Why is Fina acting so strange? What's she planning? And why won't she let Vyse and Aika know?
The sun started its climb across the horizon. Its rays spread out and clasped whole continents in its warmth. Crescent Isle was one of these places. And Fina was one of the people who got the sun in her eye, interrupting her sweet sleep. All she wanted to do was to curl up and go back to sleep. Dawn had just passed, but Fina had a duty of her own for which she needed to start as early as possible.
Fina always held close attention to the calendar, so she knew that soon would be the day she had waited for; it was time to put her plan in motion. The silvite had liked the idea at first, but then she thought it may seem drastic. It could even be misinterpreted. Most important of all: she would have to keep both Vyse and Aika in the dark.
But there were times when the end justified the means. Not in many cases, but surely this one. If Fina wanted to do this, she had to do it now.
And she would.
Vyse lay in his soft bed. The room was dark. Vyse himself was half-awake, and thus half-asleep. He hadn’t yet decided to stay awake or go back to sleep. His soft pillow seemed to have a irresistible grasp around his head. His thoughts could best be described as a yarn-cotton. For all he knew, maybe he was dreaming. And maybe it was a succubus that stood next to his bed. He didn’t see much of its features, but it gave a delicate and smooth impression. It reached out and softly grabbed his hand.
“Who is it,” Vyse managed to say.
“Go back to sleep,” it answered with a soothing voice.
Vyse liked its voice. That was a command he would gladly obey. He closed his eyes and relaxed. Dimly, he felt a soft hand around his middle-finger. His mind told him to make short work of his intruder, but his body was content with lying down.
By the way, it was only a dream.
In a few short moments, he was in deep sleep.
A few rooms away, a redheaded Blue Rogue was enjoying her sleep. Her name was Aika, and she slept very lightly. But early as it was, she did vaguely felt something probing her fingers. Aika immediately opened up her eyes and saw Fina standing next to her. That itself was nothing weird. What was weird, however, was the fact that the silvite held Aika’s hand. Fina’s eyes were focused at the hand in question so, by reflexes, Aika shouted a loud:
Fina immediately leapt backward with a most scared face. Aika couldn’t have wished for a better effect.
“Oh,” she gasped. “Oh you sure scared me.”
“That was like the whole point,” Aika grinned, and then she yawned. “What are you doing here, by the way?”
“I was… just going to wake you up.”
Aika turned her covering aside and stood up on wobbly and partly numbed legs. She took a quick look out of the window. Normally, Crescent Isle was a hubbub of activity. Now, however, it was all still and all quiet. The sun had hardly risen.
“It might just be me” she said “but it seems like it’s quite early?”
“Well… maybe I awoke too early myself,” Fina said. “I’m sorry I woke you up.”
“No problem,” Aika smiled. “You know what they say; ’Early koketa catches the worm’.”
Fina looked a bit wondering. With her eyes squinted, she said:
“… I suppose this is what you call a… ‘figure-speech’ right?”
“Yippie-yay! You’re learning.”
“Be that so it may. They’re getting weirder all the time.”
“Actually, Fina, figure-speeches don’t exist. It’s just a plot set up to deceive you.”
“I beg your pardon, but what does ‘plot’ mean?”
They laughed. The days when Fina had to ask about all sorts of everyday things were since long passed. But she had the stride to joke about it occasionally. They all did. Just hope she didn’t have to ask what “running gag” meant.
Later that day; Vyse sat in the tavern together with Aika. They discussed the next outing with the /Delphinus/. Since they had raided a Black Pirate ship as early as yesterday, they sure had time to plan. But it would be good to start early. Especially since all Aika wanted to do was to travel to Ixa’taka only to get a huge supply of fruit. As per usual, Vyse found it crazy and he wasn’t afraid of saying it out loud. That didn’t stop Aika, however, as she currently was hungry, all the talk of fruit made her even more persuasive. She had of course her special way of getting her will through. But sadly, she would need Fina’s help to tickle Vyse into submitting.
As if her wish had come true, the door opened and Fina’s head popped in (while still remaining between her shoulders).
“Good news,” Fina said, shining like the sun. “We just finished counting the gold. Guess how much it was?”
“Do I dare guess?” Vyse asked.
“She said ‘guess’ you bucko,” said Aika. “What do you think you’re supposed to do?”
“The gold alone was” Fina said, making a dramatic pause. “almost eighty… thousand!”
As soon as the words had left Fina’s mouth, Aika flung up her chair and rushed to her silvite friend.
“Eighty-greaty-thousand?!” she exclaimed, grabbed Fina’s hands and started her little victory-dance. “Terrific!! Splendid!! Fanta… but Fina what’s happened with your clothes?”
Fina stepped forward into the tavern itself. She was dressed in her usual Blue Rogue outfit, but on her skirt, in the area of her right hip, there was a huge black spot of something.
“There was just an accident in the docks,” she said. “Someone spilled some wax. I and some others got caught up in it. I believe it will be possible to wash it away. But…” Fina suddenly pulled her lips into a sharp grin, showing some of her pearl white teeth. “someone is going to pay for this.”
Vyse and Aika’s faces were at that moment the definition of surprise and astonishment. But it didn’t take long before they got dressed in a great smile each, and clapped their hands. It sure felt great to hear Fina almost talk like a real pirate.
“Don’t worry, Fina,” Vyse said, still laughing. “With all that money, and with that attitude, we can just buy you a whole new set.”
“Vyse!” Aika said. “That’s not very smart thing to…”
“Then it seems to me” Fina said “that I should make a mess of myself more often, I conclude.”
“See, Vyse? I told ya she was gonna figure it out!”
“You did not!” Vyse shot back.
“I was about to!”
“Why do you think that’ll help now?”
“Bleah to you!”
If Vyse had been in possession of a pair of tongs, this would be a great opportunity to grab hold of Aika’s tongue and hold it in firm place. Maybe that would keep her quiet… for a few minutes… perhaps seconds… or only instants.
“Really,” said Vyse. “Just for once I try to be Prince Charming, and look what I get.”
“Yeah, and you screws up… our finances,” Aika giggled. “But maybe I’ll try this myself. I’d like a new boomerang. Pleeeeease?”
“Moons, give me strength” Vyse sighed. “for I can see red digits coming up.” Trying to be nice to the ladies sure had its /dis/advantages.
“But anyway,” Fina said, smiling at Vyse’s fake-devastating face. “I’ll go and change.” She blinked. “See you later.”
“Catch ya!” Aika replied.
With that said, Fina dashed away to her quarters.
“Not bad at all,” said Vyse. “With all that money, we could practically build our own ‘City out of Gold’, and it won’t be a fake.”
“Spare me from that one, thank /you/,” Aika said and sat down. “I got bad vibes from that place.”
“Don’t worry. We won’t have any ghosts if that’s what troubles your little mind. By the way, that ghost was not for real.”
“That’s my point. Fake ghosts only hang out in fake places.”
“But that was the right place.”
“/Right place/? Did you see any gold then maybe!?”
“There you have it.”
“I dunno,” Vyse grinned. ”You don’t need an ancient city to lure out ghosts.”
“What do you mean?”
Vyse hadn’t really thought about telling this, but since he had started; he might as well continue.
“Nothing really. But this night; I had a dream about a succubus.”
“Succubus? Look, if this is gonna involve any of your naughty fantasies; you may leave me out of it.”
“It wasn’t like that!” Vyse shot back. “She just held my hand. Oh, and she looked like Fina.”
“I told ya; ‘no fantasies’. By the way, she was awakening me then…” Aika suddenly stopped, and she looked stunned. Before Vyse got to ask anything; she said: “Stretch out your hand.”
Vyse did so. Aika clasped his hand and let her fingers probe his middle-finger.
“Does this feel familiar?” Aika asked.
Vyse jolted as if being hit by the revelation.
“Blow me down!” he exclaimed. “Exactly the same thing! How did you know that?”
“’Cause Fina did the same thing to me, only that I was awake. What matters is that you seem to have experienced a visit from a lady.”
“We both have, thanks a lot.” Vyse stood up. “I really don’t know what this means, but I’ll go and have a talk with her about it.”
They both walked out of the tavern, and set the course on the living quarters. Up the stairs and then they stood face-to-face with Fina’s door. Aika knocked, but no one answered.
“Maybe she’s at the docks already?” Vyse said.
“Nope,” Aika said. ”We girls let ourselves take our time when we dress. That’s why we always look as great as we do.” She knocked again. “Fina! Are you in!?”
Still no answer. Aika opened the door. Except for Fina’s furniture and so, the room was empty.
“How come I’m not surprised,” Vyse said and started to leave. “I told you she would be in the dock.”
Aika quickly grabbed his shoulder.
“Hang on a sec,” she said and walked up to her desk.
She returned with a small note. They could clearly recognize Fina’s handwriting. A left letter seldom meant good news.
Dear Vyse and Aika
I’m sorry that it comes on such short notice, but I have to go away for a while. I’ll travel with Domingo, so don’t worry, I’ll be alright. We’ll be back tomorrow.
Ps: In the event we don’t arrive in time, we’re south of the mid-ocean.
That was all. And it sure left Vyse and Aika confused.
“This day is just getting weirder,” Vyse said. “What are they up to?”
“Dunno,” Aika answered casually. “If it had been a discovery or somethin’ she should’ve told us. Or perhaps…” She started to grin in a most mischievous way.
“Or perhaps they want a little time on their own,” Aika said with a sly smile.
What the heck was that!? Did Aika imply that Fina and Domingo went steady? Not that Vyse had any grudge against Domingo, nor was he jealous, or something like that. Fina was free to be together with whoever she wanted. If she was happy, he was. But it just seemed too weird to be true.
“Really,” Vyse sighed. “Just what is going on in your little head anyway? That if anything she would’ve told us!”
“I’m just speculating!”
“Yeah, you’re quite good at that. Flaming hair anyone?”
“Well, I didn’t see you come up with anything!”
At that moment, a huge rumble was heard outside. Vyse and Aika dashed to the window just in time to see Fina’s shuttle leave the island, going southwest. It was all too easy to distinguish Fina standing at the helm, and Domingo just next to her.
“So, what were you just saying?” Aika asked.
Vyse felt totally stuck for an answer.
Just maybe… Aika was… /right/.