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“Move aside. I’ll take her,” a new Viking joined the fight, the others parting to let him pass. Judging by his age, the quality of the axe in his hand, and the commanding tone of his voice, Alethea guessed that this was the Viking Chieftain.

A roar from Iku-turso interrupted their fight. Each of them instinctively covered their ears, forgetting that they were all wearing diving helmets.

“Chief,” one of the Vikings said over the sound. He was a tall Polynesian man with ink black skin and long hair which flowed in the water. His Viking attire was decorated with patterns and symbols of the Polynesian islands and a shark toothed club hung from his holster. The man looked as if he could punch through walls and kill an elephant with a single fist.

“Not now, Inoki,” the Chieftain said, not looking at him as he swam closer to Alethea, who gripped her own sword tighter. She considered how quickly she could draw her gun from her holster and fire, or how quickly she could draw Robert’s gun from its hidden pouch if she needed to.

“Chief, it’s about to rip the Fenrir apart. We need to leave now,” Inoki said, placing a large hand on the Chief’s shoulder.

Alethea risked a glance to see that the creature, blood pouring from its cut tentacle, close to tearing off the Fenrir’s hull. Glances between the Vikings told them that they would have to leave, without the stone.

“Damn you pirate arseholes. Think you rule the entire ocean,” one of the more particularly violent Vikings said, throwing his axe to the ground in frustration. It took him a moment to remember that he was underwater and desperately grabbed it again before it floated to the surface.

The Chieftain said nothing. He kicked himself off his crewmate to cross the distance to Alethea. She barely raised her sword in time to clash against his axe.

“I hope you don’t think Redscalp’s treasure is yours to take, Barracuda,” he growled.

There was something in his voice which shook Alethea. Something which bothered her even more than the axe in his hand or the monster roaring close by.

“Who are you?” she asked without knowing why.

With a motion so swift it made her gasp, he grabbed her arm and pulled her closer. She could see his face clearly through his helmet. She could see his greying red hair streaked across his forehead and his dark brown eyes, looking straight into hers as if he were inspecting her. Even in the cold Nordic sea, her blood seemed to boil.

“I already told you, I’m Petturi Konna. And I am the rightful heir to Redscalp’s treasure. It’s what I’m owed.”


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