next?"

"The quality of their refined steel is must tougher and durable compared to ours," A greying sailor with large gold loops in his ears spoke up, "I tested the few bars of sample steel they offered us and made this." The sailor brought out a long package wrapped in soft leather and handed it over to Dijon who curiously unwrapped the bundle to find a shiny curved cutlass.

"This is?" Dijon asked the old hand as he lifted the cutlass up to admired in the light.

"I forged this with the steel they gave us," The old Smith replied, "'Ca-born steel' they called it. I tested it and it proved to be at least two times stronger than our current steel we produce. It is almost like mithril!"

"I see," Dijon stood up and gave the cutlass a few experimental swings and sweeps. "Tourn, draw your sword!"

The broad-shouldered Captain of the Talon, stood up and drew his cutlass out, and with a loud "AHHH!" He chopped downwards at Dijon who parried with lightning fast reflexes.

A loud clang echoed in the hall, and a piece of metal snapped off from the cutlass held in Tourn's grip. His cutlass has broken off in the sharp attack with Dijon!

Dijon nodded in a pleased manner as he examined the blade surface for any imperfections, barely finding any nicks. "This is good steel indeed!" He handed the cutlass pommel first to Tourn who took it and started to swing the cutlass around.

Dijon picked up the broken sword and observed the blade, seeing where the two edges had met and the force of both swords broke the poorer quality iron-steel. He nodded again, "Well?"

"If they can supply us with a large quantity of this 'ca-born steel', it will definitely increase our fighting strength." The old smith said while the rest of the Captains muttered among themselves and nodded.

"Good! This is a wasted trip after all!" Dijon grinned widely, "The Princess had offered us these materials in exchange for grains, raw ores, processed wood, and most importantly, shipbuilding techniques."

"For raw materials and food, it is a good deal in exchange for the repeating crossbow and 'ca-born steel'." Dijon said, "But in exchange for shipwrights to teach them how to make ships?"

"Fleet Master," A Captain spoke up, "We shouldn't offer them the shipwrights! Their weapons and steel we can trade for and the Guild Masters will sooner or later unlock the secrets to their production means. Therefore trading our ways to make ships will not be worthwhile to us!"

"Yes, we agree too!" The Captains voiced their thoughts, "Why let them profit? We can just sell ships to them!"

Dijon nodded, "Than its settled, we will not agree to not teaching the rebels how to build ships, rather we will offer them our older ships for sale."

"Next, what else is worthy to be traded?" Dijon asked as he picked up another slice of cold pizza.


UNS Singapore, Command Bridge

"So those Islanders doesn't wanna share their shipbuilding technology, but rather offer us some old ships for sale?" Captain Blake frowned as he watched the live feed of the Islander meeting going on at Far Harbour. "Damn, those money grubbing bastards... I hoped the lure of better steel and a repeating crossbow would be enough to entice them to share their technology..."

"Oh well, not every day is sunday~" Blake sighed, "Princess, squeeze them hard in exchange for the carbon steel and the crossbows. I think they are also interested in canned food and glass."

The image of the Princess on the side of the video feed nodded as she too was viewing and listening in to the ongoings in the reception room, as they have bugged the whole area, with both audio and video devices. Magic wards? Ha!

"Not getting any shipwrights is still within our plans, but raw resources are important, our current output from the new mines are still below our needs and the Isles can provide us enough raw resources to cover the deficits."

"Luckily, the harvest is doing fine, and there will be less spoilage of harvest since the tractors with the combine harvesters were introduced!" Sherene smiled happily, as she was glad that food will not be many issues for the winter months.

Blake nodded, glad that he pushed hard at Chief Matt and his team to produce a sort of simple combine harvester, that is powered by the same V9 engines the aircraft were using. Dozens of the large spinning harvesters were deployed to all the farms, vastly improving the rate of harvesting crops and preventing the rest of the crops from over riping and spoilage.

"I guess the Fleet Master will speak to me tomorrow after they are done with their discussions," The Princess tiny portrait spoke. "I better go prepare my notes if I want to counter their offers! Bye, ~!"

Blake grinned at the casual way the Princess signed off, thinking that she is started to be more and more carefree and badly influenced by the media the Entertainment Broadcasting team is throwing out. He looked up to see his bridge crew turning away and hiding their smiles as they acted busy. He sighed, wondering if it was the media team or his crew was badly influencing the Princess.


Sawtooth Mountain, Holding Camp

Kaga Whitetail was feeling conflicted, as ever since she reported the manner to the soldier, the ones that were involved in the conspiracy went missing! She wandered around the Camp's common area trying to see if she could find them but for the past two days, she couldn't even see a shadow of them!

What had she done! She berated herself and started to question her own beliefs. Are the so-called hoomans, demons that require sacrifices? If so is that why those who opposed them had gone missing?

She suddenly felt very lonely and afraid of this place, despite the number of people around her. She had no friends here, as everyone kept a respectful distance from her due to her spirit powers as the beast men treated her as an elder, while the elves normally don't get close to a beastman.

As she was feeling down, her senses suddenly felt someone was spying on her and she spin around, trying to locate the source. Something had triggered her six sense, and she felt a chill down her spine as she looked around, her fluffy ears twitching as she scanned her surroundings.

"-kawaii!" Her twitching ears heard something strange and she turned to the direction the voice came from and saw two short eared hoomans crouching suspiciously behind some crates outside the fence of the camp.

She narrowed her eyes and glared at the two people who suddenly noticed her looking their way and they both ducked down, trying to hide from her sight. Already feeling unhappy, she stormed her way to the wire fence and glared at the two men trying to squeeze themselves behind a stack of crates but failing terribly. "YOU THERE! WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?!"

"Ahhh! Gomenasai! Gomenasai!" One of them was like praying and bowing, wearing a pair of strange artifact on his face, that covered his eyes. The other was trying to crawl away with something black and blocky in his hands.

"Are you a thief?" Kaga asked, speaking in common, as she couldn't understand En-ish or whatever they are trying to say.

"Ahh... n-no... w-we no thief!" The weird guy with the strange round contraptions around his eyes spoke back in halting common tongue.

Kaga observed them both and found them to be wearing a similar uniform, like what most of the rebels do. "Are you workers here?"

"Work? Y-yes yes work!" The strange dou both looked at her like she was some goddess, making her feel conieous of her body, and she turned her body away from them hugging herself.

"You... what are you two doing! So suspicious! I going to call the guards!" She yelled angrily as she blushed.

"No- no! We no su- suspicious! We work!" One of them showed a sort of card that was clipped onto his breast pocket of his uniform while in his hand he was holding some strange black item.

"What is that?" She asked curiously, pointing to the black object.

"O-oh this...? Both of the men looked at each other and suddenly they gave out a silly laugh. "No-Nothing!"


"SHHHHHH!!!" Both of them quickly hushed her, "Ok ok, this is a camera!"

"Cam-el?" Kaga looked confused at the En-ish word. "What does it do?"

"It- erm- pictures?" The guy with the eye thingy spoke hesitated.

"Pik-cure?" Kaga was even more confused.

"Look!" The guy turned the object around and showed the back of it by the fence. Kaga leaned forward and saw some runes lit up and suddenly an image of what appeared to be her incredible likeness appeared on the surface.

"WAA!" Kaga hissed, her tail and ears standing up as she glared at them. "EVIL! You steal my spirit!"

"N-no no!" No steal sp-spirit!" The guy cried in surprised, "Picture!"

"Look!" He turned and pointed it at a nearby tree and clicked something before showing it to Kaga.

Kaga hissed in warning as he pushed the evil artifact towards her, and she saw an identical image of the tree inside the artifact! "What magic is this!?"

"N-no no magik!" The two laughed and seemed to wipe tears and sweat away in relief as Kaga calmed down. "This- take picture!"

"It can capture anything inside?" Kaga looked suspiciously at the screen and tapped hard at the object with her extended claw nails.

"Don-t break!" The guy holding the artifact hugged it close to his chest, saying some weird language, "Antique, DSLR Nikon D850~!"

Kaga leaned back and looked at them with disgust, "You two are weird..."

"No- weird!" The two of them yelped, "We take picture- of you!"

"What? Why?" Kaga narrowed her eyes in fright, wondering what they want to do with her 'pik-cure'!

"Catgirls!" The two guys spoked in unison, "REAL CATGIRLS! WOOOO!"

"Eh..." Kaga looked frightened by the two and she slowly backed away from the two strange men, "My mommy told me... not to speak with strangers..." And she turned tail and ran off in fright. "Crazy hoomans!"

"Ahhh~ Nekomimi moeeee~~~!"

A note from neo Koh

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I will be taking a week break for Chinese New Year next week. So see you guys on the 11th of Feb!


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neo Koh


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