The New World, Kingdom of Foral, Castle Wand

"Ooooo!" Blue Thunder grinned happily as he listened to Stamford's retelling of the events that had happened during the welcoming dinner last night. His previous grouchiness gone as he leaned closer to Stamford and said, "Let's go! A black dragon? I never saw one before!"

"You do know that we have to get to Fortress Hensink to speak with the prisoners right?" Stamford shook his head at Blue Thunder's suggestion. "We got no time for sightseeing!"

"But... it's a black dragon!" Blue Thunder gave his best puppy eye look at Stamford. "And an auction! I read about those but never been to one before!"

"There will be hidden passages leading to the underground auction... secret passwords and we need to wear masks to hide our identity!" Blue Thunder started fantasizing about the auction. "And there will be some rich arrogant young masters or ladies that will show off their wealth but we will outbid them all in the end!"

"What the hell have you been reading?" Stamford gave a warily look at Blue Thunder who was still ticking off his fingers. "Relax! I didn't say we are going!"

"Hohoho!" Lord Wernburg suddenly appeared in the courtyard and he laughed as he overheard the words of Blue Thunder. "Amazing! A dragon with such imaginations! This is truly a wonder!"

"No wonder they say the United Nations is a land of freedom and wonder, if even dragons that lived there could so freely express their thoughts and speech!" Lord Wernburg gave a pat against Blue Thunder's fore legs. "Well, my big draconic friend, the auction isn't that mysterious as you had imagined, but it is an exclusive event and only those with invitations can attend only. And of course, you will also need to have put down a deposit of gold before you are qualified to make any bids!"

"Oooo..." Blue Thunder hummed and he rubbed his claws together, mimicking the way a merchant rubs their fingers when talking about gold. "So how much gold is the basic requirement?"

"Hahaha! Not much..." Lord Wernburg laughed at seeing Blue Thunder's gesture. "Just around a hundred thousand gold crowns!"

"Ha! Just a hundred thousand..." Blue Thunder paused in his statement as his mind processed the information. "A HUNDRED THOUSAND GOLD CROWNS?"

He started to count his claws as he made the conversion of UN credits to gold crown and his face blanched. "That's almost... a ten million creds!"

"How... many cheese fries set is that?" Blue Thunder felt his brain melting as he whipped his long serpentine head over to Stamford and the rest of his crew. "My super sized dragon set cost about eight creds! Guys! Help me count!"

"You will never be able to afford that much cheese fries!" Stamford shook his head and felt embarrassed for Blue Thunder's antics. He turned to Lord Wernburg and smiled politely and shook the plump elf's hand. "I hope we did not cause any bother to you, Lord Wernburg."

"No, no! The honor was mine! Your coming will be the talk of the castle and town for years to come! Hahaha!" The Lord laughed warmly. "I only hoped I have been a good host!"

"Yes! On behalf of the United Nations, we thank you for your kind and warm welcome!" Stamford smiled. "We had a good time despite just one night here."

"Hahaha! Good good!" Lord Wernburg smiled back. "Since we are friends now, I hope you do not reject this small gift of mine!"

"Gift?" Blue Thunder's interest was immediately piqued as gave up calculating how much cheese fries he could get with ten million credits as he scratched marks on the dirt. "Hehehe! Why thank you, Lord Wernburg! Hehehe!"

"Stop being so thick skinned you fat greedy lizard!" Stamford snapped at Blue Thunder who twiddled his claws with an innocent look on his face.

"I am sorry you have to see this..." Stamford quickly apologized to the laughing Lord Wernburg. "He can be disrespectful and act like a child at times!"

"Hahahaha! No worries!" Lord Wernburg smiled. "Here, this gift isn't really much. It is just the invitation to the Auction at the Old Capital."

"Unfortunately, I do not care to be shaken about in a carriage all the way here to the Old Capital!" Lord Wenburg laughed again. "So, rather than waste the invitation and our big draconic friend here has such interest to the Auction, why not let take the invitation and enjoy the sights of the Old Capital?"

"OOOO!" Blue Thunder butted in and gave a large toothy grin. "Yes! Please... Captain... Can we go? Pretty please, please? I promise to fly faster so that we can still get to Fort Hensink in time!"

Stamford let out a sigh, wondering how the hell did such a big baby like Blue Thunder could even become a father yet did not mature at all. "Alright, alright!"

"Then I shall thank you, Lord Wernburg for this generous gift!" Stamford gave a salute. "Your kind gesture shall be remembered!"

"Hahaha! This is a small matter!" Lord Wernburg waved away Stamford's salute. "I am glad that we can be good friends now!"

Stamford nodded but inside his mind, he was thinking that the jolly Lord was actually quite cunning. Most likely he wanted to make a good impression and even foster a good relationship with us so that if ever in the future, the UN marches into Foral, his lands would most likely be untouched by us.

After exchanging another few pleasantries, Blue Thunder's crew had finished securing his harness and rig together with their travel supplies with the help of the locals. Stamford gave another handshake and salute before he climbed up the side of Blue Thunder and hooked himself in.

Blue Thunder gave a cheerful wave of his wing before he took a running leapt into the skies under the waving goodbyes of the locals and circled the castle twice before their navigator gave directions and with a mighty flap of his wings, they headed towards the inner regions of the Kingdom of Foral, directly towards the Old Capital.


The New World, United Nations, Haven, Fortress Singapore, Captain's Quarters

Captain Blake sat without moving as he stared blankly at the small photo frame on his desk. Traces of a green white glittery powder coated his nostrils. A knock on his door woke him up from his trance and he wiped all traces of the powder away before he composed him. "Enter!"

"Sir?" Dr. Sharon poked her head in through the sliding doors and asked. "Got a minute?"

"What is- *cough!* mm..." Blake picked up the cup of cold tea on his desk and downed it, wetting his dry throat. "What is it?"

"It's regarding Dijon..." Dr. Sharon frowned as she stared at Blake's face. "Are you alright? You look a bit pale..."

"Yes... Must be the lack of sleep," Blake rubbed his face and quickly asked. "What about Dijon?"

"Well, we managed to hook him up a mobile life support system..." Dr. Sharon narrowed her eyes suspiciously at Blake's mannerism. "He woke up just a while ago. I thought... you might want to speak to him..."

Blake nodded and stood up, "He has gained clarity?"

"As long as the painkillers keep coming..." Dr. Sharon let out a sigh. "Them bastards really know to damage a person's body..."

Blake kept quiet as he followed Dr. Sharon towards the med bay level. Next to the med bay was a large room which was converted into a sort of treatment centre for Dijon's injuries. Stepping into the room, Blake was hit with the smell the strong chemicals of antiseptics and bleach cleaners.

He swallowed the bile that was forming in his throat as the after effects of the drug he took earlier threatened to make him vomit. He reached out and supported himself against the wall to let the moment past and Dr. Sharon quickly came out to support him.

"Richard!" Dr. Sharon quickly gestured one of the medical attendants in the room to bring a chair over. She carefully set Blake down the chair and checked his pulse. Just as she was about to shine a penlight into Blake's eyes, he pushed her hands away.

"I am okay!" Blake said as he stopped Dr. Sharon from conducting a check upon him. "Just tired."

"Hmmm..." Dr. Sharon frowned. "I better give you a full body checkup just to be safe!"

"It's okay!" Blake pushed himself up from the chair and changed the subject. "Where is Dijon?"

Dr. Sharon sighed, thinking why always those at the top were always so stubborn. "He's in that room."

Blake nodded and walked over to the windowed door and waited for Dr. Sharon to open the sliding doors. Inside, he saw a body submerged in a tank of unknown fluids with many cables sticking out of the body that was connected to the top of the tank. A clear mask covered Dijon's nose and mouth that was connected to a respirator outside the tank that was constantly inflating and deflating with hissing sounds.

"He is awake?" Blake asked as he stood before the tank.

Dr. Sharon walked up and lightly rapped against the tank before saying. "We suspended him in the tank with our own cocktail of science and magic..."

As she was speaking, Dijon's eyes slowly twitched and opened up. His once steely graze was gone and replaced with a fierce burning glance. His glare softened slightly when he saw who was here and for a moment, he exchanged stares with Blake. But in the end, Dijon was the first to look away as a look of guilt past through his eyes.

"Dijon..." Blake took a deep breath as he readied himself to ask him the one question that had been eating him since Sherene was lost. "Did... Did... did she... suffer?"

"I..." A rough raspy voice came from the set of speakers on the table next to the tank as Dijon spoke. "The... last... I saw... her... She... was alive... together... with that... beast... girl...."

Blake closed his eyes and lowered his head as emotions buried deep in his heart threatened to spill out. He had heard that she was alive and something heavy was lifted off his heart and he almost went weak at his knees. He supported himself against the glass walls of the tank and whispered to himself over and over again. "She... is alive! She is alive!"

But like a bucket of cold water that had splashed over him, he felt a chill strike his heart as he realized that Dijon's words were the last he saw her. He looked up with a fierce fire in his eyes and almost yelled. "WHEN? When was the last time you saw her?"

"I... don't... remember..." Dijon's face grimaced up in pain and confusion. "I... where am... I... I... ARRRHHHHH!"

He started to hyperventilate inside the tank and his body started thrashing violently. Warning beeps started to sound from the array of medical monitors set on the side. Dr. Sharon quickly rushed over and yelled at the medical attendants and nurses. "Five CCs of tranq! Stat!"

The nurses quickly took out a tiny bottle of clear liquid and Dr. Sharon snatched it and using a syringe, she withdrew out the liquid before injecting it into one of the many tubes hooked up into Dijon inside the tank. Dijon continued to thrash about in the medical tank while his lifeless arms and legs flayed about in the liquid.

Blake stared at the scene and a sense of deep anger and hate ate his soul. Without another word, he turned away from the tank where Dr. Sharon and the nurses were urgently attending to Dijon's sudden mental breakdown. He walked out of the treatment room and stood silently outside the long corridor as he controlled himself to not lash out all his frustrations.

When he finally has gotten his emotions under control, he opened his eyes and took a deep breath before he headed towards the detention level.

A note from neo Koh

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neo Koh


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