Colors of Another Sky Ficbit – Rosetta… Plank

The girl stared back, tears tracking down through bits of mud on her face. She took a breath, nail moving back to scrape at wood with sheer determination, to poke and pry….

No, no, that board’s not big enough, you shouldn’t take it until you can get out!

She pulled anyway, opening a gap two thumbs wide in the deck. Not enough for even a kitten to squeeze out.

But just wide enough for a muffled clatter of wood, as she pushed another, far thinner plank through the hole, angling it so it lay face-up on sun-shrunk decking. Weathered gray wood, smeared with mud-

No. Not smeared.

Sparrow eyes didn’t focus like a human’s, but they worked enough for me to read the shapes – the hanja, and eonmun – traced in flaking clay.

Infection. Shark-men. Danger. Help.

…The eonmun for infection and shark were both misshapen. But they were close enough.

Squeezed into the flat of the wood, almost out of room, there was a third set of shapes I did not know. Based on the first two, perhaps it meant the same?

Much later I would find out they did mean the same. Roughly. Much more roughly than trying to translate the tongue of Ilbon to Hangugeo. Translation, I was told, was as much art as words, and trying to wrest meaning from concepts that did not quite match was like wringing blood from stone. Specifically, a three-language stone from the far-off land of Egypt seized by a short Corsican who’d tried to rule all of Europe. Never try to rule all of Europe being one of the lessons Jason thought crucial for vampires and cultivators alike.

But that would be later. For now – even through the sparrow’s senses, I felt darkness moving in the water.

I dropped the link, blood thundering in my ears as I focused on breathing. On not feeling as though I’d abandoned a child to die. The pirates’ curse was shark. They might sense magic tied to blood.

“Lee Cheong?” Chae, fox-sharp eyes piercing me as she stood nearest, one hand on the steel-ribbed fan at her waist. Not a threat, just a readiness to smack a dazed vampire between the eyes if the blood-link had drawn my spiritual cognition too thin for a moment.

Of course it could be a threat, that fan had more tricks than anyone at court had yet seen. I knew some of them; Commander Kim had known more. Some of them, I was sure, Chae withheld simply to keep me alive out of sheer annoyed curiosity.

One day I hope to convince her I did not end up in the river on purpose.


14 thoughts on “Colors of Another Sky Ficbit – Rosetta… Plank

  1. Oh, that’s Mary. Mary and Jason are determined that they aren’t going to let people come get them unwarned. They still need help. They still want help. But that doesn’t mean letting the helpers get ambushed.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I do love that.

      …I also love the stress of “I feel like I’m abandoning a child” combined with “sharks might sense blood magic and that would Not Help.”

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Hm… sounds like Mary, with Jason having provided linguistic support off-screen (“How many languages should I write this warning in? ALL of them!”).

    Buuut, Mary appears to know, or at least suspect, that the sparrow watching her is *someone’s* remote viewing tool, *and* that whomever is using the sparrow is friendly. Or, at least, a better bet than the shark-pirates.

    Which implies some definite learning has taken place since Jason and Mary crash-landed in this world.

    Mary: “Rule 1 of being isekai’d: figure out how this world works!”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sparrow flying over an ocean? I’ve never really been, but that certainly sounds odd to me. Small song bird- which doesn’t really glide or coast on wind- vs constant incoming ocean breeze seems like it’d be more work than said bird would want to deal with.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Just finished reading Tell No Tales.

    (Is it weird I want to read a Sergeant Oakes coda to that last graveyard scene now?)

    To spare you a long review, here’s my reaction: 👻😱🔧🚗👀🌙🤔🕵️‍♂️🔪😈😱 🤜🤛🎆🤣💀🔧🌧😲✌😊

    Liked by 2 people

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