Robin forced his attention away from the indentation left by the cannonball fired from a gun that would not look out of place being pulled from the dress of a madame in an old cowboy movie. He reached into his Pack, turning towards the railing of the ship.
Thank you, Past Robin, for making webs while you walked, he thought, praising his own previous foresight. He had fed MANA into the Clockwork Horror of the Blue Entomage, producing several hundred meters of web as they had walked. He had completely filled two of the side compartments of the Aliquam Pack before he had stopped feeding the Clockwork Horror MANA.
Robin pulled a bundle of that web now, yanking it out in one large clump. He immediately turned on his heel and threw the web as hard as he could towards the pirate leader, Tao. As it sailed through the air, he willed the Domain of the Lurking Spider to activate.
The web unravelled as it flew, trailing out and stealing much of the momentum of the throw. It still made it more than half of the distance between the two, or at least where Robin remembered him being, anyway.
Before the web he had thrown landed, Robin turned and dove off the ship, sliding into the water like a rain drop returning to the sea. He was beneath the ship in moments, following it to the aft of the ship.
Robin moved on top of the stationary propeller and used it as a launching pad to press himself from, erupting towards the surface and out of the water. As he broke the surface, he willed Aspect of the Dragonfly to activate, feeling the MANA rush out of him. If he had timed it correctly…
The web line exploded, suddenly shooting lines of web from itself in every direction, attaching to everything within twelve meters. Several pirates were ensnared completely, but he could not see Tao from this angle.
Robin fell, the angle of his jump taking him towards the deck. He landed smoothly, although not quietly, and immediately leapt again, avoiding the bullets sprayed wildly by a man wielding some kind of assault rifle he could not identify from the walkway of the central structure on the ship.
The surprise generated by Robin’s sudden entrance was the only thing that spared him from catching the full brunt of the wild impulse attack, but a few bullets still hit his armor. Two bounced off, leaving Robin feeling like he had been punched, but the other impact made them pale in comparison. The bullet hit the back of his thigh, and Robin heard the armor crack, a sharp pain arching through his leg.
His leg was still functioning, though, so Robin pushed through the pain and kept running, ducking behind something huge and covered in a multitude of greasy tarps. The Aspect of the Dragonfly gave him an innate sense for where people were looking, and he could feel that the man knew where he was, even if he could not see him at the moment.
Robin counted to three and then ran out from behind the tarp-covered thing, staring up at the gun-toting pirate. He willed Delay Reaction to activate, targeting the man’s rifle, and began sprinting at him.
The man pulled the trigger several times and then cursed, throwing the weapon on the ground. He yanked a pistol from his waistband, pointing it at Robin with another curse in the language that Robin had yet to identify.
At that moment, Delay Reaction wore off, and the rifle fired several times, jumping on the ground as it triggered seemingly on its own. The man yelped, leaping away, his attention withdrawn from Robin for a moment. It was all the time he needed to draw the ΔU-Revenant from the holster, cock the hammer, and aim it, leaping into the air toward the man at the last second, spring-boarding from a pile of long metal boxes that were roped to the deck. The boxes were everywhere on the aft of the ship, and Robin realized that they were what was most likely under the pile of tarps he had hidden behind. The metal squeaked and groaned as he hit it, and to his adrenaline-fueled senses, it almost sounded organic.
Strange where your mind goes in these moments…
Robin squeezed the trigger, the blue MANA bullet snapping into the side of the head of the pirate, detonating with a small blue flash. The man collapsed against the wall of the building, one of his legs flopping over the railing to dangle in the open air.
Robin’s leap did not manage to reach the walkway around the building, but he did manage to grab the railing, pulling himself over the ledge with ease.
Fully on his feet, Robin glanced down at the dead pirate at his feet, hesitating briefly before bending over and rummaging through his pockets. He found a wallet, and pulled it out to inspect it. He rummaged through it quickly, ignoring the cash and credit cards, though he did note that none of them were marked with the same name on the front. After a moment he found what he was looking for, pulling it out of the wallet.
It was a laminated ID card, mostly white with a splash of sea-foam green in the middle. At the top of the card the words “REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE” were printed in black letters. Robin replaced the ID in the wallet and put the wallet back in the pocket of the dead man. He quickly checked the other pockets, and aside from an extra banana-shaped magazine full of bullets with alternating red and green tips. Robin tucked it into the Aliquam Pack, following it with the rifle the pirate had abandoned.
The only other object of interest besides a cheap folding knife the pirate had on him was a blue glass necklace that looked like an eye, wrapped multiple times around his wrist like a bracelet. Robin used Identify on it, but after seeing that it had no magical properties, decided to leave it where it was.
He stood up halfway, remaining partially crouched, and hopped directly onto the railing of the walkway, and then up and onto the roof of the air control tower-like structure in the middle of the ship. He took care to land as softly as he could, trying to land with relatively flat feet to spread the force of his impact over a wider area.
No bullets ripped through the roof, leaving him in shredded gibbets, so he crept forward, holstering the ΔU-Revenant. Before he snapped the small leather strap over the handle, Robin focused five MANA into the revolver, creating a MANA bullet. Satisfied, he snapped it closed.
The roof of the building had a small lip that was perhaps forty-five centimeters tall, and Robin ducked against it, using it for cover as he peeked over the ledge.
The webs were everywhere. There were several pirates who had been completely cocooned. Most were still, but a few were still struggling. Robin could see that they would not get out on their own, at least if they continued with their current efforts, so he dismissed them from his attention.
The pirate leader, captain, whatever he called himself, was nowhere to be seen.
There were not any people to be seen on the deck, aside from those who were trapped in the Domain of the Lurking Spider.
That is weird. I do not like that at all. Did they go below decks? Did they go ashore, or…? No, I definitely would have heard them splashing, hitting the water, or heard the boats being lowered, or even the motors of the speedboats…
Robin heard a small noise from the aft of the ship in the direction he had come from, and he immediately moved to that side of the building, drawing the ΔU-Revenant as he moved.
He peeked over the edge, looking down at the shadow-covered deck. He could see through the shadows easily, but he could still tell where they were, almost like they were “dark” in the same sense that night scenes on old black and white television shows had been “dark.” There was nothing that he could see moving, hiding, or otherwise.
Robin froze. He had definitely heard it that time.
He waited for what felt like an eternity, each further second of silence stretching out in the quiet night. There was no repeat of whatever the sound had been, though, and after what was in actuality a few minutes, he decided to move on.
Robin moved over to the small vent on the roof. It was housing a fan and covered with a slanted metal lid to prevent rain from coming in while allowing the smoke out. He took a close look at the screw that were holding it in, and then withdrew the Anytool (Journeyman), willing it to transform into a hexagon-headed screwdriver and quickly setting it down.
It transformed quickly, and Robin hoped it had been too fast for anyone to spot the brief flash of light.
Well, actually, he thought, looking at the burning building on the shore, I do not think anyone would have noticed with the fire raging over there.
Once he had the lid removed from the vent, Robin withdrew another bundle of web from the Aliquam Pack. He slowly lowered it into the vent, feeding it in faster and faster as he went.
After a moment, Robin heard a yell of alarm come from below him, and he grinned, dropping the last of the fifty-meter section of web into the vent.
Robin activated Domain of the Lurking Spider, channeling thirty MANA into the web. The web immediately expanded and shot a few feets from the tube, reminding Robin of the youtube videos he had seen of people performing the “Elephant’s Toothpaste” experiment. He heard startled shouts followed by muffled, pained groans, and grinned.
Better than a flashbang!
He hopped over the ledge to the catwalk below, landing directly in front of the door to the room. It had been partially open, and webs now spilled out onto the metal grating. The room was virtually filled with the webs, but he could still partially see through it, with some difficulty. The pirates that had been in the room were pinned to a chair, wall, and the floor in the middle of the room. They were struggling, but they weren’t going anywhere.
A noise to his side made him jump, swinging his arm blade in that direction instinctively.
A long, thin silver blade snapped into it, holding it in place, firmly away from the chest of the man holding the rapier.
It was Tao, of course, to absolutely none of Robin’s surprise.
The movie-star handsome man had the gall to smile at the surprised look on Robin’s face!
“Ayyae, moonja-paaru! I can be anywhere that my men are, aboard my ship!”
His face darkened. “That includes the dead ones, bug-man.” His golden aura flared a little brighter, like a fire that had just had liquid fuel added to it, making the shadows dance.
Robin noticed too late that Tao had been slowly edging his arm blade off to the side. Tao noticed his eyes darting to the side, and chuckled drily, shaking his head slightly.
He clicked his tongue at Robin.
“Okamaaru, bug-man”, said the Lion of the Sea, as he snapped his leg back and Spartan-Kicked Robin squarely in the chest.