136 Magic Ring
Hai had removed his Captain's hat as he descended the stairs, revealing his dark blue hair and unfortunately losing several inches of height. Journeying with Dragan, Maximus, and even Lone, Tycon was silently pleased to travel with someone shorter than he was.
Belowdecks, the Elizabeth Dare stank of bilge and sea rot. The general state of the ship was marked by disrepair and somehow... poverty. The Marines and Sailors on board didn't seem to mind their surroundings, so Tycon kept his remaining complaints to himself.
The silver-armored Tycon was greeted by sharp salutes and greetings from the younger crewmembers and apathetic half-nods from the older veterans. Tycon did notice that nearly every single veteran was a Bronze-Rank, surpassing the numbers of even the Darktide sailors. And they were led by Lang Hai, an Iron-Rank, (with the childish Rico being even higher.)
When Tycon heard that Lang Hai had 4 ships, Tycon assumed the squad he saw at the Couture estate was the strongest collected from all of his men. Sighting familiar faces on the Elizabeth Dare, Tycon discovered that Hai only chose from the Marines of the Elizabeth Dare.
If the Sea Wolves were an adventuring guild instead of part of the Royal Navy, they would be ranked even higher than Guild Trayus on the number of Bronze-Ranks alone.
Considering that the Abyssal Sea Wolf curse granted an obscene amount of strength and damage regeneration, a single Bronze-Rank Sea Wolf could tear apart normal Bronze-Ranks as easily as a normal Iron-Rank adventurer.
The boy wasn't boasting about the lack of anti-ship weaponry being unnecessary. If the other 3 ships in port had a similar makeup of crewmembers, Tycon hypothesized that they would be able to raid ships and settlements five times their size and with a far smaller percentile of casualties.
Tycon could not explain how the Captain's Quarters looked even more impoverished than the rest of the ship. The room was sparsely decorated. Lang Hai used a net hammock like the rest of the crew. The room was clean, save for an organized pile in the corner of the room made up of weapon parts and various pieces of navigation equipment.
...Tycon respected that the boy-Captain, as arrogant as he was, did not use his station to afford himself far better quarters... But then again, with the Sea Wolves' lack of coin, Tycon realized that this may have been borne of necessity instead of choice.
With the assistance of the oil lamp lighting the room, Tycon noted two proper decorations. Pinned to the far wall was an old desiccated map depicting the Kingdom's coast. Nailed on the wall beside the Captain's hammock was a water-damaged wooden plank covered with colorful shells. The name RICO was scratched onto it in large, rough script.
Hai walked adjacent to the map, "Anyroad! This is the--"
The boy-Captain followed Tycon's eyes. He dashed over to the wooden plank, tore it off of the wall, and stuffed it into a nearby footlocker, "Thanks for pointing that out! I've been meaning to put it away! Ahaha! Haha!"
Tycon hardened his expression to avoid further embarrassing the blushing blue-haired boy, "Right... The map, Captain."
"Ahem. Right! The map! Ahaha! The map..." Hai laughed.
Composing himself, he pointed at the map at a few inked X's on some nearby islands, "These are the location of known islands with caves or otherwise can hold a settlement and a few ships."
His voice faltered, "We uh... We don't have any leads on the slavers... but we have 4 ships! So we'll just do a bit of micro! And then... somehow meet up again!"
He perked up, scowling and crossing his arms, "Capitaine Chantal said you'd help! So... help!"
Tycon pursed his lips... "I'm uncertain as to what you would have me do."
Hai sighed, allowing his arms and head to droop, "We've been hunting down the slavers for the better part of 3 moons, now. I'm at the end of my rotten rope, noble."
"Right, Tycon. I was hoping to find some sort of link to the Saltspray Kings in Caractere, but..." Hai shrugged, "I don't exactly have a crew full of skilled trackers and... I dunno, anyone with... skill?"
Tycon raised an eyebrow, "The... Saltspray Kings, you say?"
"Yeah, stupid name, I know." Hai gnashed his teeth, "When I get ahold of those losers..."
Tycon reached into a pouch on his waist. Activating his spatial ring, he removed the ring formerly worn by the slavemistress, Francesca Couture.
« System, bring up the information for the ring. »
[Saltspray Ring. Elementary Magical Ring. Reveals a map when exposed to fire.]
"Catch, Sea Wolf," Tycon tossed the ring up towards Lang Hai.
With impeccable reflexes, the boy-Captain snatched the ring out of the air. He examined it with a frown, "If you're showing me some kind of pity by throwing money at me--"
Tycon rolled his eyes, "Why the hells would I do that? It's a magic ring, you stupid pup."
Lang Hai looked at his feet for a moment. He held the ring in an open palm forward, "If this is a dowry for my Lieutenant... I... can't accept this. I still need her."
The boy stamped his foot down, suddenly angry, "You can't have her! I don't know why you like her, anyroad! Her butt is huge! It knocks into things all the time! Did I mention she has a penis?!"
Tycon narrowed his eyes, "The ring... is the solution to your problems, Lang Hai."
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The boy-Captain took his palm back, "This is for me?! I don't swing that way, dude, but no take-backs! I can fence it to buy supplies! Maybe even a new sword!"
Tycon crossed his arms and took a deep breath, "I see now that I made a mistake in not being forward."
"I'm not gonna marry you, nerd!" Hai shouted.
Tycon stared at the ceiling, "Just put the magic ring in the fire before I-- ugh. Just do it."
"Haha! Before you'd what? I can take anything you dish out, you boak potato!" Hai grinned arrogantly.
Tycon frowned and pointed at the oil lamp, "Ring. Fire."
"Okay, okay. Lighten up, Ty," Lang Hai placed the ring over the lamp's flame.
"Don't call me that."
"Egh, very well," Hai frowned... "You know I'm older than you."
"You are not."
As the ring heated up, the sweet smell of Hai's burning flesh suffused the small room. Before Hai could argue back, a golden light emanated from the ring's gem, displaying a map on the ship wall it was pointed to. A bright X was clearly defined on one of the nearby islands.
Tycon smiled, "I propose we begin our search there, Sea Wolf."
The Sea Wolf Captain grinned and nodded, "As good a place as any, Invictus."