Scarblade's Pearl: The Revenge - Part Three
Nira stepped back, heart beating fast. Without really thinking about the fact that she had nowhere to go, she turned and sprinted across the room. She was desperate to get away. She reached the other end in less than half a minute, feeling along the wall desperately for an escape. When she could find none, she spun around to face the steps leading to the hatch.
Scarblade descended them slowly, his footsteps echoing. The smile on his face had not faltered. He clasped his hands behind his back as he walked with long, purposeful strides. Nira pressed her back against the wall, wishing she could just disappear. Finally Scarblade came to a stop two paces from Nira. They stood still and silent for nearly a minute.
"Hello, Nira. Feeling alright after three days rest?" said the captain softly.
Nira swallowed and took a deep breath.
"Why am I here? How do you know my name?" she asked, trying her hardest to keep her voice from shaking. Scarblade chuckled quietly in what seemed genuine amusement.
"Stop playin' games, Lass. You know why you're here," he answered.
Nira's face scrunched up in confusion.
"No, I don't! I haven't the faintest idea why you would even care about a common Shoyru like me," Nira exclaimed, becoming a bit more bold.
Scarblade's smile disappeared. His face hardened seriously.
"Common? What are you talkin' about, Lass? You're the furthest from common a Shoyru can get!" said Scarblade with a touch of frustration.
Nira put a hand on each side of her head, closing her eyes and shaking it back and forth.
"What are YOU talking about?! I'm just your average, everyday, teenage girl!" she cried desperately.
Scarblade was now on the verge of rage.
"Quit playin' with me, Lass!! I ain't a fool! You and I both know you're much more than that!!" he shouted.
Nira fell on her knees, still holding her head. Pain began to come over her in waves. Images flashed in her mind, so fast she could hardly see them. She could hear voices, but couldn't make out the words. Then suddenly images would freeze in front of her, then drift away.
She saw her arm, gripped by a furry green fist, a cutlass hovering over it. She saw a cutlass fly through the air toward her, and then saw her hand catch it. She saw a great whirlpool, greater than any she could ever imagine, destroy a beautiful little village under the sea. And then she saw the ruins, where a Maraquan Kyrii sat with head in her hands.
And then she heard the sobs.
Terrible, heart-crushing sobs that cut into her like knives.
She was my age!
The words echoed through Nira's mind in her own voice.
Then the images flashed faster again, and she couldn't make anything out. They went faster and faster and then... stopped.
She opened her eyes to find herself back with Scarblade, kneeling, hands clutching at her hair. Nira wouldn't have believed anyone who told her only seconds had passed. She breathed heavily, eyes wide as she pieced together all she had seen and heard.
Scarblade, watching her every move, smiled at Nira's shocked face.
"Is it comin' back, Lass? Are ye rememberin' it all?" he asked, his voice soft again.
Nira just sat there, still as stone. A shudder passed through her.
Nira couldn't get the words to pass her lips. Nothing would come out. Her throat itched and her mouth was dry. She couldn't believe it. It wasn't true! It couldn't be! It couldn't....
"I destroyed... that village...." she barely whispered. Her eyes became teary. "I shattered that poor Kyrii's... poor Alia's life...."
Scarblade's smile became even more delighted.
"Yes, Nira. You destroyed that cursed Maraquan village for me. Because I asked you to," he whispered back.
Nira's body was shaking now, still unable to accept it all.
"No..." she said, shaking her head.
"Yes," Scarblade hissed pleasurably.
Nira closed her eyes again.
"No! I would never do that! NEVER!" she nearly shouted.
"But you did, Nira. You did... for me," he muttered with a grin.
Nira's eyes opened and she stared at the ground. Her hands slowly left her head and lowered to her sides again. Scarblade watched her with satisfaction.
"You would do anything for me before, Nira. Don't ya remember? You'd do anythin' for just one word of my praise," he whispered.
Nira felt tears rolling down her cheeks. Tears of horror and shame. How could she have done such a thing? Destroy the homes of all those Maraquans? Her hands went to her eyes.
"I'm a monster!" she whispered hoarsely.
Scarblade laughed heartily.
"Nay, Nira. Yer my monster."
Nira let her hands fall away so she could look at them. Really look at them. A soft sob escaped her.
These hands are covered in the blood of all those lost lives... she thought.
Suddenly a thought came to her, and her hands clenched into fists. She looked at Scarblade again, mouth hardening into a line. The was all his fault! He'd been the one to corrupt her! He'd been the one to trick her, to make her think the Maraquans were a people to be despised! In that moment, a new determination ran through Nira. One she had never felt so passionately before. She got to her feet and faced Scarblade boldly.
"No!" she said firmly.
Scarblade's amused gaze faltered for a moment, but he regained it quickly.
"No?" he replied, sounding somewhat amused, but also a bit angry.
"NO!" she repeated, louder. She took a confident step forward.
"I said it before, Scarblade, and I'll say it again! No! I am not your monster! Nor will I ever be again!"
Scarblade looked stunned, but Nira wasn't finished yet. She took one more step forward, forcing the captain back a pace.
"I will never hurt anyone like that again!!" she shouted.
Scarblade seemed to suddenly come to his sense. His mouth curled in a vicious snarl and he drew his cutlass with lightning speed.
"NOOOOOOOO!" he cried, taking a swing at Nira. Nira agilely dodged out of his path, quickly drawing her own sword. No sooner had she raised it in defense before Scarblade's blade clattered against it. She gritted her teeth as pain ran up her arm.
"I RAISED YOU! I TAUGHT YOU!" he shouted in a rage. Nira backed off his attack, worried her blade might break under any more pressure, and began a slew of parrying moves as he pursued.
"I WAS YOUR LEADER, YOUR CAPTAIN! THE CLOSEST THING YOU HAD TO A FATHER!"
Nira dodged to the left and parried on the right. Scarblade kept coming at her, forcing her back with his wild, powerful strokes. She had to dodge around and under other hammocks as Scarblade hacked his way through. One stroke sliced through the cloth around her right-arm wound, but just barely missed the skin. Soon she was going to run out of room!
"HOW DARE YOU BETRAY ME!!"
Nira blocked a left sided stroke, a bit of relief passing through her as she realized his attacks were weakening. Pushing back against him, Nira managed to off balance the captain. It was a small opening, but Nira was going to take it. She went on the offensive, cutting and slashing with all her might, using every skill drilled into her by her own opponent. Scarblade was now the one backing up in defense. Nira's attacks were so swift, so skillful, it took all his energy just to keep her back.
And then, before he knew it, Nira managed to catch his blade on hers and wrench it from his grasp. With a flick of her wrist, she sent the cutlass flying across the room. It clattered to the floor and slide into the far wall. Nira's sword was now pointed at Scarblade's throat. The Lupe lifted his arms in surrender. Both pets were breathing heavily. Nira's wound on her arm had opened again, and a slow trickle of blood was running down her arm. Neither of them said a thing.
Then, with a movement sudden enough to make Scarblade start, Nira swung her sword away from the Lupe, spun it gracefully in the air, and returned it to its sheath. Her eyes locked with Scarblade's, her gaze sharp and cold as spears of ice.
"You betrayed me. You knocked my memory out of me and tossed me over the side the moment I showed any sign of rebellion." Nira's eyes narrowed, and tears began to mist her eyes. "You may have fed me, taught me, and clothed me, but you were never a father to me."
And with that, she turned and headed up the steps leading onto the main deck. The crew had gathered around the opening, not daring to step inside, but now moved back when Nira came through. Their mouths were opened wide in awe as they watched her go by. Just as she reached the side of the ship and was readying her wings for take-off, Scarblade came running out, cutlass in hand.
"Don't ye move, Lass! I ain't finished with ya!" he panted, eyes glittering with hate. He was still breathing heavily, and his body shook a little. Nira turned calmly to meet his gaze, keeping her stance tall and dignified.
"You may not be finished with me, Scarblade, but I am finished with you," she stated flatly. A collective gasp went through the crew at the clear defiance Nira was showing. And then, before another move could be made, or another word spoken, Nira spread her wings and took to the air.
She heard many loud jeers and exclamations, but did not look back. She groaned quietly as she flapped her wings to go higher. She hadn't flown in a very long time, and so her muscles had fallen into disuse. Nira only hoped she could make it back to Mystery Island in one piece.
To be continued...