The Kraken and The Dark Sea, Chapter 79-80.

Moonshine has a party. Two spiders have a chat.

Chapter 79.

LA-12(Intrepid).

Captain Bushbury grinned as he watched the tiny shape of Diligent far below. The ship had arrived at the coast the previous day, and taking advantage of the good weather, was exploring some of the wrecks that littered the coastline here, courtesy of Zanis Zylvyre and probably other very dark mages for a long time. Intrepid was keeping an eye out for nosy submarines, watching Diligent while Vigilant was watching a convoy of Shahana, Umevan and Yllanan ships. Bushbury turned and watched as the smiling dragons launched into the air.

 RNS Diligent

Roger looked at the boats and Swimmers, turned to Chief Ironpounder and said, “I wish we could take pictures underwater.”

“Sir, if we could, the missus couldn’t keep the captain under. He’s down there, having a great time while you get to sit in the hot seat.”

“I know, but I am a terrible artist. Pictures underwater would be a great thing to have.”

“I can see if I can do something about that.”
Roger jumped and turned around, to Bill and a satisfied looking Moonshine with a basket. Bill continued, “Down in Desert Howl there was a girl who made an underwater camera for the science faire. She beat me for first prize. Let me see what I can find out.”

“Don’t do that now, Bill,” Moonshine said. “Tonight’s my birthday party. I want to invite you and the crew, Roger, as well as the captain and Lieutenant Fishchaser to the Yllanan estate this evening.”
“We are here, Moonshine.”

“If you pack up a bit early, Feleth Alari and the portal is close and you can put in there for the night, since you probably want to do that anyway. You all can go to my party and Bill can see about the camera tomorrow.”
“Was Bill really a horse for most of a five day?”
“I’m not going to say what we did to horse around. It was fun, though. There’s Raela. Hi, Raela!”

Raela flipped up onto the deck and said, “You look like you two have an errand, Moonshine. What are you here for?”
“I wanted to invite you all to my birthday party. In fae tradition, I will not admit to how old I am, but it will be fun, with magic chicken, fae catcher pies and mulberry wine. No faery food. I insisted on that.”

“I think that we want to come. Roger, you can port the ship, leave an anchor watch and the crew can enjoy themselves.”

“Then it is settled,” Moonshine said.

The Citadel.

Mórsairon, Dúhael and Blackfire watched Kraken’s long black shape exit through the hidden door, heading to sea. As the shape disappeared, Blackfire said, “I hope that we are not making a mistake again.”

“The crew is more experienced, brother,” Mórsairon said. “In any case, we are left with poor options.”
Captain Allaires looked as the shore receded in the darkness. Lights had been replaced at the points to guide Kraken. Kraken was departing at night again, and after a sweep verifying that there were no surprise aircraft, not using RDR and using the lights on the point. Allaires turned to Lieutenant Commander Adrona and said, “Khatar, at least we know what we are getting into.”

“Somewhat. We haven’t seen the big cruisers, Gatherer or that ship that launches airplanes yet.”

“I know. I wonder what all those things are doing. I have this feeling that the Masters are not telling us things unless we ask and if we don’t know to ask, we could be in trouble.”

Lieutenant Seafisher watched the sub leave and then dived to his signal sergeant. “Message fleet that the monster is on the hunt.”
“Aye aye, sir.
When it was discovered that radio did not work underwater and transmissions close to enemy bases were dangerous, the navy had gone to Bienans. Micorportals had not existed but it hadn’t proved to be that difficult to make a very small portal that could be attached to a key and the whole thing made watertight with a rubber button to send the messages, giving the special Swimmer Teams underwater communication. Signalman first class Tolaerd Deepdiver was an expert in the equipment. The message went out very quickly.
 

Chapter 80.

Chatsrey

Entering the café where she was meeting with Mora, Marian smiled as she sat down. Mora looked at her and said, “You look marvelous. You were out, weren’t you?”

“I may have had a snack early. My daughter’s wedding is coming up and I did not want any embarrassments.”

“That is perfectly understandable. You will feel freer when your daughter is out of the house. So how do your affairs fare in general?”
“Bertie is away on a voyage and isn’t sending messages, so I do not know. Lenny is waiting for his specimens from his voyage, but they have not been sent as yet.”

“Did he have a good voyage?”
“For his work, yes he did, but his sailing companions left something to be desired. The navy crew did not know their place and Lenny was forced to accept the smaller lab space and tight accomodations on the ship. He also was forced to endure things like dragons aboard.”

“Dragons?”
“Yes. The navy has a program for young boys from the bowers, dragons and some bad neighborhoods to serve on navy ships on voyages before entering the Academy. The entire thing was rather inappropriate and I will be having some chats about the program when the Senate starts its session.”

“Was there anything else?”
“The navy diverted the ship to chase a strange submarine and put the scientists at risk. They were doing strange things with balloons and not providing enough protection for the scientists ashore. They also would not let Lenny use the small portal to secure live specimens, citing some law about importing live plants.”

“There were small portals aboard?”
“Yes there were, but since they were brought aboard by one the adjuncts as they call them and a boy who was with the Beinan contractors, the scientists did not have unlimited access to them.”

“Boys had small portals?”
“Lenny hasn’t said, but I think that one of the boys was that dragonkin that created that scandal with Susan Gilders and they send things to each other through small portals.”

“Susan is still seeing the boy and Klara allows it?”

“Apparently. Derry complained that the boy had shown up for Susan’s birthday.”

“That is appalling. On the other hand, the Gilders have always been a bit strange. What does the boy’s father do?”
“I haven’t looked into that. He may be a convicted felon.”
“Geral’s sister lives here in Chatsrey, works in the crystal palace and had a relationship out of wedlock for a very long time you know.”
“I had forgotten about that. I should have remembered because I was involved with that. One thing that worries me is that Susan could be starting a trend. One of her friends went looking for a dragonkin boy and may have found one. I tried to have Gordy rescue the girl to help his case, but the boy got to the girl first.”

“Speaking about boys, have you heard anything about the Shahana boy that disappeared?”
“Very little has reached the papers. On the other hand, the car and bodyguard’s body were found rather quickly.”
“Then the police are working on it.”

“Yes they are.”

Vinnie said quietly to Izzie, “Notice something?”

“It’s lunch time and neither one ordered anything to eat. Making me wear my good suit paid off.”

  “Dressing down in a place like this gets you noticed. As we are now, we fit the neighborhood.”

“Good point. Who is the other lady with Mrs. Ironforge?”
“I was hoping that you would know. One thing, she has the same look that Mrs. Ironforge does.”

The ladies left and both of them breathed a sigh of relief. Izzie looked at Vinnie and said, “How did you know that they would be here?”

“I bribed her driver. The company that hires her car out always assigns the same car and driver when she comes to town. The family deals with that through the place they have here.”
“They don’t have a car here?”
“Not really, at least not a fancy car. The place was originally rented so that family members could slum in town from time to time. Then they bought it, but the family still hires the cars and drivers. The lady doesn’t pay any attention to the business, so she doesn’t think about what the car and driver are doing when she isn’t here.”

“You know a lot about these things.”
“It’s what I do. For the most part it’s easier to pay the servants and such to tell me what I want to know than it is to take the risk that tailing somebody causes. Of course sometimes you have to and if the object is smart, they make you and you are stuck with that. Those boys that Torald has really help him with that problem.”
“I put him on to them. Of course, most of the time, he worked alone.”
“Where did those other two guys come from? They are good, but they don’t act as if they grew up in the Republic.”
“They didn’t and that is all I’m going to say.”

“They fit in very well.”
“They had good training and are flexible.”

 “There are some other guys with good training that are flexible. They made off with a kid that I didn’t think was possible.”
“Should you be talking about things like that to me.”
“I was hungry and as far as that goes, it was an evaluation for a client. My evaluation was that the kid would be tough to take, and if you did, you would have two old families up your rear very fast. I told Mr. Shieldbasher the same thing. Somebody managed to pull it off. That says that they had good training from someplace.”

“Now, that is interesting. Mr. Shieldbasher had somebody watching the kid, apparently, but didn’t try for the snatch himself. Whoever it was wanted the kid very badly.”

“Then they should have held on to him tighter. They also took another kid from a ship and the pair busted out. The other kid had taken the same course that that slave kid did.”
“The slave kid didn’t bust out.”
“I talked with the kid. He felt it was better if he stayed in and messed them up. He could have left if he wanted to. Of course that got him in trouble with his girlfriend. Let’s pay our bills and get back to work.”

Beltain

Tomas had been surprised by the message from Bladloc Flamespitter asking if he wanted to collaborate on a project. Since the Scholar had sent a Journal copy with a paper and the project seemed to be related to some of the things he had been doing, he suggested that Bladloc meet with him in Chatsrey. Bladloc had sent back that he wanted to meet in Beltain and the place and time had been arranged. He was waiting with Brigehold when a dragonkin and a woman came in, stopped at the front desk, then came and joined them. The Dragonkin said, “Scholar Steelgrinder?”

“That’s me. This is Brigehold Teamer. So what is your proposal and why did you want us?”

“I’m Bladloc Flamespitter and this Sarah Lion. I wanted you because you were recommended by Alinis Harper.”
“You know Alinis?”

“It’s better to say that my grandfather works for her uncle.”

“So, the navy or the chief prosecutor’s office is involved.”
“The navy.”

“Why us?”
“Because you know Alinis, can talk with her, and are here at Beltain University. Admiral Harper wants to look into something.”
“That should not be a problem for the high admiral.”
“You would think so. But it is. The problem is that the archives are stalling, getting Admiral Tollings here to start asking for things would probably stir things up and the admiral really wants someone doing the digging discreetly.”

“What does this involve?”
“Ok, you saw the paper I sent you about the shadow Ravathyra.”
“If it weren’t for the fact that you backed up the paper with sources, people would think it out of a trashy novel.”
“So did I when my professor stalled some of my other work over some raids, that according to Admiral Ehlark’s logs, hadn’t happened. The scary thing is that when I really started to look, the raids had happened. The largest was Crowburg.”

“Crowburg? Nobody pays attention to the place.”
“That is the interesting part. An entire city essentially depopulated and nobody conducted an investigation, or screamed very much. Ten thousand people marched aboard ships and nobody cared. Thirty thousand more just moved away and not a peep from the state government or the Plateau.”

“That sounds rather impossible.”
“Are you interested?”
Tomas looked at Brigehold and then back at Bladloc. “Either way, this is going to be interesting. We’re in.”

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