I followed my friend down the dark corridors of the castle, panting as I ran, barely keeping up with him even though he lugged around his sniper rifle and MAC 10. It had been almost a week since we came out of cryo-stasis to find that the situation had only gotten worst, the evil magic had overwhelmed the entire North American continent with the exception of a remaining strong hold in the northern part of Canada and Alaska. So far we had not been able to contact anyone because our long range radios are down from neglect, hell, the only reason we came out of cryo is because some of the pods came offline and ejected their occupants with a dose of wake-up shots. Now we were on our mission to investigate an abandoned castle that turned out to be not so abandoned after all. Then all of a sudden, as we came to an intersection, my friend stopped running, flattened himself against the wall and motioned for me to do the same.

"What is it Chan?" I asked as he poked his head around the corner then ducked back around.

"Small patrol, three elves, a werewolf and four goblins" he said as he pulled out his MAC 10 and screwed on the suppressor. "You get the other guys, I'll get the wolf. Three, two…"

We jumped out into the dimly lit passageway with the monsters about eight meters from us, shocked by the sudden entrance, but they would not be for long. I raised my assault rifle, which if you did not know: was an AK-47 with a red dot sight, folding stock, extended magazine and a suppressor, the rifle had a tally of all the kills I had made with it and there were seven more to add to the count. I put the rifle to semi-auto and but one shot into each of my targets, then swept them again to make sure that they were dead. My friend on the other hand had his MAC 10 ready and unloaded on the wolf as it charged; the bullets marched upward to carve out a path along its torso, neck and head. The wolf collapsed and we marched forward on semi-auto, putting headshots in each corpse to make sure they were well and truly dead, then continued running to our destination.

"That took too much time Sam, we got to get moving, extraction chopper is on the way and we need to get to the courtyard before they really get some meaningful numbers after us." He commented as he ran, adrenaline aiding his pace.

"Yah yah, I know, but I only have 42 bullets left including the ones in the magazine and I'm not going to waste them" I replied, still panting to keep up with him.

Unfortunately to my luck, we ran into another patrol as we ran through another intersection and I felt a hard thump to my chest that winded me and sent me flying backward, although I had time to see my attacker before I slammed into the ground. Chan sent a burst of bullets at the wolf that struck me and emptied the rest of the magazine into the remainder of the patrol. Then he ran forward drawing his switchblade and stabbed the three inch blade, and some of the handle, into the werewolf's eye socket, then made a surgical incision through the liver then sliced through the neck. With the patrol disposed of, he rushed to my side and helped me up.

"you okay?" he asked with a hint of concern, as I inspected the injury. Apparently the wolf had attempted to stab Chan and gut his stomach as he passed, but had missed and slammed straight into me, right in the stomach. I was lucky that the doc and the colonel had forced us both to put Kevlar overlying trauma plates underneath the combat rigs, otherwise I would have been dead on contact, but as it was, the strike had left me relatively unharmed with only two punctures in the MOLLE webbing to show that I had actually been hit. Unfortunately those two punctures had gone through my water canteen as well as one of the lenses of my reading glasses that I had brought along in case we found a library in the god forsaken place.

"I'm fine" I said as I finished my inspection and regained my wind. "let's go, before anyone else comes along" and resumed running.

it seemed like forever as we ran. the corridors seemed to twist and turn and intersect so much that it seemed like we ran into the same intersection or sharp turn more than several times. the only thing that kept us sure and on track was the map of the castle on the PDA, superimposed over a GPS system.

We emerged into the light of the morning as the courtyard stretched out in front of us, beautiful statues at intervals along some narrow paths that seemed to flow like water in a hypnotic dance that gave the entire place a feeling of peaceful isolation. I was still surprised that the beauty of elfin work still thrived in the midst of an empire of evil, but I was on a mission and this was about to go away very soon. We heard the chopper before we saw it, and when we did, it was a sight for sore eyes that had been in the gloom of a goblin castle, but there were enemies spilling out of various doorways on the other end of the courtyard and they launched arbalest bolts at us and the chopper.

"Get in!" yelled a soldier as his buddy grabbed the chaingun, covering us as we climbed in to find a scientist-type person in a cut off lab coat, with an M4 peeking over the shoulder of the chaingunner and letting off a burst every now and again.

"Hello" he said as he noticed us "you got the stuff?" he asked as he emptied the magazine, and then fumbled around for another one.

"Yeah, we have the merlinium" said Chan as he joined the guy at the door with his rifle, staring with one eye through the sight and at the readouts with his other, and let off a shot, grunting as the M200 slammed into his shoulder.

"Good, now let's talk about this after we are out of danger" said the scientist, then he turned and signaled the pilot to lift off before reloading his rifle.

I joined them at the side of the chopper as it started lifting off and began picking off some of the ones that were getting a bit too close for my comfort, but that is just me, my comfort zone for an enemy is about 100 meters which is about what my AK is good for. As the chopper finally reached altitude, I handed Chan the detonator to the bomb we had set in the core of the castle before we had found out what its inhabitants were, and sat back down as the scientist did the same while Chan moved to have a seat on the other side of the scientist where he could keep a lookout for enemy fliers.

As it turned out, there were two of them. They were actually darkness fairies holding ballistae.

Perhaps I should alleviate you on what various fairies look like along the way, it gets confusing, darkness fairies are actually the child of a regular fairy and a demon, they are born and bred only during times of war or extreme worldwide tension and are not really what you would think they are. They are about five foot two and very strong, as you should have noticed, and they tend to have very prominent chins with large eyebrows over eyes that have a blue iris with no pupil (as opposed to a regular fairy who has a softer face and green eyes with an abnormally large pupil). The wings tend to be very batlike and each is about eight feet long by 4 feet wide at the widest point, although they can fold them in like you would normally imagine, they add about two and a half feet to their height when they do. Another feature about darkness fairies is that they are the only ones among fairy kind that has a male gender, in fact, all of them are male and completely sterile. Most fairies just reproduce in a way similar to a single celled organism , building up magic until they pinch in the middle, separating and instantaneously regenerating the half of their body that they seem to be lacking at that point, generating a pair of perfect clones. Most of their culture is built around their specific elements and is very complicated but explaining it all would take away too much of the story so this is where I will cut off.

The ballistae bolts actually missed the chopper and both fairies were promptly shot down, one by .44 to the face and the other by the chaingun that tore the poor guy in half.

"Alright guys, we are clear of the danger zone, blow the place up already" yelled the pilot from the cockpit, and Chan depressed the button on the detonator to the miniature nuclear bomb that sat waiting in what turned out to be the wine cellar of the castle. A second later, the entire area was filled with light and an awful noise as an entire gram of uranium 235 detonated to raze the castle with 90000000000 joules of pure energy.

As the blast expended itself, the light faded and I let out a small breath I had been holding in through the entire event then leaned my head against the headrest of the seat and buckled the belt.

"finally, sleep"