Author's Note: Is it too late to make a mark in this lovely fanbase?
The Gyrian Seas, which were notorious for being a magnet for hurricane winds due to its position between the continents of Fortissia and Obscurus, were calm today. In fact, a passing gale just an hour ago was by far the only danger that threatened the course of the vessel in sight that sailed across these waters that only a few brave souls would dare to tread on.
However, no one on board the lone galleon was worried about the notoriety of the waters around them coming around to bite their backs. According to the recent report from the captain's study of the ocean's weather patterns, the annual hurricane wind cycle was not due until the next two months, which more than gave a reason for the sailors to have some breathing space. They might be experienced seamen, having fought battles against pirates and smugglers and sailed their way to many foreign locations that were mercifully fair to only dream about, but testing the whims of the ocean was a strict taboo every sailor was aware and cautious of to the grave.
At the prow of the ship, the ship's captain, dressed in a blue and black cavalry uniform, gazed out at the sea from the railing on the quarterdeck. Kiri was a man in his late forties, with the weathered and tanned lines that everyone associated with a veteran in his line of work. However his uniform concealed a healthy and strong build that belied his age, keeping him fit and running as any of the fresh, able and young recruits for the vessel, Origins that he had commandeered for twenty years.
The captain was not really focused on looking at anything right now. He simple gazed out at the seemingly endless water that they were on, while his first mate steered the ship with a bored expression on his face.
"Cap'n." The first mate yawned.
"You're tired already?"
The captain gave an understanding 'ah'. "Unless if you're feeling like your bowels might give away, I wouldn't mind steering my vessel for a while."
"Have it your way sir." Eli muttered, stepping aside and allowing his captain to take over. He went over to the railing and leaned against it, his eyes downcast upon an uninteresting plank of the ship's quarterdeck.
Eli drawled with practiced effect. "No reported leaks. Gunpowder intact, our supplies still maintainable for the next few months and I just sent Maki over to clean the cannons. The mainmast might need an adjustment if anything like that gale comes again and Finnick is snoring in the crow's nest."
"Should I wake him up?"
Kiri waved him off. "No worries. He's earned that afternoon nap."
"Yeah…I'm not sure a nap in that place is going to do his joints any good." Eli cautioned. Next to Kiri, Finnick was the second oldest member of the entire crew, if not less bodily developed compared to the captain and is also the occasional drunk.
"He's a light sleeper."
"Alright, your call." Eli sighed crossing his arms.
"How's our guest?"
Eli paused for a moment before replying, his eyes glinting. "Fine."
"Pretty much. He said he was gonna study some notes about the country we're heading to and shooed me off."
"Shooed you off?" Kiri sounded confused. He recalled that the bloke in tow for this trip was a decent fellow. Quite the introvert however…
"My bad. His cantankerous bird shooed me off."
Kiri laughed. The humour however was not appreciated in kind to Eli. He was dragged into this assignment right when he was supposed to be having a vacation, and his mood was hardly improving enough what with handling the entire workload in the vessel by himself, in expense of the captain, who was content enough striding around the ship and tipping that hat of his to acknowledge his crew, and not to mention smoking that pipe of his in his room contently.
"I'm sure the boy didn't mean it." Kiri attempted to contain his booming laughter.
"Tch, whatever." Eli grumbled.
"Ah, no need to sulk. Surely you haven't forgotten the worth of the reward at hand?"
Captain Kiri gave Eli, the short haired lanky thing in his late twenties, a pensive look.
"My usual earnings weren't so bad..." He muttered.
"Hmm." Kiri glanced at some of the sailors washing and scrubbing the deck below. "Can't say the same about them though…"
Eli groaned, not wanting to hear a familiar lecture about putting the importance of the crew above your own. "Don't start."
Kiri chortled. "Wasn't going to lad."
"Why did you take up his offer again? Surely it can't just be for the money." Eli asked. He had no business in the captain's private dealings, but his current state of mind begged to differ.
Kiri glanced up at the clear blue sky, pondering the question. "What else is there besides the money?"
Eli stared at his captain with disbelief. Was this really the valiant, noble man he had served under for almost a decade? Either he was getting senile…or he's once again trying to play tricks on him, as usual.
"Anyway! I just hope you're prepared enough for six whole months away from home."
"I'm gonna try to tolerate the whole half year…but what about them? Do any of them look prepared to you?" Eli thumbed over to a bunch of sailors bumbling about near the mizzenmast laughing themselves off over a joke. Now Eli had the utmost confidence in his fellow crewmates, them obviously being obedient and disciplined men from the moment they've been handpicked by both Kiri and him for recruitment. There was another group of them chatting about with cleaning the deck, and some others gambling right on a flimsy table right below the main mast –
"Kyle, Cris, Hiroki! Drop it!" Eli shouted. The three sailors dropped their cards on the table and fell out of their seats at the command directed at them. They flashed apologetic smiles and quickly fumbled back to their duties.
"Tch." Eli shook his head with disdain. "Am I the only one here trying to maintain some order?"
Kiri shrugged. "You're asking me?"
"Hello. You're the captain."
"Captain. Not dictator." Kiri huffed.
"The journey ahead is a long one, Eli. Be aware that every one of these men are no different than you, as they've got responsibilities back home in Imperia."
Kiri continued, his tone serious. "Not everyone here needs to follow up to a standardized routine. They can maintain our own pace without disrupting the flow of the course at hand. At the least, you should be concerned about keeping your sailors in good spirits instead of being a tight ass the whole time."
"Someone's gotta be a tight ass around here if the other's a laid back geezer." Eli retorted.
"Hey, I still got a few more years left in these bones before you start calling me a geezer!" Kiri half shouted at Eli, obviously annoyed at the term 'geezer'.
"Whatever…" Eli shrugged, hiding a smile.
"Goodness boy, when's the last time a woman ever loosened your cheeks?"
Eli froze in place. His face trembled as he struggled to reply coherently. "Well…um…a while. A long while…"
This initiated a devious grin on Kiri's face. "So it seems…"
"Men of the Origin!" Kiri called over to the sailors below the quarterdeck. The sailors at once halted their duties at the booming voice of their captain, and turned their full on attention at him.
"What are you -?"
"Is there anyone in here who's not a virgin?!"
All hands raised up in compliance, including the captain.
Eli barely registered what was happening, before trying to follow up with the command…but the damage had been done.
"The First Mate's a cherry boy?!"
"I can't believe it!"
"Oh the poor lad…"
Eli was flushing from embarrassment. This was a closeted secret nestled in him that he has full intention of settling in his vacation period before this event robbed him of it. "So what?! I've never touched a woman before! What's so bad about that?!"
"Having a virgin on board is bad luck…" A lazy voice drawled on from the crow's nest.
"W-wh-what?!" Eli stuttered. "No it's not! That's complete bull!"
Kiri clutched his chin in thought. "Actually it is…it's pretty much the same as having a woman on board."
"Do I look like a woman to you?!"
"Captain, does that mean we have to throw First Mate Eli off the Origin to appease the ocean?"
"Shut your trap, Steve!" Eli wailed.
Kiri took a long look at Eli. The poor youth was quivering all the way to his feet. Like an innocent child who has not been exposed to the secrets of the world he was in…
"Neptune will have our heads on the platter if we don't!"
Eli expected a mob of hands to grab onto his body and feel the cold embrace of the salty waters as the only lasting memory of the world he knew. What he did not expect was utter silence, aside from the calm swishing of the waves and the sound of the sails flapping on board. He hesitantly peered out of his crouched position, to meet the eyes of a very amused Captain Kiri.
"Psyche." Kiri cheeked. And this was followed by the raucous laughter of the crew members on board.
Eli's eyes twitched at the betrayal of his dignity. He sagged his shoulders, and gave a defeated look at his commanding officer. "Why do I even work for you…?"
"At ease!" Kiri boomed. The men cheerfully responded well to their captain and returned to their workstations. "That means you too Kiri. You're gonna need it as much as we do for these next few days."
Eli sighed. There was really no point in arguing the fundamentals with his laid back captain, considering that he always found a way to make every bit of his points a joke against him.
Grudgingly however, Kiri had a point. Perhaps…perhaps he should just relax for once in this trip. Even if he didn't like it.
The galleon commandeered by Captain Kiri, had two quarters to add in with the sailor's quarters aboard. The captain's quarters, and the custom made suite. Bear in mind that suite is an unofficial term here…but it serves to house any important guests and VIPs aboard the vessel for a stipulated duration. The suite was split into two sections, the office and the living quarters. The living quarters had blue long woven curtains of silk from the Eastern continent that hung on the windows, and a wide sofa with embroidered designs that rested under it served as a good spot to observe the sea, a short nap, or even read a book in relative peace. The floor was swept at least three times before being painfully waxed once a week. Furniture of the finest spruce gave the living quarters a faint earthly smell, with two large wardrobes receptively containing casual and non-casual clothing, and a single dresser with a large mirror sat on the left of a lone king sized bed at the with satin pillows and a wool mattress that was more than enough to send even the most stressed of individuals into slumber in a matter of seconds.
The office on the other hand was more tailored on keeping a professional outlook. Like the living quarters, there was also curtained windows, but there was little need for decorations and instead alcoves were carved into the wooden walls to store documents and a large whitewood desk comfortably settled in front of the windows. A bottle of ink and a quill pen was the only needed requirements for the desk, and reading glasses in the first drawer if necessary. The brass chair was cushioned with satin, and armrests that curved into the legs.
All in all, it was adequate enough to cater towards the needs of a particular guest in waiting, no matter their social status.
Provided for the right price of course.
As of right now, Kiri was indeed carrying a guest on board the ship. While resting on the sofa, he was keenly studying a book about the countries that were situated all over the world and the principalities that governed each of them. What really drew his interest really to the book, was whether the experience of physically being present in that said country is comparable to just reading about it. Admittedly he did need to know about the necessary facts as to not appear like a complete greenhorn should he ever tread foot on the soil of any of those countries...and yet again, what would a first hand experience be like?
He would be wondrous at first, mystified even...and then what? Would it be as it seemed in the book? Surely not...since the book fails to detail the fine lines of what really constituted the countries besides it's governing foundations and its handlers.
What would the land be like? The people? The streets? Now that would be a much more interesting experience that this all to factual hardcover -
"Something's in your hair."
The man's thoughts however, were interrupted, thanks to the other guest in tow.
"It's not a cockroach is it?" The man, Xander, dressed in a black button cotton shirt and grey leather pants, sighed.
"Nah, it's just your hair as usual."
"You can't possibly be this bored right?"
Cain, the large raven cawed indignantly from the foot of the bed. "Like hell I'm not."
Xander pinched the bridge of his nose. "Why don't you go and bug the captain and his first mate for a change? I can just open the window and you can do your business all over the ship if necessary -."
"I'm not a filthy degenerate!" The raven squawked. Xander snorted.
"And besides. What's a raven to know besides miles of seawater, seasickness and miles upon miles of cloudy skies with goddamn nothing! Besides, I told that tight-ass first mate off for being an annoying prick."
Xander gave him a dirty look. "He just wanted details to the reason I've even decided to make this arrangement with Captain Kiri. After all, it's not every time someone of importance leaves the capital…."
"You're paying them to take you there right?" Cain snarked. "That's the only thing that they need to know."
"I'm aware of being discreet."
"Can't be too careful." The raven replied.
Xander gave no response to that. He returned his attention to his book.
"What do you think about our destination at hand?"
"It's probably gonna bore me to death." Cain snickered.
"But I thought you wanted a change of scenery…"
"I did not want a sugarcoated impression." The raven said. "You already know Clarines is by far among the most peaceful kingdoms around Fortissia…what with a beautiful city, a magnificent castle, happy citizens, a well-balanced economy, and a wise and handsome ruler of the Wistalia line…"
"Sounds like something outta those lame fantasy books kids read these days."
"You're only saying that because you haven't seen it for yourself."
"Neither have you."
Xander half smiled. "That makes two of us. And what better way to start things off?"
"We have a poet folks. Please give a round of applause…oh wait, no one's around! Jokes on you!" The raven cawed at him.
"A day ago you weren't this snappy." Xander was disappointed at Cain's erratic behaviour, right after he promised not to be…as he called it, 'a whiny bitch', for the duration of this trip.
"I'm always snappy. But this floating wooden box is driving me nuts…there's literally next to nothing to do here!"
"But annoy me to death?"
"You're the only one who's fun to annoy." The raven shrugged, obviously accustomed to doing this.
Xander's expression only dropped lower.
"If the winds are on our side, the vessel should reach Clarines within three days, hopefully." He subtly added that last word out of spite.
The raven huffed. "It better be. The sooner I get on solid ground, the better."
"Did I hear that right?" Xander let a smirk grace him. "A bird wanting to be on solid ground instead of flying?"
The raven harked. "I'd pick the ground over flying with seagulls any day. Those screechy little bastards are seriously worth grilling…"
"Grilled seagull?" Xander stared at Cain.
Cain stared back at him innocently. "What? You prefer them roasted?"
"We'll be having none of that, thank you." Xander closed his book, his appetite for reading mulled over. He was supposed to have gone through the book ages ago before he even boarded this vessel. Last minute studying was doing him no favours however, when you got a snappy and seasick talking raven bugging the hell out of you.
"Hmph, just saying. If you can't catch fish, here's your back up." The raven muttered. "They even taste like em'!"
Xander ignored the ramblings of his raven. It was already noon, so that meant he should probably get properly dressed up soon to have a meeting with the captain in the next hour about the navigation routes present in their course to Clarines. At the very least, he could keep what's left of his nearly non-existent routine, filled with nothing but books and losing chess games against Cain, fulfilled until the said country was on the horizon.
His memory faintly recalled why he'd even decide to embark on this foolhardy journey.
"All your answers lie in the kingdom in Fortissia bearing the six pointed crest."
What could a mere small kingdom like Clarines possibly hold to the questions and doubts in his mind? Was it really worth leaving all his responsibilities, and the life he led, behind for half a year?
Xander and Cain both reacted simultaneously at the sound of Eli's wailing scream.
"He sounds like a lovelorn brat." The raven commented. Xander couldn't resist chuckling in response.
Then raucous laughter echoed throughout the ship, followed by the captain's booming voice.
"Oh?" The raven's head tilted at the sound. "What happened?"
Xander propped a hand on his cheek and stared out the window, his thoughts drifting once more back to the kingdom that had beget his curiosity over the past few months. "Probably something interesting?"
"And I wasn't there to see it…" The raven fumed.
"Cain." Xander spoke with a familiar tone that only he used on certain people that were close to him. Or rather...a bird. "Has there ever been a period in time where you've missed the most interesting moments in our lives?"
"Besides driving a mental nail in your head?" The raven replied.
"Other than that…" Xander sighed.
"Nope." The raven replied confidently.
"Well..." Xander smiled to himself in that all knowing manner that both amused and threw off the raven. "Maybe like always, the best is yet to come for us both?"
The raven flew over and perched on the windowsill, and gazed out at the ocean with Xander.
Secretly, Cain himself was profoundly curious, in the good way, about what the destination ahead held for them both. Of course, he wouldn't make it obvious enough for Xander to tease him about it.
"As always, I guess..." There was no sarcasm or spite in his voice this time.
This is gonna be a recurring thing somewhat in this story at the end of some chapters, but whenever there's a certain character popping up in those said chapters, I'll be giving the names of specific voice actors I've chosen to play their role(s)
Xander – Voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch.
Cain – Voiced by Vic Mignogna
Eli – Voiced by Max Mittelman
Captain Kiri – Voiced by Travis Willingham
Finnick – Jerry Jewell
Also please note that the events that are about to happen in this fic happen sometime after the second season of the anime, whilst containing tiny references to the manga.
And of course, leave a review, favorite, follow this fic if you feel like it. Great things are yet to come my fellow fans! Stay tuned! :)