(A/N): I thought this would be important to know. From this point forward, there will be different names for important accents, and it will be important to find a connection. Terrarian can be linked to Irish, Ellipsian is similar to French. Hunbsani varies, with nobles like Leo and Charles (along with his servants) having accents similar to cockney, while commoners, like the main four in the group speak with an American accent. Hydranian is similar to Latino accents. As new lands are explained, I will post more relations in style.
Harriet dreams she is no longer in Hunbsan; at least, not the Hunbsan she knows. The world around her is more different than her mind could ever process.
There were no gears, and yet there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of buildings around her. They all rose to over five hundred feet tall, so tall that Harriet couldn't see the top of the wide city. She looked over a ledge, and couldn't even see the bottom from her point. The buildings were all designed in a strange way, as well; they all had what appeared to be panels on them, but what they were used for, she did not know. They were all blue, and blank, so it could not be wood, stone, or even metal, and what was used, she wished she knew.
What was strangest about this city, from Harriet's first sights, were the vehicles. She could tell they were vehicles by the people getting out of them near her. They seemed to be like carriages, only they did not have wheels; they had what appeared to be spotlights sticking out of their bottoms, that made them fly instead of slide. There weren't horses to pull the carriages, either, which made Harriet wonder what made them go one direction or the other.
"Are you ready, Penny?" She heard, and responded to. She had no idea who Penny was, but somehow, she was able to know it was her. She turned, and saw the boy who had called her.
In essence, he was a near carbon copy of Orion, with only a few differences. This boy was as tall as the familiar Halfling, but was also thinner, making him more nimble. His eyes, as opposed to Orion's green, were pure silver, which contrasted his dark skin.
He wore an outfit Harriet never knew existed, one with trousers made of a blue material she never knew could be used in clothes: denim. His shirt was different from blouses she had seen before, in that this was not buttoned up; rather, it was only a one piece shirt, in the shape of a T. A t-shirt, she decided to call it. His hair was slick, and combed, as opposed to Orion's normally unkempt look. She saw he wore a pack of some kind on his back, and felt the weight of hers. He also wore a clear helmet, as well as Harriet.
She didn't know how, but she knew his name instantly. "Yea, Zack," said Harriet awkwardly. "Sorry, I just got nervous." She didn't know where her dream had taken her, but she wanted to get out ASAP.
"It's okay," replied Zack, in the same booming voice as Orion. "Flying will always be like that." What did he mean, flying? "Come on, let's go!"
He ran towards the edge, gripping the tassels on his pack eagerly. Zack ran off the building, to Harriet's horror. She watched as the boy seemed to fall forever, until she saw something strange; metal wings had sprung from his pack, sending him forward, at a quickened pace. He flew towards the building she was on, and landed on the deck.
"Why didn't you follow?" He asked. "You scared?" His smile showed that he was joking. Harriet decided she liked Zack. He was nice to her so far, and she had no reason to oppose him. He flew down, as Harriet saw the spotlight-like devices were on the bottom of his wings as well.
Harriet decided that if this really was a dream, she didn't have to worry. It seemed vivid, but it wouldn't last forever; she had dreams she could remember a lot, and they never did. She took a few steps back, and in a single bolt, leaped off of the building.
As the wind whipped through her hair, she felt better than she ever had. Adrenaline coursed through her blood, and invigorated her to the point of happiness. Her smile was whipped from her face back, but she couldn't let it stay that way forever. She grabbed the tassels, as Zack had done, and tried pulling on them.
It didn't work. She had no idea how to activate her wings, and forced her to scream. She called for help, but didn't think anybody would come; vehicles were in the air, which scared her more. If she continued her descent, she would crash into the ground, or the vehicles. She saw Zack come close, seeing she was in trouble, and pulled on her tassels in a different way.
As she leveled and calmed down, she slowly started to realize how amazing it felt to fly; it felt like she was in wolf form, and had just eaten fifty cattle, and then turning back to experience the feeling of the first burp. The ground was still not visible, but that didn't matter to her.
"Are you okay?" asked Zack. "You're not hurt?"
"Yes, I'm okay." she replied.
"Alright," he added. "Race you to the Statue!" He took off, leaving Harriet in the air alone. She raced after him, learning the controls instantly. She pushed on both tassels to move forward or up, while pushing on just one turns the direction chosen. She pushed forward, finding herself at more or less the same speed she was at when falling.
She followed him, realizing that all of the city was essentially the same. No two buildings were as tall as the last, but they all had the same bland glass design. As she raced through all the corners and intersections, Harriet saw that the cars were indeed flying, as she was. She couldn't have felt more free if she tried.
Zack stopped at a small floating park in the sky, a small grassy park. Harriet hadn't even seen grass in Hunbsan outside of Elysium's lawns, and even those weren't this nice. He let go of the tassels, and the wings folded into the pack like they were made that way. To be fair, they had been. Harriet did the same when she landed, feeling weird as she landed. Now that she had flown, she wasn't sure she wanted to walk.
"C'mon" Zack called. "Let's go see the Stat." She assumed from what he said earlier, he meant Statue. She kind of wanted to know what the statue was of; if it was interesting, she could tell Orion, Luke, and Andrea when she woke up. She followed him through the park, and just kept talking.
"So," She began. "Are you having fun?"
"Yea, of course." He replied. "It's hard not to when I have a girl like you as a date. I'd have to be crazy." So, in her dream she was this guy's girlfriend? How sweet... and creepy; in her dreams, she dated the carbon-copy of Orion? How weird.
They walked further, having an almost awkward silence. Finally, they both reached the statue, which made Harriet gasp in fear and worry. The statue was a gold plated edition of the Emperor Charles Rirokson. Harriet fainted when she discovered this, as Zack came to her in worry.
Orion was waiting for Harriet to wake up the next morning, while Luke and Andrea slept. They had both already said their goodbyes (Well, Luke said Andrea's for her), and had both wished him good luck. They both had looked disheveled, but otherwise okay.
Harriet woke with a start, and Orion went to her, startled. "Are you okay?" he asked. She nodded. "Did you have a nightmare?" He added, a surprised look on his face.
"Yes," she said. "When are you going to set sail?" she added, changing the subject from the City of the Flying People. She couldn't lie to him, but she didn't want to worry him.
"In about an hour and a half. How long until you can be ready?" asked Orion.
"I can get dressed in five minutes, no makeup included."
"Perfect" Orion explained. "We want to look like we had just heard of the accident." Harriet stepped out of the War Den, and walked up to the attic. Orion kept his fancy clothes up there, for some reason she hadn't asked him yet. Orion stayed below, and just feared the future of him on the ship; he didn't want to have to postpone the voyage, because it may have been the key to taking Samuel down. He stood up, and walked out of the room. It was time he found something Harriet would need to lead the group, and it required him to go to his storage room; his storage room contained everything he thought he would need one day, but didn't need at the moment.
He walked into the room beside the second story storage area. He saw the crack Andrea put into it, but thought maybe something knocked against it too many times, so paid it no mind. He turned his hand into the dragon's claw, so that he could tear the wall open; he had jammed the door a year ago because he didn't want people to see what he stored inside. He put the claw in the plaster and wood, barely feeling anything, and pulled around the edges of the new entrance.
He walked in, and took note that a battle ax was stuck up against the entrance; had it been any lower, he could have lost an arm or a leg. Luckily, dragons could regenerate limbs, so he didn't worry about it too much. He looked around, and saw the various things he had found, and made, over the years.
All of the things Orion had drawn on the wall, he had made himself and stored here. The multi-tool, a new type of armor, a sword that retracts into the handle, and even a pad of paper that could be written without wasting any paper, just to name a few; he would have to give that last one to Andrea before he left. He stepped over all of these things, looking around as he did so, but couldn't find what he needed, until he saw a small glint in the back.
It was a backpack, but not like people had ever seen before. The pack was covered in gears, all silver and bronze, but some of them rusted, that turned only when a certain button was pressed. He pressed it, which was easy considering it was located on the side. Wings propped out of the device, and the spotlights showed all below the thin wingspan. Each one was a small rocket, which required no fuel, but used the sunlight in a condensed version, making it safe and eco-friendly. He didn't light it up, for he knew he didn't have long until Harriet would be finished. He hadn't yet decided on a name for the device, but he wanted to find a good one; maybe he would call it a Flight Pack, but he thought that was a bit too direct. Jetpack seemed to far fetched, so he had to find one that felt just right. He realized the perfect name for the device upon looking at it after a year: the Steam Eagle; it was still powered by steam, after all.
He grabbed the pack, as well as the pad for Andrea, the retractable sword for Luke, and the multi-tool for himself. He would need it on the journey ahead. He took all of these things down to the War Den, and placed them all on the table in the adjacent room; when the others came into the room, they would definitely see the devices. He wrote a note, to be read by the recipients of the machines, and went back to the main hallway, waiting.
As Harriet came down, he couldn't stop himself from noting how much better she looked in armor. In her blue dress, she just looked uncomfortable and strange; besides, she deserved protection. She had put her hair into a ponytail, but that didn't make her any more casual.
"Are you ready to go?" Orion asked. He thought about giving her the Steam Eagle then, but decided against it; she would have been way too excited to try it to go.
"I guess," Harriet said. "I hate dresses. Why don't women wear men's clothes again? It seems like a better option." Orion laughed a little when she said this, but honestly thought that would be a good idea; clothes that a man and a woman could wear without being embarrassed.
"I don't know, but we should go" he replied.
As Orion and Harriet entered the Harbor, they had no idea what kind of destruction Luke and Andrea really did. The Harbor was a garbage hole for the wreckage, with gigantic pieces of wood sticking out of buildings, rope and fishing supplies strung out on the cobblestone ground, as well as pieces of small splinters spread all over where the Casey used to stand.
Samuel Miles kneeled at where the ship used to stand, sobbing. As 'Gabriel' and 'Morgan' came up to him, his sadness eased off slowly. He looked sad, angry, but not hopeless. He stood up, still towering over the two.
"She's gone, Gabriel," he said, "The love of me life, just gone."
"What happened?" asked Harriet. She feigned surprise, and nobody was any the wiser. She found she was very good at lying to people, which kind of freaked her out.
"I left a lamp burning, and the fire spread to the explosives." said the sad man. "There was not a chance in hell of her surviving."
"Will the journey still go on?" asked Orion, nervous about what Sam had said about the 'love of his life'. "With another ship, I mean?"
"Aye, the journey will still go on, but it will most likely be a longer trip. The only vessels I can spare are larger than the Casey. A larger boat-"
"Makes a longer voyage, I've heard" Orion interrupted. "When do we set sail?"
"Today, I suppose. Don't want to lose the shipment and me lovely lady. How is a half hour for ya?" Samuel asked.
"Perfect, sir, just perfect."
"Find me on the Cross after the time. I'll see you soon." Harriet and Orion walked off when he said this. They walked away, towards the diner where Casey and her friends had dined the day before; luckily, everyone was at the wreck, so there wasn't anybody to hear their conversation.
"So, are you sure about this?" Harriet asked. "Going on this journey? Are you up to the task?" Her tone seemed uneasy, because she didn't want her friend to get hurt.
"I have to be," explained Orion in a whisper. "If Samuel is to die, I have to go. I promise you this: By this time, two months from now, Samuel Miles will be dead, and the shipments and fisherman will no longer work for Charles."
"So be it," replied Harriet. "Are you still sure you want me in charge?"
"I want you in charge more. You have the ability to lead them, you just need to show it," Orion explains. "When I first met Charles, he was young, willing and able, smart, and strong; You can be him. There's a difference between the two of you: He was, and is, cocky. He will not accept defeat, and will not believe himself to be low in any way. You can trump his cockiness with your leadership."
"But, I've never lead anything successful. You've heard what happened on the first Innocent Eve. He led us to the cave, and didn't lead us out. I could have helped them, could have gotten them away, but I didn't."
"But the difference is he didn't want to help; he wanted to save his own hide. He is a coward, and that makes him weak."
"Maybe he was smart, not cowardly?" suggested Harriet.
"No, a smart man wouldn't try to cover up his mistake; he wouldn't come back in the first place. A coward doesn't accept fate, he tries to defy it."
"Maybe that's what a smart man tries to do as well."
Orion places his right foot onto the ship, the Cross, after having said goodbye to Harriet. He knew he wouldn't come back for a long time, so he made it last; he must have held her close for thirty seconds, just to keep the smell of the group with him; he could smell the coppery feeling of blood in Luke's mouth, the nature scented pine of Andrea, and even the not yet grown hair of the beast Harriet disguises. He wasn't sure which he would miss the most, but he knew the smell of the scales and burnt skin of the Dragon would be gone by the time he had returned. Then, he would smell not of beast, or of man, but of the sea itself; hopefully fair Lympha, the Elven Goddess of the Sea, would allow him that gratitude.
The ship was, as Samuel had said, an immensely larger ship than the Casey, which made Orion wonder why this ship wasn't taken first; it would have been like buying a sandwich when one can purchase an entire feast for their family of four. The gears, likewise, were larger and more useful, it seemed. There seemed to be a smaller gear-ship ratio, but there were still hundreds upon hundreds of them. Orion could tell from the appearance that there were three stories on the steamboat, as well as a large galley, where he would be eating for the next three months.
It seemed like the ship had seen many bad days, or was rusted from lack of use; the gears, which must have once been silver or bronze, now all looked the burnt red hue of neglect. Just like the olden gears, the wood on the ship seemed to be cracked and dying to a point of no return, like termites had taken a society inside the small blocks of what was once the finest wood ever seen. The spare mast, raised in case of a mechanical emergency, were much better conditioned; they had no tears in the sails, as well as relatively sturdy woodworking built into it. They were raised, to show that the rotors, that were usually powering the ship forward, were broken.
The shape of the boat queried Orion most. She was almost like a warship, made with cannons on either side, though to be fair, pirates were a big problem where they were going. The great girth of the hull was to appear like she was armored. 'What does Sam need a warship for?' Orion had asked himself, 'Does he expect danger, or just preparing for it?'
He made another step, this time with his left foot. In between his father's drunken rants, he would try to teach Orion things about boats, and one of the lucky charms he taught was to never step on a ship with the left foot first; legend had it that Pirates hunted those who made that mistake, but Orion knew it was just simple superstition. Nevertheless, he needed to make an impression, and his lucky charm would give the men a reason to trust him. Slowly he made his way up, making sure not to swing his arms, while following another charm he learned. He believed in magic, with all of his strength, but luck was not something he put his trust in.
As he reached the deck, he saw the various crewmates around him, working hard to repair the more damaged parts. One sailor in particular came up to him, a blank stare in his eye, and a patch on the other. He was shorter than Orion, but not by much, maybe three inches, but also had a chubby appearance to him. His clothes were reminiscent of Orion's, but his were less for fashion and more for function. He was missing a few teeth, but that was relatively normal considering he was probably suffering from scurvy, and his brown hair contrasted his pale skin in hue. The man appeared to be as old as Orion actually was, about late forties to early fifties, not what Orion appeared to be, about seventeen to eighteen. Despite his seafarers appearance, he had the accent of a born and raised Hunbsani man.
"Are you the new man?" he said, as Orion nodded. He extended a hand, and Orion took it. "Calvin Grusco, but you can call me Jack."
"Jack?" Orion said. "What does that have to do with Calvin?"
"Simple: I don't like 'Calvin'." Jack said with a chuckle. "And you, my new friend?"
"Gabriel Ignis, but you can call me Gabe." replied Orion.
"Come on then, Gabe. I'll show you to your room." They walked, as Jack pointed out the various people on the ship. One was a brute of a man named Paul, that reportedly was unable to speak or write. One was a man about the size of Orion, but much thinner, who Jack called Hopper. Orion could see his name, considering his size making him look like a grasshopper. He didn't have many more names until they went below deck, but then he knew everybody. Ulrich, Henry, Stanley, were just some of the names of the people who gave their real ones. Jack named some people strange names, such as Pretty Boy, which was an ironic name because he had a scar crossing his entire face in a diagonal line. Another was Brew, because he always had a drink in one hand, and saying he could make it out of rat, which sounded disgusting to everyone, especially Orion. Another name was Haystack, because he had blonde hair that spread all over his face, leaving only his eyes to be seen; even when he smiled or spoke, the hair covered mostly everything.
Finally, they reached Orion's room, a small, normal sailors room, with a man arranging things inside. He was about the same height as Jack, but was also thicker around his waist. His black hair draped over brown eyes, and his angled face seemed to be missing his eyebrows. Unlike the others, he was dressed in a more common landlubber outfit. It was just a simple pairing of brown trousers and a green shirt, but it still looked strange on a sailor.
"And this is the man we used to call 'Captain'." Jack said. "But you can call him Preston."
Preston held out a hand, and Orion took it. "Gabe Ignis," Orion said. "Pleasure to meet you."
"And to you as well. Please do call me Captain" he replied with an accent that took Orion a minute to recognize: Hydranian. "They call me Captain because until Samuel took over the ship today, I ruled this beauty."
"No offense, sir," Orion said. "but did you ever think of getting her looked at? She looks unsafe."
"She has gotten us far, but you're right." Captain answered. "She isn't as young or as fit as she used to be, but we don't have the funds to fix her. I keep trying to get Sam to help us, but he is as stubborn as the waters we sail on. Hopefully, this contract will give us the money to finally repair the most beautiful ship in the world."
"Most beautiful to yourself," Jack interrupted. "To me, it will always be the Casey. I've impressed many a woman by bringing them onto it; if they saw this thing, I would be considered a leper out here."
"First of all," Captain began. "A ship is a 'she', not an 'it', and you should know it. Second, the only woman you could have impressed with the Casey was Samuel's wife herself, and she wouldn't even have to know you worked on it!" The three laughed at the joke, and settled down.
They walked out of the room, and into the lower deck. All around, the area showed care, as though the inside were more important than the outside. Net was strung from the ceiling to support beams, portholes showed the beautiful sea around them, and the bunk rooms all had their own flare to them. The three moved into the Galley, where they saw what can be described as a low-end restaurant. The wood here looked faded, but intact in its completion. There were small decorations, but overall it just seemed like a small diner that one would eat, then leave.
Behind the counter was what seemed like the only woman on board the deck, a tall and thin one, wearing a small outfit similar to Captain's, only red instead of green for a shirt. She kept her blonde hair short, which was necessary considering she worked with food everyday. She must have been no older than twenty-five to twenty-seven, and her stature worked with that note. Her hands intrigued Orion, in that they were kept clean at all times, even though she had to work with the gears, the ones that turned the stove on. At that time, she was waiting for Orion, Captain, and Jack to come to the window.
"Hey, Natalia," Captain said. "What's on the menu?"
"I've got a sausage for you, Captain," the woman named Natalia said with a Hunbsani accent. "And, if I'm not wrong, an order of rookie stew?" She seemed to be looking at Orion when she said this, and smiled when she said 'rookie'.
"Yes, and yes." Jack said. "What about me?"
"I've got your meal in the toilet, you perverted idiot." Natalia replied. She turned to Captain. "I caught him looking into my room while I was changing earlier." She explained.
"Aw, come on; I was looking for Pretty Boy, and forgot where her room was." Jack said to Captain. Orion could tell he was innocent by the tone and frequency of his voice. He seemed worried, like he thought he was going to be kicked off of the ship for the mistake.
"What's Rookie Stew?" Orion said, butting in and changing the conversation. He extended a hand to Natalia, and she took it. He felt how soft her hands were, and shook, still trying to change the awkward conversation. "Gabe Ignis, at your service." he added.
"Natalia Ouratha, at yours." she replied. "Rookie Stew is the meal we give to Rookies on their first day, to symbolize that they are family. Usually consists of hair, some of Brew's liquor, and some of the remnants of the last Rookie Stew; nothing a veteran couldn't handle, but for rookies..." She let it hang off, but Orion knew what she meant. Odds are, he would be losing his lunch that day.
"Are you going to join us?" Captain asked.
"Of course. How could I miss it?" she replied. "I'll be with you in a minute. Jack, go fetch Brew, and I'll come and sit while you wait." She walked from behind the counter, and Orion saw that she didn't wear a dress. He would ask her soon.
"I'll go rally the men; they'll want to see this." Captain walked away, while Jack walked in another direction. Natalia and Orion walked over to a nearby table, and sat, waiting for one of the two to come back.
Natalia began to talk after a few minutes of awkward silence. "So, Gabe," she began. "What leads you to this marvelous being?"
"My wife and I fell on hard times, and finally I decided to become a sailor so she could have the money to live," He said. "You?"
"I was a member of a wealthy family; you've heard of the Masquerade culture, I'm assuming?" Masquerading was a big festival that occurred three times a year, where people gathered to play games, watch comedies together, and forget their troubles of the past third of a year. The money was also made in special clubs, where people needed a mask to enter; it was something about secrecy or privacy, or whatever.
"You're from that family?" The Ouratha family had most of the business in the parties, such as the food, the music, the productions, etc. They had made everything in the crowd, and everything was bought by the crowd, via the taxing system. They were most likely the richest people in all of the country, which made Orion nervous; if her family was that wealthy, what was she doing on a ship? Had they gone bankrupt? Had they been robbed?
"Yes. I grew up with them, but I didn't like how I was treated like property, so I asked to be put on a ship. Naturally, they would have bought it from Captain Preston if given the chance, but I stopped them," She answered. "And, here I am." She gestured around, to show her position as chef.
"But, why leave the greatest career ever: doing nothing?" Orion asked. "Do you ever miss your old life?"
"Not for one second. I couldn't go a single day without work, but I could go a lifetime without my family." She replied.
"My family was too in with Charles. I've nothing wrong with the man personally, but I think there could be someone better suited for the job," Orion's face looked shocked, as she continued. "Relax, rook. I'm not a traitor; I just think that when Charles croaks, I won't shed a tear. He's not a bad man, just not a good leader."
Orion sat there, shocked at her casually saying Charles was a bad leader. Even he, who planned to kill the man himself, would have hushed his voice to a whisper to speak of that; not to even mention what he would say should he want a new member.
"What about you?" She asked him. "What's your life story? I've never heard of the Ignis family."
"Well, I was born about seventeen years ago, and my father wasn't a wealthy man. He and I lived in the Hovel, with my mother and a sister who passed away at five. Dad wanted me to train to be a sailor, but we never had the money for a boat or a ship, so when he passed, I had nothing. I met the love of my life, Morgan, not much later, and we were married on the eve of my fourteenth birthday," He was making this up as he went now. "And a couple days ago, my mother passed, making us unable to work to keep our home. I was surprised when my mom had left me money in her will, and with that money, I bought a home in a nicer neighborhood. We can't keep up the rent, so here I am."
"That's a nice tale," Natalia responded after a few minutes. "Are you ready to be one of us?" She was shifting the conversation to prevent awkwardness.
"We'll find out, won't we?"
With that, the Rookie Stew was served. It was a brownish-green hue, with small chunks still floating around in it, as well as a slight stream of red flowing around it. The men had gathered around Orion and Natalia, who had stood up to get a better view. Around him, they were chanting Chug! Chug! Chug!, and Orion was just staring at his food in horror.
He picked up his spoon, and placed it in. His stomach, despite his mind, was growling in agony and desire. The rookie dipped the spoon into the stew, and collected the stew all around it, which only gave him an eighth of the actual mush. He raised it to his lips, and quickly ate his food. It tasted bitter, but not horrible, to his complete surprise; he hoped he would not get a taste for rat, but this actually wasn't that bad. The men cheered, pumping their fists in the air. Despite his feasting of it, they stared, as though waiting for him to vomit.
"It's staying down!" Orion called into the air. The men cheered anyways, in congratulations of his accomplishment. "It's not coming up!" He called again. From a distance, Orion heard a door open, and saw Sam Miles enter, a smile upon his lips.
"Well done, me boy!" Samuel said. "You're officially one of us now!" He had to yell over the noise the men were making, and the music that had started playing. The flute player was, despite who he thought it would be, Jack, and he was doing a very good job. The men started to dance in congratulations, as the party began. "Hurry up with the festivities, men!" Sam called into the crowd. "We set sail in an hour!" The cheering elevated at those words, with even the men who didn't work for Sam calling out in joy.
Andrea woke up from her micro-sleep still saddened from the night before, but ready to move past it towards the day ahead. It had been five hours since Orion had left, and the two, Luke and Andrea, were exhausted from the night before. It had been the longest night Andrea had ever had before, but like all nights, was now over.
She saw Harriet sitting on the couch, muttering to herself. On the table, she saw numerous devices, among them a single pad of blank paper, a handle for a sword, and the backpack, of which has been described before. All three had a note in front of them, save for the blank paper, which had the writing on it.
"No," Harriet muttered. "It can't be. You're not real." She appeared to be talking to the backpack, but Andrea couldn't be sure. For all she knew, she had finally gone insane and was muttering to a ghost. Andrea stepped out of bed, surprising Harriet.
"Hi," Harriet said. "Sorry, I was just..." She didn't have a proper answer, and didn't try to make one. "He left this for you." She handed her the paper, which she discovered was just a block of metal. It had gears that were thin enough to not limit it, but big enough to make it work.
The writing was jumbled, as though in a hurry, but not illegible. "Andrea, this device will allow you to communicate with people, without using up paper or running out; simply use your finger on the device, and it will write. Wipe your hand on it, and it will erase, with no trace of it ever having been written on," the device read. Andrea could clearly understand it was Orion who had wrote it. "You are strong, Andrea. Charles will never know what to do to kill you." He had signed his name at the bottom, with a final message: "Take care of Luke; he needs someone by his side during a fight, and that someone is you."
She sat down, next to Harriet, as she too looked at the backpack. Her note was in her hand, but Harriet was too surprised to care about what was written on it. Harriet had seen this thing in her dreams, which scared her; was that really a dream, if something from it was real?
"Do you want to read?" Harriet asked. "I can't." Andrea nodded, and took the note from her now outstretched hand. Her note was written on the paper Andrea had used to communicate, but now she didn't see a use for it. Andrea shook her head; Orion's message were for the respective owner's eyes only.
Andrea tried her new communication device out, by wiping the board. Orion was right about the simplicity of the device, but she had no idea what to call it. She would just have to call it her Paper for now. She wrote on it, and handed it to Harriet.
"Did he leave safely?" it read.
"As safe as he could have," she replied. "The ship he was on was busted to the point of no repair. Do you have any idea about where to go for our first target?" She added, changing the conversation. Andrea thought for a few minutes. Who would be the easiest target to reach first?
"Louise," Andrea wrote. "The brothel owner. I can get to her first, and we I need to make up a disguise; she knows who I am."
"Okay," Harriet replied. "Who are Luke and I going to go to take care of?"
Andrea thought about this for a moment. Finally, with a smile, she wrote. "How good of an actor are you?"
Leo walked into his father's palace the same day, with a bandage around his head and wrist, and an angry look on his face. He needed to find out why his blood was black yesterday, and nothing would stop him from learning the answer. Something was being kept from him, and he hated secrets with all of his might. Once he learned the mystery of the black blood, he needed to find out what was the deal with the monster hunters. If his men were to go to war with them, he at least needed to know what they were going up against.
He saw his father, trying on a new crown. From the appearance, Charles was attempting to look more regal, and more like the king he thought he was. He wore a new cape, one made of gold and silver, as well as the new crown. It was completely clear, which made Leo realize it was made of Reunduem, a new precious metal. Its worth equaled that of an entire building just for what must have been a few ounces. Gold may have been strong, but no modern weapon could destroy Reunduem. The tips of the crown were adorned with jewels, such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, as well as being surrounded by gold.
Leo walked up, in an angered hurry, while Charles gives an apathetic look. "Where have you been?" Charles asked. "And why do you have those injuries?"
"I have these injuries, father," Leo said in an angered tone, "Because you forced me out of the palace with pain."
"I did nothing like that, and you know it" he replied. "Now, who did this to you? Did you need to hurt yourself to prove a point?" He chuckled a little when he said this. Leo became angrier, at the entire apathy of his father's nature.
"Powetare's Bane did this to me," Leo claimed as Charles face turned from blank to shock. "And brought out my blood."
"Come with me." Charles stood up and said. He stood, and walked Leo away, and towards the King's room. "I wish to be alone with my son," He told his servants.
As they entered Charles' room, Leo took note of the changes he had made in the last couple of years since he has last been allowed in here. The formerly gold walls were now decorated to look wooden and classical, while the floor remained the plush red velvet. The bed was made thin and starch-like, as comfort was not necessary to the psychopathic man; comfort just never felt right to him. beyond that, there was very little in the room, save for a portrait of Charles, Leo, and Leo's mother. It had been there since the day his mother died.
Charles sat onto the bed, but told Leo to remain standing. "So," he began. "You have seen Powetare's Bane?" Leo nodded, as the old man continued. "Well, this hard for me to say. Where should I begin?"
"Start at the part where my blood is black." Leo said.
"Black blood? Surely this is a metaphor." Charles replied, though he was never a good liar. "I have no idea what you are talking about."
"I know you do," Leo replied back. "And I know you can tell me."
Charles, realizing his lie was not going to work, began to tell the truth. "I can, but you and I both know I won't. You don't need to know, my son."
"I do need to know, and if I don't find it out from you, I will find someone else."
"That, you little insignificant rat" Charles began, growing furious. "Is impossible. I am the only living person that knows what you want. You will never find out, even if it takes me my entire life to make sure of it."
"Then riddle me this," Leo replied, just as angry. "Why did you grow surprised at Powetare's Bane? What do you know about them?"
"I know if you want to find out about them, you will need to join them. They won't reveal themselves to anybody who doesn't have some connection with them."
"Then how do you know them?"
"I will never tell you, just like I will never tell you about your blood. Leave my room, Leo. Leave before I grow angry; I don't want to take anger out on my son."
"And yet you take it out on the people who control what you eat, where you sleep, and how you earn money. Fine, I'll go, but know this: I will figure out what you keep from me." He left, as Charles stood. He knew the day would come when his son learned of his differences, but he didn't want it to be today. He needed Leo to completely forget what was going on, and to leave the subject alone. He knew Leo giving up on a subject was seldom, but not impossible.
Charles stood, and snuck out into the hallway, looking for Lilly. She had been confused when her friends left without saying goodbye, but Charles reassured her they were going to be okay. He may be a bad liar, but Lilly had no reason to contradict him. He found her, by his side on the throne, waiting for his return. She wore a look on her face that said that she was saddened by something.
"Did I miss Leo?" She asked as Charles came to his seat.
"No," he lied. "Would you like a new job?"
Lilly was taken aback by his instant question. "What job would that be, sir?"
"I need a new scouter, and none of the candidates are good. Should you accept, you'll need to travel outside the city, in order to spread the layout tenfold. I need someone who will follow orders, and you seem like that kind of person."
"Sir, I suppose I could, but I'm not sure I'm capable. I've never been outside the city."
"You can do it," Charles told her. "You will have numerous servants to help you, and you will have unlimited resources."
"Then I guess I have very little choice."
The girl woke outside the docks in the Harbor. At sixteen years old, she had no idea what was going on. She didn't know where she was, why she was there, or even who or what she was. She looked around, and saw birds flying around her. She stood, shakily at first, but slowly gaining balance. She felt around her, and into her pockets, but couldn't find anything. All that was there was a small key, but to what, she had no idea.
She went immediately to the water, and looked in, hoping to find out who she was. She saw she was of a tanned skin, and her hair was a dark brown, like she was tanned instead of naturally colored. Her eyes were as blue as the sky, and her teeth were as white as pearls, while her hair was kept shoulder length and straight. She could also see she was fairly normal sized, weight and height included, and wore clothes that would seem normal to a common person. She wore a red blouse that stretched to her wrists, and was buttoned up to her collar. Her trousers were dirty from the sand and mud around her, and her shoes were worn to the sole.
She walked away from her spot, to try to find someone who would help her. She had no memory of her life before that day, and honestly was scared to find out; what if she was a killer, a thief, or a bad person? She needed to get help, and someone wouldn't just come to her. She saw that she was surrounded by the city on one side, and the ocean on the other. She held her arms to her chest, cold from the night around her, and shivered as she stepped with her left foot, then her right.
Finally, after thirty cold minutes, the girl managed to lift herself onto the stone ground, still afraid of the world around her. Something told her she had never been to this place before, but where she was from, she didn't know. The buildings around her were stone like, but had a wooden feel to them, like they were mixed.
She collapsed, unable to move forward, into the stone ground at her feet. The girl didn't even try to stand, knowing her death was inevitable. Whatever happened to her, she just hoped she would reach heaven quickly. As her eyes shut, she was thinking only one thing: 'Why me?'.
She managed to open them one last time, to see a young man running towards her, in a panicked motion. He was a member of a nearby ship, but she could tell he was a new member. He didn't have the cold, hard look of a seasoned sailor, and didn't have the eyes of someone who had been on the high seas before. He put an arm around her, while another man, one that was clearly older and more experienced, grabbed her by the other shoulder. Together the two picked her up, and walked her to their ship.
"It's okay, kid," the younger one said. "It's going to be okay."
"You'll be fine, we promise." The other agreed.
As they placed her onto the deck of the ship, near a controlled fire, to warm her up while she had been freezing. She opened her eyes, to see the two, along with a few others, gather around her.
"Are you okay?" the younger asked, with a booming voice. "What's your name, sweetie?"
"I don't know," She replied. "Who are you people?"
The younger one held out his hand, and told her. "Call me Gabriel. Gabriel Ignis."