Face of Eternity : Principality of Dreams
Our boat was coming up on the docks of the beam tower island.
I spawned my wings and flew over the remaining expanse of water, landing on top of a small metal building with decretive blue lights on the sides.
This was a docking station, meant for more complicated crafts then our simple passenger boat.
With a series of radio transmissions, Uncle was able to unlock the docks and let our ship temporarily settle inside the building.
From down here, the beam tower was huge, like a mountain size compared to everything around it. An old metal path led us to the front entrance.
"Let’s get this door open." Uncle said, activating the holo-panel on the right of the door. "What? Access denied?"
I tried interfacing with the controls after him, but even with my hacking ability, I couldn't break the bypass the lock.
"The door isn't opening, Uncle. Do you think the pirates hacked it shut?"
Mella pressed her hands against the door's surface, the skin of her fingers glowing blue.
"This machine is under a powerful magical lock. It cannot be opened without a key.
There was magic that could lock down daddy's technology? I'd have figured there'd be fail-safes to prevent that.
According to Uncle, there should have been. Whoever did this had clearance to the computer systems. That reminded me of what happened last year in the mana tower. I hope the AI computer here isn't going crazy like back then.
But how could someone get clearance in the first place? Couldn't have been those pirates, because they weren’t very smart.
“Oy, witch, got anything in that bag of tricks you call a head? We gotta get this door open.”
“No, fire mage.” She shook her head. “These magical locks are far too complicated to be opened by me. We’ll have to find the key.”
If the pirates were getting in and out, they must have had something that let them through.
“Uncle, maybe we can get it from the pirates?”
Yamin had a suggestion to throw in. “Is it possible that the boat that sank would have a key?”
Nobody was sure if that boat was even real or not. Since these pirates were like ghosts, its possible the boat just disappeared in the ocean. But Mella was sure they’d need some sort of physical charm or object to get passed this door.
“So, how are we gonna search for this key?” Indena asked.
I don’t think anyone was paying much attention to where we sank their ship. The best idea I had was to swim around and look for it underwater.
Marek raised his hand. “I’m a good swimmer, I can look for it, no?”
Uncle shook his head. “You wouldn’t last that deep underwater. We’d need some sort of sonar to detect a sunken craft.”
I had a sonar in me. I unlocked the ability not long ago, courtesy of Samael finding me a crystal heart with the download.
Uncle was a little surprised I hadn’t told him that yet. But to be honest, it really wasn’t a high priority thing till now. Since I had it, he figured it would be worth a shot to hunt down the possible wreckage.
The only real issue was that I’d never used it, so we’d need to experiment a little.
I was sitting on the edge of the boat, keeping my feet off the open back edge as we drove across the water. We had to go slow so that I wouldn’t fall off.
With my feet in the water, the sonar was collecting data on the seafloor, which was over 100 meters down. So it was working just fine. By the time we reached the approximate location where the boat sank, we were about half an hour in.
“Let me know if you detect anything.” Uncle said.
“Okay, Uncle.” I nodded.
This was boring. Because all we had to do was drive the boat slowly and wait for me to detect something significant under water.
“Hey, Uncle? After this, can we go to the arcade?” I asked.
“We need to get to Verrenvill. Then we have to find your father. We probably won’t have free time for a while.”
“What about ice cream?” I started kicking my feet around in the water, but I realized that was interfering with the sonar, so I stopped.
“Get the Shrimp some ice cream, Old Man.” Indena huffed out as she gazed off into the horizon. “Look at all the work she’s been doing.”
Yeah! Keep it up, Indena! She’s definitely on my side.
Uncle sighed. “Alright. After we stop these pirates, we’ll get you some ice cream as a reward.”
Incentives were always the perfect way to motivate me. So now I made sure to really focus on finding that boat.
Everyone got really quiet all of a sudden. We could hear the ocean water swash behind us as the boat bowed through the tides.
“Mella,” Marek broke the silence, “is it true you’re really a witch?”
“Idiot.” Indena announced. “Look at her.”
“Hold on…” Marek pleaded, “look at Yalda, for instance. She looks human, no? But she is very much different from us. It’s just, I’d heard witches were supposed to be cackling hags who want nothing but chaos.”
Mella definitely wasn’t a hag. She was actually kinda pretty, but she needed to comb her hair. It literally had twigs sticking out of it.
She took interest in Marek’s question.
“I understand your quarry. Some witches are very haggish looking…but I come from an order known as the Nine Mana Sisters, led by our mother, Baba Yaga.”
She explained that the goal of her and her sisters were to keep the natural World in balance. They didn’t want the World plunged into chaos, but rather keep it safe for the future of all life.
“Are you, like, thousands of years old?” Indena asked.
“In the years of a Milcron bird, I am one hundred and eighty years old.” She smirked.
"Damn!" Indena remarked, swearing again. "You're old as hell!"
Uncle chimed in with a translation to Mella’s statement. “One year for us is ten years for the Milcron bird. So what you are saying is that you are eighteen in human years.”
Mella nodded. “That’s correct.”
The other witches, according to her, varied greatly in age. Her youngest sister was the same age as me. Her name was Euterpe.
“Oh great,” Indena uttered. “There’s a little one of you running around?”
“Euterpe is nothing like me. She has a personality that's similar to Yalda. Very excitable.”
“So, she’s a normal kid,” Yamin snickered. “Maybe you two could make friends.”
I wouldn’t mind being friends with a witch. I mean, Mella kinda already tread that fine line of friend or foe.
“If the Little One enjoys music, they’ll get along just fine. Euterpe very much loves creating music.”
I like music, I guess. We’d probably do fine as friends.
-Notice : Wreckage Detected!-
“I think I found the sunken ship!”
From the info my sonar was giving me, it seemed right, I think. It was a shipwreck for sure.
“How do we get down there?” Yamin asked. “Marek, you can swim, right?”
“He’ll need gills if he wants to go that far down,” Indena commented. “Oy, witch, got any ideas?”
Mella had something that might work. She waved her finger in a circle around Marek’s head.
A bubble of air grew around Marek’s head. It looked kinda like a jellyfish.
Wait, it was a jellyfish! A weird one though. It had blue magic symbols all over its skin.
“This will allow him to breath under the sea,” She said.
“Wait, am I actually doing this?”
“You’re the idiot who touted how great of a swimmer he is. So yeah, get your butt in the water and get that key.”
Indena made it sound like this was a punishment… I wonder if anyone else here could swim? Uncle could for sure, and I could too. Samael could, but I don’t think that counted.
“Young Mistress, look toward the water and activate your high beam lights.”
-Eye spotlights active! High Beam lights set to : ON-
My eyes brightened significantly, like car headlights. I’d blind anyone if I looked at them now.
“The ocean floor will be dark. The Young Mistress will accompany you down there.”
Marek let out a sigh of relief. He didn’t want to go alone.
Alright, I guess I had to get into the water. I’ll be swimming with the fishes! Not like being dead, but actually swimming with them. Never mind. That was a bad joke.
Anyways, I took off my battle dress so it wouldn’t weigh me down. I also asked Uncle to keep an eye on Samael, but it seemed like Samael wanted to hang out on Yamin’s head.
“AHH!” Yamin screamed. “Snake on my head! Eeeeh!!”
She tried to fight him off, but Samael was very persistent.
“Hmmm…” Mella stared at them with a furrowed brow.
Uncle was watching Yamin and Samael closely to make sure they wouldn’t throw each other off the side of the boat.
“This is the last time I suggest to be useful.” Marek grumbled to me, taking off his coat. “Now we have to go swimming in the ocean.”
“Then why did you suggest swimming in the first place?” I asked.
“Because I was hoping you’d all be impressed with my willingness, then come up with a different plan that was less dangerous for me.”
No wonder fate was punishing him with this, he was trying to be nice so he could be lazy. He really was a politician!
Once we were both set to take a dive, the rest of the group wished us luck.
“Ready, Marek?” I took his hand as we stood on the edge of the boat.
“Uhg…?” He looked at me with the most scared expression I’d ever seen. “Uhgg…eehh?”
Maybe he needed to see that this was safe to go into. So rather than expect him to jump right in, I let go of his hand and dove in myself!
I swam back up immediately with a smile on my face. my arms were brushing across the surface of the water, and my feet were kicking under it. That held me steady nicely.
“Come on in! The water’s fine!”
“Is it really?” He spoke, sheepishly.
I nodded. “Yup!”
"Oh mon Dieu… pourquoi moi?" He lamented.
Then he closed his eyes and jumped right in!
I was worried for a split second that he wouldn’t come back up, but he swam topside on his own.
“Swimming in a private pool is much easier than swimming here!” he shivered.
“I guess.” I shrugged. “I swam in an ocean once, but it was in Elysium.”
“I have no idea where Elysium is, but congratulations.” He gave me a quick, but frantic thumbs up.
“Good luck you two!” Yamin blew us a kiss and waved. “Please be safe!”
Everyone was looking at us as we were about to go under, then Uncle had some parting words.
“If you run into any danger, configure your sonar to sonic wave mode. It will scare away any predators.”
“Got it!” I gave him a thumbs up, then nodded to Marek. “Let’s do this!”
I was the first to dip under. I didn’t need to breathe, so going underwater was easy.
Oh shoot! Wait, how was I going to communicate with Marek? I came back up to the surface, and Marek followed me.
“Uncle, how can I talk with Marek?”
Uncle pulled out a little earphone piece from his pocket and tossed it to Marek.
“That short range comm should allow you to communicate.”
Marek dipped his hand into the bubble and placed the earbud piece into his right ear. If I’m correct, that should allow me to communicate with him wirelessly through radio.
I didn’t speak through my mouth, I sent a radio signal to his earbud.
“I can read you. This is very weird to hear you speak but not move your mouth.”
As long as he could hear me, that was all that mattered.
Once again, we both dove under the water, and our challenge to get the key from the boat was on!