"Sveta, Karis, Himi get out here" Matthew called outside the door to the girls room. "We've spotted land."
Matthew could hear giggling coming from the other side of the door. What they could possibly be laughing about Matthew had no clue. He stood outside the door as he heard shuffling. Presumably someone was walking to the door to open it. Matthew was correct as the door opened, inward, revealing a marvelous sight. Sveta had been the one to open the door. She wasn't in the normal monk-like outfit she wore. Instead she was in a normal regular every shirt that just looked a little too small for her. Someone had also stuck her in a skirt though she had pants on underneath. The outfit had the same color theme her other one had. Matthew was awestruck.
"S-s-so Fleet spotted land and we should be landing within the day if we can find a port." Matthew silently cursed the beastwoman for being attractive.
"Good to know we'll be arriving soon" came Karis' voice. The green haired Jupiter Adept took the place in the doorway scooting Sveta out of sight. "Being stuck on this ship with mostly men has been real great and all but it'd be nice to see some female faces."
What Matthew didn't know was that Sveta was behind the door using her Spirit Sense on him. Since he was distracted by talking with Karis he didn't feel the small amount of power. The reason behind her use of the ability was to find out what exactly Matthew had thought about her new outfit. It was Karis' idea. Her fellow Jupiter Adept had insisted that Matthew liked the beastgirl and that she could prove it. All it would take Karis said was a little effort on Sveta's part. That was how she ended up looking like she did even after almost two months at sea. Karis and Himi had spent the morning getting Sveta ready. Claws needed filing, her hair was brushed and wind-blown then brushed again. Apparently Himi had taken clothes from Sveta's pack and used them to make the outfit she now wore. The two girls then tried to apply a small amount of makeup to her which didn't turn out well since it caused Sveta to sneeze a lot. Once they got Matthew to see Sveta she was to read his mind and find out what he truly thought about her.
..good. Karis has a hair hanging in her face. How does she not see it? It's poking her in the eye. Stupid thing is annoying me. Good god if it was me I'd have moved it by now.
Sveta let out a sigh of defeat. The apparent hair that Karis had out of place was "annoying" Matthew too much for his other thoughts to surface. Sveta couldn't dive in deeper without alerting Matthew that someone was using Psynergy. She did wonder what the "good" was for exactly.
"Great we'll be ready to disembark when we get there." Karis said closing the door. Once the door was shut Karis turned to Sveta. Himi got up off her bed and walked over to the other two.
"So what did he think?" Karis asked excitedly.
"All he could think about was the hair that's in your face" Sveta informed her brushing said hair out of Karis' face. This caused Karis to turn a shade of red out of anger and embarrassment.
"I'm so sorry Sveta," she said with downcast eyes. "I promise you though Matthew does like you."
"You have no such proof Karis. He didn't even seem to care about the work you two put into me if he could be distracted by a simple hair." Sveta replied softly.
"That was just his surface thoughts. Who knows what was going on deeper." Himi offered. Despite not having the psychic powers that Sveta possessed Himi was quite intelligent when it came to reading people. She claimed there wasn't any Psynergy involved she could just read people. Right now Sveta was thankful because what Himi said next was exactly what she needed to hear.
"Listen Sveta. We're in a strange land and the only people we know are each other. It's the perfect excuse to stay near Matthew. I'm sure that our time here will reveal his feelings for you."
"How are you so smart and so young?" Karis questioned.
Himi's reply was a shrug as she went to make sure everything was her in pack before the ship arrived in a port. Sveta and Karis shared a shrug and went to do the same as the young Venus Adept.
Matthew sat in his cabin that he shared with Tyrell. It was right across from the girl's room and right next to the room shared by Rief and Amiti. Being the owner of the ship Eoleo had his own private room. It was the smallest though since he was by himself. Eoleo was nice like that. The yellow blonde boy stared at the door as if willing it to open. He didn't really want it to. His gaze was just that intense.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid! There she was all dressed nicely and all you can say to her is that you're nearing land?! Couldn't compliment her could you. Nope that'd make too much sense. Then there's Karis. Matthew let out a small growl at the thought of Karis. He was shocked that he did so. Sure he was a little ticked at Karis for moving Sveta out of the way but what possessed him to growl about it? It was at that moment his fiery friend decided to burst into the room. Tyrell was, as always, a bundle of energy the size of Mt. Aleph condensed into human form. It had to be a family trait.
"What you staring at Matthew?" he asked as he closed the door behind him.
"Just thinking about the new land." Matthew replied calmly. Which was the truth at all in fact the new land had barely been on his mind once he went below deck. One of the things that was occupying his mind was trying to figure out why he verbally growled.
"Yeah me to. Think they got any weird creatures there? I bet they do. Bet they're big and nasty and taking care of the Tuaparang for us." Tyrell said with a grin on his face. "Anyway Eoleo told us to start packing. Apparently we have a good wind and the land was closer than he originally thought."
Matthew got up off his bed and started to pack his bag. It was full clothes really. All the food was in the galley so he'd have to head there to pack the few remains they had. The only thing he packed that wasn't an article of clothing was a book. It was his journal in fact. When he left the cabin to go look for the Mountain Roc's Feather his dad told him it'd be a good idea to write his thoughts down every night. Matthew had taken his dad's advice and gotten a blank book as soon as he could. Over the course of his journey he had filled up two books with his thoughts. He had gotten a new journal to take with him on this journey. His other journals were under lock and key back home safe and sound. Or so he thought. For some reason his mother could get into anything that was under her roof. He didn't know how she did it but it was like she could pick any lock. Matthew had gone over every type of Psynergy his dad had written down in hopes of finding a lock pick psynergy stone or something. No such thing existed, at least in his dad's records.
Once all his clothes were stuffed into the bag, and they were literally stuffed in, he set it at the end of the bed. The Sol Blade rested against the wall along with Tyrell's Darksword. Sure the black blade was cursed but Tyrell had a Cleric's Ring to prevent the curse from affecting him. It had been funny when he first picked the blade up and learned it was cursed. By that time they already had the ring which Karis had been holding onto. Karis presented the ring to Tyrell saying that since he was dumb enough to start swinging around a cursed weapon he might as well be able to use it. The look on Tyrell's face was priceless. It was like Karis had proposed to the man. Matthew wouldn't put it past Karis to be the one to propose marriage. But to Tyrell? Matthew had a better chance of being able to use Fire Psynergy without the aid of Djinn before that happened.
Now all that Matthew had to do was wait. Wait for Eoleo to call down to them to be ready to disembark. That would be the sign for someone to take the wheel as Eoleo packed his belongings. That someone was most likely going to be Matthew. After what felt like days Eoleo called out for everyone to come out on deck. Strapping the Sol Blade to his back and carrying his pack on one shoulder Matthew headed up with Tyrell right behind him. Eoleo waited for Matthew to come and have a hand on the wheel before he went below deck to his room. With the wind in his hair Matthew steered the ship towards the land. From where he was standing he could see forests and open plains. There wasn't much of a beach on the land though. It was odd since most of the islands back on, or was it at, Weyard had a beach the ship could go to. Out in the distance Matthew could spot the smoke coming from what he expected to be a town. It wasn't the mass amount of smoke of a city on fire. But the smoke that came from people living in one spot and cooking food. At the thought of food Matthew's stomach let out a rumble. It'd be great to have fresh food.
Footsteps announced the arrival of the others from below decks. Amiti and Rief were he first to out the latter still looking a little green. Rief was clutching his staff while Amiti's sword was at his waist. Next came Karis with her bow in its case on her back. Himi followed after her wearing a blade on her waist that matched Amiti's. Then out came Sveta still dressed the same exact way she was earlier. It was amazing what a simple change of clothes could do for someone. Especially when you had a crush on said someone. The Umbra Knuckles rested in a pouch on Sveta's waist. It was how she always carried them. She couldn't just wear them around as she wouldn't be able to use her hands with them on. Nor could she just leave them in her pack it would take to long for her to get them out if they were ambushed. Sveta simply carried around a small pouch made to hold her Knuckles. With the weapons being the only thing in it she could get them on just as fast as Matthew could draw the Sol Blade. It wasn't long after Sveta that Eoleo came up. Matthew had been at the wheel for no more than ten minutes.
Once the pirate took his place at the helm Matthew was left with nothing to do but stare out at the land. Since he was so entranced by the sight of a new world Matthew didn't notice a certain red head stealing glances at a childhood friend.
Something in the trees moved and caught Matthew's eye. With powers unique to a Venus Adept he reached out and felt the energy of the plant life. This was he could feel any creature that brushed up against the plants giving him an idea of its shape. What Matthew felt though couldn't be right though. The image he was getting was that of a cat that he could possibly ride. If only plants had eyes he could use those to confirm what his mind was telling him. Letting his power go Matthew continued to stare at the forest hoping to steal another glance of the creature.
"Port ho!" Eoleo shouted from his place at the helm a big grin on his face.
Everyone was looking forward towards the large town. Indeed there was a place for a ship to dock. There were already at least ten ships docked. Then something happened that no one on the boat was prepared for. A white winged horse with a person on its back was coming at them. Matthew rubbed his eyes just to make sure he wasn't seeing things. A few mental slaps and one physical were added for good measure. Sure enough it was a winged horse. Not just one though. Oh no there were five of them. Each had a rider in red armor that was holding a lance.
One of them landed on the ship and the rider was defiantly female. Even in her armor certain things couldn't be hidden. Holding her spear upright with the bottom touching the deck she commanded in a sweet voice "State your business for being here"
Matthew as the group appointed leader stepped forward.
"We were following a group called the Tuaparang. We have chased them across the sea and found this land. So if you wouldn't mind we'd like to ask around and see if anyone has spotted them and restock our supplies." Matthew's voice was calm and every bit that of a leader's.
"You are following the Tuaparang why?" the woman asked him.
"They unleashed a great darkness on our home and we seek to stop them from doing so elsewhere." Amiti told the soldier. Even though Amiti was a foreigner the guard could hear the nobility in the Mercury Adept's voice.
"Very well follow us," the guard said as she mounted her white horse and took to the sky. She joined the other four that had hovered waiting to see what was going to happen. The five flew on towards the town and Eoleo followed as instructed.
"Isn't this great?!" Tyrell exclaimed "They have flying horses! Who knows what else they have here?"
It was hard not to catch the enthusiasm Tyrell was exuding. That was unless you were used to it like everyone aboard the ship.
"They seem to know about the Tuaparang already." Rief observed
"Yes they have probably dealt with them already" Sveta added.
"Do you guys have to look on the downside?" Tyrell moaned.
The ship had finally reached the destination the guards led them to. It was simply a stretch of wood from the land out into the water. A plank of wood was used as a bridge from the side of the ship down to the dock. When everyone got off the ship they noticed guards in red everywhere. They all wore chest armor and a helmet that covered a lot of their face. Matthew wondered how well they could see out of it. While he wasn't looking for a fight instinct told him to measure the strength of the people around him. If they didn't have any adepts with them than Matthew knew his group would be able to force their way out if need be. A female guard approached them with lance in hand. When she spoke Matthew recognized the voice. It was the same woman that had landed on their ship.
"Alright if you have really come here to find the Tuaparang then you must know how they came here."
It was a test. She was trying to see if they really were following the Tuaparang.
"They would have come in one of their airships." Karis answered for the group.
"What kind of weapons do they use?" the guard asked
"Crossbow and repeater crossbows for most soldiers I would imagine some of them have swords though. They also have at least two type of grenades. One is the normal fiery explosion the other lets lose some sort of dark energy that drains a person's Psynergy." Rief was the one to answer this time.
"Now why did they come here?"
"We don't know. We followed them so that we may prevent more destruction. Because of them my brother died along with most of my people." Sveta told the woman.
"I don't care about any sub-human nation." The woman spat.
This did not go over well with Matthew. Who was this woman to call Sveta a sub-human? Sveta was as human as anyone else in the room. She just had some minor differences. Claws, pads on her feet, pointed ears, the ability to change into a giant bipedal wolf. Minor differences.
"Hey they're called laguz!" some shouted from behind the female guard. It was another girl in armor similar to the one before them but it gave the impression she was more important. The new girl's armor though had more scratches on it like it had seen battle recently. The first girl grumbled and walked away. This left them with the new guardswoman.
"Sorry about that. My name is Udaya. I'm the captain of the Pegasus Knights stationed here." The woman said with a smile on her face. "Oh it's rude to greet new people with a helmet on isn't it" she reached up and took off her red helmet to reveal black short cut hair. Her face was quite pretty along with her hazel eyes. She turned to Sveta. "So what tribe are you from? I don't see a tail so you aren't from the Beast. No wings so you can't be Bird Tribe. Guess that'd make you part of the Dragon Tribe."
"What's a laguz?" Tyrell blurted out.
Everyone hung their heads at Tyrell's outburst. Couldn't he ask a question like a normal person? Not that they weren't wondering the same thing. There were just better ways to ask the question.
"Well she is." Udaya motioned to Sveta. "Isn't she?
Sveta shook her head no. "I don't know what a laguz is either. I am also not part of anything called the Dragon Tribe. No I am one of the Beastmen from Morgal."
This time it was Udaya's turn to look confused. "Uh what's a Beastman and where is Morgal? I'm not the best at geography but I've never heard of that place."
Rief being the scholar of the group was the one to answer her question. With a deep breath he started his explanation. "The Beastmen are a race that as their name suggests take after animals. There are many types of Beastmen. While we were in Morgal I noticed squirrels, pigs, foxes, but nothing with wings or scales. It seems they were created thirty years ago after the Golden Sun event. Now as for where Morgal is it's across the sea and that's why you've never heard of it. It's part of Weyard which just recently fell from the sky and landed in the water about two months south of here."
"Wow. That's a little hard to swallow you know. It also raises more questions."
Rief nodded his head in understanding. "Ask away."
The guard then launched into a series of questions. First was "what was the Golden Sun event?" after Udaya realized how long of an explanation that was going to be she moved everyone into building near the dock. It was simple and seemed to be a place for the guards to relax in. The building was made of grey stone and had few windows. There was a fireplace in the room with a roaring fire going. All nine of them sat at a table and Rief continued to explain about how Alchemy had been sealed and how the Warriors of Vale set about releasing the power and why. That answer took about an hour.
Her next question was of course about Psynergy itself and how adepts used it. Chalk up another hour for that. Lucky for the other seven members Udaya she wanted to see the power for herself. Now while she couldn't see the energy coming from the Adepts she could see the effects. Her eyes got big as plates when she witnessed Tyrell setting a carpet on fire only to be extinguished by Amiti. She also asked about the history of Weyard and what the people were like. The same questions Matthew's group had for Udaya.
"Alright well either you are the greatest storyteller on all of Tellius or it's all true." She said after Rief finished answering her latest question.
Through the window you could see that it was night. It was also apparent that while Rief's stories had entertained Udaya it did not entertain the others. Matthew and Sveta had sat next to each other at the start and both were asleep in their chairs. Matthew's head was hung back and Sveta was resting her head on his shoulder. Eoleo had sat down next to Himi, who everyone said he treated like a daughter. She was curled up against him as he sat perfectly straight in his chair also asleep. Tyrell had fallen out of his chair in his sleep and was sprawled out on the floor. Both Karis and Amiti had their heads resting on the arms which were resting on the table. Rief would never say anything to Karis but she had a bit of drool coming out of her mouth. Everyone in the group had a healthy does a fear when it came to handling Karis. She could be moody and when she got angry she really let the source of her anger have it.
"I'll send in a request for an escort to battlefield for you guys. The Captain there needs to hear this. If all goes well you should be leaving within the day. We of the Begnion Army move quickly when we don't have to deal with the Senate."
"Great. Hopefully we'll be able to lend you guys a hand with the Tuaparang." Rief said with a yawn.
"There's a bed in the other room" Udaya said pointing to a door. Rief got up and headed towards the door deciding it was best not to wake his slumbering friends. The room was filled with beds of sleeping soldiers. Putting his pack under an empty cot with his glasses carefully tucked in Rief went to sleep.
Rief woke up to the sounds of bustling soldiers. The clanking of their armor was loud enough he wouldn't be surprised if Matthew woke up to the sounds. Getting out of the bed Rief put his glasses back on and left the room. All his friends were still asleep at the table. The blue haired boy sighed as he went to take them all up. He started with the safest and easiest. Eoleo and Himi. Nudging the pirate captain first Eoleo's eyes opened slowly.
"Hmm." He said sleepily. "Where am I?" He looked around and seemed to notice the sleeping girl lying against him. Eoleo woke Himi up by slowly pushing her off him waking the light sleeper. Rief went to Tyrell next but was stopped by Eoleo. With a grin the Mars Adept put his foot under Tyrell and flipped him over. It wasn't simply a roll him over. Tyrell went into a foot into the air and landed on his back. This caused him to wake up.
"What'd you do that for?!" Tyrell shouted at Eoleo. The shout woke both Amiti and Karis.
"Why are you shouting so early?" Karis asked slightly annoyed. She stared daggers at her friend. Amiti simply sat up straight and used Ply to heal the sores from sleeping in a chair.
"Eoleo flipped me" Tyrell told her.
"You probably just rolled over and hit head to hard or something" Karis said sarcastically.
Matthew woke up to the sounds of his friends arguing. Regardless of what they believed he couldn't sleep through everything. What caught his attention though wasn't Karis and Tyrell having another shouting match. It was the weight that was on his shoulder. Turning his head slightly Matthew saw that top of Sveta's head. Thankfully everyone was too busy watching the others to notice the small blush that Matthew had. He tapped the sleeping girl on the shoulder to wake her up. It didn't work as he had planned though. Instead of waking up she snuggled closer to him. This caused his blush to deepen.
"Sveta wake up." He whispered into her ear. That did the trick. The beastgirl slowly opened her green eyes. She then noticed where exactly she was lying and shot up off of Matthew. Both teens' faces made the Begnion soldiers look pink in comparison.
"S-s-sorry" Sveta murmured.
"I-it's fine" Matthew replied. The young warrior stood up and walked over to break up the argument between the two. He had headache inducing friends. Eoleo, Amiti, Himi and Rief stood to the side as Karis and Tyrell continued to fight like an old married couple. Eoleo watched like it was a show. Himi and Amiti both watched in embarrassment while Rief looked like he wanted to be anywhere else. No one could blame the younger Water Adept.
"You're always blowing things out of proportion Karis!" Tyrell yelled at her.
"And how is me saying that 'you set our camp on fire the first night' blowing it out of proportion when that's exactly what you did?" she had yelled back.
As he approached the war zone Matthew had to wonder what led those two to that.
"Alright guys just calm down. I'm sure the guards don't need to hear about all of that." Matthew said in a sleepy and calm voice. That had stopped Karis mid-sentence as she seemed to realize where she was at. Both friends had the decency to look humiliated at their outbursts.
"Right." Karis said then turned and found a female guard. "Is there any place that I can wash up?" the guard pointed up the stairs and the green haired youth flew up them away from the scene she had caused.
Matthew just shook his head at his friends. It was then that he felt the sores from sleeping in a chair. Stiff muscles were not something he wanted to deal with this early. He used a Cure to ease the stiffness out of them and could feel the others using some Psynergy to aid their stiff joints. Rief and Amiti helping the Mars Adepts.
"Well once Karis gets back we need to go met Udaya at the north gate." Rief said. Everyone stretched as they waited for the girl to come back downstairs. Matthew reached into his pocket and grabbed a small rock. He lifted it into the air above his hand and let it float in a circle. It was something his uncle taught him to do when he was bored.
Karis came back downstairs after a few minutes. She claimed it took her awhile to find the washroom. With that the eight friends set out to the north gate to meet up with Udaya. As they walked through the town Matthew could see people with tails and ears on top their heads. They must have been the Beast Tribe laguz that Udaya mentioned yesterday. Stone seemed to be what all the buildings were made of. There wasn't a wooden structure within view other than a few stalls. The laguz seemed to be welcomed by the humans. Matthew figured that there were only a few people that didn't like the Beastmen like race.
The soon group came to the north gate. Udaya was standing at the entrance to the tower. She was talking with another guard. Once she noticed the group walking towards her she waved them over. When they got to her the guard she was talking too headed into the building.
"That was part of your escort slash guard." She told them. "He's just going to get the others and then you guys can be on your way."
"Why the 'slash guard' part exactly?" Eoleo asked. The royal members of the group already knew the answer to that question.
"I may trust you guys along with some of the other Pegasus Knights after hearing your story last night but not everyone is going to believe it. Case in point the guards here don't and only because I can pull rank are they even doing this."
"Ah" was Eoleo's response.
A group of ten people came out of the building behind Udaya. Seven of them were dressed in the normal armor holding lances. The other three were in red robes. Two had books in their hands while the other carried a staff. One of the armored guys stepped forward.
"We're you escort to the battlefield. Please let's be off." The man's voice was strained as if he was forcing himself to be nice.
"Oh come on you can do better than that." Udaya told the guard. An eye roll was the only thing the guard did in response to her. "Fine then I guess I'll just come with you all. A Falcon Knight would be useful in making sure none of these guys escaped don't you think?" a collective groan came from the ten guards. Udaya turned to face the Adepts. "I planned to come along anyway. The army needs more flying units to help take down the enemy."
After that the guards adopted a more friendly demeanor to the group of eight and they all headed north towards the battlefield and towards the Tuaparang.