Chapter 114: Going back home (II)
Inside the streets of the capital of the Nuwa Kingdom, several people would be seen looking at the sky with amazed and shocked expressions on their faces. Even the knights and guards of the city that had noticed the havoc in the Royal castle, and who were now running hurriedly there, couldn't help but turn towards the sky in order to observe the crazy event that was now happening.
"W-what the heck is that?!"
"Isn't that the ship of Morgan and his crew?! The King must be in problems!!"
"Are they escaping?
Above the city, an enormous and impressive pirate ship could be seen flying across the sky at enormous speeds towards the outskirts of the city, and on top of it, was sitting the so-called protagonist of this story.
The sunset was already present on the horizon, illuminating the face of Aspen, and making him sigh in relaxation after feeling the warm rays of the sun on his face.
"It took me a while to leave this place... Let's hope my home isn't in ruins by the time I arrive there..."
Taking a beef jerky from his inventory, Aspen brought it to his mouth and started munching on it while lying calmly on the floor of the flying dutchman.
"M-may I know where are we supposed to go, sir?"
"Just continue going straight, I will take a nap for the time being. Fighting really exhausts out my mind..."
Next to him was lying the old pirate spirit, who after losing to Aspen in battle, ended up being forced to live a life inside a bottle for the rest of eternity. He was the one whose soul was bound to the ship, and thus, the only one who could control it and move it to his will. So Aspen had no more option but to take him out and threaten him to be his personal driver.
Maybe in the future, he would find how to bind his own soul to the ship, but for the time being, just threatening the pirate was enough for him.
"This guy is really lax even while sleeping next to the most dangerous pirate of all times... Damnit, why can't I escape this stupid bottle? How can mere glass trap me?!"
The pirate had tried many times before, but escaping this seemingly simple bottle that contained his soul was proving to be completely impossible.
What was strange in this situation, was that his soul shouldn't be affected by physical materials by any means, and the only thing that would touch him and influence him directly was the mana. However, not only was this glass completely impenetrable, but for some reason, he could also feel that the glass itself was completely made from mana... But that was stupid, there was no way of creating materials just by using mana...
Suddenly, from inside the ship, a small bump made the pirate look towards that direction with a dubious expression on his skeletal face.
"Hmm... Should I tell this guy...? No, if I'm lucky then she will be an assassin that is waiting to kill him while he sleeps..."
"Who are you talking about?"
"S-sir, you are awake I see! I was obviously going to tell you about the stowaway we have inside the ship!"
"Stowaway? Did any of the pirates hide while I was fighting that morgan guy? Whatever, I guess someone down there in the city will have a corpse fall on top of him in a few minutes more"
Taking out his Blood-butcherer, Aspen stood up calmly and entered inside the ship with an annoyed expression ready to kill any rat that managed to survive the previous slaughter.
"Where is it hiding?"
Not wanting to waste time, Aspen asked the pirate in the bottle with an impatient expression on his face. Something that scared the pirate and made him shiver in fright.
"It's hiding behind the boxes in the storage area!"
Hearing the words of the evil spirit, Aspen nodded and opened the door leading to the storage area.
Opening the old door, Aspen saw several boxes that exuded a decomposing odor... Probably food that the pirates never ate, or simply fish that didn't age well... However, at simple sight, there was no one there.
"Behind the boxes you said?"
Scratching his chin with a troubled expression, suddenly Aspen took out the weapon he had obtained from Morgan, and pointed it directly towards the direction where something was hiding.
"W-what are you doing?!" Surprised by the sudden action of Aspen, the pirate almost choked himself due to the confusion and tried to stop him from doing further damage to the ship.
"Since I don't know if what's behind those boxes is a trap set by you, a pirate that escaped, or maybe an infiltrated cultist that followed me all the way here, and plans to kill me the moment I appear in front of him, I will just barrage with bullets whatever it's hiding behind those boxes and then check what it was. No need to take extra risks"
"Very well then, let's get this over with..."
"Wait wait wait, are you fucking crazy?!"
Just as Aspen was about to start shooting, a figure appeared behind the box and yelled at him with an exasperated expression on the face.
"Huh... So it was you... No, in the first place, what the heck are you doing here?!"
With pink long hair that reached the waist, and a delicate yet strong face that gave off a feeling of majesty around, it was no one else but Princess Yuuki, the princess of Nuwa kingdom, and the last person that should be on this ship.
"W-well, you see, reading and studying each day without stop can be really tiring sometimes, right? And seeing that the threat of the Antlions is over, t-then why not accompany you?"
Massaging his temples, Aspen just sighed exhaustingly and looked at Yuuki with a deadpan expression on his face.
"Are you sure that it was not because you didn't want to deal with all the political stuff from the Duke's death?"
When Aspen mentioned that, Yuuki's body twitched for a moment, and right after that she diverted his gaze while speaking with a shaky voice.
"O-of course not... I just want to take a small break... Yeah, that's it. Anyway, my father can probably manage on his own... For a while..."
"And your break is to accompany me?"
"Hmph, I may be a princess, but I know how to observe people properly. When you arrived here, you looked like you were seeing an Antlion for the first time in your life. Furthermore, you looked like you were completely lost most of the time. Even if you were from some isolated place, you must still have some knowledge about the zone you're in. But you are like a newborn baby just getting to know everything"
"Thus, you must come from somewhere really far from this place, and if I may assume, from the continent from where our ancestors came from in the first place. Also, looking at how strong you are, maybe in that place I will find a new way to improve my magical abilities!"
Puffing up her chest, Yuuki smiled proudly after showing off her incredible deduction skills. Something that left Aspen completely indifferent, as he was thinking about other completely different matters instead of that.
Soon, Aspen grabbed Yuuki's shoulder and smiled wryly at her.
"Taking a break in that place? Hahaha, good luck with that"
Aspen ignored Yuuki's baffled expression and walked towards the exit with a rather exhausted expression on his face... Like always.
"Anyway, make yourself comfortable or something. The trip is going to take a while... But don't wake me up or I might punch you"
Aspen did not have the energy, nor cared enough about her presence to try and throw her out of the ship while still in mid-air. Besides, she had a pretty amazing magic staff that he may try replicating or strengthening in the future, and she was a pretty good fighter as well (In case Duke Fishron appeared for round 2), so there was not really a problem with bringing her along.
As long as she stayed silent while he tried his newly acquired bed, then it was all good.
Now, all he needed to do was to wait until the ship arrived back at the continent where he came from, and nothing would go wrong...
'Hmm... Why do I have suddenly a bad feeling about this...?'
A few days later...
"Hey... How long is it until we arrive?"
Yuuki, who was leaning on the border of the ship looking at the distance with a bored expression, turned to look at Aspen and yawned a bit while asking him.
Waking up from his small nap, Aspen looked towards the horizon and nodded his head with a small smile on his face.
"No fucking idea"
"Do you even know where you are going?!"
"Somewhat... Hey, James something, are you sure we are going west as I told you?"
"My name is James Stoney Sir... And yes, we are currently going west, and we have been going in that direction for three days in a row..."
Inside the bottle, the small pirate simply nodded while making a grim expression.
"Are you saying I'm in the wrong then?" Creating a fireball on top of his palm, Aspen walked towards James and threatened him with a pissed-off expression on his face.
"N-no, of course not!!"
"I think I'm seeing land... Or maybe I'm just having hallucinations again because of only eating Beef Jerky for three consecutive days..." Yuuki, who was grabbing her stomach with an upset expression, pointed towards the horizon where something was starting to get revealed from all the mist that covered the sea.
"Come on, I eat Beef Jerky every day, and here I am, perfectly sane and healthy" Aspen, who heard Yuuki's words, furrowed his eyebrows and crossed his arms while pointing towards himself with his thumb.
"Alright, maybe I'm not that sane, but that doesn't have anything to do with eating jerky every day..."
"Sure..." Hearing Aspen's words, Yuuki just rolled her eyes and continued looking at the seemingly approaching land in the distance. However, as soon as she did, her eyebrows furrowed and she squinted her eyes while looking at it.
Aspen, who also looked in that direction, frowned greatly as he recognized exactly what kind of land was the one in front of them...
"So that's where you come from...? It's... quite a sight..."
"No, if I was born in this place I would be already dead... Or not even born in the first place..."
In front of them, a seemingly endless devastated land of purple soil and horrible stench extended to the distance, only stopping at the mountains several kilometers away from them. The trees that were growing there, looked completely dried up and had no sign of life in them.
Even after Aspen tried establishing a connection with one of them, it was of no use as there was seemingly nothing part of nature there...
"The Corruption... Did I mess up with my directions once again...?"
Looking at the land in front of him, Aspen had a bad sensation and decided to turn around and continue exploring the land to see if there was anything else besides corruption.
However, just as he was about to order the pirate to turn around, suddenly the whole ship started trembling and also started descending slowly.
"Oi, James, or whatever, what the heck are you doing?!"
"I think... I lack some energy..."
As Aspen glanced into his eyes, he immediately knew the reason for this sudden development
Name: James Stoney
Title: Blackbeard, the terror of the seas/Inmortal
Race: Evil spirit
[Spiritual sustain: After researching intensively the topic of immortality, this being managed to develop a method of sustaining his soul without the need of a corporeal body. However, not satisfied with that, this being also gained the ability to take over other people's bodies by slowly fusing and converting their minds into his]
[Enhanced Body: This being surpassed the limits of his race, and developed strength and resistance beyond what any human could imagine, all of this at the cost of having his mind get exposed to a dangerous amount of chaotic energy]
'This guy ran out of mana...! Shit, can't you be more inopportune?!'
Soon, as the mana of the pirate reached zero, and the ship continued descending without stop, it wasn't long before the crash became imminent.
"No, I'm not gonna lose my new ship like this... Uuuaaargh!!"
Seeing that such a heavy blow would probably destroy his newly acquired ship, Aspen gathered all his mana around the ship and exerted the maximum amount of control and power he had ever exerted in one go. Only comparable to that time he blew up the Eye of Cthulhu with repeated mana explosions.
His mana, which was thrice as bigger than the last time he had used it, went down in one go to zero, and an enormous force enveloped the whole ship and started slowing down its fall. His brain, which was the one controlling his mana and moving it, seemed to be burning in pain due to the enormous amount of effort he was making in maintaining the ship on air.
His blessings only helped him reduce the tax and effort of Nature control and Elemental magic. The rest of them were much more exhausting and hard to perform, thus, only the fact that he was being able to maintain this ship on air was a miracle by itself.
Finally, only after a few minutes more, the ship finally landed safely on the ground and Aspen was freed from his magic once and for all.
Lying on the floor, Aspen rapidly drank a mana potion and grabbed his head with a pained look in his eyes. Furthermore, there was even some smoke coming out of his head by the time he stopped operating his magic.
"Let's just ignore that... So ... What should I do in this situation...?"
Looking around him, Aspen could feel a headache growing on his head because of the situation. Not only had he lost temporarily his conveyance, but he was also in the middle of The Corruption, the home of the Eater of Worlds.
And if there was something he had learned through his many years of life in this world, was that the creatures in this world didn't need to wait for him to summon them to start acting. Thus, there was now the possibility of a titanic worm stalking him from within the depths of the earth, ready to eat him in one go at any possible moment, even if he had not done anything to attract its attention.
"Let's hope this guy is just as lazy as I am and doesn't give a shit about us..."