The New World, Exile Island

Duchess Manarva gripped the armrests of the command chair tightly as she glared out of the crystal windows of her flagship out to the skies. Plumes of grey smoke rising into the skies covered her view, each smoke plume signifying the death of an airship.

"Any more of those flyers in the skies?" She asked the spotters armed with far seeing spells and eye glasses posted on the observation decks above her.

"Aft clear!" The spotters yelled out as they gave their reports. "Starboard clear! Port side clear!"

"Order all surviving ships to make full steam! Use the smoke as cover!" Duchess Manarva ordered. "Set course to the northern mountains! Observers continue to keep watch on the skies!"

"Yes my Lady!" The bridge crew followed her orders and shortly after, the pride of the Tri State Air Fleet rose up from its hiding spot that was over a thick canopy of leaves. Branches snapped and leaves fluttered off its hull as the flagship broke through the disturbed canopy which had been covered up by magic after the airship was forced landed into the forest.

"My Lady!" An observer yelled out from the observation level. "The Iron Kingdom Sky Fortress! It's retreating!"

"What?" Duchess Manarva climbed up the steps to the observation level and took the eye glass. She peered through the eye glass and saw under a screen of black smoke, the unmistakable shape of the Iron Kingdom's Sky Fortress was flying away. "What is that bastard doing?"

"My Lady! Hails to the Sky Fortress are not getting through!" The mage manning the communication crystals called out behind. "But we are able to hail other ships!"

"That bastard must be ignoring all communications!" Duchess Manarva let out a cold laugh. "That spineless coward!"

"Ignore that coward!" Duchess Manarva leaned over the railings and yelled down. "Send my order out to all survivors to rally with my ship! We will reform and gather the fleet!"

One by one, surviving airships joined the gathering of airships led by Duchess Manarva's flagship as they headed towards the tall mountain peaks of the island. Airships that were badly damaged had their crews and as much supplies transferred over to other airships before they were scuttled.

Duchness Manarva continued to glare at the fast disappearing dot of the Crown Prince's Sky Fortress with angry as the Crown Prince had abandoned everyone, including his own people. Thankfully, as the remnants of the Combined Fleet gathered together and rescued their people off the ground and air, neither the deadly flyers nor the terrible spells of thunder appeared again, allowing them to retreat unmolested.

Yet, unknown to them, a tiny dot in the sky slowly circled the area, watching and reporting every bit of their actions and followed them as they retreated towards the mountains for shelter and concealment.


UNS Vengeance, Flag Bridge

Emperor Aslan was raised a hand to cut off Lord Dietrich's tirade as he and some others remained unconvinced of the United Nation's supremacy. He has been going on over again and again about how it was all a trickery and the scenes shown on the wall was all illusion magic.

In the end, even Emperor Aslan felt a headache after hearing Lord Dietrich whiny voice repeating constantly. "Enough! We will know once our troops landed on Exile Island!"

Chastened, Lord Dietrich finally quietened down, but it did not stop him from throwing haughty glares at the United Nationers. Emperor Aslan let out an inward sight and said to the smiling short eared Commander. "We apologize for any disrespect shown."

"None taken!" The short eared replied with that smile still on his face. "I know it is hard to believe this, but as you said, once your men has landed on the island, the truth will be out."

"Than it shall be so," Emperor Aslan nodded. "If the sky raiders have truly been beaten back, than the people of the Empire will be forever grateful for your help."

The short eared hooman gave a small bow before he said, "Good, now, I am sure Your Majesty is tired? We have prepared a suite for you to rest. How about all of you take a rest and once refreshed, we shall speak again?"

Emperor Aslan knew it was a polite dismissal from the ship's bridge and he did not make a fuss out of it. Instead he nodded again before allowing his chief eunuch to take his hand and led him out of the bridge, following their host.

Once retired into the huge and tastefully decorated cabin that was given to him for his usage, he laid down on the soft bed and started to make plans for the future of the Empire. Aslan knew that the Empire no longer has the trust of any of the others, and now, after witnessing firsthand the might of the United Nationers, he knew that the Empire was no longer strongest in the New World.

And with the addition of the newcomers that was rumored to had come from beyond the End Zone, the military might of the Empire was not really a match against their flying ships. If only they had met the Great Sage months earlier, his troops would had enough time to be outfitted with dragon cannons and thunder lances!

Even if those weapons were not even on par with the United Nations' mastery over thunder weapons, it would still be of use against the Sky Raiders and he would not be forced to request for help from the United Nations, making the Empire indebted to them!

This debt would be very heavy, and the Empire will no doubt be overshadowed by the United Nations in the future! Emperor Aslan sat up from the bed and decided that he must recruit the Great Sage no matter the cause if the Empire were to be able to still have some standing in the New World in the future!


UNS Vengeance, Occult Division, Magic Converter Array Room

Commander Ford, Captain Nimo, and other senior officers of the UNS Vengeance stood gaping at the aftermath of the dungeon core going out of control. Remains of foam, puddles of water from pumps and blackened paint covered the room. Teams of damage control parties and mage techs were checking the room for damages and replacing melted wires and damaged components.

What took the officers' attention was not the damages caused by the dungeon core but the fact that a large stone ball was floating over the magic converter array formation. Ford walked around the room, carefully stepping over the runes, cables and puddles of water as he observed the floating stone ball that was like the size of a yoga ball from all directions.

"What is that?" He finally asked. "What the hell happened down here?"

"Well..." Magister Thorn rubbed his head as he replied. "I- We all have no idea too..."

"No idea?" Captain Nimo growled. "This thing nearly burnt a hole through the hulls! We shall just dump it overboard to be safe!"

"No! No! Dum- Captain Sir!" A squeaky voice came from one side. Everyone turned to identify the speaker and found a goblin wearing a red Ordnance jacket. "Erm... Sirs! We no throw Orb away! It is alive!"

"Alive?" Ford was curious and confused to why there was a flight ops Ordnance techie here in the central hull when they should all be at carrier hulls. "What do you mean?"

"Touch it, Sir!" The goblin gestured to the ball. "You can felt it!"

Ford glanced at Magister Thorn who gave a helpless nod before he stepped forward and gently placed his palm on the surface of the stone ball. Its surface felt like smooth despite looking rough and felt warm to his touch. He jerked his hand back when he suddenly felt a heart beat like sensation.

He threw a questioning look to Magister Thorn who said, "We do not know why the dungeon core became this way... And like what the goblin said, it seemed alive. What you felt was its... heart beat."

The other senior officers took turns to feel the floating stone ball while Magister Thorn continued his report. "We could detect similar magic waves to the dungeon core coming off it, but we have no idea why it became this way. It had started acting weirdly for a few times but never at such scale."

"So what you are saying is... no one knows what is going on here?" Ford summarized to which Magister Thorn gave an embarrassed cough. "But ultimately... is it dangerous to us all?"

Magister Thorn silently gave a shook of his head to indicate he has no idea either.

"No, Sirs!" The goblin suddenly called out again. "Ah know what it iz!"

"Who are you?" Ford asked as he turned his attention to the goblin.

The goblin snapped to attention and even threw a salute, "Seaman Racky the Goblin of Flight Ops, Ordnance Department! Also part time Head Priest of da Faith of Superior Firepower!"

"Faith of superior... firepower?" Ford frowned as it was the first he had heard of such thing. "Is... that some kind of cult?"

"No cult!" Racky hopped on one foot. "We believers of firepower!"

"It's a religion of sorts..." Magister Thorn helpfully explained from the side. "They worship guns and bombs..."

"And you know of this, Captain?" Ford turned to Captain Nimo who gave a nod. "And you approve?"

"Sir, as long as they don't damage the ship and it helps to keep morale up," Captain Nimo gave a shrug. "I see nothing wrong with regulations."

"So this means this faith has quite a following?" Ford frowned deeper.

Captain Nimo gave a nod, "Around a hundred or so followers as we know of."

"We have one hundred and three!" Racky proudly declared and poked two fingers out in a V pose. "Also there is more believers back at Hope! Me Head Priest Number Two!"

"Ok... ok..." Ford felt a small headache coming and gestured to the goblin. "What does all these has to do with the dungeon core?"

"It is the coming of a God!" Racky exclaimed excitedly, "It shall led us to peace through superior firepower!"

"What?" Ford almost couldn't believe his ears when he heard the goblin speaking of peace through superior firepower. "A God?"

"That is what the goblin has been stating all day long..." Magister Thorn sighed. "I do not know how Gods are borne and while I do not believe it to be a god... but it definitely is alive..."

"It is our faith of superior firepower that called it here!" Racky fidgeted around. "It responds to our combat 'bre vee ly' chants!"

"Bre vee ly?" Ford felt it was very confusing to speak with a goblin. "What do you mean?"

"Fox one! Guns guns guns!" Racky replied in a chanting tone. "Blessings of firepower!"

"Brevity codes?" Ford felt like he had fallen deep into a rabbit hole and he couldn't make any sense of what was going on.

"I think it might be due to the faith one has," Magister Thorn mumbled out loud his thoughts. "The stronger one holds of their faith... the stronger the connection to the their deity..."

"Do you hoomans have any gods... of firepower?" Magister Thorn suddenly asked Ford who scratched his head in confusion. "Maybe... the Faith of Superior Firepower might... really bring forth a God with their deep faith... in our weapons..."

"I... don't know of any Gods of Earth that is worshiped for firepower..." Ford helplessly said. "I probably need to check with the rest..."

"But if what you said is true..." Ford turned to the floating stone in the center of the room. "Will it be a good thing or bad thing for us... if it hatches or comes out?"

Ford's words had everyone turning their attention to the floating stone ball as they pondered on his words. "Will whatever that come out be good or evil?"

A note from neo Koh

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