The Merchant's Mayhem: Part Nine
The blue Tonu froze at her name. It had not been spoken with such softness in a long time.
"Marcilli? Is that really you?" Throughout all of the perils in her life, the last thing she would have expected was to see Marcilli again, let alone as a pirate.
"Yes," Marcilli whispered, trying to blink back tears. "I thought you died, Felicia."
Her shoulders sank. "I'm right here. I'm ok."
"Felicia! Ye ain't to be kind to the enemy!"
"She's not the enemy, Skidder!" Felicia glared over her shoulder to protest. "This is my sister!"
There was no compassion to be found. In fact, Skidder the Buzz cackled like it was some sort of joke. "I don't care if she be the Faerie Queen! Attack!"
The Tonu bit her lip as she slowly unsheathed her sword. Her eyes hastily averted the Draik's. "I'm so sorry."
"Felicia, no. Don't do this," Marcilli's voice cracked. She had raised Felicia to shun the pirate law, to never succumb to the life of her parents. But as Felicia stepped forward, all of those lessons were cast aside as she jabbed her sword at Marcilli's body. The blade's tip grazed her coat as Marcilli jolted backwards. She was silently refusing to fight her sister, and this was made clear by the segregated merchants and pirates. She watched in horror as Felicia raised her sword for another strike and instinctively raised her own sword for protection. But the attack was blocked by another sword that came from next to Marcilli.
Arwman had taken a fighting stance and impulsively lunged to protect Marcilli, knowing that she was not in the mindset to defend herself.
That was when chaos broke out.
Skidder lunged at Arwman which prompted the two to duel as other scuffles broke out around them. Hank had paired himself with the lantern-holding Yurble, and Sicrax was fending off a Skeith with the same demeanor as himself. The fighting seemed to fuel a fire inside Felicia, and she hurdled herself towards the Draik. Marcilli stumbled to the side, barely avoiding a swipe directed at her throat.
I have to talk some sense into her, Marcilli thought desperately. Trying to converse with all of the commotion would do no good... they had to be in seclusion. Marcilli took off in the direction of her quarters, scrambling to stay ahead of Felicia who was closing in on her. She tripped over rope and knocked over buckets in doing so, but continued to keep her balance as she reached the door of her room. Swinging it open, Marcilli ducked inside and scurried around to the opposite side of her desk. When Felicia hastily entered shortly after, she was met with Marcilli placing her sword on the desk that separated the two.
"I don't want to hurt you, and I know you don't want to hurt me."
Felicia inspected the sword resting in front of her; a golden handle with tiny blue jewels delicately escalating along the grooves. "You're right, Marcilli, I don't." She tilted her head as she studied the Draik. "But look at you! You're a pirate! You've become the very thing that you hated and taught me to hate as well!"
Once again Felicia raised her sword, but hesitated as Marcilli held up her hands to shield herself. "You were never on a ship that sank in Maraqua!" she blurted out.
Felicia was taken aback that Marcilli knew about the sinking. Her face became blank. "I was too! Everyone else that failed to find broken wood to float on perished, and I was about to give up myself, but Skidder's ship came to the wreckage and he saved me. Ever since then I've been trapped with those pirates. Having to pretend that I'm one of them... it's sickening. Almost as sickening as seeing what my sister has become."
"That may be so, but you need to spare me any bodily harm. I have some information that will be extremely valuable to you."
"What would that information be?"
She bit her lip. "I know who your real father is."
Her entire stance had changed. The fire that was previously there had vanished. Compassion had returned to her eyes, as well as skepticism. "You're lying."
"His name is Ulf. He's a Darigan Tonu that lives in Shenkuu. He used to be a merchant, but now he's more of a wealthy collector."
Felicia shuddered. She always had vague memories of a Darigan Tonu caring for her when she was younger. She had never disclosed this information to Marcilli, so she knew that she was telling the truth. "I want to see him."
"He's not quite fond of me..."
"As if that has an effect, Marcilli!" Felicia hissed. "Take me to him this instant!"
"With your friends on my ship? Yes, that will work out nicely."
"I'll get them off," Felicia protested. "I swear I will."
"Pretend to take me hostage. Threaten to kill me, and you'll only free me if they leave. And once they're gone, we can sail away."
A laugh of desperation escaped Marcilli's throat. "That would work if large ships like these didn't move at a Turdle's pace! They'll leap back on in a heartbeat once it becomes clear that I'm backing out of my word."
The Tonu threw her hands up in frustration. "It's the only idea that I have!"
The proposition was sound, but having one shot to carry it out made it risky. Then she gasped.
"Wait a minute. I've got it."
Felicia stiffened. "Got what?"
"I know what we can use!" Marcilli said as she tore her desk open and began rummaging through a drawer. After clanks and bangs, she raised a blue ray gun.
"What pirate carries around a freeze ray?" Felicia scrunched her nose.
"Elrique gave me dozens of assorted weapons just in case something like this happened."
Felicia reacted to the name like it was poison. "Elrique? You work for him now?"
The small detail of Elrique had gone overlooked. Felicia had no reason to loathe her guardian of many years. Elrique's riches translated into a fulfilling and satisfying life for her. "I'll tell you everything about him later. There are some that may be painted pirate and yet don't have an ounce of scurvy-ridden bone in their body. Yet Elrique steals, if you recall. He's basically a pirate captain, though I don't know what kind of pirate captain would approve of some Space Station freezing sorcery on board their ship."
"Interesting tangent, but we should get on with the plan!" Felicia interrupted.
"Right. Of course," Marcilli smiled sheepishly and extended the ray towards Felicia. "But I've got my nightgown on. Can you hold this?"
Felicia stuffed the freeze ray in the back of her belt and pulled her shirt over it to make sure it was concealed. "Shall we get on with this?"
Marcilli surveyed the damage. Arwman and Skidder were still in combat, and even though Marcilli's crew slightly outnumbered Felicia's, the fighting was evenly matched.
"Cap'n Skidder! She got Felicia!"
"Skidder, I would advise that you return to your ship."
"STOP! Stop!" Skidder ordered once he saw Marcilli holding Felicia against her will. The lantern-holding Yurble had gone to fight his own battle against Bo the coxswain and Hank, but even without his light source, Marcilli could see a wave of concern crash over the Buzz. The Draik captain assumed Skidder would call for a peace offering, but instead his face twisted with anger.
"I have taken your negotiator Felicia captive. I will not hesitate to kill her." Her voice was icy.
"Ye ain't gonna hurt Felicia!" Skidder challenged. "Ye hadn't the guts to do it moments ago!"
"I already have!" Marcilli boasted proudly as Felicia winced and grabbed at the side of her stomach, pretending that she had been inflicted by a wound. Thankfully it was so dark that it did not matter if Felicia's side was bloodless.
"Felicia ain't gotta be part o' this..." Skidder pleaded. "She be our best negotiator. Please let the lassie free."
"Once you and your crew have retreated to your ship, I will."
"Ye ain't gonna keep yer promise!" the Buzz snarled.
"I don't want her, and she doesn't want me. I have no use in keeping her. But I'll only release her if you all leave," challenged Marcilli. "Now get off of my ship."
Marcilli dropped the sword from Felicia's throat. In one swift motion, the Tonu pulled out the freeze ray and opened fire.
The pirates on the neighboring dock scrambled to find an area to hide, but Felicia was quick with her deed. The blue blasts encompassed the bodies as a dozen of her mates were frozen in ice, stuck in positions of cowardice.
Felicia threw the ray gun on the ground once she had finished the deed. "That's all of them."
"Enough rest, everybody. Let's get back on course!" Marcilli ordered her crew, but whispered to Felicia, "Come with me. You should get some sleep."
"There's no need for that," Felicia replied starkly.
Marcilli placed a hand on Felicia's shoulder. "I know how much in debt you felt to Skidder..."
"Forget that," she snapped. "Seeing my father is more important. Are we going to Shenkuu?"
"We will," Marcilli promised. "We have to visit Krawk Island first. Elrique's got some heisted treasures-"
"Are they on Krawk Island?"
The eldest pirate paused. "Who?"
"Those faulty 'parents' of mine."
Marcilli did not like where this was going. "I don't know. The house is still there, but I don't know if they'll be there. Your real father is after them, anyways. If they were smart, they would be off of the island."
"But that's exactly it... they aren't that smart. I'm going to see if they haven't run off."
"Don't bother with them, Felicia. It's not worth the trouble."
Felicia whirled around to face Marcilli. "I was kidnapped by those two from my father. I'm going to face them, and I'm going to tell them what I should have told them a long time ago."
She was quickly running out of counter protests. "You don't have to do this!"
"You knew just as well as I how incompetent they were! Why stop me? I'll be standing up for the both of us."
"They brought us together. We should be thankful for that."
"You always said that I was the best thing they ever brought home," she mentioned as her playful attitude emerged through her bitterness.
Marcilli grinned. "You're the best treasure that they ever gave me. But there's no reason to go more into the matter. You see, mother and father already dealt with a terrible revenge."
The lighthearted conversation was nice for the few seconds that it happened. "What are you talking about?"
"Your real father had been searching for my parents ever since they took you. He almost gave up until Elrique helped him."
The mention of her guardian's name made Felicia let out an exasperated sigh. "Elrique is in the picture?"
"Yes, Elrique revealed that he knew who took you and offered to bring them to your father in the form of cursed talismans. Their souls were literally confined inside these identical red jewel talismans."
"Amazing," she breathed. "But they're no longer confined?"
She was more interested in their torture than well being. If anyone was still holding a grudge, it was Felicia. "I freed them a few months ago with Elrique."
"Why would you do that?"
Yes, why exactly had she done it? She pondered a bit for an answer. "I felt like I owed them."
"For you! Despite the terrible circumstances of how you entered my life, I love you, Felicia, and I can't imagine my life without you!"
The comment was kind and clearly spoken with every ounce of heart to be found. But she could not show vulnerability. Felicia had endured so much in her life, and here was her opportunity to rid herself of the demons that cast over her. "That may be a reason to thank them. However, I still want to face them."
"You want to harm them. I can see it in your eyes."
"No sword will be unsheathed... only my words. I promise."
Felicia was not going to relent. Oh, how she had grown. As much as it pained Marcilli to agree to Felicia's wish, she gave in.
"You have my permission to talk to them."
"I was never seeking your permission, Marcilli," Felicia glowered as she brushed by the Draik. "Only your breaking point."
To be continued...