Aster: Flying

I looked at the heap of velvet on the floor, then at the pistol in my hand. I looked around. Eddy was no where to be seen, but I knew that she had gone back to her room to clean up. I knew her well though, she wasn't going to clean, she was going to fume, jealousy wasn't her favorite hat.
But I didn't want to deal with that right now. I put the gun on a nearby table and picked up the coat. I brushed it off with my fingertips, shaking it out so it wasn't wrinkled. I folded it over my arm and went to look for the coats owner.

I found Jericho in the helm room of the airship. He was looking over a map muttering to himself. He reached for his compass, tracing a route across an ocean.

"2000 miles, wait..." Jericho did a quick calculation using his fingers, still muttering.

"Jericho?" I approached somewhat timidly, not wanting to interrupt. Jerichos head jerked up as he noticed me for the first time.

"Aster? What are you doing here?" He sounded mad, I started to back away a step. He recounted, using a more pleasant tone, "I meant, um, I didn't expect to see you," he said it a bit awkwardly, and the lack of confidence coming from him made me smile. He seemed much less intimidating now.

"What are you working on?" I asked, stepping towards the table. He moved aside a little so I could see the map clearly.
"I trying to find a route to our destination that will not take us over these mountains," he pointed at a large mountain range on the map, "or these lands, where they will shoot us down if they see us" he pointed to a large area just the the east of us, "or take us forever to get to, so far, I cannot think of any route."

I leaned over the map, examining it closely. "What if we went north? Took the route nearer to the seas here," I pointed. "Then we could go south from there, and make our way to the island that way. But then you said the island would be dangerous too."

"If we can get there safely, that's half the battle" Jericho said with a grin. "After that, we just have to land and disguise ourselves so that your mistress can get the information she needs."

I nodded, Eddy knew what she was doing, or at least I hoped she did. She had our fathers journals and the information in there would help us.

"We could take our time in getting there," I suggested. "I don't think Eddy has a deadline, we are on the run from England at the moment, and we may as well see more of the world while we can. But it is up to her I guess."

Jericho nodded, "The route ultimately is her decision. But I would gladly take you on a tour around the world if you like." Another grin was flashed in my direction. I returned it, tilting my head a little to look up at Jericho's face.

"Oh I'm sure that would be terrific! But then," I looked down at the map. "We need to find out what happened on that island, Eddy has been waiting for years to know."

"Don't be so serious, my dear!" Jericho folded up the map and slid it into a cubby along the wall. A large grid of spaces covered the wall, each one stuffed with papers and scrolls in no obvious order. I walked over to the wall and pulled out a scroll. It was written in a language I didn't recognize and was covered in what appeared to be alchemic symbols.

"Now that is quite the story!" Jericho came over and took the scroll from me. "It involves fights and storms and me risking my neck of course!" He slid the scroll back into the slot, leaning into my space. "Remind me to tell you about it sometime." Jericho winked and went over to the window, I followed ready to pester him about the story, but before I could speak he was talking.

"Looks like the repairs are just about finished, what do you say we take her out for a spin?"

"What about Jacer?" I asked, startled. "He's still off ship."

"Don't worry your pretty little head about that bucket-o-bolts," he said, waving it off. I opened my mouth to protest but Jericho steed my over to the helm, the large wheel that directed the airship.

"No, no! I am not going to fly this thing!" I held out my arms trying not to be pushed towards the large wheel. With very little success. Jericho maneuvered me so I stood directly in front of the spoked wheel. Jericho stood behind me, pushing buttons and flipping switches. The ship lurched forward and I grabbed the wheel instinctively. Jericho laughed heartily.

"That's the spirit! Let's go!" He wrapped his hands around mine, turning the wheel and the ship swung out of the port. Jericho called out as if to no one

"This is mooring 1387-A. We will be right back." And out of no-where a tinny voice replied.

"Roger that, we will hold your spot."

I realized that there was no getting out of this, my hands trapped to the wheel as they were, so I began to relax, leaning back against Jericho's chest, enjoying the motion of the ship as it moved. Until Jericho stepped back.

As my hands were released I snatched them away from the wheel, with no one hanging onto it the wheel spun and the deck began to tilt alarmingly. I looked at Jericho, terrified. He stood leaning against the wall, arms folded, grinning at me.

"Are you kidding me! I can't fly this thing!" I cried. Jericho looked out of the window,

"Well, you had better learn quick, or we will run into those buildings over there."

I looked out of huge window, and sure enough the ship was headed straight for several tall buildings on the coastline. Not seeing any other option I lunged at the wheel, it took nearly all my strength and weight to stop the spinning, but the deck straightened and we were sailing smoothly again in a moment. I saw Jericho moving out of the corner of my eye, but I couldn't concentrate on him, I had to keep the ship steady. Because Jericho certainly wouldn't lift a finger to save our lives!

Surprisingly, no one came in wondering about the strange motion of the ship, I had to wonder if Jericho had somehow known I was coming up here and planned this impromptu flying lesson.

The flying was starting to come easier now, now that the ship was straight it didn't fight against me so much to keep steady.

"Oh, very nice, you found the slip stream." Jericho said from somewhere to the left.

"The what?" I had to ask.

"The slip stream, it's when the ship finds the wind and doesn't fight you so much, makes flying a breeze doesn't it?" He laughed at his joke and came into view.

"Don't stand in front of me! I can't see out of the window!"

Jericho laughed again, "with flying you don't have to see so much, you have to feel it." He came up next to me, he put his hand lightly on top of the steering wheel. I tried to let go then, but he lifted his hand so I had to stay firm.

"I don't want to drive." I huffed. Jericho laughed again. His good humor was infectious. I smiled a little.

"That the ticket, so, do you feel the slight tug on the right side of the wheel?" I nodded. "That's the wind, trying to pull at you, if you lean a little to port, I mean left, you will stop feeling that tug. I did it, turning the wheel slightly to the left, the tugging stopped for a moment, then started up on the left side this time, I turned a little less than before to the right, until the tugging stopped.

"Haha! You're a natural!" Jericho yelled out. I smiled, pleased.

"Now, you're good at the straight lines, let's try turning around." Jericho said calmly. I looked up at him, shocked.

"I didn't ask for a flying lesson you know." I said, humor gone.

"Yes you did." Jericho said bluntly, still grinning. "You can do this."

I took a deep breath, and began to turn the wheel, when I felt the tug this time I kept turning, the wind pushed the ship around, and suddenly we were facing the opposite direction.

"I did it!" I laughed elated.

"Of course you did!" Jericho clapped me on the back, hard and I lurched forward, the ship remained steady however, in the slipstream.

We flew back to the mooring tower and Jericho spoke into the air again.

"This is mooring 1387-A, we are back and ready to dock."

"Ready when you are 1387-A."

"Now," Jericho said to me "just ease her in slightly sideways, turn to starboard, right, and I'll push the switches, but keep her steady, alright?"

I nodded, biting my lip and turning the wheel. Jericho pressed the buttons and flipped the switches and before I knew it we were attached to the dock, the ropes had pulled us in and we were moored. Gratefully I let go of the wheel, my palms were slick with sweat and my fingers were cramped from gripping so hard, but at the same time I felt triumphant and I could not keep the grin off of my face.

"Well little lady, let's walk to back to your room," Jericho offered his arm to me, I took it. "We may make a pirate captain of you yet!" He said. We left the helm room and walked along the outside of the ship to see the port. Jacer was walking up the gangplank, my grin fell off of my face when I saw him, a chill running down my spine. Jericho, noticing my reaction gave my hand a squeeze.

"I'll leave you here m'lady." He said and gave me a swift kiss on the cheek. Shocked, I turned to him, but he was already walking away, whistling a merry tune.

I smiled and walked back to my room. I didn't even see Jacer, standing at the gangplank looking even more shocked than I was.

The End

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