The Legacy of the Black Pawkeet: Part Eight
"Well what should we do now?” I asked Hannah as the Black Pawkeet once again pulled into the port on Krawk Island. We had made good time after rescuing her and Armin. It had only taken us a day to get back.
“I’m not really sure.” The brunette Usul replied.
“Why don’t you girls help me out with something?” Sea Cat asked as she walked up to us. “I’ve got to restock on medical supplies, and some of the herbs I need only grow in the nearby jungle. So you two could help me gather them.”
“I’d be glad to. I used to gather wild plants and herbs back on the island.” I told her. “What about you Hannah?”
“Well no one knows the island better than me.” Hannah replied, “Sure, I’ll go.”
I smiled, following them down the gangplank, through the village, and into the nearby jungle. “What kind of herbs are you looking for?” I asked Sea Cat.
“Scurvy Grass and some Snake Rose petals, for starters.” The human woman replied.
“Mm… Snake Rose petals are a bit tricky to gather…” I said thoughtfully. If you thought a normal rose bush was little dangerous, a Snake Rose bush was much worse!
“Let me worry about that when we find ‘em.” Sea Cat told me, “I’ve gotten used to it, so I’ve got a certain method down.” I nodded in reply.
Before long, we had arrived at a spot where both Scurvy Grass and Snake Rose bushes were in abundance and set to work gathering the plants. It wasn’t long before we’d gathered quite a bit, but suddenly my ears twitched and I glanced around nervously.
“You all right, Rosa?” Hannah asked, noticing my sudden alertness.
“I’ve got a bad feeling…” I replied as my ears swiveled toward a distant sound.
“What kind of bad feeling?” Hannah asked.
“Like… we’re not alone out here…” My ears swiveled again, finally locking onto the sound I heard as it became a little clearer. “Do you hear that?”
Hannah and Sea Cat stopped to listen, but didn’t seem to hear anything. Of course, given that I had four ears instead of just two, it was no surprise that I could hear a little better than they could.
“Footsteps.” I told them. “About twenty people I’d wager. One of them is wearing boots…” I turned my head toward Sea Cat, “And since you’re with us, that rules out anyone in your crew.” Even if she wasn’t, the boot-wearer was male. I could tell by the sound of his footfalls.
“Get down.” Sea Cat commanded calmly and quietly, “Behind those bushes over there…”
Hannah and I obeyed, crouching behind the bushes with Sea Cat. From the way she was acting, I suspected that Sea Cat knew, or at least had a guess, as to who was coming our way.
I took my bolas out from under my sash and held it out to Hannah. “Do you know how to use this?” I asked in a whisper. I saw her nod. “Then take it.” I told her, “If we get into trouble, it will be of more use to you than me. I’ve never used in a fight before.”
“I understand.” Hannah said as she took the bolas from me, “Just stay close to us, you’ll be fine.”
I nodded, then ducked lower as the group I’d heard entered the area. I could tell just by looking at them that were pirates, fearsome ones at that. Sea Cat also crouched lower and watched them. The look on her face confirmed my earlier suspicion; she knew these pirates.
“Look here Cap’n.” A mean-looking purple Bruce said as he knelt to inspect the ground, “Looks like someone was here very recently.”
“So I see.” The captain—a green Lupe—replied as he walked over to one of the Snake Rose bushes.
I had thought Bloodhook was frightening, but this guy was worse! He had only one eye, but it was red and seemed to glow with evil, even in the darkness of this jungle. He was taller than a normal Lupe too, wearing a long crimson coat and an elaborate captain’s hat. One look at him told you what you needed to know; avoid this guy if at all possible.
Although I’d never seen him before, something about him seemed vaguely familiar, and my eyes widened. Could it be that he was—
“They must’ve been looking for medicinal herbs.” The Bruce said, interrupting my thoughts.
“Only one person I can think of who would be out here looking for herbs rather than buying them in the shop…” The Lupe mused, a sneer forming on his lips.
I felt sweat trickle down my brow. ‘He must know Sea Cat well…’ I thought.
“Should we scour the area for her, Captain?” The Bruce asked.
The Lupe nodded in response, “Aye.”
It only took a moment for his men to find our hiding spot. As we stood up, I subtly reached into the bag I was carrying, gripping the handle of the frying pan I’d brought from Hannah’s house.
“Found her! And Hannah the Brave too!” The Bruce called to his captain.
Sea Cat quickly uncoiled her strange whip, also made of that mysterious metal called Maractite, and cracked it to warn the pirates to back off. Hannah got in front of me to put herself between me and the pirates, but it really didn’t matter. They were all around us.
My grip on the frying pan’s handle tightened as the Lupe walked over to us and stared us down with his one, menacing eye.
“Wh-who is he?” I asked nervously. I had an idea, but…
“Ever heard of Captain Scarblade?” Hannah asked quietly.
I nodded, “Aye, Captain Garin told me about him…” I replied. My father had too.
“Well that’s him…” Hannah said.
I gulped. I had suspected as much, based on the description Captain Garin had given. Honestly, what were the odds? Bloodhook was bad, but Scarblade was so fearsome that for years, people were afraid to even speak his name. We’d been back in port for not even two hours and we were in trouble again! I honestly wasn’t sure if it was because I was hanging out with Hannah and Sea Cat or because they were hanging out with me…
“What should we do with ‘em, Captain?” The Bruce asked. I knew from Captain Garin’s stories that this must’ve been Scarblade’s first mate, Benny the Blade.
“Fetch the two along, leave the other one.” Scarblade answered, his voice laced with malice.
“Aye, aye!” his crew replied, moving forward to capture Sea Cat and Hannah.
“Rosa, run!” Sea Cat commanded as she cracked her whip in the direction of the oncoming pirates.
I hesitated briefly. I didn’t want to leave Hannah and Sea Cat behind, but we were so outnumbered that whether I was there or not probably wouldn’t make a difference, especially given my lack of fighting skills. I was also smart enough to know that “leaving me” probably meant Scarblade’s crew would kill me.
I took only a second to make my decision. I pulled the frying pan out of my bag and slammed it into the pirate nearest me, a green Blumaroo, before running off as fast as I could.
I remained at the ready as Scarblade’s crew stared in mute shock at what Rosa had done. She had almost no fighting skills, but she’d knocked Nathan out cold! Come to think of it, why did she even have my frying pan with her? Oh well. I would ask her about it later.
Benny the Blade broke the silence, “Should we go after her, Cap’n?”
“Why bother?” Scarblade asked, clearly having no interest in Rosa. That was good for her sake.
“Because she may run back to tell Garin.” The Bruce replied.
Scarblade growled at his first mate. “You think I’m scared of that stupid, little whelp?” He asked angrily.
“N-No! Of course not!” Benny cried, a bit frightened by his captain’s angry glare, and rightfully so. “But you don't want him to come too soon.” He pointed out.
“Fine…” Scarblade agreed, apparently seeing logic in Benny’s statement that I wished he hadn’t, “Avenger, get after the brat!”
The yellow Kyrii nodded and ran after Rosa. That wasn’t good; Rosa was no match for Avenger! She wouldn’t be easily surprised like Nathan.
I didn’t have much time to think about this however as Scarblade’s men charged at us. Sea Cat threw a punch at one and I tripped up another with the bolas Rosa had handed me. The one Sea Cat had punched fell over, as unconscious as Nathan currently was, but he was quickly replaced by another, who swung his sword at Sea Cat. Sea Cat blocked the attack with her Maractite whip and the pirate backed off slightly, knowing that Sea Cat was truly dangerous when armed with that particular weapon. Another pirate tried to grab me, but I punched him in the nose. He growled and attempted to stab me with a knife, but Scarblade stopped him.
“None of that.” He told his underling as he took the knife, “We need her alive.”
“You… Scoundrel!” I growled angrily.
Scarblade just grinned evilly at me while reaching forward and grabbing my wrist tightly. “Thank you.” He sneered, before forcing me to turn around and holding the knife up to my neck.
“I suggest you calm down, Sea Cat.” He told the piratess.
Sea Cat turned and glared at him with a dangerous, red glint in her eyes.
“L-Let me go!” I told him, though I really couldn’t struggle.
Scarblade responded by holding me tighter against him and pressing the edge of the blade closer to my throat. “Drop yer weapon.” He told Sea Cat.
I shook my head at Sea Cat as best as I could to tell her not to listen, but she dropped her whip and sword and raised her hands slowly, and Scarblade grinned, “Take her!” He told his men. I could only hope Rosa was having better luck than us.
To be continued…