Chapter 24:


11 Kingdoms

Report: Reunion

Accessing Personal Logs: Fawn Midin

It takes the better part of two weeks to restore me to some resemblance of fighting form. Given I was able to move about easily within the first week but Jilland was worried about my chances of the injury to my chest reopening if I overdid my training so I took it easy and spent the last week training my body and improving my newfound weapon in the chaos gauntlets. I work on making improvements to them by crafting magical bullets that store spells within them that release milliseconds after impact. Granting my attacks to have two magical spells compounded in one attack, on top of the dangerous bashing damage from my fists and the bullets. Their crafting was a means of occupying my free time to get depressed on events of the past and even current issues. The issue is that it's been weeks since either Jill or anyone has heard from Tul. Jill reassures me that it is most likely that the injuries to Tul just may have been severe and he needs time to restore the use of his arm before returning to the game. But I knew better. I knew about how even a player with no limbs could still play the game and Jill was just trying to make me feel better. But I knew in my gut what was happening. Tul was alive but he was avoiding me. The last night the two of us were together I practically threw myself to him, yet he turned away from me for my protection. And now it was to be my turn to protect him and all others in the game. The one day I had between my workout regiment and my distraction with my new toy had Min explaining the plan he has devised.

We will be traveling under the continuous watchful eye of the government. An escorted army will travel with me along with Silvy, Min, and Jilland, till we arrive at a river dock. Where the four of us will board a heavily armed small ship for the coast of Ruire where we trade our smaller ship for a much larger one. That will be accompanied by the collection of military ships from not only Ruire but, Citurn, Emrass, and Topeal, which have all joined in. As the countries that make up their kingdoms have pressured the escort to Pangai where I will be abandoned. But I can’t help but feel the new Min I am coming to know, feels his hand is being forced in taking part with this plan. "You want to go with my original plan and not your own?" I say to him but I get no response other than a grunt as Min turns to look over a collection of supplies being loaded on a wagon. "You can defy them you know, you are your own man." This response gets him to turn around and glare at me for some time.

“It is not my place to go against the world government’s decision from the trial and I don’t wish to suffer at their hands for your stupidity girl.” I still fail to see the soft side of Min that Silvy told me about a few weeks, making me wonder if his thoughts about our rivalry are more than just what is scripted for him to say.

“So if I don’t follow your plan perfectly then. What you will kill me?” I ask with a stern gaze back trying to recall the way I acted towards him before the accident.

“If I must! I have a duty and honor to uphold that duty. This is why I am Ruire’s top Order player.” He says.

So Min is the Order leader of Ruire. I am not fully surprised it would be a good idea to have a man with his skills and attitude act as chief law enforcement for his kingdom. "So that's why you act like a sour puss all the time. You're nothing but the guard dog of the higher-ups in your kingdom and country." I state back emphasizing the word dog as I keep my strong gaze at him.

"You would do better to not question the power of those above you when they hold the power to destroy you." Min grabs my arm and squeezes as he snaps back at me. "I have done all I could in my power to save you. Now only fate has a plan for you."

“If this journey has taught me one thing, Min. It is that Fate only gets you part of the way.” I snap back thrashing my arm from his grip.

“Very well, have it your way then princess.” Min Turns to reach in his bag. “We can no longer wait on your healing. My men are at too much risk. You can finish your healing on the ship to Pangai. Min pulls out several collections of manacles and begins to latch them about my arms and legs. “From our studying of your power you need to be able to touch an object to warp it so I have these made to deal with that, as long as you have them on you won't be able to touch anything I don't want you to. Additionally, I have a collection of Mages ready to float you to the ship only to guarantee you have no chance of surprising us." I have to admit it's a great plan and very much true for the most part. The genesis power is only active as long as I touch an object as far as my training has resolved. But I don't let up on the idea that I played with the possibility to simply effect changes in my thoughts. But the whole reasoning for me to escape from his clutches is not only cliché but also the opposite, because I very much was looking forward to my upcoming one on one with the one that started this whole mess I am in. Still, I would feel better not letting the hacker know I am coming and from where.

“I thought we weren’t going till tomorrow?” I look puzzled at Min.

“We leave at Midnight thus I didn’t lie to you about our plan.” He replies as he leaves the room, and quickly Jilland comes running in to take over.

"You in on this too, Jill? Your Kingdom Emrass, is part of the collection." I ask, squinting my eyes in disappointment at him.

"Look I had no idea either but the government has dropped my workload and is forcing me to help in taking care of you these next few days. The actions I have been taking have raised my ranks in the player pool and my country doesn't want the benefits of my playing to go to waste." He pauses placing a set of glasses on his featureless face but then pulls them down. "No matter what happens with whoever escorts us." It takes me a moment but surely his choices of actions were sent to warn me of an upcoming action I would soon find out about as the army began its move through the city walls.

File Paused

Accessing Linked Material

Onyx Tower: Security Camera Gail Jeirade’s DC Office Floor 48

A knock is heard across the wood door, much of Gail's office is decorated in a classical look, unlike the lower floors where the walls are glass. Here her’s are plaster with a simple desk and built-in display screen that can be pulled in and out of the desk as it registers her in the seat. She looks up from her desk and shouts at the door. "Enter.”

Alex Harper walks in his playboy demeanor doesn’t even slip a single step once, despite the dark circles forming under his eyes. “I am here for my daily plead session with you for us to get the info on the Servers for Pangai.”

Gail lets out a sigh. “Of course you are. It’s been what, two weeks now, of your pestering me to hand over the classified info. And just like all those times Mr. Harper I again have to say no. You are not cleared for that info.”

"Look Gail we have been busting our buts for this info and for some damn reason you and the higher-ups keep this info separate. The investigation team was able to track down the Central servers to a collection of satellites. Of course, unless you have a rocket I could borrow we can't hunt for the Hacker where that system is. But from what we can gather is Pangai's server is somewhere on earth and it can not only be used to gather more info on the Hacker and how they are accessing the system but since the Hacker is based in Pangai we can take action to remove the info by doing a system cleanse. But to do that right we need to be at the location." Alex begins to have his eyes gloss over in both weariness and being upset at the constant shutdown he has been given.

"Mr. Harper, I cannot reveal the location to you or anyone on the investigation team. As a matter of security to assure player ranking of the game remain secure and untouched so too will the Servers. If you want your way to solving the issue. Then I suggest you start at the beginning of this whole mess." Alex drops his head in his hands.

“Gail I can’t keep doing this. The plan to send Fawn to Pangai takes effect tonight and if we don’t act soon then all could be lost.” Alex cries a plead for hope.

"I am sorry but all I can say is your answers can be found at the beginnings of all of this," Gail replies and returns her gaze at her display screen and Alex begins to shuffle his broken hopes out the door. "Don't be thick about this issue Mr. Harper, your answer is served by looking at the beginning of it all." The last words hit Alex's ears and he starts to turn around in rage but stops as something she said clicks a thought in his head.

"Thank you for your time. I will send the team to look that way Ms. Jeirade." Alex smiles and heads out of the office. Grabbing his DAS and pushing it on. "Estaban gather your bags and team we need feet in San Francisco." Alex pauses for a moment. "Yeah, you could say a message in the wind told me that the boxes we are looking for may still be there. In the meantime, I have to get a few allies together for tonight's mission. Keep your team on their toes it's going to be a long day for us all soon."

Linked Material End

Resume Source Material

Personal Logs: Fawn Midin

I got very little sleep before the guards had escorted the collection of four mages guided to my room. Where they cast a levitation spell to keep me chained up from touching the ground. In fear mostly I guess that I may have discovered how to alter the environment through my feet. The plan of Min was moving smoothly as we exited the castle and were joined by General Mikov of Topeal, and all guesses could inform me that Prince Nasam and Princess Grendel both would be stationed along our routes as well. Despite the heavy guard, however, they let Jill and Silvy walk alongside closer to me than even the Mages that held me suspended in the air. While Jill hinted that a plan was underway I had no idea if Silvy or Min knew what Jill had suggested.

Our forced march led our party to a collection of empty buildings for the transfer near the train station when suddenly a shot rings out and an explosion rips at the ground near us. Breaking the mage's concentration on the spell holding me. Mikov makes a quick action to guard at me with his sword pressed against my neck. "Those stupid fools what are they planning." He shouts at his allied partner Min who only response is the pulling of his sword.

"I don't know but we can't let this mission fail." Min Snarls. Then suddenly a voice shouts out at Min from a good distance away.

“Give up the princess, Min. She is not the criminal you and your home countries make her out to be. We are taking her if we have to." Min looks confused at the voice but to me, there is no mistaking the voice of the captain of the guard and my friend, Melissa in full wolf form likely hiding about in the shadows. If I cared to also guess the explosions creator was none other than that arrogant fiancée of mine Riex.

"The princess's fate has been decided by the majority decision of the UN council. You saw it all. The hacker is a threat to many places, not just the US and you need to stand down before actions will be taken both in and out of the game." Min shouts back words that make my trial from before seem all the more real. The strange room, the voices, it was a meeting for my life not just made up of the countries of the world but the United Nations itself. I stood on new ground as a new form of life that they had to deal with, and their decision is the threat I have following me is far greater, given the fact I am a living being. What I stood on trial for was a UN death warrant in my name. Now I knew very clearly that this could not afford to go on and I had to escape with my friends.

I take a deep breath and focus my thoughts on the chains binding me and focus all thought on affecting them. In my ears, I hear the shout between both forces going on then suddenly a small and light click. Quickly several others follow and I open my eyes as the world has slowed down. I watch as the manacles drop off me and lash off in varying directions latching to new hosts in Min and Mikov as well as several guards before the world catches up with me, I am already headed out of marching pattern and towards Melissa. Riex, lets out a laugh as Min, and Mikov, go crashing to the ground from the bindings I switched out with the Genesis power. "Always full of surprises there my dear." He replies after catching a moment of air after his laughter fest.

A shot rings out from Silvy and knocks the road in front of me halting my further progress. "You're not going to abandon the mission, Fawn. Your life is forfeit if you go with them. At least with us, you have a chance."

I shake my head in a sign of visual disagreement. “No, I am not abandoning my mission Silvy. But I also am not going to abandon those that are working so hard to bring this to the correct conclusion. By finding this hacker and turning them over to the authorities. If I go with you and Min all I have to look forward to is a one on one fight to halt the damage they are doing. But by going this way I know deep within that the answer is close and that we can truly end this threat. Thank you for all you have done Silvy, I won’t forget you and would love to see you again when this is all over.”

“You will die choosing that path. If the Governments of the UN don’t delete you then surely the Hacker will.” She cries out back at me her arm steady with her gun held strong at my back

"Not happening, I won't let them take the pleasure of killing me. I am far too important to many in this world." I don't look back at the young girl whose gun is pointed squarely at my backside.

"You're not a real princess you're just a scared game designer. You have a real-life to return to. You turn on this path then surely you cannot go back to the old you. How can you be so sure of your importance to these people?" Silvy cries out.

“Scared, Yeah Jamie Eve is, but I had to bury her long before the accident. Now only that with the strength to take steps forward to do what is right in both worlds can I truly make a stand." I look around at the scene and make out each of the players there to help out. Riex, and Melissa, are the most visible keeping the force that brought me here dispersed. Gavin stands on the train with a rifle pointed at the guards. Then I catch the glimpse of the other members of the team. Next to Gavin is Cassandra. Jilland, runs past me making his way to the train to join. While Malok and Kylie have taken to eliminating a collection of guards attacking from the far flank in hopes to create an opening. "Silvy, this is where I must take my stand if I have a hope at any life in ether world it can only be obtained at the helping hands on my friends and allies. It is the only way for me to have a chance to be me. To fight on my terms not the terms of others, so no I am no princess, I am someone though that has a way to fight back and for that reason, I must take the best chance we have to end this threat here and now. I will take up the arms and fight alongside my friends."

“You do that and a lot of people will die, including your friends and allies.” Shouts a now free Min. Who is dodging the swipes of Riex’s blade slashes, charging straight at me with vivid determination! I come to an immediate halt at Min’s words.

Min may be an arrogant jerk but in battle, he knows where to strike a wounded target and he knew just where my biggest wound stood. No, I no longer had fear for my well-being. But I still had fear for those around me. I may have already lost Tul and if I lost more friends I don't know if I could go on. At least the UN plan would surely conclude the threat and the only life it would threaten would be my own. I turn to face Min and give up when I see Melissa on all fours blocking the path between the two of us.

“No! Fawn, don’t listen to him. Doing things his way won’t succeed at doing anything more than killing you and placing the blame further on our shoulders. Going with us will reveal the true face behind the attacks. We have the anti-virus and it should at least protect us.” I smile and nod to agree with Melissa.

"Sorry, Melissa." I step past her and she lets out a whimper, as I pull back and throw all my force in one punch at Min blasting him with the full power of the chaos gauntlet sending a wave of force knocking everyone in the square to the ground with the one exception of Min. Who takes an express route through some shipping crates into a wall. "But we need to take Min along with us. Riex, be a dear and bind him up will you." I turn and look to the sky where I can only guess a camera is focused on my reaction. "Hey if you suits in the world government are watching. You dare do one thing to harm any of these people willing or unwilling on this mission. I promise you I will find a way to crawl out of hell and personally drag you back with me. This is not your world so butt out." And with those words, I have just personally declared War on the nations of the earth as one single person and I couldn't help but feel a little glad at the freedom I get from breaking the cage they put me in.

I watch as Riex gathers Min and throws him on his shoulder. I try to keep from laughing at the bluff Min is making faking a state of unconsciousness to make it seem like he is unwillingly being forced to join our forces. But deep within I know the truth that Min was fully willing to join as long as his cage was open as well. Like it or not I could use the extra muscle and I know well that Min wants a chance to face the hacker as well for the insult to his honor. He wants to stop the Hacker before and for the lives of his men lost when the dragon attacked. It was strange but in that brief moment of my punch across him, I could read Min's mind clearer than any other player of this world. A common bond of rivalry was reborn in the conflict. And I knew just where Min needed to go. I turned and began to walk back but stopped to see Silvy who has not lowered her gun even an inch from its target. I turn and walk towards my recent companion.

“Fawn! We need to get going!” Jill shouts from the train.

I walk right up to place Silvy’s gun against my body. “If you still doubt my mission then shoot Silvy. I hold no grudge with you if you are only doing what you think is right.”

“You can’t win.” She lets out a tear as her hand begins to quiver. “I must do the honorable thing and stop you.”

“I may not win Silvy, but I will only be able to solve this mess by trying down this path. I am sorry but I can't have you accompany us. I need you to stay behind and watch over Ruire in Min's absence. This is a mission only the Grand Heroes are suited to fight." I turn and look at Jill, Melissa, and Gavin. "Well, and a few handy allies, that is. I will return victorious just you see. Then we can sit back and watch the moon again sometime okay." I reach to push the gun down and she doesn't fight me. "Now I am sorry but I have to do this for your good, stay safe." And with that I through a second powerful punch dropping Silvy and causing her body to fade in the light before making my way to the train car. Kylie, and Riex, are the last to board as they make last-minute actions to shake off any pursuers along as the train begins to depart. I make my way into the luxury car where an already healed Min sits with a sour look on his face and Malok’s spear at his throat.

“You could have gone lighter on me and let Silvy go.” Min snarls. I look at Melissa and jester at my mouth.

“It’s fine Fawn. This car is sheltered from the feed. We also are blocking the possible threat the UN has on you.” Melissa replies as she begins to revert to her human form.

"Sorry Min but since you played up the rival angles so much I had no choice but to give it my all to make it believable. Still, I guess I was winging it most of the way. I had no idea what they had planned. Just that something was going to happen." I speak up and look on at Riex who makes his way into the room, followed by Kylie who has tucked her wings around her like a cloak.

"Well, it's good to see everyone could make it and then some." Riex stares at Min, before returning to address the group. "As you all know we are gathered with a twofold mission at hand. We need to gain the identity of the Hacker behind the mask of Dark Mistress and defeat the Plague virus and forces that have been built by the hacker. We can't fail on either mission or the threat has a potential to continue spreading out of the game and beyond."

“We have another mission as well to return Fawn to our world. Plans are in play by the company to create a way to transfer her out of the game and into a temporary body. Until a way to restore her can be designed. So while Fawn is the key to defeating the hacker we still need to keep her alive.” Melissa adds causing Riex to give her a cold stare.

“Yes, well I have recently gained knowledge of the server location to Pangai. The combined forces of the FBI and Interpol are headed to investigate the possibility of removing the threat from the source system. But it will take time and our actions right now will be gaining the attention of both the towers loyal to the UN's power and the hacker. While the UN threat won't be able to move till the train reaches its destination we are working on a solution offline to help out with that problem. Till then we have a bigger threat looming. The hacker knows we're coming for them but perhaps our battle would have at least the chance to shake her up." Riex states with a strong sense of confidence.

"So after the threat of the dragon earlier what is the worst she can do? After all, we are now protected from the virus." Asks a stout-faced Malok.

"Yes the dragon was a bit of a surprise but it's not the worst she can throw. Sadly in recent days, we discovered a new way she can use the virus." Says Riex.

"You mean by possessing them!" I reply clinching my teeth in fear of the possible reason for Rick to be turned in such away.

"Well, sort of?" Riex replies trying to make the truth hurt less. "We are calling it, puppeting. The subject is attacked by the virus much in the same way as the people are hurt or killed by sending electrical impulses into the body. Only these impulses are low voltage and release a series of coded shocks in seconds planting a mental suggestion or action in the mind of the user, causing their body to act against the will or thoughts of the person."

“They become Zombies!" Gavin adds in the dialect that quickly turns the room to gawk at his need to stay in character in such a moment of seriousness.

“They can be controlled inside or outside the game world. The best cases we have gained of this so far are the case of the Pirate attack on Fawn the week after the accident and then the recent actions of Rick Mathers. Fawn's former team leader and in-game father were given orders to kill his daughter. Of recent attacks throughout the game two hundred and sixty players have mysteriously disappeared from the game, we fear that this is a sign that the hacker is building an army of players to use against us." No sooner than Riex finishes his statement than an explosion rocks the train but it continues to move. "Damn, figured we had more time before they would get dropped on board.”

Min rises to stand with his weapon ready. Malok and Kylie quickly join him. As he begins to make his way to the door but I shout to reach them before they open the door. "Wait there is more. If they are like the pirate I fought then what we are facing isn't something any of you are prepared for." I begin to shudder at the thought but recall the threat that Dark Mistress made. The threat that my gift of killing the pirate was to be the first. "If we defeat the puppets then we kill the players possessed." The group making their way halts their movements.

“But the anti-virus will free them right?” Malok questions.

Min responded with his teeth gritted. "Unfortunately the anti-virus won't work unless you can destroy the infected program."

“Meaning there is no way to save the players!" Melissa responds.

"The puppets can't infect others but they are still a threat for the damage to players not protected!" Riex adds.

"We can't sit by and let this threat wander. It is painful but we must destroy them for their good and the good of others." Replies a cold-hearted Kylie.

Just then the thought strikes me and I turn to see Jill also has the thought hit him as his face turns a ghoulish grey. "Fawn, you don't think?" I don't respond to him and instead, dash for the door bursting it open to see a large horde of players clustering the next train car. There in the middle of the room is the face of our lost companion. I prepare to scream and break out in tears as I see a painful bloodstained face of Tul marching to face the group. My heart sinks at my reunion with the knight that stole my heart now standing before me as an unwilling puppet of the hacker.

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