Arc 1, Chapter 6
The Dwellers

A sudden feeling of heft stacked upon the boy's back as he looked up at Alpha, having been caught off guard with his question. The ambience in the room dulled so powerfully it flattened Chloe's ears. Tokken couldn't help but stare off into any direction other than Alpha's eyes; the walls, the door, the tables, the noticeboards lined with uncharted documents and plans…

"I'm guessing you're more interested about my family…?" Tokken assumed, vocalizing his thoughts.

"Nay more than partly." Alpha nodded, straightening his back against his chair in a formal
manner. "How did you make it this far, sprout? Did you live honest-like?" he raised his head, almost accusingly.

"I'm not a criminal, if that's what you're asking… I just lived," Tokken replied, shrugging his shoulders in slight discomfort.

"Aye, no doubt. But there's nay a chance in hell you crossed the border without notice, and less still survived the Outskirts on your lonesome."

"...I wasn't always alone, I guess."

Alpha looked at the boy curiously, scratching his chin. "Is that so..."

"My grandfather was with me for a few years."

"He made it, you say?"

"Yeah… once he saw the chaos unfold in the assassination of my parents and their co-workers, he moved what remained of the bloodline to a cabin in the woods. I was young at the time, so it's still a bit fuzzy." Tokken explained, closing his eyes to think. Despite his words, he merely frowned at the thoughts. "Grandma died not long after. Illness and shock, I believe."

"Ah, a dreadful shame, lad. I don't mean to pry sonny, but—"

"Might as well get it off my chest. Yeah, don't worry." Tokken intervened, waving his hand as he pet the displeased Howler next to him. "It was pretty rough, but I guess my younger self didn't really care. So long as I had food on my plate and a roof over my head, I just assumed everything would turn out fine. My grandad taught me how to hunt, though I never liked dispatching the animals. It was risky, but he had a shotgun just in case, and we lived in a relatively quiet area. We were… lucky, even after all that." Tokken chuckled, his head shaking in mild amusement.

Alpha almost chuckled alongside him, but he was smart enough not to make short of the boy's reminiscing. Surely, the boy understood the magnitude of his poor condition. And yet, he managed to forge such a potent emotional shield, that it prevented him from going mad. It was truly astonishing to witness such a young, pure lad act so carelessly towards such a dreadful incident. Surely, thinking back on it now would crumble his humbler, more mature heart? As these thoughts collided in the old monarch-like leader's head, Tokken spoke once more.

"Of course, when grandad died, I finally got my reality check. He passed peacefully, though; I was thankful for that at least. Guess he couldn't wait any longer to see his wife, huh?"

To this, Alpha smiled, closing his eyes in understanding. "Can't blame an old soul for wishing respite, eh?"

"No, not at all. The greedy sucker," Tokken jested, lightening up for just a few moments.

Choosing his words, the lad felt his head hang as he continued. "Of course, a kid on his own is screwed without guidance. Especially somebody as pathetic as me. So after a while of living off of the tiniest scraps I could will myself to scavenge for, I finally decided I'd had enough of it all."

Alpha raised his head to his words, listening carefully. Chloe had widened her eyes slightly towards what he might've meant.

"Even I couldn't tolerate so much time without human contact, you know? I felt I'd starve sooner or later, so I packed what little I could carry and finally left that old cabin. I finally left what my family had coddled me with behind. Truthfully, I hoped I'd die quicker. I'd never have imagined running from a few wolves would lead me straight to a village. Victus… I must've run miles back then. I felt as though my legs would snap had I taken another step. I collapsed as soon as I reached the dirt roads. Somebody must've found me, because the wolves didn't get their dinner that night," Tokken concluded, his words not doing much to calm the troubled canine.

"I had no idea..." Chloe muttered, looking up at the human with a completely new perspective. "I thought the humans had it easier..."

"Not one soul does, I fret," Alpha mumbled, finally opening his eyes to meet the boy's gaze. He was right. This boy really was a Tsuki; the lucky sod. "And thusly, the villagers lent you aid to live, I take it?"

"Yeah, thankfully that parade ends there. There's not much else to tell, honestly." Tokken sighed.

"What of the family jewel?" Alpha finally inquired, focusing his glare on the boy.

"I figured you'd ask… When my dad died, it naturally found its way to me."

"Ah, trickery does befuddle me sometimes," Alpha admitted, chuckling to himself. "I assume you have questions of your own, then?"

"Yeah… I want to know what the hell Dark Energy is. And what Crimsoneers are. And about the Syndicate—"

"One at a time, sprout!" Alpha exclaimed.

"S—Sorry, right." Tokken excused, clearing his throat so as to soothe his nerves. "Let's start with your knowledge about my family, then."

"Your family, eh? Curious you of all wouldn't know, but doubtless they wouldn't have told you squat at your age," Alpha acknowledged, nodding his head in thought. "The Tsukis were the proud owners of one of the most commercially known tailor companies."

"I've gotten that far. I want the other bits," Tokken halted the kingly man, somewhat impatient.

"Righto. They were well-known for their craft, as well as their seemingly never-ending chain of good fortune… But they were also known for their dirtier, conspiratorial business. They apparently paid Urchins to do underground work, as well as to keep off any robberies with compensations. They might've even worked with those hounds to weaken competition. Rumour goes, your great-grandfather might've even forged deals with the Crimsoneers themselves to truly secure their emporium," Alpha explained, honesty in his words.

"That... sounds hard to believe, but they were always pretty dodgy with me..." Tokken pondered.

With a sigh, Alpha looked at Tokken's belt. "Aye, it would explain your weapon's origin, lad."

"And these Crimsoneers. Who are they? They're coming here to attack again, aren't they?"

"Regretfully, aye. Crimsons are a bit of a mystery to all of us. They've been the enemies of man for as long as history dates. They desire the annihilation of all we've built; to reset all that exists in the Jealous God's image, with the aid of the Jewel-Eyed King."


"Emris! Goddess damn it, there you are!" shouted a smooth yet frustrated voice through the vast and darkened hallways of the Facility.

The anger-driven combat veteran stopped for a mere moment, exhaling through his nose like a bull. Turning his head only slightly towards the approaching doctor, Emris almost felt like walking off either way. Patience was not his greatest virtue, and his boiling blood made it even more lacking than usual.

"What is it," Emris barked, a demand more so than a question, restarting his steps albeit with a slowed pace.

Finally reaching his side, Fely spoke between laboured breaths. "When did you last sleep, you lunatic?! Do you have any clue how damaging it could be for somebody your age to—?"

"I'm going. Didn't you hear? I ain't pickin' any battles," Emris interrupted, facing forward.

"And you expect me to believe your stubborn nature won't get you in trouble?!"

"Aye,"—Emris challenged—"That's the bet."

"Urgh! Just who do you intend to face alone?" Fely demanded, exasperated.

"The Dwellers. Then maybe Yanksee, if I'm feelin' kind."

"You intend to face the Dwellers with no assistance whatsoever, whilst already drowning from your lack of self-care?! Do you truly expect Zylith to even want to listen to an Elite from the Syndicate, assuming neither Ezequiel nor Minnota hack you down?"


"Nothing I say is going to change your course, is it?"


"Then at least take Erica and Corvus with you," Fely pressured, desperate.

Stopping in his tracks, Emris finally turned to the troubled doctor. "And if I don't, you're gonna stop me?"

"...What has gotten into you these days?"

"This doesn't require more than one man. I'm capable of handlin' myself; I'll take care of this."

Seeing Emris depart so determined yet spiteful gave Fely a slight feeling of discomfort. Alas, even he knew that his position meant squat to the stubborn Guardian. Power often made an individual arrogant, and such arrogance was their common weakness. Of course, that same power also made it harder to guide or force one's understanding, so those ignored were often incapable of getting the point across. Fely found himself with no other option than to personally gather his reinforcements, plucking them from their quarters in the midst of the night.

"I do apologize for the tardiness, but I dread the outcomes of his recklessness," the doctor apologized, bowing to the two subordinates he had tasked.

Lieutenant Corvus, regarded as the Guardian's Sword, was entrusted from birth to give aid to the burdened Guardian of his generation. Tasking him was unfortunate, but his destiny had clearly intended for him to do so. Alongside him stood Erica, a Celestial lancer who wore a set of bizarrely fashioned armour, tipped with scales. She stood half a head shorter than her counterpart, but no less fearsome. The one thing keeping her from looking outright lethal was a delicate smile that adorned her exposed face, idle tufts of red hair present through her Roman-like helm.

"Don't stress, doctor. The Guardian's acting up, so nothing new, right?" Erica spoke, calmingly.

"Precisely. Let's make haste; I wouldn't want to miss rest. Not at a time like this." Corvus nodded, chuckling. "Come. I'm sure a few drinks will help quell his temper."

Raising his head to meet them with a gentle smile, Fely gave one last wave before the two winged soldiers took off into the night with hasty vigour.

"You really like your fancy talk, huh?" Erica giggled, raising her voice so as to be heard through the passing wind.

Corvus hummed to himself. "Truth. I could try a less stiffened approach, but it simply wouldn't be as majestic to the land-walkers. We're supposed to be living grace, see?"

"I'm all for it. It's kind of funny how they see us like that. Also a bit embarrassing." Erica snickered.

"That too," Corvus smiled to himself. Pointing down towards the earth, he exclaimed. "We're closing in on the Outskirts! Forest Dweller territory."

"Oh boy… are you nervous?"

"They're certainly quite the foe, but so long as we don't stir the hornet's nest, we'll be fine," Corvus acknowledged, sombrely.

"Oh? Are you degrading the strength of our race beneath them?" Erica asked, sheepishly smiling.

Turning to face her, Corvus raised a brow. "And you claim arrogance to be futile?"

Erica cackled, flying in front of him as she glided backwards. "I was just asking, silly," She teased, shrugging her shoulders. "In all honesty, I don't get how we haven't taken these guys down already. Their tech is primitive."

"It irks me to say, but they're skilled in the arts of magic and stealth," Corvus rebutted.

"But we know where they live? Why not just storm them?" Erica offered.

"Same issue as with Korrhalege. Soldiers get nervous when they're bunched up against things they can't see. Or, in Korrhalege's case, against things they fear."

Hearing this, Erica sighed. "Dirty blades?"

"Rat shit-covered blades. If they cut you even once you'd best be prepared to face a rather dreadful end. We can't afford to send our diminishing doctors out into the field."

Meanwhile, nearby...

Emris had long-since entered the vegetation-covered woods, intentionally designed in such a way so as to prevent any aerial eyes from prying on the Dwellers' affairs. The veteran muttered profanities to himself as he parted through the dense flora that aided in restricting his entry. Even as he gazed up above to the canopies—watching as the silently vigilant warriors of this rebel faction observed his every move, disappearing momentarily as they skilfully navigated the treetops to keep eyes on him— he pressed on, not feeling much more than irritation at their skittish and unwelcome behaviour towards him. It wouldn't be entirely unusual, especially considering his reputation to these folk.

As he finally made it to the entrance of the established, primitive dwelling they called their own, he was finally halted by a small group of hooded, ghillie-suited assassins. One in particular was
all-too familiar, his hood not covering enough of his head to hide his notorious identity.

"Halt, outsider," the fabled Keeper of the Dwellers commanded, his hand resting on his rapier's buckle.

"'Eve, Ezequiel. Good to see yer still full of life," Emris greeted, smirking cockily. "Mind steppin' aside? I think yer mistress is makin' a bi~ig mistake."

"You will address her properly to start with, fiend!" One of the lackeys demanded, raising a tomahawk as a warning.

"Ehh?" Emris mocked, straightening himself to as to impose his presence. With a drunken smirk, he responded. "Aye, when she learns to behave. Put that thing down before you kill yerself with it."

"Did you come here to make threats, Syndie? What is your business here?" Ezequiel asked, narrowing his eyes at the intruder.

Waving his hand at his demands, Emris chuckled. "Now, eh, I'm here for the lass. It's about her untimely choices regarding the uh… 'invasion' of our regions. I assume you heard? Crimsons are makin' their way south as we speak."

Hearing this, the Keeper lowered his gaze in thought. "We have no involvement with those devils. I think now's a perfect time to trample your country."

"Oi, don't you go runnin' that tongue out of yer mouth," Emris growled, approaching the Keeper before grabbing his shirt to affirm himself. The reckless act caused a commotion between the lackeys — however their disturbance was soon halted with a gesture from the skilled fencer.

"They're as big a problem for ye as they are ours. Now step aside," the veteran demanded.

Seeing the man before him act so carelessly made the Keeper hold his breath in frustration. Releasing his grip with a tug, he finally subsided his own frustrations, before opening a gap for his entry.

"We're letting him in, boss?" one of the Dwellers asked.

"Yes. Let him speak to the Queen. There's nothing to fear; he couldn't do anything to us anyway." Ezequiel mocked, glaring at the veteran as he passed by him with a grunt.

Emris was already running short on his patience, and decided not to retort to his taunt. It would serve him little in what he had to do; stirring a commotion now that he had been so leniently allowed entry would be simply childish. And, quite frankly, even in his pissed off, arrogant state, he knew trying to take this place down single-handedly would land his head on a decorative spike.

With his hands in his pockets, Emris glanced around him as he walked. The village was certainly a quiet, humble place; a spacious, wood wall-surrounded space with several primitive cabins, trading posts and other necessities forged from various lumbers, sticks, leaves and the likes. In the farthest end of the entrance, atop a small hill that overlooked the town, stood the most exotic of all huts; the throne room.

As he walked by, the Brigadier couldn't help but breathe in deeply, enjoying the soothing air the bountiful greenery offered so abundantly. Casting glances upon those who walked by, he soon realised just how much he stood out to this village. While the townsfolk were aware of the vast technologies life had long-since constructed a mere horizon away, they simply preferred the humble simplicities of nature. That being said, their aggressively sharpened blades and
deadly-quiet tactics were nothing to scoff at, having been known for felling groups of Nynx-suited officers silently for sport.

Passing by a makeshift training area, he couldn't help but smile at the youth's first steps into the world of combat. It almost seemed impossible such light-hearted, prideful children would one day join the numbers of this imposing Rebellion.

Reaching the foot of the stairs that lead to the throne, Emris passed by many a guard that stood protectively by their ruler, protecting her at all costs. While most did glare at the veteran, he didn't seem all too bothered by their threatening looks. He wasn't here to fight, and showing any kind of weakness wouldn't serve him well when facing the stubborn royal that stood for this miniature Kingdom. Sitting atop the mahogany throne sat the pensive Queen of the Forest Dwellers, Zylith, whilst her closest bodyguard stood protectively feet away. A bodyguard that certainly seemed out of place; her body seeming more akin to a little girl than a warrior hell-bent on guarding her employer. While her miniature frame did her little to impose, the gigantic, eagle-shaped axe she leaned against most certainly did. How someone of her stature was to wield such a weapon was nothing short of bewildering, but the miniscule jet engine embedded into the axe's blunt end likely gave answer.

This axe, much like himself, didn't fit at all in such a primitive village.

Stolen, no doubt.

"Zylith," Emris spoke, breaking the train of thought the ruler must've been set upon.

Before she could utter a word, the tiny body of the girl next to her sprung into motion, standing between the two. "Woah woah. Who the heck are you, talkin' to her like that? You're not friends ya know; back off and come back once you've learned some manners, you Syndie—"

To her ramblings, Emris couldn't help but smile broadly and snort. "I always forget how small ye are, Minnota," he snickered, pointing to her as he looked up at Zylith. "Ye really banked with this jester, eh?"

"JESTER?! I oughta conk you out right now you scum!" Minnota complained, punching Emris' chest in protest, to little effect. Raising from her seat, the young, serene authority intervened, her voice mature and knowing.

"That's enough, Minnota. If a Brigadier of the Syndicate came all the way here, I'm sure it's not for idle play."

"Ye catch on fast, Zylith," Emris muttered, cracking his neck. "We uh… noticed you've been keepin' tabs lately."

To this, Zylith couldn't help but sigh. As competent as her stealth-specialised Chameleons were, their mixed intellect often made them unpredictably efficient. Watching the axe-dragging girl return to her post reluctantly, the royal couldn't help but smile at herself mischievously.

"For the last few weeks, yes," she admitted.

Gnashing his teeth together, Emris' tone grew more serious. "I'd suggest ye cease."

"What advantage would that offer?" she retorted, raising a brow at his suggestion.

"We can't be gettin' worried about yer next moves right now. We've got bigger problems goin', understand? It involves yer likes. Crimsons."

While the estranged communities had much distaste for one another, their mutual enemy was one they both offered an equal amount of respect—and in the same right, disdain— for. With a huff, the monarch crossed her legs and leaned into her palm in thought. In spite of the news, she seemed irritatingly unaffected.

"So, the Reds are here once more, hm? I never thought I'd have the misfortune to see them twice in my lifespan, I'll admit." Zylith sighed, shaking her head.

"Yer too young to be that wishful, princess," Emris jested, earning a growl from Minnota.

"She's the Queen, dipshit," the fanged little girl spat, her voice shrill and vicious.

"Eh, 'Queen' doesn't roll off the tongue well. Too gratuitous," he shot back, chuckling devilishly.

Breathing in deeply for a moment, as if preparing to fulfil a simple chore, Minnota stepped forward once again.

"Alright, that's it," she uttered, suddenly springing the gigantic axe into motion as she raised it over her shoulder, readying a strike. Before she could quite activate the jet-propelled weapon, a voice called from nearby.

"Woah, woah! Put that thing down, sister," persuaded the female angel, who had just landed smack-dab in the middle of the hidden village's most guarded location.

As if punching a hornet's nest.

Erica couldn't help but awkwardly glance around her as guards of various sizes readied their spears, blades and bows in her general direction.

"Good Goddess… could you not act with such abandon?!" Corvus, who landed less aggressively near her added.

"I'd say my impulses are my greatest feature," Erica pridefully pointed out.

"Yer 'greatest feature' is shit," Emris complained, cupping his face in his palms.

In a world of reason and tranquillity, one wouldn't expect a brash entry to be worth more than a few awkward looks from your co-workers and rivals; much like an employee arriving fifteen minutes late to a meeting that is underway, and being forced to wriggle oneself in with the lot while trying to avoid the heart-stopping glares of those around you, particularly from the person who was so smoothly talking up until that very moment.

Of course, when considering a town full of primitive folk who had managed to remain standing against a vast empire of century-advanced technology, one would hope to at least enter with some dignity. In the grand scheme of things, is dignity really the best term to use? One might find a bit too much dignity, which might culminate into a mountain of pride unrivalled and undeterred towards awkwardly deadly situations.

Erica was, of course, within this category of geniuses. And as Minnota sprang into action, boosting towards her target with death-hailing axe at the ready, one would wonder if such idiocy was worth the kick of the moment.

Stepping in within mere inches of life and death, Corvus' blade clashed against the incoming hatchet. Gritting his teeth, Corvus rooted himself to the floor as best he could, angling his body forward so as to finally push back against the lighter opponent, forcing the girl to back away in a skilful flip. As the metal of the axe clanged against the floor, Minnota reached into her coat to produce a small, pyramid-tipped blade—a throwing knife—before flinging it towards Corvus with intimidating velocity.

"Ay, do you freaks have any beer?" Emris sheepishly asked the amused royal.

With a smile, Zylith learned forward. "No. We wouldn't waste our time dulling our blades."

"Tsk. Shame."

As the steel leaf travelled through the air, dangerously closing in on Corvus' neck, the female angel stepped in with a weapon of her own; her halberd. With a spinning motion, the spear parried the projectile with a triumphant bash, halting the weapon in its tracks.

"Sorry to disappoint, but I'm a proud Celestial, you know," Erica shrugged, her armour chattering as she gestured. "We've lost a good deal of people. I don't think we need to lose the Guardian's Sword now—"

"Shut the trap!" Minnota barked, easing two more iron blades into her grip. Just as she would cast the sharps off, Zylith finally stood up.

"That's enough," she ordered, her authority much clearer now through her potent voice.

"B—But my lady—!"

"You're upsetting our guests, and causing a commotion. I'm giving them temporary clearance."

"The outsiders—?!"

"I hope you'll respect my decision," the monarch concluded, silencing the deflating girl.

Corvus couldn't help but wipe his brow. Dealing with whatever that girl was capable of, alongside the wrath of the entire Rebellion would've been a death sentence. With a sigh, he walked up to the Queen—while also smacking the back of Erica's head, much to her displeasure—and offered a respectful gesture.

"I apologize for the intrusion of my… comrades," Corvus pleaded, bowing his head.

"Dignity, man..." Emris muttered, folding his arms.

"It matters little; though your appearance seems unneeded," Zylith mused, humoured.

"Consider us the scary-looking bodyguards of this negotiation, then," Erica chuckled, approaching the throne alongside them.

To this, Zylith tilted her head in amused confusion. "Is that so? Those words hold little significance when my 'bodyguards' outnumber yours so heavily."

"Agh! Ruin the fun, why don't you!" Erica complained, earning a chuckle from the men.

Shrugging his shoulders, Emris finally turned to the subject of his queries. "So, you're gonna postpone yer efforts, I'd guess. We can handle our disputes at a later time. We need to group up if we want to stand a chance against those bastards. Your men are clearly more trained as of now, so we'd be luckier with your tide on our end. How's it sound?"

With a momentary pause, watching the confident smirks and smiles of her sworn enemies, she raised her head to respond. With this, she spoke. "We will do nothing of the sort."

"Say again?" Corvus asked, reeling from her words.

"I said, we will not cease our pursuit. Never mind the plans for an alliance," Zylith announced.

Of course, these were far from the words the group had hoped to hear. While unity was still up for debate, it was at least anticipated that the Forest Monarch would foresee the risks and at least temporarily forego plans of the Syndicate's elimination. Hearing this, Emris couldn't help but scowl, his teeth grinding once more.

"...Do ye offer a single second of mind to the shit we're talkin' about? A sea of death's comin' and you still want to breach the dam?!" Emris exclaimed.

"See it as I do, could you? In the end, their primary interest is you, isn't it?" Zylith questioned, standing up so as to properly face the agitated veteran. "So long as we don't interfere, they have no advantage losing lives to dominate a mere forest. We could even make a pact with them if we simply helped them do what we wished to in the first place."

Creaking his teeth together, Emris' face became full of spite. Just as he would speak, Erica intervened. "It's not like that. They wouldn't lower themselves to make a pact unless you chose to revere their God!"

"Precisely. They would demand of you something you simply cannot give up," Corvus added.

Raising her hand as if to halt them, Zylith proceeded. "Even if we were to assume your words are true, and they are as savage as you say, I still don't see how we gain anything from cooperating. In the end, we lose much-needed allies while you continue to amass growth. It would weaken us enough for infiltration to ruin us without much for concern."

"Then we'll share a treaty, with conditions of no intervention during this time of need—!" Emris tried to offer, desperation clear in his voice.

With a piercing glare out of the corner of her eye, the royal interrupted. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I refuse to settle a condition with you disloyal, disgraceful pigs, do you understand?!" she roared, sending shivers down the spines of her subordinates. The Keeper of the village, Ezequiel, approached the source of the noise, bowing before the monarch. "Keeper, show the intruders out, will you?" she asked, her tone becoming eerily sweet and motherly in spite of her outburst mere seconds ago.

"Abhai, my lady," the fencer obeyed, assisting in their forceful removal alongside a few of his lackeys.

Staring back at her as he was shoved away, Emris yelled. "You're makin' a real fuckin' mistake, lass! These people will die under your reign, Zylith!"

"That guy pisses me off so much..." Minnota growled, baring her fangs as she hugged her axe.

With a chuckle, the monarch crossed her legs, watching them leave. "Humour every moment, dear girl. Every moment."

In the Facility...

"That's two names I'm curious about... I hate to say it, but you're digging yourself deeper and deeper in my questionnaire, you know," Tokken chuckled, sheepishly.

"You don't know the Jealous God...?" Chloe asked, surprised at his lack of knowledge over something so globally recognized.

"If I did, I wouldn't ask," Tokken muttered, scratching his cheek awkwardly.

With a silent nod, Alpha made a bridge with his hands as he spoke. "Och... They really did have you blind. The Jealous God, who used the Crimsoneers to enact his spiteful revenge on the
mortal-folk, Mortos."

"Mortos...?" Tokken mumbled.

"Aye. The God of Death and Annihilation; as well as the undeniably less beloved sibling between the Twins of Existence. The sister—Victus—won the larger end of the pole, doubtless."

"A sore God? Are you serious...?" Tokken sighed, facepalming.

"Such is fate, unfortunately," Alpha chuckled.

"...You're both looking for trouble. I'd be lying if I didn't find it... a bit humorous," Chloe sighed, containing the urge to smile.

With a beaming chuckle, Tokken couldn't help but pet the flustered quadruped. "So professional, huh? Don't worry too much; I doubt these thick folks would let even God break through."

"Something about that sentiment makes me even more nervous!" she exclaimed, not resisting his comforting touch.

"Hahah! Have no fear, lass! We pride ourselves in our work, we lot. You'll see; when the day of reckoning soon comes, just how fearsome we can be!" Alpha proclaimed, enthusiasm plastered in his noble grin.

But in his own deceit, a guilty thought wavered through the conflicted King's mind.

For a deity as hated as ye, there's a dab much room for sympathy.