- Exam Instructions:
- For your exam you will be tasked with
- Following the trail of a group of pirates that has attacked one of the West Fiore Trading Company's shipments and stole wares that originally belong to them.
- You will go in as a member of Onyx Moon and set an example for those who think it's acceptable to steal from the Company as well as retrieve the wares.
- Leave no survivors.
- 3000 words
- Following the trail of a group of pirates that has attacked one of the West Fiore Trading Company's shipments and stole wares that originally belong to them.
Yona Hisamori was proud to accept a solo job as challenging as this. For this past year, she had been trying to prove that she could take on more difficult jobs and recently being inducted into the secret dark half of the guild, Onyx Moon, had given her hope that the time would soon come. Yona was told that she needed to trail a group of pirates that attacked a West Fiore Trading Company ship and stolen her wares. What was in those crates, Yona was not told, but it didn't really matter. She was going to board one of Onyx Moon's ships and get the wares back. The additional requirement, to leave no survivors was a strange thing, though. She had usually been told to hold back and not kill. She was excited by the change and so was Ketsueki, the demon which lived within her, driven by bloodlust. Yona headed into the secret guild hideout, changed her clothing and slid on her mask.
The mask was a simple-looking form of copper which slid over her nose and her mouth, hiding an inner layer of filter in case of dangerous gases. It changed her bright green eyes to silver and altered her tone to a sophisticated and silky woman's voice. It was the voice of her mother that she used when she had asked which boat was available for use. Yona ended up on a small sloop, about 10 or 11 meters in length. The boat had no name as far as she knew, but she supposed that made sense. The ship was made of a sturdy and dark stained wood with a single mast and jib. It would be easy enough to sail and maneuver on, and Yona preferred smaller ships for sneaking around or moving swiftly on the water. It was the perfect boat for catching some pirates.
With the power of the mask, the woman's short green hair grew out and she tied it back behind her head in a long tail of dark, forest green. A dark stone blue hood appeared overlaying her hair next and loose flowing pants matched it in shade; as did a pair of elbow-length finger-less gloves and a fitted top that looked like a hybrid between bikini wear and blue-green leaves. On Yona's feet were her usual comfortable ankle boots, but instead of white or brown, they were the color of steel. Fully changed, Yona adopted her Onyx Moon persona, saying her name out loud to help her to remember to only use said name to keep her identity hidden, "Briar."
Briar had scanned a few nautical maps while she waited for the five person crew to set the sloop up. As last minute checks went on, her eyes and fingers trailed where the pirates had been seen last and where they had attacked the Trading Company's vessel. It appeared they had been en route to head towards the Cloud Sea. The Cloud Sea wasn't known for its danger, the sea was much like every other, but the common foggy weather made it a good hiding place and it would be hard to find anything within the area without magical help. Yona had some ways to find the pirate ship without water based magic and as long as the crew could manage the ship, she wasn't concerned. If the guild trusted the crew, so should she, obviously. The captain approached her then, an old and robust man with red-grey hair and a red short beard. "We are ready to sail when you are. Where to?"
Briar pointed at the map and said, "Cloud Sea. Best hiding place for a pirate who desperately needs to hide." The Captain nodded, "Smart choice, on the surface at least. Let's show these pirates that if you steal from us, no place is safe. I'm Mal, and you can trust me to navigate those waters. I have done it before." Briar nodded again and rolled up the map, returning it to the shelves. She boarded the boat with Capt. Mal, listening to his assurances. She lifted a hand and in her new silky voice replied, "I have no concerns. I trust you." With that, the ship was untethered from the docks and the crew raised the anchor. They pushed out to see, spread open their sail and began their search out on the waves. Briar relaxed on the deck, coming up with varieties of plans in her head, breathing in the briney air. She adored being on the ocean as much as she loved the mountains where she was raised. If it were possible, she would be born again and live her whole live double, once more upon the grandiose sea. Three hours passed and the crew had taken a break. She joined them for a small lunch of bread and meats, water and fruit. They needed to keep up their energy and their strength. Another hour later, it was afternoon and Briar could see the fog thickening from the crests of the waves and rolling out towards them.
The Cloud Sea was moody and dark, but as promised the ship moved smoothly through the waves, cutting a slow and easy path until it too was enveloped in the fog. The sail was cinched in to reduce the speed and Capt. Mal approached her, allowing a second in command to take the wheel while he headed to where she stood at the bow. "I have to touch the water," Briar explained. "I think I can get a read on boats nearby if I do that." Capt. Mal nodded and walked her to the starboard side of his ship, unlinking the safety line that acted to protect any unbalanced crew member from falling off. "There's the ladder right here. You climb down careful, now miss." "Thank you," Briar returned turning her back to the sea and climbing down the side of the ship. Her feet slipped into the narrow notches, the built in ladder slippery from the trip here. She went down until her feet were just above the bouncing surface, used one hand to hold onto the ladder, and dipped her right hand into the water. The cold water slipped up to her elbow, then down to her wrist, and then back as waves passed them by. Briar concentrated her plant-based magic and focused.
She had never done this before: using plants in the ground to sense movement of bodies upon it was her easy way to detect creatures, people, monsters, nearly anything on the land. She was using her regular herbaceous communication in water, trying to access the seaweeds floating by, the kelp from deep below, and the millions of microscopic plants floating beyond the capability of eye sight. The idea was the same, to use the plants to sense larger bodies in the area. Briar smiled as Capt. Mal called down to her, stroking his red beard. He didn't look very judgmental, given that he had seen plenty of oddities in his day, but this was strange indeed. "I can feel them," Briar called up to him. In fact, she could feel almost too much. She felt the motion of the waves and it was messing up her precision. She could feel large objects underwater, maybe sunken ships or whales. She could sense groups of small moving creatures and deduced that they were fish. It took several minutes to figure out which sensation was the exact ship she was hoping to find. In the meantime, her left hand was strained and sore, the cold water had chilled her other hand and arm until they were red.
Briar pulled her hair up from the water and licked the salt off her lips. The waves had splashed at her ankles and dampened her boots but overall it had been a successful venture. Briar cilmbed back up to the top of the ship, nearly slipping on the top rung from her wet boots. Capt. Mal grabbed her by the arm and she fixed her footing before climbing over the ship's deck again. "Thanks for that," Briar said with a chuckle. She had no interest in falling into the cold water beneath them, "I guess my arm kind of locked up from the cold." The captain nodded, "Aye, I suspected that was the case. I told you, I have your back out here. So what direction?" Briar was surprised but happy by his bluntness. He had no interest for understanding how she knew, questioning if she knew it, or if the process was adequate. Briar sat down on the deck and began pulling off one of her boots. "It's southerly, besides what I think might be a tiny island. It was hard to get an exact detail of the land but I could feel something the size of a massive ship out there." The captain straightened his back and pointed to the south, calling out orders to his crew.
"There is an atoll that way, I've been there a couple times in passing. We can be there in thirty minutes, but I suggest us taking it slow and sneaking up from the far end of the atoll. You would have more luck if they do not see you, miss." It didn't sound condescending, merely stating the facts and letting her decide. She gave him an affirmative gesture and nod and headed below the deck. She dried her boots as best as she could and then Briar warmed herself up a little more. It was colder than she expected and as much as she loved her Onyx Moon garments, she had need to change them. Using the power of the mask, Briar made changed her cropped and short sleeved top into a dark fitted shirt which wrapped around her middle with a wide leather belt. Instantly relieved of the cold and better dressed, Briar returned above deck to stand by the captain. Still, it was strange that Ketsueki had said nothing. He made no whispers, no complaints, no suggestions. It seemed that for now her demon was waiting, watching, like a hawk gazing down the cliff-side to decide upon the best meal and the best time to take it.
Briar had made her preparations, going over a good plan in her mind. An atoll was a ring shaped set of islands usually accompanied by a barrier of coral beneath the water. The plants would be young, lively and abundant. It would work well for Briar to have some plants around to use with her magic and even from a distance, she would be able to succeed. First, she would use the plants beneath the water to entangle or hold the ship in place, preventing them from running away or turning the ship around to shoot effectively. It was the sort of thing that could be silently, making it so the pirates would not even be aware of what was happening. From there, Briar needed to identify that this was the ship with the stolen goods. Once that was confirmed, she would be able to finish the job and destroy all of the crew aboard and responsible. It seemed because she had to know for sure if the WFTC goods were aboard, that Briar would have to sneak aboard. She could handle that, couldn't she?
In advance, Briar had taken a small dinghy from the Onyx Moon ship, allowing it to stay hidden in the mists. She eased the boat forward slowly, paddling it through the coral carefully before making it to the atoll. She stepped onto the island and dragged the dinghy half up onto the land so she would have a way to return to her own vessel. Her fingers dug into the sandy soil, allowing her magic to bring forth the growth of the tiny grasses until they were dense and waist high. She crawled through the grass and rested her hands in the water, doing the same to the plants in the water, allowing the kelp to wrap around and grow densely around the anchors of the pirate ship in sight. The ship before her, the shadows lurking through the fog, gave her an idea of its size and layout: a single mast sloop like her own, but it was double the length. The sails were rolled up and it didn't take long to entangle the two anchors keeping the ship steady. There was no way the pirates wouldn't have weighed anchor and risked running aground on the coral.
Briar was tempted to simply let the plants grow on and on, covering the whole ship in a frightening layer of matted algae until it became so dense and heavy that the crew could not breath. It seemed too unreliable and so she did not, but the craving was there. "Can I come out now?" Ketsueki asked. Him asking to come out made her smile. "As much fun as you would have, I need to be sure of what boat this is before that comes. But if you behave, then, yeah, maybe we can arrange that." Briar wasn't normally interested in letting Ketsueki have an appearance but the vicious demon would be effective and he would certainly enjoy performing the final command of her guild.
Briar crept along the atoll, wading through the shallow water to the next island, and then the next, until she was close enough to see the people on the ship. Plenty of men seemed to be below deck, from what she could tell through the side scuttles. The rounded windows proved to show two decks below the main deck; the first level down was filled with joyous looking crew members, drinking their fill and playing games. In a small cabin with its own door, it appeared the captain was giving himself a quick shave. The lowest level was the hardest to see into, the waves continually rushing over the portholes. Briar caught glimpses of large crates, the black stamp of WFTC upon them. And besides them there seemed to be a few annoyed looking crew members, likely salty to be missing out on the drunken fun above. "This is our ship," Briar said softly, despite that Ketsueki was in her head and could hear and see things just as well as she could.
"Let me do my plan first, and if that fails, it's up to you. Deal?" Ketsueki slithered around excitedly, flexing and sharpening his claws. "Oh, oh yes. That suits me. I cannot wait to rend them of their limbs first, watch them flop around on deck like the fish they hunt. Their blood will stain their ship, from bow to stern. I want to leave my mark on this atoll. Perhaps they will rename it in my honor," he continued on and on. Briar was going to tell him to shut up, but he calmed himself down and she crept ever closer to the ship itself. Briar spotted a ladder, much like the on she had used on the Onyx Moon sloop: crevices built into the side of the ship as a make shift ladder. There were two on this starboard side, and she supposed two on the other as well given the sheer size of this boat. A fortuitous fragment of a thought slipped through her mind and she had to cover her mouth to not laugh. Could she really board the ship so easily? Could she really? The idea of it was preposterous, but it wasn't any crazier than her idea to sense plants through the ocean water and here she was besides the target she had sought out.
Briar adjusted her hood to conceal herself better among the island reeds. She touched one and took a deep breath, "Here goes nothing." It wasn't that unusual these days for pirates to have a supply of food aboard their boat, and with it herbs, spices, or rare finds from far away islands or coasts. Such items were wonderful for seasoning the food upon a ship that hardly touched a shoreline, but the rare items were worth as much as gold in the right ports of the world. Briar was banking on these pirates having some sort of plants, alive or dead, in the cargo hold. Stored up with the stolen WFTC crates, the barrels and boxes of provisions a crew of their size would need to survive. She estimated that if there were five people on her boat, there would be at least ten as a crew on this sloop. And given that the vessel carried pirates, a change of guard would necessitate even more. Briar recalculated and estimated about twenty on board as a minimum. She concentrated and cast her Greenwalk spell.
The plant mage was teleported from the atoll's reeds to the cargo hold of the ship in mere seconds, reappearing in a crate of various fruits, leaves and twigs still attached to some. In a burst, she got to her feet and climbed out of the crate, surprising the four men standing there. At first, in shock, the four crew members just stared. By the time they raised their weapons up to fire upon her, or opened their mouths to shout out an alarm, Briar had cast another spell by raising her right hand and blowing them all a kiss. The air had been altered to be filled with a magical based toxin, direct from poppy plants. It dramatically increased the level of sleepiness the bored men felt and the four of them toppled to the floor, landing upon each other and the crates with little "thumps". Briar waited, listening to the cacophany above, and then breathed out. "All right, we're in." "Damn, I was kind of hoping that wouldn't work out," Ketsueki groaned, pacing around inside her mind. He was ready to launch out and fight, that was for sure.
Briar relaxed slightly and slid her hand along the wall of the ship, drawing out her scimitar made of thorns. She thought a response to Ketsueki, knowing it was no longer the time to be speaking out loud, "I'll kill these ones and check the crates. Then we can go upstairs. I'll let you have a little bit of control, but I need to face the captain myself. Understood?" The demon was silent for a long while, and for a moment Briar wondered if he was ignoring her or if he had decided to take a nap. Briar used the scimitar to go to each of the four pirate crew, three men and one coarse looking woman, and kill them. She was efficient about the work, killing them with a single blow to the neck, severing their heads while they were asleep. She couldn't have thought of a more compassionate way to kill someone who had wronged her guild. At the sight of blood, Ketsueki's eagerness could barely be contained and her eyes flashed with blue flames. "All, right, fine. I'll take what I can get."
That was as good as she was going to get out of the demon, this much she knew. Briar went to the crates, there were three of them, and peeked in-between the wooden slats where the black stamp of WFTC had been painted on. Briar sensed nothing magical within two of them and curiously lifted the lid, unlatching the side. But the lid would not lift, it seemed there was another lock she couldn't find holding it closed. Briar frowned, disappointed and then looked towards the stairs going upwards. All the moving feet, the laughter, and the smell of alcohol suggested that they were anything but prepared for what was coming. Someone dropped their pint and bronze liquid slipped between the cracks of the floor above, dripping down onto the dead bodied where Briar had left them. It gave her a unique idea, and she smiled. She was just full of good ideas today.
Briar emitted the strong sulfurous scent from her body, allowing it to mingle in the air with smell of the dead which were not yet decomposed. As seconds passed, the smell become more and more intense until the entire cargo hold smelled like a forgotten butcher's shop. The odor of rotten flesh made its way upwards through the floorboards where the party was taking place. As soon as she was sure it had made it up there, Briar approached the stairs. She reached for the handle of the door and could hear many men gagging, and one even emptying the contents of his stomach. She pushed the door open and slashed out immediately with her scimitar, catching the woman who was leaning on the door by surprise. It tore through her side, upwards through her ribs and punctured her lungs. The woman fell to her knees coughing blood and howling until she finally died.
All eyes turned towards her and despite the horrific smell and the crew's discomfort, they were already drawing their weapons. "Good," She said to them, "I wanted a more fair fight." Briar blocked an incoming attack from a man wielding a rapier and slammed her leg into his chest. He fell backwards and knocked the man behind him down. Another man came after her and she slashed at him, the scimitar tearing open his chest and his neck. Before falling he managed a swing at Briar, one which cut a slice in her right leg. It hardly mattered to her however, she was immersed. The middle deck was too small for them to surround her on all sides and get a flanking attack in. Meanwhile, small places were the ones Briar knew best how to fight in. She had grown up knowing how to use her environment to fight and survive.
Briar turned to face two more attackers, dispatching them quickly with her dexterous fighting skills. When the largest man of the bunch headed her way, the crew started to cheer but Briar made a face. "You don't want to do this," She warned, fully knowing that the largest man was not about to back down. A single woman, taking on a ship full of pirates? "I think you've lost your way, miss," The large man guffawed and Briar met his blue eyed gaze with her silver hues. "It's your mistake," She corrected, speaking the command word for another spell. "Scopolia." At first, the word meant nothing, but then it would sink into the man's sturdy skull. "Protect me at all costs," Briar directed. It wasn't dangerous, and it wasn't suicidal, and the suggestible man fell prey to her mind attack. "Of course, my lady." The others heard this and angrily moved to attack her again.
To their dismay, their companion turned against them, swinging his double axe into their bodies, hacking them to pieces. One after another, the crew fell in piles until the death total had risen to more than a dozen. Briar could feel Ketsueki pacing around, desperate to get into the action, mewling like a starving cat. "Soon," She told him, throwing her scimitar. She aimed it at the head of a woman standing in the corner, a pirate female who had tried to hide instead of fight. "This is. what happens. when you steal. from the wrong company," Briar enunciated every word, giving slight pauses for stronger emphasis. Briar called upon her magic further and black and white flowers sprouted upon small vines that wrapped from her wrists to shoulders, looping around her arms. She quickly moved her fingers through familiar gestures until she felt a blade in her back. It dug in deep and she winced, hearing a voice behind her, "Get off our boat!"
The pain came again, and again as she was stabbed twice more. Briar cocked her head sharply, her hood thrown off so she could see the two faced of pirates behind her. Her hands reached behind her head, grabbing for the faces, making skin to skin contact with her finger tips. Tendrils of black fungus appeared upon their skin, spreading like blight across their face and neck. And then came the screaming. The two men jumped backwards, grabbing at their faces, spreading the blight to their own hands. They looked at themselves and then each other in horror, not knowing what to do. Lesions appeared blistering their skin and with it came intense itching and pain, as if they had been stung by a swarm of jellies in the sea. Briar watched them, cold and emotionless, letting them destroy each other. The more they touched each other, the more the moved and touched their own skin, the worse the pain got and the more the blight would spread. Briar plucked the daggers from her back and used them to finally end the torment of the two covered in her blight, cutting their throats and dropping the daggers to the floor unceremoniously.
When Briar turned back around, the large man had killed nearly all of the crew that were left. Even the crew that had been on the main deck, who had heard the screams and came to assist their fellow men were now lying dead on the ground. She counted them with her eyes and her silver eyes flashed with blue flame once more. "That's 22. All right, Ketsueki. Finish the rest for me in here. It's all your's." The woman barely got the words out before branches burst from her collarbone and shoulders. Her face and skin grew dark black in color and long branch like claws, sharpened as blades stemmed from her fingers. Ketsueki flexed within the form and shuddered in contentment. "Yes, yes. It's mine. My turn."
Briar's body looked like an amalgamation of demon and plant, the vampiric creature out of his mind with excitement in the presence of all the violence and blood. Her now blue flame eyes scanned the room like a predator, ticking off the living leftovers from the fighting so far. Ketsueki had a deep voice, but in his crazed mind, it was almost sing song in rhythm, "One under the table~, one lying on the floor~, the large man with his axe and the woman grabbing for the door~. Such, such fun." He let out a frightening laugh and dashed through the room, shredding up the floor boards with his movements, heading for the woman first. The fear in her eyes made her face look wide and expansive. She begged Ketsueki, having never been so frightened in her life. "I didn't sign up for all this! Please! Please, no!" She shook and kicked at the door and finally it swung outwards, nearly causing her to fall upon her knees. Ketsueki lunged at her and took a swipe at her back with his claws extended. They raked over her clothing and flesh until all that remained looked like bloody fruit in a blender. Ketsueki licked his lips and then licked one claw at a time, enjoying the taste, his long serpentine tongue curling about for every drop.
The large man had stopped swinging his mighty axe around and was looking in confusion at the room. His weapon was carnelian in color and his hands were wet with blood. Despite the grim chaos and death around him, he seemed to be unable to understand his role in it all. He stood there aimless, blank faced, just blinking. Ketsueki turned and swiped downward, severing the last bit of life from the young man lying on the floor. He had been holding his chest wound closed, having been hit with the axe, but judging by the fearlessness in his eyes, he had accepted that this would be his end. The other young man hiding under the table was shaking, holding a dagger in his hand. He looked like he wanted to fight for his life, but he also didn't look like he was going to come out from under the table.
A large crack in the table suggested it had withstood a blow from the large man's axe and that must have seemed good enough shelter for the moment. Ketsueki stepped towards the large man with his axe, an appalling expression of glee on his twisted wooden face. The gnarled black wood with gleaming fires for eyes intimidated the man beneath the table into silence, but the large man was gripping his axe and glowering. "What have you done? What have you made me do?" Ketsueki laughed again, "Did you not hear her? She warned you. And she told you this is what happens when you steal." He lifted his hands up in a mocking surrender, "Oh but please~, don't shoot the messenger." A stabbing and throbbing pain came from Ketsueki's leg, twice, then again. Over and over until Ketsueki looked down and spied the young man who had been hiding.
"That's it! Yes! Fight for it, little man! Show me how much you love this life! Show me what it is worth to you!" Ketsueki allowed the man to stab into his body several more times, laughing through the minor pain of it all. Briar, from inside of Ketsueki's head, crossed her arms. "Don't play this much. I have to be able to walk away from this too, remember." Ketsueki frowned and made taunting sounds from his lips, "Mamama, nanananana, nininini." Then with a sigh, he reached down and grabbed up the man from the table. His large clawed hand hoisted the man up by his neck and squeezed with quick flick of his wrist. The sound of the cervical vertebrae in the man's neck could be heard snapping and the young man fell limp in Ketsueki's hand. The demon tossed him over his shoulder and turned in time to see the axe heading his way. Now, an axe could deal serious damage!
Ketsueki dodged carefully, ducking to the side a few times as the large man strode forth swinging the blade. "Monster! I'll kill you! Die, monster, die!" The demon reached out a clawed hand and it morphed: hand stretching and claws stretching until they were able to shoot like shafts of bamboo across the short distance between him and the man. The claws stabbed through the male's torso and the squelching sound that followed made Ketsueki's jaw unhinge with over-joyous and horrific pleasure. His claws worked like straws, sucking the blood from the large man, bit by bit until the man's color drained out of his face. The fighter hit Ketsueki in the side with his axe once, a weak blow, and then dropped his axe. He was grabbing at the claws and trying to remove them. He was getting progressively weaker and thinner, as if his life was fading away.
"If your eyes offend me, I shall pluck them out. And if by your right hand, you attack me, I shall.....have.....your arm." Ketsueki's voice was malovent and quiet, as if speaking as a ghost in the night, his voice echoing in the middle deck. The middle-aged axe-wielder looked like a one hundred year old man, frail and thin, and his eyes sunken back into his skull. The demon on the other hand looked more vibrant than ever, the blood restoring his power and strength until the demon filled half the area of the middle deck, cracking the side walls and busting through the ceiling and into the main deck above. When he was finished with the husk of a pirate, Ketsueki bent his head and unhinged maw, taking a large bite and consuming the right arm. As he was feasting, Ketsueki felt the inner tapping of Briar's impatient foot in his head. It was time, his freedom was already being cut short. A deal was a deal. Ketsueki looked around at his handiwork and released the man from his claws.
Without a word of thanks or a scathing gripe, Briar reclaimed her body from the demon, wounds and all. She felt the pain of the transformation clearly, her jaw clicking as it settled into a normal position, her fingers sore from the straining of the demon's claws, and her eyes moving back into the framework of Briar herself. She was covered in stab wounds and losing blood, thanks to the reckless and abandon of the demon. Briar muttered, "Aloe Allay," and some of the wounds sealed up. She wasn't yet done here: the captain of the vessel was still in his chambers. Or that was what she thought until she heard the creaking of wood and lifted her head.
Before Briar stood the captain, his face half shaved and half covered in white shaving cream. In both hands he held firearms and she could sense the magical energy coming from them. Magical guns, custom made by the look of them, and one was aimed at her and the other was aimed at the back of the head of a young boy, maybe twelve years old. The boy reminded her of Sato, though he was a bit older. Seeing a child on the ship gave her pause and she just stared down the captain for the moment. "Don't hurt him, Reynolds! He's your son, for heavens sake!" The voice of a middle aged woman came from the captains quarters and then she revealed herself, hands in the air. She had a haunted expression and was trying to avoid the macabre scene around them. The boy looked nervous but she didn't detect any fear in him, only some sort of resolve.
"Reynolds?" Briar asked and the captain snapped at her, "It's Captain Reynolds! You monster! I know what you are! I'll be going straight to the Magic Council!" Briar sighed and rubbed her temples, "No, you won't. Lower your weapons. Leave the kid out of this. You stole from the company, and you must pay the price." The tension in the room could have been cut with a knife. The half-bearded captain was mad to say the least and tightened his grip on his weapon. Briar was paralyzed in the moment. Leave no survivors surely did not extend to the captain's mistress and son, and yet to leave them alive would mean risking her secret. If anyone made the connection, there could be dire consequences. Still, she had to handle the captain first.
Briar lifted up her hands still in a surrender position, she gestured with a hand as she spoke, drawing an arc with her finger in the direction of the captain. "All right, Captain Reynolds. You know this, then. A captain always goes down with his ship." Enormous roots sprang out of the surface of the floor. They moved to instantly wrap and surround the man in a single person sized cage. Briar made eye contact with the kid and demanded, "Move!" At least the kid was obedient, running towards his mother who took him in her arms. From the cage, the captain shot out at Briar twice, one from each barrel. The first one hit the wall behind her and the second landed in her left shoulder, above her heart by a few inches. She took a step back gripping her shoulder, wincing. The bullet that hit her felt like a fire was lit under her skin, it burned and seared a mark into her skin, leaving a hole in her clothing. It was caustic, Briar realized, somehow containing a potent acid which was eating away at her skin and muscle now.
The roots of the cage, covered in flowering lianas with purple and green leaves, tightened, preventing the man from aiming his next shot well. In frustration the captain shouted, shaking his weapon at her. The cage itself began to emit a poisonous cloud of spores and Reynolds coughed loudly. Briar grit her teeth as she spoke, holding onto her shoulder, "Have it your way then. A slow death by the poison of my plants. I'm not really into it, but this time, I guess I can make an exception." The spores were naturally breathed in and a few seconds later the captain vomited and fell onto his knees. The wife of the captain screamed out for him but didn't approach him. The boy looked coldly from the cage, to Briar, and then back. His face seemed to darken before he turned away to hide behind his mother. Briar's poisonous flowers caused the captain to start howling next, hallucinating demons much like Ketsueki all around him. Then came the wrenching pain of his muscles and nerves, all firing off simultaneously: a pain which would not stop now that it began. The wife cried out again, begging Briar to stop, trying to plead for Reynolds' life.
Briar was busy tending to her shoulder and chose not to acknowledge the woman or her kid. This was a hard enough mission for her already. She had a job to do and she swore that she would do it. The acid damage could be healed to an extent, but Briar knew it would a rounded horrific scar for a long time. Briar simply waited for Reynolds to die, knowing eventually within her poisonwood cage, he would indeed fall. The half shaved captain grabbed the cage by the bars, holding himself up from the floor. His hands were pricked by the thorns and bled, but he did not seem to care. "Avenge me, boy. Avenge me and destroy this monster." Briar lifted her head from her wound back to the captain in time to see the man shoot his own self in the head. The body fell and the wife screamed again for the captain. Briar looked the woman over and groaned inwardly. She just couldn't do it. The boy needed someone to look after him, and she was not going to kill a child.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a map and a compass powered by a lacrima. "You have enough to survive here, several dinghies are aboard. I suggest you take some provisions and set sail West, to the nearest land," Briar placed the map and compass on the table, not about to go near the woman. Her mind was probably fraying at the entire scene and events around her. "You can take that kid somewhere safe and make a new life for yourselves." Briar started to walk up the stairs, heading for the main deck above, but she paused by the gory mess at the door. She spoke loudly enough for the woman to hear behind her, "I don't kill children, but you better not follow me." With that, Briar made her way off the ship, job nearly complete. She returned to her dinghy, brought in the crew from her own sloop, and transferred the stolen goods. By the time her crew had come back for the goods, the woman and the boy were both gone, giving Briar the chance to finally breathe. She tended to her injuries on the trip back to Tolgalen, feeling content with her success but dramatically changed on the inside, appalled and confused by her emotions. She had left no real survivors, not even the kid and that woman. Those two would mentally live on that boat for the rest of their lives. Briar just wanted to get home and be Yona again, and hold Sato close to her, and get some sort of reminder that she was still a good person on the inside.
Eau de Rotten Corpse