Realism Chapter 29: The Royal Army —

"And that's the report from this morning." Kathryn stated and Kate nodded a little in response. "When we arrived on the scene all of the Spartans were already dead."

Mendores nodded and sighed. "And I'm assuming the Moderators were gone?"

"No." Kathryn shook her head. "Two were dead, and five still remained on the battlefield." She then tapped the sniper rifle on Kate's back. "We killed four before the last of them fled."

The two purple-haired girls looked up at him as they spoke. Kate was the slightly smaller, quieter one who was wearing her headphones around her neck. Standing only an inch shorter than her more confident sister. They quietly awaited his next order.

"You two took out four of them? By yourselves?" Mendores raised an eyebrow. "Huh, I guess there's a reason all the other Spartans were calling you two the lethal twins. Were there any high ranking or important Moderators there?"

"No. It probably wouldn't have gone as well if there were." Kathryn replied. "Just a bunch of ordinary soldiers. They seem to be unable to figure out our signet. So it always catches them off guard. Their items are in the storage room, as requested."

"I wouldn't bet on that, they will figure out that the two of you have linked senses soon enough, especially now that you two are becoming a threat." Mendores replied. "Intel gathering is one thing they do really well."

Kathryn nodded "What will our next mission be then? We should deal as much damage as possible before they figure it out."

Mendores thought about it for a moment. "I'm putting you two on defense. You'll escort the team that's searching the mountain." He said and he opened a door to the communications room to figure out where this group was. However as soon as he opened the door a bucket of water fell on his head. Not only did it soak him, but the wooden bucket also hit him over the head.

Kate couldn't help but to giggle a little. However the shy teenager immediately stopped when he turned around.

Mendores sighed, then walked into the room and the twins followed him in. He turned on the radio and contacted the group that was in the mountains. Once he had their location, and informed them that he's sending guards, he sent the twins off to their next mission.

After the two girls left, Estellese walked into the room. "Did you see what was going on in the center of town?"

"No, why?" Mendores asked, then he walked over to one of the many screens in the room. He pressed a few buttons on the touch screen, then it turned on and started showing what a camera watching the center of town was viewing.

There was a small crowd forming around a very nicely dressed, tall, brown haired man who was setting up a stage not far from a tree.

"Seems like he is setting up a stage show or something" Mendores shrugged.

"You don't know who that is?" Estellese asked. "That's Zane, he's been holding these speeches daily trying to convert our citizens and soldiers to his army and city. And it has been working."

Mendores tensed a little and thought about it. "Hearing that… I really want to go arrest him immediately. But I can't." He stated. "The people here are already giving up a lot of their rights to live here. People are already saying we are overstepping and being tyrannical. As much as I want to, if I start censoring people I dislike we will lose everyone. That would be tyrannical, and that is not what I want us to be." He didn't seem to be focused on what he was saying as he spoke though, his attention was elsewhere.

"What do we do then?" Estellese asked.

"We will need to hear him out and figure out why people are following him. Then fix those problems or reassure the citizens that it's fine." Mendores stated.

"If you say so." Estellese replied unsurely.

Mendores nodded, then the two of them waited and watched through the screen as the man set everything up. Once everything was setup, the man tightened his tie, fixed his suit, and cleared his throat before turning to address the curious crowd that had formed.

"Welcome, everyone. My name is Zane, I am here with information the Spartans don't want you to know, and an offer that none of you can afford to refuse. I must speak quickly, because who knows how long I'll be able to speak to you before the Spartans come and stop me, so please listen to what I have to say." He started, then gave the crowd a moment to think about it before he continued.

"I am the leader of Port Redwarren, another large city like this one on the southern coast. Just like this city, we have modern technology, but we also have radio and television working, making us even more technologically advanced then Belesara. Port Redwarren isn't always at war, we actually solve our problems instead of letting them go on. We aren't losing people on a nearly daily basis, we aren't playing games with people's lives. The people in Redwarren are truly safe, you can't say the same about everyone here. How long will it be before this war kills you? Or before the Spartans turn even more tyrannical and just take over everything. If they haven't already. They have so much control over your lives that nothing could stop them if they one day decided to just take everything." He stated. "That can't happen in Redwarren, we don't control you there, you're free in Redwarren."

He paused for a moment to let them take that in. "I came here saying I had an offer, and information. So I'll start with the information. Did you know that this whole war is nothing more than a game to the Spartans? It's just an excuse for them to take control over your lives, control that they have absolutely no right to!"

"They don't allow weapons or most magic in the city, because they 'need to protect us from the Moderators.' And in order to live here you have to give up your privacy! Ridiculous! They watch you at all times, they can hear your every conversation, just so they can 'protect us from the Moderators'." He went on, adding air quotes when he mentioned them protecting the civilians. "But are they protecting us? Spartan soldiers keep dying every day, what are they dying for? When will the war end?" He paused for a moment.

"Here's the truth, those Spartans are dying for nothing." Zane went on. "They take away our ability to defend ourselves, and our privacy to 'better protect us in this war', but they have absolutely no intention to ever end the war. Yeah, you heard that right. This war will go on forever, and they will control every aspect of your life, forever. It's pretty convenient right? But I don't expect you to believe me yet, I don't come here and make these accusations without proof to back it up."

The crowd looked a little shocked as he said that, and began talking amongst each other. Some people believed him, and agreed, others did not.

"The Spartans know where the Moderators' hideout is. They've known about it for weeks, they have been inside of it many, many times. They've been to Kadin's house many times. Did they attack the Moderators? No. Did they kill Kadin and end this? No. Because they don't want to end this war." Zane continued his speech. "Did you know? The leaders of both factions, Mendores, Estellese, and Kadin are all close friends? Yeah, I said that. Mendores, the leader of the Spartans, and Kadin the leader of the Moderators, they are both close friends. They are not enemies. It's all an act! They aren't really fighting each other! When they had their battle to take back Belesara city, Mendores could have killed Kadin, but he let him go. This war is just a farce to control you people, to profit from your lives."

"And don't even get me started on the Moderators. They are literally terrorists who think they have the right to control our lives just because they are stronger. They are a group of murderers, and criminals. And they are working with the spartans! Do you really want to side with them? They are allies of the Spartans, not enemies, making them your allies too if you remain here"

Up in the tower, Mendores and Estellese were still watching. Estellese tensed a little. "What do we do?"

"Nothing. We do nothing right now, and we let him talk." Mendores said, looking tense. "This is Kadin's fault…" He grumbled under his breath.

"Yeeeah… I'll take credit for that one." Kadin laughed, scaring them both and making them jump. They turned to face him. "I didn't think anyone would have the guts to start an uprising. Probably shouldn't have goofed around so much publicly. That wasn't the brightest of my ideas."

Apparently, Kadin had entered the room through a portal without their knowledge, and he brought Zanath with him.

"Well, what did you two expect to happen?" Zanath stated. "I mean, I know what is really going on. But to any ordinary person on the surface, yeah, this looks like some sort of corruption. Like you two are actually working together and just pretending to be enemies."

"Well, we kind of are." Kadin pointed out.

Mendores shook his head. "We are enemies Kadin. Until you stop attacking the Spartans and stop terrorizing my people. The only reason your army still stands is because you're holding that revival alter over my head."

Kadin grinned. "Still didn't find it, eh? What happened to the whole 'oh we'll find it in a few weeks' speech?"

Mendores sighed. "No, we didn't find it yet."

"Told ya." Kadin laughed.

"I haven't seen you in ages Zanath." Estellese spoke up. "How have you been?"

"Same as always I guess. Still looking for a way out of this world. It's what lead to me discovering how to connect items like those cameras to your virtual keyboard." Zanath replied. "Haven't found any leads yet."

"You should get out of your lab more often and join us in our adventures." Estellese suggested. "We'd love to have the company."

Zanath shook his head. "I've had more than enough adventure for one lifetime. It's not my thing. Neither is all this political crap you guys got yourselves into. It's all one big headache."

"Why did you come then?" Mendores asked. "Not that I want you to leave, I'm happy you're here. There's something I wanted to discuss privately later."

"Kadin said it was important." Zanath shrugged.

"It could be, if this guy is starting an uprising against us, we could be in for a real war." Kadin replied. "One where people actually die, that is. My soldiers always grab items from the defeated spartans to revive them in the future. These new people? I'm sure they won't."

"Oh, off topic but on the thought of that, Kadin." Mendores spoke up. "My Spartans took out an entire party of Moderators. I have their items in storage. They will be returned after you revive all of my lost soldiers, and only after."

"Yeah I saw!" Kadin grinned and clapped for a moment. "If only all of your Spartans were that good."

"And about reviving my soldiers?" Mendores pushed the issue. "When are you doing this? You keep saying 'in the future' but it has never happened."

"Well yeah, the future is still ahead of us." Kadin stated.

"Technically, there will never be a day when the future isn't ahead of us." Zanath butted into the conversation.

"Yep." Kadin replied.

Mendores took a deep breath and shook his head. "So does that mean you're not going to do it?"

"Nope." Kadin answered. "They will be revived, when the Spartans are fully capable of defending themselves. Until then the fear of death must remain, so it will drive everyone to train hard and grow stronger."

Mendores sighed and frowned at Kadin. "This is so wrong, your way of going about this."

Their conversation was interrupted when they heard the people on the screen suddenly scream. They hurriedly turned back to the screen to see what was going on, only to see a short woman wearing black spiky armor that resembled Kadin's armor jump out of the tree and onto the stage. She had a cape, like Kadin, with the Moderator's insignia on it. Her helmet covered her face and hair, making her near impossible to recognize.

"You've said more than enough Zane. We will not allow you to speak out against the Moderators like this. This is against our rules, and as per the rules set down by Kadin himself, anyone who violates our rules will be assassinated." The woman called out and drew her sword.

Zane jumped back and turned to the woman, then pointed at her. "Look at this! All I've done is come out here to talk to you people, to tell you all the truth! And the Moderators sent an assassin to silence me! They don't want you to know the truth! They are scared of those who know the truth!" He called out. Then he summoned his own rapier into his hand.

Mendores looked very confused. "How the hell did they get weapons in the city?"

"Oh, yeah, about that." Kadin said. "That's actually why I came here. Before seeing this guy. I figured out that if you enchant a weapon with an anti-magic enchantment, similar to your anti-magic undershield spell, it cancels out the magic you have in place to remove people's weapons. Seems like they also figured that out."

Mendores sighed and shook his head. "And why did you send an assassin? This is just making us look worse. It makes it look like he's telling the truth, like we are hiding something."

"I didn't." Kadin laughed. "That's not one of my people. Speaking out against the Moderators isn't even against our rules. She's a fake."

"What?" Mendores looked even more confused, and turned to the screen. Zane and the woman were now fighting against each other in an intense fight on the stage. Neither of them were using magic, they only used their swords and their incredible speed.

"She is holding back." Estellese pointed out. "The woman is clearly a much better fighter then Zane. When she's on the defense her skill is really showing through, she's very calm and collected, even the tiniest movement she makes is calculated, but as soon as she's on the offense she starts missing every opportunity and attacking irrationally."

Mendores raised an eyebrow and thought it over. "You're right, I never would have noticed."

"So this whole fight is staged?" Kadin asked. "That's a pretty neat idea, why didn't I ever think of that?"

"I think so, it looks like it's all an act." Mendores thought out loud.

"We need to send in the guards and shut this down. They are breaking the law by holding weapons in the city, that's enough reason to arrest them both." Estellese insisted.

"No. We can't." Mendores clenched a fist. "I see the game he's playing, he wants us to send in the soldiers to arrest him so he can defame us and claim we are censoring him and hiding the truth. If we do that he'll use it as proof that we are working with the Moderators to silence him."

"But if we do nothing, when these two are breaking the law in front of all of these people, it makes the city look unsafe and makes it look like we are not doing our jobs." Estellese argued.

"I know." Mendores murmured, deep in thought. "Two can play this game." He immediately sent a message to Fate. "Fate, this is Mendores. I am sure you are aware of the issues in the center of town by now. The man on stage and the Moderator attacking him both have illegal weapons. Please go confiscate both weapons. Arrest the Moderator, and give the man in the suit a stern warning about the rules of Belesara regarding weapons. -Mendores"

"On it. -Fate"

"There, this shows that we are doing our jobs, but it won't play into his hand. It will just make him look like a liar in front of everyone." Mendores stated, then turned back to the screen.

Back on the battlefield, the woman seemed to be winning the fight. She managed to cut Zane a couple times with her sword, but the cuts were all nothing more then little scratches. Then, suddenly, Zane's signet ring let out a bright flash of light, obscuring Zane from sight. When the light faded away, Zane was flying over the stage. He had grown pure white angel wings, a bright gold halo had appeared over his head, his hair had turned blonde and his brown eyes were now light blue. He now wore a intricate looking, cyan set of light armor and carried a much bigger sword then before.

"Leave evildoer!" Zane shouted down at the supposed Moderator. "This is my signet, this sword is a holy sword that can smite evil. If it so much as touches you it will burn you to death in an instant!" He flew down at the woman at blinding speeds, causing her to drop her sword and quickly run away.

Once the supposed Moderator had run away, Zane chased her off, then flew back to take center stage again. He turned to address the crowd, which had grown a lot bigger then it was when his speech started. "I had meant to keep this signet a secret, but it would seem the Moderators had other plans. So fine, all cards on the table." He started.

"This signet is a special signet, given only to the one true hero of Realism. The halo, the wings, this special armor and sword, it makes me look like the typical hero in any other game. It's the perfect ability for the real hero of Realism. This world, Realism, it is a game. The Alphas all want you to believe that this is some alternate universe, some other world, and you know why? They don't want you to leave this game. They want you to be trapped here forever, because in this world, they rule the world. The power has gone to their heads and now they will do anything to keep that power. They don't want to go back. I truly understand them, and I don't blame them." He continued his speech. "I'm sure they are good people, who were just corrupted by power. But that doesn't make it okay to keep everyone trapped in here for their own power fantasy."

"That is why you need to follow me, I am not like them. The game picked me to be the hero, because I genuinely care about everyone in this world, unlike the Alphas. They aren't the heroes here, they have become the villains. I want us all to get back to our homes and families in the real world, unlike the Alphas. And I, the hero of Realism, am going to lead us there. Not the Alphas. I have my own city far to the south of here, Port Redwarren. This is where I have my own military, the Royal army, and we are working around the clock to get everyone out of this world and to keep everyone safe while they are in here. We aren't running around holding pretend wars to keep everyone under control and stuck in the game. I can promise you the same safety as the Spartans do in this city, only I won't take away your weapons, and I won't spy on you at all times like the Spartans do. It's a pretty good deal, yeah? It's better than anything the Spartans can offer."

The crowd began talking amongst themselves, this was a lot of information for everyone to take in all at once.

"And my last ace, with this I have put all of my cards on the table. I have a full log of the private messages sent and received by the Alphas through their virtual keyboards. Even messages they sent before us betas entered this world. It's a secret how I have access to this, but I have it. Since I, unlike the Spartans, respect the privacy of my fellow beta testers I will not share any messages they sent to or received from beta testers. But all of the messages they sent between each other, I will gladly share with anyone who wants them. Included in those messages is a conversation they had with a boy named Thomas. Thomas is the son of the man who created this game, and he confirms that this world is infact a game." He paused for a moment to let everyone take this in.

"They knew this two years before we were stuck in here, for two years they knew this was a game, and when we arrive the first thing they do is lie to us and tell us it's a whole new world and we're stuck here. They told us it wasn't a game! It is. They told us that all the NPCs out there were alive! They aren't. They are advanced AI that have learning programs built into them, they likely had a few thousand years of simulations put through them to help them learn and become life-like. Technology can do that in a few weeks. But these messages prove that the Alphas knew it was a game all along, the messages prove that they are trying to stop us from getting out of this game, and I'm sure you'll all find the messages between Mendores and Kadin as more than enough proof of their friendship. They were just exchanging selfies and discussing which restaurants are good a couple weeks ago. So much for being at war."

Zane took a deep breath, then calmly gave his final statements.. "My name is Zane, I am the leader of the Royal Army down in Port Redwarren. If you want access to these messages, send me a message, I'll send them to you in a file that can be opened in your own virtual keyboard. So you may read them yourselves. And one last thing, if any of you distrust the Alphas, or if any of you want a better place to live then Belesara, a place without war where people are actually trying to escape the game. I will be at the city gates in three days with a small army to escort everyone who wants to come to Port Redwarren. Share this information with everyone you know, it's only a matter of time before the Moderators get me, so we need to keep spreading the truth. The only way we escape this game is together." He called out, before dropping his own sword on the stage, then taking flight and flying off to another part of town. By the time Fate arrived to confiscate their weapons, he was gone.

Mendores had gone completely pale as he stared at the screen in shock, and Kadin couldn't stop laughing.

"WOW this guy is good at what he does!" Kadin laughed. "This just got a thousand times more interesting."

Estellese slumped down into a nearby chair. "That's not funny… People won't seriously believe him, will they?"

"I'm afraid they probably will." Zanath stated and leaned back against a wall. "This war between you two and Kadin has made you all look bad. Although it would seem like that alone was only part of it, if he really does have access to our message history, that kinda does give away the fact that we're all friends." He stated. "And I believe that he does have that access, those messages he quoted seemed to have been picked out on purpose, as a direct statement to us to prove he does have it."

"Yeah, that sounded like he was being honest about that." Kadin leaned back against another wall, but was still laughing. "I seriously want to know how he did that."

"Kadin, your head is also on the chopping block here. It's not just us." Estellese pointed out. "Word about this will no doubt get out to the Moderators too, and you'll lose your people just like us."

"I know, I know. But that was just so unexpected, and that face." Kadin pointed at Mendores. "Oh god that face you made when he started reading Thomas's message to us." He continued laughing.

"Are you going to assassinate him?" Mendores questioned.

"Umm, no." Kadin answered.

"Isn't that what the Moderators do? Assassinate people they dislike?" Mendores questioned.

"We assassinate people who break our rules. Which Zane has not done yet." Kadin shrugged. "You gonna arrest him? That's what your Spartans do."

"No… He didn't break any laws other then having a weapon in town. I can't." Mendores sighed and sat down.

"We have to do something!" Estellese argued.

"We need to get our own side out." Mendores was starting to nervously tap his fingers on the arm of the chair. "And Kadin, can you please not screw this up like you do to every other time I try to prove myself to our people?"

Kadin held up his hand as if signaling 'stop' and shook his head. "I was just having fun and trying to steer everyone in the right direction. I never had the intention of things getting this bad. I'm genuinely sorry about that." He sighed a little and shook his head. "I won't mess with this one, this is too important. It really looks like he's trying to turn this new group on us, and if that happens a lot of people will actually die and we won't be able to gather a possession of theirs to revive them. That's not what I want."

Mendores looked a little surprised. "I hadn't expected an apology, but thanks." He replied. Now that the crowd in the center of town had cleared, and Fate picked up the two enchanted weapons Zane and his attacker had dropped, Mendores changed his screen to watch Zane walking through the streets. He had returned to his normal appearance, with his brown hair and eyes along with his fancy suit. Mendores briefly turned to Kadin. "I'm sorry for being an ass." He seemed to struggle a little saying that, but said it to Kadin nonetheless, and as soon as the words left his mouth he turned back to the screen.

Kadin laughed a little and gave him a brief pat on the back. "Now that's one thing I didn't expect to hear in a million years. Thanks, although honestly I wasn't much better."

Mendores nodded and watched Zane on the screen. Zane walked into a cafe where a short, white-haired woman had already saved him a seat at a table. The woman wore a fancy and expensive-looking white and gold blouse with black pants and knee-high boots. She had blue eyes and long, straight white hair. Mendores listened in as they discussed nothing of any real importance.

"I made it back from my dungeon run, it was a pretty big success if I may say so." The woman replied. "I ended up taking on a tier five dungeon on my own, there was plenty of steel equipment."

"Yeah, I'd have to agree that sounds like it went really well. I had a relatively uneventful day. Did my speech and got attacked by the Moderators." Zane replied, then briefly gestured towards the invisible camera that was watching them in the corner of the store. "I really hate it in this city, we seriously have no privacy."

The woman glanced at the invisible camera, then turned back to him and nodded. "How much longer do we need to stay here?"

"A couple days, then we'll escort everyone to Redwarren where they can be free again." Zane replied. He shot a glance at the camera again, grinning a little as he said. "We will have Sasori, Chuck, and Emily alongside us to escort everyone back home." He didn't look away from the camera until he finished that statement, as if he knew Mendores was watching and he wanted to rub it in that he had converted Chuck and Emily to his side. "Chuck and Emily are more then equipped to protect the people coming with us. And Sasori will be our ace to stop the Spartans or Moderators if they try and stop us."

"Sasori?" Mendores murmured.

"I've heard of him!" Estellese jumped in. "Rumors have been going around a lot of social circles of this 'Sasori the immortal' who claims that even us alphas can't kill him."

"I killed that guy." Kadin interjected. "He was a big metal dude who kept repairing himself of any damage taken. I portaled him into an active volcano and I saw him fall in."

"Kadin thinks he killed Sasori." Zane laughed on the other side of the screen. "He didn't. He can't."

"Apparently he's not dead." Zanath shrugged. Although Zane's perfectly timed comment was clearly getting under Kadin's skin. It was almost as if he could hear Kadin.

"What are we going to do to counter everything he just said?" Estellese questioned, bringing everyone back on topic.

Mendores thought about it for a moment. "I'll put it in the newspaper tomorrow, and we'll send a free copy to everyone. It'll explain our side of the story, reassuring everyone that while we used to be friends, Kadin and I are still really at war. Explaining that despite the information we had from Thomas, we still do not believe this is a game. We've met and befriended the non-human races and they show clear signs of sentience. They are alive. And that, as we said before, the rules in this city may be very restrictive but they are here to keep everyone safe. Not just from the Moderators, but from anyone who wishes to harm the citizens. We have almost completely ended crime in this city for a reason." He explained. "This is just a 'the grass is greener on the other side' situation, and I'm going to say that. We don't know this guy, and his own city likely has its own dark secrets. At least here we are upfront and you know what you're signing up for when you live here. Who knows what will happen over there? In addition to that, I'll go give a few speeches around town to explain all that personally."

"Sounds good." Estellese replied. Kadin nodded in agreement.

"Alright, that's the plan then. I'm going to get to work on that immediately." Mendores said, "Thanks for the support everyone." He added before quickly leaving the room.

Over the next three days Mendores and Estellese were rushing around, trying to correct the record. Trying to send their side of the story out to as many people as possible. But with each passing day, more and more people were disappearing from the city. Spartan soldiers were resigning left and right. Almost all of them saying that after they read the personal messages they decided to leave.

On the third day Mendores and Estellese did the only thing they could. They waited at the front desk for the Spartans who were resigning to show up. A lot came through and quit. Towards the end of the day they saw Chuck, Emily, and William walk into the building. "We are here to resign." Chuck started.

"Why?" Estellese asked.

"I can't speak for them, but I no longer trust either of you." Emily stated. "Amy was right, the Spartans couldn't be trusted. I only hope she can see for herself that she made the same stupid mistake."

"What happened to Amy? Weren't you two together?" Estellese questioned.

"We broke up before I joined the Spartans. She joined the Moderators instead." Emily stated coldly. The tall woman with long, braided red hair handed over her badge. "I wish you the best of luck. But I can't support this anymore." She added, before turning and walking away.

Chuck was next to speak, the burly, 6'5" tall man still had his bible attached to his waist as he placed his badge on the table, almost slamming it down. It was clear that he was angry and was trying to hold it back. "I was close friends with Sarah. Both her and my son died in this war. Now that I know that this was all for nothing, I want nothing more to do with you people."

"We are working on reviving them both." Mendores insisted.

"I don't believe anything you say anymore." Chuck stated, then turned and walked out.

Hearing Chuck speaking Fate stepped out into the lobby and saw him leave, then she saw William walk up to the front desk and hand over his badge. "William!" Fate called out and rushed over to him. "What are you doing?"

"Leaving Belesara. You should come with us." William stated. "We've lost so many friends already, let's just get out of here before the Spartans lead the rest of us off a cliff." William stood at around 6'4", he had short black hair with blue eyes and wore a fancy white shirt with a gray blazer, along with black pants. He would look like he was about to attend a professional interview, if his clothes weren't untucked, stained, and wrinkled. He wasn't as strong as Chuck, he looked pretty out of shape.

"They aren't going to do that." Fate insisted. She was a little tall, standing at 5'6", but standing next to William made her look much smaller. She had long black hair and wore a black dress, much like she did when her and William first met at the beginning of the beta tests.

"Did you read the messages?" William questioned.

Fate lowered her head. "Yeah..."

"They can't be trusted, they don't have our best interest at heart. It's their fault we are still stuck in this game, if they hadn't tried to mislead everyone into thinking this was an alternate universe we could've found a way out of this game already! And maybe some of the people we lost would have survived." William argued. "You need to come with us."

Fate shook her head. "All things considered, I trust them more then I trust this Zane guy. There's barely anyone left in our group now, we need to stick together."

William shook his head. "No. If you and Elliott want to stick together, then come with me. I won't stay here. I can't." He stated, then he left.

Fate watched him go, and for a moment she seemed to be thinking of whether or not she should go with him. In the end, she remained undecided and walked back to her room in the tower. The group she had met when she first entered this world was getting smaller and smaller, and it was clear it was starting to weigh on her.

By the end of the week Mendores and Estellese made their way into the records room to go over everything that had happened.

"How many did we lose?" Estellese asked.

"About thirty percent of the civilians in the city, and a couple hundred Spartans. We still have a few hundred Spartans left, but there's a noticeable hole in our forces." Mendores murmured.

"Kadin was saying he lost a few of his Moderators too, but not many." Estellese added to the conversation.

"Yeah, I heard. He doesn't have many Moderators to begin with, and the few he does have are generally criminals. They wouldn't be allowed in Redwarren anyways." Mendores explained.

The two of them silently began working through the paperwork needed to document everyone that had left.

It was a few hours later that they were both startled back to attention by a familiar voice.

"There you are!" Alicia angrily shouted at them.

They both jumped up from their work and looked up at her. Alicia herself had not come in person, but her spirit was standing in the room with them. Before they could speak she started talking.

"What the hell is going on with you humans? Seriously! Since the moment all these extra humans entered the world you've all been running around killing everyone in sight. And now that you're finally, somewhat, getting that under control suddenly you all start running around killing each other! Seriously, how barbaric is the human race? Are you all just a bunch of sociopaths? Who the hell goes to war with their own kind? I thought that with you four as leaders things would be set straight. But you humans can't even get along with each other, how is this alliance with the elves supposed to work?"

Both Mendores and Estellese were shocked and surprised that she was here and yelling at them. It took them a moment to collect themselves and they at first weren't sure what to say.

Mendores stood up. "It's just Kadin, he's out of line right now and is attacking us. But we are working on reeling him back in. We've had a rough week, I'm pretty sure that after what just happened to us that Kadin will cease the attacks."

"It isn't just Kadin." Alicia stated. "We've been watching you all for weeks, we saw the war between you and Kadin a while ago. Just this morning our scouts have found out that the humans in this 'Port Redwarren' city are amassing an army with the clear intent of attacking you. In addition to that, my citizens have been going missing for the last several weeks. We've lost Crystal, Lillith, Lynn, and many others. For weeks we didn't know where they were, and our spies just got a strong lead as to where they are. They are being held captive by humans in both Era city and Port Redwarren. They are being used for experimentation and slave labor, because humans do not believe they are real, living creatures. Do you mind explaining what the hell is going on? We are supposed to have an alliance, these things were supposed to have been taken care of."

"We tried everything we could to tell them that this world was real, that you all are alive like we are." Mendores started. "We don't have any power over the people outside of our two cities, and nobody from our two cities has acted in this way. The humans in Era city and Redwarren are not part of our alliance. They have crossed a line with these actions against the elves, we won't defend them if you choose to attack them."

"We already plan to attack them, regardless of your feelings towards them. But you are supposed to be keeping them in line, we trusted you four to lead the humans and stop them from doing things like this." Alicia argued.

"Let us help with the attack then." Estellese spoke up.

"No, this is an elven problem. You humans caused this, we don't want you involved any further." Alicia stated.

"Crystal is a very close friend of mine. I can't stand by and do nothing if she's in danger. I only wish I had known of her disappearance earlier." Estellese argued. "You can't stop me from going to find her. This mission to save them will go a thousand times better if you allow us to get our own military involved. Please, this is for the safety of your people, it's in their best interest. And we need to draw a clear line in the sand on where we as humans stand in regards to things like this. If they are going to act out of line, then we must be allowed to put them back in their place, to show the world that this behavior is not acceptable."

Alicia paused for a moment to think about it.

Mendores looked shocked, she wasn't usually good at speeches so that one came across as completely unexpected.

"Fine, you can help. But this is our war, and we are keeping an eye on you humans." Alicia stated. "We are gathering intel and planning out our strategy, and will inform you when we decide on what day to attack."

"Fine by us. We need some time to prepare anyways." Estellese replied.

"I will inform Kadin and we will likely do our own intel gathering and skirmishes in the meantime." Mendores replied.

"Whatever you want to do. You're still in hot water until this gets resolved." Alicia stated, pointing directly at Mendores as she spoke. Once she was done speaking her spirit vanished.

Mendores turned to Estellese. "I dunno where that came from, but that was a nice save."

"I genuinely care about them, and I really would have gone by myself if she didn't let us join. Crystal is a close friend, and I am also friends with Alicia and Lillith." Estellese replied. "It wasn't some prepared speech, I really meant every word I said."

Mendores nodded. "We need to get to work on a plan then. I will inform Kadin and Zanath."

"And I will work on gathering our attack force." Estellese replied. "You can lead the army, as usual. But I am taking control of a small group to go on my own personal mission."

"Who are you taking?" Mendores asked.

"I don't know yet. Fate for sure, maybe the twins. We're going straight to free Crystal, then we are going to execute Zane. Nothing you say will stop me now, he needs to die, I will not let him get away with this." Estellese insisted.

- Next Chapter: Corruption -