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Nocturna league (episode.., p.4
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       Nocturna League (Episode 1: The Witching Book), p.4

           Kell Inkston
 
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  Chapter 4: The Captain is Seduced by Thoughts of Home, and Colette Misses Terribly

  A luscious, mature voice emanates from the pages of the book, stroking The Captain with soft, intelligent tones. “Well, another adventurer heard of the legend and wanted to see if it was all true?” the book speaks, illusions of flowers and nature overtaking the room.

  The Captain, originally in an alert stance, takes a gentler composure. “That’s correct. Just what, or who, are you?”

  A cheery laugh comes from the book, lighting up with each expulsion of magic breath. “I am Vuuya. A sorceress from an old time… And you, sir, you too seem like an older creature that has taken up a new life in modern times. By the looks of you I’d say you are at least… oh, three hundred?”

  The Captain scoffs. “I hate to correct a… lady, but I’m not even sixty,” he says, standing about comfortably.

  The voice in the book coos with intrigue. “Oh? But your body’s composition… and that uniform, I’ve seen that symbol before. The Nation of Lascardia hasn’t existed for a hundred years, if not more. Why do you think otherwise?”

  The Captain places his hands in his pockets. “Again, you are misinformed. Lascardia is still as strong as it ever was. A matter of fact I was in Lascard Port just a few months ago.”

  The book hums in thought. “How very intriguing. Well, I’ll be certain to write it down. Now, adventurer, what have you come for?”

  The Captain lowers his head in thought, and then snaps back up. “I’ll be frank with you, miss. My crew and I have been charged with the recovery of a relic, it’s called ‘Vuuya’s Witching Book’. I presume, claiming to be Vuuya, and taking the form of a book, that it must be you.”

  Vuuya laughs. “Well, yes, it would be me, or the book that contains me, that you’re looking for. I would certainly be happy to turn myself over to your capable arms, but I feel you are rather missing a considerable opportunity.”

  “And what might that be, miss?”

  “I can grant wishes. All the people in the town worship me for a reason, you know. Go on, name something,” she invites, the room brightening as flowers bloom at The Captain’s feet.

  The Captain takes a short moment to scuff through one of the roses with his boot; his foot goes right through the illusion. “I am curious, just what are you capable of?”

  “Anything your heart desires, young man.”

  The Captain stares at the ground and takes a deep breath. “… Could you… No, it’s impossible.” He looks away, readjusting his glasses.

  The voice of the book coos seductively. “Not at all, good sir. Go on, name it.”

  The Captain takes a breath. “You wouldn’t be able to... Well, it has been a good while since I’ve tried wishes. Very well, could you …”

  Minutes later, The Captain bursts from the room with his arms bent around the shoulders of two invisible figures, one at each side. “Yes! It has been a long time since I’ve had a bowl of porridge! To the kitchen immedia- Oh, Miss Ketiere, Mr. Masthaven. What an unexpected surprise! How did you find this island? Could it be the two of you are now sailing together privately? How scandalous.” The Captain says with a tone neither of his sailors have heard him with before— fakeness, as if he’s experiencing a lie.

  Colette looks to The Captain’s sides and squints. “Captain, you okay, sir?” She asks, the rifle hanging limply from her slender hands.

  He laughs. “Okay? I’m feeling brilliant! I’m home!”

  Colette and Jim exchange shocked, dumbfounded glances. “In all due respect sir, what the hell is wrong with you?”

  “Haha! Nothing, my dear! I have everything I need,” he looks to his left shoulder, “isn’t that right?” he asks to the invisible figure.

  Jim just stares on as Colette waves her hands about her head in confusion. “What?! Captain, did you get the book?”

  He tilts his head a bit to the side. “What book?”

  “The book we came all this damn way for, sir! Vuuya’s witching book!”

  “Ahh, well that shouldn’t be a problem anymore,” The Captain says as the guard and townsperson stand to the side with knowing smirks.

  “Sir! We came here for the book! What happened in there?!”

  The Captain bends his head forward in thought. “Oh… oh! Pardon me. Yes, Vuuya, I met her and she offered to grant my wish,” The Captain says, joyously shaking two invisible figures under his arms.

  Colette stares at The Captain with a cross between confusion and disgust as Jim’s features slowly sharpen. “Sir,” she says, “There’s no one under your arms, sir! You’ve gone senile!”

  The Captain checks both his arms again. “They seem quite real to me, Colette…Oh?” he turns to his left and raises his ear. “…No, worry not, my beloved. It’s obvious she’s just a bit off her nerves, probably from the salt sickness. Tell me Colette: are you, perhaps, salty?”

  “S-What?! The hell I am salty! Turn around and get the book!”

  “I see no need for that, my little croissant- the task is done; I am home. Please, just come with me and let’s share at the dinner table, this way!” The Captain gestures with a hand to follow him out of the ziggurat.

  Colette strides right up and smacks him across the face, shocking the two villagers watching. “What’s your malfunction? I join this crazy ass ship with the pretense that you’d teach me to fight as well as you, to become an upstanding figure of command! And here you are playing house with imagina-”

  “Colette,” Jim says softly to get her attention.

  “-ary friends as if we didn’t have a job to do that everyone’s paychecks relied on. I don’t know why I-”

  “Colette,” Jim says again.

  “-I even care about any of that. It’s not like you pay me! I feel bad enough dragging Grancis all around this horrible ocean for my sake, but you’re proving to be a huge pain. And sir with all respect if you want t-”

  “COLETTE!” Jim yells. Finally she swings around.

  “What?!”

  “I know how to fix this.”

  “W-what?!”

  Jim sighs, shakes his head. “He’s bewitched.”

  “Nonsense! I’ve never been more lucid in all my life!” The Captain claims with a nervous laugh.

  “If that’s so, then why does your home so closely resemble the layout of Vuuya’s home? Reach your hand out to the left,” Jim says to The Captain, who stops.

  Very slowly, The Captain reaches to his side, and feels the wicker walls of Vuuya’s abode. “My… This is peculiar,” he says, feeling over the forest-bound materials. The guard gets uneasy, and takes to his feet.

  “Yeah, that’s real, Captain. You need to open your eyes. Whatever place you think you are, do you remember a hallway that looks like this there?”

  The Captain pauses. “… No, I don’t.”

  “So then obviously your senses can be tricked, but Vuuya must still make an illusion out of something that’s real. Don’t delude yourself. The two below your arms are fakes!” Jim says with a certainty that makes the other two villagers uncomfortable.

  The guard leans to his side and whispers “He’s lying. Our son is waiting for us to return just like every other day,” to some invisible person.

  The Captain is still as he thinks in silence. “… But… but they look so real…”

  Jim shakes his head, “No, they’re not. Tell me, Captain; when, in all of our adventures, has any ‘wish granting miracle’ given you what you asked for?”

  The Captain sighs, and takes his arms off his invisible loved ones just as Jim coughs and puts his hand over his arm in pain. “You speak the truth, Jim… I’m sorry, I-”

  “But… but that’s no reason not to believe they’re not real now!” Jim says with a wide grin and a crazed glare.

  Colette snaps to Jim. “What are you say- oh, not now!”

  Jim smiles, causing even more confused looks from the islanders. “That’s right, sweet buns. Thought I’d swing back around and make su
re everything sucked. This one looked too fun,” Jim, or whatever is inside Jim, says casually.

  “Buzz off, dork! Leave Jim alone!”

  Jim laughs. “Get real.”

  “You get real!”

  Jim shrugs. “Okay. Oh, Captaiiin!” he calls to the confused Captain.

  “Pardon me, Jim?” He answers.

  “You know, the only way for Vuuya’s spell to work is to get rid of everything from before— Including people,” Jim says with a reptilian grin.

  Colette jolts in surprise as The Captain turns and cracks his knuckles. “Is that so?”

  “That’s right! Everything will be back to normal and you can live on your island with your… whoever, forever! You just need to, you know, kill Colette!”

  “Ahh, and you too, right, Jim?” The Captain says as he turns around and moves closer to them.

  “Yup! Kill both of us! Don’t worry, we’re not the real versions, just… uh, mystical soul copies. We must be removed before the spell can be complete.”

  The Captain hums to himself, and nods, “Sounds reasonable enough. Alright you two, en gaurde!”

  Colette leaps back, scarcely dodging a joking strike from The Captain. With a gasp and a groan she turns tail to the guard. “I’m meeting Vuuya too!”

  The Guard nods. “No weapon-” is all he can put out before Colette smashes the boy in the face with the butt of the rifle, knocking him out cold.

  The other islander begins shaking. “Please, stop! Think about what you’re doing!”

  Jim laughs. “Yeah, girl- hell you doin’ with that gun? The party’s just gettin’ started!”

  “I’m taking care of this myself. Captain, get Jim and get back to the ship!”

  The Captain sighs, and lays his head against the wall. “Now I don’t know who to believe. How very confusing.”

  As the islander and possessed Jim shout at The Captain to turn around and get Colette, she forces through the door and into the room with Vuuya.

  Again, the room is pitch black, but only seconds after entry the book opens its pages like a blossom in morning. “Ahh, how forceful. What manner of creature might you be?” The book asks as Colette raises The Captain’s rifle.

  “You’re coming with me, book,” she says, eyes squinting in aim.

  Vuuya giggles. “Oh, another one of you? The person before you wanted the same thing at first. How about I simply grant any wish you desire and we’ll-”

  “I’m not so easily tricked, book. I know that you just assault people with delusions. The Captain thought he was home, wherever that is, but it’s obvious to everyone else that he’s just a stumbling maniac.”

  “Truly? You don’t want your wishes granted? I can make any dream reality.”

  Colette pulls back the firing pin. “Yes, but it would be fake. I’d rather live in a painful reality than a comfortable dream!”

  The book coos thoughtfully. “Oh? Why? It seems like just such a waste to me. You could have anything you want! Let me see…” The book is quiet a moment “Ahh! You dream of becoming strong! I could give you powers beyond your wildest dreams, no strings attached!”

  “Yeah, except I’ll be stuck here protecting you through my delusions. There’s real people I need to protect when I get home… and a real bastard I need to kill. So thanks, but I’m not taking you up on it,” Colette says as she tugs to pick up the book, but realizes it’s chained in place.

  The book giggles again as the islander that lead them there sneaks up behind the girl. “Did you really think I needed to ask permission?” The book asks.

  Suddenly Colette feels the deft, spiritual grasp of an enormous presence upon her. Tearing into her head and emptying out her senses, Colette raises The Captain’s rifle at the book, now looking suspiciously like her mother, and pulls the trigger as she drags breath into her lungs.

  “Did you think you were going to get away with this?”

 
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