to go back.
It was a clear day in Arcadia. Mid sky was free of clouds that would block a sailor's vision, and the sun shone, causing the many waterfalls to glisten with sunlight playing over the dancing liquid. Gilder stood in a corner of his room, viewing this from one of the windows.
--3... 2... 1...--
Terrance burst into Gilder's room on the Claudia, gasping for air and annoying the blue rogue to no end.
--Honestly... You'd think that he'd have at least learned to knock by now...--
Once Terrance had regained his breath, he spoke, "Sir, we've spotted a suspicious-looking ship off the port side... and it's pink."
"Oh no... Yup, it's Clara, alright... Everyone, you know what to do."
The voices of Gilder's crew rang around the ship as the three of them responded. "Begin operation Clara, time number we've-lost-count..."
Gilder chuckled at his crew's comment, then exited his room and walked to the lifeboat bay. He readied one of the two small boats with the speed and ease of long practice, then jumped in, opening the bay door. Whistling for his parrot Willy, he steered the lifeboat away from his ship, and once he judged the distance to be far enough, turned the small ship around to watch.
It was actually quite funny. The Primrose would pull up beside the Claudia, and Belle, Nara and Lilly would thoroughly search the ship for him. Then they would go back to the deck of the Claudia where Clara was waiting, told her that he was missing, and she would throw a fit, wailing enough to raise Ramirez. Thankfully, she never did.
--If they'd actually check the lifeboat bay, they'd figure out WHY I'm never on the Claudia when they come. Hell, I could probably get away with just staying there instead of leaving the ship.--
Gilder smiled at that last thought, then looked at Willy as the parrot finally caught up to the lifeboat, squawking loudly. Gilder grabbed the parrot and held his beak shut in annoyance. "Damn parrot, you're worse than Marco." Willy's feathers drooped, and Gilder let go of the parrot's beak, his smile even broader than before. "Now what were you squawking about?"
"Party at palace, party at palace, squawk!"
"Oh yeah, that."
--The second anniversary of Ramirez's death, Zealos' defeat and Soltis sinking back into deep sky, to be held at Enrique's palace. How very fun.--
"Willy, go back and tell my crew to meet me at the party. AFTER Clara leaves. Got it?"
The parrot nodded, and started to fly in a wide circle around the two ships. Gilder sighed inwardly, not wanting to have to go to the party, but he turned his ship towards Valua anyway.
*At the party*
Gilder walked into the banquet hall of Enrique's palace, gazing at the unfinished stone forming the walls.
--It's incredible that Enrique and Moegi were able to rebuild Valua from scratch twice in two years. Even if there are a few more things that need to be done, such as smoothing the stones forming the structures.--
The blue rogue wandered among the people at the party, looking for the Empress, as the Emperor was completely surrounded by people from various places who wanted to talk to him. Eventually, he saw her, sitting almost unnoticed in a corner, observing the guests.
The Captain of the Claudia made his way over to her, and they started to chat about harmless things such as weather, health, and how the rebuilding was going. Eventually, Gilder couldn't hold back his question any longer.
"Moegi, there's something that I need to know."
"Yes? What is it?"
"Were there any parts of Valua that weren't completely destroyed by the rains of destruction and the Phoenix's cannonfire?"
The empress thought for a moment before responding. "Almost all of Valua was destroyed by each, especially when combined. However... there was one part of lower city that remained untouched by either. We left the buildings up as a reminder of what happens when a leader is corrupt, and put a fence around them."
"Really? Where is the area?"
"You can see it from the south-western balcony of this room. After you've seen it from there, you'll definitely be able to find it while walking through the streets. Why do you ask?
"Oh, no reason... I was just curious." They talked for a few more minutes, then Gilder excused himself, slowly making his way over to the south-western balcony. He could see most of the eastern half of Valua from there, but that wasn't what made his jaw drop.
--H-holy shit. It wasn't destroyed? How... Why?!--
Wow. I didn't think that I'd get the first chapter of this up so fast! And yes, I know, a cliffhanger. My friends don't call me the king of evil for nothing!