Chapter 114:

Interlude: Who Pokes the Beehive?


“Wasp reporting. Movement spotted below the water a hundred meters west of the island. Stay alert for sea creatures, Hive. Over.”

“Hornet reporting. All still clear on the east. Over.”

“Thrip reporting. A group of sea wyverns spotted on the northern horizon. Their location is currently unknown. Over.”

“Bee reporting. The Moth is still silent. No changes in the landing zone or the southern quadrant. Over.”

“All quiet still… It’s for the best, but, well…” The Beehive’s captain commented to herself after hearing the timely report of her assault team. “Port twenty! Better keep it safe.”

The fairy at the helm nodded at the command and started to steer the ship to the right as ordered. It was maybe the third or fourth of such maneuvers ever since the stealth barrier was activated, but they were more of a safety measure than a necessity.

Even describing how unlikely an attack was when they were sailing at night in a camouflaged ship would be hard. And still, Alya was keener on staying on the safe side of things.

She would prefer to only have to worry about the guest team that, even after half an hour, was still radio silent inside the temple. She even considered breaking her own radio silence to check on them by now. Only the lack of noise around the area was making the white-haired captain second guess herself.

For one, she was sure that any fight those girls entered would be as noisy as possible considering their fighting styles. Having no reports from them was still worrying, though.

“I wonder if they failed to find anything. Well, nothing happening even aft…”

“Captain!” One of the officers broke into Alya’s monologue in such a hurried way that the white fairy promptly looked toward her. “Look at the island…”

“What in the…” She broke her expression in surprise, shaking it off as fast as she could and instead hurrying some orders away. “Break the silence and call everyone! They can’t just vanish like that.”

The sometimes-shy girl was slightly panicking right now, but she couldn’t show this much to her subordinates. Having them see how bad she was with Anna’s team was already demoralizing enough without a failure in commanding too. But in fact, they could hardly complain if she would freeze in this situation…

It wasn’t as if seeing an island vanish in a single moment was something reasonable. At least, it shouldn't be possible.

And the problems were only starting too.

“No answer, captain. All I can get is static here…” The comms officer called out as she kept trying to send messages to all channels and waited for an answer that didn’t seem to arrive. “We can still monitor the vitals, but no communications for now.”

Both the commandos on standby and the ones sent with the exploration group were appearing on the screen by the comms lady console. None seemed to have abnormal heart rates or any wounds, so it was weird that they wouldn’t answer. But how would something suddenly cut all communication like this was beyond anything the Beehive’s crew knew.

There shouldn't be a working barrier that could break their communications like this, Alya thought she was sure of that. She would need to shout some complaints about it later.

“Start to transmit in all short-range channels from now on and keep every receiver open until second order. We'll need to go there and call them.”

And since she had no way of countering this barrier right now, all the captain could order right now was to keep searching. Even if it was at risk of giving away their location.

Communications wouldn't work for now, so she would need to deploy the second squad to bring everyone back. There was no risk of losing the first team, but it would be troublesome if someone made a trap for some unlikely reason.

The risk of having her cover blown was real, and that was the biggest problem. The second one being the risk of losing the guests, in special Minako and Karim who had too much influence in the Archipelago. A chief shrine maiden and the niece of the secret service leader were too high-profile to lose. The lost cloud from this would be catastrophic.

And even before she could clean her mind on the situation, another call went through.

“To all vessels in the area. Rendezvous at the Leviathan in general as possible. The base is under attack by a huge unknown force from all directions. This is not training. I repeat this is not training.”

The sudden message turned the whole bridge into a dead silence. Two worrying events in less than a minute between them were way too much for the fairies to react. Even relaying this message to the crew would risk some degree of panic, and that was considering most fairies in this vessel weren’t that green.

Worse than that, it was too soon and too big. Having the Beehive and its single joke cannon isolated was already bad enough as is, but having most of their firepower deployed was even worse.

Even joining this big battle would be enough of a risk to the small vessel. If the barrier would work in the middle of a huge chaotic battle, then the problem was smaller, but if it didn't...

Sadly, thinking about it wouldn't solve a thing, so she had to move somehow or risk her position.

“Radio the second squad. I need them scouting every last known location of the first squad’s members and I need them doing it now!” She shouted to the comms officer and then turned to the officer at the helm. “And set course to port. We’re moving while they search, and we better pray everyone can find each other before we’re out of the girl’s range.”

It was a surprising order, but it was one the helmswoman could comply with. This kind of maneuver was, in theory, a possibility for the use of this vessel since the fairies could fly faster than the small frigate could move. At least for a while and at least when they were without 'passengers'.

How it would go in this situation was half a bet and half a hurried move.

At least the fact that their main base was being attacked meant that no traps would come right now. Alya and her vessel were too much of a small fish in this situation, even with other matters considered.

The only worst-case scenario was if, somehow, the island simply wasn’t there anymore due to some weird magic reaction. There would be very little they could do in this situation other than join the fighting as is and hope for the best.

“Let’s hope you didn’t mess up too much, it’s not the time to go crazy yet...” Alya whispered to herself in a somewhat unusual tone, hearing confirmation from her officers that all orders were set. "Head home everyone! We need to hurry now."

And as all orders were sent, it become only a matter of what would run out first, their time or the fairies’ stamina.