A Pixie fluttered towards his troops on the city wall’s northern battlements before setting down. “How are things going, Lieutenant?” he asked a woman as she prepped her broom.
“They’re coming along as expected, Sir,” replied the woman. “I would like to go a little faster, given what’s coming. I know they’re on an enemy faction, but I’m still fighting my own people. It feels…wrong, you know?”
“They’re just misguided,” soothed the Pixie. “We’ll win and they’ll see what harm they’ve wrought.”
“That’s what we assumed at the end of the War of Stars,” called Arsha’s voice. Arsha walked up behind them. “Lest we forget, it DID give the Splitters more power.”
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Pinky,” growled the Pixie. “How are things up in the clouds?”
“Fine, at the moment,” replied Arsha with an equal growl. “How are things with you, Tiny?” The two stared at each other…then…a smirk crossed their faces, then they started laughing before they hugged. “It’s been too long, Quenthem!” cheered Arsha.
“WAY too long!” agreed the Pixie, Quenthem. “Never thought I’d see you again!”
“Hold me out so I can get a look!” urged Arsha. Quenthem then held her away from him.
“Do I look good?”
“Vain as ever, I see, but yes.” Quenthem then released Arsha. “Erodeth told me you were one of the best Air Fighter Captains, I needed to see for myself.”
“What, don’t trust Erodeth of all people? You wound me.”
“Well, you know me, gotta double-check everything.”
“So, I heard you actually have fiancés.”
“Five, two of them are Lardeth and Malnar.”
“The Heirs to the Over and Under-realm Thrones? Nice! Who are the other lucky three?”
“A peasant from Rokanth called Foresna, a Zephyr woman called Falnii, and a Minotaur named Gorfanth.”
“Gorfanth? Gorfanth Steelhorn?! Lucky bastard!”
“You know him?”
“We met on an online Okamon match. Never got the chance to meet him in person.”
“Stay alive, and you see them all.”
“Well, with that offer, we better win this.”
“How about you? Did you find anyone?”
“Found someone, went the whole por with her.” Quenthem then showed off his ring.
“…You’ve got a full-on spouse?!”
“A lovely Zephyr wife by the name of Lantuu.”
“Okay, we BOTH have to show off our partners after…”
“Enemy sighted!” called the human Lieutenant.
“You take care of yourself out there, you got me?” Quenthem asked Arsha.
“Holding you to the same promise!” Arsha declared before she teleported back to the Endeavor.
“All hands, battle stations!” ordered Arsha as she sat down in the Captain’s Chair. The Red Alert alarm sounded, and everyone hurried to their station, ready to fight.
“All weapons primed,” reported Malak.
“Communications limited to allies only,” called Shalvey.
“Engine core’s secured,” Thangred’s voice came over the comms.
“All stations report ready,” finished Shalvey.
“Ready to take us up,” called Nazay.
“Do it,” ordered Arsha. Nazay keyed in a command on his console and the Endeavor rose up.
“Enemy now within range,” reported Malak.
“There she is!” chuckled a Golem. “Pity to destroy such a beautiful ship and city.”
“Stay focused, Lanthek,” called Yulduk. “A-B-12792, what did your scouts reveal?”
“There are 5 trenches between us and the city,” droned a Robot. “Each trench is roughly 2 mebs above an average Golem’s head. Distance is easy for us to leap across with plenty of opportunity for us to reach and stabilize ourselves on the other side of each trench.”
“Not very bright of them. Any aerial support?”
“None can be detected.”
“If this is so important, why aren’t they guarding it so well?”
“Alert!” called another Robot. “Mordek en route!” Mordek hovered over the trenches he blasted into the earth and landed between the first and second. His voice sounded like roaring flames as he spoke.
“Withdraw or feel my wrath!” he warned.
“Get real!” laughed Yulduk. “Even with the power you have, there are 750 of us and only one of you. You’ll tire out before you get enough of us!”
“You assume I’m alone,” challenged Mordek.
“We’re on the clock here. Get him!” The army charged at Mordek, only for magic blasts to whizz by the Divine One and strike the enemy, knocking them into the trenches.
“You were warned!” snarled Mordek as he summoned his hammer and lit the head. The ones who cast the magic blasts then dispelled their invisibility spells and revealed themselves to be the Air Fighters!
“GET FLOCKING!” called Quenthem.
“FLIERS, DEPLOY!” ordered Yulduk. As the Robots with flight capabilities launched themselves, Mordek continued knocking the ground forces into trenches.
“They’re being held at the trenches,” reported Shalvey. “And Quenthem’s forces are occupying their fliers.”
“Any calls for bombardment?” asked Arsha.
“None so far.”
“Doggone, and they say I’M the miracle worker here!”
“Hold that thought, the Robots are starting to push back! They’re asking for bombardment!” Arsha turned to Malak.
“Ready topside torpedo launchers!”
“Topside torpedo launchers ready,” reported Malak. “All allies’ genetic signatures identified.”
Yulduk and Mordek were personally dueling. Yulduk swung twin fire swords while Mordek continued using his hammer. He blocked Yulduk’s downswing with the hammer’s handle and shoved him back. “You are a cancer on the Realms!” snarled Mordek.
“I’m bringing the Realms to a greater glory than you and your idiot fellows ever dredged up!” retorted Yulduk as he slammed his knee into Mordek’s face. Mordek recovered and swung his hammer.
“Our father’s way isn’t the right way!” Yulduk blocked the blow and shoved Mordek to the side.
“Who said it was Oyed’s version of glory?”
“Well, who else are you fighting for?!” Mordek slammed his hammer to the ground, creating a ring of fire that blew Yulduk into the trench.
“Glad you could join us,” snarked a female Drider Revenant.
“Zip it!” hissed Yulduk. “So, they think we’re blindly going along with Oyed’s plan of eternal war.”
“You got proof of that?”
“Mordek himself said so.”
“Should we tell them?”
“Nah, better to let them be ignorant. We’ll have the upper…” Yulduk was interrupted when a Robot went “SQUAAARK!” and fell into the trench in a mangled heap. “…They’re learning how to adapt around the Robots, that’s far from good.”
“The joints!” called one of Quenthem’s fliers. “They’re weakest at the joints!”
“Boys and girls, we’ve got a weakness on them! Exploit it!” ordered Quenthem. The Air Fighters followed that order to the letter! Quenthem then did something rather…unorthodox. He yanked his lower leg off! “FORE!” he called, then he whacked a Robot’s head off!
“…Did he just…?!” squeaked Shalvey.
“He lost most of his leg in an unstable mana explosion,” explained Arsha. “He’s got an Ironwood leg that he uses as a golf club just to freak people out. It nearly made Mama faint the first time.”
“It seems to be effective,” remarked Malak. “The enemy is sounding a retreat.”
“Keep bombardments up until the enemy is about a por away from the field,” ordered Arsha.
“RETREAT!” called Yulduk. “FALL BACK TO THE PERIPHERY TRENCH!” All those that could get out of Mordek’s trenches ran like the Depths away from the battlefield, running back to the north. Mordek then raised his hammer and slammed it to the ground before bellowing in victory.
“Our forces return,” reported one Robot.
“Accept them,” ordered the Lead Robot. Yulduk and his troops then entered the trench and sat down, catching their breath. “What has happened?”
“We just spent the entire time running from Air Fighters,” panted a female Golem, “and you start a quiz show?!”
“Air Fighters? The city has no local Air Fighters.”
“They outsourced,” gasped Yulduk as he breathed heavily. “Dammit, I KNEW this was too easy!”
“Should we pull out?”
“No, we need to be more discreet in our approach. I’m open to suggestions.”
“Sir!” called another Robot. “We’ve miscalculated!”
“Over here! Come see this!” Yulduk followed the Robot into the command bunker and saw a group of Golems and Revenants digging into the dirt with their hands.
“Hey! What’s going on here?!” called Yulduk. One of the Revenants then pointed to an object on the table. It was an egg twice the size of a man’s fist, purple, and it sparkled as if it were made of diamond. Yulduk’s eyes went wide. “I don’t believe it! There are some buried out here!”
“We also found a coffin earlier! The writing on it matched on a dead form of writing!” reported the Robot.
“They must be an old form of hibernation capsules!” guessed Yulduk. “Did we really miscalculate that bad? …Or are these just an honor guard to protect what’s under Realmgate City?”
“…I had not considered that theory.”
“In any case, we need to keep searching the trench! If there ARE more, this will help us replenish our numbers! Get command on the horn! We’ve made a discovery!”
“I can’t believe you did something so dumb!” snapped Marshii as she and other doctors tended to the wounded.
“Come on, I did it before!” protested Quenthem.
“In a peacetime situation, perhaps we could afford to fix up Ironwood prosthetics, but Ironwood trees aren’t exactly easy to harvest for saplings, nor are they readily available in war!”
“Quenthem, you have to admit, that was a little reckless,” remarked Arsha.
“Oh, please, Pinky! It worked!”
“And it was too risky,” called a voice. Gorfanth then entered Sick Bay. “Just popping by to see you in person.”
“Glad you could visit!”
“Visiting hours are over!” snapped Marshii. “You can see him again when he’s released! I’m currently growing a new leg for him! …Well?! Didn’t you hear me?!” Arsha and Gorfanth left the room. “Idiots, I swear!”
“Calling your Captain an idiot?” snarked Quenthem.
“I’m the CMO, I have the right!”