|A Chance for Sunshine
Author: wordsworthy PM
The dark clouds had finally lifted with the battle won. Having lost much and gained nothing, even as the Dawn and Twilight would never since share the sky, the Sun would eventually rise again, drying their tears with a chance for sunshine. A post-Lyon ficRated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Adventure - Chapters: 8 - Words: 28,653 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 05-04-12 - Published: 04-05-09 - id: 4971562
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Chance for Sunshine by Wordsworthy
Disclaimer: I obviously do not own the Suikoden series since obviously Konami does, along with all other references made over the course of the story. This is, after all, just a fanfiction written for the sole purpose of entertainment and not for any profit motive what so ever. So please just enjoy the story and do not sue me for this. If you wish to know more about the series, please support the companies producing them directly and purchase their merchandise if you like.
Chapter 7: The Immortal Grishend
A set of heavy footsteps paced back and forth on the weathered cobblestones while a head of wizened hazel rose once every so often to peer at the fast approaching twilight in the horizon beyond the busy port. A small company of marines in cyan and orange lined a cordoned off section of the docks where the Lino En Kuldes and a less conspicuous Island Nations frigate berthed alongside her in wait. However, patience never was a virtue of the strong Island Nation blood within his veins.
Testament of that came soon enough when he stopped quite abruptly in the midst of his pacing, stood still as though in thought, before his body turned and gained a more definitive purpose in the direction of his vessel.
"And where do you think you're going, Admiral?"
That chiding, sceptical tone of his second in command from just a short distance behind him deflated some of the wind in the senior man's sails. Nevertheless, he had always been quick to change directions and go with the flow as well.
"Well," the large man turned around and accorded the younger commander with that odd quirk of his bushy brows, something the latter had long associated with mischief and his habitual mind games. "You don't seriously expect my patience to last any longer, do you?"
The younger commander stared at him intently for several moments before heaving another of her trademark sighs. She had gotten quite used to the man after all these years.
"No… I suppose not. What do you have in mind?"
The older man beamed and laughed heartily as he disclosed his plans.
"I'll just go for a spin or two around the nearby islands."
The younger commander's brows narrowed.
"In the Lino En Kuldes?"
"Why, of course! It's my ship, ain't it?" stated the man quite matter-of-factly.
"No! You'll just rile up the pirates hiding at the nearby coves and cause another mess! A mess that I will no doubt have to clean up for you! Again!"
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I doubt a few salted sea dogs would be much of a threat. Besides, it's not like there is another warship conveniently nearby that I could commandeer…"
The older man let his words trail as he drifted his gaze towards the frigate that was docked beside his own.
"Hell no! That's MY ship!"
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Guess I have no choice but to take the Lino En Kuldes then!"
The younger commander weighed the merits of taking over the task and cleaning up his mess in a flash before deciding it with a no-contest.
"Oh forget it! I'll handle this myself! You just stay here and keep out of my way!" said a well-practised option.
"Sounds good to me! Thanks, Bern! I'm looking forward to your return then! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" said a well-practised response.
With her forehead twitching not so surreptitiously and more out of habit than anything else, the young commander sighed as she made her way towards her ship, muttering under her breath.
"Damn… I played right into his hands… again…"
"Captain Egan, your orders madam?"
The youngest commander of the current Egan generation immediately shook off her melancholy in favour of purpose, and put on her proverbial captain's cap.
"Prepare to set sail immediately."
The monotone consisting of the faint scratching of a tired quill and the frequent flickers of numerous parchments was broken quite mercifully the quiet clinks of several porcelain teacups and plates laden with afternoon tea.
"It's time for tea, your majesty."
The said queen's face lit up at that prospect and all but leapt to her feet.
"Perfect! I was looking forward to this."
Luserina was looking rather expectantly at the marmalade scones that she had spent the afternoon baking when the little Queen walked right past her.
"Your majesty?" asked Luserina in query, already wondering if the scones didn't turn out as well as she thought.
"Where's Miakis? We can use tea-time for a quick sparring session."
"Of course, come along too Luserina."
The little matriarch was going to march straight through the corridors, yelling for Miakis like what she would normally do, when a timely reminder arrived via her faithful courtier, as always.
"Erm… your majesty, Lady Miakis left for Stormfist this morning. The graduation ceremony for the first batch of recruits takes place tomorrow, so she has to be there in place of the Prince."
"Oh right…" recounted the queen belatedly. Her energy level deflated quite significantly at the loss of a rare opportunity to practise, plonking herself quite resignedly on one of the luxuriously cushioned seats by the small coffee table. "I don't suppose anyone else in the Queen's Knights is available…"
"I'm afraid not." coaxed Luserina gently while placing a few scones on a small plate. "It may not be my place to say it, but aren't you a little too preoccupied with weapons training? I mean, with all the other work that needs to be done…"
"Oh come now Luserina, you enjoyed it as much as I did. Remember that spar we had against Miakis a few days ago?"
"Your majesty! You promised not to bring that up!"
"Hahaha, I'm sorry. It's just so hilarious, the way we managed to take down Miakis by sitting on her and tickling her till she gave up. Man, you even straddled her-"
The two girls looked at each other before they broke into girlish giggles, much like what normal girls their age would do, before they partook in a piece of their scones and its rich, tangy, yet bitter-sweet goodness.
"Oh, the scones are quite wonderful Luserina."
"Oh yes, I'm pleasantly surprised myself."
"I bet Brother would love it. He doesn't take to sweets that much, but I'm quite sure this would agree with him…"
"I-is that so…?"
The young queen sighed a little when the topic of his much beloved brother came up. Again.
"I wonder what he's doing right now. He had better not be setting up some strange flags and flirting with some random hussy…"
"I hope so too…"
"Huh, did you say something Luserina?"
"N-No. Not at all…"
"Say… these won't make us fat would it?"
A series of loud clangs echoed in the marbled room as a small fork was dropped rather carelessly by a startled revelation.
Concerns about weapons training looks set to be a lot less common now perhaps.
The tentative greeting and the sound of unsteady footsteps trudging up the stairwell to the deck caught the attention of the former knight, bringing an end to the pleasantly idyllic chat he was having with one of the crewmen. As the somewhat ghastly-looking younger man took some time to half-stumble his way towards him, the swordsman received a small paper bag from the crewman, to which he thanked with a hearty shake of hands.
"You look… better?" winced the older man at the painful looking Prince before him. "Erm, how are you feeling now?"
"Charming…" replied Frey weary sarcasm, assuming a more or less doubled-up position with his head kept lowered from the ceaseless nausea. "I tried using the Dawn Rune, but the effect only lasted for an instant."
"Ah… I see… in that case…"
The paper bag made a little rustling sound before two beige tablets were dropped onto the younger man's hand. Looking at the expectant look on Georg's face and the dodgy colour of the tablets, he shrugged and popped tablets into his mouth. He regretted that almost immediately as he was greeted by a stinging, spicy taste that emanated from the potent remedy. Before he could barf though, he found a gloved hand cover his mouth almost immediately.
Not really wanting to barf, and swallow back whatever was coming out, Frey did not have much of a choice and chewed as instructed, enduring that pungent, unfamiliar flavour before letting it go down all the way.
"Bleargh!" was the first thing Frey spat out before going into a series of coughs. "What was in the world was that?"
"Concentrated extracts of a local spice called ginger. How do you feel now?"
Surprisingly enough, the nausea that had been plaguing him for most of journey so far had lessened quite significantly after he downed the offensive remedy.
"Better…" admitted the younger man grudgingly, the foul aftertaste of the spice lingering in his mouth still.
"Good. Now, try chewing on this."
Frey gave the few blades of leaves a highly sceptical look before putting it into his mouth and chewing upon them quite… gingerly. A cooling refreshing sensation promptly swept past the foul aftertaste of the earlier spice and almost quite literally breathed a breath of fresh air into seasick man. Mints.
"Better. Much better." repeated Frey, with more life in him this time.
The one-eyed swordsman heaved a sigh of relief before giving his younger charge a dirty look.
"Good grief. What happened to that Island Nation blood of yours? Even if you are only a half..." stated Georg of his grouses as he dropped the bag of the remedy on a certain princely head.
"That's what I would like to know too..." muttered Frey under his breath as he reached up, removing the bag of seasickness remedy and placing it inside his tunic, undoubtedly within easy reach.
Having artificially induced his sea legs, Frey managed to straighten his body, and hold that upright posture for the first time since boarding the ship. Looking out towards the vast expanse that was the sea, he was finally able to relax in the sea breeze in companionable silence with his friend and mentor for a few moments.
"So… who are we meeting in Nirva Island?" came the inevitable question however, now that the distraction posed by the swirling ground and the urge to throw up breakfast, lunch and last night's dinner subsided.
"Hmm… some of your relatives I suppose…" answered Georg in a cryptic manner.
"I have relatives?" asked Frey in surprise. As far as he knew, his extended family only included his aunts and to a lesser and indignant degree, the Barrows and Godwins. His blood chilled and his eyes narrowed at the thought of having to deal with another "family crisis". Somehow, familial issues take on whole new dimension for the young man after all.
"On your father's side. Since we have time and all, I thought you would like to visit them. Well, they sure are looking forward to seeing you again."
"Ah… erm… well…"
Before the conversation could continue and the slip examined however, an ominous call sounded from the crow's nest.
"Unidentified ship off the starboard bow!"
A flurry of activity erupted after the initial warning from the lookout; the captain of the ship rushed out from the bridge with a brass spyglass in hand while the deckhands busied themselves and distributed their Gaien steel, their hands tight upon their grips. Although the majority of the passengers were advised to stay within their cabins, an uneasy silence befell the few who remained on the deck as rumours flickered and began to smoulder.
"Hmm… it looks to be a black schooner…"
"It's not even half the size of our ship!"
"We have more sails than it. Surely we can outrun it."
"We have plenty of sword-hands too. We can beat them in sheer numbers if it comes down to that."
Intriguing though the experience was, Frey resisted the urge to inch forward for a closer look like one of the common folk and just surveyed the scenes unfolding before him with just the barest sign of anticipation.
"Pirates?" whispered the young man to Georg discretely.
"Hmm…" went the more experienced traveller speculatively. "Well, there certainly are pirates active in these waters… the question would be which group of them will be brazen enough to attack a large ship such as ours…"
The answer came soon enough as the Captain lowered his spyglass with a look somewhere in between shock and disbelief. "It's the Grishend."
Whispers of the pirate vessel's name immediately swept through the crewmen in a curious rustle of awe and trepidation. A stern look from their captain quickly hushed them up though before they were set to task, part of them evacuating the passengers below the decks while the majority readied themselves for battle.
"What's the Grishend?" asked Frey offhandedly while Georg assured a crewman that they could handle themselves.
"A relic from the Kooluk-Island Wars, it's the ship of the Pirate Queen Kika who once ruled the five seas around the Island Nations. Rumour has it that there were connections between the Pirate Queen and the ruling En Kuldes family, but that's anyone's guess… well, pirates are pirates I suppose."
"Hmm… wait, that means…"
"Yes… the Grishend is almost two hundred years old. Yet, only the Lino En Kuldes has been able to give it a run for its money. She's pretty amazing if you ask me, that a relic could equal the latest naval technology. The Immortal Grishend, it may be a pirate ship but that's a true man's romance right there."
"I guess. That was educational."
The one-eyed swordsman eyed his travelling companion warily, especially his lack of tension with the inevitable battle at hand.
"Why don't you take one of those Gaien sabres?"
"Erm… I don't think so…"
"Now's not the time to be stubborn…"
"I'm on vacation."
The Gaien clipper sliced through the water powered by the south-west wind and its nine large sails, but the sleek black ship surged through the water with unnatural velocity as well. As the pursuing ship gained ground and almost drew level with the much larger vessel, the captain of the Gaien clipper swung the ship hard to starboard in an attempt to shake the black ship off, causing cargo and men alike to sway and tumble.
However the pursuing ship took the brief moment where the two ships were lined up to fire several large chained hooks from their four black ballistae on their deck. The two of the projectiles slammed into the body of the Gaien's clippers port side while the other two hit their mark and hooked themselves to two of the main masts. Before long, a flurry of mooring lines and grappling hooks completed the capture of the Grishend's prey while the ship drew alongside.
Frey rubbed the back of his throbbing head as he sought to get back to his feet. The sudden turn had taken him by surprise and threw him against the side of the railings. His travelling companion fared a little better as he had managed to stay on his feet and had his sword out of its sheath, ready for action.
"Try not to die. Dying due to stubbornness is plain dumb."
"Your sister would be crossed with you."
"Not to mention Haswar, Luserina, Miakis-"
"Fine…" replied Frey reluctantly despite his inherent misgivings and unease. He had wanted to avoid fighting if he could for a while, but the sound of clashing steel was closing in. The fight had started to spill over from the pirates' initial landing party and there wasn't any time to dwell on this. He stooped down and picked up a random pole that had been rolling against his boots.
"This would do."
It had been no more than mere minutes since the pirates had stormed on board the clipper but the battle was already swinging in their favour. Despite the numerical advantage the Gaien crewmen had, the pirates were highly skilled in comparison and unorthodox in their fighting methods. Furthermore, the invaders were boarding far too quickly through the use of the ships' riggings and swinging lines. The tide of the ship-borne invasion seemed neigh impossible to stem by the fast-thinning Gaiens.
Well, it was probably fortunate that they had two former Queen's Knights on board though.
The gruff cry trailed behind the flash of the swordsman's katana as it cut a swathe past a slew of pirate invaders. In a smooth unbroken motion, the blade revolved around through a deft turn of his wrist and was returned to its sheath as its one-eyed user went back to his stance.
"What is this guy…?" wondered some of the pirates they backed away warily, recognising the calm yet solemn gaze that only an exponent of the sword would have.
Guarding the swordsman's back was a certain young man with a simple brown ponytail. With an easy, casual stance, he seemed to be twirling around his long pole rather randomly at first glance, but the moment a trio of pirates tried to overwhelm him, the pole was thrust straight forward like an arrow, connecting with the solar plexus of the first pirate. With the first pirate doubled up, the young man held the pole with both hands and slammed it down on the second pirate's foot, breaking several toes in the process. After which he switched one hand to an end of the pole and bent it sharply. The whip-back after he released his grip sent the length of wood flying out like a missile and caught the third pirate square in the face, bloodying it in a strange clothsline of sorts.
The rebounding pole was caught quite deftly by the young man and twirled casually around his body again before settling into that deceptively easy stance once more, daring another attempt like that. Not many were baited this time though.
The Gaien soldiers took the chance to rally themselves during the timely intervention and were soon reassembled just behind the two unexpectedly skilled fighters who were lending them a hand, or perhaps a sword and pole. The two sides were lined up against one another, all ready for another all-out battle, although… logically speaking, not many were keen to shed blood in a senseless war of attrition here.
"What a predicament you've gotten us into you mangy curs!" bellowed out a hearty yell as the top of an overly fluffy triangular hat bobbed up and down within the ranks of the pirates.
"Mangy curs?" asked Frey with a quirk of his brows.
"Pirate talk. Means idiots or incompetent oafs." replied Georg curtly. At the inquiring look he received, he added "Don't ask."
The fluffy feathers on the triangular pirate's hat came into view soon enough, together with the surprising entrance of she who wore it. Standing at a head or so lower than most of her crew, long vermillion locks unrestrained by her captain's hat framed a fresh-faced teenage girl, no older than sixteen at best. An elegant pair of twin sapphiric blades hung from her belt, beneath a thick velvet coat of midnight-blue that could easily make one sweat just by looking at it. A frilly turquoise tunic, a scandalously short lily-white skirt and thigh-high boots completed the look of a highly unlikely pirate save for that fervent, passionate gaze that seemed to relish the magnitude of the occasion, the same gaze that her pirates sport.
Strutting her way in front of her crew, flanked by a tall young man with particularly disheveled dark hair, the pirate girl did a rather theatrical curtsy before assuming a near maniacal grin.
"Pirate Queen Rika, at your service."
I have had this lying around for the longest time and now I've finally completed it. It has been a while since I last worked on a piece, and it truly hit home that this is what I love to do. It would be great if I could do this professionally, but that's for the future.
I'm having some problems with the line breaks here though. They keep disappearing on me, like the earlier chapters. If anyone knows why it's happening, do let me know.
As for my stories, more pieces will come, though more frequently next year though. I'll be taking a break from work and explore my options for work then.
Oh, and reviews are very welcome~ I'm always looking to improve on this~