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carrionjackal

[Antigone Isle] Raid: Into the De-Magicked Zone

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Icy blue eyes stared out the open window, observing each little movement of the port that lay before him. The Port Kyros represented a significant foothold for Countess Raveena. There was talk of expansion, talk of shipping, talk of many things. Since her time though, Port Kyros had been reborn. The city was brought back to life, and all facets seemed to be taking off again. Trade, surely, was always stable but it was growing at a long since seen rate. Art, craftsmanship, even construction had taken off with the influx of new life and power. One could say what they might of a woman at the helm in government, but Raveena seemed to be what the port city needed. The people cheered for her, and the economy was flourishing. Hell she had even gotten Grigor to sign on for a spell. He was not one for all the fluff and frill of a renaissance, nor did politics particularly concern him. Currency was the only thing that really held his attentions, and currently Raveena commanded a great deal of currency. 

However, it would take more than just currency to keep him on retainer. He could not fulfill his duties unless he had samples of technology to study and from which to build. His own notes and research had been lost through the long years, and while a genius in his own right, he could not remember every circuit diagram his company had ever produced. His specialty was biology and as a surgeon. Machinery was easy enough for him to understand, but he could not pull it out of the very ether as he could cellular structure and anatomy. They would need to procure samples, blueprints, diagrams. This was one of the few times Grigor had to bow out; it was not a type of 'hands on' with which he was at all familiar. However, Raveena had assured him that she had a plan already in the works. He merely need wait for word from her. His needs would be taken care of in all due time.

He let his arms uncross from behind his back as he turned away from the beautiful scene before him and back into the study he had been calling his 'office.' It was a considerably different space than he was used to, but it was sufficient. The fine woods and renaissance architecture were a bit indulgent for his taste, but it was merely temporary. He would not even start on the artwork... as his eyes scanned the room he noted the time on a nearby clock. It was very nearly that time, or rather, very nearly time that he take his leave. His appointment would have him gathering down port-side. One of the cargo vessels, the Proud Lion, was due to take a load of goods to the isolated Antigone Isle. It was imperative that he make his appointment prior to the ship leaving. Raveena had informed him that each member of this assignment had been informed to meet at the docks prior to sunset. The Proud Lion stood beside. Grigor simply hoped that all would be accounted for and they could be on their way. Should they already strike a hiccup in their plans...

Edited by carrionjackal

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The cold air weaved between the folds of her dress as she walked. The apparition wandered down the darkening streets of Port Kyros, with nothing more than the dying sunlight illuminating her delicate features. She was beautiful, but since when were looks not deceiving? The streetlamps cast long flowing shadows that followed her as she walked. A strange place for a strange girl.

The apparition was here to seek what all men did. Purpose. For six decades, she had been running for her life, or rather, her undeath. Treated like a plague bearer, it was understandable that she would jump at the first opportunity to be assimilated into society. Of course, that was what she hoped. Raveena presented an interesting bargain, calling for the crazy, the hungry, the hopeless, the broken, the greedy, and the needy, of which the apparition was still unsure as to which category she fell under. Money? Mortal pleasantries were of no use to her anymore.

She understood that when she took up this contract, she would inevitably have to get her hands dirty. Such was the nature of her work. Whether or not she would stay on after whatever was done was done, would ultimately befall as to how sociable her colleagues were. But due to the company that she was used to associating with, such colleagues would be but a dream to her.

Dainty feet silently drifting upon the creaky surface of the pier, she seemed to emerge from the very sunset as she turned a corner to see Grigor standing several metres away. She approached him slowly, so as not to suddenly alarm him, without appearing too indecisive herself. First impressions count for much. She would extend her hand to shakehis, a rather awkward position for herself, since the top of her head could barely have touched the man’s nose.

“I’ll assume that you’re an employee of the Empress. My name is Reyna Frostbinder and I’m here to do some less than noble work for her.”

When being employed, the apparition valued professionalism over all else. It didn’t matter to her who they were, whether they were straight, gay, homophobic, demonic, suicidal, whatever. As long as they were able to put their differences aside in order to perform, she would respect them sufficiently to work alongside her.

Thoughts returning back to the mission at hand, she knew that the place that they were going to had powerful enchantments that negated the use of magical abilities. Hence, it was quite convenient that magic wasn’t the only art that she was well versed in. While waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive, she would slide a two and a half metre bullwhip out from her belt. Her substitution for magic, as of this moment. She would proceed to twirl the weapon up in her hands, smoothing out its rough surface with her hands held in front of her defensively, in case any of her future crewmates couldn’t resist getting a bit touchy.
 

Spoiler

1: If Grigor decides to shake Reyna's hand, he would find that her body was hollow, feeling only bones and no flesh under her skin.

 

Edited by Frostbinder

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Deep within the oceans of this world and beyond the cosmos in the eldritch voids of unending chaos, lies creatures of unfathomable power. With but a thought they could end all of reality, all of the material plane, and never spare a second thought about it. Only the unpredictability of their alien nature, combined with their apathy and the efforts of their minions to keep them asleep preserve our world. For Riley, these beings of unimaginable strength and fury are her masters, even if they are unaware of her existence.

Something about this world interested her, it made her curious as to how it worked, how it functioned. It was clear this world was special in some way, a way that entertained the more active members of the pantheon, like Nyarlethotep. Why though, she wondered, did they find such enjoyment with these simple and fallible creatures? Such a question demanded an answer, hence her presence in this world now.

Port Kyros, an insignificant city lead by a queen who believed herself part of some grand design. How would she feel if she knew that her ultimate destiny within the grand scale of things was meaningless? Mortals were forever searching for meaning, some kind of sign that told them they were special, that their lives weren't for naught. Such a need for validation could only lead to their downfall, as their arrogance grew more and more daring. One day they will understand perhaps, that all their dreams and aspirations had less value than the breath they used to speak of them.

From the depths of the waters she rose, breaking through the surface and walking onto the beach with ease. The waters were at her command, they heeded her call as easily as one might breathe in air. Looking at all the different people which occupied the area, knowing they all lived their lives in a fragile construct which could shatter at any moment. All that kept it going was the basis that their world was ordinary, and that all they knew was all that was in this world. Instead of opening their eyes to the horrible truth, she came by the barge and awaited the one who hired her to arrive.

Another was here, one of the cold and the dead. Seeing that which has died return to life was not uncommon to the Deep One. Death was not the end, only another beginning for those with the proper knowledge. With a demeanor as cold as the ocean floor, the tentacles upon her scalp draped over her flowing white robe, she did not regard the ice wizard with any kind of greeting. Resting her staff upon the ground, she would wait patiently, knowing their employer would be here soon. Payment meant nothing to her, all she desired was understanding of this world, and why it was allowed to continue existing in this cosmic maelstrom of madness. 

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"What do ya do with a drunken sailor, what do ya do with a drunken sailor, what do ya do with a drunken sailor early in the mornin?"

Issac Graham stumbled down the busy streets of Port Kyros happily crooning the lyrics to the only sea shanty he knew. The port was always busy at this time in the morning, which was why he had booked a hotel room nearest the docks; so that he wouldn't have to worry about being late. But on his way into town the masked man had been drawn into the festivities of a local bar that had just recently opened. Oh, he had tried to remain steadfast, determined in his goal to get to the hotel and get a good nights sleep. But in the face of free drinks and beautiful men and women looking to celebrate being alive, his resolve had crumbled. He'd then spent the evening drinking and fornicating with anyone who was willing; and had found out that Aether could be used as a powerful stimulant to keep going after the first round. Thankfully, none of his partners had insisted he take of his mask. One of them had even found it kind of hot.

Given how drunk he had been, it was a good thing that he has somehow seen fit to fall asleep on the roof of the bar; otherwise the rays of the rising sun would likely not have reached him. Upon opening his eyes and seeing the rising celestial body, he had looked at his watch and panicked as he realized that we was supposed to be at the meeting point in twenty minutes. He had slid down the roof, picked up some hair of the dog from the bar, and headed toward the docks. But the whiskey he had grabbed on his way out wasn't helping like he'd hoped. He needed to wake up, make a good first impression on his employers. There wasn't any time to look for coffee, which left him with only one choice. He loaded up Shooter, mentally transmuted something helpful, and injected himself. An instant later he was running down the street like he was being chased. 

"ShavehisbellywitharustyrazorshavehisbellywitharustyrazorshavehisbellywitharustyrazorEARLYINTHEMORNING!!!"

The alchemist was practically screaming the lyrics to the song as he dodged and weaved through the crowds, avoiding collisions by inches. Soon he reached the port, and weaved through the maze of docks until he found the meeting place. The first thing he noticed was that there were three people already there. The second thing that he noticed was that he was running too fast and would not be able to stop in time to avoid plunging into the sea. Rolling with it, he dove into the water before circling back and climbing onto the pier. Now he stood bent over and panting before his employer. He looked up and gave a friendly salute.

"Issac Graham, at your service... I'm gonna sit down."

Edited by danzilla3

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Sunlight greeted Middy’s face, murky brown eyes squinting at the brightest object in the sky. Squinting is the most his swollen eyes can do for now as his face is slightly out of condition, as if someone could still call this large contorted mass of bruises and cuts a fine face. His body ached all over from yesternight’s debacle. Body spread-eagled on the grimy ground of the docks in Port Kyros, Middy forced himself up, groaning at the effort, and only to be greeted by the sudden airiness of his dire situation. Salty sea breeze caressed his exposed physique as the reality of his starkness is bared naked upon his defenseless mind. Down to his very smallclothes, Middy pondered the raw absurdity of his unguarded situation.

It started with a game of cards, he was winning hard until the other guys suspected him of cheating. But being the benevolent person guy that he is, Middy recalled his mentor's words, "Never judge a person by his appearance." And because of that despite his adversary's rather blatant attempts at outcheating him at his own cheat, Middy never once called them out, justifying to himself that his playmates having worn ill fitted stolen clothing, plundered jewelry, sever lack of manners and the pungent scent of unwashed odor wafting into his wrinkling nose, they are just poor, unfortunate souls and would not stoop so low in order to win for such materialistic gain. But when the final round arrived and all four of them displayed their winning hands and all four of them having the same high value card where there should have one left,  well Middy threw his mentor's "Never judge a person by his appearance" quote out window together with the gaming table. What happened  next was an all out brawl which caught all the patrons in the establishment and while everyone was preoccupied beating the graciousness out of each other, Middy was preoccupied with grabbing on as much money as close as possible and followed the gaming table out of the window.

As he smoothly walked away from the scene of the fight, ignoring the screams of rage and agony, the breaking of wood and windows, and human beings getting thrown out of the bar, Middy met this suspiciously innocent lady who is all alone the street seeming lost and scared. Once more the words returned to Middy's thoughts, "Never judge a person by his appearance!' Despite the ladies dubious frailty and conspicuously frightened act, Middy once more justified that as a man as chivalrous as he is, there is only one option here. Like the true gentleman that he is, Middy offered the lady to escort her home and to protect her from certain unsavory individuals that lurks this place. But as he followed her into that dark alley, his vision was entirely focused on the lady’s back, more like  he scrumptiously swaying behind, when he got jumped by the unsavory individuals from behind. Such irony, Middy would later lament as it turns out the lady was in cahoots with those unsavory individuals as she joined in beating the crap out of poor Middy. Assaulting him was not enough for them, they also took all his belongings, stripped him bare down to his small clothes and finally threw his battered and unconscious body on the docks.

A long sigh escaped his lips. At least his final destination is close enough to the meeting place for his new job. Overnight, his body has healed enough to at least function properly despite the uncomfortable aching. Now for his rather indecent situation. He paused as those dreaded rang for the umpteenth time through his mind, “Never judge a person by his appearance.” Yes, he should just go as he is. It doesn’t matter how he looks outside, it’s the inside that should matter. Ignoring the horrified looks from the people moving out of his way, Middy rendezvoused with his soon to be team in all his barely clothed glory.

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“Why were ports always chilly? Why did the streets near the waterways always smell of rancid fish and shit? Why am I even here? This is utterly fucking boring. A demagiced zone? What nonsense. There is truly never such a thing, as there is always a way to bend the rules, perhaps even break them. Not like I need to break them. It’s not like anyone here poses any sort of danger to me.”

The fae sat lost in thought on a nearby lighting post. He watched two below meet, presumably some soft of A- team designed to go in, do some nasty shit and come out on the other side unscathed. He watched quietly as people began to meet and said nothing only sitting bored with his cheek resting in his palm, elbow against knee.

“Boring, boring… That person is a giant sack of bones, she even smells dead, would it kill her to put some perfume on or something? That is, if it is a her. Maybe it’s a HE who likes to put on a woman enchantment, so he doesn’t scare people, either way TOTALLY not BONEABLE.”

               The fae giggled at his own thoughts before standing and slowly making his way over to the group. He said nothing to them, as, he had no words for any of them aside from the millions of bone puns they would have to put up with for the entire time they worked together. His purple eyes looked droopy and glazed over from lack of excitement.

“Can we get a move on?”

He said impatiently.

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Grigor arrived down at the docks, seemingly before anyone had arrived. He smirked. Already the motley crew that had been assembled was proving to be highly questionable. Raveena, Rae, had assured him of her confidence in the mission, despite his trepidation. Entrusting such a high value mission to rebels and mercenaries did not sit well with him, no matter the assurance.

As he waited, he mused over the potential of the day. The deal he struck with Rae was of vital importance, but even a failure could merit some advancement for their industrial prospects. He just secretly held on to his silent hope. Initially he had been hesitant to mention it to Rae, but in the long run it was better that he remain transparent to ensure the rebirth of his career.

A young lady was first to arrive. He saw her approach from the distance, giving himself a brief inspection. Steel-rimmed glasses were straight, hair tidy, and his military styled jacket of black seemed in pristine condition.

He greeted her with his characteristic dryness, pleasant as it was he was usually brief. "It's a pleasure, I am Dr. Vilanos Grigor. I will serve as a contact for this little stunt." It was not his preference to shake hands, but he would not ruffle any feathers this day. Her touch was chilled, a feeling that caused him to show a subtle facial twitch. Odd, he thought to himself. But, in all honesty it was a group of misfits after all.

Next came the mer-tentacle creature to which Grigor was highly surprised. A 'new' lifeform that he had yet to catalogue. Perhaps she was a new species, or better an ancient species that had been as of yet unstudied. As he considered the possibilities yet more continued to fall in line. The very hyper man that was now soaking wet, a fairy like figure, and of course the token naked vagrant. He winced.

"It appears that the crew is all present. Your trips has been 'charetered' aboard the Proud Lion, meaning the load master will be turning an eye to your presence among the manifest. The ship is to make its weekly supply run to Antigone Isle.

As explained prior, your group is to infiltrate the magic restricted island and collect any enticing data, blueprints, or prototypes to bring back to Kyros. Queen Raveena and I have a growing desire to further the technological industries behind Port Kyros and this mission holds great potential for that cause."

Grigor's eyes panned the group as he continued to speak, evaluating each of the mercenaries that stood before him. The nude vagrant and the junkie seemed to be the least likely candidates, but they were not under his employ.

"You will have until tomorrow night to make your trip back. The Proud Lion will be ready to return to Kyros then. If you miss the ship, then you will be on your own for a way out. Any knowledge of this mission will be disavowed completely, obviously. Unless you have any questions, I suggest you board the ship and prepare to disembark. The journey is typically a couple hours. I advise you come up with a game plan, anticipating their tight control of magic."

Grigor stood calmly, looking to each member, curious of the possible outcomes.

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Robbery for the purpose of advancing a city's own capabilities. Curious how they put so much energy into such schemes, rather than figure out alternative options. It didn't matter to Riley though, as she was merely here as a tool in their convoluted agenda. 

Without saying a word, she turned and left for the ship. She already knew everything she needed to know, and so did not require any further elaboration. 

Upon boarding the ship, many of the sailors would avoid looking upon the Deep One. Most would assume her a bad omen, or just too hideous to truly be desirable enough to look at. The opinions of such lower life forms didn't bother her, as she knew it was all part of their defense mechanism for propagating their reality. Riley was not a natural part of this planet. She was born here, but her people didn't originate from here, but instead somewhere amongst the stars in space. 

How to spend what little time Riley possesses before being tossed into peril? By every means she could likely swim to the island faster than this vessel, but that would risk causing her teammates to think she had abandoned them. For now she would stay put, finding a crate to use as a chair, she kept near the mast, hoping not to have to interact with anyone for too long. 

Riley wasn't what one would consider social, a fact she held with some amount of contempt due to her alien nature. Her home was so far away, yet so easily returned to. There was still more to learn however, so Riley began to watch the different sailors and the other members of her party. Perhaps if she were lucky she would be able to glean something interesting off their behavior, but she wasn't hopeful about it. What she did understand though was that the least clothed member of their group needed to get dressed quickly. 

Sighing softly, the Deep One would stretch, waiting for her compatriots to make it onto the bus.  It was nice outside, and she appreciated the warm sun on her scaly skin.

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Now aboard the Proud Lion and nestled comfortably upon a hammock tied between the corners of two cargo containers, Reyna finally had some time and space to mull over the imminent breach into hostile territory. Even from a great distance away, she could sense the aura that surrounded Antigone Isle gradually sapping away at her strength. Eventually, it would fully deplete her innate mana reserves, unless she chose to morph, under which she would be able to resist its effects for possibly a few minutes at best. This would be a no-spellcasting mission without a doubt.

Her train of thoughts was disrupted by the reptilian lady briefly appearing in front of her, who appeared quite uninterested in her presence, or anyone else’s for that matter. She then proceeded over to the mast and sulked in the dying sunset. In spite of Grigor’s instruction to come up with some sort of “game plan”, Reyna was hesitant to approach her. She came across as the type of person who would rather reflect on how insignificant everything around them was than to appreciate the little signs that everything had in the keeping of balance in the world. Her lack of acknowledgement of anyone else was a warning in itself to Reyna, that she should keep her distance if she wanted to keep her skull attached to her shoulders. And with her magic compromised, this wasn’t the right time to pick an unnecessary fight.

Turning away from her, she assessed her other teammates which she had barely been able to converse with prior to boarding the cargo ship. The plague doctor reminded her of a drug addict. He showed obvious symptoms of hyperactivity, followed by sudden overwhelming exhaustion. It reminded her of a boy who lived in her hometown, Bernard. Most people assumed that he was mentally challenged, but it turned out that he was just addicted to drugs. For the sake of both herself and Issac, she would assume that he was just excited about the mission.

Then there was the… stark naked man. Well, not completely naked, but his choice of clothing was profoundly minimal. She couldn’t even bear to think about him. It made her want to throw up. Dozens of proverbs have spoken about how one shouldn’t be judged for their appearance, but not caring about one’s appearance for that reason was crossing an entirely new line. There were only two types of people who wouldn’t dress up to impress, people who were naïve, or people who simply didn’t care enough. Whichever of the two that Middy was, it took her much effort to convince herself that he might not be so bad.

Then came captain importance. Yes, there would always be that one person who didn’t speak a single word of greeting and would introduce themselves with a complaint. Because obviously their time was so precious, and they had no time in the world to wait for other people to attend to their personal matters. Reyna shook her head and tried to turn herself sideways on the hammock. The mere thought of her colleagues was already giving her a headache. The only half decent man that had given her a semi-decent impression was Grigor, but that was somewhat expected from the pseudo-leader of the group.

As she lay down, trying not to think or doze off at the same time, she stared off into the night sky, which had by now completely snuffed out the sun. Perhaps they could sneak into the island inside a cargo container. It wouldn’t be hard to pull it off at night. Or maybe captain importance would educate them with his elaborate and obviously superior plan.

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Souji made his way aboard the vessel, his eyes tended not to meet others, instead, he looked about to the sky and materials the boat was made of. They seemed to interest him more than the people there. He roamed about the boat for the moment, taking in each way in or way out, or way off he could think of for later use. He might want to catch the whole damn things on fire and swim away giggling. The thought made him happy inside.

Finally, the fae finally caught a glimpse of the sack of bones laying in… well… a sack. He giggled at the thought before procuring a decently long wood stick and made his way quietly over to the tucked in individual if you could call it that. The fae tilted his head, his eyes observing if it was asleep or thinking. How could it think or sleep? It’s bones. He giggled under his breath, taking the lengthy tool for testing in his hand.

He would only think for a moment before he thrust the stick into the woman’s ribs. It was not a gentle trust, it was the type of thrust that a doctor might use during exploratory surgery. It was accurate in nature, designed to test how well the illusion held up when it was prodded. He would prod until she either took the stick from him or threw something at him or both.

“What an interesting… thing. It smells dead, it looks dead. Is it dead? Does it realize that if one were to tie the hammock’s ends together it would literally be a bag of bones.”

 

He giggled wildly the sound holding a slight echo as was common for his race.

“So, sack of bones.”

The fae spoke, how words holding the same wild echo his giggle had.

“Would you be boned to find out that you are literally laying in something that can easily be turned into a sack.”

The fae tilted his head.

“And another thing, how do you bone? Do you spawn other sacks of bones from a splinter of your bone? Maybe you’d also be boned to find out as soon as the magic is sapped from you that you will crumble to pieces because there will be no energy to move your body. You see, living things have muscle tendon, you rely on magic to be alive. Wouldn’t a demagiced zone kill you?”

He tilted his head the other way.

“I am actually more interested in how you bone.”

He giggled again pointing to her.

“If you fall apart when we hit the shore I’ll be sure to collect your parts and put them in a bag for safe keeping. Or, maybe I will make a cup out of your head. I haven’t really decided yet.”

He gave the Lich a malevolent smile before hopping onto the nearest seat to it.

“I feel like an archeologist.”

 

(How many bone joooookes)

 

Edited by Bardic Knowledge

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Issac struggled to pay attention to the man in charge as he explained things that he already knew; making it even harder to pay attention to him. The alchemist had very little tolerance for repetition, and the distinct air of holier-then-thou judgement that he could feel coming from all around him didn't make him inclined to try harder. He was used to being judged by his appearance; which he had to admit was odd. More often than not people saw the vials of Aether he carried with him and paired that with his gregarious behavior to label him as some kind of degenerate drug addict. There was, he supposed, some truth to the notion that he used drugs, but not in the way people thought! Even the stimulant he had injected himself with just a little while ago was more akin to a powerful energy drink; with the boost it provided just as short lived. Alas, used to such things as he was, it still never quite stopped hurting to know people thought of you as a freak. For a brief moment he was glad that his mask gave nothing of his facial expressions away. 

Looking around, Issac thought it somewhat funny that such a unusual group of people deigned to find him strange. At least he had managed to remember to wear clothes to the meeting, unlike one of his allies; and given the rush he had been in this morning it would have been an easy thing to forget! Next was the fish person, or whatever it was that the silent antisocial person of aquatic persuasion called themselves. Given the slight disdain she seemed to hold the rest of them in however; perhaps it was for the best that she chose to keep her opinions to herself. There was the woman who shook the captains hands, whose footsteps didn't sound quite right. She sounded lighter than she should somehow, something that the fae among them felt the need to comment on. Though he tried not to think badly of people, his first impression of the man was, "Prick," and little else. But if he had been assigned to this mission, he would have had to be capable.

When the captain dismissed them, the alchemist made for the hold of the ship; not feeling like sleeping. He found a quiet corner with a clear table and a hanging lamp above it and decided that he would use the time to make some upgrades to his gear he had been meaning to do for a while now. After looking to make sure that his little corner was obscured by the maze of crates in the hold, he reached up and undid the clasps on his mask.

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“Ow!” Reyna cried as a blunt object was forcibly thrust into her torso. She shot up, caught unaware by the sudden assault that had taken place not even five minutes after they had entered hostile waters. Souji would have felt a resistance when he poked his pole at her, caused by the thickness of her clothing and the partial magical barrier of her skin. If he would continue to jab at her, she would push the stick away gently, like how a mother would to an innocent child. His nonsensical babbling would have barely affected her, had he not repeatedly mentioned “bones”.

How could Souji have known? She maintained her composure, however, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I would also prefer if you… Put that away.” She gestured to his stick, which he held on to all too eagerly.

As he continued to babble, it was quite obvious that he knew what she was. He was merely taunting her with his knowledge about it, whether to test for a reaction or simply for his personal amusement. She crossed her arms, leaning back into the hammock, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if bones are your thing, you can feel free to talk about them all you want. It gets lonely here anyways.” Reverse psychology could have an effect. In all honesty, she wanted him to leave, but she knew that asking him to would likely achieve the adverse effect. If it got to it, she could just try to ignore his presence, which wouldn’t be too difficult for her.

Aah, and his funny assumption about the aura’s ability to cease her existence. Magic was like all things, just another tool for the sentient. It was like technology, it had no limits. And it certainly wasn’t bound to itself. There was no such thing as a force field that could disrupt ALL magic, for certain, life itself was a form of magic. So was technology. All of these terms were really nothing more than coined expressions. Even now, new powers were being tapped into, new types of “magic” being discovered every day. The very essence that fueled her undead body was drawn from that of her living one. She, like most other beings, had a life force, although of the unholy type. So unless the citizens of Antigone Isle could be killed by the forcefield that protected them, she knew with certainty that the aura wouldn’t be sufficient to disintegrate her, as Souji had so uncaringly assumed.

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"First things first," Middy muttered as he closed the door to ship's head. Finally embarked on the Proud Lion, his first course of action is to relieve himself. Before he could turn around, something sharp pricked his neck. Amidst the drops of blood tricking down his neck and the beads of perspiration forming on his brow, Middy willed himself to calmly analyze his defenseless situation. With barely minimal clothing and less than minimal equipment, the odds of surviving a fight right now is clearly not in his favor. Shivering in fear for his life, he asked his assailant, "Wh-who are you?"

"The Black Head sends her regards," came the reply, the voice distinctly female.

"The Black Head?" Middy mused. This was not the first time he encountered an agent of that nefarious being who calls herself the Black Head and her company, the Black Spears. Every single job he takes, there is always this agent who will approach him even at the most inopportune moments. However, if that woman is sending someone who can infiltrate this ship filled with powerful individuals, then there's only one possible answer.

"Little Sans, is that you?" he inquired, hoping his guess is correct. He was answered with the sudden loss of the pricking sensation and the sensation of his imminent death. Not daring to face his visitor, Middy continued, "I'm sorry, I can't go back with you." He was answered by the soft rustling of clothes and the feeling of solitude. Without a word, his foster sister left him, the same way he left her and the Black Spears. However, even now, the Black Head is still monitoring his activities, taking keen interest in all his undertakings. Shaking himself free of this thoughts, he finally turned around to finish his business only to find a large parcel, hastily wrapped with a letter addressed to him. Like child unwrapped his birthday present, Middy eagerly opened the envelope and began to read-
"Middy please be a dear and don't embarrass my name any further. While being confident is fine, please be decent enough to wear clothes in public. I have high hopes for this little run of yours. If you do succeed, you auntie will reward you with a big smooch.
Love lots, your Auntie, the Black Head
P.S. I was running low on funds so I sent a few goons to borrow money from you. I did not expect them to be so rough."

-and with unbridled fury, he ripped the letter to shreds then flushed it down the drain. A defeated sigh escaped his lips as he opened his parcel and was surprised with what he found.

Middy closed the door to the ship's head finally done with his business. Now fully clothed and armed to the teeth thanks to his Auntie's present, he sauntered to where thee other members of his motley crew are and was surprised to find the fae poking the woman who smells like death. Blushing at his sudden intrusion upon their privacy, Middy murmured his apologies, "Please, don't stop on my account," before turning around to give them privacy.

Edited by Zashiii

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He stood quietly at the side of the pier as the ship pulled away. There was still something deeply unsettling about the experience. The fate of their technological future, particularly his, rested in the hands of that very group. Disorderly, mismatched, and unproven, it was not the crew one sought for a black op. It was not his money, nor his kingdom. With a sigh he turned away and made his way back into the city.

There was still much work to be done in Port Kyros regardless of the mission's success. Though, he could not help but be curious how long it might be before they were found out. He mused silently as he slipped away into the night. As much as he glided through the streets of Port Kyros, the Proud Lion glided upon moonlit waters, gentle waves gently crsshing against the hull as it slowly made it's way to open waters.

The crew had already been abuzz, pulling rigging and lines making ready to sail and hit the open water. As they left port, they raised the main sail and made on their way. For the sailing crew, this was a typical run, nothing out of the ordinary. The ship would sail on to the Antigone Isle through the night, never a bobble or hiccup. The sky was clear and the moon shown bright across the glassy face of the sea.

One might say all was well and at peace that night, but down below the deck, there still seemed to be a few souls not quite at peace with the night. Perhaps it was nerves on the eve of a new job, or maybe the genuine concern over their weighty task. Only the group there assembled could really say.

[Exit Grigor]

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Clasping her face with her palms, Reyna felt with her feet: the movement of the ship. It bobbed ever so steadily, cutting through the water at a constant pace. Gradually, the ship’s movement began to change as if the seas were getting choppier. Reyna remembered something that she was taught when she was in school. The sudden feeling of choppier waters was because the boat was passing something that reflected the waves back into it. She looked up from her hands to see the mighty metal wall that surrounded Antigone Isle a stone’s throw away. The boat was moving parallel to the wall which appeared to have absolutely no opening in it. She got up, careful to stay out of sight of the guards on the wall.

“Psst, hey!” she whispered to a sailer that was organizing a few boxes of shipment due to the Isle. The sailor gave her a puzzled look and came over, “How can I help you, Miss?”

“How many entrances are there into the city?” she kept her voice low, slinking against the wall as the soft beating sound of the propellers of an airborne patrol vehicle passed overhead.

“There’s only one,” he replied, “all goods that enter or exit Antigone Isle have to go through the back entrance. The rest of the island is protected by a metal wall that nobody has ever gotten through.”

Suddenly, the boat bumped into something abruptly, causing Reyna to bump into the wall which she was leaning on. The impact on herself wasn't big since she was already in an accidental brace position.

The sailor wasn’t so lucky though. He was thrown off his feet, lying in a painful heap next to the door. Hurriedly, she peaked out from the enclosed room that she and Souji were in, carefully scanning the environment for any patrols or sentries. When she felt that the coast was clear, she dragged the sailor in and propped him up on the hammock that she had once been lying on.

“What was that?” she heard a man yelling at the front of the ship.

“Sir, we’ve hit a massive underground sewer pipe! The damage is not irreparable, but we’ll need someone to check if the crash has caused any leaks.”

This time, Reyna came out from under the cover completely. Covering her face with her hood, she joined the two men and whatever crowd had gathered in inspecting the crash. The ship had ploughed into a massive metallic cylinder that was barely visible under the darkness of night. For a moment, the weight of what had just happened sank in on everyone. If the ship didn’t make it to the port before daylight, there was no telling whether or not they would be able to make it off without getting caught.

And at this moment, an absolutely ridiculous idea occurred to Reyna. The sailor had mentioned that the only way into the city was the back entrance port. Well, that was only for ships; humans were a lot smaller. Peering over the edge of the boat, she saw the entrance to the sewer tunnel, a massive hole that was she would have to bend down just a little bit to fit into. She turned to any of her crew members who had gathered there, “Maybe we can go through the sewers… It’s not like they have guards patrolling the drainage system like they do in the streets.”

The sewer system was by no means primitive, however. The hole was blocked by what appeared to be a vacuum lock, which would require someone with a skillset orientated towards the technical side to disable and then re-enable to prevent them from being washed down the sewer once they were inside.

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