Bashoon entered her parent’s restaurant on the Endeavor and got a bar seat. “Hey, Mom,” she called. “Could I get a Galdredan steak as rare as you can make it with Crelima mashed potatoes and a Realmgate City root beer float?”
“Sure thing, sweetie,” replied Mrs. Barmek. She turned to prepare the meal. “So, how’s the job so far?” continued Mrs. Barmek.
“Doing okay, considering recent events,” answered Bashoon.
“Still thinking about what happened at the hands of the pirates?” guessed Mrs. Barmek as she flipped the steak over.
“Well, partially,” replied Bashoon. “The other part is about that cow turd, Yotek.”
“Yeah, I heard about your ex-boyfriend’s involvement with the Splitters,” recalled Mrs. Barmek.
“And the Goblin Imperium STILL hasn’t made a decision on whether or not it made a mistake in liquidating our original assets?” asked Bashoon.
“Sorry, but no,” sighed Mrs. Barmek as she flipped the steak a second time.
“Is it wrong that I still feel angry and betrayed by my own people?” quizzed Bashoon.
“No, your feelings are legitimate,” assured Mrs. Barmek as she added some butter to the potatoes before mashing them.
“I’m just not sure if I WANT to return to Dwelga after my stint in Realmfleet is over,” sighed Bashoon.
“Where will you go?” inquired Mrs. Barmek as she filled a glass with root beer and scooped out some vanilla ice cream.
“I don’t know,” mumbled Bashoon.
“Well, there ARE travelers on this ship alone,” mused Mrs. Barmek as she set the meal in front of Bashoon. Bashoon then took her fork and knife and started eating. “Maybe one of them could offer a place to stay,” suggested Mrs. Barmek.
“I’ll think it over,” declared Bashoon after she swallowed.
“I WOULD suggest that you talk to the Imperium,” suggested Mrs. Barmek.
“Why would I want to do that?” muttered Bashoon as her second bite stopped in front of her mouth.
“Because you will carry your feelings with you forever if you don’t,” warned Mrs. Barmek. “Right now, those feelings are heavy.” Bashoon considered her mother’s words as she ate.
Arsha was trying to unwind at Jenthay’s Resort, not THE best in the Over-realm, but certainly ONE of the best. Jenthay, the Sprite running the place, offered a pass to Arsha and her crew when Thengo suggested some relaxation would help. The resort’s beach/pool was in a special part of the tree that gave off natural sunlight so people could naturally tan. It DID bring the risks associated with a beach’s sun, so Arsha lathered up in sunscreen. She smoothed out the skirt of her bikini as she picked up her book. Try as she might, she couldn’t concentrate on the book’s content. She sighed as she gave up and set the book aside on the blanket. She then laid flat on her back as she increased the power to her shades. “Real smart, Arsha,” she muttered to herself. “You survive a harrowing ordeal on an island with a beach and where do you go? To a resort with a beach. What was I thinking?”
“You don’t look like a happy girl,” observed a voice. Arsha sat up and turned to see Hanako!
“Mama!” cheered Arsha as she ran towards her. They hugged for a bit.
“How’s my Precious One?” asked Hanako.
“I’m…doing all right, given what happened,” mumbled Arsha as she broke off the embrace.
“Yes, I heard about what happened from Thengo,” explained Hanako. “I take it this is your first experience with mortality?”
“It’s not mortality that has me feeling this way,” replied Arsha, “it’s the fact that those five crewmembers died because I didn’t screen Melgem enough! I’m not sure if their families will accept that my condolence letters came from the heart!”
“Yes,” remarked Hanako as she laid out her own blanket. “I understand why you would say that but I don’t agree.”
“You do?” asked Arsha, sensing that Hanako understood on a deeper level than she initially thought.
“Arsha, do you know why I moved to the Mid-realm in the first place?” inquired Hanako.
“You were so smitten with Dad,” answered Arsha, “that you couldn’t imagine life without him, just as he couldn’t imagine life without you. This was during the Rooka/Gamfinar incident, right?”
“It was,” confirmed Hanako, “and your father was certainly the impetus. However, I was thinking on leaving anyway. After my parents died, there was nothing left for me. Midiriki became obsessed with trying to keep Mystic Tails afloat to the point of not wanting to see me. No one wanted me or my skill set as an administrator. I couldn’t find a decent job here in the Over-realm, so I was thinking about trying my luck with another Realm. Your dad then offered me a once temporary position on the Endeavor during the Rooka/Gamfinar incident and we hit it off.”
“Wasn’t that incident declared a total disaster after all the casualties were tallied?” quizzed Arsha.
“It was,” conceded Hanako, “but I still wanted to stay with him, thinking the rewards of a Realmfleet Officer outweighed the risks.”
“If the risks CAN be outweighed by said Realmfleet Officer,” sighed Arsha. “Sometimes the loss of life is too much for that Officer.”
“Also true,” replied Hanako, “as the Endeavor’s former Chief Medical Officer can attest to. So, the question is: do you feel as if you’ve lost too many under your command?”
“I don’t know,” mumbled Arsha.
“Well, if you DO feel that way,” continued Hanako, “what kind of Captain will you be in the face of that?” Arsha considered her mother’s words up until her thoughts were interrupted by the tree rocking. Everyone tumbled.
“What in the Depths?” swore Arsha as she snapped her fingers and her bikini was exchanged for her dress. She and Hanako made her way to an Observation Balcony, a hole in the tree that allows someone to see what’s going on outside, to see a Kitsune in full armor attacking the tree. “What the?! I thought Kitsunes were buddy-buddy with ALL Fae subspecies!”
“We are!” insisted Hanako. “I don’t know what’s gotten this one to attack!”
“We have to stop that person!” declared Arsha. She then made her way to Rellmeer’s private Observation Balcony with Rellmeer making a call to the Fae Republic’s Air Force.
“Get the attacker OUT of our territory!” she ordered her troops. “I don’t care how it’s done, as long as the intruder stays alive! Understood, Rantar?!”
“Understood, My Lady,” replied Chief Master Sergeant Rantar of the Fae Republic’s Air Force. Rellmeer then hung up.
“Your Majesty!” called Arsha. Rellmeer then caught sight of Arsha and Hanako.
“Please tell me you have an idea!” hissed Rellmeer, feeling betrayed that a Kitsune would do this.
“Let me talk to the Kitsune!” suggested Arsha. “Whatever grievance it has, I’m sure I can figure it out!”
“…Very well,” replied Rellmeer. She then used her magic to place Arsha outside and restored her to her natural height. Even then, Arsha was still a foot shorter than the Kitsune.
“Identify yourself!” she demanded. The Kitsune replied by swinging a fist at Arsha. “Not in an identifying mood, eh?” quipped Arsha. “Have it your way!” She snapped her fingers, teleporting her hairpiece into its drawer and summoning her armor. She then went on the offensive, managing to push back the intruder. “I repeat, identify yourself!” she commanded. “Why are you attacking the Capital Tree of the Fae Republic?!” The intruder didn’t answer. It used a teleporter spell to get away. “…Right, time to defend the Fae Republic,” muttered Arsha.