17 This Ain“t The Summer of Love
(From the point of view of Damian Carmichael)
True, I have taken the courage to at least confess just for a little bit about my affection to Violet, but... There's no time for that right now. As the intense glow of the afternoon sun scorches our skin, we all decided to follow my Uncle Bert's advice.
"We have to sail back to Duibhne." He said right away as he opened the door of the room with a face, which showed that he had just woken up from his drunken nap. "I'll navigate the ship, and I want you guys to help me with the sail."
"Do you know how to get there, Sir Roberto?" Violet said as she slowly raised her body from my now numbing arm.
"Well, if my theory is right that the storm we had just passed last night is the entrance to the Moonchildren's kingdom, then we must have been thrown somewhere at the far western side of the Cresca sea." My uncle Bert said as she approached us slowly with his arms crossed around his chest. The mechanical whirring of his metallic prosthetic leg along with the hissing smoke coming out of it ruined the tranquility that Violet and I once enjoyed in the room. "And if I still know my geography well, then the far western side of Cresca sea is somewhere around..." Uncle Bert halted his words playfully as if he's asking us to continue his statement for us.
Violet indulged his little pop quiz with a puzzled scowl. "... Defuntalac."
"YES!" Uncle Roberto said with a snap of his fingers. "And due to many reasons, we absolutely CANNOT go to that shitty-ass place, especially since we're Izrecaelean citizens."
"Besides, the king explicitly told us to go to Duibhne..." I said as I raised my body as well after hearing what Uncle Bert had just said.
"Exactly. Now get up," Uncle Bert said as he moved his head back to point towards the room's entryway. "we have a long way to go before we reach Duibhne from here. If we're lucky, we can get there in less than a day. Get up, get, get up!" He said as he waved his hands in an upward motion. Usually, he would clap his hands to awaken our weakened souls, but perhaps because he didn't want to disturb the sleeping princes, he refrained himself from doing so.
Without further ado, we started moving our bodies out of the room. Violet, as usual, was carrying the princes as he cast her psychic powers to help with the sail. Meanwhile, I worked around the engine room to see if we still have enough energy for a day. Luckily, it seems that Uncle Bert has salvaged the old wooden mast and turned them into tiny pieces of charcoal that I can throw into the ship's engine. However, charming though the thought of new sets of charcoal may be, I knew that we wouldn't be able to have enough steam for a long-term journey. I then decided to turn off every electrical function in the ship other than the ones used to aid our maneuverability.
Luckily for us, my worries were all for naught since we managed to arrive at the gigantic port of Duibhne. What welcomed us is a bustling city filled with hundreds of houses surrounding an arc-shaped port that could house hundreds if not thousands of gigantic battleships.
I gazed at the scenery of the busy city as we gradually approach the port with our puny cog. What I saw around the arc-shaped port is the image of countless houses, perfectly placed around the port—they all seemed like merchant stores, restaurants, bars—you name it, and it's there! The people on the white stone floor of the port are all bustling and hustling all over the place. The citizens of Duibhne were all busily walking throughout the crowded port with a tired expression. They were shouting endlessly among one another while carrying huge contrabands that contained all sorts of weapons, materials, and supplies. They all seemed to be pointing at the ships; from the looks of it, each vessel leaving the city are heading to the north, to Izrecael.
Compared to the ships that are currently anchored in the arc-shaped port, our vessel is nothing but an ant. Longships with numerous cannons on the side, massive ships that could endure even the most potent magical strikes, and humongous monstrous-like ships that can house the supply of tens of thousands of people—they were all there! We could barely sail towards a small space left in the port since hundreds of other vessels that are thrice our size would come and go, making it hard for us to anchor in the city. With what almost seemed like an impossibility, my Uncle Bert managed to dodge the giant ships leaving the city along with a few cuss and shouts while he's at it. We then finally managed to dock our ship on the magnificent port, making me see the dazzling glow of the city once more but with a more unobstructed view.
Among the houses around the port, I could see a few people talking to what looked like tall humanoid creatures. The creatures in question all had long black hair, human-like pale skin, and bodies that looked like that of a human being. However, with the broad leathery wings on their side where their arms should be and tall, thin legs that looked like an extended version of chicken feet, I could confidently infer that they are not at all humans. I also noticed their large and perfectly circular eyes, and they can rotate their head about their neck to look at what lies behind them. It's also notable to know that they seemed to have what looked like long, furless tails that span from their crotch area and arcs up to their backs, ending with what looked like a red triangular-shaped tip. I could also faintly see some claws at the end of their wings that they probably use to defend themselves. It also astounds me how the rest of their bodies—including their wings, tail, and feet—all had the same texture as human skin. After further observation, I could also see that their chest and shoulders are swollen somehow within the white linen clothes that they're wearing, which I imagined is how they could manage to flap their gigantic wings so quickly. Unlike the rest of their bodies, which is covered in soft and light garments, they equipped what seemed like thick leather armor on their wings that is explicitly made to guard that part of their body.
Uncle Bert must have seen me looking at them with an awed gaze, adoring the way their wings that span for at least 20 feet long would flap effortlessly as they ascended towards the clear, blue skies.
"They're Clespas," Uncle Bert as he looked at the way the creatures' shadows would cover a considerable portion of the port.
"Huh?" I said in response after slightly hearing what he had just said.
"I'm talking about those flying people up there. They call themselves Clespas." He then pointed at one of the Crespas who had his bird-like feet tightly gripping on the railings of a balcony. When I directed my gaze at him, the magnificent Crespa swiftly flapped its leathery wings and soared towards the sky, sending strong winds all around, but no one in the port seemed to mind. "I learned that their skin was tougher than normal humans a long time ago. Oh, and also, don't touch the tip of their tails. Crespa's semen are harmful to humans."
"Oh, their semen is poisonous then, wait—WHAT!?"
When I turned my head towards Uncle Bert, who's drinking his orange potion again, I heard the loud voice of Violet booming beside me. "He's right there!"
Amid such a chaotic scene, a man stood on a vast platform while shouting on what looked like a huge seashell. Just as he did so, his voice would ring all over other bigger sea shells scattered all around the port, tied on long and thick poles, standing a few meters away from each other. The elderly gentleman on the golden platform is pointing all over the place, shouting directly towards the shell he's holding. We weren't even leaving our ship, but I could already see from afar that his face is tired, and his voice is just as powerless. Violet just stayed there on the deck, looking at the elderly gentleman as he loudly gave out instruction along with heartfelt words of encouragement.
"COME ON, PEOPLE! OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE WAITING THERE AT—" The man was shouting at the shell when he finally noticed the three of us looking at him intently. The people at the port don't seem to mind that he stopped talking, or maybe they just didn't have enough energy left to care. "PEOPLE OF DUIBHNE! I WANT YOU TO MAKE WAY FOR THAT LADY WHO'S STANDING ON THE DECK OF THAT COG RIGHT THERE! MAKE WAY FOR HER. I HAVE TO TALK TO HER!"
Some people in the port looked at us, but none of them were willing to make way at all as they moved from one place, business as always here in Duibhne.
Seemingly looking angry upon seeing the audacity of his men, the elderly gentleman on the metal platform gripped his black robe tight before screaming, "THAT WOMAN RIGHT THERE IS LADY VIOLET BELLADONNA FROM IZRECAEL!"
And silence suddenly ensued!
Men or women, young or old, no matter what gender, and no matter what stature, all of them looked at us in unison upon hearing the elderly gentleman's precise words. I could even see a few Crespas flying above us while some stood above our ship's mast. People in the houses around the port all came out just to look at Violet while some opened their windows to gaze upon our small cog. With awed looks all over their stunned faces, the crowd below us all suddenly moved away as they stopped whatever they're doing just to gaze upon the beauty of Violet. Just as what the elderly gentleman had instructed, Duibhne's citizens made way for us to reach the man on the platform with ease. Awe and adoration are written on their faces as we ambled through the path they had given for us. More than anything, though, a sign of nervousness could be seen on all of their faces. We then went up to meet the man on the golden platform.
He asked, "How is Izrecael, my dear Violet? How is my son in law?"
"He..." With a tearful gaze, Violet choked on her words with a sigh. I could now see the dejection creeping up on Duibhne's tired citizens as they all leaned their bodies forward to hear Violet better. After clearing her throat, she continued, "The king is dead, Lord Allusien."
"Oh... Oh my, oh no..." The elderly gentleman then leaned his back on the wall as he weakly uttered a few words on the seashell on his hands. His words later echoed throughout the bustling city, where all of the listless citizens of Duibhne could hear his announcement. "Ring the silver bells. We have lost our king." The people below us then gasped, panted, some screamed while most of them just stared at us with awe, stunned upon what they had heard. "I would like to... extend my deepest apologies to each and every one of you, especially to our Crespa friends from Vega... I have one last request for our winged friend before I officially terminate Duibhne's contract with them..." He then cleared his throat as his body fell on the floor, and at the same time, tears started flowing on the elderly gentleman's face as he pulled his gray hair roughly with his eyes closed. "The king is dead. I repeat..." He then gasped as his tears started making him breathless. Violet then knelt beside him with the princes on her hands as tears began flowing out of her eyes as well. "The king... is dead..."
Thus, the Crespas from all over the bustling city flew into the air, covering the ground with endless shadow. Meanwhile, the people of Duibhne all fell to their knees to weep after hearing the unfortunate news. As the wailings of thousands of people covered the darkened port of Duibhne, the low sound of countless bells chiming sounded throughout the city, signaling the end of an era. Somehow, as I listened to the chaos ensuing all around me, I found it odd to say that the bells and the people all seemed to be singing the same song...
I then gazed at Violet, and though her face softened my heart a bit, her tears filled the void in my heart with more woes than I needed.
Thus, in the summer of that year, Luxael was filled with shadows of dread. The people bawled throughout the streets with no life left in their hearts to love.