When he recovered, Knuckles and his group were informed of the situation. When he had heard about what Knock-out and Ratbat did, Knuckles roared in frustration and smashed a table. “Easy!” yelped Henry.
“None of us are happy with this development,” assured Arsha. “Rest assured, those that died will be avenged!”
“Considering that children had died,” growled Knuckles, “I hope we avenge them quickly!” Just then, a guard came in.
“My Empress!” he panted. “Megatron wishes to speak to you!”
“What for?” asked Rellmeer.
“He said he has an explanation for why Knock-out and Ratbat acted the way they did!” reported the guard.
“…I’ll have to feign ignorance to gauge his intentions,” declared Rellmeer.
“You’re not seriously meeting with him?!” protested Ultra Magnus.
“I want to know what kind of liar he is,” explained Rellmeer.
“Why?” asked Arsha.
“I want to see how bad I can spin him into a tizzy if I say ‘no’ to whatever proposal he makes,” elaborated Rellmeer. She turned to her guard. “Can his robot mode fit into the main palace doors?”
“No, he’s too tall,” replied the guard.
“Then have his…‘holo-form’ meet me in the throne room,” ordered Rellmeer. “Tell him I will grant his request for an audience with me. Guide him into the palace’s foyer. Once you’ve done that, take the group to Trelnak and Son’s woodshop and investigate how they can use the situation there to their advantage. Felfar will take Megatron the rest of the way.”
“Yes. My Empress,” obliged the guard.
“How do you want me to act, Mistress?” asked Felfar. “Show my respect and look a little fearful or act as if I’m brainwashed?”
“I want Megatron to be under the impression that my magnificence doesn’t require brainwashing for me to be shown the respect that is due to me,” replied Rellmeer.
“Fearful display of respect, it is,” declared Felfar.
Megatron’s holo-form was directed to the foyer as the guard looked a little nervous. “Come now,” purred Megatron, “you’re not afraid of a stranger, are you?” The guard said nothing as Felfar came into the foyer, holding her hands in a respectful, but feared manner.
“Her Immortal Excellency, The All-mighty Empress Rellmeer, will grant you the honor of an audience with Her Magnificence,” she gulped. “Please follow me and be sure to display the proper respect that is due to her.”
“Oh, absolutely,” answered Megatron. “I’d be a fool to disrespect her in her own home, much less her grand kingdom. Please, lead on.” The guard left as Felfar led Megatron to the throne room. The massive doors opened as the throne, in all its woodland splendor, stood tall and imposing over the guards lining the walkway to it. Felfar and Megatron made their way to an acceptable distance to Rellmeer’s presence as she laid herself lazily across the throne.
“Oh Empress Rellmeer Almaydia!” called Felfar. “Wise and Powerful of all the Realms! Vast and Terrible to those that will not show you any respect! Poor Felfar presents Megatron, a foreigner who…!”
“I have eyes, thank you,” replied Rellmeer. She then looked around the room. “Leave us.”
“But, Empress…!” protested a guard. She idly flicked her hand and the guard vanished.
“Anyone else?” she asked. Everyone then left Megatron and Rellmeer alone. “I thought not,” chuckled Rellmeer. “Forgive my late guard’s impudence. They always underestimate me. I was told that you wished to explain the deaths of two of my people at the hands of your men?”
“You were told correctly, Wise Rellmeer,” assured Megatron.
“Two questions come to my mind with what happened,” muttered Rellmeer as she examined her nails. “Why DID your men kill them? Why do you take them?”
“I can promise you, the two questions answer one another,” explained Megatron. “We took them BECAUSE they killed two of your people. We have reason to believe that a terrorist by the name of Caan has poisoned their minds and made them see enemies instead of innocent people. Now, my people and I are trying to catch Caan, but we cannot do this without the help of your superior forces.”
“…Flattery will get you flattened,” warned Rellmeer.
“I’m simply stating facts,” replied Megatron. “Help us catch him and those that died will be avenged!”
“…I shall have to think it over,” murmured Rellmeer as he clapped her hands twice, the signal for her harem to appear. Felfar knelt at the throne while another harem girl, a purple-skinned Sprite, held out a tray of food while an Elf fanned her. A green-skinned Pixie held a large jug of wine and a cup for Rellmeer. A large tank of water rose as four Mermaids swam up from the bottom and started dancing. “You will have your decision in three days,” declared Rellmeer as she snapped her fingers to make the throne room’s doors open.
“I’m sure you will decide what’s best,” praised Megatron as he bowed and was led away. The doors shut and the Mermaids continued dancing for a while until Rellmeer waved her hand slightly. Everyone then dropped the act and shuddered.
“By the Ones!” shivered the Sprite with the tray of food as a table appeared from the floor so she could set the food down. The Pixie then produced more cups for everyone so they could all have something to drink to calm their nerves.
“I only just arrived,” mumbled one of the Mermaids, “and I STILL felt like I spent an eternity with that slime ball!”
“I think he’s a scrap-pile,” mused another Mermaid.
“So, do we know what’s true and what’s not?” asked Felfar as she and the Sprite sat on the throne, sandwiching Rellmeer in the middle.
“There IS a guy out there named Caan,” answered Rellmeer as she pulled her communications earpiece out of her ear. “However, Megatron failed to mention that both him and his allies, as well as our visitors and their allies, are hunting him. Knock-out and Ratbat have been known to cause mayhem on a whim and HATE organic life with a passion. Arsha also mentioned that Megatron appeared on the hull of the Endeavor along with a human and a certain Sprite Cyborg Scientist that’s cheated death before.”
“Not Cytanek!” wailed the Sprite.
“Yes, Ms. Selemer, your third cousin’s brother’s wife’s step-niece’s great aunt twice removed, Dr. Borg,” confirmed Rellmeer.
“So Megatron’s a charming liar,” mused the third Mermaid, “but a liar nonetheless.” Just then, the guard that was “vaporized” returned to the throne room, the poor Pixie looking greener than usual.
“Hasty teleportation spell upset the stomach?” guessed Rellmeer.
“Yes, My Lady,” groaned the guard, “but that’s beside the point. Arsha and her group are safely at the woodshop.”
“Thank you, Dreksar,” bid Rellmeer. “Er, do you need anything for your stomach?”
“Honestly, I need to rest at home a bit,” replied the guard, Dreksar. “I kind of lost my lunch after the spell took me to my destination. I should be all right tomorrow.”
“Then you take the rest of the day off,” declared Rellmeer. “Get well soon and make sure you eat something.”
“I will, My Lady, thank you,” answered Dreksar. He then headed off to his home.
“Couldn’t we have just pressed the attack?!” protested Hiro once Megatron had completed his audience with Rellmeer. “We all know she’s not the terrifying dictator she made herself out to be!”
“She IS very powerful,” replied Megatron. “Best to play the long game with her.”
“That’s all we do now!” roared Hiro. Dr. Borg was still trying to listen to a report. “I say we strike now, raze the Fae Republic to the ground, and put an end to our enemies!”
“A wise farmer doesn’t exterminate the entire herd,” advised Megatron. “We only kill those that are major threats!”
“This whole thing is YOUR fault!” snapped Hiro. “There’s a good chance that Arsha will warn Rellmeer of our presence!”
“By the time she does, it will be too late!” growled Megatron. “Only through talk can we divide our allies and ensure that Megumi doesn’t get any more!”
“Bah!” dismissed Hiro.
“I suppose mindless destruction IS easier,” mused Megatron, “for those who are too scared of their enemies.” Hiro heard that and whirled around face Megatron.
“QUESTION MY COURAGE TO MY FACE, IF YOU HAVE THE BALL BEARINGS TO DO SO, YOU WALKING CORPSE!” challenged Hiro.
“KEEP YOUR COAT ON, YOU PALE-YELLOW, ALMOND-EYED, INBRED, FURLESS MONKEY!” countered Megatron. Hiro then took out his phone, slid the back open to insert his i.d. tag, closed it, typed in a code, pressed the bottom button, then thrust the phone’s screen out in front of him.
“HENSHIN!” he shouted before setting the phone into his belt buckle. His suit formed and he became Kamen Rider Rogue (No, not the one from Kamen Rider Build). “Incompetent metal vulture!” roared Rogue. “You only flap your beak because you insist on boasting about our power instead of acting with it! Let’s see if your talons are half as hard as your tongue!”
“I’m ensuring order for the future!” shouted Megatron. “Peace is necessary after our conflict!”
“Someone’s spoiling for a fight!” laughed Starscream as he came in.
“You’re reckless!” Megatron accused Rogue. “You would lead us into war early!”
“I welcome war!” snarled Rogue.
“Because you’re too thick-headed to use whatever passes for your brain!” shouted Megatron.
“Enough!” called Dr. Borg. “I just got word from one of our spies. Rellmeer was seen talking to Arsha, Hiroki, and Ultra Magnus and mentioned all of our names. From what the spy had gleaned from the Endeavor’s systems, she knew about our plans long before we even thought to try and lie to her. Hiro’s right in this instance; we need results, not talk.”
“Wait a cycle!” protested Megatron.
“That’s all we did since we met!” snarled Dr. Borg.
“Why are you siding with him?!” continued Megatron. “We’re not ripe for combat!”
“Not ripe?!” argued Dr. Borg. “Depths, we’re rotting for want of it! Since you were so stupid as to start a fight, Hiro’s ideas must be put into effect.”
“What?!” roared Megatron. “I didn’t start the fight! All I did was point out a…!”
“Exactly!” interrupted Dr. Borg. “You talk too much! Talk, talk, talk! We rot while you chatter!”
“Dr. Borg, my way can still work, despite this setback!” continued Megatron. “We just need a little more time to…!”
“More time, more words, more nothing!” argued Dr. Borg.
“Madam, I don’t like being interrupted!” snarled Megatron.
“We’ve tried your way, it failed!” finished Dr. Borg. “Hiro, I shall send my engineers and artificers to accelerate the construction of the fleet in Mordor.”
“An excellent idea,” praised Rogue.
“No, a logical one,” countered Dr. Borg. “We need to build up our military might instead of skulking around a politician’s home. We must bring this crisis to a swift end!”
“Of course,” replied Rogue.
“YOU CARBON-BASED IDIOTS!” roared Megatron as he fired his fusion cannon at Rogue’s back. Rogue recovered and charged at Megatron, converting his guns into shōtō mode, and swung them at Megatron. Megatron activated his concealed blade, usually resting between the fusion cannon’s underside and his arm, and leapt at Rogue with the fury of a starving tiger!
“STOP, YOU IMBECILES!” shouted Dr. Borg as she stopped their respective swings.
“MOVE ASIDE OR BE CUT DOWN!” demanded Megatron.
“Not until you idiots hear me out!” replied Dr. Borg. “Look, the terms of the truce state that we would not attack one another until both of our military might is built up, yes?”
“So what?!” snarled Rogue.
“Megumi never mentioned our respective ALLIES’ military might,” explained Dr. Borg. “From what Soundwave had observed within Megatron’s home, the visitors that reside with the Autobots are allies, but they haven’t exactly built up THEIR military might. It’s the same with Arsha’s group. They can build up their own military, but we won’t let them build up their allies. Hardly a breach of truce, yes?”
“…I suppose not,” grumbled Megatron as he deactivated his blade.
“And we’re still preparing for war,” muttered Rogue as he cancelled his transformation and turned back into Hiro.
“So, let’s use this time to build up our allies,” suggested Dr. Borg. “We still have an edge over them.”
“…I…apologize for my racially charged comments,” muttered Megatron.
“Likewise,” grumbled Hiro.
Arsha and her group, including her remaining senior staff, had arrived at the woodshop, and brought out equipment to take some readings. Knuckles looked around and absentmindedly knocked some wood down.
“Take it easy, Knucklehead!” hissed Sonic. Just then, the wood flew back into its original position. “Okay, THAT’S weird!” gulped Sonic. Elmar and Orthena took a reading.
“You know what’s weirder?” asked Orthena. “No mana detected.”
“Perhaps,” mused Elmar, “but it would make an ideal phenomenon to study.”
“Perhaps, after this adventure,” offered Death, “you and your world’s scientists can collaborate with After Academy’s.”
“Like you said, AFTER this adventure,” interjected Arsha. “What needs doing now?”
“All right, here’s what I’ve researched,” began Death. She then detailed a long, drawn-out explanation that I shall not bore the reader with.