Sean and Choi get a mission. A new character is introduced.
"What do you mean 'now you'?" Choi asked nervously.
"I mean, it's time for you to take down a Giant," Sean replied enthusiastically.
"But judging from the look on your face, you've never done that before. I'll get you paired with one of the weaker ones. How about . . . Toja? His nickname's 'Toejam' because he's so short. Alright, let's go!" Sean said.
And, quite ignorant of Choi's protests, Sean shoved him into the circle.
"This man would like to challenge . . . Toja!" Sean shouted over the din.
A six-meter tall Giant stepped forward in acceptance.
Choi swore, and the fight was on.
Choi and Toja performed the ritual of prefight pacing and sizing up.
Choi knew that he didn't have the strength to jump over even a crouching Giant, but he was still stronger than the average human because of his training as a Draconian Warrior.
The combatants lunged towards each other, and as Toja bent forward Choi dived and rolled between Toja's legs. Choi struck his foe in the back of the thigh with a sharp jab that made Toja drop to his knees in pain. Choi jumped up, far less magnificently than Sean had in his fight, and kneed his foe in the crotch from behind.
Toja toppled forward magnificently, and at this point Choi walked forward and tapped two fingers on the back of Toja's neck. This action signaled victory for Choi.
Choi walked back out of the circle, towards Sean, and punched Sean in the arm when he was close enough.
"Sean, I'm gonna kill you. Don't ever do that again!" Choi said.
"Okay. I'll pair you up with a regular human soldier, who a person with your skills could put out of condition indefinitely. C'mon, you just beat a Giant! Okay, he was a midget, but still. I won't allow you to get paired with someone you could seriously hurt, especially not if they're one of my men," Sean said, "Anyway, that was a nice warm-up. Now we can go get our weapons and head over to the weapons sparring circle!"
Just then, a human soldier ran up to them, and saluted Sean.
"General Sean," said the soldier.
"At ease, Private," Sean replied, returning the salute. Choi reflected on how easily Sean was able to go from being a fairly care-free comrade to the general of an army.
"Sir. General Jackson would like for you to report to Special Ops ASAP. I believe a courier has just arrived from General Phil's BoO*, sir," said the private.
"Thank you Private. Good work," Sean said.
"Thank you, sir," the private saluted and ran off.
"We have to go," Sean said quickly.
And so they went.
"Phil needs our help," said General Jackson. Jackson was about forty, and was not a particularly fit man. He was known for making brilliant, highly tactical plans. However, he was also widely known as a rear admiral. Fighting was for men like Sean, who both considered it fun and was good at it.
"What else is new?" Sean asked wryly.
"Sean," Jackson said admonishingly, "Phil is our ally. A lot of his captains have defected, and he needs people like you to lead the charge. You're only needed for this one, coming battle. After that, he'll have enough experience in some of the more junior members in his army to promote a couple."
"He's got three armies! Why can't he just transfer a few captains from the other two?" Sean asked.
"Sean, you know how thin he's spread."
"And whose fault is that? Blindly charging at the Empire's army leaves enough casualties on both sides for it to be uncertain as to exactly who won the battle. It's a miracle that he's lasted as long as he has."
"It's because he's got new recruits coming from all over the place. It's something to be happy about. We're getting increasing support for our cause."
"I'm supposed to be happy about Phil killing off everyone who wants to ally with us by using stupid battle plans?"
"Sean, go to Phil's BoO and assist him! That is an order!"
"You can't order me to do anything! Our ranks are equal!"
Jackson seemed to visibly relax. Sean did the same.
"In that case, as your friend, I would like for you to please assist Phil," Jackson said.
"And in that case, I accept," Sean replied.
"I would also like for you to take two soldiers who you trust leading Phil's soldiers in the battle."
"I know the perfect two," Sean replied, "If that is all, I'll be off by tomorrow."
"That's all. Good luck, friend. Don't die."
"Please, I'm Sean! Thank you. C'mon Choi, we have something to do."
They walked, side-by-side, farther down and down into the darkest places in the treetop city.
"Sean, you said that you knew the perfect two people for the mission you're about to go on. If I'm one, which I think I am, then who's the other?" Choi asked.
"That's why we're here, Choi," Sean replied.
They walked a little bit farther, and then turned a corner to face a single door cut into the tree.
"No loud noises, no sudden movements. We don't want to alarm him," Sean said, suddenly quiet.
"Wha-" Choi started.
"Shh!" Sean said.
Sean opened the door, and the stench of salt and blood hit Choi like a wave. They walked in, and Choi beheld a rather large sitting room, but a largely unkempt one. Clothes and fur littered the floor, and the whole place smelled musky. It was also very dark.
Choi thought he heard movement, and then a voice from behind him scared him enough to almost soil himself.
"May I help you, Sean?" asked a growling, rough voice.
"Yes you may, Dennis," Sean replied. "I've just been given a mission, and I would like for you to accompany me."
"Will there be meat?"
"Plenty enough to sustain you, friend."
"When will we leave?"
"Tomorrow, at dawn. Level 27, Quadrant B, Branch 113."
"I'll be there. Now, take your whimpering little friend and leave."
Sean and Choi walked outside. Choi was extremely grateful to have made it out alive. However, he still hadn't seen Dennis.
"Who or what was that?" Choi asked nervously.
"A great warrior, and a loyal friend. His name is Dennis, and he is a Wolfman. He will be invaluable to our mission."
Sean was rather pleased with himself and the way he had handled the situation of recruiting Dennis.
Choi, however, was still quite disturbed by the whole affair.
In the early hours of the morning, before even Sean was awake, Choi wrote a letter. A plan was beginning to form in his head, and he had a feeling he would soon be able to please his Emperor greatly.
At dawn, they reported to the branch that they had been assigned to leave from. Sean greeted Dennis, clothed in a black cloak and hood, quite warmly. Surprisingly enough, at least to Choi, the gesture was returned.
And then Choi learned how they would be traveling.
"Oh no," Choi said.
The Giants would be carrying them in strong, fiber slings used to transport Giant children through the trees. And jumping. From one tree to another.
"It's the fastest way to travel around here, Choi," Sean said.
There were four Giants there. Three were to carry them, and the fourth was there to carry their luggage. There was Sean's and Choi's armor, Sean's twin swords, and Choi's bow and arrows and broadsword. Also, there was a six-meter long wrapped package that Choi did not understand the meaning of.
And that was that. Soon enough, they were off to Phil's BoO, approximately 50 kilometers to the west.
*Ops-Operations. In this case, Special Operations headquarters.
**BoO-Base of Operations.
Okay, reviews, ratings, the usual people. And if you don't want to do it formally, IM me. My screen name's on my profile. Chapter 4 will hopefully be out soon.