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Silently, Vanessa ran her fingers through Edna's hair with the utmost care, as if weaving a delicate tapestry. As the night wore on and it became clear that Edna had no intention of budging, Vanessa's voice took on a gentle tone, urging her to take a respite and recharge her body and soul.

"Languishing in tears will get you nowhere" Vanessa spoke softly, casting a spell of serenity that seemed to envelop Edna entirely. Before she knew it, Edna was drifting off into a deep slumber, as her dreams danced to the soothing rhythm of her deepest desires.


Once I walked out of the room and shut the door behind me, it didn't take me long to process how strangely the conversation had gone and how things had somehow worked out in the end.

Huff! It didn't even go as I had expected it to.

My mind replayed the conversation, recalling every word she had uttered, the way her body twitched and moved as she restrained herself from doing the unthinkable, and the way her words came out like an undiluted tsunami of raw emotion.

All of which I had paid no heed to.

My eyes flickered over to the two women who were standing and trembling in a corner before I settled my gaze on Mad John.

"How did it go, Captain?" He asked.

My stare didn't linger on him as I stepped forward, and he diligently followed me from behind.

"It went better than I had expected" I replied.

"Better?" He repeated with confusion, probably not believing that the conversation could have gone better considering the mess surrounding us.

Actually, she was the one who did most of the talking, was what I would have said if mentioning such a fact was important.

Regardless, I still responded.

"Yes, better. And although she stated that she won't do anything foolish, you still need to keep a close eye on her in case she does" I said.

"Alright" Mad John nodded his head in understanding. "So, what are we going to do next?" He asked, giving me a side glance as he noticed my fast walking pace.

"Did you forget what I told you earlier today?" I asked.

His brows furrowed in confusion. Well, I did tell him a lot of things today, so instead of waiting for him to sift through his memories and select the most important conversation, I quickly added.

"Have you forgotten what I said about recovering the corpses of our crew before we leave?

A sudden pause overshadowed our conversation before Mad John responded with a tone filled with doubt. "You were serious?".

I snapped my head to the side and stared at him with a raised eyebrow.

He faked a cough. "Of course.... I mean, when you said that, I thought you were just trying to cheer up the few of us who remained, assuring us that even if we died as sea slaves, we would get a better burial".

"Really..." I said, my tone dripping with sarcasm. "So you didn't believe any statement I made at that moment?".

He scratched the back of his head and looked forward with shame. "Well, you are the captain, so the rules are your tools to make or break. And given our situation, if we were to leave now without retrieving the corpses, no one would hold it against us--".

"Smack!!" I gave him a light tap on the back of his head.

"Ouch! Captain" He said, rubbing the spot where I hit him.

"Mad John, you are smarter than this....." I said. And strangely, I noticed that this was the first time I was praising him for his intelligence. Considering that was his selling point, the sudden way his eyes widened in surprise indicated that my words had startled him.

He suddenly halted his steps and saluted. "Sorry for doubting you, Captain. I promise it won't happen again!" He spoke with a voice loud enough to echo through the corridor but not loud enough to cause a disturbance.

But considering how scanty the ship was currently, I doubt it would matter.

Halting my steps, I shook my head and sighed tiredly. "Don't worry about it. Just go and get me Annabelle and anybody else who is willing to accompany us to get the corpses of our fallen crew members".

"Huh!" He stared at me dumbfounded.

"What do you mean by 'huh'?" I took my time and asked, displaying an amount of patience that I didn't even know existed in me.

The dumbfounded expression on his face quickly disappeared as he asked doubtfully, "Are we leaving right now?".

I nodded. "Yes".

"So we are going to leave the ship, in the middle of the night, to go through the frozen wasteland that can freeze anyone into an ice sculpture, filled with numerous deadly mindless mutated beasts, to head to the last remaining kingdom in the whole region?"

Okay, Okay. For a normal human being, I can understand his thoughts and see how it could be a problem.

"I didn't say it was a must for you to come. What I said is for you to notify the crew and see if there are any volunteers. Also, since I am the one telling you this, don't you think that I have a duty to protect them?" I explained. "Besides, who will take care of the ship and protect it if all of us leave?".

Even though my record for protecting my crew was not good at the moment, it was still a work in progress. I needed to factor in circumstances like Ag'na's attack and find a way for them to protect themselves without solely relying on me.

Having a crew who dies every time they left the ship wasn't something I wanted to be a recurring event.

He made a sound that sounded like a cross between a 'hum' and a 'haaaa'. "I understand, Captain" He nodded in agreement. "I will be back immediately".

I bobbed my head. "Alright, be fast... Meet me on the upper deck when you are done".

He confirmed with a nod "Okay". He turned around and left in haste to carry out my orders.

Meanwhile, I turned and headed to the deck.

Honestly, I don't know when or where I got the urge from, but I really need to find something I can smoke.

Getting high once in a while in this upbeat world would surely do wonders in calming my mind, and maybe help me double down on the amount of fucks I give every day.


"Is this all?" I asked, posing my question to Mad John.

"Yes, captain" Mad John responded. "Apart from Annabelle, who specifically ordered to come along, only Beric decided to come along while Omm…" A subtle sigh escaped his lips. "Well, it will take him a couple of days to recover from his shock, and maybe this experience will help him understand what it means to be a pirate".

I turned my attention towards Beric. He stared at me resolutely, not blinking nor backing down from my gaze.

Though I could tell it was nothing but false bravado that would ultimately collapse when the real trouble began. But, seeing that my crewman was on his way to building his balls of steel, I will gladly show him the process and help him smelt it with the finest of flames.

Cowards live longer, but preferably I need brave men willing to stand up for their captain, so if I need to pick between a coward or a brave man, my answer would be the latter.

My eyes then shifted towards Annabelle, who was scrutinizing every detail about me, unable to tear her eyes off of me for even a minute.

"Annabelle?" I called out to her.

She hit restart, shaking off whatever was swirling around in her head before she answered "Yes, captain".

I turned around and looked at the sea, my back facing them. "Snap out of your thoughts, we are about to leave" I said, before activating the 'Temporary storage space' and summoning Bones out of it.

"Emm…Captain" Annabelle asked after a brief silence. "Why can't we wait till morning?".

Although I didn't know what kind of scene they had witnessed in the fight between Bones and Ag'na, but considering how she didn't sound pleased about going there again, it must have been one hell of an unforgettable experience.

I cast a side glance at Annabelle as I ran my hand through Bones' chilly furry and scaled skin, letting the crust form around my fingers before they fell off and dissipated into pale white dust that were carried along with the wind.

I spoke. "Captain Crimson eye and his fleet will soon be here at any hour or day".

Her eyes widened at the sudden revelation.

Nonetheless, I continued, 'The two ships were here to probe us and arrest one of our crewman. But I don't think I need to explain how that turned out.'..." My gaze turned towards Mad John, and a smile formed on my lips.

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