When Lady Nistrie hacked open the small, mysterious-looking chest, she called Hector over and showed him. She gently touched the map that lay inside the chest and it began to glow.
"The Slab responds to you, lady."
"Bring it along and I will tell you all about it after lunch. I can't wait for you to see the floating borger joint."
"It turns out that slaying pirate ghosties works up an appetite," Nistrie nodded.
They were mostly silent on the way to the restaurant, each with their own thoughts, but when they arrived, Nistrie stopped in her tracks.
"Is this it?"
"Indeed, it is."
Lady Nistrie sucked in a breath:
"It is so beautiful."
Hector was about to laugh until he saw she was serious. To him it was an old shippu serving borgers.
"What makes it beautiful?" he asked.
"The deep reddish-brown wood against the turquoise water. The hundreds of twinkling lights outlining the boat. The slowly rocking bridge and the green garlands. I've never seen anything like it."
"I hope the inside doesn't disappoint you."
"I can't wait to see!"
They walked over the swinging bridge and onto the shippu. When Hector opened the door, they were hit by a blast of loud voices, laughter, and rock 'n roll playing on an old-fashioned jukebox. Colorful banners and flyers hung from the walls and ceiling. Plants and colored twinkle lights added to the gaiety.
"I love it!" - shouted Lady Niestre - "This place is amazing!"
The song stopped as she shouted her last sentence and everyone stared at her. Her freckles glowed gold in embarrassment, but everyone shouted, "the best!" and raised their glasses in a toast as the next song started. Her ears may or may not have turned a tad bit blueish too, but the venue was so full of colors, than no one noticed, even her.
The hostess led them to a corner booth in the back and asked them what they would like to eat.
"I'll have whatever you're having, Hector. I'm sure you know what's good."
"Everything is good here, but I like their special borger."
"That sounds great!"
As they waited for their meals, three large, dangerous-looking men approached their table. Lady Nistrie stood quickly, startling Hector. He almost reached for his pistol, but she bowed very low, and said with a large smile:
"We meet again." - Nistrie then pointed at the three men, and added:
"Hector, these are my rescuers. I owe them my life."
"We've heard of your brave exploits, Sir." - The first rescuer held out his hand to shake Hector's paw.
"I am Samuel Johnson and these are my mates Robert and Lars. We're campers when work allows."
Hector shook their hands and smiled.
"Would you like to join us for borgers?"
"We were just finishing lunch, but wanted to stop by and see how our lady was doing."
"Very well, thank you, and I have something for you." - She reached into her bag and pulled out a small draw-string pouch.
"This is to thank you for your kindness. If you are ever in need of assistance, please let me know. I will always be in your debt."
"Thank you very much, Lady Nistrie, but there is no need for this."
"Please take it, along with my heartfelt thanks."
"We will accept both then. I hope we will meet again. Honored to meet you, Sir," he said to Hector.
The three of them left, just as the borgers arrived.
"Enjoy," said the waitress.
Nistrie looked at her borger and gulped.
"Does it not meet your expectations?" Hector asked.
"It is so big! Bigger than my hand!"
"When you taste it, you will understand why. It is so tasty that you will want another." - He took a giant bite.
Nistrie didn't eat hers right away. She studied the borger, taking in its shiny bun, the thick slices of juicy tomato and onion, the crisp green lettuce, and the perfectly fried bacon. She closed her eyes and smelled the grilled meat and the tangy pickles. Then she took her knife and cut off a piece, picking it up with her dainty fingers and taking a bite.
Hector was intrigued.
She paid great attention to detail, taking time to discover things with all of her senses. He watched her take her first bite and sniggered when her eyes rolled back in her head.
"There are no words!" - she said, chewing slowly - "Now I understand why it's so big."
Hector waited until she was about half way through, so as not to ruin her enjoyment, then asked her about her rescue.
"You haven't told me about your rescue." he prompted her.
"It's unclear, to tell the truth. My ship was hit by some floating debris and the life support stopped functioning. I was not fully coherent but a Jaern crew was preparing to board when my rescuers arrived. They only had a small ship, but they attacked the Jaern ship as a distraction and got me out. The Jaern took my damaged ship and all of my supplies, but my rescuers saved my life and gifted me with food and shelter so I could get back on my feet. I really do owe them my life."
"You are not paying enough attention to your lunch. Enjoy that super borger while it's warm. I have a proposal for you."
She raised an eyebrow in question. Hector loved her curiosity and sense of adventure, and she was great company – she would make the perfect partner.
I and @todolomejor have been planning and working for months. Mystery, spooky stuff Starshatter style, fishies, munchies, and, of course - aliens! This will be a series of stories following the adventures of two characters - the old submariner Hector and the Dzenta'rii, Lady Nistrie!
Episode eleven coming soon...