Authors: Lexie Stewart
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Captain Bloody and his men swarmed The Bloody Throne with the confidence of knowing that they greatly outnumbered their enemy.
They might not have felt so confident had they known that Lance had covered the ship with booby traps.
Cannons were everywhere, waiting at the bottom of the stairs, the ends of dark corridors and inside rooms, ready to fire when the door opened.
There were also buckets of hot tar balanced on top of doors, ropes pulled taut at ankle level, and bullets, grapeshot and caltrops scattered over the deck making it as slippery as ice.
And, of course, the galley slaves were waiting to ambush the pirates who made it through the gauntlet.
“Where is he?” bellowed Captain Bloody as his men fell victim to the traps. “Where is that mangy dog?”
Lance swung down from the rigging and dropped lightly onto the deck behind Captain Bloody.
“You called?” he said politely.
Captain Bloody whirled around and without hesitation threw a boarding axe at Lance’s head.
Lance ducked it.
“What have you done to me ship?” yelled Captain Bloody.
“I made some renovations, mate. You like?”
Captain Bloody fired one of the pistols tied to his baldric. Lance dodged it.
“Damn you to the bottom of the deepest ocean!” bellowed Captain Bloody.
“Think again, matey!” said Curry, stepping up to Lance’s left.
“Aye!” cried Lenny, stepping up to Lance’s right. The three of them stood shoulder to shoulder, swords raised.
A scowl shadowed Lance’s features. “Lenny, if you’re out here then where is Josie?” This was hissed out of the side of his mouth as he didn’t want to ruin their image of camaraderie.
“It weren’t my fault, Cap’n!” said Lenny. “She done pulled a pistol from her tiny bloomers and said she’d blow me ta Timbuktu if I didn’t get out of her way!”
That sounded about right, thought Lance.
“Well then, Mr Bloody,” he said, “this might be a good time for you to surrender. See, there’s three of us and only one of you!”
Just then, a bunch of Captain Bloody’s pirates climbed up through the hatchway. The first one to step out on the deck sneered at Lance and jangled a set of keys on a large ring. Lance’s cocky grin faltered. He’d had these pirates locked in the ship’s brig. He hadn’t known that one of the bastards had a set of keys, but then, this was their ship.
“You want to count again, matey,” said Captain Bloody as his men crowded the deck. “Lance Breakheart, you’ve had a fine run, I’ll give ye that. So, I’ll make room on my bowsprit to hang yer rotting head! How’s that sound?”
“Many thanks,” muttered Lance.
Captain Bloody raised his sword and screamed, “At em you scurvy dogs!”
With bloodthirsty cries the pirates surged forward. Lance, Lenny and Curry only survived the initial onslaught because the pirates got in each other’s way and fought amongst themselves.
“They’ll swarm us up here!” said Lance. “Below deck! Narrower spaces! They can’t all get to us at once!”
Lance kicked over a barrel and rolled it at the pirates, buying himself and his two companions enough time to escape down a hatchway. A number of pirates raced down after them but the main bulk were still trying to untangle themselves after being bowled over by the barrel.
The sounds of cursing, swords clashing and furniture breaking echoed up from below deck, making Bloody leer contentedly.
“Well, what are the rest of ye standin’ about for?” he yelled. “There’ll be a prize for the man who brings me Breakheart’s head!”
“What kind of prize?” asked one of his men.
“A shiny prize!”
That was good enough for the pirates. They charged the hatchway but never went down it.
A doll with red hair fell from the sky and landed between the charging pirates and the hatchway.
The pirates were so surprised, they stopped.
“Mmmfnah,” said the doll, who was laying face down on the deck. “Mmmfnah Mm!” she said again.
One of the pirates cautiously flipped the doll over with his big toe.
“That’s better,” said the doll.
“Who are you?” stammered the pirates.
“I am the goddess Dollita! I appear to you in this form because my real form is so tremendously beautiful your mortal brains would turn to mush!”
“What do you want, oh Goddess Dollita?”
“I have been summoned from my realm by the tears of the mothers that gave you birth. They implore me to tell you to change your wicked ways. Seek redemption! Pursue a life of kindness and generosity.”
The pirates considered this.
“Generosity?” said one, scratching his scraggly beard. “What’s in it for us?”
“The cleansing of your blackened souls!” cried the doll.
The pirates looked at each other dubiously. “What else?” they asked.
One pirate at the back couldn’t see over his taller comrades. He hated that he was short. He got teased and couldn’t see any of the really interesting stuff. He cursed and grumbled and kicked an empty bottle that rolled around the deck. It was then that he saw something poking out from behind a barrel.
Curious, the short pirate snuck up for a closer look. It was an elbow. It was slender, white and above all, feminine.
Very curious now, Shorty snuck even closer and saw to his delight, a woman sitting behind the barrel, watching the pirates and the doll. She raised a strange object to her mouth and spoke into it.
“And, um… that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you do something nice for somebody else,” she said.
To Shorty’s amazement, the doll spoke at the same time, saying exactly the same thing!
Shorty pounced upon the woman and dragged her out from behind her hiding place.
Josephine’s scream alerted the rest of the pirates. A woman was far more arresting than a talking doll and Josephine was instantly the centre of attention.
She tossed the walkie-talkie aside, hoping no one would see it. The other walkie-talkie was of course stuffed into the doll.
“What ‘ave we here?” drawled Captain Bloody. “Josephine! Or is it Joe?”
Josephine glared at him.
“As I recall, we were having a conversation before Captain Breakheart so rudely interrupted us. He won’t be botherin’ us no more, me buxom beauty. So we’ll be finishing that conversation now.”
Josephine’s blood ran cold when she realized the ‘conversation’ he was talking about was his attempt to ravish her in his cabin.
Josephine doubled her efforts to escape but she was held on either side by Captain Bloody’s bodyguards. They stripped off her weapons and tossed them aside.
With a ravenous growl, Captain Bloody tore her shirt open and found that she had bound her chest with a wide sash in order to flatten her breasts- part of Sailor Joe’s disguise.
Captain Bloody took to the sash with a knife. His men cheered him on and pushed each other out of the way to get a better view.
“You coward!” cried Josephine. “All you’re proving is how pathetic you are! Why don’t you tell your lackeys to stand down, give me back my sword and fight me one-on-one? Or are you too scared? Are you so weak you can’t handle one little woman on your own?”
Josephine knew she couldn’t best Captain Bloody in combat but she could at least buy herself some time and if she had to die, she’d rather go down fighting.
Captain Bloody paused, considering her offer. “A duel? What are the stakes?”
Josephine racked her brains, knowing that this window of opportunity might slam shut at any moment. “Winner takes all!” she said. “Both crews, both ships and-”
!” leered Captain Bloody.
Josephine swallowed and said, “yes.”
“Agreed!” roared Captain Bloody.
Josephine waited to be released but she was dealing with pirates here and Captain Bloody had no intention of fighting fair. Instead of giving Josephine a sword, he ordered one be given to Dollita!
“You can’t be expected to fight a mighty god such as meself,” he said when Josephine protested. “So I’ll be takin’ on yer magical friend, instead.”
“Bloody you bloody cheat!” yelled Josephine.
“I ain’t cheated, ya harlot! We ain’t shook hands on the deal yet and it ain’t a deal till we shake hands on it!”
He lumbered over to the doll and squatted his great bulk down onto the deck.
“What say you, little dolly? Are ya willin’ to fight me for the lovely, Josephine?”
“Agreed!” said the doll and grabbed Captain Bloody’s hand.
Only, it wasn’t Dollita that had spoken and grabbed his hand but Lance, coming back up the hatchway.
Captain Bloody reeled back from the hatchway, inadvertently helping to pull Lance up on deck.
Lance was roughed up but he looked strong and dangerous as he stepped up onto the deck and confronted Captain Bloody, maybe even more so for the blood dribbling down his cheek and the shiner beneath his left eye.
“Shall we?” said Lance, raising his sword.
It was hot in the blazing sun and all the men crowding in tight to watch the fight.
The two captains danced and slashed with their swords and it wasn’t long until drops of perspiration dripped down Lance’s face and Captain Bloody reeked of rum-soaked sweat.
“I think you’re in need of a haircut, mate!” said Lance and set about removing great chunks of the grizzly, black beard with his sword, sending them drifting across the deck like tumbleweeds.
The pirates laughed. Captain Bloody hated it when his men laughed at him.
He swung his sword up and brought it down with a howl of rage.
Lance stepped up close to Captain Bloody to avoid the blade and took the hilt to his shoulder instead.
He gave a grunt of pain as a quillon punctured his flesh and another cry as Captain Bloody ripped it out.
Lance staggered back, blood flowing from the wound.
Josephine managed to free one arm. She rammed her elbow back into the face of one captor and tried to get his sword.
“This is a gentleman’s duel!” yelled Captain Bloody, pointing at her with a blackened fingernail. “If anyone interferes, their champion is disqualified and keelhauled like the dirty, cheating dog he is!”
Josephine groaned with frustration. All she could do was watch.
The fight resumed with a violent clashing of swords.
A bloody and battered pair of pirates, Lenny and Curry to be precise, crawled up through the hatchway. They were dripping wet.
“What have you lot been doing down in the bilges?” said Lance, neatly ducking as Captain Bloody’s blade whistled over his head.
“We ain’t been down that far, Cap’n,” said Lenny. “The lower decks be filling up! She’s sinking!”
Lance and Captain Bloody shot each other a look, backed off slowly then turned and ran to opposite sides of the ship.
They both looked over the rails and saw that the waterline appeared to be rising which of course meant, the ship was sinking.
“Lance, ya rancid coxcomb! You sunk my ship!” roared Captain Bloody, whirling around and stomping back across the deck.
“Oops,” said Lance, strolling back.
Captain Bloody’s eye twitched and spittle rained down his beard. A horrible smile shuffled the hair around his mouth. “ ‘Tis a good thing then, that I got your wee, schooner a waitin’ for me!”
“Not for long!”
Lance lunged and retreated, a successful attack that left his sword dripping blood.
Enraged, Captain Bloody struck his right elbow with his left hand. Josephine saw it coming and screamed out a warning to Lance.
As the smell of petrol filled the air and flames shot across the deck, Lance leapt up beside Bloody and yanked the sleeve of his waistcoat down over his hand. The sleeve immediately caught fire.
Bloody yelped and danced around, trying to put the flames out. Pieces of smouldering fabric floated around.
Some landed against the sails, the rope and all that wood, hot and dry from the sun…
“Lance, I’ll let the rats eat your feet right off o’ you, one toe at a time! I’ll make you watch while I ravish your woman! I’ll poke out your eyes and cut out your tongue and tie you upside-down to the mast!” bellowed Captain Bloody whose burnt arm was breaking out with weeping blisters.