Enchanted Stories: Adventure on the High Seas - Part Two
We gathered in the family room, making ourselves comfortable. I opened the book and began to read. The story started out telling about a feared pirate who pillaged the seas and grew quite rich. He had a secret place where they stashed the loot. One day he grew worried, believing his crew intended to betray him. He tricked them into all getting off on an island where he marooned them. He then sailed off by himself for the isle where he stored his loot. However, a terrible hurricane caught his ship and it sunk and the treasure was lost forever. Or last least until a descendant living on Mystery Island found an old map in her attic...
"Well, this is authentic," Anita was saying as she examined the map. "You can't fake this kind of age. It might actually lead to this treasure. You've hit on a lucky find, Lilias."
We were right in the middle of the story. I looked around and found we were on Mystery Island, in the living room of an old house. The occupant and descendant of the pirate was an Island Uni named Lilias. On the table there were pictures of her ancestor and the map she found. She had probably showed us these things, or rather the characters whose places we were now living. Anita was examining the map for authenticity.
"Wow, really? So, how do we go about finding it?" Lilias cried in excitement.
"Well, I suppose we should get some more help on this one. We are a little out of our league. Medieval or Desert treasures would be a piece of cake, but we have no experience with pirate traps and such," I said.
"We should go to Krawk Island. Hannah will help for the right price. Also, I think that is the only place we will find a ship that will take us. I was comparing this map with another map while Anita was checking authenticity; it's in rather treacherous waters. The area is filled with whirlpools, dangerous currents, and large and unpredictable reef. Only daring sailors would take on this adventure," Elise replied.
"Well, Lilias, this is your map, and therefore, your treasure. What do you want to do?" I asked.
"I'll leave it in your hands," Lilias said.
Two days later we arrived on Krawk Island. I kind of like Krawk Island when I'm alone, but I didn't much like to bring my younger ones there. Unfortunately, this time I had no choice. We checked into an inn and, with Lilias and Chloe in tow, I went to the tavern that Hannah frequented. We entered and found her in her favorite place, atop a table retelling the Ice Caves story. I sat down and listened eagerly, as it is one of my favorite stories. When she finished she hopped down and started to walk past our table, I stopped her.
"Can I buy you a pint of grog, Hannah? I have something I would like to talk to you about," I said.
Hannah dropped into a chair and replied, "No grog, and I'd advise you not to have any either. This place has seen more spit-takes than a comedy club."
"A polite way of putting it," Chloe laughed.
"Well, then, I'm the leader of a group of 'adventurers' I guess. This is my client, Lilias," I said, introducing the Island Uni. "She discovered a map that leads to great treasure. While my company may be fairly experienced in finding treasures and things of that nature; we have no experience in the realm of pirate treasures. We know nothing of avoiding pirate traps, or pirate puzzles. We were hoping to gain your help. Lilias is offering three percent of the treasure to you for your help. If the treasure is as large as it is supposed to be, it will be a large portion. However, the journey is through incredibly treacherous waters and will be very dangerous. So, what do you say?"
Hannah's eyes glittered. I wasn't sure if she was excited about the possible adventure or the treasure. "Five percent and I'll get you a ship and crew, one I know can navigate anything. I'm sure you haven't found a ship yet, or you would have mentioned it. Of course, you'll have to authorize me to offer at least eight to ten percent to them for their services. Well?"
I looked at Lilias and gave a slight nod. I had expected her to want at least five percent; I had offered three so that she wouldn't try to go higher. Plus, if Hannah picked out the ship and crew than we were likely to get a crew we could trust.
"It's a deal," Lilias said, reaching across the table to shake her hand.
"Excellent, you'll not be sorry you hired me. I'll meet you here tomorrow to arrange our departure. Have a good one," Hannah said as she jumped up and skipped off.
I grinned, Hannah was such a character, and one I admired, and now I was getting to go sailing with her. Maybe this story wasn't going to be so bad after all. We went back to the inn to share the good news with the others and passed the day pretending to be simple tourists.
The next day, when Lilias and I returned to the tavern, we found Hannah waiting at the same table as the day before. She gave us a map to the part of the harbor we were to go, to board the ship she had commissioned for us. I felt mildly uneasy that she wouldn't say the name of the ship, but I supposed that maybe she was just being cautious since there was such a large fortune at stake here. She told us to be at the pier by two.
It was always half past noon, so we hurried back to the inn. We repacked our bags and hurried to the pier. Once there, we found Hannah and a rowboat with four unsavory looking sailors. I was kind of dismayed by this since I couldn't see a ship anywhere. My earlier uneasy feeling settled in again.
"Hannah, where's the ship?" I asked.
"Oh, don't worry. Just load up your stuff and get in," Hannah said airily.
Having no choice but to trust her, we climbed in. The sailors started to row, taking us around the cove. Suddenly, a ship came into view. It was the Black Pawkeet.
"Hannah!" I cried out. "Pirates? What were you thinking? I don't care if the crew did help Maraqua, they're pirates. You can't trust pirates!"
I looked uneasily at the rowboat crew, knowing that they were obviously pirates too. They didn't blink during my outburst. They were probably used to that kind of outcry from people.
"Garin is an old friend, he won't betray me," Hannah assured me. "That, and his crew is the only one I know with the skills to get through the waters to the island you want to go to. Trust me, Garin and I grew up together, I know I can trust him."
"Lovely, if I get marooned, I'm holding you personally responsible," I replied.
"Okay," Hannah laughed.
We rowed up alongside the ship and a rope ladder was tossed down. Those with wings flew up to the deck and those without climbed up, one by one, myself last. At the top Jacques grabbed my hand and helped me over the rail. It was weird seeing the famous pirates, and it made me very happy I had fought for Maraqua in the last war. Yanli would talk and if I hadn't I was sure I would have been marooned. I quickly noticed that I had a fear of being marooned.
"What is this? A bunch of girls, you brought all girls?" Garin laughed as he surveyed our group. "What is this, the Usul Scouts annual trip?"
"I'm a boy," Bluejay said in his timid little voice.
"Well, now! So you are. Good, I'll let you hang out with the men; all these women will make a sissy out of you," Garin laughed, tousling his spiky blue hair.
"I'm not a sissy!" Bluejay cried indignantly.
Garin just laughed and had one of his crew show us to the room we would be sharing. It wasn't large, but we would survive. Hannah had her own room and so it would be just Lilias and us. Day one passed peacefully. I gave Garin a map marked with our destination. He laid in the course and we were off. As I watched the sunset that day I realized again how amazing it was to see nothing but ocean.
Day two was just as smoothly. I was watching Chloe swimming alongside the ship when Jacques came up to see what I was doing. I pointed Chloe out and we started to chat. Not far away Garin and Hannah were having a little spat.
"What's up with them? Is everything all right?" I asked, worried.
"That's normal. They are always like that when they are together. They are actually cousins. But they had no siblings and lived practically next door to each other so they are almost as close. They get along smashingly; the fighting is their way of having a nice chat with each other. Every now and then I've seen them truly fight over something; Hannah always beats him black and blue. It's kind of a joke aboard not to mess with the girl," Jacques laughed.
"Well, so long as it's normal," I replied, somewhat relieved.
"So, what's up with you and your little party? What's your story?" Jacques asked.
"Well, we're a family. We somehow got into this business a while ago and it has worked out for us. Anita is an expert at desert treasure, and we knew a fair bit about Meridell as well. But, we do more than treasure hunting. We also bring criminals to justice and rescued people who have been kidnapped. We even rescued a princess not long ago. I can't really talk about that though, I'm not at liberty to give out names and details," I explained, wondering what he would say if I told him the truth, about this just being story and he simply a fictional version of the real Jacques.
"I see. Interesting, so I guess you would be classified as adventurers, then?" Jacques said.
"Yeah, that would be an accurate term; it is usually the one I use. Anyway, how long do you think that it will take to get to the island we are going to?" I asked.
"With favorable winds, about week from tomorrow," Jacques said.
"Well, I've got to get going. I've got duties to attend to," Jacques said.
I said goodbye and leaned back against the railing. It was mind boggling to think that this was all a fantasy and that even though we were living it would suddenly have never happened when we reached the end. Inna came toddling down the deck and caught my leg for support.
"Too woby, Mama!" Inna cried.
"Don't have your sea legs yet, Inna?" I asked as I picked her up.
I had noticed that my pets with wings were flying everywhere instead of walking, something I considered almost cheating. Anita, with her usual grace, had stepped onto the ship and been just as at home as if she were still on land.
"I wahve wegs, Mama," Inna said indignantly.
I couldn't help but laugh and she clapped her hands and laughed too, even though she hadn't a clue what was so funny.
To be continued...