Chapter 13: The Lupus Vespertilio and the New Sous Chef.
I looked out to the ocean. The water seemed calm but the clouds and air told me rain. You could see a few stars behind the clouds, but they were slowly turning into large thick storm clouds.
“Hey, guys. We should start preparing for that storm. Shiro, Sirraco, Sora, furl the sails.”
“Got it!” They replied and ran to the rigging.
“Seara, Ushio!” Shiro hollered from the mast.
“Yeah?” We asked.
“Get the food inside the cabin so it doesn’t get wet!”
“Shiro, you idiot,” Ushio replied, annoyed.
I laughed at them, “Yes, Captain.”
When we finished, the five of us sat in the cabin to wait out the ran and finish our banquet. After the banquet, Shiro began complaining about being bored. Sirraco had passed out leaning against the wall, on the floor. Ushio was doing experiments on her arrows. Sora sat in the corner sharpening her swords. I sat at the table reading my navigation books. Suddenly there was a loud crash and it felt like there was an earthquake. We all dropped what we were doing and ran outside.
What we saw when we stepped onto the deck was not what we were expecting. In front of us was a ship. Almost twice the size of ours, it was an odd shape for a ship. It looked like a cruise ship but it had a huge platform type deck around it that touched the surface of the water. The platform was smashed in on the side where the two ships collided. The passengers on the ship were all standing at the railing to see what had happened, or so I assumed anyway. On the higher deck, there were men dressed in chefs’ outfits.
Something flew overhead, casting a shadow too big for a bird. Five seconds after the shadow past, our ship began to move backward as if something were pulling it. When it was away from the other ship, Sirraco went and dropped the anchor.
“The Galleon…?” Shiro said reading the sign on the archway, in the center of the railing on the platform. “Where have I heard that name before?”
Everyone began to go back inside the ship. The men in chef outfits turned away while glaring at us and followed the other passengers as the same shadow from before past us, once again.
“Great,” Sora said.
“Come on guys. Let’s go apologize to the captain,” Shiro said.
“What does a Pirate care about apologizing?” Ushio replied.
“We weren’t paying attention so we have to go say something.”
“But if we do that they might make us pay for damages!”
“That’s the idea.”
“But that’s about 2,000 gems worth of damage!”
“We have more than enough for that.”
We stood in the doorway of the ship to find that it wasn’t a cruise ship but a restaurant. A sign hung on the back wall by the doors to the kitchen that had five golden stars. The floor was made up of light blue tiles. The walls were white and covered in plaques that were awarded to the restaurant.
A familiar looking man was serving some customers. “Where have I seen that guy before?” I asked myself just before the man looked at us.
“I’ll be right back,” he said politely to the customer. He turned and walked over to us.
“Aren’t you the guy I helped back at Koaneichy?” He asked.
“Oh yeah! That’s where I know you from!”
“Have you made any of those recipes I gave you yet?”
“This is the guy you told us about? The one that helped you shop for spices?” Ushio asked.
“Yeah!” I answered. I turned back to the man. “Yes, we have.”
“Really?! What did you think of them?!” His face lit up with excitement.
“They were amazing,” Ushio answered. “Thanks for giving them to us… That’s not going to get you in trouble, is it? Giving out the recipes of a famous restaurant…”
“No, those don’t belong to the restaurant. I made those recipes.”
“What? But you’re only like, what, nineteen? How does a person of such a young age know how to create such amazing recipes?” I asked the man.
“Seventeen, ac-tu-a…” His voice trailed off at the end when he looked up at me. “I… Umm…. I-i….” He stuttered as if he forgot what he was talking about. “I...I-i’m… I-i’m sorry… but... what is your name?” He finally asked me.
“Sora, Sora Wolfstorm.”
“Sora… Like Pirate Thief Sora of the Pirate Thieving Duo?”
“W-would you like something to eat? C-compliments of the Chef… and by Chef I mean myself..”
Sirraco stepped in front of me blocking my view. He had his hand ready to draw a sword. “And I’m her older brother, Sirraco. And I suggest you back off.”
I shoved my brother out of my way, “Sirraco, be nice. Yes, I would love something to eat. Thank you. Also, we are terribly sorry for damaging this beautiful ship,” I said following him to a table.
“Don’t be, it’s just a little damage, no harm done. My foster father would say otherwise, however, but it won’t take much to fix it. I’ll have a talk with him later and see what I can do to help you out with that, he’s the owner.”
“Thanks, mister! We really appreciate it,” Shiro said.
“If your father would say otherwise about the damage then what would he say about you giving us free food?” Sirraco asked.
“What? Free food? I never said that.”
“You just told my sister that the food was compliments of the chef.”
“No, I said her food was… You guys still have to pay… Well except for the other two girls. I feel rude, giving Miss. Sora free food and making the other girls pay.”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME!”
“Why thank you,” Ushio and Seara replied.
Just then, the other customers gasped in delight as a gigantic shadow hovered over our heads. We looked up to see what was making such a huge shadow. We stared at the giant creature, frozen in shock. It was a giant, flying, arctic wolf! Given the time of year, it’s fur was mostly white but faded into a dark tan, that was almost a light brown, on the top of her head, tail, and back. She had sky blue eyes and was about the size of a horse, maybe bigger. Her wings were that of a bat but matched the color of her fur. She lowered her paw and hocked a large claw on the back of the man’s black suit jacket and lifted him off the ground.
“Shadow! Put me down!” The man said in response.
“You are needed in the kitchen. Or are you forgetting that you are now the Sous Chef and you have actual work to be doing,” replied the wolf, much to our surprise.
“I can get there myself! I’m not your puppy!!!”
“Yeah, well you’re acting like one. Now stop being a baby, I’ll put you down when we get in the kitchen.”
“Shadow! This is embarrassing!”
“Well then maybe you shouldn’t have taken so long out here.”
The customers laughed as the two disappeared into the kitchen.
“Tell me I’m not the only one that just saw a giant, talking wolf with bat wings,” Sirraco said after a minute of stunned silence.
“Unless we all were hallucinating the same thing, no Sirraco, you’re not,” I answered.
I looked over to Shiro, only to find him staring into space at the kitchen doors. I knew what this expression was and I didn’t like it one bit.
“Don’t even think about it, Pirate!” I said.
“What?” He said coming back to his senses and turning towards me.
“You want that giant thang to join our crew,” I cringed at the words ‘our crew’. “Well guess what, I won’t allow it! That’s a Lupus Vespertilio! They are highly dangerous animals from the Northern Ocean!”
“If they’re from the Northern Ocean, then why is one hear in the Western Ocean?” He asked.
“And if they’re so dangerous then why is one in a restaurant… with people?” Sora responded.
“Most importantly, how can it talk?!” Sirraco said with a blank face.
“I don’t know!”
“I wouldn’t let the new Sous Chef hear you say that if I were you. Or anyone else here for that matter,” someone said behind me.
We looked over to the table next to ours was a married couple was sitting. They were about in their late forties.
“Why’s that ma’am?” I asked politely.
“We’ve been coming to this restaurant for about twenty years now, we were one of its first customers. I was here the night the owner’s wife found that boy.”
“Found him?” the five of us repeated.
“Yes... Sanji and that wolf are inseparable. They’ve been here for seven years now and never once since they’ve been here have they been apart. April, the owner’s wife, gave up her position as the Sous Chef about a weeks ago and gave it to him, on the day of the anniversary of which they arrived. It was sort of a present to him, but he definitely deserves the position.
“If anyone says anything bad about that wolf, they better prepare themselves for a losing fight and a lifetime band from this branch. But you don’t have to worry about that, everyone here loves Shadow. They claim to be the same age but she acts like his mother, very protective of him and always doing stuff like you just witnessed. People come here just to witness their incredible bond and watch them show off.
“I’ve heard the same roomers as you, young lady, only to find out that that’s all they are… rumors and lies someone started to get people to fear the Lupus Vespertilio.”
“What did you mean when you said the owner’s wife found him?” Sora asked.
“I don’t think that’s my place to talk about.”
“How many times do I have to ask you not to pick me up like that?”
“Well, I’m sorry but Zedd had just got back and he’s not happy with the damage done to his ship. I didn’t think anyone would want to hear him yelling at you for taking to long out here.”
Shadow was now walking. When she was one the ground, her wings appeared to have vanished. She had a white thing strapped to her back, it was similar to a saddle but with pouches hanging down on the sides for silverware, napkins, and straws. The part of it on her back had cup holders and a place to carry a tray. The two of them walked over to us. Shadow had a single try of food and five drinks, while Sanji carried three trays, one in each hand and another on his head. He began to place the food on the table.
“Wait, I don’t remember any of us ordering,” Sirraco said sarcastically.
“There’s no need for that. I got you guys the best dishes we’ve got. And the best fruit smoothie for a beautiful girl.” He said handing a glass to Sora.
“Why thank you.”
“Hey, Kid! You’re a chef, not a waiter. Get back to the kitchen!” A man, who appeared to be somewhere in his forties, said from the kitchen door.
“Damn it, old man, I’m busy!”
“Zédd. He’s ’elpeng Shadow, let ’im be.”
“April, he’s seventeen he doesn’t need to follow that dog around like a lost puppy.”
Sanji sat the trays down on the table, “I’ll be right back,” he said in a polite yet irritated town.
“Don’t do it, Sanji,” Shadow said as Sanji turned and ran after Zedd. She sighed as she spread her wings, that apparently blend in with her fur when she’s not using them. She flew about two feet off the ground and raced over to grab Sanji’s jacket collar in her mother.
She let go of him and said, “Do you not remember the last time you got into a fight with him?”
“You think I care! Nobody says something like that in front of me and gets away with it!”
She licked him on the cheek then replied, “I care,” while nuzzling against his neck.
“I know,” he sighed, placing a hand on her snout. “But… I’m still going to make him pay!” he added as he attempted to make another charge at the owner. In which he failed due to Shadow tripping him. “Oww”
“Keep in mind, Kid, I taught you how to fight. I know you’re every move,” Zedd said as Sanji got to his feet.
A little boy walked up to Sanji and tugged on his jacket, “Mister Sanji Sir, could you show us your tricks with the doggie?”
Sanji looked at the boy. He crouched down so he was at eye level with him. With a kind smile, he replied, “Would you like to go for a ride on Shadow?”
“If it’s okay with your parents,” he answered as he looked up at the table that the boy walked over from.
The boy’s parents looked at each other, then nodded. His mother then turned to Sanji, “It’s alright.”
“I swear I’ll be extremely careful so he doesn’t fall off,” he ensured while removing the tray carrier thang on Shadows back.
“I told you to get back in the kitchen!”
He picked up the boy and sat him on Shadow’s back before climbing on himself.
“Ready?” he asked the boy.
“Uh-huh,” the boy answered with a single node, though he had a little fear in his eyes.
“Alright, Shadow. Let’s go.”
“Don’t you dare fly out that window!”
Sanji just chuckled as Shadow turned and sped off toward the large, open, window. “Later, old man! Be back in a few, April.”
“Be careful, Sanji.”
“Always am,” he hollered as they exited the ship.
“Why that ungrateful little brat!”
“Zédd, you know what zey sai abut all wairk and non plai.”
“Yeah, well, that boy seems to be all play and no work,” he replied before turning back to the kitchen.
April let out a sigh, then she walked towards the little boy’s parents.“I ’ope you don’t mind if yur son eez jené awhile. When Sanji and Shadow go oot fair a flight, they’re usual-lee jené fair ’urs.”
The boy’s mother chuckled, “We’ve heard. We love this restaurant. A few weeks ago a close friend of ours told us about this branch. Our son got so excited about a talking, flying wolf, that he begged us to come out here.”
“So we decided to bring him out for his birthday,” his father added.
“Getting to ride her really made his day.”
April smiled, “Sanji weehl be threehléd to ’air zat. But ai should gét bak to wairk. Eez zere anytheng else ai can get you?”
“Just a refill of wine is fine. We’ve already eaten too much. But the food was absolutely amazing,” the mother answered.
“I can ’ave un of ze chefs bak a cak fair yur son if you went.”
“Thank you, but we need to save a bit of money for the ship ride home,” the dad said.
“Okai. Let mé know if you need anytheng else,” She then turned to walk away.
I stood up to follow her.
“Where you going, Shiro?” Seara asked.
“I wanna ask that lady about Sanji.”
“Why?” Ushio said sitting her cup on the table.
“There’s something about him I like. I want to ask him to join our crew.”
“Do it and you die.”
“Sirraco! Be nice!”
“You apparently didn’t notice the way he was acting towards you,” he added, picking up his fork.
“What? Nice? I think Shiro has the right idea. We do need a cook and he’s an amazing one.”
“You’re just saying that because he gave you free food.”
“You’re pirates ai tak it.”
I turned around to find April standing behind me.
“Sairry, ai ovairhaird you talkeng. Why don’t you kids breng yur food and comé wiv me? I’ll tell you what ai know abut Sanji, though ai ’ave known ’im fair sevén yairs, ’é’s steehl quite la mystairy.”
“What do you mean?” Ushio asked.