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The Story of Athena

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It was a sunny day in the tundra, the light reflecting off of the snow and half blinding anyone that looked out at it. The light poured through the windows of Techno’s home, making the white quartz walls look brighter than ever and the tiny cottage rooms larger than they were.

 

On any other day, this would perk up Techno’s mood. He liked bright days, they were often productive and meant he wouldn’t get frozen out in the snow. There was also the positive that it also meant he could take Athena out on his errands. 

 

The more time passed, the more she was starting to adore the snow more and more. He liked to take her out to play as much as possible now that she was getting bigger. Especially now that she had her own little cloak to keep her cosy.

 

( Though that didn’t stop Techno from wrapping her up in his own cloak anyway)

 

How much time had passed since he’d gotten here now? A couple of months, surely. He wasn’t keeping track, he probably should. How else would they celebrate her birthday if he didn’t keep track, though he knew the date that he found her would be buried in his journal anyway.

 

Anyway, sunny days were perfect days to be productive with little to no downfalls.

 

However, despite the perfect weather conditions in place for a great day, Techno was on edge. Very on edge.

 

Phil was supposed to be here.

 

There was no sign of him, he was supposed to be here.

 

Sure, Phil could be a little late sometimes, but the man liked to pride himself on his punctuality and he wasn’t here. He wasn’t here.

 

Something had happened. Something has to have happened. 

 

‘HE’S GONE.’ ‘HE’S DEAD.’ ‘HE’S GONE.’ ‘HE’S DEAD.’ ‘THEY’RE COMING FOR YOU NEXT.’ ‘FOR ATHENA.’ ‘DAD.’ ‘DADZA.’ ‘DEAD.’ ‘DEADZA.’

 

No. No, the voices were wrong. They were so often wrong. It was fine. He was fine. 

 

He paced in front of his window, opening his journal at his page for the day to scan at his list and slamming it shut again before returning to pacing again. He repeated this several times. Phil was fine. He was. And then all Techno would have to worry about is how much of his list he’d be able to get done before the sunset.

 

He could tell Phil off for being tardy. It was fine.

 

It would be a funny moment to laugh at later.

 

He practically jumped out of his skin when Athena cooed from her basket in the corner of the room. She was still fast asleep, just talking whilst resting it seemed, and Techno relaxed a little. He walked over to the basket and knelt down beside her, letting out a breath he’d been holding.

 

“At least someone is benefitting with an extra-long nap in my panic, huh?” He joked a little, placing his hand into the basket to press protectively order her stomach ( subconsciously counting her little breaths as her stomach rose and fell with each one ) and smiled when she held one of his fingers in her sleep.

 

Even unconscious she was still reaching out for him. He wondered if it was because they were linked with the voices or…

 

Or if she loved him.

 

The words Tommy said floated through his head again and he sighed, closing his eyes with a frown. He wasn’t going to fuck it up, was he? Did Tommy really believe that or was he just saying that because he knew how it would affect Techno?

 

He hadn’t seen the boy since that day. Tommy didn’t want him to visit. Tommy Probably never wanted to see him again. He’d do this favour for him, even if it ate him up a little inside. He hoped he’d learned from his exile now.

 

He shook away the thoughts and looked back at Athena. Tommy wasn’t the most pressing matter anyway right now.

 

“Your grandpa is just running a little late is all, Athena.” He whispered, leaning down to kiss her head before slowly pulling his hand away, feeling a pang in his chest when she whined at his lack of contact. “Sorry baby, but I shouldn’t waste time waiting for him, I gotta actually get everything set up if he’d going to be so late. That man runs by his own clock sometimes.”

 

He hesitated before bending down to kiss her head, settling her back into and content sleep, before he stood and made his way down his ladder into the basement with a stretch. He stepped over the zombie villagers he’d trapped that he had yet to cure (that was one of the plans for him and Phil today) and opened up his chests.

 

It was… strange… he swore he didn’t move anything from these chests but some things weren’t in order and… was there just a pile of dirt in here? What? And there was a stack of golden apples right there-

 

Nevermind, it didn’t matter. Maybe Phil took them last time he visited, or maybe he just put them somewhere else. He still had plenty elsewhere. He could busy himself with sorting some of his inventory for now.

 

When he finally made his way back up to the main floor to busy himself by making some potions, his communicator went off.

 

He felt relief overcome him as he pulled the device from off of his hip. There was no need to worry now, Phil was fine and alive. He didn’t call though, which was unusual for his friend, but a text was enough to calm Techno’s beating heart for now. He was fine.

 

Well… was was the keyword. The messages that he received had him freezing where he stood, sending his mind into a frenzy. No. No no no. No!

 

‘they know where you are. get ready old friend’

 

His breathing hitched and he almost dropped the glass bottles he was holding. No. No! He looked up at the ceiling with fear in his eyes, Athena still fast asleep in his attic. He replied quickly as soon as he remembered how his hands worked.

 

???’ He wrote but there was no response. He messages again. ‘who is they’. 

 

He knew the answer. He knew the fucking answer. Phil never called him old friend unless… unless it meant war. He only called him that when he wasn’t talking to his son. Oh no. Only when he was talking to the man he’d been through battle with. Only when he was talking to the veteran he’d painted snow red with. Old friend. It was practically a code word now.

 

It meant nothing good.

 

they found the compass’

 

‘WHO’ He typed back almost immediately.

 

Techno hurried to look out the window, breathing picking up. They found the compass? How could they find the compass? Phil was supposed to always keep it on him. He was supposed to always have it on his person, or keep it in his enderchest, he wasn’t supposed to let them find it. It wasn’t supposed to be possible to find! He knew how important this was! He knew how dangerous it was if they found him!

 

He knew they could hurt Athena.

 

BLOOD’ ‘KILL THEM’ ‘PROTECT’ ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD’

 

The voices started to get deafening in his ears and he cried out in frustration. “UGHHH NOT NOW! NOT NOW I HAVE TO FOCUS!” He yelled, hurrying back down to his basement to grab more potion stuff and brewing stands as Philza sent him another message.

 

‘quackity and gang’

 

The butcher army. Fuck. FUCK. 

 

“Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods.” He whispered to himself in a panic, climbing back up his ladder as fast as possible and practically ripping hair out of his head. He didn’t have any time. He didn’t have any fucking time.

 

‘they have netherite’

 

He moved to pull on his own armour before opening his enderchest, pulling out his weapons and a totem of undying. He held it with both hands, eyes wide for a moment before tying it around his neck. He knew turning it into a necklace would be a good idea. It dangled next to his friendship emeralds out of sight. They couldn’t know he had it on him. They couldn’t know.

 

big q, ranboo, tubbo, and fundy’

 

Four. Oh gods, there were four of them all against him. And where was Phil? Why wasn’t Phil coming to help? He knew Athena was here. What would she do if they took him? She’d be alone. All alone. How long would he be gone?

 

And why the FUCK was there POLISHED BLACKSTONE in his POTION CHEST.

oh, he was losing it. He was really losing it. He sighed and ran his hands down his face, just wanting to crumple onto the floor and wait for them to come and take him. He didn’t even have any fireworks.

 

This was fine. He was fine… he could take them all on. He could. He pulled at his hair a little.

 

He could.

 

He needed strength potions.

 

He was back in the move in a flash, grabbing gunpowder and climbing back upstairs. The number of ups and downs he was doing was starting to make him feel ill. Why did he have to have so many layers to his house? Why couldn’t he just fucking-

 

He took a deep breath to calm himself before he started to brew strength potions, he couldn’t get overwhelmed. He couldn’t let that happen. 

 

As his potions brewed, he heard a cry from up the ladder and he looked up. Shit. Of all of the times to wake up-

 

Techno hoisted himself up the ladder with ease before going over to the basket, the crying infant calming the second she saw his face. She reached up for him. Despite everything, for a moment he calmed too.

 

“Oh, baby… we’re really in it now, huh?”

 

He picked up the basket and not her despite Athena’s insistence and climbed down the ladder carefully. He was going to need to install stairs one of these days. Finally, he lifted her out of her basket, cradling her in his arms. She didn’t seem to like the cold of his armour all that much, but he couldn’t remove it. Not now.

 

“Hush there, Athena. We will be alright… I’ve got you.” He hesitated. “Techno’s got you.” He wasn’t going to use the other word. He wasn’t her parent. He was just looking after her. That was all.

 

He heard footsteps in the snow outside his home and froze. Was that them? Were they here? His communicator buzzed and the message actually relieved him despite it being a warning.

 

‘hurry, they just left’

 

Then it couldn’t be them. Maybe it was someone here to help? Maybe-

 

He opened the door to check but was just met with Ghostbur outside his cottage, grinning and waving. Techno groaned and closed his eyes. Great. That was just great. Fucking fantastic.

 

He closed the door and returned to his potions, planning on ignoring him, but the ghost fazed through his door anyway. 

 

“Hi, Technoblade! Hi, Athena!” The ghost greeted, smiling as he loomed over the Piglin hybrid and the baby in his arms. Athena cooed up at him and he made a face at her to make her giggled.

 

“Ghostbur, you couldn’t have picked a worse time. This is a terrible time! This is a terrible time, Ghostbur.” Techno gritted, checking his potions again. Athena whined when she was pulled away from the ghost.

 

“Can I help?”

 

He rolled his eyes. “How good are you at violence?”

 

They met each other’s eyes for a long and silent moment before the ghost pulled blue dye from his non-existent pockets and Techno groaned.

 

“Here here, have some blue-“

 

“I don’t have time for your blue, Ghostbur!”

 

“It’ll help, it’ll help.”

 

“Fine!” He accepted the blue and stuffed it into his own pockets with his spare hand before he set Athena down into her basket. He set it onto spare counter space. “I’m trying to brew potions but honestly I don’t even know what I’m brewing anymore. I have no idea.”

 

“You need help with potions? I can help with potions. Just tell me what’s going on, Technoblade, and I’ll help.” The way his brother smiled at him, even this ghost version of his brother, made Techno relax somewhat. It was grounding. Now he had two people to ground him.

 

“Phil- they have the compass. There are like four dudes and they have the compass to my base and they want to kill me, Ghostbur.” He stressed. “There are four dudes and they’re coming and I have Athena here and what if they hurt her and-“

 

“Why are they coming to kill you? What have you done wrong?” Ghostbur asked innocently and Techno sighed. That was the loaded question, wasn’t it? He chose to simply not answer as Ghostbur got distracted again and instead chose to go outside and start placing vines around his house.

 

He was rambling about travelling and melting and all sorts (which was weird because Techno thought he was living with Tommy) but he interrupted him swiftly.

 

“Listen, that’s great, but you need to get out of here, Ghostbur. It’s dangerous and-“ Techno looked over at Athena’s basket and back at Ghostbur. He had a decision to make. He picked up the basket and glanced at his brother.

 

But instead of handing him the basket, instead, he placed it inside the trapdoor box that Philza had made as a hidden compartment. 

 

“Ghostbur, if they take me, I need you to do something very important for me, alright?”

 

“Okay, Technoblade!”

 

“I mean it. This is serious.”

 

“Okay, Technoblade!”

 

The Piglin hybrid sighed, rubbing a hand against his face. This was as good as he was going to get. “Okay. I need you to come back to my house when everyone is gone, open this trapdoor, and take Athena to Phil okay. This is very important. She can’t stay here alone and he can take care of her until I can get her back or…” he hesitated. Or what? He seriously wasn’t considering the possibility of them… he knelt down and stared at Athena. She was awake but quiet, staring at Techno with an almost confused expression. He supposed she wasn’t used to spending every waking moment in his arms. “Yeah. He can take care of her.”

 

He stood again as Ghostbur nodded, not seeming to sense the sombre mood whatsoever. He just had to hope he understood what he was asking anyway. “Okay! Sounds like a plan to me!”

 

“Okay, well, you should leave.” He herded Ghostbur over to the door as he spoke. “It’s dangerous. They will be here any minute now and I still have so many things to do. They could hurt you.”

 

“But it’s snowing, you know I melt when I get wet. The snow is easier to dodge but-“

 

“Then just stand until the trees then!”

 

Ghostbur frowned and peered out the door before suddenly grinning instead. “Oh! Can I get a lead then? I found this blue sheep and he seemed very kind, I would like to keep him.”

 

Techno groaned and ran a hand down his face. “Ghostbur, I don’t have…” he groaned. “Fine. Fine! Let me go grab one.”

 

Luckily he managed to rummage through his main room chest and find one. The Piglin thrust it into his dead brother’s transparent hands before urging him outside. “Now, go on! Please! And stay hidden!” He closed the door behind him with a sigh when the ghost happily floated back out to go catch the blue sheep.

 

“Good luck with your thing, Technoblade!!”

 

That ghost would, ironically, be the death of him.

 

Techno rushed right back into action, running from chest to chest and talking to himself about what he’d need. Trident, water, carrots, apples...

 

“I’m not ready for war.” He said, almost in a manic laugh to himself. That wasn’t like him at all, was it? In retirement not only had he just… felt untouchable, but he also hadn’t felt the urge to prepare for the worst-case scenario like the voices usually fretted over. They had been so distracted by Athena that he’d just forgotten this was a possibility. “I’ve not been ready for war for a while.” Months. It had been months since Athena had arrived in that little basket on his doorstep. Hell, she still slept in it for naps and soon that basket would be too small to fit her comfortably. He was just happy being a…

 

Yeah.

 

He shouldn’t have let his happiness distract him. He cared deeply for her, but that was all the more reason he should’ve been prepared for this. He should’ve been ready for her to be safe.

 

He ate a golden apple whilst he stood and waited in anxiety. “Oh this is not good, this is-“

 

There was a cry from the box he’d hidden Athena in and his eyes widened, scrambling over to the box and opening it up. It was strange. Even in full armours, weapons attached to his hips and back, probably the most threatening Athena had ever seen him, the baby stopped and cooed, reaching for him. She was okay. She just missed him. He sighed and reached a hand in but didn’t take her out, they could be here any minute.

 

“I need you to be quiet, baby… please.” He peered in, adjusting his helmet a little. Athena blinked back, clearly not understanding a word. Despite this, Techno kept talking. “Athena if… if anything happens to me…” He looked away from her, breaking eye contact as he swallowed heavily. His eyes were watering and he sniffed

 

This was dumb, he was talking to a baby. She didn’t understand. She wouldn’t remember. 

 

If he were gone she wouldn’t remember him-

 

“Never mind. Just stay quiet.” Techno quickly closed the trapdoor again and stood in a hurry, trying to get his emotions in check. There was a small whimper from Athena but she didn’t seem to start crying again. Good. Hopefully, she’d go back to sleep.

 

He ignored the voices in his head that demanded he hold her, that he kiss her all over her little head and tell her all of his feelings. It didn’t matter. There were more pressing matters. Besides…

 

  they’d be demanding blood soon enough.

 

Techno paced the length of his room, checking out of his window almost obsessively as well as brewing more potions he possibly wouldn’t need. He had to be ready. He had to be prepared. He’d get them. He wasn’t sure why he was worrying. He’d get them.

 

He hadn’t heard from Phil in a while… he hoped he was okay.

 

They should be here already. They should be. Then why weren’t…

 

Techno poked his head out of his doorways instead and realised he’d been looking the wrong direction the entire time… there was Ghostbur and, with him, 4 enemies in full netherite armour. They were talking.

 

He was torn between hoping Ghostbur wasn’t in danger and also hoping Ghostbur wouldn’t spill secrets about Athena. He wouldn’t tell them, right?

 

Honestly, he wasn’t too sure.

 

Especially when he turned and started to wave to him through his window before leading them towards his house.

 

Techno gasped before hiding out of sight of the window, grabbing his sword with his spare hand as he pressed his armoured back to the wall next to his door. He felt like he couldn't breathe. Usually, battles made him giddy, excited even, but today he didn’t feel in control.

 

Today he had everything to lose.

 

“Technoblade.” Ghostbur stuck his head through his closed door and Techno actually let out a yell, pressing a hand over his chest plate in fear as his heart calmed down from the shock. Ghostbur didn’t seem to notice. “These men say they want to kill you.”

 

“Then why are you leading them over here!”

 

The ghost blinked a few times. “What do you want me to say back?”

 

Techno sighed, shutting his own eyes. His head felt like it was going to fall off of his neck. “I want you to tell them I’m not here and that they’re at the wrong place.”

 

“But that would be lying.”

 

“They’re going to KILL ME, Ghostbur, PLEASE.” He begged, not like the ghost lying would do much but.. maybe it would stay for long enough that Techno could calm down. “For Athena? Please?” He added in an almost inaudible whisper.

 

Ghostbur disappeared for a moment before he stuck his head through the door again. “You have company!” He vanished again and Techno sighed. No. He wouldn’t be so lucky. Not today. But… he stared over at the silent cabinet, his baby hopefully fast asleep inside. Hopefully, he’d be lucky enough…

 

There was a knock at the door and Techno stormed out before they had a chance to storm in, nearly knocking Quackity off his feet. He smirked to himself. Good. He wasn’t going to give them the chance to get inside.

 

Wordlessly, Techno gestured to the snow ground in front of his house where the other three men stood - Tubbo, Fundy, and… he didn’t recognise the third one. He was new. He was not to underestimate that one. Quackity tried to have a staring match with Techno, obviously not wanting to budge, but after a few long moments he submitted and sighed, returning to the ground.

 

All Techno needed to do was push them away from his house. Then he could deal with them properly. All of them. For what they’d to Phil, what they could do to Athena, and what they were planning to do with him. He’d get them all.

 

“Technoblade isn’t here guys!” Ghostbur finally broke the silence as the piglin hybrid descended the stairs. He sighed and put a hand over his face, rubbing the bridge of his snout a little as three of the four men started to talk over each other in objection.

 

“Wilbur-”

“Wilbur we can see-”

“Will-”

 

Techno spoke over them with ease, bearing his tusks a little. Ghostbur didn’t like that name and they should know better. “ Ghostbur , I think it’s… it’s a little bit late for that. It’s a little bit late for that.” But thanks for trying, he wanted to add, but showing any affections towards anyone right now could be dangerous. He’d keep his mouth sealed.

 

Silence settled around them as the three men stared at him, all holding axes and staring with different expressions. They ranged from murderous intent from Quackity and absolutely emotionless from the stranger. If Techno didn’t know any better… he’d suspect he’d been dragged into this.

 

He cleared his throat.

 

“What brings you all to my humble abode? It’s quite the distance from your home.” He walked casually over to his beehives but the four men stuck too close on his tail like glue.

 

“You need to pay for your war crimes,” Tubbo spoke seriously though hesitantly and Techno rolled his eyes as he turned to look at them. He had a feeling that the president here wasn’t actually in charge. He had a feeling… it was Quackity in charge. Which was new. He wouldn’t have expected that before.

 

“That is the past. That happened… roughly half a year ago now. I was a different man, I’ve changed.” It felt a bit insincere when he was dressed head to toe in sparkling netherite armour and had one hand on his sword and the other on a splash potion… but they had lost all of his trust. “I’m in retirement. I’m a good person now, Tubbo.” He tried to smile but he was sure it looked more like a grimace.

 

Oh… if only they had seen just how much he’d grown in those months. Just how much he’d softened and his focus had shifted. Just how much he didn’t care about them as long as the thing that he needed to keep safe the most out of anything… as long as she was safe. She was okay… that’s all he asked for.

 

For a moment, it seemed like Tubbo considered his answer.

 

However, Quackity quickly took charge again.

 

“Techno, you exploded L’Manburg-”

 

“You literally spawned withers everywhere.” Tubbo cut him off, still trying to give the illusion he was in charge. He wasn’t doing too well. Techno was going to have to convince Quackity, who had stepped closer now. 

 

Techno needed to get them away from the house.

 

“I’m sorry, Techno-” ‘ liar’ the voices spat in his ear ‘ dangerous. liar. blood. “-as much as you’ve changed you have to be brought to justice for that.”

 

“Listen. Listen-” Techno backed up as little as the men came closer, starting to spread out around him. He couldn’t let them do that. “I have gone through so much effort in the last few months to change my violent ways, alright? I have reformed.” He swallowed heavily. “The… The voices-”

 

KILL. BLOOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. KILL. PROTECT. ATHENA. ATHENA. ATHENA. KILL. BLOOD. DYE THE SNOW RED. BLOOD. BLOOD. BLOOD. BL-

 

“- they demand blood. And I! I HAVE BEEN DENYING THEM!” He sighed. “I have been fighting back! PLEASE.” He didn’t want to have to beg for his life, but this was as sincere as he could get. As honest with them as he could get. If they didn’t accept that well… He grabbed his sword in warning. “PLEASE… don’t make me kill all of you. Please just leave.”

 

If he killed them… the step back he would take mentally… 

 

It could open the flood gates of violence.

 

There was a long pause of silence before Tubbo and Quackity started to talk over each other again. One saying come peacefully and the other saying that he could not possibly take them all. Techno pulled his sword half out of his scabbard before Quackity spoke up again. 

 

“Actually! Why don’t you show us around… we can do this peacefully. Show us what you’ve been up to.”

 

Techno didn’t trust him… but he put his sword away anyway. “Alright…” He cleared his throat a little. “I got bees here.” He gestured vaguely to the hive behind him. This could be his chance to get them away. “Aren’t the bees nice?”

 

As they started admiring the hives, he downed a fire resistance potion in one mouthful, the spicy liquid burning all the way down. He saw a moment and tried to take off in a sprint. He knew they’d quickly catch him, but it got them further away from Athena.

 

He turned when they caught up with them, pulling out his sword.

 

“Techno, Techno, listen, listen,” Quackity spoke up, obviously sick and tired of the game they were playing. His gaze matched Techno’s in terms of intensity and he knew he’d been underestimating his determination. However, he did know that he’d succeed in PVP against the man.  “We won’t let you get out of here, fucking, in one piece, okay? We’re going to fuck you up Techno. It can either be the easy way or the hard way. We’re going to bring you back to L’Manburg.” He paused. “There is no other way around this.”

 

“Wait, Technoblade can come back to L’Manburg? But what about Athena?” Ghostbur asked innocently from where he stood to the left of them, blue sheep on a lead beside him, and Techno cursed inwardly. He needed to think fast.

 

Quackity let confusion cloud him for a moment and turned to face the ghost. “Who’s Athena?”

 

“If there is no other way-” Techno couldn’t let Ghostbur answer. “If there is no other way…”

 

The piglin hybrid grabbed a handful of potions and smashed them at his feet, causing a feral grin to come over his features. The voices yelled in delight.

 

BLOOD. KILL. E. E. PROTECT. MURDER. SLICE OPEN. BLOOD. BLOOD. BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. SPILL BLOOD. ATHENA. ATHENA. KILL.

 

“I CHOOSE BLOOD.”

 

Before the men could so much as consider what had just happened, he was charging at them with his sword, face twisted in delight as the screamed in shock and fear. His enchanted blade set them alight and his strength potion made the gashes twice as deep despite the netherite armour.

 

Oh, he was winning this fight no problem.

 

The four men worked terribly together, running away in cowardice when one was in danger instead of charging him. Not that they would’ve beaten him, but perhaps they wouldn’t have been losing so dramatically if they had actually had a tactic.

 

He wanted to make it clear he could kill them all, but not take any lives. He watched to bury this hatchet and get them to leave him alone, not start another warm by taking lives. Especially since Tubbo was on one. So when Tubbo was down and not getting back up, he threw his axe as far as he could, bit into a golden apple, and rushed back into the fight. Even if he got back up and found his weapon, there would still be no beating Techno right now.

 

Right now.

 

BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.

 

Right now, he was The Blade .

 

Next down was Fundy. He hardly put up a fight. Now it was just the other one and Quackity to get begging for mercy, then he would’ve one.

 

“DEATH. DEATH!” He chanted along with his voices, laughing maniacally as he tossed yet another weapon into the abyss of snow. He turned around, not wanting them to catch him by surprise as he bit into another apple, only to find Quackity only six blocks behind him.

 

He wasn’t holding an axe though.

 

He wasn’t sure how he’d let his hearring grow that badly… the voices had been so loud.

 

How had he not heard the upset screaming of his little girl?

 

Of course… the voices. Overtaking him, yelling with such passion. She would’ve been scared. She was alone and it would have been loud and scary and-

 

And now she was being held awkwardly in Quackity’s arms, not dressed for the cold weather, with her face bright red from screaming. Her little chubby arms reached out for him and her cries only got worse. Quackity held Athena too tightly. For a moment, all Techno saw was red.

 

“What are you doing with her?"

 

“So this is Athena?”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Techno tried to keep up a poker face, not lowering his sword.

 

Quackity wasn’t buying it, clearly, but Techno wasn’t going to drop the act if it saved Athena’s life. He never had to see her again. He just needed her to be safe. However, the man instead pulled his axe back up again and held it just in front of the child.

 

Techno sucked in a breath.

 

“You were saying?”

 

“I’ve never seen that child before in my life.” He tried to double down. “Go ahead, I won’t stop you.” The voices were screaming so hard in his head that it was hard to focus on anything. His eyes were glued on Athena and his heart broke for her.

 

The other pulled his axe back ready to strike. “Alright-”

 

“Quackity,” Tubbo spoke up from where he stood around them. He was wounded but a health potion was already closing the slashes that had gotten through the armour. They were all backup and around them. “That’s a child. We didn’t agree upon this.”

 

It’s a thing. ” Quackity spat and Techno had to resist the urge to growl. “It’s like him. One less of them is better. Besides, he doesn’t care.” Tubbo didn’t argue back. Techno needed him to argue back, why was he just going to sit back and let this happen?

 

She was perfect, she was absolutely gorgeous and perfect, even whilst she was screaming her little lungs out. How couldn’t any of them see that?

 

Techno grit his teeth, gripping his sword so tightly had knuckles turned white. His eyes didn’t remove from the baby. His baby. He had to keep his baby safe. Quackity wouldn’t. Even he wasn’t that evil. Even he wouldn’t kill a baby. Kill Athena…

 

Right?

 

“Alrighty then.” The back spoke, almost cheerily, and Techno finally raised his eyes to look at him. They widened in shock. Quackity wasn’t bluffing. He really was willing to do anything to get to Techno.

 

The man struck down with the axe, aiming for Athena’s head.

 

The only sound was the heavy crunch of a sword hitting fresh untouched snow and the continuing scream of one little girl as Techno and Quackity were now face to face. Blood from Techno’s palm poured down the back of his hand and stained Athena’s lovely pink hair as he grabbed the blade to stop it. He’d used his other hand to stop the handle.

 

They stared one another in the eyes.

 

“Please… Anyone but her. Anything but her… she’s just a baby.” Techno begged, voice soft and desperate. “She can’t protect herself. She is innocent in all of this, she doesn’t need to be involved in this war. We do not want to be involved in this war. I will never interfere again, please, if you just let us go home… We just want to go home and be happy.

 

Quackity grinned like a mouse who got the cheese. He’d found The Blade’s weakness and he couldn’t be happier. “That’s not how it works.” Quackity put more pressure on the axe and Techno’s face twisted in pain, but he still didn’t let go. “Remove all of your armour and weapons. Everything you’ve got it, hand it over to us. Potions, food too, hand it over.”

 

“Please-”

 

“Quackity, maybe he’s right, maybe we should-”

 

“SHUT UP, TUBBO!” The group fell silent again. “Stuff. On the ground. Now.”

 

There was a long staring match between the two, neither obviously wanting to back down, but… unlike earlier, and despite the screaming voices, Techno was the one who backed up. His bloody hand shook as he did so and Quackity lowered his axe. Thank god.

 

He dropped all of his armour, weapons, and potions. When pushed to drop more he hesitated before emptying his pockets of everything besides what they wouldn’t notice.

 

“Drink this.” Came a new voice to his left and the piglin hybrid, shaking both due to the cold and blood loss, saw the stranger among them hold out a red potion. A health potion.

 

“Ranboo, what are you-”

 

“Do you want him to bleed out here?” The man responded. His tone wasn’t aggressive, more like he was genuinely asking a question, and when no one answered Techno accepted the potion from the stranger. Ranboo. He didn’t thank him though. He was one of the four reasons he stood there shivering after all.

 

After he’d downed the potion and dropped the glass before Fundy came up behind him and tied his bloody hands behind his back.

 

“Sorry about this… uncle.” He whispered. Techno said nothing, eyes glued on the still very upset, uncomfortable, and cold baby in Quackity’s arms.

 

Techno felt the cold metal of the totem bounce against his chest.