To Be a Pirate: Part Seven
Usi strained at her ropes, bound as she was to Garin and
Jacques. The three of them were on the deck of the Revenge. "Scarblade is going
to pay for this," Garin growled. "Him and all his foul crew."
"And how exactly are we going to make him pay?"
grumbled Jacques. "My head feels like it's about to burst open, and if you haven't
noticed, we're prisoners again. This whole thing is getting tiring."
Usi listened to Garin and Jacques talk. The
prow of the Revenge cut mechanically through the waves. Gradually she noticed
the sky was darkening again, and a small wind was whipping up.
"A storm. Of course. As if things weren't bad
enough," she groaned.
Suddenly, there was a crash behind them. Usi
twisted her head around to look. There, bound and just dumped on the deck by
several pirates, was the crew of the Black Pawkeet!
"Captain!" one of them cried as the rest stared
in amazement. "Jacques! We thought you were gone!"
Garin grinned broadly, despite their present
situation. "I thought the same of you! Gordy, Jim- you're all here!"
"Shut up," growled one of the Revenge's crew.
"No talking. It doesn't matter what you thought, cause shortly-"
"That's enough," a voice cut in, a rasping,
"Scarblade!" Usi snarled. The tall, scarred
green Lupe stared at the small Usul in distaste. "And who are you, tiny one?
You look hardly out of babyhood. Yet I suppose your captain here wants children
his own age to play with." He turned his mocking smile on Garin. "Captured yet
again, and I can't see a way out of this one. Maraqua is done for, as are you."
"You filthy scum," spat Garin. "Untie me and
put a blade in my paws, and you'll see what happens when you underestimate the
captain of the Black Pawkeet!"
Scarblade spread his paws wide. "A miniature
pirate. How very cute. I don't deal in cuteness, however. Someone, bring me
a blade for the fine captain!"
Scarblade's crew hastened to find weapons. One
of them brought Jacques, Usi, and Garin's blades, dumping them in a heap before
retreating with an evil grin.
"There now, you even have a choice," Scarblade
mocked. In a flash, he drew his own blade and slashed through their bonds, so
close to Usi she could feel the wind ruffling her fur.
Instantly, two other pirates sprang forward,
tying Jacques and Usi up separately before they could blink. The pirates finished
quickly, obviously wanting to watch the show.
"Garin, are you insane? You can't fight-" Jacques
said, as Garin picked up his dagger.
"I have to," he interrupted, not taking his
eyes off the Lupe. The storm was growing now. The dark waves below struck the
sides of the ship in a foreboding way.
Scarblade and Garin circled each other as the
wind blew. Suddenly, quick as a nightmare, Scarblade attacked, slashing his
blade so fast Usi had no idea how Garin managed to dodge it. He struck at Scarblade,
but the Lupe's sword was already in the way. There was a screech of metal as
the two blades met.
Usi desperately tried to follow the two pirates'
movements as they fought. It was clear that while Garin was skilled, Scarblade
was impossibly fast and ruthless. She could tell Garin was weakening. Keeping
up a flurry of blows, Scarblade was forcing him backward, unable to strike.
If just one of those attacks hit…
Suddenly, Garin was sent crashing to the deck,
his dagger flying out of his paw. He rolled to the side as Scarblade's sword
buried itself in the floor.
"Garin!" yelled Jacques as the crew gasped in
Usi tried pulling at her ropes. Scarblade had
tripped Garin, she had just managed to see it. Now he was injured, exhausted,
and without a weapon. If she was going to do something, she had better do it
fast. Usi yanked harder, realizing that her ropes were loose.
"So it comes to this, Garin," Scarblade hissed.
"You are to me as a pebble is to a mountain. Weak, insignificant, and useless."
Scarblade allowed his words to hang in the air for a few seconds. Garin lay
there, unable to move. Scarblade swung his sword high.
At the same moment, Usi twisted free of her
ropes and snatched up her Maractite blade. With one leap, she thrust her sword
in front of Garin.
A lesser blade would surely have broken under
Scarblade's force. However, the Maractite merely vibrated under the impact.
It was all Usi could do keeping her blade held up.
With an angry roar, Scarblade wrenched his sword
away. "You stupid little fool!" he snarled. "Get away, now!"
"No!" she shouted angrily, blurting out the
next word abruptly. "Coward!"
"For that, you are done for!"
Scarblade lunged at Usi. She darted to the side,
feeling the steel sing by her ear. Almost instantly, he had turned, slashing.
Usi just managed to block the blow. She whirled and jumped, forgetting what
little she had learned from her sword lessons.
"What?" groaned Garin weakly from the floor.
"Garin!" shouted Jacques. He had been trying
to get loose, but his bonds had been tied tighter then Usi's. "It's Kisho. He's
fighting Scarblade! He has no idea what he's doing. Can you untie me?"
Garin staggered to his feet. Jacques was right;
Usi had no idea what to do. As Scarblade slashed left and right, Usi blocked
and leapt out of the way frantically. He was forcing her near the edge of the
For a moment they were both by the edge. Then
a strong wind blew as Scarblade struck with his sword. Forced to leap backward,
Usi stumbled. She seized Scarblade's arm as she fell, and the result was they
both plummeted into the dark, ominous sea below.
"No!" cried Garin, snatching his dagger and
slicing through Jacques's ropes with one quick cut. Stumbling to the side of
the ship, Garin tried to block out any thoughts as he peered over the edge.
Dark ripples spread from where the two had crashed into the water. Neither of
Underwater, time was passing for Usi in a confused
whirl of bubbles. She remembered the magic necklace and fumbled with her sash,
pulling the necklace out and managing to put it on. All the while, Scarblade
continued to attack with his sword. To Usi's disbelief he seemed to be perfectly
"Stupid little Usul," snarled Scarblade while
he cut through the water in frenzy. His eyes glowed red with pure venom. "You
should have learned not to mess with the Revenge long ago!"
Usi swung her sword helplessly and realized
that the Maractite moved through the water as it would through air. Apparently
this was a day for surprises. Her thoughts were cut short as Scarblade, losing
his patience, brought his sword down forcibly. Automatically, she pulled her
blade up. The steel of Scarblade's sword flashed briefly as it was blocked.
Twisting it sideways, Scarblade managed to grab the blade and hit Usi on the
head with the hilt.
Stars burst in front of her eyes, stars that
quickly faded to darkness as Scarblade, grinning a cruel, triumphant grin, swam
toward the surface.
"Sh- I mean, he has a chance," said Garin helplessly.
He wasn't sure why he was keeping up the deception that Usi was a boy, since…
"He still had the magic necklace that we used before, when we were with Caylis.
And the Maractite would give him an advantage…" Garin's voice trailed off. He
was, at the moment, bound along with the rest of the crew. As soon as the Revenge's
pirates had gotten over the shock of having their Captain disappear underwater,
they had quickly retied Jacques and Garin.
Jacques looked at his friend silently. They
both knew the powers of any Revenge pirate. No amount of Maractite swords would
protect Usi from the ruthless Scarblade, who was fully used to fighting underwater.
"That little one'll get some sort of surprise
there," Scarblade's first mate, a Bruce, sneered spitefully. "Let's go. Steer
the Revenge below, an' we can pick up the Captain." Obediently, the pirates
started furling sails and twisting the steering wheel. One of them stopped and
scratched his head. "Hey, what about the prisoners? They ain't goin' to last
"We still have that potion we looted a while
back. You, find it. Make sure they all drink, especially their captain. I know
for a fact Scarblade wants that one to himself," said the first mate, leering
unpleasantly at Garin, who scowled fiercely in reply.
"'Ere you go," grunted one of the pirates as
he pressed a dirty green bottle into the Bruce's waiting arms. He deftly uncorked
Bringing the potion swiftly in front of Garin,
the Bruce commented, "I advise you to drink it. Unless'n you can breathe under
Garin swallowed the bitter potion, glaring at
him as he drew away. The Bruce stood back abruptly and proceeded to give it
to the rest of the crew. When he was done, he called to the rest of the crew.
"Steer her below. We've wasted enough time!"
Moving in a way that seemed somehow wrong, the
Revenge tilted downward, sliding into the waves. Garin flinched as the water
swallowed him. The tip of the mast disappeared, and they were sailing under
The Revenge threw long shadows on the ocean floor.
The eyes of the crew on board blazed with a malevolent glint, all save for the
bound crew of the Black Pawkeet.
"I don't like this, Garin," whispered Jacques.
"They're acting way too confident. What do you think they've done to Maraqua?"
Garin didn't respond, because something had caught
his eye. A dark shape was swimming mechanically through the murky waters, up
to the ship. The shape took form as it swam on board.
"Captain Scarblade!" exclaimed one of the Revenge's
pirates. "We were searching for you. Is-"
"I have finished my opponent, if that stupid
Usul can be called one," interrupted Scarblade smoothly. Garin felt his heart
sink. "It's time we kept on to Maraqua. Let's move, you scurvy dogs!"
As the crew hastened to obey, Scarblade stalked
over to Garin and his crew. "I seem to have a problem with minor Usuls today,"
he said with contempt. "I'll deal with you later." He turned around, wiping
Garin stared at the surface. Small pools of
yellow light seemed to collect on the water, like oil. "We're in trouble, mate,"
he murmured. "I suppose Kisho…" He left his words hanging.
"It's Maraqua!" exclaimed Jacques suddenly.
Garin twisted his head around to look. Tall, aquamarine buildings rose among
them. Garin tensed, waiting for the reaction of the Maraquans. But no shouts
of alarm reached his ears. Instead, there was a cold, still, unnatural silence.
"Something's wrong," said Jacques unnecessarily.
To be continued...