To Be a Pirate: Part Eight
The huge ship slowed to a halt in the center of the city.
Garin felt a shock as he spotted a Maraquan Lupe. The Lupe's eyes were blank,
and he was frozen still, suspended in the water.
"So it worked," said Scarblade, triumphantly
eyeing the Lupe. He turned to face the crew of the Black Pawkeet. "One of you!"
he barked suddenly to the pirates around him. "Lock these pirates in the dungeons.
The rest of you, come with me. We have work to do!"
Scarblade and a number of others swooped off
the ship, drawing their blades. The remaining few gathered around Garin and
his crew. Cutting smoothly through ropes, the pirates grabbed them firmly and
forced them off the ship.
Hearing her name called out from behind her,
the Maraquan Aisha whirled around. It was her sister Caylis, swimming forward
in an urgent way.
"Isca," she panted, drawing to a halt. "The
Revenge. It's moored on the cove. Garin, Jacques and Usi have gotten themselves
captured. I thought you should know."
"Then we have to go back!" said Isca quickly,
recovering from the surprise.
Caylis shook her head. "No. We would stand no
chance against Scarblade's full crew of pirates. I suggest we go back to Maraqua
and ask the king's assistance," she replied hesitantly.
"Good idea, I suppose," mumbled Isca. "Let's
go, then. Garin helped Maraqua out before; I'm sure King Kelpbeard will be willing
to do the same." She started off in the direction of the city with Caylis. In
almost no time at all they had reached the gates.
Isca stared around uncertainly. The gates were
wide open, and the guards were nowhere to be seen. "What's going on- oh no!"
She had spotted the Revenge, resting just above
the city. "Oh, Caylis, look! The Revenge is here!"
Suddenly, without warning, Caylis pulled her
sister sharply out of the gates and behind a rock. "Pirates," she whispered.
Isca peered around the gates. A couple of Revenge crew members were swimming
lazily through the city.
"Come," murmured Caylis, backing out from behind
the rock. As soon as Isca began to edge away, she swam furiously away.
Both the sisters darted behind a large coral.
Bright tears were sparkling in Isca's eyes. "There must have been a battle while
I was gone," she cried. "The Revenge has taken over Maraqua!"
"No," said Caylis simply. "There couldn't have
been a battle that big in your short absence. It doesn't make sense. Somehow
Scarblade is controlling the city in other ways. We should go farther away,
so they don't see us. Then we can decide what action to take," she paused and
said under her breath, "if we do take action."
Isca was too shocked not to obey. Slowly, she
drifted through the water after her sister. They swam in silence for a while,
until Caylis, who was ahead, saw something.
"What's that?" she said, mostly to herself.
Drawing closer, Caylis squinted at the glittering object. She picked it up.
Isca moved closer. "It's a Maractite sword,"
she said in surprise.
Caylis ran a hand along the blade. "It seems
familiar, somehow," she muttered. "That's strange."
Moving closer, Isca's sharp eyes caught something
off in the distance. She went to investigate. "Caylis!" she cried. "It's an
"A what?" she said, distracted.
"An Usul!" said Isca, frightened. "A pirate!"
Shaken from her thoughts, Caylis turned and
swam next to her sister, holding the sword tightly. "Usi!" she exclaimed in
disbelief. It was Usi, unconscious but alive, safe with Garin's necklace.
"That's the necklace I gave Garin," said Isca,
Caylis spared a quick glance at her sister.
"This is Usi, from Garin's crew. I think she's alive…"
As if on cue, Usi's eyes flickered open. "What…?"
she groaned, as her eyes came into focus and she saw Caylis and Isca.
"Usi," said Caylis swiftly. "Are you all right?
Sitting up, Usi rubbed her head. "Hang on,"
she said dazedly. "Okay…I remember. Scarblade captured us again. I think he
had some plan to invade Maraqua…anyway, Garin and Scarblade got in a swordfight.
Garin lost, but only because Scarblade tripped him. So I…got involved, and Scarblade
fought me. Then we both fell in the water, and I think he knocked me out." She
rubbed her head ruefully. "That's the last thing I remember. What are you doing
out here? And who's that?" Usi gestured at Isca.
"I'm Isca," said Isca. "I'm a friend of Garin's.
Caylis is my sister. My home, Maraqua, has been taken over by the Revenge."
"The crew must still be on board, then," said
Usi, half to herself. She looked at Isca and Caylis. "We have to attack them,
and save Maraqua and the crew!"
"And how do you propose we do that?" said Caylis.
"There's no way we could attack the Revenge and even hope to win. Scarblade
is controlling the Maraquans. We need to find out how."
"I have an idea," said Isca suddenly. "Listen.
Usi already looks like a pirate, right? And no Revenge crewmember would suspect
you right away, because you can also breathe underwater with that necklace.
Caylis and I could sneak into the city with your sword, Usi, and free Garin
and his crew. You would have to find out how Scarblade is holding sway over
my people. If you can break that power, I'm sure we can defeat their crew."
Usi and Caylis were silent for a moment. "That
sounds risky, sister, but it's all we've got to go on. Usi, you'd be in the
most danger. What do you think?" said Caylis.
"Let's do it!" replied Usi immediately.
"Let us go!" growled Garin, as he and his crew
were forced toward the palace in the center of Maraqua. The pirates sneered,
but did not reply.
The alarming stillness of the city was enough
to set anyone on edge. Not a soul was to be seen. Even the water itself seemed
to be subdued. The gleaming, aquamarine palace rose silently before them.
It was the same inside as outside. A voice from
a pirate broke through, seemingly out of place, as if no one had ever spoken
"Pretty place," he jeered. "Captain Scarblade'll
like this, I'm sure. Hurry up, you flotsam. I can just as easily leave you here
with the prisoners if you don't move it." Glaring at Black Pawkeet and Revenge
pirates alike, he led them all down a winding staircase. The water was slightly
colder down here, and a row of cells lined the wall.
"In you go," grunted the lead pirate, watching
the crew as they were shoved behind bars. "That potion you all drank won't last
forever. Aren't you all lucky, gettin' to live in a palace! Fer a short time,
anyway." He motioned to his crewmates, leaving behind a ringing laughter as
they departed. Stillness fell over them once again.
Not for long. The first thing Garin did was
turn to his crew. "Okay. What we've got to do is get out of here. See if you
can find some way out." He crossed over to the bars and gave them a quick, hard
shake. As he had expected, they didn't budge.
Apart from a small, barred window, there was
no way to leave the cell. Jacques touched Garin on the shoulder.
"Looks like we're pretty much boxed in, mate.
Garin shook his head. "I've cut through bars
like these once before. If I had my dagger, we'd be out of here in a minute.
I suppose that foul Scarblade has it," he said, his voice filled with hatred
at the Revenge's captain's name.
"Right," sighed Jacques, watching a crewmember
test the strength of the window bars by pushing at them. "Right. But we can't
do anything in this dungeon. If I could get out, I'd make him pay tenfold for
what he did to Kisho. He was a promising lad."
Garin was silent for a minute. "Kisho…wasn't
Kisho," he said finally. Jacques stared, and Garin tried to find the right words.
"Kisho was a girl," he said at last. "I found out when we were with Caylis.
Her real name is Usi. Apparently she wanted to be a pirate, and thought that
pretending to be a boy was the best way to do it."
Jacques shook his head, at a loss for words.
"We never should have let her on the ship,"
said Garin. Jacques turned his head quickly.
"Ki- Usi made that choice. Besides, you wouldn't
be here if she didn't come. She saved your life," he said quietly. Garin averted
Suddenly there was a scraping sound, followed
by a crash. Jacques and Garin spun around.
"Isca! Caylis!" Garin gasped in astonishment.
Isca nodded. "We're getting you out of here.
Hurry up, those pirates might see us. We've already cut through the bars. Come
"Let's go, crew," Garin said, turning and swimming
quickly out the now bar-free window. He stopped dead when he saw the sword in
Isca's hands. He could vaguely recall the same blade crashing into another one,
directly above his head.
"Where did you get that?" he said, still staring.
"From someone I think you know," replied Isca.
"Usi is sneaking aboard the Revenge right now."
To be continued...