The New World, Exile's Passage, UNS Vengeance, Admiral's Quarters

"Recon has lost contact with the remaining airships of Group Alpha when they entered the mountainous region of the island," Commander Ford spoke to the display on the desk. "We suspect they went into active magical camo protocols as we lost track of their positions shortly after. And the mountain peaks are causing radar interference. Unless we send in the recon planes into the mountain region, we won't be able track anything."

"No, don't expose the recon planes. Will the remains of Group Alpha still be of a threat?" Captain Blake's static filled voice came out from a tiny speaker. "And the flying island?"

"Tactical does not think so," Commander Ford replied. "And I concur with their report. As for the flying island, we are still tracking it. It is headed for a direct course into the End Zone. It appears to be in full retreat."

"Keep watching that thing..." Blake said before he asked. "And the Imperials? What is their response?"

"Well, the young Emperor seemed to favor us more, but some of the older factions in his Court still seemed against us," Ford said. "But after our little demonstration of our capabilities, most of that faction is staying quiet or rethinking their plans."

"The Vengeance has shown them our ability to wage wars and project power across vast distances," Ford continued. "When the Imperial Court returns to their Capital, I am certain there will be changes within their ranks and motives."

"Good," Blake's image nodded. "Proceed to Fort Hensink and pick up the rest of the fleet."

"It's time to deal with the Isles and the Group Delta..."


The New World, Exile's Passage, UNS Vengeance, Battleship Central, Observation Deck

Professor Hamlot took a deep draw of the smoke pipe before puffing out a cloud of bluish smoke that got carried away by the sea breeze. He stared silently at the distant shores of the island called Exile's Island and tried to imagine how many of his countrymen had died on these unknown land.

He couldn't see the battlefield from his vantage point at the observation deck which he now frequently came to take a breather but his mind involuntarily recalled the images of the destruction he saw shown in the briefing room.

Two of the finest fleets of the greatest nations of the Old World was just destroyed without even catching a glimpse of their attackers. He did not expect the United Nationers to follow the gentlemanly rules of war of the Old World, but he totally did not expect the brutal efficiently of their ability to wage war.

It felt to him that barely even a turn of the sand glass before it was over and they were packing and cleaning up, as if they did not just killed off hundreds or even thousands of soldiers and sailors with the coldness of their actions.

Suddenly to him, these United Nationers felt alien to him and that in the future, wars will no longer be waged face to face but over vast distances that one does not even need to see each other before the dying began. He felt a chill down his spine as he pictured the future and took another deep draw of his pipe to calm his nerves as he turned his thoughts to his students that landed here with him. What will happen to them and how will they see this fast changing world in the future.

"Professor Hamlot!" A cheerful voice broke him out of his melancholy thoughts and he saw Magister Thorn standing next to him with a mug of steaming tea. "How fare you lately?"

"Headmaster," Hamlot greeted the cheerful mage with a smile and gestured to the chair next to him. "Have a seat."

"Thanks!" Magister Thorn sat down and took a sip of his tea before he leaned back and sighed. "I hope you are doing fine because for me, it has been an eventfully week!"

"I see," Hamlot politely nodded. "Well, I hope it all be resolved well for you."

"No..." Magister Thorn shook his head with a dejected sigh. "I doubt it will turn out well in the turn, that is why its such a big headache!"

"I am sure you heard of the problem with the magical convertor array," Magister Thorn said. "Damn goblins can be worse than gossiping market wives!"

Hamlot could only smile and nod in agreement. He had heard of the rumors about the magical convertor array, some of the rumors even said it had somehow summoned in a demon or higher being from another realm!

"Did something came through from... another realm?" He asked curiously. "I heard some rumors... Everyone is talking about it..."

"No point to even try to keep a secret onboard a ship... Everyone knows in the end..." Magister Thorn lamented. "Well... I myself isn't too sure either... In fact, we do not even know if its the problem with the array or the core..."

"And now we have this new religious group claiming its the coming of their God!" Magister Thorn rubbed his face in defeat. "They think it responded to their calls..."

"The Faith of Superior Firepower?" Professor Hamlot asked as he had heard of this faith when he came onboard the ship. "Does it has a lot of followers?"

"Mostly the goblins and some Oerkins..." Magister Thorn replied. "But also quite a few others are into this new Faith... I don't even know if its good or bad..."

Professor Hamlot leaned back and took another puff of his pipe as he wondered if the Faith could answer some of his questions about the future of war. Maybe he should take a look at this Faith to see what the future holds?


The New World, The Old Kingdom Of Foral, Old Capital, The Pioneer Inn

"I don't care! I don't care!" Blue Thunder grumbled as he stuffed a whole roasted wyvern down his throat. "I wanna go!"

"Stop acting like a goddamn baby!" Stamford growled back. "For god's sake! You are a bloody father already! What would your kids think if they ever saw you acting like this!"

Blue Thunder let out a deep sigh as his shoulders drooped down. "But I wanted to see the Auction... That's the whole point of this detour!"

"Hey Chief," Dek, their radio operator held up a bunch of electronics and grinned. "We could rig up some kind of comms with sight and sounds so that Blue can watch in his cozy hotel room!"

"What cozy hotel room?" Blue Thunder growled before he lowered his voice under the withering glare of Stamford. "Its a... dump!"

"Is it possible?" Stamford turned his glare away from Blue Thunder and asked Dek who nodded.

"Yup, we just hook up a receiver on the roof..." Dek started explaining. "And Blue should be able to watch through this camera here and listen in to our conversations."

"Oooo!" Blue Thunder rubbed his head against Dek tenderly. "You, my man!"

"Alright," Stamford sighed as he could not bear the childish antics of Blue Thunder. "Hook it up for Blue. We can do a test later when we go out for dinner."

"No problem!" Dek grinned as he grabbed his bag of gadgets. "The Auction's tomorrow evening and we have plenty of time!"

"I want more roasted wyverns! Honey flavored!" Blue Thunder called out after Stamford who entered the side entrance of the Pioneer Inn.


The New World, The Old Kingdom of Foral, The Old Capital, Venna Auction House Dungeons

The sound of metal chains been jerked against their wall anchors and deep beastly growls came echoing out of the stone cells. A flicker of torch light suddenly appeared in the dark and damp coldness of the dungeons followed by footsteps caused the rattling of chains to silence.

As the glow of orange light came closer to the cell, a deep throaty growl could be heard and a group of people dressed in finery stood before a massive iron grated cell. Snarls and hisses greeted the arrivals as one of the keepers holding a torch lit the wall braziers and illuminated the cell.

"Magnificent!" A young male leaned closer to the metal bars of the cell as the creature was lit up by the light. "How beautiful!"

The speaker had a long blonde hair tied up into a long pony tail behind with a thin gold band. His looks would cause many ladies to swoon on his feet and his clear green eyes glittered under the torch light as he stared wonderingly at the chained black dragon.

The black dragon in response, hissed and growled through the magical metal muzzle that prevented it from using any kind of breathe attacks. It could only fruitlessly strain against its chains and growl uselessly at the people that captured it.

"Such a beauty!" The youngster said as he slipped through the bars of the cell and fearlessly stood before the growling dragon. He stared without fear into the huge angry yellow eyes of the dragon and even reached out to touch its shiny black scales. "I have never seen a black dragon before!"

"Thank you for your kind words, Master Lazarus," The Duke of Caster gave a short bow. "My men had found it and captured it along the coast."

"This coming auction will be going to be so exciting!" The youngster called Lazarus said as he smiled at the dragon. "Hush... my beauty, in the future, you will bow before me!"


Stamford and the rest of the crew except Blue Thunder had an enjoyable time wandering around the Old Capital of Foral as they went sightseeing. They blend in with the hundreds of many other traders and merchants by wearing long cloaks which covered their flight suits and weapons, while Stamford even wore an ushanka like fur hat that helped hid his short rounded ears.

The Old Capital used to be the center of governance for the Kingdom of Foral but a hundred years ago, the King decided to move his palace to the more fertile lands north, building a new Capital. Many had said it was due to his Queen being from the North and was homesick and as an act of love, he decided to build a new palace. Overtime, due to the romanticism of the rumors, the people generally accepted it as the truth and even till now many plays and stories were still told of the love between the King and his Queen.

But as many nobles had their roots still in the Old Capital, its influence did not lessen even when the seat of authority had moved. In fact most of the oldest noble and merchant houses had such deep connections in the Old Capital so much so that even the current King and his Court has to return to the Old Capital each year during autumn to appease them.

Unlike the New Kingdom of Mecca, the Kingdom of Foral was established longer and was not as badly affected by the war with the Empire despite losing. It's merchants had a closer tie with the merchants of the Isles due to being neighbors and with the Isles trading goods and food made from the UN directly to Foral, their economy recovered faster and were not as badly affected by famine.

Now, Stamford and his crew heading to the Auction house located in one of the wealthiest merchant district of the Old Capital while Blue Thunder could only huddled sadly in a smelly hay filled stall watching from a small display screen while he stuffed his cheeks with honey roasted wyverns. Blue Thunder sighed loudly as he realized that he has finished all the roasted wyverns and yet the rest were not even at the Auction house yet and he has nothing to left to eat.

"Oh well..." Blue Thunder let out another sigh as he curled up into a ball and gently used both his fore and thumb claws to hold the small tablet upright before his snout. "At least... Rastraz isn't here... Or she will be nagging about all these bad conditions more than me!"

A note from neo Koh

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