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Bang! Scratch. Scratch.

“Come on… come out little kitty. I won’t hurt you… just come out.”

Bang! Bang! Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.

As I was standing in the hallway of the 2nd floor, hitting the walls with the wooden end of a broom, Zoe had come to check on what was causing so many banging noises. She looked at me with an irritated expression, cocking her head with a questioning expression.

“That fucking pussy found some way to get into the vents,” I said irritatedly. “I’m trying to get her out.”

She raised an eyebrow, her expression came off as mocking, instantly putting me in a bad mood.

“Hey, she took your skill orbs! Did you want to go to that effort just for some brainless twat to hide them in its litterbox.”

My words had the intent of causing her face to go white. It looked like I still had it when it came to {Glibbed Tongue}. {Glibbed Tongue} didn’t necessarily mean what I said was always eloquent, just that I was able to elicit the responses I wanted without seeming like I was trying to manipulate.

“That’s right!” I snapped my fingers. “You’re a slime, right?”

She looked at me like she wanted to hit me. I held up my hands defensively.

“I just mean, you’re probably more flexible than even a cat. Maybe you can flood her out and get the orbs back!”

She looked at me for a solid minute, but I kept my face flat, giving away nothing. She finally gave a sigh and then nodded. Her outfit suddenly was sucked inside her, but before I could enjoy the sight of her naked body, she had already started to melt. I looked away, not really enjoying the sight of a beautiful woman turning into sludge. When I looked back, she was already entering a vent in the wall.

Putting on a grin, I put the broom up against a wall, and then slapped my hands together excitedly. That was rather easy, after all. Of course, I had made the racket hoping to bring her down in the first place. It all ended up going according to my plan. Well, other than the fact the cat stole my orbs and hid in a wall in the first place. I had wasted a good hour before I even realized she was in the wall. Then, I tried for another hour trying to coerce her out of the wall with treats. The Felinitis was a stubborn creature, though. Since it was a slave, then I should be able to sell it. That would be for the best.

I headed back to the bridge, although it felt a bit empty without Zoe there working her hardest to fix things. I wondered if she really knew what she was doing, though. Given the time she had been working on it, I had a feeling she was just figuring things out as she went along. We’d at least have a few systems back up and running in these last few weeks if she had known what she was doing.

I heard the door behind me slide open, and Zoe walked in. She walked around and then shot me a hateful glare, slamming an orb on the control panel in front of me.

“Just one?” I asked, my brow furrowing.”

She shook for a second, pulling on her shirt and pointing at her abdomen. I looked down to see some skin showing. Rather, the blouse she was wearing was torn, exposing some skin. There were three gashes in it. It was clear that the Felinitis girl had slashed at her with its cat claws and gotten her good.

“She scratched you? Well, it’s not like it matters. You can heal any damage she can deal almost instantly.”

Her expression grew increasingly furious. She suddenly kicked me in the shin!

“Shit! That hurt!” I cursed, grabbing my leg, “What the hell was that for!”

She gestured once more to her blouse, and then spun, walking away from me with the fake braided hair of her wig nearly bristling in abject anger.

“What did I do?” I demanded, and then muttered to myself, “You have a ton of blouses. How could I know that was your favorite| Why do you even have a favorite? You’re a freaking slime.”

I actually had noticed that since bringing the outfits to the Infinity, she only wore two outfits, and both of them predominately centered on the green color. Was it because, as a slime, she was green in color, that she liked wearing that color? Naw… that was just stupid. Either way, she had failed to capture the cat, so there was no way I’d be able to until she came out.

I glanced down at the orb on the control panel. I really wanted to use it and find out what new skill I gained, but there was still another orb out there. With a sigh, I grabbed the orb and went and prepared a few things. When I was done, I sat back in the chair I had started to see as the captain’s chair and then placed the orb back on the control panel.

Zoe was on deck, although I couldn’t guess what she was doing beside pouting over her ripped blouse. Putting my feet up over the armrest, I crossed my arms and closed my eyes, waiting in that position. I wasn’t really tired, but then again, I wasn’t trying to sleep. It took nearly two hours, but I finally heard the gentle swish of the door opening. I barely opened an eye, pretending I was still asleep as I watched a small form creep around my chair. She was keeping low, and as she reached the control panel, she reached up from a crouched position. Her aim was clear. I had guessed correctly. She would try to recover it!

I lunged at her, tossing a giant clothing bag over her. The cat immediately leapt, but it only jumped into the end of the bag. Wrapping the ending closed with my bad arm, I hastily tied the knot shut. The cat screeched and fought, nearly knocking me off my feet twice as it tried to escape the bag.

“Will you calm the fuck down already!” I snapped.

Claws pierced through the bag and cut into my leg. I let out a scream, kicking the hissing bag. The cat inside didn’t settle down; instead, it started rolling wildly. A hand managed to get out the opening. I knew once she managed to get out of there, there was no way I was going to be able to catch her again.

Grabbing the rope around the entrance of the bag, I pulled it tight again, right on her arm. Picking it up, I brought the cat over my head.

“You want to do this the hard way! Fine! The fuck if I care to obstinate cat from hell!”

I slammed the bag on the ground, eliciting a groaning cat noise. Picking it up, I slammed it down again. She was still almost 35 kg, so it wasn’t easy doing that twice. Breathing hard, I looked down at the bag. The arm was limp, and there was no more movement. With a sigh of relief, I looked up to see Zoe eyeing me oddly. She was now wearing her other green outfit, which was a dress and less suited for her work under the control panels, but that didn’t seem to be stopping her.

“What? The bitch asked for it!”

Zoe shrugged, not seeming to care as she went under one of the control panels to continue to mess with wires. As for me, I opened up the bag and cautiously probed the cat. Finally pulling it out, I looked over her beaten body. She was still breathing, but she had definitely gained a few more bumps and bruises. Ah, maybe I went a little overboard.

I made sure Zoe was busy in her workspace and couldn’t see me before feeling the cat girl from top to bottom. When I was certain the orb wasn’t on her. I could only let out a sigh. My eyes landed on the Skill Relay. Sighing, I picked her up and put her on the Relay, slapping her hand against the reader. The information displayed across the screen just as I had hoped.

Detected Skills:

{Acrobatics} Level 7

{Appraisal} Level 3

{Farsight} Level 1

“Three!” I cursed, “She had three skills? No…, she used the skill orb! That explains why one of them is only level 1. It was {Farsight}! Damn it. I should have hit this bitch harder.”

I was willing to believe she was born with {Acrobatics} and {Appraisal}, but the only way Farsight wasn’t higher level was that she had just earned it. It was an extremely useful ability for someone on the ship, and definitely something I could have used. It made me feel really irritated that she had stolen that ability from me.

Before she could ruin my day even more, I grabbed the remaining orb and used it. With a flash, the orb was dust, and our profits from the scout ship we downed were gone. I immediately pushed the cat girl away and then touched the device myself.

Detected Skills:

{Barter} Level 1

{Increased Accuracy} Level 1

{Fast Healing} Level 6

{Flee} Level 2

{Glibbed Tongue} Level 9

{Sleight of Hand} Level 1

{Wind} Level 1

I let out a breath. Barter wasn’t bad either. At least, I had come away with something that would help as well. Barter was an ability that allowed me to make sales. It wasn’t that uncommon, but those that had it made great businessmen. I had been told by one such man I was admiring that he envied my Glibbed Tongue. He said that the pair of them together fully trained would be a deadly combo in business. Well, at the time, I had no interest in business. Now, Bartering might become important for my future. At the least, I should be able to sell this cat off to someone.

I reached down to pick her up by the back of her dirty shirt, but the material was frailer than I thought. It ripped off, her body falling back down with her back exposed. Long scars ran down her small, slender back. Some had long healed, but others were still surrounded by nasty-looking welts. My bag attack had clearly caused a few of the fresher ones to reopen, and they were bleeding slightly. Looking down at the small catgirl, I let out an annoyed sigh.

Getting out of my chair, I kneeled down and picked up the girl. As I turned her around, the tatters of her top fell off, bearing her naked chest. She had two small rosebud nipples on top of a chest that was just starting to form. At least, they never touched her front. With a bitter expression, I picked her up.

Zoe had chosen that moment to look out from her work under the panel. She looked at me with a half-naked thing in my arms. Her eyes narrowed.

“I’m giving it a bath. It’s smelly and dirty.” I said. “We also should probably name it. That name is inconvenient. What is it? Felinitis? Do you have a name you want to call it?”

I asked this question without expecting anything, but to my surprise, she opened her lips and spoke in her usual broken speaking. “C-Cat.”

“You want to call it Cat?” I responded flatly.

She looked down, an awkward expression on her face. Well, she was a slime. She probably had no such thing as a naming sense. I glanced down at the pretty face of the little catgirl. Her cat ear twitched on her head as she moved her nose like it itched.

“How about we call her Kate?” I said.

“Kate…” She sounded out the word and then nodded.

“Should just feed it to you. Maybe I can get my orb back.” I said.

Zoe shook her head angrily. “No!”

I blinked, looking up at her. “Even though she ruined your blouse?”

She gave another awkward look but then gave a fierce expression.

“Yeah… I get it.”

Zoe had never had the chance to interact with anyone other than me. Kate offered an opportunity for her to talk to someone new. Well, I still planned on selling her, but I wasn’t going to be able to do that without cleaning her up and giving her a name.

I headed back down into my bedroom and took her to the bath. After filling up the tub and stripping off the last of her clothing, I put the girl into the tub. With a scrub brush taken from the supplies, I began to scrub off the dirt on her body and cleaned her up. I ended up having to empty the tub and fill it again. As for the where the water came from, I wasn’t certain. I simply pulled the lever, and it came out hot and clean. I had already tasted it, and it wasn’t saltwater. I had a lot of stored water, but the ship itself seemed to have its own stores. I didn’t know how long they’d last though.

After refilling the tub and adding a fatty soap with some scents added, the dirty girl’s clean body finally showed through. She was actually pretty cute. Plus, there was the tail and the cat ears. Although she acted like a cat, other than her claws and eyes, those were the only things that indicated she was any different from a human. As I was wiping the bubbles from her face gently, her eyes suddenly popped open.

“Raaaaaaaaaaa…Hissssss!”

I was attacked, but I had locked the bathroom door, and she didn’t know how to unlock it. Water splashed everywhere as she screeched and jumped around the room. Letting the plunger empty the water, I chased after her with a towel. It took some time, but I finally pinned her down. I also managed to get her in some clothing. It was actually a young boy’s outfit. I had brought it by accident, as it was mixed in a pile of dresses I had brought for Zoe, but it worked for the situation.

When I was done, the door opened, and the cat went fleeing out the door, running down the corridor on all fours. My clothing was shredded in a dozen places. If I didn’t have Fast Healing, I would have been in a great deal of pain that night. I sighed, cleaned up the mess, and then got ready for bed, feeling a bit tired. That night, I woke up and looked at my door. There were a pair of eyes staring at me in the night. However, she didn’t pass into my room, and I didn’t feel any malice, so I allowed her to continue.

The next day, Kate was nowhere to be seen, so I left a bowl of rice on the ground, and then left. A few hours later, when I returned, it was gone. I continued to leave a bowl of food out with each of my meals, and it was eaten more often than not. I quickly got an idea of what she’d eat and what she wouldn’t as well. On the second day, right before I put out her food, Alice suddenly spoke up.

“Short-distance Navigation has been restored.”

I eagerly ran up to the bridge. “We got something working?”

Zoe nodded, pointed to a screen on one of the control panels near the front of the bridge, just in front of the glass window. I ran up to it, but all I could see was a green line moving around in a circle, and bleeps occasionally appearing on the screen.

“Alice, can you make sense of this short… um… distance navigation?”

“Short-distance navigation uses radar. Sound waves are extrapolated to gain locational distance. Effective up to 80 nautical miles.”

“Well, what do you see?”

“We are approaching an island slightly on our south. It is currently eleven nautical miles away. There are currently six ships within sonar range. None are currently approaching.”

“What? But I don’t see anything…” I said in wonder, staring at the window. “No… rather, what are you saying? Island? The only Island we could possibly see would be the West Island? We’ve not even traveled for three days yet. There is no way we’re that close.”

“Infinity is currently set for maximum speed possible with current engine output. The solar sails have also increased speed by nearly 30%.” Alice stated.

I blinked and then nodded to myself. This ship was a lot faster, and we left it running at full speed the entire journey. A week-long trip was completed in only three days. That was truly incredible.

“Wait… the sails? Damn it!”

We had left the sails up. They were golden in color. They were way too dazzling. If we were seen approaching West Island like this, it would create far too many questions. Grabbing Zoe, the pair of us went up to the deck. I climbed up the observation post and used my telescope. I was able to confirm that it was indeed West Island. We still weren’t visible to them yet, thanks to a low fog this morning, but that wouldn’t matter once the sun was overhead.

“We have to get the sails down quickly!” I shouted down to Zoe. “Ah, shit!”

Just as I was pointing, my one-handed grip on the telescope was lost. It plummeted down to the deck below. As it reached halfway, a form suddenly leapt from another pole and caught it. When she landed on the lookout, she casually put the telescope in her belt. The form wasn’t Zoe, but Kate.

She suddenly began to climb up rapidly, coming to the ties. With a flick of her claws, she untied them. She climbed almost as fast as someone else could walk. Rather than climb back down to the bottom and walk to the next pull, she put both feet on the pole, crouched, and then leapt off. I let out a noise as she spiraled fifty feet in the air as if this was nothing. Within only a few moments, she had released all the ties. This was the time it took me to climb back down to the main deck.

Zoe and I grabbed the cranks and began to lower the sail. A job that took nearly fifteen minutes for the two of us was cut down to barely five. Looking up, I realized that Kate was still on the top of one of the poles, casually licking the back of her hand. When she saw we were finished, she jumped off the pole. I let out another cry, as she wasn’t jumping from one pole to the next, but straight down to the deck below. Even Zoe took a step forward, a momentary look of worry on her face. When Kate hit the floor, she fell into a roll, breaking off all of the momentum and ending up back on all fours.

She glanced over at the pair if us curiously as if wondering why we were both making so much noise. She didn’t show any smugness, gloating, or desire for praise. It was like she had done it simply because she always did it. I was starting to realize what her function on the scout ship was.

A splash in the water caused her to spin and jump on the bannister at the edge of the deck. It looked like she’d fall into the water. She was staring at the water when her stomach suddenly rumbled. That was right. I hadn’t gotten her any food earlier. She made a strange mewing call as she looked into the water.

“Zoe…” I pointed at a fish that came to the surface.

Zoe got my intent instantly and stuck out her hand. It turned into a green spike which shot out twenty meters, instantly impaling a fish. The sight caused Kate to jump, nearly falling off the side of the ship. She ran halfway back to the stairway, but then stopped and glanced at Zoe, who had pulled the skewered fish back onto the deck. Zoe consumed the whole fish, which disappeared inside her. Kate wore a bitter, sad expression as she saw the fish disappear inside the other woman. She didn’t seem to see things like that Zoe was a monster, but she did see it as Zoe eating the fish.

However, I knew that Zoe was just acid washing it. A moment later, she dropped the fish out from her body. It fell to the floor, completely dead and unmoving. Without hesitation, I reached down, picked up the fish by the tail, and then tossed it in Kate’s direction.

She raised her hands, looking down at the fish, then up at us, a confused look on her face.

“Go ahead!” I said, gesturing.

She leaned forward, sniffing the fish, then she grabbed it in her mouth. As soon as she picked it up, she turned and ran back down the stairs inside. I let out a breath, laughing softly to myself.

“I guess she likes fish.”

Zoe nodded, watching Kate as curiously as I was.

“Well, she can stay on board a while longer. As for us, we’ve reached West Island. My extended family lives here. Our hellish journey is finally over.”

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