Chapter 40Mature

Lee watched Sparrow sleeping in the sick bay of the Asterius and sighed. He found himself anxious for her to awake. “What kind of girl walks around in the freezing cold dressed like this? If I hadn’t been there, she might not have made it.” He shook his head. He watched the girl turn feverishly in her bed and walked out of the sick bay and towards the deck. “Better go find that witch doctor so he can make sure she doesn’t kick the bucket.” He stepped out onto the deck. The navigator, what was his name, was sitting by the helm, “Yo navigator? You seen where the doc went?” Lee called out.

"I wasn't aware he'd even left the vessel." Arcebus replied.

“So you haven’t seen him huh? Figures.” Lee shook his head.

"Always absorbed in business or brooding of some sort. Though, he did seem to take a mild interest in Blue Tiger on the voyage.”

“Is that right? Well then, it looks like I’m going to have to go find his brooding ass and haul it back here. That girl’s not doing too hot right now.”

"I'd noticed. Regrettably, I know only how to treat gunshot wounds. Illness is far out of my skill set." The navigator paused for a moment, throwing the air break switch back, "The one time we DO need him..."‏

“He disappears on us,” Lee finished. “Not very reliable witch doc is he?”

"Goes with the title. That said, he seems to have fairly extensive knowledge in his field. Someone should go and fetch him if he doesn't come back soon‏.”

“Well I’m going after him now. That girls tossing and turning still. If something happens, just sent up a flare or something and I’ll come back,” Lee turned and headed back to get his gear. A few minutes Lee found himself walking through the snowy landscape, glad he had brought that thick fur jacket a while back. It was too cold for his bike’s engine to start, so he had to go it on foot for once. “Now where the heck did that witch doc get to?” he asked himself. “It shouldn’t be this hard to find someone in all this white.” He stomped around a bit through the tundra until he stepped into something wet, that wasn’t snow. He looked down at the shallow stream he now stood in. He blinked. “Wait, a moving stream? In the middle of the freaking tundra?” He took off one of his gloves and tested the temperature. While it wasn’t warm by any means, it sure wasn’t freezing like everything else around him. He put back on the glove and looked at the hill in the near distance that the stream seemed to be flowing down from. “I guess a small detour wouldn’t hurt. Not like I’m having any luck finding the doc right now,” Lee said to himself. He proceeded to walk along the little bank toward the source of the water.

After a few minutes of trampling through the snow, he reached the hill. A small cave sat near the bottom from which the water trickled down. The cave itself was pitch black. “Might as well see what’s in there.” Lee broke off a branch from a nearby tree and used the lighter he always carried to create a makeshift torch. He drew one of his revolvers with his unoccupied hand and then entered the cave. The cave ended up being one of the many entrances to a vast network of tunnels that ran throughout Blue Tiger. Lee followed the stream through the labyrinth, now very interested to see what the source was. Lee had to duck his head down quite a few times in order to avoid a stalactite from the low hanging ceiling.

After traversing through the cave, Lee saw a small pinprick of light in the distance. “Wonder what that is,” he mused heading for the light. When he finally arrived at the source of the glow, he was greeted by a burst of steam that obscured his vision temporarily. As it cleared he found himself standing at the edge of a small bubbling hot spring, which fed the stream by his feet. While Lee was surprised to find a hot spring in the middle of Blue Tiger, he was floored in comparison by what was behind it. Beyond the spring was a small nest of an assortment of burnt twigs, charred branches, and soot-stained rocks. In the center of it, lay a large scaly lizard the size of a great-dane which to Lee’s amazement was currently enveloped in flames. Crimson red and covered with great black splotches from which the fire seemed to spout forth, the reptile seemed to be unaffected by the flames, more concerned with a jagged fragment of stone that was lodged in one of its claws. That is until he noticed Lee’s presence. The creature’s green slitted eyes narrowed upon seeing the intruder. It hissed and spat a glob of flaming mucus at Lee’s head, which he hastily avoided. While he’d never seen one before, Lee knew what he was looking at. He smirked. “Never thought I’d find a real-life salamander in here,” he said. “And to think I was just looking for that blasted witch doc!”

“Well it’s not like I needed you to find me,” a snide voice said behind him. Lee whipped around, gun at the ready. Davrou stood there scowling at Lee, a long ornate sword pointed at Lee’s throat.

“And what do you know, I find him anyway,” Lee said with a grimace. “Man this day’s just can’t get any weirder, can it?”

The End

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