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Shields of the East


Triyun
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[i]Mount Song, United Federation of the East[/i]

The facility had been constructed under exacting specifications. To build something here on the most sacred ground of all the Federation was no simple undertaking. It had to appear to be keeping within the historical nature of the city, and its most famous landmark, the Shaolin Temple. Dengfeng had been a hidden gem of the Federation, producing [i]the[/i] most skilled wushu masters in the world for millenia.

Even Ryu Hayabusa, the personal enforcer of the Imperator, and among the best of Japan had to concede the point. The home of martial prowess was here. It would be here that the newest arm of the Federation would take its shape.

On the outside, the facility had been constructed in the simplistic style of the Tang Dynasty and had been marked as a residence for the Imperial Family, something that was fairly common place. However, this facility was different. This facility was for the establishment of a new order which would defend the Empire that they had built over the past few decades. It would be home of the Order of the Imperial Knights, operatives and soldiers who had proven their worth to the Imperial Family and the Republics of the Federation time and time again.

Absolute loyalty, fealty, and honor, that was the code. The knights would protect the Yuan Dynasty as the Guardians of the Federation, and if the Yuan Dynasty's leader would at any time seem to be losing the mandate of Heaven, the Imperial Knights would be tasked to bring the leader back to the light.

"The Imperial Family will be arriving shortly." Rhee said as he met Ryu on top of the observation tower. Ryu snapped back into reality. "Good. Lets go say hi." he said. "This will be your first meeting, are you under control?" Ryu asked.

"Yeah I'm good." Rhee said. Rhee had spent the past year training his abilities under Ryu. It was hardly an easy thing. The master assassin had time and time again pushed Rhee to the breaking point. Forcing him into transformations, where Ryu would fight him nearly to the brink of death, each time he lost control, Ryu would inflict the maximum damage he felt Rhee could sustain. The effect was that Rhee's threshold for rage had been substantially reduced. But it had another purpose, both Ming and Bridgette Saengar were at large and both had the serum. Ryu was fully cogniscent of the fact that Rhee was just as valuable as a training partner as he was as a soldier.

The helicopter carrying the Imperial Family broke cloud cover revealing the mountains below. Green vegetation was sharply contrasted with majestic white cliffs. It was easy to see why the Daoists treated it as one of the sacred mountains, and looked to be a scene from Chinese ink paintings.

Jia's eyes wondered across the mountainous landscapes fixing in on the landing pad of the helicopter as it descended onto the ground. Opening the hatch, the crisp mountain air flowed in, a sharp contrast from the thick muggy air of Beijing. Jia got out before extending a hand to Theresia to help her out. "Well, what do you think? Pretty cool fort?" Jia said grinning to his wife.

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Theresia took Jia's hand as she stepped out of the helicopter, behind her were two others dressed in the new regalia of the knights. The Empress' sister, Angelika, who had recently given up her claim to the Austrian throne to become a professional co-commander of the new knightly order, and her squire, a young girl named Jessika Ohm. Stepping out, Theresia smiled and took in the fresh mountain air as she looked at the fort in front of her.

"I think you did fairly well for yourself, Jia, it's relaxing here, the perfect place to base your new project." She frowned and turned back to Angelika. "Though I can't say I agree with your decision. You're older than me and you should be heir to the family, if the country hadn't collapsed." The Empress frowned, the last straw for the Austrian state was the third Republican uprising, this time with a Nordic Base, who welcomed the idea of a Greater Germany that Visari began to preach. The Royalist age was ending and while it saddened Theresia, Ehestadt had become the Imperial Austrian center in the meantime. Scores of Viennese artists, musicians, and writers flocked to Asia for the chance to live in religious and political freedom from an ideology they deemed, barbaric.

"I'm better here, I can protect you and Austria's future in Asia." Angelika said with a smile and laid a strong hand on her sister's shoulder. "But I can see the beginning of great things here."

"And a long journey ahead." Said Jessika as she stepped up beside the Hapsburg Princess.

"So," Theresia said, beginning to walk up with Jia towards the fort. "What do you have planned with your little order?"

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Jia smirked, "To be a shining light for a world of course." he said dryly. Playing the hero, or even aspiring to lofty rhetoric wasn't something that came easy to him. He preferred to allow his actions to speak for themselves. He was confident that his had shown through.

"In all seriousness though, right now we have two ways of projecting our vision for the world, diplomacy and military, and while we're great at both. I think you would agree, it gives us pretty stark options. I hope to find and develop a third, both within the Empire and outside it that can defeat our enemies and protect our people, with methods between both... Thats my plan." he said, "Also... they may need help so I was thinking that sometimes I could go on missions too..." he added, his voice getting quiet waiting to hear his wife's reaction to the last part of the statement. Much to his displeasure he'd been 'grounded' since dealing with the fugitive Kang.

As they reached the top of the stairs, Ryu had arrived from the observation post, along with Chakri and Rhee on both his sides. Rhee gave Angelika a smile, it had been over a year since he had seen the woman he had come briefly to think of as his partner. Ryu and Chakri remained perfectly at attention. Their eyes than moved to the Imperator and Imperatrix. "Attention!" Ryu barked, as all three snapped a salute.

Jia let a brief smile form as he returned a salute to the three men. "At ease men." he said to them. "Captain Hayabusa, you've done well setting up the facilities... well perhaps I should call you commander?" he asked.

"Not quite yet sir." Ryu said laughing.

"Are you sure you do not want to become the cushy leader of Japan?" Jia said. "You've done enough for us, killing Haas, Korea..."

Ryu shook his head, "No." he said bluntly.

"Fine." Jia sighed. Jia turned to Angelika, "And you too are sure? I'm guessing the days ahead aren't going to be easy?" he asked Angelika.

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"No," Theresia shook her head as they ascended the stairs, "You won't be doing anything of the sort. Or I will be going to Ehestadt without you. So I suggest, dear, you get rid of such thoughts right now." With that, in Theresia's mind, the matter was closed and not to be revisited.

Once reaching the observation post, Angelika finally saw her compatriots for the first time since Inchon. She bowed her head softly to Rhee and then stepped aside to let Jessika pass. The younger girl, with short copper hair turned her eyes to the ground, afraid to gaze up at her superiors. These were the men who kept Ehestadt secure from the rest of the world. She also had a lot on her mind at what laying ahead. Both Angelika and Jia said now that the following weeks, months, perhaps even years would be the roughest in her life. Naturally, Jessika was excited, but at the same time, didn't think she was truly ready.

"We'll get on just fine. We have an organization to build after all. It's best to hit the ground running rather than waiting until the next cataclysm strikes." Said Angelika, bowing her head at Jia.

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Jia pouted at Theresia's response. He would need to think of a better reason to get to get back into the action before his skills got too rusty.

At the meeting, Jia nodded at Angelika's statements. "Indeed. Hesitation has little place in a dangerous world." he commented before looking over to Ryu, "Lead the way. Lets see this Round Table you've built for me." he joked.

Ryu chuckled, "As you wish." he said. Pressing a button, the doors to the interior of the facility swished open. The hallways were dimly lit, with the smell of wood and incest, traditional in traditional East Asian buildings coming forth. This was in many ways a trick though, the walls were made of wood on the outside, but the inside was heavily advanced armor.

Superb Japanese craftsman and woodworkers had constructed the floors and sides, letting the wood itself in the facility be the decoration rather than carpets or paintings. Its simplistic mastery was design to please both the Imperator's preference for the Tang Dynasty and the Imperatrix's Daoist predispositions.

Jia smiled as they walked to the central meeting room. "Well done." he said. He turned to Theresia, "What do you think?" he asked.

Entering into the main room, where the meetings of the senior council would take place. The Room had a skylight which shown through onto a room of deep dark wood, lit by several candles. Silk carpets with pictures of both Mount Song and the dragon emblem of the Imperial House were in the center of the room. On the sides, were silk embroideries of the flags of all the member states of the the Federation, and the Yuan and Hapsburg Houses.

A large table stood in the center... round. "So uh... I actually have a round table?" Jia said a bit taken back and amused at the same time. "This puts an awful lot of pressure on me to be the good guy."

Ryu shrugged.

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"Well it's all rather nice." Said Angelika as she pulled up a chair near her sister and nodded for her apprentice to sit down. "But my question is, what are we doing here? I've been hearing a lot about your project, Imperator, the elite defense force of the Imperial Family. But if that comes down to sitting in a mountain fortress waiting for the next explosion. I think you could have dropped a letter. Are we going to be staying here a few days?" She said crossing her legs. "Or are we on call right now, because if not, I flew in from Ehestadt and I'm rather tired. I could use the nap."

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"I see you're in as charming a mood as usual." Jia said letting out a sigh. He sat down himself looking over to Ryu.

"So how about it?" he asked.

Ryu nodded, "Yeah. Our priorities at the moment are several. At the moment the frontiers of the Federation seem relatively secure. So our focus can be on apprehending the high profile fugitive Bridgette Saengar and Former Director Ming. I at the moment have a source which is pursuing Saengar. I would prefer to gather information on her and who exactly her contacts are before we move.

Ming on the other hand..." he paused.

"He's gone that quiet?" Jia asked.

"Too quiet... like the kind of quiet that says someone is protecting him. And the kind that we wouldn't pick up." Ryu added.

Jia raised an eyebrow, "I'm sorry... who is that?" he asked. "I was under the impression we had listening posts in allied nations globally. Nothing?! That seems unlikely."

"Precisely." Ryu said.

Jia frowned, "So you mean... you think he's somewhere within the Federation being protected?"

Rhee gripped his chair, practically ripping the arm off of it.

"That is our best guess. We can rule out Korea, obviously, we already swept the area." he said. Turning to Angelika, Ryu asked, "Princess Angelika... it is my understanding that you had contact with him in the past in Western China. We believe that his facility there may be of use, do you think you can find it again?" he asked.

"Is that the only lead?" Jia asked frowning, "That facility would have to have been gone for a while..."

"Well there is something else." Ryu said. "Its only a hunch but we've received some fairly strange reports from villages in the far west."

Jia shrugged, "Its rural China, people are superstitious."

"I know, but these do seem to have an air of truth. I think Ming did leave something behind. And truthfully its all we have right now."

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"That laboratory, as far as I know is abandoned. Though it wouldn't hurt to check it out. I haven't been there in several years, since he tried to subject me to what Agent Rhee unfortunately has to deal with now." She put her feet down from the table and sat up straight. Theresia shook her head, Angelika would be the last person on her list to take mastery over a prospective Austrian knight. Her sister didn't have a shred of responsibility, she was daring and careless, but perhaps that was exactly the state of mind that kept her alive and well for so long.

"As to the rural sightings, you think it's possible he's subjecting villagers to the same experiment? Might play well on their superstition." She smiled and put her hands on the table. "If you'd want, Jessika and I can go scout out the laboratory and see if we can find anything of value and the rest of you can head out west and see if there's any correlation between Ming and these 'sightings', maybe even find out what those sightings are." She said laughing in a sing-song voice. "I'd had to know Federation citizens are paying our salaries while we send our Knightly Order in search of the latest vampire or werewolf craze."

"Angelika!" Theresia snapped, "Be serious for once in your goddamn life!"

"Christ, Theresia, live a little." The Princess shook her head and pushed her chair out from the table. "Anyways, I'm going to go take a shower. Ryu, you let me know what my mission is and I'll head out. I'll be in the tub, provided I can find it in this monstrosity of a complex." She said and left the room. Jessika sat silent, not knowing what to do, whether to follow her mistress, or to stay seated in front of the Emperor and Empress.

Theresia shook her head and sighed. "She's taken Magdalena's 'condition' very hard. They were close and Angelika went to visit her. She said Magdalena was crying, she's always guarded now, on various medicines and they make her feel like death. It's been hard, the country, our family falling apart. Angelika never took hardship that well."

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The Imperator remained quiet as Angelika seemed to blow off steam. She had something to work off, and he just had to let that go. At least his sister in law was no longer trying to rally armored divisions against him. That was... something.

Jia smiled at Theresia, taking her hand reassuringly, "We haven't run out of tricks yet. No need to dispair." he said. "Both your sisters will pull this through. Good things happen because we make them happen."

He looked at Ryu pausing, "What do you make of this, really?" Jia asked.

"Its not my place to comment on family matters." Ryu replied.

"Ha!" Jia said. "But the villages."

Ryu's face turned grim as he looked down, "Its hard to say. To be honest I don't know what to make of this. But I wouldn't be casual about it. I would not send her in to go alone. Too much ground... too much unknowns."

Jia nodded, "Agreed." He turned to Theresia, "So whats the chance your sister is going to accept help kindly?" he asked.

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"She'll still follow orders. You know she's always been a bit of a renegade and you're not going to change that in her. But I'm sure she'd welcome help, no matter how much she denies that she needs it." Looking across the table, Theresia smiled. "Jessika, dear, you can go. We're probably done talking and you've heard everything you need to hear about what you'll be doing later. Have one of the guards show you to your quarters and Ryu, the Imperator, or Angelika will be around to give you a more personal briefing."

"Are you sure, Highness?"

"Yes dear, you're dismissed."

Jessika nodded her head and pushed herself from the table before exiting the room, leaving a strange quiet and awkwardness for those who remained. "Anyways, I suggest one of you talk with her, she's not going to listen to me without it getting emotional. Angelika has a duty now, she has to be reminded of that." Theresia stood in turn and started for the door. "And again, Jia, don't you dare thing about going with them or I will have your head."

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Jia sighed, about to open his mouth to object, but he decided against it. Turning he saw Ryu had a smirk on his face.

"You want me to send you to do paper work on the Alaskan North Slope?" Jia threatened. "So who do you recommend?"

"I believe that we are most likely to find an abandoned facility if we find anything. At the same time if there is truth, we're going to face enemies with likely high level physical threats. I would recommend Lieutenant Rhee. He is a detective by training, and matches most threats in a head to head fight." Ryu suggested.

He turned to Rhee, "You have a detective background, and this is foremost an investigative matter. Commander Hayabusa tells me that your control has improved significantly." he said. "You think you could keep it together if you saw Ming again?"

Rhee sighed, "I think so."

"You know we're all dead if you go psycho on her right?" Jia pressed.

Rhee nodded, "I do."

He looked to Ryu, "You're the one whose given me progress reports. I shall put my faith in you on this one."

"Yes sir." Hayabusa said.

Jia got up, and patted Rhee's shoulder as he walked out, "Its graduation day. Do us proud."

Rhee nodded, "Heh."

About forty minutes later, Rhee made his way to the quarters of Angelika, knocking on her door.

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"Hold on." Angelika as she walked across her bedroom, steam still flowing out of the bathroom. Her white silk robe, was tied tightly around her and her hair, stringy and wet hung down, clinging to her ears and she dried it with a towel. Opening the door and seeing Rhee standing there, the Princess smiled. "Well I expected to see one of you here. Jia and Ryu are smart in sending you though Rhee, I'll at least give you the time of day. So," she said still running the towel messily through her hair. "What are we looking at in terms of the mission, going over to the west or are we heading to the factory?"

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Rhee was taken back slightly and his face turned a bit red at Angelika's appearance in the silk robe, "My apologies princess... I seemed to have caught you at a bad time." he said somewhat bashful.

Snapping back into it. He stood at attention, "We are heading out west." Rhee said.

He then smiled slightly back at her, "Captain Hayabusa and Imperator Jia thought of everything for this mission... except for the fact that the Western dialect is unintelligible to easterners, much less two foreign speakers." he commented dryly. "They thought I could assist you in your investigation."

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The Princess smiled watching him blush and smirked in return. "You're fine Rhee, it's not like I'm naked, there's nothing to be embarrassed about." She leaned against the wall as Rhee finished his report saying that they would be heading west among the villagers. It wasn't exactly what Angelika wanted to hear and had this been Theresia, Jia, or Ryu, she would have put on the renegade moniker and closed the door, but Rhee wasn't the bureaucracy of the Federation so she wasn't going to to take it out on him.

"I'll let Jessika know then, though I have to ask, since you're from Korea, how exactly are you going to be helping with dialect. Or are you originally from Western China? Either way Rhee, I'm happy to have you, I'm just curious, that's all."

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"Of course... I suppose Korea's just a more closed society." Rhee said his face turning redder with embarrassment. "Perfect moralism was a hallmark of the Dear Leader afterall." he added sarcastically.

"As for linguistically... I guess I don't. Its just something they overlooked. Hopefully we'll run into people who can speak proper Mandarin. Most of the educated or young can, so... I guess we'll see. If not, you can wave your arms real big and raise your voice like most white people do when we can't understand them!" he added with a smile.

"So... I guess, I should let you get dressed. Its good to see you again." he said smiling before heading out.

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There were three of them piled into the Humvee heading west towards the Chinese interior; Rhee, Angelika, and Jessika, each of them with completely different ideas of how the mission was going to happen. Angelika found the fact that she was being sent to the west to examine village problems a complete waste of time. Chinese superstitions were as bad, if not worse, than the myths and legends that dominated Europe. This was effective as going into Romanian cities hoping to find were-wolves or vampires and she was positive that rummaging across the dirt roads of the west was not going to be a fun filled journey either. This section of the Federation was prone to brigands, thieves, and highwaymen, who could operate without fear from the far distance of the capital. Law was lax and while Federal agents still routinely patrolled the western regions, corruption was rampant and there were always officials out there to make quick coin.

Jessika's opinion of course was much different, even the thought of bandits scared her. She had never really been in open combat and the way Angelika and Rhee looked, they had seen the absolute worst of human society. She had heard stories about Inchon, everyone in Ehestadt had. How an entire city had ultimately been laid to waste due to rebellion and civil unrest. The refugee Austrians prided themselves of being away from the seeming endless troubles of the Asian cultures, but they owed the Federation for their continued existence and Jessika knew no one who wasn't a firm believer in Federation and Austria nationalism. When she had been accepted into the Knight Program, her family could not have been more proud. Seeing Angelika and Rhee's stern faces however made her doubt whether or not she belonged.

"So what exactly are we doing, Commander?" The copper-haired girl asked quietly.

"Most likely hunting ghosts." Said Angelika with a scoff. "Ryu and the others will probably be going to Ming's laboratory and we're going to be playing border patrol. It's pathetic." She said and kicked against the side of the APC. "Jia's getting me back for the stuff I planned against him a decade ago."

"You were the Federation's enemy, Commander?"

Angelika laughed. "I hated the Federation, but I was young and naive back then and married to a cuckold. Things changed when Saenger came to power and that's who we should be going after."

"It's hard to imagine just how much things have changed."

The Princess shook her head. "Jessika, this is only the beginning. By the end of all this, you're going to be an entirely different person. I'm sure of that." Turning to Rhee and the driver beyond the steel wall, Angelika leaned forward. "Where the hell are we anyways? I feel like we've been on this road forever."

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Rhee almost swerved the Humvee's wheel at the surprise, "Wow wait you were married?" he asked Angelika. He practically burst out laughing, "I'm sorry, I can't imagine that, you settling down at all. Who were you married to, some prince charming or something?" he said still chuckling a bit.

The road through the mountains was increasingly becoming more and more rugged. Once one got off the large high ways maintained by the military, this was one of the most rural places in the Federation, on the foothills of the Himilayas. They had left traditional Han China and entered into the beginnings of Tibet.

The villages they passed by seemed to be more and more traditional, like the developments of the past century had passed them by. Rhee's eyes seemed to be moving back and forth through the area.

He suddenly slammed out the breaks and got out of the drivers seat. His eyes fixed on a yak corpse which had a charred chunk taken out of it. Walking over he looked at it, "Perfect sphere." he said referring to the wound.

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Angelika snarled at the laughter. "It wasn't my idea. Magdalena arranged the entire thing. I was supposed to go to the United Kingdom of Idaho-Montana and overthrow some idiot king. Hell, I can't even remember the name of the man now it's been so long. Franklyn or something like that, though that might have been his last name. Either way, anytime something involved his country, he would essentially go hide under his desk and wait for the storm to pass leaving me to pick up the pieces. It was the first time I had the opportunity of meeting the Imperator and I even tried to make an alternative to Red Dawn in North America. Unfortunately it didn't work out the way I planned and after a few more years, well, here I am."

Then when the humvee stopped and Rhee jumped out, Angelika and Jessika followed suit looking at the lethal burn wound. She chuckled and shook her head. "Well I can tell you that there's no such thing as monsters." The Princess said and leaned down at the corpse. "A machine or something would have made a wound like this, maybe a brand machine or some kind of slaughter mechanism, but a human? No, not something this perfect."

Jessika kept her hand on the pistol at her side. "Maybe we should stay on our guard then?"

"We're a little late to the party then. Rhee," she said turning, "How far away is the next village? We'll make our base there and scan out. We'll go find the !@#$@#$ yak murderer."

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[i]Oh burn.[/i] Rhee thought to himself. "Well I guess you should be wearing black more often. After all you are a dutiful widower I assume." he added dryly.

As they looked around Rhee seemed slightly on edge. What kind of machine took that precise a chunk out of a yak and for what purpose. It didn't make much sense.

"This isn't Han China, the Tibetans are mostly nomads the maps of where exactly their yurts are isn't that accurate. But it should be just a few kilometers up the road" he added. "But its odd... just one?" he asked.

"I don't smell anything, but it seems like this was put here as bait." he said. "We should be on edge. Lets keep moving." he suggested.

As he turned Rhee thought he saw a a strange red glow along a mountain path not too far from them. However when he turned back it was gone. "I must be seeing things." he muttered underneath his breath.

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"Rhee." Angelika turned fiercely. "I don't ask you about your personal life and the mistakes you made, do I? What I did when I was younger is not up for comment. I don't wear widow robes because he didn't pleasure me. He was a coward and I wore the pants of the United Kingdom for as long as I was queen, in addition to stopping the Austro-Cascadian Rebellion when it happened. I..." She took a long breath. "I don't want to talk about it anymore," the Princess said and kicked the yak corpse aside. "C'mon, I want to get to the village before sundown."

Jessika sighed and looked up at Rhee with a compassionate smile. "It's okay, I always get yelled at. I think she just has a lot of pent up anger."

"C'mon you two! Lets move it!"

---

Getting into the humvee, the trio of knights began to make their way back down the road towards the gathering of yurts. However as they neared the clearing, it became clear what the glowing red light was that Rhee saw. There was a village here, but lain across the roads and short steppe grass were charred bodies, horses, and yaks. The tents of the nomads were on fire and it didn't appear that anyone was left. Angelika threw open the passenger side door of the APC and jumped onto the ground, running towards the middle of the village, one hand on her vibroblade and the other on her pistol. Her head looked frantically around for any sign of life, friend or foe.

"Jesus !@#$@#$ Christ."

Jessika and Rhee came out after her in the same frantic run as their faces scanned the horizon. "Are they all...?"

Angelika bit her lip and looked down at the ground. "I don't think we're dealing with monsters."

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Rhee nodded, "Yeah these seem planned not savage." he said looking around. "This is definitely not what we've seen in the past, that tends to be brutal with little regard. They are after definite things with each attack. We should be cautious." he said.

Rhee felt a knot form in the pit of his stomach. What bothered him about this is that it didn't seem like there was any of the traditional tracks, no blood, no smells of weapons, not scratch marks from claws or blades... nothing. This was something completely foreign to what he had encountered before.

Suddenly he felt the air around him start to heat up as he was slammed backwards into one of the burning tents. Angelika and Jessika would quickly find the air around them, propel them as well.

Landing in the middle of the burning tents were two men. Their black hair and beards long, flowing, and unkept. Both had basic robes on, with a single symbol on it. 道

Rhee rolled out of the flame, extinguishing it as he moved. "Well this is... something." he said.

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"Ugh..."

Angelika groaned as she pushed herself off the ground, licking the blood that was running down from her nose. Lifting her head she stared up at the two men. She had no clue what the symbol meant, but at the moment she wasn't in the mood to ask questions. Pushing herself to her feet, Angelika took out her pistol and shot at the two men, unlike Rhee and his cautious attitude, she aimed for the head. There were other times to do detective work, this wasn't one of them.

Jessika saw the attack as well and pushed herself, taking out her sword and pistol. Though looking at the two men, she felt a sharp pain in her head. It was most likely from the attack, but the pain was like a nail right through her brain, nothing else. Like her eyes were going to fall out of her head, something throbbing deep with in her. "Ah..." She tried to aim her pistol but couldn't concentrate and stumbled forward, not knowing what was going on.

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As Angelika fired a her rounds, a bright red luminious aura appeared as the two men moved their arms around to deflect the bullets. They bounced off of both men. Rhee looked at Angelika, "I guess the Boxer Rebellion's claims were not crazy just pre-mature?" he said smiling. "Close range?" he suggested.

Rhee drew his vibro blade leaping towards the first of the two he slashed downwards, activating the vibroblade. It created a spark as it impacted with the barrier but seemed to pause. "What the hell is going on?" he asked.

"Your over reliance on technology is comical!" the man yelled. "The dao shall prevail!"

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"Well !@#$..." Angelika said as she stood back, her sword drawn looking at the two priests. Her attack had failed and likewise Rhee hadn't done much better. "So what exactly is going on here? Who are you two? Did you do this to this village?" She was contemplating in her head different ways that they could break through this strange barrier, it was amazing and the two men's mental powers must be unexplainable. Angelika had heard stories about gurus in the East who could seemingly disprove the laws of physics, but this was incredible.

Meanwhile, Jessika had barely got herself off the ground. Any time Rhee or Angelika attacked, the pain bounced through her head. Tears began to run down her eyes as both of her hands moved tightly to her head. "I...can't...think...what's happening?"

Angelika looked over at the girl crawling on the ground. "Jessika! What's wrong?"

"I...don't know...I can't think. My head...it feels like it's going to explode!"

"They're doing that!" The Princess glared at the priests. "Get back. Leave the girl alone!" She said and charged forward screaming, determined to break through the barrier.

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"You have fallen in your ways!" the martial artist said looking at Angelika. "We are one with the true nature, we have discovered the secrets of the dao. We shall create an earthly paradise of the pure land, and cleanse the abominations of the material world which you create in defiance of nature! Those who learn to follow the dao shall triumph, those who do not shall perish." the man said.

"Ok... so you're bat !@#$." Rhee said. Rhee followed in after Angelika. Angelika's attack hit the first attackers barrier. Sparks flew off in various directions as Angelika moved forward pushing through the barrier. The second came into attack but Rhee countered, taking the impact of the blow, Rhee was sent flying back.

Embracing the pain Rhee's skin began to turn grey. He embraced the anger of the blow, allowing his super soldier form to overtake him. Charging forward, he landed a kick into the second warrior as he again tried to attack Angelika. A red wave was sent flying at Rhee who brought up his arms to block it. Blisters began to form on his forearms as the wave dissipated around him. [i]Musn't lose control.[/i] he thought to himself.

Meanwhile Angelika's attack finally broke through the first. But as it was about to impact him he moved to the side, and moved to kick her in the side and move to attack Jessika.

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