Elsie hadn’t considered the possibility of a siren attack on a Sanctuary ship, so when it happened, she felt completely blindsided. Part of her figured everybody got too comfortable, considering that the ship she was on was Sanctuary property.
It was pretty obvious the trip was going to be a perilous one. So why didn’t she realize that the moment the expedition was authorized?
Going back a few hours, Elsie was currently exploring the depths of the Vadstena. Along with the creepy Michael Hernold, Professor Leylon, and the four guardian Sanctuary Elves, they were entering the third bottommost floor of the ship.
“Escee-Sixty Six,” Elsie tugged at his sleeve, “When was this ship created?” She picked him out from his three identical brothers because his personality was slightly different. He seemed more irritable and didn’t have that incessant politeness the other Sanctuary Elves had. Sixty-Six had a tiny spark of personality compared to the other three.
She noticed a tiny flicker of annoyance from him. Being a weak empath, Elsie could easily read someone as detached from their own emotions as Escee-Sixty Six was. It was like he didn’t understand what he was feeling. Almost like a newborn.
While that amused Elsie, it also scared her. What kind of environment did these elves live in to make them so alien to their own feelings?
She supposed Eleanor had a point when she felt Eleanor’s unease towards the elves, but Elsie also felt Eleanor was too on guard. None of the elves had any malice towards them.
Elsie didn’t really want to know what kind of place the Sanctuary was, but at the same time she wanted to tease the living spirits out of Sixty-Six and in order to do that, she needed to get to know him a little more. She supposed that in a way, Sixty-Six and Eleanor were similar. As to what similarity, Elsie didn’t quite know just yet.
She liked people like Eleanor, after all.
Sixty-Six had previously shown the group the balconied staterooms, which gave the Vadstena a sort of ‘cruise ship’-like feeling to it. In a way, it is, Elsie thought to herself, but it clearly has some warship-like qualities to it as well.
The impression of the massive mana laser rifle shook Elsie to her core. Although she merely caught a glimpse of it, she realized that thing could be devastating to enemies and allies alike.
It was stowed away in a sort of storage room, but from what Elsie gathered, the storage room had some extendable qualities that could easily transform it into a turret room.
If Eleanor saw it, she would be jumping like a ferret in nerdy curiosity. Elsie chuckled at the scene she saw from her overactive imagination.
Sixty-Six cut her back to reality with a curt answer from her last question, “The Vadstena is the latest model created by Bishop Flavo. It was in the final testing stages until six months ago, when it was cleared for deployment.”
Deployment? Sounding awfully militaristic there, She kept her mouth shut.
“It was designed to show a mixture of both might and comfortability. Fusion between military strength and civilian common life.”
Sixty-Six then placed his palm over a hand scanner pad attached to a seemingly empty cerulean blue wall. Before Elsie’s eyes, the architecture shifted. A wall spawned behind her, from the floor, and the one in front of Sixty-Six eased itself into the floor, disappearing from view.
The corridors shifted, changing the landscape of the Vadstena’s third bottommost floor itself. After the great shift, the corridor had turned into a massive bar. Above Elsie’s head was a chandelier that let off soft blue light.
Michael and Professor Leylon, the two previously silent men, let out gasps of wonder. Elsie chuckled as she felt a sort of childlike wonder from Leylon, her normally ironclad professor. She supposed he loved alcohol.
He certainly has that look, she thought as the man in a suit and tie walked over to the bar table. Elsie glanced over Michael.
She felt slight disgust. Although Michael was a relatively harmless person, his borderline obsession with Veronica made her feel queasy. It didn’t help that it had a slight tint of innocence to it.
However, innocence doesn’t mean purity. It was like adding sugar to spicy vomit to an empath like Elsie.
Then again, Veronica also had an obsession with her best friend Eleanor. While she didn’t mind this from Veronica too much, she was worried her stern behavior would hurt Eleanor one day. So for now, Elsie would be the one next to Eleanor. At least until Veronica got a good head on her shoulders.
She sat on one of the stools by the bar table. Seeing one of the elves set out three drinks, Elsie noticed Michael sitting on her left, while Leylon had already stationed himself on her left.
The three drinks were the delicacy of the Sanctuary, as Sixty-Six described it. It was a light blue-ish drink. Its appearance went strikingly well with the chandelier lighting. The aroma, that of berries and vanilla, relaxed her.
Her hand touched the glass when the ship shook violently, dropping the drink onto her lap. Her mage coat and pants stuck disgustingly to her skin as the sugary alcohol dripped further into her clothes. “Agh! It looks like I pissed myself!” She said.
Leylon and Michael had managed to keep the drinks from spilling over, but quickly stood up, leaving the drinks on the table as Sixty-Six yelled to his brethren, “Check the sensors! That tremor came from inside the ship itself.”
Eleven had a sensor on his wristwatch. His dull silver eyes slightly widened in surprise as he scurried to Sixty-Six, his ‘vice-commander’. “Sir, something is in the vents. From the ship’s damage reports, it seems something created a hole in the bottom of the ship then slithered its way inside.”
“How bad is the damage? I need to know how much time we have before the Vadstena sinks.”
Another quake, much worse than the first, flung everyone off their feet. A yelp from Michael caught her attention as a black object landed next to her. Dusting off her knees, she kneeled next to the strange black object and realized it was a book with strange glowing-red inscriptions on it. Were they of demon origin?
Like a curious puppy, Elsie’s hand cautiously touched the binding of the book. With a feminine hum, the book’s runes brightened. She snatched her hand back as Michael panicked and seized the book, hiding it within his mage coat.
Elsie’s empathic abilities didn’t just stretch out to people, but to objects with history. When her hand grazed the book, she heard a woman’s voice. The strange effeminate voice felt like flowers. Strange and alluring, the voice smelled like sweetened roses.
It also felt like the voice came from outstanding and exquisite royalty. If she met the owner of said voice, Elsie would immediately kneel in front of it and pledge eternal undying loyalty.
If she locked eyes with the monarch, she’d claw her own eyes out, because said monarch’s beauty could kill people.
The Eternal Queen’s beauty was so divine, laying eyes on her would be nothing short of the highest of sins.
“Agh!” Elsie shook her head. That must’ve been a hard fall if she suddenly had a strange vision like that. Her head was throbbing, like a jackhammer suddenly pounded in her skull.
She felt two arms raise her up. Leylon held her right arm while Sixty-Six held her left. “C’mon,” Leylon spoke, “We need to get moving. We’re being attacked.”
“Attacked?” Elsie was confused. That vision, the throbbing, left her muddled and disoriented. Her thoughts were glued to mud. Going against the mud was like trying to fight back against a waterfall’s current by swimming. Even so, she fought. “By...who?”
“By sirens,” Sixty-Six said grimly.