142 Loaded Up
The shock that Zoey had inflicted on the Asurai behind her by summoning a huge ship right in front of them was taking a while to wear off. Even Max at her side had his eyes wide open, staring at the looming shape of the cruiser in awe.
This brought a smile to Zoey's face. Max had shown very little emotion since they had met, likely due to the traumatizing year he had gone through on his own. If she could slowly bring back that feeling of youth and wonder into his life, she would be satisfied.
But for now she had to get everyone into the cruiser. Zoey wanted to be underway soon. She beckoned to Taigen, who was still slack-jawed staring at the cruiser. When he finally realized that Zoey was waving at him, he quickly made his way over to her.
"Zoey, what is that thing!?" he asked her incredulously. "Where did it come from? Its huge!"
Taigen was still trying to wrap his head around the sheer size of the craft he was seeing. He had heard of ships that big before, but none that looked like this, and it had no sails! No deck! It looked nothing like anything he had ever seen!
"It's an airship. Come on, we need to get everyone on board." she said to hurry him on.
"THIS is an airship? Your airship!?" Taigen said in amazement as he shook his head in disbelief. "It's like nothing I've ever seen before!"
"Yeah, yeah. It's cool right? Now let's get everyone on board," Zoey urged.
"Where do you even get on?" Taigen asked.
Zoey just pointed at the ramp near the front of the ship that was lowering itself in preparation for loading. Once again, Taigen's eyes grew wide at the sight. Everything he was seeing was so strange and different from what he was used to, and he was not the only one. All of the Asurai were struck dumb just by the size and shape of the ship, and they hadn't even been inside yet!
Eventually, Zoey managed to convince Taigen to get everyone moving towards the ramp, so she headed that way herself. Before long, everyone was passing under the wings of the huge cruiser, looking up and marveling at the sleek design and otherworldly construction.
Zoey stood at the top of the ramp and saw that they were slowly becoming less afraid of the ship and more curious. Kreppelins were rare to the commoners of Darren, and for most of the Asurai, they had never been on an airship before.
There was a gasp of shock and surprise when Zoey activated the internal lights, illuminating the vast, empty cargo bay behind her. As big as the cruiser was, the cargo bay alone had plenty of space to house all of the Asurai, at least for now.
Their curiosity overcoming their uncertainty, the clanspeople were soon filing their way in the the cargo bay, looking around in awe at the strange design, the crystal lights, and the glowing conduits that lined the walls. It was an alien design to them, as all they had known until now was the comparably primitive and un-efficient aether piping that was used in most places. What they were seeing here was clearly more advanced!
Zoey also noticed that Max's eyes had lit up when he had seen the inside of the ship. He was looking around curiously like the others were, like a kid seeing his first airship should.
Once the last people had been helped up the ramp and into the cargo bay, Zoey used her interface and closed the ramp. Everyone watched as it raised up and finally sealed off the outside, and many felt a pang of uncertainty once it was closed.
Could they really trust this masked woman? They were practically at her mercy now... what if she had an entire crew in this ship and was planning to sell them all to a noble as slave labor?!
As the clanspeople's thoughts ran wild, Zoey was making her way towards the back of the cargo bay. She called out to Taigen, Baiken, Ssaul, and Saigo on the way, and soon they were all gathered near the back of the bay where there was an area that was closed off by a large overhead door. Zoey wasted no time and opened the door with a command.
She led the group in through the door as she showed them around. Once again, everyone was struck dumb. Food... there was food. Fruit, vegetables, grain, and tons of it too. There was enough food stored here to provide for all of the clan for a year! Taigen and the other leaders had to control their urges to immediately stuff their faces with fresh food, as the aroma was overpowering.
"Start distributing this to the people, there is water there by those pipes as well. Those doors there lead to the bathrooms. I don't want filth on my floors, so make sure everyone knows where this is." Zoey explained to the stunned group before she walked back out into the bay and over towards the lifts to the second deck.
Before long, Taigen and his group got their wits together and did as Zoey had suggested. They organized everyone and started distributing food and water as fast as they could. The cargo bay was soon filled with cries of happiness and joy as the clanspeople had good, ripe food for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime for them.
Those that had doubted Zoey quickly changed their minds when they got to fill their bellies with fresh food. Taigen and the other leaders wondered where Zoey could have gotten all of this, but then again, she did just summon the ship they were now in from thin air. Their benefactor was a woman of mystery, and strangely, they were fine with that.
At this point, even if she turned out to be a nefarious villain that had evil in her heart, most of the clanspeople would go along without a second though, especially if there was more delicious food waiting for them.
Of course Zoey had no such plans. She was merely doing what she could with what she had. The food all came from the space in the cube and there was plenty more where that came from. That place was perfect for growing anything with it's completely customisable climate and its tireless custodian watching over it.
But now that the Asurai were fed and safe in her ship, Zoey figured they were ready for the next step.