The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.
As daylight streams into the box, Alicath cast blindness and the worker cried out in pain.
Horrified I leapt from the box and restrained the worker, muffling his cries with my hand. A pissed-off Geoff leapt out of his box and sprinted over, pressing his hilt against the side of the worker’s head. Geoff then pressed the button.
A flame leapt from the hilt of Geoff’s sword, and the worker crumpled.
I looked at Geoff in horror. He grimaced and discarded the worker’s body into the water. The corpse hit the water with a conspicuous splash. Alicath and I dove back into our box, this time getting the lid closed, and Geoff did the same. Rapid footsteps could be heard outside the box and shortly after, the boxes start being handled. By Eddie’s reckoning for thirty minutes the boxes were moving, shifting, and bumping around, although it may have been longer. Eventually though the movement stopped and the background noise settled down to a low hum.
I listened intently but couldn’t tell whether any guards were around, nor even if my companions were nearby. I made a bird call, ‘Caw Caw’, and from a box not five feet away Geoff slightly raised his box’s lid and peered around.
‘All clear,’ he said.
The room was darkly lit and full of boxes piled on top of one another, however there were no signs of guard activity nearby. We walked to the room’s entrance and found a corridor leading off left and right. Turning right, at the end of the corridor was a thick wooden door.
Eddie listened closely but could hear nothing.
Geoff, impatient, and evidently still grumpy at being stuck in a box for so long, gave the door an almighty kick, utterly destroying the previous silence.
The door burst, splintering into the walkway behind, landing with a final thud. Alicath looked around nervously. ‘I was just going to use the bloody handle,’ I said with exasperation.
Geoff grinned with a shrug.
We carried on and saw, in the distance, a walkway crossing ours with occasional Giff troops passing back and forth. Thankfully they seemed undisturbed by Geoff’s antics. Master Ubi gestured for us to stop and come together.
He said that he thought he might know a way to bring down the ship, that he needed to access the green crystal. He told us we were likely to find our king at the command centre, and that we’ll shortly need to go our separate ways.
Going forward we marched with Ubi in front, Alicath and myself acting holding Geoff and Eddie prisoner, we entered the guarded passageway. The passing Giff troops paid little attention to our cohort and we soon reached a large room. In the room were a handful of guards and workers, and at the end was a strange contraption with rising platforms on one side and falling ones on the other with no end in sight. Workers stepped on and off the platforms out of and into the corridors on each floor.
Ubi marched towards a map on one of the walls, etched into polished metal. The map was a cross-section of the ship. He pointed out our location. “This map doesn’t show it, as it has been in place since before the Giff modified the ship, but this,” he said pointing, “is where I believe the crystal is. This, here, is where the command centre is, gesturing to a room on the 225th floor.”
A couple of guards stared at Ubi confused, but Ubi looks back authoritatively and they awkwardly averted their gaze. “T’ fuckin’ pansies look scared. S’almost asiv yr’ their commander,” Geoff accused, eying Ubi with suspicion. A couple of the guards looked agitated.
“Have some damn respect,” Alicath shouted at Geoff, slapping him hard, across the face. The guards look at each other and visibly relax in the assumption that we are on official business.
Alicath turned to face Ubi questioningly and cast zone of truth. He asked what Ubi’s plans were. Ubi explained that he really was there to somehow destroy the ship. He said he had never seen anything like the magical modifications that had been made. Alicath asked if, once Ubi left if we would ever see him again. Ubi’s face was solemn as he said that in all likelihood we would not. It was a suicide mission, but he felt that he had to try. Alicath, upset, hugged Ubi.
A couple of guards raised their eyebrows, thinking to themselves that management’s really had taken a turn for the worst lately. Ubi slapped Alicath, telling him he should know better.
The guards, again satisfied, went back about their business. Ubi gave Alicath an apologetic look and wished us good fortune. With this, Ubi departed, stepping onto the rising platforms and rising out of sight.
I suggested splitting up so we could try the jail and the command centre to look for our king. Eddie however disagreed and said we stand more of a chance if we go together to the command centre, as Ubi said. Alicath and Geoff agreed with Eddie, and we too jumped onto the rising platforms.
Floor after floor went by, 119, 120, 121. At 225, we stepped off and into the corridor. There was something different about our surroundings, it was much more stylised than the sterile metal aesthetic below. A pair of ornate metal doors lay ahead but in front of them stood two hulking Giff guards in elaborate armour. “Who goes there?” asked one of the guards. There was a long pause. Eddie cautiously let his hand fall to his sword. One of the guards stepped forward menacingly. Alicath glanced nervously at Geoff, silently charming the closer of the two guards. I took the initiative and stepped forward, angrily glaring eye-to-eye, too close for the charmed guard’s comfort.
“I think you’ll find that’s above your pay grade,” I said coldly. The guard shifted uncomfortably, and the other guard glowered at him for acting so rudely.
“My apologies Ma’am,” he said. “Right you are Ma’am, and apologies again,” he said as he held the door open, wincing in embarrassment.
Beyond was a large pair of frosted glass doors, which Alicath walked up to. He attempted to ascertain what lay beyond but stumbled and knocked into them, leaving them swinging.
A deep Giff voice booms from the room beyond,
Written by Chloe Wakefield
Artwork by Jess Butcher – www.friendlyurchin.com
Edited by Aaron Surnaym
Next: Finale (Coming Soon!)