Chapter 61 Part 2
Waves buffeted the side of the ship as we made our way to Jade Wind. The city was actually insight, but the weather prevented us from sailing a direct line to beneath the floating city. We were still able to talk to the city thanks to light signals, but the situation wasn’t much better for them. Jade Wind was built to withstand the maelstrom, but the added strength from this other storm was pressing their systems.
“Fifty degrees to the starboard!” Captain Shido shouted. The airship turned naval vessel pitched as the bow sliced through a wave that would have sent the ship under the water. Arcs of lightning crashed into the ocean, threatening to turn us into smoldering driftwood.
“Captain! We need to get to Jade Wind before the ship is reduced to scrap metal!” I shouted over the intense noise of the rain and waves.
“I know Princess! Its like the ocean has come alive!” Captain Shido shouted back.
Lightning arced in front of the ship missing by only a few dozen meters. Alarms of all kinds were blaring in the bridge. I was worried the stress of the ocean was going to break us even before the lightning or waves took us out. The grinding noise of the metal and wood of the ship being pulled or pressed together was enough to send shivers down my back.
There was a flash and as if in slow motion an arc of lightning branched and branched again as it headed for the ship. I channeled mana despite knowing that I would only be able to protect myself. Before the lightning struck the ship, there was an equal bright flash of light.
A perfectly straight line of white light shot off into the ocean away from the ship. The lightning slammed into it and was pulled off into the distance. I blinked trying to clear the spots that formed in my vision. A figure slowly came into focus on the deck of the ship. It was tied to the rail so as not to be thrown by the waves.
“Who is that idiot?” I asked the bridge.
We didn’t have a light mage that powerful with us. Even more so, I had never seen light used in such a fashion. While I was thankful to them for saving the ship, it was reckless to be out there by themselves.
“Its that goblin from the dungeon,” one of the crew members shouted.
“Why is he on board!? He was supposed to remain at the embassy,” I shouted back.
I didn’t get an answer from anyone, meaning he most likely snuck onboard. As we watched a beam of light flashed from Alphonso’s outstretched hands, slicing a wave so the ship could breakthrough with less trouble. With Alphonso’s help, we started to make time towards the clearing being created by Jade Wind. It was literally the eye of the storm right now.
Twenty minutes later we made it under the city. Thankfully, nothing else happened that significantly threatened the ship. The barriers around the city were obviously struggling to hold back the storm. I needed to get up there and place Regan’s core as soon as I could.
“Activate engines! Get us in the air!” Captain Shido yelled. Though we were out of the worst of the storm, the waves were still quite heavy, slamming the ship around.
“Aye, Captain!” the helmsman said.
The thrum of mana rippled through the ship as the reactor was turned back on. The ship quickly started to rise once they reached their peak. I wasn’t sure the last time I was so happy to see the docks of the city. Once we passed under the barrier the air calmed down tremendously. We really started to gain altitude then.
“It’s good to be home,” Captain Shido said a rare smile gracing his features.
Looking up at the city, I took in the sight that I had missed. A large column that was nearly six hundred meters long made up the center of the city. It was composed of a metal and stone mixture that we were unable to recreate. From there, a metal grid spiderwebbed its way out. The web had grown over the centuries and was nearly two kilometers by itself.
Under the center column, a pulsing energy was constantly shooting down into the ocean. If the storm wasn’t present, there would be an outlying cloud of steam surrounding the city. Special magic technology held the worst of the weather at bay. The only time I remember it raining in Jade Wind was ten years ago when a storm put Jade Wind in its path. Winds strong enough to blow airships out of the sky barely caused a breeze inside the city.
It was a machinal marvel that used all the accumulated knowledge of the Gnomes. A part of me always wondered what marvels we could achieve if we landed the city. But the Gnomish pride never allowed us to do so. It was a thought that all gnomes have once in their life.
“I agree,” I replied.
The mooring lines were launched with precision towards the designated targets on the docks. With a bang, they locked down on the lead and started reeling the ship in. I left the bridge and went to the deck to check on Alphonso. He was drenched with water running off the armor leading me to believe there really weren’t any gaps.
“Boss princess! I hope my actions have been noted?” Alphonso said when he saw me approaching.
“You were very heroic, but that was dangerous! You could have been swept overboard!” I said once I was near him.
“Wouldn’t have bothered me. Well… I guess it would have been a long walk,” Alphonso said with a grin.
“And how would I tell Godfather Tony?” I asked putting my hands on my hips.
“Ah! True! My bad,” Alphonso said rubbing his head causing teeth grinding metal screeching.
“Whatever. Anyway. Welcome to Jade Wind! Home of the Gnomes!” I said with a dramatic gesture to the magnificent city in front of us.
The airship came around gently riding the currents to get close to the docks. The winch would drag the airship in, but the pilot made the process easier but keeping it from fighting the winds. Airships of various ages filled the docks. My ancestors might have lost a lot of knowledge over the years, but airship building was kept alive to the best of our ability.
The docks circled all of Jade Wind. The royal dock which we were being pulled into was reserved for the Royal families’ airships. The Arashi and the Kou were currently docked. They were only used in times of war. To my knowledge, they had only been used twice. Both times, we were assisting another country rather than fighting a war ourselves.
Buildings made of the lightest wood made up the structures around the city. Jade Port had a special grove dedicated to growing these trees. The newest building in Jade Wind was almost two years old now. The support ring of metal was allocated only so much weight before the building on it is required to reduce the items inside.
I loved this city. I knew every inch of it like the back of my hand. As the princess, there was nowhere I wasn’t able to go. I’d made friends from all over the city, even with my status. I could say without a doubt I was happy to be home.
The Raiu came to a jarring stop as the wenches finished pulling us in. A grinding noise sounded as a steel walkway was lowered automatically to connect the vessel and the docks. A few workers rushed to make sure that everything was working correctly. I noticed they seemed… anxious but put it off as my homing coming since the Queen passed.
I looked to the captain. “Clean her up good. I don’t want my Father to see his favorite ship looking like a common sailing vessel.
“Yes, princess!” Captain Shido said with a salute.
“How is the phoenix doing?” I asked using the communication tube to talk to the crew in the bay.
“Its… napping. Damn thing ate half our stores then clocked out,” I received back a few moments later.
“Alright. Keep it in the bay. We can’t let it out this close to the city. It wouldn’t be a joke if someone lost a kid thanks to me.”
“Of course, princess!”
Leaving the bridge, I walked to the deck a little more hurried than was needed. Hatsu and the other quickly fell into step around me as my royal guard. I blinked as I noticed there was one more than normal.
“Alphonso. What do you think you’re doing?” I asked coming to a stop.
“I was told to go with you,” Alphonso said twirling his fingers together.
“I can give you a tour later!” I said resisting the urge to smack my forehead.
“I know that but… I can’t wait! It looks so interesting!” Alphonso said hopping on his feet.
“Let the little fellow tag along,” Tsuzuki said with a laugh.
I looked between the two of them and realized that they must have talked beforehand. I would have to scold them later, but I was too excited to be home. I just sighed then nodded and Alphonso jumped into the air in a cheer.
“You better stick with us!” I said poking his glass helmet.
He gave me a salute then said, “yes ma’am.”
We crossed the gangplank to the docks. The workers were all lined up and bowing to me as we walked through the docks. When we reached the gates, a pair of guards stood with almost natural stiffness. When they saw us they reacted immediately turning to face us and bowing.
“Princess Solidgear! Welcome back. Your father, the King will be most pleased,” one of the guards said with an almost wooden way. I could only put it off as him being nervous.
“Its good to be home. I will report to the castle as soon as I take a look around. I’ve missed home so much,” I said nodding my head to the guard.
“Very well. I shall inform his majesty that you will see him within the eve,” The guard said and bowed deeply.
“Good. Thank you, sir guard.”
We left the docks and made our way around town. The city was composed of six circling streets. If you started at one point you would eventually make your way back. The only caste system we had here was King, then craft masters. Everyone worked to become masters of a craft to reach a closer place to the pillar. That would allow you a larger weight allotment for your home or shop.
That wasn’t to say that the citizens were mistreated. There was plenty of food to go around. Education was given to all children under the age of ten, after which they have to join a craft. If you looked at the surface, you would find that everyone was living. But, given the necromancers managed to pull so many of our people to them, maybe they weren’t happy. I would need to sit with my father and talk with him about this.
“Is that little Izora?” an elderly woman called out to me.
“Grandma Ku! I’m glad to see you!” I said rushing over to the old gnome. She always gave me treats when I wandered the streets when I was younger. She treated me just like one of the other kids on her street.
“It’s good you’ve come home. Strange things have been happening,” Grandma Ku said throwing an eye around. “Why don’t you come in?”