Shuji knelt down before a puddle of blood that formerly belonged to his father. The lower parts of his pants were drenched in it, the sling supporting his injured arm, his clothes and even his face were stained with the crimson liquid. It mostly dripped down his face, mingled with the sweat of his brow.
Yuki was still unconscious and was laid on her bed so that she could rest. Kai had initially refused to leave his father's sight but then was finally convinced by Mary when he got squeamish after seeing what Shuji had to do to stabilize their father. He was sent away to steer the sky ship to coordinates of the nearest hospital and was tasked by Shuji to get them because other than Shinji, he and Hazumi were respectively the next best helms men on the ship. Hazumi was nowhere to be seen or found. Not even Kai had seen him after he spoke to him.
This left only Shuji, Mary and Riku to look over Shinji, who was still lying at the spot he had initially been taken down.
"Shuji," Mary said crouching next to Shuji, avoiding the blood that seemed to be drawn to Shuji's pants like water to a sponge.
Shuji looked up from his father to Mary. He smiled when he saw her pretty face and fought the urge to frown when he saw the worry in her hazel eyes.
"Shuji, you've been here for hours." Mary said. "You have stabilized him haven't you?"
"Stabilize? No, I've only slowed down his dying. Hopefully we'll make it to the hospital before…" Shuji did not complete his sentence; instead he smiled weakly at Mary in a poor attempt to assure her that everything would be okay.
"Then there's nothing more you can do now." Mary said. "You should rest."
Shuji looked at his father's peaceful body. His breathing was slow and laborious. "I… I need to watch over him."
"Riku can do that." Mary said as they both looked at Riku who was sitting at the edge of the platform above where the helm was, quietly watched everything happening below, including Shuji, Mary and Shinji. The falcon sat beside him, also watched.
"O-Okay then, I'll just…" Shuji's vision went blurry before he fell forward. Mary had to catch him to stop him from falling on Shinji. She placed his arm around her shoulder and with Riku's assistance carried him off.
Mord and his men finally picked themselves up after having survived the tornado that swept through their ship. "Mr. Kilwog, make a head count o' every'un and report back te me. The rest o' ye lucky souls, prepare the ship te set sail."
Mord saw Eri Musigi walking amongst the pirates. His hair and tuxedo had been thrown into disarray but he looked mostly unharmed.
"Ahh, ye still alive? Good, Ah need ye alive in order te get me, me lobsters." Mord said with a smile.
"Lobsters?" Eri Musigi questioned, raising his eyebrow.
"Yeah, ye know. The gold, the moola, the real chick magnets!" Mord said before laughing loudly.
"Mmm," Eri simply said. "I hope you know we lost them because you were focused too much on… on a chick." Eri said before walking away.
"Don't get ye snobbish panties in a knot, we'll be catching up to 'em again very soon." Mord assured him.
"We better," Eri simply answered as he walked away. "Or I'll be paying you no… lobsters."
Mary and Riku laid Shuji on the nearest and lowest bunk bed in the boys' sleeping quarters. She kept feeling wetness in his jacket and after he was laid face down, she lifted his jacket and looked in horror as his shirt was drenched in blood. She dismissed the blood as belonging to Shinji but when she undressed him of his bloody shirt, she saw three bullet holes scattered around his back.
She quickly went to fetch tools in order to treat him for his injuries.
Meanwhile at the helm, Kai watched as the sun set over the horizon, colouring the sky in a magnificent orange and red hue in the distance. Omoi waited by his side as he steered the ship through the darkening skies.
"Hey, Omoi." Kai finally spoke up after a long time of silence.
"Yes?" She rushed at his side.
"Can you… can you look over the side to… to see if my father is okay or not." He quietly said. "I would do it myself but… but… I'm afraid of what I'll see."
Omoi silently nodded as she walked to the edge of the raised platform that served as the helm's home. She looked below at Riku who stood over his father like a stone guardian. "I… I think he's still okay. Shuji is no longer with him but Riku is."
Kai nodded. "Is he… is he moving."
Omoi took another look at the prone Shinji. "I can't tell but if there were any bad news to report, I'm sure Shuji would have let us know."
Kai nodded again.
"He seems very capable." Omoi said.
"Yes, Shuji is." Kai agreed.
"I was not talking about Shuji. I was talking about Mr. Otake." Omoi said. "He's capable of surviving this."
"Yes," Kai smiled, "he is after all the greatest pirate in the world."
Shuji began stirring. He became aware of the fact that he was lying on his stomach. He pushed himself off the bed, feeling a chilling breeze run through him. Shuji slowly became acutely aware of the fact that he was only in his underwear.
"I see you're awake." Mary's voice said which made him cover himself up in embarrassment. His face turned red as thoughts of Mary seeing his relatively unremarkable, skinny and pale body ran through his mind. He was unsure where to cover himself with his hands until he settled for hiding everything below his eyes under the sheet-less bed.
"Don't you think it's too late for that?" Mary asked, amused. "I've already seen whatever it is your hiding."
"You took off my clothes?" Shuji asked, mortified. "Why?"
"I needed to treat your bullet wounds." She said as she drew a sheet from the top bunk bed and threw it to him. He wrapped the sheet around his body gratefully. "And of everyone who were left conscious on the crew, seems like I'm the one with the most expertise in basic first aid."
"Oh! Uhm… thank you."
"You should take better care of yourself." Mary scolded gently. "No one even knew you had been shot, other than your mother who was still asleep when you collapsed."
Shuji simply nodded. "Uh… where are my clothes."
Before, Mary would have joked that she liked him with as little clothes on as possible but now that she was convinced that he definitely had no interest in her and with his father in a critical condition, she answered plainly. "Your clothes are ruined. They're currently soaking in water."
"I don't have any other clothes." He said.
"Yeah, you and Riku both." Mary commented. "That's quiet strange. Maybe you should borrow one of your father's."
Shuji did not look excited by the prospect. A few minutes later, he had forced on Shinji's biggest clothes. The tight brown pants barely went over his knees and the green t-shirt he found, which had I (heart) Virdan Town written on it, did not go low enough to cover his belly button. Shuji was happy that he could still keep his own shoes as he doubted his feet would have fit in Shinji's.
Before he left he looked at his parent's messy bed, with an indent to show that someone had been sleeping there recently. As soon as he stepped out of his parents' bedroom, he was met with laughter from Mary.
"You… you look good." She lied as she struggled to rein in her giggling.
Shuji sighed to himself. Strangely, he did not mind seeing her laugh at him. Her laughter seemed to fill him up with warmth which made him smile in good humour. "Can you wait for me in the upper deck, there's something I need to do."
"Okay," Mary said before she left.
When Shuji was sure he was alone he began to walk through the short hallways and stopped before a door. It had a golden frame and the door had decorative embroidery framed by red. It seemed out of place compared to the rest of the pirate ship. He rapped on the door with his knuckles.
"Hazumi? Are you there? Are you okay?" He spoke through the door.
There was a moment of silence before he heard a voice from the other side. "I am okay, Shuji."
"Good, I was worried about you but…"
"There is no need to explain. Mother came to check on me earlier." Hazumi assured him. "How's dad?"
Shuji sighed. "Hopefully, he'll be okay."
"I know he will." Hazumi said as he phased through the door, although it made no difference as Shuji could not see him. "You're the one who helped him after all."
Hazumi was stunned to silence when he saw what Shuji was wearing.
"Um... what happened to your clothes?"
"They got ruined so this is what I'll have to wear for now."
"Oh! Sorry." Hazumi said.
"Aren't you going to laugh at me?"
"I respect you too much to laugh at you… in your face." Hazumi said.
"Oh, alright, then I'll leave you to it." Shuji said before unbeknownst to him, Hazumi phased back behind the door.
Shuji finally went outside. He felt much better than the last time he had been there, a few hours ago. He went to the last place his father was. He found Yuki and Mary talking quietly. When Yuki saw him, she embraced him, making sure not to squeeze too hard, lest she made his injured arm any worse.
"I'm glad to see you're okay." Yuki said.
"Have you been awake for long?" Shuji asked.
"Not too long, by the time I had come to, Mary had already treated you of your injuries." Yuki informed him before turning to Mary. "Thank you again for helping my son."
Mary bowed respectfully before taking her leave.
"You've done a good job getting him stable." Yuki said. "He actually said a few words before losing consciousness again."
Shuji nodded. "That's a good sign. Hopefully we'll make it to…"
"We're here!" Kai said excitedly from above.
Yuki grabbed Shuji by his collar and in one wind powered jump, leapt to the helm. Shuji collapsed onto the ground after having landed from the unexpected and unwelcomed transportation to the helm.
Kai pointed and laughed at him when he saw his elder brother as he got up.
"Buhahahahaha, what are you wearing?" He said through teary eyes.
"My clothes are currently ruined." He said.
"So is your dignity, I see!" Kai said before exploding into another fit of laughter.
Omoi could not help but laugh too, but unlike Kai, she tried to be discreet about it.
"Don't laugh at your brother, Kai." Yuki scolded. "I think he looks cute."
This only seemed to fuel Kai's laughter and Omoi had to clamp her hand over her mouth to control herself.
Shuji got onto his feet. "Anyways, you said we had arrived?"
"Yeah," Kai said while trying to regain some self-control. "There it is, Roller Town, the nearest town with a hospital." Kai pointed to the collection of lights in the night, located at the edge of a coast.
"Good." Yuki said in a commanding voice. "Hazumi, are you here?"
"I am now, mother." Hazumi's ghostly voice said.
"Good, you, Kai and Omoi find a port to land the ship in." Yuki said. "The rest of us will deliver Shinji as the ship passes over the hospital."
"We're going to deliver him as we pass over the city?" Shuji said surprised.
"There's no time to do anything else." Yuki said. "Riku, get some money. The hospital fees will probably be high. Get ready people!"
As the ship passed over the hospital, Mary and Shuji had made a makeshift stretcher.
Riku jumped off the ship and landed on the roof only to gradually descend by jumping from level to level. He was going to warn the hospital staff that his father was coming so that they could prepare for him.
Yuki used her powers to deliver Shuji and Mary with Shinji on the stretcher down to the ground. Shuji and Mary kept Shinji's body stable as they were lowered to the ground by the powerful winds. Yuki then turned to Kai and kissed him on the forehead.
"Stay safe and wait for us." She said before jumping off. Kai nodded and returned to the helm to find a place to land the ship.
Hours had passed since the Dream Glider had found a port. The night had firmly taken over the sky with the moon above and the stars twinkling in its company.
A figure came from the shadows and looked up at the Dream Glider, swaying gently in the water. It was amongst other ships but the figure that was obviously female saw that it was relatively isolated which suited its purpose. And besides, no one usually bothered in other people's business especially if their business involved sky ships that looked suspicious.
The figure stepped into the night light, exposing herself. She had short, blue hair and a relatively thin frame. Behind her, she carried a rectangular metal that was wider than her body and almost taller than her. She smiled to herself as she gazed at the ship.
"Alright," she said as she cracked her knuckles. "Prepare yourselves Otakes because Kiko is coming for ya."