Samson, the Pirate Lupe: Lost Memories - Part Seven
Fox had escorted Samson down to the brig that afternoon and sat by the bars talking to him for a while. He was meant to be guarding, but he had full confidence that Samson wouldn’t try breaking out. It wasn’t like he could anyway.
“Hey, at least you get to get out of here at the end of this,” said Fox, trying to cheer Samson up. The Lupe was lying on the bench at the back of his cell like a sleeping dog. His eyes stared at the wall and he grunted in response. Fox frowned.
“At least you’re not being shipped home like he is.” The Lutari pointed a claw at the adjacent cell that held Tiger. The Kougra was still licking some of his wounds. “To tell you the truth, I’m glad he’s getting out of here,” whispered Fox. “I never trusted him from the day he flipped you over with his tail.”
Samson arched an eyebrow. “You trusted him,” the Lupe scoffed.
“Fine,” Fox sighed. “But I have to say, for one so tough and cool all the time, he’s certainly scared of going home-.”
“I can hear you,” growled Tiger.
“I want you to hear me,” replied Fox coolly.
Samson looked up from his depressed trance. “Fox has a good point,” he growled. “Why are you so scared-? No! No, wait. Better question. Why did you jump ship?”
Tiger hesitated for a moment.
“Why should I tell you?”
“What do you have to lose if you do?”
“Touché.” There was silence for another little while. “It was either that or death.”
“There seems to be a lot of death on your ship,” continued Samson.
“The Mist Hunter isn’t just a pirate ship,” said Tiger. “It’s like a predator that attacks its prey when it can’t see it and least expects it. A ship gets lost in the foggy sea and the M.H. sneaks up behind it and shoots it down without warning. If there is enough of the ship left to raid, the crew will invade it and throw away what’s left of the crew.”
“Then why didn’t it kill Silverfang’s daughter?” Samson asked.
Tiger didn’t answer.
“Okay, why didn’t it destroy the S.M. when Silverfang’s daughter was taken?”
“The Captain it had at that time was foolish and got himself killed in the raid. The M.H. has one weakness if you can’t destroy it with cannon fire. The Captain is normally the most powerful pet on board and always holds the most respect. If that pet is taken down, the other crewmembers will get scared and flee back to the ship.”
“Then we can win easily!” shouted Fox. “Just live through the attack and wait for a raid that has the Captain with it. All one of us has to do is destroy him and they’ll run like faeries from Balthazar!”
“It won’t be as simple as that,” laughed Tiger. Silence followed.
“Why not?” asked Samson. Tiger didn’t reply. Something concerned him. “Why isn’t it that simple?” There was still no reply.
The Lupe got up and rattled the bars of his cage. “What do you know?”
There were cries from above deck and Lt. Darius burst through the door.
“All hands are needed on deck! We’ve spotted the M.H.”
Tiger leapt from the bench and went to his bars.
Darius barely glanced at the Kougra. “Fox, let Samson out. We need as many hands as we can get.” The Uni turned and galloped back up to the deck.
Fox ran to the cell with the cage and opened it, freeing Samson. The Lutari ran to the back of the brig and grabbed two swords out of the three that were there. He took one for himself and threw one to Samson.
“Come on!” he cried. “We may just be the first ship to loot the M.H!”
Samson, with the sword in his hand turned to leave with Fox.
The Lupe turned and stared at Tiger. He looked back at Fox who was waiting for him by the door. “Go on ahead!” he ordered. “I’ll catch you up.”
Fox nodded and left the brig.
“What is it now?” snapped Samson, charging over to Tiger’s cage.
“Let me out, please?” moaned the Kougra, pressing his face up against the bars. His paws gripped the metal in frustration. “Look! I’m sorry that my trap burnt you. I was hoping to get Dagoon because he is the one who’s going to try and do something very, very bad in which he may succeed. I know how to stop him. Please, let me out.”
Samson Swiftpaw considered what the Kougra was saying. He thought back to when he had heard the Kougras arguing and knew that he hadn’t been able to tell which one was the plotter. They both saw him standing at the door so they both could have decided that he knew too much. Tiger may have acted because of that or took his chance to act against Dagoon if he was the real plotter. If he let Tiger out, there was a chance that he would betray Samson’s judgement and kill the Captain in a surprise attack. Why else would the M.H. become uncharacteristically visible? Was it a distraction from the real threat aboard the S.M? However, the same could be true for Dagoon, except, he was already on the ship long before Samson arrived and Tiger had swum directly from the M.H. Dagoon had no real reason to attack the Captain at all while Tiger had a family connection.
“No!” said the Lupe finally. He spun on his paws and left.
“You’re making a mistake!” shouted Tiger as Samson slammed the door shut.
“It’s over there!” shouted Hailey who was flying above the ship with the spyglass at her eye. She pointed at a small red and black smudge in the distance that was half covered by fog.
Samson and Fox were amazed that the young Draik could see anything at all. The white fog snaked around the masts and seemed to consume the entire ship in its blinding snow-like mist. Samson shivered. It felt like a thousand ghosts passing through him at once.
“Is it still there, Miss Shock? Can you see it?” called the Captain. Samson couldn’t see him, but he knew it was his voice. He must have been calling from the ship’s wheel.
“I... Wait! It’s gone again!”
“Raise shields!” called the Captain. There was a whirr and a mechanical snap. The fog seemed to swirl inside the glowing sphere that surrounded the ship and dissipate, sizzling as it condensed on the shield. Just before it fully closed, Hailey dived down from above it and got back to the ship through the last tiny gap before it sealed with a short pop.
“That was close!” snapped Hailey, smoothing out her scales.
“Shhh!” said Lt. Darius. The entire ship was silent. Only the crew of the S.M. could hear the soft lapping of the waves and the snake-like hissing of the water against the shield.
“Over there! Starboard side!” Through the mist, Hailey spied the unmistakable flag of the Mist Hunter flapping in the fog. Silverfang roared and twisted the wheel, throwing the ship to the right but as soon as it was seen, the M.H. was gone again.
“Something’s wrong,” said Samson. “The M.H. shouldn’t be doing something like this. It should attack us out right and not give us any chance to run.”
There was a jolt, throwing everyone on the ship to the floor.
“What in Neopia was that?” yelled Captain Silverfang as Commander Darkwing helped him from the ground. The ship groaned again and the shield seemed to scream and flicker. A wave of light seemed to pass across it from a specific point like a ripple in a pool.
“Something’s hitting the shield!” yelled Darius from the side of the ship. Samson and Fox ran over to the Uni who pointed to a set of spearhead shaped icebergs that attacked the shield as the ship drifted over them. “We’ve been led into a trap!” the Lieutenant shouted to the Captain. “The shield is failing!”
Captain Silverfang growled in anger and tried to turn the ship back the other way. There was another crack and a burst of light from another point in the shield. Another set of icebergs loomed from the distance and ripped at the ship.
“We’re completely surrounded!” yelled Lt. Draco from the rigging. Samson climbed up some of the ropes and discovered that the Lieutenant was right. Icebergs like the teeth lining the jaws of a Grarrl flanked every side of the ship. The Captain saw the danger and tried to back the ship out. There was a roar and a hissing snap. The shield collapsed and the teeth tore through the bottom of the ship. Wood splintered and metal curled in the path of the jagged ice creating a large gash where the brig normally was.
“Tiger!” cried Samson. Even if the Kougra was a traitor and was trying to overthrow his Grandfather, the Lupe just couldn’t let him be killed in this fashion!
“Fox! Minnie! Coral! Take the largest sheets you can find and patch up that hole!” Darius ordered.
“But that water’s freezing, Sir!” protested Fox.
“Would you rather we sank?” snapped the Uni in response. “We’re already gaining water and we’re sitting ducks!”
Fox nodded in submission, took a side of the sheet and jumped off of the ship.
Samson ran down to the brig, threw open the door and was met with a wave of icy water. He gasped as the ocean’s hands tried to drag him away, but he clasped onto the doorframe with his paws and held on. The room was completely flooded with at least three or four feet of water and the separate prison cells had been all but torn down with only a few shattered planks of wood as walls. The shard of ice that had done the damage was protruding through the wall and had the height of at least six feet and the width of four.
“Tiger!” he sputtered. “Tiger, are you there?”
“Up here!” shouted a half-drowned voice. Samson could barely hear it over the rush of waves. Tiger was clinging onto one of the supporting beams of wood on the ceiling. His fur was soaked and clinging tightly to his body and he shivered badly.
“Don’t worry! I’ll get you down!”
“Hurry,” rasped Tiger.
Samson let himself slide from the doorframe as the ship twisted round the icy shard. He fell upon one of the torn planks of wood that was still holding on to the wall. It shuddered precariously as he landed and threatened to break away and plunge him into the tide. Thankfully it didn’t.
“Jump! I’ll catch you!” he called to Tiger. The Kougra drew a ragged breath and leapt, landing on Samson and the plank.
The plank broke under the strain and the pets fell into the water.
As they were sucked out of the ship, Samson reached out and grabbed hold of an iron bar. There was a sharp clang and the bar jammed between the ship and the iceberg, saving their lives.
“What kind of a hero are you?” snapped Tiger who was holding onto Samson’s tail. “Now you’ll get us both killed!”
“I’m doing my best!” shouted Samson. The Lupe could feel the bar slipping. “We may have to swim!”
There was a bang and several pets above them cried out in shock. Samson looked up. Most of the new metal plating of the ship held out against the M.H’s cannon balls.
“I think we’re under attack!” yelped Tiger.
“The M.H. must have planned this!” said Samson trying to look round for something to grab. The ship rocked again and lurched closer to the iceberg. It was either that they would be swept away by the waves or the shard was going to crush them. Samson wasn’t keen on the options.
The waves became more volatile with every second that past and there was a burst of fire from above their heads. The M.H. was using its fire cannons! Samson’s paws were becoming numb with the cold and his grip was almost gone. He began to think that it was pointless holding on any longer. The pair couldn’t save themselves and if they did, what would they do next? The ship was under attack and not likely to survive.
“Need a lift?”
Samson turned round in shock.
“Fox!” he shouted in delight. The Lutari was fighting the rough waves towards them with one of the sheets curled under his arm.
“I’ve found the hole!” he shouted to Minnie and Coral. He turned back to Samson and Tiger. “Do you mind giving us a hand?”
“Only if you get us out of here!” yowled Tiger.
The ship lurched again and the bar bent. More water smashed up against the side loosening the shard and cutting off Minnie and Coral from Fox. The shard groaned and began to give way.
“That’s not good!” said Fox. He shot like a bullet to the trapped neopets and threw Tiger with all his strength back into the ship. “Help him up!” he ordered the Kougra, holding onto the side. Tiger nodded and reached down for Samson. The Lupe hesitated before jumping and grabbing hold. Tiger sank his claws into Samson’s arms in order to keep his grip. Samson tried to kick against the waves but in his efforts, he kicked the bar out of its place. There was a smack and a cry from behind him. As Samson regained his footing on the damp wood, he spun round and saw Fox hunched over with his claws still hanging onto the edge of the broken wood. Shivering, the Lutari looked up. His eyes were unfocused and he looked dizzy. The iceberg gave another, dangerous groan.
“Fox!” cried Samson. “Take my paw! Hurry!” The Lupe lowered his un-gloved paw towards his friend. Fox looked at Samson, fear etched in his wide, panicked eyes. He drove his arm forward.
The iceberg gave way and smashed through the side of the broken wood. Samson and Tiger were thrown back into the flooded brig and the ship rocked to the side. The S.M was free!
Spluttering, Samson swam back to the gaping wound in the ship.
“Fox!” he shouted, desperately. “Fox!” He looked out to the empty space where their claws had almost touched.
Fox was gone.
To be continued...