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Men of the Day was published by McKagan Productions
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Men of the Day won Best Overall Story in the 2014 - Mid 2015 Wiki Oscars!

 

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Men of the Day
MotD Cover 1
Author Nults McKagan
Illustrator Nults McKagan
Publication date 9/15/2014
Published by McKagan Productions
Publication Order
Preceded by
None
Followed by
TBA

Characters

To be added onto as the story progresses and new characters are introduced

Protagonists

Cannonwalker - A brown-bearded man with ragged clothes. He was one of the citizens of Etrdor, and fled into the wilderness on his own after its collapse.

Ned Edgewalker - A white-bearded man with ragged, colorful clothes. He was one of the citizens of Etrdor, and fled to open plains after its collapse. He is mentally unstable and shows an uncanny fondness for potatoes.

David - A man made entirely of dirt, wearing a teal shirt and maroon pants, he originally was born in a colony of dirt people like himself. However, he eventually left and migrated to Etrdor, residing there for a lengthy period of time before its demise. Due to being dirt, he has a natural weakness to large amounts of water, although small amounts refresh him.

Rocket - A black-bandana'd man with a red trench coat, brown vest, black under shirt and khaki pants. After Etrdor's demise, he joined up with a desert village and promised to protect them should he be allowed to stay. He carries two iron swords with him at any time, as he is very proficient in hand-to-hand combat, and is decent with a bow.

Baron - A man clad entirely in black, with a black hood casting a shadow over his face. The only part of his actual body that is visible are his beady, red eyes. After Etrdor's demise, he created an underground complex in the middle of the forest with Giovanni Casanova, where he has a hidden wares shop. He possesses much physical strength and is able to strategically use his environment to his advantage while fighting.

Giovanni Casanova - An enthusiast of Roman culture and frequent wearer of togas and powered wigs. After Etrdor's demise, he created an underground complex in the middle of the forest with Baron, where he built dozens of Roman baths.

Mallace - The President of an unnamed wealthy city. He is fiercly patriotic in his city and extremely wealthy, having a house made of diamond blocks and armor stands with enchanted diamond armor littering his house. He moved to this city and rose up through the ranks after the collapse of Etrdor.

Antagonists

Kokushi - A brutal horseman group sporting vibrant and colorful masks. They were responsible for the destruction of Etrdor. They have very well-organized formations and strategies, allowing them to dodge arrows quite often and swiftly take down entire towns in a matter of minutes. They are jokingly referred to sometimes as "Mongolians" due to their affinity for riding horses and destroying walls.

Lithium - One of the horsemen of the Kokushi. Unlike his brethren, he sports a very plain white bone mask with red streaks. He is presumed to have some knowledge of alchemy.

Story

Prologue

There was once a time when a crew of people from all different backgrounds were all living peacefully in a society together known as Etrdor, which was run by a patriarch known as Gabe. Different communities existed within Etrdor, all of which cooperated to make an ideal society. However, an outside group known as the Kokushi invaded, seemingly without a purpose or a pattern. They killed as many people as they could, burnt down as many buildings as they could, and salvaged any supplies they could.

After the Kokushi had done what they came to do, the few survivors emerged. They all decided that, instead of trying to rebuild, they would go their separate ways. This story begins approximately a year after these events.

Chapter I

The sound of heavy, running feet and deep breathing filled the corridors of a usually-quiet abandoned mineshaft. A bearded man with ragged clothes was the source of this noise, attempting to run from impending doom. The groans of zombies and rattling of skeletons soon followed his tracks. The man running suddenly slowed and, in a panic, began striking flint and steel.

"Son of a bitch, light already." 

The groans and rattles started coming closer and closer to the person until a small light appeared in their hand, getting bigger and bigger by the second

"Aha!"

The zombies and skeletons, afraid of this light, scurried in the opposite direction. 

"Another close call."

The person mined his way out of the abandoned mineshaft. After making sure he was safe, he knelt down on the ground and spread out his finds. Lots of gold, iron, and a few diamonds. He had much more success than usual, as he was usually chased out of abandoned mineshafts by zombies before he could get much. The man gathered up his findings in a bag and continued on his way. 

The twilight was settling in, which meant mobs would begin to come out of the darkness and go on the hunt for food. The man had set up a temporary house near where the mineshaft was and surrounded it with torches, so the enemies would be warded off. The man approached the house and entered. The house was only big enough to fit a bed, a chest and a crafting table, while still allowing the man to have a small amount of empty space to walk in. Outside the house was a sign that read "Cannonwalker residence; do not disturb." Outside of the shack was a small fenced-in carrot farm.

Cannonwalker went inside the house and sat on his bed, picking up a notebook when he sat down. He retrieved his quill and opened to a fresh page, where he proceeded to write:

"March 24th, 2015: I explored the abandoned mineshaft today. I was able to make off with quite a few goods before being chased off by zombies and skeletons. Fortunately, I was able to save myself and ward them off at the last second with flint and steel. I'll begin construction on new weapons and armor at dawn." 

Cannonwalker then put down his book and quill and rested his head on his pillow, slowly drifting into the illusory dream world. He still occasionally suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder-induced dreams due to the trauma he experienced in the invasion of Etrdor. This was one such night. The details of Etrdor's collapse appeared as a dream before Cannonwalker in vivid detail. The face of each invader as they slaughtered his comrades, all shown to Cannonwalker with precise detail. However, the sounds of the invasion started to fade away and the sound of clomping boots started to override. Suddenly somebody grabbed Cannonwalker by the shoulder, instantly awakening him.

"Hello." the person said. "It's been a while, Cannon."

Chapter II

Cannonwalker sat up and rubbed his eyes. He looked to his right at the man in the dark. The first thing he noticed was the man had various oval-shaped items dangling from his body. Cannonwalker couldn't quite identify them in the dark but he realized they made thumping noises as the man moved, leading him to believe the clomping he had heard actually came from these objects. Cannonwalker could also vaguely make out some kind of substance smeared on the stranger's face.

"Who are you?" Cannonwalker asked.

The stranger lit a torch, illuminating the entire room. The objects dangling from all over his body were revealed to be potatoes, and the substance smeared on his face mashed potatoes. Cannonwalker only knew one man mentally unstable enough to do something like this to himself.

"Ned?" Cannonwalker asked.

Ned Edgewalker was a man with a beard and ragged clothes much like Cannonwalker. However, Ned's beard was white and his clothes were bright red, much in contrast to Cannonwalker's blue vest, brown pants and white shirt. Ned was also, as Cannonwalker and everybody else who knew him was very aware of, an unstable individual. He had a very odd connection to potatoes and lashed out against anybody who didn't show the same fervent admiration for them. Ned was a citizen of Etrdor before its collapse as well, which is how he and Cannonwalker first became acquainted.

"A lot of spiders had to die to make this happen." Ned said, gesturing towards the potatoes hanging from his body.

"Why are you covered in potatoes?"

"It helps me blend in with nature. Everything I come across tries to eat me, but that's a small price to pay for blending in."

Cannonwalker got out of his bed, weary from a lack of sleep.

"What are you doing here?" Cannonwalker asked.

"I noticed a small house here and figured I could loot some supplies. Also, in unrelated news, your carrot farm is gone now." Ned replied. "Come, come with me."

Cannonwalker grabbed his journal and the precious metals he found in the abandoned mineshaft earlier in the day and left the house with Ned. Ned and Cannonwalker began to traverse through the forest. Ned carried a torch to keep enemy mobs away.

"So Ned..." Cannonwalker began.

"So Cannon..." Ned replied.

"What did you do after our society went down the shitter?" Cannonwalker asked.

"I moved to the countryside and dedicated my life to potatoes." Ned said. Ned plucked a potato from his shirt and gave it to Cannonwalker.

"Thanks, I guess." Cannonwalker said awkwardly.

As Ned and Cannonwalker exited the forested area, they came across a large field. The duo traveled until the sky began to brighten. However, since it was still mostly dark, it was difficult to see. Eventually, Cannonwalker and Ned encountered a humanoid figure in the distance. He was in front of a house picking from a farm.

"HALT, POTATO THIEF!" Ned said. Ned then plucked a potato from his shirt and threw it from a distance, hitting the humanoid figure.

"Ow! Ned, you dipshit!" The figure shouted from a distance.

"Oops." Ned said, "Let's go."

Ned and Cannonwalker approached the figure. The figure, who was identified as a man made entirely of dirt wearing a teal shirt and maroon pants, rubbed his head and stood up from his knelt position.

"Sorry about that, David." Ned said.

"You're damn right you're sorry. We've been living together for almost a year and you keep thinking I'm a potato thief every time you see me from a distance." David replied angrily.

David, although being made entirely of dirt, was able to take a lot more blows from a potato than one would expect. This is what living with Ned Edgewalker for a year would do to a man, even one made of dirt.

"It's been a while, David." Cannon said.

"It has been. It's nice seeing you after all of this time." David replied. Cannon then turned towards Ned.

"Why did you bring me here, again?" Cannon asked.

"I don't really know. I guess I just wanted you to come live with us for a bit." Ned said. "And since your home is hours from here, there's no sense in travelling all the way back, so you're stuck with us."

"I suppose I am." Cannon replied.

Cannon, Ned and David stared awkwardly at each other for an unknown period of time.

"So... do either of you know where the others went after Etrdor went to shit?" Cannonwalker asked.

"Uh, I think Rocket said something about wanting to start his own society." David replied.

"And Baron said something about going to quench his thirst for blood in other parts of the world." Ned added on.

"So, maybe if we get them together we can finally rebuild our society." Cannon said.

"But why? Life's been pleasant as is." David replied.

"David, time alone in the woods has made me realize that while life may be pleasant alone, life is better with others around to enjoy it with you." Cannon said. "Besides, aren't you wondering how our former friends are doing?"

"I see your point." David said.

"So, how about we head out tomorrow, or maybe later today? I just need a bit of a rest from the travel." Ned said.

"I'm tired too. We'll head out later." Cannon added.

Ned and Cannonwalker wearily dragged their feet into the house and laid down on their respective beds. Ned chose to sleep with his potatoes on and his face covered in mashed potatoes, still.

"Ned," Cannon began.

"What?" Ned asked, turning over to face him.

"Why don't you clean your face and remove your potatoes? You must be uncomfortable."

"I could remove them but that would make things too easy, Cannon."

Cannonwalker, deciding Ned's decisions made more sense if you didn't think about them, silently went back to sleep without another thought crossing his mind.

Chapter III

A few hours after the fact, Ned and Cannonwalker awoke from their slumber. They rubbed their eyes and went outside, only to see David sitting on the ground staring out into the distance. Ned and Cannonwalker approached him. David noticed this and stood up to face them.

"Good not morning, David." Ned said.

David looked up at the sky for a moment. He noticed that the sun had passed its highest in the sky not very long ago and was beginning to descend to the horizon, although there was still quite some time before it would get there.

"Well, you're not wrong." David replied.

"How about we begin our travel?" Cannonwalker suggested. 

"Yeah, it'll be night before we know it." David said.

David, Cannonwalker and Ned went into the house and began to pack supplies. David got all of the food, seeds and agricultural supplies, Cannonwalker got the bulk of the weapons and the gold, iron and diamonds he had mined the other day, and Ned got the potatoes; more potatoes than one man could ever need. After collecting the supplies, the group set out on their journey.

The group travelled until sundown, only stopping when Ned was mauled by wild animals trying to eat his potatoes. They built a temporary shelter for the night, just having entered into the desert, and continued their trip the next morning. This went on for about three days, until one late evening they saw a small fort in the distance. This fort was surrounded by a moat, which was apparently only accessible through the drawbridge, which happened to be shut.

"We might have finally found somebody." Cannonwalker said.

However, when the trio attempted to approach the fort, an arrow was shot at them. It missed the side of Cannonwalker's face by about a hair and skimmed past, lodging itself in the ground behind him.

"Halt." A stern voice said. "Don't come any closer, or I'll actually try to hit you this time."

Although the voice was a bit louder than they remembered it usually being, the trio recognized this voice to belong to one of their friends from Etrdor. 

"Rocket?" David asked. 

The man, not used to being called this, gave a quizzical look before retreating back into the fort. Moments later, the drawbridge opened and the man came out from it. He wore a black bandana atop his head, accompanied by a red trench coat, a brown button-up vest, a black under shirt, and khaki pants held up by a golden belt. He had two sheaths, one on either side of his belt, that held iron swords. The man walked over to the trio.

"Hey, it is Rocket." Ned said.

"Yea, it's been a while." Rocket said.

The four, before continuing conversation, glanced back at the fort Rocket had emerged from. The walls were made of sandstone, and the drawbridge of wood. The moat around it all wasn't very wide at all, maybe four blocks.

"So... what's this all about?" Cannonwalker asked.

"Well, after Etrdor collapsed I wandered aimlessly in the desert for a while. That's when I discovered this peaceful village of... villagers. They offered me various goods I didn't need in exchange for emeralds, which I didn't have. I then asked if I could live with them, and they said if I could offer them protection from the night-time horrors I could. Then, I constructed this fort around their town and have trained a few of the townspeople to take shifts guarding overnight." Rocket replied.

"I see." Cannonwalker said.

"Come on, I'll show you guys around." Rocket said.

Rocket motioned for the trio to come into the fortified town. The town itself was not very different from a regular town, except for the sandstone fort surrounding it. Villagers would every so often badger the newcoming trio to trade them emeralds for things like arrows and paper. The trio constantly attempted to explain this to the villagers, but it made no difference. As the dusk started to fade away, the villager scurried into their homes. The torches surrounding the inside and outside of the fort began to illuminate, warding off any potential mob enemies.

"Well, it's about that time of day." Rocket began, "night patrol."

Rocket motioned for the trio to follow him to the top edges of the fort. The group overlooked the outer perimeters of the fort. Zombies, skeletons, spiders and endermen all wandered aimlessly around the outside of the fort. However, in the far distance a row of torches could be made out.

"Huh, what's that?" Haras asked.

With each passing moments, the torches came closer and closer. Eventually, the carriers of the torches could be deciphered as horse riders. As they came closer and closer, it was made apparent that they all bore masks on their faces. Most were colorful and vibrant, with extravagant patterns and designs.

"HALT! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!" Rocket shouted. "I'LL SHOOT!"

Rocket then pulled out a bow and arrow and shot at the horse riders. However, they were able to dodge with a zig-zag maneuver. When the horse riders got close to the fort, they began shooting arrows at it. However, these arrows had small glass bottles full of gunpowder, lit at the tip. When each arrow impacted the wall of the fort, it exploded. 

"Oh shit!" Cannonwalker exclaimed.

Rocket continued shooting arrows, and called upon David, Cannonwalker and the few trained villagers to aid him. Ned, however, had a more unorthodox idea. Ned decided it would be a good idea to throw a potato at one of the horsemen. Ned tossed a potato, much to the surprise of Rocket and the villagers. However, the potato succeeded in knocking one of the horsemen off of his horse and breaking his mask. The horseman, grabbing the broken remains of his mask, ran away almost as if he were embarrassed.

"That's it, we have to break their masks!" Rocket realized.

Rocket ordered his villagers, David and Cannonwalker to begin pelting the horsemen with objects instead of arrows. By this time, the east wall of the fort had collapsed almost in its entirety. However, a minute or so of pelting horsemen's masks off caused many of them to retreat, some even leaving their horses behind. After a few minutes, the defenders on top of the east wall began to feel a rumble.

"JUMP BACK IN!" Rocket shouted. The group jumped off the east wall back into the town as it collapsed. When the smoke cleared, only one horseman remained. Unlike the other horsemen, who had vibrant and colorful masks, his was very plain; a white mask made of skeleton bone, with red streaks going diagonally from top left to bottom right. He also wore a torn red shirt and torn green pants, along with brown boots. The trained villagers, along with Cannonwalker and David, all aimed bow and arrows at him. Rocket unsheathed his two iron swords and prepared for a sword fight should it have been necessary. Ned was prepared to throw another potato as well.

The man got off of his horse and stood in a very calm and collective manner, as if he was among his colleagues. He brushed some dust off of his shoulder and cleared his throat.

"It appears I've been caught." The man said.

"You're damn right you've been caught." Rocket replied.

"Well, perhaps we could negotiate the terms of my surrender on peaceful grounds." The man added.

Suddenly, the man pulled a small glass bottle full of grey liquid out of his pocket and tossed it to the ground. The area filled up with smoke and, as nobody could see, this man thought it was the perfect opportunity for him to finish his job. He got back on his horse and began racing around the town, pelting it with glass bottles full of the explosive substance from earlier. Then, as the smoke began to settle, the man began to speak.

"Survival of the fittest, I suppose." He said.

The men, all coughing and gagging from the smoke, were barely able to make coherent sentences, let alone actually try and shoot at him.

"Who are you?" Cannonwalker asked, coughing.

"I am Lithium, and my people the Kokushi. Don't cross us again, or you'll be doing more than just coughing and gagging." Lithium said.

Lithium then rode off into the night and, while the villagers still attempted to shoot arrows at him, it was already too late; Lithium and the Kokushi had gotten away.

Chapter IV

By the dawn of the next day, the damage brought upon the town by Lithium and the Kokushi made itself manifest. Cannon, Ned, David, Rocket and the surviving villagers surveyed the town, realizing that the damage the Kokushi brought upon them was too severe for an easy fix. Cannonwalker, David and Ned stood off near the outskirts of the village's remains, while Rocket, kneeling in the rubble of the village, silently sulking.

"Do you think he's okay?" Ned asked David and Cannon quietly. Cannon and Ned glanced at him blankly.

"Look at him again." Cannon said. Ned quickly glanced at Rocket, who was now crying and laughing hysterically and at the same time, all while rolling on the ground.

"Oh." Ned replied. Rocket got up and walked over to the trio.

"Are you okay, Rocket?" David asked.

"I'll go with you." Rocket said.

"Are you sure?" Cannon asked.

"I've got nothing to lose, so I don't care anymore." Rocket replied.

"Okay, but what about the villagers?" Cannon asked. The four looked over at the few villagers that were left after the attack and saw them kneeling down and bowing before the remains of a carrot farm.

"I think they'll be able to handle themselves," Rocket said, "now let's go."

The four packed up what supplies they had left after the ambush and went on their way. They traveled through the desert for days, barely surviving on the food they had with them, before eventually reaching a river; on the other side of this river was the beginning of an extreme hills biome.

"Finally! The desert was making me begin to crack." David said. David went down to the river and lathered himself with water. "Guys..."

"Yea, David?" Cannon asked.

"I don't know if I ever told you this, but if I submerge myself in water I become mud." David said.

"We kind of figured, since that's usually what happens to wet dirt." Cannon replied.

"Oh." David said. "Well, I'll need an alternate way to cross this river then." David said. Suddenly, Ned picked David up and lifted him over his head.

"The hell?" David questioned.

"BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY THE MIGHTY POTATO GOD, I COMMAND YOU TO CROSS THIS RIVER!" Ned shouted. Ned then tossed David to the other side, with David landing flat on his face. However, only the upper half of David's body made it to land; his legs were stuck underwater. He attempted to crawl out, but the water was cementing him legs to the river wall.

"God dammit Ned!" David shouted.

"Oh shit." Cannonwalker said. "Hold on David!" Cannonwalker swam across the river and began pulling on David in a futile attempt to free his legs from the river wall. Rocket and Ned swam over and attempted to help as well, however useless the attempts were. Suddenly, a rustle came from the trees on the green side of the river.

"Sausages." Said a low, deep voice. Suddenly, a man emerged from the forest. He wore entirely black attire, with a black hood casting a shadow across his face. The only visible part of his face were his red, beady eyes.

"Huh?" David questioned. The man walked down the hill and pulled David out of the river, effortlessly accomplishing what the three men before him could not. He then tossed David, who was without legs, carelessly onto the ground. He picked up two dirt blocks and fashioned them into legs, sticking them onto David. By the time the other three were able to crawl out of the water and David was able to stand up with his new legs, the mysterious hooded man was already standing on top of a tree.

"Baron, is that you?" Cannon asked. The hooded man stood in silence for a few moments.

"Yes. Come with me." He replied. The man then began jumping across trees back into the wilderness, with the group of four struggling to keep up with him from below.

Chapter V

Cannon, Ned, Rocket and David followed closely behind Baron, who was tree-hopping along the roof of the forest. After what seemed like an eternity of almost falling behind Baron, the group of four reached a secluded meadow in the forest. The forest floor was covered with flowers of many colors and varieties. The sun shone through the trees in such a way that the forest was lit, as the group of four would think of it, "perfectly." The group looked at Baron, who seemed unimpressed.

"This place is awesome. How'd you---?" Cannon asked.

"Silence." Baron ordered. The entire group of four stood still and silent as Baron looked attentively at his surroundings, before flipping a switch on the ground. At once, a four-by-four opening in the ground was created. A large staircase made of dirt was unearthed and Baron began going down it. The other four stood in confusion as Baron went down, causing him to turn around and scold them.

"Come down here you ninnies. The opening will close eventually." Baron said. The four followed him promptly, leading them to an underground room. The room was dimly lit with some kind of odd purple torch, with the walls adorned by glass cases, vases and other decorative items, along with crates and barrels. There was an iron door on the right-side wall. As the four looked around the room, confused as to what exactly they were witnessing, Baron leaped over a counter in the corner and stood behind it.

"Welcome to Baron's Wares. Buy something or be eradicated." Baron said. The four looked at Baron, bewildered at his proposal. After a few moments of awkward silence, Rocket stepped up to the counter.

"Buy something or be eradica---"

"Yeah, I get that already. What do you have?" Haras inquired. Baron reached down from behind the counter and pulled a vase out.

"You see this vase?" Baron asked.

"Yes. What about it?" Rocket asked. Baron then proceeded to smash it over Rocket's head.

"Fuck your face, you stupid sheep rapist." Baron said. Rocket and the other three looked at Baron, confused and slightly angered.

"What the hell was that for?!" Rocket asked indignantly.

"That was for being an idiot back in Etrdor all those months ago. You can't fistfight somebody invading on horseback, retard." Baron told Rocket, who was still clutching his head. Baron hopped out from behind the counter and looked at the group.

"And now that that's over with, let's tour other parts of the complex." Baron suggested. The four, confused and slightly afraid, followed Baron through the iron door on the wall. On the other side was a large room with stone walls. Along each side of the room were rows upon rows of large fountains made out of pillar quartz. Cannon, David, Ned and Rocket looked on in amazement.

"This is the Roman bath house." Baron said.

"Why are there so many baths, though? Does a person really need all these dozens of baths?" David asked. Suddenly, the wall to the right of the group caved in and out emerged a man wearing nothing but a toga, sandles, and a powdered, white wig.

"WHAT?! HOW DARE YOU QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF MY BATHING HABITS!" The man boomed. "I DIDN'T BUILD ALL OF THESE BATHS SO A MAN LITERALLY MADE OF DIRT COULD QUESTION THEM, YOU HEATHEN."

"So Giovanni's the one. I should have knowm." David said, unsurprised.

"Calm down, Gio, it's only David." Baron said. The man suddenly calmed down.

"Oh, yes, I remember you now from Etrdor. Giovanni Casanova, pleasure to make your acquaintance." Gio said, shaking David's hand. Gio looked at the other three, examining them closely, seemingly unsure of who they were.

"This is Cannonwalker." Baron said, motioning towards Cannonwalker.

"Ah yes, the smelly pirate man. Take a bath, you peasant." Gio said, shaking Cannon's hand.

"And this is Ned Edgewalker." Baron said, motioning towards Ned.

"Yes, the single reason why every psychiatrist in Etrdor simutaneously fled the nation to go live in the solitude of the jungle. Many mental illnesses went undiagnosed because of you and your stalking." Gio said, shaking Ned's hand.

"Thank you." Ned replied.

"And this is Rocket. Certainly you remember him as well?" Baron questioned Gio, while motioning towards Rocket. Giovanni laughed at Baron.

"Not even a little." Gio said, shaking Rocket's hand. After the group settled down, Baron and Gio escorted them to a separate room. Gio made tea and they all conversed.

"So Cannonwalker, how's life been since Etrdor turned into a smoldering heap of nothingness?" Baron asked, while sipping his tea.

"It's been fine, I suppose, but something has been troubling us all." Cannon said.

"And what might that be?" Baron asked.

"Rocket's village was attacked by the Kokushi. They're still around and causing trouble, Baron. We need to stop them." Cannon said. Baron set his tea down and folded his hands across his lap.

"I've made a considerable amount of money abducting travelers and making them buy my wares, so I suppose we could buy some horses and bows and play them at their own game." Baron suggested.

"Sounds like a plan. We should leave as soon as possible." Cannon agreed.

"But, but what about the Roman Baths?" Gio asked.

"Pack them up and build them in Kokushi territory as a sign of your dominance over their peasantry." Baron suggested.

"Yesssssss, perfect." Gio said. Gio began dismantling his Roman Baths as the others packed up supplies to make the trip.

Chapter VI

Cannon, Ned, David, Rocket, Baron and Gio, with all of their food and weaponry packed up, had gone a few hours through the forest in their quest to find the Kokushi. Cannon was at the front of the pack, with a compass and a map provided by Baron, guiding the way, in hopes of finding the Kokushi. Meanwhile, at the back of the pack, Baron and Rocket were in the middle of an argument.

"Baron, I was out of arrows for my bow. How else was I supposed to defend my home in Etrdor from the Kokushi's horsemen?!" Rocket asked.

"You could have used splash potions, you ninny. They were on the market dirt cheap." Baron replied.

"YES, BECAUSE RUNNING TO THE STORE AND BUYING SPLASH POTIONS IS MY FIRST REACTION WHEN A BUNCH OF GOD DAMN MONGOLIANS BREAK DOWN OUR WALL!" Rocket yelled.

"Rocket, I'm not saying you should have ran to the store and bought splash potions, I'm saying you should have fought in a more innovative way. You could have at least fought with a sword instead of trying to punch them." Baron replied.

"I didn't have a sword, you idiot. You took it to 'persuade' travelers into buying your shit." Rocket said.

"Well, I guess you can't fix stupid, but you can watch a band of Mongolians destroy everything it loves." Baron said. Rocket sighed and didn't respond to Baron. The journey continued silently for a few more minutes, until David spoke up.

"So, uh, where exactly are we going, Cannon?" David asked.

"Well, this map says that there's a city not too far away in the direction we're going. Maybe we could buy some enchantments for our weapons there or ask for direction or something." Cannon replied.

"Do you think it's possible the Kokushi have already sacked it, though?" David asked. Just then, a rustle was heard in the bushes. All six members of the group instantly turned towards the direction of the rustle, all of them seeing a shadow rushing through the trees. Cannonwalker unsheathed his diamond sword.

"Who's there?! I won't hesitate to attack!" Cannonwalker said, paranoid of the noise. The figure suddenly emerged from the forest floor and began running across the top of trees at such a speed that his physical features could barely be made out. The group saw that he wore a black robe with a hood, but that was all.

"Who are you, god dammit?!" Cannon shouted, chasing after the man. Ned attempted to pelt the man with potatoes, but the man swiftly dodged every single one. The group chased after the man with Cannon, but it was no use trying to catch up with the man. The group gave up soon after and simply continued with their designated route.

Eventually, the group reached a large bridge and began to cross it. Across the bridge was what they presumed to be the city on the map they had been following. The city was filled with beautiful skyscrapers and structures built of only the finest materials; pillared quartz, redstone blocks, diamond blocks, emerald blocks, and others only afforded to the richest people around. It was obvious at first sight to all in the six-man party that this city was very wealthy and strong.

After crossing the bridge, the group seemed to blend in fairly well with the bustling population of the city. They admired the apparent wealth of the city, acknowledging that even Etrdor was not this wealthy.

"Baron, the map didn't show this city. Why's your map outdated?" Cannon told Baron.

"Well, sometimes random shit gets built. I can't be expected rto keep up with everything, now can I?" Baron asked. After a decent amount of travel within the city, they discovered a large castle in the heart of the city made entirely of diamond blocks. The large lawn of the house was covered with flags bearing thirteen red and white strips, along with a blue box in the upper left corner containing about fifty stars.

"Jesus, who would spend all of this money on a house like this?" Rocket questioned.

"Obviously somebody who wanted people to know they were wealthy, dumbass." Ned told Rocket. 

Ned picked a potato out of his pocket and threw it from afar at the house, as if expecting something to happen. The potato hit the door of the house, causing the person inside to violently kick the door off of its hinges.  The man standing before them bore a suit with a pattern similar to the flags on his lawn, along with an enchanted diamond sword. He had short, black hair and a goatee of the same color.

"GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DAMN IMMIGRANTS. GO BACK TO THE WILDERNESS." The man shouted. The man picked up the potato Ned threw and threw it back, hitting Ned in the head. The man walked quickly up to the group, uprooting one of the flag staff and bringing it with him. He approached Ned and picked his potato up from the ground.

"DO YOU WANNA SEE WHAT I DO TO PROPAGANDA LIKE THIS?!" The man screamed in Ned's face. The man threw the potato back onto the ground and impaled it with the flag staff.

"Mallace?" Cannon asked. The man turned towards Cannonwalker, suddenly becoming calm.

"Oh, it's you guys; what's up?" Mallace asked. Mallace had lived in Etrdor with the group the year prior, developing close friendships with many of them.

"Not much." Baron said.

"Come in, come in." Mallace said. Mallace walked back to his house with the others, taking his flag staff in with him. When the group entered, the first thing they noticed was that everything was made of diamond; the tables, couches, chairs, and more. The second thing they noticed was that there were dozens of armor stands with full sets of enchanted diamond armor on them.

"Take a seat." Mallace said, motioning towards the couch. Mallace took a seat, uncomfortably shifting around as the others took their own seats.

"This is a bit uncomfortable. Do you have anything more... chair-y?" David asked Mallace.

"David, that sounds like commie talk to me." Mallace responded.

"I'm not a communist, it's just---"

"Don't let me hear this commie talk from you again. Next I'll hear you support subsidies for poor people or some other ludicrous communist conspiracies."

"...Okay." 

Mallace and the others continued to shift uncomfortably in their seats. Ned eventually fell to the floor and began writhing in pain.

"The free market at its finest." Mallace said, looking at Ned.

"So Mallace, what have you been up to since we parted ways?" Cannon asked.

"I stumbled across this city a few weeks after Etrdor was destroyed. I worked my way up and proved myself to be one of the strongest and most dedicated members of the city. About a month ago, the city decided to elect me as the city's President." Mallace said.

"How close was the vote?" David asked. Mallace stood up with his flag staff and waved his flag violently in David's face.

"DON'T QUESTION DEMOCRACY, YOU ACTUAL DIRTY COMMUNIST." Mallace shouted at David. Mallace took his seat again after clearly traumatizing David.

"So, what have you guys been doing since the split?" Mallace asked.

"We all did a bunch of separate things, but we've recently reunited to fight the Kokushi. They've reared their ugly heads once more." Cannon said. "You gotta come help us out." Mallace stood up and contemplated Cannonwalker's proposal for a moment before sighing.

"I would, but I really can't. This city needs a leader and I can't deprive them of that. Besides, the Kokushi have been attacking us too; would it be right for me to just up and leave when this city needs me the most?" Mallace asked rhetorically.

"That's too bad.  I guess we'll see you some other time, then?" Cannon asked.

"Perhaps you will." Mallace said. As the group got up and began to leave, Mallace spoke up.

"Wait. I figure I can at least offer you some enchanted armor and equipment." Mallace said. The group stopped and turned around.

"You will?" Cannon asked.

"Yes, each of you take a suit of armor from here, and I'll give you some diamonds to buy other equipment you might need in the city before you go." Mallace added. The group began taking enchanted diamond armor from Mallace's armor stands as Mallace began getting diamonds from his chest.

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