A Pirate's Tale: Dark Lullaby - Part Four
Adimaris could barely see anything. That foul Lenny had forced some sort of potion down her throat, so all she could do was kick her fins and wave her arms, blindly searching for some sign of safety in her blurred vision. They were on some sort of island, she knew, but she really had no idea what was going on until she heard an unmistakable voice scream, "Adi!" and before she knew it she felt something sharp and cold tickle her throat. Immediately she held still. Someone - the brown Lenny, she thought - was demanding a chest.
"Leglus?" she muttered, trying her best not to move her head and look around only with her eyes, but it was no use. There were only blurs.
"If you hurt her..." she heard Leglus begin to threaten.
The Lenny laughed. "Oh, now, there will be no need for that, good sir. I'll make this fairly simple. You give me the chest, and we let the girl go."
"No, Leglus," another voice said, possibly the creepy old Uni from Leglus' ship, "Don't listen to this buffoon. What's in that chest is dangerous."
She heard a struggle, a gravelly groan, and a yelp of fear from Leglus. Oh, how she wished she could see!
"The chest for the girl?" she heard Leglus ask.
The Lenny chuckled. "Well, well, well... I wouldn't have thought you'd have it in you boy, your own crewmate."
What were they talking about?
"Adi first," Leglus demanded.
"As you wish."
Suddenly, the cool knife was removed from her throat, and she was thrown roughly onto the hot sand. Someone tossed something and footsteps began to go back they way they'd came. She felt a warm paw on her head.
"Adi! Adi! Are you alright?" Leglus asked in a panic. She seemed perfectly normal, but her usually bright blue eyes had a glaze over them that seemed to be slightly fading.
"I'm fine," she stuttered, "I-I just can't see very well."
"Can't you heal yourself?" he wondered out loud. When they were children, once, he'd been playing with his father's sword and tripped, accidentally gashing his face. Adi had come as fast as she could, put her hand on his wound, and a soft blue light numbed the pain. Though he still had a scar, he had always been grateful for what she'd done.
"I-I don't know," she said, "I thought I was too weak to try... but..."
Leglus watched as she closed her cloudy blue eyes and furrowed her brow in concentration. After a couple moments, she reopened them, and they weren't quite as cloudy as before.
"Ahhh," she said, "Not great, but it'll do."
Leglus sighed in relief and helped the Maraquan Gelert sit up a bit. She automatically gasped at Dezeronto's limp form, lying just a few feet away.
"What happened?" she asked, "Is he -"
Leglus shook his head and made his way toward the Uni. "No, he's just knocked out," he reassured her. "I - I hit him in the head with the chest."
The shock was plain on his old friend's face. "You did that? Leglus, why?"
With difficulty, Leglus swallowed and looked her in the eyes. "I couldn't let them hurt you, Adi. And he wasn't going to let me give them what they wanted." He left out the fact that he had never been more scared in his entire life than he had been when that Skeith emerged from the crowd with her in his brutish grasp.
"Maybe you should have listened to him," Adimaris said, returning his gaze evenly, "He has the oyster, and now he has whatever was in that chest, too. Besides, he wouldn't have hurt me. If he killed me, he'd know you'd never give him the chest."
He couldn't deny the reason in her words, but he refused to acknowledge it. "That wasn't a chance I was willing to take, Adi." With that, he turned away, scanning the clearing and thinking. Adimaris wouldn't be able to make it through the forest with her fins. He'd have to carry her back to the ocean before he could come back for Dezeronto. The pirate Uni was still lying seemingly peacefully on the sand, with a gleaming knot just starting to form on his forehead. Leglus winced just a little, guiltily. That was definitely going to hurt.
"Let's get you out of here," he said, turning back to Adimaris and then bending down and scooping her up in his arms. He was glad the forest wasn't too far from the shore, because though Adi was light, his arms were exhausted from hours of digging. They made it back to the shore within fifteen minutes or so, and then Leglus was faced with another problem.
"Blast it!" he cursed, setting the Gelert down gently on the sandy bank. "Only two can fit on the boat."
Adimaris looked up at him and laughed. "Leglus... I can swim, you know."
Immediately his mind rejected the idea. He didn't want her going anywhere without him again and getting herself captured. It was almost as though she could read his mind, because she said a moment later, "I'll be careful, I promise."
"You'll go straight to the Intrepid," he ordered, putting on his most stern expression and even pointing a finger at her. "And you'll wait for me and Dezeronto and you'll come aboard. Then we'll figure this out, ok?"
She nodded and shuffled into the water, and Leglus reluctantly turned and began to walk back to the forest. If he had difficulty carrying Adi that short way, carrying Dezeronto was going to be next to impossible. Hopefully he could find a way to wake the Uni up.
The pirate Xweetok had only made it halfway through the forest when Dezeronto came limping up to meet him. Forgetting for a moment the noble cause of his actions, Leglus stopped in paralyzing fear. He'd knocked out his boss, basically. He was so dead.
"What happened back there?" the terrifying Uni demanded. With disgust Leglus noted that Dezeronto's glass eye had apparently popped out when he'd hit him.
"You weren't going to let me help her," Leglus replied, in the bravest voice he could find at the moment, "So... so I had to do something."
Dezeronto glared at Leglus with his single green eye, and then, to Leglus' great surprise, the pirate Uni let out a raspy chuckle.
"Now yeh're actin' like a pirate!"
Adimaris felt bad, she really did, but there was simply no way she could just swim to Leglus' ship without trying to find out what had been in that chest the Lenny had wanted so desperately. So she swam as quickly and quietly as she could to where the Lenny's ship was docked, on the other side of the island from the Intrepid, and lurked beneath the salty water to watch what was happening on the shore.
The Lenny's party was having quite a hassle opening the massive, rusty old chest, and no matter how much the infuriated Lenny shouted, they didn't seem to be having any more luck. Adimaris watched as they pounded at the lock with hammers and axes, with little to no improvement each time. Finally, the Lenny stepped forward with a frothing black potion in his hands and poured its contents over the stubborn lock.
At first nothing happened, but then Adimaris watched, transfixed, as the black substance spread and began to smoke, literally melting the lock away. Apparently that Lenny had a plethora of nasty potions at his disposal. The other miscreants laughed in satisfaction as the Lenny reached out to open the chest, taking care not to let any of the sizzling potion touch his frail wings.
From out of the chest the Lenny produced a small bottle with something purple and blue lightly glowing inside, pulsating like a slow heartbeat. Was it another potion? Despite the seriousness of the situation, Adimaris felt an extreme sense of anticlimax. Was that it, then?
"Ahhh, Nerina," she heard the Lenny say as he gently caressed the bottle with his brown feathers, "At last."
In one sudden movement, the Lenny groaned and uncorked the bottle. The bluish-purple contents flowed out, much more than Adimaris would have thought could possibly have been held in the average bottle, and landed in a clump on the dingy sand.
Adimaris breathed in a mouthful of salty water as she gasped in shock. As the glow faded away, she could barely make out a body lying in the sand, with a long mane of deep purple hair and a strong, thick, scaled tail. The body pushed itself up with tiny, weak, pale arms, and Adimaris saw the face of a faerie, grinning evilly, with glowing blue eyes.
It was the evil water faerie Caylis had told her the story about. She was alive. Adimaris watched in horror as the Lenny placed in the ancient faerie's hand a small golden oyster, and the faerie's spine-chilling cackle echoed across the sea as Adimaris swam away as fast as she could.
Leglus rowed back to the Intrepid slowly, due to his tired arms, and still couldn't believe Dezeronto hadn't been angry. By some miracle, the ferocious Uni seemed to understand why Leglus had needed to knock him out - and respected him for it, it seemed. Still, the one-eyed pirate remained broodingly silent, only commenting now and then that he couldn't wait to get back on board and put a new glass eye in. Leglus had been carefully avoiding eye contact with him the whole time.
Just as they neared the ship, a purple and green head emerged from under the water, and Leglus let out a sigh of relief. "Adi, you're alright. Thank you."
But Adimaris, it seemed, was far from alright. He hadn't noticed at first, since her face had been wet from the ocean, but now he could see unmistakable tears rolling down her scaly cheeks.
"They got it open, didn't they?" Leglus heard Dezeronto growl, and though he really wanted to know what the Uni meant, he couldn't tear his eyes away from Adimaris' terrified face.
"Y-yes," she answered, not even asking him what he meant. "And they... they released her, and she has the oyster."
Dezeronto's reply was grave. "I was afraid of that."
To be continued...