Amber was pacing on the top side of the Sky Bastion. What an interesting turn of events. Just a few hours prior, Shining scale's only companion was a paranoid golden dragon and a timid familiar. Recently, Amber purchased a phone. She had spent the extra dollar to get a waterproof one. Until now, it was simply a device for emergencies. But now it held Lily's phone number, the only person on her contact list. It was too soon to call her a friend, as it was only their cause that held them together. but it was nice to know another magical girl. And a magical boy too. Alexander reminded Amber of some of the teenagers that came by the hardware store. Always questioning things and trying to find the best way to build their project. The logic and caution to lily's heart and enthusiasm. Amber even scored a talking necklace, which would soon take her to riches beyond her wildest dreams. While she didn't consider any of them friends, Amber did consider their presence a boon. But Lily, Alexander, and Helga came with a cost. Now Amber had to divide her time further by sorting out this “magical girl war” business alongside scaring off magical entities. Of course, the war was going to happen anyway, so maybe it was actually good fortune that she got dragged into this. Who could say what was good or bad?
Ah yes, Mariette. For some strange reason Lily was dead set on using her to get to this over city. Sue had talked to her about the over city previously, so Amber knew what it was. Surely there were more trustworthy magical girls that could get them to the over city? Regardless, Amber knew of no one else personally. And if Lily could make it happen, then she would have access to whatever sort of treasure Justine had. Fortunately, Amber had someone who was trying to contact the portal witch. Shining Scale wandered below deck.
Slowly but surely, the interior of the Sky Bastion was starting to come together. Shining Scale was keeping to a pirate theme, so everything had to look like it belonged in an old pirate ship. Amber didn't have a ton of furnishings up, but it was starting to look livable. She saved a lot of money dropping by thrift shops for old furniture. Amber headed straight for Sue's room and pushed the door open, quietly.
Sue was in her human form. She was sitting on a stool in front of an old vanity, trying to decide on the right pair of earnings. She wore a gold stud on her left ear, and a silver loop on her right. The familiar was also experimenting with rolling her shoulders back to make her breasts appear bigger. It was a trick Amber had employed in the past.
“Going on a date?” Amber was grinning ear to ear when she said this.
Sue flinched, but she didn't look away from the mirror. “I just want to see how nice I can make myself look.”
“For the date, right? I noticed your ribbon snapped. That means your letter got delivered.”
Sue placed both of her hands on the vanity table and sighed. She was looking at a space between her hands. “Did you need something, Amber?”
“Yea.” Amber leaned up against the frame of the doorway. “On your date, I'd like Lily and Alexander to drop by and see if they can get us inside magical girl fort knox. Preferably before you scare Mariette off with a proposal.”
Sue spun a hundred and eighty degrees in her stool to look at the pirate girl.“A-Amber!” She hugged herself. “Okay, let's rewind a little bit.” Sue put out her hand and raised a finger. “First of all, you didn't knock.”
“Okay, I expected that.” Sue raised another finger. “Secondly, it's not like that, alright? I'd get all dressed up to go on outings with you too.”
“Except that I have a brat's body, so we never do. We can't go club hopping together, and it would look weird if we ate anywhere by ourselves.”
“Well...” After a pause, Sue lifted a third finger. She used her other hand to point at it. Like this was going to be big. “Lastly, I just want to get to know her a little better.”
“Which is what everyone says before going on a date.” Amber's smile widened. “Are you done?”
“Augh!” Sue yanked on her pigtails. “Could you give me a few minutes with her at least?”
“Only if you can tell me why. When you had the ability to wish for virtually anything, why did you wish for an audience with the 'portal queen' of all people?”
Sue looked away from Amber. She looked wistful. “Amber” the familiar placed her hands together. “Do you remember that story you told me about the boy that was going to mug you? When you were still a manager?”
The smile immediately vanished from Amber's face. “Are you serious? That's what this is about?” Sue stayed quiet though. Amber just shook her head. “I think if I told you how that story ended, you wouldn't have wasted your wish.”
Shining Scale looked away from Sue. “Since you used your wish on it, you might as well enjoy it a little bit. But I will be nearby, and so will the others.”
It took Sue a moment to respond. “She might not even show.”
“I realize that.” Amber closed the door to Sue's room and entered her own. It was almost identical in appearance, though Amber had found some cheesy treasure maps to put on the walls for decoration. There was also an old, rustic bed. Since it was easiest for sue to keep her bird form, she slept in a bird's nest. The pirate pressed her back against the wall and allowed herself to slide to the floor. Amber reached for her pendant and pulled it out of her vestments. “So, Helga was it?” Amber's smile started to return. “I get the feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time together, so I'd like to get to know you, if you don't mind.” The pirate swung the pendant a little, letting it wonder back and forth like a pendulum. “You seem to have a history with Lily and Alexander, as well as the hospital incident. Did you want to tell me about that?”
Helga's voice cried out of the jeweled accessory.
"First of all, stop shaking me around so much! All my senses are linked to this pendant including my sense of balance, so you're gonna make me sick!" Her voice then lowered. "But sure, I can share that little tale with you."
“Oh, sorry about that. Heh.” Amber stopped the pendant from swinging and let it rest in her palm. “Well, go on.”
"So thunder thighs and white knight were meddling with my gig so I decided to teach them a lesson. Yellow streaker put up a good fight, but pretty boy was just pathetic, thinking he could use his flimsy clones and bubbles to fight me. Man, you should have seen it when I clobbered him up good!"
Amber nodded “I guess that's what you get for underestimating your opponent. I don't hold that against you.” The pirate raised one of her eyebrows. “But why blow up a hospital? Did you really have anything to gain from that?”
"Nope, it had nothing to do with gaining anything. I was just working under my Lady's orders. When she says jump, you bounce to the moon! Hahaa!"
Amber chuckled. “Then there must be a reason why you are so loyal to her. I wouldn't follow orders unless I had something to gain out of it.”
Helga chuckled, and accidentally let out a frog's squeak. "Whoops, didn't mean to do that. Anyway, you seem very curious about my Lady; not only do you want to get into her party cave and snatch up her goods, but you also want to snoop around her secret plans. Doesn't seem to be anything personal, so care to share?"
“Honestly, if your lady operated anywhere outside of Penrose, I wouldn't give a flying seagul what she did.” Amber sighed. “But this type of chaos is going to bring more magical girls into the picture, and that makes my job harder. Your lady's plans and my boss's interests simply don't mesh together.” The pirate smirked. “And if you'd tell me what you really want, maybe our alliance doesn't have to be so temporary. I couldn't care less what your lady's ultimate plan is, I just want to know why you serve her.”
"Oh, in that case, I can give a little teaser, hehe....Our Lady will change the world. And in that world, even a freak like me will find a place to call home, where nobody will tell me to shut up and crush my dreams...Yeah, wouldn't that be nice, huh?" She spoke as if she was talking to herself. "It's like what that parrot told me: Caw, keep at it! Caw!"
The pirate waved her other hand around herself. “It just so happens that I have a mobile home, high above the clouds where I rain supreme. You don't have to fight for a place to call home, it can exist for you right here, in this very moment.” The pirate placed a hand on her chest. “I'm a queen up here, you know? The only people who are allowed on this ship are the ones I invite.” Amber pulled the amulet closer to herself. “The option to stay here is open to you, if you want it. The parrot is welcome too, haha!”
"Huh? I thought you only took me with you cause you wanted to use me to satiate your greed?"
"Well...." Amber paused. “I guess I did initially. But you're starting to grow on me. I can scarcely believe anyone could call you a freak. You seem very intelligent.”
Oh? That's...Actually quite sweet of you, calling me intelligent; most call me a fool." Helga seemed to sniffle with her voice. "Only other person to accept me for who I am was my Lady...She brought me in as a part of her gang when I was on the run from both Beacon and my former friends; she gave me sanctuary when I was down in the dumps, my hands severed and dying under a bridge. And when I said I would die, she promised me I wouldn't by giving me what you hold now. She was someone who could warm my heart with her smile. I wanted to be a part of her new world."
Amber looked focused. She thought a moment before speaking again. “It sounds like you really respect her. Are you sure you're going to be up for helping me rob her? I doubt she'll forgive you for that."
"Well, the truth is..." Helga sighed, "I wanted you to lead me to her so she could restore my body back. I assumed she would take you out or something. At first I didn't care what would happen to you, but now I reckon I ought to let you know of my intentions. So..." There was an awkward moment of silence. "Now that I spilt my beans...Can we be friends? Outside of the whole magical girl thing, I mean. I haven't had a chance for a normal friendship like that, and you seem down-to earth. Ironic considering where we are, but...Egh, I'm bad at this."
Amber couldn't help but giggle at the joke, even if it was horrible. “To be honest, I want my body back too. I don't fault you for lying to me. I would have likely done the same in your position. Being plundered by some thief. I kind of figured it was too good to be true though.” Amber sighed. “Anyway, I don't see any harm being normal friends. I don't have many of those.” It was at that point that amber noticed her door was open. Looking in on her was Sue, who appeared to be done dressing up.
“Oh!” Sue pulled her head back in. “I'm sorry. I'm just glad you've made a friend Amber. It gives me hope that-”
“My ship! Keep the door closed!”
“Eeep!” Sue shut the door and ran down the hall.
“As I was saying. normal friendship is good. I think it would be a lot less confusing that way, not expecting the other one to partake in a war or whatever.” Amber smiled. “I actually don't think I introduced myself yet. I'm magical girl Shining Scale. But you can call me Amber. That was my name before all of this happened.”
"Heh...That beats Scarlet Vampire, I gotta admit. I'm Helga, the, uhh...Hellish Heathen! No, Heavenly Hunter! Urgh, High-Rolling Hitman-woman! Bleh, forget it. Nice to meet you Amber. Glad to be a part of your pirate crew, hahaa!"
Amber's smile grew a bit. "Well, I guess I have to go prep for an ambush. It would probably be safer for you if you just stayed on the ship." Amber looked back at the door. “Also, was the parrot a joke? Sue could really use a companion. I'd also like a proper parrot. Something about a diving petrel that doesn't quite complete the pirate vibe, you know?”
"Nope, Cracker's realer than real. He loves to eat cookies, but I call them Pollies, cause it's funny. But I will tell you that your familiar can't dress like that for their first date! Gotta be a responsible parent figure!"
Sue quickly leaned back into the room. “I-I am dressed perfectly fine!”
“Busteeeeeeed for eavesdropping.” Amber didn't even turn her head.
The familiar yelped. “Gah! A-And it's not a date.”
“But this is still eavesdropping.”
“Ohhhhhhh!” Sue disappeared from sight. Much to the pirate's amusement. “Alright, so would you prefer to be on top of my nightstand, or inside a desk? I'm not sure how you feel about the dark.”
"Hmm...Put me on top of the ship's mast. I like to feel the wind."
“Haha, if you insist.” Amber stood up and removed the pendant from around her neck. “Let's see if I can fit you somewhere securely that doesn't move too much.” And with that, she darted out of her room. She would have to call Lily up relatively soon. Perhaps this expedition wouldn't make her rich, but everything was coming together.@Ariamis