Yurtdışı Yatırım

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I didn’t have time to stay there. Although there seemed to have only been four guards, it was their problem for underestimating my uncle and me. I looted their bodies, finding some coin which I took as recompense for the trouble they caused me. Well, it wasn’t like they were going to use it. My next target would be South Island, and I could use all the money I could get. I managed to find a few daggers, and even a flintlock that appeared to be loaded. Thankfully, the man who had it hadn’t thought to use it during the struggle.

With a dagger in one hand, and a flintlock in the other, I left the warehouse cautiously. I found a 5th guard outside who was lying on the ground unconscious. It appeared like he had had been knocked out. I guess uncle’s plan was more reckless and desperate than I thought. Had this man been able to get away, then he would have already sent an alarm and we’d be surrounded. I glanced back at Kate, who appeared to be following me and mimicking my movements by keeping low.

“Did you hit him?” I mouthed the words, gesturing to the man on the ground.

She pulled out her fist and punched her open hand, then gave a toothy grin, revealing her sharp canines. I took that as a yes. I was about to turn away, but I noticed she had leaned into me in a strange way. I was confused for a moment, but then I hesitantly brought out my hand. As it got close to her head, she pushed her head up against my palm. I gave an awkward smile while I patted her lightly on the head. She closed her eyes with a pleased expression, and I think I felt her body purr slightly. Then, she suddenly nipped my palm. I pulled back and shot her a glare, and she giggled.  

Rubbing my palm, I nodded to her to continue and the pair of us walked along the pier. The sun was setting, and the sky was just starting to darken. The pair of us moved from crate to barrel, trying to remain hidden from anyone in side. There was quite a bit of activity at the pier, particularly on the section occupied by my ship. I needed to make contact with Uncle’s crew. He regrettably hadn’t said a thing about how I was going to get in contact with his crew.

“Pst.” A sound came from behind.

I spun around to see a pretty woman emerge from the ally behind me. I had my eyes so focused on the pier in front of me, that I hadn’t been looking behind. Although I immediately pointed the gun at her, she held up her hands helplessly, giving me a smile.

“Who are you?” I hissed.

She didn’t seem to mind having the flintlock pointed at her. Maybe she didn’t know what these things could do. I had never seen one before, although it looked like they were more common on West Island. She also wasn’t calling out an alarm. She was being quiet and hidden, where she could have immediately gave away our position.

“Your uncle sent me.” She responded. “Quick, put this one on. Ah, for the little girl as well.”

She tossed the pair of us cloaks. I relaxed a bit. I still held the flintlock, but I stopped pointing it at her as I put the cloak on. The one for Kate was a bit large, but it did enough to hide her ears and tail. When we were both dressed, her smile widened and she crouched down with us behind a large pile of emptied crates. It was a very fishy smell, but the woman didn’t seem to mind the scent. That was usually the trademark of someone used to working the docks. That supported the idea she was one of Uncle’s people.

“You Uncle’s men are already on board the ship. If we can get through the dock, we can depart without them even having a chance. Just keep your head low. I can get you to the ship.” She explained in a low voice.

“Then, I’ll be depending on you.” I responded.

“Oh, my.” She giggled. “Then I can’t let you down. Just do as I do.”

She gave the pair of us one more nod before standing up and walking out of hiding casually. I glanced over at Kate, who was biting her sleeve and not seeming to pay much attention either way. With a sigh, I realized I have no choice but to proceed. I stood up and followed the other woman. I kept my hood up and my head down. Kate thankfully followed, repeating our movements. She appeared to be quite good and mimicking others.

The three of us walked down the dock. We didn’t get noticed immediately, and even once we did, only a few eyes looked our way. Perhaps I had been acting far too conspicuous earlier. This wasn’t exactly a prison island or anything. It was just a dock, and everyone here were just people who had jobs to do. Those that were working for the magistrate and the governor weren’t exactly patrolling the docks with cudgels. I was strapped up, and they didn’t see me as a threat, so they had no reason to act defensively. In fact, acting so would probably have drawn more attention to themselves and the identity of the boat in their dock.

I hadn’t realized it before, but where they had me dock, they had ended up on a lone pier that was behind a dry-docking station. My capture probably went unnoticed to the vast majority of those here. Even now, most of the men probably hadn’t even noticed it differed from the other ships there. The sides were wood, so unless you were literally on top of the ship, or had the golden sails drawn, it looked pretty inconspicuous. That suddenly gave me an idea.

“We need sails.” I hissed at the woman as we walked near the large building out on the water.

“Sails?” She blinked. “We have some cotton canvas in the dry dock here. Come, quick!”

I had mentioned it just in time, as we were right next to the dry dock. We didn’t have to go far as she pulled us right into a door. She quickly grabbed several sheets. I had thought they’d be light, but when she dumped them on me, they were actually very heavy.

“Black?” I asked in surprise.

“It was part of a failed dye job. It’ll just have to do.”

“Ah, it’s fine.” I responded quickly.

Every island had a color. North Island was blue, West was purple, South was green, East was yellow, and the Citadel was white. It looked like when trying to make purple dye, they had somehow ended up with some black canvas that had ended up in storage. This would be rather conspicuous around these parts. Then again, when I thought about it, the pirates who had attacked the island seemed to have multicolored sails, as if they had gotten them from any material they could find. These black ones set me apart from both the islands and the pirates. Something about that tickled my fancy.

I picked up and dumped the canvas into Kate’s hands. I half expected her to drop them, but she actually carried it without question. The canvas was heavy enough that I was struggling to carry it, yet she seemed to be able to carry it herself. Our companion’s lips tightened when she saw me dump the canvas on the little girl. However, I still needed access to the flintlock and knife. Besides, carrying the canvas made Kate less conspicuous. She just looked like a laborer now.

After making sure Kate was able to carry the burden I gave her, the pair of us slipped back out into the dock and continued on to the ship. There were two men stationed at the foot of the pier that lead to my ship, but they barely even glanced at us twice as we walked by. As I had thought, no one here was really a guard or anything. The West Islands weren’t used to needing to do these kinds of things any more than the North. In fact, the five men who had died in the warehouse, when discovered, would be an event that would shock the colony to its core for years. It’d be called a massacre and stories about it would be told to children and grandchildren. That was simply how small these islands were.

I had once considered West Island giant. How quickly my viewpoint was expanding, and how small the world was starting to look. I continued on, feeling more nervous with every step. We passed by several more people. Some appeared to be unloading stuff from the storage. I wanted to scream. Those were our supplies, and they were essentially stealing them. I could see dozens of artifacts I had scavenged from the remains of North Island. Those belonged to family and friends, and were now being brought out, likely to be sold to the people of West Island.

They hadn’t finished yet. We should still have enough supplies on the ship to get us to south Island. I wouldn’t be able to save what was lost. I could only get myself out of there. The biggest loss of all was of course Zoe. My eyes flickered to the edge of the pier. That was where she was supposedly gunned down and fell into the water. Was it possible that, as a slime, she survived? I really didn’t know. I had no clue how resilient Zoe was. Either way, unless she was on the ship, I was going to have to leave her behind.

When my feet came onto the deck of the ship, I began to feel some relief. I had returned home. A few men gave nods to the woman leading me. She had spoken truthfully. These men on board were her men. Rather, they were my men now. This would be my crew. A full crew of competent sailors had to be better than a single slime with a shotty memory and no verbal skills. If anything, I was trading up, yet I still couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss at losing her. She was one of a kind, and I realized that if I could trade her for this entire crew, I might. She had saved my life, after all, and she had given me an assortment of skills. She had given me a new life. I owed her more than I could imagine.

Yet, I had to make due. Just like the supplies I had to abandon, I had to abandon people too. My uncle, for one, and Zoe as well. Perhaps the woman leading me would be my first mate. Maybe she’d even put out. I was sure I could use my {Glibed Tongue} and convince her to play a bit. It would pass the time we spent sailing better than anything. We kept walking until we went down the stairway onto the bridge of the ship. Once entering, she finally turned to me, a questioning expression on her face.

“Well, I’ve brought you this far.” She said, “What next?”

“We have to get the ship back up and running.” I responded.

“Ah! I see…” She nodded. “While you’re doing that, give me the gun and I’ll watch the door.

“Gun?” I frowned.

“The flintlock…” She pointed to the weapon at my holster.

“Right, of course.” I pulled out the flintlock, turning it and checking the bullets before handing it to her. “You just need to pull the trigger.

She chuckled. “I’ve used a gun before.”

She turned and watched the door. But she also had one eye on me. She seemed a bit anxious. It certainly made sense, given the situation. We were about to abandon West Island. For them, this was their home. It was a place they may never return to, after helping me escape.

“Alice, go out of standby mode.” I spoke.

“Hello, Captain. Welcome home.” The ship voice came on as the lights on the bridge flickered to life.

“Bring up the anchor, we’re setting sail!” I told her.

“Affirmative, Captain. Should I perform a presail check?”

“Ah… do it silently.”

“Yes, Captain. We will be ready for departure in five minutes.”

“Splendid!” A voice came out from within the ship. “So, the ship responds to the name Alice. Who would have guessed?”

A man walked out, the governer himself, along with a dozen guards. Just as I reached for my knife, I felt something hard press against my back.

“So… not Uncle’s?” I asked.

“Oh… I fucked him a few times.” She laughed. “It made it real easy to learn all of his secrets.”

“I’m glad he’s not alive to realize his woman betrayed him.” I said wryly.

“He’s dead then? I was wondering why he wasn’t with you. Well, it wasn’t any less than he deserves.”

“He trusted the wrong woman.” I sighed.

“Look who is talking.” She laughed.

“Enough!” The governor growled. “You were able to turn the ship on with voice commands. I allowed your Uncle to free you so you could show me how to turn the ship on. Can I presume most of the ship runs on voice commands? Answer truthfully!”

“What are you going to do, shoot me?” I asked.

“No…” He narrowed his eyes and then nodded to the two men.

They had managed to grab Kate. The canvases were on the floor, and she had a bag on her head. She struggled to escape, but they were strong and have hold of her hands so she couldn’t scratch them. They forced her to the ground, one placing a knee in her back. The other pulled out a knife. She let out long yowls and hisses, but they ignored her as they put a knife to her throat. When she felt the cold steel, her struggling stopped, only to be followed by a low growl. When this was done, the governor gave me a look.

“The ship followed voice commands. Sails have to be put up manually. The ship has to be stirred. Otherwise, it’s all automatic.”

“Hehe… that’s all I wanted to know.” He laughed. “Alice, provide me instructions on your use.”

“Unauthorized request.”

He frowned. “Alice, what weapons do you have?”

“Unauthorized request.”

I let out a low laugh. “I’m the captain of this ship. She’ll only listen to my orders.”

“You…” His eyes narrowed. “Give me access, now! Hand it over, or she dies!”

My laughter grew, filling the room, “You made two mistakes, Governor. First, you threatened me and those important to me.”

“Enough! This is your last chance!” He gestured to the other men.

“Second, you should never… NEVER… let the captain back on the bridge of his dreadnaught. Alice, kill everyone not registered as a crew member.”

“Affirmative.”

A large device with two barrels descended from the ceiling. There was only a pause of a second, and then a loud whining sound exploded out, following by rapid pops. The gun had been aimed at the governor, and he couldn’t even say a word before he was flying back, exploding in a mist of blood. The barrels went to the next person, and then the next, only taking about two seconds per person. Every one was turned into a bloody paste before they could even blink.

The people on board began screaming. I could hear another gun going off down stairs where those in the cargo were still trying to unload stuff only to meet a sudden bloody fate. People started running for the door, but were gunned down one after another. The two men holding Kate looked at each other for only a second before racing to the door. They had been the closest, and just as it looked like they were about to leave, there was a slash and both of their heads fell from their shoulders. A woman stepped onto the bridge. She had a blade for an arm, but it quickly morphed back into a hand.

“Zoe!” I cried.

At that moment, an arm wrapped around me and the barrel of a gun was pushed against my head. “Order it to stop, now! Or you die!”

It was the girl who had lead me here. She was smart enough to position herself behind me, giving the gun no means of shooting at her. It had finished with the last person and was now pointing at us. I was the only thing keeping her from a bloody end.

“Hey… remember when you said I trusted the wrong woman?” I asked.

“Shut up! Order it off!”

“You were wrong.” I turned around and slammed a knife into her gut.

She pointed the gun at my face and pulled the trigger, but it clicked without going off. Her mouth opened in shock as she looked at the gun. I reached into my pocket and pulled out two bullets I had taken earlier. It was just a bit of {Sleight of Hand}. If I couldn’t do that much, I wouldn’t be able to call it my father’s skill.

“You see…” I said as her mouth moved soundlessly, likely trying to beg for help. “I don’t trust anyone.”

I pulled the knife out and stepped to the side. She raised her hand up and let out a scream, but it was cut short by the sound of gunfire. A second later, her bloody corpse collapsed to the ground. As for me, as soon as I was free from danger, I walked toward Zoe. As I reached her, I threw my arms around her. She put them up defensively at first, but when I hugged her, she didn’t fight back.

“I thought I lost you.” I said, my voice growing slightly choked.

After a second, she relaxed, patting my head lightly in a soothing manner. It was rare that she would tolerate such contact with me. This wasn’t the Zoe I had grown used to. Actually, I liked this Zoe a lot better.

“Ah, you’re just as soft as I imagined. And these are wonderful.” I rubbed my face in her chest, appreciating the allowed skin contact.

A knee slammed up between my legs.

“Gah! That’s the Zoe I remember…” I croaked, collapsing to the ground.

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