The duck flapped its wings frantically when she got the snake's attention, avoiding being swallowed whole (if she was lucky) by mere inches. The monkey saw that and lept to her defense, only to be hit by Medea's curitive potion. She transformed back into her regular form, then transformed once more right after. The duck quacked ecstatically upon seeing her girlfriend all tall and muscular again. Using the moment she attacked, the duck flew out of the snake's reach and waited for Ariana to move away too before perching on her head, hopefully in range for Medea's anti-toxin spell. --- Atalanta hid with Elyssa when Circe came out, holding her breath to hide all traces of her presence. They waited and watched as the witch wandered about the garden. Elyssa pointed out their two possible entrances and Atalanta pointed at the window. "That's better. I can climb it even without your rope, but that will help. She just needs to go elsewhere."
The snake’s tongue, as large as the greatest python in its own right, flicked out at the little bird fluttering in its face. It had no chance to feed. Ariana’s fists came down on the top of its head like a hammer and its skull compressed. Its jaws rippled outwards and its eyes bulged out. It was completely stunned for Yui’s attack, reduced to a cold feeling through half its head. It was a moment before a slice of its skull fell away and the snake flopped limp, crashing into the ocean to stain it red.
Jason looked at the scene triumphantly, having kicked part of the snake before it fell over the cliff. “Hah! That was excellent! Now nothing stands in our way!” Jason bolted into the tower, running up the stairs as fast as possible. Visions of the throne flew through his mind. But when he ascended to the top...he collapsed to his knees.
The room was empty. “...Circe lied to me.” Jason spat, turning and making his way down the tower with a dark look on his face.
Elyssa nodded her head, continuing to watch Circe as she made her way around the garden. She eventually turned a corner to look at some animals further out, and Elyssa immediately sprang to action.
Firing her grappling hook, it latched onto the window’s landing and pulled herself on top, flipping expertly inside. Atalanta soon followed, allowing her to see the room they were inside.
The large room was adorned with expensive items, ranging from jewels to weapons hanging from the walls. A purple sat beneath their feet, and a large 4 corner bed overlaid by purple sheets laced with gold trim sat nearly folded in the corner. Much like the inside of the house, the room was filled with little wooden animal figures neatly arranged on the shelves, and some floated in the air via magic.
“I guess this is Circe’s room…” Elyssa mumbled, making her way to the door and exiting. The two would make their way down the hallway, avoiding the noises coming from the kitchen. They eventually reached a wooden door that Elyssa slowly opened, revealing what appeared to be a stable.
A shining ram stood idly in the center of the room, looking with confusion at the two entering. TO the right was what appeared to be a loom, covered in shavings from the ram’s fur. Circe was clearly making clothing from it.
“Alright...easy now…” Elyssa approached the ram slowly. It looked at her with further confusion. Elyssa leaped into the air when a loud ‘BANG’ was heard to their immediate right. From the cloud of magical dust came an amused laugh.
“Well well well, I thought I smelled a rat.” Circe looked at Elyssa with amusement. “I must say, I’m surprised you managed to find this place when you were a cute ferret. But considering you’re back to normal...oh Medea, Medea, Medea.” Circe tutted.
Purple magic began to swirl around Circe as she drew her sword. “I guess you being here confirms the Argonauts were responsible.” Circe pointed the black sword at Atalanta. “I’ll be sure to help my niece by removing these awful influences from her life. Starting with you two!”
Elyssa leaped on top of the ram and held onto its horns as it sprinted forward, crashing through the wooden gate and taking off into the air. Elyssa’s feet dangled as she desperately held on. “Ok...down there!” She grunted, trying to pull the ram toward the tower.
Sighing at the broken gate, Circe turned to Atalanta. “I do hate to do this, oh huntress. But you stabbed me first!” Circe pointed her sword at the archer and fired a ray of blue fire that would spread across the walls, not burning the wood but slowly covering the floor, walls and ceiling. The flames seared hotter than normal fire, pushing all the heat outward.
“Sorry big guy.” Ariana patted the snake’s head. “Wrong place, wrong time.” It fell away beneath her, but she stayed in the same place. She simply hovered, plucking Love off her head and giggling. “Hehe, you’re so cute like this!” The duck got a gentle hug as she floated back to shore. “Yo, can you fix my girl!?” The duck was also waved at Medea. “Yes, yes, I retained some of the cure expecting more of your crew.” She put some of the paste in the duck’s bill and turned to greet the returning Jason. “Honey? Dear? ...Jason?” Her voice became meeker with every word. “Yeah, let’s pummel her!” Ariana agreed with Yui. “We’re trying to take her property, of course she lied to us…” Medea mumbled.
The duck playfully bit Ariana's nose when she was called cute. She let herself be carried down to Medea where she got the transformative past applied. And just like that, she turned back into Loveline cradled in Ariana's arms. She stretched in Ariana's bridal carry. She transformed all her limbs in many ways during her life, but she had to admit she liked having her arms back.
She gave Ariana a quick peck. "Thank you, my hero," she said before hopping out of Ariana's arms. "And, uh, thank you, too," Love told Medea. She agreed with Ariana and Yui's sentiment of going to beat up Circe now. Medea seemed to dislike that idea, protesting that they were trying to rob her first.
"Hey, she transformed us into animals even though we weren't stealing from her. We were trying to get a completely different fancy ship! And I bet all of the other animals here are just random victims too. So yes, she earned a slap or two." --- Atalanta followed Elyssa into the ram room. But as soon as they set foot inside, Circe arrived with her wicked laugh. "You lied," Atalanta said. "The only snake guarding the fleece is you." She accused, preparing her bow and an arrow. Elyssa took action first, securing the ram and trying to escape. Circe, probably sure Elyssa couldn't escape for some reason, aimed at Atalanta instead. The huntress jumped to the side, spinning and loosing an arrow midjump at Circe's side. But the fire from the blade started spreading through the room regardless. So Atalanta chose to nearest escape route she could find. She jumped through a window and landing on a tree right outside.
She winced in pain as soon as she stepped on it however. Though she protected her face, a piece of glass was stuck in her foot. She loosed another arrow at Circe before jumping down, landing on her healthy foot, and started hobbling toward the tower.
Jason slowed his advance down the tower when Medea called after him, letting out a sigh and straightening his posture to appear calm and collected for his beloved. “We won’t hurt your aunt, Medea. We’re just going to have a discussion about lying to us, putting you in danger too.” Jason tried to reassure her, as they made it to the bottom of the tower.
“Can’t we just find the fleece and go? She’s going to be as angry as you, let’s not face her…” Medea was realizing nobody was with her here, and there was little she could do to stop it. Jason paused and put his hands on Medea’s shoulders.
“I will do my best to make this peaceful, ok? I know she’s your family.” Jason was trying hard not to unleash the venom he had for Circe right now. Before Medea could react, there was a golden streak across the sky. His eyes widened when he saw what it was. “THAT’S IT!” The Argonaut leader yelled.
Elyssa clung to the ram’s horns, pulling its head down toward the ground. “Come...oooon!” The adventurer grunted. Why was this thing so strong, and weirdly soft?!
“Uh oh. Better help her!” Ariana pushed off the ground, letting her powerful legs carry her the first dozen feet before she had to fly. She caught the ram by its horns and pushed against air in an attempt to slow it down. “Elyssa, you know better than to land a sheep face first!” She chided
Elyssa smirked when she saw Ariana flying up to join her, human again. “Heeeeeeeey, glad to see you’re back! You wolly had me worried!” Elyssa let a few chuckles slip.
“...huh?” Ariana mumbled. Elyssa rolled her eyes. “Don’t worry about it. Help me bring this down!” With their combined might, the ram was brought back down to Earth. Jason ran up and planted his arms tightly arounds its woolly head.
“We got it! Now quickly, before Circe returns!” Medea was ready to book it, but Jason was holding still.
“So you were right, girl! You have my thanks...but if this is here.” His eyes trailed off, seeing Atalanta stumbling away while Circe casually crested the hill, looking at the group with an amused expression.
“My my my, the party’s all here! I believe that’s mine, Jason.” She said, eyes then turning to Medea to see if she had any excuse.
“Aunt Circe, we need this. Jason is the true king of Thessaly, but he needs the fleece to claim the throne from his uncle. We just need to show him and let Jason rule, and then we can return it to you!”
Circe appeared to consider this, then shook her head. “If he is such a king, why does he need the strongest warriors Greece has to offer to get his way, hm? I think the king should earn his keep.” Circe grinned wildly, pointing her sword at Jason, who drew his own.
“Medea, I want you to get our newfound friends out of here. Give them some of that powder if they have any remaining on this island, and we’ll distract Circe! Get out of here, golden ferret!” Jason instructed, Elyssa audibly groaning. “That’s not my name, but they have a point! Thanks Argonauts, you’re all awesome!” Elyssa waved as she took off toward the harbor, where the Lotus was docked. Along the way she dove to the ground, scooping up two snakes and a strange lizard in her arms.
“Hey, works for me!” Ariana snagged the jar of ointment from Medea and took off after her boss.
Circe laughed when she saw the others running back to their ship. “Ah well, let them run! I proved my superiority to them already. But you, oh king.” She spat those words. “You and your crew are mine.” Swinging her black sword to the right, Medea unleashed a whip of magic from the tip of her sword and struck the ground, shattering the earth below them and causing a massive golem hand to try and grab Hercules, Jason narrowly avoiding being buried alive...but not charging the sorceress.
They barely even decided to storm Circe's house and look for the golden fleece when Elyssa broke out, riding the very ram they required. It took the combined effort of several people to bring it down to the earth and restrain it, but the Argonauts seemed happy with the result at least. They were happy enough to let the ruin team run along while they dealt with Circe themselves, an offer Elyssa was all too happy to take, and Ariana followed suit.
"We're just gonna leave them?" Love asked, not sure if that was the right call. But she wasn't stupid enough to stick around on her own. She ran after Elyssa and Riri, transforming to be able to keep up with them. Elyssa remembered to scoop up their still cursed companions while theymade their way to back to the ship.
Meanwhile, Atalanta leaned against a tree, happy that Circe's attention was elsewhere for the moment at least. She took her bow and aimed for the back of Circe's head. Then she remembered this was Medea's aunt. Medea wouldn't like that. So she aimed lower, at the shoulder of her sword arm. Stop her from using her sword, stop her from using that arm for magic. She loosed the arrow. But how will she hobble back to the Argo?
"Whoa, wait, then what about my revenge!"-Yui cried at them leaving, she wasn't gonna be able to clobber circe after all the crap she pulled? Yui sighed and followed after Ariana, looking back at Hercules one last time
"Worry not, Child. I shall take care of everything here"-Hercules reassured Yui with a smile, the Kodokan fighter shook her head and sighed.
"Guess you will. Later!"
As Circe attacked, Heracles jumped back, making some distance between the golem and himself.
"You must have lost your mind, witch. You acknowledge the people here as the strongest in all of Greece, and yet, you think you can defeat us?!"
Heracles drew The legendary Harpe for the first time since he arrived to this island, charging at Circe with his blade
"Have at thee!"-Heracles swung down with a two handed grip backed by tremendous might, looking to cleave her in half.
One by one, the Ruin team made their way back to the docks where the Lotus was tied up, the crew having been turned to animals and penned on board. Elyssa slashed apart the ropes holding their ship to the dock with her short sword, and turned it back into her grappling hook to launch herself onto the ship, rolling once across the deck and seamlessly breaking into a run.
“We’re shipping out, everyone! I am confident the Argonauts can deal with Circe, and we need to get out here! Sorry Kasumi!” Elyssa called over to the others, grabbing some of the mixture and releasing Kasumi from her transformed state.
Kasumi had been confused when grabbed from under the rock where she hid and she was more confused now. “Wha- how, what’s going on!?” She felt her body, confirming she was human. “Did you guys… beat her without me? How did you fix this?”
Elyssa tossed some powder onto the two snakes she had brought and turned back to Kasumi, giving her a quick hug, then releasing her. “Well! We met some powerful people that are going to deal with Circe for us, and we need to get out of here now. Why didn’t you wanna follow us?” Elyssa asked, releasing more people from the curse.
“Cause I was a lizard. Shit’s embarassing.” Kasumi got red and hugged her knees to her chest. “I felt like a loser, getting totally punked like that.” When Kasumi finished speaking, Elyssa came over and hugged her once more, this time not letting go immediately.
“Hey, you at least had some cool small dragon. I was a ferret. Some rodent could save the day, and we all fell for that backstab, ok?” Elyssa tried to explain.
“Yeah, I know. I’ll pick myself up, just need a minute.” Kasumi hugged back before gently pushing Elyssa back. Elyssa landed on her feet and nodded her head. “Ok! Take as much time as you need, sailor!” She gave a joking salute and was about to jump over the railing to the lower half of the deck, but a hand grabbed the back of her shirt.
"Can't Say I feel great even after coming back, we got defeated without a chance of fighting back"- Stheno said as she smashed her fist against the ship.
"Well, no use thinking about that anymore, the fact that they needed to resort to those kinds of tactics prolly means they weren't so confident about taking us on in a straight fight"
Stheno sighed and sat down, then looked at her sister.
"How are you holding up? Still in one piece?"
Euryale was leaning against the railing, cheek puffed out in annoyance as she gripped one of the wooden supports, trying not to crush it in rage.
“Yes sister, you could say that. I want that witch at the bottom of the ocean, NOW! Why did we let her go?!” Euryale demanded, holding Elyssa’s shirt.
Elyssa looked back and smirked. “Ah, because I think the Argonauts can handle themselves just fine, and we need to get out of here as soon as possible. We already have a pirate lord’s ship, don’t you think the others are going to sail to the maelstrom and blockade us out?” Elyssa asked, Euryale rolling her eyes.
When everyone was back to their normal selves, Elyssa placed her boot on the railing and pointed toward a collection of white clouds in the distance.
“It is time! We came here to explore this land, and there is nowhere more deserving than the Maelstrom itself! There will probably be resistance inside...is everyone ready?” Elyssa craned her head back, some of the crew shouting in approval.
The ship steamed away from Circe’s harbor, the team able to see the Argonauts locked in a violent battle against the island’s owner. Circe’s own ship sat next to the docks, looking somehow more imposing than the Lotus and its largely inhuman crew.
Turning to the others, Elyssa beamed. “So, here is our strategy. There are 6 pirate lords. We just made friends with two of them.” Elyssa winked at Euryale and Stheno, Euryale turning away with a huff.
“That leaves four. Circe should be distracted pretty long by the Argonauts, but I wouldn’t doubt it if we saw her again. Then we have Strider, our dear old Silverbeard.” Elyssa glared at the map before her, but shrugged her shoulders.
“He supposedly isn’t that tough, but he will be pretty crafty out there. But considering only legendary ships can get through, we don’t have to worry about an armada coming along.” Elyssa noted. “Then we have Admiral Lawrence...he’s going to try and stop us, no doubt. And then there’s the big one…” Her voice trailed off.
Euryale piped up. “The reaper of the ocean himself, the man who sailed out of Hell…” Euryale said softly. “Yep, Jones! So that’s 3 other factions to deal with, least until Circe either wins or loses. So here’s my plan.” Elyssa’s eyes grew wide with excitement.
“We pit them against each other. Strider won’t want to attack us directly, so we have to attack him before he can pull anything. We need a way to pit Lawrence and Jones against each other.” Elyssa said, putting her hand on her chin thoughtfully.
“Does anyone have some ideas on strategy? We’re approaching the fog wall now…” Elyssa raised her cap as the ship drifted toward the wall of fog that circled the maelstrom. The air pressure had risen noticeably in the last few minutes of sailing.
“Strider probably still thinks that we’re animals on Circe’s island. Let’s get him before he knows better! This time, the advantage is ours!” Kasumi called out. “Yeah! Let’s rush him and smash his ship up!” Ariana cheered. “Yeah! Well maybe not that. Maybe you should be on like… cannon duty. Smash up the weapons on other ships so they can’t shoot us.” “Smash the cannons up! Also cool! I’ll do it to the admiral guy too if we run into him, I bet he’s got big cannons.” Ariana prepared herself, transforming as they neared the fog.
"Well, thinking is not my main strength, so I'll just let leader decide how to move forward. Now that stryder has lost his cover, it's unlikely that he will outsmart us again"-Yui said confidently.
"Yes, but that still leaves everyone else. Lawrence, Jones, and potentially Circe. You think they will just destroy each other and let us do as we please? not a chance"-Stheno said as she shook her head
"I don't expect Circe to defeat the Argonauts, although I would have still liked to back them in that fight...well, what's done is done. If either Lawrence or Jones come after us, I will do what needs to be done. wouldn't you like to get out of here with your name clean? we have to pay all these guys back in some shape or form after all!"
"...You talk too much, you know that?"-Stheno replied to Yui, crossing her arms and giving her back to the Kodokan fighter.
Loveline thought about the proposals. "Well, I think a sneak attack on Strider before he realizes we're around would be best, though I'm not sure we can even hurt a ghost. Well, if you guys say to attack, we'll attack. We can at least wreck his ship to stop him."
The second issue was tougher, though it was also more her speed. "Well, if we can get the two to meet, I'm sure a fight will break out. In fact, I could probably use my illusions to bait them closer or to make them think they're fighting each other while we use guerrilla tactics to draw them closer. Buuuuut, we do need to find both of them first."
Elyssa heard the proposals and nodded, pointing at Loveline and giving a thumbs up. "That's a great plan, Love! Make an illusion to make it seem like they fired the first shot! Get them fighting, and we can swoop in to nab the treasure before they can! By the way, what sort of treasure is in there, anyway?" The adventurer asked, Euryale scoffing.
"You set off on this quest without the slightest idea of the destination? Honestly..." The gorgon said with a huff. "The maelstrom is home to the most powerful treasure in the world. The one item that would let whoever holds it control the world. The shining jewel of the sea...the Heart of the Ocean." Euryale stated.
Elyssa's eyes sparkled in amazement. "Ooooooh...I can't wait to see it!" She exclaimed, facing toward the fog as the ship began to pass through.
A powerful sense of dread began to fill the air as the group sailed further into the fog, rain soon beginning to fall upon their heads. The waves began to pick up, making even the legendary Black Lotus ship rock back and forth as it crested waves. Elyssa stared on with a large grin on her face.
"We're nearly there...the Maelstrom." She said excitedly. Suddenly, the waves began to change direction...as if beginning to turn. The ship was soon swept up in the current, rocking harder in the storm. The ship then broke through a fog layer...showing the final stage of the Ruin.
A whirlpool the size of an island swirled before them, sucking in ocean water around them and making it disappear in the maw before them. Lightning cracked across the black skies as the Lotus began to swirl along the vortex's outer rim. The two gorgons quickly began to direct their crews to keep the ship on the current course with all their might.
Elyssa looked on with more excitement in her eyes as she saw the vortex. "It's in there, right?" She asked, Euryale nodding her head. "Yeah, it is! But we’re all dead if this ship goes down there! We need to get close enough to descend safely!” Euryale instructed. The ship rocked violently in the massive waves that swirled around the whirlpool.
Suddenly, the crew stopped. Euryale’s eyes went dark when she looked out into the foggy horizon. Elyssa could feel something different too. Something...sinister. “Hey, what’s up?!” The adventurer asked. Euryale pointed at the fog.
Out from the wall of mist, the bow of a ship broke through, decorated with charred wood and a statue encrusted with barnacles. The ship before them appeared to be totally unseaworthy, with missing planks and charred marks across the entire hull, but it seemed to glow a vibrant red in the spots that appeared to be holes. Blue lanterns hung from overhead, casting a ghostly shadow upon the deck.
The beings on deck could barely be described as humanoid. Molten rock seemed to be holding their limbs together as they shambled across, working various aspects of the ship. A singular figure stood with his boot upon the front of the ship, staring out across at the Lotus.
A black wide-brimmed hat sat atop a face that was missing a mouth, replaces by two tiny snake-like pits and blue demonic eyes that shone for miles. His chest was covered by a coat, but the swaying motion revealed a set of sharp teeth that ran down his front like a maw, disappearing into a molten center when it reached his body. The teeth moved in and out, feeling the air around them.
Euryale froze when she saw the ship before them. “...got any bright ideas, girl?!” Euryale asked, Elyssa frowning at the sight of the ghost ship. “Guess we’re taking them on solo! Keep a wide berth, and get those stone cannons running as soon as possib-” Elyssa was cut off when a figure landed on their deck, a humanoid with a pair of wings across her arms that looked like the flaps of a stingray, and a long barbed tail trailed behind her. Her eyes glowed yellow as she stepped forward.
“Second officer Elloise, messenger from the Dutchman. We heard reports of two of the Lords sailing into the Maelstrom, and looks like those were...correct.” Her eyes fell upon the two gorgons. Elyssa stepped forward to address the messenger.
“I suppose we can’t talk this out, can we?” Elyssa asked, Elloise turning her piercing glare upon the adventurer. “So this is the one who defeated you? How far has the Gorgon faction fallen?” She asked, Elyssa not phased. “To address your question, human, you are in violation of the Nassau Agreement. The pirate Lords agreed to stop the bloodshed and stay out of the Maelstrom. This is YOUR doing.” She spat.
Elyssa pondered this. “What if we strike a deal? Share the treasure down there among each crew?”“We do not see value in disgraced captains and arrogant humans.” Elloise answered curtly, Euryale puffing her cheek in annoyance.
“So I came with a message from our Captain. Hand over the foreigners, and we may just spare your crew.” She stated. Euryale looked toward her older sister. Elyssa stepped forward.
“You can’t do that! We’ve come so far, and are about to reach the ultimate goal! Don’t you all want that glory? Did we not prove ourselves in that battle?!” Elyssa asked. “Come on guys, back me up!” Elyssa asked her friends, keeping a particular eye on what Euryale and Stheno were thinking.
They pushed into the maelstrom and faced the giant water churning in the center of the ruin. It gave Love flashbacks of the worst and best ruin she was part of. With Charibdis and... She looked at Ariana and took her hand.
"It looks like we're almost done with the ruin. Hope you've got an idea of how we can celebrate."
But it wasn't over yet. They were intercepted by one of the other pirate lords. Love was surprised the vessel could even float with how patchy it looked. And its inhabitants, beings of molten rock and butt ugliness surely should've weighed it down until it sunk below the waves. But regardless, it refused to sink. Instead, it sent out a messenger, a humanoid stingray with a bad attitude.
"Hey, there doesn't need to be any bloodshed if you guys turn back and let us do what we wanna do." The creature didn't seem to want to negotiate as much as it wanted to make demands. Now who was the arrogant one!? "Hey, we're not just foreigners, we're the best pirates around and we're about to prove it! Tell your boss we're going through with this and if he tries to stop us, I'll clip all your guys's wings! Or whatever it is they have!"
“Let’s have a picnic by a lake! And a nice lake, where we can swim! I haven’t gotten to swim nearly as much as I expected today.” Ariana immediately suggested to Love, pulling her close. “Oh, hold up, work time.” She kissed Love’s cheek and stepped forwards. “Sorry Elyssa, I think we lost some trust when Circe got us, and you know, it’s fair. We’ll have to get some back.” Ariana turned to Kasumi and flexed with a wink. Kasumi grinned and nodded. “So the first step to doing that, I would think… is smashing up the strongest lord of the sea.” Ariana leaped into action, transforming mid-lunge. Her transformation was emphasized by the summoning of Hibagon, making her almost grotesquely muscular. She threw one insane punch, throwing her whole weight into it so that the whole boat rocked. She hoped to smash Elloise right back to the Flying Dutchman as a show of force. She’d figure out what to do next afterwards!
"No. There's a much bigger treasure out there. Beyond this world. We'll have it all! let's go, sister!"-Stheno smiled and called for Euryale to back Ariana, attacking Elloise with her nails, aiming at the vitals of her victim.
"They aint the only ones who can board other ships in the midst of chaos. I'll bring the fight to their ship! Ely-san, everyone, good luck!"- Yui took flight and headed for the flying dutchman.
"Come on out, captain-San. I'm are here to deliver our reply to your message!"
Ariana's massive punch landed, sending Elloise tumbling through the downpour until she could catch herself with her wings, clutching her caved-in stomach. "...very well." She spat, and floated back onto the ship. The demonic figure at the head of the ship stared at Yui as she started to leap toward their ship. His massive maw running down his front seemed to grow a smile.
"So the girl thinks she can take us all on herself, aye...? Let's welcome them with the same manner." He said with amusement, tossing a fish into the maw and snapping it up. "UNLEASH THE BEAST!" He called out, and the crew cheered as they ran below deck. Jones held out his arms as Yui approached.
"Rejoice, lass! On this day, you get to witness the wrath of Hell itself! Ahahahahaha!" His demonic laughter was soon drowned out by the waves beneath beginning to churn, the ship rising up out of the water. Elyssa's jaw dropped at what she saw.
From below the Dutchman, they could now see a strange purple flesh-like mass begin to rise out of the ocean. A spike appeared to be lodged into the bottom of Jones's ship, which rose to reveal an oval head with 4 massive glowing eyeballs, each positioned at equal around the head, giving a panorama view. The eyes were nearly the size of the Lotus itself, but this wasn't the full beast. An animalistic hissing noise echoed through the air as 8 tentacles exploded from the sea, flailing around like buildings made of rubber.
"It's...a kraken!" Elyssa said with excitement. Euryale's eyes widened in shock. "I hear stories about this...EVERYONE! MAN THE STONE CANNONS! NO-" Before Euryale could finish, a titanic tentacle slammed onto the deck of the Lotus, sending debris and crew flying as the suction cups below latched on and began to pull down into the depths. Euryale scrambled back to her feet quickly.
"EVERYONE! I WANT CANNONS ON THIS THING NOW!" Euryale called out, the crew scrambling to aim the stone cannons at the writhing beast in the distance while the ship itself began to tilt. Elyssa was about to give her own orders, but a 'thud' on the ship's deck made her pause. An ominous feeling swept across the crew as 3 figured stepped forth. Elloise who was still clutching her stomach, a man with two glowing blue eyes and a luminescent cloak of teeth shrouding him...and Jones himself.
"I pity you, Gorgons. I was so generous to send my second officer to get rid of these challengers to your dignity, but I suppose they conquered you more thoroughly than I thought. Attacking my crew means death, I'm sure you know." Jones said coldly, his maw opening wide to reveal what looked to be a furnace beneath.
Euryale looked on with terror. "W-we're not scared of you! We're here on our o-own accord!" She tried to say. Jones laughed at the bravado. "Ahahaha! Then give me a display of your power, Gorgons!" Jones drew a pitch-black cutlass that began to glow with a sinister purple aura. Euryale leaped to the side. "Do NOT let him hit you with that energy! It attacks your soul directly!" Euryale called over, firing an arrow at Jones, but easily parried away. Elyssa looked toward the others.
"We need this ship still, so I'm going to help deal with the Kraken before we all sink! Work together, everyone! This is going to be a real fight" She said, dashing to assist with one of the cannons spraying petrifying rays at the Kracken, keeping its attention from pulling them under. Elloise stepped forward and flared out her wings at Ariana.
"That was quite the punch. How about you try it again, I'll tear off that arm this time." She took off toward Ariana on her wings, letting out a sonic scream that should hopefully disorient her, and then attempt to drive an axe straight into her skull. Next to her was the strange cloaked man, stepping up to Kasumi.
"...you're first..." He growled, flaring out his cloak to reveal a large cape made entirely out of long teeth. He flashed it out toward Kasumi like a towel, looking to impale her against its spikes.
Jones himself tilted his neck into a sickening crack as he stepped up to Yui. "You seem like the strongest one on board, lass. Let's test it out!" Swinging his sword, Jones struck the ground directly in front of Yui, looking to engulf the fighter in a geyser of purple energy that would drain her life force the longer she was inside.
Ariana launched herself off the ship, making it rock with the force of her takeoff. She went back to the normal bulk of her gem form when she flew out of the range of Kasumi’s buff. She met Eloise halfway, already pulling back for another punch. “Sure, I’ll beat what’s left of your- ow!” Ariana ran into Eloise’s sonic scream like physical wall, rebuffing her charge and leaving her open. “Ohwowno!” Ariana’s reflexes saved her, planting the axe in her forearm rather than her skull. Endorphins were blocking out the pain, and she realized that in a way, she was at an advantage. She yanked and twisted her arm back, trying to rip the axe out of Eloise’s grip. In the same motion she threw her legs forwards, a sort of flight-propelled drop kick aimed right at the spot her punch already landed.
Back on the ship, Kasumi let Hibagon go. She needed to save mana. She turned to follow Elyssa, but found herself cut off immediately. “Go on, I’ve got this loser!” She drew her sword just in time to deflect the first flick. “That it? Guess you got tossed over here for being a wuss, huh?” Her feet flicked, tossing her forwards. Her blade whipped out at neck level, trying to neatly lop off the monster’s head.