United Nations, City of Falledge

Lieutenant Collins. military attache to the Governer of Falledge, watched the rows and rows of Marines carefully packing their gear and parachute silks inside the simple wooden shed while sergeants strolled up and down keeping an eagle eye on their actions. One sergeant paused before an Orc Marine who was busy stuffing the parachute silks into his pack.

"Private!" The sergeant growled loudly. "What the fark do you think you are doing?"

"Packing my bag! Sarge!" The Orc shot up to his feet at attention and answered.

"Packing?" The sergeant shook his head. "Is this how you pack your parachute?"

"Erm..." The Orc gave a sheepish look at his pack. "Yes... Sarge!"

The sergeant gave a consolidating pat on the Orc's shoulder. "If you keep packing it that way, I better bring along XXL body bag for you..."

The Orc's expression changed and he looked down at his pack again and gulped. "Sorry... Sarge!"

"You don't have to be sorry," The sergeant squatted down next to his pack and started shaking the contents out. "Do it again. After all its, not my life..."

"Yes, Sarge!" The Orc quickly took the parachute silks out and refolded them while the rest of the platoon laughed. His buddies on the side quickly helped him with the packing.

Collins returned his attention to the two Marine Battalion COs who were busy with a pile of paperwork as they amassed over the month. "Captains, the city does not have enough stock of 6.5 mm smokeless ammunition for your requested needs."

"But we have plenty of BP ammunitions still remaining," Collins said to the unhappy Marine Captains. "Logistics has yet to transfer your supplies over since First and Second Battalion were transferred here instead..."

"Black powder?" The Captains frowned. "It will play hell with the new rifles! We need smokeless ammo!"

"I only have limited stocks of smokeless..." Collins replied. "You have to wait till Logisitcs move the supplies over..."

Both Captains looked at each other and sighed, "How long? The new orders came from the top telling us to shift our asses over here in preparation for a major op... But we don't have the ammunition for it and we got a dateline to keep!"

"Look, I can spare you as much of the available ammo my people have," Collins gave his assurance. "But other than that, there is nothing I can do till Logistics move your stuff over..."

"Damn..." The Captains grumbled. "If it wasn't for this sudden order, we would have resupplied at the depot instead of here..."

Collins gave a shrug, "Well, this op looks big... three Battalions on standby here and all the big planes being diverted over here too..."

The Captain of the Second Battalion nodded. "We are supposed to hit the city of Silverton. Intel has it that the Emperor is there now. If we can take down the Emperor, this war will be over!"

"I know..." Collins replied with a helpless look. "But I can't move supplies with a snap of my finger!"

"Besides, Intel has yet to determine if the Emperor is really there nor has all the aircraft arrived yet..." Collins said. "And even the troops haven't even finished packing the parachutes. We got time still."

"I guess you are right..." The Captain sighed as he looked at the list of task on his hand. "The deadline HQ gave was is pretty tight still..."

"Without adequate supplies, it will be a disaster waiting to happen," Collins pointed out. "Raise it up with HQ, they are not the ones on the ground, so they don't know..."

Collins tapped the stack of forms on the table and said, "Logistics should need a day to transport some of your supplies over. I heard they are running out of wheels and the goblins are out in force in the forest. So expect delays."

"Alright, I guess that is what we can do for now," The Captains gave in. "Get us as much ammo for the boys ASAP. We don't know when the order will come in for us to begin the operation!"


Third Imperial Army, Imperial Left Flank

Outriders from the Third Army had managed to link up with the remnants of the Grand Fleet and with messages coming from Silverton that reinforcements were coming, boasted Alberto Rothschild's confidence.

"Attack the Twin Fork Fort together with the sailors!" Alberto ordered his commanders. The past week of defeats and deadlocks had his temper high as he failed to break through the rebel lines.

"But my Lord," The commanders showed their displeasure at his orders. "We had been attacking non stop for the whole week! The soldiers are tired and they need proper rest before we can attempt another attack!"

"They are just lowly soldiers!" Alberto hissed. "Their purpose is to die for us on the battlefield! Why waste our supplies on them? Send them in together with the Grand Admiral's troops!"

"That bitch is in Orwell's Point!" Alberto growled at the unhappy commanders. "I must get my hands on her!"


Imperial Reinforcements Enroute to the Third Imperial Army

A silver haired young man dressed in grey robes rode on the back of a massive land dragon. His body swaying in rhythm to the swagger of his mount as he kept paced with the hundreds of other Knights and soldiers. The heavy thumping of iron clad boots of the Bronze Men was like a lullaby as they marched in the night.

The road was lit up using hooded lanterns and the troops no long travel in a long snaking line. Instead, they were broken up into many smaller groups of a thousand and they set off in half hour intervals to prevent the flying crosses from attacking them all at once.

Riding together with the silver haired young man was two of his companions, an older bearded male and a female of similar age as the youngster. And surrounding the trio were a squad of Imperial Lifeguards who rode in silence throughout the whole journey.

"Justze?" The girl called out in worry as she saw the silver haired youngster was almost toppling off the saddle. "Don't fall asleep on the saddle!"

"Hmm?" Justze rubbed his sleepy eyes and yawned loudly while stretching out his arms. He had dozed off in the saddle and even had a dream. A dream of better times and of his only family, his elder sister, who had disappeared somewhere out there. They said she died while in service of the Empire when they were trying to deal with the rebels.

Now he has an opportunity to find out the truth of his sister's disappearance. He gave a charming smile to the girl next to him and said, "Sorry, Ciel, the ride is making me drowsy..."

Ciel smiled back and patted the rough hide of the lumbering land dragon. "I feel drowsy too, but we need to keep our wits on! I heard that the enemy's flying crosses can see in the dark and they drop egg bombs that can destroy a Level 3 Magic Barrier with a single hit!"

Justze laughed as he looked up to the star filled skies. "Hahaha! I don't think they are so powerful to be able to see in the dark! Even dragons can't do that!"

"Don't laugh!" Ciel pouted. "They say the strange flying crosses are some kind of demon! So why can't they see in the dark?"

The elder male turned around at Ciel's words and said in a grave tone. "Don't blindly believe in what others say! You are after all an Elementalist Mage!"

"Yes, Magister Zinoga!" Ciel replied meekly and struck out her tongue behind Magister Zinoga's back when he did not notice while Justze giggled softly at Ciel's antics.

"Magister Zinoga, than what do you think are those flying crosses?" Ciel asked curiously. "What manner of creatures are they?"

"Hmmm...." Magister Zinoga stroked his beard in thought before he said, "It might be some kind of monster hybrid... I have to witness it first hand before I can make any correct deductions."

"Just be on guard,' Magister Zinoga advised. "We are going into battle and anything can happen. Just focus on protecting yourselves and leave the rest to me."

"I don't know why children like you all want to rush into battle always..." Magister Zinoga sighed. "War is nothing but death and suffering."

"Magister Zinoga," Justze spoke up. "I want to find my sister! She went missing in the battle with the rebels!"

"And I am following Justze!" Ciel stated. "I can't leave him alone!"

Magister Zinoga frowned as he looked at Justze. "Your sister? You're a Von Aston?"

Justze nodded proudly. His family lineage was pretty famous among the magical community due to their family bloodline of elemental abilities that were generally higher compared to others.

"I see..." Magister Zinoga's forehead ceased further. "She passed away out there right?"

Justze lowered his head. "I don't believe their words... I believe she is still alive out there! She might even be taken, prisoner!"

"And you think this rogue Elementalist that we are going to hunt... might be her?" Magister Zinoga directly asked.

"I- Y- yes..." Justze replied hesitantly.

"And if she was, what will you do?" Magister Zinoga asked gently.

"I will bring her home!" Justze said solemnly.

"Do you know if you bring her back..." Magister Zinoga lowered his voice. "The Emperor will still execute her for aiding the rebels?"

"No!" Justze shook his head. "The Emperor is benevolent! He will not kill her just because the rebels forced her to aid them!"

Magister Zinoga gave a sad smile and decided to change the subject. "Well, if you want to save and protect your sister, then you better improve your abilities!"

"Yes!" Justze nodded fervently. "I will make sure to improve my powers so I can be the one to protect her in the future!"

Magister Zinoga smiled sadly as he looked at the hopeful expression on both the youngster's faces. He couldn't bear to tell them that the Emperor had order that the rogue Elementalist must be killed or their families will bear the consequences for failure.


North Front, UN Right Flank, Twin Fork Fort

"Contacts coming on the left!" A yell cried out. The Rock raised his rifle with his tired arms in that direction and took aim. His shot further bruised his sore shoulder as the rifle butt slammed mercilessly against him and dose of smelly gun smoke further dried his parched throat.

"Last clip!" Someone hoarse yell came down the walls. "I am out!"

The Rock patted his bandolier pouches and only felt cloth. "I'm running out too!"


The ground beneath the walls suddenly erupted into flames, smoke, and dirt as the claymores mines detonated, spewing their deadly load outwards at the charging enemy who breached the final razor wire defenses.

The Imperial troops had the numbers to spare while the defenders numbering only a few hundred could only hold them back for so long. "Fall back to the river! Remember your firearms! Don't leave them behind for the enemy, you hear?"

The cry to retreat came as a blessing to the Rock's ears. His buddy jerked his arm and cried, "Come on Cork! Let's get the hell out of here!"

The men following the retreat order quickly abandoned their positions and ran towards the river where several barges awaited them. The Rock and his buddy followed the rest as they climbed down the stairs and followed the men who were forced into lines by the NCOs and Officers. "Line up and get on board in an orderly manner!"

"Imperials!" Someone yelled and pointed. Heads turned and saw tips of ladders appearing on the bastions of the walls.

"3rd Company! Form line!" An Officer quickly rallied his men and men already veterans by now, smoothly assembled into a firing line. Some not even of 3rd Company joined in to help provide cover for the rest to board the ships.


A note from neo Koh

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