Warning: Shinobi Train is not responsible for blushing, seasickness or nosebleeds during the reading of this chapter.
Enjoy, and don't forget, I always like to leave Easter eggs for you guys to find.
Oye como va mi ritmo
Bueno pa' gozar, mulata
Oye como va mi ritmo
Bueno pa' gozar mulata
Everything seemed surreal in the days that lead up to departure. Zane wasn’t even being asked to do any chores and family members were being friendlier than normal with him, even Bria. He also felt like people were keeping a close eye on him too. Since there wasn’t much else to do, he helped some workers who were fixing up houses and shops in the Birk district.
For the most part that was welcomed, but several people gave him some ugly looks now and again. One time he was even hit in the back with some rotten fruit, but when he turned he couldn’t see who threw it. That treatment didn’t bother him though; he knew they had every right to hate him after what happened. In fact he was surprised that anyone in the district was decent towards him, many said they didn’t blame him for what happened at all.
Time passed too quickly for Brailen, but he made the most of it. His wife cried a little almost every night, and he more than consoled her after they put their son to bed. Arrangements were made for her and little Johnny to stay with Zane’s family who didn’t hesitate to lend a hand, especially since they were kin.
Finally the day arrived. Zane was packed and ready to go; he managed to fit everything in a small bag despite his mother trying to practically make him take everything in the house with him. The only thing missing was his coat which he refused to leave without.
“I know I had it around here somewhere…” he said, ruffling through his room.
“Looking for this?” Bria asked with a hint of a smile, holding it up.
She had repaired the cuts in it, fastening them together with thin, metal plates in the shape of the claw marks, three on one side and two on the other.
“My coat! You fixed it!” He said.
“Hope you like it. I thought it could use even more style.” She said, containing a blush.
“I love it! It’s perfect!” He exclaimed, giving her a hug.
That was enough emotional stuff for her though, “Alright, it’s just a coat. Now you better get going.”
“Thanks, sis,” he said, throwing his bag over a shoulder and heading off.
“Wait…umm…” she said, stopping him in the doorway.
“Yeah, what is it.”
“Just…take care of yourself, okay?”
Zane gave her a smile, “I always do, don’t I?”
The docks were crowded that morning. Families saying goodbye to their loved ones and crewmen loading on the last bits of cargo filled the area. There were three galleons being made ready for the voyage and one flagship. That was where most of the beast tamers would be, though the others were also going to have a number of water based trainers as well. The ships needed protection while at sea, and the caravans would need protection on land, so both were necessary. Aerial was also required in both cases.
After a while he spotted his parents who were talking with Brailen and his wife who was holding their son’s hand. Jimi and Jama’s folks were nearby as well.
“Hey, there’s my boy.” Sam said; he started to give him a hug, then stopped and held out his hand instead, he knew that would be the appropriate thing to do at this point.
Zane was glad he was spared the embarrassment and shook his hand firmly. He wasn’t so fortuitous with his mother though, who wasted no time in smothering him yet again in a crowded area.
“Mom…” he moaned.
Sam couldn’t help but let out one of his bellowing laughs, and even he felt embarrassed a little.
“Now you take care of yourself out there, and do whatever Brailen tells you, ya’ hear?” Sarah said.
“Mom, I’m not five.” He reminded her.
“You’re still my little boy though.”
“This ain’t no boy, woman. This here is what you call a man.” Sam told her.
“Whatever you think, dear,” she said, giving her son one more quick embrace.
A whistle sounded on the deck of the flagship which signaled that final preparations were being made to leave port.
Brailen hugged his wife and kid one more time. “Don’t worry, I’ll look after him.” He then said to Sarah. “Zane, it’s time to board, you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” He confirmed.
The twins were right behind them with their four dogs as they walked up the gangplank. The ship seemed even larger on board, but it was still tiny in comparison to the other three. Several other trainers were already on board, but not all had animals with them, so they must have been water based tamers.
The first mate was calling out orders to the crewmen as he looked out over the deck. He quickly spotted Zane and Brailen.
“Hey, you two, skipper wants a word with you in his cabin.”
Brailen gave a swift salute to let him know he understood then told Zane to follow. They made their way up and he knocked on the door.
“Just let me do the talking.”
“Come.” The captain said as he was looking over some sea charts. His voice was deep and wide, like he didn’t have to shout to get an unruly group’s attention. “Ah yes, I was expecting you.”
The man had a stern, weathered face with a beard which only showed remnants of its black color left. Despite his age, he looked like he could crush a skull with one of his burly hands, and he was big enough to toss most men around like a ragdoll. His clothes were worn and looked like they hadn’t been washed in weeks, but his dark brown coat was thick enough to protect him from whatever nature could throw at him. The black leather, tricorn hat on his head seemed like it had its own story to tell though.
“Captain Roberts.” Brailen said in acknowledgement, “It’s been a while.”
Zane noticed that his cousin’s tone changed when addressing the man.
“Indeed it has, and you must be Zane Wolfe, the lad I’ve heard so much about recently.” He looked at the teen for a moment under those bushy eyebrows. “I’ll have you know that there won’t be an incident aboard my ship, is that clear? Brailen, you’ll be responsible for him. If anything happens, I’ll have him walk the plank and put you in custody ‘till we make our way back here.”
Brailen knew he wasn’t joking either, “Understood, sir.”
“Good, that will be all.”
Zane didn’t think anyone was more intimidating than his father until now. “He’s serious, isn’t he…” he said as they walked up the steps further towards the stern.
“He’s mostly just wanting us to take it seriously, but yes. Don’t worry though. I’m here to keep anything from happening.” Brailen assured him.
“So when do we start this training?”
“Don’t be so hasty, that doesn’t happen till we come in to port and can distance ourselves from everything and everyone. Besides, we’ll have to find you an animal to train with anyway. I’m thinking something really small to begin with.”
“What can be smaller than a cat?” Zane said as they both leaned against the railing to wave goodbye.
“How about an ant…a tiny ant…” Brailen said with a smile, nudging him with his elbow.
Zane rolled his eyes, but couldn’t help smiling at that. Finally they left the docks and were officially underway. It still seemed slow at first, but after a while some sails were out and catching the wind. The crew of the ship was very efficient, and with everything coordinated perfectly they were soon going at a decent speed after waiting for the galleons to catch up.
They spent some time watching from the aft, and before Zane realized it, the town was looking smaller as it was left behind.
“Keep this heading, Mr. Simmons, captain wants us to be good and clear of the reef before following the coast.” First mate Barkley told the man at the helm.
“Aye aye, sir.”
“This isn’t a luxury cruise, find yourselves a bunk down below for your bags, grab a bucket and mop then get back up here on the double.” The man said.
It took Zane a moment to figure out he was talking to them, but Brailen already knew that.
“Looks like we better get busy. Come on.” He said.
“Bucket? Mop?” Zane asked, mostly under his breath.
Underneath the deck there were several passageways barely wide enough for two people to squeeze past, but the rooms they dumped into were more spacious at times. Soon they found the crew quarters, and along the walls were two layers of beds, but in the middle between support beams hung hammocks. Men and women were already getting settled in here, and it didn’t seem like many were unclaimed.
Suddenly Zane’s cheeks were a bright, reddish color. A well-endowed lady who looked to be in her mid-twenties was talking to three younger girls, but standing in nothing but her pants.
“You gals are gonna’ have a rough time then.” She said, rummaging through her bag for something. “This is a ship and we’re out at sea. Things are going to get personal.”
“Couldn’t they have at least separated an area for changing or something?” One of them asked, giving a worried glance around the room at the men.
“I mean, what if…they get ideas…” another said.
“Listen, it used to be that women weren’t allowed on board, mainly for this very reason. That changed a long time ago when one brave lass convinced people it wouldn’t be a problem.” She told them. “One man did get ideas on that voyage too. Let’s just say no one ever has since. Now stop your belly aching and get over it.”
“I forgot that you’ve never been on a ship before.” Brailen whispered, turning his slack jawed cousin’s gaze as they walked passed. “Whatever you do, don’t stare…”
“Hey, you,” the woman’s voice was very confident and commanding. “You’re that boy, aren’t you? I’d recognize this guy anywhere,” she said, gesturing to Brailen, “but I’ve never seen you before.”
Zane was forcing himself to meet her eyes, but it was all he could do. “Ye..yes, yes ma’am.” He managed to choke out as sweat started to form on his forehead.
“Ma’am? Makes me sound like an old crone,” she said, pulling something out of her bag, setting it down and extending a hand. “Name’s Layla, that’s a nice coat you got there, best not leave it lying around.”
He was stunned for half a second then found his own name. “Zane…Zane Wolfe,” he said, shaking her hand. “Thanks, I’ll..try to remember that.”
She looked at him for a moment before releasing her grip. “You caused quite a stir in town…” she said, raising her arms and putting on a tight fitting shirt that tied just below the breasts, more suited for working on the ship and kept her from bouncing around too much.
Zane had to look to the side and down for a second to contain the majority of his blush while she did so. Brailen was leaning up against a post and enjoying this far too much; it felt like yesterday when he was in the lad’s shoes and a similar situation played out for the first time. Layla gave him a quick wink while the boy wasn’t looking. The other three younger girls had taken a few steps back and were doing their best to keep their giggles to themselves.
“These two aren’t taken yet, and since this is your first time, Zane, you’ll want to be in a hammock and as close to the center as possible.” Layla said. “Oh, and try not to kill us all, would you?”
Zane gave her a blank look and walked over to the indicated space.
“Had your fun yet?” Brailen whispered to her with a smile.
“As I recall, we used to have a lot more fun than that,” she replied in a somewhat mischievous tone.
“I’m married now…” he told her, trying to put an end to that, but he knew her all too well.
“Shame,” she said. “Come on, girls, I’ll show you the ropes.”
The trio followed her, but each one blushed as they walked passed Brailen. “This is going to be a long trip.” He said to himself.
half dressed well endowed women (although there was only layla there. but don forget the 3 girls too. the guys will see them sooner or later ) living together in the same quarter with the guys!
oh!guys' sweetest dream or would it be a beautiful nightmare!
anyways, i like how this chapter is light. i think we needed this after an intense 3-4 chapters so here's a huge
epic as always mr. train!!!!!