Yeaaahhhhhhhh. Long time no see. Suffering from skin problems and sleep problems, and gathering enough energy, practiced exercises and changed my habits to maintain writing flow, still a work in progress. This is just a way for me to regain my groove slowly but surely. Hope you guys like this, and Doodleboy, if you're reading this, I hope you do well in your fic.

If anyone is interested, I want a spirited co-writer to help me with this project if they're interested, more minds equals more motivation and energy from my experience. Enjoy, the Hunter Amongst Villains Chapter is almost done.

"So that's what you are? A Plumber?" Garou asked, walking behind Max with Kevin and Gwen in tow. Kevin was still in his alien form, having some slight trouble returning to his human form.

Garou still carried the katana-like sword.

"What does cleaning toilets have to do with protecting Earth from aliens?" Kevin asked obliviously, still unconcerned to Max's overly complex explanation.

"For the hundredth time, Kevin, it's a codename! We clean out the scum of the universe, so that's why we call ourselves that." Max lectured tiredly, pinching the bridge of his nose from the steadily building irritation.

"We get that, but I'm still not sure if the name is clever or dumb," Garou snarked, twirling the sword in his hand out of boredom as they walked through the high-tech chrome interior of Mt Rushmore.

"It's dumb, period. Is that why you guys are kept secret? To hide your embarrassing name?" Kevin remarked blandly, his blunt attitude starting to get on Max's last nerve.

"One more comment, Kevin, and I won't help you transform back," Max grunted sternly with a frown that screamed seriousness.

"Heh, once I master my powers, I won't need your help," Kevin replied with cocky assurance of himself.

"How about now, then?" Grandpa Max questioned coyly. His eyebrows furrowed in unamusement.

"... uh…" Kevin looked at Garou, wanting some help there. "Dude, need some help here."

"Instead of trying to revert everything at once, do it one by one, alien by alien. Try to find the right combination to turn back first, then practice transforming all at once," Garou advised.

Kevin nodded in understanding before noticing something funny and weird at the same time.

"Hey, why is Gwen sticking so close to you?" Kevin asked in confusion, gesturing to the fact that Gwen was walking almost an inch apart from Garou's side.

Garou turned to his right, seeing Gwen just wave at him casually before he turned back to Kevin, shrugging.

"Don't know." Garou had no experience with girls, be it in his past life or the present. "Where are we going? And why shouldn't I drag that one-armed squid here?" he asked pointing his thumb back, gesturing to the injured squidward outside, tied by high-tech manacles atop the Rust Bucket.

"As much as I find criminal relief in Vilgax's disarmament, he is still dangerous. We have no idea what kind of tricks he could have up his sleeve. Even injured." Max advised cautiously, wanting to keep his distance from the galaxy's greatest criminal at all costs.

"What can he possibly do anyways?" Kevin asked. "Wait, does he have more secret gadgets on him? Shouldn't we check him?"

The four stopped in their tracks for a moment with consideration for their actions.

"...Well, at least I want to keep him out of Rushmore. And don't worry, the manacles have a silent alarm system. He won't get anywhere far without us noticing." Max assured.

"Especially after what we did to him." Gwen harrumphed with a puffed chest.

"Yes, and I am proud of you all. Even you for cutting off his arm. I'm still against you eating it…"

The four resumed their trek down the hall as Gwen's face contorted with mild amusement while Kevin was more curious. They never considered what alien even tasted like, minus Max, now that they thought about it.

"This coming from the guy that likes to eat bugs?" Garou called Max out. "And you don't want me to chop off his other arm? And legs?" He asked, raising a brow at his gleaming sword, flicking the sword slightly out to show the arcane circuits gleaming off the peerless silver.

"We do not condone excessive force." Max dryly sighed. "The Plumbers are forbidden from killing any alien lifeforms, even the most criminally insane. That's why we invented a prison of sorts to keep them locked up for good." Max emphasised, recalling the standard procedure Plumbers must take when on duty.

"I… see." Garou hummed as he looked down in thought. "So, aliens are not monsters, right?" He asked.

"Categorizing foreign life forms in such a simple manner will not work here. The universe is so large that each planet has their own classification system and rules to follow. In a way, humans are aliens as well. Just not to us."

"Good point… But where I'm from, we always kill them because they always pose a threat or cause mayhem for no reason. Where do Plumbers draw the line?" Garou questioned with a raised brow.

"Every species has its bad apples. No alien is considered good or evil from the get go. Take Vilgax's species for instance. Not everyone takes after Vilgax even if they share the same face and skin color… but to answer your question, not even I know where we draw the line when it comes to it." Max truthfully replied, keeping himself open-minded due to the wide assortment of species he has befriended in the past.

"I see…" Garou's moral code was very loose… no, the moral code of every human was loose when it came to monsters. If there was a monster, kill it. It had long abandoned its humanity of its own will, and they are not worthy of any mercy or else they would cause problems later on.

Garou wasn't sure if he could hold himself back from killing some of them if they did cross a similar line.

"This might take some time getting used to…" Garou muttered.

A small somber silence descended between them on the heavy topic.

"I'm not asking you to change your ways. I'm only asking you to at least give every life form consideration… After all, you are a prime example of someone who returned to humanity, right?" Max proclaimed in understanding, notably marking Vilgax and a number of other individuals as highly probable exceptions.

"As far as I know, I'm the only exception… but you made your point. I'll at least try as a start," Garou conceded as he sheathed his blade back.

"That is all I ask." Max smiled.

As they talked, they arrived at a square room with walls riddled with catalogued drawers. Garou looked at the room, seeing some of them were open, smelling nothing but alien steel and accumulated dust.

"What's this room?" Kevin asked, gesturing to the lockers around them with his bulky Heatblast arm.

"These compartments contain various weapons used by the Plumbers. It's where I got that ion blaster from earlier." Max introduced, outstretching his arms to showcase the vastness of this entire room.

"You mean this has been in Mount Rushmore the whole time?" Gwen asked in awe, her voice slightly echoing throughout each hall.

"I want one," Garou immediately demanded.

"Don't touch anything. We're here to trap Vilgax and that's it. Understand?" Max reminded the Hero Hunter argumentatively, not even bothering to look away from each drawer.

"Tsk." Garou clicked his tongue.

"Don't click your tongue, you already have a cool sword from that ship. What's it made of, anyway?" Gwen asked, pointing at his sword.

"Don't know." Garou shrugged. "I was more busy with getting back. I only took a few souvenirs before we 'reentered Earth's solar system' according to our navigator."

"We're here, kids."

Breaking their conversation, Max opened a special room in Mount Rushmore's main facility. It was a cylindrical hallway that led to a single white podium made visible by a projected spotlight. However, contrary to Max's memory, there seemed to be nothing in the center. It was only a blank circle for some reason.

"Strange. I could have sworn it was here…" Max muttered to himself confusedly, cupping his chin in deep thought.

" what are we looking for?" Kevin asked, looking at the empty podium with his three eyes blinking thrice.

"A Null Void Projector. It is capable of creating a portal to trap criminals inside another dimension. But for some reason, I don't see it. I could've sworn it was in this room before we left the base…" Max explained in confusion.

"Maybe someone came here before. There are other plumbers out there, right?" Gwen guessed in an attempt to help out, correctly assuming that intergalactic crime was as rampant as it was in the past.

"That is true." Garou walked up to the podium and inspected it, leaning forward until his eyes were close to the flat surface.

"Someone was here just recently." He said, pointing at the lack of dust around the edge of the podium. "There's a handprint on the dust, but no fingerprints. I see five fingers, so mostly human. The guy must've worn gloves and… is that grease?"

Kevin whistled at Garou's deduction skills, "You hunted heroes before, right? Did you track every hero like that?" Kevin asked.

"Not like this, usually. Mostly through research on their locations. They published their skills to their fans to show off," Garou replied.

"Whoever it was… they didn't want to be found." Max observed astutely.

"Is there anyone you know that knows this place?" Garou asked.

"On Earth, not many. Most of us human officers retired due to a lack of alien activity back in the day. But, now, that's obviously changed." Max answered knowledgeably, looking at the Omnitrix for emphasis of his point.

"Anyone you know… out there?" Kevin questioned, carelessly waving one of his hands in the direction of outer space.

"I don't know many aliens with five fingers. The only ones I can come up with are my old partner, Phil, and Driscoll… I can call up on Phil to check on him just in case, but I don't know about Driscoll. He is an exiled Plumber that has a history of smuggling alien tech for his own malfeasance back in the days." Max shook his head.

"What do you think? Do any of them have use for the prison gun?" Garou asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Phil definitely wouldn't. He's been retired for as long as I have by this point." Max was assured with faith in his friend.

"Then what about the other guy?" Kevin asked. "Think an ex-plumber would want the prison gun?"

"That… I don't know. We haven't heard from him for so long since he disappeared after his exile," Max rubbed his chin in deep thought.

"Is there a Plumber hotline service or something?" Kevin joked, unsure of how calling someone entire planets away would be possible with Earth's technology.

"There is, but you need the right clearance codes. Well, I can contact Phil at least. But right now, we need to do something about Vilgax. I might have to call for a Magister off-world to come pick him up," Max resorted.

"Ok. How long will that take, grandpa?" Gwen wondered.

"Well, with Vilgax being tied to the Rust Bucket and Kevin looking like…" Max paused a bit to blankly stare at Kevin's form, realizing just how messed up he looked.

"Don't say it," Kevin warned with three narrowed eyes.

"Well, that, we can't really go anywhere. We'll just have to stay here for a day or two until I can get things situated." Max apologetically stated, patting Gwen on the back a few times.

"Is there a food place?" Garou asked, raising his sword-filled arm.

"I have leftovers in the fridge." Max brought up, beaming in recognition.

"Had. The fridge is busted. Those aliens blew it up," Garou glowered.

"Also, the RV is kinda busted. How are you going to repair that high tech Rust Bucket?" Kevin added.

Max's mood soured again, reverting back to his uncertain one upon remembering that smoking pile where the fridge used to be… and the damage the Rust Bucket suffered.

"Hmmmm, there could be some preserved rations around here. I guess you three will just have to look around." Max assumed with a shrug of his shoulders. He might also need to purchase a new refrigerator as well. "As for the Rust Bucket, don't worry. There is a vehicle repair center here that can help."

"You know how to fix alien tech?" Kevin asked, surprised.

"Of course. You don't get to be a Plumber without some knowhow of high-level technology." Max replied with pride in his voice.

"On another note, exactly how nonperishable is the food, grandpa?" Gwen asked, questioning the long-lasting condition of the consumables in this base.

"Ah, well, the Plumbers haven't been active on Earth for about 30 years, so…"

Gwen's skin notably paled at the possibilities, shivering in wonder of what this so-called 'food' might look like.

"That's it. We're going shopping, no excuses. Please tell me that you have the emergency money for this?" Garou concluded immediately.

Max remained silent for a moment. He sighed as he dug into his pocket and took out his wallet, handing it to Garou.

"Well, I suppose I can't hide my Plumber service benefits anymore. Yes, I can afford the pricey merchandise… it's the least I can do for coming back to our rescue."

Garou smiled as he took Max's wallet.

"We're out… wait." Garou glanced at Kevin's mutant form. "Actually, I'm out. Kevin, you stay here and practice if you have nothing to do. Also, since you're offering, I'm gonna buy something extra for me and Kevin."

Max wanted to object, but Garou already spun on his feet and walked away. He hoped Garou would spare his bank account at the very least… though judging by his face, Garou wouldn't spare any mercy.

"Oh, let me join you!" Gwen ran to Garou as they walked down the hallway, leaving Max alone with the hybrid mutant Kevin.

Max sighed, relenting as they left the storage room, leaving him alone with Kevin. Kevin stared at the two 'cousins' backs until they shrank from his sights.

"So…" Kevin felt a little awkward being alone with the elder Tennyson like this. "Got any stories to tell?"

Keystone was the city nearest to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, thirty miles from it in Black Hills.

Since the walk was long, Gwen had to turn into XLR8 to race Garou until they inconspicuously entered the city's borders.

They blended with the citizens which were mostly tourists from other states or from outside the country. The town was mostly a tourist attraction, rows of shops which were old buildings of wooden craft with large signs overheads and signposts leading to certain attractions, including gift shops bearing the brand of the four presidents.

"...Thinking about it, what are the chances of someone selling refrigerators here?" Garou asked Gwen as stood at the center, equidistant from the two rows of shops at their left and right.

"Frankly, nonexistent. This is a tourist spot…"

"Think we can order something online?"

"Tempting, but I'm not sure if the delivery service will come here without some major shipping fee, and there is an alien disaster that occurred here…" Gwen contemplated the logistics.

There was nothing but people, gift shops, restaurants and… wait.

"I see an electronic store." Garou smiled.

Gwen looked at the electronic store at the end of the left row of buildings.

"Why do you care about… wait, what are you planning to buy?" Gwen asked.

"Two laptops. Kevin and I want something to keep ourselves busy on the road, and that way we can order a fridge there."

That and monitor the sales uninterrupted.

Kevin managed to salvage the power core from the reactor of the ship alongside the main computer board. It was possible since Kevin could not travel with them in the Rust Bucket, so he had to fly to Mount Rushmore on his own. Garou stayed with Kevin to make sure he didn't get into trouble… so they snuck away to Vilgax's fallen warship and salvaged as much as they could before the authorities and the government arrived to cordon the area and confiscate everything.

"Thinking about it, I think I can just make a fridge with Grey Matter." Gwen chimed with a smile. She reached out and grabbed Garou's hand.

"How about we… I don't know, explore Keystone?" Gwen suggested. "There are some attractions here. I read that there's even a waterslide."

The 'boy' looked back. He could feel Gwen's hand tightening around his hand, her face brimming with anticipation… though her cheeks were a little red.

Garou thought about it for a second.

He couldn't remember the last time he went to something like this… or at all.

"...Why not?"

They have time, anyway.


Caught off guard, Garou was suddenly dragged away by Gwen into the distance, the boy blinking as Gwen giggled with the widest smile she ever had on her face.

Gwen showed him the time he properly had as a child.

Gwen continued dragging him around the place, first she dragged him to a bakery to taste some of the handmade sweets, then she took him to a zipline tour where grabbed a handle connected to a rope tied from one point to another down the slope.

It was the first time he saw her laughing like this, with a smile wide like that.

They didn't bring their swimsuits so they did not try the water slide there.

They went to the visitor center to take a look at the gift shops to see what they could bring back from their tour back to Max and Kevin. Gwen bought a T-Shirt for both of them. Garou bought a mug and a Rushmore-themed backpack for himself, the latter mostly for his future scavenging efforts, in case he wanted to smuggle something behind Gwen's and Max's backs.

They even went on a tour for the history of Mount Rushmore and the four presidents, the background behind the construction of the faces on the mountain to honor the four presidents of America. Garou wasn't that happy to endure a history lesson, but decided to pay attention to learn at least something about this world's past background, even if it had to be a shortened, washed-down version.

Afterwards, for the finale, Gwen took Garou to one of the foodstores so he could try the American cuisine. She smiled as she chewed her plate of steak while watching Garou gorge down on the meat plate by plate, gaining some attention from the other customers whom some felt full by just watching the 'boy' devour his feast.

"Whooooooo… I am starting to like this America." Garou pat his stomach. It didn't even swell from the vast amount he engorged.

Gwen giggled, still holding Garou's hand.

"Glad you liked it! So… what do you want to do next?" Gwen asked.

Garou looked at Gwen. She looked cute when she wasn't bossy as hell.

"I think we fooled around long enough." He burped a little. "Excuse me. Anyways, let's go buy the computers. I think I can leave it to you to make the fridge as Grey Matter."

"Even though you don't like me being a 'smartass?'" Gwen's smile turned wry.

"Oh, har har." Garou rolled his eyes as they went to the electronic store.

It was simple, the entirety of the store mostly made of wood, shelves holding all manners of computer-related merchandise from volumes, memory cards, GPU processors, etc.

There weren't many customers here, all of them just browsing the merchandise.

However, Garou did not search for the laptops immediately when they entered. His eyes were on the plasma screen television hanging from the ceiling.

It was the news channel, the reporter showing the aftermath of the Rapid City attack.

[The cordon the US Military fenced around the crash site of the alien aircraft that attacked Rapid City is still in effect. Relief efforts have finally taken into effect, but the amount of victims devastated is overwhelming. Here, we are showing you the emergency homeless shelter live from Rapid City.]

Gwen joined Garou, looking up at the screen.

They did not utter a word. They could see families and workers, adults and children that lost their homes due to Vilgax's senseless violence and insane obsession for the watch on her wrist. Gwen tightened her grip on Garou's hand.

"...I didn't think it was this bad…" Gwen watched as she saw the victims.

There were even makeshift tents set up around the homeless shelter. Rapid City did not have a populace that large, and the devastation that Vilgax's drones left in their wake left half the city in ruins.

The news anchor continued to narrate the events. There would be food and shelter, but the time estimate for the full restoration of the buildings would take months to complete. Garou didn't know how long it would take for a city to be constructed, but he had a reference using City B and City D, the ones destroyed by the ridiculously large giant.

This was the first time that he witnessed wanton destruction on a scale that reached a scale that affected an entire city.

"...It's only a matter of time before it escalates." Garou muttered to himself.

"...Was it always this bad in your world?" Gwen asked.

"Sometimes it's worse… and we have more heroes there. Here… the only thing stopping them is us." Garou answered.

Yeah, there were strong individuals back home, one that defeated him thoroughly in single combat.

"And I don't know how it'll turn out since there are mostly aliens involved." Garou sighed.


"It might only get harder from here."

He felt Gwen's hand tightening.

"...Will you at least stay here until… well… you know?" Gwen asked with a hopeful smile.

"I can't leave anyways. Though… I think it is best for us to cut our diversion short." Garou needed to check on Kevin again anyways. "I am pretty sure the other two are starting to wonder where we are."

Gwen giggled.

"Yeah. I just hope they don't miss us too much."


Max let out an amused smile as he watched Kevin make a very constipating face in his nth attempt to transform back.

Honestly, it looked less like an attempt and more like him suffering from the worst laxatives in his life.

Kevin's Zirconia arm was starting to warp and transform, his Heatblast arm shrinking down while his Vulpimancer arms slowly shriveled back inside him.

HIs Stinkfly wings started shrinking, his two Four Arm eyes fusing back to one while his Grey Matter eye contracted to his human one.

"Oh, you're getting there, son." Max let out a tone of pleasant surprise as Kevin continued shrinking down, his alien forms disappearing one by one, piece by piece.


Kevin continued making that face and clenching his stomach so hard he could turn coal to diamond if he were to swallow one.

The progress was there as his size was starting to shrink into his human form.

Once his alien features were no more, he released all of his breath he held at once as he doubled over, hands over his knees, sweat dripping off his brows.

"Dear lord, you have actually done it." Max couldn't believe it when he saw Kevin managing to return to human form.

Max knew his father… but he had never heard of an Osmosian capable of transforming himself back like that at will. And Kevin… he smiled, seeing that the stranger in his grandson's body had an impact in this troublemaker's life.

Heavy drops of sweat trickled down Kevin's wheezing head, the boy flashing a thumbs up at the elder Tennyson.

"Hahaha… told ya I don't need your help… whew, damn that smarts. I need a drink… and some food."

Kevin fell on his rear before he splayed on the stone atop of Mount Rushmore next to the RV.

Max only chuckled, shaking his head a little when Kevin's stomach started growling.

"Well, you better sit tight until the two come back with groceries. Assuming you don't want the decade year old rations."

"Bleh, no way, man. Besides… why are they taking so long?"

Hours passed since the two left for Keystone. Kevin has a suspicion, but he dismissed it.

A fast wind blew by as XLR8 returned, the alien carrying her possessed cousin.

"We're baaaack." XLR8 said as she showed the shopping bags. "Did we miss anything fun?"

"I hope not." Garou leapt from below and landed next to them. He looked at Kevin, seeing him lying on the ground.

"Oh, you're human again. Congrats." Garou noted.

"It was a pain turning back. Not sure if I can turn back to the 11 form again."

"11 form?" XLR8 tapped the hourglass dial on her chest as she returned to her human form in a green flash.

"What else am I gonna call it? I mean, I am finally useful for once. And I kick butt… also, you bought anything for us to eat?"

"Plenty. Also, we decided to build a fridge instead, using the spare parts in this abandoned base."

Max looked like he was about to protest, but stopped himself as he considered the prospect.

"Well, I suppose it's an alternative…" Max hummed, thinking the Plumbers would not miss some components.

"Sweet. Oh, and you got the thing?"

Garou lifted the bag in his right hand, smiling.

"Oh ho ho ho, yes! Let's set them up!"

Garou dropped all but one bag as he and Kevin ran into the RV, leaving Max and Gwen behind.

Max wanted to ask how much they spent on his tab but decided to hold it off until Vilgax was safely delivered.

"So, what have you been up to in Keystone?" Max asked his granddaughter.

"Oh, um, just… exploring some stuff." Gwen looked away. Max didn't fail to notice that small blush on her face.

He had a hunch… no, he dismissed it. At least not until he could confirm it.

"Did you have fun?" Max asked. At least the stranger in Ben grew closer with them. It was as he had become a part of the Tennyson family, even though the matter with Ben was still an issue.

Gwen smiled and nodded.

Inside the RV, Kevin and Garou set up their computers, their usernames, accounts and passwords.

"So, are we going to do it?" Kevin asked Garou as they waited for their laptops to finish setting themselves up.

"We didn't risk our hides to salvage that ship if we weren't. The question is if we can trust this guy enough not to abuse it."

"Psssh, please. It's alien tech, man. There's no way us humans can rebuild the main computer system for like… a gazillion years."

"Well, the old man seems to know how."

"…Okay, maybe a few hundred. Still, Max doesn't count. He's trained by aliens as far as I know." Kevin retorted.

"Good point."

The computers finished loading up. Kevin and Garou started setting things up as they connected to the internet.

They connected to the website as Kevin and Garou started typing. They're both accessing the same account now.

"Alright, let's see…"

Kevin sent a message to ChosenOne1 about their newest prizes.

"Say, quick question, are we sure it's a good idea to give them the power reactor?" Kevin asked.

"Part of the power reactor."

Since it was too big.

They were not sure which part they salvaged. All they had was a metal orb that was hot to the touch. Kevin suspected that it was the fuel, or something that processed it.

"Alright, sending a pic of the spaceship… oh."

Garou saw the message in the text box.

They wanted to meet in person. At Rapid City if possible to confirm the goods.

Kevin types that the ship was too big to properly salvage and an excuse that they had to hide the goods in a remote location they marked somewhere in the woods around Keystone.

Kevin looked at Garou.

"What should we do?" Kevin asked.

"Tell them we'll throw a few robot parts their way if they want proof."

"You sure?" Kevin quirked a brow.

"I doubt they'll make weapons out of them."

Kevin scratched his head a little as he typed what Garou said.

"…Alright, But they still want to meet. What should we do?"

Garou tapped his chin in rumination.

Weighing the odds, there was a chance for profit, though it might be the inner Ben screaming at him just to get rich… but then again, there was another matter weighing his mind, regarding recent events.

"I might need a disguise… we need to know our buyers one day anyways." Garou concluded.

"Wait, we're actually doing this? And how the hell are we going to disguise you? We're a bit lacking in the height department."

"…how much alien juice do you have in you?" Garou asked.

"I'm still locked and fully loaded if you're asking. It's hard trying to contain all eleven different aliens." Kevin admitted.

"Think you can pull out only Grey Matter and build me a disguise from the scrap we piled?" Garou smirked.

Kevin tapped his chin a little.

"Don't know, but I can try. I can still feel the juice I took from Gwen's watch in my gut, but it's kinda… what's the word, ah, volatile. It took a lot out of me to shrink back to mini-me size."

"Well, we afford a little mishap, assuming you don't explode."

"Hah! No way will I boom like that."

Kevin walked around the back of the Rust Bucket and lifted the trunk, picking out some of the limbs from the smaller robots.

"Let's do this."

The mischievous duo grinned as they went to work.

Arriving at the alleyway in Rapid City, Garou entered the darkness at a higher height than usual. Kevin managed to create some temporary prosthetics for him to use from the scrap they did have using the leftover Grey Matter juice in him.

As for how Garou got that, he just ran first before putting on said prosthetics.

Behind was the running traffic of cars and civilians while the front was the dark shadows and trash bins. Once Garou stood inside, he spoke to the shadows and said, "May the light of forever take us to eternal glory."

It was a codeword the buyer sent to them through their email. Garou brought some extra scrap just in case, a few mechanical eyes of Slix Vigma and a part of the levitation thing that let's the drone fly without wings inside a suitcase.

He waited for a moment to see if the person would actually show up. He could sense their presence in the alleyway after all.

"Godslayer13, I presume." A deep voice greeted from the shadows. It came from two mysterious individuals wearing gray masks that resembled human faces. They had red clothing with the symbol of a medieval shield drawn over black crossbones. Over their chainmail armor, for some undisclosed reason, were brown trench-coats and fedoras as well.

"I am here to see ChosenOne1 to discuss terms. I brought something extra just in case."

"The two of us were sent in his place. We will lead you to him from here." One of the knights advised monotonously, his facial expressions unable to be read from beneath the mask.

"Can't blame him. I hope I'm still privy to my identity along the way?" Garou asked through his mask, the facewear muffling his voice.

"Your identity is not important at the moment. We are glad that you decided to part with alien technology. We understand that not everyone should have the right to hold onto such scientific wonders."

"A bit subjective. I am ready when you are." Garou said.

"Excellent. We shall escort you immediately."

The two lead Garou to the door on his left, opening it with a key. He followed them inside as they turned the lights on, showing a path leading downstairs into the basement.

The building seemed old, worn-down plasters hanging from the walls, hardened sludge sticking to the ceiling and blinking lights here and there, but then when they entered the bathroom, one of the men stood in front of a mirror and waved something before the glass. Afterwards, the sink retracted itself and slid left, showing a secret entrance leading to a metal interior.

To his amazement, the scenery sooned transitioned from a shady lair to a shadier, conspiracy level underground base.

He started to see a complete absence of decay on the metal walls and glass and the stink of the warehouse replaced by fresh, clean air. Garou saw multiple personnel-like workers, each either wearing hazmat suits or the same eerie armor like those of his escorts. He was starting to grow a little intimidated that he may have bit more than he chewed with a secret organization that might be able to track him down and target Gwen, Kevin, and the old man.

Behind the glass pane of a lab, some of them seemed to be carefully analyzing some broken down pieces of machinery, each one bearing an uncanny resemblance to the recently damaged Chimerian Hammer. The members in jumpsuits lifted up pieces of the alien space-cruiser's shredded hull, moving it over to some sort of blank dissection table of sorts. Others typed key commands into a nearby computer monitor, recording their research on the extraterrestrial tech as they went along.

"This way." One of the knights escorting Garou proclaimed, interrupting the "boy's" discomforting uncertainty for just a short while. He pointed to a large doorway much more… traditional than the others, almost as if it existed long before this very warehouse was even constructed.

Garou gulped a little. He had never dealt with shady organizations with this much influence other than the Monster Association. Unlike with the monsters, they were human, meaning he could not kill them and be done with them.

The difference of the unsettling feeling between this place and the Monster Association headquarters was how this place was hiding in plain sight, under the noses of the blissful public. It was a different kind of fear compared to the overwhelming dread of the inevitable, more like the shock of discovering something one did not wish to learn.

Garou wasn't sure if he could even escape without consequence even if he beats up everyone within the compound. They have connections, he was sure.

Even so, he had gone this far. It would be insulting to him and the one behind the door if he turned back. Besides, he was sure everything would be alright in the end as long as nothing truly bad happened. If they were evil, he would beat them up and feed them to the authorities.

With a deep breath, Garou walked through the door with his prosthetic arms, entering the room to finally meet ChosenOne1.

There was nothing in this part of the facility except for a long, wooden table. Seated in a large medieval throne was a muscular man wearing slightly more authentic knight's armor than his subordinates. He wore a golden mask that covered his entire face, black spikes arching out of the forehead like a makeshift crown. His head, chest, and arms were completely covered by silver chainmail, paired nicely with jet black shoulder-pads and armguards. The armored individual also wore a red tunic like his followers, accentuated by the same shield symbol. However, this one was uniquely marked with a black infinity symbol.

"Lord Enoch, sir. We have brought you a guest." The other knight announced, bowing at the same time as his partner. They both placed their knees firmly on the ground, shifting their heads down as a sign of firm respect and loyalty.

Garou stared at the man on the throne utterly speechless for a second, "...ChosenOne1?" Garou tentatively asked.

"Yes, that is me. It is a pleasure to meet you in person, Godslayer13. But for now, you may call me Enoch." The head knight greeted with an astute nod of his head. He got up from his throne and approached the disguised Garou, his protected arms crossed behind the back area in contemplation.

When Garou saw his username online, he expected a man in a business suit, not… this. Although, Garou couldn't complain since he was just as strange as the man on the throne.

"I… I see. Well, if I must be blunt… can I speak out freely?" Garou asked.

"You may. We are equals here." Enoch accepted his request, holding out one hand as a go-ahead for Garou to say what needed to be said.

"I did not expect all of this when we chatted online. I mean, wow…" Garou said as he gestured to everything in this room, the knights, the medieval themed room, the throne, it was a lot to take in. "Normally, I expected someone more… modern. But consider my expectations broken."

"Well, my men and I are of a special breed. We usually don't meet with our trading partners face-to-face, but you… are a much different case." Enoch explained, the black holes of his golden mask staring into Garou's very soul as he spoke.

"I see… Well, I do assume that there are others that are more professional than I, but I am flattered at least." Garou bowed a little to respect Enoch.

"Professionalism does not speak as many volumes as material possession. I am glad that you decided to open your more special wares for us. Your trust in us is not misplaced." Enoch emphasized.

"Yes. I am sensitive to selling them to the wrong people." Garou admitted.

"Yes. The crime rates are increasing every day, usually criminals with advance weaponry that should be beyond them. I can assure you that we, the Forever Knights, are not involved with those savages. We are even investigating the source of the market flow as well as this also concerns us. And for the good of humanity and the world."

Enoch nodded in understanding and passion. He seemed empathetic with the buyer before him, considerate even.

The last sentence sounded like a practiced recital, an old motto even.

Garou looked at Enoch confused by the propaganda, "The name of your organization is called the Forever Knights?" Garou asked.

It sounded a little gaudy, too much arrogance and pride.

"Correct." Enoch simply uttered, not revealing too much information about the organization's goals and history.

Garou inspected Enoch meticulously. He seemed passionate and his tone sounded truthful, but Garou had no experience dealing with politicians. He dealt with monsters and heroes, fought with tooth and nail until that baldy came and wrecked him out of the blue. He was still wondering if he should still sell the excessive parts to Enoch and his group in the end.

"Words are one thing, but to back it up is another. Besides, I don't know much about your organization other than its name for good reason… I might need some convincing before I decide to hand you the others in my stock." Garou worded his concern carefully.

Enoch glanced over at his two knights, giving them the signal to perform a certain task. They understood the gesture and opened the large doors they previously entered through.

"Very well. I will give you a personal tour of our headquarters. Along the way, I'll explain to you the origins and foundations the Forever Knights were built upon. How does that sound?" Enoch suggested openly, seeking to earn Garou's trust in the most reasonable way possible.

Garou ruminated for a moment. He would at least learn more about this secret organization from the background, and Enoch was more than cordial, respectful even. Depending on what he learned will decide Garou's choice.

"It is good. Another thing." Garou raised his hand. "If you can give me information on how the underground distributes their high-tech weapons and their sources, and if I find it valid, consider more of my stock open to you." Garou offered, wanting to test their ability and reassure his conscience at the very least.

"Understood. Follow me." Enoch agreed, slowly leading Garou outside of the room.

Garou could not tell under his mask, but he felt as if Enoch was smiling. It wasn't malicious in intent, but more of a convoluted mix he could not describe in words.

"Tell me, have you heard of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon?" Enoch asked in curiosity, adjusting his head to look at Garou directly.

Garou remained silent. Behind his mask, he was sweating profusely with minor panic since he had absolutely no idea who the hell was Saint George.

"...only the basics." He lied succinctly while praying that Enoch won't press him further as the man showed him the murals on the walls that depicted their organization's history.

"Well, according to the story, Saint George was a knight who slew a dragon that spewed venom and seeked out human sacrifices. He was able to do this with the use of a legendary sword known as Ascalon." Enoch recalled from memory, summarizing the tale in a more simplistic manner.

Garou did recall some fairy tales back home. There was one legend that depicted a knight that slain a dragon before, but it was in the mountains during a stormy night, lightning crackled after thunder, and it ended with the slayer absorbing the lightning of the gods and slain the dragon with their power.

"This legend… is true." Enoch revealed cryptically, gesturing to a giant mural of Saint George piercing the dragon's head with his sword.

This time, Garou hummed with interest, "Really?" He was slightly skeptical of Enoch's claims, but he could not deny their fondness of ancient traditions.

"And the dragon was an alien." Enoch stated in a cold whisper, a sense of vitriol permeating from his lips at the mere mention of 'aliens'.

Now that, he could not believe.

"What?" Garou was completely caught off guard by the last statement. When he pictured the word 'dragon' and 'alien' together, the result was an amalgamation of horror that involved tentacles and slimy skin in the shape of a dragon.

"Yes. After cutting out the beast's heart, Saint George gathered his fellow knights with a common goal in mind. They vowed to protect the Earth from any extraterrestrial beings, so the dragon would never torment the human race ever again. Henceforth, the Forever Knights were born." Enoch finished his summarization of the story, gesturing to his infinity symbol in acknowledgement.

'Wait…' Garou thought of the Plumbers. Max did not mention anything about the Forever Knights… which lead to a conflict of the story. Where did the Plumbers go in anyways? Max never told him much about the Plumbers as well, or anything about the evil space dragon assuming it was evil in the first place…

However, Garou cannot deny their resources. There was no way a group like them existed without the motivation, and they were rich as hell. They definitely have history. Their appreciation for the past was genuine. He might need to ask the old man about it later on.

"However, after the disappearance of Saint George, certain members of the Forever Knights have attempted to reign supreme over the others. Some with more extreme motives than the last." Enoch pointed out, thinking of the fractured nature his organization currently possessed.

'Ah…' Now Garou understood where they fit in. They weren't as active as the Plumbers in their line of duty, perhaps. Judging by their attempt to understand alien technology, they were probably behind the Plumbers in terms of stability and efficiency.

"Judging by your attempts to study the alien craft and purchasing, I assume you are a bit behind because of that, right?" Garou guessed.

Enoch stopped in place, simply holding out an outstretched hand for emphasis.

"There are five separate factions of the Forever Knights. So, yes, our resources are spread out indefinitely." Enoch grumbled in minor irritation, still remaining composed regardless.

"Hmmmm…" Garou could understand that. It was like a dissonance between the monsters in the Monster Association as well. Or human society.

"Each faction has a different goal in mind. My men, as you've probably guessed, are tasked with studying and collecting alien technology. We use these weapons for better defense against those same aliens."

Judging from his experience with aliens before, Garou could agree. The shapeshifting white slime men they encountered days before were more than enough to give the knights credence for their fears.

"It may seem hypocritical, but to triumph over the enemy, you must understand them inside and out." Enoch admitted honestly, feeling that he had the best intentions in mind.

"No, I don't think it is hypocritical." Garou shook his head. "They are simply above what you're capable of. You're just at a level where you have yet to reach theirs. There will be a time where you will have the same level of technology as those above us, so don't think of it as hypocritical."

"Fair point, Godslayer13. However, it gets more difficult with the more power-hungry fools in our ranks. Such as…" Enoch scowled heavily, angry just thinking of the name. "Driscoll."

"Eh?" Garou flung his head at Enoch upon hearing the name of the ex-plumber Max mentioned. That guy was part of this organization?

"The so-called Forever King. He has been making a mockery of the entire organization for years now." Enoch growled hatefully, brushing off the name as a giant blemish that was too big to properly dispose of.

That guy was one of the highest ranking members of the Forever Knights? Now Garou was convinced that selling the guys his wares was a bad idea. However…

"You sound like you don't like him. What's so bad about him to make you sound like that?"

"He doesn't follow our laws. All he cares about is building power for himself. Did you know that he was an exile from another organization designed to protect humanity? He was dishonorably discharged for smuggling alien technology." Enoch snapped, noting Driscoll's past experience with building weapons of mass destruction for his own goals.

Garou looked at Enoch, staring at him with conflicting thoughts, "'re planning to overthrow him?" Garou assumed.

Enoch stiffened. He turned to Garou.

"D-don't be ridiculous. It's not like I was next in line before he came around." Enoch denied, inadvertently adding more context to his rivalry with the current Forever King.

"Judging by your words, anyone can become a king if they have the capacity to lead, right?" Garou asked, now deciding to place his cards on the table.

"It's much more complicated than that, however. Why do you think I started dealing with you in the first place? He has a majority of the Forever Knights' resources and finances at his disposal." Enoch sighed.

"Hahaha. Well, I don't know. But I will say this. You have my support if you will become a king yourself." Garou informed, deciding to invest a little on connections. "I am willing to throw in a sophisticated robot brain if you're willing."

"You have something like that?" Enoch inquired.

"I won't sell you weapons, but I can give you something good along with the parts I got from the reactor." Garou offered.

"Components of the power reactor and the ship computer are of the most invaluable parts of a spaceship. As for my offer… two billion U.S. dollars?" Enoch suggested, outstretching one of his gloved hands to see if the boy would agree.

Garou nearly coughed at the amount of money the man was providing. A full billion dollars for his bank account… that is something he could use to gloat in front of Gwen and Max for days.

"A-Alright. Ahem. That seems to be a reasonable amount. And the other products I have?" Garou asked about the communication emitter and the parts of the ship's engines.

"You drive a hard bargain, Godslayer13. I'll calculate the price depending on the pristine condition and function and send the amount to you via deposit. Deal?" Enoch guessed openly, waiting for Garou's response.

Garou could not handle that much money. Any more would rob him of his breath. It was beyond what he was used to, and he knew the conversion rate between the U.S dollar and Yen. It took him a lot of willpower not to lose his composure.

"I'll send you the pickup location via email." Garou instantly agreed.

It was time to test the mettle of trust. But then… he remembered something. The chaos of Rapid City…

"...Is it possible for me to make a small request?"

Enoch was curious.

"And that would be?"

"It won't cost you anything. In fact, it might help you."