The Vine of Destiny: Book 1, The Apprentice Pirates: Part Six
A few minutes later, the Revenge pulled up alongside the Black Pawkeet and with a fierce roar, Scarblade’s crew attempted to board the smaller ship. They were greatly surprised, however, when Garin and JayJay’s crews came out of hiding and quickly began repelling them from the Pawkeet.
Scarblade growled in annoyance and glared at the small crew. He’d been fooled! It also appeared that Garin had added a few new members to his crew, and all female. Speaking of the yellow Usul, where was he?
Unbeknownst to Scarblade, Garin had managed to reach the open window to the Revenge’s cabin with the help of JayJay and her powerful wings. The two younger captains quickly entered the window and stepped inside as quietly as possible.
There was the young Acara girl Isca had told them about. She was just as the Aisha had described her, a petite young girl of only fourteen. She looked at Garin and JayJay when she heard them come in, her expression a mix of fear and confusion.
“It’s all right.” JayJay said calmly and quietly as Garin approached the girl, “We’re here to rescue you.”
As he walked toward her, Garin unsheathed his dagger, earning a slightly frightened squeal from the young girl. “It’s all right.” He assured her, “Stay still while I cut these ropes.” The crimson Acara nodded and remained still as Garin knelt behind her. JayJay knelt in front of the younger girl and removed the cloth that had been used to gag her, resulting in Rosa gasping for fresh air.
“Wh-Who are you?” She asked nervously.
“M’name’s Garin, she’s JayJay.” Garin answered as he tossed the cut ropes aside. “Come on!” He swiftly pulled Rosa to her feet and all three headed for the open window when suddenly the door open and Scarblade walked in. His single eye instantly fell on Garin and he was filled with rage.
“Get her out!” Garin told JayJay urgently while pushing the two girls toward the window. He quickly drew his dagger and prepared to cross blades with his mortal enemy.
JayJay glanced from the Black Pawkeet, which was still enshrouded by the battle and the ocean below and made her decision. “Jump into the water!” she told Rosa.
“Huh? But—“ Rosa began, thinking that was a ludicrous thing to do.
“There’s no time to argue!” JayJay cut her off and pushed her to the window.
Rosa hesitated, then bit her lip and did as she was told. JayJay swiftly followed the younger girl, diving beneath the waves and allowing her Water Faerie Token to provide her with the air she so desperately needed. She took Rosa by the hand and quickly led the Acara to where the Maraquan soldiers were fighting, allowing them to protect Rosa as they were Isca.
“You should return to the surface.” The Lieutenant told JayJay, fearing that she would not survive fighting Scarblade’s men in the water, but the green Pteri shook her head.
“I’ve got a Water Faerie token, so I’ll be fine.” She replied.
“In that case, take this.” The Maraquan replied, holding out a standard Maractite sword for her to use. “It will be easier to wield down here.”
JayJay nodded in thanks and swiftly went to work fending off the members of Scarblade’s crew.
Meanwhile, Garin was still busy fighting Scarblade, although the fight was slowly moving toward the deck, probably because Scarblade didn’t want his cabin to get wrecked.
“I should have known ye’d get in my way!” Scarblade remarked bitterly as Garin blocked his next swing, “Ye always seem to show up when least convenient!”
“Well maybe I wouldn’t have to if you’d stop hurting innocent people!” Garin replied as he parried, only for Scarblade to successfully block his counterattack. “What did this village do to you anyway?”
“I dumped the lot of them on that island years ago. They were just unneeded leftovers from a plunder. They were supposed to die there! They weren’t supposed to survive! They certainly weren’t supposed to build a village!”
Garin rolled his eyes in exasperation, “You really need to find better reasons to hold a grudge.”
“Of what business is it of yers anyway?!” Scarblade asked angrily as he lunged at Garin, but Garin dodged to the side.
“I don’t feel like telling you.” The Usul remarked flatly.
Scarblade snarled fiercely and stepped up his attacks, but Garin easily evaded using his innate agility.
Back on the Black Pawkeet, Jacques had crossed blades with his old rival, Avenger, the yellow female Kyrii from the Revenge’s crew that also wielded two blades.
“I see you’ve added some new members to yer crew.” Avenger remarked as she swung at Jacques. The red Kyrii quickly ducked, allowing the yellow one’s blades to pass over his head.
“They’re not exactly members. More like… Apprentices.” He replied while attempting to knock Avenger’s feet out from under her. The female dodged his attempt and sneered.
“Whatever the case, they’ll die for being in allegiance with you!”
On the other side of the ship, Lili had found herself up against Benny the Blade. Despite being by far the toughest opponent she’d ever faced, the yellow Aisha didn’t hesitate to cross blades with the purple Bruce.
“Ye seem a little unfit for this life.” Benny sneered, “Shouldn’t you be enjoying some tea and cake in Faerieland?”
“Don’t judge a pirate by her appearance, you creep!” Lili replied as she dodged one of Benny’s knives, “One day, the name “Lili the Golden” will be more infamous than yours!”
“Dream while ye can, little girl.” The Bruce growled, “I’ll soon send ye to the world of dreams!”
For all their cockiness, both Avenger and Benny had failed to notice that most of their crew had either been defeated by Talak and the others or pushed into the ocean where they were defeated by Caylis and the Maraquan soldiers.
Eventually, Scarblade’s first mate and Avenger were also forced back onto the Revenge, leaving only Scarblade remaining. At that particular moment, the Lupe appeared to have the upper hand on Garin, but that only lasted a second.
JayJay, having defeated every enemy in the water, was eager to continue helping in the fray, and with incredible agility, the girl leapt up between the sides of the two ships and flew into the air. When she saw Scarblade advancing on her friend, she swiftly threw a cluster of throwing stars she’d been carrying at the Lupe. Scarblade noticed this in time to dodge most of them, but one grazed his wrist, causing him to yelp and drop his cutlass. Garin quickly took advantage of this and pointed his sword at the older Captain.
“Take your crew and leave.” He said simply.
Scarblade sneered at him, “You’re not going to kill me?” he asked, “It would solve a lot of problems for you.”
“I’m not like you.”
Scarblade opened his mouth to reply to this, but was suddenly struck in the head by JayJay’s foot and knocked out. Garin blinked and looked at the green Pteri in surprise.
“No offense Garin, but he’s the type that would rather die than admit defeat.” The girl said bluntly, “We weren’t getting out of here without at least knocking him out.”
Garin chuckled and sheathed his dagger. Most of Scarblade’s crew was incapacitated at this point and the ones that were conscious posed very little threat.
JayJay and Garin’s crew tied up the still conscious members of Scarblade’s crew and at Garin’s suggestion the Maraquans disabled the Revenge’s rudder.
“Let’s see how he likes being stranded for a while.” The blond Usul remarked.
Meanwhile, a line was tossed out and Rosa was retrieved from beneath the waves. JayJay’s eyes widen in surprise when she saw that Rosa was not the slightest bit wet. She started to ask how, but Lili beat her to the punch.
“How are you not wet?” The yellow Aisha asked. Rosa responded by holding up a pendant similar to the ones that JayJay and Lili wore.
“I have a Water Faerie token.” She explained.
“Really?” Alicia said in surprise, “So do I.” The blue Wocky pulled out her own token.
“Me too.” Yasmine added, holding up her own.
“JayJay and I have them too. What do you suppose it means, JayJay?” Lili asked.
The female captain looked thoughtful for a moment before posing a question of her own, “Rosa, why do you have a Water Faerie Token? It’s not like you need one. You’re an Acara.”
“Papa said that a Maraquan Aisha gave it to me when I was a baby as a symbol of my destiny…” Suddenly her eyes widened. “Papa! Where is he?!”
The group of girls all looked down at the deck, and JayJay shook her head.
“The Maraquans didn’t find any survivors…”
At the realization that she was the only one, Rosa sank to her knees in shock before beginning to sob. The older girls watched her, their faces filled with sympathy, and all four knelt down to comfort the younger girl as best as they could.
Garin and Jacques watched the scene sadly, feeling sorry for the girl. In truth, this was the outcome they had expected, but that didn’t make it any easier, especially for Rosa. Garin sighed and looked at the sky.
“We really should ask her where she’d like us to take her, but I don’t think now’s the time.”
“Aye.” Jacques agreed, “We’ll just head north until we get close to somewhere that’s actually on the map.”
“Actually, Captain Garin, I have a request.” A voice said from beside the ship, and Garin and Jacques looked over the side to see the Maraquan Lieutenant.
“What is it?” Garin asked.
“Would you mind helping us bring Lady Rosa to Maraqua? It is a long journey and I am not sure she has the strength to swim so far. I am sure the king will reward you.”
Garin sighed and nodded, “Sure.” This wasn’t usually the way they made money, but at least it solved a problem. He looked back at the group of girls huddled around the sobbing teenager. “Jacques, set our course for Maraqua. Alicia’s a little busy at the moment.”