Previous Chapter - Strangers on a Train
Early the next morning, the group from Warrior Angel followed Isa into the heart of Lowindell. After arriving in the relatively small port of Merow City the day before, the capital of Bantia proved to be much more bustling by comparison. After a quick stop for something to eat, nothing more than a breakfast burrito and a pack of crackers, they headed south towards the pear and, hopefully, their rout to the so called Island of Darkness.
Rounding another corner, a line of shipping docks sprawled out before them. Each had their own crew of workers, going back and forth between the ships and the warehouses with armloads of cargo. "Each warehouse is owned by a private shipping company." Isa explained. "This'll probably be our best shot at finding a faire."
"Sounds like a plan." Esca said with an excitement on her face.
Reed looked around the docks. "Man i knew there'd be a lot of people here but theres a scorch of them. We'll be lucky not to get lost in the crowd."
"Well what do you expect this is the capital of the country. But I'm more concerned about the sailors, are they even gonna to take us to that island? After what happened Merow City I have my doubts." Spirit informed them.
"Yea yea who cares lets get this adventure started! I'm all charged up!" Hino said anxious to get to the island. "Come on when are we gonna get there?" He asks in excitement. Kana walked up behind him not saying a word but didn't look upset at all.
"Where should we start?" Isa wondered aloud, looking up at the flags hanging above each warehouse door. After a moment however, she shrugged ant turned back to the others. "Sorry, commerce isn't really my thing..."
"Hahaha don't worry isa we can handle this." Esca said to cheer her up.
Hino and Kana huddled together and Kana whispered to his ear. "So she can get us on a train but cant find a way to get on a boat? Some guide we have."
"Who knows she might be useful for something around here." He mumbled back to her.
"Guys quit being rude!" Esca yelled at them for hearing their conversation. "Now, First thing we should do is find a boat. We each will take one of these warehouses to see how can give us a lift. We'll also need to know the price of how it'll cost, report back here when we're done. Lets move." Everyone began to run to a different warehouse.
After awhile Esca, Isa, Spirit, Hino and Kana all arrived back. "Well?" Esca asked wondering if they had any luck.
"No, the guy said he won't take us there no matter much money we pay him." Spirit responded.
"Mine to." Kana included.
"I see. Same with ours." Esca told them, but was reminded their missing one. "Wait wheres Reed?" She asked looking around.
"Hey!" Reed called to them as he ran towards them. "I found a guy who said he'll give us a ride to somewhere close to the island for 900,000 Jewels." He said excitedly.
"900,000!?" everyone yelled at once for the extremely high price. "Reed thats way to much even if we combined all our jewels." Esca informed him.
"But we don't have any other way to get there." Spirit mentioned.
"Guess words gotten around. They're all really afraid of this place..." Isa mumbled, racking her brain for another plan. Unfortunately, this was it. Nothing else was coming to mind. "Sorry guys, I thought at least someone would consider taking us there..."
"Theres no reason to apologize Isa this won't stop us we'll get to that island some how." Esca said trying to cheer her up.
"Why don't we just swim there?" Hino asked. He was then hit in the head.
"You idiot! How'd you make it this far without a functioning brain, you overgrown air head!" Kana yelled at him in anger which got the attention of everyone around them attention.
"Well i don't see you coming up with anything better, you ugly witch!" He yelled back. The 2 butted heads with angry face growling at each other. They began fighting each other again with a dust cloud surrounding them with their arms and faces popping out. The fighting has got even more attention which grew to be a little embarrassing.
"Would you two knock it off!" Esca yelled at them.
Isa began to giggle at them again, but quickly ducked down as a group of people rounded the nearest corner. "Uh-oh..." She mumbled under her breath. The others turned to investigate, finding a small squad of Rune Knights standing at the far end of the dock. It didn't look like they had even noticed them, but Isa still looked nervous. "Not today."
Esca turned to Isa. "Hey, is something wrong?" She asks in concern.
Isa waited a moment, apparently working up the courage to explain. "Remember how I said I use to work at the council?" Most of them nodded, but Hino simply shrugged. "Well... I didn't exactly leave on the best of terms. My old boss kind of holds a grudge, and those guys over there all work under her division."
Esca examined them. "How do you know they work for her?" She asked.
"See the stripe on their cloaks? Blue is for the information division. The same one I worked in." Isa pointing to one of the solders with their back turned to them. "They might be odd duty though, we didn't normally see field work. And even then we normally traveled with another division." She began to scratch her head, slowing looking down at the ground. "Which means..."
As she thought, a pair of arms wrapped around Isa tummy from behind and someone yelled. "SURPRISE!" Isa jumped almost a foot into the air in surprise, but failed to shake from the persons grasp.
Everyone else was also surprised by the persons sudden appearance. Isa spun around, and they found a woman with short blue hair and a news cap clinging to her back. It took a second for Isa to get a good look at her, but when she did she let out a huge sigh. "Quin, can you let me go please?"
"Nope." She said cheerfully, sliding her head up to rest in Isa's shoulder. "We haven't seen each other in so long, I just want to hold you."
"C'mon, cut it out." Isa began pushing harder, and slowly but surly the woman backed away. "What're you doing?"
"Don't be like that..." Quin huffed, puffing out her cheeks and crossing her arms in annoyance. "You never visit, you never call, we never hear from you. They do have phones out where you live, right?"
"Well, yeah... But..." Isa stuttered.
Everyone stood there in confusion. "So is this person the one you were telling us about a moment ago Isa?" Esca asked.
"She sure knows how to make bursting entrance." Reed said recovering from the surprise.
Isa shook her head. "No, she..."
"The name's Quin Pinkten." She interrupted, throwing her arm around Isa's shoulders. "Me and my adorable friend here use to be lovers."
Isa yanked herself away instantly, her face flushing red. "Quin!"
"Ok fine." She shrugged. "We where coworkers, fallen into a forbidden love..."
"Stop it!" Isa screamed. Quin giggled a little, even as some people began to stair at them. "We use to work together at the council and... She had a crush on me for a while."
"Has." Quin corrected. "I still love ya."
"O...oh is that so? We... well its nice to meet you." Esca said feeling completely awkward about the situation.
Everyone but Esca grouped together and started mumbling to each other. "Is it just me or is this person a total weirdo?" Spirit whispered to them.
"I don't know about you guys but she's an exact copy Annabell back at the guild." Kana whispered as well.
"Beautiful, weird, and an fiery, uncontrollable obsession of girls. Yup sounds like our Annabell." Reed whispered responding to Kana.
"Wait hang on who is she again?" Hino whispered complexly clueless about whats happening around him.
"The names Quin." She said, having snuck into their little huddle between Hino and the others. "And don't worry, I'm into guys too."
"AH!" Everyone that were huddled together shouted at once as they jump backwards in surprise. "Geez this girl gets around." Kana said recovering from her surprise.
"Quin, what're you doing here?" Isa sighed, having worked the embracement away. "Don't you have work to be doing?"
"Harsh..." Quin moaned, but the happy smile remained on her face the whole time. "Well, if you must know; we got a few recruits in this week, and because I got the day off today, I figured I'd show'em around a little." Her voice lost the teasing tone she'd had from the moment she'd showed up, and she tat down on a nearby barrel to rest. "What about you? Never thought I'd catch you in the capital again... espeshily this close to HQ..."
"It's..." Isa paused. She appreciated that Quin had toned it down a little, but still had no idea where to begin. "It's kind of a long story."
"We're on a mission to head to on of the countries islands. Apparently no one in Merow City would give up a ride there. So Isa thought it would be best to head to here and try and find a ride, but so far its the same here as it is in Merow City, no one will give us a ride and if they did we cant afford it." Esca intervened and explained after having relaxed now that the situation has changed.
"Really?" Quin turned her head to the side. "Where're you trying to go?"
"Remember that job the mariners' guilds where after everyone to look into?" Isa explained, taking a step back to ensure Quin wouldn't have another chance to latch onto her again. "Well, apparently they're getting desperate. Because they've started advertising to guilds from out of the country."
"You mean that whole shtick about the island of misfortune?" Quin snickered as she spoke, indicating that she didn't really believe them. The stone faces of the others quickly changed her tune though, and she rested her hands on her hips. "But we looked into that, there's nothing there but an old whaling station. Sure, it looked creepy as hell, but that's a far cry from actually being haunted."
"Well the job says to investigate that island. Also I highly doubt the island being creepy would make everyone scared for their lives to takes us there. There must be something on that island and we need a way to get there." Esca told Quin.
"Can't you just pay some... I guess that's what your doing here." She hummed, crossing her arms to think. She glanced done the pear at the rune knights she had accompanied, none of which seemed to have noticed them still. "I could give you a boat, if you wanted."
Everyone was shocked by what she said. "Wait your serious? You have boat we can use?" Reed asked in amazement.
"You can't do that." Isa blurted. "Payla would skin you alive if she heard you where helping me with something."
"Well I'm not going to tell her, are you?" Quin said with a grin. "Besides, we've got dozens of ships all over the country. They're not going to miss one boat for... What? a few days?"
Isa huffed, but a small smile began forming on her face. "Quin..."
"Besides, we loan small boats out to civilians in case of emergency all the time. All you need to do is sign a few forms." Despite the apparently paroles situation she ws putting herself into, Quin continued to smile. "C'mon, what's the worst that could happen?"
"Unemployment." Isa muttered under her breath.
Esca loos at the in confusion then looks back at Quin "Well in that case we will accept your offer thank you." Esca said with a smile.
"Great." Quin chirped. "C'mon, let's get going then." She began to lead the others away, but stopped abruptly and reached out to Isa. "Oh yeah, one more thing before we go." A small paper flew out of Isa's pocket, shaped roughly in the visage of a human, and into Quin's hand. "Let's have a look."
Isa grabbed at her waist, her face slowly going pail as she looked bat up at Quin. "You didn't..."
"Purple, full covered, bland..." She said, apparently reading off her paper doll. "Least sexy underwear ever."
Isa instantly flared red, and she sprinted after Quin. "Get back here! After all this time I can't believe you still..." Her voice quickly faded into the distance as she gave chase, leaving the team from Warrior Angel behind.
Just as the others thought they'd have to find their own way, a piece of paper Quin had dropped landed at Kana's feet, and Quin herself appeared in a bright flash of light. "So, ready to go?"
The Warrior Angel team were dumbfounded by what had happened. Kana jumped by the sudden appearance Quin made. As she stood there beside her Kana blushed and covered her skirt and looked at her with an angry face, warning her not try anything like that on her.
"Alright lets get going!" Hino shouted unaware of whats happening around him. Everyone follows after him, recovering from what happened.
After a short walk, the group had made it out of the port and arrived at the Magic Council. They'd met up with Isa along the way, apparently still fuming over Quin's shenanigans, but she said nothing else and simply fell to the back of the group. Just as the aried at the gate, Quin stopped them all before allowing them through. "So Isa, just so you know. "Payla is still-."
"I know." Isa quickly interrupted. She'd been working on stuffing her hair up into her cap, and just finished pulling her hood up over her head. Quin huffed, beginning to regret her prank from before, but entered a code at a terminal and the door slowly began to swing open.
As the doors opened and everyone walked inside, Team Warrior Angel looked around in amazement. "Whoa this is the Magic Council in the Bantia country? It looks way different then the one back home." Esca said in amazement
"Isa why are you like that?" Spirit asked.
"Just... Trying to blend in." She mumbled.
Quin snorted. "What she mans is she's trying to not get me in trouble." She explained, trudging ahead and waving for the others to follow. "I'll catch hell from my boss if she's here. And if you've known Isa for more than five seconds, you know she's to nice for her own good." She spun around and began walking backwords, and a smile cut through her serious tone. "That's why I love her."
As everyone followed her Hino had a confusion look on his face. "I don't understand whats going on but who cares lets get going!" he shouted and began racing threw the halls.
"Hino do you even know where your going!" Spirit called out to him. Hino realized he had no idea and ran back.
Quin led them all through a courtyard and eventually into one of the many buildings with the crest of the Magic Council hanging above the door. the inside looked like a library, though it was far too loud to be considered one. Only a handful of people occupied the massive room, but Quin still made a quick pace with Isa in tow. She brought them up to a magic display, and after a few button presses a paper printed out of the table below. "Alright, so you guys just need to fill this out and your set. You know; liability, paper trail, bureaucracy. All that good stuff. Then we just need Isa here to sign for it."
"I can handle the paperwork, but i don't get why does Isa have to sign it?" Esca asked while everyone was looking around the room.
"Well, you guys are technically tourists here, even if your here for work. We can only loan out these boats to civilians, otherwise we'd have huge liability issues if someone went and hurt themselves doing something stupid."" She explained, glancing back at Isa. "I think that was your idea way back when, right cutie?"
"Uh-huh." Isa nodded, trying to make as little noise as possible.
"Well I guess that makes sense." She said while writing on the papers.
It was a somewhat slow process, as each section seemed to require the same information but in a different order. How many people would be on board, where they where going, how long they planned to be. After a while it all seemed fairly mundane, considering all they where doing was borrowing a boat. Quin took the paper once most of the sections had been filled out and handed it to Isa. "Alright, you're up."
Isa nodded and approached the stand, but just as she picked up the pen a smooth yet authoritative voice flowed over them. "Ms. Pinkten? Is that you?"
Isa froze, and Quin swore under her breath. "Hey Zephyr." An elderly man with a thick mustache and stone cold eyes approached, wearing a long red robe and tall hat. "I mean, Chairmen." Quin quickly corrected herself.
"Was this not your day off?" He inquired, not an ounce of emotion displayed on his face. He glanced back at the others, listening to the sound of Isa hastily filling out her section of the form. "What is it you're up to?"
"Just, um... You know..." Quin stuttered, glancing away. "Uh... Helping some tourists. Right guys?"
Hino walked up. "Yea she's us get to the island of dar-." He tried to say until he was interrupted by his teammates pounding him into the ground.
"I don't think you should do the talking bone head." Kana said with an angry expression on her face.
Esca walked up to him. "Hi I'm Esca Merle from the Warrior Angel guild. We're here cause we received a job request telling us to head to your country to investigate an island called the Island of Darkness. We tried many ways to get to that island but for some reason no one would take us. And if we they did we couldn't afford it. So our guide thought it would be best to try to the capital but turns out we didn't have any luck here either, thats where we met Quin who offered to give us a boat to head to the island. I promise we will not cause trouble for your country and we ask for approval chairman." Esca informed with a cheerful grin and tried to be as respectful as possible.
"My, that was a long explanation." He sounded almost cheerful, despite his statue like expression. "And your guild, she..." Zephyr paused a moment to glance at Isa, who shivered and began writing faster despite facing away from him. "She is the one in the hood, is she not?"
Esca grew worried that he might recognize her. "Uhhh what do you mean?" She asked with sweat dripping down for being worried.
Zephyr didn't answer immediately, keeping his eyes fixed on Isa. "Tell me miss, how is your sister Jaina fairing?"
"Great, she..." Isa spun away, trying to hide her face. "I mean she, umm..." She stayed facing away for a while, but could feel Zephyr's icy gaze upon her. Slowly, Isa glanced back at Zephyr, realising that there was no point in trying to hid anymore. "Oops..."
Esca let out a sigh. "Well now you know, we gotten help from Blazing Soul and she volunteered to be our guide. I hope this won't be a problem." Esca asked a bit relieved that she didn't have to hide it but was still worried for his answer.
"I don't see why it would be." He said quickly.
Everyone seemed taken by surprise by this, and a dead silence fell over them all. "R-really?" Isa stuttered, exchanging glances with Quin. "You don't mind that I'm here?"
"I do not." His answer was quick, but still nobody looked convinced. Realising that he'd need to explain himself a little more, Zephyr gave a long sigh and said. "You had an outstanding record, always acted in what you felt to be in the best interests of everyone. And, though the conditions where a little unordinary, left your post of your own accord." Isa began to blush part way through his explanation, but still listened none the less. "I see no reason to have you removed from the premises."
Isa fell silent, apparently still amazed that she wasn't about to be kicked out. She felt someone poke her below the rips, and quickly spun around just in tome for Quin to throw herself around her shoulders. "See? We all still love ya." Isa smiled again, And quin peeked around her to look at Zephyr. "And chairman, if you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell-."
"Worry not." He said simply, clasping his hands behind his back and spinning around to leave. "I know better than to bring that down on myself. If Chairmen Payla finds out, it will not have come from my lips."
Reed pated on Isa on the shoulder. "Hey thats great, I was worried for a moment." He said complimenting isa.
"Well if your so worried about this Payla person then we should probably hurry up and leave before anyone else shows up." Esca informed them so they can hurry.
"She's got a point." Quin said, ushering them all towards another exit. Just as the sun hit their eyes, She pushed the form into Isa's chest and took a quick step back. "Isa, you know the drill. Give them the form, they'll give you a boat and a driver. Then you-."
"Y-yeah Quin, I remember..." Isa said quickly.
"Just makin' sure." She took another step back. Apparently it was hard for Quin to see them go already, especially how she'd been clinging to Isa the whole time, but didn't feel it right to say anything. "Oh yeah... And if you see Payla, remember plan R.L.H."
Everyone runs outside towards the boat. "R.L.H?" Kana thought in her head as she ran by.
As Esca walked past Quin she put her hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry we'll have her back by bed, enough time to join you in bed." She winked as she ran off. Quin began to giggle, but there was no mischief in her voice. She waved after them again, then departed herself as they headed to the peer.
A short while later, the group had made it to the Council docks and had been issued a boat. It was around the size of a cabin cruiser, but looked just perfict for what they needed to do. As they waited for a pilot, Isa leaned back on the railing and said. "Well, that went smoother than I thought it would."
"Hmm looks like we have all the supplies ready guess we should wait for the sailer now." Reed said looking into the boat.
"So then wheres is the old guy?" Spirit said scanning the area. As Kana looks around to not saying anything.
"If you mean Zephyr, he won't be coming." Isa corrected. "The Council employs a bunch of sailors, just in case they ever need to head to the islands, or fight at sea. Odds are the one coming with us won't even be a solder."
A man approached the group. "Greetings, ill be your sailor for this quest. Now if your all ready lets get going." The sailor said. Everyone was about to hope on the boat until Kana looked back and noticed Hino standing on the doc not moving.
"Hey Hino aren't you coming?" Reed asked. Hino stood there not saying anything, he turned around in the hopes of being unnoticed.
"Good grief." Kana said annoyed.
Kana and Reed jumped at Hino while Hino grabbed onto a sturdy poll near by. "NOOOOOOOOO! FORGET IT IM NOT GOING AND YOU CANT MAKE ME!" Hino Shouted as Kana and Reed tried to yank him by the legs so he'll let go of the poll.
"We don't have time for this you stupid lizard, just get on the boat now" Kana said in annoyance as she tugged on him
"How can you go from blazing warrior to a coward just by looking at a boat anyways?" Reed questions as he tried to pull him to.
As their trying to pull Hino away from the pole, all 3 of them suddenly froze suddenly not moving a muscle and started trembling with Esca right behind them with a furious face and red glowing eyes right behind them.
Next Chapter - Legend of the Island