Previous Chapter - Seas the Day
They had been sailing for a little over an hour now. Lowindel had long since vanished over the horizon, but the clear skies made for beautiful sailing weather. This didn't help Hino's mood however, as he had been seasick from his first stepp off the dock. "Wow, I guess motion sickness really does affect all Dragon Slayers..." Isa muttered from a observing, but safe distance.
Reed was laying down on his seat on the side of the boat with his toque covering over his eyes. "Yea kinda makes us want to regret taking a flame like him along with us." Reed said tiredly.
"Tch, he's got some nerve keeping us waiting over a stupid fear of boats." Esca said, pretty irritated from before.
Spirit was hanging over the side of the boat next to Kana looking into the ocean. "Wow Bantia has some tasty looking fish!" He said excitedly watching the fish swim waiting for one to jump out close to him. Kana who wasn't even paying attention, looked on towards the ocean opposite of Isa with a slightly angry look on her face.
"Sorry to interrupt." The pilot interrupted. "But we'll be needing to make a stopover at Histass. This rig can only carry so much fuel, so we're going to be taking a lunch break pretty soon.
"There, see? You just need to hang in there a little longer Hino." Isa said, trying to sound encouraging.
"I think I left my stomach back at the docs." Hino replied noxiously.
"Hey old man." Esca called out to the pilot a little rudely. "How long have you been sailing the waters?"
He grumbled something at first, figuring that there was no point in correcting her. Besides, She wasn't too far off base. "Been a sailor for most of my life. Started as a fishermen, then moved up to merchant sailing. Boy that was a boring few years. After a while I took a shot a passenger ships, but I barely lasted a month there." Isa began to giggle, noticing that their Capitan had suddenly become very talkative. "Been working with the Council for near over a decade now though, so you could say I know my way around."
"Really? So then you must know about the Island of Darkness then?" Esca asked curiously getting everyone attention.
He stood there silently for a moment as he steered the boat. "Sure I do, but why don't I tell you about after we reach our side stop." He informed them which made everyone go back to what they were doing.
Another hour, and several instances of Hino diving for the railing to vomit, the boat arrived at Histass and had made port. The others had just cleared the port when their pilot arrived abd began to explain. "So... You lot're lookin' to go after the cursed island, are ya?"
"Do we have enough time to hear it?" Esca asked wondering as she sat down to listen.
"Well, we're lined up in a queue for gas. And with all the big ships waiting ahead of us we've probably got a good hour to kill." He said as he took a seat. "Anyways. The Island of Darkness, or so it's called, has been a legend for a good long while now. So the story goes; The island is said to emit an evil aura that affects the mind, instills fear in any who get to close like a fog."
"A Fog?" Spirit questioned in confusion.
"Yes, but no one knows why it happened." He informed them as he stop for drama. "Some say that long ago an ancient evil was sealed there by Bantia's natives, on a secluded island so that future generations wouldn't stumble upon it by accident. Others think some ancient artifact dwells there; an item so evil, that it can suck the life out of the unwary in an instant. Others think it's the home of an ancient sleeping god, and when it awakens, it'll bring madness to all who look upon it."
"So the island is cursed then." Reed jumped to conclusions.
"Sailors are so frightened by it that eventually it became known as the Island of Darkness." He said, sneering at Hino and Kana in an attempt to frighten them. "Or so the rumors go."
"Rumors?" Isa huffed, crossing her arms in annoyance. "You mean everything you just told us was a rumor?"
"A legend." He corrected. "But yeah, superstition has a funny way of embellishing stories." He sounded almost pleased with himself, which they all found rather annoying. "None of it's proven, but you'd be amazed what passes for a good story in a bar."
"Ok..." Isa groaned. "So what do you actually know about it?"
"What do I know?" He repeated, scratching his chin to think. "There was a whaling station set up on the island 'round a decade ago. But the place was plagued with problems from the get go, so it barely lasted a year." Going by his voice, he was far less enthusiastic about the facts. "Nowadays people say they island is constantly covered in fog, but some say that on a clear night you can see phantoms soaring through the air around the island."
"More rumors?" Isa asked disapprovingly, causing the old man to chuckle.
"This is probably what we're hear to investigate. To see if the rumors are true." Kana brought up a good point.
"Hmm you have a good point Kana but I seriously doubt thats true." Esca said.
"Maybe..." Isa rubbed the back of her neck, staring out across the ocean in thought. She had a nagging feeling in the back of her mind, something that she couldn't quite put her finger on. Failing to come up with a reason why, she simply shrugged and said. "Well, I'm getting kind of hungry. Anyone else want to stop for lunch while we're here?"
"Food!" Hino jumped up in excitement. "Alright I'm hungry." He said with a huge smile.
"That sounds like a great idea. Kana, go with Isa and get us something to eat." Esca ordered.
"What? But why me? And why with her?" Kana asked a little upset to be picked to go with her. Esca glared at her that Kana agreed. "Ugh fine." She said anger, walking angrily past Isa towards the town.
Failing to notice that anything was wrong, Isa headed off as well, waving to the others as she left. "We won't be long!" She called, jogging to catch up with the still fuming Kana.
"Damn it. Of all the people i had to get stuck with why did it have to be her." Kana mumbled angrily as she was frustratingly walking a bit ahead from Isa at the town.
"So Kana, what sort of food do you like?" Isa asked obliviously.
Kana ignored Isa and didn't respond to her question as she slowly walked faster then before.
"Kana?" Isa called again. "Did you hear me?"
Kana still ignored her and kept walking a little faster ahead.
"Kana, is something wrong?" Isa questioned, just clueing into the fact that something was bothering her. "Don't go to far off, you might get lost."
Kana finally stopped where she was and stood still for a moment. She turned to her in anger. "Just shut up and leave me alone!" She snapped shouting at her, she then continued walking.
"Huh?" Isa was stunned, unable to fathom where that outburst had come from. She quickly gathered herself as people began to stair, and ran to catch up with her. "Wait wait, what's wrong honey?"
Kana glanced back with angry eyes. "Just shut up. I cant stand you." Kana said in a serious tone. "I hate you."
Isa stopped again, this time looking a little more hurt by her words. "Why?" She continued to rack her brain for whatever it must have been that she did to offend her, but still no answer came to mind. "What did I do?"
"My reasons are none of your god damn business! Just leave me the hell alone." Kana glared at Isa with her eyes shaded, she then ran away from her leaving her all by herself.
Watching her run away Isa was caught completely off guard. She had no idea what she could have done to annoy Kana so much, especially considering that they seemed to get along so well when they first met. She began to feel her heart ach, but knew that chasing after the girl would probably just worsen her mood. Seeing no good option right now, she thought it best to return to the others and ask for their help. But not before buying lunch from a burger joint she passed by. After all, she didn't want them all mad at her now.
Isa returned after a few minuets, bringing lunch with her. Hino, Spirit and Reed made it into a feeding frenzy for the first few moments, but it didn't take long for anyone to realise that she had returned alone, and in a much more somber mood.
"Isa, whats wrong? And what happened to Kana?" Spirit asked concerning her.
"Yea I thought you went to get lunch together, did something happen?" Hino said with his mouth full of food as he had a hard time trying to swallow.
"She, uh..." Isa began, wondering how exactly to explain. "She ran off..." The others all froze, and Hino began pounding his chest to stop himself from choking. "I think I did something to annoy her, and she ran off into town somewhere."
Esca looked at Isa with serious yet concerning eyes. She stood up and stretched. "Don't worry about it, she'll be fine."
Once Hino was able to swallow his food he looked towards the town with wondering eyes and looked at Isa with eyes that weren't even worried and gave her a big grin that she couldn't resist but feel a little better.
"Alright lets get ready to go now." Esca said packing up her stuff.
"Are you sure we shouldn't go look for her?" Isa asked, glancing back down the street. "She might get lost."
"Yup I'm sure, she's not going to let something like this stop her from doing a mission, and I'm sure she'll be fine she knows her way around." Esca said putting her stuff on the boat. "I should apologize. I thought putting you to together you would be able to talk it out. Guess I was wrong." Esca said not turning around to face her, from her voice she sounded upset.
"Talk it out?" Isa questioned. Apparently whatever she'd done was noticed by the others, a notion that only seemed to make Isa feel worse. "What did I do to her?"
Esca turned around and walks up to her. "Hey don't worry about it I'm sure everything will be fine when this is all over. Trust me" Esca encouraged her while giving her a big smile.
Isa smiled back, but still couldn't shale the guilt she was feeling. With Kana's reaction, it had to be something more than a typical teenage mood swing, right? SHe began into her lunch with the others, being at a loss as to what else she could do. After all; it wasn't too big of a town, how far away could she get? "Long as your sure."
Not long after parting ways from Isa, Kana had found a small playground overlooking the ocean on the other side of the town. With nobody else around and her being to annoyed to keep walking around by herself, she figured it a good place to rest. She sat for almost ten minutes, kicking the stones about beneath her feet and thinking about what had just happened. "Isa, how could you be so cruel to her? People like you are who I can't stand the most." She mumbled to herself, jumping to her feet again. Unfortunately, her brooding provided no satisfying answers for her, and she decided it was time to go back once that began to annoy her more. "Well, I cant stay here thinking about it, I should get back to the others."
She ran back threw the town on her way back to the port. She remembered every turn she made so it didn't take her long to get back to the port. She managed to find where her teammates were and ran towards them. "Hey guys sorry I've kept you waiting." She said in a gloomy tone.
No one responded until Hino got up from laying down on the ground. "Kana what took you so long. Bad timing to go site seeing." He said to her.
Kana ignored Hino's and looked around. "Where is she at?" Kana asked the others not purposely avoiding saying Isa's name.
Esca who was on the boat getting things ready along with the pilot stepped off for a break. "She's over there." She said pointing to the side towards a cliff with Isa sitting there gazing out of the ocean. "She's been there after lunch, thinking about what happened in town." Esca informed her.
Reed was laying down on the ground as well and lifted up his toque off of his eyes to see Kana. "What did you do in there?" He asks wondering if she'll answer him.
"Hmph." Kana hummed turning her head opposite of Reed fast to avoid his question "None of your business." She says as walks onto the boat. "Let's just get going already." Kana sat down on the seats attached to the side of the boat.
"Geez." Reed complained as he got up, he was used to her attitude and was nothing new. "I guess I'll go get Isa-." He said turning towards to go get her when Hino walked up interrupting him.
"HEY ISA WE'RE LEAVING NOW LETS GO!" Hino shouted waving towards her with a huge grin on his face. "YOU BETTER GET HERE QUICK OR WE'LL LEAVE WITHOUT YOU!" He said obviously joking. Esca grinned and walked onto the boat with Spirit and Reed following.
Isa jumped slightly, apparently a little lost in thought when Hino called to her, but hopped up and returned in seconds. "Hey Kana, you're..." She stopped herself, trying her best not to sound pushy or annoying. "You're back."
Kana glanced at her then turned her head in the opposite direction while closing her eyes. "Hmph."
"Ok guys have fun, I'll just be here waiting for you when get bA-" Hino said as an attempt to not get back on the boat when he was interrupted by being pulled in by Esca. "Gah." Hino monned with a sickly face.
"Ahh poor Hino, back on the looks like more motion sick for you." Spirit said comforting him.
"So, you lot ready to head off then?" The sailor asked, wiping the last of his lunch from his beard.
"Yup lets get going." Esca said cheerfully
The pilot turned to the wheel. "Then lets go! Off to the Island of Darkness!" He cheered trying to lift everyones spirits and headed off.
"So pilot I'm curious, why is everyone so afraid of going to the island?" Spirit asked sitting next to the sickly Hino.
As the pilot was fused on where he was going he told them. "Their afraid for two reasons, one being the legend of the island and the other is the resent sighting of ghosts." The pilot said dramatically.
"Ghosts?" Reed wondered lifting up his toque off his eyes.
"Phantoms, I guess you can call them. You see. It wasn't that long ago when the island was just an abandoned island with dying trees and its been that way for decades, so there wasn't anything worth investigating." He explained, pausing for dramatic effect. "However that changed when the island was covered by a thick black fog. It surprised us all so a group of sailors went to investigate, not even five minutes past when they came running back terrified. According to them phantom's have claimed the island as their home, now there isn't a single sailor who wants to go to the island for fear of the phantoms." The pilot explained as he turned around to see Spirit. clinging onto Hino shaking.
"Have you ever seen it yourself?" Isa asked questioningly.
"Me? No i haven't. I have seen the island from far away but never the phantoms inside so I'm afraid i won't be useful for you guys." He sadly.
"Oh thats alright we can take care of it ourselves." Esca said with a grin.
"Good thing too..." Isa mumbled. She'd been silent ever since they had departed, trying not to provoke Kana further, so when she said something the others took notice. She slowly raised her hand and pointed at the horizon, where a black patch of clouds was visible in the far distance. "I think we're here."
Everyone looks over towards the front and gazes at the black patch of clouds. As they drew closer they were able to see it in clear view. "Thats it?" Reed questioned as he got off his seat.
"You cant even see the island threw that black fog thing." Spirit said worriedly. They all gazed at the island that was completely covered in a black fog-like cloud dome that the island was unable to be seen threw the the cloud.
"A-are you sure this is it old man?" Esca said surprisingly with her jaw wide open.
"Yea thats correct. Not to long ago the island was as clear as day but now its impossible to see it even if were right next to it." The pilot explained.
"Thats crazy!" Reed mumbled loud enough to be heard by everyone. "Do you think it'll be just as dark as it is inside?" He asked curiously.
"Only one way to find out, lets go" Kana declared enthusiastically with intense eyes.
"I don't think i can make it…..i just want get off this boat, muh." Hino whines sickly trying to hold back his puck.
"Hehe. Alright lets go old man take us there, we're heading to that island." Esca said confidently with a excited grin.
"YEAH!" Everyone shouted at the same time except for Hino.
"Hahaha I swear I ain't never seen such hardy people like you guys. Alright then lets get going." He said and stepped on the gas so they can get there faster.
Meanwhile within the black cloud in the distance, a dark figure stood on a partially crumbling building overlooking the ocean. He watched a boat heading towards the island though a pair of binoculars, trying to take note of it's occupants. "An enemy." The man says in a dull tone like he didn't care. He lets out a sigh, "Guess I should tell the others." He muttered to himself as he walked back and vanished into the shadowy fog.
Next Chapter - Nightmare in the Mist