Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language, violence, and mature content.
The smell of gasoline was prevalent as the two young women approached the large brick air-station. Situated in between the lower and upper parts of the town, nobles and commoners alike used the station for transport between cities. There was only one other way to travel between the great floating island cities, and that was through private airships. These were extremely expensive, and only the upper echelon could afford their services. A large brick arch claimed the entrance to the station, and upon entering, the duo was greeted with a ticket counter. It sat in the middle of the entryway, with another arch on both sides. These arches were blocked with Silvenium bars, which could only be passed through with the correct ticket from the counter. A long line of people were waiting for their turn in front of the counter. People from all walks of life, craftsmen, tailors, nobles, etc.
The line was moving relatively quickly as the girls found their place in the back. Dwight began to fiddle with her new belt, happy to not be wearing a duct taped piece of trash. She glanced up at Evangaline and watched as she started to tap her foot, crossing her arms, clearly growing more impatient by the second. However, it wasn’t long before they reached the front of the line. An elderly man in a blue tuxedo sat behind the counter. A typewriter Esque keyboard sat in front of him, and to his left was a slit in the booth where the tickets were produced from.
He looked up from the keyboard at the girls, smiling softly, “How can I help you two?” His voice was soft, much unlike Mr. Cranell’s loud and gravely tone.
“Two tickets to Hallensburg, first-class if you please,” Evangaline spoke firmly and politely, the same smile she always wore plastered on her face.
The man looked the duo up and down, before putting his hand out, “Your nobility identification cards if you please?” His hand had a slight tremor as he waited for the young women to produce them. All nobles were assigned a card with a number upon birth. This allowed them access to areas and services commoners conventionally wouldn’t have access too.
Evangaline looked back at Dwight and winked, before reaching into her pocket and pulling out her identification card, “Here is my card, and you can take this as well,” She pulled a small letter from another pocket, “This is a work visa signed by my father.”
Taking the identification card and letter, the clerk studied the card, nodding in satisfaction. He then opened the letter his eyes pouring over the contents. After a few moments he cleared his throat, “Everything seems to be in order, my apologies for the wait Ms. Vanhal.” The man handed Evangaline back her card and stashed the visa in the counter. Drawing in a deep breath the clerk's brown eyes changed to a lavender color as he began to type vigorously on the keyboard. Suddenly two silver tickets burst forth from the dispenser. His eyes returned to normal and he pushed the tickets across the counter, “That’ll be one small gold.”
Nodding, Evangaline took the coin from her purse and placed it in front of the man, “Thank you ever so much for your help.” She curtsied to the man before snatching the tickets and passing one to Dwight. Grabbing her wrist, Evangaline began to pull the other girl towards the left gate, giving her friend only enough time to wave at the elderly man.
As they came upon the archway, Evangaline held out her ticket. The metal began to glow, before splitting itself down the middle, creating enough room for the girls to walk through. Dwight watched with mild amazement, this type of smithing or Aura-Enchanting was something only an expert Aurasmith could pull off. Dwight hadn’t a slightest clue how the doors worked, and was tempted to start examining the mechanisms. She slowly passed through the gate still in awe, as it slowly reformed itself behind her.
Dwight shivered, as a blast of cold air washed over her. The platform jutted out over the edge of the island of Dransen, if one were to go to the end of the platform you could gaze down at the infinite sky below. Wind continued to bombard the duo as they trudged down the platform. They stopped in front of dock number 6 and sat down on one of the stone benches. The airship was due to arrive in the next 10 minutes. Dwight looked around at the other folks waiting on the dock. They were mostly nobles, merchants, and craftsmen. There was one individual in particular that caught her attention. It was a woman in a bright blue frilly dress. She had long auburn hair and hazy green eyes. She looked to be about the same age as Evangaline and Dwight. Her eyes were constantly shifting from person to person, before locking onto Evangaline. Before Dwight knew it, the woman was making a beeline for the pair, stopping to stand in front of them.
“Pardon my rudeness but might you be Ms. Evangaline Don Vanhal?” She asked inquisitively. Her gaze shifted to Dwight for only a moment, before resting on Evangaline.
Evangaline nodded, “I am indeed.” She bowed her head in greeting, “And who might you be?” Looking the stranger up and down, her eyebrow raised.
The blue dress woman curtsied, “My name is Alexus Maea Yevel, daughter of Garmond Nickelson Yevel. Our fathers have worked together before, and you seem to match the description he spoke of you.” Alexus grins.
“Ah, it’s a pleasure Ms. Yevel. How is your father these days?” Evangaline replied, returning the grin.
Dwight looked between the two women, unsure of what her place in this discussion was, nor did she understand why this conversation was taking place. She shook her head, I’ll never grasp the social ranking, or the requirements these nobles think they’re bound too. She assumed this must be a way for a lower noble, like Ms. Yevel, to gain the good graces of a higher noble family like the Don Vanhals. Lower nobles, like Dwight’s mother, didn’t have identification cards. Meaning they didn’t have access to things like first-class seating that a Higher Noble family such as Evangaline’s. The title of lower noble was awarded to those who had done their country a small service or owned a sizable amount of land. It was rare for the Higher Noble title to be handed out, to gain such an honor you’d have to either pay your way in or save the entire kingdom. In the past decade, however, the title had been given to the doctor who discovered the uses of the meteorite metal. He figured out how to convert the metal into a seed, which was now common day Silvenium.
She was ripped from her thoughts as Evangaline placed a hand on her shoulder, “This is Dwight, she’s an Aurasmith who’s being contracted by my father.” Alexus looked her up and down, nodding slowly.
“A pleasure Ms. Dwight.” She put out a hand for Dwight to shake, not bothering to curtsy. Ms. Yevel’s expression had changed from a grin to a small polite smile.
Taking the noble woman's hand, she firmly shook it, “Likewise Ms. Yevel.” And before anything else could be said, the sound of a horn echoed across the platform, signaling the approach of the airship.
The wings of the massive vessel folded up, as it docked. The doors along its side automatically slid open, as passengers and crew members poured out. As people began to disperse, Evangaline rose from her seat, “Well, it was a pleasant surprise to have met you Ms. Yevel, but we best be on our way.” She curtsied to the woman before, grabbing Dwight’s wrist, bolting away before the noblewoman could reply. A crew member was stationed at each door, prepared to take tickets and direct passengers to the correct section of the airship. The duo approached one of the entrances, a tall man in a blue uniform smiled as they came near.
“Good evening, ladies.” He bowed, “Tickets please.” Evangaline passed the man her ticket, and Dwight followed suit. The man punched a hole in each ticket, and then took a small handheld bell from his pocket. He rang it, and from within the ship appeared a butler who paused in front of the group, “This is Francis, he’ll be your attendant for this flight. If you need anything at all don’t be afraid to ask.”
The attendant had long brown hair and a stiff-looking mustache which was twirled on each end. He was dressed in a black suit, and he bowed to each of them individually, “Please follow me to your seats.” Francis gestured deeper into the ship, allowing both girls to enter in front of him. The inside of the ship was beautiful, the hallways were lined with gold and underfoot was a soft red carpet. Dwight had never seen so much gold, nor had she stepped on a carpeted floor. When they entered the first class seating area, she couldn’t help but gasp. Each seat was covered in blue velvet, and there was an Aura-Fireplace towards the back of the cabin. Windows littered the walls, allowing the passengers to gaze out into the great blue beyond.
Francis brought them to a set of seats near the back. The girls sat down across from one another, a table jutted out from the wall dividing the two of them, “Are there any food items I can procure for you lovely young ladies?” He asked, taking a small notepad, and ink pen from his shirt pocket.
Evangaline apparently knew the menu and ordered them both dinner. Francis nodded and quickly disappeared to the kitchens. There was a moment of silence between the young women. Dwight started to twiddle her thumbs, gazing into the fireplace next to them, “I hope this trip wasn’t too sudden or uncomfortable for you.” The noble woman’s voice caused her gaze to flick away from the fire.
“I’m fine.” She replied bluntly, “Never in my life did I think I’d experience such pleasures… let alone in a single day.” Dwight smiled at the girl trying her best to seem pleasant.
“I’m glad-” Evangaline was interrupted as the entire vessel jolted. The airship had left the station, and the duo watched out the window as the station grew smaller and smaller, “I hope the job my father has contracted you for is just as pleasurable.” She paused, “To tell you the truth, I don’t have a clue as to the specifics of this job… It was quite irritating when he asked me to come to Dransen,” Evangaline sighs. “It was, of course, nice to meet you and your employers… but I can only wonder what job would merit sending me.”
As she finished, Francis returned with two plates of food, and a pot of tea. He distributed the food and drink, before bowing and exiting once more. Dwight glanced around the room, only now noticing the other nobles who were on the flight. The first-class seating area was almost full. With only one table left empty. Everyone seemed engrossed in their own conversations, no one batted an eye as Dwight started to speak, “Well whatever it is… I hope I’m skilled enough to complete the task.” She took a sip of tea, “Why me? Of all the Aurasmiths, why choose me? Mrs. Cranell would have been a better choice. She has ten times the knowledge and experience that I do.” Evangaline continued to smile pleasantly unfazed by her slight outburst, “I have no special skills… I just happen to have found my calling at a young age…” Dwight trails off starting to eat her dinner.
Evangaline took a sip of tea before speaking, “If I were to weigh in on the situation… I’d say you were chosen, not only because you found your calling at a young age, but also because of who your father is.” Dwight’s fork clattered against the plate, as it was suddenly dropped. She started to cough trying not to choke on her food.
“M-My father,” She stuttered. “What does he have to do with anything…”
“Your father was a relatively famous Aurasmith. My father contracted him for two or three jobs, and was always impressed with his work.” Evangaline shrugged.
Dwight sucked in a sharp breath of air, “He never had much work when he was. . . alive. At least if he did he kept it hidden from me.”
Evangaline shook her head, “He lost his fame and good standing with the nobles when he had you. It’s against the law for a commoner to sleep with a noble.” She finished her dinner placing her utensils down, and leaning back into the seat. “When the authorities caught whiff he was forced to pay everything he owned to your mother’s family, for damages. I wonder why he never bothered to tell you all this?” Francis returned to collect their plates and dinnerware.
This gave Dwight a moment for pause. If this was indeed the truth, was it fear that kept him from telling me? Did he think I’d judge him or think less of him? I was so young. . . it’s not like I’d have even understood the situation.
The entire vessel shook, and screams could be heard above deck. Passengers had gathered around the window on the opposite side of the room. There was a loud roar as something again shook the entire airship. A crew member clambered through the entrance to the first-class seating area looking pale, “D-drak-kowurm!!” He shouted.
All the nobles were quiet for a moment before panic ensued. People were running around frantically, screaming and shouting. Some had hunkered down under tables, while others had fled deeper into the ship. Dwight looked over at Evangaline, who was surprisingly calm, “Umm…. Do you think we should flee somewhere?” She asked, glancing around the almost empty room.
“Where would we flee too? There’s not a spot on this ship that’s safer than any other.” Evangaline crossed her arms. “That beast has jaws big enough to snap this airship in half…” A hand went to her forehead, as she shook her head. “This is an extremely rare occurrence, these monsters don’t usually take a route through here because of all the man-made air-traffic. Something had to have attracted or angered the beast…” She trailed off, rubbing her temple.
Dwight tapped her fingers rhythmically against the table, before jumping to her feet . She reached into her belt and pulled out a skinny piece of metal, about half a foot long. It was silver, with a bronze inlay around its edges. Dwight’s eyes changed from bright blue to a shimmering white. A blade, made of mana, extended from the top of the handle. It had a white glow and pulsated at the same rhythm as it’s owner’s eyes. She looked at Evangaline, who was staring in awe at the display, “I’m going to go help the crew. I’m not going to sit idly by when there are others fighting to their deaths.” Dwight sprinted out of the first-class seating area and onto the deck. Her eyes had to adjust to the sun's rays. She squinted, hearing shouts and the sound of gunfire around her. The deck was filled with sailors engaged in combat. A single giant mast split the battlefield. Towards the back of the airship was an entrance to the captain’s cabin. When her vision returned to normal she was greeted with an intimidating sight.
The monstrous creature was dull green in color, and had leathery saggy looking skin. It stared at the crew members with it’s four black soulless eyes. The Drakowurm had four giant wings, two near its head, and two near its tail. The beast roared again, ramming it’s huge head into the side of the boat. Rays of various colors flew from the guns of the crew members, they weren’t even piercing its thick hide. Dwight glanced around for whoever was in charge, before she heard a cackle. She looked around the deck, but all she could see were sailors. Her gaze returned to the monster as it slammed the vessel again. That’s when she caught sight of a blue dress. There on top of the Drakowurm’s head was Ms. Yevel. She had had an evil grin plastered across her face, and when she noticed Dwight she waved, “Hello Ms. Dwight! My apologies for the bumpy ride, but I’ve a contract of my own.” The wurm crashed into the airship, as Yevel started to move, running up the creature's length and jumping onto the deck.
Crew members started to fire at her, but the mana rays from their weapons bounced off her skin leaving tiny burn marks. A sailor ran at her with a knife, but when he struck the woman the knife shattered, and the sound of metal hitting metal rang through everyone's ears. She continued to move towards Dwight, stopping a foot or so in front of her, “As you can see I’m not entirely human. Conventional weaponry has little to no effect.” Yevel tapped her collar bone, and her skin began to fade away, revealing a brass colored automaton. “I’m mostly machine, all that’s left of my fleshy body are my eyes, and some other vital organs.” Dwight couldn’t help, but stare at the complexity of the machine in front of her. She watched in awe as the android’s leg impacted her side, causing her to fly across the deck landing on her stomach.
She spat up some blood as she watched the droid approach. The sailors were all gathered around in a semi-circle too intimidated to do anything but watch. “Wh-why are you doing this?” The Drakowurm had calmed down, now silently floating beside the ship.
Yevel put her foot on Dwight’s back, pinning her down much like a hunter would their prey, “Because the man I work for requested I kill your friend. I’m not one to ask questions...” She began to giggle like a madwoman, as the pressure on Dwight’s back grew to an unbearable level.
Just as she was sure her spine was gonna snap, a frantic voice shouted out from within the cluster of people, “Stop!” Evangaline pushed through the crowd stopping a few feet away from Yevel and Dwight.
The automaton looked back and forth between the two women, before releasing her foot from Dwight’s back, “Ah, so nice of you to join us. . .” Yevel drew closer and closer to Evangaline. Dwight watched as the droid grabbed her around the neck, picking the blonde noblewoman up off the ground.
With a pained grunt, the Aurasmith pushed herself to her feet. The Aurablade was still clutched tightly in her right hand. She began to advance on the automaton, it seemed oblivious to her movement, it’s grip on Evangaline tightened, “You die now pretty gi-!” Yevel screamed out in agony, as the Aurablade pierced through her chest. She dropped Eva, spinning around to face her attacker. Dwight lost her grip on the weapon, and was left empty handed and defenseless, “You brat! I was gonna let you live, and you repay my kindness by stabbing me?!” The droid threw a right hook at Dwight, the girl barely dodging it. “How did you pierce my armor?! An Aurablade shouldn’t do more than singe my metal, but you managed to push it through my frame.” Yevel pulled the blade from her chest, the mana in the weapon slowly changed to crimson red. The droid then took a swing at her opponent.
Dwight narrowly jumped out of the way, the blade grazing her dress, putting a large gash in the fabric. She frowned having grown quite fond of her new attire. Reaching into her belt she pulled out a small snub nosed .44 aura-revolver. Squeezing the trigger as hard as she could, produced a large mana beam that blew straight through the automaton’s arm. Dwight watched as the revolver barrel slowly melted away, making the gun useless. She tossed it overboard, looking back to Yevel who had fallen to her knees clutching her arm.
“How! How are you doing this?! It shouldn’t be possible. . .” The droid suddenly lunged forward, tackling Dwight to the ground and pinning her. Yevel started to press her knee into the aurasmiths chest, cackling. “I don’t care how you did it. . . you can’t do it again if you’re dead.” Dwight felt her chest pop and crack as a rib or two broke. She slowly began to black out from oxygen deprivation. The ringing in her ears became overwhelming, and just before falling unconscious the pressure was relieved. The young aurasmith sat up quickly panting and clutching her chest.
Yevel had been ripped off her by a massive man in a black trench coat. He had his arms wrapped around her chest from behind, restraining the droids movements. “Don’ just sit there lass. Get up and finish this damn thing off!” Dwight was snapped out of her haze and slowly pushed herself to her feet. By this point the sun had begun to set, the sky had turned a ghastly purple and red. The Drakowurm had moved around the boat, following Yevel with its eyes. It was a frightful sight, and most of the ship’s crew had fled below deck. Dwight moved over to one of the remaining sailors, “Give me your gun.” Her tone was cold, and the man jumped at her voice.
“Why should I? What good will it do against the beast or the mechanical woman?” He was a muscular man with a bald head and large green eyes.
Dwight’s eyes were still glowing white, as she put her hand out, “Because I can damage her with any Auraweapon. Just hand me your gun dammit!” The remaining crew members had all turned to watch the exchange.
There was a pause lasting a few moments before the sailor sighed, and held out his pistol. Dwight snatched it from his hand, and the mana in the gun changed from green to a blinding white that matched it’s wielder’s eyes. The young woman advanced towards the fight, smiling at the struggling automaton. Yevel stared her down, smiling while still trying to slip out of the man’s grip. “What’s wrong Ms. Dwight? Can’t quite pull the trigger?” She kicked back, hitting the large man’s groin and forcing him to drop her. Yevel backed up towards the Drakowurm, an evil grin plastered to her face.
With the glowing aurapistol in one hand, Dwight aimed down the sights. She breathed in a small breath, causing a sharp pain to shoot through her body once more. The girl grimaced, pulling the trigger on the gun. A white beam shot out hitting Yevel’s other arm. The metal that had been struck started to melt away, and let out another scream of agony. Dwight frantically looked around, finally finding Evangaline hiding safely behind the mast. Yevel gripped her melting arm, her gaze found a smug smiling Dwight, “H-How are you doing this?!” The automaton screamed.
“It’s simple actually. My calling isn’t quite Aurasmithing.” Dwight started to advance on Yevel, “Whenever I use an Auraweapon or anything that consumes mana, my calling activates and enhances the output of whatever I’m wielding.” She stopped right in front of the droid. “Of course, I’m still a great aurasmith. But I’ve named my calling Aurawielding.” Dwight pointed the gun at Yevel’s head holding it there for a moment.
“Impossible, a calling like that doesn't exist!” Yevel slowly backed away from Dwight, now standing on the edge of the deck. The Dracowurm hovered behind her, unmoving.
“Believe what you’d like, but you’ve only about fifteen seconds left to believe it.” Dwight aimed the pistol at the beast and pulled the trigger. The pistol quite literally exploded as a white beam shot out piercing the monster’s eye. It roared in fury, opening its maw to bite the ship. Instead it got a mouthful of metal, because just as it was going to tear through the ship, Yevel had jumped over the side into its open jaws. The android screamed out in pain, before exploding violently causing the Drakowurm to cry out. It was a terrible noise, akin to a snake hissing and a coyote yipping, but a thousand times louder. Blood started to spill out of its mouth, as the creature dove below the ship, fleeing into the infinite blue.
Dwight dropped the pistol, falling to her knees. She felt a hand on her shoulder, looking up she found Evangaline standing over her, a smile on her face. “You did it Dwight. . . you saved the boat.”
The young aurasmith nodded her head, returning a weak smile. “Somehow-” She started to cough up blood, and fell flat on her face unconscious.