Part 2: Meetings ordained by the Goddess always come suddenly and unannounced.
Squire Marcia: My thoughts exactly. That seemed to be a rather easy one for you in the end, too.
Compared to what they're usually like, it was.
If I'd had a bit more time, I could've enjoyed some private time with a real gem of a woman, too...but I'll have to settle for crying myself to sleep tonight.
Squire Cesar: Not this again...
Squire Marcia: Unless you want another earful from the commander, you might want to start taking your work more seriously.
I know, I know. Lighten up a little, yeah? I swear, I'll never get how you hardheaded types ended up assigned to a slacker like me.
Squire Cesar: *sigh* This may come as a shock, but you ARE a Dominion, you know. We can't very well have you acting alone without any form of backup. As long as you're here and this ship is under your command, then slacker or not, we're here, too.
Squire Marcia: Even then, you've got a lot less squires in your service than you should have. Maybe you should take this chance to gather up a few more?
I think I'm gonna have to pass.
That'll just make it even harder for me to work on my own.
Squire Marcia: *sigh* I thought you'd say that...
Squire Cesar: We'd prefer it if you would actually trust us to help you a little more, sir...I mean, all we could do in that Salt Pale operation was transport the thing.
You say that as if transporting it isn't a huge responsibility in itself.
(After all, the last thing we wanted was him catching wind of it and becoming wary of us.)
Squire Cesar: ...Is something wrong?
Oh, not a thing.
Anyway, as per the original plan, we need to get ourselves back to Arteria a.s.a.p. We should be able to reach there by noon tomorrow...or today now, I guess.
Squire Marcia: Got it.
Where's it from?
Squire Cesar: Arteria, apparently. It's a call from Commander Selnate.
Oh, you are KIDDING me...
(Getting a call from her right after a mission is always a bad, bad sign...)
Let's get this over with. Put her through.
Squire Cesar: All right.
Commander Selnate: Evening, Kevin. It sounds like you did well. Fill me in on the details.
It basically went without issue. The artifact was the Fool's Locket. There were signs of society involvement, but it looks like they cut any ties with him a long time ago.
Commander Selnate: I see... As I thought, then. Good work all around. I'd say you deserve a well-earned rest...but unfortunately, I can't grant you one right now.
(Aaaaaand here we go...)
Commander Selnate: Hmm? Is something the matter?
Oh, I'm just dandy. Please continue.
Commander Selnate: Well, then. As much as I hate to spring this on you immediately after finishing one mission... I've got something I'd like you to do for me.
Regarding a heretic, I assume?
Commander Selnate: Not this time. All I want you to do is pick something up. The object in question is currently being held underneath Grancel Cathedral.
Grancel?! Do you think this object may be somehow related to the Aureole?
Commander Selnate: It's a distinct possibility. Can I count on you to handle this?
That said, we've already got one artifact on this ship that needs transporting back, so I'll let the crew here take that to Arteria. I'll handle going to Liberl on my own.
Commander Selnate: That's fine with me. Oh, incidentally...you won't actually be alone. I've dispatched a rookie squire to aid you. They'll be serving you from now on, so do play nice, won't you?
W-Wait a minute! Wait just ONE minute! You can't just spring a rookie on me outta nowhere like this!
That's what you get for being a loose cannon...or loose canon maybe, since this is a church organization.
Commander Selnate: Heh. Meetings ordained by the Goddess always come suddenly and unannounced. Don't worry, though. They won't be a burden. The abilities they demonstrated during training were truly something special. Well, I will be praying for your success.
Squire Cesar: Haha... Well...
Squire Marcia: C-Congratulations on the new recruit? We were only just saying you could do with more squires serving you.
And I was SO not down! I can't believe this...
*sigh* She never changes, I swear. Oh, if all the people reading that book had any idea what a hellion she is in real life...
Squire Marcia: Oh, Carnelia?
Squire Cesar: I've always wondered whether publishing it was really such a good idea, to be honest. It's a complete advertisement saying we exist to the world.
Sure, to anyone who could find the damn things. I think your secret's safe.
If anything, I'd say a book that wild just serves to make people LESS likely to believe we really exist. And then the heroine died in it, which obviously is a big, fat lie.
If they'd actually met her, they'd know she's the kind of woman who could probably take a bullet to the head and ask for a cigarette first thing.
Squire Cesar: Haha...
Squire Marcia: I...think we should probably refrain from commenting here.
Anyway...you guys heard her. I'm gonna leave taking care of everything else relating to our mission to you guys. Just follow the money trail--there might still be hidden accounts we don't know about.
Squire Cesar: Understood, sir.
Squire Marcia: What will you be doing from here? We'll need to return to Arteria, obviously, but we can drop you off somewhere.
You can put me down in any old state we pass on the way there.
Preferably near a town that has international flights going out of it, I guess.
Squire Marcia: Got it.
-Dancing With The Wind-
I wonder if they're busy migrating? It looks like they can't keep up with this ship, though. Guess not every bird can be as fast as Sieg...
But they were just the cyuuutest! ❤
Young Man's Voice: Well, look who it is!
It really is you! Long time no see, Dorothy!
I sure wasn't expecting to run into you here. Funny coincidence, huh?
Heehee. It really is! It's good to see you again, too...uhhh...
...You don't remember my name, do you?
D-Don't be silly! Of course I do!
Oh, I remember! It's Onion Graham!
But of course! How lucky I am to have been named after such a multi-purpose plant!
That's not even a NAME, Dorothy!
It is now, Father Onion. Fifth Dom-onion.
You really did forget, didn't you? And yet you somehow managed to remember my last name like it was nothing!
Heehee. I was just being silly.
A couple of days ago, I had this amaaazing onion hotpot over in the Eastern Quarter in Calvard, so I've still got onions on the brain. I couldn't believe a hotpot with just onions in it could taste that good, but I swear it did! It was so comforting and sweet!
So that's how I ended up saying onion instead of your name.
*sigh* Well, whatever...
So if you insist you haven't forgotten, what IS my name, then?
I DO insist. I'd never forget!
It's lovely to see you again, Jasmine Graham!
But of course! How lucky am I to have been named after such a fragrant plant?
That might be an actual name this time, but it's a WOMAN'S name!
Oh, I see...So you're here to carry out a followup investigation on all that trouble that happened earlier in the year?
That's about the gist, yeah.
Come to think of it, how'd you end up on an international liner like this? You said you were in the Eastern Quarter, right? Were you there to write about it for the Liberl News?
Nial actually let me go on my own this time, too!
Wow! That was...daring of him. I'm not sure I'd want to let you handle traveling abroad for a report alone...
Then again, it's only by taking on positions of responsibility that people can properly grow.
Heehee. Oh, I'm doing plenty of that. I mean, I wasn't sure what I'd do when I ended up in Calvard instead of Bose Market, but I managed juuust fine.
...Wait a second. Nial told you to go to Bose? Not Calvard?
He sure did! But then I got on the airship, fell asleep, and before I knew it, I was chilling out in Calvard's capital! Weird, huh?
It sounds like you got on the wrong airship to me!
Let my brain catch up--so you were in the Republic for literally DAYS when you weren't even supposed to be there at all?! Did you even have enough money to manage? Or--Aidios, help us--a passport?!
Well, fortunately, there was someone from the Liberlian embassy at the airport who could issue me a temporary passport, so that was okay... and then toooooons of people were really nice to me and helped while I was there, so I had all the dough a girl could ask for!
*sigh* I don't even know where to start...
Nial must be worried sick about you, huh?
You think? He didn't sound so hot when I called yesterday to say I'd be coming back to the office today.
I keep telling him that all that smoking is bad for him, but he never listens!
(I don't think you can pin the crime on tobacco this time, missy.)
Female Voice: Thank you all for taking this journey aboard the Gretna today. We will be arriving at our terminal, Grancel city, in roughly thirty minutes. We ask that you take this chance to check that you have all of your belongings with you and to return to your seats before we begin our landing. Until then, please enjoy the remainder of your flight.
Whew... Sounds like we're almost there.
I'm gonna have a walk around the ship to kill some of the last half hour. How 'bout you?
Hmm... I'm not sure. I suppose I might as well go and snap some more photos. It's not often I get to take an international airliner like this.
Sounds like a plan. See you later, then.
Crew Member Salina: If not, we will soon be arriving in Grancel City. So it might be wise to check you have all of your belongings on your person while you still have time to look for anything that is missing.
Passenger: How am I supposed to enjoy sightseeing when she's being like this? *sigh* Her stubbornness drives me nuts sometimes. She isn't even interested in listening to my opinion...
Other Passenger: No! I'm not budging on this! We are going to Erbe Royal Villa after Grancel Castle, and that is final! I can't believe you're actually considering just going around FISHING, of all things! My brother is always so selfish. He only ever thinks about what HE wants to do. He doesn't care what I want to do. Augh! He makes me SO mad!
Grancel Castle and the Royal Villa aren't half bad fishing spots, as long as you watch out for the guards.
Passenger: I mean, it's not phobia level or anything... I'm just really not very good with them. Do I want to look out? I kind of do... But I kind of don't, too...
Simon: I never thought I'd see the day when Mirano wouldn't have the upper hand in one, but it just happened. The world is full of surprises... Still, while she might not have had the upper hand, she did get what she wanted in the end...It's not like she really 'lost' or anything.
Mirano: That bargainer really knew how to put up a good fight for someone so young. I wonder if I could convince him to work for me? Still, I've got an excellent information dealer working for me, too. So the next time we do business, it's going to be a 6-4 deal in my favor! No, scratch that! 7-3!
Passenger: They're way faster than boats, for one thing, and unlike orbal buses, you don't end up with a sore ass after a long journey, either. Back in the day, I used to sail the rough waters of the Titith Bay, but now? Give me a comfy airship any day. The times are always a-changing, I guess.
Child: Can I? Can I?
Passenger: *sigh* No, you can't... Please, sit down like a good girl. We're almost there now, anyway! So just be quiet.
Child: But I'm booored! Come on. Just for a bit! Please?
Passenger: I swear! Sometimes, I think this child has ants in her pants or something... Can she not sit down quietly for five blissful minutes?!
Passenger: Why did I come, you ask? Because it's the last spot that ancient dragon was sighted! There's no information on where it went after it showed up here, so if I want to try and pursue it, this is the best place for me to come. As soon as we land, I need to go and talk to Lyndon to see if he knows anything. It's been three long days of traveling, but I'm finally almost here. I can hardly wait to land!
Passenger: We haven't seen one another in three years now... I've been really worried, what with all the trouble that's been happening in Liberl. I think a lot of people thought there wouldn't be much in the way of trouble after the Non-Aggression Pact was signed, but so much for that... Apparently my grandchild wasn't hurt during the thing, but I'm still worried.
Oh man, the thing was no joke. First that stuff, and then all those dudes...
Passenger: They're a fine role model for the rest of the service industry. I'm going to have to make sure I don't undo their hard work.
Alright, I can suspend my disbelief for all the septium magic, ancient supertech, impossible warriors and fantastical monsters, but this is just too much.
Passenger: There's no better place to learn about cutting-edge orbal tech than there... I-I'm gonna really have to make the most of it! Really!
Other Passenger: Don't go getting yourself TOO worked up now, man. You'll just end up screwing up even more. Like usual... I get that you want to be an orbal engineer and all... but I think you could do with taking things a bit easier. Getting yourself stressed out and worked up will only help screw yourself up.
Passenger: I might've failed that interview to join the Verne Company... but this is my chance to learn all about cutting-edge orbal tech! And I'm gonna master the heck out of it! ...I will! Really!
Passenger: My wife went back to her family's home. I mean, I'm as aware as anyone that I've been so busy with work lately that I haven't been able to spend any time with her, but... *sigh* If I'd known it was going to come to this, I would have sat down and talked to her about it a long time ago... *sigh* I wish I could be as carefree as he is...
Child: Heehee. Wheeeee! Being out here feels amazing! Heehee. We're gonna see Mommy! You wanna come?
I'm not sure you should be inviting complete strangers to family gatherings, kiddo.
You go have fun with your mom, okay?
Armand: *cough* Which means it's time to start thinking of getting a house for ourselves. What kind of house would you like? I think we'd probably be best going for somewhere that feels warm and homey, even if it's not that big. Something like a house on a hill near a forest... What do you think?
Ellie: The two of us have spent the past half a year traveling all around the continent. I couldn't have wished for a better honeymoon. I'm so glad I chose him to spend my life with... Heehee. I can't believe he's already thinking of finding a place for us to live! But that does sound like the perfect place to start a lovely, happy family. ❤
Just make sure you two keep that ring safe.
Passenger: Why do I even have to go out of my way to see him, anyway? It's not fair! Ugh... My dad's so annoying... I'm SIXTEEN, you know! I'm old enough to do whatever the hell I want without him butting into my business!
I bet you've never even stopped any wars or blown up any ancient cities. Loser.
Ymir: Oh, sorry. I'm going to have to ask you not to come down here, sir. It's for your own safety. You might end up tripping on something.
Captain Otl: Th-That's not really something you normally tell complete strangers with cameras in their hands, you know...
I'm on to you, mister! You can't distract me!
This is a serious news report here, so please answer my questions!
(She sure is making good use of those reporter's privileges.)
Captain Otl: Wh-Who knew you'd be so persistent...? (How can I get out of this? I can't tell her a tough guy like me used to want to be a pastry chef...)
By the way, my dream was to become a phantom thief! Isn't that cool?
(No prizes for guessing what kinds of books she must've read as a kid...)
Crew Member Todt: Be careful of potential air turbulence in this area.
Crew Member Daro: I know, I know! I've been doing this route for three years now! I know what I'm doing, man!
Crew Member Todt: The Behgan Range is part of the border between Liberl and Calvard. As soon as we're over that, it'll be barely any time before we're in Grancel.
Crew Member Daro: Heading west-northwest! Yahooo!
Female Voice: This is a passenger announcement. We'll soon be arriving in Grancel City, the terminus of this liner. We suggest that all passengers return to their seats as soon as possible, as the airship may be unsteady during landing.