Part 1

Border overlaying Albion and the Jade Empire 9th January 2013 - 22:30

The battle became intense as the night got older. Just like the general of the Jade Empire's Frontline Advance Troops has surmised, even though overwhelmed with great numbers, the knights of Albion were holding their grounds.

Their regular combat troops had to keep healing their wounded and had to send them back to the battlefield just to cover the difference in strength. For the 35 year old general the Jade Empire's Frontline Advance Troop, Liu Shao Xing could only imagined these kinds of feats akin to heroes told on fantasy novels or on those over-rated TV shows. He could only watch in amazement as the battle progress.

"Just what you'd expect from the Kingdom hailed as the strongest... they're tough."

*slash

"Gerard, make sure to give more distance when you try to heal yourself or else..." Ace slashed one of the soldiers that came on behind Gerard as he was trying to heal himself.

Unlike those depicted in modern games such as RPG's or MMORG's you can have 'hit points' or 'HP' as astronomical as your level and once depleted its 'goodbye' and you're KOed. But in the Midnight Congregation such levelling or HP system simply does not exist, pain is your only enemy when dealing with damage, for when you are hit by any attack the REAL ILLUSION would send signals to your brains and will toll your body for the received attack, the more damage you receive the more it depletes your mental and physical stamina, as the individual's stamina is depleted it becomes harder for that individual to maintain calmness. And once panic over runs the individual's system and give in to that overwhelming pain, the more real it gets, and the more closer the individual gets to an actual death.

"Gerard, are you alright?" Kia's concern although rare, was something Gerard was quite thankful, the two who always nicked-picked each other for just about anything simply could not do it tonight. Their enemies are serious, as if their lives are at stake ... no, their lives are indeed at stake; their very ideals are what supports them and becomes their reason to stand up against Ace and the others.

But, the same were true for the Ace, Kia and Gerard. They too have something they want to protect, their very ideals, which is simply being destroyed by this war.

Albion's ideals' was to create a kingdom of mutual existence with other kingdoms. To create a community different from the one's being ruled by those 'politicians', politicians who have been going on self preservation rather than making the country grows as a nation. Albion simply did not want to destroy it, by letting those government politicians know of the existence of the Midnight Congregation, but if this war grows to the point that the public becomes involve, knowledge of the existence of the Midnight Congregation would be high and the politicians would make its move, Whether they would use the congregation to their own or have it completely destroyed. Either way the end result would be fatal to their ideals.


Kia and Gerard both believed in the ideals that Albion proposes and that is their sole reason as to why they decided to joined as their Inhabitants and even became retainers just to protect that very ideal. They needed to end the war as fast as they can.

"The numbers has not lowered one bit..."

"No, I think it's even increasing."

Kia pointed to the red-scaled Lizard like creatures approaching them from their twelve o'clock.

These Lizard like creatures known as HERTADIs that are now joining the fray are called SERVANTs which served under a contract with SUMMONERs. A SUMMONER if with high enough intelligence can summon hordes of these SERVANTs to aide in their battles.

SERVANTs vary from the location of the kingdom, as they take in a form closest to each G.o.d that hosts them, for both Albion and the Jade Empire which is hosted by the 'Dragon G.o.d of the East', SEIRYUU. The creatures that vastly roam their territories would be scaled type creatures. And HERTADIs are creatures that are easily contracted because of their low cla.s.ses. These SERVANTs are bounded by a contract of strength if you are strong enough (mentally and physically) they will form a pact with just about anyone;

This can be one of the biggest variables in any battle as they can be summoned and re-summon as long as the SUMMONER is still capable. Of course summoning these creatures is one thing, but controlling them is another. If the summoner is low on mental stamina (depleted by long continuous summoning or receiving damages from enemy attacks) and is unable to keep his mentality up, will increase the probability of the SERVANTs to go on a rampage and start attacking both enemies and allies alike. So summoners are always positioned in places where direct attacks from enemies were hard, to reduce these mental stress, and will be able to summon and re-summon as needed.

Kia and Gerard, both who have yet manage to make a single contract with any SERVANTS found a big difference in battle powers against their opponents. They are simply not the same as those who they have battled during those skirmishes from back on days of those minor encroachments.

"Sir Ace... Can't you summon something up?"

*slash

"Yeah, something big would be nice."

*thug... thug... thug...

"...Sorry, my forte is with the sword"

*slash... slash... slash...

"Then, how about..." all three of them directed their gazes at the girls wearing maid uniforms, as if expecting something from the King of Albion's personal knights... but made an immediate conclusion... 'Those girls are no summoners.' The JUUSANKA excelled in their weapons of their choices, these girls did not even bother using magic nor did they even bother to summon. Kia and Gerard who would from time to time in order to settle gaps in between attacks cast magic, but the JUUSANKA who were true to the core knights, wielded nothing more but their WEAPONs.

"As to be expected, to the kingdoms of knights. They are only using WEAPONs; if we can keep this pace up we can over run them with our numbers."

It was not meant as an understatement, mockery or anything else, but simply stating a fact. The general of the Jade Empire's F.A.T. was now seeing light in their battle against the Kingdom of Knights. He might have even concluded that they have already won the battle.

With Albion's main forces dealing with a much stronger threat in the south side area of their territory, the possibility of the Border Patrol together with the JUUSANKA receiving any reinforcement anytime soon was low.

How they could find an opening will be their only saving grace in this battle of attrition.

Part 2

Border overlaying Albion and the Jade Empire 9th January 2013 - 24:12

Without any other means to combat multiple waves of attack from Jade Empire's more superior number, Ace as the leader of the defence team came up with a rather risky bet, to place the Jade Empire's Army into confusion by disrupting their command center alone.

"Kia, Gerard. I'm making my way to the enemy's command center... if this takes too long, our stamina won't be able to last too long."

"...Affirmative!" The two for the first time in their lives got themselves into sync.

"I'll be there in one 'CLICK'."

In the illusionary world of the Midnight Congregation, not everything is that of illusions, although the SLATES are indeed made by nothing, but the SKILLS to wield these SLATES or WEAPONs made by the DDS are no illusion. Other than the fact that the wielder needs to concentrate so that he could maintain the image of the illusion and the WEAPON itself, one must still use his own body to do combat with another.

SENKOU [千光 lit. thousand flash], is one of such SKILLS, this particular skill enables any inhabitant of the Midnight Congregation to move from one place to another in an instant. The distance by which SENKOU is measured is coined 'CLICK', although it varies from individuals through training, one 'CLICK' is a minimum of 3 Kilometers and a maximum of 5. As one constantly trains, an individual's 'CLICK' could even reach a maximum of 10 Kilometers or more.

Ace who is one of the veteran knights in the kingdom of Albion, through rigorous training had enough skill to take him instantly to the enemy's command center.

"I think it is about time to show the world that the t.i.tle of the strongest kingdom is not just for show."

*CLICK

Liu Shao Xing, the general of the Jade Empire understood tactics used in the battlefield, variables like numbers, terrain, and command can very well change the flow of battle. These are common sense that even a child can distinguish. By overwhelming a smaller army with a larger one, anyone could picture how the events would turn out. But, Liu Shao Xing was betrayed by this common sense. For this 35 year old general who has been governed by the world's common sense he could not believe his eyes, not only were the Albion Knights holding their ground against the Jade Empire's sheer number, they were now performing a major offensive against number thrice their own. The man, who was fighting just right outside their border, was now right in front of him.

With great respect at the general of the Jade Empire's F.A.T. as a warrior and general, Ace wielding a sword-guard less 'chokutou' (a straight edge katana) on his right hand and its 'saya' (scabbard) on his left, spoke in the tongue his enemy could understand as he readies his single strike against him.

"Zhǐyǒu mǒu xiē sǐwáng"

...Only certain death awaits you...

Death in the Midnight Congregation is something they can't absolutely allow; by restraining the ratio of pain they could minimize the possibility of an actual death. For the Midnight Congregation they could not afford deaths since this will certainly trigger the government to investigate at any unexplainable deaths.

But the feeling of being stab could very much send the body traumatized; one could have momentary body paralysis for certain time or worse a pain that could forever render you immobile (when such outcome does presents itself, memories are erased and that person is forever dispelled from the Midnight Congregation).

The general was now seeing his last moments in this battlefield, General Liu was satisfied; he fought hard for his ideals which he thinks most people his age would not understand. And what was more in HIS age; in THIS age... he fought a very interesting battle.

It was a mere millisecond to an absolute victory.

*clash

"!!!"

"Liú jiāngjūn ... xiàlìng chètuì!"

*General Lee... retreat all forces!

The girl wearing a crimson qípáo patterned with an emerald dragon that perfectly showed her body line calmly landed on her feet as if she was in a dance gently caressed by the wind. Despite wearing her golden dragon mask, one could tell she was smiling; the excitement of being in the battlefield has pushed this young lady into a battlefield which does not befit her size. Her name is Wu Zetian; the 'Forbidden Kingdom in the Land of Solitary Will' crowned empress to the Jade Empire.

"We meet again... border knight... Ace C. Bloodforte"

A king by merely appearing in the battlefield can reawaken the morale of his soldiers. The king's existence is a symbol of absolute power; just by his presence alone emits a sense of fear to the enemy. Ace was sensing that same fear as of the moment. With the JUUSANKA protecting the borders and with Kia and Gerard's inability to perform SENKOU, Ace was left alone in his battle against an existence one may very well call a MONSTER.

It looks like the inevitable has occurred, Ace although at a clear disadvantage, reminding himself with his oath as a knight sighed deeply as if to calm himself. He then sheathes his 'chokutou' inside its 'saya', locks his eyes on the young empress and change his stance readying to execute an 'iai'.

As if to express her own battle mode, she removes her golden dragon mask, illuminated by the blue moon was a smiling girl, her hair tide neatly at the sides, her crimson eyes which can only be expressed as form of enjoyment was affirmed by her pinkish lips.

"My name is Tao Rin, one hailed as WU ZETIAN, crowned heir of the 'Forbidden Kingdom of the land of Solitary Will', Crowned Heiress to Jade Empire."

She directs her challenge to Ace, and by doing this, she has stopped anyone from sullying their battle with any interference, a one on one battle.

"Tell me your name Albion knight?"

'She has already asked my... I see a challenge.' Ace thought for a moment as he was about to say his name again to this young girl who might very well be the same age as his two subordinates and the girl who is now working at his atelier, He had wondered how she got mixed with the fates of the 'kings'. But, that was not the time to dwell with such questions, without changing his stance he introduced himself to the king... no to another warrior in the battlefield.

"One that represents the ideal of the 'Land Born by Magic; Kingdom built by its Great Swords' a knight of the Kingdom of Albion, Ace Chronilius Bloodforte."

The young Asian girl gave off a smile that reminisce that of excitement, as soon as Ace had finished saying his name, as if to mark the start of the battle the two launched themselves against each other. Their two swords once again clashed, like that night of their first meeting.

❀❀❀❀❀

Rin wielding her two purple un-identical 9 Huán dàdāo executes a 5 multiple strike against Ace. Ace on the other hand, could barely dodge 2 and parry the rest of the attacks made by this beautiful and skilful King. Ace's "iai" stance earlier was rendered useless against Rin's more variable multiple attacks. Without letting Ace rest between attacks, Rin continues her relentless a.s.saults.

On the other hand as if the last man standing was the mark of end of this battle, Soldiers of Jade Empire watched as their King was now in a locked-one-on-one battle against a knight they failed to defeat in their struggle for almost 3 hours. Kia, Gerard and the JUUSANKA were also watching intently as the two continues to fight unmindful of their surroundings.

Part 3

Border overlaying Albion and the Jade Empire 9th of January 24:59

With Rin, WU ZETIAN's Declaration earlier, no one was to interfere in their battle. She made this an absolute order both from her own camp and Albion's.

But somewhere in the development of the battle, something was quite amiss, the first to notice the malicious aura that tried to enter the battlefield was Ace... no, he was the only one who could have because his duty was always to look for malicious intent towards his kingdom also of all those present here in this battlefield he was one of the few that have survived in the battle one year ago. In order to confirm this bad premonition Ace continues to buy time and widen the distance between him and the beautiful king of Jade Empire and tried to scout the surroundings.

*Crack... crack... crack...

"You don't have time to look somewhere else, Ace C. Bloodforte..." Rin who interpreted Ace's action as a moment of weakness, immediately executes one of her relentless attack against Ace.

"Tángláng'liándāo"

*Mantis Strike

Rin, jumps in the air and directs both the sharpened edges towards Ace. With Ace's gaze away from her, Rin was sure her attack to land, a smile was painted on her face as her victory was laid in stone... but before her actual strike would hit Ace, she sensed something moved outside her field of vision...

Is it Ace... no he was right in front of her, then...?

Rin involuntary leers at her now vulnerable back, as she turns her head she could see clearly her a.s.sailant, it was not Ace nor was it any of his allies...

Those red glowing eyes, which marked the wild, those untamed and violent beasts that lurks at the dark side of the Midnight Congregation....

"Diànxià! REMNANTs!"

*You Highness! REMNANTs!

Rin did not have to be explained as to what has just appeared in the middle of their duel, but with her current position in mid-air she was at the mercy of one of the HERTADI clansmen, a LIZARD KNIGHT's attack.

*CLICK

Although Rin was his enemy, Ace did not spend any moments of hesitation and executed one of his own skills.

"Senkidouryou... ikazuchi no mae... raijin raikou"

*千鬼道流・雷の舞・雷神雷光Techniques of a Thousand Demon's Ways... Dance of Lightning... Lightning G.o.d's Flash

Like a flash of lightning Ace instantly placed an overwhelming attack, his trail was marked with the vestige of lightning; the REMNANT which tried to a.s.sault the empress of Jade was now turned to ashes with its fierce lightning's strike.

"You're Highness, Looks like we won't have time to worry of our battle" Ace commented while trying to cover Rin's back.

The air was dense; cracks appeared from many side of their battlefield. Those cracks that have opened became holes in s.p.a.ce and from it came out hordes of REMNANTs.

Rin confusingly swayed her eyes from the hordes of REMNANTs then towards her benefactor... from her eyes Ace could tell that king of Jade Empire was in a state of confusion, but why all of a sudden. Ace at that time was unaware that at that moment the young lady known as Tao Rin was turned between being WU ZETIAN and being an inhabitant of the Midnight Congregation. She was now not emitting an aura befitting that of a king but just a plain girl whose mind in a complete blank out of confusion.

The battle was now in utter chaos, the Jade Empire F.A.T. army who has not received a single command from someone were in complete disarray. The condition and issue at hand has gone from bad to worse, not only was the battle between the two kingdoms in shamble, soon the REMNANTs will dominate the entire area; Ace who was the only one who could think straight at the moment had to make a quick decision to resolve the more pressing matter.

"INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD CREATED FOR OUR IDEALS, REMNANTS OF THE OLD REBELLION HAS APPEARED... WIPE OUT THE ENEMIES OF MIDNIGHT CONGREGATION!"

Ace's voice resounded at the s.p.a.cious MAMBALING-SRP road.

Kia and Gerard, who has regarded Ace as their team leader, without any second thought proceeded to eliminate the creatures that have sp.a.w.ned on the cracked s.p.a.ce. The JUUSANKA need not orders from anyone, the Knights of Albion's main duty was to protect its inhabitants from anyone or anything and as of the moment more than the threat coming from the Jade Empire, the REMNANTs were their top priority.

Even the Jade Empire's Army found 'themselves' dispersing and directing their attacks at the creatures that invaded their battlefield, from that single order.

Rin, too who finally recovered from her momentary weakness could not contain herself from blushing. The words that should have come from a king's... her mouth were released by a mere soldier from an enemy kingdom. For a few moments she stopped there staring at the gallant figure that proceeded to eliminate the REMNANTS with his blade. With just that single voice from an enemy kingdom's knight, the demeanor of a King has been rekindled and as if standing with a new found resolve...

"Shuāng liándāo"

*Twin sickle

The empress of Jade Empire strikes back.

❀❀❀❀❀

A year ago, for some unknown reason the King known as the 'King of Illusion', instigated a rebellion against the Philippine Government. His army was an endless horde of creatures that continued to sp.a.w.n in his castle; but thanks to the quick response from the gangs who converge, and took it up themselves to foil the king's plan, came up with a plan to lock its source and stopped these creatures from sp.a.w.ning like crazy. The creature that are now attacking in the same battlefield as Albion and Jade Empire, are said to be remnants from that time of rebellion, thus the name REMNANTS.

Each kingdom has their own types of REMNANTS; these are the creatures that would become SERVANTs to summoners under a contract, these are also the creature that are trying to continue the 'King of Illusion's' wilful act of rebellion. As if seeking to destroy the source of their locked-up G.o.d, the REMNANTs were now advancing in the midst of the war between the otherwise not united kingdoms.

LIZARD KNIGHTS, RAPTOR RIDERS, Sh.e.l.l GLIDERS and others as the whole family of the HERTADI clansmen a.s.sembles; the DRAGON clansmen were also present: the SEA SERPENTS and HYDRAS (to name a few) gather in great numbers; REMNANTS varying in sizes and cla.s.ses ranging from D - C were seemingly sp.a.w.ning endless in this battlefield.

Although they have already exhausted most of their energy from battling against each other, their will to protect their own ideals did not show any sign of that very exhaustion and continued to pave their paths. The two armies who were fighting just a moment ago were now covering each other.

Part 4

Northwest Border, Jade Empire10th January - 08:20

The brilliant blue moon continued to shine as the numbers of REMNANTS increased. As of the moment The Jade Empire's Army had decided to lure a large number of REMNANTS outside the main road connecting SRP from MAMBALING to wide s.p.a.ce east of the main road. Even though they have been transformed by the DDS into something different, jeepneys and other vehicles have started to busy that very road.

The DDS is a system that merely creates illusion and therefore cannot erase things that are really present, it can however alter to some extent how the way the inhabitants see these changes but that was the best, no it was the one thing that it must do. For example, the cars were now seen as stylish palanquins, vehicles that fit the Jade Empires which resemble the old Chinese image.

❀❀❀❀❀

Ace together with the JUUSANKA decided to do the same, by luring the REMNANTS that are trying to enter Albion, in an empty lot at the SRP inside the Jade Empire's territory. Kia and Gerard were now out of the battlefield as cla.s.ses would go even with the attack from these non-existent REMNANTS. Ace to ease the mind of the two, gave them an order to recuperate at school as they would be the main star on the night battles.

To counter the REMNANTS that have slipped pa.s.sed through Albion's Territory, the 1st Knight of Albion's 13 Houses of Knights, 'house of Lancelot' has been despatched, although a mere 3 man unit much like Ace's Border Patrol, both his members are veteran combatants and skilled in all-out battle they are also to be backed-up with 'Morgana La Fey's Magus Unit' which composes 6 members including Morgana herself, This magus unit has the capability to casts magic and summon mult.i.tude of SERVANTs.

As for Ace, an order from the king had been given to stop the REMNANTS from entering Albion any further; this was now his and the JUUSANKA's top priority. As an a.s.surance, the messenger also announced that sometime on the 12th (of January), the 3rd house of Knights 'House of Galahad' and 8th House of Knights 'House of Leonell' were to be deployed as reinforcement to help vanquish the REMNANTS.

With the battle dragging on, the JUUSANKA were now showing signs of that physical and mental fatigue, their movements have been flawless even up to now but, they have been doing more party style battles rather than their usual one-to-many, head-to-head tactics. This change in tactics was an indication that there have been some lapses in their attacks.

"I will direct commands, you will follow them."

Éclair, the leader of the JUUSANKA knights with long silver hair which shone more as the strands reflects the moon's light, has currently stopped battling her share of REMNANTs to become the groups eyes, with her perspective, she was able to give them orders as to where enemies would be vulnerable to their attacks. Her crimson eyes were like that of a hawk that sees even quite distance.

Ace was glad that these girls were here. He smiles, as he focuses his 'IAI' strikes at the enemies that the girls could not see, their blind spots.

The REMNANTs where now overwhelming their battlefield and started to attack them from all directions. Heavy breathes, and cold sweats were common here at this battlefield, Ace together with the JUUSANAKA have been in continuous battle with the REMNANTs for more or less 10 hours straight now. They have been thinking that they just needed to hold out until the reinforcements from the 3rd and 8th houses of Knights come to their aide. It was a naïve thought, as it was easier said than done, he together with the JUUSANKA were now feeling the fatigue that had rob their entire bodies.

About another 5 hours have pa.s.sed since they received the news from the King of Albion but the REMNANTs had not showed any sign of diminishing, which finally lead one of the JUUSANKA to collapse. Primula, youngest of the JUUSANKA fell down and hit her bottom hard.

Two LIZARD KNIGHTS who saw an opportunity, tried to attack the poor defenceless girl knight lying on her bottom.

"RAIJIN RAIKOU"

*雷神雷光Lightning G.o.ds Lightning flash

Ace out of concern left the now defenceless flank to burn down the two LIZARD KNIGHTs, the other JUUSANKA too gathered around their younger comrade.

"Sorry sis Éclair, I'm at my limit." The young girl showed a couple of her tears as she apologizes to her sister before completely losing her consciousness.

Éclair on the other hand, just gave the childlike Primula a smile and a rea.s.suring voice. "It's alright, leave the rest to us. Lucerne..." The long silver-haired knight with frilly maid uniform turned to call on a bespectacled maid knight.

"Take Primula at a nearby spring, have her recuperate"

Lucerne who showed a similar worry towards Primula nods and carried the young Primula out of the battlefield. Ace now leading the remaining of the King's Knights, performed three single CLICKs and decapitated nearby REMNANTS to ensure the safe pa.s.sage of Lucerne and Primula out from the battlefield.

With their numbers down to 12, they have decided to group in parties of threes, to lessen the burden of their tired bodies, and help each other break enemy formations.

"This is definitely bad."

"The reinforcement will not make it in time."

"Should I..."

Ace's thinking about their current predicament has gone past the inevitable; he worried more about the knights in maid uniforms, although they have the strength to deal with such a number of enemies, Ace still continued to treat them as women that needs to be protected.

With Kia and Gerard running late, Ace's team was now spent. If worst come to worst they will be annihilated. Ace wanted to at least let the female knights take refuge even if he has to fight the horde by himself but that thought was now out of the question, as 6 CLa.s.s dragon clansmen was now joining the fray, the 6 BLUE WINGED WYVERNs hovering on the open field was shrieking wildly as if to increase morale of the other SEIRYUU REMNANTS clansmen who were in the same field.

Ace eyes for a moment change color; he knew that this was the limit of the JUUSANKA and if he continues like this DEATH was just at the corner. Just when he was about to try something drastic, rains of arrows sped their way to the BLUE WINGED WYVERNs.

"P-please allow me to return the favour."

The girl who stuttered showing in the battlefield was none other than the Empress of the Jade Empire who after a heated discussion with her loyal retainers and generals has decided to aid this young knight in his battle.






CHAPTER DISCUSSION