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The New Kingdom Of Mecca, Ash Mountains Pass

"Watch your steps people!" A sergeant cried out as he stood near the edge of the road, his back against the sheer cliff drop. The sergeant ignored the vertigo inducing view as he directed the troops and vehicles as they made their way across the beaten path on the side of the steep slopes of the Ash Mountains. "No one is gonna go down and pick up your smelly ass if you fall down!"

Infantry fighting vehicles rumbled slowly and carefully along the narrow path just enough for the large vehicles to traverse. Behind the vehicles came Logistic supply trucks and the Engineers' support trucks. The UN 1st Army Rifle Regiment troops followed behind on foot, eating the dust kicked up by the wheeled vehicles before them, while the ragtag band of local soldiers and cavalry led their mounts together with the UN soldiers whom they had formed a kind of friendship.

"Once over the mountains," Jeanne panted as she marched beside Cork and his men. "We shall be able to see the sea!"

Cork glanced at the lady knight who was stubbornly keeping pace with the rest despite wearing cumbersome armour while leading her skittish mount to climb the slopes. Cork nodded and looked at the meandering path that led to a pair of giant statues depicting two soldiers carry a shield and spear that was carved into the mountain face.

The Meccans had carved and built the pass over hundreds of years ago after they had settled down along the North Eastern coastal line on the other side of the mountain range. When the Kingdom grew, they cut a path through the mountains which allowed them access to the fertile lands of the inner regions.

There on the fertile plains next to the rivers, the Royal Capital was built and the people of Meccan enjoyed prosperity for many years. But now, its lands laid ravaged by wars, famine and now the Protectorate.

The men who just a year ago barely even left their villages or town now stared up at the massive rock statues as they marched passed between them. The veterans laughed at the rookies as they travelled to many places ever since they had joined with up the UN, but after crossing the pass, the view that appeared before their eyes took their breath away.

Blue green foliage stretched as far as the eye could see, with several squarish patches of cultivated fields and tiny dots of huts. At the far horizon, the sea could be seen as a line of deep blue grey while the blue skies with several clumps of clouds drifted lazily by. Villages and towns could be seen as tiny little blocks and circles.

The vehicles had paused and the order for a break was passed down the line. The men sat at the rocks and watched the scenery from the top of the pass as they ate a cold meal. Jeanne joined Cork and his men, laying her mount down at the side, which the war dragon tried to take a bite at one of the men's meal, making them cursed at the grouchy creature.

"You Un An does not seem to be worried about this... beetle heads?" Jeanne asked Cork who gave a shrug of his shoulder while he wolfed down a pack of cold rations. "What... are you eating?"

Cork paused in his chewing and looked at the wording on the pack which a line of text was stencilled on its side. < Property of the UN Army - Ration Set A - Slime Bolognese >

"Slime and some sort of meat sauce..." Cork said as he slurped up more of the chewy goo marinated in bolognese sauce.

"Slime!?" Jeanne's face turned green as she stared at the pack in Cork's hand. She felt like vomiting after hearing what he was eating and spoke in a low voice to herself. "Are... are... the Un An so... bad to even mistreat its... soldiers by... feeding them slime?"

"It's nice... you want to try some?" Cork offered her out of politeness and Jeanne quickly shook her head rapidly. Cork shrugged again and went back slurping his rations. "Okay~"

Jeanne looked around her surroundings and realised that all the Un An people were eating from the same dark green packets. She swallowed nervously as she stared around, "Everyone from the Un An... gets fed... slime? Is this how they train their soldiers...?"

"Hmm?" Cork looked at Jeanne who looked green. "Are you alright?"

"Y- Yes!" Jeanne sat up straight as she replied. "Erm... what do you think of the... the Beetle Heads?"

"Hmm..." Cork put away his finished ration and opened another pack of dessert. "Fighting strength wise... I say they are stronger than any common kingdom soldier here. Kingdom knights can be on par with one of their smaller golems... but in a straight up fight... none of the kingdoms here can withstand their armies."

"But the Un An can stop them, yes?" Jeanne asked. "You all defeated them with much smaller numbers!"

"Yes," Cork nodded. "Only the weapons of the UN could stop them. But still, I doubt we have even seen the full strength of the Protectorate."

"We have intel that the Protectorate had pulled back all its forces towards one city at the coast," Cork continued. He gestured the pack of dessert to Jeanne, "So now we are moving to that city. You sure you don't want to try some of this?"

Jeanne shook her head and quickly left Cork. She shivered as she thought of the food he was eating and even offered her! Of all creatures to be eaten, they actually eat slime! What kind of scary place is the Un An?

-----

Sea of Clouds

A whirling scream almost as loud as the raging storm pierced through the clouds, wind and rain. A line of airships pierced through the storm as if it was just a clear day. Each of the rectangular airships had a massive spiral drill at its nose and the drills were spinning rapidly.

The leading airship's spiral drill was running at the maximum power as it created a magical wind tunnel. Runes on the spiral drill glowed red hot, which under the spinning spiral looked like a red light band. Exhaust pipes sticking out at the rear of the drills puffed out smoke constantly that was swept away by the wind.

The rest of the airships made use of the slipstream created by the leading airship, their own powered drills creating more wind tunnels that negated the force of the storm as they manoeuvred at dangerously close distances. If any of the airships slowed or speeded up, they would crash either into the airship in front or behind them.

A stocky being stood with his thumbs hooked on his thick belt. He wore a green military styled buttoned jacket and white pants that stretched itself tightly over his muscular frame with a pair of black leather boots. A mop of thick red bread dangled down his face while his shoulder length red hair was pulled into a ponytail over his long ears.

"Lord Copperstone!" Another stocky being appeared behind him and he thumped his chest with his fist in salute. "The other Lords of the Cartel had sent word that they are pleased with the Storm Piercer is working as it was advertised."

Lord Copperstone did not react to the news as his beady eyes were staring out of the crystal viewports at the raging storm. The airship shook wildly every once in a while as the pilot fought the controls to stabilized the airship from the wind that some times broke through the magical wind tunnel. Finally, he shook his head and sighed, "The device is still not perfected!"

"But, my Lord," The aide said. "Your invention has allowed our Cartel Fleet to travel unimpeded through the Sea of Clouds!"

"Even so" Lord Copperstone's eyed glowed gestured outside the crystal windows. "We must seek perfection! This device is only barely passable! If it wasn't for the dire need of its abilities... I would not have even allowed the Cartel the use of it till it is perfected!"

"But nevertheless," Lord Copperstone smiled. "This environment is a great place to test and improve the Storm Piercer!"

"Rock and Stone! My lord!" The aide praised Lord Copperstone. "Rock and stone!"

"Rock and Stone, brother!"

-----

New Kingdom of Mecca, Reachfield, United Nations Forward Operating Base

"Captain," The stiff image of Commander Ford spoke from the display. "We have received several letters of complaints of our incursion into the NKM."

"Two from the new Emperor of Bluewood, two from Foral, and surprisingly one from the Isles..." Commander Ford said without any change in his expression. "All of them were saying that they strongly want us to retreat our forces as our presence in the NKM is unlawful and is an unprovoked act of war... especially with our troops currently holding a few of the NKM's cities and towns."

"Ignore them..." Blake coldly replied. "What other news?"

"The Navy is ready to strike from the coastal at any moment's notice," Ford replied. "The Marines are standing by at Port Santacury, ready to board the transports once the order is given."

Blake nodded, "Hold them first, Intel has said the enemy's air fleet has just left the area right?"

"Yes sir..." Ford replied. "Our scouts have observed them leaving the area and entered the End Zone, at 1437 hours today."

"We wait for them to return," Blake said. "I want to catch them all at the same time..."

"You want to capture their airships?" Ford guessed.

"Yes," Blake nodded again. "Their airships seem to be of use."

"How goes the work on the supercarrier?" Blake asked.

"Final installation of critical systems is underway," Ford said after a moment of pause. "Another couple weeks of internal refurbishing, the first of the carrier's trials soon commence."

"Good," Blake said. "The supercarrier will be the key to our victory here."

Commander Ford sighed before he added, "The Isles has been rising the price of food and ores again."

"Ignore the Isles," Blake shook his head. "They are just trying to fish in troubled waters... In fact, we do not even need to trade with them anymore... Once our hold on the cities and towns of the NKM is fully in our control... There is no need for such an unstable alliance with the Isles."

"You want to break the alliance with the Isles?" Ford did not seem to be shocked by the news.

"It's just a matter of time since the Isles has been trying to climb over our heads ever since... that incident..." Blake closed his eyes and sighed. "Let them do what they want now... The priority now is with the Protectorate up north..."

"Yes sir..." Ford replied. "Captain..."

Blake raised a hand up to forestall Ford's next words. "I know what you want to say... In fact, Dr. Sharon had come to talk to me too."

"My goal is still the same," Blake said as he stared directly at Ford's image. "The Protectorate shall pay. And all the murderers and unjust too! I will make this world a better place for our people!"

"But Captain... at what price are you willing to pay for all this?" Ford sighed as he tried to persuade Blake. "This is not you!"

Blake gave a sad smile and said, "Follow your orders, Commander."

The display flickered as Blake cut the connection, breaking up Ford's protest. He stared at his clenched fists before him, feeling a sense of helplessness. He whispered softly as if trying to convince himself. "If I kill off all the murderers and rapists in this world and reform the entire planet... then no one else will have to suffer what I had suffered right?"

"This is justice right?" Blake whispered. "Justice for... me... all those who... were killed..."

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So would u guys offer slime to a pretty lady for lunch in a fantasy world?


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