634 A Crime
Tycondrius groaned and shook his head, leaning his back against a wooden wall.
Captain Krysaos was seated on the deck, comforting the crying ghost woman lying her head on his lap. He whispered gentle words to her with a radiant smile that was probably attractive to the opposite gender.
"This is deplorable!" Krysaos declared, "This ship is full of half-naked ghost girls!"
The shadow crossed its arms, looking disappointed.
Tycon agreed with the sentiment.
"Respectfully, Captain," He grimaced, "the condition of the young lady's attire is due to your earlier attempt to cut her down."
The ghost began to sob loudly, as if just remembering, "Y-you tRiiiIied to KillllLLLL mmeeeeeeee..."
Tycon furrowed his brows. She was also at fault, as she initiated the hostility. Retaliation was something to be expected.
"Hey, listen," Krysaos cooed. "I didn't mean it like that."
Krysaos turned back to Tycon as he gently stroked the female ghost's head... while also not-so-subtly rubbing her thigh.
"During the sunlight, the crew seemed to be all chicks," Krysaos explained. "Partly why I picked it."
Silently observing the ghost, Tycon placed his chin on his hand in thought.
⟬ Jade Rabbit Sailor, Bronze-Rank Ghost Martialist. ⟭
If Krysaos words were true... the exclusively female crew could be part of a Yin-Type sect. It was similar to the Frozen Cairn sect, of which one of his powerful allies, Athena Vanzano, was being groomed to be the next matriarch.
Tycon could faintly sense a single martial practitioner onboard... one more powerful than the others. Conversely, the remaining seawomen of the Jade Rabbit didn't seem particularly threatening.
On a personal note, he hoped they were better combatants than the clumsy girl eagerly consuming the honeyed words Krysaos pulled out of his arse.
Less than a proper Martialist, she wasn't even an effective ghost.
Proper ghosts did not allow themselves to be struck by mundane, non-magical attacks... much less allow themselves to be charmed by a living human.
Though the girl emitted a greenish glow, her form was clear... far unlike even his ⌈Venomous Shadow,⌋ whose arms and legs ended in wispy smoke.
...And Krysaos did not seem to have any Ghost-Hunting traits, like Sol Invictus member Seldin Korr.
It was likely... that the spirit had a powerful connection to The Real.
That... required a focus... or perhaps a powerful enchanted entity.
Hy hypothesized that the Ghost Ship was kept afloat by a Dungeon Core. Further, its unique power to bridge the gap between a spiritual plane and their current, material plane, subsequently allowed the ghosts aboard the ship to sustain corporeal forms as they chose.
"It's crazy, though," Krysaos bared his teeth. "They're all just as sexy as they were in life! Can you believe that kinda nerve!?"
Though his words were complaints, he sounded more excited or anxious than upset.
It was true. Female Martialists sought peak physical conditioning... and a Yin-Type sect produced exceptionally feminine and cultivators with unparalleled beauty.
However, Krysaos' words had a strange implication to them.
"Captain..." Tycon took a deep breath... "are you... sexually attracted to ghosts?"
While Tycon generally did not like to judge others for what they did during their personal time... there were... issues with that particular pursuit.
"PSHH, what?!" Krysaos waved his hand, "No! Necrophilia is a crime, Tycon."
Tycon inclined his head in apology... "I felt it relevant to ask."
"Apology accepted, guy," Krysaos nodded... "Now, let's go find one we can talk to instead of ones that just attack on sight."
Tycon frowned, sharing an incredulous look with his shadow... "Captain... you do realize how rare sentient ghosts are?"
"This one's sentient!" Krysaos argued.
"I'll... I'll kill you..." The ghost hiccuped as she sobbed, "Death... to the living."
"If anything," Tycon continued, "they have to at least be Iron-Rank to keep something of their personality and intelligence."
The shadow nodded in agreement.
"BUT!" Krysaos grinned... his wide... ugly grin... as if he'd shamelessly just eaten an entire stolen cake... "it's not IMPOSSIBLE! I'll promote you if you can find me a hot one, Lieutenant!"
"W... we're not allowed to use makeup..." The ghost pouted. "and I was on swabbing duty!"
Krysaos shushed her with a finger to her lips, "Not now, sweetie."
"Captain..." Tycon shook his head, "necrophilia is a crime."
"They're not really dead!" Krysaos insisted, "They're undead! It's different!"
"Even in the Sleeping Country, who use undead in their standing armies... necrophilia is *still* a crime."
"We're under the laws of the open seas, LT! Lighten up a bit!"
Tycon sighed... They weren't too far from the shores of the Eastern States... which meant they should technically still be under their maritime laws.
However, little would come of arguing with the stubborn and shameless human.
"Anyroad," Krysaos continued, "I have an idea... You see... ghosts, to make 'em pass on, you gotta give 'em their desires they had in life."
"You mentioned as such," Tycon nodded slowly...
Captain Krysaos seeking to grant each individual ghostly crew member's final wishes to the best of his ability was an honorable quest... and an unexpected development.
It sounded like a waste of time, but it was nice to think about.
"Most magnanimous of you, Captain," Tycon smiled politely.
"And for the women on this ship," Krysaos placed his thumb on the young ghost-woman's chin.
"Y-yes?" She looked up expectantly.
"I, Captain Krysaos, can satisfy your every desire!"
There it was.
Tycon kept his face solemn, "I take back my earlier statement."
"ESPECIALLY if they're HOT!" The Captain added.
"Wh.. what the hells?" The ghost whispered... "Why are you being so mean?"
"You're cute, not hot," Krysaos chided. "There's a difference."
Tycon took a deep breath... it was an... awkward plan of action, but if Krysaos was successful, sending ghosts off to rest was still theoretically a goodly pursuit... "And if there are any men?"
"I'll cut 'em down with my White Raven swordsmanship!" Krysaos grinned.
"...Isn't that a bit... sexist, Brother-Captain?"
"It's called Equal Opportunity!"
"That does not mean what you think it means..."
"ANYROAD, it's a good plan!!" Krysaos twisted his lips, "What, you got a better idea, LT?"
"I hypothesize that the ship is a Dungeon... and is powered by either an artifact or particularly strong spirit."
"I advise we find it, attack with surprise, and force it to do our bidding."
Fast. Ruthless. Efficient. If Tycon did not have the luxury of time and preparation, those were the traits he strived for in a plan of action.
As he'd mentioned to Krysaos earlier, finding the Ghost Ship's former Captain would do well in expediting their victory.
"Tiiight!" Kryasos stood up and clapped Tycon on the shoulder, "Good thinking, Lieutenant."
"Thank you, Captain."
"That's an excellent Plan B."
"...Very well, Captain," Tycon shook his head.
"You and Shadow go... hang out or whatever. I'm gonna escort this girl back to her room..."
Tycon did not have much to do while Krysaos was out... exorcising.
The shadow seemed to grow bored soon after, so he disappeared... returning to the Plane of Shadow to do whatever bored shadows do.
Without anything meaningful to occupy him, and inventory completed a night prior, Tycon explored the haunted ship.
He encountered the crewmembers of the Jade Rabbit-- all female, confirming Krysaos' conjectures. They would shriek or draw weapons upon seeing him.
As Tycon continued to solidify his Gold-Rank physique and Skills, his ocular ability, ⌈Vexing Gaze,⌋ had achieved a certain level of power.
With a glance and a modicum of mana expended, his would-be attackers were immediately pacified. They put away their weapons, bowing their heads in apology. Some would flee through walls, in terror.
Admittedly, it made Tycon feel slightly lonely, to be so feared... but it was better than being attacked every several minutes.
He found the kitchen. It was in disrepair, all of its food stores rotten. Even the barrels of pickled vegetables seemed to have been affected by the withering energies in the air.
...The stove remained structurally sound, if blanketed in rust, and he had some burning material in his spatial ring. He and Krysaos wouldn't starve during their trip-- and would eat comfortably if they reached their destination in less than two weeks.
With the most important resource discovered, he refocused his efforts on searching for the ship's Captain.
In theory, Krysaos should have sought her out... as he was a 'Captain' and Tycon only a 'Lieutenant.'
However, Krysaos seemed to have occupied himself... and Tycon was bored.
He found what he'd hoped was the Captain's personal quarters and politely rapped on the door.
"Announce yourself!" A deep, echoey female voice shouted, "and zis better be good..."
Tycon furrowed his brows... Whoever was behind the door was a believer in proper customs and courtesies... and had a light accent of the Kingdom's Old Language.
He cleared his throat and spoke in a clear, firm voice... as was expected of a military Officer, "(Lieutenant Tycon, requesting permission to enter!)"
In preparation, he placed his dark cloak into his spatial ring... and summoned a different set of clothes-- the professional attire of The Kingdom's Royal Navy.