The New World, Mecca, Fort Hensink, Hangar Five

The side door of the cavernous hangar swung open to admit several UN Army soldiers in full combat gear. They stood by the opened door and ushered in a small group of cuffed prisoners wearing bright orange into the hangar.

The soldiers escorted the prisoners over to the middle of the hangar where a row of chairs was placed. The prisoners paused in surprise when they spotted a massive dragon with blue and red scales was down on all fours at the rear of the hangar. The soldiers roughly shoved the prisoners down onto the chairs and took up positions on the sides.

Blue Thunder put on his best serious face and glared as hard as he could until he felt his eyeballs were about to pop out before he coughed into his claws and in his best draconic which he had further polished with Saphia, demanded, "Ack- hen! I got questions for you so you all better answer me truthfully!"

The seated prisoners suddenly got out of their seats and went down on their knees and started kowtowing while the soldiers had their weapons raised warily. "Great Ancestor! We greet you!"

Blue Thunder had a comical look on his face as he blinked his eyes in confusion while he looked down to Stamford and pointed to himself with one clawed finger. "Me? A great ancestor?"

Stamford rolled his eyes at Blue Thunder as he tapped the universal translator earpiece to ensure if the translations were correct. "Well, if they think you are some kind of big shot... Then act like one!"

"Ahh..." Blue Thunder quickly recovered from his surprise and nodded in a sagely way just like all those Asian period dramas depicting royalty did. "Raise, my subjects!"

"We thank the Great Ancestor for his kindness!" The kowtowing prisoners remained on their knees with their foreheads touching the cold hard concrete floor. "We deserve a thousand deaths! We lowly ones dare not sully the Great Ancestor with our eyes!"

"I grant you all permission to raise!" Blue Thunder growled in a convincing manner. "Dare you reject my kindness?"

"No! No! We are honoured by your greatness!" The frightened prisoners quickly raised up but kept their heads bowed low. "We dare not reject your kindness!"

Blue Thunder let out a quick wink at Stamford who rolled his eyes again and crossed his arms over his chest as he eyed the prisoners warily. Blue Thunder cleared his throat and asked again, "Why did you all come to this land?"

"Replying to the Great Ancestor," One of the prisoners with a mop of white hair that was tied into a bun and sporting a similarity long white beard bowed even deeper and said. "We heard stories of riches in this land and sought to bring those riches back to improve the lives of our people in our land!"

"We did not know the Great Ancestor was the protector of this lands..." The white haired prisoner said. "We beg forgiveness for our children and their children's children for offending Great Ancestor!"

"Are there many dragons in your land?" Blue Thunder asked curiously.

"Replying to the Great Ancestor." The white hair prisoner who became the spokesperson for the rest quickly said, "No... There remained less than a dozen... and led by the Dragon Matriarch."

"Tell me more of your lands.. and the Dragon Matriarch," Blue Thunder ordered the bowing elf.

"My people settled the lands around a fire mountain in the frozen north of the Old World," The white haired prisoner answered. "The Dragon Matriarch and her children provide protection and wise consult to my people and in return, we serve the Dragons."

"The Dragon Matriarch and her children are the last lines of pure blooded dragons back in the Old World," The prisoner said proudly.

"Last line of pure bloods?" Blue Thunder mused as he gave Stamford a quick glance. "What kind of dragons are they?"

"The Dragon Matriarch and her children are all Black Dragons!"


As the sun set over the horizon, Blue Thunder laid sprawled out on the hangar floor tiredly. He closed his eyes and grumbled, "Finally the interviews are over..."

"Hmmm..." Stamford frowned as he read through his notes on the interviews of the prisoners that lasted the whole day. "So there are two distinct groups here..."

"One consisting of people under the rule of the Dragon Lords," Stamford flipped his notes. "Another is some nomadic kind... Called Free... Allies?"

"Loose Confederation..." Blue Thunder corrected Stamford. "My head and jaws hurt from acting like some pompous ass... Acting is hard... I am gonna appreciate the actors in movies and dramas more!"

"Everyone is coming here for mana stones," Stamford said to a figure wearing a black coat. "All the major players in the Old World wants mana stones as magic is depleting rapidly there. This kinda makes sense..."

"And Saphia is linked to the Dragon Lords..." Stamford sighed. "No wonder you Intel pukes wanted us to bring her back at all cost..."

The figure in the black coat smiled before he stood up and kept his own notes in his coat. "Thank you for your help, Captain Stamford and you too, Lieutenant Blue Thunder! Your help has provided a lot of important intel and also cleared up some matters!"

"So Saphia is a Dragon Lord..." Blue Thunder mumbled as the Intel Officer departed. "Wait... Doesn't this mean we are enemies of her people? I mean... our forces destroyed her fleet.. and... and... even her family!"

"I... guess so?" Stamford replied in a distracted tone as he watched the Intel Officer leaving the hangar. "They are all our prisoners now, even Saphia."

"But... I... we became friends!" Blue Thunder sighed deeply. "Erm... We are frenemy?"

"Maybe," Stamford snapped his notepad shut and stood up. "Go get something to eat and check on Saphia while I go report to HQ."

"Okie..." Blue Thunder pushed himself off the hangar floor and carefully navigated his bulky body around the hangar and gently pulled the hangar doors open with his claws, before squeeze his body out into the night.

Stamford followed behind and gestured at some of the loitering ground crew to close up the hangar before he headed towards the Fort's HQ with a worried look on his face. He wondered what would happen if the other side became so desperate for the need of magic resources, how much will they be willing to sacrifice just to get their hands on the abundant magic here.


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

"Sir!" Lieutenant Tavor's flustered image appeared at Blake's communication display. "We just got some important intel that I think you needed to know immediately!"

Blake rolled off his bed and rubbed his tired eyes before checking the time. He limped over to his desk and keyed in the command to unlock the hatch to his quarters before sitting down on his chair.

Tavor entered, still looking smart in his pressed uniform as if he did not sleep even when its in the early hours of the morning. He snapped off a crisp salute before he handed over the file. "My team just finished compiling this information."

"It seems our conjunction on why the Old World are sending so much of their power over here is wrong!" Tavor said, "New information just came over from Fort Hensink, where we sent Blue Thunder over to interview the prisoners."

"From what the Group Bravo prisoners said over at Fort Hensink and from bits and pieces of information from other the Groups prisoners we taken," Tavor started making tea for Blake after he gestured to the Intel Officer to do so. "We found out that the situation on the Old World is more serious than we thought..."

"At first, we assumed it was like a gold rush for all the big players on the Old World," Tavor said as he poured out two mugs of hot tea. "All of the big players wants a piece of the New World, that is why they are sending so many ships over."

"That part is real," Tavor continued. "But the underlying reason is... The Old World is running out of magic..."

"This would also explain why their steam technology feels so... clunky... as how Chief Matt would say," Tavor said. "They must have rushed out some kind of alternative power development to replace their depleting magic resources, thus their steam technology is still very inefficient."

Blake rubbed his eyes once more and took a sip of the hot tea before he said, "So in short, what is happening now is a mad rush to secure a desperately needed resource for them?"

"Yes, Sir," Tavor nodded. "Now we know the underlying reason, we can be better to deal with them."

"True," Blake took another sip of his tea. "I can understand how the Isles is dealing with the Group that settled near them. They must be trading resources in exchange for some kind of technology."

"Yes, Sir," Tavor nodded again. "My people had been keeping tabs on the ongoing of merchant ships travelling to and fore between the Isles and Group Delta."

"Cargo of food, mana stones, limber, coal, iron, and lot stocks of cococane wine was reported being loaded onto the ships sailing off the docks of the Isles," Tavor said. "But none of those ships were reported to dock in any known docks along the coast."

"Means those ships are heading to Group Delta," Blake finished the sentence. "Alright, pass down this information to all relevant department heads. Especially to Ford's department."

"Once Task Force Flag has finished resupply and repairs," Blake stare down into his tea and said, "They will sail down towards the Isles and settle with them once and for all..."

"Yes, Sir!" Tavor threw another salute before he left, leaving Blake alone, staring blankly into his tea.


The New World, The Isles, First City of the Fleet

Megan was enjoying a traditional breakfast of fish stew and thickly buttered freshly baked bread when her butler came in and bowed, admitting Fleet Master Akron in. She paused and patted her lips with a cloth and gestured for him to join her at the table. "Care to break fast with me?"

"No, I have eaten," Akron replied. "But I have some tea."

Megan and Akron waited for the servants to fill their cups and once they were alone did Akron speak, "Those shorties want more mana stones!"

"More?" Megan frowned as she mindlessly tore the piece of bread in her hands. "How much more?"

"At least another five ship holds full!" Akron stated. "We already provided them with ten ship holds full already just for some steam engine which are cruder than the ones the United Nations traded with us!"

"Such greediness?" Megan did not have any other reaction except a slight rise of her finely arched eyebrows. "Tell them unless they provide us with ten steam engines, they will not be getting another mana stone from us!"

"As for other trade," Megan gave a slight shake of her head as she nibbled a small piece of bread. "We will stop all trade if they do not agree to our deal."

"Won't we anger them?" Akron asked nervously. "They have airships that are still more powerful than our iron ships!"

"I know," Megan replied. "I never really expect our iron ships to do much. They are just a delaying tactic..."

"A delaying tactic?" Akron was shocked. "So much gold crowns and resources were put into those ships just to be used as fodder?"

"Relax, wealth can be always made back," Megan smiled as she licked the butter off her fingers in a seductive manner. "What I need now is the right tide and winds!"

Akron frowned before he gave nod, "Alright, I trust your... plan. I shall send word to the Dwarans about our conditions."

"Good," Megan looked out of the windows and her smile deepened. "Soon the right winds and tide will bring the perfect opportunity for us!"

A note from neo Koh

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