We continued our journey north without any more interference from the sirens, though we kept a close eye out. Kuko gradually recovered his charmed wits, though he still swore by the beauty and goodness of his predators.

I spent more and more time with the slaves. Burdette didn’t like the influence I had with the crew and more than happy to have me assist Myota on his medical rounds instead. We were still criminally under-crewed, so I wasn’t released from my duties, merely shuffled around a bit so my ‘crazy thinking’ didn’t rub off on anyone.

Burdette’s elvish bookkeeper Rhistel was the Captain’s primary liaison with me. I didn’t know why the Captain seemed to be keeping me at arm’s length, but I was glad for the second chance to get to know Rhistel. The elf was formal and proper, and I wanted to know how someone from the northeastern forests came to be working aboard a ship like this for a nation that wasn’t his own.

Asking that question proved to be just as much of a mistake as asking about his ‘Edledhron’ – or removed – profession. He looked at me with a face just as blank and taciturn as before and said, “I am a slave.”

While he left me open-mouthed, I tried to understand it. He was a slave, not a crewman! He belonged to Burdette, then? But how? The elves I knew were fiercely nationalistic. If someone captured an elf as a slave, they risked war! If I was Burdette, I’d be sweating a cadre of ancient warriors and magic users would be boarding me any moment!

So, when I later spotted an elvish ship on the horizon, chills came over my body.

I immediately alerted the quartermaster, who informed the Captain. Burdette didn’t seem alarmed, only annoyed. We were only a few days travel from our destination at Dagat. Nevertheless, he instructed the crew to prepare to receive visitors. And by ‘visitors’ he really meant guests, not hostile warriors.

We couldn’t hope to outrun the elvish ship. Even the fastest ships couldn’t hold up to the speed inherent in the elvish styles. The elves didn’t have large-sized warships, but their interceptor craft could dance circles around the design’s humans could pull off.

I watched warily as the elvish ship came alongside. My crewmates were murmuring about their battle-ready armor and weapons. I was more concerned about their levels and analyze skills. There were fewer elves in the world, but when they lived for hundreds of years or more, each became a powerful individual. Using Donovan’s skills as a reference, many of the elves would easily see through my ‘Hide True Nature’ ability.

So, I slipped below decks into the hold with the slaves. I knew enough of them by now that I didn’t stick out as someone trying to avoid attention. Sadeo – the kitsune artillerist – was a dedicated conversationalist and made a point of talking with me whenever I was around. I stood by him now and explained what was going on.

As I explained things to the furry humanoid, I was surprised to see Rhistel down here as well! The elf was slightly separated from the mass of slaves. They seemed to know his status as property, but since he wasn’t in the same situation as them he was also separate. I wanted to talk with the elf and apologize again, but now wasn’t the time and with my luck I’d dredge up something else he’d rather not talk about.

We all heard when the elves came on deck. We heard the Captain speak with their commander. The voices weren’t hostile, but Burdette had steel in his tone. After a couple minutes, that steely tone turned deferential. Then the elves began searching the ship.

Two elves in medium armor wearing short thin blades at their waist stepped into the slave hold. They ran their eyes over the mass of bodies in distaste, but I couldn’t tell if it was because they disapproved of the practice or because the smell was offensive.

They scanned over the bodies present, clearly looking for someone trying to hide behind a living screen. I worried my attempt to hide down here was doomed to fail, but then their eyes landed on Rhistel.

Instantly, their attention was on him exclusively. Their attention was not, however, what I had expected. They were angry. Not at his situation, but at him! They immediately began interrogating him. My knowledge of the elvish language only consisted of the phrases “I’m sorry,” “Thank you,” and “Pass the wine.” While it didn’t take a linguist to understand what they were doing, not having the details drove me mad with curiosity.

They demanded many answers from him, which he gave dutifully and subserviently. He didn’t meet their eyes, either staring straight forward into the distance or at his feet when they raised their voices.

Elvish wasn’t a language to hear arguments in. While I’d never liked poetry, I’d listen to it in elvish just because the language was so fluid and pretty. Hearing angry elvish was like offending the kindly old man on the docks only to discover he had a tongue experienced in dressing down grown men and a high strength stat behind his cane swipes.

The half-elf boy – who’d I’d discovered was named Arnnaith – worked his way towards the interrogation and offered a phrase in elvish. The elves scanned him and asked him a few quick questions. Then they ignored the boy and – seemingly done with the interview portion – went on a tirade against Rhistel that made me glad I didn’t know the language. The commotion drew the attention of other elves who’d been investigating the ship. Like sharks to water, they came and immediately joined in on the verbal assault. Rhistel stood there and took it with his head bowed, only giving single-word responses when prompted.

The oldest elf present eventually declared an end to the epic dressing-down and the anger of the grouped elves evaporated. They seemingly forgot the bookkeeping elf existed and filed out of the hold. Grateful they hadn’t analyzed me, I still couldn’t help blurting out, “What was that about?”

In the common tongue, the elf replied, “The duty of my people for my shame.”

Arnnaith was just as angry as the elves had been during the vocal abuse. “You cursed black star! They would have taken me away if you hadn’t been here!”

“They wouldn’t have asked you to scrub their chamber pots, boy! You’re a foreign half-blood. What loyalty do they have to you?”

“My mother was from the forests!”

“And if she was here, either she’d have been rescued or given the same treatment I received. You warrant neither.”

“My mother wasn’t some edledhron!”

“You don’t know what your mother was!” Rhistel snapped. “And you don’t know the traditions of the forest, whatever bedtime stories she may have told you. So follow the guidance that young ones should listen and learn rather than speak!”

“You’d know!” Arnnaith spat, stalking away.

After watching the exchange, I knew better than to open my trap. Rhistel sulked until the elvish ship had pulled away before returning above deck. I gave him his space. I asked Sadeo if he knew anything about what had happened. The kitsune just shrugged.

“I know a bit about sprites, but you know more about these northern elves than I do. The only thing that made sense to me was the sense of duty to the forest above all.”

From what I knew of elves, ‘duty to the forest’ wasn’t so much about the trees. It was more ‘duty to the people’. The collective of the elf kingdom was the most important thing. Apparently, Rhistel wasn’t part of it anymore.

I didn’t see Rhistel for a full day after that. It seemed Burdette allowed the elf to brood in his cabin. When I did se him conducting his rounds again, I didn’t try to bring up what had happened.

I discovered that the elves were searching for a vessel that had fled their country south after conducting some bit of espionage. The elvish pursuit was also searching ships heading north on the off chance they’d met with the fleeing perpetrators and hidden them. Burdette had spat some choice words about the elvish race after they left and said he wouldn’t have betrayed any humans to the likes of them. He didn’t notice the irony of having his own elf as a slave.

The trip took much longer in this season than if we’d made it even a month earlier. The trip south would be quicker when the rainstorms could be ridden instead of weathered. Our progress north had been just better than a snail’s pace.

Finally, we reached Dagat in the dark of night. We waited outside the cliffs that encapsulated the harbor until dawn broke. The sun rising in the east highlighted the massive artillery pieces on the cliffs above the harbor. Normally there was a large flag clearly visible to all that determined whether the port was open or not. If that flag was red, you were not allowed to move your ship at all, or risk being fired upon. If that flag was green, you could conduct your business.

There was no flag flying, so after a while waiting we went in slowly, prepared to stop on a coin. No artillery fired at us, but a small pilot ship approached. A weathered man with dark bags under his eyes came aboard to meet with Burdette.

“Heightened security measures are currently in place,” The man said. “Every member of your crew will be documented. Before you depart, it will be ascertained that each crewman is departing with you. We are not allowing any new visitors into the city, nor are we allowing anyone out of it without written authorization signed by the harbormaster and a guard captain.”

Burdette was understandably furious. “What do you mean I can’t take on crew? Can’t you see I’ve got less than half a crew here with me? I need more men!”

“If you require additional manpower, I suggest you speak with the harbormaster and arrange for a guard captain to sign off on it.” The man spoke like he’d been having similar arguments with captains all night. “I’ll warn you, however, that any such waivers are not likely to be granted anytime soon.”

“Why not?”

“Because the port is in a heightened state of security.” Before Burdette flew off the rails, the man dropped the bureaucratic attitude. “There was an incident yesterday where a foreign vessel was sunk in the harbor. There is currently an ongoing search for surviving members of that crew in town, in addition to the threat of spies. We just finished a census of the area and local citizens have all the required documents and passes for their status. Incoming ships do not. If you wish, you may turn around now. If you dock, you will be subject to the harbormaster’s authority. What kind of business are you here for? It might be better that you wait.”

“Shipment of slaves,” Burdette growled. “About thirty of them are up for auction and I’ll be taking on more for the return ship south.”

The official considered this. “You’ll be able to sell at the auction, that is still being held so as not to stifle business too harshly. I don’t think much of your chances of picking up many slaves there. Good luck with that.”

“We can dock?”

“You may. I will take down the names of your crew now. When you wish to leave, you need to have the harbormaster’s permission. If you only have the names of your crew aboard, that will be granted. If you have taken on crew or lost any, that will also require the permission of a guard captain, which …”

“I know, I know. Fat chance. What about the slaves I take on?”

“They will be vetted at auction, and their identities will be part of your manifest. No trouble there. They’re all cargo.”

“Very well, lets get on with it.”

Burdette had the crew muster and the official analyzed and took down all our names. Burdette tried to say that I was only being taken on to this port, but the official didn’t budge.

“He came with you; he leaves with you. Anything else requires the proper waivers.”

Burdette wasn’t happy about that. I wasn’t particularly thrilled, either. I hadn’t planned to turn Dagat into my new base. I knew it was too strict for that. I’d planned on finding a different ship somewhere else … the broken isles, maybe. That would be a good place to raise a ship and muster a crew! But no, I was stuck with the Consort.

I could jump overboard and swim out, leaving Burdette stuck trying to explain where his crewman had gone. That thought didn’t appeal to me for the same reason’s I hadn’t done so immediately after escaping Tulisang. Mine was a leadership profession – it was crippled without a crew. Since I was being so careful about enlisting help, right now that was limited to myself and my shadow.

After listing all the crew, the official had Burdette match the slaves to their documents and took down their names as well. After the Consort had been well and truly inventoried, we were allowed to dock.

After we tied up, Burdette explained the rules to his crew. They could go ashore for leave, but only as a group and they were expected back before four bells. The crew wasn’t happy, but they could tell the port was essentially on lockdown. A watch schedule was set, but strangely Burdette made sure I wasn’t on it. He pulled me aside.

“Domenic, I don’t want to see you on the return voyage. Port officials may say I’m stuck with you, but you’re trouble waiting to happen. So here’s the deal: you disappear into town. I report you deserted. I’ll deal with whatever bloody waivers and signatures I have to; I don’t want to see you around!”

“And if the local watch catches me?” I asked. “Maybe they throw me in jail and let you go. Maybe they throw me aboard and still detain you. There’s no scenario here that benefits me.”

“That’s the life of a copper-mouth, huh?”

“What’s that even mean?” I huffed.

Burdette looked surprised. “Copper-mouth? Means you’re a slave-sympathizer – you’re too scared of what this means for the economy. All your words would leave nothing but copper coins in the national coffers.”

That explained the new insult. I felt like showing him a gold coin from my bag to prove him wrong, but that wouldn’t help the real issue.

“Captain, I hear your orders.” I said. “I will … look for ways to comply.”

Burdette nodded like it was settled. Clearly, I was cut loose. I wasn’t part of the watch aboard the ship and I wasn’t to be included in the party going ashore.

I waited aboard the ship for a few minutes. At that point Burdette had Zamari and a few others round up about thirty slaves, all shackled to each other, and marched them off the ship. I knew several of those people. They were primarily the courtesans and personal servants – the workers down below would all return to cultivating fields outside Tulisang. Presumably, the ones going for auction would be replaced with fresh blood or more laborers.

Sadeo was among them. I didn’t know what my plans were, but I followed.

It was only a few blocks to the auction block where a dozen or so slaves were currently being purchased. The auctioneer paused when he saw the fresh meat coming, and after finalizing the current bid called they would take a break and reconvene in half an hour after they’d inventoried the newest arrivals. Burdette’s business had turned the morning auction from a small-time affair into something that would draw a crowd.

Burdette met with the official governing the auction and matched each slave to their documents, which were transferred over. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but the official looked over everything and gave Burdette some sort of receipt. Then Zamari corralled the slaves into a pen and the auction was called back into session.

I couldn’t help but watch. The business fascinated me in the same way that a bloody rat fight did – maybe you felt sick but you just had to watch. The auctioneer was given the documentation for a slave and after scanning it far faster than anyone should be able to, he began hyping the crowd, praising the value and utility of the individual before opening the floor to bids.

In the case of the courtesans, he loudly and explicitly proclaimed their skill and what they could do to a person. Several of the bidders laughed and joked with each other, but what broke my heart was the fact that each of the courtesans was playing it up. I’d seen their blank despairing faces on the ship. They hadn’t been excited or hopeful when they were corralled into the pen, either. They were putting on a mask because they knew that was expected of them.

There was one girl in her teens who was obviously still despairing – there were tear tracks shining on her face as she tried to act promiscuous. When the auctioneer took her shirt to try and engage the crowd despite a sub-par performance, he accidently exposed fresh welts that must have been given in the pen backstage to convince her to perform properly.

I considered putting a bid in. Not to make her my own, but just so none of these other buyers would. What would I do with her, though? Take her out to sea with me? Tell her my secret and try to make her part of my crew? Let her go free here in town and hope she could make a living without getting picked up by a local brothel?

The prices the slaves were going for also intimidated me. I’d assumed the ‘life is cheap’ mentality of chattel slavery meant people would be bidding coppers. That wasn’t so. The average bid started at 30 silver and rarely stopped below gold. Several courtesans went for several gold apiece. That was more than most sailors’ wages for months at sea! Even with the money I’d saved for the sake of paying Renshaw’s and Kane’s high tutelage prices, I couldn’t afford to bail out every slave I felt sympathy for … that would have been all of them.

Still, my eyes burned when I saw Sadeo in the wings. The kitsune was garnering enough interest to distract the crowd from the current sale. I reminded myself that there wasn’t anything I could do. I was trying to fly under the radar. I had secrets I couldn’t share. Was I ready for the responsibility of owning a slave? Not that I’d treat anyone the way slaves were being treated here, but there was a whole layer of bureaucracy that I knew nothing about …

I made excuses for myself while waiting for Sadeo’s turn at fate. Then the auctioneer began rattling off the Kitsune’s hype speech.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I can see your astute eyes have already seen the special treat we have here today! I present to you a kitsune! This unique and savage race comes from the far southern reaches of the ring! This specimen was captured attempting to raid an expeditionary party. He was then domesticated and brought …”

“That’s not remotely the way it was!” Sadeo cried. Slaves were required to keep silent on the auction block, so the auctioneer quietly rebuked him before returning to his speech. The grumbling kitsune severely undermined the hype the auctioneer was generating.

“This savage specimen was domesticated and taught the ways of a personal servant. He has served with distinction in the plantations of Tulisang. He is not only a capable servant, but the perfect novelty to entertain your guests with! Where is my starting bid?”

After seeing Sadeo’s outburst, I knew I couldn’t stay silent. I also imagined that a unique race would sell for the most of any slave here. The crowd that showed up might not have been the proper clientele for maximizing profit for the advertised benefits, but Burdette didn’t want to hang around town long enough to gain entry to a higher-class auction.

So, while I spoke up quickly to get the first bid in, I also did my best to make sure the auction didn’t escalate beyond my means.

“Ten silver for the furball!” I called. There was a shocked moment where even the auctioneer was stunned. That was a ridiculously underpriced bid. What it had the effect of doing – as I knew it would after seeing Zamari call Sadeo a ‘furball’ – was make the kitsune bare his teeth in a snarl that totally undermined the image of a refined savage or domesticated personal servant. The immobile bidders saw it too.

The awkward moment passed when someone called out 20 silvers, and the price quickly escalated. A lot of bidders piped in, thinking they might get a unique pet at a cheap price for resale. They dropped out when the price passed a gold. When the bidding slowed at two gold I threw my bid back in. I went back and forth a little while with another bidder. Either the old man knew the true value of a rare specimen or he identified me as the person who’d undercut the sale and was jacking up the price on me deliberately. I hoped my trade skill would come into play. Maybe it did, because the old man left me alone when I jumped my offer from 3 to straight to 4 gold.

“Sold!” The auctioneer cried. He knew I was the one who’d first bid, but he didn’t let any sourness mar his tone as he moved on to the next slave.

Slaves were being held for their buyers while they conducted their business. I had no stomach for watching the rest of the auction but made myself wait so I didn’t cause a scene when I went for my friend.

That meant I was still sitting down when the leonid consort was brought on stage. I hadn’t spoken with her – she didn’t speak much to anyone, though she hadn’t been standoffish or hostile after I’d taken a beating for the slaves – and I wasn’t sure whether I could or should try to repeat my bid. I was still feeling incredibly weird about having bought one person. Thankfully (I think) I didn’t have to bid. The auctioneer did his best to market her as an ‘exotic lover’ and started the bidding at 40 silver.

The racial bias here might hurt nonhumans in most cases, it also made the crowd nervous on bidding for a lover from another race. I saw one man ahead of me start to raise his hand, then put it down quickly and glance around. Men might joke about the human prostitutes they acquired, but apparently they didn’t want their buddies to think less of them for being interested in a leonid.

The auctioneer dropped the price to 35 and then 30 silver, but when no one bid he had her moved off the block and kept going. The leonid would no doubt end up back on the Consort, for better or worse.

My distaste for the trade of prostitution mixed with my newfound feelings for slavery and turned into a vile mixture in my stomach. I couldn’t stick around anymore. I left the crowd of bidders and moved around to where a teen was waiting with Sadeo. He guided me towards the official who I’d pay. Sadeo gave me the stink eye when he saw me.

“I thought I saw you in the crowd. I also thought you were the one calling me names, but I told myself that couldn’t be the case! After all, Domenic never bought into that crazy slavery thinking. He took a beating for our sakes, didn’t he! Oh, wait … were you just escorting me? Or did you really buy me after insulting me?”

“You done?” I asked. “If I didn’t get your price down, I wouldn’t be able to afford you.”

Sadeo considered that, then grinned. “You’re tricksy as well as stubborn! You might hold your own in my homeland.”

“We’ll talk about that later,” I promised, approaching the master of the auction. I paid up the bid, then a little more for ‘transfer fees’. With a few signatures Sadeo’s documentation was mine. It included a detailed list of his stats, history of prior owners, and authority I had over him. That last page was headed with ‘chattel slave’ and I found that not only did I own Sadeo and could do whatever I wanted to him; I also owned any children he had under those same conditions. What kind of system was that?

I didn’t put the documents in my bag. I carried them in hand as I moved far away from the auction. Sadeo was uncharacteristically silent, seemingly intuiting my roiling emotions. He followed by my side without a peep.

Unsurprisingly, I found myself in front of the harbor. Of course I came in this direction when I wanted comfort. I took deep breaths of the salt air, the smell of brine mixing with algae and old fish. I handed the documentation to Sadeo.

“If I were a hero or a better person, I’d go on a quest to return you to your homeland. Unfortunately, I’m tied to the sea in more ways than one. What I can do is cut you loose. I can give you your documents and let you return home on your own.”

Sadeo didn’t have much expression when I looked down. He wasn’t surprised, happy, or even confused. His expression seemed to be more of mild interest.

“Do you know how I’d make it?”

“No,” I admitted. “But I can give you the chance.”

“Hardly,” he said with a snort. “You can’t just send me on an errand across the world by myself. No one would believe it. I suppose you can declare me a free kitsune, but the king has the right to purchase me first. I’d like to avoid that, please. I’d never leave, and they’d never let me fill my debt.”

“Say he does let you go,” I said, unaware before now that the king had such authority. “You’d be free to return to your family.”

“No, I’d be stranded thousands of miles away. Makam brought me north on their wooden rails, you know how long it would take me to walk back? I’ve been jumping from master to master for 6 years now. It would take years to get back if there weren’t any troubles. And there will be trouble, because I know you humans see my race as a novelty. I’ve been traded far more often then I’ve been asked to work!”

I despaired. “Sadeo, I’m trying to help, and do the right thing! But I’m of limited means myself. How can I help you?”

He shrugged. “I’ll be your slave and do as you order. I know you’re a worker yourself, but I don’t see what the issue is with that.”

“Don’t you want to be free? I know I do!”

“Seaborn,” Sadeo said with a sigh, dragging a paw over his face. “I was beaten in battle and sold as a slave. I can’t be a free kitsune again until I pay my debt price. That’s not a currency like you humans relegate yourselves to use, it’s a duty. It’s my job to support you until I bring you such a victory that eclipses my own defeat. I’m a professional artillerist, so I should be in battles! Great battles, otherwise I’ll never succeed. But all I’ve been set to do since I got to human lands is serve food or do menial chores. You want to help me? Get me somewhere they’ll let me fight!”

I internalized what Sadeo had said and considered it. “Will you vow to keep my secrets?”

Now Sadeo was surprised. “As your slave, I’ve got to do whatever you say. I’ll warn you – staying quiet isn’t my strong suit.”

“I’m not demanding the vow of a slave; I’m asking for a vow as a friend – or at least a companion.”

He looked at me astutely. “You’re not talking about secrets like filching coins, are you?”


He considered for two whole minutes, during which I didn’t interrupt him. “I, Sadeo, do swear upon my profession to hold dear the secrets of Domenic Seaborn.”

Sadeo Kitsune has sworn a Vow of Silence to you! He may not share your secrets under the threat of severe repercussions.

“Very well. Thank you.” I took a deep breath before taking the plunge. This could be my first crewman! “I have been conscripted as a servant of Davy Jones. I’ve been tasked with assembling a ship and crew.”

I was prepared for a lot of reactions from the kitsune, but not the one he gave.

“Who’s Davy Jones?”

After I recovered from my stunned silence, I couldn’t help it … I howled with laughter. Sure, to me and other sailors who’d grew up on tails of Davy Jones that was a big secret to drop. To this kitsune from inland – who might not have ever been at sea before this last voyage – the name meant nothing. It was amusing and humbling both, adding some perspective to things. Davy wasn’t the ruler of the underworld, set on destroying everything. He was a major player in his corner of reality – as was I in my own way – but that wasn’t universal. In our case, our control stopped roughly at the shoreline.

When I controlled myself, I tried to use Raise Crew to enlist Sadeo. A list of the people in proximity that I could enlist popped up. I only chose Sadeo’s name. The kitsune’s eyes widened for a moment and he read a prompt that he received. He considered it just as carefully as he considered his Vow but agreed.

You have enlisted Sadeo Kitsune into your service!

Joy of all joys, it worked! It finally worked! I had my first crewman!

Sadeo Kitsune now shares in your cursed effects.

Sadeo’s reputation is now tied to you.

Those remarks weren’t as encouraging …

The kitsune looked at me surprised before reading more of his own prompts. “So, I guess you have a curse? Would have been nice to know that. Anyway, I don’t have the same curse as you, but I am technically ‘cursed’ myself now. Also, you haven’t claimed a ship. Right?”

“That’s right. My last … ship … met its end in Tulisang to the warship blocking the harbor.”

Sadeo gave a slow whistle. “Okay then! So I’m technically bound to a ship, but since you don’t have a ship I’m bound to you. I guess the way it works is when I get a certain distance from you, I get a countdown of time before I die.”

I winced. “I’ve got something similar. I only have eight hours at a time on land. I break that, my health drops faster than an anchor.”

Sadeo and I looked at each other for a minute.

“Are there any perks that come with this?”

“Well, types of damage affect you differently. You’re more resistant to physical and magical damages and more susceptible to holy damage. And oh, believe me, when you get in the water it’s amazing!”

“My fur …” Sadeo said, apparently disliking the thought of swimming. “Very well. You said you lost to a warship, so I take it you’ll bring me battles?”

I chuckled. “Sadeo, I’ve been running like crazy because every nation around the inner oceans has a bounty on my head. That whole kerfuffle in Tulisang was largely because of me. So yes, there’ll be battles. I get you the artillery, you sink the enemy, that how it works?”

“Oh yes,” Sadeo said with a feral grin. “Finally! After six years a chance to redeem myself! Domenic, I think we’ll do very well together!”

You have advanced to skill level 4 in Leadership. People are more likely to follow your direction; your team receives a 0.5% boost to effectiveness per level.

I hadn’t seen any growth to leadership while doing my own thing in Tulisang, but it had been leveling like crazy while I was working in a crew ever since I accepted it back on the Wind Runner. Earlier levels were easier to attain then higher, but my experience prior to getting the actual skill had to be playing a role in how fast it levelled!

“Say, did you have any plans for the rest of the day?” Sadeo asked casually.

“Mmm, no actually. I was actually trying to figure out my next move. Following you and participating in the auction were kind of … spur of the moment.”

“Well,” Sadeo said, clapping his paws together. “I saw those beautiful artillery pieces sitting on the cliffs watching over the port. What do you say we go check them out?”

Not having a better idea and sharing Sadeo’s appreciation for heavy-hitting machines, I agreed.


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