Hime x Hime
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A second impact hit the broadside of the vessel, causing the room to shake violently once again. It took everything I had just to remain on my feet.
As the three of us stood there in a daze, we heard footsteps approaching the cabin. A burly man with a thick beard and long black hair swung the door open.
"Commodore, come quick! We're under attack!” The man yelled.
"I know, Svarski, I don't have twigs in my ears! Give me the damage report." Commodore Flynn wiped his smile away, gaining an aura of intensity and focus.
"Parts of the hull are on fire, and we've lost the jib sail! We've readied the cannons, but I’m already counting at least seven missing from our ranks. What should we do?" Svarski looked frantic.
I stood frozen, not really knowing what to make of the chaos unfolding before me. Amber clicked her tongue in frustration, but didn't seem as worried as I was. My legs shook underneath me in fear.
"First, pull yourself together, first mate! If there's fire involved, then it’s the Golden Dragon. Have the men bring anything flammable below deck, and be prepared to lower the sails. Do NOT let them board!"
"The Golden Dragon?? What do you mean?" I asked looking at Amber and Commodore Flynn for some sort of explanation.
"Damned pirates..." Amber growled. "They're a group of dragon riders who target smaller vessels like this one. The dragons all roost on their main airship, it shouldn't be far away."
“I don't have time to explain every little detail right now, I just need you to listen to me." Amber grabbed my trembling face. "Stay here, Sakuta. Don't come out until we say, alright?"
"What about you??" I snapped out of my momentary loss of composure. I knew she said we would be training, but I doubted even she could have predicted something like this.
"I'll be just fine! It's those pirate bastards you should be worried about." She flashed a confident grin in my direction before drawing her sword. "Stay here! Understood?"
I nodded and watched her hair flutter as she followed Commodore Flynn into the ongoing battle. Moments passed by, and the commotion only seemed to grow louder.
Suddenly I heard a monstrous roar overhead, followed by screams from the crew outside.
"Dragons!! We've been board—AHHHH!"
Suddenly there was a bang at the door to the cabin.
Oh no... What do I do!?
It repeated itself several times. With each slam against the door I felt my heart leap into my throat.
Fighting against my petrified legs, I searched the ground for something to protect myself. I quickly settled on a rusted old rapier that had fallen off the wall when the cruiser was initially struck.
The latest slam against the door nearly knocked it down. I steeled myself, waiting for the intruder to enter. I had never seriously fought anyone in my life, but I couldn't allow myself to be killed at the starting line of my journey back home.
It was do or die.
Give me all you've got!
"PON-POOOOOOON!!" The door flew off the frame onto the floor, revealing Amber's familiar, Pon-Pon. I sighed in relief.
"You almost gave me a heart attack! What are you doing here?" I asked the creature as if it could understand me. More than anything, I was relieved it wasn't a pirate.
"Pon-Pon! Pon-Pon!" It flew around anxiously, making noises and gestures I couldn't understand.
"Hey, I'm sorry. I can't speak whatever language that is." I said. The familiar looked annoyed, and began to drag me outside by my shirt. "What's the big idea??"
As Pon-Pon pulled me closer to the chaos, I heard a bellowing shout full of confidence coming from the same direction. It was a woman's voice, and one that I recognized.
"Amber!?" I gasped, stepping out onto the upper deck.
Pirates surrounded the Princess on all sides. Upon further inspection, the swashbucklers didn't appear to be human. They looked like large humanoid lizards of varying colors wearing pirate garb. I felt tempted to shout Amber's name, but then I saw her eyes...
In those pools of crimson shone lust. For blood, or for the heat of battle. Either way, she was completely entrenched in it.
"Arrrrrrrrgh!!" She let out another guttural yell.
In a whir of blades and blood, Amber cut through the invaders effortlessly. She fought like a demon in a terrifying display of strength and ferocity. The clash of her sword against theirs sent sparks flying across the deck.
She's amazing, and terrifying...
Her movements were almost inhuman. Two assailants briefly got the jump on her, but her hand-cannons were ready. With a backflip and careful aim, she fired two shots that struck them both between the eyes.
"Isn't that the Terror of the Skies?!" One of the pirates shouted, pointing at Amber.
"It's the Demon Princess herself!" Another cried.
"Screw this load of shite, we were told it was easy pickings! Run, gents!" A bunch of pirates turned tail, and began sprinting away from where Amber stood.
Terror of the skies?? Demon Princess?? What the hell is going on!?
Just like she had told me before, she seemed to have everything under control. It was the pirates who were badly outmatched. It was like watching a wrecking ball against a house of cards.
"What's wrong then, Pon-Pon? Why does she need me out here?" I asked the anxious creature, getting no response in return.
She asks me to stay hidden, but her familiar insists I come outside...
Amber attempted to pursue the fleeing pirates, but she was suddenly interrupted by a booming voice.
"Oh no ya don't, Princess!!" Jumping from the back of the dragon he was riding on, a ginormous lizard man came crashing onto the ship. The impact of his heavy, muscular body caused splintered pieces of the deck to shoot in all directions.
He was at least four times as big as the other pirates. He wore a thick brown leather trench coat, and black boots. His faded gray trousers were shredded, but covered the essentials.
The scar-faced lizard’s tongue flicked like a serpent as he gave Amber a sinister smile.
"Dag! I knew that you wouldn't be far behind those rats. Though… It’s pretty bold of you to attack the royal navy. I always thought you stuck to civilian ships like a coward." Amber taunted.
"That's Captain Dag to ya, li'l missy!" he sneered. "We had no clue that this here ship flew the navy colors, but maybe Lady Luck favors the bold. Just think of how much we could fetch in ransom for the First Princess and the great Commodore Flynn." The large fellow's tone was dripping with sarcasm.
He sized up Amber with his sharp gaze. Other members of the crew began to circle back in, inspired by the presence of their leader.
Damn... What’s she going to do? She's incredible, sure. But she's only one girl... Where is the Commodore?
I hadn't seen him since I came back outside. The sound of cannon fire filled the air, and a strange fog had begun to settle around the vessel.
"Already assuming you're gonna win, huh? That's why you'll always be second-rate sailors. I'm not letting you leave this ship in one piece!" Amber growled, pointing her blade at the behemoth.
"Ya know... I was kinda hoping ya would say somethin' like that, love." The air stood still as Amber and Dag exchanged fiery glares. Nobody moved a muscle, me included.
In the midst of a stalemate, I could only watch as a battle was about to unfold.