Siph was up in the rigging and sails, helping along to free the sails.
Kai swung Fingers and half-smiled at his echoed cry of Jade's command. Kira went to the ship's edge immediately, excited and ready to see the shore vanish behind her. A smile stayed plastered on her face. Leita was right beside her, bouncing on her toes. Rontu, Khaz, and Ren hung back with Kai.
The Jade took her place beside Tide at the helm, eyes ont the waters and the crew. Crow assisted Knotty in unfurling the sails and coiling the loose rope in their rightful places. Gunner, Sunny, Skiff and Cobra put their collective muscle into the capstan, hoisting the anchor and securing it in position. Tide spun the helm as the sails caught the breeze and the ship began responded to its pull.
Once everything was secured, the crew began to haul the newly boarded supplies down to the store rooms. Sunny was impatient to speak to Leita gain, but he knew better than to skip out on his responsibilities, so he waited until he was sure the last had been haled below deck and his help was no longer needed. Once he knew he was free, he flew up the stairs.
"Somethin' else, eh?" he said to her, grinning ear to ear.
"Oh, yes!" said Leita, glowing with excitement as it all bounced and danced in her stomach. The shore was sinking away with the port. Kira felt the breeze in her hair, her forearms folded on the edge railing, feeling the last heat and rays of the setting sun. Rontu went and leaned against the main mass, gold eyes staring out at the rolling waves as they left the shore. Again that strange peace seemed to break over him.
Ren went over to the edge of the boat, but kept his distance from Kira and Leita, watched the shore vanish, supposedly with a bored expression on his face. Khaz stayed by Kai still, who continued to act as Finger's personal playground.
Incoherent sounds filled the pirate's ears, dragging him from a deep and inebriated slumber. Immediately he felt like he had to vomit, but somehow he didn't feel as wasted as he expected to be upon waking. He groaned a sickly groan as his left hand found his beanie cap, prying it from his hairy skull. He ran his right hand through his hair, taking a moment to scratch his unshowered scalp. He wanted to just lay there with his eyes shut, even going back to sleep if he could. He just felt dizzy and spent, instantly regretting drinking himself to sleep.
But these thoughts quickly faded. Suddenly, he remembered. He didn't drink himself unconscious, at least not completely. Someone had attacked him. He distinctly recalled being slapped on both sides of his head, a rush of buried memories, and then darkness.
His eyes snapped open at this revelation. His vision was blurry, everything hard to focus on. Above him was a wooden ceiling, that much he could make out. From above it he could hear the noises of others, running and talking. His eyes drifted around the room, but he seemed to have a hard time keeping them from going crosseyed. He shook his head and sat up shakily, nearly falling out of the hammock he was in.
His eyes spotted a foreign something on the front of his clothes. There was a scrap of paper stuck to his chest. He plucked it free and read the note to himself. The letters were hard to focus on for only a moment.
Welcome aboard, traveler! Hope ye slept well. When ye feel quite rested, ye may join us on deck fer a bite o' food and a spot o' rum.
Cap'n Jade o' The Mornin' Star
The first thought that crossed his mind was how oddly the note was spelled. The writer went out of their way to replace 'of' with 'o' and 'you' with 'ye', either trying to sound unique or merely trying to convey their personality on paper. Either way, he just found it odd, and couldn't quite place the intended accent.
Ed stumbled from his hammock, for the most part forgetting what the note was actually about. The moment he was upright, he puked. There was a bucket by his feet, but he didn't see it until after he was already hunched down with recycled alcohol pouring from his gullet. He heaved a few more times, though landing most of it in the bucket this time. Once he felt he was done, he shook his head, still trying to focus his eyes.
He felt his side, pleased to feel the familiar cold of his Padlock revolver. The familiar weight of his machete was also ever present on his back. Odd. It was like he was captured by a complete amateur... which was actually kind of embarrassing. What kind of kidnapper leaves his victims their weapons?
Ed pulled his beanie cap back over his head as he hobbled over to what looked like a door. He grabbed a bit of what felt like canvas from the wall and wiped his mouth off on it. He opened the door and staggered down the hall, regaining more and more of his balance each second. He still wasn't sure where he was. Most of the architecture was wooden with very little stone, much like one would see in a cabin or a... ship.
The contents of the note suddenly struck him: Deck... Cap'n... Rum....
His pace quickened as he suddenly felt his himself begin to sober up. A flight of stairs met his feet. He nearly tripped on himself as he moved up them, the incoherent sounds from before getting clearer as he ascended. A set of doors were no obstacle, he swung them open in one movement and broke onto the deck.
Sunlight hit him like a hammer to the brain. He felt like vomiting again, but he staved off the urge. His eyes were squinting and he couldn't make anything out, but he could still smell the familiar salty air of the city he was in the last time he was conscious.
He blinked rapidly, rubbing his eyes. He could hear people all around him, but none of them were approaching him. They either didn't see him or they were preoccupied with what they were doing. Ed's eyes finally adjusted to the light and the picture became clear. The first thing he saw was a floor built from wood. He stopped walking as he felt himself bump into the side of a small wall. He rubbed his forehead with one hand, trying to relieve his pounding headache, though he was probably just delaying what he hoped he wasn't going to see when he looked up.
His hand slowly slid off his his face and his eyes gazed outward, his vision filling with the exact thing he hoped not to see: The ocean.
His pulse quickened and his face became flushed. His adrenalin was pumping, eyes darting. His breath got shallower and shallower as the water got deeper and deeper. The salty air, the cawing seagulls, and the rushing wind was drowned out by the persistent bumping of his heartbeat.
He was on a ship, surrounded by water, steadily moving further and further away from land. The land was so close. But... there was water everywhere.
His expression was unreadable to the naked eye, but he was frozen in sheer panic. He slowly took a step away from the edge of the boat. He didn't know what to think. He'd stared out at this ocean from a safe distance before. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen back home. But now... he was on a ship moving deep into the wet wilderness. He had to get back to land. He simply had to... before the land itself was out of view.
When the doors to below deck broke open, rather loudly, Rontu, Khaz, and Kai immediately turned their heads to see. It was the strange man Rontu had seen Jade dragging up to the ship earlier. He looked conscious but also like hell. The man's eyes twitched about quickly, but his expression stayed unreadable. Rontu quirked a white eyebrow up on his black forehead. Khaz raised both of his dark brows. Kai continued to lift Fingers up and down as he tilted his head slightly as he surveyed Edward, but otherwise his face stayed placid.
No one said anything. It seemed they didn't know what to say.
All heads of the Morning Star crew turned as the doors flew open and Ed staggered onto deck. He looked worse for wear, a little wild and dangerous too. The Jade swung over the railing of the quarter deck, landing as lightly on deck as a ballerina on her toes. Making her customary, low sweeping bow, she bellowed in what she thought was her most welcoming, pirate captain's voice:
Ed slowly turned around to face the captain, his eyes wide and bugged out. His facial expression was still devoid of emotion, but his eyes were very much open. Just looking at him you could tell he was disturbed, but he didn't look nearly as scared as he really was.
A flash of movement, an action made up entirely of instinct, and Ed's right arm was suddenly extended with a black, shiny revolver in hand. A click sounded that the safety was off, and the weapon was aligned perfectly with the captain's head. His hands were shaking, but only slightly, not enough to throw off his aim in the slightest. He could pull the trigger and kill her now if that was his goal, if he'd simply let instinct run its course, but he held the trigger loosely and wasn't going to shoot... at least, not unless it were necessary. But his thudding heart and quickening pulse were urging him to shoot, to scream, to do something... anything.
The two captains stood motionless, as did the rest of the ship. No words were spoken for several long seconds. Ed's quivering jaw pried itself open. He nodded a few times, actually smiling, or... grimacing. His mouth was open long before he began speaking. “Turn this tugboat around, sister.”
Leita didn't turn around immediately and neither did Kira. Both didn't seem as bothered with the loud bursting of the doors to below deck. Both figured it was just one of the crew returning from below. However, once she heard Jade welcoming someone in a very loud booming voice, she turned her head. Her expression froze when her eyes fell on Edward. His familiar light green eyes were on the Captain in that moment, and very widely open. But it was his usual unreadable expression.
It was strange seeing him again. Her hair was even brown and her ears round, just like when they first met. Before she knew it, his gun was up and pointed at the Jade.
Leita's eyes widened and her face paled in the warm glow of the setting sun. Leita had seen what Edward's gun could do. She remembered quite clearly him shooting Zain, the necromancer down. Maybe too clearly. Now he was pointing the same weapon. He didn't look well. Not at all. He nodded a few times and then grimaced at Jade.
Someone knew his name... and he knew that voice. He spotted her in an instant. Leita.
His mind raced, completely taken off of his target. How? Why... was she here? Did she, for some reason, organize his capture? Were these pirates somehow associated with the necromancers and wanting revenge of some sort? These thoughts, among others, flooded through his head in an instant. But he had become careless.
He was wide open for an attack. It was a combination of his slight inebriation, the fear of his surroundings pounding in his head, and the surprise of seeing someone he never expected to see again that threw him off his game. His arm was relaxed, and he was left wide open.
Kai had stopped lifting Fingers sometime ago. Though his expression hadn't changed at all. Not when Edward pulled out his gun or when Leita called out his name. Edward's eyes found Leita, and it seemed his attention wavered. His aura buzzed around him. It seemed like he was thinking about a lot of things in that instant. Yes, very distracted.
So the gun jerked and slipped straight out of Edward's slackened grip, zipped in an arch in the air and stopped in front of Kai. Along with the gun, the sword on Edward's back shot out of the sheathe and paused vertically in the air in front of Kai. The Sheikah picked the gun from the air and looked at it as if it were something interesting but strange that he found on the ground. He didn't even hold it correctly.
None of the Morning Star crew dared to move while the gun had been trained at their captain's head, but the instant it flew mysteriously from his hand they simultaneously drew their weapons. From what they could see the assailant was no longer armed and the Jade had not yet commanded them to attack, so they stood at the ready.
The Jade tsked tsked and said, "We seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot."
Ed's mind was pounding with pain. The moment his weapon left his hand, and he felt the weight of the sword on his back leave him, he knew immediately that someone was using magic of some kind. Telekineses, probably. They flew across the ship and floated in front of what looked like an elf. He was the psychic, unless someone else was using the power and was merely trying to draw his attention as a distraction. That's what he would do if he had telekineses. Regardless, it didn't matter so much at the moment. The only things that mattered were that he was weaponless and someone on the ship was capable of removing weapons from his grip. He had to get a hostage, leverage of some sort.
He took a moment to take in what he could from his enemies, or at least... who seemed to be his enemies. He was confused why Leita was with them, unless she were a prisoner herself. If that were the case, he'd have to find a way to get her off the boat as well. Everyone on the ship had a weapon drawn, though, except for the captain. He could have acted immediately, right after losing his gun. At that moment, several plans had already formed in his head. However, the one he decided to go with required perfect timing, though he knew the plan was flawed in many ways, one of them being he wasn't thinking straight and he was still a little tipsy. Still, it was the best thing he could try.
“We seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot.” were his captor's words. From the looks of her, she was a pirate, that much was clear. The entire ship wreaked of piracy. Being a pirate himself, he knew he was in trouble. But the moment had struck, and he had to make his move.
In a blur of movement, too quick to track unless one were expecting it, Ed snatched a loose bullet from his jacket pocket and flung it toward the Captain's right eye. He would have hit it too, if it wasn't for the fact that the psychic stopped the bullet in midair. He expected something like that. Even as the projectile was leaving his fingers, he lunged toward the girl in front of him and grabbed the hilt of her sword with his other hand. He was aware of a human... panther... thing running toward him from the right, though as weird as it was he had no time to question its existence. No doubt others were planning to move in if something went wrong. But as he pulled the weapon from its scabbard, the female pirate whipped out a concealed blade. He let go of the handle and swung his arm out of the way to avoid the counterstrike, catching the sword with his other hand. He turned to slice at panther-man's legs, but a sharp pain cut off every thought process speeding through his mind, foiling his attempt.
His left foot was pinned to the deck, a hairy arm hit him in the skull, and his sword fell to the floor with a clatter. He wailed in pain; falling to his knees and grabbing his ankle. A mystic spark and a quiet hum lit up about him a bubble of energy just as someone slammed into it, no doubt about to pounce on him. He'd seen this before. It was a forcefield, which he could only assume Leita had put up. He actually wished she hadn't. If she were indeed a prisoner, the pirates would surely punish her for it. Regardless, the protection allowed him to tend to his wound.
A crossbow bolt had pinned his foot to the floor. And now, the way he was on his knees, his ankle was bent at an odd angle. He grabbed the bolt and bit his lip as he yanked it free. Blood pooled from the wound. He could hear voices, but his guard had already dropped and he couldn't understand a word. His head was pounding, his foot was bleeding, and his stomach was churning. He wanted to pass out, but he just couldn't let that happen. He had to try to escape again. He had to get back to land.
It all started happening too fast. Edward was coming at Jade. Soot was running toward him. Before she knew it, there was already a bolt through his foot, Soot hit him, and Edward wailed. It was when he cried out that she couldn't take it anymore.
"STOP!" she screamed, and as part of her will, a white shield surrounded just as Rontu lunged at him. The drow had been circling around, ready to ambush while Ed was distracted with the others. Thus Rontu collided with it perfectly. He stumbled back, but caught his balance again. He shot a sharp look at her, but it softened when he saw the tears on her face.
Khaz was turned away from the scene clinging to the edge of the boat and breathing deeply through his nose due to the blood pooling around Edward's foot, next to Ren, who was also leaning on the boat's edge, laughing so hard he had to cling to hold himself up.
The Jade barked orders, telling her crew to fall back. Leita came rushing forward toward Ed, but kept her shield around him. She knew he just didn't know what was happening, but obviously, he didn't want to be here. She turned to the Jade, and dropped onto her knees and forelegs, bent over with her hands together in front of her on the floor in a, desperate but respectful for her people, bow.
"Jade-sama, please, you said you do not keep prisoners, and Edward-kun certainly doesn't want to be here. Please, he saved my life once. Please, take him back to land."
Rontu looked at the scrappy man inside the shield. He was fairly impressed anyway. He was very resourceful when so completely out numbered. He obviously could think on the spot. Kira sighed, a sympathetic smile curving her lips as she looked at Leita.
The Jade's men gathered around just behind her, as she gestured for them to hang back. The exceptions were Tide at the helm and Crow, who kept his position with a bolt loaded in his crossbow (and Codger who still happened to be in the kitchen). It surely wasn't the first time she'd been attacked by a new recruit and it wasn't likely to be the last. Yet, she could tell her crew was particularly edgy with so many new members on board who had yet to be tested.
She studied Ed and Leita carefully.
She was intrigued by the design of his pistol -at least that's what she'd assumed it was a version of- as ell as intrigued by the interesting talents of Kira's Crew. The sequence of events had been unfortunate, in the way of injuring her charge, which she did not expect to bode well for the hopes she'd had of building a rapport. Still, it did have its advantages. If it had not been for their skuffle, she might not have witnessed such unique abilities.
Even though she had not assumed much, given so little time to surmise him, the Jade decided that she had underestimated the fellow. Indeed, he'd proven himself very resourceful in a pinch and quite outmatched in numbers. In fact, she thought he possessed qualities well suited to the life of a pirate. But why this violent insistence on returning to land? Not that it was unnatural for men to be hesitant, squeamish or down right terrified their first time at sea, but this seemed to be somewhat else. Absolute terror? Whatever for?
She wished, not for the first time that day, that she'd been granted more time to get to know her new recruits. But such a wish was fruitless at this point. As always, the Jade made due with what she had available to her.
"Put away your weapons," she told her crew. Whatever the girl had done seemed to be preventing attacks from both sides. Even if it was too late for that, she wanted to do what she could to lessen the threat and convey nonviolence. "Kira, if your knights would kindly hold theirs."
The wind whispered a thought in her ear.
"What is that you are doing?" She asked Leita. "And what else can you do?"
Ed put pressure on his wound as he watched the scene unfold, helpless from the deck floor. There was simply no foolproof plan that would get him off this ship. If the ship had a dingy, and he were to somehow steal it, he'd... no... he definitely wouldn't ever get in such a small boat that close to the water. Even if he managed to, he'd have to find a way to get Leita as well. He looked from his spot on the ground, but the railing of the ship blocked view of the land. If only he could--
“Jade-sama, please, you said you do not keep prisoners, and Edward-kun certainly doesn't want to be here. Please, he saved my life once. Please, take him back to land.”
The commotion around him was suddenly coherent as he saw Leita kneel by the captain's side. She was begging for his freedom. As much as he would never admit it, in that one instant he felt moved. He was so used to going it alone for the past month or so that he'd forgotten what it was like to have someone else watching out for you. That was really how he was designed to work: in a group, commanding armies, if necessary. But the way Leita talked, it didn't seem like she was being held against her will, especially because no one tried to stop her much less punish her for protecting him.
Her words really threw off his perception of the situation. If the captain didn't keep prisoners, why was he on this ship? No matter how drunk he'd gotten, he would never in a million years willingly board a sea faring vessel. Was the captain trying to... shanghai him? That seemed like the only other logical explanation, unless she was just insane. That made plenty sense too.
“Put away your weapons.” The ringleader ordered. A glimmer of hope briefly shined. Was she seriously considering returning him to land? He kept his blind hope stifled and instead continued observing the crew.
He finally spot the guy who'd shot him, high up in the crows nest. He knew he was the one as he was gripping a crossbow in one hand. He had great aim, if he was actually aiming for his foot. Either that or really good luck. He managed to hit his foot while he was moving, which was no small feat, especially with a crossbow. Even so, he didn't hold much respect for the scrawny black haired main.
“What is that you are doing?” He heard the pirate ask. “And what else can you do?” He looked back to see her talking to Leita. Ed couldn't help but feel angered when he saw that Leita's cheeks had been streaming with tears. With most people he'd try to ignore it, but after that ordeal with the necromancers he had a bit more sympathy for her... and that bothered him.
She looked around. Kai had not moved at all. He still held Edward's gun, but the bullet he had flung at Jade also hovered near the sword he had snatched. Ren was still laughing, and Khaz was still leaning with his back turned to everything next to Ren and on the edge of the ship. Rontu had not drawn his weapons when he had made for an advance on Edward earlier.
Kira stared at Edward. Edward, Leita had called him that. It had to be the very same Edward she talked about after she came back from a trip outside the Dome, in which she had fought against a band of necromancers. For a while after that, it had been Edward this and Edward that for days. Leita had come back, but not in her own clothes. Leita never answered questions about where her original set had gone to. Kira didn't pry though. It was her business. She was glad the girl had made a friend in any case. What luck that it happened he was the very same guy Jade picked up.
“What is that you are doing? And what else can you do?” asked the Jade.
Rontu's eyes narrowed at this. He stared at the woman as she looked down at Leita, who remained at her feet. The questions rankled him. Maybe he was just too used to manipulative people, but it sounded wrong to him. Like she was going to use Edward to get something from Leita. Her services or whatever. And he wasn't about to let anyone take advantage of her kindness like that. If she wanted to help Edward off the ship, he would do everything in his power for that. Besides, Leita said Edward had saved her life, so he already owed the man something. But Leita was not to trade herself off. She had done that in the past for him, and it wasn't exactly one of his favorite memories.
Rontu walked around the shield Edward was in to where Leita sat kneeling nearby. His hand disappeared into his coat, which Kira noticed the moment she saw Rontu moving around to Leita. Kira dashed up to him, grabbing the arm that reached inside his trench coat. His gold eyes narrowed coldly at her.
"What are you doing?" she hissed under her breath. "Weapons stay put away."
"I don't like the way she--"
"The way she what, Rontu? What is she doing but asking Leita questions?"
"I think they're misleading," said Rontu.
"Just wait it out before you go pulling out swords," said Kira. "Please, I won't let anything happen to Leita, okay?"
It didn't seem to matter, as Leita ignored this argument behind her. She looked up at the Jade, tears still in her eyes and wet trails on her cheeks. The Jade had not answered her, but she would answer any question she had if it meant Edward would be set free.
"It's an energy shield," she answered. "A physical manifestation of my mana, other than when it fuels my magic. I can show you."
She stood up and then turned and walked straight for her shield. She passed through it as if it were an illusion, when Rontu had smacked against it like it was made of steel. She knelt back down on the ground, next to Edward. She stared at him, her green eyes tense, sad, and concerned. It pulled at her dark brown eyebrows. She worried a bottom lip.
Ed witnessed the dialogue between the dark elf and the woman. In truth, he agreed with the tall guy. The pirate mistress sounded like she was planning to manipulate Leita's abilities. Manipulation of the sort never sat well with him, but at the same time... he really didn't want to be on this boat.
Ed moved his hand to take a look at his foot. Yeah... still bleeding. He was starting to feel dizzy right about now. An elf on the far side of the ship seemed to feel the same way, but his attention was now completely averted.
“It's an energy shield,” Leita began to explain. “A physical manifestation of my mana, other than when it fuels my magic. I can show you.” She then proceeded to move into the bubble. She knelt at his side, her green eyes locking on his. She looked concerned, as she always seemed to be. Always caring too much for her own good. He wasn't used to seeing her in her disguised form, but of course he wouldn't make any mention of it in the case that this time she was using it properly. “Please let me see your foot, Edward-kun.”
Ed pulled his shoe off, as painful as it was, and put it to the side. Apart from the pain, the hole in his shoe was the biggest downer of that crossbow bolt. It was so hard to find good tailors and shoemakers who could properly repair his style of clothes without it looking all patched up. With all the magic in the world, a cloth repair spell seemed like it would be a given.
The furrow in her brow deepened as she studied the wound. He didn't really need to take off his shoe, she could heal through the hole if she had to, but all the same, it was still helpful. Her hand reached down.
"Ateru," she said clearly, and her hand glowed bright green, and she touched her fingers to his foot. The wound glowed and closed up in less than thirty seconds, and then the light faded away from both her hands and Edward's foot.
Leita looked up at Jade through the shield. She still seemed reluctant to put it down. She worried the fighting would start again once she did, and she didn't want anyone to get hurt. Especially not Edward, who would be the most outnumbered.
The Jade's green eyes grew wide and mystified, like a curious child's, as she leaned forward to watch Leita perform her magic and heal Ed's injury. As the glow from the young girl's hands subsided, the Jade's eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
She had a lot to consider in limited time. There was no question of going against the will of her compass, which was almost physically impossible to consider. The sea wanted something with him, though it was not her place to guess and as of yet she had no way of knowing. It was simply not her place to decide. Her role was simply to deliver them. Yet, she could not risk the safety of her crew or charges -or even his, more than she cared to risk it within the realms of seafaring. It would not do to have him torn apart and tearing into the crew at the slightest opportunity. Nor did would it do to keep him locked in the brig like a prisoner. The shield remained in place, for which she was grateful. It seemed as though the girl (in combination with her weapon lifting friend) had provided the delicate recipe for peace. Or, at least, she hoped as much.
She sighed to herself. The sea always had a strange way of working things out. As always, it boiled down to trusting it, no matter how rough the waters may appear.
"Edward...Kun, is it?" She turned her gaze to the shield's subject, remembering that she'd overheard Leita crying out a name. "I didn't bring you aboard to make you my prisoner, luv. Ye shall be returned to land and no 'arm will befall ye at the 'ands of this crew. Ye both 'ave my word."
Quickly, she added, "Attack any one of us again, and you will be detained and locked in the brig and kept there as long as I bloody well please, which I strongly advise against, as it's a greater risk of your drowning in the event of a storm -but it's better than my original alternative of chaining you to a cannon ball and throwing you overboard. I think Miss Leita would die of tears, if it came to that, so let's not shall we?"
The wind stirred her hair and she lifted a hand to the gold chain at her neck, which held her compass close to her heart. "Hmm, yes, quite right," she replied to the wind, before again turning her attention to Ed. "You would do well to know that this ship will not sail for anyone else."
She tilted her head and listened a moment longer. When she felt satisfied, she turned directly to him once more. "Now, do we have an accord?"
Ed wiggled his toes, his foot feeling good as new. Such an odd feeling. One moment it was pulsing with pain, now it was perfectly fine. He put his shoe back on and stood to his feet. He suddenly felt dizzy again at the sight of all the water. Land was still in view, but it was shrinking into the distance.
He turned back to the captain as she finished talking. She was completely insane. But what was he going to do? He couldn't take her down, not with the whole crew watching. Should he even try to fight them? He didn't even know Leita's place in this whole thing. He just wanted off this ship. Ed looked down at the pirate's extended hand and his upper lip twisted. “Why did you capture me? What were you trying to accomplish?” He grit his teeth as his eyes beat into hers. “You're f****** damaged if you think I'm going to come willingly.” He took a deep breath, choosing his words carefully. “Just turn this ship around and drop me off on land. I'll serve no use to you here, I guarantee that.”