The waves splashed up against the side of the small boat. The bow of the boat sliced through the water, like it were a sharp knife. The heavy wind pressed from the back of the small boat, lifting the sail and pulling the boat alongside it, dragging it through the water as fast as it could. The friction from the water put up little resistance to the wind.
On the boat were too young Rookie pirates; fresh to the salt waters of the ocean. One, a boy, was lying at the bow with his flat-cap resting over his face, shielding himself from the sun, the other, the girl, sitting at the stern, fiddling with her fingers while fingers while looking out over the expansive ocean. Occasionally she glared over at the boy.
The Vast Sea Plaza Archipelago: the most dangerous sea in all of Grella.
"Why did you do that, Chris?" the girl sighed and once again glared at the boy lying at the bow.
"Do what?" the boy lifted his flat-cap so he could see past it, but he had to tilt his head so he could see past the vibrating sail, and to the girl.
"Beat up that Vice-Lieutenant. We're trying to keep a low profile." the girl looked out to the ocean again; she dropped her hand in the water and let her fingers stream across the surface. Small fish started following her quick-moving fingers as they scraped across the ocean.
"He was being mean to me." the boy pulled his cap down again over his eyes.
"That's not a good excuse. I didn't want us to have bounties right away."
"WE won't have bounties. The photographer didn't get you. I doubt people will even recognise you anyhow."
"That's not the point. It's gonna be so much harder to get a proper ship now because you decided to be aggressive." the girl sat back again, taking her hands out of the water and shaking them around in the fresh-breeze.
"The wind is picking up." the boy lifted his hat onto his head and held it on tightly. He stood and tried to steady the mast, "I'll try and adjust the sail so we can catch the wind."
A gust of wind caught the sail as soon as the boy had finished adjusting it. It caught him by surprise and he fell backwards onto the small figurehead. He nearly lost his hat in the wind, and from the momentum of him falling over.
"You alright?" the girl propped herself up and looked around the sail in a slight panic.
"I'm fine. Just took me by surprise." the boy looked behind him, the silhouette of the next along left an indent on the horizon. The two had been travelling for the better part of a day, and the sun was just setting. It is always difficult on the sea at night; the two Rookie's would have to take separate watches in order to make sure the small boat was on course for the next island along. And if needs be: navigate through a storm.
"I'll take the first watch, K. You can sleep for a few hours." the boy turned over so he was facing the silhouette of next island along on the ocean.
"Just don't do anything stupid." the girl slouched down in her place and pulled the hood of her jacket closer to her eyes.
"Not on the ocean." the boy rested his head on his hands and watched the sea in front of him. He observed under the surface of the water as the fish below the boat swam to keep away from what they may have thought as a carnivorous being. Their scaly backs reflected the sunset into the boy's eyes, only for a second though.
He then thought about how fast the boat must have been going in order for the fish to be working as hard as they were. Must have been tremendously fast. He looked behind to watch the sail, but it barely looked like it was moving. Holding his hand to the side of the boat only contradicted his thoughts. The wind was blistering. He scanned around the horizon: no clouds were in sight.
He fell back forwards again to look at the island's silhouette. Hopefully a quiet night; he thought, can't sleep though. He propped himself in an uncomfortable position, so as he wouldn't nod off suddenly, in the original he quite often attempted this when he needed to stay awake.
He turned his head to momentarily look at the sunset. The serene beauty of the sky as it glistened red was too bright for human eyes to bear. The boy had to look away relatively soon. He couldn't believe that his creation was causing such a beautiful phenomenon; proud would probably be an understatement.
Looking back in front he saw that the silhouette of the island was no closer, but due to the sunset he could see the shapes of some of the larger houses on the island. They shone a tint of orange in the dusk sun. What a sight. The boy couldn't even remember what island was next, since the order was mixed up after processing.
He closed his eyes due to the blinding light of some of the reflections.
Chris was suddenly awoken by a quick shove; like someone had pushed him forward. Surprisingly enough, he landed hard in sand. He opened his eyes quickly and watched the sky; watching the cloud float by his eye-line of the morning sky. The morning sky? He sat up and craned his body around, looking behind him. His boat. He hadn't been shoved, the boat had suddenly stopped. It had been stopped by the sand of the island.
He had been shored. The sun was rising on the other side of the ocean. Had he fallen asleep? He was a bit dazed; it was a valid explanation as to why the time had passed so quickly. But Kiyoko would be furious at him for falling asleep during his shift, even more so since he offered his help.
"Oh wow!" and now she had woken up. She propped herself up and poked her head into vision past the sail, "Didn't you think of waking me up?"
Chris was hesitant, as to be expected of anyone. "No." he said with some question in his voice. He had to make sure to answer in the right way in order sound like he had stayed up all night. Though he had to tell her that he had fallen asleep, but he needed the perfect way of doing it. "Before we continue onto the island, I want to play a game."
"What kind of game?" she seemed excited enough; though she always loved games, especially ones that Chris invented. She dived up and landed down in front of Chris. She sat down in front of him with her legs crossed.
"Aright Kiyoko, I'm gonna say something, and from now on, whenever the topic is mentioned, you can't use the word if." he tried to act marginally excited, as if he were a game-master.
"Shoot!" she nodded, still excited as ever.
"I fell asleep on the journey over here."
"You did what?" she was still thinking that Chris was playing.
"I fell asleep on the way here."
Kiyoko's face fell. An emotion deep inside her began to broil. It initiated itself as confusion, mixed with a bit of disheartenment. It soon shifted to betrayed and upset, followed quickly by hunger and again confusion. Soon enough however, it transformed into livid anger.
"You did what?" she stood up in pure rage, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Chris stood up in slight panic to try and calm Kiyoko down, but he was interrupted by something growling in the background. The two looked to their side, looking straight to inland, and saw what only could be described as a 15' tiger with razor sharp fangs. It was eyeing them both intently, lips curled over the pure white teeth. It was hungry.
"Discuss later?" Chris asked, heart-rate increasing due to fear of the situation.
"Yes, definitely." Kiyoko agreed, feeling in much the same position physiologically.
The giant tiger made a pounce at the two. Instinctively it seemed, the two pushed away from each other, causing the beast to bury itself partially in the sand, and at the same time, destroying the small sailboat. The two pirates noticed this, but weren't that panicked due to the situation at hand. While the tiger was disorientated, Chris made an attempt at attacking. He began running at the tiger, pumping his legs as fast as he could muster, right hand curled over into a fist following after him. As Chris reached the optimum distance between him and the tiger, he began bringing his arm around. The tiger pulled its head out of the sand and saw Chris rushing over with a punch ready. The tiger began to snarl turning to face the ensuing attacker, preparing to parry.
"Right Hand..." however it was too late, Chris had already prepared for a direct hit, "Running HAMMER!" THUNK. It was right on the mark, right in the centre of the face – on the nose.
Using the momentum Chris had gained from running he tried pushing the tiger along the beach. He managed to get some distance out of it; well, at least caused it to bounce across the beach a little, leaving a big dent in the ground each time it bounced.
It bounced close to Kiyoko, and noticing the opportunity – and measuring how the tiger was bouncing – she jumped backwards, landing on her hands; quickly readying herself for an attack, and by the time the tiger had bounced into close distance of her, she had finished her slight preparations.
"Bullet..." she cocked her legs back slightly, "SHOWER!" and began kicking the tiger continuously in a mad frenzy. Her legs and feet were a blur she was moving so fast. She gave one final hard kick to push the tiger away into the sky.
"I got it!" Kiyoko flipped back onto her feet and saw Chris running towards where she had just attacked the tiger. "Reiki Bounce!" he flipped while running and when landing on the floor he pushed against it, Rejecting the ground and rocketing himself upwards towards the tiger.
Before he knew it, he was at the same height as the tiger. He grabbed onto part of the tiger's fur to stop himself from going any higher. He then managed to flip himself onto the back of the tiger as it started to lose speed. As the tiger approached the optimum height it was destined to reach, it began to fall. Chris took this opportunity to use a new technique him and Kiyoko had recently invented. He held on as tightly as he could to the tiger and started to pull it backwards, like he was trying to flip it. The two started to spin faster as faster as they fell; however, Chris was still in complete control, even as they started spinning so fast that they were a blur.
"Floor It!" the spin was stopped as Chris drove the tigers head into the sand. Recognizing what he had done, he let his legs dangle slightly while he held himself upside-down, "Sorted!" and jumped off. Landing he tried to hold his balance. It was a struggle but he pulled it off.
"A giant tiger...?" Kiyoko stepped up to the tiger, observing it intently.
"That was felled easily by two Rookie Pirates!" Chris made a muscle and placed his opposite hand on it, "What does that say about us?"
"That we're insanely skilling in Mirachta." she wasn't at all fussed about how easily they defeated the tiger, "Do you think this is small on this island?" she knelt down to the tiger, observing the fur on the side of the creature.
"What do you mean?" Chris lowered his arms, watching what Kiyoko was doing.
"I remember reading about this type of tiger in some books in Alia. It's called a Teelo. I read that when they reach the adolescent age their fur becomes very soft and thick; and shows a lot of resistance when pressed against." she pressed her hand against the tiger's side, noting that she indeed did feel a lot of resistance from the fur. "Oh dear..."
"What?" Chris knelt down next to her, observing what Kiyoko was doing.
"This is just a young Teelo, and its parents are probably looking for it." Kiyoko stood up in a slight panic. "We should probably think about getting shelter."
"Aright." Chris stood up and scanned the horizon, "Judging from where our boat was, there should be some shelter..." he raised his hand and pointed to the left of where they were facing, "That way."
"Aright." Kiyoko nodded and began to walk in the direction she was pointing, "And when we get there, we can talk about you falling asleep on the way here."
"Ehh." Chris lowered his expression and posture, unhappy concerning the fact that she had remembered.
Considering what they had found outside the forest – or to be more precise, what had found them – the forest itself was relatively quiet. The only sound that was heard was the rustle of the leaves as wind brushed by them, and the occasional creaking of trees as they swayed, or the crackling of twigs as Chris and Kiyoko stepped across them.
The world around them was so quiet; it made Chris' eardrums numb.
It made him feel very uncomfortable, so he decided to attempt a quick scan of the direct area around them. Kiyoko was leading through the brush of the trees, so she didn't notice Chris undertaking a scan; in fact she only felt the occasional series of goose-bumps, and she shrugged that off to the fact that she was only wearing long-shorts.
Kiyoko zipped her hoody up, thinking that she could be rid of the goose-bumps if she warmed up a bit. She then thought of Chris, he was only wearing an open-buttoned shirt and a pair of baggy long shorts. He was probably even colder than she was, though she hadn't taken into account that Chris produced quite a lot of piece.
She turned around and stopped to express concern; though she did not expect to see Chris – instead of looking calm and quite possibly blanking out – looking very focused, but also looking very serious. It un-clicked him from his slight Reiki trance when she had stopped, but the only word he said was:
"Run." he grabbed Kiyoko's hand and ran off with her. Arrows rained down where they were stood; luckily, due to Chris running as fast as he could muster, they were well out of the way. However, the arrows started to follow after them each one reaching closer and closer to their previous footsteps. Before long they were being fired from all directions.
"Oh my god! Who is this?" Kiyoko saw as one of the arrows hit a small animal passing, within seconds the space on its body where it had been struck began to melt away, "Holy mother! Chris! The arrows melt any animal matter they hit-"
"Aware of that. I'm still scanning the area. Get on my back." he pulled her a bit closer until she jumped on his back. He kept running, holding her onto her in a piggy-back-ride manner.
With Kiyoko on his back, Chris could now run a little bit faster than he had been doing before, since he didn't have to worry about getting to a speed that would cause Kiyoko to trip up. He could even get so close to trees that was necessary to avoid the arrows without ramming Kiyoko around into brushes and the like.
Chris could see the edge of the forest, the trees began to clear. Although they seemed to open out to a tall wall, at the top stood two watchtowers. Kiyoko looked around and saw the watchtowers on top of the wall, she could see people standing with guns. They seemed to have spotted the two Rookie's running towards the wall, though they seemed so surprised that they didn't even attempt to fire at the two.
"Brace yourself." Chris spoke in a quiet monotone while commanding Kiyoko.
"Why?" she tried to panic but it was too late, Chris had already flipped and had rocketed himself above the canopy. However, Kiyoko did not expect that behind the large brick wall was a civilisation. Chris had obviously sensed the energy coming from behind the wall and thought to jump over it.
He landed steadily on the other side of the wall, knees slightly bent to brace for impact. However he didn't expect what to see when he stood up straight. They were surrounded, guns pointed at them at every angle. Kiyoko had frozen solid out of terror and Chris... Well, all he could say was: