The stomping of Chris's footsteps as he ran through the metal hallways of the ship could be heard by people before they even so much as saw him blitzed past them. He bolted past everyone as if his life depended upon it, never ounce stopping for any of the personal he might have bumped into considering how fast he was moving.
His run stopped when he smacked dead into a iron wall and he fell back upon his rear end. He winced in pain as he looked up to a rather confused Siegfried.
"Christian, what are doing" his sisters teammate asked him but impenitence, embarrassment and excitement made him leap back to his feet, and run off again.
"Sorry!" Chris shouted back apologetically but he didn't halt to hear Siegfried's answer.
The door to the captains quarters was the only that stopped his wild run. Though it didn't end that pent up energy within him as his fist collided with door repeatedly as he knocked.
The door was swung wide open by Ishtar who just as expected was the picture perfect embodiment of a Argentum Knight and captain of this vessel. The tiredness visible upon other persons this early in the morning was none existent, her uniform looked like it had just left the shop and she had a aura of power about her that reminded him of his parents.
"Sister" he said excited, almost leaping upon her in joy at the potential news.
"Is anything the matter brother?" she asked him with a irritated voice that bore a silent threat, like the time he had gotten lipy with her and his punishment had been to work on deck during a storm.
He slightly shuddered as he remembered the flu that he had caught from repeatedly being smacked by cold water from sun set to sunrise.
"Is it true that we are nearing land" but he couldn't hide or control his excitement at the news.
For as much as he enjoyed this cruise upon the Charter, he felt trapped and suffocated. Over the weeks the ship felt smaller and smaller for him. He missed the feeling of dirt to walk upon as well fresh grass and not salty ocean wind. The sight of endless stretches of ocean blue water had lost it's luster and become dull like an inescapable purgatory.
"Yes, we have already contacted the Hephatan nation and have gained permission to dock. Now stop bothering me, i am very busy" she said shutting the door and returning to whatever serious other duties she had and he could not be made party to.
Christian Ddraig put his hands together and he prayed to Deus almighty for this blessing.
The door was suddenly swung wide open again and Ishtar pushed her head out of the room before she ordered " Please return to your duties, Aeris Ddraig. Though if you do want to dilly dully, i am sure that you won't mind working upon the deck, plenty of room to mess around " with a cold unnatural smile upon her face.
Her voice was colder than any ice that he could conjure and with a nervous laugh, Christian Ddraig retreated from his sister's door.
The Naga, one of Avalon's big threats at sea. Roland had fought and bested many Naga before and he had lost troops and even friends to them. It was why he tried very hard to appear unemotional and dispassionate to the three representatives of the serpent human chimeras standing before his throne and his court.
He was the king, the last thing needed here was for him to show any kind of outwards antagonism during these talks. He could unfortunately not say the same for some of the generals and parliamentarians who threw evil eyes against the Naga diplomat's who for their part, ignored them.
The Naga had entered the room and the usually loud parliament, went silent and Roland couldn't lie, he felt speechless as well as he looked at the sight he had not dared even dream about, Naga walking into the throne room of Avalon under the peace banner.
When Parliament had first received word of the Nagas appearances during the battle at Little Geneva, there had been a panic by those who rightfully saw this as the chimeric human serpents attacking them, but more bewildering had been the fact that the Naga had fought alongside their troops.
"We thank you for your hospitality, people of Avalon" the leading Naga said in a subdued voice with a thick accent, she stood in the center between her two fellow Naga.
" The leader " with how the others treated her, you would be a fool not to notice, but then again Roland and everyone in this room had known that since the battle of little Geneva.
This Naga was young and female. Her clothing was adorned of a mixture jewels and the armour that was clearly ceremonial to him. Upon her head was crown made from a white tree branches that looked more like the fingers of skeletons interconnected into a circle around her head.
"We welcome you, Dain Josondugh" he said deciding to continue with the conversation " Though forgive us for our caution, but if we may ask, why did you aid us during the attack of the Lunar empire and why are your people still upon the lands of Little Geneva as we speak? ".
The Naga didn't look offended or even taken back his question. They weren't fools to think that no one would ask about their most recent actions. In fact they weren't even hiding it, Imparetor Astrapios had been just as bewildered as the rest of them when the Naga had formed a camp upon the dock for not just their warriors, but their young and elders as well. Roland had believed that the old Imparetor was joking around with him.
The Naga named Dain bowed to the throne in a manner that while dramatic was not too overdramatic to become silly or too under dramatic to make it too dull for anyone involved to be bored out of their minds.
Roland threw Natalia a side look that held the hidden message about them being carefully about this this girl. He had dealt with enough politicians for his liking and he knew a clever one when he saw them.
" Forgive us your grace" she said still bowed over and not facing him " As you may know that my people have harassed these waters for many years now and for that we are truly sorry. Though we must begin by completely by stating who we truly are as i am sure this wise council wants to know. We Naga come from a layer of reality away from your own that is accessible by a bridge beneath the waters. My people, the Saros tribe were nothing but a simple tribe amongst a thousand, recently a civil war amongst many other tribes had broken out and we sought safety in this realm but we were attacked by enemy warriors destroying the bridge and leaving us trapped here, i myself was captured and held prisoner by one of these foe's, until the gallant prince Christian Ddraig saved me from the clutches of that mortal enemy. He inspired us to fight for your just realm and seek asylum under your vast wisdom and benevolence ".
" Oh she is good " Roland thought as he saw the same thing the faces of Natalia, Aro and the rest of his friends as they heard the tale and watched the masterful acting display of the Naga "Helping us against the Lunar empire was a blackmail attempt to gain leverage for this. If we turn them away after all that it would make us look bad and with this war the last thing that we need is a hostile Naga presence in the sea's. They lost a lot of their people in the defense, it was a serious gamble and they would no doubt be resentful if it doesn't play out as planned. If fact it is too big a gamble for most of her story to be absolute crock, i need to call for a full investigation of this supposed gate to this extra reality ".
"How long do you expect to stay in Avalon" Natalia asked with her cold eyes burning into the Naga representatives.
The other two Naga's looked nervous while the central one, Dain remained perfectly sound of spirit. She slithered a little closer to the throne and reached for the crown upon her head that she plucked off and presented him it to him
"Oh king Roland and queen Natalia, legendary hero's of Avalon. My people are now but vagabonds without a home, we beg you to except us your humble subjects. We shall swear to serve you and this great nation till the last of our descendants walk away from this world of the living. We swear it" Dain wept as she spoke those words.
Roland looked to Natalia and her face had the same answer, Aro as well, Sigurd nodded, Morigan just sighed with a little node and he could see the same thing in eighty percent of Parliament. His next choice was made by his will and the support behind it.
"Deus i hope this is the right thing " he thought as he began to rise from his seat.
Rising from his throne, he descended it and knelt besides the Naga, and as his parents had done thousands of years ago, he raised her back up.
"Then arise Avalonian, my people have no need to bow here" he said those words that he had read near religious in the history books.
And then as was to be expected, the whole of parliament exploded into shouting.
It had taken Ishtar two full hours to finally call a briefing. Chris had felt like it had been an eternity before hearing the good news, the moment that the ships speakers blared to life with the orders he had almost started dancing for joy, though considered his current location, that could not be the best option.
"Attention to all ships personal, this is your captain speaking " he heard Ishtar's voice declare and all activity in the engine room where he had been acting as pair of helping hands to the understaffed engineers ceased " In roughly two hours we shall be docking upon the port city of New Vant that belongs to the Hephatan nation. The Hephatans are allies who have offered to aid in repairing our vessel ".
" Thank Deus, this thing couldn't carry on as it is " one of the engineers, a big burly fae woman named Edna said in relief, standing next to the ships main engine that had kept breaking down every few hours.
Chris pitted her and the rest of the engineers, since leaving Avalon, the ships damaged areas had kept getting progressively worse, forcing them to even begin living next to the engine room, just to keep this boat alive. The last that they wanted was to be caught by a Lunar kingdom ship dead in the water.
"All high ranking personal must go and prepare for first contact with important Hephatan individuals who are going to welcome us to port" She said lastly before ending the briefing with the words " A officers duties unless absolutely essential shall be put on hold for full stress relief ".
The engineers and assistant knights in the engine room didn't wait for the intercom to go off before they began cheering at the prospect of actual rest, for the first time in more than a month.
"Guess that one was for you kid" Edna said pointing at him, referencing Ishtar's orders for high officials.
Edna returned to opening a section of the engine that was making a cracking sound and leaking out the blue liquid that was it's fuel. She cursed as she began to tinker with the inside that from what Chris could discern, looked like someone had taken a war hammer to it.
"Supposed it was, though that last part about essential..." he began to say but Edna left the engine and halted him by raising her hand as she said.
"I know what you are thinking and the answer is no kid. You can't call in a favor from the captain to sideline me".
" Come on Edna, you are working yourself to death, i mean see reason here. You need rest" he pleaded but the fae remained unshaken by his pleading.
"I am really thankful for you caring kid, i truly am, but this isn't how Edna Wroot works. I have a job, i need to see it through" after working under Edna for more than a month he knew that her words were final and he couldn't argue anything else.
Chris sighed as he returned to tightening the last nuts and bolts of the severely damaged back up engine that he had been working on here.
Working upon the engines wasn't exactly clean work. By the time he had left the room an hour latter he was covered in grease, oil and even soot.
He bathed as hard as he could to get the gunk out of his hair that he almost bathed his flesh raw, but in the end he was cleaned and fresh once more. The showers were so close to his bedroom that Chris made the grave error to not properly dry himself as he planned to do a much more in his bedroom.
The moment he entered his room, he had taken his shirt off and was close to unbuttoning his pants had a sharp female scream not halted him.
He raised his head and the world suddenly became aware to him properly as a red faced Pyrrha Ulster stood in his room looking read to die.
"Wa... What are you doing in here?!" He demanded from her as he quickly picked up the shirt upon the ground and put it back upon his body.
"I... I... I was just bringing you this, Ishtar said that you would need this for the first contact with Hephatan" from his bunk bed she pulled a light blue suite with the decorated star of an Aeris knight with his ranking of second class number four upon it.
When he had received the news from Ishtar that due to his actions during the battle of little Geneva that he had been promoted so high that he was so close to an Aeris first class rank, he had danced with joy.
But that didn't matter now as after receiving the unform, he and Pyrrha remained looking at each other in a pregnant silence. Both their faces were red from embarrassment, Chris could feel his body getting hotter and hotter as looked at the elf who's eyes drunk his entire figure.
This was undone when the doorknob creaked and it was flung right open to reveal Mulengu, Thor and Asi who all looked at Chris with confusion of various degrees.
Thor quickly placed his giant hands across Asi's face blinding the young dragon who struggled against it Thor's hands but failed.
"Gentlemen, it seems that we have arrived in the middle of something" Mulengu declared with a sly grin upon his face as Chris realized just what conclusion his friends had just drawn from a misinterpretation " I think that we should make our leave, please continue ".
Panic gripped Chris's heart, he couldn't let them go on thinking this lie. He could never be able to live it down if Mulengu and Thor had their with it or even worse his mother found out.
" hey, hey, this isn't what it looks like " he yelled stopping Mulengu and the others from leaving.
"Of course it isn't" Thor sarcastically replied to him and Chris felt like just falling over and awaiting death to take away from this humiliation.
The island of Hephatan was not as small as Chris expected. From afar he could get a good look at it and it seemed moderately sized though he couldn't see the full size of it.
After finally kicking everyone out of the room he had managed to dress up and go upon the deck to await along side Ishtar and everyone else.
"Captain, two battle ships are approaching us!" A nervous knight shouted to his sister from the ships helm.
Chris could see them as well, while smaller than the hulking behemoth that was the charter, these sea vessels were moderate in size, but should battle break the charter couldn't survive, it was already half dead.
"Stand down, they are our escort" Ishtar ordered and was proved right as the ships flanked the charter on both sides as escorts as they neared the island.
"Nervous" Chris whispered to her as he saw her blank eyed look.
" Yes, i have never met this people of Hephatan in anyway. I don't know their customs, their values or even their aims. I could turn them into our foes through my own ignorance " she whispered back with a slight quiver in her usually strong as a castle wall voice.
"Well i think that you will succeed" he said and she looked at him funny as if he was dishonest to her forcing him to continue " If you could manage to captain half a crew with a half dead ship across the ocean for thousands of kilometres, you can handle simple negotiations with Hephatan. Your Ishtar freaking Ddraig, i know you can".
She looked to him and smiled saying " Thank you brother ".
With a goofy grin and salute Chris replied with " Anything for my favorite captain ".
The entire island was well protected as a thousand meters from it, he could see multiple fortifications that seemed built from the sea floor itself and extended out of the waters. Upon this fortresses he could see thousands of military troops who cheered on the charter as it passed them and upon the deck, Chris followed Ishtar's example and began to wave and cheer back to them.
" I miss that place " he thought about the Iron Fortress and he couldn't help but feel oddly nostalgic for even the disapproving glares of Arumu Sycamore.
The city of Vant itself was an impressive sight, across it's dock were many kind of ships of varying sides. Upon the dock itself he could see thousands of Hephatantian men, women and children, who all cheered them on as the ship came to halt upon the dock.
"Now or never" Ishtar whispered as she before shouting " Lower the ladder".
The ladder was descended and so did they, to the great many multitude below. In front of the Hephatantian mass was a large male elf dressed in fine flowing robe with a white silky cloth in hand.
"Welcome my friends" the elf said in a deep booming voice " I Hanno Magnus, head council of the realm of Hephatan invite you to break bread and spice".
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I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos