Sometimes I wonder if war really benefits anyone.

People die much faster than they come in war. War is sweet, but only to those who have not experienced it.

And I know someone who experienced war. He was a great man who met a tragic end.

I am just a lowly villager living on his island. But I was also the only villager to survive the Great War. The war between the Blackguard...

...and the rest of the world.

It wasn't a fair fight.

If was unfair for the rest of the world.

Here is the story of the Great War, written from the Rebel Leader's perspective. He was commander of my island and the general in the Great War. Although he is no longer alive, his journal is. Read at your own risk.

- Steve

Chapter 1: Morning Problems

I woke up this morning in my Headquarters. I went outside to check on the Mortar upgrade when one of my villagers told me a Blackguard Mercenary took over one of my villages. This was not the only time, as countless free islanders had been taken over by the Blackguard before. But then I wondered, "Why is everyone that we find an enemy? Why can't we have a single ally to fight off the Blackguard? Are the people we have been fighting mistaken?" I needed to find out. So I set off with my Landing Craft and explored the ocean. I saw a village, and I came closer. But instead of flattening the base, as I did countless times before, I would try to negotiate with the Blackguard Mercenary.

I guess I should introduce myself first. I'm the Rebel Leader Junior, son of the Great Rebel Leader, who was the son of the great Rebel Leader Senior. Oh, "Great" was part of dad's name, and "Senior" was part of grandpa's name. So my people just call me Rebel Leader for short.

I'm the leader of the Rebels (no surprise there). I fight against the Blackguard, trying to get them to surrender. The war between us and the Blackguard – The Great War, to be precise – has been going on for many years now, since November 11 of 2013 when the Blackguard Empire came into existence and began attacking our allies, the Native Islanders of the Archipelago. But back to the day that changed my life forever.

As always, there were armed defences and people dressed in black. When my troops landed, they wanted to raid, as always. I had to calm them down and tell them we just wanted to talk. Cannons and Snipers were pointed at us, but since we weren't attacking, they were very confused. Fortunately, none of them fired. We were greeted outside the Headquarters by the Mercenary and his comrades. They weren't in the most peaceful mood. He started talking to us about money, and how they were in only for the money and that Lt. Hammerman paid them a small fortune for every village they captured.

It did not take much talking to persuade the Mercenary to establish a truce. The Mercenary promised they wouldn't attack our base or the islands if we didn't attack them. He escorted us off the island, and I saw him pack his base up as I left. I went in search of other mercenaries to negotiate with. Unfortunately, all of them thought I was going to fight. I did not make any more truces that day.

Soon after, I encountered a small village under attack. I saw Lt. Hammerman's face on the Gunboat, so I assumed he wanted to take over the peaceful village and use the island for economic and military improvement. After a few minutes it was over and Hammerman locked the captured villagers under their new HQ. He told the villagers, "You are all going to be okay. I am your ally. I will protect you." I didn't believe him.

Soon he prepared his Machine Guns and Cannons to defend his new beloved base from invaders. The people were unhappy under Lt. Hammerman, and so were we. The leader of the base wasn't a Mercenary, so I knew I had no option but to destroy it. After the battle, I loaded the damaged equipment onto my Gunboat and towed the Landing Craft home. I put the Craft in their correct place in the docks, and parked the Gunboat there. It was already evening, and I was about to go to bed. But then, I heard the rumbling of tracks on the beach.

I turned around and saw the Mercenaries that I had tried negotiate with. There was no escape as decked up Tanks showed up on our beaches; our Boom Cannons and Cannons hardly made a dent. It seemed as if the Mercenaries had our base taken for sure. I hid in the Vault and waited for all of it to be over.

"The battle was a success. We've destroyed the base, hindering their progress once more."

The attack was over, and my base was rebuilding. However, I knew that the Blackguard would come back. I had visited too many mercenaries for them to just forget about it all.

The attack soon came, and they deployed loads of infantry units. But they stood no chance. Firing new and improved rockets, the Rocket Launcher blew up the attacking troops one by one. Using the Diamonds that the mercenary troops dropped, we got the resources necessary to start a Boom Cannon upgrade so we could stand a chance against any more Tanks.

But just then, our spies gathered intel that the Blackguard would use weaponry to kill the villagers that were working on the Boom Cannon for their third attempt at the assault! I couldn't just cancel the upgrade; it had already begun, and cancelling it could lead to the Boom Cannon breaking down.

We were pondering this problem in the HQ when we heard an explosion! We rushed out the door and we saw the Gunboat. The red painted stripes on the hull. It was the very invasion we were talking about. As expected, the boat started firing at our villagers, hammering away at the Boom Cannon. All of them abandoned the Boom Cannon just in time. All but one. That one villager dodged the missile, and tried desperately to connect the power cord of the Boom Cannon so that it would be operational. The Gunboat's cannon reared up, and an ominous noise came from within as a Shock Bomb flew out of the cannon. The villager was shocked, then shot with a Flare as a Scorcher landed on the beach!

Chapter 2: Failure

We panicked as we saw the Scorcher advance at frightening speed. When it stopped in front of the paralysed villager, I realised I had to manually aim one of our Shock Launchers to hit the enemy but not our brave man.

It did what it was supposed to, and it gave the villager two valuable seconds to escape the Scorcher's grasp. The two seconds didn't give the villager too much time though, and the Scorcher gained ground again. I ordered the other Shock Launcher to immobilise the Scorcher too. As the Scorcher got shocked again by both Shock Launchers, the villager escaped the flames of fury from the point blank range of the Scorcher.

But the Scorcher was still travelling farther in one second than the villager did in five seconds. And eventually it got closer and closer. As the Scorcher was slowly worn down from the Boom Cannon's shots, it rushed towards our villager, hoping to explode right behind him. As our Shock Launchers couldn't really slow the Scorcher down, we fired all heavy weapons at it. It was soon destroyed, but not before it took a big chunk out of our upgrading Boom Cannon.

We had defended our base for the third time in a row while at the mercy of the Blackguard. Firstly, being run through by Tanks, then overwhelmed by a Rifle-Zooka army, and then halting one of our upgrades.

Not that it slowed our construction down, but a loss was a loss.

"Well then. We must try harder next time."
"You are right. We must utilise new technologies."
"Sending Dr. T on it now."

At this point, my only option was to keep trying. To continuously negotiate with Mercenaries, trying to persuade them to give up this fruitless war. I walked into the sick bay where the troops had fully recovered. I decided, just in case, to take them along. They took hold of their weapons and climbed into their respective Landing Craft. I entered the Gunboat and set sail for a Mercenary island.

As we approached, the defences turned our way but they did not shoot. We had left our weapons behind to show we meant no harm. We were greeted by a grumpy Blackguard captain. He smiled a sickly grin and welcomed me. He said there was someone inside who wanted to meet me privately. I wasn't sure if I could trust him, but I did anyway. I ordered my troops to go back. I opened the door and stepped inside the HQ. Then, suddenly, a trapdoor opened under me! As I fell, I used well my four limbs to slow my fall. I then landed without injury on the basement floor.

I realised I was imprisoned in a small seven-foot tall cube-shaped cage! I had to escape, or the defences would probably go for my troops. I searched my way out, but I found out that the trapdoor was locked. I stumbled around the room until I another trapdoor. It really wasn't my day. But when I landed flat on the new basement floor, I heard a crowd of voices.

"Who's there?" I yelled.
"It's the rebel leader!" yelled a voice. "We're the native islanders."

I took out my emergency laser cutter that I stored in my pocket at all times, and managed to free around half the islanders before it ran out of power. The men then worked together to bend the bars just enough so that their fellow islanders could escape.

The captain spotted us from the noise we made inside their prison. He ordered the rest of the guards to the prison where we were. Using our bare hands, we managed to skilfully defeat some of their armed Riflemen, and even a few Heavies. We were going well, and I was about to take the islanders to our base when a Zooka dropped down the hatch, and fired. She aimed her shot into the midst of the crowd, and we were unlikely to survive. But with immediate reflexes, I pushed the people away from the blast. I just ducked out of the way in time as the islanders fell on the floor. As the chaos from the shot cleared out, we decided to counter-attack on the Zooka. The tougher men could easily survive a few shots from her bazooka, and we pushed our way towards her. She knew that she was outnumbered. One of the islanders threw a powerful punch to the Zooka's fragile body, and she fell unconscious instantly.

I took the dropped bazooka the Zooka had, and with a weapon in our hands, we proceeded to fight our way out of the HQ. Just as we saw the exit, some of the islanders ran outside, only to get burned by two Flamethrowers guarding the exit to the HQ. Immediately I turned the handle, and the door slammed shut. We were safe...for a while. They were slowly melting the door down. I whipped out my controller and manually sent an emergency signal to the Gunboat. The auto-drive received the signal and shot a Shock Bomb at the Flamethrowers. The fiery defences were frozen on the spot.

As the door was reduced to a molten puddle of metallic alloys, we ran out the HQ. However, this time, the defences went for us. I stopped. I decided to flank left, where the Rocket Launchers would do insignificant damage. My plan worked and we were all in out boats. But someone was missing! Two islanders had been Shocked too! I watched in horror as the Shock Bomb wore off. The Gunboat was out of energy. As the Scorchers took position, I ordered my troops to run back to the Gunboat, sacrificing the islanders for the good of the greater.

Overall, a failed negotiation, and two islanders lost.

Chapter 3: More Defending

We went back to our home base, where we regrouped for an all-out attack on the Mercenary Base. We realised that negotiations would never work against the Blackguard, and doing so we decided to fight by force.

We decided to upgrade our Tanks, as they stood a good chance of destroying the base, but after we collected the taxes from the residences and the gifts from the natives we had freed we did not have enough gold! And to make things worse, as we checked the horizon there was a Gunboat and several crimson Landing Craft coming towards us, loaded fully with Scorchers!

We were trapped. There was not enough time to flee. I ordered all people on the base into the bomb shelter basement of the HQ. I put all defences on manual control, so that I could use the Shock Launchers at the back of the base. When the Scorchers landed, I immediately let loose all Boom Cannons. The explosive cannonballs literally fell from the sky. The Blackguard were obviously very surprised, as the Scorchers were out of the Boom Cannons' range. But then out flew 4 Shock Bombs, immobilising the 4 Boom Cannons! I rushed over and put all the Rocket Launchers on autopilot. Then I headed over to the Shock Launcher Control. I turned the Shock Launchers to face the Scorchers - when the emergency alarm started blaring!

What was happening? Had the Scorchers destroyed half the base already? It was impossible! I extended the periscope to the horizon. I saw even more Landing Craft, filled with Zookas to the brim. The Scorchers hadn't destroyed our base yet, but the Zookas certainly would.

When the troops landed, the Zookas aimed at the Scorchers and fired. At first I was confused, but then I realised that these troops came from the very first Mercenary we negotiated with – the only one thus far who had listened to us. Each volley they fired destroyed one Scorcher as they worked together to eliminate them all. The resulting explosions did nothing to wreck the Zookas as they stood very far away from the point of detonation.

Meanwhile a confrontation happened between the two Gunboats in action. The Mercenary one kept throwing Artillery onto the Scorchers as they set fire upon the base, while the Blackguard one kept Barraging the Zookas. As the Barrages fired, the Mercenary's Gunboat threw Artillery and a Shock Bomb to partially disable the enemy's Gunboat and damage it as well. But it ran out of Energy, and now the red Gunboat had turned attention to the other one, ready to wreck it with powerful Barrages!

The red Gunboat shot at the Mercenary one. There were highly explosive missiles in the hold of the Mercenary Gunboat, just not enough energy to fire them. The red Gunboat's missiles activated them, and both Gunboats exploded in a giant fiery ball. The explosion hit the troops on the beach, sending everyone flying. But as we looked around, all the enemies were dead. There were 7 crystals lying on the beach, presumably launched from the red Gunboat when it exploded. The crystals were all Ice. Now we could sculpt our Masterpiece and potentially save ourselves from more raids. But it would still be a painful ten hours until our base was rather safe from the Blackguard.

I sent out our spies to receive more intel about the Blackguard. I was soon informed that they were taking advantage of this surprise attack and were preparing for the next assault - massed Warriors! We moved our Flamethrowers beside our HQ to attempt to stop them. But then we realised that there was only one problem... all our Flamethrowers were down!

I turned to the alternative – Machine Guns. They were repositioned beside the HQ to maximise their output. Things were alright for a bit, but soon I realised something odd - the Machine Guns were not rotating. I looked around. The Villagers became very confused as they realised that none of our defences were moving! Something was wrong. I opened the back of one of the Machine Guns. The power cord was still firmly connected. The gearbox of every defence was opened - to discover that every power cord (except the Flamethrowers') was still secure. What had happened? Was the gear jammed? I headed to the Machine Gun again, and manually switched it to manual control. Out popped a trigger. I pulled - yet no shots came out!

I soon realised that our Power Generator was not functional. The shockwaves from the Gunboat explosion had temporarily disabled our reactor, which was bad. Now nothing in the entire base was working. I had two options here – wait for the reactor to reboot itself, or fix it manually and risk damaging it permanently. I chose to wait it out. But this gave the Blackguard plenty of time to raid our base while all of our defences were disabled.

"I have perfected the new portal mechanisms."
"Perfect. Let us launch the contraption now."

Chapter 4: Dr. T

As my villagers worked on fixing the reactor, I sensed danger. I sensed something worse than Blackguard troops coming to raid our base. I could almost smell the danger in the air. I was thinking about where I was sensing this danger when I saw it. There was a massive fleet of ships, approaching us from the horizon!

At first, I thought it was a lot of Landing Craft, but then I realised that Dr. T had succeeded in carrying his replication of smart weapons over to the Blackguard navy. With no defences at hand, I had to wake up my troops and make them defend. For the first time, they were countering an attack. Our army easily took down a few boats on their own, but they were cloned back within seconds. We were going to face a potentially infinite number of boats! Just how would we fight against an infinite army?

I had to stop the navy from being infinitely replicated. I ordered my troops to go in and hold off the army for as long as possible. As they destroyed boat after boat, I swam underneath the ships and below the mothership. I surfaced, and smashed through a porthole. Dr. T stood there, watching the destruction unfold. He turned around and saw me – but he didn't have time to react before I threw him overboard. I managed to hack into the system and turn off the replicators, but not before my troops were injured and utterly exhausted. But then, in climbed Dr. T! He whipped out his twin-turbine power gun, and aimed it at me! I had to act quick, as so I did a double backflip to dodge those shots. I dived headfirst backwards into the water.

Dr. T's shots vaporised instantly underwater. I was practically invincible while under the surface. Using the laser cutter that I had recharged, I cut a hole in the mothership and sunk it. The replication system was gone for the rest of the battle.

As the ship sunk to the sea floor, I saw Dr. T flee back to his base, swimming the entire way. i let my troops deal with the rest of the navy and chased after him, laser cutter in hand. For some reason, a few minutes of chasing later, Dr. T mysteriously disappeared. So I continued swimming in his general direction.

I made it very close to the island where his base lied, staying a little too close for comfort. As I spied on him from the sea, I saw that he was planning another assault, with a replicator far from the battlefield! This replicator was impenetrable. How would we survive this second invulnerable and infinite army? I had to kidnap Dr. T and prevent him from inventing this machine in the first place.

I splashed a lot of water about to attract the guards and troops. When they came over, I would jump on Dr. T from above and put him in a duffel bag. It worked, but not really. I certainly got their attention – a bullet whizzed past my head a few seconds later. I had to try something different. I climbed on board the unguarded Gunboat and started the engines. The loud humming and the lights were enough to call quite a few guards over – but not all. I taped the accelerator down...and WHOOSH! The Gunboat whizzed off at terrific speed. All of the guards came over and hurried into the Landing Craft. I took advantage of this moment of distraction by jumping into the water and swimming back to the base. The guards didn't notice.

I walked on the beach and silently sprinted over to Dr. T's lab. I climbed to the roof – with difficulty – and peered in through the porthole. He had finished his replicator!! Time was running out. I had to jump on him and knock him out, and take him back. I would deal with taking him back later. I smashed through the window, landed on the floor, ran towards Dr. T, jumped, and...

...landed, slipped, and fell flat on my face. Dr. T turned around and took out his gun again! He shot – but missed. He seemed awfully tired. This was my chance! I ran over and jumped on Dr. T and bonked him on the head. He was knocked out. I went out of the lab, carrying Dr. T. I looked around to spot a mode of transport. I couldn't find any sort of plane or boat, but I did see a strange glowing ring in Dr. T's lab. It looked almost exactly like a portal. With no other options, I stepped through. I was expecting to land on the middle of nowhere, but I fell in the sea. It was the same place where Dr. T mysteriously disappeared. He must have used the portal!

Just that moment, Dr. T woke up but I bonked him on the head again. I swam over to my island, and gave Dr. T to my troops. I told them to interrogate him, and find out how to disable the replicators.

As I walked back to my Headquarters, I realised that all this battle had led me off my goal – to know why everyone else is a Mercenary. Yes, for the money, but surely not everyone was so greedy! I ordered some of my troops into their Landing Craft. We set off. We decided to start with a Resource Base that was taken recently.

Chapter 5: Lt. Hammerman

I decided to bring all of our Zookas into the fight, to destroy the base should the Mercenary fail to negotiate peacefully. I was the first to step foot on the island, with my hands above my head. The Zookas followed, keeping their weapons, but also with no sign of attacking. The defences didn't shoot. I went into the Headquarters, and got the attention of the leader. But this person was not in a good mood! He ran up to me and jumped on me. The Zookas took aim and fired – but so did the defences! Now it was an all-out war – and the Zookas were getting mowed down! I took the weapon of a Zooka lying on the floor. I aimed the bazooka personally, and prepared to pull the trigger.

Suddenly, I woke up in my bed, wondering where everyone was. I went out of the building and headed for the nearest Zooka for info. I ask her that what had happened. She said that the officers had activated the Super Mortar and fired it upon us. We were knocked out by the explosion and the Medics, Tanks and Heavies brought us all home. it had been 2 days since that had happened.

But this was too much now. After years of fighting I finally lost the plot. I brought all the people in the base for a speech. I told them were are going to continuously train troops for an all-out-assault on the Blackguard Mainland, and that our ultimate goal was not to defeat little enemy invasions anymore, but to kill the Blackguard forever. But I still had a goal to find out why, WHY everyone was a Mercenary working for the Blackguard and not for the Rebels. I wanted to know what was causing everyone to join the evil side, and whether I could get them to join me instead.

For the next 2 days I pondered over it. Complex dilemmas to resolve and endless battles within. Finally, the day to launch the attack arrived. We took all our troops. Every single man and woman we had walked onto the Landing Craft, and we set off. I looked happy outside, but it was just a façade to cover my true emotions. One of the Medics noticed that I was down and came over to ask what happened.

"How did you know I was down?" I asked.

He replied that in addition to being a doctor, he was also a psychologist. So I told him about my stresses.

"Everyday, I wake up, upgrade, defend, attack, sleep. No usual life. All battle. Every single day doc! It's emotionally draining!"

He told me to calm down, for after I was their leader. I decided to listen to him. We got to the mainland, and hid in a secret spot. Some intel for a building here, a sabotage there. Then we commenced our attack.

We deployed all our troops and let them go haywire. We fired countless missiles, so it looked like a meteor shower. We were about to reach the Power Core, when the current mercenaries on our map came up! They fired Barrages to kill every single troop I deployed. Every single troop on the battlefield went down.

I started crying. Every waking hour of effort gone to waste. Out of my army, only a single Rifleman, the psychologist Medic, and I was left.

The Barrages' splash damage had knocked down most of the defences. But a handful of them were left. In my rage I started heading towards the Power Core. The Medic tried holding me back but I would not listen. He told me, "At least let me heal you!"

I walked through the fire of the remaining defences. I kept being shot at. But I persisted. I walked through the the blitz of firepower when I collapsed, ready to die. And then I started my plan.

I shouted, "Why do you DO THIS?!" As my voice echoed around, I shouted again, "Why do you DO THIS?!" Everyone's attention was on me.

"Is this what you want?" I continued. "People, innocent people being tortured and killed. A day will come when you are asked to destroy your own friend. Would you do it?"

There was a long silence.

"No," replied a single Mercenary.
"Do you like being the cause of suffering to the native islanders?" I yelled back.
"No," said the Mercenary.
"THEN WHY DO YOU DO THIS?!" I shouted in utter despair. "WHY, WHY, WHY?!"
"For we have no choice," said the Mercenaries. Others were beginning to speak.
"Then come and defeat th-the black-black-gu-guard wit-tt-h me..."

I was coughing blood.

My speech left the Blackguard Mercenaries in a complex moral dilemma. One by one, they came to my side and helped me up. We all decided then and there to complete my mission. We started walking. But then, someone came out of the Blackguard Elite Headquarters. Someone with a scar over his eye – Lt. Hammerman himself! He seemed to have been moved by my speech. He walked over, alone, without weapons. He stared down at me, frowning.

"Let's talk." he said.

I was carried inside the Blackguard Elite HQ. I was in Hammerman's room, and all the Mercenaries left the two of us, promising to retract their involvement in the war.

Hammerman sat down and folded his arms. I didn't trust him. And I was right! He smiled...and pulled out a gun! He aimed it as me, ready to shoot. Was the man heartless and cruel after all? Was he going to pull the trigger? I froze, shocked by this action.

Just then, my Gunboat just fired an Artillery shell at the window behind Hammerman. Seeing it, I ducked under a table. Hammerman just laughed, knowing that his gun would easily pierce through through the glass and hit me, but the impacting shell shattered the window, spraying glass everywhere.

I was injured pretty badly, but I was still able to stand up. I ran to him and picked up his dropped gun. He tried to pull out another weapon, but I managed to kick it away, knock him down, and pin him under my foot. The Blackguard leader was in my hands. I had a choice: kill him or take him prisoner.

I finally decided to capture him, as I wanted to know more about what the Blackguard was hiding. I wanted this war to end by peace, not by war. I radioed a distress signal to the Villagers, who were training new troops. They arrived in a jiffy. Hammerman was promptly taken to our Headquarters, where he would spill all the secrets of the Blackguard or suffer a terrible fate.

He didn't open his mouth.

However, he decided to write the truth down, telling us it would be a more useful way of communication. We asked, and he wrote down the answer. Soon enough he was done with us. But we realised that his handwriting was not only illegible, but also gave out false information! Clearly Hammerman cheated us!

We began to question him, but then a marine vehicle cruised around the corner. The Blackguard Gunboat threatened to fire Artillery on our HQ unless we let Hammerman go. We didn't shoot, and neither did the Gunboat. We had no choice – there was no counter for the Gunboat. Hammerman climbed on board, and yelled, "Thanks for waiting!"

We were fooled! There was nobody in the cabin! Panicking, I rushed to the basement and switched the Rocket Launchers to manual control. I aimed at the Gunboat, but it was too late! Hammerman was in the control room. He fired barrages at all of our Rocket Launchers and destroyed them. I didn't hesitate to move to the Shock Launchers. I set them to manual control as well and fired a Shock Bomb at the Gunboat. Alas, I missed! The Gunboat had moved! Hammerman was escaping! As a final, desperate hope, I hobbled to our own Gunboat and turned it on. I grabbed the controllers – but it was too much for me. My injuries had not fully recovered, and I fell into a coma. Luckily, I noticed my vision switching off and turned on the autopilot just before I fell to the floor. The last thing I detected was the villager's voice shouting, "Commander! Wait!"

Chapter 6: The Mainland

It was nighttime when I woke up. I felt slightly better after my hours-long sleep. However, I had absolutely no idea where I was. I stood there, cautiously. I heard the splashing of waves. Where were the villagers? Has they not caught up with me? Or had I just washed up on my island? No, my island had spotlights at night and ultrasound SONAR detectors. Was it a native island? Possibly. I walked onto the deck of the boat. My eyes had not fully adjusted to the dark yet – all I saw was flat terrain and no trees.

Islands weren't flat! And they had trees! I was beginning to doubt that the place was part of the archipelago at all. To add to that, there was an extremely distinct stench, a strange metallic smell of decayed Power Stones. But Power Stones lasted for millions of years before decaying! Or...their power could have been extracted. There was only one place on the whole world where power was extracted from Power Stones – the Blackguard Mainland!

I was now nearly certain that I wasn't on a native island. But was I on the Blackguard Mainland? I stepped off the side of the Gunboat and down to the ground, expecting to land of soft grass. Instead, my feet came into hard, carbon-fibre plated terrain. My legs buckled under the shock, and I collapsed. I yelled.

"Who's there?" said a voice.

Not any voice I recognised. Not the native islanders, not my villagers nor my troops. A voice coming from lungs that seemed to be damaged and withered. Withered from smoke, perhaps? And what was with the carbon-fibre floor?

Then, suddenly, it hit me. This was, without a doubt, the Blackguard mainland. The fumes, the floor, the terrain. They were all clues. And this person's lungs were damaged from being exposed to the toxic plumes that the process of extracting power from power stones created. It was all crystal clear now. But then, a flashlight turned on! Aimed at me! There was a gasp.

The voice cried, "Intruder alert!" And at once an alarm started blaring. Blackguard soldiers marched out of every doorway in sight. Soon there was a giant ocean of Riflemen, bigger than our previous army. I tried to stand up, but I couldn't. My legs were terribly injured! I pulled myself to the Gunboat, painfully and slowly. But alas, the hull was too steep to climb. I was cornered. I turned around to meet an armada of Riflemen pointing their rifles at me. One command, and I was done for. I waited for my death.

A minute of silence later, Lt. Hammerman strolled through the armada and came right in front of me. He tried to kill be before, so what should be different now? He leaned forward.

"Let's talk." he said again.
"I'd rather die than talk to you!" I yelled right back at him.
"You just did." he replied. "Men! Take him to the interrogation room!"

Interrogation room. I didn't like the sound of that. I was grabbed and tied up by three or four riflemen. They dragged me across the floor like a sack of bricks – not too good for my legs. I was carried into the ginormous hallway of the Elite Blackguard Headquarters. I went down many flights of stairs and saw many strange sights, including a room full of cages, a Power Core machine, a Power Stone melter, Dr. T's new bathroom, and most amazing of all, the supreme dictator of the Blackguard. He was decked out with a giant crown and a long cape. He looked old – 90 years at least. But I couldn't examine him, for I was carried relentlessly on. Finally, I reached the interrogation room. There were lots of things I didn't like – tesla coils, water cages, and spiders. They carried me to a machine with spikes embedded on a wall – not a pleasant thing to see. I was locked in place, and Lt. Hammerman walked up to me.

"If you find it too painful," he taunted. "just tell us and we'll stop."

He walked away and pressed a button. At once, the machine sprang into action. The spikes approached me, closer, closer, when... stopped. It only served as an intimidation device. The spikes were only a quarter of an inch away from my legs.

Hammerman continued, "I have spared you for now, rebel scum. But only just. If you refuse to cooperate then the spikes continue on and they will impale you."

He proceeded to ask me a question. I didn't answer.

Hammerman then ordered the spikes to impale me. But they didn't. The spikes were at the limit of its extent; it couldn't go any further.

He swore, and I tried to escape while he recalibrate the machine. Shaking my body was not a very good idea - there was no breathing room between me and the spikes. How could I possibly escape?

I couldn't possibly unlock my chains – they were just too tight. So I thought. If brute force doesn't work, then you have to try deceptive thinking. Hammerman was mumbling with his engineers while I cooked up a brilliant escape plan.

"There's a fire there," I said.
"Say what?" asked Hammerman.
"Look out the window," I replied. "That building's clearly on fire."

Of course, there wasn't a fire, there was simply a red stain on the glass pane that looked deceivingly like a fire.

"Hmm..." mumbled Hammerman. He tried to stay calm, but it was clear he was in a state of panic. "Let us solve this!"

He began to run out of the doorway.

"Tim! Keep an eye on him!" he yelled as he disappeared.

The first engineer sat firmly in front of me. His sunglasses and his lack of motion made it difficult to know whether he was awake or asleep, but I presumed the former was correct. I knew Hammerman would come back soon – as soon as he found out there was no fire, he would return.

I had just enough room to grab my Laser Cutter and yank it out of my pocket. I proceeded to slice through the ropes, one by one. I was finished in a minute. When I crawled off the interrogation device, I watched for any sign of movement from the engineer. There was none. I proceeded to unobtrusively climb up all the flights of stairs before I reached the surface. There, I saw the confusing depths of the labyrinth of the Blackguard Mainland.

Just when I was about to leave, I noticed many, many security cameras around the doorway. I instantly knew I needed some sort of disguise as to not get noticed. I looked around for any sort of Blackguard uniform, but there was none.

I was pondering how I would disguise myself to sneak out of the Blackguard Elite Headquarters when I suddenly noticed Hammerman marching towards me with the engineer behind him. I had to act fast. So I ran back down all those flights of stairs.

I tried, at least. Halfway down, I ran right into the engineer. I fell back instantly, and the impact knocked him out cold. I knew Hammerman was coming down quickly, so I did the only thing I could think of – disguise myself as the engineer. I dragged him back to the interrogation room to be out of Hammerman's sight for as long as possible.

I was in the engineer's outfit in a jiffy, and I dressed him in mine. Just in time, as a matter of fact. As soon as I had properly fitted him up, Hammerman kicked open the door and stomped in.

"There is no fire!" he yelled furiously. "You little –"

He looked around.

"Hey!" he shouted. "Where'd he go?"
"He's right there," I said, pointing at the engineer. "I stopped him when he was about to escape."

Hammerman stared at the body lying on the ground.

"Um..." I murmured. "I guess I'll take him away."
"To where?" asked Hammerman.
" to go!" I yelled, carrying the engineer to the surface.

Soon, I put the engineer in a rowboat and sailed all the way back to my island. I was planning to interrogate him and tell me what the Blackguard was cooking up. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as I planned.

As I neared my island, a searchlight was suddenly pointed at my face.

"INTRUDER ALERT!!!" yelled the lookout villager.

At once a siren started blaring. The villagers rushed out and armed themselves. Some got into the landing craft, and others started up the Gunboat.

"GET THAT FOREIGN ROWBOAT!" yelled the same villager.
"What?" I yelled.

All of a sudden, Landing Craft were surrounding me, and my own people had their guns pointed at their leader.

"Hand over the Rebel Leader," one said. "Or I shoot!"
"It's me, your commander!" I protested.

A bullet whizzed past my head and narrowly missed the engineer.

"Hand over the Rebel Leader!" repeated the villager. "This is your final warning."
"It's me, you fools!" I hissed.

This time, a bullet did hit me. It pierced my shoulder, though not very badly.

"Get him!" ordered the villager.

All at once, the Landing Craft approached me at frightening speed. Seconds later, I found myself in the middle of a kick, punch, and scratch competition. Of course, the villagers didn't stop until I was knocked out as well.

I woke up in the sick bay.

"Um..." said one villager.
"Welcome back..." murmured another.
"We mistook you for some sort of Blackguard officer," said a third. "Sorry."

I didn't speak. If my own men didn't recognise me, that was a good explanation as to why the Blackguard were so much more powerful than us.

"Why were you in that outfit anyway?" asked the first villager.

I had to explain what had happened in the Blackguard Mainland and why I was in the engineer's clothes. The villagers understood.

Soon, I was in my proper outfit, and standing in front of a restrained engineer. I demanded the same info Hammerman refused to give us. He didn't speak.

Chapter 7: A Series of Strange Events

If deceptive thinking doesn't work, you have to go back to brute force. So I did. I took the engineer out to sea and threatened to throw him overboard if he didn't spill the beans. But he still didn't. So I threw him overboard. He surfaced, and tried to swim away. I caught up easily on my boat.

"Can I just remind you," I whispered to him. "that there is a little threat somewhere around here."
"A what?" yelled the engineer, slowing down.

I rolled my eyes. "Shark. I'll be heading back home."

I turned on the engines and sailed back to my island. Of course, I was just waiting for him to give up. And he did just that!

"Wait!" he yelled. "I'll tell you everything! Just don't let me be eaten by a shark, please?"

I turned around and sailed him back home. Soon he was in my basement.

"What do you want to know?" he asked.
"What are you planning?" I demanded.
"What do you mean?" replied the engineer.
"The Blackguard always have some sort of plot," I said. "They must be thinking of a way to conquer the archipelago. What are they planning?"
"Well," said the engineer. "I don't really want to say that, since that would make the Blackguard – okay, I'll talk, but only if you take that gun off my face."

I retracted my weapon and waited for him to speak.

"The Blackguard are training tons and tons of Riflemen to destroy your base!" he said. "Wait, no, that would make them build up the Rocket Launchers...scratch that."

The engineer shook his head and tried again.

"The Blackguard are making special long-range troops that are out of range of everything!, specialised scoped rifles can shoot them...never mind.

He tried once more.

"The Blackguard are manufacturing special air troops to attack your base!" he said again. "No, that would make air defences...forget that."
"What are the Blackguard planning?" I demanded again.
"I just said, tons and tons of long-range air troops!" he protested. ", long-air range infantry – I mean, air infantry with tons and tons of range – er..."
"This is no time for jokes," I said, wielding my gun. "Last chance. What are the Blackguard planning?"
"Air-scope range tons!" yelled the engineer.

A bullet narrowly missed his face and ricocheted off the wall behind him, coming to a stop beneath his feet.

"The Blackguard are building a portal to the interdimension to that they can train special air troops that can't be hit by most defences, please don't kill me!" yelled the engineer.

I was shocked! If what the engineer said was true, we would be in major trouble!

"Back to our boats!" I yelled, running out of my Headquarters. "We're heading off to the Blackguard mainland!"

And so we were. Within half a minute the engines were turned on and we set off. We had to stop these new troops at all costs. Otherwise we were doomed!

We arrived at the mainland in ten minutes. We didn't se any sign of the new-fangled troops that the engineer had talked about. But they could have been training, so I decided to wait. We waited for half an hour, camping by the shoreline of the mainland, where no defence could see us.

"Fish, report. Where are you?"
"I have been captured by the Rebels, and am in their Headquarters."
"Get yourself out of there. Send us a signal when it's time to strike."

I was about to fall asleep when I heard footsteps right behind me. I turned around, along with all my armed villagers.

"It was a mistake to go on an adventure with all of your men," said the engineer. "I easily broke out of your flimsy Headquarters."

He pressed a button on a controller.

"Behold, we have crossed dimensions to the legendary parallel universe – CLASH OF CLANS!"

"There's the signal."
"Fellow's time to rise."

Just then, there was an enormous bang as every door in the Blackguard barracks opened. Out of the doors came troops! Hundreds, no, thousands of them! They headed towards the coastline and towards my base. They were invading us!

"Enjoy," sneered the engineer, running back to the Blackguard Elite Headquarters.

The scene was filled with troops of every kind, and plenty more that I'd never seen before. There were plenty of creatures I had never thought to see – large and small, blue and purple, fire and lava! I was petrified. We had absolutely no troops! And our Rocket Launchers still needed to be rebuilt! There was no way we could hold out against this invasion!

I was crying. Every single plank of wood, every single chunk of stone, every single bar of iron, every single glittering diamond, gone to waste. Every living hour of building and fighting, gone to waste. Every single effort to defeat the Blackguard, gone to waste. They had us now. They were going to conquer everything. There was nothing to stop them. Or was there? At that moment I couldn't think of anything. I was being mentally destroyed. My head hit the floor, and I fell into a coma.

As I came to, I woke up in the safety of the HQ. There were ruins outside, and lots of black and purple liquid, but the HQ stood firm. It was clear that we defended the attack. One of our Villagers told me the full story after I blacked out.

"The troops were massive in number," he said. "There were more troops than I ever thought could have existed."
"Terrific," I thought. "But how did we defend?"
"We headed back to our base as fast as possible. Thankfully, the troops were very slow compared to our craft. We quickly cancelled our Rocket Launcher upgrades. If we wanted a chance at defending them, then we needed the Rockets. Every troop was airborne, so our Mortars, Machine Guns, Flamethrowers, and Cannons were no use."
"Well great, that was all our Wood, Stone and Iron gone." I thought. "But again we needed the chance to survive."
"The Minions, I believe what they were called, came first. Fortunately, our Rockets took care of this foreign threat before they could cause any significant damage. All they did was wreck some of our Mortars before they exploded into black liquid."
"That's strange," I thought. "I've never heard of any creatures that have black blood."
"Then came some red-coloured blimps with skeletons inside. They came in waves, destroying more of our base each time. Even though the Blackguard's statues meant they were buffed up, they were no match for our Sniper Towers; they all were promptly finished off with one or two hits each, destroying a few of our Residences and Storages before being eliminated in a pool of purple."

From this information alone I could deduce that it was an easy defence for us. But I remembered the giant creatures that were made entirely of lava...

"Next came some gigantic beings about as big as Scorchers that appeared as large black hounds. They managed to eliminate our front-line Sniper Towers and even pierce through our Shock Launchers, but when the time was right, some of our Boom Cannons intercepted them and took them down, one shot at a time."

I felt proud for the Boom Cannons. They really did a great job, being level 8 and all.

"Then came a few Barrages on our Sniper Towers, and sure enough they got two of the four Snipers left standing taken down. Then I realised what they were headed to use; the black hounds, alongside some blimps, and mythical dragons to top it off!

Dragons. I felt panicked, but the fact that we actually defended calmed me down.

"The two Sniper Towers and the remaining Rockets could not do anything to stop them. We sent out a distress signal, fully aware that nobody was going to hear us. However, they did! When our base was about to go down, we spotted red Landing Craft on the horizon, filled to the brim with Heavies and Zookas!"

He paused. "Who was it then?" I thought.

"At first, the red Landing Craft fooled both us and the Blackguard into thinking they were Blackguard reinforcements. But when the boats cam closer to our base, we realised that these were the boats of Mercenaries that had withdrawn their control of the Archipelago! They quickly began to lay all kinds of bullets and missiles into the hounds, saving our base from certain destruction. A few landers of Heavies worked on popping the Balloons, and the Zookas took out the hounds and the dragons."

"Systematic attacking," I thought. "Something I wish I actually had in attacks."

"Soon enough all the dragons, hounds and balloons were downed. Although the hounds split into several flying, hard-to-hit pups, they was no problem for us villagers to mow down with our guns. The Blackguard, seeing the massive number of Heavies and Zookas at bay, tried to Barrage them. But they had ran out of energy so they sent out their final batch of troops. After taking out all the troops, they retreated, as the Mercenary soldiers had destroyed all the hounds and dragons."

Now I really wanted a plan for counter-attack, for all the materials we lost and the close call. But seizing their Barracks was not a very good idea. So how would we do it?

I sent the spy to get an idea of the forces on the Blackguard mainland. He obeyed and went. Good old spy, I thought. We waited. In the meantime, the Villagers repaired our base.

"You'll work for us, or you'll regret it."

The next day, the spy came back. He said, "They are using an interdimensional portal to send these things here."

"I knew it!" I exclaimed.
"Knew what?" a villager asked.
"Yes, I remember now," I replied. "I used to be the leader of a village on that dimension. The dimension's name is Clash of Clans. It's like a medieval dimension with magic. I think I can ask my village for troops."
"Hooray!" cried the villagers, except for the spy, who seemed to shrink a little.
"But first, we need you to collect all the purple stuff." I said. "The black stuff too. We also need all the gold we can get."

We took all the gold we could collect to create a portal. We also made glass containers to keep all the purple stuff in. when the portal was ready we made a film of the purple stuff over the portal and sent a massive electric current into it. The portal started glowing.

I alone stepped through it.

As I came to my senses, I noticed I was in that world. A world of quiet, trees, and a splashing shore. Some women rushed to me and said, "Chief! Where have you been? You have gone missing for over 3 years!"

Shocked, I looked around and all my memories came back to me. All the building. The pain of waiting weeks for a single upgrade. The great victories and suffering defeats. I told them that I need their help.

"My other village in another world is being attacked by troops from here." I said to them.
"We will help you to defeat them." the villagers replied.
"Good!" I exclaimed. "Train all the Dark Elixir and Flying troops. Train wizards as well, and make a lot of rage spells too."

The 240 spaces in the Army Camps filled up within an hour. I was ready to go for it.

I told them, "Use this catapult and send Rages over to our battlefield. Hopefully this will allow our troops a maximum chance of survival." I pointed to them the abandoned catapult project we were working on before I left for the Boom dimension. Into the portal went a complete army of air, along with the Wizards. I joined them.

Our objective: Eliminate the Barracks and the interdimensional portal. Sounded like an easy idea, but it was not. The spy was also mysteriously gone.

"They have an army of air troops."

So the Wizards and I were in Landing Craft, whereas the air troops handled themselves perfectly fine. I directed them to the Blackguard mainland. We couldn't battle the most heavily defended bases, so we avoided them. We had to take another route. I chose Milk Run, although it was the farthest from the Elite Blackguard Headquarters – where the Barracks and the portal were. We sneaked around the heavily-defended Power Bases, and easily bypassed the defences from Milk Run. We went the long journey to the Barracks and portal.

But then I saw that outside those Barracks were a large amount of Wizards and specially-constructed maxed out Air Defences! They were certainly expecting that attack! How could the Blackguard have found out about our siege?

I thought of an alternate plan. Our troops could never fight their way through this firepower. I thought. And thought. Finally, I got an idea. An amazingly good idea.

"Right, men!" I shout-whsipered. It's hard to tell which. "Change of plan. We've got to get some more stuff from the interdimension."

A few minutes later I was using the gold from the interdimension to train troops. Boom troops. I had a plan to use the mechanics of the interdimension to launch an attack more powerful than ever before. But before that happened, I had to know one more thing. I entered the interdimension.

"Hey, how do you teleport troops to the battlefield?"

Chapter 8: The Interdimensional Siege

It was nighttime in the Blackguard mainland. All was quiet. All was asleep. All but a few sentries. The defences weren't worth handling any more. They had their portal, and they knew nothing could stop it. Or could they?

Suddenly, there was a strange noise. A sentry grunted. But then, all of a sudden, there was a gigantic CRASH! And a Gunboat was sitting on the beach!

"Oops!" I said. "I've aimed the summoner a bit wrong. Well, whatever." I turned to the head villager. "Just continue summoning troops on that grey field with the giant green elixir storage!"

The sentries alerted Hammerman that a foreign object had turned up on the beach. At once the troops were ready to open fire at the Gunboat. There was a long silence.

"What is that?" exclaimed Hammerman.

But there was no time to answer. Suddenly, the strange noise was heard again. And again. And again. And again, over and over! Something was wrong. Hammerman looked to the left. There was a gasp! Troops were appearing out of nowhere!

"Geez, why didn't I think of using the Interdimensional attack system before?" I asked myself, out loud. "I mean, we can practically deploy an infinite amount of troops now!"

There was chaos and confusion as the Blackguard troops hurried to defend their Power Base. But it was too late. The Rebel troops rampaged through the shut down defences. Clash and Boom united as one was an unstoppable force. The Blackguard troops were eliminated almost instantly by the immense firepower of the Boom troops. Soon, the Power Core was down.

"Alright, let's take down that portal!"

The troops plowed through Power Base after Power base before they finally reached the dimension-jumping portal. After a short kerfuffle, the portal was disassembled.

"Yes!" I cried. "We did it! Good job, team."

The troops grunted at each other, and began to nod. They moved on to the buildings. Many were collapsing after the destruction of the Core. Factory after factory was burnt, smashed, sliced, exploded down my the unstoppable armada. The Blackguard was getting tired.
"Send out all the troops we have!" yelled Hammerman at the Elite Blackguard Headquarters. "Turn on the defences! Give the invaders all we've got! We MUST! STOP! THIS! ARMY!"

His attempts were useless. Every troop killed was replaced by ten more summoned in. Was this the end of the Blackguard? Had the rebel leader completed his mission?

"Um..." I murmured. "Why are you taking down those factories?"

Saturday morning on the Blackguard Mainland was like no Saturday ever before. Tremendous factories were reduced to piles of rubble. Mighty skyscrapers lay in ruins. Everything for kilometres around was destroyed, lifeless. Fields of gravestones marked the rest place of thousands of Blackguard intertroops. The only sign of movement was the sad remains of the downed defences, sparking electricity and twitching every now and then. And a small group of rugged Boom Troops.

"A great success!" I cried to my troops. "The portal is down!"

I turned to my troops.

"But you guys got sidetracked," I said. "I told you, the point of this mission was to take down the portal, not the factories! I wanted this war to end by democracy, not by force!"

I took a deep breath.

"Ah well..." I said. "At least we'll never be bothered again. We have taken down the Blackguard! We have accomplished our lifelong goal to free the islanders and prevent the Blackguard from conquering the Earth! WE HAVE SUCCEEDED!"

At the time I felt like I had wiped out the Blackguard Empire from the face of this Earth. I thought the Native Islanders would never be enslaved again.

Nothing, it turns out, could be further from the truth.

In the smoking remains of the Blackguard Elite Headquarters lay corpses. Hundreds of corpses. Lifeless and hopeless. Their literal spirits had been stolen by the attackers. But right in the middle, lay a great body. And next to the great body was a great man. The great man was alive. He wept.

"What have they done to you?" he sobbed, looking down at the deceased man.

The great body used to be a great man. A man who had never been rivalled in tactic before, and probably never will be again. Apart from one special person who shall remain unnamed. The great man was the father of the man crying over him. His name was Joseph Harold Kaiser. The supreme dictator of the entire Blackguard Empire.

Exactly 70 years before this Saturday, a man died. A man who ruled an empire who could have taken over the world. His name was Hitler. Adolf Hitler. And after his death, his empire fell. It was gone. It was wiped off the face of Earth. Everything was nil. Everything...but a small group of survivors.

This small group of survivors was leaded by another great man by the name of Joseph Harold Kaiser. Lieutenant of the fallen empire and the most trusted friend of Hitler. He led his group of survivors to a small boat. He was the last man to board. Before they departed, the great man gave a vow to his friend.

"I shall avenge you, Adolf. I shall wipe the world clean of the scourge that destroyed our hopes and dreams. I shall destroy them and enslave them, so that you shall rest in peace. I vow most solemnly to you, I shall not leave this world before I conquer all of it, every square inch. I shall not leave this world before every square inch of it belongs to you. I promise." And with that, he set off.

He had broken that vow that Saturday. He had been killed, but not every inch of this world belonged to himself or his friend. However, friends are family, and family are friends. He could pass the vow down to his friend, his family. And the next in line in his immediate family was another great man. His name was John Harold Hammerman.

"I vow to you, dad." said the great man. "I vow to you, I shall not leave the face of this Earth without conquering every square inch of it. I shall kill its every inhabitant, enslave its every soul. I shall fulfil the vow that you had to fulfil. I SHALL DESTROY THEM!"

His voice echoed around the desolate ruins. He was alone, but he was still a great man. A great man with a great goal – which would, just could, be achieved one day.

Crazed by anger, he decided to destroy the entire archipelago. With a nuclear bomb. But not any nuclear bomb. A Supernova nuclear bomb.

We celebrated our victory for 3 days. Then for a few weeks the Archipelago was quiet. I went to the interdimension for a month to enjoy.

But for some reason, I didn't feel safe. And I was right not to. Our scouts reported that there were incidents of huge amounts of energy being used at the Blackguard Mainland. When we went there, we saw a small metal ball being supplied with lots of energy. We thought it was just a battery, and we went home.

That one choice changed the history of the Rebels forever.

Chapter 9: Mistakes were Made

We were having our weekly beach party to celebrate the fall of the Blackguard. But when we were halfway through, a small red Gunboat came upon the shore. And out of the boat came Lt. Hammerman himself.

We took the Zookas and surrounded him. He started saying, "I have NOTHING! My daddy and his friend could not fulfil their vows, so I shall fulfil it for them. I SHALL DESTROY YOOUUUUU!!!!!"

We were shocked! He had that metal ball in his hand, the same one that we thought was a battery. But it sure didn't look like a battery now!

He continued, "This is the Supernova Test Archipelago Ruining Bomb. Or as I like to call it, the STAR-Bomb. The world's first ever Fusion Bomb. When Power Stones are put under immense strain by free neutrons, their nuclei split into more neutrons and split pore nuclei...causing a massive, out-of-control chain reaction that produces an enormous explosion. AND. DESTROYS. YOU."

"We will capture you before that happens," I said as I reached for my gun.

"Oh," he replied. "But it's already started. You have 1 hour till the bomb goes. Enjoy your life while it lasts."

Then he stepped right back into the boat. I aimed my gun at his head with trembling hands.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," said Hammerman. "The captain of the boat can detonate the bomb at any time for any reason. We could just destroy you right now, launching all of us directly to the underworld..."

He paused.

"But I prefer to make things more exciting. Have fun defusing the bomb!

With that he laughed and stepped into the hold. The boat swiftly sailed away into the Mainland.

I had to defuse the bomb. Sure, how hard could it be? I'd defused hundreds of bombs before. There was a note on the bomb which I started reading.

Hello, suckers
This a quantum combination bomb
It is not defusable
When I started the bomb, I decided to put all the wires (creating a super position of states(wires)) as the one which blows up the bomb
If you make an observation (cutting one of the wires), the bomb makes an observation (checking which wire starts the bomb).
Due to quantum mechanics the wave function collapses to select a new wire (because making an observation changes the wave function) and the bomb skips 5 mins of fuse time.
If you cut all 12 wires,the bomb will explode.
SO LONG, Suckers.

Reading this, I fell to the ground saying, "This is hopeless! What do we do?"

We decided to escape the Archipelago entirely instead of dealing with the bomb, using our convenient door to the interdimension. All of us headed, double file, into the portal we built. To save the islanders living there, we had our Landing Craft rebuilt into rescue boats, and our Gunboat helped along. As we had built so many Craft over the years to defend against future attacks, it was easy to rescue most, if not all of the islanders in time. So the Landing Craft split up and picked up islander after islander around the visible archipelago. There were over 100 islands to stop on but fortunately, with all our Landing Craft we only needed to do a few trips.

Everyone escaped safely and the bomb was left behind in the Boom dimension. In the interdimension, I quickly switched off the portal. We were safe. For now. I decided to pitch in a few thousand of my gems and I went ahead and bought a few weeks' worth of shield.

Those few weeks passed by peacefully. I was always thinking about how the Blackguard could be rebuilding right now, but I decided not to think about it.

When the few weeks were over, I reopened the portal, hoping that the worst aftereffects of the explosion in the Boom dimension had already worn off. I peeked my head into the portal, and as I expected (somehow), I saw a grey mass that made up the sky. Nuclear winter.

The portal was now partly underwater as the island was blasted to pieces. Water quickly flowed into the portal and the interdimension. I retracted my head out of the portal, and shut it off before more water leaked. I needed a plan to rebuild all those islands and deem the Boom dimension safe again for the sake of the villagers we kept here in the interdimension. But how?

I could not launch an attack without knowing the enemy. So I decided to figure a bit about the Blackguard Mainland. This time though, I would go myself. I could not risk another double-cross.

I grabbed a Lava Hound that could fly me all the way to the Blackguard mainland. I relit the portal. But then, water spewed out like a giant hose! It blasted me clean away. The Hound cried in pain for its blood congealed. Fortunately, it escaped out of the way in time. I quickly defused the portal. It seemed that somehow, the portal had been knocked over into the sea. The entire ocean was squirming to get through now. But I had to go to the Boom Dimension. And for that, I needed a more convenient method of transportation than flooding the village every time I went.

I had to move the portal to somewhere above water. And for that, I needed a temporary barrier to stop the village from flooding. I took an elixir storage and chopped the top bit off. The villagers fitted it on the opening of the portal. The glass would act as a barrier, and the cork would act as a doorway for me to go in and out. I gathered all the elixir that was inside that particular storage and got ready to relit the portal. I opened the cork and stepped inside. A villager sealed it again. I took a deep breath and lit the portal.

At once, the little cabin flooded with water. I swam into the Boom Dimension. I had to find a suitable location to move the portal. I swam around and tried to find a rock, a plank, anything. But there was nothing. I swam to the surface and looked around. All I saw was an ocean of water and nothing else. I sighed. We had to do this operation underwater. But then, I got an idea.

What about the buildings that were on our base? What had happened to them? Well, maybe they had been blown to pieces, but maybe the island had been obliterated before they had! And considering the intensity of the STAR-Bomb, the situation was quite likely. I took a deep breath and swam down. Down, down, down, to the ocean floor. The sad wreckage of the defences and storages lay in between chunks of stone, planks of wood, and bars of iron littered around all over the place. I looked around and saw one strange object. A large stone square, about the size of my HQ. I got excited. Was my plan going to work? I swam deeper, and below the square. And there it HQ! The door was conveniently located below, which meant that water wouldn't flood in. I opened the door, crossing my fingers. I swam up and met...air! My plan had worked!

However it was still as dark as doomsday inside, and everything was extremely wet. I located the door and swam back to the portal. As I entered, the villagers noticed me and opened the cork. Water spewed out, but so did I. The cork was placed again.

"What did you find?" asked the head villager.
"Quick! Give me a lamp!" I said to the villager. "And a giant! We have to get the giant through the portal somehow."
"Why?" asked the villager.
"Don't worry about that now. I'll explain later."

We decided that the only way to get the giant through the portal was to remove the covering. I went back into the interdimension. The cover was removed and the giant quickly entered. The covering was back in place in a few seconds.

I had the giant carry the portal to the HQ. He had no difficulty doing so. The real challenge was fitting the portal through the door...which I had not planned. Yikes. I knew giants had large lungs that were capable of holding several minutes of air. So I went back into the portal. I was on grass in a few seconds.

"Quick! I need a PEKKA." I yelled.

A PEKKA was there, ready to go. She entered the portal, but with some difficulty. We were in the Boom Dimension in ten seconds. The Giant was still there. The PEKKA walked through the door of the HQ and grabbed the portal. She pulled, and the Giant and I pushed. Eventually we smashed the portal through. The newly created hole made some water leak in, but not too much. I stepped back through the portal and told the villagers to remove the cover. They did, and the three of us re-entered the interdimension.

"Right!" I cried. "I'll need a Minion."

The Minion burst to the surface, with me on its back. We flew to the Blackguard Mainland. I expected to see Hammerman in a small hut. We had smashed all their factories to bits, after all. But instead, we saw a giant complex of Blackguard buildings! Except this one was even bigger and more complex!

The factories spewed out more smoke than ever before. Giant gears and fans turned more menacingly than the doorways of hell itself. Massive conveyer belts churned out defence after defence. And the Elite Blackguard Headquarters, which used to be a large quonset-shaped building, was now a pair or ginormous towers. And when I say ginormous, I mean GINORMOUS! They each had 150 floors at least. They were rectangular all the way up, which seemed structurally impossible – but the Blackguard could do anything at this point. And in the hole was a giant fan, far larger than any other. The whole complex was like a labyrinth. There were also more defences than ever before on the shores. Too much. Milk Run was now more heavily defended than Choke Point. Massive Attack was an absolute nightmare. But there was one defence that caught my attention. It was a 5x5 building, and it looked like a combination of a Rocket Launcher, Boom Cannons, 2 Shock Blasters, and a Shield Generator. It was like some kind of doomsday device.

The Clash Troops of the interdimension simply had too little health and damage to deal with Hammerman and his newly rebuilt Mainland. They would get obliterated. So how would I defeat this one?

Chapter 10: Reality

I suddenly got an ingenious idea. I had heard of another dimension, far scarier and menacing than the Boom dimension or the interdimension. I seemed to recall it being called 'Reality'. I had been told there were giant creatures there, and that they rule our minds. One type of creature in particular that looks just like humans!

I decided to make a portal and see if I could make the creatures fight for us. But how would I even get there? I decided the only way to find out was by trial and error. There were only a few different dimensions I knew of, and one of them was bound to be Reality.

My first test was through powering the portal with both dark elixir and regular elixir. I built another portal and fuelled it up. It ignited at once, and all of a sudden, I saw...the interdimension. It certainly looked like the interdimension, but I knew it couldn't be, because I was in the interdimension.

"Wrong dimension!" I sighed.

I stepped back into the interdimension and extinguished the portal.

"Next!" I yelled.

Over a few hours I used wood, stone, iron, and elixir and dark elixir to travel from dimension to dimension. There was a weird one with farms. Another one was full of people flying everywhere and bumping into things. Yet another terrified me because everything was cubic. Squares and cubes were everywhere. Not a single other shape. But none of them were the Reality dimension.

After a whole day of building portals, I sighed. We had built so many portals that we were almost out of elixir. Were we doomed forever?

I suddenly got an idea. Why not gems and diamonds? After all, they seem pretty suspicious. We just magically find more of them in our basement one day. And I seem to remember hearing that the intelligent beings of the Reality dimension can convert currency into diamonds.

I made a portal out of gems and diamonds and fuelled it up with a mixture of dark and normal elixir. The result was a strange portal that made noises. I couldn't see what was on the other side, for some reason. But then, the portal skyrocketed into the air. All was quiet for a few seconds.

Then, the portal expanded to fill the entire sky! The new sight was terrifying. A giant was staring down at us. It looked like a human, but too unrealistic. He stared directly at me. Then, all of a sudden, he raised his giant hand and pointed an enormous finger at me! He paused. Then, the finger fell. It approached my base with frightening speed. I prepared to be squashed, when the finger stopped! It seemed to hit a transparent wall. Then there was an elixir storage below the finger. At once a builder walked over and hammered on it.

Then something terrifying happened. The giant creature hit the sky with its finger again. He raised it and hit a different spot. All of a sudden, our gem storages were full! I screamed. This was the intelligent being that could turn metal and paper into gems and diamonds!

I was petrified. But I was also excited. If this giant was in our dimension, it could mow the Blackguard Mainland down in half a minute! I reached out my arm and tried to enter the portal. I couldn't. But then the portal started to quiver. The creature looked rather surprised. It quivered more. Then, at last, there was an almighty flash of light and en ear-splitting explosion. When I opened my eyes, I was in some sort of otherworldly tunnel with colours everywhere. It was like one of those faster-than-light time travel wormholes. But soon, it was over. I was standing next to the giant creature. Only the creature was now the same size as me!

"Woah, what just happened?" it said. It looked at me. "Oh hey! Nice costume man."

I was shocked and terrified. The creature spoke English! What was it? Was it human? Was it a monster?

"W-what are you?" I sputtered.
"What am I?" it said. "What do you mean, what am I? Human, of course! You look lost, buddy. Can I help you?"

I was now absolutely petrified. I spoke my tongue, and now it claimed to be human!

"Hey, you look pale!" it said. "Here, sit down, and tell me what's wrong."

I wanted to run away. I wanted to go home. Where was the head villager? Where was my village? But I could not run away from this forsaken dimension, for I did not see any sign of the portal. So I did as he told.

"P-p-please d-don't hurt me..." I whimpered.

The thing looked confused.

"Sorry?" it said. "I'm not gong to harm you. I'm here to help! What's wrong?"

I was rather surprised. Did monsters feel sympathy?

"I, um..." I started. "Come from the Boom Dimension..."
"The what?" asked the thing.
"The Boom Beach Dimension." I replied.
"Wait, what? What are you talking about? Or is this just some kind of trick?"

I was scared now. The thing was angry.

"It's not a trick!" I squealed. "No fooling! Please don't kill me..."

The creature seemed confused.

"Okay, calm down." it said. Just tell me why you look so scared."
"Hammerman destroyed my island..." I said.
"Who?" he asked.

I sighed. Clearly this thing did not know anything! I needed to take him to the Boom dimension for him to understand.

"Where's the portal I came from?" I demanded.
"Portal?!" replied the thing. "I don't know what you're talking about! Okay, stop fooling around. I'm trying to help, but if you talk gibberish, I can't."

What was this thing talking about, gibberish? I wasn't speaking gibberish! I sighed. I had to make this thing understand...

I suddenly noticed that the thing had a strange window in its hands. It was a window, yet it showed a completely different view as what was behind it!

I took the magic window and pressed a button that was on one side. The screen changed to all these different icons. I found the one saying 'Boom Beach'. I pressed it and this funny thing came saying 'Supercell' and then a picture of several Heavies storming a base. Then the thing and I got the biggest shock of our lives.

The thing saw an entire base under water!
I saw that it was my base!

The thing took the the strange magic window and clicked on a map icon. It was the operation map. He saw what I saw; Milk Run as strong as Choke Point and Deep Cut being suicidal.

The thing paused for a while. Then it said, "What the heck just happened to Boom Beach?!"

So I told it, once again, that I was from the Boom Beach dimension, with war against the Blackguard. That Hammerman destroyed the archipelago and built new factories. It seemed to understand this time.

It replied, "No way."

I said that I needed his help to bring the dimension back to its original way.

"Please..." I asked.
"Alright," said the thing. "I'll help you."

I was receiving help from the thing! The thing was clearly from the reality dimension, and it could easily destroy the Blackguard. Hammerman stood no chance!

"Let's go to my house," the thing said.

I was excited at first, but then things started to get weird. And then terrifying. The thing opened a door, but instead of grass, there was a scene from the Blackguard Empire! The ground was covered with strange grey stone plates, very different in colour to the Blackguard Mainland. There was a giant river of black liquid and stones – but the river wasn't flowing! For some reason it stayed perfectly still. It was strange enough already, but then a giant bullet passed by! It was almost as tall as me and well over twice as long as I was tall. But it went slow enough for me to make out its shape – flat on the bottom with a lump on the top. Wheels in the side and light at the front. It was made of metal but there were these strange glass patches here and there for no reason I knew of.

But just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, they did. For when I walked out of the building, the thing walked by. It looked a bit different than just now but I ignored it. Then another thing walked by. And another. And another! There were tens, hundreds of these creatures around here! I was petrified. What was this strange land? Was the reality dimension truly as scary as I was told?

I curled up into a ball and started whimpering. I was simply overwhelmed by the new nature in here.

"Hey, are you alright?" said the thing.
"Please don't let them hurt me..." I whispered.
"Listen, nobody's going to hurt you around here. So come to my house and I'll help you." it said.

So I slowly stood up and followed him. The thing insisted we go into one of the giant bullets. I tried to run away but it grabbed me and put me inside. I didn't want to anger the thing, so I stayed there. The bullet took off – but there wasn't anything shooting it! I nearly screamed. What was this black magic?

Twenty minutes later the thing took me into a residence. Only it was white, not blue. We went inside, and it was huge! There was more room in there than there was in my Headquarters!

"Right," said the thing. "So what do you need to do again?"
"Go to the Boom dimension and defeat Lt. Hammerman," I replied.
"How are you going to do that?" it asked.
"Can't you do it?" I said. "You're powerful enough to defeat him, surely?"
"No." it replied.

I was shocked! Was reality not as fierce as people made it out to be?

"I can only help you go back to your dimension." the thing said. "That, and nothing more. So how do you go to your dimension?"
"By the portal that I came through," I replied. "You know, the thing that you were repeatedly touching."
"What, my phone?" it said. "Here, do what you need with it."

The thing gave me the magic window. Was this also the portal? I put it on the ground.

"I'll try to jump into it," I told the thing.
"WHAT?!" it yelled. "You're not jumping on my phone!"

But I had to try. So I did. I jumped, and landed on the magic window. Well, sort of. The second before my feet touched the window itself, I was sucked into a sort of tunnel. The same tunnel that I was in before. It lasted for a few seconds before I came out again. I expected to see a desolate ocean of water. But I saw the residence again. And the thing beside me!

"Wait, what just happened?" I murmured.
"You jumped into my phone and disappeared," the thing said. "And you reappeared. Where did you go?"
"Nowhere," I replied. "I came back here."
"What?" the thing said, confused. "But you said you were going to your dimension!"
"I did," I replied. "And I think this magic window of yours is a direct portal to the Boom dimension."
"So why doesn't it work?"
"Hmmm...." I pondered. "Well, if it takes me to the Boom dimension, and I ended up here..."

I gasped. Was this actually happening?

"The Boom dimension...IS THIS DIMENSION!"
"No. Way." sputtered the thing. "What does that even mean?"
"I'm not sure," I replied. "But I think the only way for me to go to the Boom dimension, and end up here, is for this dimension TO BE the Boom dimension. The Boom dimension is somewhere in here! We need to find it at once!"
"But how?" the thing asked. "I have no idea what your home even looks like!"
"We'll find it somehow!" I said, as a ran to the door. "We have to!"

Continued in Part 2

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