As they approach the Sky of Thunder, the crew being to hear strange voices in the air, pleading for aid. They also discover that their captive assassin is missing.
An island abruptly appears in front of them out of the clouds, and they narrowly avoid crashing into it. Once landed, they begin to perceive the translucent figures around them.
The mayor of the settlement greets them, and explains that they have landed on Sideways .
He goes on to explain that many centuries ago, this island (along with all its inhabitants) was cursed by a powerful being (some say a jealous witch, other tales blame a powerful spirit). The curse rendered all people on the island invisible and intangible.
However, the islanders where not inconvenienced by this for long, because a magician (a Koldun, to use the proper term) came to the island and enchanted a jewel to over-ride the curse. Since this jewel (known as the Sideways Star) could be activated or de-activated on command, the locals found the controlled version of the curse to be useful for avoiding pirate raids.
Unfortunately, the Sideways Star was stolen a few days previously, rendering the islanders uncontrollably invisible once more.
The Star was kept in the town hall, which is visible to outsiders (as it is made from sufficiently old stone).
On the day that the Star was stolen, a ship (presumed to be pirates) was seen sailing away from the island. Sideways Pete also seems to be missing.