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“Infinity has retrieved the anchor. We are ready to set sail.” Alice announced.

“Go!” I said as I stood back up, only just recovering from my previous assault.

After being attacked by the two men, Kate had run off, retreating the to deck below almost as soon as they had let go of her. As for Zoe, she was back at her usual console, acting like nothing had happened.

“Is there anyone on the upper deck? I don’t think there is any of those things on the upper floor. No Ceiling.”

“Turret.” She said.

“Turret… is that… also a gun?” It was new terminology for me.

A Flintlock appeared to be a type of gun. Guns were anything that exploded and shot out hot lead. I supposed the large cylinder things that the scout ship had shot at us were also a kind of gun. Unfortunately, Zoe only shot me one of her typical looks that said she wasn’t going to be helpful. Instead, I made myself useful, patting down the men. I found a few weapons. There were no other guns, but I got a few knifes and a sword. It was a bit rusty though and didn’t look nicer than my father’s sword.

One man had an eyepatch. I snatched it off his face. I handed it to Zoe to acid wash. She did it without complaint. I then put the eyepatch over my missing eye and put Uncle’s tricorn hat on my head.

“So, how do I look?” I asked.

Zoe didn’t bother to look away from her spot, so I gave a sigh and continued looking. The governor had the most interesting thing. It was a map of West Island. There was blood splattered on it, but it was still legible. As I opened it up and glanced at it, an idea started to come to me.

“I’m going topside.” I announced. “Zoe… can you clean up these men? We need those skill orbs. The sooner you do it, the more likely you are to get them.”

Zoe stopped fiddling with her stuff, but I didn’t wait for her answer before I walked up onto the deck. Pulling out a telescope, I looked back at the island which was now quickly disappearing in the distance. I could still make out the dock clearly. It was definitely noisy. Well, the gun hadn’t been quiet. I was sure everyone on the island must have heard it. The fact that it was the sound of their leader and Governor dying, well, that wouldn’t help things once they figured out the truth of the matter.

However, I didn’t regret my actions. The Governor had brought this fate to himself. As for everyone else on the island, they would get by. Then again, maybe they wouldn’t. They had made an agreement with the pirates. Now, they weren’t going to be able to keep that agreement. There was no saying what the pirates would do. They could end up becoming slaves and being senselessly slaughtered just like my own island.

Like that, a memory of the burning city flashed in my mind. It was a vivid memory that might have happened only a moment ago based on how detailed it was. I could smell the smoke and blood. I could hear the screams and shouts. The sounds of what I now knew to be gunfire thundered in my mind.

“Shit!” I cursed.

I pulled down the telescope and then walked over to the navigation. Grabbing the wheel, I watched as the island slipped out of sight. Just as it did, I turned the wheel and started heading around. I pulled out the map I had fetched off the governor and then began to carefully figure out my movements. Keeping my eye on the point we just left, I brought the ship back around. I slowed the speed and approached quietly. I was coming in from the back of the island this time.

West Island only contained one city, much like North island. It was a much bigger city with more people, but more than that, West Island also had a lot more land. Most of the land was used for farming. West Island’s primary export was food. It was no wonder that the pirates went to them first. They probably had to give up a fair amount of food for whatever deal they had to make. However, that also meant there were areas where I could sneak the ship and dock without being seen.

Specifically, I was looking at a cove that was surrounded by tall mountains. This area was basically ignored for various reasons. One such reason was that there were monsters there. There were three types of monsters on West Island. While North Island only had slimes, West Island also had Tortites and Rattus.

Tortites were a marine animal that resembled a turtle, except that they were the size of a large dog, had spikes, and could bite through steel. If one could catch them, they supposedly made a good soup, but they were exceedingly hard to trap and kill safely. They could bite through any cage, and even their heads and legs were armor-plated. The only way to kill them was to shoot an arrow into a small area between the shell at the neck, where the soft skin is exposed. However, this part is only exposed when they have their heads down to eat something.

The Rattus was more prevalent, and they were the primary scourge of this island. They were like rats, although they were the size of bunnies. Their teeth were incisors though, but shape, carnivorous teeth. They scurried around in a mischief that could take down a human or large animal if they were caught unaware. They were usually cowardly, and would run at any loud noise, but children, injured, and animals had been known to be consumed whole by the creatures.

North Island went to great lengths to keep any Rattus from ending up on our island. That’s how we were able to maintain a huntable forest with various birds, bunnies, and other such meat. It was the presence of the Rattus that was the exact reason West Island was focused on farmland. Most animals were preyed upon by the Rattus, other than the slimes and Tortites, of course. That was also why our islands were so close. We sent them meat, and they sent us vegetation. It was a relationship that they had decided to destroy in the name of greed.

My plan was very simple. We’d find a secluded spot hidden behind the island and keep a look out for the pirates. Even though Western Island betrayed me, they were still my people. Uncle was one of them, and he gave his life for me. They couldn’t help the actions of a bad Governor and Magistrate. My father had instilled this lesson into me since I was young. A Governor was not necessarily his people. As angry as I might become at those in charge, I always had to remember that any choices I made would be hitting their people the hardest, those that had no say in the matter.

So, I would save them. While waiting, we’d put up the golden sails and charge the weapon, and then launch it at the pirates as a surprise attack. I’ll try to clip the back of their ship to see if we can’t find more survivors or supplies.

In the meantime, I didn’t plan for us to remain idle. I’d find a way to convince Zoe to start hunting the monster life. I was eager to gain more {Fast Healing} levels, as well as see if the Rattus and the Tortites also offered such abilities. I had to earn any skills I could if I hoped to continue. I’d also like to save up a few for either using in an emergency. It might be a good idea to give Kate {Fast Healing} as well.

She had saved my life, hadn’t she? I couldn’t just sell her or dump her off. I owed her now. Fortunately, I’d have plenty of time to fish as well. My third purpose in landing was to gather supplies. We had lost a great deal of stuff that they had unloaded from the hold. I didn’t care about most of it, but the thing that matter most was food and water. Thankfully, their farmlands would be easy to poach, and I could fill up my hold with fruits and vegetables. That which I didn’t eat I could sell in South Island. I may be willing to save West Island, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t exact a price on them for what they had done.

While steering at the navigation helm, I kept us at a slow speed and made sure to approach in a way that we weren’t seen. Thankfully, it was twilight by the time I could see the island once again. I had gotten lost twice along the way, but I was certain I was approaching from the right direction now. Just like North Island never looking to the North expecting to see ships, West Island never looked West. All that was there was the endless sea. Now I knew there were things beyond, but I couldn’t imagine how far.

It seemed from what I had heard so far that the East Island actually received merchants from the lands beyond the Heaven’s Sky Archipelago. That meant that there were people from the east who could reach us in a reasonable amount of time. At least, it was enough time that they found it valuable to trade with East Island. However, I would have known if West Island was traded by any outsiders. It would have been news that would have shaken North Island to its core.

I finally identified the cove that I was looking for, and after carefully easing our ship in, using the Infinity’s miraculous ability to measure depth to make sure I didn’t hit anything, I dropped the anchor. Immediately, I realized that there was a problem. We didn’t have anything like a rowboat to head to land. The ship even contained a small hanger where such a vehicle was kept in the ship and could be lowered at will. However, it had been empty, meaning that we had no way to reach the land.

Even if we did, I had picked this cove exactly because it was inaccessible. Tall cliffs were on all three sides of land. I’d have to scale a mountain practically to get over them. The waters were also infested with Tortites. I had already seen one. While they were difficult to hunt on land, they were generally harmless. That wasn’t the same in water. They could definitely snatch and eat a person. Since it was dark, I couldn’t make out anything else.

I didn’t know how they had done it, but early settlers of West island had to clear the west part of the island from Tortites, because otherwise they couldn’t even keep their harbor going. On this side, it was taboo for anyone to go in the water. They were probably as bad as those so-called sharks I had heard about. No, after everything I had seen, sharks probably existed as well. I had only seen pictures of sharks in books, but they supposedly could eat a man whole. There might even be Monster sharks, but I didn’t want to imagine what that would look like.

I returned to the main bridge. The bodies were gone now, and even the blood was mopped up. That was one nice thing about having a slime on cleanup. She didn’t leave a drop behind. She looked up at me questioningly.

“We’re going to be staying here for a few days.” I explained. “Behind West Island. I have a few tasks to complete, so I hope you can help me do them.”

She let out a small sigh, rolling her eyes before holding her hand out to me. Within in her hand was a skill orb. I instantly grew excited. I snatched the orb eagerly.

“Only one?”

She ignored me, turning back to her endless work. I decided to let her be, as I didn’t want to annoy her further. After all, I didn’t know what skill I got. This could be the greatest skill yet. Unfortunately, I’d have no clue what it did until I absorbed it and let the Skill Relay scan me. With a flash, the orb turned to dust, and I excitedly went to check 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 2

{Wind} Level 1

“Seriously?” I didn’t know if I should be sad or happy.

Sleight of Hand had gone up, but nothing else had. I had no new skill either. That meant that the Skill Orb was for something I already had. I felt a bit bitter, but it was to be expected. I had heard that skills tended to be hereditary. The same skills cropped up in the same families over and over again. Since North and West island were a tightknit group. The vast majority of people only held about a dozen or so skills. So, for someone else to have my father’s {Sleight of Hand} wasn’t out of reason. As for why it went up a level with one orb, my use of it and already existing familiarity with my father’s own {Sleight of Hand} must have accelerated its growth.

With a little sigh of my own, I stood up and gave Zoe one last look before heading down to the captain’s cabin and lying in my bed. I was too lazy to find something to eat. That was even assuming that there was any food left on the ship. I hadn’t eaten all day, but ever sense I got Fast Healing I found myself able to go longer without food. Besides, after seeing so much death, my stomach was a bit uneasy. I hadn’t become so callous that could just kill people and then eat to my heart’s desire.

Slowly, I slipped off to sleep, listening to the mild hum of the fusion engine that eternally powered this device. It was a fitful sleep, as I still wasn’t used to sleeping here. At some point in the night, I felt someone crawl into my bed. It certainly wouldn’t be Zoe, so that meant it was Kate. She curled at my feet and after seeing her tail flopping back and forth, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

For whatever reason, the warmth and pressure on my feet and having someone else in the room soothed my turbulent emotions, and I found myself falling to sleep. That was until I started having a nightmare where I was drowning. No matter what I did, I was being pulled under the surface, only to get a gasp of breath now and then. Strangely, throughout the whole thing, I felt slightly aroused, which made the nightmare oddly sexual.

My eyes erupted open when something hairy hit my face. I could only see white, but it was a white I recognized. It was a pair of underwear I had managed to fashion for Kate from some clothing I had on board. After bathing her, I didn’t want her to continue to run around naked underneath, so I had created a kind of loincloth. That was now pressed against my face, stifling my breath, as a tail slapped against my face.

That was when I felt something else. I had a morning wood, and it suddenly got hit, and then hit again from the other side. Every few seconds, I felt it get tapped, and it was popping around wildly. Kate made a strange mewing sound, her tail raising and slapping at my face again. It took my mind a moment to catch up with what I was feeling. When I realized Kate was lying on my chest, her chin on my abdomen, slapping my dick around like a cat toy, I woke up extremely quickly.

“You!” I shouted into a muffled ass. “Bad!”

I pulled out my hand and gave her ass a slap. Instead of jumping forward, she jumped straight up, only to land knees first into my stomach.

“Raaaw!” She screamed, scratching me with her claws before shoving off me with her feet and jetting out the door.

“Fuck!” I screamed at her as she disappeared down the hall. “If you’re going to play with it, prepare to go all the way, you fucking pussy!”

I sat up and checked the damage. She had ripped my shirt and drawn blood. At least, my dick had managed to survive. Except that my erection wasn’t taken care of! I growled as I got up and pulled the shirt away. The scratches weren’t deep. She wasn’t trying to hurt me. She had just been surprised. Feeling a bit comforted sleeping next to someone definitely wasn’t worth such a morning wakeup call. I’d definitely close my door from then on.

After getting dressed, I headed up. Zoe wasn’t tinkering with cords or cables now, so I continued on until I ended up on the deck of the ship. It was daylight, and I covered my eyes as I walked out to the sound of insects and the smell of the sea. My eyes fell on Zoe, who was standing on the deck of the ship. She wasn’t wearing her wig, nor was she wearing pants. All she had was a button up white shirt on. It went down to her hips, only showing just a hint of her underwear.

As soon as I saw her, my mouth fell open. She turned to look at me, giving a frowning look and cocking her head in a manner that she did when she was questioning me.

“You’re beautiful.” I said out loud.

She looked down, realizing her current condition, and then started grabbing the hem of her shirt, fidgeting cutely. I would have definitely tried to have sex with her right then, especially since I was still half-cocked from waking up, but I had faced enough damage to know that it wouldn’t happen.

“Ah…” I looked away awkwardly, giving her a bit of privacy. “We need to get the gold sails up. I want that weapon charged. Then we need to find a means to get to shore. Once there, I have an assortment of jobs. We need to set up some kind of surveillance so we can know when the pirates visit. If we can destroy them before they fire on West Island, it’d be best.”

There was simply too much to do, and not enough time to do it. The pirates were coming, and we had to get ready.

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