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Even though it was night, I moved through the forest with ease. The island was small. I had been all over it in my youth. I was very familiar with it and could move with ease. There were insects, a few small mammals. The slimes mostly kept to the shoreline, so in the deep forest, it was unlikely to stumble across them. In short, I made it to the entrance to the cavern extremely easily.

I had given her directions and a map with the intention of meeting up here. The reason for that was simple. There were no dangers leading up to this spot, so there was no reason her life should be in any danger. However, it felt dangerous at night. There were a lot of things that moved in the forest at night, and the tall trees blocked the stars and moon, making it feel even darker and more foreboding.

The danger was an aphrodisiac for a woman. A man’s presence will bolster her confidence and make her feel safe. It was seduction 101. I make a woman feel just a little threatened by her environment. When she sees me, she grows relieved and then associates me with safety. In this way, I reinforce myself as someone she can trust and rely on. Had I escorted her myself, she might have grown a little wary, but nothing would be quite as frightening as navigating it alone in the dark.

I arrived just a bit early, so I had nothing to do but listen to the loud insects and the waves as they washed up on the shoreline. For the briefest moment, a cloud moved past the moon, causing the light to shift in just away. I squinted into the distant horizon. Did I just see a ship? No, that would have been impossible. The only ships that existed moved between the citadel and the four islands. I had heard tell that East island got visitors from those beyond the endless sea, merchants and travelers, but I wrote that off as nonsense.

As for the north of North Island, there was nothing. The endless sea stretched on for eternity, and no ship could ever be seen coming from that direction. That’s why our town and port pointed to the south. It was at that moment I suddenly heard a whistle. I glanced over to the beach. I was currently on a ledge just outside the forest, and the beach was nearly 100 meters below. Down there and to the far right, a light erupted from the ground and went up to the sky.

I watched as the light rose up until it suddenly popped. Sparks shot out across the sky, a half dozen falling stars flying from it for the briefest of moments. In the night sky, it was like a beacon to anyone on the northside of the island, although it would have been invisible to anyone on the southside. I had never seen anything like it before, and it left me very curious. Just as I was about to take a step forward, planning to climb down the rocky ledge to the beach to explore where that strange light had emanated from, I heard steps behind me.

In my curiosity, I had almost forgotten my focus of the night, the beautiful Governess. Of course, she was far more important than some strange lightning bug. I turned to greet her, putting on my best smile. The governess came out of the darkness, and I couldn’t help but drop my jaw a bit. She was still wearing her glasses, but she wasn’t in the long dress and blouse that she always taught in. She wasn’t wearing a date dress either.

The Governess was wearing a pair of skin-tight leather pants, and a form-fitting blouse that displayed her impressive cleavage. The blouse covered her belly button, but just missed covering all of her stomach, revealing a bit of skin there. Furthermore, it was sleeveless, showing the pale skin of her shoulders. Her usual long flowing hair was also tied up in a bun, putting her graceful neck on display. It was a form of dress I had never seen a woman in, and it instantly intrigued my eyes.

“Governess…” I managed to bow politely. “Did you make it here okay?”

She folded up the map and shoved it in her pocket. “Your cartography could use some work, but it was sufficient enough to get me here.”

The smile on my face just slipped a bit. Rather than looking scared and relieved to see me, she didn’t seem to think anything of the trip. That was fine. There would be many more chances to woo her tonight. I also brought a bottle of our manor’s best spirit. If in doubt, I would get her drunk.

I looked one last time in the direction of the sea. The strange light, and that shadow in the distance. Two strange occurrences in a single night. I hoped there wouldn’t be a third. After all, I really wanted things to go smoothly here.

“Is there something the matter?” She asked, looking in the direction my eyes were.

I turned away and shook my head, “Not at all. Come, this way.”

I lead her out onto the small ledge which wrapped around into the cavern. This was the same path I had taken with my cousin earlier that day and where I had almost scored with her. Well, my cousin was a guaranteed feast, and tonight I was still hunting.

Unfortunately, the Governesses balance was impeccable. With my cousin, she was wobbly and kept clinging to me in either fear or in genuine need of assistance. For the Governess, this wasn’t a problem. It definitely made me feel a bit irritated she wasn’t clinging to me more.

We made it around the edge, walked over the wobbly planks, and finally made it to the platform that overlooks the cove. This was the spot where I had my cousin that morning. I could hear some slimes in the distance moving around, but making sure to keep the light on our pathway, I didn’t run into any so far. I stopped here and looked out over the cove, hoping the Governess would join me.

With the moon just outside, it was particularly beautiful. The hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites that filled the cove and the broken, wooden tier underneath all gave off a particularly surreal feeling. It was enough to take any girls breath away.

“Is it not beautiful?” I asked, gesturing out to the cove.

“Mm… where is it that you said you found the ancient technology?” Her voice neither sounded breath taken or impressed.

I immediately hid the ugly expression on my face before turning around with another smile. The Governess was being extremely troublesome. She looked just as stunning in the moonlight as the cove did though. I wanted to say that, but my {Glibed Tongue} told me it wouldn’t work.

That was the nature of that ability. It wasn’t necessarily a matter of telling me what would work. If that was the case, I’d be a psychic, able to always say the thing that got the best results. Instead, it was more like a feeling before I said something that gave me an impression of how well it would be received. For the most part, it kept me away from saying things that would either land flat or be ignored. Simply, it stopped me from embarrassing myself. They say that for every positive experience a person enjoys, they remember three negative things. If that held true for speaking, then I never gave a person a negative experience talking to me.

If I was able to convince anyone of anything, I wouldn’t go on about how pathetic my {Glibed Tongue} was. At best, it made me a bit more charming during a conversation. For a girl like the Governess who had no interest in a conversation, my ability was basically useless. Like I said before, it was a trash skill.

“The ancient technology you’re looking for is through here.” I pointed to my last trick.

It was the rugged pathway that went back into an area I never saw. Once, during a setting sun, I had seen the glint of something that looked like metal at the end of the pathway, but I had never made an attempt. The pathway was jagged, and a single fall could break something. However, more than that, it was the slimes that made it impassable.

Today was no exception, as there were nearly two dozen slimes sitting in the corridor on the walls, ceiling or floor. Some were moving, while others were just pulsating in one spot. Most women, upon seeing this, would be so grossed out they’d have no choice to turn and grab the man next to them and shriek, looking away with disgust. Of course, the Governess was not most women. She looked down at the jagged rocks curiously, even putting her hand close to a slime.

“Watch out!” I warned her. “Those slimes, if you put your hands on them, can eat just about anything. In a minute, you won’t even have a hand anymore.”

She glanced over at me; her expression still cold and stoic. “Are they aggressive?”

“Ah… no… but as you can see, they are everywhere on the path. It’s almost impossible to travel safely. It looks like this is as far as we will get tonight. How about I show you the dock below.”

The dock was a dangerous place. It was low tide now, but that tide rose fast, and if you weren’t paying attention, you’d be washed out right into the rocky cove and then pulled down by a vicious undertow. It was my last idea to have her feel a little danger. Bring her down there, let her wait just a bit too long, and then as she’s just about to be washed out to sea, come in a save her. It was a risk for her, but after I saved her life, she’d definitely be singing a different tune.

“If you attack them, they don’t become aggressive?” She asked.

I frowned, “No, but they’re not that easy to kill. They tend to burst and cover whatever hit them in acid. Plus, they’re immune to piercing, and those rocky crags make bludgeoning them basically impossible. They just slid into the cracks.”

This island was small, and that pathway was one of the few areas on the island I had never been. Had it been possible for me to clear out the slimes and go down it, I would have definitely tried it. However, I had long since deemed it impossible to do safely.

Yet, despite this undeniable fact, the Governess had a serious look on her face like she could cause the slimes to disappear with just a single steely look. She then backed up a few steps.

“Okay… I can do this.”

“Huh? Governess… please don’t risk your life.”

She raised her arms, pointing her palms towards the hole.

“Wind!” She shouted.

A suddenly whirlwind shot out from her palms and erupted through the cavern. It was enough to force that many of the more dangerous extruding sharp points to break and get carried away. The slimes didn’t even have a chance. They were tossed out and back down the tunnel at full force. I could hear them splattering somewhere at the end of the cavern beyond.

My mouth had fallen open. In an instant, all the slimes had been cleared from the path. Furthermore, the wind had even smoothed it out a bit. It was still a bit tricky, but not something I wouldn’t try.

“I never cast wind indoors, so I wasn’t sure if it’d be too much.” She said to herself and then turned to me. “Ah… my skill, {Wind}, level 10.”

“What do you mean, level?”

She looked at me for a moment and then let out a long sigh. “You really should have attended my lectures. Every skill has a level, from 1-99. When you are first born with a skill or get one through a skill orb, it is level 1. As you use it, it becomes stronger and stronger up to level 100. Your Flee and Glibed tongue should both have a level attached to them based on how much you practiced them.”

“Ah… how do I find that out.”

“You can’t without a status relay.”

“A stadus wha…?”

“Look, I don’t have time to educate you here.” She responded with a snap. “This is stuff you should have attended my lectures to learn. This is stuff you should know before you reach the citadel. Perhaps, I’ll help you review some of it on the boat ride back to the citadel, but if you don’t take these kinds of things seriously, you will never make it as an anointed.”

By that point, the previous smile on my face had been wiped off completely. The Governess was a complete bitch. To think that I had thoughts to sleep with her? She was so bitter and nasty, why would I even think of doing that? My expression was ugly now, but she didn’t even act like she noticed the change in my demeanor.

I had every intention of working hard and becoming an anointed. That was the name they gave for those that passed through the citadel training and was given permission. On this island, my father was the only anointed, but there were other islands with considerably more anointed on it. Plus, everyone on the citadel was anointed. It wasn’t as unobtainable as she made it seem. Although, my father did say that only one in three finished the citadel’s training.

While I was contemplating such things, the Governess had forged ahead, moving down the tight corridor that led to a previously unexplored part of the island. It was almost midnight at this point. Soon, it’d be my birthday. I was hoping to start my birthday with a bang, and by a bang, I meant I was going to bang this hot governess. However, she had soured my mood considerably, and even if I could get her in the sack, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to anymore.

At the very least, I could uncover the last secret of this island. That would be a good start to my birthday. Finally completing my exploration a mere day before I set out into the bigger world, it had a kind of poetic feel to it. I liked that.

I pushed down my sour feelings about the governess and followed her down the path that had once been covered in slimes. When we reached the bottom, we seemed to be in a smaller cavern. There was still water sloshing down below, but it was darker and harder to see. I brought my lantern forward, trying to help illuminate the way. We quickly reached a point where there was a massive pile of rocks. It looked like a cave-in had occurred.

If you climbed twenty feet up, there was a small crack at the top that descended into darkness. Just as I thought we had reached the end, she started climbing up the rubble, heading towards that small slit. I bit my lip and refrained from saying anything. Instead, I just kept following her until we reached the top. The opening was extremely thin. Even lying flat on my stomach, it’d be a struggle.

To my surprise, the Governess didn’t hesitate to do exactly that. She got down on her chest and then started crawling on her belly into the darkness beyond. She was truly fearless. I gulped and then decided to do the same. Without a large chest, I actually had an easier time of it than she did. In the end, she became stuck, and I offered and hand to help pull her the rest of the way through.

When I finally pulled her out, she tried to stand up only to fall forward and into my arms. This was the kind of interaction I had been looking for all night. However, she didn’t grow bashful, and she didn’t even thank me for the assist. That was because when she fell forward, her foot hit the ground and made a metallic thud.

She immediately pulled away from me and began to look around to where we had ended up. I glanced around with interest too. I realized we were standing on some kind of man made structure. It was half-buried in collapsed rock, and we appeared to be standing in the back end of it. With each step, I could hear the metal hull of it. I could also hear the slushing sound of water below. I walked over to the edge, where a metal wall rose up about three feet, and then peered over. Lowering my Lantern down, I could just barely see the reflection of water bumping up and down. This metal structure was floating on the water. Now that I noticed, it seemed to bob slightly, although it was weighed down heavily by the rocks in the front making it hard to feel.

“A ship?” I said, my voice echoing in the chamber.

A metal ship? Ships were made of wood. Plus, metal couldn’t float! Perhaps, a metal ship could exist, but how could you get that much metal? Metal was a rare resource, and certainly not something anyone could get in enough amount to built something this large. And it was somewhat large. This was by no means a small boat. By my estimates, it’d be able to fit a crew of at least fifty.

“This… can’t be…” The Governess finally spoke, her voice filled with disbelief. “It… actually exists?”

“Huh? What is this?”

“The records say they sunk them all! It was too dangerous to venture out into the endless sea, so they destroyed them!” She gasped, looking around the room with wide-eyed wonder. “Whoever wrote the records must not have known. Some captain… he might have feared an attack one day, and decided it was better to hide one for a time of need… he picked the North Island, the smallest and least interesting.”

“Hey…” I protested with a frown, moving up to her.

She finally lowered her eyes to me. She wore the first smile I had ever seen on her when she wasn’t teaching a class full of children, and it somehow made her even more breathtaking.

“Do you have any idea what this is?”

“It’s… an ancient ship?” I wasn’t so dumb that I couldn’t at least reason that much from her reaction.

“It is!” She nodded, gesturing wildly. “If I’m not mistaken, then we’re standing on the last existing Dreadnaught!”

Just as she made that declaration, there was a distant boom, and the ground began to shake.

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