Chapter 933: On Deck : Setting Sail

After taking care of the port officials, Vahn and Tiona had joined up with the ready to depart Amazonesses, Tione silently sitting at his side. Her aura was weak but stable as she leaned against Vahn’s shoulder, ignoring the looks of her kinsmen that would periodically glance toward her or, more specifically, Vahn. They were all interested in the man that their goddess was escorting back to their homeland, a place where men were not allowed to trespass. Vahn joined Tione in completely ignoring them, all while Kali made casual conversation with Tiona for the short trip between the shore and the blood-red Brig Sloop anchored in the port’s center.

By the time the Amazonesses onboard had thrown ropes down to those waiting in the landing ship, Tione had taken a deep breath before hardening her expression and sitting straight. Now, instead of ignoring the looks she was receiving, Tione stared down the curious Amazonesses. There would be plenty of time to think later and it was more important, for the time being, that she remembered her ‘purpose’ on this trip. She needed to keep others in line and, if necessary, set an example to prevent any ‘random’ Amazoness from trying to approach Vahn.

Vahn put a little bit of pressure into the hand he had on Tione’s waist before kissing the side of her head and saying, “You don’t have to force yourself. Take as much time as you need…Tiona and I can manage the rest, at least for the time being…” Knowing the ’emptiness’ that followed successful vengeance, Vahn knew that Tione would take a while to accept the reality of the situation. If she recovered instantly after dealing with the source of her trauma, it would have been even more problematic. Emotions weren’t something to be repressed in such circumstances as it could lead to other problems in the future whereas, not caring about the situation at all, would be the first steps towards developing psychosis and apathy towards life and death…

Tione turned her eyes up at Vahn, her brown eyes shimmering for a moment before a smile spread across her face. Without saying anything, she began ignoring the surrounding Amazonesses once again and instead hugged Vahn’s arm as she continued resting her head against his shoulder. As for the Amazonesses themselves, they were slightly surprised that someone as strong as Tione acted so ‘docilely’ around Vahn. Though they knew of his identity as ‘the strongest’ in Orario, they had never actually seen him perform any feats. Even seeing his battle against Ottar on the projection sphere didn’t really have the same ‘impact’ as watching the fight in person. There was a lot that wasn’t conveyed properly through an image, especially when it came to the overwhelming aura that usually emanated from Vahn when he was fighting seriously.

Tiona had also been eyeing the interaction between her sister and Vahn, forcibly restraining her urge to snuggle up with the latter since she didn’t want to butt after such a ‘serious’ development. She let her mind wander to what they could do later as, unlike Tione, she hadn’t been affected by the death of Argana that much. Because she hadn’t been particularly close to Tione in the past, she had never really interacted that much with Argana and only knew second-hand what kind of things Tione had to go through. She had resented her sister’s tormentor quite a bit so the death of Argana was more of a ‘happy’ event for Tiona, not something to mourn and lament…

Sensing the peculiar atmosphere on the small landing craft, Kali displayed an innocent smile, completely playing the part of her Chandi persona. Even the members of her own Familia, while being deferential towards her, were treating her differently than normal as they were already accustomed to Kali’s ‘shifts’ in personality. While she was in her Chandi persona, they would treat her as if she were a young girl while doing their best to avoid directly antagonizing her. After all, though she appeared innocent, Kali was actually more dangerous as Chandi than her real form.

Usually, Kali would laze about and just observe from the side unless the situation called for her to act directly. In her Chandi persona, however, Kali would proactively engage people and, if you did manage to offend her, it was almost the same as signing your death warrant. She would instantly transform from her relatively innocent self into a brutal and merciless killer, often in less time than it would take her victims to even process what happened…

Kali usually adopted her Chandi form when dealing with outsiders who were completely unaware of her true nature. All they saw was an ‘abnormal’ Amazoness child that stood out from her kin, especially with her innocent appearance. There was no end to the number of people who would try to exploit such a young girl, giving Kali more than enough justification to beat them into ‘literal’ meat paste. She did, however, make sure to always introduce herself as Chandi which, to those who knew her native tongue, was a very big ‘warning sign’ as it meant ‘slay evil without mercy’.

With the landing craft being pulled up onto the deck of the Brig Sloop, Chandi hopped up to her feet and trotted over to an elevated platform with a thick cushion. The surrounding Amazonesses gave her a wide berth while those closest to the landing craft observed its occupants with interest. Many had respectful glints in their eyes as they looked upon Tione while the vast majority looked toward Vahn was a slightly predatory glimmer reflecting across their irises. Vahn’s gaze also passed over them, albeit very briefly, as he committed their appearances and strength to memory.

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Most Amazonesses had similarly brown skin while, with the exception of a veiled woman, each had brown or reddish-brown hair. Like Tiona and Tione, nearly the entire crew had various shades of brown eyes, making Kali, Bache, and the Amazoness at the helm the only exceptions. Kali’s eyes, even in her Chandi persona, were still blood red. As for Bache, she had the same pale-gold eyes as her sister while the helmswoman had sharp hazel-orange eyes like a hawk. For the brief moment when Vahn made eye contact with her, he noticed her eyes retract to points and it felt like her gaze had pierced him before she instinctually looked away, now slightly pale.

While Vahn was standing on the deck with Tione, Tiona had walked over the Bache with an amiable smile on her face as she mused, “I’m even stronger than you now, Bache~.” This caused Bache to nod her head slightly before a soft yet womanly voice sounded out behind her veil, saying, “That seems to be the case. Even though I was a terrible Master, I’m glad to see how much you’ve grown, Tiona. You truly are the pride of the Amazonesses…” As she finished saying this, Bache turned her eyes towards Tione, her eyes squinting slightly as if she were smiling, adding, “Your sister has also grown a great deal. I am happy the two of you were able to live a fulfilling life outside of Telskyura…”

Even though she was Argana’s twin sister, it had been nearly two decades since the two were genuinely close with each other. Ever since she received the scar on her face at only eight years old, Bache had never treated Argana as her sister. She had genuinely been afraid that the day would come when Argana would try and kill her, all in the pursuit of greater strength. Now that Argana was dead, she felt more relief than anything else since, more than any other Amazoness, Argana had killed the greatest number of their kin. Though she also reveled in battle, Bache had never been able to understand why Argana had been so ‘bloodthirsty’ since their youth…

Tiona rubbed the back of her head with a sheepish smile on her face as she laughed, happy and embarrassed after being complimented. Unlike Tione and Argana, she had never really resented Bache and, after the latter began giving her books to read, the two had actually grown relatively close. The one thing Tiona had resented Bache for was the fact that her breasts were much larger but, after meeting Vahn, such things had become inconsequential. Now that she knew Bache would probably be her ‘sister’ in the future, as it was almost guaranteed she would bear Vahn’s child, Tiona felt a little happy about how things had turned out…

Unaware of the ‘arrangements’ that had been made for her, as she was unable to speak any language other than her native tongue, Bache looked toward Vahn and Tione with mild interest as she asked, “Is that boy really as strong as the rumors say…?” Since she was speaking in the Amazonian language, Bache was surprised when it was Vahn who smiled and answered, “I still have a long way to go before I can confidently call myself the strongest. However, if it is for the people I care about, there isn’t anything in the world that can hold me back…”

Vahn’s words had caused most of the Amazonesses on deck to show genuine surprise as even Kali gave him a curious look, asking, “You can speak our language…?” Her question had been in their native tongue, causing Vahn to turn his attention back to her as he answered, “I can read, write, and speak in any language, including the language of the gods themselves…” Though it was a boon granted to him by The Path, Vahn was inextricably linked with it for the rest of eternity. Each function and ability it provided was a part of himself, something he had grown to accept with the passage of time.

Kali’s curiosity was piqued even further as this was something that hadn’t been mentioned in the file provided by Loki. She didn’t believe that the latter was unaware of this fact and, curious about the veracity of Vahn’s claim, asked, “What am I saying right now…?” This time, she had spoken in a voice that caused everyone except Vahn to wince slightly as the language of the gods was something that ‘should’ be incomprehensible to mortals. They were words of power that were rarely used in the Mortal World as it would also cause the god in question to feel extreme fatigue for a short while.

Since Vahn’s ‘translation’ worked automatically, everything Kali said sounded completely normal to his ears. When he tried to respond, however, Vahn felt his energy reserves drain rapidly as he said, “You asked me what you’re saying…” By the time the words had left his lips, Vahn had a small trickle of blood coming out of his left nostril that caused him to furrow his brows and activate his [Magia Erebea] constitution. He quickly healed while his reserves were rapidly replenishing, all while Kali looked at him with wide eyes and a large grin on her face. She suddenly felt like the next three months were going to be ‘infinitely’ more interesting than she had expected…

Vahn felt like he had erred slightly but quickly recovered a stoic disposition as his mind raced with possibilities. He had felt the power contained within the words and wondered what kind of effect they would have if he used them in a spell’s incantation. As Eva had emphasized ‘a lot’, there was a lot of power in words and, the older the language, the more powerful the effect. In the record of Danmachi, the language of the gods was the oldest language, existing far longer than the Mortal World and the concept of Magic itself. Because of this, Vahn decided to look into it using one of the Space-Time orbs, as his intuition warned him that things could easily go awry if he used it in the real world…

Unaware that she had just made Vahn inordinately more powerful, Kali was also thinking about the future as she leaned to the side, resting her elbow against a small raised platform. For a moment, she had forgotten she was in her Chandi persona and had fallen into her rather uncouth habits, invalidating the purpose of her blue smock as she sat in a rather slovenly manner. This caused Vahn to snap out of his own thoughts, furrowing his brows slightly as he asked, “Where will we be staying during the voyage…?”

Kali had noticed Vahn’s reaction, the smile on her face vanishing as she adjusted her seated posture and explained, “My ship isn’t exactly suited for the transport of passengers. Your choices are to sleep in my private quarters or below decks with my children. We don’t have a lot of the luxuries you may be used to so you’ll have to bunk up with me if you want to sleep on an actual bed. Keep in mind that I’m a ‘rough’ sleeper, however, kukukuku~.” Kali had defaulted to the native tongue of the Amazonesses, allowing her children to understand clearly what she was saying. Now, the looks they gave Vahn contained a great deal of fervor as their goddess had never really shown any interest in men previously…

As he had already scanned his intent across the ship, Vahn knew that Kali’s words were actually the truth. Other than a few barrels full of preserved fruit and a few other essential supplies, they didn’t even carry any food reserves. The large area below decks just had a few tightly bundled hammocks where the crew would sleep while all of their food was harvested from the sea. Even their fresh water was produced by boiling saltwater and processing the condensation and runoff into potable water that could be consumed sparingly. There weren’t even any onboard weapons for dealing with pirates and sea monsters. Only the small private quarters at the back of the ship was properly furnished, though that itself was a bit of an exaggeration. Kali’s ‘bed’ was just a wooden platform with a matted cushion nailed to it while the rest of the cabin was filled with strange ornamental furniture that served no practical purpose…

Vahn was admittedly impressed with how seriously the Amazonesses were devoted to their lifestyle, even if he couldn’t personally agree with some of their traditions. The fact they could sail out into the sea, seemingly without making any preparations, showed that they were completely dedicated to surviving through their own capabilities. If not for the fact they were transporting a few goods and required sleep, Vahn suspected they might even forgo the use of ships entirely. Since he had seen how agile Tiona and Tione could be in the water, Vahn knew that the Amazonesses could actually travel through the water much faster than the ship itself…

In response to Kali’s obvious ‘taunt’, Vahn’s expression didn’t change at all as he said, “It is only three months, so I’ll stay on deck and observe throughout the journey. I’m pretty interested in sailing so it would be a good opportunity to see how professionals operate…” Since almost everyone had been paying attention to Vahn at this point, there were varying degrees of incredulity on the faces of several Amazonesses as they processed what he had just said. As for Kali, she gave a small frown, saying, “You really are no fun at times, Vahn…well, I can’t say I’m not interested to see exactly how long you can last without sleep. If you get tired and pass out, I can’t promise you’ll wake up in the same condition that you fell asleep in though, shishishishi~.”

After laughing to her heart’s content, Kali hopped up off her elevated platform and shimmied out of her smock before tossing her black-haired wig to the side. An Amazoness quickly scooped it up as Kali manifested a spiked bone mask, placing it over the upper half of her face. For a brief moment, she had actually been completely naked, wearing nothing but golden wristlets and anklets before her divine raiment took shape around her. Once her extremely revealing outfit had completely formed, Kali gave Vahn a mischevious smile before licking her lips and shouting, “Looks like we’ll have an observer for the next three months, girls! Make sure you do your jobs properly so our guest is properly entertained! Khodiva, set sail for home~!”

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Following Kali’s words, the Amazonesses on deck released a loud war cry as they set into motion, furling the sails and manually pulling up the two anchors before tying them down to the deck. It took less than a minute and a half before the ship was in motion, propelled against the wind by a series of long red oars that protruded from the side of the ship. One of the younger Amazonesses on the ship, even smaller than Kali, began beating a large drum in a rhythmic fashion, setting the tempo for the rowers below as the large Brig Sloop began to steadily accelerate through the water…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Moving Forward…’,’Language of the God’s’,’Wise Sailors fear the sea during a storm while Amazonesses sail into it with smiles on their faces…’)

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