Chapter 3:

Chapter 3 “Your Hydrocarbons, Hand ‘em Over”

America Stranded In A Fantasy World

“Your Hydrocarbons, Hand ‘em Over”

June 20th 2040: Rudoulf City, Plusieurs Kingdom

“Impressive princess! But you still need to be faster!” The wolf demi-human commented before bringing her sword down once again, her yellow eyes met the princess' bright red ones. Their swords collided with each other with the princess having to use both her hands on the hilt, attempting to block the blade.

“What can I say? I have a good instructor.” The princess smiled but quickly lost control of her sword and balance when the wolf angled her sword, causing the blades to slip. With the princess still recovering, her opponent spun around her side, pointing her blade at the princess’s back and leaving her to stumble to the cobblestone floor.

“Again with that move Luna?” The princess scoffed, clearly not amused by the tactic.

“You still fall for it, Christina.” Luna holstered her sword while walking back in front of Christina, her flowing gray hair firmly secured in a ponytail swayed with her proud posture. Luna held out a hand for Christina, which she gladly accepted.

“Maybe I should do something similar with my hair…” Christina fiddled with her long black hair, the crimson highlights soaked in the sunlight making it stand out more than usual.

“I would recommend you do it when in battle princess, the enemy could use it against you.” Luna ruffled her hair, allowing her smile to show her enlarged canine teeth.

“Hey! And I have already told you multiple times, call me by my name. This training is between friends is it not?” Christina slapped off Luna’s hand, trying to save her hair from any more damage.

“That's not what you told your mother when you asked for an instructor. I’m starting to think you asked for me simply so we could get away from the capital.” Luna smirked, she knew why they were here. Damn nobles could never take a hint even if it hit them on the nose.

The duo continued their training, mostly for Christina as Luna could already hold her own in combat fairly well. As expected, Luna won every single dual but there were a few close shaves, Christia was indeed improving. As the day wore on both were starting to feel fatigued, but after once again being forced to the ground Christia jumped back to her feet.

“Again!” She demanded through heavy breaths, Luna could tell she was barely hanging onto her sword.

“Christina, I think it’s time we put this on hold until tomorrow, you can’t even hold your sword correctly to guard yourself.” One handing her sword Luna did a lazy swipe at Christina's sword, causing it to clatter to the ground.

“Why? Why can’t I land even a single strike on you!” Christina retrieved her sword but instead used it to support herself.

“I’ve been fighting since I could hold a dagger, you’ve only started on your sixteenth birthday--nearly two years, and in those two years you have improved quite substantially since we started.” Luna gave an encouraging smile.

“Still does not change the fact I haven't beaten you once. And you’re only eight years older!” Christina sheathed her sword.

They walked back into the castle with maids already attending to the bruised and dirtied princess before she even entered her room, leaving Luna to care for herself as usual. After a bath and finally getting the maids to leave her in peace she made her way to the dining hall, where Luna had already begun eating. Simply smiling Christina sat next to her with a maid not too far behind with her meal.

“Your Majesty, I sincerely apologize for the appalling quality of your meal tonight.” The maid placed the plate in front of her, pork with some white bread.

“Oh wow, I knew we were risking a famine but I never realized it to be this bad…” Christina couldn't help but think about all the less than fortunate people outside the castle.

“Yeah it’s pretty bad. The Autoriario Empire has demanded more tribute this year and our farmers can’t keep up, some having to use their seed crops and animals as payment. People are going to die.” Luna started gritting her teeth. “I won’t forgive what that sorry excuse of a prince tried to do to you. Thinking that he can simply just take you as his own.”

“I am honored that you are willing to put your life at risk but this is exactly why I wanted you to train me Luna, to become stronger. None of the neighboring kingdoms are willing to send aid because of Autoirario’s influence within their courts coupled with their military might.” Christina let out a heavy sigh, then a thought jogged across her mind.

“On the topic of suitors, why aren't you married yet? I can think of over a dozen noble sons that would want to have your hand.” Christina questioned, causing Luna to smirk.

“And none of them can hold a sword to save their pathetic life. I and many others from the tribes only mate with the strongest, human or demi-human; it does not matter to us. I have the unfortunate luck to be quite skilled with fighting and so far no one has come close to beating me.” Luna’s pride flared.

The two ate their meals before waving each other off and heading to their respective rooms. Entering her room, Christina dressed herself in a white nightgown before opening the doors to the balcony, high above the city she could see for miles around. Not that there was much to see apart from the faint glow to torches from the streets and buildings below. Looking to the night sky above she gazed upon the stars. Only to be perplexed by the sight of one that appeared to be moving rapidly across the sky

“What are the gods doing I wonder?” She muttered. The white light seemed to move in a straight line and at a constant speed. Not long after the odd star had zipped over the castle, Christina saw another one doing exactly the same odd movement. Chalking it up to the gods just being themselves she went to bed none the wiser of what truly was sailing over them.

June 21st 2040: Rudoulf City, Plusieurs Kingdom

Christina woke up, startled by heavy banging from her bedroom door. Glancing at the balcony doors it was day once again.

“Princess! You are needed right away!” One of the maids called through the door but didn’t dare enter until ordered to.

“Fine, come in and get me dressed.” Christina complied. In record time she was in her informal black dress with a matching skirt with red stitching. Still brushing her hair while leaving her room she nearly ran face-first into Luna who was in her silver battle gear.

“Christina there has been a development at the north gate, we need to go now.” Her voice sounded urgent. Holding out Christina's sword she grabbed it while throwing the brush to a nearby maid. The two sprinted to the stables where their white horses were already ready for them.

When they reached the gatehouse a small army of soldiers were already there. Dismounting, they ran up to the top of the wall to see what the commotion was about. At the top, the guard captain met them, an older man who was past his prime for fighting but was probably smarter than anyone else in the city when it came to tactics.

“Your majesty, Luna. We appear to be under siege by bandits.” The old man gestured past the wall, allowing them to experience what they were dealing with, but nothing could prepare for what they saw.

This was no simple bandit group, this was an army. Looking to be nearly five hundred strong, but what caught their attention was the constructs with them. Their clothes were odd, green and brown splotches covered them. They all held some sort of black metal pipe in their hands. One of the smaller constructs with four wheels with its own metal pipe on top made its way towards the gate, the archers on the wall readied themselves.

“Alright! I’m going to say this as clearly as possible! Hand Overall of your hydrocarbons and we will leave!” A male voice boomed from the construct, leaving everyone dumbfounded by the demand.

“Hydro...carbons? What is that?” Christina questioned, however, no one had an answer. After about a minute of silence, the male voice spoke again.

“I’ll dumb it down even more then. Hand over your cooking oil, hard liquor, and ethanol!” The voice demanded again. Everyone was now even more confused.

“I advise you to agree to what they want.” Luna gave a cold stare at Christina, leaving the captain stunned.

“Have you lost your mind? These are bandits, I can have my men crush these fools for--” The old man was cut off with Luna raising a hand.

“In all my travels and as Christina's aid, I have never seen such weaponry, their formation just emanates military training. These are soldiers, not bandits. We should give them what they want.” Luna looked back at the formation the supposed soldiers were in, their infantry was behind their larger constructs, some of these metal boxes having large pipes on the front.

“I agree with Luna, but I must ask if they are soldiers, where did they come from?” Christia was puzzled as to why soldiers would with no provocation attack a city, much less one so deep in their territory. Did Autoriario send them?

“Well, why don't we ask?” Luna smiled before turning to face the siegers. “Where do you hail from!” She yelled. There was a short silence before the male voice answered.

“We hail from the United States of America! We don’t wish to harm anyone, just hand over what we asked for and we will leave!”

“United States? Anyone here heard of such a place?” Christina looked around, hoping someone had an answer, but everyone was silent. “Well, I guess that answers my question. Captain, have your men gather up all the alcohol you can find, I’ll head back to the castle for the cooking oil, even though we don’t have a lot it should satisfy them. Luna, keep watch and maybe see if you can learn more about them.”

The captain didn't bother arguing, sending his troops to gather the alcohol and with Christina riding back to the castle, Luna decided to take a approach to communication. Climbing onto the ramparts, she dropped to the ground outside the city, leaving both sides stunned by the act. Brushing off the dust Luna slowly walked towards the construct, her wolf ears flicking as she picked up quite the commotion inside of it.

“I swear if anyone shoots I will fucking crucify you!” The same male voice could be heard inside the construct. After that intriguing response, a door on the construct opened and a tall man got out, his clothes looked the same as everyone else. But on his shoulders, he had an emblem of some sort. The two reached within a meter of each other before stopping.

“Greetings ma’am, quite a display you just put on for my men. Most people would have their legs snap with a landing like that.” The man smiled. “Oh, where are my manners? I am Lieutenant Colonel Richard of the American Armed Forces, leader of this forward operating party and former commander of the Toul-Rosières Airbase.” Richard took off his cap and gave a shallow bow.

“Luna Revna, I hail from the Long Tooth Tribes in the far north--wait what do you mean by former?” Luna questioned, Richard simply sighed in response.

“That is a long story and quite frankly I don’t expect it to mean much to you. All you need to know right now is I need fuel for my machines and when I get it, we’ll be long gone.” Richard stated. Luna could tell this man was military just by his speech alone, so she decided to play a bit…

“Hmm, how about we discuss this inside the castle? The princess is here and as her impromptu advisor, I would like for you to meet in person.” Luna asked, leaving Richard blinking a few times before responding.

“Well I appreciate the offer but I’m afraid I must decline; mostly because my men won’t allow me to, I risk getting court-martialed, and I like my job.” Richard answered, making Luna let out a stifled giggle at the response.

“So it would seem you are truly soldiers. But if I may be so bold to ask, why do you need this thing you call hydrocarbons?” Luna was still stumped by the demand they had made.

“Ah well, our vehicles normally run on fuel which is processed oil. But we are having to ration it out so we are having to give the tanks substitutes. They have a turbine engine meaning that they can burn anything that is a liquid and has hydrocarbons in it, meaning yes, it can run on cooking oil and rum.” Richard couldn't contain his laughter at the idea.

“Well that certainly explains your odd demands. But why are you here? Last time I checked our kingdoms weren't at war.” Luna watched as Richard shifted uncomfortably at what she said.

“Ah that's...uh… oh screw it, we got stranded here by some sort of teleportation magic or whatever, I don’t know the details. All I do know is our government is doing everything in its power to get us home, this has led us to being given the clearance to do whatever it takes to survive.” Richard waited for Luna to respond who just blankly stared at him.

“...So this explains why you want cooking oil?” Luna smirked, soon leaving both laughing at the absurdity of the situation.

“Yeah It’s dumb but I don’t have an alternative.” Richard shrugged.

“Well, you can always stay here until your...government as you call it, comes to rescue you. I’m sure the princess would be delighted to have guests.” Luna pressured, but Richard held his ground.

“As much as I want to accept that. I am under strict orders to avoid contact unless it’s absolutely needed. I would rather not be doing this, but the lives of my men come first.” Richard sighed, this was hard on everyone involved.

“Yet you're going to throw away this opportunity for protection simply because of that?” Luna tilted her head.

“I--ugh...Look, it’s been a rough couple of days for us and I’m not in the mood to argue over this.” Richard turned but with the sound of Luna stepping closer to him, he unholstered his pistol, pointing it straight at the bridge of her nose. “Don’t” he commanded. But Luna just stood there, smiling.

“It’s rare to see a man not afraid of death and willing to kill someone who just offered aid.” Luna commented.

“Fifteen years of being a peacemaker does that to you. Trust is something that is earned, not given. Lost far too many good soldiers under my arm because of it.” Surprisingly, Richard lowered his pistol.

“My offer is still available should you change your mind. I wouldn't mind hearing some of your stories…” Luna gave him a once-over before walking back to the gatehouse. The gunner who had watched the whole ordeal cracked a smile.

“Well shit sir, I would bet my left leg that she has the hots for you.” Laughter inside the humvee rang out, leaving Richard both confused and embarrassed.

“Shut it, or I swear I’ll ram my boot up your ass!” Richard got back into the humvee.

“Oh I bet she would love that!” The gunner retorted before yelping as a swift punch hit his right leg.