A Pirate's Tale: Dark Lullaby - Part Five
Once Leglus, Adimaris, and Dezeronto made it back onto the deck of the Intrepid, the pirate Uni explained to them that he knew about everything. He'd seen Leglus holding the oyster, and knew from tales his father had told him what it was. He had planned to approach him about it, he said, but Leglus had sold the weapon before he'd had the chance. He wouldn't say how he knew of the chest, but the captain had intended to take it and hide it elsewhere.
"Not that I blame ye for what yeh did, boy," he assured a crestfallen Leglus. "It was stupid - but I understand."
With that he'd left and disappeared into the captain's cabin without another word. Leglus had never been so glad that Dezeronto was the only member of the crew that their mysterious captain would speak to. He definitely wouldn't want to have to tell the captain of their failure, and that it was his fault.
Adimaris' discomfort while aboard the ship was beyond obvious. Though the pirates didn't ask any questions when Leglus and Dezeronto returned with a Maraquan Gelert, they all glanced in her direction every so often with wary eyes, likely thinking of their captain's misfortune with beautiful sea creatures. It was a good thing they had no idea of her magical ability, Leglus decided, or they'd likely have thrown her off the deck.
"Are we just going to sit here?" Adimaris asked him as she leaned against the deck a few hours later. "I mean, there's no telling what she could be doing down there." The Maraquan Gelert swung her arms wide, gesturing to the wide expanse of the sea that stretched before them. It was sunset, and the sunlight danced on the water in beautiful ripples, so lovely that it seemed almost impossible that evil could be lurking in its depths.
"What else can we do?" Leglus wondered aloud. "What else can anyone do? She could be anywhere in Neopia by now."
The picturesque sunset was reflected flawlessly in Adimaris deep, sad blue eyes. "That's what frightens me most," she said.
The cacophonous caws of Crokabeks made the pirate Xweetok's gray fur stand on end, and he turned swiftly to see what was going on. Dezeronto had emerged from the captain's cabin, accompanied by the winged noisemakers. Black feathers fluttered softly down onto the deck as at least twenty of the blasted things flew away.
"Well, that was dramatic," Leglus joked as the pirate Uni walked toward them, sporting a shiny new glass eye.
Dezeronto didn't laugh. "The captain has sent word to all the members of the council," he rasped. "When we find her, we have to capture her. Lady!"
Adimaris looked up, clearly startled. "Y-yes?"
"Do ye know how to bottle a faerie?"
Leglus watched Adimaris' face fall slightly at the Uni's question. "Only in theory. Caylis taught me how to bottle lots of things - petpets, objects - I'm sure a faerie would be done in much the same way, but I've never done it before..."
Dezeronto grunted. "Regardless, Lass, yeh're our best hope now."
"Hold up a minute," Leglus interrupted. "What's this council thing?"
"A compilation of pirates, sailors, and some Maraquans," Adimaris answered, and then covered her mouth, apparently realizing he'd been asking Dezeronto.
The pirate Uni only laughed, "That's it. It's not a strick'ly legal organization. Mostly scoundrels like ye and I, whose businesses would suffer over a sea-wide takeover."
"So... the council is going to take on this faerie?"
Dezeronto gazed at the sunset for a moment before answering.
"If we can convince 'em."
The ship was buzzing with excitement when they dropped anchor on a deserted island the next morning. Few of the pirates actually knew exactly what was going on, but various versions of the story had managed to spread. Adimaris received a pleasant surprise when they reached the shore.
The dark blue Maraquan Aisha's four ears all perked up at the sound of her former apprentice's approach. "Adimaris!" she greeted with a rare smile. "What are you doing here? You're not a member of the council!"
"And I never knew that you were either," Adimaris replied, then wrapped her former master in a tight hug. "It's so good to see you."
"Indeed," Caylis muttered, pulling away. "Though I must admit, I wish it would have been under different circumstances - Ah! This must be Leglus!"
Leglus walked up with a wicked grin that twisted his old facial scar. "Well, someone must talk about me a lot," he said with a wink in Adimaris' direction, "if you recognize me so easily."
Caylis chuckled while Adimaris tried not to blush and rolled her eyes. "What an arrogant assumption," she said to the pirate Xweetok, and used her thick tail to wiggle through the sand and toward the old fort where the council would be meeting. "Now come on," she insisted, glancing back at the two of them. "I don't want to miss anything."
Leglus and Caylis chuckled softly behind her and began to whisper things she couldn't hear, which annoyed her to no end. She did her best to ignore them as she entered the run-down old fort and entered a huge room lit by oil lamps and with a huge, rectangular table in the center. Seated at the table were literally hundreds of Neopia's finest menaces to society.
Leglus tried not to chuckle at Adimaris' widened blue eyes as they entered the room full of pirates. It was certainly a sight to see. He himself felt his jaw drop at the sight of the infamous Scarblade himself, who appeared to be playing cards with some Eyries at one head of the table. The equally famous Captain Garin was there as well, seated closer to the center of the table beside his first mate, Jacques, and eyeing Scarblade warily. This was definitely going to be interesting.
The old wooden door clanged shut behind them, and Leglus found he and Adimaris seats. Caylis disappeared to sit with Garin and Jacques, and for some reason Adimaris winked at her from across the table. Females.
An ancient Bruce with a long, silver beard stood at the opposite end of the table from Scarblade, and when he cleared his throat, it was surprisingly loud. "Honorable sea-farers," he addressed the table at large, and Leglus snorted into his paw, receiving a glare from Adimaris. They were far from honorable people here.
"It has come to our attention," the old green Bruce continued, stroking his beard thoughtfully, "that there is a threat to our seas. The deranged water faerie, Nerina, has been freed, and her ancient weapon restored to her."
At that point, the table erupted with voices full of a mix of fear, disbelief, and confusion. Once he'd hushed them all, the Bruce calmly explained who the faerie was, what the oyster was, and why they were all generally doomed. Leglus leaned back in his chair, careful not to let it tip over, and relaxed for the moment. He couldn't stop the satisfied grin that stretched up to his scar.
"What are you so happy about?" Adimaris whispered.
Leglus chuckled as quietly as he could. "Isn't it satisfying, darling? Knowing what's going on whilst Neopia's finest blubber in confusion?"
"Only if we can do something about it," she answered. He tried to shrug off her serious tone - the seriousness of the whole situation, as it were. If they couldn't stop the faerie, after all... but no, he wouldn't think about that. Wouldn't think about the fact that his whole ship, whom he'd just begun to be accepted by, were in grave danger. Wouldn't think about the fact that if they couldn't capture her, Neopia's seas would be ruled by a crazed and powerful tyrant who could reduce her enemies to drooling uselessness with her weird oyster. Wouldn't think about the fact that it was the sea in which Adimaris lived, his very best friend, and that if anything happened to her...
He was fortunately snatched away from those things he wouldn't think about by a yell from Scarblade's end of the table.
"How do we know that any of this is true?" the green Lupe demanded, pounding his fist on the table to get the pirates' attention. "Whose word do we have it by? A cowardly old captain who won't even step onto the deck of his own ship."
"I hate to admit it..." Garin piped in at that moment, "But Scarblade has a point. Everyone's heard the story of that old superstitious captain. It could be nonsense."
A creak sounded from the door at the back of the room, and all of the pirates and Maraquans turned to see what was going on. Dezeronto stood in the doorway, the sunlight pouring in behind him and causing his glass eye to gleam. The pirate Uni kicked the door closed with one of his back hooves, and it slammed shut with a resounding bang. For a long moment, the room stayed completely silent, everyone watching Dezeronto and waiting for him to move closer to the table. He didn't. He only flicked his single eye toward what seemed like everyone in the room individually.
"The cap'n of the Intrepid," he began in his slow, deep voice, "is not a coward." He glared toward Scarblade, and then shifted his gaze to Garin. "Nor is he a suspicious fool."
Scarblade growled and shot upward from his seat, knocking his chair over in the process. "Indeed?" the villain demanded. "Then why has he sent his first mate to speak for him, as always?"
Leglus watched as Dezeronto let Scarblade glower for a moment, and his next words nearly made the pirate Xweetok fall out of his seat.
"He hasn't," Dezeronto answered, his voice dripping with contempt for the green Lupe. "It's time ye all learned the truth. I am the captain of the Intrepid."
To be continued...