Hannah, Garin, and the Terribly-Named Treasure: Part One
Hannah the Brave, skirts swishing and Usul tail held high, backed through the Golden Dubloon’s kitchen’s swinging double doors and cheerfully tipped a load of flagons into the sink. “Dale! Table four’s full of tourists who want to try real grog. They swear all the guidebooks tell them it’s great.”
The grizzled Yurble who ran the kitchen gave an exasperated sigh. “Just give ’em some tar water; they won’t know the difference. We don’t need another health inspector pokin’ around here after some lily-livered Meridellian who can’t hold his grog complains of food poisoning.”
Both shuddered at the memory, and Hannah started to pour the brackish water into a large pitcher. “Any orders ready?”
A fry cook raised his hand. “One Headless Horsefish, one Pinanna Paradise, and a mug of Tchea grog mixed with Hogshead. Table six.”
Hannah hefted the dishes and drinks, balancing them with an ease born of years of practice, and shoved the doors open with her shoulder. After distributing the tar water to the gaggle of excited tourists and assuring them that they were, indeed, in for quite a surprise, she started to make her way over to table six. When she saw who was sitting there, she wheeled around and rushed back to the kitchen, nearly colliding with Loretta Fontaine, co-owner and occasional waitress of the Golden Dubloon.
“Watch it!” cried the Aisha, steadying her tray of pizza. “We do not have time for spills today.”
“Sorry. But you’ll never believe who’s out there,” said Hannah excitedly. “Garin!”
Loretta let out a high-pitched scream and started to jump up and down, the pizza’s fate forgotten. “Are you serious? Hannah, he’s so famous! He’s almost more famous than you are!”
“I know!” Hannah squealed, setting down the tray and jumping excitedly herself. “Wait, what do you mean, he’s almost more famous than me?”
“Um, nothing. So why do you think he’s here and not at Kelp? I mean, he has that magic necklace thingy.”
“I don’t know. Maybe he’s gathering crewmembers or looking for information.”
“Maybe he wants to ask you to help him find a long-lost treasure! Or to get your advice on how to break a curse, or defeat an enemy pirate captain, or maybe he wants your autograph,” Loretta suggested eagerly. “Wait, why did you come rushing back here?”
Hannah blinked and picked up the tray again. “Uh, I’m not sure. I just kind of panicked. I mean, it’s not every day someone that famous comes to the Golden Dubloon.”
Loretta examined the now rather woebegone-looking pizza, then shrugged and picked it up. “Well, go give him the food or he might be too grumpy to give you a share of treasure,” she called over her shoulder as she exited the kitchen. Hannah laughed and followed her. Garin was still sitting alone; he seemed to be studying a piece of paper. As she drew nearer, Hannah saw that it was a map, and her insides buzzed with excitement. It had been so long since she’d gone adventuring.
“Here’s your food, sir,” she said, setting down the plates and cup. Garin nodded at her once, then went back to studying the map. And that was it. No invitations to join his crew, no requests for information. Hannah stepped back once and then stayed there, wondering how to ask him why he was here without being rude.
Garin looked up to see her hovering, and sighed resignedly. “Where do you want me to sign?”
“Where do I—I’m sorry, what?” said Hannah, taken aback.
The Usul rolled his eyes and spoke slowly and loudly, as if she were a small and incredibly dim child. “Where do you want me to sign my autograph? I’m assuming that’s why you’re still here.”
Hannah’s jaw dropped. “I don’t want your autograph! Do you seriously not know who I am?”
“Uh, no,” said Garin, squinting at her suspiciously. “Sorry, did I steal something from you? Because I tend to meet a lot of people that way. And I don’t exactly remember them all, so don’t feel insulted.”
Hannah opened her mouth, unsure of how to respond—she didn’t want to sound stuck up, but seriously, what kind of self-respecting pirate didn’t know who she was? Thankfully, she was spared this task by a very young Kacheek who tugged the middle of her skirt (the highest point of her he could reach) and endearingly lisped, “Mith Hannah? Can I pleathe have your autograph?”
“Of course, sweetie,” she said, taking the proffered napkin and crayon. “What’s your name?”
He grinned happily, exposing missing front teeth. “I’m Flynn. When I grow up, I want to thail on a big ship and find tonth of treasure!”
“Good for you!” said Hannah, who wrote “Dear Flynn, never stop adventuring. Love, Hannah” on the napkin, and handed it back to him with what she hoped was a suitably heroic smile.
Garin stared at Hannah again, this time with more interest. “So you’re Hannah?”
“The one and only,” said Hannah coolly. “You look surprised.”
“Well, I am, a little,” said Garin, smirking slightly. “Honestly, I thought you’d be taller.”
She ignored him. “So what’s the map for?”
Garin quickly slid the map into his pocket and resumed attacking his food. “Nothing. Now please go away before more autograph-seekers interrupt my dinner.”
“Well, it’s obviously for something or you wouldn’t be so eager to hide it,” said Hannah, who was rapidly become more curious than ever. “Look, it’s been a really long time since I went on a treasure hunt, and I want to help. I know every inch of this island, I’m an experienced spelunker, and I’m good with a dagger. Seriously, you won’t even know I’m there until I save your life or something.”
Garin rolled his eyes again. “Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but you’ve been on, what, two or three little escapades? I’m sorry, but there’s no way you have what it takes. This isn’t a fun adventure where you can run home if it gets too hard or too dangerous for you—you’ll just be a liability to me and my crew, and I can’t risk that. And besides,” he smirked, “how do you expect to do any running or jumping in a dress? Just leave pirating to the professionals and go back to the kitchen, and we’ll all be happy.”
Hannah, who had been growing steadily redder over the course of his speech, thought her head might explode with anger. “You know what? I hope your ship sinks and the treasure is one rusty dubloon—it would serve you right, you rude, arrogant, chauvinistic pile of dung! And what’s more, I’ve heard of your knife-fighting technique, and guess what? YOU HAVE NONE. THE MARACTITE DOES ALL THE WORK FOR YOU. YEAH, I WENT THERE!” And with that, she stormed back to the kitchen, deaf to the pitiful retching that was now coming from table four.
“Liability? Too dangerous? Can’t run in a dress?” she growled as she banged through the kitchen, tearing off her apron. “Ooh, if I’d just had my dagger on me, he would have seen exactly how fast I can run in a dress.”
“Um, Hannah? Are you okay?” asked Loretta, eying her friend’s progress warily. “I heard quite a bit of enraged shouting, and I really hope it wasn’t you yelling at a patron again, because then you know I’d have to suspend you. Again.”
Hannah ignored her and grabbed a pack from the back of the kitchen, which she then began to stuff with supplies. “Go back to the kitchen? Leave treasure-hunting to the PROFESSIONALS? How dare he? I’ll show him, I’ll show that little—”
“For some reason, I’m getting a vibe that you and Garin did not, in fact, hit it off.”
“You can say that again,” snarled Hannah, gripping her dagger rather ominously while checking its blade for rust.
Loretta raised an eyebrow. “But he still asked you to come with him? And you still said yes?”
Hannah laughed in an amused-yet-apoplectically-angry sort of way. “Are you kidding? He wanted nothing to do with me. But after what that pustule said, there’s no way I’m just letting him leave. I’m following him.”
Loretta’s eyebrow traveled ever higher. “And you think this is a good idea because...”
“He thinks I’m useless, but there is a treasure, and I’m going to find it so I can show him how stupid and wrong he is. Duh.” The Usul sheathed her dagger and attached it to her belt, then pulled on a black cloak and sturdy boots.
“Well, okay,” said Loretta dubiously. “I’m still suspending you, though. We can’t have the Golden Dubloon seem full of chaos. Well, not total chaos, anyway.”
Hannah slung her pack over her shoulder and smiled as she made her way to the door. “Works for me. I was just about to request an extended leave of absence anyway.”
And with that, she slipped outside and vanished into the night.
To be continued...
My first long-ish series, yay! Comments, criticism, and calm rants are always welcome. ^_^