Janet and Jane: The Case of the Rough Waters: Part Four
"Ugh, it stinks down here,” Kell complained as we went through the bilge of the ship on the way to the hold.
“Hold yer nose and breathe through yer mouth. It'll make it easier on ye,” I sharply replied.
“My hands are tied behind me. I couldn't hold my nose if I tried.”
“Then just breathe through yer mouth.” I wasn't even walking with him for ten minutes and I was already getting tired of him.
“Could you maybe untie us?” Corbin asked kindly. “We won't cause anymore trouble than we already have.” At least Corbin was acting nice, unlike his brother.
I hummed at the idea of untying them. I knew Corbin wasn't going to do anything, but I wasn't so sure about Kell. Kell wasn't the type to react kindly to these types of situations. If I did, I would have to be careful. There was a chance he would attack me. Then again, I was sure Corbin would talk him out of the idea. If he did so without warning, the Ogrin could easily stop him.
“Fine,” I said in a chuff of air. “Ye can be untied, but understand this.” I stopped and turned around to face Corbin and Kell. “Yer on the Marooner. Over three dozen pirates are on this ship right now. If ye try to run from Marco and I, even if ye do make it past us, there are other pirates who can and will catch ye. Alright?” The two Neopets nodded. “Good. Marco, untie 'em.”
“A-are ye sure, Olivia?” James asked.
We stopped walking for a little. James untied Corbin's and Kell's hands. They didn't hesitate to bring their hands out in front of them. Once that was done, I began to walk again. The three didn't trail far behind.
“So where are we going?” Kell asked. The yellow Wocky walked beside my.
“To the hold. That was established already,” I said in a sigh.
“And it's down here?”
Kell was always the type to ask questions. Whenever I was in his presence, ninety percent of the questions he asked were directed towards me. His constant questioning tended to get on my nerves pretty fast. Now was no exception.
“Yes, it is down here,” I answered. “Right, Marco?”
“How would I know? I haven't been down to this part of the ship yet,” James informed. That was true, actually.
Kell crossed his arms. “Where were you going with that?”
I groaned. I was going to push him off the plank if this kept up. “At least I know where we're going.”
“You know what, let's change the subject,” Corbin interjected. “Olivia, we weren't doing anything bad. We didn't even know that was your property.”
It was strange, this whole property thing. Layton never said anything to me about property. Considering I was now his quartermaster, it was very odd that he didn't so much as mention it. Then again, I was only here for a week. I thought all he had was the ship and its supplies. I was going to have to ask him about it.
“I'll be honest with ye,” I began. “This is the first time I heard of this property.”
“Well the other pirates knew about it. From what I heard, at least,” Kell commented. “How come you don't know about it?”
“I've only been here a week. I was just promoted to quartermaster, so I bet Layton will tell me about it later.”
Kell was certainly surprised by what I said. “A week? You've only been here for a week? And how exactly did you become quartermaster so quick?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don't know. I couldn't give you an answer if I tried.”
The look on his face went from surprised to suspicious. “You're talking differently.”
“What do you mean?”
He crossed his arms. I did the same. In a very smug voice, he said, “I'm no expert in pirate talk, but you're sounding a lot different compared to earlier on the deck. You have some explaining to do to cover that up.”
“Kell, where are you going with this?” Corbin asked.
“I don't need to explain anything to you,” I argued.
Kell wouldn't take it. He instantly said, “Oh yes you do.” after I finished my sentence. “Talking differently, you only being here for a week and already being second in command, what your real intentions are. I better get some answers, Janet!”
I froze. Janet. My name. He said my name. My real name. He knew it was me. How? How did he know? I did slip a little in my pirate speak, but that wouldn't be enough to say it was me.
“Kell, stop! You're going to make things worse than they already are!” Corbin shouted. Thank goodness that the bilge was empty. It was very rare that anyone came down to the bilge. If someone was down here, someone would have heard that – no doubt that Layton would learn of this in the hour.
I looked around before I said anything. It was only the four of us. Good. I hissed at Kell, “Next time, don't shout my name like that.”
Corbin and James were both shocked at what I said. Kell was more... smug. I was rather irritated. And a bit worried. If he figured me out, what were the chances of Layton getting wise about me? What would he do about it?
“So it is you,” Kell said. A conceited smile was plastered on his face.
“Yes, now how did you figure me out?” I said in a growl.
“Oh come on, Janet, this isn't the first time you pulled that skunk Kacheek disguise, which by the way is beginning to run.”
I rubbed my forehead. The white facepaint easily came off, as it has mixed with the sweat that was collecting on my forehead. I groaned, “It's too humid down here for this to stay on.”
I was hoping Kell would stop, but the Wocky went on. “Besides, I recognized that attitude of yours.”
“Janet, what are you doing here?” Corbin asked.
I groaned, but I answered the Ogrin's question with, “Look, I'll explain everything, but please, we need to be walking. I have no clue if Layton is coming down here to talk to you.”
I stomped off. If anyone didn't know I was down here, they probably knew now. Each step made a loud thump against the splintery wood (not that my normal footsteps didn't do that, because they did – they just weren't this loud). By the sound of three sets of thumps trailing not that far behind me, the others were following.
“Janet, we didn't do anything wrong,” Corbin quickly said. “We were just on a job and we were looking around the area we were told to look by.”
“I know you didn't do anything wrong, Corbin,” I sighed. “Somebody had to hire you two.”
He wasn't expecting what I just said. “You hired us?”
I nodded my head. “We came across something really strange and Jane contacted you to take care of it.”
“Hold on, these two were the ones you were talking about?” James asked suddenly. I remained silent, as the answer was obvious. “Which one was the one you didn't like?”
James, you needed to know when to keep your mouth said. I said, “Don't talk about that.” through my teeth.
“No no, keep going,” Kell commented. “What's this about a Neopet she doesn't like?” At this point, James pretty much figured out who I meant.
“As to why we're here, we're on a case involving pirates.” I took out my facepaint compact and put the stripe back on my head. “We were looking for this ship when we ran into a similar situation you two found yourself in. The only difference is that I was smart enough to come up with something to save ourselves.” I scoffed a bit and turned to James. “James, you would not believe what it was like, going through that.”
I didn't say anything after my little speech. It seemed like everybody wanted me to speak after that, as it was completely silent after that (after the sound of our footsteps, that is). I stopped stomping, since I was less irritated than I was earlier. I still wasn't in a good mood (I wasn't in a very good mood for about three days now).
Finally, we reached the hold. I almost ran up to it. I opened the door and let everybody in. After looking to make sure that we were alone (which we were), I went inside and closed the door.
“Janet, you said you're the quartermaster, right? Second in command?” Corbin asked. Before I could say something, he said, “Do you think you could get us out of here?”
I shook my head. “No can do,” I sighed. “I don't have the power to do that.”
“Come on, Janet,” Kell groaned. The Wocky walked up to me. “You certainly had the power to convince the captain on the upper deck. You had no problem getting us in more trouble.”
“Hey, you should be thanking me.” I scowled. “Everybody was punish this, hurt that. I heard some of the thing they wanted to do and none of them were nice. If anything, I saved you two. You two shouldn't have been caught in the first place. Then none of us would be here right now.”
“It's not like we wanted to be caught. We even tried to run. Like you would do better.”
“I did! I did do better!”
I lost my temper there. “Last time we were on Krawk Island on a case. Things didn't go well, as if trying to catch fifty Petpets and being caught in a food fight wasn't bad enough. Jane and I were captured while investigating a false tip and I bet I did way better than you.”
I was so close to actually attacking Kell when the door opened. All four of us looked at the door. I didn't know why I wasn't expecting it, but Jane and Natia were there and I was surprised by it.
“Okay, this would explain what we were hearing,” Jane commented.
“Finally,” I muttered under my breath. “Jane, Natia, glad to see you could make it.”
“Well, Layton told me what happened, so I had to talk to you about what happened on the upper deck.” The Korbat walked up to me. “And when I told him that, he told me he wanted to see you.”
I tilted my head. “He does? What for?”
Jane just shrugged. “I don't know, I didn't bother to ask. I'd go see what he wants. He sounded anxious.”
Anxious? I only knew Layton for a week now, but I didn't think I'd hear the words, “anxious” and, “Layton” in the same sentence. He always seemed very confident. I'd actually like to see him like this.
“I'll be back,” I said. I walked to the door. When I was one step out of the door, I gave my parting words. “I'll try not to be long.”
The thought of what Layton wanted to talk to me about distracted me from the foul smell of the bilge. It could be about Kell and Corbin, that was very likely, but I still thought of other things that he might have on his mind. There were jobs on the ship that needed to be done. Treasure was a popular topic for pirates, so there was a chance at that. I couldn't rule out the chance of him seeing through my disguise (though I wished and hoped that wasn't the case).
By the time I got to the upper deck, it was night. I took my glowing Miamouse, Supra, out so I could see better. Through the bright green light, it was revealed that the upper deck was completely empty. All the pirates probably turned in for the night. That wouldn't surprise me.
The lights in the captain's quarters were on. Layton must be in there. I went to open the door. Locked. Shocker. I knocked on the door. While I was knocking, the door opened. Layton looked down at me.
“Captain Layton, Paige told me ye needed to speak with me,” I said.
Layton slowly nodded. The Krawk said in a slow voice, “Aye, correct.”
“Well, what about?”
The Krawk moved away from the door. “Come in. Come in.” I did so. He closed the door once I was inside. “Olivia, I be needin' something from ye.”
I was confused. “Needin' what, exactly?”
“Tomorrow, the boat be getting careened and the crew will be on Krawk Island to get supplies. Monthly maintenance, ye know.” Layton walked over to his desk and picked up a roll of parchment. “I be worried about safety, after today's scene.”
“So ye be wanting me to guard the ship?”
He shook his head. “No.” Layton walked back over to me and handed me the parchment. “I be wantin' ye to guard this?”
I examined the roll of parchment. Okay, weird request. “What be special about this parchment?”
“That be a map to where we hold our treasure. We don't keep it on the ship for safety reasons.” The blue Neopet looked down at me. “Can ye do that, lass?”
Map to their treasure? Ooh, this could include all of the stolen goods. And the ship was pretty much going to be empty tomorrow. All of this was very good. We had our chance to escape and Jane and I now had a lead.
“Aye,” I said enthusiastically. “Ye can trust me.”
I left the captain's quarters and pretty much ran down to the bilge. I was hoping everybody was still down there. It would be easier to explain this to everybody at once. I could hardly believe all this was happening. It was perfect. Just perfect.
I almost ran into the door in the bilge when I got to it, I was so excited. I did manage to calm myself down enough before I entered the room. Everybody was still there. All of them looked at me when I came in (well that was unnerving).
“Janet, did you run back down here?” James asked. “You look out of breath.”
“I did run, but I have reason,” I informed. “I have good news.”
Kell crossed his arms and said, “If it's not about us getting out of here, I'm not interested.”
“But it is.” The moment those words left my mouth, everybody got interested. “Layton told me the ship's getting careened tomorrow and everybody will be off of it. It's the perfect time to get off of this hunk of driftwood.”
“That's wonderful!” Natia cheered.
“Very good news, indeed,” Corbin added.
I held up a hand to stop everybody. I said, “And that's not all.”
“What else is there?” Jane asked.
I held out the rolled up parchment. “Jane, Layton gave this to me to protect. It's a map to where they hold their treasure. And we're going there.”
To be continued…