“Psst…Velvet, wake up.”
Velvet shot up, slamming her head against the bunk-bed above her. She dived out of covers, drawing her sword and aiming it out of the Van Eltia’s cabin door.
“What is it? Are we under attack?” she shouted. Magilou stood behind her, arms behind her back.
“Nooooo,” she replied.
“Then what’s wrong!?”
“Oh, I just wanted to see if you were asleep.”
In one swift motion, Velvet went from aiming her sword towards the door to jamming her forearm against Magilou, her sword running its length across her throat. The witch raised her hands, flapping them back and forth.
“Take it easy, I’m just joking. I needed to ask you something.”
“Couldn’t it have waited until morning?” Velvet growled, teeth bared.
“I mean, probably, but where’s the fun in that? Come on, the night’s young! Let’s go to the Crow’s Nest. You like the Crow’s Nest, right? Cause it’s like, your…forget it, it’s no fun if you explain the punch-line.”
Velvet sighed, sheathing her sword and letting Magilou off from the wall.
Velvet was already making her way out onto the deck. She didn’t look at the witch as she spoke.
“Yes. I am already awake, and I could use the air. Maybe it’ll prevent me from killing you.”
Magilou shrugged, skipping along to make her way behind Velvet.
The Van Eltia was quiet, the only sounds coming from the creaking within the ship’s wood, and the waves crashing against it. A few lamps were lit throughout the deck, most likely the crew’s sentries posting watch. Velvet pulled herself along the ladder that led to the Crow’s Nest, Magilou following close behind. As they climbed, she could hear a faint sigh below her. Velvet stopped to look at the girl.
“Are you alright?”
Magilou was staring back up at her, a hand on her chin as she rested her elbow against one of the ladder’s rungs.
“Better than you know,” she said, winking. Velvet rolled her eyes, focusing back onto the climb. “I’m just saying, the view is great up here!” Magilou continued.
“We’ll take this shift,” Velvet told the sailor on duty once the two girls made their way to the top of the nest. He saluted, happy to be relieved of the work so he could get some sleep, and made his way down to the deck. Magilou flopped out on the floor, looking up at the stars.
“If you close your eyes, it feels like you’re going to fall off the boat!” she said with strange amount of glee. Velvet eyed from the other side of the nest.
“If you’d like, I can push you off.”
“I feel like we never go more than three sentences without you mentioning the way you want to kill me. Or how much you want to kill me. Or –“
“It’s because I want to kill you. Was this a mystery to you?”
Magilou rolled onto her side, holding her head up with her hand.
“Well, why haven’t you then?”
Velvet flinched, turning away. The witch grinned.
“Well you seem to be stumped by what I feel is a pretty easy question, so I’ll try another one — the one that I wanted to ask you in the first place.”
“What do you think of the moon?”
Velvet closed her eyes. She stayed like that for a few moments.
“You fall back asleep?” Magilou asked, scratching her back.Velvet exchanged a question for a question.
“This is what you woke me up for?”
“Yes! It’s very important! The moon says a lot about people. I’m a witch, don’t you remember? I commune with it all the time.” Magilou wiggled her arm and spoke the last sentence as if she were telling a spooky campfire tale. Velvet snorted.
“Really? What does the moon say about me?”
Magilou sat up, putting a finger on her chin as she thought. “Well, for one, that you’re a Taurus. You sleep with one leg out of the blanket…hmm, what else…” A smirk crossed Magilou’s face.
“Maybe…that you’re not a fan of red?”
Memories of Aball flashed through Velvet’s mind. She gripped the wooden guardrail that she leaned against so tightly it began to splinter. Magilou snapped her fingers.
“Yep, I thought so.”
Velvet took a calming breath. “You’ve said nothing of note, witch. No one is fond of the Scarlet Night.” Magilou leaned her head on the palms of her hands, looking too relaxed for the conversation that was currently taking place.
“I’d argue you might be less fond of them then most,” she said, her smirk never disappearing. Velvet took a step forward.
“Is there a point to all this?”
“Yes, actually! The point is that you need to be a little more open and trusting.”
Velvet laughed, despite herself. “That’s…quite ironic, coming from you,” she said. Magilou pouted.
“I’m being serious! Everyone needs someone to rely on. Even I have Bienfu, even if the most I rely on him for is as my punching bag.”
Velvet sat on the floor of then nest, meeting Magilou at eye-level.
“I don’t need to rely on anyone. I just need to get my revenge. I don’t really care what happens after that.”
“I see! Well then why are you on this ship then? Why do you take our help? Or are we being used? I mean, I don’t mind being used now and again, but I’m really more of a to–“
“Stop,” Velvet said, holding her hand out before Magilou could continue her verbal tirade. “Our goals aligned. That’s it. Your powers are worth keeping around.”
Magilou was suddenly sitting right next to Velvet. She hadn’t even seen the girl move. She leaned up against Velvet’s shoulder.
“Right. Well, let’s go back to our previous question then: why haven’t you gotten rid of me yet?”
Velvet grimaced, turning her head away. “I think you said it yourself. You’re being used.”
Magilou ran a finger up Velvet’s thigh. A cold sweat ran down her back. A breathy whisper made its way to her ear.
“Do you want to use me right now?” it asked.
Velvet was…conflicted, to put it mildly. All this time she had refused to let herself feel anything, worried that she would be distracted from her goal. But as much as she damned herself for it, she was smitten with this absolute, literal jester of a human being, whose words and actions constantly kept her guessing. Why should she deny it?
“Yes,” Velvet finally said.
Magilou swung a leg over, straddling Velvet as she kissed her with an intensity that caught Velvet off-guard. She accepted it, wrapping her arms around the witch’s waist.
The first crack of the dawn’s rays shown on Magilou and Velvet when they finally woke up. The latter was blushing from head to toe. Magilou yawned, stretching out until she noticed Velvet next to her. A lazy smile lingered on her face.
“Were you that red last night?” she asked, attempting to conceal a snicker. Velvet threw the girl’s clothes directly at her face.
“Dress yourself! And stop stretching out like a deer in morning light, someone down below will see you!”
“Relax you big baby, it’s still dark and the shift doesn’t change for a while.”
“Alright, alright, I’m going…you know you’re surprisingly pushy for someone who collapses at a literal finger touch.”
Velvet wanted to throw Magilou over the guardrail — for real this time. But someone would see the body. She focused instead on dressing in a blur.”
When the pair made their way down from the Crow’s Nest, Velvet took a few breathes, trying to act as calmly as possible, even if she was anything but. She turned to Magilou.
“You will speak of this to no one. No one.”
“Sure sure, we’ll keep it on the down-low. I can keep a secret.”
Magilou began to walk away, before Velvet grabbed her by the wrist. She was staring directly at the floor.
“…Thank you,” she finally managed to get out. Magilou was, for once, taken off guard.
“Yeah. No problem.”
She made her way below-deck.
“Remember: no one!” Velvet shouted behind her.
“We totally smashed,”