90% A Small World / Chapter 9: Pride of a General

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Chapter 9: Pride of a General

I awoke in the early of the morning while the sun was still down. There were still a few stars dotted across the sky.

Ka-el and I had agreed that we should return to a more bountiful area so as to better take care of the troops. He and Noire had left the night before so that he could collect materials for something he was making. We were to follow after him with the help of Goliath who had agreed to take our troop atop his back. In this way, we could travel a lot faster. While I waited for everyone to get on board Goliath, like a responsible King would; Dean approached me holding a piece of paper in his hand.

"What's that Dean?" I asked.

"It's a letter from Reed, Ka-el told me to give it to you before he left, he said it was in the dragonfly head."

"And you now wait to tell me!" I spoke as I angrily snatched the paper from him.

"Sorry kid I was a bit busy watching over those fire ants"

"And that takes away your duty to me," I said becoming very agitated," Mordred is far more loyal and dutiful than you!"

"You put to much trust in the guy" Dean spoke his voice rising," I don't even think you should put someone of his background in charge of anything."Dean was hinting towards the brutal massacre I had initiated on Mordred's colony.

Mordred, upon overhearing the conversation approaches Dean.

"Are you challenging the position appointed to me by our king?"

Dean swiftly turned his head to look Mordred squarely in the eye.

"Yes, I am!"

Mordred looked me in the eye before kneeling before me.

"My king, if you would allow it, I would request a duel against my fellow general in defense of my honor as your general. If I should lose I will humbly give up my position however if I should win I propose that you allow me to take a position that is in authority over his own"

Dean sneered.

"Kid, please don't tell me you will indulge in his foolishness"

A smile played on my face. I could actually use a bit of entertainment and this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see Mordred's full abilities.

"Ok Troops pay attention!" I yelled bringing everyone's attention to me," Watch closely you're about to see a show!"

Mordred and Dean circled each other story slowly. At a glance, a person would think that Dean had an obvious advantage, and they'd be right. Dean was bigger, much bigger and by rights much stronger. On top of that, he had that enhanced exoskeleton that makes him nearly impervious to strong impacts. The odds were in his favour. Suddenly they both paused as if a message had passed between them. Then with a twitch of his antennae, Dean charged in kicking up the dust around him. It created a thick cloud around him making it impossible to predict when he would strike. Without waiting Mordred dived into the small cloud. Seconds later Dean flew out as if he was thrown, the rest of the smog cleared away revealing Mordred standing stock still. Dean breathed deeply trying not to lose his head. This time Mordred moved first making a move as to deliver a bite. Right before he clashed with Dean's incoming right hook he ducked and slid right beneath Dean kicking up with his legs. He then quickly jumped up grabbing Dean's leg with his mandibles and swung him into the ground. Dean twisted around in Mordred's grip before he could let go grabbing the small of his body just before the abdomen. Mordred let go of Dean quickly sticking his forelegs between Dean's mandibles and his body, he struggled as he tried to force them apart. His eyes widened in alarm as Dean closed in his mandibles even more. Then in one swift movement, Mordred swung his stinger, jabbing it into Dean's head. Dean shrieked as he released Mordred. It didn't pierce far through Dean's tough armour but the corrosive acid caused the wound to burn, a small waft of steam rose from it. A smile played on Mordred's face; he began a dancing motion raising his stinger into the air. Sudden realisation flashed across Dean's face, he tensed up as he focused on Mordred's stinger. Then Mordred made his move, he spun swinging out his stinger at Dean while at the same lifting some of the dust and swinging it into Dean's eyes as he finished his turn. As Dean stumbled backward Mordred landed a precise blow in the same spot he stung Dean before. Next Mordred swung his four front legs down onto Dean's head slamming him into the ground. Then he leaped onto Dean's back pressing his head down while threatening to snap off Dean's head with his mandibles. Dean yelled but made no attempt to struggle. I smiled, this battle was over.

"Mordred has won!"

A cheer erupted from the onlookers.

"Come here Mordred"

Mordred released Dean and walked over to me kneeling before me. Dean arose from the ground looking on with disdain. I placed my hand on Mordred's shoulder.

"From here on you will be known as Mordred, the high general, second in power only to me!" I spoke loudly for all to hear.

When Mordred arose another loud cheer erupted.

Mordred remained by my side as we made sure that everyone one had climbed aboard Goliath.

"That everyone?" Goliath asked as we climbed up, sitting on his head.

"Yeah I'm pretty sure," I replied, "Elbon and Dean are watching on the back and Belle is in an around.

"Ok then let's go!" Goliath exclaimed as he stared.

A vibration traveled under us as Goliath began moving his legs, his feet traveling in a rhythmic motion, one pair of legs after the other. He started slow but soon his legs were a blur as he sped across the dust. We were traveling far faster than before. The wind blew into my face strongly into my face. I let out a hard laugh.

"Enjoying yourself Red?" Goliath called back.

"Yeah, now I know how Belle feels when she's zipping around the place."

"I don't think I'm quite that fast"

"Is anyone?" I smirked.

I moved to an area that was sheltered from the wind in order to read Reed's letter, I had been too distracted to read it earlier. I began reading.

Dear Red

If you're reading this you must've beaten that Dragonfly. Just so you know I'm the one that sent it to attack you, had to make sure you were still in fighting shape and besides I knew you would need a chance to test out the skills of those ants I gave you. Its been a while since I last saw you, you were probably feeling pretty low when I disappeared but Blade had seen when that bullet hit me. After leaving you guys on the ground he had rushed off with me in his arms. Imagine my surprise when he took me to some human wearing a white coat. The next thing I knew my mandibles and all my legs had been replaced with metal, even my antennae. That's right I'm just like you now. Right now I've just been around helping out this human guy, honestly, humans aren't so bad. But there's one thing I have to tell you, ever since receiving all these metal parts I don't feel myself and at times I awake though not remembering ever going to sleep. Its hard to cope with these strange occurrences I hope we meet again soon.

Sincerely Reed

ps. tell Amber I love her

A few hours later, as we settled underneath a tall birch tree a shout came from the troop. I looked around seeing Ka-el tottering into the camp. The carrier on his back was larger than before. The troop parted allowing Ka-el to make his way towards me.

"N...Noire...at...tacked...big army...Reed....he" His voice finally giving out, Ka-el fell to the ground.

Night fell swiftly. We had stayed at an outpost under the birch tree. Goliath and I had scaled its surface and now sat on the branch looking out to the wilderness from where we had just traveled. On the other side of us was a small town. We had managed to travel a good ways away from the city. The moonlight trickled down through the leaves slightly illuminating our perch. Earlier that day it was discovered that Dean was no longer among us.

I sighed aloud turning to look up at the stars.

"To think so much could happen in one day" I spoke.

"Funny, makes me seem like a bringer of bad luck, "Goliath replied," Since I've come everything that was building up around this place seems to have been revealed, two of your generals got in a fight and then one went missing, that flying ant seems to have been kidnapped and the one who was with him is still out cold"

"Maybe I should thank you then, can't be too relaxed," I said.

Goliath chuckled. Then he stood still looking at the grass below.

"Seems we've got visitors," Goliath said.

We scrambled out of the tree quietly awakening some of the troops and organizing a plan. We waited as a slight rustling sound grew closer. Emerging into the soft light came about eight spiders. They stared at us clearly not expecting us to have been ready for their attack. Without warning the spiders leaped high into the air spraying acid down towards us. Goliath reared up arching his back to protect us from the incoming acid, yelled in pain as the acid splattered across his back. As soon as the first spider touched the ground my troop was on him turning him into a broken puzzle. The remaining spiders maneuvered quickly surrounding my few troops.

"Now!" I yelled.

Suddenly emerging from the tall grass Mordred and Elbon brought out another set of my troops each grabbing a spider preventing their movement. Goliath delivered a sting to each one of them causing them to cry in agony completely paralyzing them. We finished them off swiftly then proceeded to clean their remains from the camp. I called together a meeting with the generals. Goliath was sent to the nurse, this position had been taken up by Belle, two other ants worked with her.

"We've just been attacked by a group of spiders; they're certainly not the type to work together". I began.

"In which case, they must've been working for someone," said Elbon.

"Most likely the same person that attacked Noire and Ka-el," Mordred spoke.

"We'll have to take measures as soon as possible," I said

"I think we should rest as pre-planned this attack makes that initiative all the more necessary," said Mordred.

"We could have Goliath be our vanguard, "Elbon said.

"Are you mad, Goliath is much too hurt at this point at least by morning he should be better," I said.

'

"Then I suppose we shall be sticking with the plan of rest then retaliate," said Elbon.

"It is much more favorable," Mordred said.

"Ok send the troops back to rest tell them to be ready for battle in the morning, Ka-el will show us where he was attacked," I said

"Speaking of Ka-el he said he wanted to speak with you," said Mordred.

"Ok, you are dismissed," I said.

"Sir!" They both chorused.

I walked towards the spot where Belle was tending to the hurt troops, making my way over to Ka-el.

"Ah, there you are" Ka-el spoke rising to his feet.

"You wanted a word?" I asked.

"Yes, yes I do, I have developed a weapon for your use" Ka-el spoke, clearly much better though he lacked his usual charm, he rummaged around in his carrier pulling from it a large pointed object.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Well your stupidness, this is a weapon used by humans, I have perfectly mimicked the design and I have designed it to channel that strange incinerating power of yours, as well as anything else you may have up your sleeve."

"Really?" I asked skeptically I had been struggling to find out how to use the power of my metal leg but now Ka-el was providing me with an easy way out.

"Of course! Just let me hook up with your leg"

Ka-el spent the next hour or two fiddling with both the sword and my metal leg using his fire tool to weld pieces together and attaching various wires. When he finished the sword was connected to my metal leg in the same way his fire tool was except the switch was on what he referred to as the hilt of the sword. He then removed a carrier from within his carrier which was shaped like the sword, he referred to it as a sheath. Strapping it onto to my back he placed the sword in it. I immediately took it back out and began to brandish it around. Then I flicked the switch expecting my metal leg to glow as it does when I use its power but nothing happened.

"I don't know exactly how your powers work so flicking that won't do anything, sorry my worthless king," said Ka-el.

I felt rage come straight from my feet to my head. I was almost as angry as when Amber had been hurt by the mammal. Then I saw a soft red glow coming from the sword, I was shocked but as soon as my mood changed the soft glow disappeared.

"As I had determined, when you get angry your leg gains the power to incinerate anything it touches, right then it was being channeled through the sword though it wasn't as powerful as when you killed that creature. The switch actually does do something, when turned off it prevents the powers of your leg from activating when on it allows your powers to flow freely making the power activate at a slight of anger. Until I figure out your other powers and their causes you will have to bring them about the way you normally do though your too stupid to know" Ka-el spoke with a smug grin on his face he definitely hadn't lost his annoyingness and certainly not his smarts.

I flicked off the switch and sheathed the sword.

"You better be ready in the morning you have to take us to where you and Noire got attacked," I said as I walked off.

"Whatever" Ka-el said as he slumped to the ground loud fake snores followed me as I walked away.

I climbed up into the Birch tree where Amber waited for me curled up into a ball. I lay next to her. It had been discovered that Amber was actually the destined queen for Reeds colony, so shall she be mine.


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