Oh, That Map?
Chapter 9: Steam City
Timeline: Day 4
Katherine was sitting on a bench next to Catscratch. She'd found out the kitling's real name was Zora and was fascinated why the kitling had chosen Catscratch. "But your mother named you Zora?" She asked as she held a pen above her notepad.
Catscratch held her head in both paws as she leaned her elbows on the table with a pained expression on her face. "Yeah, well, mom wasn't very traditional," she said.
"I think Zora is a lovely name," Blazingtail said as he approached the table with a bowl of soup. He purred softly as he winked at Zora with both eyes. Zora hissed under her breath.
The door from the hallway opened and the captain stepped through it hurriedly. "Morning, all," she pushed her round hat firmly on her head before reaching for the frontdoor. Then she noticed Katherine, who had been avoiding her for a while.
"Katherine," she said. "You've been avoiding me for a while." Katherine nodded and slowly sat up straight, while looking wild-eyed for an exit route. Ever since she did the switchin-trick to conn Daenelia out of the information about the treasure of Quazlatah, she'd been terrified that the captain would turn her out. The incident with Kevin Price had her sleeping with one eye open and a gun in both hands. She'd been convinced Daenelia was coming for her next.
"I have been busy," the young woman said. She put on her best pokerface. The one she used when she usually lost to her brother. She winced.
"Well, if you're not busy now," Daenelia started saying as she strode towards Katherine.
"I am!" Katherine stood up and took a step back. But Daenelia already firmly grabbed her by the upper arm and was leading her towards the make-shift meeting room.
"... We will discuss the map you have for me!" The captain finished as she pushed Katherine into the room and closed the door behind them.
Katherine smoothed down her skirt as she coolly stood facing the captain. She felt nervous, but she wouldn't show it. "Yes, Captain?" she said.
Daenelia pulled her hat from her bandana and threw it on the table. "Where is it." She stated it.
"I... I gave you... a piece of blank paper," Katherine said, "because I was afraid you wouldn't take me along if you had what you needed." She trembled slightly. Leaving Harling Pass had been so important to her, but now that she had left, she missed the things most familiar. Half of her hoped that the Captain would simply sent her back, first coach that came along.
"Well, you're here, we're here, and I want that map." Daenelia knew she had enough information to find the location without the paper Katherine had briefly shown her. But there were interesting things on it, directions and mentions of an earlier expedition. Mostly she just wanted it for completion sake, and to make sure it didn't fall into the hands of anyone else.
Katherine hesitated. "Promise me you won't send me back."
After a pause, Daenelia said: "Alright."
At that Katherine nodded and stuck her hand up her sleeve to fish out the piece of paper that had been in her family for generations. Her grandfather had told her tales and stories she barely believed, until she had understood this pirate captain was looking for the treasure. She was no fool. She knew the crew for what it was the minute they had entered the saloon. She also knew it was her ticket out of her old life, and into the bigger world, where she would find adventures to write about.
She held it out to the Captain, who carefully took it from her. "Thank you." With that, the Captain picked up her hat, pushed the paper into the rim, and then put the hat on her head again. She looked sternly at Katherine.
"It's about trust," she said. "Not trusting me," she added. "But trusting yourself. You have more to offer than just a piece of paper. I took you along for the help you can offer. I trust you. You just need to learn to trust yourself."
Then Daenelia nodded, and left Katherine alone in the room. Not for long, as the door opened and the small icari entered the room. "Oh! I was looking for someone else!" Her wings were folded tightly against her body so she would easily fit through the door frame. "Never mind! You're not her!" And with that Harriet turned around and walked back into the kitchen area, where Katherine heard Zora make an odd chirping sound. She frowned as she wondered about the icari. Then it hit her.
The bird-girl had not been wearing pants!