28th of Harvester 383 ONT, Champion’s Fist, Main Deck 7:28pm
Hikari now had an appreciation for how Flitt saw the world, or at least how he saw the world before he grew even larger than he already was. For Hikari it was an awkward experience now that she stood at almost twelve feet in height. She fiddled with the latch to her cabin thankful that though her fingers now seemed to sport decent claws on them she could still feel and manipulate things as she could before. This time the changes had been felt but the pain was much more bearable than before and she handled it quite easily. But squeezing into the hallway was far from fun.
Behind her Valeira shrugged into her pack humming a cheerful tune as if they were about to head off for a picnic lunch or a day at the beach. Though Hikari couldn’t be entirely pessimistic about having her love along for the trip. There was much Valeira did that kept Hikari from getting to wrapped up in her own internal thoughts and problems and she would be valuable in helping Hikari search for a cure.
She ran her tongue over her teeth grimacing at the sharpness unaware at how it made her look very much like a snarling dragon-kin to anyone unlucky enough to be coming down the hall. Luckily she’d picked the right time to depart as it was empty or maybe it was thanks to tar Di whom Hikari had asked to keep the others, not on duty, busy with some fun little tricks. She did make the young chaos mage promise that nothing would be permanent or life altering and to heed the Captain while she was gone. Though that had been a frustrating argument trying to reason with Tar Di into staying behind. She’d finally won only by promising to take Tar Di someplace special when this was all resolved and Hikari was back to her normal self.
Hikari stopped at the doorway leading to her Sanctum and placing a clawed hand on it concentrated for a few seconds. The doorway winked out of existence and two surprised crew suddenly found themselves in the hallway with her. Bronwynn, dressed only in her sleepwear for having the night off had decided to partake of the luxury offered by Hikari, plopped on her butt a surprised look on her face that shifted to fear at seeing Hikari looming over her. Lee Sue also appeared surprised and mid-bite of the now nonexistent food and glared at Hikari.
“A warning would have been preferred,” He muttered rising to his feet and taking the time to brush off his clothes. Bronwynn scrambled to her own and took a few steps back down the hall.
“Duilich mu dheidhinn sin. Chan urrainn dhomh a fàgail an seo fhad’s a tha mi air falbh.*” Hikari bobbed her head then blinked and sighed realizing that neither understood her. Not only had she gained another language but it appeared that she would fall into using it if she wasn’t paying attention and Hikari doubted anyone else actually spoke Chromatic on the ship. Neither Bronwynn nor Lee Sue looked happy to hear it either. “Sorry, if I had more time I would’ve warned you. But I can’t leave the Sanctum here when I’m gone.”
“Orokana ryū. Reigi wa itsumo arimasu.**” Was Lee Sue’s response in Wing Tai to which Hikari just sighed, again. He probably meant to respond in kind and use a language she didn’t know. So she pretended ignorance and watched them both depart. Two more people who would not miss her. Well nothing could be done about it now. At least Bronwynn had only been sleeping and not using the bath Hikari mused.
Making her way on deck was a relief from the cramped hold below and HIkari stretched and looked to see who was on shift. Flitt stood at the helm with Thalion and it was Willhym with Maddax and Cassidy now that the sun had set. She watched the different expressions on their faces for the longest of moments before waving to the Captain and Flitt and looking down beside her to Valeira. “Are you ready?”
Her love smiled up at Hikari and nodded, “Yes my love, ready for another adventure with you.”
“An adventure filled with books and scrolls and ledgers and chasing down clues in dusty old tomes.” Hikari grinned, “You get all the good adventures. I however will have the boring duty of going with Erindale to return the dragon’s egg to the Council of Wyrms.”
Valeira laughed and nodded, “Boring indeed. The only reason I’m not going with you that far is because one of us needs to start researching what happened if we want to stop it.” Then she got serious, “But don’t take any chances Hikari. Dragons don’t think like we do and you’re not the most eloquent with words when a light touch is needed.”
“I’ll have Erindale with me, how much trouble could we get into?” Hikari grinned down at her. “Trust me Valeira, all I want to do is get the egg back safe and figure out how to undo all this so we can get back to being us again. Now we should get going before the Captain questions me about why Bronwynn was running down the hall in her night clothes.”
*Translation: Sorry about that. I can’t leave it here while I’m gone.
**Translation: Stupid dragon. There is always time for courtesy.
28th of Harvester 383 ONT, High Port, 7:45pm
Hikari had left Valeira at the Accidental Pudding Inn. The library was closed and her love was getting set up with a room there as neither knew how long it would take to find what they needed to undo the curse of the heart. Valeira had also promised to check with friends of hers who travelled lots to see if they could find clues that might help them. That was fifteen minutes and half a city ago.
Now she stood in front of the High Tower of Sorcery flanked by multiple guards with weapons raised and three mages all who were one awkward move on Hikari’s part away from fighting. For her part Hikari had kept her hands raised high and open facing towards them and was trying to be as patient as she could with them.
“For the third time. I am Viceroy Hikari Phobia Anakamoto, ship’s wizard on the Champion’s Fist and I am here at the tower as requested by Erindale.” She pointed to the broach she still wore, “This is the proof I am who I say I am. These can only be worn by those Erindale gifts them to.”
“Miss Anakamoto is known to the tower and is a half elf. You are not.” The center mage replied, “I am not sure what you are but I see enough dragon to know you are a threat.”
“How many people have you seen in your lifetime that are bonded with an Arachnis?”
There was a pause then a curt answer, “I have only ever seen one. But that does not preclude the existence of others. You are to remain here until others have been woken up and you can be properly taken into custody.”
“I don’t have time for that.” HIkari growled back unable to keep her annoyance hidden. The soldiers with the pikes adjusted their grips at her growl. “I am not a threat and not your enemy. I was invited and chose to show up today. If I wanted to do something I would not have announced myself nor waited for you to bring more people.”
“So you say.”
“I do say. And I was the one you probably detected using a teleport to arrive on the outskirts of the city.” Her life sense and magical vision had luckily survived the regrowing of her eyes and she could see the faint shimmer of more protective wards being cast including a dimensional anchor and sighed again. “Please, just listen to me. I don’t have any reason to lie to you. Let’s go inside and have a cup of tea and I’m sure it will sort itself out as soon as someone lets the Arch Magus know I’m here.”
No one moved. It was going to be a long night…