The following morning at Zamah’s private residence, the signs of festivities and celebration were there for all to see. There were bottles, mugs and barrels strewn all over the place, bits of torn clothing, blood stains and bodies were there too – the bodies of Zamah’s servants. Clearly, some kind of fight broke out during the course of the night, and some of those who were involved were still lying face first in now dried puddles of their own blood. There was something of a mad rush going on as those who were awake were looking to fix breakfast, however the mess around the place coupled with hangovers made things almost unnecessarily difficult. Zodwa, who looked like hell and also had dry blood stains on her clothes and face, was busy running around trying to get things rolling.
“Oi!” She barked. “Hurry up and wake all of these sleeping beauties up! We need to get this place cleaned up and have breakfast ready! The War Chief will be here later this morning!”
She started kicking people awake as she powered past them, and it was as if she had yet to look at herself in a mirror yet. She was being her usual bossy self, but looked worse than any of the servants she had kicked awake. That said, she was still a whirlwind of bossiness, and things were actually moving along. Once the cleaning and cooking had gotten underway, Zodwa was still in the midst of barking orders when all of a sudden, things went dark as she felt something wet being rubbed all over her face. She faffed and flailed about for a few moments and then stopped as things went back to normal.
“Who did that?!” Zodwa boomed, before seeing who it was and calming down.
“What, it was you Kim? What did you do that for?”
“Your face was filthy.” Replied the one called Kim, who actually turned out to be the servant that had taken Zuko’s Robes and such.
“What are you talking about?”
“Look at your clothes, Zodwa. Your face looked just like them.”
Zodwa looked down at her clothes and did her best not to freak out. The blood and mud stained dress was truly a sight for sore eyes, and Zodwa ended up looking towards the ceiling, as if she was trying to remember something.
“Just what happened last night?” Zodwa asked herself as she tried to remember.
“When you dumped the Princess in her bed, you all immediately pulled out barrels of juice and cracked them all open.” Kim stated plainly. “You all got drunk, and then had an argument about who would win in a straight up fight between Izano Zuko and the Princess. The fight turned violent, and resulted in the lot of you face first in the dirt.
Zodwa looked at Kim with something of an embarrassed facial expression, before grinning and bursting into hysterical laughter.
“Obviously, Zamah would win! Her bullshit Stamina wouldn’t get in the way because she’d explode him with a single punch.”
“But he parried all those blows from the Ogres and even took one directly without dying!” A hung over lady-in-waiting boomed as she poked her head in through an open window.
“Are you kidding me? The Princess is stronger than a fucking Ogre!” Zodwa boomed back.
“But if that man were to survive a direct hit from her, he could then use that weird earth hand Spell thing!” Another one added as she popped in, broom in hand.
“Whose side are you bitches on?!” Zodwa roared as she scowled. “Do you need me to beat some loyalty into you?!”
“This is exactly how things went last night.” Kim said with a shake of the head.
The argument died down rather quickly this time, and no blood was spilled as Kim started wiping down faces again. This actually made the three bickering women pause and laugh rather heartily. Once they all calmed down, Kim looked at Zodwa and spoke.
“How is the Princess doing?”
“She should be able to move again by now. It was crazy enough that she was able to stand after the use of the red Frenzy, but then she used that gold one, and seized up completely afterwards. A regular Frenzy just paralyses, that gold one had her writhing in pain until she passed out.”
“I haven’t seen anything like it.” One of the other women declared. “She used such a ridiculous Skill just to slap the Prince.”
“That slap was enough for her and Izano Zuko to win though.” Zodwa responded. “Everything happened so quickly though, that barely anybody out of the inner circles of the respective Factions actually knew what was going on.”
“Also, I heard most of the spectators speaking after the Gauntlet thing. They claimed it was a great match between the War Chiefs’ children.”
“A match? They thought it was a match?” Zodwa asked.
“Yeah… it seems they heard nothing about attempted murder charges or the like.”
“That damned Third Chancellor…” Zodwa said with a sneer. “He probably did something to affect what the people heard.”
“I wouldn’t put it past him.” Kim said with a smile.
“By the way, where is Izano Zuko? I want to bring him some breakfast or something a little later.” Zodwa asked.
“He’s in the healing pool.” Kim replied.
“Damn, so early?”
“Well, he has actually been in there since yesterday.”
“He refused to be examined or healed by the old Shaman or any of her disciples, and demanded that he be left in the pool. So I tossed him into it and left him there.”
“Are you crazy?! Prolonged periods spent in those waters could—”
“I know this. I told him, but he didn’t seem to care. He even fell asleep in the pool.”
“Holy shit!” Zodwa exclaimed as she hopped to her feet.
“Perhaps you should go look in on the Princess first….” Kim suggested.
“She should be fine! You might have just killed the dude that pretty much helped end the beef!”
“That man is stronger than we all give him credit for. I’ve heard some things about him.” Kim said.
“You’ve heard things? When? Did his clothes tell you his deepest, darkest secrets?”
“I guess you could say that.” Kim replied with a shrug. “I heard that he has this strange ability to make the Princess listen to him.”
“Oh please!” Zodwa scoffed. “We’ve all seen him do that. In fact, we saw it yesterday during the fight when he said all that shit about plans and paths and simple solutions and all that.”
“That’s true enough… Although…”
“…I also have it on good authority that when they shared a cell the day before yesterday, the Princess fell asleep and ended up using Izano Zuko’s thigh as a pillow.”
“………..whaaaaaaaaaaat?!” Zodwa boomed in incredulity.
As she started badgering Kim with questions, up at the pool, Zuko had just finished putting his Robes on. The smell of detergent on them was strong, but not unpleasant. He thought back on how easily the Warlock Armour popped off when the Shamans pulled on it. He probably would have raged if he wasn’t in such bad shape when they successfully pulled the armour off. Fortunately for him, his gamble with the pool paid off, as he was in far better shape now than he was when he actually arrived at the Enclave. The injuries he sustained the previous day were healed, and his broken bones were mostly repaired.
“Even though it was forced on me, that Warlock Armour did come in handy yesterday.” Zuko said to himself with grunt.
As he reached for his cloak, Zuko sensed somebody approaching him and soon enough, Doh appeared with a smile on his face.
“Ah, Izano Zuko…” He said with a nod. “I heard that you had fallen asleep in the healing pool and had to come see for myself.”
“Third Chancellor.” Zuko replied. “This pool really is amazing. The Princess is lucky to have it on her property.”
“It’s just too bad that she cannot take it with her she leaves.”
“…is she really going to go through with it?”
“Why would you ask me that, Izano Zuko? You’re the one who suggested that she do it.”
“I just told her what you were not willing to.” Zuko said as he looked directly into Doh’s eyes.
“…I suspected that you had figured it out.” Doh said with a chuckle, before gesturing towards the table where they had struck their deal. “Shall we sit?”
Zuko just nodded and followed Doh and sat at the table opposite him. The Third Chancellor looked at Zuko, still smiling somewhat creepily before speaking.
“Years ago, when the Prince and Princess were much younger, much cuter and still had a high opinion of me, we would have discussions and debates about the future of our Horde. In spite of their young age, they would say things that gave me immense hope about the future of our Enclave, and Orcish people as a whole. I found myself thinking that they would work together and lead our people to a brighter future. As they got older however, it became apparent to me that they both seemed to become more… certain that their reforms were the most right or the most apt. The more entrenched in that way of thinking they became, the further they drifted away from each other until they began ‘squabbling’. I always thought that they would share the responsibility of leading us together, but they seemed intent on doing it separately and by the time I tried to tell them this, my opinions were no longer as valuable to them as they once was.”
“Did you honestly think that they would ‘share’ the seat of War Chief?”
“I certainly hoped they would.” Doh replied with a shrug. “Perhaps I was being naïve, however I continued to harbour hope that they would eventually see the light and join forces. When I heard that an Agent of the Order had arrived, I panicked just a little bit. Who would have thought you would turn out to be the catalyst that brought an end to the internal fighting that had been going on for years in less than a week?”
“If I had not have made that deal with you, I probably would have left already.” Zuko said as he looked to the side with a hint of annoyance.
“Yes, well that deal also made things somewhat difficult for me as well, Izano Zuko. I had to prepare Wards, assemble a crowd, find non-lethal poisons, forge ancient documents… these past few days have been stressful.”
Zuko just looked at this Orc as he pretty much admitted to assisting poison Prince Voh and have a hand in everything that had happened since he arrived. There wasn’t even a hint of hesitation on Doh’s part as he said all this.
“You are saying some rather incriminating things there, Third Chancellor. Although I am curious, were the Wards you mentioned the ones in the Arena?”
“The very same ones.” The Third Chancellor said with a nod. “From Wards that prevented people from dying, to those that obscured what it was that people heard when I spoke.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, nobody outside the War Chief’s family knows what actually happened… I made sure of that. The information that was leaked to the public was that the Prince and Princess were to engage in a sparring match in the Arena. When I spoke, all the audience could hear was me introducing the ‘Gladiators’ and such – nothing about the Gauntlet of Guilt, nothing about the charges, nothing about the poisoned Prince.”
Zuko looked at the Third Chancellor with just the slightest hint of disbelief in his eyes, before smirking from behind his bandages and taking a deep breath.
“Are you sure admitting all this to me is a good idea?”
“I’m not sure… however you still have need of me and my services, so it would be a bad idea for you to say anything.”
“Hmph.” Zuko snorted as his eyes suddenly became serious. “Enough chit chat… I held up my part of the deal – now it’s your turn.”
The Third Chancellor looked at Zuko and nodded, before he reached inside of his robe and pulled out a sealed envelope.
“This has as much information as I could gather about the Association in such a short period… It has existed for centuries, and while nobody can say for certain how long they’ve been in operation, it’s obvious that they have roots everywhere. A Pro Non-Human group which ventures into Anti-Human territory, The Association is hell bent on seeing a world in which the Empire is reduced to rubble, and all Magically gifted beings are allowed to practice Magic freely without sanctions or requiring a license and the like. They are most certainly behind the attacks on your fellow Agents, and any further attacks that are inevitably bound to happen.”
“Do you not have any information that is not virtually general knowledge?” Zuko asked.
“Goodness… I was getting there, but anyway… so, while there are many powerful Non-Human nobles and the like who are suspected to be members, there is no evidence linking them to the Association. I have been informed however that somebody high up within the Association has ties to Lord Faelaon.”
“Faelaon… Elven Elder, High Elf and quite possibly the most powerful Mage in the city.”
“Are you saying he is a member of the Association?”
“I highly doubt it, Izano Zuko. Elder Faelaon is known for having an obsessive nature, and at the moment, he is focused on something else entirely.”
“Then what kind of connection does he share with the alliance member?”
“I couldn’t tell you, Agent.”
“Is that all the information you have for me?”
“Is that all?! Agent Izano Zuko, I lost one of my best men securing this information for you. The envelope has a list of suspected Association members in descending order of likelihood, possible hideouts within the city, possible bases of operations, fronts… and you dare to ask me if that is all I have?!”
Okay okay, apologies… you did not mention everything that was in this envelope.”
Zuko then slid the envelope beneath his Robes, and while he was at it, he felt around for his belongings that he had hidden within. As he fished for them, Doh looked at Zuko with an expression that just screamed of him having a question.
“What is it, Third Chancellor?”
“A question, if I may.”
“Yesterday in the Arena… you were using the Dance of Gul’Rhaka to fight, were you not?”
Zuko stopped fishing for a second and looked at the Orc with a gaze that felt as though they could melt a hole through solid rock.
“Yes, I was.” Zuko answered honestly.
“Using the Dance and manipulating the earth are both signs of one who has tamed the Earth Djinn. I couldn’t find or sense Gul’Rhaka until right at the end, where I could have sworn that I saw him trying to burst out from inside of you.”
“Is there a question at the end of this?”
“Yes… were my eyes deceiving me?”
“Yes and no. What you saw was Gul’Rhaka trying to get out, but not of his own volition. I was forcing him out in order to use one of his techniques.”
“…then that really does mean that—”
“Gul’Rhaka is inside of me.” Zuko admitted with a nod.
“Then what of the other sib—”
No no no, that will be all on that subject. Bring me more information on the Association, and we will speak on it further. Anyway, why is there so much going on down there?” Zuko asked, conspicuously changing the subject.
“Last night everybody on the Princess’ staff got hopelessly drunk in celebration, so they’re currently trying their best to clean up and to prepare for the War Chief’s arrival later.”
“Why is he coming here?”
“Obviously to see you and the Princess.” Doh replied with a shake of the head.
“To see me? I have no intention of being here later. I must get back to the Order and prepare to go to the Elven Enclave.”
“In that much of a rush, are you Agent?”
“Pretty much.” Zuko stated as he stood up – having located the pouch with his things in it, before looking down at Doh with suspicious eyes. “You have not tampered with these Robes, have you?”
“Of course not!” The Third Chancellor protested. “Why would you even ask that?”
“That ‘ceremonial’ armour that you forced onto me had all kinds of secret functions… if you have made any modifications to what I came in to keep tabs on me or listen in on my conversations again; I will come for that head of yours.”
The Third Chancellor raised his hands as he shook his head slightly.
“Goodness me, I did what had to be done in order to ensure my people’s future!”
“Whatever. If I find anything that was not originally there, I will come for you.”
The Third Chancellor just laughed as he pulled a ring out from nowhere, placed it on the table and then slid it towards Zuko.
“What is this?”
“A gift.” Doh said. “It is a Storage Ring, in which the Warlock Armour is stored, along with special gauntlets and greaves that go with it – and before you say anything, the Enchantments that allowed me to be a part of your conversations have been removed. Instead, I have included earrings that allow my voice to reach you wherever you may be so that in the event that I discover more things about the Association, I may communicate them to you as soon as possible.”
Zuko eyed the ring on the table suspiciously, and then did the same to the Third Chancellor. His gaze alternated between the two before the Third Chancellor just stood up.
“Forgive me, but I must make some preparations to help the Princess with the logistics of her move.”
“Wait. I have a question.”
“Just whose side are you on?”
“…mine.” Doh said with a grin about as wide and as sinister as he could fashion.
Much to his surprise, Zuko reciprocated the grin through the bandages, for some reason, the Third Chancellor could see it clearly. Zuko then took the ring and slid it into his robes and Doh looked at Zuko in silence, before nodding and turning around.
“A word of advice, Izano Zuko; don’t leave without at least saying goodbye to the War Chief. You were instrumental in putting the rivalry between his children to rest… it would be nice if you allowed him to show his gratitude.”
“Hmph.” Zuko snorted. “It would be nice if you did not do anything to my Robes.”
Zuko could have sworn that he heard Doh snigger as he disappeared down the hill and once he had, Zuko sat back down. He sat with his arms folded and the Cloak of Tan’Rhaka resting on his lap. The noise and activity down below served as a backing track of sorts, and after an untold period of time passed, Zodwa popped up from behind Zuko.
“Yo!” She said with a smile.
“Zodwa.” Zuko replied, nodding slightly.
“How you feeling? You were in rough shape yesterday.”
“The prolonged dip in the pool helped with that.”
“Yeah, that was dangerous, man. Sleeping in water like that?”
“I know… but needs must, and all that. Anyway, how is the Princess?”
“I guess she’s okay… I haven’t seen her yet.” Zodwa said with a dismissive shrug.
“Alright then. Would I be correct in assuming that you will be leaving the Horde along with her?”
“I don’t know, man…”
“Really? Why is that?”
“We didn’t even discuss it… she just decided to uproot and start a new somewhere else.”
“Do you think it was easy for her to make that decision? In that instant, she had to choose between continuing an ever escalating war with her precious younger brothers, or sacrifice something she has been intent on getting not only for her people, but for the happiness of Prince Kwanda. If the War Chief made the decision to grant her wish as a father, she made that decision as a big sister. It is not my place to tell you what to feel or whether to go or not… but at least understand why she decided to do what she did, yeah?”
Zodwa looked at Zuko with a smile on her face, exhaled sharply and shook her head.
“Yeah, I completely understand why she did it, you surprisingly persuasive bastard. Anyway, what would you like for breakfast? We have standard Orc breakfast foods prepared, or I can make you something else if you prefer.”
“You do not have to put yourself out – I will be leaving the moment the War Chief arrives.”
“Wait, seriously? You’re leaving already?!”
“I have things to do, Zodwa. In the first place, I came here for information, and coincidentally, I received it. So now, I have to go.”
“Damn… we didn’t even hang out.”
“I did not know that we were supposed to.”
“Of course we were! We were supposed to celebrate, drink loads, get drunk—”
“Start an argument; get into a fist fight…”
“Huh? You know about that?!”
“Last night was not the only time drinking led to a fight – at least since I have been here.”
“Good point!” Zodwa said before she burst out laughing.
“So you toss me into bed like a burlap sack, leave me and get drunk with everybody else, don’t even come to check up on me once, and then in the morning, you come up here to laugh it up with Izano Zuko?”
Zamah had stomped her way up to where Zuko and Zodwa were, and had an almighty scowl on her face. Zuko, for the first time, was actually able to stay out of a squabble involving Zamah, so he did just that. In fact, he stood up, grabbed his cloak, turned around and left, walking down the hill as Zamah went to town scolding Zodwa. The scolding continued for quite some time, although from what Zuko could gather, Zodwa got a few hits in herself. He looked around for an empty bench or something to sit on, and after a bit of searching, he found one outside a smallish hut that looked like a storeroom. He sat there quietly for a while until Zamah suddenly appeared in front of him, looking as though she had been in a brief fight.
“You’re leaving today?” She asked, sounding slightly out of breath.
“I have what I came here for, so if the War Chief had arrived before you woke up, I would have been gone already.”
“I see.” Zamah said as she caught her breath. “You won’t even stay for a little while longer?”
“That will not be possible.” Zuko said as he stood up. “Something tells me I need to leave.”
As if he had been listening all along, the War Chief appeared with his entourage. The group was large and took up the entire walkway. Just as they walked past Zuko and Zamah, the War Chief looked to the side and smiled in both surprise and joy.
“Oh! Zamah! Izano Zuko! You are both here!”
“Greetings, War Chief. In truth, I was actually waiting for you to arrive as I really must leave but could not do so without thanking you for your hospitality and assistance. Order business dictates that I must be rude, I apologise.”
“Please stop, Izano Zuko.” War Chief said with a raised hand. “You accomplished in a matter of days what I failed to do many times over in the course of many years – protect my daughter and bring an end to the ongoing war between my children. You outdid me as a father, and as a War Chief and for that, you have my everlasting gratitude. If you were to tell me to bow before you right here and now, I would do so without any hesitation.”
“That really will not be necessary, War Chief. Besides, you helped me too, so let us call it even.
“I suspect I couldn’t convince you to stay for one drink?”
“Unfortunately not, War Chief.”
“I thought so. Have a safe journey back to your Order, Izano Zuko. Zamah, say your goodbyes quickly so we can discuss how to move for—”
“Forgive me War Chief, but I would at least like to see Izano Zuko to the gate or something.”
“That is not necessary.”
“I’m seeing you to the gate.” Zamah bullishly grunted.
Zuko just sighed and nodded his farewells to the War Chief, before walking off. Zamah quickly walked after him, and the pair walked in silence as they made their way towards the main gate of Zamah’s residence. Much to both their surprised, they were met with the image of Zodwa standing with not only her mount, but Zamah’s White Dire Wolf and the black one that Zuko had ridden the other day, both saddled up and ready to go. Zodwa also showed signs of having been in a scuffle, but nothing about that was even alluded to. Zuko walked up to the Wolf and looked it in its eyes.
“Did not kill anybody when that saddle was placed on you?”
The Wolf shook its head.
“Glad to hear that. Have you been told that I am leaving?”
The Wolf nodded yes and then lowered itself down onto its stomach, as if beckoning him onto its back. Zuko didn’t waste a moment and hopped onto the Dire Wolf’s back. Zamah and Zodwa mounted their own in silence, before the trio set off towards the main gate. There was the requisite cheering from and displays of affection from the Orc peasants, and after they broke free of the town, the Wolves started running, moving at similar speeds to those they had been when racing to the mine, which meant that the trip that took hours on the Tusker ended up being around half an hour on Wolf-back. The trip however was made in complete silence, as the three did not speak. As they got closer to the gate, Zodwa kept giving Zamah looks that became increasingly animated as the gate drew closer. Zamah seemed to be avoiding eye contact, and Zuko chalked that down to the fact that they had gotten into a fight a little earlier. Before they knew it, the Wolves stopped sprinting, started walking and then came to a stop at the gate. Zuko quickly dismounted the Wolf and spent a moment speaking to it, while Zodwa stared at Zamah with an unblinking gaze. When even that didn’t work, she dismounted her ride and walked up to Zuko, extending her right hand with a smile.
“Izano Zuko… thanks to you, we were able to move on from the rut we had been stuck in for years, and now we can move forward. We may be moving into a difficult situation, but at least we are moving, so even though I’ve already said so… thank you.”
She said this just as she took Zuko’s hand in her own and shook it firmly, smiling still. Zuko shook her hand back and nodded.
“You are welcome… although, this is the first time you have thanked me.”
“Really? I could have sworn I had thanked you like a million times.”
“It does not matter either way. Anyway, have them open the gate for me, will you?”
“Sure thing….” Zodwa said as she glanced back at Zamah who was still sitting on her Wolf awkwardly.
Zuko turned around and began walking to the gate.
“Wait, Zuko!” Zamah suddenly called, causing him to stop and look at her. “I… look, I… I just wanted…”
“I know.” Zuko said with a nod as Zamah stammered on her words for the first time in the longest time.
“I… I also… you see, I…”
“I know that, too.”
“…..will… will we see each other again?” Zamah asked in a virtual whisper.
“Who knows…? If I decide to make this place mine, then we probably will. Good luck, and take care, Zamah.”
Zuko turned around and found that Zodwa had given the signal for a small gate on the side of the huge one to be opened, leaving Zuko wondering why they didn’t just open that one when he and BroBob arrived. The black Dire Wolf suddenly let out a series of earth shaking barks that caught pretty much everybody by surprise, prompting Zuko to raise his clenched fist as a form of waving goodbye. He walked out of the small gate, and as it closed, Zodwa noted the genuine look of sadness on Zamah’s face.
“Damn… for you to look this bummed over Izano Zuko’s departure, his thigh must have been super comfortable.”
Zamah suddenly Zodwa a dagger filled glare, but Zodwa had already climbed on her mount and was running away. Barks, howls and screams echoed behind Zuko as he walked forwards, looking for the car.
“What the… Buffooneus?! I told you earlier this morning that I would be leaving the Enclave! Where are you?! Wait a minute… do not tell me that you still cannot communicate using my Mana?”
As Zuko was trying to figure out what to do next, in the Human and Mixed Race Districts things were somewhat hectic. Regular policemen and women, and Agents were under siege so to speak, with Warriors and Illegal Mages now attacking Agents in teams. The police were trying to protect the civilians in order to allow the Agents to focus completely on the Illegals. They had all consumed their Alchemical Nuggets, and were already exhibiting unbelievable strength. There were Elementals using destructive Area Effect Spells, and ridiculously strong Warriors that didn’t seem to feel pain in groups of four or five, confronting Squads of around similar size. There was a major difference between the two forces however – while the Association teams were mixed, the Order Squads were either Mage Squads, or Knight Squads. This made things somewhat complicated as Mages were able to match the Spell casting Elementals, but the Warriors were taking them out with relative ease, and the Knights were able to handle the Warriors, but the long ranged and Area Effect Spells were a nuisance. That said however, the Order wasn’t being completely dominated or anything as within each Squad there was a ‘specialist’ so to speak that was able to handle melee fighters in the case of Mages, and ranged attackers in the case of Knights. Summoned Armour and Weapon sets were being used by those Mages, and they had received a certain level of martial training, so they were able to provide assistance to the more squishy Mages within their squads. The Knights had a unit known as a Gunner, and these were Knights that used different types of firearms to fight. Whether dual wielding pistols, or using a shotgun or assault rifle, they used bullets developed by Knight Technicians to shoot at the Elementals and keep them busy and even fell them if they weren’t of a particularly high level. Despite not being prepared for the mixed teams the Association had come with, the Order was still prepared to a certain extent by having the specialists in each Squad in the event something like this happened.
Sometime during the skirmish, and right on the border of a Mixed Race District, a six-wheeled heavy transport vehicle belonging to a Knight Squad powered it’s through the pothole laden streets about as quickly as it could. Inside were four Knights that were not in the greatest shape, but were still alive and kicking.
“Shit, my Core is right on the fucking edge, man!” A Tall, but slim Knight sitting on the bench in the back of the vehicle exclaimed.
“How much Energy do you have left?” A shorter, but stouter one asked.
“I ain’t at risk of dying or anything, but shit, I may need a Booster soon.”
“If he needs a Booster, he better take it now, before we reach the Squad that asked for backup.” A very big Knight added.
“Hurry up and do what you need to do – all of you.” The one driving shouted as she threw the car into a corner.
“According to the GPS, we’re almost there!”
“Damn!” The slim Knight remarked. “Why do we always let her drive?!”
“Nobody lets her do anything – she pulls rank and takes the damn wheel by force.” The big one replied.
As they continued driving, the tall slim Knight removed his helmet and exposed his neck, before holding a gun like syringe type thing against it. After pulling the ‘trigger’, an untold number of tiny needles shot out from the syringe and simultaneously pierced his neck, before shooting something into it. All the veins in the Knight’s neck dilated to insane proportions as he shook violently and let out a pain filled groan. His face was also the picture of pain, teeth gritted, eyes open and beet red. The moment he started doing all this, the vehicle was thrown into yet another corner, sending the shorter Knight flying through the cabin.
“Fuck, Nat! Learn how to drive, damn you!” The Knight said after smashing into the back of the cabin.
“We’re trying to save people here, you bitch! Suck it up, Jon!”
“Joe is still dealing with the shock of the Booster, Cap’n.” The big Knight added. “Maybe give us some warning before turning so fucking sharply?”
“We are trying to SAVE lives here, Omar! We don’t have time to be considerate.”
“…you didn’t have to be so hurtful, you know.” The Knight called Omar responded as he looked at the floor.
“Holy shit, you guys are all babies!”
Before things could get any more intense, the vehicle was smashed into from the side which not only stopped the fighting, but caused the car and everybody within it to become airborne. It crashed into a building, with the impact sending everybody crashing into each other as well as the walls of the cabin and into some equipment.
“Everybody okay?!” Nat boomed before things even had a chance to calm down.
“What the fuck did you just crash into?! How can you crash into something sideways while drive straight?!” Jon barked.
“You idiot! If something hits us side one, then we were crashed into!” Nat roared back.
“This isn’t the time for bickering – we were just hit by something so heavy, it cased the Transporter to fly. We need to get out of here and see what’s going on outside.” Omar calmly stated.
“Agreed.” Nat said as she kicked her door open after undoing her seatbelt.
The Transporter had actually crashed through the wall, and she jumped into the building they were now in. The other Knights followed suit, jumping out of her door and assembling in front of her. Joe, the one who had injected the Booster, was carrying his helm in his hand as his face remained bright red.
“Diagnostics checks, now.” Nat ordered.
They all started doing a quick check, with heads up displays appearing from the Insignias on their various armour sets. A host of status reports were displayed, ranging from Core Energy levels, to the condition of individual sections of the armour such as the Gauntlets, Greaves, Pauldrons, and so on. Thruster levels were also displayed and there was a whole lot more information about the state of their armour and such. The check was over with within the blink of an eye, and from there, the Knights all drew their weapons. Jon used a Sword and Shield, Joe two Short Swords, Nat had a Mace on which the large spiked head was connected to the pole via a thick chain, and Omar stood with what looked to be the biggest shotgun ever made.
“We go out there, we find who or whatever it was that hit us, and we take it from there. Clear?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” They all replied, with Joe doing so with a grin on his face as steam blew out from his ears and his mouth.
Moments later, the group kicked their way through a section of the wall and flew out into the street, looking to see what was going on. They looked at the side of the Transporter that was exposed, and saw a Mage that had flown into the side of Nat’s vehicle so hard, that he had actually left an imprint on the reinforced materials it was made from. The Mage in question still had his Summoned Armour Spell active, but appeared to be teetering on the precipice of consciousness.
“Yo, it’s a damn Mage!” Joe exclaimed. “We were attacked by a Mage?”
“No, you dumbass – he was clearly thrown or hit into us.”
“Which means there are enemies in the direction he came from, right?” Nat asked.
“Seems like it.” Omar replied. “What should we do? I doubt this guy comes from the group that sent out the distress signal.”
“He undoubtedly belongs to a different Squad.” Nat said as she looked at him. “Let’s put him in the Transporter then head down that way to see what the situation is like.”
“Seriously? But he’s a fuckin’ Mage.”
“Now isn’t the time to be caught up with internal politics, Joe. This man is an Agent, like the rest of us. Let’s get him inside, give him a shot of some Light Healing Serum and then go.”
“Yes, Ma’am…” The guys said with a distinct lack of enthusiasm before setting about the task.
They took less than five minutes to carry out the order, and soon, everybody was shooting down the road. Their leg thrusters were all propelling them forward as a set of small thrusters located on the soles of their boots lifted them just above the ground. As they zoomed down the road, Nat, who much like the rest of her Squad completely covered from head to toe in armour, was using the display within her visor to pinpoint the location of the Mage’s Squad.
“Alright, at the end of this road, we will be turning right and—”
Nat was cut off as she was suddenly forced to evade an attack that came in from the side. As the rest of her Squad took evasive action, Nat swung her Flail with the kind of speed and force that could only be expected from a Blue Emblem Knight, bashing the head of her attacker and snapping it away with a violent crack. Nat’s attack was sustained however and she repeated it three times, with the crack becoming louder with each connected strike. Just then, an incoming attack forced Nat to stop and jump back. Upon evading the attack, Jon appeared and using his Longsword, cleaved the attacker in half, stepping back as blood flowed out from the two squirming and bloody halves. The team watched as the halves continued moving and squirming for far longer than they had any right to, with the eyes still looking at Nat and her team while blinking.
“…these guys are worse than zombies.” Omar said with a shake of the head.
“Yeah, that damn pill they swallow is a pain in the ass… but like we were told in the briefing, the best way to deal with them is to render them unable to move. Either cut off their limbs of like just did, cut them in half. Apparently they don’t feel pain, so this really is the most effective method.”
“But these fuckers are strong… getting them tied down or distracted enough to do the limb thing is hard, so this method best – at least for us.” Joe said.
“Yeah… anyway, let’s go! We’re close.”
The Squad was on the move quickly, and true enough, they soon came upon the Association team that was engaged in battle with the Order Squad. The Mages were having a tough time of it as their specialist had been taken out, and they looked as though they were right on the brink. There was a Frost Elemental and three Half-Orc and Half-Elf Warriors who were relentlessly on the attack. Nat and her Squad were quickly on them however, with her, Jon and Joe and pursuing the melee fighters, while Omar stood back and targeted the Elemental. All of a sudden, thick cables snaked their way out of his ‘shotgun’ and connected themselves to points on a specific square next to the Order Insignia on his armour. After that happened the square, along with the cables and staring pulsing with light accompanied by a charging sound of sorts. A few moments later, Omar pulled the trigger and a giant green ball of pure energy burst out from the gun. It flew towards the Elemental and upon making contact with it, exploded, resulting in a bright and temporarily blinding flare. The others took advantage of the light, and with the kind of speed and coordination that only came with years of fighting together and familiarity, the other Knights dispatched the three Mixed race warriors using similar method to the one they had just used earlier – with one Knight attacking and stunning a warrior, before moving on to a different one and either cleaving it in two, or lopping off its limbs with the kind of ease the previous discussion made it seem as though they couldn’t achieve.
“Nice!” Nat boomed at Jon and Joe. “Omar!” She roared as she looked at the big Knight.
“Gotcha.” Omar calmly said as he touched a panel on the side of the gun. “Round Change: Cage Shot.”
After a series of beeps, mechanical sounds rang out as the gun actually started changing shape. The muzzle quickly widened and actually became larger; all this happening as Omar was charging the shot. There was a growing flash of light emanating from the muzzle, and no sooner had the metamorphosis come to an end, that Omar fired the shot, the large bullet shooting in the direction of the Elemental. As the bullet was airborne, it split down the middle and the shell popped open before whatever was inside hit its target. Before the Elemental could react, something jutted out from the bullet hole and what could only be described as a skeleton of some sort started to construct itself around the large Frost Elemental. As the stick like ‘bones’ multiplied and connected with one another, Omar readied a second shot, which caused another change in the gun’s shape. The moment the construction of the skeleton was done, Omar fired the second shot, which unlike the first two, was more radial in nature as it sprayed something onto the recently constructed frame which adhered and hardened immediately, completely trapping the Elemental inside of it. Despite all this happening in less than fifteen seconds, all four Agents appeared to have been concerned about pulling this off in time. Omar let out a massive sigh as he put the gun on his shoulder and looked over at Nat before nodding.
“You fuckin’ BEAST!” Nat bellowed as she nodded back at him.
They all converged to a single point close to the Elemental, and after a round of fist bumps, they let out a collective sigh.
“This shit has been crazy.” Jon said as he looked at the Elemental. “How many of these things have we taken out?”
“The intel we received about these guys during that ridiculously short briefing was golden.” Nat said as she looked up at the sky.
“What the fuck is going on, though?” “Joe asked. “They went from launching feeler attacks to a fuckin’ full scale –”
“What makes you think this is a ‘full scale’ anything, Joe?” Omar asked. “This could be them simply upsizing the feeler.”
“If that’s the case Omar, we’ll just have to deal. All of these people are going to die, whether we take them out or not. If there really is an organisation responsible for all this, that means they were able to convince all of them that their cause is worth killing and worth dying for.”
During the conversation, Jon was the only one who was busy seeing to the injured Mages. They had pretty much all passed out during the brief intervention, and Jon was injecting them with Healing Serum and providing makeshift bandaging and such. The others suddenly remembered that there were injured people, and looked over to see that Jon had already treated them and was on his way to joining them.
“Shit…” Joe said as he shook his head. “Totally forgot about those damn Mages.”
“How are they?” Nat asked.
“They’ll live.” Jon said with a disinterested shrug.
“Good enough. Anyway, I don’t think we have time to wait for this guy over here to blow because we are still responding to the other distress call.”
“FUCK! Why is this shit so tedious?!”
“It’s all part of the strategy so we have no choice.” Nat said with a sigh. “Anyway, let’s get those guys and toss them into the Transporter.”
They all went to grab an unconscious Mage rather unenthusiastically, however once they had, the Frost Elemental started shaking inside its personal cage. The shaking progressively got worse, and as it looked like it was about to explode, the Squad was alarmed to see four strange tarmac walls burst out from around the Elemental, climbing high and creating ditches on the sides of the walls that were not facing the Elemental. The explosion happened almost immediately afterwards, however was contained by the Cage, and it rendered the tarmac walls rather useless. The Agents, who were shocked by the sudden emergence walls, looked on in silence as the sight of the one responsible for the walls came into view. Clad in a tattered cloak with the hood up, Izano Zuko approached relatively slowly, but quicker than he usually walked – although the Knights who were seeing him properly for the first time. Zuko quickly realised that what he did ended up being pointless and he looked towards the Agents that were still looking at him. He walked up to them without saying a word, and upon reaching the Knights, he watched as Nat put her body down.
“Agent Nathalie Roscoe, Blue Emblem Level Knight and Captain of the gNat Squad.” She said as she stood at attention, much to the shock of her subordinates.
“Izano Zuko.” Zuko said with his mouth, his voice sounding so much smoother and much less hoarse than it had been.
“Yes Sir, I am familiar with you.” Nat said, rigid and ridiculously serious. “Sir, we were en route, responding to a call for help when we ended up being dragged into this skirmish. We managed to subdue the Elemental and kill the Warriors before they managed to take these Agents out.”
As Nat rattled off the report that he didn’t ask for, Zuko looked at this Knight and wondered why she was being so formal and respectful – especially considering how technically, he was a Mage. That thought was purged from his mind rather quickly though, as he suddenly remembered something.
“Agent, do you have one of those things that allow you to communicate with other Agents?” Zuko asked with a slight cough at the end.
“Pardon? A thing?” Nat asked tilting her head in confusion.
“Yes, that thing…” Zuko said while making a hand gesture that mimicked holding the receiver of a radio.
“I think he means a radio.” Jon said with a sigh.
“A Radio? Yes, we do… but don’t you have one, Sir?”
“Let me use yours. I need to contact somebody.”
“Alright, but I think it would be best to do that at the Transporter. We need to have these Agents join the other one.”
Nat quickly picked her unconscious Mage up, before they all ran off down the street to where the Transporter was ‘parked’. Zuko noticed how the Knights were breathing rather heavily as they moved, and he was keeping up with them rather easily. By the time they had reached the car, they all needed a moment to catch their breaths, while Zuko needed a moment to digest seeing half the car just chilling there after having clearly crashed through the wall. After walking through the hole in the wall that they had made earlier and carried the Mages inside, Nat got in and started the car. Moments later, she just forced the issue and drove the Transporter out from the wall, completely destroying what was left of the wall and causing the already dilapidated building to collapse.
“Why did we put the injured people in the car before she did that?!” Jon boomed.
“What’s done is done!” Nat boomed back as she poked her head out of the window. “Agent Zuko, please come sit up front with me and we can use the radio as we rush to the other group.”
No time was wasted everybody climbed into the Transporter, and it thundered down the street once they had.
“There is the receiver, Sir. Go ahead.”
Zuko looked at this far more primitive looking radio than the one that Curtis used in his car. After an extended period, Zuko looked at Nat and shrugged.
“I do not know how to. You do it for me.”
Nat looked at Zuko in slight disbelief, before remembering the information all Knight Captains had received about him in a special meeting that taken place. She quickly picked up the receiver with one hand.
“Who am I calling out for, Agent Zuko?”
“Brometheus Bob.” Zuko said with another cough. “Tell him I am with you, and to meet me where we are going right now.”
Zuko’s voice seemed to become fainter as he spoke, and he tried clearing his throat a few times, before taking a deep breath.
“This is First Level Blue Emblem Knight, Captain Nathalie Roscoe looking for a… B-Broomofeus—”
“Brometheus Bob. Are you there, Brometheus Bob?”
In the back, the guys were trying their hardest not to burst out into hysterical laughter at the ridiculousness of the name Nat had just said. They couldn’t for the life of them believe that there was anybody with a name like that, until the speakers in the Transporter buzzed with static.
“This is Brometheus.” BroBob answered simply, causing the guys to exchange surprised looks.
“Uh… Agent Bob? I’m here with Agent Zuko – he told me to—”
“Yo! That char grilled mother fucker is okay?! And he’s there with you?!”
“Y-Yes, he is right next to me and can hear you.”
“Yoooooooooooo, Izano! Things got hectic real quick, bro! Brometheus was on his way to come get you when shit popped off!”
“Agent Bob, we are currently in a rush to assist a group of Agents that sent out a distress call a while ago now. Agent Zuko has said that you should meet us there. I will relay the coordinates to you right now—”
“What is the name of your Squad, Captain?”
“Huh? We’re the gNat Squad, lower case g, uppercase N.”
There was a brief silence as BroBob did something on his side, before speaking with an excited sounding tone.
“Yo, Brometheus can see where y’all are. I will follow your trail and meet you guys at the location. Brometheus out!”
The line went dead, and Nat looked somewhat dumbfounded. She looked at Zuko who just looked back at her.
“What just happened, Agent?”
“That Buffoon will find this vehicle. Just keep driving.”
“He doesn’t even know where we’re going.”
“He will find the vehicle.” Zuko said with unwavering conviction.
Nat just sighed and looked at the road, focusing on driving. Zuko just looked at the streets and buildings that were in poor condition, old cars had been set on fire, multiple points of rising smoke, and such. Apart from the smoke and still burning cars though, it didn’t look all that different in the District to how most Non-Human areas looked at the best of times – despite the signs of battle being all over the place. The rough drive was filled with complaints, but thankfully for the guys, they reached the location where Knights were still engaged in battle. The Elemental had seemingly been taken care of, and they were now struggling with the melee fighters. Nat and her Squad burst out of the Transporter without a moment’s hesitation and went to work, with Zuko hanging back and just watching. He had made his way out of the Transporter, which looked like it was about to accept a few more injured bodies. As Nat and her Squad rescued the Knights, it didn’t take long for the sound of an incoming vehicle to catch Zuko’s attention – specifically because it was a familiar one. A few moments later, the black SUV Zuko had spent so much time riding in came to a screeching halt close to the Transporter, and BroBob appeared to be in a hurry to make his way over to Zuko, practically snapping his seatbelt and kicking the door open before flying out and slamming it shut. Just as it looked like he was about to run over, he started walking with a lean and dip that seemed even deeper than usual. This meant that covering the short distance between the vehicles seemed to take forever and Zuko, who had been looking at BroBob walk towards him eventually lost interest and looked back at the fighting. When the chubby Technician finally reached Zuko, the sense of urgency suddenly returned as he pulled his sunglasses off.
“Izano Zuko, you’re still alive!!!” He said with barely contained joy.
“Of course I am, Brometheus.” Zuko said while still watching the action. “Did you expect me to die?”
“Bro, your messages were cryptic as FUCK! One day you’re surrounded by women the next your ass is casually telling Brometheus that you were arrested, then silence, then that you’re coming out… what the fuck, bro? At least give a dude more detailed updates!”
“I thought that with your Affinity, you would have figured out how to talk back by now.”
“What are you talking about? In fact, is it just Brometheus, or are you using your mouth to talk?!”
“I was, but it has yet to heal enough for me to say more than a few sentences before the discomfort becomes too much.”
“Shit bro, but it is healing, right? That’s awesome, bro. Anyway, Brometheus apologises for not being at the Enclave when you came out – this attack started as I was driving to get you.”
“I see… and this attack involves both Melee and Magic units.”
“Yeah bro, it was crazy. Like, we all had a mad brief meeting in which Curtis and the Archmage told everybody about the strategy we came up with to fight against these bastards.”
“I can see that… this Squad has been particularly efficient at dispatching them even after consuming the nugget.”
“Yeah, well during our brainstorming sessions to come up with strategies, we remembered that after taking these ridiculous Buffs, these guys have sealed their own deaths. So our plan to fight them at the moment is simple, if not a little difficult. If they haven’t taken the Buffs, we try to capture them alive and if they’ve taken them, we either try to defend and prolong the fight until they self-destruct, or in the case of the melee fighters, subdue them by cutting of their limbs.” BroBob said; looking just a little bummed when he mentioned the limb bit.
“Makes sense… simple, but effective.”
“The higher level Squads such as this one have been designated as ‘Sweepers’ so to speak – tasked with roaming around helping weaker Squads take out whatever enemies they are currently fighting. This was something that was to be used during particularly big battles, but none of us even thought about the very next attack being of this scale.”
As BroBob said this, Nat and her Squad finally took out the remaining members of the Non-Human team. This time, they all saw to assisting the injured Agents, and quickly dressed their wounds and carried them over to the Transporter with a sense of urgency.
“How are they?” Zuko asked Nat when she was close enough.
“Sir, we have to get these Agents back to HQ at once. Their Cores are at dangerously high usage levels, and the threat of an Overload is really prevalent.”
“I see.” Zuko said while doing his best to mask the fact that he had no idea what she was talking back. “I will be going back with Buffooneus Bob, so feel free to go back now.”
“Yo, you still calling Brometheus that damn name?” Brometheus barked.
“Understood, Sir.” Nat said with a nod, before nodding at BroBob who she was seeing for the first time, and then starting to put the Agents in the vehicle.
As Zuko and BroBob started walking towards the SUV, Zuko felt his skin crawl. If there was any hair on his body, it all would have been standing on end, and the last time he felt this, he got tossed around and beaten by Momoh. The sensation made him stand perfectly still and look at BroBob with clenched fists and a serious look on his face.
“Brometheus… things are about to get serious. Make sure that the other Agents leave this place – they will only get in the way.”
Zuko said this as Mana burst out from his body uncontrollably, causing his cloak to flutter about like crazy, and his hood to flip back, exposing his head and glowing eyes. The Knights were startled by the sudden expulsion of Mana, and quieted down as Brometheus Bob approached them.
“What’s going on?” Nat asked as BroBob reached them.
“Captain, Brometheus has been told to let you know that you and your Squad should probably leave as quickly as possible.”
“Because you and the injured Agents inside could be in further danger if you stay.”
As if to illustrate the point made by BroBob, more Mana burst out from Zuko’s feet and caused his Robes and cloak to go crazy. As this happened dust and sand also blew out from Zuko’s feet as he drew out more Mana. He looked back at the group with something of a glare, however this was interrupted somebody came down from a great height and landed on the ground with some force. Zuko’s gaze shifted from the Agents to the one who dropped down, knowing exactly who he was, but not what he was called. Of course he was looking at Momoh who himself had his hands in his pocket as well as a massive grin on his face. He started walking towards Zuko who was now standing with his hand inside his Robes, digging for something.
“Hey again... I was hoping to see you again, but I didn’t think it would be so soon!” Momoh stated with his booming voice. “I was just minding my own business, watching the Sons and Daughters doing their thing and fighting your Agents when I suddenly felt your Mana in this general area. It was faint, but enough to send me running here as quickly as my legs would carry me. My man, I really had some fun during our little greeting, so I was just wondering if you could entertain me again…”
As Momoh finished his little monologue, his grin grew wider and he started emitting energy that was similar to Zuko’s Mana, but not quite. It was more akin to the Stamina that swirled around Zamah’s body when she activated Frenzy. The power that sustained both men began to clash in the air, creating a series of sparks. Zuko finished digging and pulled whatever it was that he had found out from his Robes. It was a small black square shaped object with a chain wrapped around it. Zuko removed the chain without ever shifting his gaze Momoh and immediately after doing so, tossed the item up into the air. It hovered directly above his head and upon the removal of the chain, the amount of Mana Zuko had been releasing increased exponentially – almost tripling in size. The Mana all flowed into the object and it grew in size until it was around the size of a medium sized tome. The book glowed with beige markings before opening perfectly in the middle. Pages then began tearing out of the book with blurring speed as Zuko clenched his fists and stood with his arms extended. The pages of the book converged and started sticking together; forming what looked like some form of armour. As the armour formed, it looked like papier-mâché of sorts; however that quickly changed as it took on the appearance of hard rock from a cliff face. As all this was happening, BroBob and the rest were trying their best to remain on their feet as the gusts of wind coming Zuko’s body were insane, although Momoh didn’t seem to be bothered at all by them. As the armour concluded its formation and colouring, Zuko let out a roar which first split the armour into individual pieces and sent them flying into the air, before they all flew towards Zuko at speed, as if they were about to crash into him. That didn’t happen though as Zuko let out another roar just as they were about to smash into him and they stopped just inches short of actually making contact with his skin. From a distance, it looked like he was wearing the armour but from close enough, one could actually see that they weren’t actually on Zuko. They seemed as though they were on his skin however, and as the extraction of Mana died down Zuko stood to his full height, his arms temporarily dropping to his sides.
“Appreciate your patience.” Zuko said as he glared through the eyehole of the helm of the armour.
“No man, thank you for being so willing to play with me.” Momoh said with an even bigger grin. “I think I might have to do the same.”
“By all means.” Zuko said, fully intending on waiting.
That was suddenly thrown out the window as Momoh burst towards Zuko, with the ground shaking as he did. Zuko quickly got into the stance for the Dance of Gul’Rhaka. He just stomped on the ground once, and spikes shot out from below Momoh, who reacted quickly by leaping over them, completing a somersault and upon landing, dashed towards Zuko with even greater speed. By the time he reached Zuko however, the armoured Agent was ready, and the ridiculous speed and power he displayed during their first encounter was on full display here as well. This time however, Zuko’s eyes had gotten used to the speed, and he stomped on the ground once before raising his arm and blocking the blow with his forearm. Upon blocking the attack, Zuko actually threw a punch back, extending his free arm and aiming straight for Momoh’s chest. The Grey Orc deflected Zuko’s fist and forced it down towards the ground before attacking again. Zuko tilted his head to the side and as the hand zoomed past said head, Zuko simply stomped once with his left foot before extending his left arm to the side, twisting his hips and swinging the first towards Momoh’s side. Momoh punched Zuko’s arm away with his right fist, before reaching for Zuko’s neck with his left. This attempt was thwarted though as Zuko repeated the swing type punch with his extended right arm and blew Momoh’s left arm away. As Momoh’s side was exposed, Zuko pushed both arms down to the right and kept them both extended before bending his knees some more and unleashing a series of diagonal punches aimed for the ribs, alternating between his left and right fists. Momoh, who had quickly recovered, turned his body so that he was facing the blows head on and punched each one away.
“Holy shit.” Nat remarked as she watched this high level exchange happen right before her very eyes.
“He got faster.” BroBob said while looking at Zuko. “He put that weird rock armour shit on, and it made him faster and stronger than he was before.”
Nat couldn’t ask what Brometheus Bob was going on about because the exchange between Zuko and Momoh suddenly started heating up, with both men seemingly trying to get the upper hand over the other. Unfortunately for Momoh though, Zuko was starting to come out on top. He was getting closer and closer to actually landing a solid blow, and even the missed ones were insane – from both men. The ground would shake each time either man stomped on it; the missed blows produced a noise that sounded like miniature explosions, and whatever windows or glass was behind either man would also shatter after a particularly vicious attack. Around a minute into the exchange, Zuko found some success and landed a three punch combination of Momoh’s chest, launching him off his feet and sending him flying back a few meters. Zuko then stomped on the ground twice, as he bent and cocked his arms before thrusting both open hands forward with force. Around seven earth tendrils burst out of the ground and snaked their way towards Momoh, with each one having a large bulbous head that exploded when they hit him. Momoh then smashed into a building behind him so hard, that there was an explosion and then the building collapsed, as if an explosive had been detonated.
Nat and her crew were gob smacked as they watched somebody who was supposed to be a Mage fight like that. They had no time to indulge their surprise however as Momoh emerged from the dust cloud and rubble, grinning still.
“Haaaaaaa!! You were hiding this level of power were you?! Let’s fuckin do this!”
Momoh let out a thunderous roar as he pulled his jacket off and tossed it on the ground. After that was done, he let out what sounded like a bark, and when that happened, his arms grew not only in width, but in length as well. The growth in size was accompanied by a grey fur that covered both of his arms, as well as Momoh’s neck and chest. His hands grew to be almost ridiculously huge, with his nails growing long and thick – like claws. His eyes turned an amber colour and his ears grew longer and became furry. Much like Zuko’s armour creation, Momoh’s transformation did similar things with gusts of wind and such. Once the mild transformation was done, Momoh howled and shattered a few more windows in the process. The instant he stopped howling, Momoh was charging Zuko once more. Zuko stomped on the ground twice, virtually cracking the tarmac beneath his feet with each stomp, producing two sets of large, thick spikes aimed at Momoh who didn’t even bother dodging this time. He just smashed through them and once again increased his speed. Zuko stomped twice again, and raised both hands as two walls shot out from the road. Again, Momoh smashed his way through both and once he reached Zuko, he slashed his open hand at Zuko’s head so rapidly; the Agent was unable to react. Before Zuko knew what happened his head was snapped back and the helm was destroyed, with bits of rock flying off of his now exposed head. While his head was still snapping back, Zuko threw a punch in retaliation, but Momoh just deflected it away with a punch of his own. Once again, the part of the armour that had been touched by Momoh’s claws was blown away, exposing the flesh below. Zuko was still reeling from the slash to the face when he suddenly saw Momoh now aiming a brutal clawed slash at his side. He gritted his teeth and spread both arms wide, as if backing himself to take the blow without even trying to defend. The slash was absolutely ridiculous, destroying the entire chest piece and actually threatened to double Zuko over. In fact, he actually did begin to fold, however he roared through gritted teeth as he stomped on the ground. The glove that had been destroyed by Momoh’s claws suddenly reformed on Zuko’s hand, and with another roar, Zuko slammed both fists into the sides of Momoh’s head simultaneously. As Momoh reeled slightly from the power behind both fists, Zuko gritted his teeth once again and extended both arms, aiming both clenched fists at Momoh’s face. They hit their target, produced a shockwave, snapped Momoh’s head back and sent him flying. He not only went back, but he also flew up towards the top of a high rise building, flipping as he recovered in midair, vaulted off the edge on the roof and landed on it.
“HA! Not fucking bad!” Momoh remarked as he spat out and wiped away thick back blood from the corner of his mouth.
Just as he was about to run back down to where Zuko was, a hand on his shoulder stopped him, and he turned around to see a slim High Elf woman, clad in black leather clothing that covered nearly every inch of her body. An exceptionally long and thin blade hung from her waist, and she had an extremely stern expression on her face.
“What is going on here?” She asked, knowing exactly what was going on.
“I’m having a bit of fun after working so hard. Don’t interrupt me.” Momoh said as he pulled his shoulder out of the woman’s hand.
“Did our Lord give you permission to do this?”
“What would you say if I said he did?”
“I would kill you for lying to me.”
“You’re as delusional as you are emaciated if you think that you can kill me.” Momoh growled.
“If I had not been told to come here and fetch you – by our Lord himself – I would have gutted you like the pathetic Warthog you are… that would give me the chance to see if your insides are grey. But again, you have been summoned, Momoh. Let’s go.”
Momoh looked at this woman with a rage filled scowl before letting out a bark of frustration. He walked to the edge of the roof and looked directly at Zuko, who was still standing there.
“Momoh ka Aah!!!” He absolutely boomed as he banged his chest three times.
The Agents down below all felt a chill run down their spines as their eyes went from looking at Momoh, to looking at Zuko.
“Izano… Zuko.” Zuko simply stated with a sneer on his face that was somehow visible through the bandages.
Despite his not shouting or screaming, Momoh heard Zuko’s name clearly and after a few moments of staring at him, Momoh turned around and jumped off from the building, disappearing into the sky before the woman who came to fetch him followed after him. As the pair disappeared into the city, Zuko’s armour suddenly started to crumble as his breathing became heavy and ragged and he favoured his side somewhat.
“That guy… pure fucking monster…”