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38 Where Things Change

    I lay in Eden's arms, and we stare at the burning bow of the ship. At this point, the front of the bridge has caught fire, and we are all standing in the doorway.

    Eden glances down at me, \"Eira, what exactly is going to happen now?\"

    \"I thought it was pretty obvious. You see that port ahead with all the cranes and shipping containers?\"

    \"Yeah, I can see it. What about it?\"

    \"That is the Port of Alaska normally for cargo ships, and we are going to crash into it.\"

    \"What?!\" Bryan yells.

    \"I mean, hey, if you want to try to turn the flaming steering wheel or go to the engine room to adjust the speed be my guest...but you won't make it either way.\"

    The Staff Captain looks at me with wide eyes, \"Wait, was this your plan the whole time!?\"

    I give the Staff Captain a shocked expression, \"Of course not! I had no idea this would happen.\"

    'Nah, I totally expected something like this to happen.' I think to myself.

    \"Anyways come on everyone who doesn't want to burn alive. We're leaving. Eden walk that way, mush!\"

    \"I'm gonna drop you.\"

    I grab onto Eden, \"I'm sorry. Please don't drop me.\"

    \"Okay, just don't tell me to mush. Where are we going?\"

    \"Well, we need to find a room near the deck so we can hide there until we see an opportunity to escape. Originally I just wanted to wait in the bridge for things to settle down, but well the fire and all that jazz.\"

    Eden nods in understanding, \"Okay, well, I'll lead us toward a room that's near an exit.\"

    Left without much choice, everyone in the room looks at one another and reluctantly follows. We make our way through the creaking ship as smoke begins to fill the halls; the group starts coughing excessively. The soldiers put on their face masks, and I toss Audrey, the Staff Captain, Mr.Manure, and Eden a t-shirt.

    \"Tie the t-shirt around your face to make a mask. Also, Eden make sure you wear your eye patch and Aponi you wear these.\" I take out a pair of sunglasses and toss it to Aponi.

    \"Why should I wear these, and how am I going to see with these sunglasses?\"

    \"Well, I guess you wouldn't have noticed yet without a mirror, but your eyes are very red now, and in the moonlight, they tend to shine, which is very noticeable. Also, you should have pretty good night vision, so you'll be fine.\"

    \"Wha...red eyes?\" Aponi stares at the sunglasses with confusion.

    \"Eira, what about you?\" Eden asks.

    \"I'm fine; I'm just going to wear my skull mask and a jacket. You can...\"

    Suddenly a familiar yet unwelcomed voice rings out, \"Mother!? Is that you? I can hear you, but where are you!?\"

    I jump out of Eden's arms, \"Of course, she'd show up now. We need to run.\"

    \"Wait, we can't run; we're carrying Sam!\"

    \"He's still alive!? Here!\" I jerk Sam from the other two's arms. \"I'll drag him now, go!\"

    Not waiting for their response, I drag Sam and start running. He bumps into the walls and moans in pain a bit, but that's fine. I feel like I'm already going above and beyond for Sam or whatever his name is.

    'Screw this guy! You know I was shot too, and I'm also in pain, but I gotta drag him while running from Justice.'

    \"Mother!? I can hear you running. I won't let you get away from me this time.\" Justice shouts.

    I ignore Justice's stupid comments and continue to run. With the group following, I begin to turn down a hallway only to find a swarm of Crawlers. I quickly give up on going that way and proceed forward until I again find another hall just to find Crawlers swarming down it as well.

    \"Why me! Keep running unless you want to be Crawler food!\" I shout to the group behind me.

    It isn't long before we run out of hallway and instead find ourselves at the door to the deck. I hastily fling the door open only to have thick smoke hit my face. In front of me the fire rages, but luckily I notice to my right there is a small break in the fire.

    \"Come on this way!\" I yell.

    I glance back to make sure Eden and Aponi are still following only to find that surprisingly everyone has kept up...excluding Audrey, who is being carried by Eden now for some reason.

    'That was my spot! You'll pay for this Audrey.'

    I'm about to continue running when I hear a noise. I glance upwards to find a helicopter circling the deck. I take a second to take a closer look and soon realize it seems to be a civilian helicopter.

    \"Eira, they're coming!\" I hear Eden shout.

    \"Oh, right, we were escaping. Let's go.\"

    I resume running and weave myself between the fires while also being extra careful with my mask and coat. The helicopter follows us as we make our way to the stern of the ship away from the fire. Once we get some distance from the fire, the Crawlers begin to pour from the balconies.

    The helicopter moves backward suddenly, obviously surprised by the appearance of the Crawlers. Taking the opportunity, I form my war scythe and grip it with my freehand. I'm tempted to drop Sam, but then the soldiers may not continue to follow; besides, this is a good opportunity to make them feel even slightly obligated toward me.

    However, it isn't long before we run out of room to maneuver and find ourselves at the very edge of the stern. I look around at the familiar place were I dumped many bodies in the past in an attempt to conceal my presence.

    I sigh inwardly, 'What a disaster I tried to be careful and now look at me this is exactly what I hoped to avoid. Collecting essence in a world like this is so difficult.'

    Behind me, I hear Eden ask with a bit of fear in her voice, \"Eira, what are we going to do?\"

    I turn away from the familiar place and swing around to find hundreds of Crawlers surrounding us. Along the walls, along the deck, and from the roof of the ship, they are all staring at me. I hear the sounds of howls that are only slightly obscured by the sound of the helicopter overhead.

    \"Mother! Finally, I've found you! I've been so lonely all by myself; I can't find the others. Mother, have you seen them?\"

    The Crawlers part as Justice makes her way in between them.

    I drop Sam letting his head hit the floor with a thud, and I give Justice a confused expression, \"Ah. Well, I can't say I have. I definitely wouldn't be able to forget such an ugly face...\"

    \"Mother, that's so mean. Well, I'll find them later! Now I get to have Mother all to myself.\"

    The Crawlers form a circle around the group as Justice tries and fails to contain her excitement. I grip my war scythe and face Justice. The helicopter suddenly turns on a bright spotlight illuminating the circle.

    Eden takes a step forward to help only for the Crawlers to hiss at her and start to move closer. Once Eden steps away, the Crawlers return to their positions.

    I look at the Crawlers and shake my head, \"Swarming, listening to orders, speaking, intelligence, and a weird fascination with eating me? None of this makes any sense.\"

    \"Isn't it great, Mother! They listen to exactly what I have to tell them. They are very good children, but I'm sorry I can't wait any longer!\"

    With great enthusiasm, Justice charges me as I raise and swing my scythe down only for Justice to dodge. Justice swipes at me with her front claws, and I hop backward as her claws pass within inches of my already bloody abdomen. Seeing the opportunity, I prepare to draw my scythe down onto Justice's head.

    \"Look out!\"

    Surprisingly hearing Aponi's voice, I notice something in my peripheral and jump backward again and follow up by bringing down my scythe on it. With a crunch, a Crawler is split in half.

    [9 Essence Acquired]

    \"That Crawler just sacrificed itself to save you? From the beginning, you were all just supposed to be mindless beasts incapable of this kind of stuff. What happened?\"

    Not expecting an answer, I prepare to continue the fight only for Justice to begin to shake excitedly, \"Yes! Yes, and we were in the beginning, but that was before Father.\"

    \"What did you just say?\"

    \"Father, he's right there. Father told us not to say anything, but it seems like you know each other already!\" I follow Justice's eyes and eventually find who they lead to.

    \"...Mr.Manure?\"

    Mr.Manure or Phil scowls, \"You complete and total moron. Just because we are together, you think you can just go blurting out secrets.\"

    I stare at him in an utter loss only for his pupils to turn black as his face turns semi-fluid. Pieces of black ooze begin to drop to the ground, and a horrible odor begins to take hold of the surroundings. His features begin to run together as his mouth becomes increasingly larger, and his teeth become long and Razer sharp. Quickly his entire body becomes fluid as his skin and even his clothes turn into black like ink.

    'I look at the black fluid and use .'

    Name: 'Phil'

    Gender: None

    Race: Tar Demon

    Level: 1

    Health: 290/290

    Mana: 100/100

    Strength: 25

    Endurance: 18

    Agility: 7

    Intellect: 10

    Constitution: 29

    Talents: -

    Skills: -

    Titles: -

    ' Tar Demon.'

    {Name: Tar Demon

    \"That explains the horrible smell. How long you been on this ship?\"

    \"You really think you are so clever; don't you, girl? Like the entire world dances on your palm, but you and all your kind are just large mosquitos.\"

    \"Answer my question! How long?!\"

    Phil points toward Eden, \"I've been keeping an eye on our little angel over there, but imagine my surprise when a girl from a race that's long been extinct comes and inserts herself in the middle of somewhere she doesn't belong. Then imagine when I find out my little angel has been snatched away, it felt like a dinosaur came and stole my lunch!\"

    \"You, how are you on Earth? Who do you serve?\"

    Phil's face has melted to the point where he is unrecognizable, \"You really think I would tell you? I've already said more than enough!\"

    [Ding!]

    [Side Task: Kill The Tar Demon

    Task Objective:

    1) A young Tar Demon in charge of monitoring Eden knows too much. Kill him.

    Task Reward: Master of Deception

    Failure: Death or Escape.]

    \"Either way, I can't let you...\"

    **Boom!**

    It's at this moment I remember the ship has been approaching the land this entire time. With a loud crunch, the sound of breaking and bending metal enters my ears. I look toward the stern of the ship where a massive fireball fills the night sky. Everything not tied down begins sliding toward and over the rail. I grab onto the rail as the ship leans more and more heavily to one side. Noticing Sam's body beginning to slide, I reach out to catch him before he goes over the rail.

    I look toward the moon and think, 'Why is everything always so complicated?'
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