"Bloody hell! That's a Porre ship!", Kidd yelled, but Harle quickly covered her mouth.
"Be quiet, mon ami. We don't want zem to discover uz here.", she said in a hushed whisper, her face worried. They were hiding behind a corner and watched two Porre soldiers walking along the deck.
"What if zey find uz here? Do you t'ink zey would kill uz?" Harle asked as she took her hand off Kidd's mouth.
"Probably, but I don't wanna imagine at all. Maybe we should get us uniforms? We would be much safer with two of them.", Kidd suggested, still cursing over the fact that they had ended up on a Porre ship. As if they didn’t have enough worries already.
Harle thought about uniforms as well, but knew it probably wasn’t going to be easy. "Let'z do zat. Mais...are zere any female soldierz on zis ship? Moi iz too small for a male uniform, mais you could wear one.", she said and Kidd nodded. She watched the two soldiers, thinking about how to deal with them.
"Alright, ya distract the left one and when you're far enough away, just throw him over board. I'll do the same with the right one after I got his uniform, but make sure they're conscious when you do that, we don't want them ta die. Alright?", Kidd asked and saw Harle smiling an evil smile by thinking about throwing the soldiers over board.
"Oui, oui, one of zese Porre soldierz should be no match pour moi." Both waited until the soldiers were far away from each other, then they left their hiding- place and went into the direction their target had taken.
Harle followed the soldier quietly as a cat. "Pardonnez- moi, monsieur, j'ai un question."
The soldier instantly turned around and looked at Harle, not sure what she wanted from him. He started to say something, but Harle quickly interrupted him.
"If someone fell over board, would it be possible zat he reachez Termina?", she asked with as much of an innocent voice as she could muster while trying hard to keep a straight face.
The soldier was surprised at this question, but then he just laughed. "That's almost impossible! You have to be a damn skilled swimmer to manage this!"
Harle smiled mysteriously and came closer to his face. She looked deep into his eyes and got so close that she could feel his breath on her face. Then she whispered into his ear: "And...are you a skilled swimmer?"
A shiver ran down his spine, but before he was able to react, a Gravity Ball element hit him and caused him to fly far over board. When he fell into the water, he was already out of earshot. Harle smiled at her achievement and turned around. She put the keys she'd stolen from the soldier into her pocket and went back to Kidd. The poor man hadn’t noticed a thing.
Harle looked around the corner carefully and saw Kidd putting on the uniform. Kidd gave her the ok- sign and walked towards her.
"Heh! That was easy, wasn’t it? These Porre guys are pretty dumb if ya ask me." Both laughed and Kidd put on the hat of the uniform. She hid her hair beneath the hat and now perfectly looked like a man. The uniform was a bit loose, but that only served to conceal her curves. Harle giggled at the sight and took out the keys she had stolen, handing them to Kidd.
"Ooh la lah, trés bien, your uniform. Take zese keys, I t'ink zey could be helpful." Kidd took them and regarded them curiously.
"Girl, ya should’ve become a thief! Great job, really. But listen, I have a plan on getting yer uniform. Ya see that door over there?", Kidd asked as she pointed on an iron door about ten metres away from them, "I'll go through that door and try ta find a woman. I'll lure her out through this door and give ya a sign. I'm going to keep her mouth shut while ya try ta knock her out as quickly as possible. We'll then take her clothes and hide her somewhere.", she explained, her eyes already searching for a possible hiding-place.
Harle nodded, indicating she agreed with the plan. "D'accord, moi triez to get on ze deck over ze door and hide."
"Alright, let's go." Kidd went towards the door and opened it. Harle did her part and climbed with little effort onto the deck over the door and hid there, waiting for Kidd to come back.
Kidd was quite surprised of how big that ship actually was. There were so many corridors and she didn't know where to go first. She decided to go left this time. The left corridor was a long one, but it had only one door at its end. Kidd heard noises from the inside. Laughter, music and people talking. She went into the room and saw it was a little pub. When Kidd saw the huge crowd of Porre soldiers, she became a little scared, but she tried her best not to show she was afraid, telling herself that the soldiers had no reason to suspect her. She had a uniform after all. She went to the bar and ordered a drink. It would be good against her nervousness.
With a drink in her hand she immediately felt a whole lot better, she felt at least less conspicuous now. She looked like she belonged here.
Kidd looked around, searching for female soldiers. From what she could see, there were only three in there, but two of them had a conversation with a soldier, so Kidd decided to talk to the woman who stood alone at a table nearby. Kidd pulled her hat deeper down to hide a part of her face.
"Oi! Why’s a beautiful woman like you sittin' here all alone?", Kidd asked, trying her best to sound like a young man, which proved to be difficult because her voice was far too high to be considered a man’s, and her efforts to speak in a dark tone just made her feel ridiculous. She half expected the woman opposite her to laugh right into her face. However, she didn't seem to notice at all, instead looking up and smiling thankfully at Kidd. Kidd smiled back and took the hand of the soldier.
"My name’s Alex, nice ta meet ya." Kidd said and kissed her hand, before remembering that she should have watched her speaking. She doubted her accent would make her seem any more like a nice and honourable soldier, but then, she had no idea what this Porre scum was about. She didn’t really want to know either way.
To her surprise the woman didn’t look at her strangely as Kidd had expected she would. In fact, she had a faint blush on her cheeks, and Kidd had to try hard not to grin.
The woman seemed to hesitate for a moment before opening her mouth to speak. "My name is Dana. We haven't met before, have we?", she asked, leaning forward to get a better look at Kidd’s face.
Kidd turned her head away slightly, not comfortable with the woman staring at her like that. She searched for an explanation, but ended up with just saying "No, we haven't."
Dana noticed Kidd looking around nervously. "Let's go on the deck, shall we? It's too loud here to talk."
Kidd was both surprised and relieved at the suggestion, but also pitied her. She probably hadn’t been a soldier for long. No trained soldier could possibly as naive as her. But still, it saved Kidd a lot of trouble of finding a reason to make her go onto the deck. She nodded and took Dana's hand, leading her out of the pub.
"The sky today is really worth a look.", Kidd said but regretted it instantly. It was the most stupid thing she had ever said in her whole life, probably. She just wasn’t cut out for acting. She had an idea that Harle would have been so much better at this. But strangely, Dana seemed to like it and laid her head onto Kidd's shoulder for a moment.
"You know, there aren't many guys here like you. Where do you come from?"
"Err…Porre, of course! Aren't ya from Porre, too?", Kidd asked. Wasn’t it obvious? She could hardly imagine anyone else aside from Porre people to join the Porre army. After all, was there anyone who truly liked Porre, aside from the people who lived there? Kidd was pretty sure there weren’t any.
Dana thought for a moment, not sure whether she should tell or not. "No, I'm from Truce Village. But please, don't tell anyone! Porre people don't like us Truce guys too much."
Kidd wondered what a woman from Truce could want in the Porre military. Kidd often went shopping in Truce, there were really nice people there. The Porre people were the total opposite of that: selfish, arrogant and always showing off with their military. Kidd really hated them, but decided not to say anything about that. No use telling the Porre army personally how much of an annoyance they were. They wouldn’t get it, anyway. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”, she simply said. That woman was really too naïve.
Kidd opened the iron door and led Dana to the railing right next to the door. Harle noticed them and got into position, ready to jump down any second. Harle watched Kidd pointing at a few birds flying by, smiling as she spoke to the female soldier about what seemed like an explanation about birds to Harle.
"You are really nice. Thank you.", Dana said and kissed Kidd on the cheek, who was too taken aback by this to remember giving a sign to Harle.
However, Harle didn’t need such a thing as a sign. She had seen enough. With all her might Harle jumped off the upper deck and onto Dana, hitting her over the head with both of her fists, knocking her down. Harle eyes sparkled and she had trouble holding herself back. She breathed hard, looking at the soldier angrily, her hands still as fists. The soldier didn’t move, and when Kidd recovered from the shock of Harle suddenly attacking, she hoped Harle hadn’t broken her neck accidentally. She stepped closer and regarded Dana.
"Dammit, Harle! Was that absolutely necessary? Ya knocked her out for the whole week I guess! Save yer power for the dragons.", Kidd said, try to sound serious, but bursting into giggles when she regarded Harle's jealous face, who tried to look as if she had done it out of mere self-defence.
The uniform fit Harle perfectly, but she didn't feel comfortable wearing it. Kidd decided to hide Dana behind two rows of wooden barrels, standing at the far end of the ship. Harle of course wanted to throw her over board like the two men before, but the way back to Termina was too long by now and unconscious as Dana was, she would drown instantly.
"Now let's find out where this ship is heading ta. Shouldn’t be a problem with our uniforms.", Kidd said. Harle thought the same and they went through the same door inside the ship again.
"Where to, mon ami?", Harle asked when they reached the point where the corridor split into three. "Left is the pub. I dunno what awaits us in the other directions, but…", Kidd walked a few metres along the right corridor, "this looks like the cabin section. Nowhere else on a ship are so many doors, so goin' straight ahead will probably lead us ta the stairs."
After that explanation, Harle chose to go straight ahead and walked past Kidd, indicating Kidd should follow her. Kidd did and soon they reached the stairs, as predicted. They walked upwards, hoping to find the cabin of the captain there.
"That's a bloody big ship! Not like this nutshell Korcha lent us on our journey. Whaddaya think, how many Porre soldiers are there on this ship?", Kidd asked while walking up the stairs.
"Maybe deux hundreds? Zis sure iz a grande ship.", Harle estimated.
"Yeah, think that, too. There should be at least two hundreds of them here! Guess we have ta watch our back, eh? Don't wanna mess with them.", Kidd joked, trying to ignore the uncomfortable feeling that crawled up her back. Harle just nodded quietly.
There was only one direction on the next floor. They followed it and soon reached a big wooden door with golden ornaments on it.
"Do you really want to go in zere, Kidd?", Harle asked worriedly. She began to think that this was a really bad idea. Kidd knocked at the door three times. "Don't worry Harle, it'll be fine.", she said self- confidently, but when she heard the loud and angry voice from inside the room, she changed her mind.
Anyway, it was too late now, so they went in, but only three minutes later they were transported out by ten soldiers and down the stairs to a little cell on the lowest floor. They hadn’t had much time to defend themselves.
It was pretty dark down there, Kidd could hardly see the hand before her eyes. The soldiers threw them both into the cell, took their uniforms and keys and then left.
"Don't worry Harle, it'll be fine.", Harle imitated Kidd after checking the cell for any possible escape methods. Kidd tried to open the lock with her dagger, looking obviously annoyed.
"Dammit, Harle! At least we know this ship's headed ta Porre. Heh, these buggers really were stupid ta tell us that! This lock's child's play. Don’t ya worry, we're outta here in no time!", Kidd said enthusiastically, a sentiment Harle found hard to share. She made a face and sat down in the corner of their cell. It was dark and cold and Harle had the uncomfortable suspicion that they wouldn't reach Porre alive.
"It waz a bad idea to go to ze captain. Moi knew he would dizcover we are no soldierz. Now our uniforms are gone, ze stolen keys are gone and we are locked inside zis cell. Mon dieu!"
Kidd didn't really listen to her and concentrated on the lock. After several tries she kicked against it, but still nothing moved. "Dammit, I guess I have ta take this one!" Kidd took out her Inferno element, attempting to cast it.
"Non! Do you want to kill uz? Ze place here iz too small for such un element!", Harle shouted. Kidd stopped and looked at Harle angrily. "Do ya have any better idea, girl?"
Harle stood up and walked to the lock, regarding the size of the keyhole. "Oui, moi haz un plan. Give moi un Fireball element." Kidd gave it to her, not knowing what Harle was going to do with it.
"You need more power, that element is far too weak to destroy the door.", Kidd told her, but Harle giggled and put the Fireball element into the keyhole. Luckily it was small enough to fit into the hole. Harle went to the other end of the room, covering her eyes. "Now throw ze dagger at zis element, I hope it'z not too loud." Kidd went a few steps back to where Harle stood and aimed at the keyhole. She threw the dagger and hit right into the middle of the element, causing a small explosion which destroyed the lock from the inside. It wasn’t particularly loud, but all that was left of the locking mechanism was a puff of smoke.
"Great, Harle!", Kidd shouted and gave her the victory sign, but Harle laid her finger on Kidd's mouth, telling her to be quiet.
"Ssh, not so loud, zey will hear uz. Let'z get out of here, mon ami." Harle opened the door as quietly as possible and both went outside. The exit was a little hard to find on that maze- like deck, but after ending up at countless dead- ends, where only barrels and boxes stood, they found the stairs and went up carefully, trying not to make any noise at all. It was still dark on the higher floors, which was their chance to search for a good hiding place. A place from where they could escape as soon as the ship reached Porre.
The two of them sneaked along the dark corridors, hoping not to wake anyone. Harle could see well when it was dark, but Kidd encountered quite some problems concerning the walls every time they reached a corner. Both tried to hurry, they didn't want to wait until dawn.
When they finally reached the way which leaded to the pub, they tried to be even more quiet, because they heard a few voices from inside the pub. They opened the big iron door, wincing as it squeaked as though not having been oiled in forty years.
Harle and Kidd ran out onto the deck, searching for a good place to hide. Their steps on the deck were loud, which made them search a little faster.
"We found you, Harle. You tried to escape, but we will always find you, no matter where you go."
With eyes wide open Harle turned around immediately. She looked around, but nobody was there. She pressed her hands onto her ears, but the voice only laughed. "Go away! Why do you follow moi all ze time!", Harle shouted, trembling all over her body. Kidd turned to Harle angrily. "Will ya stop yellin', Harle? Ya wake up everybody! What in-", Kidd stopped when she saw Harle and ran over to her.
"Harle, what is it? The dragons again?", she asked worriedly. Harle nodded hardly noticeably and took her hands from her ears. "
Watch out. Ze water dragon will come soon. Moi feelz it." Kidd turned around and ran to the rail, looking out onto the ocean in search for the water dragon god. She couldn’t see him.
"He's not there. Quick, let's hide, it's almost dawn." Kidd grabbed Harle’s arm and pulled her along the deck, heading to the back of the ship, where they had hidden the unconscious Dana one day ago.
"Stop at once!" The angry voice sounded familiar to Kidd. Harle and Kidd stopped and turned to the person standing behind them. It was Dana, in a new uniform and with six soldiers standing behind her, aiming their shotguns at Harle and Kidd.
"Oh...Dana, hi there.", Kidd said and tried to smile a bit, which wasn't exactly easy with six shotguns pointed at her. Dana looked puzzled and told the other soldiers to put down their guns, then came closer to Kidd.
"Have we met before?", she asked gently. Kidd nodded and tried to sound like a man again.
"Yeah, we have, but I…looked a bit different." Dana went a few steps back, regarding Kidd's face intensely.
"No, that can't be! You are…", Dana gasped when she realized Kidd was 'Alex'. Kidd smiled and nodded again.
Dana's cheeks became red, so she turned around. "What should we do with these stowaways?", one of the soldiers asked. Dana hesitated, but then said: "Deal with them and take them back to the cell. But this time, make sure they don't get out that again!"
The soldiers put their guns up and drew a circle around Kidd and Harle. "Out of ze way!", Harle shouted and threw six cards in rapid succession, each one hitting the hands of the soldiers, who winced and lost their grips on the shotguns, which fell to the ground collectively. Kidd ran past Harle and knocked out two of the more dangerous-looking soldiers who stood in their way. Harle followed Kidd and both ran to the front of the ship, but they had to realize that they wouldn't get out of that without a fight.
The soldiers had quickly taken their guns again and followed them. Dana went to the front as well, telling the soldiers to stay behind her.
"Please, don't cause so much trouble.", Dana said, but Kidd only laughed and took her dagger.
"No way we give up now!", she shouted, looking straight at Dana. Kidd wondered yet again how she had gotten herself into this. There seemed no end to those things, recently.
Kidd was just about to yell at the soldiers when they stepped backwards all of a sudden, without having to be prompted by Kidd. They hesitated, but then dropped their guns and ran away. Kidd laughed even more now.
"Scared, eh?", she asked with big grin. But the grin faded when she saw that Harle and Dana wore the same look as the soldiers did.
"Ze…dragon…iz here.", Harle stuttered, pointing on something behind Kidd. There was a giant tidal wave moving towards the ship with great speed.