“Any luck?” Ophelia asked.
“None,” Grace said. “Whatever their power source is, its output is far beyond anything we can generate. Even if we completely drained all the power in the ship in a sudden burst, it wouldn’t come close to being able to match it. I’d love to get a look at what our miss Himestrix is hiding.”
“As would I,” Ophelia said. “But it’s too risky. Especially given how much power she has. I guess we’ll have to give up on getting transmissions and readings through.”
“Not necessarily,” Grace said. “I can’t overwhelm or otherwise force my way past the power source but I might be able to trick it into reading our messages as harmless background noise.”
“We’ve got nothing to lose from trying,” Ophelia said. “At least we know they’re all right in there.”
“I’m not so sure,” Grace stated. “Any area ruled by one person is bound to be dangerous. I just hope that my Farah gets out okay.” She worked in silence for a moment. “You don’t think the Himestrix has taken a liking to her, do you? What if she won’t let her leave?”
“Relax,” Ophelia said. “I’m sure that won’t happen.”
“But Farah is so cute and charming,” Grace muttered. “How could anyone resist?”
“Good grief,” Ophelia sighed. “You sound like Leon.”
“Hey, this is completely different!” Grace declared. “I have to worry because Farah is adorable. He’s just paranoid over my brother. Paul never even bothered dating until his last year of secondary school and it’s not like he had a bunch of options then.”
“Hold on,” Leon said. “I have an idea.” He walked back over to Thol. “Yo, we don’t want to bother you about coming back and I know you don’t want to be bothered, but we need proof that you’re here.”
“What did you have in mind?” Thol asked.
“Could you cut off one of your fingers and then record a message?” Leon asked.
Lucy moved over and grabbed his ear. “Sorry about that,” she said. “Don’t mind him. He has a strange sense of humour.” She pulled him back to the group. “Leon, that was not helpful.”
“Hey, Troops. We’re back!” Allison declared.
“Explain,” Lucy demanded.
“Miss Lunais transported us,” Yuri answered. “The Captain gave us the area of this place as well as its power source. The rough coordinates coincide with the floating castle. I believe that we should investigate.”
“Hate to do this to you, Babe, but I’ve gotta stop you there,” Allison said. “Ophelia’s explicit orders were to not antagonise Lunais.”
“I can imagine,” Lucy said. She smiled at Yuri. “I know that you’re curious, we all are, but there are some times where the risk is just too great to merit an investigation.”
“Understood,” Yuri stated.
“Now then, back to trying to figure this out,” Lucy said.
“I have an idea,” Farah said. “What if we used some of Paul’s medical equipment to take a scan of all of his vitals? Brain waves, DNA sequence, everything. Wouldn’t that be pretty strong evidence?”
“Brilliant!” Lucy declared. “Enough variation that it would be nearly impossible to fake with enough of it on record that it can be confirmed. Leon and I will go back to the ship to grab the gear. If we can persuade Lunais to transport us like she did Allison and Yuri, it shouldn’t take long.”
“What do we do while you’re gone?” Kat asked. “Just keep an eye on Thol?”
“If you would,” Lucy said. “Try to get his permission for the scan.” Lucy and Leon walked over to the closest Lunais figure.
“Excuse us,” Lucy said. “But would you mind taking us to the boundary of your land? We need something from our ship.”
“We will allow it,” Lunais stated. The two found themselves at the garden’s border.
“Thank you,” Lucy called out, certain that Lunais could hear them even though she wasn’t visible. The two walked out and towards their ships. Lucy waited until they were a good distance from the garden before speaking. “A pity we can’t investigate. I’d love the tech to do that.”
“I’d worry about getting too lazy,” Leon said.
“It could happen pretty easily,” Lucy said. “I’d probably have to increase everyone’s exercise regimen to make up for it.”
“Again?” Leon asked.
“Farah, why don’t you and Allison talk to Thol?” Kat said. “Yuri and I can hang back and investigate the area.”
“Oh, sure,” Farah agreed.
Kat reached over and hugged her. “Good luck.”
“Geez, you make it sound dangerous,” Farah protested.
“Just watch my elite persuasive skills,” Allison said, winking at Yuri. The two moved back over to Thol.
“What did you sneak into Farah’s pocket?” Yuri inquired.
“Just a message explaining things,” Kat said. “You and I have our own mission to do. Follow me.”
Lucy and Leon were able to return quickly, thanks to Lunais’ cooperation. They found Farah and Allison waiting with Thol.
“Where are Kat and Yuri?” Lucy asked.
“Kat said they’d be looking around,” Farah stated. “Thol’s agreed to the scan.”
Thol shrugged. “It’s not really a big deal and it gets you off of my back.”
“And what’s that sticking out of your pocket?” Lucy asked.
“What?” Farah looked down, there was a small piece of paper slightly sticking out. She removed it and began reading. “Need to find the truth. Be right back. -Kat.”
“Those idiots!” Leon declared.
“Yuri wouldn’t have!” Allison protested. “Well, maybe to sate her curiosity she would have.”
“How long ago did they leave?” Lucy asked.
“Maybe a half hour,” Farah answered.
“You three, go after them,” Lucy ordered. “I’ll follow once I’m finished here. Stop them before they cause an incident, or worse.”