Helen looked around disgustedly at the boat. Without the presence of the Ghosthound and his master’s Tassles hanging from the boat, they basically encountered no trouble. They simply drifted, no longer progressing deeper into Qtal, but also not drifting farther out.
It was widely understood that although those two were no longer here, it did not mean that they would not return. So the circling vultures stopped challenging them, but they didn’t stop watching them. Which removed the only activity that Helen enjoyed from the daily routine of the boat. After all, the challengers were just starting to be around the Artisan level, and Divveltian still managed to defeat them without getting up from his seated position. It was… inspiring.
Meanwhile, both Helen and the male spear attendant continued to train. It was almost infuriating to train next to that idiot, because he seemed to be filled with an almost erotic fixation with training, ever since he had been sent flying in that strange energy incident. Sure, he seemed to have developed a move, but it was fucking weird that such a painful event in his past now seemed to animate him. Being knocked out and cartwheeling through the air, finally landing in the river did not seem fun to Helen.
Although perhaps that was just the kind of sicko that the male spear attendant was. He liked that everyone was too busy paying attention to the Ghosthound to even remember to fish him out of the river. So the near drowning was pleasurable.
Sighing and shaking her head, Helen wondered how she had landed among such weird company. They definitely weren’t her typical crowd.
At first it was enjoyable, but now Helen wanted just ONE of these male idiots to take an extra second to gaze at her face, or to catch one of them dipping their eyes downward, for a quick peek at her assets. But they didn’t. Not one of them seemed to care that she was a woman.
“Fucking prude ass bitches.” She muttered, gazing out at the water. But then she turned, because something strange happened. Divveltian stood.
“We must go,” He said seriously, and she found herself nodding quickly right along with the male spear attendant, and immediately rushing to get her things. Because even if she was unsatisfied with the conditions, she would still follow them.
She had made an oath. But more importantly, they were strong. In this world, that was the ultimate draw.
They snuck away, leaving their boat without a single Tassle, ghosting out of the city of Qtal across the decks of other ships. Then they trekked across the countryside, and Helen muttered furiously to herself the entire time, wondering where they were going, why they were going there, and why fucking Divveltian set such a ridiculous pace.
She realized that some of it was heard by her two companions, but they simply ignored it. The male spear attendant because he seemed to fear her, which was the correct response, in her mind, and Divveltian because it seemed to amuse him, which only irritated her further. But there was really nothing she could do but follow.
They traveled, quickly going through the short road to Tomkat. They encountered bandits twice, but Divveltian simply had to look, and was able to send most of them packing. Their cross country run continued, and several hours later, they arrived in Tomkat.
It was a smaller city than Qtal, but only a little; yet it was a city with a much higher average strength of person. Whereas Qtal was a city filled with large families of poor, and struggling Styles, Tomkat was an austere mountain city, filled with highly trained spear users. Although there was no one at the Pontiff level, Adepts were much more commonly seen in Tomkat, usually passing through on their way either to or from the Central Region, from the capital of the Northern Region.
Rumor had it that the First Spear of Tomkat was a top level Adept, very close to breaking through to the Pontiff level. Even spear users at the level of Artisan would be tempted by the opportunity to train under such a figure.
When they arrived, after a brief stop in the markets, as the other group that was overrepresented here was the merchant population, Divveltian led them towards a small, squat, walled off area in the Eastern side of Tomkat.
He then exchanged a quiet word and a coin with an old woman, who smiled, took the money, and beckoned them into her home. They were led up to the attic, which allowed them to clamber out a window and onto a rather cozy and comfortable roof area. And there they began to wait, Divveltian assuming his typical sitting position, the male spear attendant seemingly oblivious of their change of venue, immediately resuming his training.
Helen blinked, and stared from one to the other. Were they really just going to just sit here!?!?
For the first time since she had become a spear attendant, she made no attempt to control it as her face twisted into a scowl. She marched up to the Divveltian and said. “What the fuck are we doing?”
“Waiting,” He answered, not even opening up his eyes.
Helen crossed her arms. She began to tap her foot. Her teeth were grinding in a very audible way, as she struggled to control her temper. Divveltian just sat there. Minutes ticked past.
“Why…?” Helen managed to say, sliding the word out between her grinding teeth.
“To break Shal and the boy out of Tomkat’s prison.” Still his eyes remained closed, and he raised his hand and began to move his finger like the conductor in an orchestra, barely paying attention to her.
But at that answer, her eyebrows shot upwards.
“To…. to break them…. out of the prison…?!?!” Helen sputtered, her mind reeling. Even the male spear attendant seemed to know what that meant, and his training slowed, and then stopped. They both gaped at the sitting man.
He, of course, continued to move his finger, and the air around him was filled with a strange music, and the ghostly images of flowing spears. Although he appeared to be doing some sort of training, this was one of the moments were Helen… couldn’t control her mouth. And didn’t really want to.
“Breaking them out of prison…? Are you fucking defective?!? That’s a direct challenge to the First Spear’s honor! He will personally come to deal with the neanderthals that attempted such a thing. He is almost a Pontiff! He will fuck us to bits!”
The images fell away, and Divveltian slowly opened his eyes. Strangely, when Helen looked into the old man’s eyes, the image of floating spears was even more powerful there, so vicious that she stumbled backward, her instincts warning her of something terrible impending in her future. Divveltian just chuckled, and closed his eyes again.
“There is a large difference between a powerful Adept…. and a Pontiff. As long as it is the former… we should be able to manage it. But of course, if you feel fear, hide. Otherwise, sharpen yourselves. At this level, you simply need to stall small fries until we get them out. The actual heavy lifting… will be done by them. We are just the getaway team.”
The male spear attendant nodded seriously to Divveltian’s words, and then began to work on his created move. Helen sat back on her heels, feeling like she should be furious about the idiocy they displayed, but…
A very deep, animalistic part of her, the part that was the source of her anger and vitriolic words, was shivering with pleasure. Although it was incredibly dangerous, this was exactly the sort of disobedient and domineering thing that her inner part wanted. But Helen had survived thus far through caution, and through a careful monitoring and regulating of that part of herself.
This was not a cautious move. But maybe that was why the Ghosthound had an irresistible draw on her. Because he was a man who stepped forward, against impossible odds, spitting in the face of fate. He risked his life, and seemed to revel in it. This prison break… was just another typical day for him.
And she wanted that life. It was something that she could not resist.
So, in spite of herself, she began to train, working on her three flowing moves that had given her so much success in the past. Even now, she could still feel small wisps of that strange energy clinging to her, helping her improve at a pace that would have been impossible in the past. It came in spurts and epiphanies, and it too, was a gift from the Ghosthound.
Acidically whispering the ways she would kill all of them for putting her through this, Helen smiled and prepared.
Claptrap looked with a horrified expression out across the boat.
It had been an excellent week. The Crashing Wave Style was very pleased with the improved quality of the armors. But of course, Claptrap only had so many, and he knew that the Ghosthound was leaving soon.
But he had hoped to get another batch finished. The profits seemed to dance before their eyes.
However, when Claptrap went to visit… he found that the Ghosthound was gone. And his old man protector. And his master. And his two spear attendants.
But of course the boat wasn’t empty. As with any boat without a Tassle, it seemed Mr. Izzat had annexed it, opening another branch shop at this location.