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A long convoy of trucks and buses followed the winding dirt and mud road, which path curled around the massive tree roots of the forest. The convoy drove carefully as they navigated the twists and turns of the uneven road. A sudden monstrous roar broke over the rumbling engines and giant serpentine beast broke out from the foliage on the side of the road.

The red bronze scales of the giant boa glittered beautifully under the tiny rays of sunlight coming through the thick forest canopy. It yawned its jaws wide open, displaying its fangs dripping poison that were as long as a person's height and a mouth large enough to swallow an entire Jeep in one bite.

Screams and cries of fear and panic came from the passengers of the convoy while the dozens of soldiers seated on the tops of the vehicles with their weapons ready responded by firing at the diamond shaped head, towering dozens of meters off the ground.

Tracers spat out from .50 calibre guns and rifles further heated up the humid air in the forest. Smoke and steam rosed from the guns' hot barrels and spent brass cartridges. The giant boa shrieked in pain as the bullets shattered its teeth and punched holes in its soft mouth. It curled around a tree trunk tightly in a death reflex as it died from an overdose of red hot lead.

The soldiers cheered while the frightened passengers stared pale eyed at the death spasm of the giant boa. Soon a group of soldiers climbed off the fighting top of the vehicles and began the process of dismantling the snake's corpse for its valuable parts and meat.

Once the corpse was dismantled the soldiers loaded everything into the trucks and the convoy started off again. The passengers let out a sigh of relief as the convoy started moving again but after a while, another monster cry came, followed by the thunderous roars of the soldiers' weapons and the passengers prayed for salvation they will survive and not be left to die at whatever place the soldiers were bringing them to.

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United Nations, Goblin Coast, Site of New Port Facilities

The ground trembled and flattened by itself magically as dozens of yellow and white helmeted mages crouched in a row with their hands placed on the ground. The uneven terrain was slowly terraformed by the use of magic.

The construction mages paused in their work and took a break, some took out a mana stone and started to meditate while others drank energy drinks to replenish their strength. Hundreds of other workers were unloading truckloads of cement bags and other construction materials. Further away, a ring of Army and Marine soldiers stood guard, keeping an alert eye to their surroundings for monsters as a large team of workers were laying down the groundworks for a road.

Trees toppled over as a bright yellow coloured six legged walker golem withdrew its chest mounted giant buzz saw and its pair of pincer arms rapidly snipped off the tree branches and hoisted the tree log over its control cab and dropped the log onto its backpack like cradle, joining the other logs.

The timber logging unit nicknamed Forest Scorpion had a long flattish body which sat low to the ground. It had two pincer claws for gripping and shredding of tree trunks. It also had a crane at its rear, which made it look like a scorpion. The pilot sat in a protected cab at the 'head' while the heavy duty saw was located at the 'mouth'. It's six legs allowed it unparallel movement on rough mountainous terrain and even in mud and snow.

The pilot skillfully sliced the massive tree trunks that were like ten times its length and twice its width into manageable chunks before hoisting it over to its back and it skittered over the tree roots and offloaded its cargo at the waiting processing stations.

The original idea of using bipedal walkers to cut down the trees turned out to be a bad idea, as the walkers were easily toppled over by the weight of the trees. Hence the idea was scrapped and later on, from bipedal failure, it gave birth to the Forest Scorpion project.

Bit by bit, the edge of the forest was slowly cleared back by the men, magic, and machines of the UN as they prepared the land for settlement. Already convoys filled with new settlers, workers and construction materials were arriving daily.

As for the beach and coast, the surveyors had picked out an area for a deepwater port. The mages and one earth Elementalist were preparing the beach to be filled with pilings for the foundations of the massive dry docks. The dry docks will be on land while the deepwater port will be built out to the sea, with the dry docks having a water lock, that can flood the dry docks, allowing the completed hulls to be floated out to the deepwater port.

To support all these, a city housing the workers, shipwrights, support crew and their families will be built next to the docks. The city will include schools, markets, shopping malls, entertainment, and other facilities to support its population which was expected to be around thirty thousand and more, almost twice the size of the population of Haven. The planners calculated it will be the largest city in the UN and expected the size of the city to grow even further once the ports were built.

A military base and airfield will also be constructed next to the docks to protect protection to the region while the forest land will be cleared for farming and animal raising to provide food for the people.

The cost of everything was staggering. Thankfully, many citizens of the UN showed their support by donations, fund raising and buying of government bonds. Many young men and women applied to the military while those that had left the military asked to sign up for another term.

Every day, the TV channels were filled with news and documentaries about how the United Nations was formed. Patriotic movies and talk on the TV and radios were constantly being played, fanning the people's nationalism.

The people's anger was fanned and their anger was directed towards the perpetrators that took their Princess, exactly how the Naval Intelligence department wanted them to do.

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The Isle, First City of the Fleet, Guild of Merchants

"Welcome, Fleet Master!" The Majordomo bowed to Megan who strolled into the Guild of Merchants. Exquisite paintings, tapestry, and carvings decorated the walls of the Guild, making it look rich and grand. "What brings you to our humble Guild?"

"I'm here to speak with the Guild Master," Megan allowed the Majordomo to take her coat. "Urgent business that can't be waited! Hurry up and inform him now!"

"Yes, Fleet Master!" The Majordomo kept a respectful bow and gestured to one of his footmen who ran off to inform the Guild Master. "Will you care for some refreshments while you wait?"

Megan nodded and sat down on the luxurious armchair made out of the finest fur of some monster. She accepted a glass of wine and after taking a sip she made a grimace as she stared at the glass flute in her hand before slamming it down on the table unhappily as the glass flute came from the UN, making her remember the hooman Ford's ultimatum.

"Is the wine not to my Lady's liking?" The Majordomo kept a respectful expression on his face as he tried to provide the best service to the Fleet Master. "Will you like something else instead?"

"It's not the wine!" Megan sighed and gestured the Majordomo to leave her alone. She stared at the offending glass flute and face of the hooman Ford appeared in her mind. She frowned, unable to understand why her charm skills were not affecting him at all ever since the first time they met.

She gave a seductive smile at the waiter who just entered and placed a pot of tea and a tray of snacks down. The waiter did a double take and nearly tripped over his own feet and he blushed shyly, casting glances of adoration at Megan as he stumbled his way out.

"My charm is still working fine..." Megan frowned deeply. "But why did it not affect the hooman... Strange..."

She decided to test her ability on another hooman when a polite knock came from the door and the Majordono announced. "Master Tediore is ready and waiting for you in his study if you please follow me?"

She led upstairs, passing more elaborate pieces of art and paintings before shown into a large study, with a crystal window facing the door, a set of sofa next to the fireplace at one side of the room and a huge painting that covered almost the whole wall that depicted the Fleet's first landing on the island.

"Greetings, Fleet Master!" The Guild Master rosed from his seat and gave a deep bow. "And welcome! What can your servant do for you?"

Megan strolled towards the painting and stood there silently as she appreciated the art. The Guild Master joined her and said, "This painting was commissioned by my great grandfather! His father, my great great grandfather, was one of the founding sailors that landed on this island over three hundred years ago!"

Megan replied, "And ever since, the Isles holds the strongest Navy and Merchant guilds ever!"

"But now..." Megan turned and put on a sad expression. "The United Nations are overtaking us, in both naval power and trade..."

She gave a dramatic sigh and sat down on the sofa and crossed her legs, exposing her fine long slender legs. "We no longer dominate the seas... And our people and merchants are all flocking over to the United Nations to invest there... I fear... our once glorious era will be... bleak in the future..."

The Guild Master's expression did not change as he kept an amiable smile on his face. But there was a slight narrowing of his eyes that did not escape Megan's observation. The Guild Master poured glass of wine for Megan and sat down on the sofa next to her.

"We can't make money without first spending money," The Guild Master said. "Our people and merchants investment in the United Nations will still benefit us in the future. So... it won't be as bleak as you make it sound..."

"Of course, money will still flow... " Megan gave the Guild Master a smile. "But still we will be swallowed up by the United Nations at this rate. And they will be in control of all trade in the future..."

The Guild Master nodded, "That is true. The United Nations can out produce anything we can produce and at much higher quality and quantity. It is understandable why many are flocking to invest with them."

"If this goes on," Megan glanced around the study and sighed again. "All these will be gone..."

The Guild Master finally showed a change in his expression as he frowned at Megan's words. "You are saying...?"

"I am saying that we need to prevent all these from disappearing..." Megan gestured around the study. "Reduce trade with the United Nations. Impose taxes and tariffs on their goods. Restrict your Guild in making investments to them."

"But does the Council approved of these methods?" The Guild Master asked apprehensively. "The United Nations are allies after all..."

"Do not worry! I just want your support on the next Council of Masters," Megan said. "In return, I will allow you to control the taxes on goods from the United Nations."

"You just have to follow my lead during the next Council," Megan smiled charmingly. "And I promise you, the golden age of the Isles will return again!"

"We might not win the United Nations in terms of military might..." Megan smiled at the thoughtful look on the Guild Master's face. "But economy wise... They are still too young to play with us!"

"We will make the Isles great again!"

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Just recovered from really nasty fever... 


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