Headed by a Snake
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496 Rumbling Thrum
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Headed by a Snake
Author :CouchSurfingDragon
© Wuxiaworld

496 Rumbling Thrum

Lone looked to him with pleading eyes. Did... he really not know? 

Tycondrius mulled the thought over. 

His advising of Lone on pursuing Coraline's favor was counterintuitive to Arod Highblade's wishes. However, he valued the contentedness and welfare of his companion more than he cared to impress an Elven highborne. 

He swept back his hair, deliberating on his words... "I advise you to open a dialogue with your target of affection."

Lone sighed... but kept a thin smile, "I guess I have to be a Ranger, then."

"Yes, Mister Lone..." Tycon rolled his eyes, "That will be your general goal in this life."

Lone loosed a noisy yawn... "I'm tired, Boss. You goin' to bed soon?"

"Likely... I'd like to focus on this mystery box for a bit longer. And besides that, I might... take a walk, so to speak, to inspect the formations on the ship."

Tycon stood up and took down a decorative, but aesthetically out-of-place, painting on the wall. Behind it, runic lines inside of a circular spell formation were etched into the paneling. 

"Ughh," Lone narrowed his eyes, "Looking at that makes me dizzy. I dunno how you do it, Boss."

"Mm. Amusing," Tycon pursed his lips. "Your mana sense is developing well, for this to affect you. Only a year prior, you'd have suffered no such ills."

"Yeah, I'm done thinking about it," Lone reached for his blanket. "Good luck on your mystery, Boss."

"Hmph, thank you for the well-meaning notion... but luck does nothing for me. I'll be satisfied when I gain an understanding."

"I guess we're both hunting for answers, huh, Boss?"

"Indeed," Tycon rolled his eyes as he reached to turn off the oil lamp. "Sleep well, Mister Lone."

...

"Empty night," Coraline threw her covers off and sat up, bumping her head on the top bunk. 

"Ugh, just what I need. Stars and stones, you're so duuumb, Coraline..." With tears at the corners of her eyes, she got out of bed, rubbing at the growing lump on her forehead, "I hope it doesn't bruise..."

Rats.

Rats were in the walls, scratching and squeaking, just as she thought they would. They might as well have come in and put on a carnival, with how much noise they were making. 

Besides that, there was also a rumbling thrum from somewhere in the ship... like a thick tree was being sawn in half or... or a dire bear was being tortured to death. The sound was just as persistent as the rats, so it didn't worry her as much as it annoyed her half-to-death. 

Elves didn't need to sleep-- not really. She had grown accustomed to the habit, being part of human society for so long. 

She was still young... both by Elven standards and Human... Sleep was healthy. Young people (like her) needed sleep to grow. 

Oh, sleep... How she missed her sweet embrace... 

She lit her oil lamp and began to put some real clothes on... 


...She'd grow eventually. Sleep was stupid. 

Decently dressed, she carried her lamp out into the hall. The other passengers had gathered around one particular room with their own lamps... likely not for the rats as much as the other terrible grunting death rattles. 

Standing in the cramped hallway were the three members of Ramon's guild, the Castiglioni couple, and the dovahkiin guard, Olesya. 

"I'll have to go and wake the Captain for the keys," Olesya sighed. "He sleeps with earplugs."

"Tch," Ramon snorted, gesturing towards Coraline as she approached. "Even the little girl's awake. Seven hells, I ain't above teachin' another entitled noble a lesson if I can get some gods damned rest. Doesn't this guy know who I am? I'm the guild leader of the--"

"Oh, dear," Lucrezia walked towards Coraline and took her hand. She wore a gorgeous child-sized nightgown with a pair of embroidered sleep gloves. "You couldn't sleep either, little one?"

Coraline felt her heart warm as she gripped the Popoto woman's tiny hand in hers, "I'm fine, Lady Lucrezia. Why are we all standing here?"

"That's what I'd like to know." Captain Nikandros' voice echoed as he approached from the opposite end of the hallway... "Dear guests, have you all decided to mutiny? If so, my employers require my two-week resignation notice."

No one laughed at the Captain's joke. 

"Captain Nikandros," Lucrezia cleared the crowd and placed her fists on her waist. "The noise from Sir Tychon's room is absolutely dreadful! And the rats... You *must* do something about this! Giorgio, dear, please tell him!"

There was something strange about the way Mister Giorgio looked. The older Popoto blinked his eyes, dazed and a bit pale... likely from his earlier libations, "Y-yes, indeed. Dreadful."

"Captain..." Olesya narrowed her eyes, "Why are you up at this time of night? ...And where is Maisie?"

"Yeah, that'll do," Ramon nodded. "If Miss Maisie needs help sleeping, I volunteer myself as tribute. I reckon usin' those jugs as pillows, I'll be sent to one of the eleven heavens."

The half-elf, Elladan, rolled his eyes, "Seven hells, Ramon. If it's not fighting that's on your mind, it's f--"

"Elladan!" Felicity cut him off, "Please, there are ladies present... and you too, Ramon~"

Captain Nikandros fumbled through his coat pockets, removing a key, "Miss Maisie is... indisposed, at the moment. I was working with her uh... plotting the course, you see. I decided to make my rounds afterward-- when I noticed your lamplights in the hallways..."

"The rats, Captain," Lucrezia glared. "If you don't give me a suitable answer, I *will* speak to your supervisor when we reach Cersei's Rest."

"Right, right..." Nikandros nodded, breathing an oddly-timed sigh of relief. "The rat-catcher on deck should be Petty Officer Mittens. I'll let him know, immediately." 

"Petty Officer... Mittens?" Coraline tilted her head. 

"He is stray cat we picked up, few calls back," Olesya rolled her eyes, her words marked with a strong Nemayan accent. 

"Captain Nikandros," Lucrezia crossed her arms. "I must insist on your sobriety, concerning the matter."

"C-can't insist on... bein' sober all the time, my love..." Giorgio muttered. 

"One issue at a time, dear guest," Nikandros smiled with chagrin. 

He knocked on the wood of Sir Tychon's door with two heavy bangs, "Please excuse me, young master-- but is everything alright?"

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