Eastern Shore of the Source Sea

Over a hundred square hulled river barges anchored a short distance from the shoreline of the giant inland freshwater lake. Hundreds more tiny boats ferried men, equipment, land dragons, and supplies across to the ships while thousands more men awaited their turn on the shore.

The Rock turned to his adjutant, "How long more?"

"My Lord, it will take the troops and supplies another day more to load up onboard the ships," His man replied with a bow.

"Make it faster!" The Rock replied. "I want the ships to start moving by midday tomorrow!"

"Yes, my Lord!"


Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold Canteen

Liz smiled cheerfully at the golden haired girl staring at her intently before her across the dining table.

She remembered how she was bullied and hounded by the person before her during her years in the Royal School of Magic. And now, her nightmare had appeared before her again, but to her slight delight, she found out that Titanna was made a prisoner of war!

"So what do you want?" Liz asked in a gleeful manner as she saw a vein twitching on the face of her old school mate. "I see, you now is a prisoner."

"Tsk!" Titanna gritted her teeth hard. "What about you? Have you fallen so low and joined these barbarians?"

"Ha!" Liz gave a smile and gloated Titanna, "Well, I am not the one who got defeated so badly and now has guards to watch her every move!"

"Y- you!" Titanna swallowed down her anger and asked. "Elizabeth, can you tell me more about these... barbarians?"

"Is that how someone asks for a favor?" Liz leaned back on the chair and grinned in triumphant.

Titanna glared at Liz and took a deep breathe and put a smile on her face, "Can you please tell me about these people? Please?"

"That's more like it!" Liz folded her hands and tilt her head up with a smug expression. "So, what do you want to know?"

"Who are they?" Titanna quickly asked. "Where did they come from?"

"Why do you want to know so much?" Liz frowned as looked at the eager expression on Titanna's face.

"I... I... want to know more about my enemies!" Titanna leaned forward and whispered. "So I can defeat them!"

"Hmmm..." Liz gave a shrug. "Well, I can say it is almost impossible to defeat them with the kind of soldiers you have."

"What?" Titanna snorted. "I got hundreds of Knights that can single handedly defeat any troops sent against them! What can these barbarians do?"

"Haha!" Liz laughed. "If that is the case, why are you sitting here with that collar and those two watching over you?"

Liz jerked her head towards two of the Marines guards seated two tables away at the canteen, keep an eye out on Titanna.

Titanna touched the anti magic collar on her neck and blushed with embarrassment and humiliation. "I... purposely allowed them to catch me!"

"Is that so?" Liz giggled happily, knowing that she had poked Titanna's sore spot. "Well enjoy your stay here then!"

"Wait! Tell me more!" Titanna stopped Liz as she stood up to leave.

"What do you want to know?" Liz sighed. "You can't defeat them even if you send all your men here."

"I... I want to know their magic!" Titanna whispered and glanced around fugitively. "How did they cast those invisible magic spells that kill at a great distance and more deadly than a bow or crossbow!"

"Oh, that?" Liz pondered on her question for a while before she grinned wickedly. "That's called 'science'!"



River City of Norshelm, Rothschild Estate

Moel Rothschild stood at the glass windows which was made at a great price by the Capital's Artisan Guilds. He looked out and looked at the small army of house slaves working on maintaining his rose gardens and lawn.

He was close to sixty with and yet he carried himself with the vigor of a younger man. His shoulder length greying hair was kept back by a thin gold circlet. He turned as a knock sounded on his study door and a servant opened it.

A soldier with a messenger sash appeared and handed a roll of parchment over to the servant who then brought it before Moel.

He deftly broke the wax seal and glanced through the contents of the letter twice before he crashed it into a ball and slammed his fist down hard on the table.

"Call Knight Captain Judis here now!" He ordered his servants who scurried off at his command.

Not long, the sound of boots could be heard and the door to his study opened and a towering man stood before Moel. The Knight Captain was dressed in leathers and his silver hair was plastered to his skull while a towel hung over his shoulders.

Judis was training with his men at the fields when he was summoned by his lord. He kneeled and bowed, "Your orders, my lord."

"Take your men down to Orwell's Point and secure the release of Titanna!" Moel ordered. "Once she is safe, destroy all those who dared to laid sully the name of the Rothschild!"

"What happened to the young Lady?" Judis enquired. "Did she failed in her attack on Orwell's Point?"

"Yes!" Moel tossed the balled up parchment report to Judis who carefully opened the report to read. "See for yourself!"

"Interesting..." Judis's eyes glowed. "For an unknown force to defeat ten thousand soldiers and even capturing the young Lady."

"Bring Louis along," Moel suddenly added his third son to the expedition. "Let him learn and experience what war is like and what happens to our enemies!"

"Yes, my lord!" Judis bowed again and retreated out of the study. He grinned the thought of rescuing Lady Titanna should improve his standing with her, increasing his chances of successfully wooing her.

As for the foreign army, the thought of being defeated by them has never crossed his mind, as he has total confidence that the strength of his army of Knights that could even rival the Emperor's Own Lifeguards one on one wouldn't lose out to a bunch of barbarians as the reports stated.

He imagined that the Lady Titanna most likely fell into a trap and she got caught by those barbarians with unscrupulous means.

The reports of mightly magic and flying weapons most likely were greatly exaggerated accounts of the commanders who lost Lady Titanna to the enemy and they were trying to make the enemy stronger than them, to lessen their penalty of a defeat.

No matter what, those scum who dared lay their filthy hands on Lady Titanna will so face his wrath! He returned to the training fields and roared out, "MEN! Gather up!"

Two hundred and twenty seven half naked men with bodies that would make a body builder cry with envy gathered before Judis quickly and they awaited his words.

"The young Lady has been captured by barbarians on her quest to retake the city of Orwell's Point!" He stated to the hot blooded knights who growled in anger when they heard the news. "Our Lord has ordered us to set fore to bring her safely home."

"The time of our training has ended," Judis said. "All of you are veterans and Knights! We will now set off to save the young Lady and destroy those who dare touch her!"

"See to your equipment and gear! We will set out within a day!" Judis ordered. "Leaders, stay back!"

"Go! We have an enemy to destroy!"


Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold, General Office

"What are you doing?" Titanna asked as she looked over the shoulder of Liz as she tried to decipher some cultist's mad rumblings scribbled all over some creature's skin that she did not want to think it came from a person.

"Can you stop bothering me?" Liz sighed. It has been four days since she bumped into Titanna and that girl kept finding her and bothering her with questions. "I am trying to work here!"

"Looks like some child's random drawings..." Titanna was bored as she was confined to the keep. She couldn't leave the area and after two days of wandering around with no one else to talk to, even the guards denied to chat with her, she could only find Liz to talk with.

"This... child's drawing as you call it... was taken off the body of a demon cultist that probably killed and sacrificed hundreds of people..." Liz hissed under her breath. "This is not a child's work!"

"Oh, so why are you studying it?" Titanna sat down next to her. "Just burn it, that what's we all do back home if even find anything demon related. Keeps the taint away."

"We want to find out why and what are they doing here," Liz tried to explain as patiently as possible. "So that we can see the bigger picture and destroy or stop their grand plans!"

"I see," Titanna fiddled with the strange looking stick that has a pointy end on the desk before her. "Like know your enemy to defeat your enemy?"

"Yes... yes..." Liz gave up trying to concentrate on her work. "Can't you go find something else to do?"

"Well, I can't leave the keep," Titanna replied and she found out the stick was like some kind of ink stick as she drew on the desk top. "I am bored! There is no tea parties or ball dances... All these soldiers around and no one talks to me!"

"Fine... fine..." Liz sighed. "I talk with you, but can you wait till after six?"

"After five?" Titanna was confused at the expression.

Liz sighed again and pointed to a circular object hanging on the wall. "You see that long black hand and the short hand?"

"Yes," Titanna nodded, wondering what she was trying to say.

"You see the numbers?" Liz continued. "When the long hand is at the number thirteen and the short hand is pointing to the number six... That is at six o'clock!"

"What is that thing?" Titanna stood up and went closer to see. "Is it some kind of magical artifact?"

"That is called a clock. It measures time," Liz explained. "It works the same as our time glass, but more accurate and it does not need to be turned."

"Amazing!" Titanna acted like a child as she tip toed and hopped around trying to get a closer look at the moving hands of the clock. "How does it works?"

"Don't ask me..." Liz returned to her research. "Ask the Doctor if you see her, she can explain to you better."

A knock came from the door and someone stuck his head in, "Hey, is the Princess here?"

Liz groaned as her work was interrupted again. "YES!"

"Hey, Princess!" Someone called out and Titanna turned around, finding the voice familiar.

She involuntarily made a growl from her throat as she recognized the soldier who called her. "You again!"

"Yea, me again," Mills grinned. "Come on, CO wants you at his office."

"Hmph!" Titanna turned away from Mills and folded her arms together. "I am not going anywhere with you!"

"Is she always like this?" Mills asked the two Marines watching her and they both gave a helpless shrug. Even Liz also gave a helpless sigh for Mills.

"Damn..." Mills strolled up to Titanna and snapped his fingers sharply in front of her face, shocking her at his rudeness. "Chop, chop! Come on, time is wasting!"

"You...!" Titanna mouth formed an 'o' shape as she couldn't stand his mannerisms. "How dare you!"

"Stop wasting bloody time," Mills had no patience to deal with her and started pulling her arm, half dragging her out of the room.

"Un- Unhand me this instant... y- you brute!" Titanna tried to hit him and push him away, much to everyone's amusement. Her strength was way above average as she had trained since young with martial weapons yet she couldn't dislodge the grip from this scoundrel!

"Yea... yea... I am the bad guy as usual... Well, your daddy had sent someone to ask for your release, so if you wanna stay, be my guest!"

A note from neo Koh

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