Boat over troubled ninja
Boat over troubled ninja
"Wow, so this is Izoold?" Colloyd did a 360 turn around himself and breathed deeply. There were only a few houses, an inn and a convenience store. Most of the houses looked to be made out of wood and were fairly small. "It smells amazing here."
All around them fishermen and sailors were working in one way or another. Morning appeared to be a very busy time for them. Children ran around under the adults feet as they fixed giant nets and worked on small fishing boats or cast lines out into the sea which surrounded the western tip of the small port village.
Gesea didn't appear to agree with Colloyd's statement because she plugged her nose. "The smell of fish is suffocating."
Kraine agreed, giving her a light pat on the head as he glanced around himself. "We should try to find a passenger ship at the docks and leave," he seemed to stiffen a little, "as soon as possible."
"I'm afraid you'll be outta luck," a sailor nearby chimed in upon hearing him. "There aren't any passenger ships runnin' at the moment. I only got 'ere because a guy named Aifread happened to be going in this direction at the same time as me."
"Is this Aifread still around?" Kraine asked.
"Nope. Talk to Lymax in the house just up the slope there." The sailor pointed behind himself. "She's the only one in the village with a boat able to take the seas. Maybe you can convince her if you mention Aifread to her." He bid them goodbye to go about his daily business. The trio stood in thought for a few moments before the professor took the initiative to head toward the woman named Lymax's house.
The door was a tad open when they got to it, so they all decided to just step inside. Immediately they were met with the sight of a somewhat short brown haired woman gazing at the wall to their left, a strange expression on her face. She was probably Lymax. "Can I help you?" she asked with a glance over them when the door shut behind Colloyd, her expression fading.
"We were wondering if you could tell us where a man named Aifread lives now?" Kraine answered, quickly coming up with the best way to mention him.
The woman flinched at his name and heaved a sigh. Colloyd thought she looked like she was thinking deeply, Gesea thought she looked wistful and lonely.. but Kraine, he didn't need to guess. The look on her face was one that he had remembered on another woman's face from long ago. It was undoubtedly anger mixed in with a kind of dutiful adoration. Whatever this Aifread man had done, he certainly wasn't very popular with this woman right now.
"He's back in his hometown of Luin," Lymax answered. She sighed and reached into the pocket of her knee-length white and blue patchwork skirt to take out an envelope. Whatever it contained must have been quite important; it was even sealed by a large red glob of wax.
"Is that letter for Aifread?" Colloyd asked, forward as usual.
Lymax nodded. "Yes, but since the monsters have started appearing more now that the journey of regeneration is underway, we're all stuck here unless we can find actual mercenaries willing to keep us safe from attacks. Most mercenaries don't do that for free though." She cast another glance over the three of them and her eyes widened. Kraine, already knowing where this was going, swiftly interrupted her. "If it is mercenaries you need, we are more than capable of helping you."
"Oh really? You would?!" Lymax's eyes sparkled with hope. "Okay, meet me at the docks!" She rushed past them and left her house. It was only then that the rest of them noticed the old lady sitting in the corner of the room and gazing out of the small window set into the wooden wall beside her. She smiled at the three sets of eyes on her and nodded politely. They returned the gesture and silently decided to follow Lymax to the docks.
The docks of Izoold brimmed with even more sailors scurrying about. In the midst of them, Colloyd saw Lymax standing at the end of a low jetty, tapping her foot impatiently.
"Perhaps we should re-stock our food supply first," Kraine suggested when Colloyd and Gesea started toward the woman. Before they had a chance to disagree, he turned and headed for the small pop up stand labelled 'fresh goods', reaching for the sack of coins that dangled securely from his belt. Even with the monsters they had 'fought' through their trial in the seal of fire, they were going to be on strict rations for a while longer.
"There you are," Lymax said when they approached a while later, putting one hand on her hip as though she were expecting an explanation. When she didn't get much of one, she turned to the boat in the dock next to them. Kraine found himself glaring at the thing until Colloyd stepped ahead and asked Lymax when she would be ready to leave. He hadn't prepared himself mentally yet and hoped that the woman would say...
"I'm ready when you are," she said.
Colloyd cheerfully said that they were ready and looked back at him and his sister, who was standing by his side with a knowing grimace on her face. Even if she didn't know why, Kraine knew she was enjoying the fact that he was uncomfortable with the situation he had found himself in. A small part of him wanted some understanding from the pink haired adolescent, but that would only come from the truth which he was not willing to part with.
"Come on Kraine," Gesea said, grinning as she took his hand and led him to the ship.
He pulled away defensively and glanced over the boat again. It barely looked seaworthy, but what other choice did they have? Clearing his throat, he stepped onto the boat. It rocked under his weight and he found his heartbeat starting to rise. Telling himself to stay calm lest he get questioned by both Colloyd and Gesea, he managed to step onto the wooden death trap and make his way to a secluded area as far away from the front as he could. With a snap of the flimsy looking sail into the wind, they were on their way.
"Now we can finally get to the next seal!" Gesea shrieked excitedly as she stood next to Colloyd, her legs spread apart in a balancing pose. The two of them had decided to make a game out of who could stand for the longest time without falling over when the boat hit a rough patch of water. Colloyd made sure to smile at the thought. "Yeah!" He cocked his head back to look at the professor, who hadn't budged an inch since sitting down. "Professor Kraine, you should come feel the wind on your face!"
Kraine mumbled something and shook his head. Colloyd went to take a step forward but instead found himself jolted off to the right when a giant wave chopped against the boat. He scrambled, seeing the water over the ship come into view for a moment before a hand caught his wrist and he was able to steady himself.
"Colloyd, you should not be so reckless," Kraine said, letting go once he saw that he was alright. "This boat is tiny and barely seaworthy. You will fall in if you aren't careful."
Colloyd nodded and glanced down, feeling his cheeks flush with embarrassment when he heard Gesea laughing at his near miss.
Lymax, hearing Kraine's words gave an insulted grunt. "Gee, I'm so sorry my ship is too "tiny" for you! Just focus on keeping an eye out for monsters."
"We shouldn't have to worry," Kraine replied to her. "From my studies, monsters have a habit of sensing when they will be defeated."
"Cocky as a swordsman and a scholar are we?" Lymax observed, raising an eyebrow. "Interesting. If Aifread wasn't already my salvatorian, you would have done nicely."
"You're married to this Aifread guy, Lymax?" Colloyd's eyes grew wide.
Lymax glanced away and crossed her arms. "Not anymore. We had our child in accordance with the W.S.P and all that but there was no point in staying together really."
Colloyd looked a bit disappointed. "Iselia must have just gotten lucky. All the salvatorians in the village stayed together after children and became good friends."
"Iselia?" Lymax blinked and tilted her head. "That's the village of oracles! Do you know the Chosen?"
Colloyd stuttered, but Kraine quickly stepped in to control the situation before his cover was blown. "Yes. The Chosen is quite an interesting person and I'm sure they will do their best to regenerate the world."
"Yeah," Gesea chirped, grinning. "Though I always worried that the Chosen might have a lot of trouble flying when they try to ascend to heaven to meet Origin. They're not the most.. coordinated."
Colloyd turned away from Lymax and shot his friend a glare. She laughed loudly. Seeing that she was probably at her limit of questions about the Chosen, Lymax went back to manning the steering wheel of the boat. The port town of Palmacosta was slowly coming into view.
"We're here," Lymax said when they arrived a short hour later at the cobblestone and wooden planked port. Colloyd excitedly jumped from the edge of the boat to the dry land, Gesea following soon after; both unaware at the dual feeling of discomfort and relief Kraine felt at finally being able to leave and not being allowed to be the first off. He took a deep breath and slowly stepped off to join the other two.
Colloyd held his hand out to Lymax. "Thank you, Lymax. What are you going to do now? Will you be alright going to Luin from here?"
Lymax grimaced, looking to think it over before nodding. "Someone else said they would be willing to escort me to Luin. Thank you for your help in getting over safely."
"Alright. Be careful Lymax."
"You too, and please call me Lyme."
The group all gave her one final nod of thanks before heading off. Lymax watched the teenagers run off from Kraine toward the marketplace alley a short distance away and as he quickened his pace when they left his sight. When they merged into the crowd, she turned back to her boat and headed for the cabin trap door. She opened it and slipped inside to look over the small living quarters. A woman with red hair held up in a high top knot sat up from her position on the bed, rubbing her eyes. "We're here?"
Lymax smiled. "I'm surprised you slept through the journey."
"Give me a break, I've been pretty busy lately," the woman said as she took a stand and stretched. She looked at Lymax, her arms crossed behind her head. "So we're to head for Luin now?"
"Yes that's right," Lymax nodded. "We'll head out as soon as you're ready.. Sheelos, was it?"
"To women it is," Sheelos replied with a smirk.
Lymax slapped her forehead. "I've only known you a short time and I'm already sick of hearing of your supposed exploits."
"Wow, look at all these weapons Col!" Gesea had stopped at a weapon merchant this time and was pointing up at a pair of twin swords, followed by a chakram and a wider normal sword. Colloyd found his mouth watering a little at the sight of such craftsmanship on the twin swords. Everything seemed precise, right down to the little engravings on the hilt where it met the blade.
"I don't think we'll have enough to buy anything here though," the pinkette elf said with disappointment as she watched a customer hand over a huge wad of cash to the merchant and get very little change back. Colloyd nodded in agreement and was about to walk away when Kraine placed a hand on his shoulder. "Did you not have some swords that we could sell?"
Colloyd wasn't sure why, but he felt extremely disappointed that the teacher had pointed this truth out. The twin swords hadn't left his backpack since he had looted them and yet he felt strangely attached to them. Hesitantly, he dropped his backpack and took them out, noting the professors gaze on him the whole time.
"I..it can't be," the weapons merchant gasped upon seeing the blades in his hands.
"What?" he asked, a little more alarmed than was probably necessary.
"Those! In your hand! Could I please take a look at those?"
"Uh, sure?" Colloyd handed them over and watched as the weapons merchant took out a magnifying glass to look over the swords closely.
"To all that is holy..." the merchant breathed, glancing up at them. "There is only one way that someone would have these swords in their posession. They would have visited and went inside the famous seal of fire."
"Uh oh.." Colloyd edged away suddenly, knowing where this was going. He hadn't had any idea that the swords would be the death of his secret in the new town.
"It is easy to see how you can come to the conclusion you seem to have," the professor said before either side could say anything more. "However, do you think we would make a mistake as to reveal we were the group with the Chosen in a huge city like this?"
The merchant looked from his blue gaze to the weapon and back up again. He seemed to be considering this. "Now," Kraine said as he stepped closer. "How much would you be willing to pay for this artefact?" He looked down at the red-clad dual wielder next to him and noted how he tensed. "Do you not want to part with them?"
Colloyd shrugged. "It's not like they're useful or anything, but.. I kinda wanna sharpen them and see." He pointed to the sword sharpener next to an assortment of other tools.
"Then we will be taking it back," Kraine said to the merchant. The man obliged with a very disappointed look on his face. Kraine nodded up in the direction of the sharpening stone and the merchant proceeded to take it off of the display. "That'll be eight-hundred gald."
Colloyd's eyes almost popped out of his head. He looked at the professor, shaking his head vigorously. Kraine ignored him and instead of reaching for the money in the sack at his side, he reached into his jacket and took out another small bag of a deep red colour. He handed it to the merchant. "Exactly eight-hundred gald."
The merchant didn't look like he dared to question Kraine and instead just wrapped the sharpening stone up in paper, stuck some sticky tape to it, and put it in a small carry bag. Colloyd took the package gratefully and walked away, his eyes on the apparently wealthy professor.
"Why'd you buy it, Professor?"
That was the question Kraine knew Colloyd was dying to ask. When they eventually left the marketplace and started into the town of Palmacosta, it appeared he could hold it in no longer. "Call it curiosity toward the unknown," he answered. "I'm simply wondering if two swords might suit you better. Even if they don't, I will still benefit from sharpening my own blade."
"I'm glad I don't have to worry about sharpening mine," Gesea teased both of them. "Mine just comes that way."
"Yeah yeah, rub it in," Colloyd laughed, proceeding to give her a noogie. Gesea escaped from under his grip and he looked back at the tall teacher/swordsman. "Thanks Professor."
Kraine let a small smile slip and break his stoic facade for a moment before quickly replacing it. Colloyd saw though and laughed a bit. "Gesea! Your brother smiled!"
"It seems that the world really does need regenerating now!" Gesea laughed back.
While Kraine experienced discomfort at the fact that his companions seemed to think him devoid of emotion somehow and Colloyd and Gesea continued to talk while walking, they all forgot to watch where they were walking. The only time reality came back was when they came out from the side of a house adjacent to the main street of Palmacosta and Colloyd crashed straight into someone. He fell to his backside with a surprised yelp.
"Owch, watch it!" cried the other person.
"I'm so-" Colloyd paused in his apology when he saw the unmistakeable electric blue hair of his treasured professor of many years. Professor Yuan Ka-Fei.