The Iron Shadow was a masterpiece of a warship. A real magnum opus to the engineers who created her. The apple of admiral's eye.

That's why he didn't like the idea of a traitor walking somewhere on the deck with his dirty traitorous feet.

As soon as he and his selected team reunited with the rest of the crew, the admiral called for a council meeting. In reality, the "council" was made up of the admiral, and four highest-ranking, and Mugo's most-trusted men on the ship. The Blackram would usually solve issues and come up with ideas as a group - anyone on the ship could propose a solution to a problem they were currently facing. The only cases, when the council meetings were held, were matters of a high discretion - and finding a potential traitor was certainly such matter. Of course, the admiral couldn't know for certain, if the traitor wasn't among his most trusted men, but this was his best option for now.

"Great! A traitor in our fleet!" Highlord slammed his fist into the table. "As if we didn't have enough trouble with those god forsaken fiends all over our harbors!"

"We oughta be more careful." Half-face remarked.

"As if we can afford that! Our forces are already divided due to the fiend attacks, and you expect us to split even more, to deal with both matters at once?"

"For all we know, those two things can be related." Eagle interrupted the two. "We should focus on the major issue of the fiends. One traitor won't be the end of us. They might."

"If a traitor sells the location of our ship, we're done. Eagle, how are the engineers doing? Are we still waterbound?"

"Unfortunately, we are, admiral. However, majority of warships capable of taking down the Iron Shadow is way slower than us. In other words, for as long as we avoid any major harbors, we won't need to worry about the traitor."

Highlord muttered something under his nose, but held back his usual snarky comments. He turned to the admiral.

"We should at least spread the message across the harbors. We were discussing the admiral's errand with them and their men, after all. For all we know, the traitor could be among them."

"I reject" Victor finally broke from his silence. "If one of them is the traitor, we may be on a disadvantage by letting him know that we know."

"I also reject" Eagle nodded to Victor. "We would only cause panic. That could only be a one-time thing. We should wait and see."

"You gotta be outta' yer minds!" Half-face turned to Mugo. "Admiral! Ye can't be considering this! We blackram oughta stick together! We're family!"

Highlord stood up, knocking the chair over. "This is outrageous - to think you would just leave them without a word of warning! This is why i think brains like you shouldn't have a place in the blackram - you see people as gears in your damn machines, but in the actual combat you're all useless!"

"I apologize for endorsing the most logical solution. We should all take hot-headed, unnecessary risks, and let everyone know about everything we know and do. Why not sell the plans for the Iron Shadow while we're at it? I'm sure all the fleets would appreciate flying ships."

"You look like exactly the type of person who would do something like that - that is, as long as there's a profit. Why don't we settle this like men? Oh right, because you can't take a punch - sometimes, it makes me think, whether you even got any balls, or if you're just-"

"Enough!" Victor raised his voice. Awed by this uncommon situation, both men fell silent. Highlord picked up his chair, and sat back. "Your fighting serves no purpose. It's up to the Admiral to decide."

Chol Mugo massaged his temple. Both sides had their rights and wrongs. Nevertheless, he already knew, that, while Eagle and Victor's reasoning was good, he couldn't allow his good friends at the harbors get captured, when he could prevent it.

"We'll be sending a message. No details, just that there's a traitor among us, and to keep careful. Half-face, you will see to it personally. Only send letters to the captains, no one else. Eagle, speed up your work. You can work all day and night for all i care, i want the Iron Shadow fully operational by the end of the week. You'll rest after it's working properly. " The engineer started opening his mouth in a protest. "One week. That's all you get. We're heading for Moonrise Harbor, and we can't afford to travel around the coastline. " The admiral looked around, and, seeing no objections, he got up. "That's all for today. We're going to observe the events from now on. Do not let your guard down, and remember - i am watching all of you."

She was annoying.

Blacksheep was currently doing her best to scrub the deck with a normal-sized brush, that looked like a giant's tool in her hands. Mugo knew he had other things to do right now, but something about this picture was so annoying, he couldn't take his eyes off it.

Just like she requested, she was put at the cleaning duty. And, since she seemed very eager, she ended up being the only person put to cleaning. The men who would usually be on this duty today were slacking on the nearby crates, playing dice. And yet, something about her trying to manage all by herself, without a word of complaint, pissed him off more than anything. It didn't help that the deadline he'd given to Eagle was coming to a close, and the ship was still waterbound. Maybe he was just taking his frustration out on her. Or maybe she was the very cause of it.

"It is impossible for a single man to do this job, not to mention a lyn." Highlord seemingly materialised at Mugo's side. "And when she can't fulfill her duty, she'll be in trouble. Just as you requested." The man scratched his bald head. "Look, i don't especially like lyns myself, but it's this a bit… too much? I mean, you DID allow her to join."

"And maybe you should mind your own business."

"...Sorry, Admiral. So, we're just getting rid of her?"

"You know, she may be putting up with the impossible tasks, but if there's a social pressure on her, she'll give up eventually."

"You mean you intend to pull a Thistle on her?"

"She'll be begging to quit faster than Thistle did. I can vouch for it. If you only allow it, she-"

"Do it. She's annoying to have around. The sooner we get rid of her, the better."


Blacksheep was staring on the deck below with a glazed look, scratching her wrist, as if trying to get rid of the entire layer of skin. She turned around to peek at her superiors, then turned back to the deck, half-heartedly cleaning it again. Mugo frowned. There was no way she could hear them at this distance, even with those rabbit ears of hers. And yet something about her changed posture worried him. It's not like she could possibly be the traitor, and yet… The fact she appeared in the perfect place and time, the ease in which she executed the escape plan, all of that seemed at least suspicious. Or maybe it was just her race that unnerved him in general - he couldn't tell. All that he knew was, that he needed to get rid of her. Before he does something regrettable.