The cove had cliffs on all three sides. Would that make it closer to a fjord? I wish I had paid more attention in class, and I might know such things. Either way, it looked like some massive beast had taken a bite out of a mountain, and the water from the endless sea rushed in to fill the void. The only way out was to climb straight up a cliff about fifty feet, where there was a flat area that looked out over the cove.
Zoe helped me again by using her tentacles to secure a rope at the top for us to scale the cliff. When I suggested she could pull herself up to the top in a single leap, she shook her head. She let a small tentacle touch the wall and then try to pull her. The tentacle snapped and then fell. She got it with a second tentacle and reabsorbed it before allowing them to reenter her body.
When she let a tentacle out, she usually either turned one of her arms into one, or she had them come from her back like spikes. I had a feeling she did that for my sake. By all accounts, the tentacles could have come from anywhere, but she chose to change parts that were less disturbing for a human. Even with the tentacles, you’d almost think she was a human with just a very odd magical skill, rather than a slime with no distinct shape. She wasn’t particularly strange, at least compared to Kate, who had a tail and cat ears.
After she showed me her limit, I felt just a bit closer to her. It definitely showed that she was coming to trust me, that she was willing to show me that. Her display also made me feel a bit of relief. I had been thinking that Zoe was far too powerful. After all, she could summon dozens of tentacles and behead or impale just about anyone without a thought. She was a walking weapon, and if other slimes had her intelligence, it’d truly be a disturbing thing. We definitely wouldn’t have been the dominate species on North Island.
It turned out she did have a weakness. That weakness was her ability to pull. She had no skeleton or muscles, so she had no strength to brace for a pull. Even when she caught fish, I had noticed she impaled them first, so they didn’t struggle. She would wrap the tentacle around them and sort of suck them up with her body rather than directly pull them like a fishing line. I also had a feeling that her attacks could cut through bear skin, but would fail if they struck armor. I suspected this because when I asked her to cut the Tortite shell left from the Tortite she had eaten, she only gave me a flat look.
“Are you going to be able to pull yourself up this cliff at all?” I asked.
Perhaps all four limbs would be enough to support her body, but if an arm suddenly broke off from the pull, it wasn’t something I wanted to see. It seemed like my worries were unfounded, though. She immediately nodded, her body turning green and then melting. I hadn’t considered that method at all.
As it did so, all the clothing and her wig was sucked into her body. Unfortunately, she made sure to do this after she had already lost the majority of her shape. I didn’t get a chance to look at her beautiful body even a bit. It wasn’t like it was really her body. She could look like anyone, and she had only stolen the form of the governess. Therefore, why did she have to act so modest? She should have just let me look to my enjoyment. What did it hurt?
She absorbed all the heavy items, and then her entire body reached out and she grabbed the ledge, then she began to climb it without the rope. Seeing her do that, I remembered that slimes often climbed on walls and ceilings. They were somewhat sticky in that form, and it looked like Zoe was no exception. By the time she was a third of the way up, I could only give a sigh and grab the rope. I had no choice but to follow the more difficult way. I then began to climb myself.
My trip up took another hour. It was exhausting work, and I just had to take it one step at a time. I grumbled the entire time, but if this cove had been easily accessible, then it wouldn’t have been a good hiding place for the Infinity. Since she was basically walking up the wall, Zoe made it to the top much quicker than I did. By the time I reached the ledge and pulled myself up onto solid ground, huffing and puffing as I laid out on the grassy ledge, Zoe was already back in her original form. She must have even stored makeup inside her, as she had re-administered it over her face. Once I had regained my breath, I picked up the bag and the empty packs and glanced over at Zoe.
“Do you know your mission?”
Zoe shot me a flat look, nodding her head, but I decided to speak, anyway. I pointed to a path leading down off this inclined. It went to a beach just outside of the cove. The reason we didn’t just land there was because there was a break just outside the cove, and the large waves there would have definitely toppled us as we tried to reach the beach. Plus, the area could be easily reached, and that yellow rubber boat stood out. If anyone saw it while we were away, it would be bad. As for them looking out over this cliff down into the cove and seeing our ship floating in the middle, I could only hope that didn’t happen.
“Head down to the beach and consume more slimes. We need more regeneration ability. Plus, if you see and Tortite or Rattus, try to pick up their skills too. Try to keep them separate. I want to know what skills come from each animal, and if possible, keep one and sell it at a profit.”
She watched me silently, her expression not giving anything away as usual.
“I’ll give some to Kate, if they prove useful.” I said, “Just acquire what you can, okay? And leave some for yourself. I mean, you don’t have to give every skill to us.”
She nodded slowly and then started walking down the path without another word. I really wished she spoke up more and I knew what she was thinking. I only threw that last part in because I didn’t want her to feel like she was just being used for her skills. If she could grow stronger, she might as well grow stronger too. Actually, I had no clue how skills worked with her, and she had never explained it. There were many possibilities. Perhaps she could only loose up excess skills. In other words, she had never lost any skill she had gained. If that was the case, then I hadn’t officially seen her use a skill she had given me yet, so I didn’t know.
“Ah! And avoid humans.” I added in a yell.
She raised her hand, but kept walking.
I gave a sigh and then pulled my map out of a backpack. My job was to steal supplies. The island had already robbed me of half the supplies on my boat, so I had no problem robbing them back. I was most interested in things that would last awhile at sea. That would be dried meat, water, and crackers. I also wanted weapons. However, there was one thing I wanted most of all. Thinking about it, I shook my head several times. I was crazy just for thinking about it, but the Governor was dead now, and as far as they knew I had fled the island, so wasn’t this the best time to strike?
I couldn’t believe I was even thinking of doing something so risky, but after all the life or death situations I had experienced, I was a bit more willing to try. The item I wanted was the communication device. I think he called it a radio. If it was anywhere, it was in the Governor’s office in his mansion. If I could sneak in and get it, it may prove very valuable. I would be able to send out a warning to the other islands about the pirates, and more importantly I could listen in on the pirate’s communications, and find out where they are. I would know when the pirates reached this island and set up an ambush.
Did my father have such a device? If he did, he had never revealed it to me. However, it was probably a secret that all governors had. With luck, the surviving magistrate wouldn’t know about it.
Steeling myself, I began to head in the direction of the city. I didn’t leave the path too much, as I was worried I might fall into a group of rattus and meet an ugly end. Even my healing ability wouldn’t be able to survive death by a thousand bites. However, I moved slowly and laid low. I avoided the farms and I headed straight to the back. The Governor’s Mansion, like my own back home, was a bit away from the village. However, unlike our mansion, which had no enemies and thus could be pressed against the forest without fear, this mansion was instead pushed against a large inaccessible mountain.
There was only one mountain on the island, and it was large enough that it took up about 1/4th of the land space. It also contributed to part of the cliff leading to the cove. The trail wrapped around that mountain, and I ended up behind the city. Carefully, I edged my way along until I came to a large brick wall.
Bricks didn’t come easy on North Island, but the mountain had provided West Island with clay, and so most of the houses outside of the dock had incorporated at least some clay. With the majority of the forest cut down to make room for farmland, and the main building material being clay bricks, a fire like the one that decimated North City wouldn’t hurt West City at all.
I had regrettably used all of my rope climbing up the cliff edge. I had found two hooks for climbing, but I had only one hand. Pulling out some cloth, I tied one hook to the stump at the edge of my hand. It didn’t feel very stable, but it would have to do. I relief predominately with the hook in my hand to pull myself off, using the other hook only to stabilize myself. The clay wall was very porous, and there were plenty of places to hook onto or make a hole. The wall was also much shorter than the cliff edge, and I was able to get over it without much effort.
Landing on the other end, I looked at my hooked stump and thought that this was perhaps somewhat useful. I left it attached while putting the other hook back in my bag. Only then did I carefully look out from the bush I was hidden behind. I was in the backyard of the Governor’s Mansion. I didn’t hear any movement. The Governor had only died yesterday, so it’s possible that nothing in the mansion had changed.
I checked all the windows, and then carefully walked over to a vine wall that went up to the second floor. I carefully used my hand on the vines, and my hook on the wall, to work my way up to the second story. The Governor’s office was certainly not going to be on the first story, and there were certainly going to be people between the two. I hoped to reach the room the same way I reached father’s room on that dreadful night. I shimmied along the roof. Thankfully, the architecture put a tilted step that made walking along the 1st story roof much easier.
The first window I peaked in showed an empty room. It didn’t look like any office I had ever seen. In fact, it didn’t look occupied at all. I went to the second window, and this one resembled a simple bedroom. I was just going to walk away when the door suddenly opened. I ducked my head, but out of the corner I continued to peak. There was a girl who had walked into the room.
She was a beautiful girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. I was pretty sure she was the magistrate’s daughter, but the last time I had seen her she had been only a few years old. She wasn’t as beautiful as Zoe, but she had a much more attractive personality. I remembered her to be a bit dumb, always running recklessly toward monsters. She had almost lost a hand to Tortite more than once because she wanted to try riding it. Other than Cousin, she was the other girl I had fantasized about deflowering from West Island.
She turned back and with one hand on the door she leaned out. “Father! Are we seriously moving in here now?”
I couldn’t hear whatever answer she gave, but she spun around with an annoyed expression and slammed the door. Then she reached down and lifted up her dress. I almost fell back and did a two story fall onto my head. I barely managed to grab, but I made a noise. I heard a gasp, and without thinking, I jumped down, using the ledge to hold myself on the roof. My hands ended up grabbing onto thorns of a plant, and I bit my lip to keep from making a noise.
The girl looked right out her window. She was in nothing but her underwear now, but she seemed shameless as she glanced around the outdoors. She looked left and right, but she didn’t look down very clearly. I was in the greenery, which luckily hid my hands and body. I could see her through the foliage, but she couldn’t see me. I ended up getting a few dozen pricks, but if I was caught now, it’d be worse. After seeing nothing, she let out a sigh and then went back into her room, closing the window with a snap.
I waited another minute, and then carefully worked my way back onto the edge of the roof, keeping low so that she couldn’t see me through the window. I climbed on to the next one. Glancing in, I nodded to myself in confirmation.
I carefully opened the window from the outside. It wasn’t locked. Who would lock a window on the second storey of a building, anyway? I slid into the room, which had a desk and didn’t look too much different from father’s office, although it had a bit more color and a bit less tact. I immediately started looking through the desk, trying to find the so-called radio. I had no clue what it was, but I had a feeling that I’d know it if I saw it. At least, that was what I was hoping for.
I found a flintlock and a box of bullets, which I immediately tossed them in my pack. I also found a letter opener that was sharp enough to be a knife. I tucked that behind me. I would take anything at this point that could protect me even a little. Just when I thought I was out of options, my hand hit some strange box which I pulled out and put on the desk. It had dials on it and a large metal wire sticking out of it. It had a handpiece which was connected to it by a twisty wire that seemed to be protected by rubber.
“This must be it!” I said, grabbing the item.
I had no clue if it was the radio. However, it had been well hidden in the desk and I only found it because I had been exploring deep in the bottom drawer with my hand. That would have to be the radio, or perhaps something else of particular value. I put it in my box, but just as I did that, I heard a click at the door. Cursing my bad luck, I ducked behind the desk. I could hear the door open and close, but my eyes were caught on the window sill where I had just entered.
“Hello? Is someone in here?” A woman’s voice asked. “I heard something rustling from next store.”
Damn the thin walls of this place! I had been too eager and the girl who was just next store had been too curious. I considered my options. I only had one choice. I had to kill her. She wasn’t the first person I had killed. She wasn’t even the first woman. Perhaps, she was the first person who hadn’t done anything wrong, but I didn’t have the convenience of thinking about such things. Pulling out the letter opener, I waited for her to come around the desk. Once she reached it, I’d grab her and stab her in the throat until she was dead. Then I’d flee out the window. The thought of killing someone I had known in childhood was difficult, but so was the situation West Island had put me in. If she wanted to blame someone, it should be her shitty father.
I listened as her footsteps steadily came closer and closer. Just as I saw her foot come around the desk, the door opened. Someone else had just come into the room. At that exact moment, her eyes met with mine. I crouched down, the blade so tight in my hands that it was white. However, if I lunged and killed her now, whoever just opened the door would still see. Killing her was now useless.
“Daughter, what are you doing in here?” A familiar voice, the magistrate, asked.
She barely seemed to hear him though. Her eyes caught on me. Very slowly, I lifted my hand to my mouth and put a finger over my pursed lips, telling her to be quiet. I tried to give her a threatening glare with my eyes. I hoped I got the message across, but all it would take was a single yell from her and I would be diving out the window and running for my life.
“Ah! Father?” She turned away from me, putting on a smile. “I was just looking around our new house. You are the new Governor, after all.”
“Hmmm… and this is my office now! Stupid girl. Get out.” He spoke nastily.
Her smile twitched and she made a noise, crouching down. As soon as her head was behind the desk she whispered.
“Meet me in my room.”
“What is it?” Her father asked, taking a few steps forward.
“Ah!” She stood up quickly and started walking. “Just a weak ankle. I’m sorry, father. Could you please show me where the bathroom is again? I forgot?”
He let out a sigh. “I swear, you’ve visited this mansion a dozen times growing up. How you can remember nothing. Only you could get lost in your own home.”
As I peaked over the desk, the girl only gave one peak back before she left the room with her father. Without a doubt, she had saved my life. However, I had no clue what she wanted to say to me in her bedroom. It might be important though. I could only do what she asked.