You have a large boat, or should it be called a small ship, and a crew of you and 2 other people. You charter the boat, and are occasionally been part of shady business, if the client is willing to pay your rather hefty "no questions asked" fee.
Recently a potential client was once again willing to pay that fee. So you arrived with your crew to agreed pickup point, which turned out to be practilcy middle of nowhere. althuogh not far from a huge city in order territory. two relatively small rowboats left from the shore towards your ship, In the dim moonlight you could still tell that there was a lot of people in them, So many that the boats were almost sinking from their weight. So apparently you were smuggling humans this time. Someone who has trouble with a law possibly, but honestly it could be anything. Heck they might be attempting to board an cargo ship, and hold it for ransom. or trying to assassinate someone on their yacht. But as the deal goes, No questions asked means that you might be the captain. but in grand scheme of things you are just along for the ride.
But as the boats got closer, you saw that they were filled with mamono. which is a little bit of a problem cause not just you, but your whole crew are somewhat order inclined, How ever now is too late to bail from the deal. They have allready paid half of the agreed sum, and they are allready boarding your vessel. As the last one get's on board you realize there wasnt a single human with them, only 21 monsters that are now trying to find a place to sit. The last one who boarded your ship, gave you your destination, a port couple days away well off from the order controlled area. As you were leaving the small bay you noticed lights and sirens on the shore, vut it looks like you managed to slip away in to the night with your lights turned off, and engine amost on idle.
How ever almost soon as you got everyone and everything in their place, your crew members come in to the wheelhouse and demand that yuo would turn these monsters in. Which indeed does sound tempting.
Actually, the situation was more complicated than it seemed. We may be smuggling, but a contract remains a contract. Especially since we have already received some of the money. If potential customers ever learn that we have delivered the shipment to the authorities. I'm afraid no one wants to do business with us anymore.
On the other hand, helping mamono would cause us a problem of conscience. Helping mamono was like betraying the Order. If it ever gets out, we would be considered as collaborators and probably executed...
The situation was bleak in both cases. And now my two crew members, Marc and John, were asking me to deliver them. The discussion lasted a good five minutes, during which I explained what would happen if we delivered the'goods' to the authorities and they reminded me of the risks of having mamono's on board. The prospect of being raped on the way was not reassuring to me and they knew it. In addition, John was afraid that others would be waiting for us at our destination.... What worried Marc the most was
The floor in front of the wheelhouse creaked. Followed by a great silence on our part. Marc threw himself on the handle and opened the door. To find no one.
"I don't think I'm going to last long. My nerves are going to fail, Captain! We have to get everyone off the ship and get out of here. "he insisted, seeking support from John.
After a few moments, John, who was staring at me, bowed to a window and cursed. I quickly imitated him when I noticed that we were being followed by two boats.
Marc panicked as he followed our eyes. "We're going to go through the Inquisition and get executed!!!!! "he exclaimed before rushing out the door.
John gave me a desperate look. And I did the only thing that came to mind. Push the machines to full speed. There's no way we're getting caught with mamono on board. "I refuse to end up like this. "I said to the only remaining crew member. John swallows before running to his post. The chase race was on and my boat was far from being a race beast....
In the early morning, I was alone in the wheelhouse, with tired red eyes, tight hands on the bar, a wobbly mind... Our pursuers were still behind us, closing in very slowly. I could now see the flag of the inquisition floating on board. Confirming that fleeing was not the stupidest decision I've ever had. On the other hand, being captured would lead to a tragic fate.
A little knock rang against the door. Then a second one more insistent, which I finally noticed. "Come in! Come in! »
A woman came in, or rather a succubus. This made me stiffen my tired limbs out of fear and mistrust. Being in no condition to defend myself, she could literally play with me without me being able to do anything.
"Good morning, Captain. " she greeted me with a smile that would instantly make teenagers fall in love with her charms.
"... Hello? "I replied in a hoarse and tired voice.
She stayed there looking at me for a moment that seemed endless to me. Before scanning the wheelhouse from the gaze.
"Are you alone? »
Despite my mind exhausted by the sleepless night, I was sniffing the trick question.
" ... " She stayed and looked at me surprised. Before smiling and closing the door. I really didn't know what to think about what had just happened...
Later, John came back and took my place at the wheel. With a nod I greeted him and went to my bunk. Nothing very luxurious, even rustic. But for my tired body, this old mattress and a clean blanket were worth all the gold in the world.
A clamour and a monstrous noise on the deck of the boat woke me up from my sleep. Just in time to catch a werecat trying to slip under the blanket.
With a kick in the butt, she flew out of the cabin. The situation may seem comical, but I didn't feel like laughing.
Once outside I understood where the excitement was coming from. The mamono seemed to be rejoicing at something. Cautious I remained out of their sight and slipped discreetly towards the wheelhouse.
John greeted me with a half smile and explained that the pursuers had encountered difficulties without further explanation. I grabbed a pair of binoculars and tried to find them.
Cold sweats ran down my back when I saw two tentacles in the distance around one of the boats... "Kraken... "I made a sign of the cross and recited a prayer for the souls of the sailors. There would be no survivors of such an attack.
Bitter, I swallowed a little water with salted biscuits while observing the sea through a porthole in the cabin. Marc had disappeared. John hadn't seen him since his panic attack last night. And since the ship was filled with mamono, except for the cabin and wheelhouse... I feared the worst...
Before I took my turn in the wheelhouse again, I took one last look in the engine room, but nothing... John seemed relieved to see me come back, but he was disappointed when I confirmed his fears.
"He didn't jump overboard, did he? "he was worried and I couldn't answer him.
In the evening, John came back to see me before the scheduled time. He seemed less stressed than before. Which was a good sign. "Did you find him? "He immediately darkened. Me and my big mouth....
He explained to me that he had questioned our passengers and a succubus told him that he had seen him jump into the water just after I pushed the engines to accelerate. At least he didn't have to swim too far to get to shore. That deserter... If he comes back to ask me for work, he shouldn't be surprised if I tell him to go elsewhere.
Last night, I was woken up by a mass in between my legs while I was sleeping in the cabin. I don't know who it was, but she didn't stay long.
"Thunder of Brest!!!!! "It goes without saying that this 'person' followed the same path as the werecat.
The small shelf I pushed in front of the door should complicate any attempt at night infiltration. A pepper spray can on the bedside table to politely deter those who would insist in spending the nigh with me.
In the early morning I took over the wheel of the ship, letting John go to rest. The destination was only about ten hours' sailing time away if Poseidon allows it.
Once the shoreline was in sight, I saw the mamono getting excited on the deck of my boat, they seemed reassured to see the end of their sea journey. Personally, I was not sure that everything would work out for them since they seemed to have only the bare minimum to escape. And the refugee life does not seem enviable to me. I feel a pinch in my heart as I imagine what they had to go through to get here.
As I approached the destination, John had joined me in the wheelhouse, he no longer seemed at all worried about the situation, which surprised me. Not to mention that we arrived in waters that none of us knew, trusting the sea chart and our instruments to guide us through the fog. The mist had appeared quite suddenly and created a disturbing atmosphere. It was not the first time I had seen such a phenomenon, but it was always unsettling, the mind could quickly get carried away in such conditions.
A light through the mist indicated the presence of a lighthouse, quickly accompanied by red and green beacons, showing us the safe way to enter the harbour. I'm slowing down to five knots. No need to waste fuel and take risks. The shapes of a dock eventually appeared.
After a few manoeuvers, I saw John who had gone out to moor the ship, waving at me. With relief I turned off the engines and took the time to relax a little. It was getting dark, but the passengers still had to be disembarked. That's why I took the time for a glass of whisky and quietly buttoned my coat before going out to face what was waiting for me.
The boat had already been emptied of passengers to my great surprise. Had I been so long to close my coat? John confirmed to me that they had all already gone down. On the orders of a group of succubus who came to pick them up and take them to an inn, where they could rest. Apparently we were also invited, but John refused, despite the officer's protests. I share his feeling that the risk was far too great. We will wait for the client to pay the commission and leave immediately as planned.
Dinner was quiet, actually the tension of the trip had finally been evacuated and everyone could finally start to relax. Fatigue caused everyone to go to bed very early after some discussion about what we would do with our share of the reward. More important than expected, because Marc would not get his share, which caused a stupid laugh between us.
But before I left, John asked me what the client looked like. And to tell you the truth,.... the more I thought, the less I could remember her face. A hood and a female voice was all I could remember and it was beginning to seriously disturb me... A feeling of unease began to overwhelm me....
In the morning, I had a bad feeling about it. Something was going to happen and I was beginning to seriously consider leaving without waiting for the customer. With one look, I noticed that John was not in his bunk.
No one answered. I reassured myself that he should be in the toilet and started making coffee and breakfast. I heard the cabin door opening and a chair moving.
"Ah John. We need to talk. I've been thinking about this whole thing and there's something wrong. "I filled a first cup of coffee and handed it to John while filling the second one. John takes the cup as usual without me having to look at it. I add two sugars to my cup and turn around to sit down.
The cup slipped out of my hands to smash itself on the floor. John... was not John. Sitting in his place was my customer standing in her long dark blue coat. Hood missing, I saw her blue skin, her long black hair going down to her chest. Then intimidating horns, red eyes with black sclera. It goes without saying that I wasn't thinking anymore. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car.
The demon sipped quietly in her cup of coffee amused by my reaction, before frowning at the pronounced bitterness of the low-cost coffee.
"Can I have some sugar? "she asked with a smile that was probably meant to be friendly. Which is enough to get me out of my torpor, A look at the exit,... bad idea, I would have to pass in front of her in any case and the window doesn't open... Stuck, I grab the sugar box before putting it on the table delicately.
"Thank you. " she picked one up and dropped it in her cup before stirring with her spoon. " Have a seat? »
I swallow before doing it. Not knowing with what sauce she was going to cook me.
She took a second sip and seemed satisfied with the taste. Before I turn her mischievous gaze back on me. A shiver crossed my spine as I tried to support her gaze.
"Hmm? No reaction? "she wondered. "I thought you might have some questions given what happened. "she seemed to particularly appreciate staring at me while I was there, at her mercy.
"...J...where is John?"
Her smile gets a little bigger. "Don't worry, Captain, John is very happy where he is. Actually, he came to get Sarah on his own. »
"Sarah? "I was surprised, not believing a word of it. How could John have picked up a girl named Sarah from this port?
"Yes, a nice girl. She was so lonely that I couldn't leave her there. »
" ... "I must have made one of those faces, because she raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, sorry, you don't all know the story after all. I owe you an explanation. "she seemed to think, "Do you have anything to eat? »
The question out of context almost made me fall flat on my face. And it seemed to have been done on purpose given the amused look on her face. I took the bread and jam out of the closet. Before I went back to sit intrigued by the story she was going to tell me. Curiosity being stronger than fear for now.
"Thank you! "she spread applesauce on a slice before attacking it. "To put it simply, we started to extend our influence in the city where you had to pick up my shipment. But the inquisitors arrived faster than expected and it was out of the question to let all these poor girls get slaughtered because of us. »
"And that's when we come in? "I asked, guessing where the story was headed.
She answered me with a wink. "Exactly, one of my new subordinates knew by reputation a smuggler with a boat and it didn't take me long to find you. Then it took me a little time to get everyone together and prepare for their evacuation without getting caught. "she explains, between bites.
I suspected that they were refugees, but not that the city was already corrupt... Wait a minute... does that mean I'm contaminated?
"Is there a problem? "she asked, her eyes seemed to know exactly what I was thinking and it really pissed me off. I felt like a mouse between the paws of a cat who was having fun before getting bored and going for a meal.
"No, please continue. "I replied in a neutral tone, trying not to panic at the thought of being infected and becoming an incubus. John was already screwed. Marc was right, the bastard!
"So we borrowed two small boats that we hid while waiting for you to arrive. The inquisitors were furious that we had escaped them. But they wouldn't give up, as always. Until we show them the truth... Um, that's why when night fell and you arrived, it was a great relief to know that all these poor girls could be put in safety."
"Wait a minute, wait a minute. How could you be sure we wouldn't hand them over? I do not hide from you that we have considered this possibility. "it was the big flaw in her plan, at least to my eyes.
"You wouldn't have done it. "she said amused herself by placing an elbow on the table to let her head rest in her hand.
"And why wouldn't I have sold your friends? After all, I don't sympathize with your kind. If I had known..."
"No, I don't think so. For two reasons. First of all, you're too kind."
"The second is more practical. The inquisition would have brought you to the question in any case and I doubt you would have resisted long before admitting everything they wanted to hear from you. »
She wasn't exactly wrong about that. The inquisition had particular methods, but they... no, they probably would have acted in this way.
"That's why. You're far too smart to make such a stupid decision. »
I clenched my fists under the table.
"You set me up! We've almost been caught! »
She lost her superior smile for the first time since the conversation began. "I didn't expect them to have boats capable of withstanding the high seas. And I thank you for not giving up and cruisinguntil the end. All these girls owe you their lives. »
"And the Kraken?"
"A simple stroke of luck really. "she hid behind her cup of coffee in shame.
"And all those sailors who died? And their families???? »
She gave me a disturbed look before she found her superior smile again.
"Ah... don't worry, I'm sure they're all very happy with their new wives right now.
"Trust me, I doubt you want the details. »
"And their families left behind? Have you thought about how they must feel?"
She seemed embarrassed, and looked away. "It's complicated... The inhabitants of the seas are not under our jurisdiction, so... "she didn't continue when she noticed that I was sighing to try to calm myself by holding my hands in my face.
"This story is beyond me... "I sighed again. "And now what? »
The demon put down her cup of coffee, but kept the spoon that she had fun spinning on her thumbnail. Quite a performance.
"You have a choice to make. "she said with a serious look.
Alone in the cabin since the demon left. I was considering the options she had given me. Staying here and enjoying the appreciation of the locals. Returning home, knowing that it has become a demonic realm since I left. Or try my luck elsewhere.
The worst part is that I didn't receive the second half of the reward. Unforeseen events seem to have emptied the treasuries of the leaders of this rescue operation. John had already decided to stay here. He had left without even saying goodbye, with Sarah, the succubus who had come into the wheelhouse the first night.
I made the decision to leave, sticking to my principles. On the platform many mamono and men watched me leave while the engine was running at slow-motion to allow me to manoeuvre. Some of them were waving at me, probably wishing me a good trip. I answered with two blows of the maritime horn.
I saw John holding a succubus in one arm, greeting my departure with the other. The succubus looked familiar to me.... Ah! She was Sarah, the one who entered the wheelhouse the first morning. She's still as cute as ever. Just the right shape and a face to fall for...
Is it just me or did I just compliment a succubus just now?
Chasing that thought, I concentrated on the manoeuvring before reaching the sea.
A month later, I drowned my sorrow in the last beer I had managed to pay for with the little money I had left. Having lost everything and fled from the monsters, I tried to find work, but the commercial competition was strong. And I couldn't risk working at a loss. So I had to sell my boat to a small company that had lost one of its boats recently.
My money was swallowed up by the inn fees. Finding a job in a foreign city was difficult and no one seemed to want to trust me... This was understandable after all.... Today was my last night at the inn... tomorrow I would not have a penny in my pocket...
I was alone in front of the fireplace imagining what I could have been so... No, it's dangerous to think like that. Maybe I should join the army or...
Someone came to sit in front of me. I frowned, losing my view of the fireplace. But something was disturbing me. I had already seen that hood somewhere, and that smile too...
That's when I recognized her. "Good evening, Captain. »