We couldn’t see the beach for the sand. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of our ultimate goal and got balled up in the minutiae of the journey. Were we really going to serve Lirovilex up on a silver platter to the Gray Dragons? Begads, we knew that the Grays planned to wake up Lirovilex by binding a freaking parasitic devil to him like heartworms in a dog. How did this knowledge affect us? We gave exactly zero fucks. We were too caught up. Shame on us! Devil binding was not the cure Apsu was searching for, it was pure snake oil. We hadn’t stopped to consider Apsu’s feelings on the whole devil binding business. Of course, Apsu wouldn’t approve of such abominations! Shutting down the Gray Dragons was mission number one, not getting jerked around by them. Thankfully, Apsu came down on us hard as a motherfucker to belabor those big picture points.
Our much needed course correction, happened at a bad time. Captain Marcellano, while side-stepping inquiry, had just abruptly left the Deep Sea Current in a hurry. Shortly after his departure, Goethe and Hexa informed us that their weird infernal talismans may have eaten the the sarglagon in the Drowning Devil. They showed us their melancholic talismans that were freaking breathing! The talismans reminded me of lungs ripped out of a kittens that were being gangbanged by a parade of green octopi. So quite disturbing. I swear the living talismans looked me in the eyes and shouted, “We are GIGACETAN!”
Very mysterious. Oh well, I’m sure Goethe will figure it out.
“Captain, you’re going to want to see this”, Tebrilith broke in from the topdeck. I went topside. The Emerald Arrow and the Drowning Devil were slowly breaking formation with gunports open. They may have noticed their missing devil. I called for battle stations, kept our distance at 300 yards, and waved the parley flag.
“Captain?”, said Mr. Finn.
“What now? Can’t you see that I’m busy? We got the devil to pay”, I yelled.
“Aye. That there clockwork dragon just clicked on”, he replied.
“F-F-Fuck…fuckity-fuck-fuck…FFUCK!”, I screamed, “Tell Goethe and Lorenz to handle it!”
A few minutes later things went from annoyingly tense to a boiler room of godly pressure. Goethe poofed on to the aftcastle with a rapidly expanding chrome clockwork dragon. The sound of a turbine winding up cut through the air. The metal dragon slowly unfolded itself, each piece locked into socket with a click, then the next piece, and the one after that. Metal legs lifted the gearbox like torso off the deck while springy plasma cut wings spread open wide. Lastly a great mechanically dragon head elevated up from the center of the machine like a stalagmite and snapped into place atop a crane-like neck. A protective circle of golden fire burned around the steel hellkite but I felt no heat. Ringlets of golden steam rose up from its maw which made it look like it was breathing. I knew exactly what was happening. Apsu had come.
“Why have you forsaken me!”, boomed Apsu. The echo bent my bones.
“We haven’t forsake you”, I pleaded.
“Then why are you taking Lirovilex to his end?”, accused Apsu.
“To get close to the Grays”, answered Lorenz.
“Dragons should not be tainted by Devils! I have come to The Cage to see to that. You have become too complicit. Watch me show you how to take appropriate action”, decreed Apsu.
Apsu went into the forward compartment and assimilated the fiend’s mouth cannon hidden beneath the bow. Back on the deck, the metal dragons’ wings parted and the newly absorbed cannon pointed to the sunlight. An enormous blast fired from the cannon, the adamantium cannonball landed near the Drowning Devil. The splash was so powerful it spun the other ships off course.
“That is how you put a stop to the Infernal Line!”, hollered Apsu.
“I will give you one more chance. Swear to me no harm will come to my dragons. Swear to me you will end the blasphemous Infernal line. Swear to me you will no longer stray. What say you?”
My heart started racing. I was getting pumped up. If Apsu wanted action I was prepared to go all in. I would pile Gray Dragons bones to the heavens above if that whats it take. I was about to say something, then Goethe opened his big fat mouth and ruined my buzz.
“Apsu, let me take this opportunity to educate you…”, interjected Goethe.
Goethe went into a soliloquy of epic length. Blah, blah, blah, I need more power. Blah, blah, blah, my father was mean to me. Blah, blah, blah, what right do you have? I never thought I’d see a God who lives in the infinite spaces become so irritated. Apsu took back all his power he lent to Goethe. The intangible grace shrouding Goethe faded. He looked so freaking ordinary it made me feel sorry for him. But then he started talking again and the feeling vanished.
“What say you?!”
“We stopped the Dread line, we’ll stop the Infernal line, we’ll stop all the lines. A devil will never be bound to Lirovilex or Achiusk. We will burn the Grays up in your honor!”, I pledged.
“I vow”, said Lorenz.
“What the Captain said”, said Mr. Finn.
“yes”, said a slightly humbled Goethe. Instantly Apsu’s power returned to Goethe’s body.
“So be it. My time is short in the Cage. I must go now and make my presence felt”, Apsu ended. With that he took off like a rocket, the shockwave was so forceful it spiraled the ships like lily pads in a stream. Such power! It was magnificent!
Apsu made the course clear to me. I hoped the others understood. I will not make the Waybringer doubt me again! The Gray Dragons and all their plans were about to go extinct.Munder came to treat with us.
“What in the blimey hell was that?”, yelled Munder once he was on board.
“Thank you for coming. How can we resolve this misunderstanding?”, replied Lorenz, avoiding the question. Munder back pedaled.
“You scum are in breach of contract. Return our devil!”, he snarled in an unpleasant twang.
“Tell Rutilus and Marcellano that the Auditor with the full backing of the Bank of Abadar says they’re in breach of contract. Tell them to stand down. Or so help me, I will rededicate my life to ruining yours and theirs. See my face and know that I am dead serious”, threaten Lorenz with gripping authority. It was a stressful day. Munder didn’t have a chance. He nodded and went back to his ship with his tail between his legs.