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ONE WEEK EARLIEREdit
Captain Dread-Eye dropped the lifeless corpse he had just made, its freshly revealed skull bouncing on the ground and staring into space with empty eye sockets as the final rotted remains of what had been a face fell off. Dread-Eye flexed his fingers menacingly as the cold cruel purple light of the Death Touch dripped from his hand. He stepped forward over the corpse, his right eye glinting viciously beneath his dark messy hair in the fading winter sunlight, "Now then, would anyone else like to say anything?"
The terrified Ungifted looked at him in horror as his crew readied their weapons in case they needed them. Many of them were still in shock from their misfortune. Captain Dread-Eye was one of the most feared pirates in the world, notorious for his brutality, and even more for the massive body count he had racked up in his short career.
Now he grinned wickedly, "Well then you have my permission to get aboard the ship and go down to the brig. My crew and I are headed for the city of Erog, you lot will bring a fine price at the market. Now get aboard or get killed. It doesn't really matter to me either way. We'll turn a profit either way."
The villagers thought about protesting, but Dread-Eye's hand rose to his eye patch as a silent threat, "Do NOT make me repeat myself." Faced with the prospect of immediate death, the villagers hurried to the gangplank and filed aboard, watched the entire way by Dread-Eye's crew. Dread-Eye smiled coldly and turned to his first-mate, a hairless mountain of a man, not empowered with the Death-Touch, but rather with strength so great he had been known to best Bone-Mongers in wrestling contests, "Chit-Sang, take a few of the men and search the village for valuables and supplies." "Burn it when we're done?" Chit-Sang asked with a smile, he already knew the answer. "Of course," Dread-Eye replied with a cold grin.
Chit-Sang barked an order to a gaggle of crew mates idly standing about to get a move on as he hefted the immense battle axe he favored over his shoulder. An hour later, the village was alight as Dread-Eye and his crew sailed away, merrily drinking the cider they had taken from the village.
Dread-Eye tore off a chunk of the salt pork that he and Chit-Sang had fished from the icy water and chewed it grimly as he watched the Republic Mech Ships cruise the icy waters searching for Ungifted to fish out and Death Bringers to shoot, "They're getting braver." "Yup," Chit-Sang replied before he took a swig of cider, "I remember when they would never have dared to even cross our path. Seems like it was just last year." "It was last year," Dread-Eye grumped. Chit-Sang thought for a moment, "Wanna make 'em pay?" "Hell yes," Dread-Eye stated bluntly.
A few moments later, the last two of the infamous Dread-Eye pirates had scaled the nearest monumental glacier. They twirled their respective weapons, Chit-Sang's immense battle axe and Dread-Eye's twin swords, Dread-Eye imbuing his steel with the power of the Death Touch before the two slammed their weapons into the ice. Half the glacier sheared off under the force of the immense impact and fell on top of the Republic Mech Ships.
There was no point in killing them, Dread-Eye thought wryly, but it was damn sure fun to watch the ice crush them like the ants they were. Suddenly a huge impact rocked the glacier and Dread-Eye lost his footing on the slippery ice, slipping right over the edge of a fifty foot drop. Dread-Eye's stomach and heart leapt into his throat and then slammed back into place as Chit-Sang caught him and hefted him back to safety with a single hand. It was a testament to Chit-Sang's strength, Dread-Eye thought, that he could catch Dread-Eye, by no means a small man, mid-fall with one hand and effortlessly haul him back up.
"What was that?" Dread-Eye asked as his feet touched solid ice again. "Dunno," Chit-Sang replied, "But whatever it was, look at what it did to the ice." He pointed and as Dread-Eye followed his gaze, he saw that there was an immense gash in a nearby glacier, almost as though someone had swung a giant blade into it. Dread-Eye's eyes widened, "Spectral Slash." Chit-Sang looked at him, "What?" "Something I learned about before I became a pirate. It's a Spirit Caller technique that makes energy blades which can cut through nearly anything. I've never even heard of one being that powerful though; look at the size of it! That must blade must have been wider than the length of a ship!"
"There's only one person that powerful," Chit-Sang said bluntly. Dread-Eye looked at him, "You think..?" "It's a possibility," Chit-Sang shrugged. "He would have to be ancient," Dread-Eye said with a shake of his head, "It's been a hundred years! And he wasn't a newborn then!" "Your granddad's still alive," Chit-Sang pointed out. Dread-Eye made a face at the mention of his family, "Please don't bring them up." Chit-Sang shrugged, "I'm just saying. He could be alive." Dread-Eye rubbed his eye patch in consternation with a sigh, and then he turned his gaze to the gash in the ice, "the blast must have come from that direction," he stepped past Chit-Sang, "so let's see if I can spot him."
He turned and blinked three times, his eyes shifting suddenly trading sensitivity to light for sensitivity to heat, "If there's anything alive out there, it should show up like a flare," he muttered as he opened his good eye. He immediately drew in a shocked breath as he saw a rapidly moving red dot across the horizon, "It's him." Chit-Sang looked at him, "How can you tell?" Dread-Eye pointed towards the horizon, "He's nearly seven miles away moving west. Nobody else could have generated an energy wave powerful enough to do that," he gestured to the massive gash in the glacier, "It's got to be him."
"Do you think we can catch up to him?" Chit-Sang asked. Dread-Eye shook his head, "No way. He's moving way too fast. If we can figure out where he's go..." Dread-Eye stopped suddenly as his eyes lit upon a massive heat source, "The city of the Southern Vampiri." Chit-Sang followed his gaze with a wary expression, "We'll be killed if we set foot there." Dread-Eye patted Chit-Sang on the shoulder, "Only if we're caught my friend, only if we're caught. Now let's go get the Emperor's pardon so we can go home."