The True Endgame
“Damn it. This never would have happened with the Divine Brigade. Those bastards would all be dead or begging for mercy,” Fenrir says, sitting slumped over next to Oleander as the rest of the crew prepares for reaching the isle.
“Well, you wanted to just skip the fighting stuff for fishing this time around. If we did what we’ve always done, we wouldn’t be having a problem right now,” Oleander explains.
“I know, but aren’t you bored of that?”
“I’m split. I still enjoy it, but that just might be the sadist in me talking. Cor lets me take care of all of my sadistic desires out on him, so I’ve been fine without doing the usual stuff.”
“Maybe I’m just getting too old for games. All I want to do is just laze around with all of you and fish, but here I am, trying to take on some OP twinks and a longship belonging to one of the game’s most powerful factions. What kind of idiot am I? There’s no way that any of that would ever work without some serious training and plotting.”
Rock walks up to Fenrir and nuzzles her head against his hands. She’s getting better at walking without one of her paws – she isn’t stumbling around so much anymore.
Fenrir can’t resist petting her head when she does this.
“It was stupid, but it’s fine. We used to be in the Divine Brigade, and the Divine Brigade was always able to pull victories out of their asses somehow. Are you forgetting how many times we’ve been accused of hacking just because we did something stupidly awesome that never should have worked?” Oleander asks.
“You’re right,” Fenrir says.
“Besides, there weren’t any NPCs on those ships, right? So, everybody who died will be back in a day – well, a couple of days in-game. Plus, they all said that they had rebirth counters to spare when we asked during the meeting.”
“Yeah, but they lost their ships and gear. That sucks. I would be so pissed and depressed if we lost The Shoebill,” Fenrir says, taking one hand away from Rock’s head to pet the deck, but Rock gently bites onto his straying hand to try and bring it back to her head. “So needy,” Fenrir tells her and returns to petting her with both hands.
“Let’s just take things one step at a time for now, alright? We’ll win, save Nell, and be the awesome guys that people always accuse of cheating! It’ll be just like old days.”
“I swear, I keep on trying to get out, but then I keep on getting pulled back. It must be destiny.”
“Prrrooobably! Anyways, go up there and get ready for fishing. We should be there soon,” Oleander says, leaning over to pat Fenrir on the back.
“Thanks, Olly. Oh, feeling better?” Fenrir asks as he stands up.
“Yup! I can feel my Mana coming back to me, so I’m not so tired anymore.”
“Good. Take it easy,” Fenrir says, walking back to the ship’s bow where all of the fishing supplies are. “Cannons loaded still?” he asks.
“Yeah. Ready if we get into a fight,” Serra answers.
“Feeling better?” Cassiel asks.
“I am, thanks. Just going to take things one step at a time for now so that I don’t get caught up in my feelings and make mistakes. We’re at enough of a disadvantage without me screwing things up and getting us in even more trouble,” Fenrir answers.
The designated isle comes into view. It’s a small one, so getting behind it won’t take long. Fenrir, Cassiel, Corwin, and Serra get their rods ready and set up with lures as lures supposedly work best for catching their target.
The closer they get, the more shipwrecks they encounter. Beached vessels that have clearly been abandoned for some time can be found along the beaches of the isle, and fresh debris floats in the water.
“They must have been fighting on the way here,” Cassiel tells Serra.
“Yeah. I wonder if anybody comes and tries to take stuff from sunken ships,” Serra says.
“I don’t see why they couldn’t. There are potions and spells to increase your ability to breathe underwater, and as long as you have a plan to deal with anything that might try attacking you, it should be fine.”
“I want to try it sometime.”
“I’ll look around and see if I can find anything for us to do it after the tournament. Coral reefs might be extinct in real life, but here, the ocean is full of them. I bet you’d like it.”
“Like what?” Fenrir asks, now standing behind the girls.
“Plundering booty,” Serra answers in a deadpan voice.
“Sounds about right. Anyways, we’ll be there soon. Let’s get ready on the cannons just in case. We’ll switch back to our rods once we’re in the clear.”
The first of the ships that came here first comes into view. Two more pop into view afterward.
Eleven ships came here, but only three are left. The three that are left are all heavily damaged and look as if they’ve come to a truce to just fish for their targets rather than try and kill each other.
“We could blow them up. Easy targets,” Serra suggests.
“Less competition,” Bonekraka adds on.
“We won’t need to. I doubt those pricks from before are going to let these guys go when they get here. Let’s just find a good spot and cast our lines for now,” Fenrir says.
Both Serra and Bonekraka look disappointed, but Serra gets over it as soon as she picks up her fishing rod.
Fenrir picks up Rod and notices the gem shining even brighter than before.
“Guess my Standing went up,” Fenrir says.
Rod pulses twice.
“It didn’t? Then why are you shining brighter?”
Fenrir doesn’t get a response. The more mysterious that Rod becomes, the more he wants to hurry and discover its secrets.
“You're a pain, partner, but alright. Let’s catch some fish.”
The Shoebill sails past the three ships already fishing. Their crews suspiciously watch as The Shoebill passes them, but once they see that its crew doesn’t plan on opening fire on them, they ease up and return to fishing.
Once The Shoebill comes to a stop, it is time for the four fishers to get to work.
Their target is the Razorfang eel. Only Corwin has ever seen one before, but with that sort of name, the rest of them are confident that they will recognize it when they see it.
It helps that they are able to watch as one of the nearby crews cheer as they pull one off the side of their ship. With grey and brown scales, the elongated body of an eel, and a maw with fangs so vicious that Fenrir and the rest of his crew can see them from where they are, the Razorfang eel is almost pulled up onto the other ship’s deck. Unfortunately for the other crew, the eel thrashes its head around and manages to slice right through the line with its fangs, dropping itself back into the water!
“Big eel. Big as my arm,” Bonekraka says.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be in the water with those,” Fenrir says before walking back over to where Rod is.
Taking his sword from its sheath, he cuts his arm and holds it out over the water. His blood splashes down into the ocean’s salty water as Cassiel asks him what he’s doing.
“Luring some eels. Corwin said they’re like piranhas, so they should be attracted to blood,” Fenrir explains.
“I – fine, but you’re letting me heal you once you’ve got one,” Cassiel says with crossed arms.
“It’s just a cut, it’s fine.”
“Alright, alright. I was planning on asking if you could heal me anyways. Now, everybody else should cast their lines over here.”
Fenrir looks back over at the other ships. Seeing Fenrir bait the water with his blood, the other crews do the same. “Copycats,” Fenrir says.
While the round hasn’t exactly been a positive one so far, Fenrir’s plan works even better than he was hoping it would as the water beneath his arm grows violent with dozens of thrashing eels searching for food and happily fighting each other for it. The bad news is that they don’t seem to be noticing any of the lures waiting in the water for them.
They do, however, notice the source of the blood.
One of the eels leaps up from the water and tries to latch onto Fenrir’s arm!
He pulls his arm away just seconds before it gets torn off from the eel’s vicious fangs, but even without his arm there, it doesn’t stop the eel from leaping back up into the air.
“This feels dirty,” Fenrir says, “but I have an idea. Bone, you don’t seem to mind brutal amounts of pain, so you willing to try and catch one of these guys with your bare hands? I don’t think any of our nets are big, or strong, enough to hold these. But, I think your hands probably are.”
Bonekraka walks up to where Fenrir is standing and cracks his knuckles, neck, and back. “Da.”