Scarblade's Pearl: Off To Altador - Part Four
A groan. It took Nira a moment to realize it had come from her. She rolled on her side, wondering why the bed covers felt so strange. She lifted her hand to pulled the covers closer, then paused when she heard a strange sound. Almost like something moving through water. Maybe Lightning was doing the dishes? But when her arm moved again, she heard the exact same sound. It couldn't have been dishes. It was far too close.
Come to think of it, there was a strange resistance in the air when she moved. Nira's eyes blinked open. When her vision focused, she finally realized she wasn't at home. She gasped in surprise, quickly sitting up straight.
Where was she?!
Carefully, she lifted a hand and moved it back and forth in front of her face. That sound... the resistance....
Nira's eyes widened in surprise. She was underwater! Instantly her hand went to her throat. Breathing! She was breathing! Underwater? But how?
Nira glanced around the room, wondering just how she'd ended up here. The room was cave like in appearance, seeming to have been carved from some kind of stone.
“You're awake!” a strange voice suddenly exclaimed.
Nira turned quickly to find a Maraquan Aisha hovering at the opening that somewhat resembled a doorway. The Aisha smiled, turning back to the room behind her.
“Sister, she is awake!” she called. Nira watched, bewildered, as the two Maraquan Aishas swam into the room, stopping at her bedside.
“Oh, we were so worried!” said the first Aisha, clasping her hands in front of her.
“When Caylis found you after you were knocked from that ship...”
Suddenly, all the memories of her trip to Altador and Scarblade's unscheduled attack came back to her. Nira blinked, putting a hand to her forehead.
“Pardon me,” said the second Aisha, causing Nira's attention to focus on her. “It seems that in her haste, my sister has forgotten her manners.” A sharp glare from the second Aisha made the first flush with embarrassment.
“Oh dear, you're right.” she muttered. Turning back to Nira, she flashed an apologetic smile.
“My name is Isca and this is my sister, Caylis.”
Nira glanced between the two Aishas, still confused.
“How did I... end up here...?” she asked, her voice far too quiet for her liking.
The one called Caylis nodded her head.
“As my sister has already said, I found you soon after you fell overboard. I had seen Scarblade's raid in a dream the night before and knew you would need my help,” she said.
Nira opened her mouth to ask how Caylis could have seen such a thing in a dream when the Aisha held up her hand.
“My sister and I both have special abilities. Ones with which we were born.”
Her unspoken question answered, Nira closed her mouth. She breathed in and out deeply, trying to decide which of her next questions was most important.
“How do you do that?” asked the Aisha called Isca. Nira looked at her, confused.
“Do what?” she asked.
Isca pointed at Nira's throat.
“That! You're breathing!” she exclaimed.
Nira looked away, a hand going up to touch her throat lightly.
“I... don't know....” she answered quietly.
“Seems you have some abilities of your own,” said Caylis mysteriously. Isca looked at her sister, eyes wide.
“Caylis, you don't think she's...” Isca trailed off uncertainly. Caylis glanced at Nira, then gave Isca a meaningful look.
“I believe that Nira here could use some rest. She's been through a lot, after all,” she said slowly.
Now that she mentioned it, Nira did feel a little tired. She yawned a bit and Caylis gestured to her with her hand, as if she'd just proved her point.
Isca nodded agreement. Caylis touched her sister's arm lightly.
“Come, Sister. Let us continue this discussion elsewhere.”
Caylis lead Isca out of the room as Nira lowered herself back into bed. She wasn't quite sure how she'd become so tired so suddenly, but now she could hardly keep her eyes open.
Wait... how did they know my name...?
She hadn't told it to them, she was sure. But at that moment, sleep claimed her, and all thoughts on the matter were lost.
Isca and Caylis spoke softly just outside the room where Nira slept. The Shoyru had fallen asleep again, and the sisters didn't want to wake her.
A blue Peophin wearing maractite armor approached the Aishas from down the hall. The sisters looked up, their soft conversation halted. The Peophin stopped before them and bowed.
“His Majesty will see you now.” he said.
The sisters nodded.
“Lead the way,” Isca replied. Though she knew the halls like the back of her hand, it would be considered rude to come before the king without a proper escort. And so the sisters wordlessly allowed the Peophin to lead them through the underwater castle.
Only a few minutes later, they found themselves before a great, ornately carved door. The Peophin pushed the door open effortlessly, though it must have been quite heavy, and bowed them inside. Ahead was a short hallway, at the end of which sat a throne. Isca and Caylis swam forward confidently, bowed before the throne.
“Your Majesty,” said the sisters in unison.
“Greetings, Isca. Greetings, Caylis,” said the blue Koi who sat in the throne. King Kelpbeard looked a bit uncertain.
“How fares our guest?” he asked.
“She is fine at present, Majesty,” said Isca.
The king nodded approval, then turned questioning eyes on Caylis.
“Is she the one?” he asked simply.
Caylis' face became grim.
“I am almost certain, Majesty. She looks exactly like the Shoyru I dreamt of a few months ago. The one who destroyed a small town just outside the city. And not only that, but she breathes underwater, just as the Shoyru in my dream could.”
Isca, seeming a bit distressed, spoke up then.
“But we should note, Majesty, that she seems to have no memories of her powers. More questioning will be needed to confirm this, of course, but she may not even remember destroying the town. She may have lost it somehow.”
Caylis nodded to her sister, accepting her point.
“I agree, sister,” she said softly.
The king put a fin to his chin, looking thoughtful.
“Is she dangerous?”he asked finally.
“Not a present, your Majesty,” said Isca quietly.
“But we should still be wary of her. I suggest we post at least one guard outside her room at all times, just to be safe,” added Caylis.
The kind nodded his approval.
“Good thinking, Caylis. I shall have a guard posted as soon as our meeting has ended.”
Isca was looking distressed again.
“I don't believe a guard is necessary, Majesty. The Shoyru-”
“I understand your meaning, Sister,” said Caylis, cutting off Isca's words. The Aisha put a hand on her sister's shoulder.
“But one thing is certain; that Shoyru destroyed the homes of many Maraquan citizens as well as the pets that once dwelled in them. That alone means that, at least for the time being, she cannot be trusted.”
A cutlass slammed into a wooden table.
“She's alive! That filthy lass is ALIVE!!” shouted Captain Scarblade in a rage.
Benny the Blade, ever at his Captain's side, spoke up.
“She WAS alive, Cap'n. How can ya be certain she still is?”
A fist slammed down next to the cutlass, making the Bruce jump.
“I AM certain she's alive! One of them filthy Maraquans dragged her off as soon as she hit the bottom! I saw it with my own eyes!” bellowed the captain. Unable to contain himself, he overturned the table, sending the items atop it clattering to the floor. Benny leapt back, now very wary of his enraged captain.
“I understand, Cap'n. But why is her being alive so terrible? After all, you yourself were regrettin' throwin' the lass overboard,” he reasoned.
Scarblade took a deep, slow breath, as if trying to contain a mountain of frustration.
“Aye, Benny, I'm glad the lass is alive,” he said softly. His eyes, dark and menacing, came up to glare at Benny.
“But at this moment, she be in the hands of those danged Maraquans! Don't you think that if they learned of her powers, they might find a way to use her against me?!”
A boot to the table sent it skidding across the floor and crashing into the opposite wall. Benny dived out of its path, barely managing to avoid it. If the captain kept on like this, the whole ship would come to ruin!
“W-what do you propose we do, Cap'n?” stuttered Benny.
A fist slammed into the wall. Burning, raging eyes locked on Benny.
“Find her!! I don't care if you have to search the whole stinkin' ocean!! Find her!! FIND HER!!”
Scarblade's dagger thudded into the wall, behind the spot where Benny had once stood. The Bruce was smart enough to run as soon as his captain had finished speaking.
Now Scarblade stood, fist still pressed against the wall, breathing heavily. He didn't know how the lass had survived. As a matter of fact, he really didn't care. How she had survived didn't matter. What truly mattered was that she WAS alive and in the hands of the Maraquans.
Scarblade slammed his fist again the wall again, harder this time, his body numb to the pain. Curse those Maraquans! Curse them all! Them and their great flabby king!
“I will find you, Nira!” the captain murmured to no one. Cursing, he went to the toppled table and yanked his cutlass free. He then pointed it toward the room, which inevitably pointed to the sky.
“You hear me?!” he shouted. Cursing again, he threw the cutlass down hard. It landed with a thud, sharp end first, in the wooden floor.
“I will find you, Lass!! Mark my words, I WILL FIND YOU!!”
Thank you, Omii, for letting me use your pets in both this and my last story. And thank you Jay for all your praise!