Her blatant surprise made me feel good, so good in fact, that I stood up and put Gungnir two inches from her aristocratic nose and as it pulsed with fire and electricity, I said, “Anything else you want to tell me?” A surprisingly large glob of saliva was loogied on Gungnir, which instantly evaporated. “ You sure that’s how you want to play it?” I asked, “Cause your gangbang is a hundred feet under right now, and I could cut off their air supply or just crush them from here?”


  A chuckle escaped her lips, “You don’t believe an already dead ape like yourself could ever defeat warriors of the Centauri empire do you?” I double checked the stone cages where big man and the twins were, yup, still there. I turned and sealed the entrance of the gateway with conjured stone, and then manipulated a rune of of Earthbound strength into it. The rune looked like a clenched glove of stone with a keyhole on it. That should give me a few minutes if reinforcements start to arrive.


  My eyes hardened and the tip of Gungnir pointed at her nose grew longer and slimmer, a crystalline needle with a small ball of flickering light at the end. “Playtime’s over. You can either answer my questions willingly, or I could use flesh sorcery to make you feel pain that no creature has ever felt before without actually hurting you, and I can make so that every second of absolute agony feels like a thousand years. Take your pick.” Mental exhaustion pounded at my brain, but I couldn’t let her see that, have to maintain my image, the main leverage I have.


  “A sorcerer?” She asked, her face scrunched up, “Impossible, they died out several millennia ago during the Great Rending. Their sensitivity to magic made them burn out from the inside when Chaos fell.”


  “It’s true.” Rath chimed in, “Been watching him for a few days.” He rolled over to get more comfortable and closer to the gate, “definitely a sorcerer, purest mana I’ve ever felt too.”


  She looked at me, and then back at Rath. “If you let me and my companions free, then I will swear on the broken throne of Atlantis that we will do you and yours no harm.”


  “Not good enough,” I snapped, “I need information too. If there are no sorcerers, then how are y’all doing magic, I can feel it running through your veins and weapons. Also, how do I permanently shut down a gate, and how long do I have before alien armies start walking Earth, and why the fuck are y’all so tall? Some kind of beefed up space cows where you’re from? Oh, and the three stooges are going to make the same oath you did as well.”


  Her curt nod and repeat of the oath allowed me to relax a hair. Every second I stalled allowed my pocket generator to wash away fatigue and fill up my batteries. Seven were full at this point as I had amped up the output of the pocket generator. I banished the ice covering here and made the earth push her out of it. “Put your weapons on the ground, all of them, and very slow.” That suit of armor was skintight, so I had no idea where all of that futuristic weaponry came from, knife, pikes, swords, spears, guns, grenades, some spiky ball with an empty core, a few glowing chains. I encased it all in stone and sank it ten feet down.


  I pulled up her companions one at a time and she explained the deal to them, each swearing the oath while removing all of their weapons, which was a ridiculous amount, each getting their own stone case ten feet down. The four freakishly large humans watched me as if I was a tiger about to spring at them. I bet this really didn’t help their egos, getting bitch slapped by me, a short sorcerer. I sat down on the ground, leaning back on a tree, Gungnir in mace form draped across my lap, tapping the handle like an old school villain. Feeling cocky for once, I conjured stone chairs and gestured for them to sit down. “Please, sit, relax. We got time.” I said in a carefree yet slightly mocking manner, “Just wanna know what’s up.”


  The big man actually growled at me, his pupils suddenly looking like slits. The woman made a cutting motion with her hand at him and he stopped, then sat down in the chair in a huff.

  “My name is Captain Reeanth,” She said, “And that is my second in command, Jorgan” she pointed at the sitting giant, “And these are Gerome and Gerone.” The twins slowly sat down, never taking their eyes off of me. This was getting creepy. “As to your questions, we are not sorcerers, we are combat wizards.”


  “What’s the difference?” I interrupted.


  “Sorcery is gifted understanding of the element by the soul and Chaos, allowing one to command, conjure, banish, and commune with the element.” Reeanth growled, “Every halfwit child from the Centauri empire knows this. Wizards have to build their own understanding to work with any element, let alone use it. Mages can only use one element, but they essentially demigods when they are near it, and combat wizards integrate magic into their bodies to be unstoppable weapons of war. And warlocks, well, we hunt down warlocks, fucking scum.”


  Okay, not touching that subject if at all possible. “And the rest of my questions?” I inquired.


  “Gates can’t be permanently sealed,” Gerome answered. “But they can be locked.” Gerone finished. Yup, still creepy.


  “And more will come when the ambient mana for Earth becomes naturally dense, which will take about one of your planet’s revolutions around Sol,” Reeanth picked back up, “The only reason we are here is the stored energy in our armor, if not for that, we wouldn’t be able to survive. The honorable Gorgorath’s size is due to this fact, but he will return to his former magnificence in time. That’s probably why is he staying near you, you are putting off an unseemly amount of mana, pure mana.”


  “Yeah, yeah, not talking about my mana here, we’re talking about you.” I said, waving Gungnir, “Answer the rest of them.”


  “We aren’t tall. You’re short. When mana left your planet, everything that needed it left or died. But the remaining humans didn’t die, they adapted. Our scans show that your genetic code is slightly fragmented due to lack of mana, which indicates your lack of proper height and muscle.”


  This bitch really just called me short. The other three were snickering, not even trying to hide it.


  “Ok, ok, where is the rest of humanity? I took one trip through Chaos itself and most were gone. Took me days to figure out that fact.” I asked.


  “The Conglomerate picked up most of them,” Reeanth answered, “They will be integrated properly into their society after repairing their genetics. The Centauri empire also grabbed two landmasses worth of humans. Our war needs soldiers and your people needed fixing. The last twenty percent were picked up by the Others and the Elders. Your lack of exposure to mana, when reintegrated with it, seems to come with an incredible ability to adapt and improvise. Oddly enough, your genius’ IQs jumped by thirty percent after just three weeks of exposure.”


  I caught that. “Three weeks, what do you mean three weeks? It’s been only a couple of days.” Each word got louder until I was standing with Gungnir in my hand, fully extended into a spear, radiating power.


  “You said you took a trip through Chaos, how is that possible?” Jorgan’s deep base rumbled, “Nobody survives that.”


  “If it’s true,” Gerome started, “Then it explains the sorcery” Gerone finished.


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