7 Puppet

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

The burning green flame was slowly dying out, and the ocean around the ship had also calmed down.

Once he had confirmed from the goat head that the Lost Home was already out of the danger zone and could journey to wherever it wanted, Duncan had lifted his hands from the black and heavy helm. He lowered his head and saw the human body he had before and the deck of the Lost Home that had returned to normal once the fire was gone.

However, he had a strange feeling that after all of that, many things had changed.

He could tell that something was starting to change when he grabbed onto the helm of the Lost Home. After the green flame connected him to the ship and linked him to the ocean, he could still feel the shapeless connection that remained, even if the flame was already gone. He could feel every little detail that was happening inside the ship that he was standing on.

Duncan slowly closed his eyes. He could faintly hear the whispers echoing from the deep dark hallway of the Lost Home. Strangely enough, the whispers sounded sweet to him. He could see that the inside of the captain's cabin was somehow lit. The white light flickered inside the glass of the lamp. He could hear the sound of the waves slapping on the exterior of the ship. It felt as if something was watching them from the waves, and he tried to search for the owner of the stare. However, the latter quickly hid as if it was alive.

Duncan opened his eyes and let out a sigh. The spirit and fog-like sails on the masts fluttered with the wind as he walked toward the stairs that led to the main deck. The ropes by the stairs wiggled a little and started to retract.

It was then that he understood that once he had accepted the helm, he had become the ship's captain.

"Captain, we are currently ascending at the border of the Spirit World. We'll soon return to the real world." The goat head's voice could be heard next to Duncan, but this time, it didn't come from a bronze pipe but was transmitted directly into his head. The goat head sounded more serious when they got down to business and was less annoying than before. "We're pretty lucky. We've only 'shook' a little when we were in the deeper part of the Spirit World, and we are barely affected by the Silent Dead Sea."

The names of these places continuously appeared inside Duncan's head, the reality, the waters of the Spirit World, the Silent Dead Sea, and the Subspace that existed even more profound than those. He understood that these terms referred to the actual situation of the strange world he was in, but he had no idea what those terms meant.

However, when the goat head addressed him as captain this time, he could faintly feel that its tone had slightly changed. He even started to think that if he told the goat head about his true identity, that he was "Zhou Ming," it would still listen to his order. That was one of the changes that had happened after he put his hands on the helm and successfully recovered from being shrouded by the green flame.

However, he didn't rush to try that out after a short hesitation. He didn't ask the goat head about the Spirit World, the Silent Dead Sea, and the Subspace either.

If it were a few days ago, he would've been slumped into anxiety and restlessness. He used to want to learn about his surroundings as fast as he could, but now, he wasn't that eager anymore.

Knowing that other "humans," ships, societies with orders, and even civilizations existed in that world was enough to give him hope. He even started to have a rough "plan" for his future.

Amidst his random thoughts, Duncan recalled the ship's detail that had suddenly appeared out of nowhere from the thick fog. He recalled seeing the thick smoke coming out of the ship and the mechanical structure of the ship that appeared inside his head when they collided with each other.

"That is a powered ship... while the Lost Home is an old masted ship..." Duncan mumbled. "But... That's not entirely a modern ship."

There were a few mysterious cabins on that ship, and one of them was decorated like a ritual room. He also saw a lot of weird patterns and symbols on the ship's keel. They looked like decorations to him, but he felt they were more than decorations.

"Goat head," Duncan suddenly said. As he had no idea what the goat head's name was, he just decided to address it with what came to mind first. "The ship we crossed paths with, I think the captain was shouting something at me. What did he say?"

"The wind was too strong, so I didn't hear what he said," the goat head replied, sounding as if it wasn't affected by how its captain was addressing him.

"You didn't hear it either?" Duncan frowned. "His expression looked like he was ready to perish with me. I think he's saying something significant."

"Wanting to perish with you is the normal reaction for a human, especially sailors. It's not that surprising at all. They are nothing more than ants to you. You don't have to worry about what he said."

The goat head sounded as if that was a given. Duncan, who was walking on the stairs to the deck, almost fell over. He was so surprised that his lips were twitching. "Wanting to perish with me is the normal reaction for a human?"

However, he immediately realized it might be wrong to ask. The question would've exposed him pretending to be the real captain. It would show that he didn't know much about himself. That mistake could've been because he was exhausted from the green flame or because his cautiousness was weakened after being one with the Lost Home. No matter what, that made Duncan nervous for a while, but it seemed like the goat head didn't even notice it.

"It's normal for them to fear you," the goat head said, sounding a little proud. "Anyone who sails this vast ocean should fear you, just like how they fear the shadows between the old gods and the Subspace. Speaking of shadows, there used to be an outstanding engineer... or maybe he's an agriculturalist? Perhaps a gourmet? Well, he said..."

Duncan didn't continue that conversation with the goat head. He was worried that he couldn't find anything to talk to the goat head on that topic - the bigger reason being him not wanting to talk to the goat head because it would not stop talking and become even more annoying if people showed any signs of interest. The next second, his attention was attracted by something else on the deck.

"What is that?" Duncan stood in the corner of the deck and looked at the thing in front of the captain's cabin door.

It was a wooden case that was a little longer than an average human. The finishing on the case was very exquisite. The heavy woods were perfectly and tightly nailed together and enhanced by a metallic object that looked like gold. The corners and sides of the case were decorated with complex carvings of patterns that looked like words or twisted hieroglyphs. It was something that shouldn't be on the Lost Home. At least it wasn't there when Duncan last left the captain's cabin.

After a moment of silence, the goat head replied, "I don't know either, captain. But, it should be our loot..."

"Loot?" It took Duncan a while to understand that. He circled the case twice and said, "Why does this look like a coffin? But, it's much more elegant than a normal one. Wait... If you say this is a loot, does that mean we 'got' this from that ship just now?"

"It's a successful pillage, captain." The goat head's voice turned serious with a hint of compliment. "You always return with a full pocket. This is normal."

Duncan instinctively dropped his jaw a little. He never planned to steal anything from other people and had never pillaged the ship that passed through them. It also didn't make sense to him why a single coffin would be enough for a "full pocket."

However, on second thought, he didn't say that out loud because it might not match his image as the captain of a ghost ship. Another important reason was that the engine-powered ship had already disappeared deep into the thick fog. He recalled the stare from the captain with a long white beard as if the older man was ready to perish with him. He concluded that it would almost be impossible to return the wooden case to the captain. That was why he decided to remain quiet for now.

After a moment of hesitation, he placed his hands on the wooden case. At the very least, he had to know what was brought onto his ship after that "accident."

His body was much stronger than he thought. The lid of the case wasn't as heavy as he had imagined. He slid the heavy black cover back a little with a light push. With another push, the lid slipped off the coffin.

Duncan peeked inside the coffin and was dumbfounded by its content.

"It's a human?"

Inside the case lay a beautiful young lady. Her silver hair spread over the base of the case like mercury. Her face was elegant and perfect, giving off a hint of nobility. She was dressed in a pretty purple and black dress. Her hands were placed in front of her body. She looked like a beauty who had been sleeping for a long time.

It was as if she was a puppet.

"Wait! It is a puppet!"

After a short observation, Duncan finally noticed her inhuman joints.

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