The ensuing conversation between Almira, Anki and Srikandi went rather well. Almira learned many things concerning the political state of the various kingdoms in this planet they call ‘Friestan’, while Anki and Srikandi was flummoxed, learning that they are not alone in the universe, and a race similar to them has mastered travel in-between the stars, by the end of their conversation. Even Dumas felt like he was out of his league, barely understanding what in the world Almira was talking about, but understanding that they came from the stars. Somewhere across the stars.
The shock was not only limited to the Friestan party though, as Almira learned many things concerning magic and the unexpected interconnectedness of this world. Magic seems to seep into every sector of life if what Anki, Srikandi and Dumas said is true. There are magic powered ships, magical weapons, magical farming tools, and many, many other implements and goods she doesn’t even know about.
Almira is also further shocked by the level of gender equality present in this world. It took centuries, as Almira can attest personally, for the Commonwealth to achieve gender parity between men and women, while in Friestan it seems that men and women are viewed equally capable in quite a few matters, even including adventuring. As Anki and Srikandi can personally attest.
Just as the conversation was getting more and more interesting though, Catherine and Sumiye entered the room, and this whole topic went back to first base yet again. With Almira learning many things from Catherine about the Kingdom she’s currently living in, and the extent of magic within the Kingdom of Gremarre.
Eventually though. The conversation eventually died down, with both sides not finding anything to talk about anymore. Either from the need for secrecy or just sleepiness on both sides. Almira offered everyone within the fantasy group a place to sleep, and, while still cautious. Everyone agreed to her arrangement on the condition that they keep their weapons. A provision that Almira readily agreed, due to the fact that they possess no visibly hostile intention, and that conversation is enough for Almira to agree to such a thing.
She kept the doors on their sleeping bunks locked just in case something happens though.
Srikandi never felt such soft bedding in her life. The bed may look spartan, but the softness of the bed, the soft lighting (that exists for some reason despite no visible fire source), and the other amenities, such as the water that somehow came out of some metallic contraption (Anki spent hours figuring out how such a system works, and she eventually gave up since she detected no visible magic, especially Earth magic emanating from any part of their room), the ‘shower room’ that spurts out water from the ceiling, and the weird glass screen that shows random images nobody in the party understands.
It creates a distinctly calm, but alien atmosphere. Like something built for humans, but not necessarily humans from Srikandi’s time. It’s a feeling Srikandi never felt before.
The fact that they are also given separate clothes for ‘sleeping’ is also highly unusual for her. She has changed from her armour getup to her sleep clothes, a comfortable set of a sleeveless shirt and some short pants. “Anki. I see that you have changed into your sleeping clothes.”
The adventurer noted. Anki has come out from the bathroom wearing clothes similar to her. “Are you going to stay awake for the whole night and take those 3 hours you need to rest once we wake up or something?”
This is something Srikandi highly liked about adventuring with Anki. She doesn’t have to take turns doing watch since the automaton will watch throughout the whole night, no complaints from the woman at all, the only drawback is that she has to take 3 hours during the morning doing mostly nothing while Anki sleeps, a worthwhile tradeoff for a constant good night’s sleep.“Of course, just like the last time we adventured. Have a good night everyone.”
Srikandi has already informed Catherine and Dumas about Anki’s watcher role, a role that they happily accepted. Srikandi then turned off the lights, something she has to learn about after a couple of agonizing minutes experimenting with the switches of this weird room, and slept for the night.
If Almira decided to murder them in their sleep. They have a nasty surprise waiting for her.
Almira gazed at the clock. The Friestan group has already been tucked in already, and their room quickly locked in case anything happens. Lounging in her personal room. She has already sent Garrett, Q-T and Sumiye back to their quarters. A lot of stuff has been finished by the end of today. Contacting the locals of this planet, establishing limited diplomatic connections, and even establishing a secure perimeter and making the ship somewhat functional.
Sumiye’s hard work repairing the reactor seems to have borne fruit, the reactor is operating at a lower capacity than usual, but it’s sufficient enough to operate all major weapons systems of the Thucydides.
Still, she has one more thing to do, one final thing.
That dragon woman staring at her from the screen, Almira’s pretty sure she has no idea what a camera, or a CCTV system is, but it’s scary how she’s looking at it, even if she has no idea what it is. The Captain has already been briefed by an envoy that the representatives from the Dragon Tribes has arrived, and Almira has no idea what to expect of them.
She has no idea if they’re gonna demand Almira lift this ship up and go somewhere, or some other unrealistic demand of some kind, but she has briefed the weapons system officer to ready weapons in case shit goes down.
She hopes shit doesn’t go down. Already in her formalwear, the Captain proceeded to walk outside, armed guards in tow, to meet Galmira and her pals. She hopes the meeting goes well.
Morning arrived, and the sun rose, and rose, and only after 4 hours into the sun’s rising did Almira woke up.
The meeting has been intense, but ultimately didn’t end with the Dragons blowing up the ship, or vice-versa. Some heated debate sessions between Almira and some dragons raged, mostly because the Dragons think this hunk of metal is a ‘travesty’ on the Great Table, but the more level-headed representatives of the Dragon tribes eventually won their way, with Galmira’s help as well.
But, Almira did have to give them something, some technological gadgetery for the Dragons to tinker about were given, nothing significant enough for them to pose a threat, but enough to satiate their curiosity for the moment. Soon enough, Almira bid her farewell, and bid farewell to Galmira as well.
Galmira promised that she will inform her of the happenings tomorrow, but she has no idea when or why she’s gonna do that.
Soon enough, both the Friestan group and her own party had been assembled, and they eventually walked back into the rover once more (the Friestanian party was a bit more comfortable entering the vehicle, but nonetheless remained highly cautious of their surroundings). Almira agreed that her party, consisting of Q-T Brackman along with Neilsy and Riley, Garrett Zarrubin and his team, as well as Sumiye King, will be accompanying the group into the city of Cendana. The site where Srikandi and her party departed to.
All of the Friestanians looked odd from Almira’s perspective, from a Dragon Knight looking cautiously at her surroundings, to the medieval robot woman rotating her head 180 degrees to observe her surroundings, to Catherine being… Catherine, as well as Dumas being a human sized fairy, keeping himself reserved, but nonetheless making some comments about his observations.
Just as the garage door opened though. A yellow clothed woman soon appeared. Seemingly already waiting outside the garage door, slowly revealing her form as if it was some 21st century movie scene. Almira quickly exited the Rover, knowing what she’s here for. “I trust that the Dragon tribe leaders are all right?”“Well, Thetmas is still angry with the fact that you can’t move this ‘ship’ of yours out, but Malina, Hermia, and Kumera are tolerant of your presence for now. Malina and Hermia in particular are very interested in keeping you around, much to Thetmas’ disappointment in them.”“Well, you told me the Chieftesses of those two tribes are very… eccentric aren’t they?”“Yes, and congratulations on exploiting their eccentricities to your advantage. Malina and Hermia on your side combined will be a rather potent force in future meetings concerning your status on the Great Table. By the way, Almira, would you be alright if I ride along with you until you’ve exited the Dragonspine? The council has decreed that I will be your contact point for Dragon related affairs of any kind.”
Almira, now mightily intrigued, definitely nodded her head. “Only on the condition that you do not transform yourself while inside the vehicle.”
Eliciting a hearty laugh from the woman.“Oh, I wouldn’t think of it. I am starting to like you Almira, it would not be polite of me to just kill you off right now.”
Almira could only nervously laugh at that comment. But fortunately Galmira kept her word, she joined Almira in the front seat, in an effort to not freak out the adventurer’s party in the back, and the rover quickly set off outside her ship.
The sun shining on the snowy white Dragonspine peaks is quite a sight for Almira. She already has ordered drones to be sent out and map the local terrain, and a good location to exit the mountain chain was found quickly enough, the group is now following the path painted out by the drone.
And just like many, many a path painted by the drone before. The drive proved to be uneventful. The rover quickly trudged to ground from snow, and the group found themselves by the edge of the riverside. The backdoor opened, revealing the Friestanians inside. Most of them were still feeling uncomfortable with the rather fast movement of the rover, but felt thankful that they had arrived.
Almira quickly ordered the rover to go back to the ship, and await further orders from her. The woman has decided that her formalwear would be best suited for her occasion in this ‘Cendana’ city, her bunny ears notwithstanding, wearing her informal clothes will just attract unwanted attraction with the unusual way her clothes are assembled.
And the same philosophy was quickly applied with the rest of the team members. With Q-T being disguised as a box, and Sumiye, Neilsy, Riley, and Garrett’s team wearing clothes quickly patched up by the sewing section (yes, the ship has a sewing section) that resembled medieval people’s clothing. Or at least the Sewing department’s interpretation of it.
Almira hoped that the cover was enough.“I have to say, whoever assembled your clothes has to be paid wonderfully. I certainly couldn’t notice a difference between my team and your team clothing wise, with the exception of your clothes of course.”
Srikandi commented.“Well, thank the sewing department for that, I personally requested that we have a sewing department just in case stuff happens and suits break. I still have no idea how they approved my request for that.”“Oh? They have an admiralty where you originate from?”“Of course. Don’t you?”“Well, yes we do. I just didn’t expect that we have that in common.”
A ship then quickly appeared. Just after the rover was beyond her view, the ship seems to be powered by some sort of paddle mover, a most interesting mechanism that Almira admired as the boat quickly docked. “Ah, Srikandi! Already finished with the trip eh? Brought some friends with you too by the looks of it.” The ship’s captain greeted her.“Yes, well. It appears that the trip was all for naught, this is another adventurer’s party we rescued during our trip there. Sadly the snow was too thick and the beasts too dangerous. So we still couldn’t find anything inside the mountain. Can you take us back to the city?”
“Well of course Srikandi. I don’t know of any other adventurer’s party that went there before you, but hey! Wild things do happen from my experience. So come on in everyone!”“Srikandi. Why are you lying to the Shipwright?”
Anki asked bluntly, her voice much more subdued. “Isn’t it impolite to the Captain to not inform him of who they really are?”“Anki. Sometimes it is better to lie a little bit than divulge the truth. Besides, does the Captain really need to know who they really are? Is it even necessary? I want Almira and her group in front of the throne in Putridewi, and then in Vhamos-Tyrr, I don’t need instant celebrities right now. I’m sure your father would be highly interested in meeting them, no?”
Anki contemplated a little bit, her eyes flickering as if her thoughts could be seen through her eyes, with an eventual nod signalling the automaton’s approval of the matter. “You make a solid argument. My father would be highly interested in meeting these… humans himself. A great deal of exchange and mirth is expected for such a momentous occasion, and he would not be denied an opportunity to trade knowledge form such a peculiar people.”
Almira didn’t bother to speak much, she only grabbed the box and hauled them into the ship. Sumiye, Garrett, Neilsy, Riley, and the rest of the Dragonrider squad following suit.
The trip to Cendana went well enough. With the Captain telling Almira and her group various tall tales of his various exploits. The Indonesian learned that he was once a fisherman, a shipwright in the Pataliputran Navy, and travelled to many other countries in this world. A most interesting person indeed.
And once Cendana was on view. Almira and her team were mightily impressed. It is a majestic city, built out of stone and wood, with an incredibly busy port, and a lot of people milling about.
And much to Almira’s concern, everyone’s view was on her the moment they stepped out of the boat. Garrett, Q-T, and Sumiye herself were ignored. But everyone’s eyes were on the Indonesian wearing the white coat and hat.“Ah drat. I should’ve asked the sewing department to make some clothes for me.”
She said silently to herself. Slightly embarrassed, but nonetheless going with the flow as Srikandi, Anki and Dumas waded through the curious crowd. The Dragon Knight wanted her to go to city hall right away.
And once they were off the harbour, the group quickly waded through the cobblestone streets of the city, going through street after street, but eventually ending in some sketchy alleyway. Everyone knew that Srikandi screwed up, with the Knight blushing and scratching the back of her head, her own face cringing at her mistake. “I’m sorry everyone. This is admittedly my first time in Cendana, so I’m not really sure where I should go myself.”
“Well you shouldn’t worry about that missy. We’ll make sure you’ll get where you want to go, we only need a little service charge to come with it, this ain’t optional too.”
And just like that, the party seemed to be surrounded by a group of thugs. Almira numbered 20 of them, each of them using knives, kerises, and magical staffs, if Almira were to guess what thugs were during the medieval days of her country, wearing nothing much but sarongs, headscarves and a scowling face. This would be it.
“All of you look pretty cute. Why don’t you give us guys a chance to sample the good stuff huh?”
Almira looked at Srikandi, visibly unamused at the situation. “Do I have your permission to defend myself?”
Sighing, knowing that this is partially her fault. Srikandi only nodded. “Yes, sorry for this everyone, but this is my mistake, now let’s teach these hoodlums some manners shall we?”
Without a moment’s hesitation. Srikandi unsheathed her sword and Almira unfurled her coat, both of them ready to fight these thugs. The thugs went for Almira first, one of them swinging a Clurit towards Almira, but the Indonesian woman preempted the attack by evading the Clurit’s downward swing, responding by showing her fists and jabbing the assailant multiple times in the stomach, instantly knocking him out.
Srikandi’s turn was next. Using the broad side of her sword, she proceeded to smack the thugs with their kerises and knives, her sword’s reach beating any weapon the hoodlums had on their hands. It proved to be a rather simple affair for Srikandi, and both women proved their mettle when it came to fighting. Sri herself was surprised that Almira knew how to fight, and with nothing more than her fists, the Captain reminds her of Fei Bai Ho in a way, only more… local, in a weird way.
It remains to be seen whether the other party members will join the fight, and it seems that, after fighting off some thugs, knocking them out left and right. Both of them are starting to get visibly exhausted.