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A distant explosion shook the conference room floor.

"Gentlemen," the figure at the end of the long table stood. All others around it followed suit. It was a lady in a voluptuous frilly dress that made her look like a very expensive doll. Despite the calm choice of color for the dress, a serene light blue over a frilly layer of light pink, her pale, pointed face wore a wide, remorseless grin. Running her fingers through her shoulder-length blonde hair, she threw a cold stare at the men seated around her. "And ladies," she motioned to her right, where a young woman stood. Two more women round the table nodded.

"I assure you, we will meet again. Unless you yourself break that promise. Yes, we are surrounded. They are breaking deeper and deeper into Eiserneholle even as we speak. But I did not choose you all if I thought that a mere Confederation crack down would be enough to capture every single one of you. I assure you, gentlemen" she leant forward, gripping the edge of the table, and repeated, "that we will meet again. If our number is reduced the next time, it only means that our top rank here is rid of worthless weaklings."

Her eyes scanned the faces of her top officers, the Eisernehande. They were faces of men and women scarred by experience, with eyes that had seen what would have broken other humans. Ten magicians of vast combat powers, skill and experience, they were feared in all the hundreds of worlds of the Confederation.

"Now show them true horror!" she proclaimed, raising her hands, and the Eisernehande cheered. She swiftly turned and headed towards the double door, the lady on her right escorting her. The double doors parted, revealing a long, dimly lit corridor.

The Eisernehande marched behind her, and at the crossroads in front of them, parted ways.

"Remember! Split up and move in pairs as we had instructed!" the lady by Rinyaka's side reminded them.

"Well, well, aren't you overly cautious, Eterna?" Rinyaka the Ruthless gently rebuked. Both of them were over four decades old, but looked half the age. They were sorceresses. "Don't worry, they'll return with a story to tell."

"If it's a story with a pleasant ending, Lady Rinyaka," the brunette Eterna replied with a gentle motherly smile.

"We only had three consecutive defeats, and the Confederation think that they can capture us," Lady Rinyaka shrugged. "Such impudence and overconfidence!"

"Overconfidence is a relative virtue, Lady Rinyaka," replied Eterna with a wink.

Her commander chuckled. "Never mind that, Eterna, looks like it was a mistake to set out on an offense on World Karakh. We just exhausted a lot of our supplies while conquering World Angrim. We should've taken some time to gather our strengths before launching the attack. Indeed overconfidence on my part."

Screams of men reached their ears.

Lady Rinyaka chuckled. "Looks like they found something."

The pair continued, and it was not long before the way ahead was blocked by troops with anti-magic force fields. Lady Rinyaka, sensing the spell and noticing the shimmering effect in the air surrounding them, clicked her tongue in annoyance.

They opened fire. Bullets of black crystal rained upon the two.

But Rinyaka had been in wars long enough to anticipate them. If they use anti-magic force fields, they are anticipating a fight with powerful magi. Thus, it is safe to assume that they'll be using Magicide bullets that magic couldn't block.

With just a flick of her finger, bricks popped out of their places in the wall like a swarm of bees and shot towards the advancing troops in a barrage thick enough to let none of the Magicide projectiles through. Bricks, solid matter and not magic, smashed through their force-fields with devastating force. Meanwhile, by her side, Eterna ripped out a thick metal pipe buried along the wall by sheer magical force, and the pipe started to move like a violent snake, hitting them with tons of force. Being thorough, Rinyaka summoned all the screws and nails from the pipe's joint, and sent them forward as projectiles with deadly precision, seeking the holes in their force fields. She smiled with amusement, realizing that the bricks she used earlier were the kind that had two pairs of holes through them, providing just the place for the screw to shoot through with devastating impact.

Men yelled in pain and horror, as pointed metal went through skin, muscle and bone.

"Just the courtyard, Lady Rinyaka, and then we'll reach the gate. Outside the gate we'll be able to teleport."

The tyrant queen nodded. The building was one of many that didn't allow teleportation magic to work. Basically it was to prevent unwanted people simply teleporting in without consent.

Eterna by her side closed her eyes and held out a hand to the air, the ring on her right hand flickering momentarily, "All targets crippled and unable to fight," she declared. "Oh, except that one. He was hit, but he can still fight and is faking death, waiting to ambush."

Rinyaka chuckled. "Boy, you hear that? No use faking it," she said with a sweetened voice. "I'll let you run if-,"

The trooper stood and aimed his gun in a split second. But Lady Rinyaka just tilted her head, and the nail embedded in his shin exploded like glass a moment before magic made them burn at melting point temperature, in his muscles. He howled like he never did before and his shot missed.

They glided over the pile of bodies, two figures in flowing dresses.

The corridor ended at a courtyard with a glass dome on top. Five fully armed Arachcrafts, tank-like vehicles with eight mechanical limbs were there. Each of them was bigger than a typical house.

As if surprised at seeing their appearance out of the tunnel, the five hastily aimed their cannons and set them on Magicide projectiles. A voice shouted from the lead Arachraft, "Don't move or we'll-"

BOOM.

Pipes. Every single pipe buried underneath them, even the meters-thick sewer, burst out of the ground, causing debris and boulder-sized chunks to rain all around, raising a cloud of dust that blocked the view. The sudden unearthing threw the Arachrafts into imbalance.

64-mm caliber Magicide shots were released, quite a few of them hitting fellow Arachrafts with no little damage. Many ricocheted.

"Well, well, I would've chosen a more elegant approach against them, but… Magicide bullets… it's as if they knew…" mumbled Rinyaka. They were now fifteen feet under the ground, controlling the chaos above from underneath. If it wasn't for the Magicide bullets, she would've just used her magical force-field and had fun with her tremendous magical powers.

"They knew," Eterna replied in a sour tone.

"Heh. Cover me," Rinyaka instructed, and raised her arm. She started chanting. Above the ground, chunks of mortar and bricks coalesced into a behemoth vaguely the shape of a quadruped a tenth of the old castle's size. It crushed an Arachraft with just a bang of its fist.

Victory would have been theirs, if only something that only one person on the battlefield expected didn't happen.

By the time Rinyaka realized the betrayal, it was too late. She was focusing too much of her attention and energy on the behemoth above. Eterna had already encircled her master with her Cage of Warp Spell. Correction: former master.

"Rinyaka the Third," Eterna declared. "You are under arrest for countless crimes, one of the most heinous being the genocide on Angrim. I, Eterna, am the Confederation's spy in your midst, waiting for this day to come to capture you and bring you to justice." Triumph welled inside her. She had gathered magical energy inside her ring for a year to overwhelm her master's, especially with the Cage of Warp Spell being no simple spell. And she had waited for her role as a spy to end for years, even before the war had started.

Overhead, the behemoth shattered into inanimate pieces.

But an unexpected thing happened.

The old castle, having been ripped apart so savagely by the battle, let loose some of its stored ancient magic. The magic burst out like a powerful shockwave that sent many magic-based items haywire. The Arachrafts, for example, were immobilized.

Eterna's Cage of Warp Spell broke, and she herself, being a powerful sorceress felt like she had just accidentally poked into a plug with a screwdriver. Convulsing with pain, it was with horror when she saw her former master looming over her with an unreadable expression.

"What's happening here? Where am I? M… Mommy?"

And thus, the Confederation of Worlds would want to have a word with their top class spy Eterna Hazenbach on why, instead of bringing back the war criminal alive and whole, she brought a downsized, fourteen-year-old version instead?


Author's Note:

So begins the story. This story is set in a Multiverse of magic and all kinds of things. I am a whimsical person, so never expect what you expect… haha. Never mind. Let's say that, to conclude what I want to say as an author, I write to have fun, so… have fun!

So stay tuned. Who knows what direction will this story take you?

Keep on reading! :)

DA