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Nocturna league (episode.., p.9
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       Nocturna League (Episode 3: The Sunken Breath), p.9

           Kell Inkston
 
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  *click* Grancis draws back in disbelief. “Empty?!”

  “You shot all six bullets, dumbass—now do you believe it’s me?” Colette asks, giving an intense expression mixed with a self-assured smirk.

  The voice behind the door screams in rage. “You’re not The Captain! I’ll get my reven-” the owner begins bashing on the door helplessly as the two ladies ignore it.

  Grancis huffs. “No! You were just doing that to trick me! No, so you could eat my soul instead!”

  “I swear, Gran, what’s it going to take?”

  “I-I… Nothing!” Grancis says, slowly reloading her pistol amidst her tremors.

  “Oh yeah?” Colette’s expression becomes indignant.

  Grancis finishes reloading a single shot. “Yeah!”

  “Fine!” Colette spreads her arms and stands still— a determined gaze pointed at Grancis.

  “Shoot that traitorous bitch!” The voice from behind the door commands Grancis- again promptly ignored by both of them.

  Grancis points the gun right at Colette, and they both pause; they look into each other’s eyes. The sounds of machinery below provide the backdrop for their silence, and Grancis lowers the revolver.

  “Please,” she says. “Why do you have to make this so hard?”

  Colette sighs in relief. “I knew it, not even you’re that stupid. There’d be nothing the eldritch could gain by allowing you to kill it, huh?”

  Grancis looks to the side, “I suppose— but how could I possibly believe you’re the real one, and not the fake? The other Colette knows everything about me.”

  Colette scoffs in response as she continues to stand ready for movement. “You kidding me? Your favorite color’s… like… Grey, right? You also love bugs- I never did get that about you.” Grancis’ expression is confused as she attempt to parse some meaning out of how both Colettes know her, but this one’s recollection is fuzzy. She turns away and starts down the hall. “Uh, Gran?” Colette asks. “You believe me, right?” She tenses as Grancis gains distance between the two of them— if she turned and started shooting in this hallway, Colette would be forced to choose a door, and if it were a locked one- she’s unsure she’d have time to move. “Gran? Response please?”

  “I need-” Grancis takes a breath, “I need a moment— look, just go. I’ll decide soon enough,” Grancis says, gesturing with her gun hand for Colette to go past her through the hall and leave.

  Colette takes a breath and starts past Grancis. “Alright. Just don’t decide to shoot me, aight? Also, you have bad taste in doors— work on that.”

  “You have terrible taste in doors!” The owner of the voice behind the door screams again and enters another vicious fury against its prison door.

  Colette passes by and up the steps, out from the lower deck to the outside. She steps out, closes the door, and just as she does, a large phial is slung down from the second floor. Colette catches the glint just in time and leaps out of the way. The phial strikes the ground and breaks, igniting into a chemical fire. Colette looks up to see her assailant, but they’re already gone. Her gaze narrows— the other Colette is taking matters into her own hands.

  She’ll need help.

  Colette inches across the chemical fire just in case the other Colette was trying to herd her somewhere, and then turning the corner, wonders who she should wake up. Dunklestein would be a strong pick, and with his nose he’d likely know it’s her— but that’d risk awakening the whole crew. If even one person disagreed, it could become a huge fight. No, it’s better to choose someone that’s not sleeping in the main cabin. Her expression sours; there’s only one person she can turn to. She approaches the kitchen and enters without knocking. Before her is the titanic lobster chef, the one we all love— Boris. He’s gurgling out bubbles in his sleep, leaving an overwhelming pile of salty saliva on the metal kitchen floor; Colette winces, and whispers.

  “Yo, Boris!”

  Nothing.

  Colette sighs, nods to herself as if she were expecting this kind of outcome, and starts stepping through the saliva. She gets up to Boris, and whispers again. “Boris!”

  Nothing.

  Colette delivers a sharp kick into Boris’ shell, producing a sound one could only properly describe as concerning.

  Still nothing.

  She shrugs, looks about and then snaps her fingers. She steps away and clears her throat. “Man, I’d sure hate to get cooked and eaten alive today.” Instantly she hears a sharp inhale.

  “DID SOMEONE BE OF THE SAYING OF BEING OF THE COOKED AND THE EATING OF THE ALIVE?! I MUST BE OF THE COUNTING IN! BORIS NUMBER ONE OF CHEFS!” Suddenly the kitchen illuminates to life like a gameshow stage, Boris raising his human-sized claws and snapping in celebration. “WHO SHALL BE OF THE COOKED AND THE EATING OF THE ALIVE THIS DAY?” He turns around and spots Colette. “OH! CAPTAIN APPRENTICE MEAT!”

  “Heya, Boris.”

  “WAS IT YOU THAT WAS WANTING TO BE OF THE GETTING EATEN? BORIS IS LOVING OF THE EATING OF THE MEAT!”

  She shrugs. “Wasn’t me— must’ve been some other Colette on the ship.”

  Boris’ black stalk-like eyes knock into themselves as he smashes a table in disbelief. “THERE ARE THE BEING OF TWO APPRENTICE MEATS?!”

  She puts her hands in the pockets of The Captain’s coat. “Yeah, saw her running around the second floor looking for someone to eat her.”

  Boris smashes his claws into his face like an embarrassed schoolgirl. “THIS IS OF BEING THE DREAM COMING TRUE! THE CAPTAIN IS NOT OF THE NEEDING FOR TWO APPRENTICE MEATS, AND THE OTHER WANTS TO BE OF THE GETTING EATEN! THE CREW WILL BE OF THE HAPPY FOR BREAKFAST THIS DAY!”

  Even though it’s going as planned, Colette can’t help but feel a little nervous about Boris being so excited about devouring an exact physical copy of herself. “Y-yeah! Let’s go get that Colette and cook her right up!” She says with a put-on smile.

  Boris gurgles out a stream of salty, food-covered bubbles in a euphoria of cooking excitement. “THIS IS JUST AS I WAS OF THE DREAMING! A MEAT WOULD HELP ME HUNT ANOTHER MEAT JUST LIKE THE HELPING MEAT! THIS IS THE DAY OF THE BEST OF MY LIFE!” Boris says, grabbing his prized cleaver and ensuring that it’s sparkling clean.

  Colette forces a wider grin. “Yeah! Definitely! Let’s go get… me, Boris!”

  At that, Boris smashes out of the kitchen with Colette close behind. “IT IS TIME OF THE INGREDIENT FINDING!” Boris shouts, scanning out the deck for the other Colette. He only needs to twitch his lance-sized whiskers a single time before he gets a reading. “I AM FEELING OF THE MOVEMENT! A DELICIOUS HUMAN FLESH WITH ALL THE FLESH THERE BEING. BE OF THE HOPPING ON, APPRENTICE FLESH! BORIS WILL BE OF THE FINDING!”

  “Eh, sure!” Colette hops onto Boris’ back and holds on by the whiskers. Colette suddenly goes from zero to Boris kilometers per hour as Boris leaps up to the second deck and dashes down to the first Colette's vicinity in only ten seconds time; she’s now even more glad that Boris is on her side— she couldn’t rightly imagine what it would feel like to be hunted down by a half-ton lobster that moves faster than a horse. The other Colette is immediately in view, toting around more chemicals from the medical bay that Estradia apparently doubles as a laboratory. “There, Boris!” The riding Colette points out.

  “I WILL BE OF THE CATCHING!” Boris flies forward to the first Colette, whose eyes are wide with disbelief. In the last second she bolts off the railing to the lower deck, and starts dashing around the corner.

  “Get it!” Colette commands to her valiant red steed.

  “IT? I THOUGHT THE MEAT WAS BEING OF THE SHE!”

  Colette sighs. “Yes! She! Get Colette!”

  Boris nods, almost slinging the riding Colette off of his head and into the ocean. “LET’S BE OF THE GOING, THEN!” Boris leaps off to the first deck and turns around. The hunted Colette just turns to look behind her and continues running. She tosses several chemical bombs in Boris’ face, each one exploding in a vicious fire. “NO, APPRENTICE MEAT! I AM SUPPO
SED TO BE OF THE SPICING YOU! NOT OF THE OTHER WAY AROUND!” Boris says as he corners the first Colette at the tip of the Nocturna’s deck. Boris snaps his claws and brandishes his over-sized cleaver in joy as he steps forward to apprehend the other Colette. She looks about, and spots something climbing out of the water just in time to save her skin.

  “Captain!” She shouts.

  Boris and the Colette riding her look behind them to spot a wet, unclothed Captain, having just recovered an unconscious Dr. Estradia from the water. “Why, hello there, you tw… eh, three? Why are there three of you?”

  The cornered Colette speaks up first. “Captain! These two are trying to kill me! The Colette on top of Boris is a fake! An eldritch parasite!”

  The Captain sets Estradia to the side of the ship and turns back; though the only thing still on him are his glasses and of course his bandages, he looks terribly official as he adjusts them. “Ahh! One of those degenerate parasites engaging in degenerate activity. Might this be true, Colette riding Boris?”

  She shakes her head. “No! It’s her!”

  The Captain steps forward, both hands behind his back, and then looks over both Colettes.

  “Excuse me, Colette riding Boris.”

  She smirks sheepishly. “Y-yeah?”

  “Why is it that you’re wearing my jacket?”

  She takes it off and hands it to him. “I found it on the ship, I was cold.”

  The Captain nods, looks over to the cornered Colette and then they both share a smirk. Slowly, the riding Colette’s features turn from uncertainty, to horror— she gets it now.

  “Hmm, yes,” The Captain says, cracking his knuckles, “the real Colette is obvious. Boris, you’ve made a terrible mistake.”

  Boris nods his head to the side in wonder. “I WAS MAKING OF THE MISTAKING?”

  “That’s right, Boris. The Colette riding you is the fake. Please retrieve her.”

  The riding Colette cringes in terror. “N-no! Boris! Do-”

  “DO I STILL GET TO BE OF THE COOKING AND EATING OF THIS APPRENTICE FLESH?”

  The Captain nods. “If that is what pleases you- I’m certain the crew will be simply thrilled to take a bite out of her.”

  Colette’s jaw drops and she looks back down to Boris. “Look, Boris! I was the one who came and got you! There’s no way that the fake would have brought someone else into it, right?… Right?”

  “COLETTE FLESH,” Boris says.

  The Colette riding him takes a deep breath, as the other Colette grins wickedly. “Y-yes?”

  “WOULD YOU BE OF THE PREFERRING OF THE FRYING, THE BAKING, OR THE SOUPING?”

  “Boris, please! You’re all I have right now!”

  “THERE’S MANY OF THE WAYS TO BE PREPARING OF THE DELICIOUS HUMAN— NOW BE OF THE CHOOSING LEST I START OF THE CUTTING!”

  She loses her breath as, with a single blink-fast movement, Boris reaches up and grabs her with his free claw. “B-Boris! Don’t! I’m not the eldritch!”

  “OF COURSE YOU’RE NOT OF THE ELDRITCHING!” Boris says between a gurgling chuckle.

  “Then why are you about to kill me?!”

  “I WAS BEING OF THE SARCASTIC, ELDRITCHING COLETTE. THE REAL COLETTE TAUGHT ME THAT, DIDN’T YOU, COLETTE OF THE REAL?”

  The first Colette, laxing now on the railing, nods. “Eh, sure! Yeah.”

  The captured Colette’s gaze widens. Not only does she understand the situation now, she also knows the solution. “The eldritch parasite’s based on the thoughts of the single person they spawn out of… so that means the person they spawned from couldn’t possibly tell them apart from the real one,” she mutters to herself.

  “WHAT ARE YOU OF THE SAYING, PARASITE COLETTE?” Boris asks.

  “Of course, if the person the parasite came from didn’t know about something, the parasite wouldn’t either!” Colette, secure in Boris’ single claw, brushes her face against his cleaver to make eye contact with the other Colette. “Hey! Colette!”

  The other Colette smiles as Grancis turns the corner from the lower decks. “Yeah?” she asks with a cock-sure grin.

  “What’s The Captain’s favorite drink?!” the captured Colette exclaims, asking a question that not even she knows the answer to, but that she knows someone else here does.

 
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