The two pirate hunters scaled the wall back down unnoticed and with relative ease. They hopped from shadow to shadow, dodging the half-witted patrols and workers changing shifts. They boarded the vessel much like they had done Sea’s Greed.
Instead of the anchor, this time around they used the unmanned scaffolding that was being used for the hull repairs. They were noisy, even with Kasa and Elie’s well-trained steps, but not so much that they could be heard over the drone of the waterfall. Kasa eased over the railing and for the first time in over two years stepped foot onto her first love.
The red captain expected to feel excitement or exhalation or… anything. She suddenly came to the realization that Crimson Widow was no longer her ship, it was no longer her home. She had spent so many moons dreaming of her return only to realize that Devil’s Reaper, the ship she had intended to leave behind, was her true home. Kasa shook her head in her hood. She would reflect on the matter while they lay in wait, like pit vipers anxious to strike. She moved among the shadows toward the aftcastle, the familiar wooden planks silent under her careful steps. She ventured the the captain's cabin, which as expected was unlocked.
The room was much as it was when it belonged to Kasa. Desk, table, bed, footlocker, and tall armoire all bolted to the ship. The bed had been replaced, the table moved, and a few more shelves were added. The room was littered with cast-off clothing and trash. The shelves were covered in various spoils from conquests long forgotten. None of that mattered to the crimson pirate. Kasa and Elie crept inside, the quiet elf silently closing the door behind her. Kasa walked straight toward the armoire. She removed a key she had stashed between her bosom. She moved to the side of the armoire and bent to a knee.
Kasa inserted the key into a slot easily missed by anyone that did not know it was there. After turning the key came the sound of several forgotten locks being released. Kasa smiled; she was sure Winston did not know about her stash, but she had no way of knowing for certain. Released from its locks, Kasa was able to slide the armoire aside with ease. Behind it was a room no bigger than a small walk-in closet. There were a few chests stacked on the floor, a shelf containing fifty-year-old whiskey and several other rare, pricey beverages. On another was a variety of sex implements, cuffs, blindfolds, whips, pincers, and hand-carved penises of various sizes.
Kasa smiled at Elie, “I had to keep them somewhere.”
Elie only shook her head. “Is there a latch on this side?”
“Yes, I didn't like the idea of trapping myself in my own stash.”
Kasa pulled a lever to the right of the entrance. The armoire skidded back into place, room illuminated by the soft glow of a shielded glowstone.
“Now we wait and pray the vampire doesn't use Winston's room in his absence.”
“Hopefully, the Hawks are truly eager to dispatch this bunch of rabble.” Kasa said, picking up one of her old toys. “I’m getting terribly hungry.”
“You sure that is not horny?” Elie asked.
“The two are not mutually exclusive.”
Elie let out a soft laugh, her first since being rescued. Kasa smiled; a soft laugh from Elie was a big improvement. They took a moment to get settled in and then alternated sleeping. Kasa resisted the urge to taste Elie as they waited the long hours. The pressure was intense, the want, the need, the desire. The feeling was what Kasa imagined a drunk went through when he could not have his fix. She could have pleased herself, but in such a cramped space, she felt it would be inconsiderate.
So they waited. They nibbled on the rations they had packed, they shared a bottle of wine, and Kasa told stories of her conquests, her proudest moment, and her biggest regret. This went on for two days, then the horns blew. Even though the drone of the waterfall and the walls of the ship they could hear the sound. The Hawks had arrived. Cannon fire echoed in the distance, proceeded by the cries of the frightened and the screams of the dying.
“Do you think we will be safe in here?”
“As safe as one can be on a enemy ship. Prepare yourself, I can hear the crew boarding.”
Kasa stood with her back to the wall. She could hear the pirates hustling about the vessel, moving heavy objects, pulling ropes and the like. She could make out the voice of Winston's elf, which was surprising seeing that vampires were supposed to be nocturnal. More volleys echoed through the cove.
The Hawks weren’t just firing through the entrances; they were inside the cove. Kasa wondered if it was a single ship or did the Hawks’ mages figure out how to replicate the lodestones. She found herself becoming anxious; she hadn’t had sex or swung a blade in two days. The sound of battle was titillating. Her silver eyes started to glow brightly with excitement. Elie placed a calming hand on Kasa shoulder.
“Not yet, Captain,” she whispered.
Another shout of command reverberated through the wooden walls. It was Winston’s voice. He had arrived.
“Mateo, let's get her in the air!” he commanded.
Kasa and Elie swayed as the ship lifted aftward. There was a deafening boom, followed by the sound of crumbling stone. The Hawks were eager; Kasa was impressed. She had worked with the navy long enough to not question their skill, yet to her they always seemed to lack the ferocity. Granted they were mere soldier and sailors, they weren't pirates or mercenaries. Crimson Widow took to the air, and Kasa could feel the vessel hover and turn starboard. The ship reverberated as the portside cannons returned fire. The red captain could feel the ship gaining altitude, but not the way she felt Devil’s Reaper. No, that kind of connection was incomparable. This was muscle memory, this was a captain understanding her ship. She knew one other thing: whoever was behind the wheel was absolute shit.
Crimson Widow swayed back, recovering from the cannon fire.
“We are through the portal, capt!” a pirate shouted.
“Good, set course for Sabri.”
Kasa turned to Elie, a wicked smile on her face. “That would be our cue.”