United Nations, City of Haven, Fortress Singapore, Captain's Quarters

"So what did the survivors say?" Captain Blake asked without looking up from his computer, his fingers dancing on the keyboard.

"The survivors picked up by the Navy and the surrendered crew all thinks that somehow we have killed one of the heirs of the Dragon Lords..." Lieutenant Tavor reported. "They are claiming some sort of blood debt with us or some kind of vendetta as translated."

Blake paused in his work to glance up with a raised eyebrow at Tavor before returning to his work. "Blood debt? So did we took out the heir? Is that why their reaction is so extreme?"

"Not to our knowledge, Sir. The incident they claimed occurred was during the night attack by them, which is hard to tell in the dark." Tavor replied. "Investigation is still ongoing to find out if it was true. From their statements, the heir is supposed to be some dragon princess called Saphia the Thirteen Princess. She is supposed to be easily identified as she is a black dragon which made investigations... somewhat challenging."

"How many surrendered and survivors did we picked up?" Blake asked as he leaned back in the chair to hand a stack of documents over to the small beast girl behind her own work desk, nearly buried behind a small mountain of paperwork. "And what is our butcher's bill?"

"We only lost a single fighter in the entire engagement, the pilot has ejected safety and picked up by search and rescue," Tavor checked his tablet. "As for Group Bravo, eleven airships has surrendered and taken into custody while an estimated forty six ships destroyed in that single engagement."

"We estimated they suffered over sixteen thousand KIAs and MIAs," Tavor read off the numbers without a change of expression. "And that is not counting the early two engagements."

"In total, we estimated we destroyed a total of sixty five ships and over twenty three thousand casualties," added Tavor. "And we took around three thousand five hundred captives. Which are now currently being held at Fortress Hensink."

"That many ships?" Blake was surprised as he remembered that the Protectorate Fleet have the most like twenty ships or so."

"Most of the airships of the Loose Confederation are unlike the Protectorate or the Dragon Lords..." Tavor explained as he gestured to Blake's display. Blake opened the file forwarded over by Tavor and aerial images of the colourful airships of the Loose Confederation appeared. "The Loose Confederation's airships designs seemed to favour speed over armour and size."

Images of colourful needle nosed trireme like ships appeared on the screen. Colourful sails, some kind of air propulsion oars and air screws covered the hulls. No two ships were the same other than the needle nose of their prows. Some of the hulls were slim and slender, others were fat and some were even in the circular UFO like shape.

"Interesting designs," Blake scrolled through the images before coming to the black and white airships of the Dragon Lords which the largest like twice the size of the largest Loose Confederation ships. "So... I am guessing the majority of the destroyed hulls belonged to the Loose Confederation, rather than the Dragon Lords?"

"You are correct, Sir," nodded Tavor. "But out of the eleven surrendered ships, only two belonged to the Dragon Lords... And there isn't a single dragon that had surrendered..."

"The crew of the dragon ships said their lords, which is, surprise, a dragon..." Tavor read from his tablet with a wry smile forming on his lips. "Told them to surrender upon their deaths..."

"Wait," Blake frowned as he raised a hand up to stop Tavor. "You are saying this... group of people called the Dragon Lords are governed by dragons?"

"Yes, Sir," Tavor replied. "It was briefed to you before, sir."

"I know... But I assumed it to be like the dragons was some kind of worshipped being or something... And not directly in the role of leading... people or elves in this case..." Blake answered. "I did not expect to have a dragon directly commanding them!"

"From what I know from the captives is that each dragon ship is captained by a dragon," Tavor said. "Dragons are the ruling class within the Dragon Lords' lands."

"I... really can't imagine a dragon doing that..." Blake shook his head as an image of Blue Thunder lording over the people came into mind. "That... is interesting..."

"Have you forgotten that Rastraz once demanded us to serve it?" Tavor smiled as if he read Blake's thoughts about Blue Thunder. "I think that she might have some connection to the Dragon Lords..."

"Hmmm..." Blake nodded in agreement. "Send her over to see if she can do anything about the Dragon Lords' people... See if she can find out anything more of their culture and their princess."

"Yes, Sir," Tavor made a note in his tablet.

"Oh, and send Blue Thunder along too... Just in case..." added Blake. "And how goes the resupplying of the Vengeance?"

"They should be finished by evening today," Tavor said. "Then they will proceed up north."

Blake nodded, "Good, the Vengeance will show the flag to the Empire... and at the same time, deal with whatever is making trouble up north. Hopefully, we can resolve everything smoothly."

"The Vengeance presence up north will definitely cower those that still have any doubts or intentions against us," said Tavor. "I do not know why, but some people are just too... trapped in their own delusions. They need to see power... Real power with their own eyes and feel it before they realize that whatever delusions or bad intentions they have, are just useless."

Blake nodded, "Yes... People can be blind even with the truth before them. I expect the Vengeance's trip up north will open up many eyes and quench any protest about the annexation of Mecca."

"And if Group Alpha turns out to be hostile, it will a good live demonstration of our might," Blake said. "After that, I am sure no one in the Empire will dare have any motives against us!"


United Nations, Off the Coast of Far Harbor

Dozens of motor launches sped back and fore between the super carrier anchored offshore and the port facilitates. In the meantime, hundreds and hundreds of gawkers lined the docks and beaches, staring across the ocean to see the massive naval might of the United Nation's Navy.

The UNS Vengeance had dropped anchor offshore from the port of Far Harbor as its size was too massive to fit alongside its docks. It could only stay offshore while smaller ships ferry supplies and materials over, making the progress painfully slow.

The Marine's Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel, or LCVP for short, carrying an entire battalion of Marines and all their support and supplies, motored across the surging ocean waves in pairs as they navigated to the aft of the super carrier where two well decks received them on each aft of the carrier hulls.

The flight decks were busy too, as another six flights of aircraft landed, adding another three Cobra squadrons, one Viper squadron, one Mariner flying boat squadron and a C - 1 Skyfreighter squadron converted for carrier ops. Furthermore, over the course of the day, flights of heavy lift helicopters bringing in new crew members and the Unicorn attack helicopters were dispatched over, further increasing the aircraft complement of the UNS Vengeance.

But the most anticipated event was from a single C - 1 Skyfreighter that came fluttering down at a slow speed out of the skies. Commander Ford and all the senior officers of the Vengeance had their eyes locked on the C - 1 Skyfreighter which wheels hit the flight deck with a screech of burnt sap rubber. The pilot had pushed all its four engines to the maximum power as he brought the heavy cargo plane down as it was to allow him to take off again without dropping into the sea, should he fail to be caught by the arresting gear.

The cargo plane shuddered as its tail hook caught the arresting cable and slammed the plane to a sudden halt, after which the pilot shut all power down to the engines. Instantly a troop of armed Marines jogged out from the central superstructure of the ship and took up positions at the rear of the cargo plane.

The rear hatch slowly opened up and another group of Marine escorts pushed several large containers out which they moved towards a waiting elevator at the flight deck. Commander Ford kept his eyes on the containers as it disappeared down the deck elevator with its Marine escorts before returning to the flag bridge.

After a moment, the Captain of the Vengeance appeared at the hatch of the flag bridge and reported, "The cargo has been secured and around the clock, guard has been posted to keep watch over it."

"Got it," Ford nodded. "How long more?"

"Once they topped off our fuel bunkers we can raise anchor in, another half hour," The Captain answered as he checked his watch. "Our escorts will be joining us once we leave the harbour limits."

"Good, the faster we sail, the faster w return home!"


The Empire of Bluewood, Exile's Passage, Port Of Sunder, Sea Walls

A cloud of dense dirty grey white smoke erupted from the sea walls over watching the entrance to the port of Sunder. The cannoneers, once dressed in plate mail and leather, had long stripped off their armour and instead donned tunics or remained half naked in their breeches as the armour proved too unwieldy for them to service the great dragon cannons.

Faces and arms turned black from the smoke, the cannoneers sponged the barrel out of any lingering sparks, before ramming in bags of coarse grained thunder powder, before an iron ball was shoved in. Once loaded, the cannoneers ran the great dragon cannon out on its wooden wheeled carriage and aimed to the skies at the flying ships that came out of the clouds to attack the city.

With a roar as great as a dragon, the dragon cannons vomited out a mighty cloud of dirty smoke and flames, followed by a flash of a dark projectile towards the closest flying ship. The air around the flying ship flickered and shimmered as the cannonball hit its magic barrier and seemingly in retaliation, the sides of the flying ship exploded into a cloud of white smoke and whistles of mushroom shaped projectiles slammed around the sea wall.

The Empire mage beside the battery of two dragon cannons gave a painful groan as the magic barrier he was maintaining crumbled under the might of the enemies' return fire. Bright red blood jet out from his orifices as he stood there with his both hands clenching a staff and raised to the skies before he collapsed backwards from the backlash of his magic overloading.

An acolyte quickly rushed over and starting healing the collapsed mage while another robed mage braved stepped forward and quickly cast another magic barrier over the dragon cannons.

All along the city walls, similar scenes were playing out the same way, as mages protected the dragon cannons, creating pockets of area undamaged from the aerial bombardment. The city's buildings suffered in result as the Knight Colonel ordered all mages to protect the dragon cannons, leaving the city unprotected.

Roofs were shattered and buildings burnt as the group of five flying ships suddenly appeared over the horizon and demanded tribute or be destroyed. Knight Colonel Sander rejected the demand and the initial volley from his dragon cannons scored a surprise against the flying raiders which had not raised their magic barriers due to arrogance.

What followed was an exchange of cannon fire between the city's defenders and the flying raiders. The raiders swooped down from the skies to fire off their steam cannons before retreating out of range as fast as their flying ships could, while the defender's dragon cannons timed their fire just as the raiders come close in.

Finally, finding the battle a stalemate, the flying raiders retreated, leaving behind a cheering yet devastated city.

A note from neo Koh

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