A bolt of lightning crackled through the sky, followed by the thunder seaming to crack the air.
Heavy rain fell down from the dark sky. The boat slowed down and was still advancing in the endless sea.
Under the night sky, the boat looked as if it was a small piece of a leaf floating on the intense waves in desolation.
Angele stayed in his cabin and walked to the window. He stared at the surface of the sea through the heavy downpour. Raindrops were hitting the deck, sounding as if they were about to crack the boat open.
Another bolt of lightning rushed through the sky, brightening up the cabin for a second.
The flame on the candle was dancing, as the waves struck against the boat again. Wax was slowly dripping down the silver candle stand, and it created a small pool on the brown wooden desk.
Isabel sat beside the desk, carefully taking the silver dust out of a black leather pouch and sprinkling them onto the surface.
She had changed to a tight white leather suit, revealing the contours of her breasts. She looked like an elegant royal musician. Isabel had tied her long black hair in a ponytail and let it trail over her chest.
She focused on making the silver dust into a specific shape.
After several minutes, the twisted strings drawn using the dust turned into a large, complicated rune.
Angele stopped staring at the sea and turned around.
"Are you ready?" he questioned with a low voice.
"Almost." Isabel nodded.
"I’m counting on you now. None of my spells work in this situation. I already tried, but I can’t find the route back to the land." Angele already did what he could.
Isabel spoke as her brows furrowed, "Well, this spell is a combination of prophecy and tracking. Although it has a great range, I still can’t promise you anything. Also, if there are other islands in the middle, the result will be inaccurate. The energy particles in the Gem Sea is dense. I need to make sure the spell is cast properly with the support material."
"Much better than drifting in the sea…" Angele pursed his lips. "Shall we begin?"
She touched the rune with her right hand’s index finger.
The bright white light was released from the rune. It turned into a distorted white screen.
A familiar island appeared in the center of the screen slowly.
The armies, the ships at the dock, the gray watchtower by the shore, and a triangle flag with a silver string painted on its center — everything looked familiar to them.
"That’s where we departed!" Although Isabel had a blank expression on her face, Angele still caught the excitement in her eyes.
"How far is it from us?" Angele walked to the desk quickly. The white light cast a reflection upon the two’s faces.
Isabel realized what she should do and drew a rune in the air with her finger. The rune turned into a ray of white light and sank into the screen.
The screen blurred for several seconds, but nothing happened.
Angele noticed that the scene displayed on the screen was blurry. He could not hear any sound either.
"The screen can’t be zoomed in and the sound can’t be transferred… It means we’re still far away from the island…" Isabel’s expression changed. ‘There’s still a long way to go. I think the island is in the maximum range the spell can reach."
"What’s the maximum range then?" Angele questioned in a deep voice.
"About 3000 nautical miles…" Isabel answered.
"What?! 3000 nautical miles?" Angele was surprised. That was about the distance from Alaska to New York on Earth, approximately more than 5000 kilometers. With a boat like this, it would take months for them to return to that island.
"Even if we buff the boat with spells, we’ll spend at least 15 more days on the sea." Isabel calmed down and tried to figure out a plan. "Anything on your mind? Master Green?"
"No…" Angele scrunched up his brows. "Also, we’re friends now, just call me Green. No point in being too… formal."
"Huh? Can I?" Isabel hesitated.
"For sure." Angele nodded. "We lost the mast and the sail, and the boat is traveling at its lowest speed. We need to find a way to increase the speed. Otherwise, we’ll die before we can reach the island." Without the mast, the boat could at about two nautical miles per hour.
"That’s not a problem, I think. At least, we can cast spells to buff the speed. The problem is we have already left the merfolk’s territory, which means, we’re now sailing in a dangerous zone around the edge of the Gem Sea. It’s a zone that even the merfolk fear." Isabel stared at the screen. "Well, at least I know how to turn sea water into drinkable water. We’re really running low on supplies."
"Well, great, I was worried about our water supply. I don’t want to drink the water created by Water category spells. Water like that will damage our body with all the impurities it contains." Angele stopped for a second. "So, how do you buff the speed of the boat?"
Isabel bit her lips and started thinking.
The white screen on the desk suddenly flashed and the scene changed.
They saw gray reefs and an empty beach. Only several sea turtles were moving on the yellow sand. It was a small island with black trees. Angele doubted if there was any person living there.
Several seconds later, the scene changed again.
It looked like the surface of the sea.
Isabel quickly tapped on the desk and waved her hand.
The picture on the screen started shuffling quickly. All Angele saw was the sea. It seemed like there was no other land within the range of the spell.
"That’s it, we have to go for it." Isabel looked at Angele.
"Let’s find the proper way to buff the boat’s speed first. It’ll take us months to reach the island at the current speed. We don’t have that much supply left, and we need to return to land as soon as possible." Angele pursed his lips.
They stopped talking. The two had just escaped the dangerous ruin, and then they got lost in the sea.
The rain was hitting the deck; lightning and thunder were still raging in the sky. The howling wind went through the gaps of the cabin and made the doors shake.
The room remained silent, Angele and Isabel were still thinking.
"Where are the two Grand Knights?" Angele suddenly questioned.
"They’re making sure the water doesn’t stay on the deck," Isabel responded. The white screen on the desk slowly vanished into the air. It seemed that the time was up.
What was left on the desk was the silver dust Isabel sprinkled on it earlier. The complicated rune was now messed up, white smoke rose from the silver strings, and some of the dust merged together.
Isabel carefully waved her hand over the desk. All the silver dust was absorbed into the center of her palm. It looked like iron dust being attracted to a magnet.
She sighed, and asked in a low voice, "Green, do you find the sea… charming?"
Angele was thinking if he could rebuild the sail and the mast using his Metal Mastery, then he heard Isabel’s word and leaned forward a bit.
"Why do you ask?"
Isabel’s sight fell upon the surface of the desk. She slowly lowered her hand, and her palm was coated with the silver dust.
"I have dreamed of wandering around the endless Gem Sea alone. I have wanted to explore this world and see the different people. The tales of the ancient Wizards have always attracted me. I have imagined my own adventure, on a lone ship traveling in a storm, just like this one. It feels like we are the only people left in this world, and the boat will be the only thing that will bring us warmth."
Angele could see the loneliness in her eyes. The silver dust on her palm sublimated after several seconds and turned into white steam. "I want to stay away from everything, then find my own little place. A place that brings me warmth in the storm. I enjoy listening to the howling wind and the falling rain, do you understand… my feelings?"
"Umm…" Angele was not sure how he should answer Isabel’s question.
"Well, it seems like you love reading poems and novels."
"You’re right. There are many scenes similar to what I have just described in poems." Isabel nodded. "I’m tired of meditating and collecting resources. I’ve been doing them for more than 100 years in the castle. I want to live a colorful life."
"You mean a peaceful life. You don’t have to stay in a remote place. Just rent a house in a nice city and have some good rest," Angele calmly responded.
Angele knew that if it was not for her family, Isabel would probably not choose to become a Wizard. A Wizard had to keep progressing. The words that she had just spoken indicated that she was losing her motivation.
Isabel muttered, "I’m… tired."
Angele did not say anything.
Isabel was beautiful and charming, but Angele had no desire to conquer her heart. The two were alone in a small cabin, but the only thing Angele wanted to do was to comfort her.
It felt like the intimacy between two close friends.
After the day Angele talked to Isabel on the deck, he became attracted to her in a platonic way.
Isabel was being controlled by her family in a special way, and Angele had returned to his land only to see his family treating him like an outsider. The loneliness they experienced was similar. It was something that would not get washed away.
For that reason, Angele could understand what Isabel was trying to tell him. He assumed that Isabel would understand him too, if he decided to tell her about his situation.
"Isabel, there’s still a long way to go." Angele stared at Isabel in her eyes.
Isabel did not respond to his words.
"Well, I’ll go check the situation on the deck." Angele put on his gray hood and opened the door. Raindrops mixed with the chilling wind went inside the cabin.
The door was closed again.
The rain kept falling onto Angele’s robe; he pulled his collar up slightly. The surface of his gray robe was coated with a thin layer of silver metal. All the rain drops were sliding down to the floor, his clothes not at all wet.