Chapter 5 – Even Champions Need to Eat

*Blizzard's not mine. So on and so forth. Contains spoilers for The Battle of Undercity quest line.

Pig and Whistle Tavern, Old Town, Stormwind City

The clinking of glasses and dull roar of conversation was a welcome change after the strange and tiring day Shadowbunny had just experienced. She stared for a moment into her mug of the Pig and Whistle's finest ale and gave a grimace at the irony of ending the day as it began.

She really hadn't thought that she would be hungry, but as soon as Reese Langston placed the bowl of beef and barley stew, loaf of bread, and hunk of Alterac swiss in front of her. She immediately dug in as if it could be her last meal. With an inward sigh, she drove her thoughts away from such negative thinking.

"How's your food, Carmien?" she asked the Paladin, who was apparently as hungry as she.

"It is the best food I have ever had bless the Light!" Carmien stated with the same thankfulness to be eating a good meal that she felt.

As they both finished, Reese came to take their dishes. "Is it true SB, Car? Are the rumors of the Forsaken true?"

She sighed. "Reese. You know that I am not at liberty to discuss intelligence. I'm sorry."

He shrugged cheerfully at the gnome he'd had the pleasure of serving since her days in training with Mathias, "I know. It was worth a try though. Another mug?"

She smiled in return, "Yes, I will take one more. Is the one room upstairs available this evening? My friend and I have some matters to discuss."

"Anything for you, SB. You two go on up, and I'll send Elly along with your pitcher and mugs." Reese replied with a grin.

"Sneaky gnome. Do you have everyone wrapped around your finger?" Carmien questioned with a shake of his head.

She gave him an innocent look, "Who me? Nah, I'm not devious at all. Let's head up."

Carmien settled in at the table before the fireplace with the delicious ale. After Elly had gone, Shadowbunny searched the room for traps and listening devices. "As clear as I can make it," she stated, seating herself across from him. "Can you believe in just a few hours we'll be invading The Undercity?" she asked.

"No. I wish I could disbelieve most of the events of this day. And it verges on treason, but I could wish that Varian had more control of his temper. Before I left training and soldiered alongside members of the Horde…" he trailed off taking a deep draught from his mug.

"I know, Car. The atrocities are on both sides in the battles between the Horde and the Alliance, and they are nothing compared to what all will suffer if the Lich King is allowed to succeed." She paused. "I know Jaina is also concerned. I'm thankful that she will be accompanying us in the morning."

Carmien stared at the flames, "We never really have a chance to pause do we? I know Bolvar is a Champion and the Light embraces him, but…"

She reached across the table and squeezed his hand as well as her smaller one could, "I know my friend, I know. I am just thankful his fate was not Saurfang's." A shiver of dread ran up her spine, "That alone was enough to cement my belief that our Alliance with the Horde is necessary. We must use all our resources and rid this world of Arthas Menethil and Ner'zhul forever."

They sat for an hour finishing their ale and going over strategies, maps, and possible supplies that could be needed in the coming fight. When their preparations were complete, Shadowbunny and Carmien both gave longing glances at the two double beds that occupied the room, and then sighed in unison. With a glance at each other, they both laughed loudly.

"I have to go report in to Mathias now. I guess I'm bunking at headquarters tonight. You?" she inquired.

"Yes, sadly. I must report to the Archbishop since I am in Stormwind. I'll take my rest there. See you at the flight master in four candlemarks?" Carmien asked as he tugged parts of his armor back on.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have one day that didn't have a massive battle planned on it?" she smirked and headed for the door.

"That wouldn't be Azeroth," he laughed at her.

Chapter 6 – Double O Bunny

SI:7 Headquarters, Stormwind City

"Rat with no tat takes his pack to M," Shadowbunny whispered to the guard at the top of the stairs, and waited as he considered her.

The human in black leather smirked, "I don't know. Those red-pigtails seem pretty suspicious." He tugged on one of them, and found a dagger pricking his kidney and a gnome kicking his shin. "Ow, SB. Feisty as ever, I see."

She glared at him, "I've had a very long day, Xan, don't mess with me."

"Aw, you're so cute when you're ticked," he grinned reaching to tug on the other side, "OW! Dang it! You pricked me."

"Don't worry. They aren't poisoned…yet." She smirked at him, and then gave his leg a hug. "It's been ages, Xan!"

"I know, I know. We'll have to catch up later though. Mathias is glaring at us." He patted her on the head because he knew it would irritate her, and she glared at him again as she headed toward her mentor.

"Shadowbunny, reporting in sir." She stopped in front of Mathias and his goblin assistant.

She recounted the days' events to the leader of the Alliance intelligence forces knowing that he had probably already received several other similar reports. She added a few details using the thieves hand language. It never hurt to be too cautious, and everyone didn't need to know about Varian's almost irrational anger. As she completed her report, Mathias looked at her closely.

"You're keeping something back, SB. What else is there?" he questioned her in the voice that had garnered more secrets than any other methods employed by SI:7.

She sighed, glanced away for a moment, and spoke to him of the horror at the Wrathgate. The terrible moment that continued to haunt her when she had witnessed Saurfang's death by Frostmourne.

He looked at her with compassion but not pity. "Will this affect your duties? Would you like to go on leave, and have another…"

"No, sir!" she interrupted hotly. "I will perform my duties for this organization and the Alliance. I am not some weakling to be turned away by Arthas' terror tactics."

He grinned down at the firey gnome he'd trained and worked with through several wars and across continents, "I figured you'd feel that way, but I had to offer."

She glared at him now, and then she yawned. She looked up with surprise as he laughed at her, "You need sleep. Go to bed. Xanatos will wake you when it's time."

"Thanks, Mathias. Bed does sound good. Heck, floor sounds good." She nodded to him, and went upstairs. She was asleep before she finished removing her boots.