10th of Coldeven 3:45pm 382 ONT, Below Deck on the Champion’s Boot
Paprikka sat on a smaller crate in the hold with the array of items she’d collected from Don Ton on their way back from the consulate spread out in front of her. The mundane items, minus an apple core she’d tossed earlier sat neatly sorted to one side. A small chest held the coin and gems on the other side. In front of her was the majority of the magical items and she made small notes on each in a ledger she’d found hanging on a nail. Save for the judge’s armour now covered with an extra blue cloak as it made her shudder to look at, she was just about done identifying it all.
The priestess, Kaho Homura, sat nearby saying little and staring hard at Rikka. Beyond describing the properties of the items she held the priestess had said not a word to her. It made Rikka nervous like that dream where you show up somewhere and then realize too late you’re naked and everyone is staring. Only Kaho wasn’t laughing and Paprikka was certain she was wearing clothes, right? A glance down confirmed it and she sighed setting down the ledger. This was going to be a long trip to who knew where and longer if the priestess was going to do this the entire way.
“Kempai, is there… is there something I can do for you?”, she offered. It was also unclear to Rikka whether or not she was still under contract with the priestess as she’d held off the guards as Kaho ran.
Kaho blinked seemingly coming back to herself and shook her head, “No, not at this time. I am only tired. Thank Ymeri you are safe.” Thitmed was shouting and calling for the officers and Kaho almost looked relieved. She stood brushing dust off of her clothes as she did. “I must see what Master Ironbraid requires.”
“Oh, ok.” Rikka bounced to her feet and then awkwardly bowed to the priestess as she’d been taught while not falling over from the unstable roll of the ship. Kaho did not seem to notice as she vanished through the opening back towards the mess and left Rikka staring at the place she’d sat.
‘Well that was certainly interesting.’ Rikka glanced towards her blade and stuck out her tongue. “For you maybe. I’m the one who got stared at the entire time.” ‘I’m sure it was only the shock of seeing someone she thought was dead and gone alive in front of her again. It will pass.’ She sighed and sat back down. Rikka was not feeling as confident about that statement. Close to useless on the ship she’d only get in their way unless battle came upon them or they needed someone to cheer them up with some dancing and music but she’d need to find someone who could play an instrument then.
‘When will you introduce me to the others?’ her blade pushed new thoughts into her mind. “Umm, how about never?” It was weird feeling an inanimate object stare at you but somehow the link they shared made it feel that way regardless. “What? Just because you can speak and see and hear doesn’t make you a person. You’re not even as useful as the Giant Eagle on deck.” More staring and mental pressure. “You realize they might just toss me off the ship as a crazy person right? Hey everyone, I’m Paprikka Anake but you can call me the Great and Powerful Rikka! Oh and this is my partner and never ending annoyance Baka Black Blade.” ‘Really? Baka? If you are going to insult me at least be original about it.’
“You don’t get to choose your own name. I’m the Magus and that makes me like your guardian or bearer or whatever so I get to choose. And the name you decided on is way too long. Ashita No Yukusoku No Ken does not come close to rolling off the tongue easily. Baka does.” More staring and silence. “Keep it up and I’m sure you can spend time in the weapons locker while I take this perfectly good sword here out for a spin.” ‘You wouldn’t dare!’ Rikka smiled tripumphantly, “Try me.” ‘Fine, I won’t say a word unless you ask me to.’ If a sword could grumble Baka did and Rikka knew he’d be a bit more of a pain to talk to for a while. But he’d be her pain and not scare the bejeebus out of anyone else.
“What about Ashi-san? It could be a better nickname.” ‘Why can’t you take anything seriously?We are pact-bound together and our path is one and the same.’ “I do, I can’t help but be serious when people are trying to kill me. But being serious all the time puts lines and wrinkles on your face and you might miss out on the simple and beautiful things in the world while worrying your life away. And it is not like you are really all that open with where our path is destined to go.”_ ‘And for someone who gets distracted looking for double rainbows, is it that much of a concern?’_ Rikka glared at the black blade beside her. “Hey! That was the guards not me. And so what if I like shiny things? Is that a crime?” ‘It should be.’
Annoyed, Rikka didn’t respond and instead went about cleaning up the items so that they would be easy to go through but secure in the hold. Once that was done she checked to ensure no one was nearby and stripped out of the clothing Ser Thalion had given her. It was very pretty but a little too tight in the chest and worth more than Rikka could afford. She quickly changed back into her drab and functional clothes. A few cleaning cantrips later and both her outfit and Ser Thalion’s were spotless. She folded the red fabric and laid it beside the magical items. Glancing towards the door once more Rikka wondered if she would be needed at all or if she should stay out of sight below.
“I’m sure they’ll come find me if I’m needed to clean something or if I’m in the way. How about we give you a good cleaning and polish then Ashi-san?” And so she sat back down cross legged on the floor and began to clean her blade hoping that these strange people who’d saved her life were out of danger and good to keep her on board. After the incident with the rowers she wasn’t so sure how secure her place was.